Archive for Health

Vegetables Don’t Prevent Cancer?

Say it ain’t so!

This is from the NY Times, so we know it must be accurate…

A trip to almost any bookstore or a cruise around the Internet might leave the impression that avoiding cancer is mostly a matter of watching what you eat. One source after another promotes the protective powers of “superfoods,” rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, or advises readers to emulate the diets of Chinese peasants or Paleolithic cave dwellers.

But there is a yawning divide between this nutritional folklore and science. During the last two decades the connection between the foods we eat and the cellular anarchy called cancer has been unraveling string by string.

This month at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, a mammoth event that drew more than 18,500 researchers and other professionals here, the latest results about diet and cancer were relegated to a single poster session and a few scattered presentations. There were new hints that coffee may lower the risk of some cancers and more about the possible benefits of vitamin D. Beyond that there wasn’t much to say.

In the opening plenary session, Dr. Walter C. Willett, a Harvard epidemiologist who has spent many years studying cancer and nutrition, sounded almost rueful as he gave a status report. Whatever is true for other diseases, when it comes to cancer there was little evidence that fruits and vegetables are protective or that fatty foods are bad.

About all that can be said with any assurance is that controlling obesity is important, as it also is for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and other threats to life. Avoiding an excess of alcohol has clear benefits. But unless a person is seriously malnourished, the influence of specific foods is so weak that the signal is easily swamped by noise.

And this is truly astounding:

But now that smoking is on the wane in this country, obesity is on the rise. Being fat (as opposed to eating fat), Dr. Willett proposed, may now be causing more fatal cancers than cigarettes.

Why astounding? Because most people gain a lot of weight when they quit smoking. Jeez. Yet more evidence that the Food Nazis were just that.

- Aggie

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ObamaCare Continues To Hurt Health Care

Doctors must consider cost/benefit analysis, rather than just benefit

Saying they can no longer ignore the rising prices of health care, some of the most influential medical groups in the nation are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care.

The shift, little noticed outside the medical establishment but already controversial inside it, suggests that doctors are starting to redefine their roles, from being concerned exclusively about individual patients to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent.

“We understand that we doctors should be and are stewards of the larger society as well as of the patient in our examination room,” said Dr. Lowell E. Schnipper, the chairman of a task force on value in cancer care at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Can you say Death Panel? Do you really want your cancer doc to be more concerned about the benefits to society at large than about you? Do you think that well-connected “folks” will be perceived as offering more benefit to society than you? Count on it.

Think I’m exaggerating about death panels and rationing?

In practical terms, new guidelines being developed by the medical groups could result in doctors choosing one drug over another for cost reasons or even deciding that a particular treatment — at the end of life, for example — is too expensive. In the extreme, some critics have said that making treatment decisions based on cost is a form of rationing.

They don’t even need panels! Your doc is your panel. Better be nice to him. :)

Give this guy the coveted ‘Ya Think™ Award:

Some doctors see a potential conflict in trying to be both providers of patient care and financial overseers.

“There should be forces in society who should be concerned about the budget, about how many M.R.I.s we do, but they shouldn’t be functioning simultaneously as doctors,” said Dr. Martin A. Samuels, the chairman of the neurology department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He said doctors risked losing the trust of patients if they told patients, “I’m not going to do what I think is best for you because I think it’s bad for the health care budget in Massachusetts.”

You’re getting the British system, folks:

Still, it is unclear if medical societies are the best ones to make cost assessments. Doctors can have financial conflicts of interest and lack economic expertise.

They plan to rate the value of treatments based on the cost per quality-adjusted life-year, or QALY — a method used in Britain and by many health economists.

The societies say that treatments costing less than about $50,000 a QALY would be rated as high value, while those costing more than $150,000 a QALY would be low value.

“We couldn’t go on just ignoring costs,” Dr. Heidenreich said.

We voted for this, and in doing so we voted for a bunch of useless social programs that cost us a boatload – Cash for Clunkers, anyone? We have to pay for our excesses somewhere, I suppose.

- Aggie

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Surprise, Surprise!

I thought we’d have a temporary lull in stories about what a catastrophic, epic failure ObamaCare was. I mean, they got their seven million (with 0.1 to spare!), what’s left to fight about?

Then, just this morning, we learn that all this chaos and mayhem was for the benefit of 1.4 million people (actually, we learned that a week ago), and we learned that no one will be allowed into ObamaCare from now till the end of the year.

As they say of bad news, so is it true of good news: it comes in threes.

People who signed up early for insurance through the new marketplaces were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat pain, depression and H.I.V. and were less likely to need contraceptives, according to a new study that provides a much-anticipated look at the population that signed up for coverage under the new health care law.

The health of those who enrolled in new coverage is being closely watched because many observers have questioned whether the new marketplaces would attract a large share of sick people, which could lead to higher premiums and ultimately doom the new law.

The study, to be released Wednesday by the major pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts, suggests that early enrollees face more serious health problems and are older than those covered by their employers. The study also showed a higher use of specialty drugs, which are often used to treat diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis; the use of such drugs could hint at more costly medical problems.

The facts of life are conservative. Sick people were bound to sign up for ObamaCare (especially as they were thrown off their previous plans); healthy people didn’t see the point. No matter how Obama and his jackbooted thugs talked up the plan, everyone could see that that the pig was just wearing a fetching shade of Maybelline.

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If You Like Your Brewski, You Can Keep Your Brewskie

Doing to beer what they did to health insurance:

Beer brewers are objecting to a proposed federal rule that would make it harder for breweries to sell leftover grains as animal feed instead of throwing them away.

The Food and Drug Administration rule change would mean brewers would have to meet the same standards as livestock and pet-food manufacturers, imposing new sanitary handling procedures, record keeping and other food safety processes on brewers.

Beer makers complain that the new rules, if adopted, would force them to dump millions of tons of “spent grains,” which are left over after barley, wheat and other grains are steeped in hot water.

Bear Republic brewmaster Rich Norgrove says the rules would be costly and force brewers to dump the grains, instead of the more sustainable practice of feeding them to livestock.

The Northern California brewery sells its spent grain to local ranches, which use it as an affordable food source for about 300 head of cattle, according to The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

“Now the government wants to get involved,” Cheryl LaFranchi, a Knight’s Valley rancher, said. “What are they going to do with it? Put it in a landfill?”

The most blood-curdling words you’ll ever here: “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

Chris Thorne of the Beer Institute said he believes once the FDA has all of the information, it will see the benefits of the current system of recycling the old grain.

“This regulation is onerous and expensive, but really it’s just unnecessary. There has never been a single reported negative incidence with spent grain,” Thorne said in a statement.

Santa Rosa rancher Jim Cunningham gets about 10 tons of used grain from the Lagunitas Brewery every day at about $100 per ton.

With drought and other factors pushing commercial feed prices more than three times higher than the brewery grain, he says the new rules would affect his bottom line.

“It might put us out of business if we couldn’t get cheaper feed,” Cunningham said.

Change the title of this post to read: “If You Like Your Rib-Eye…”

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So… Did You Sign Up For ObamaCare?

And did your costs go up or down? Because the CEO of Cleveland Clinic says that for 75% of us, costs went UP.

No. Wait. What? Obama promised that costs would go down. To the tune of $2500 per year per family. I want my money back.

The CEO of the Cleveland Clinic says that a majority of Americans who signed up for Obamacare have seen their premiums rise.
“About three-quarters of them find that their premiums are higher than they had been previously with other insurance,” Toby Cosgrove told Fox News.
Cosgrove explained that the Affordable Care Act is having a “major effect” upon health care providers.
“We know for example that we’re going to get paid less for what we do,” Cosgrove stated. “Hospitals are going to be paid less for what they do. We also know that insurers are paying less for what we do.”
Cosgrove said providers need to “become more efficient” in how they deliver health care.

More efficient, eh? The most efficient thing to do is to deny treatment.

- Aggie

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Sweets for the Sweet

Sasha and Malia seem pretty nice. And you can’t blame the dogs, Bo and… the other one.

The rest of the inhabitants seem a pretty bitter lot:

The White House executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses, is calling it quits, in part because first lady Michelle Obama has discouraged his creativity in working with full fat, sugar, and eggs, The New York Times reported.

“I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs,” Yosses told the Times.

Old-fashioned “20 percent traditional desserts” make White House appearances only on special occasions. On Thanksgiving, “the Crustmaster,” as President Barack Obama calls him, was authorized to make different kinds of pies, and on Christmas he has created a detailed gingerbread version of the White House.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel came in 2011 for a state dinner, Yosses created his own version of phyllo strudel with a plethora of farmer’s cheese, raisins, and apple. When French President Francois Hollande came in February, Yosses was permitted to prepare chocolate pastries without fretting about fat and sugar.

Here was that glorious moment:

We’re using a paint sprayer (previously unused of course) to give a micro-thin layer of chocolate over soft and creamy ganache cake. The bittersweet chocolate comes from Hawaii, and it will be served à la mode with vanilla ice-cream from Pennsylvania.

Bet that peeved Michelle no end. No wonder he was out a month later.

Yosses, now 60, was brought on board by Laura Bush in 2007 when decadent desserts were more welcome. With the arrival of the Obamas, Yosses found himself picking more ingredients from the White House garden, including strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple sage.

Á chacun a son goût, as they say. If the Obama’s like pineapple sage better than crème brulée, why shouldn’t they have it? But you’ve seen the president when he’s allowed to go out without the little ball and chain. It’s all butter, cream, chocolate, and eggs. And you can’t keep an ice cream cone out of his hands when he’s on vacation. Any nutritionist will tell you to include a little fat in your diet. You crave it and you need it. But let Michelle terrorize the kitchen staff if it keeps her happy.

But I want to consider a different angle (Rush and I came to these thoughts independently). Yosses is gay, and is moving to New York City with his husband. You all know that’s a-ok with me.

But if a gay couple can insist that a baker may not refuse on religious grounds to make their wedding cake (offering muffins and cookies—even non-wedding cakes—in their place), why does Michelle get to hound a gay baker out of his job without being criticized?

Besides:

A new review of published evidence challenges current guidelines that suggest in order to reduce heart disease risk, people should generally restrict intake of saturated fats – like those found in butter and dairy foods – in favor of unsaturated fats – such as in margarine and sunflower oil.

The analysis, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine by an international group led by a team at the UK’s University of Cambridge, included 72 separate studies on heart risk and intake of fatty acids.

They found no evidence to support guidelines that say people should restrict saturated fat consumption to lower their risk of developing heart disease.

God spare us from these liberal do-gooders. They’ll be the death of us. Certainly the death of our jobs.

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First Reported ObamaCare Death


This is probably not the first death, but it is the first death that I have heard about.

- Aggie

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Good News, Bad News

Cases of cancer are set to soar worldwide.

And now the bad news:

Cancer cases are expected to surge 57% worldwide in the next 20 years, an imminent “human disaster” that will require a renewed focus on prevention to combat, according to the World Health Organization.

The World Cancer Report, produced by the WHO’s specialized cancer agency, predicts new cancer cases will rise from an estimated 14 million in 2012 to 22 million annually within two decades. Over the same period, cancer deaths are tipped to rise from 8.2 million a year to 13 million annually.

The rising incidence of cancer, brought about by growing, aging populations worldwide, will require a heavier focus on preventive public health policies, said Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Wait… couldn’t the headline instead be: “Mortality Rates Set to Plummet”? I mean no offense to any of you who have lost an elderly loved one to cancer. I have. But the good news is that people worldwide are living long enough for cancer to catch up to them.

To be fully honest with you, my suspicions were aroused by the WHO acronym itself. All international organizations are infected by leftist (often antisemitic) microbes. It’s only one step from this bogus story to “Humanity Set to Perish From ‘Natural Causes’: ‘Imminent Human Disaster’ Unavoidable, WHO Says.”

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More Exciting News From Israel

They may have developed an insulin pill

Some background: There are two types of diabetes, types 1 and 2. Type 1 usually strikes in childhood and is thought to be an auto-immune disease, meaning that the body kills its own insulin producing cells. Type 2 is usually (but not always) associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Type 1s take insulin immediately and without it they couldn’t survive, but type 2s can go for years with various other approaches. Eventually they end up on insulin too.

Insulin is injectable. It cannot pass through the gut in a pill form. This means that the parents of millions of little kids around the world stick their little fingers several times a day to get a blood glucose reading and then give a shot. Parents and kids hate this, as you can imagine. So various companies have been trying since … oh since the 1920s when insulin was first isolated and used to save lives … to come up with a pill. In the case of type 2s, it would be a supplemental treatment, something they would start earlier in the course of the disease. In the case of type 1, it would either replace insulin, or more likely replace some or most of the injections. The finger sticks don’t go away in any case.

Here’s the news from Israel today:

Oramed Pharmaceuticals, the Israeli drugmaker seeking to develop the first oral pill for diabetes, said a trial on type 2 diabetes patients showed that the medicine has promising therapeutic potential.

The one-week study of 30 patients also met safety goals, the Jerusalem-based company said in a statement today. Oramed plans to follow the mid-stage trial with another study later this year.

“The results we announced today give us confidence about the chances of success in a bigger trial going forward,” Chief Executive Officer Nadav Kidron said at a press conference today at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. “We are also excited about the potential of this drug for type 1 diabetes.”

The results bring Oramed, whose stock has more than tripled in the past year, a step closer to doing something no company has ever done: develop oral insulin. The technology has eluded scientists for decades and Novo Nordisk A/S, a Danish developer of diabetes products valued at about $104 billion, has yet to develop a pill to replace daily shots.

While Oramed is years away from a potential approval, it’s taking advantage of the growing attention to raise money. The company raised $16 million on Dec. 25, five days after it said it had successful results in an early-stage type 1 diabetes study. On Jan. 24, the company filed to raise as much as $100 million.

This site is not about stocks or anything like that, and this is not a suggestion to run out and buy stock. It is just a big Attaboy! to the scientists at this company. Here’s hoping that this thing really works.

- Aggie

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What Will ObamaCare Do To The Disabled?


Absolutely horrible. What have we done to ourselves?

- Aggie

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What Life Is Like In The ObamaCare World

Better have lots of time to spend on the telephone, on hold.

Jeanne Patterson really needs to see a doctor but had to cancel her appointment last week.
Why? Because her new Obamacare benefits were not in order, forcing her to spend hours and hours on hold with her insurer, Independence Blue Cross.

Many folks who signed up for coverage through the state and federal exchanges are running into roadblocks now that they are trying to use their new benefits. And though exchange officials and insurers have urged consumers to call their insurers if they encounter problems, many say they either wait endlessly on hold or get the runaround.

But that’s just anecdotal. Several more anecdotes at the link.

- Aggie

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Obamacare, the Newest Dog Whistle

Never mind that he uses the term, that Michelle uses the term, that pretty much all Americans, left, right, and center use the term.

Now that the whole steaming pile of donkey [bleep] has turned out to be a… whole steaming pile of donkey [bleep], applying his name to the whole steaming… you know… is, like, racist:

I want to talk today about a controversial word. It’s a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it’s indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term, meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man. To render him inferior and unequal and to diminish his accomplishments.

President Obama has been labelled with this word by his opponents. And at first he rose above it, hoping that if he could just make a cause for what he achieved, his opponents would fail in making their label stick. But no matter how many successes that he had as president, he realized there were still many people for whom he’d never be anything more than that one disparaging word. A belief he knew was held not just by his political opponents, but also by a significant portion of the American electorate.

And so he decided, if you can’t beat them, you’ve got to join them. And he embraced the word and made it his own, sending his opposition a message they weren’t expecting — ‘if that’s what you want me to be, I’ll be that.’ Y’all know the word that I’m talking about. Obamacare. That’s right! I said it and I’m not ashamed and neither is President Obama. Because he knows that of all his victories over two terms in office his legacy is ultimately going to be remembered for this one single word.

And I thought the word was doofus. That’s the word Aggie used that got our one liberal commenter, Richard, Robert, whatever, to quit in a huff. I still think doofus is a better word to describe his “legacy”.

But didn’t we also call Romneycare Romneycare? And Hillarycare Hillarycare? And weren’t the Bush tax cuts the Bush tax cuts? Let me apologize to all black people offended by my past use of Romneycare. I didn’t mean to render you inferior and unequal and to diminish your accomplishments. I don’t recall using Hillarycare, but if I did, I’m really sorry if I put myself above and apart from you.

Such nonsense could only come from the ridiculous and self-humiliating (and kinda hot) Melissa Harris Perry of something called MSNBC.

But then, I’m always a sucker for a woman with fashion sense:

This was the same woman who said kids belong to the state, not their parents, and the state has an overriding interest and say in how they’re raised. Maybe she can start with Sasha and Malia. Those poor sweet girls don’t deserve the family they’ve been born into.

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