Breast Implants: Recovery & Discovery
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A new study was just published: Breast Implant Surveillance Reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Maternal-Child Health Problems
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Human Adjuvant Disease, Corp. Newsletter
Judges: Woman entitled to one new breast implant, not two
WAVY-TV - Portsmouth,VA,USA
Associated Press - February 5, 2008 11:05 AM ET
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Appellate judges have ruled that a woman who said her breast implants were damaged after a car accident can be compensated for the replacement of 1 implant, but not the other.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday in a workers' compensation claim filed by Penny M. Rumple Richardson.
Richardson said an on-the-job car accident in 2001 caused rippling and a decrease in size of her implants.
Greensboro plastic surgeon Dr. David Bowers testified that Richardson's right implant had ruptured and the left implant showed signs of rippling. So he replaced both implants.
Bowers later testified that the left implant most likely had rippling because it was under-filled, so judges did not award Richardson compensation for that implant. .
I spent years fitting bras for breast cancer patients. When I fell victim I knew I'd never have an implant
Daily Mail - UK
By ANGELA BROOKS
Last updated at 12:17pm on 5th February 2008
What June Kenton doesn't know about bosoms probably isn't worth knowing. The entrepreneur's upmarket shop, Rigby & Peller, has custom-made the Queen's bras for 50 years, and June has campaigned tirelessly for almost as long to increase breast cancer awareness.
She once joined forces with Rosalind Runcie, wife of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, to prevent the threatened closure of the Royal Marsden Hospital's breast diagnostic unit, and in 1997, in support of Breast Cancer Care, she hung breast awareness labels on a million of her bras.
Yet June, now 72, says it was only thanks to the thoroughness of her doctor that her own breast cancer was discovered just over two months ago. In fact, he insisted that she undergo further testing despite a 'clear' mammogram. If he hadn't done so, the cancer wouldn't have been found so soon.
June started having an annual breast check in the early 1970s after having two consecutive breast cancer scares - first in 1972, then another two years later — with what turned out to be benign lumps.
For the past 15 years, Murid Chaudary, the breast surgeon she has consulted privately at her local hospital, would shake her hand at the end of the appointment, telling her he'd see her next year.
But her appointment last November was different. He could feel something hard on her left breast. "It wasn't a lump but the skin there did feel slightly hard," says June.
"It was tiny, but I thought: 'Oh, my God!'" She was sent for a mammogram. To her relief, it showed nothing suspicious and she assumed that was the end of it.
But Mr Chaudary wasn't satisfied and sent her for a breast ultrasound. His doubts were well-founded. On the results, he pointed out to her what looked like grains of sugar embedded in the breast.
These chalky deposits, made by breast cells, are known as micro-calcification and can be an early sign of cancerous changes in the breast.
He used a fine needle to draw off cells from these deposits to test for the presence of cancer. Those closer to the surface showed signs of pre-cancer, while the rest, buried deeper in the tissue, had to be sent to the pathology lab for testing.
"That five-day wait was agony," she says, "but I prepared myself for the worst."
June's husband Harold, who has been in the lingerie business with her since they were engaged in 1961, was by her side when she went for her results. Mr Chaudary gave her the bad news that they had found cancer in the breast and she would have to have a mastectomy.
"I just went cold," recalls June.
"I've always been so aware of mastectomy because of the business and campaigns I've been involved in, and I immediately said: 'Well, if I do have to have a mastectomy, then I want to have breast reconstruction from my own tissue.'"
But first she had to go into the hospital to have the lymph nodes under her arm sampled.
Examining these for any sign of cancer shows if the disease has spread. Thankfully, June's lymph nodes were cancer-free. Most importantly, the disease was still contained within the breast, which meant she could have reconstruction carried out at the time of the mastectomy as she had hoped.
When radiotherapy is necessary, breast reconstruction is invariably delayed to allow tissues to recover from the scarring and hardening that can occur.
Lumpectomy, a less radical procedure that would mean removing only the affected area, wasn't even on the cards 'because it wasn't a lump as such', says June.
Within days, another appointment was set up for her to meet Mr Jag Chana, a plastic surgeon who would take over from Mr Chaudary once the two-hour mastectomy had been done. One further piece of good news was that because the cancer cells were far enough away from the surface of the skin, a skin-sparing mastectomy - where all the breast tissue is removed by a simple incision around the nipple - was possible.
"Mr Chana gave me all the options. He said I could have a reconstruction with silicone and showed me the implant. He said they were far better than they used to be and also explained that this would be a relatively short operation."
But she knew from hearing customers' experiences when fitting bras that she would rather not have silicone put into her body.
"Implants can be wonderful if you have both sides done, but a lot of the time they aren't so wonderful," she says.
"We see instances where the implants have shrivelled up or moved and sometimes the two breasts don't match. Also, when you fit a woman's bra and ask her to bend forward while you do it up, the (silicone) breast doesn't fall into the cup properly because it's become solid. This means another operation is required to have it removed and a new one put in."
Instead, Mr Chana proposed a deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap reconstruction, where tissue is taken from other parts of the patient's body and sculpted into a new breast — one of the most challenging reconstruction techniques.
The surgeon has to painstakingly tease out adequate lengths of both an artery and a vein, so that the graft can be joined to vessels in the chest. It is held to be the gold standard in breast reconstruction surgery, as it provides the patient with a soft, natural-looking breast which will age with her and move as a natural breast does.
The procedure involves filleting out skin and fat with its own blood supply from the bikini line - giving patients the bonus of a tummy tuck as well - then reconnecting these vessels to those in the chest. The redistributed tissue is then fashioned into a new breast - and as June was having a skin-sparing mastectomy, this would all be done through the opening around the nipple.
Mr Chana explained that he would remove a tiny piece of rib cartilage during the procedure and 'bank' it under the skin just below where he'd taken the tissue. This would be retrieved to reconstruct the new nipple a few months later - to give the best cosmetic result.
June, who has two grown-up children - Jill, 35, and David, 42 - was slotted in for the nine-hour operation on December 13, at Bishops Wood Hospital in Northwood, Middlesex.
"I woke up in my room with equipment drawing off fluid from my breast and tummy, plus a catheter. I was given one-to-one nursing care for 72 hours."
Five weeks after her operation, June felt great, even though her breast was hard because it was still swollen.
"It's had a bashing and the tissue was transplanted from somewhere else, so obviously it was in a sulk," she jokes.
The stitching is neat, but she won't be able properly to see the result until the swelling has gone down. She's back wearing a soft bra and is determinedly upbeat: "What's happened to me is nothing once you've seen women with radiotherapy burns and lymphoedema swelling in their arms."
She has also seen the misery that a badly sized external prosthesis can cause for those women who have not had a breast reconstruction.
"At the department that dishes out prosthetic limbs and other body parts, they ask the woman what size bra she wears and, based on this, they are given a silicone prosthesis," explains June.
"But 85 per cent of women have no idea what their proper size is, so because she's probably not wearing the right size bra and so has given them the wrong size, the prosthesis worms its way out at the top when she moves about. I cannot tell you how much this robs you of your confidence.
"A lot of these women can't even look at themselves in the mirror - they wonder how their husbands will be able to love them without breasts. They come into the shop after breast surgery and they've held it all together for so long that they just break down once they get the sensitivity and care they need in getting this sorted out."
Last week, June was told she won't need further treatment, but has been put on Arimedex, an anti-oestrogen drug which she will continue taking for five years as a precautionary measure.
Throughout all this, Harold has been her rock. "I've never seen him shed a tear, and from the word go, I'd just have to blink and he'd say to me: 'What do we need to do?'"
As she shows me to the door, Harold appears and they wrap their arms around each other. "I feel marvellous," she says. "I believe in a fighting spirit. It's no good going into a decline. This hasn't changed my outlook.
"I feel I've been blessed with fantastic surgeons and luck. I thank God for dealing me this small problem which could have been a huge one.
"I didn't discover this myself - but I do appreciate the importance of having regular checks. If my surgeon had not questioned that mammogram result, I'd have gone home none the wiser, with the cancer still there."
Police: Woman Did Unlicensed Cosmetic Surgery At Home
Tampa Tribune - Tampa, FL, USA
By Josh Poltilove of The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 4, 2008
TAMPA - A Tampa woman conducted cosmetic surgery in her home without a license, police say.
Sandra Barreto-Lima, 47, was arrested Friday afternoon at 2909 W. Wilder Ave.
Tampa police opened an investigation about a month ago in response to a physician's complaint that Barreto-Lima was conducting plastic surgery at her home, a police report states.
The investigation showed she was operating an unlicensed hair salon from her home's enclosed garage and cosmetic surgery at the home, according to the report. Police executing a search warrant found controlled drugs and seized before-and-after photos of patients.
Purses and sunglasses thought to be counterfeit also were seized after being spotted in a display case at the salon, police say. There also were 50 grams of marijuana packaged for distribution, along with $1,034 cash.
Barreto-Lima was charged with practicing medicine without a license.
Alberto M. Lima, 64, also was arrested at the home Friday afternoon. He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Their attorney could not be immediately reached today.
Additional charges pertaining to controlled substances are pending completion of laboratory tests, the report states.
Barreto-Lima's bail was set at $2,000, and Lima's bail was set at $9,500. They both have been released.
Increasing numbers of Spanish minors seek plastic surgery
Earthtimes - London,UK
Posted : Mon, 04 Feb 2008 12:40:05GMTAuthor : DPA
Madrid - Increasing numbers of Spanish adolescents are having cosmetic surgery despite the dangers of such operations when a person is not yet fully grown up, the daily El Pais reported Monday.
About 400,000 Spaniards undergo operations of plastic surgery annually, the third largest number in the world after the United States and Brazil, according to the daily. The number of interventions has gone up 20 per cent since 1990. About 10 per cent of people soliciting plastic surgery operations are estimated to be younger than 18 years old. Many surgeons try to avoid operating on minors when the reason is cosmetic rather than medical, and it is not known how many teenagers actually go under the knife. It is, however, clear that the demand for cosmetic operations is increasing among minors, especially girls. The majority of them request breast augmentation, liposuction or bigger lips. "It is frequent for young girls to come with photos of celebrities and to explain that they want lips like actress Angelina Jolie," said Pilar Rodrigo of the aesthetic medicine association SEME.
Experts warn against unnecessary surgery on people whose bodies are not yet fully developed, and who may take immature decisions they regret later on. The Spanish legislation does not put clear limits on cosmetic operations on minors, who need the consent of their parents at least up to the age of 16 years. Some regions are seeking a tighter control over such operations, such as southern Andalusia, which will submit young cosmetic surgery candidates to a psychological test, El Pais reported.
UPDATE 1-Mentor fourth-quarter net income falls 12 pct
Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:04pm EST
Reuters - USA
LOS ANGELES, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Mentor Corp (MNT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Thursday that its fourth-quarter net income fell 12 percent due to restructuring costs.
Mentor, which makes breast implants, said its fiscal third-quarter net earnings fell to $11.9 million from $13.6 million. However, earnings per share rose to 32 cents per share from 29 cents per share, in the year ago period, as diluted shares outstanding decreased 19 percent in the most recent quarter.
Excluding severance and acquisition-related charges, the company said it earned 37 cents a share in the quarter. Wall Street had expected a profit of 31 cents per share after excluding one-time items, according to Reuters Estimates.
The Santa Barbara, California-based company said net sales for the quarter rose 23 percent to $92.9 million, primarily due to conversion from saline breast implants to the company's silicone implants, which won U.S. approval in November 2006.
STEM CELL RELATED ARTICLES
A survivor's story
Frederick News Post - Frederick, MD, USA
Local Inflammatory Breast Cancer survivor informs while spreading hope
Originally published January 29, 2008
By Jennifer Mellace Special to the News-Post
“My family gathered on a Saturday so we could mourn,” says Bonnie Volovar, a Frederick county resident and survivor of Inflammatory Breast Cancer. “It was like being handed a death sentence.”
Today, almost five years later, Volovar and her family realize she is one of the lucky ones. And now, she wants to share her story with as many people as she possible can. What is IBC? A rare but very aggressive form of breast cancer, IBC only accounts for one to five percent of all breast cancer cases in the United States. Unfortunately, the survival rate for these cases is extremely poor and the chances of recurrence extremely high. While most cases seem to affect younger women — the median age at time of diagnosis is 52 versus age 62 at time of breast cancer diagnosis — IBC does not discriminate against older women or men. With IBC, the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast causing inflammation, hence the name Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Symptoms may include redness, swelling and warmth in the breast, often without a distinct lump. The skin of the breast may also appear pink, reddish purple or bruised and may have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange — (called peau d’orange) — which is caused by a buildup of fluid and edema (swelling) in the breast. Other symptoms include heaviness, burning, aching, increase in breast size, tenderness or an inverted nipple. Symptoms usually develop quickly — over a period of months, or even just weeks.
One of the biggest problems IBC patients face is the misdiagnosis of their disease. A surprising number of young women with IBC actually experienced their first symptoms during pregnancy or lactation, when their breasts are normally swollen and uncomfortable. Often cases such as these are treated as mastitis, while others are diagnosed as skin irritations or even bug bites for which patients are sent home with antibiotics. Alas, by the time IBC is detected, it has more than likely spread to other areas of the body (metastasized). As a result, the five-year survival rate for IBC patients is only between 25 and 50 percent, significantly lower than the survival rate for non-IBC patients. And, although three-year survival from IBC has improved with the use of combined treatments from 32 percent in 1975-1979 to 42 percent in 1988-1992, women with IBC still have far worse survival rates than those with other types of breast cancer. Furthermore, in an analysis of the trends and patterns in IBC incidence and survival using data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiologic and End Results (SEER) Program, a doubling of IBC incidence in the United States was reported over the past 15 years.
“We have seen the possibility of a slow rising trend,” says Dr. Claude Sportés, investigator for the IBC study at the National Institutes of Health. “But, in our studies, we have seen survival rates increase with the use of bone marrow transplant and high doses of chemotherapy. In fact, with the transplant protocol, we have done remarkably well.”
Dr. Sportés points out that standard treatment — like that used in most breast cancer cases — does not work with IBC. He stresses that those diagnosed with IBC need to seek research treatment which has shown survival rates increase from 25-30 percent to 60-65 percent.
“With standard treatment, most IBC patients will have a recurrence within 12 to 18 months,” says Sportés. “With research treatment, if you go five years, you know you’re good.” A survivor’s tale Volovar, who was treated at NIH, is thankful for her new lease on life. Her road to diagnosis started in late 2002. Volovar was like many others — an IBC case that was not readily diagnosed. In fact, after two inconclusive mammograms and ultrasounds, she was diagnosed with mastitis and sent home with antibiotics.
“In 2002 I went to my family doctor because I had a hard spot on my left breast,” remembers Volovar. “They sent me to a breast surgeon, but nothing was found. Later in 2003 my breast was swelling and looked bruised and pitted. I went back for an ultrasound and again, nothing was found. From there they had me on two different antibiotics for mastitis.”
Fortunately, Volovar knew something wasn’t right and went for a second opinion. This time she saw Frederick’s Dr. Edward Solano, who knew straight away what they were dealing with.
It’s important to point out that Volovar had been undergoing hormone or estrogen replacement therapy for the past 14 years — a process that is believed to feed the cancer in IBC cases. The day Dr. Solano saw Volovar he told her to stop taking the hormones immediately and sent her for a biopsy that same day. Two days later, Volovar had her diagnosis. At the time of her diagnosis, Volovar’s husband was working construction on a clinical center at NIH. After asking some questions, he was told they had a protocol — or experimental treatment for IBC. Together, Volovar and her husband went to hear what the program was about.
“The protocol was a tough program,” she says. “But I thought about it and I realized that at 56 years old, I hadn’t made my mark yet. This would be my gift to mankind. After discussing it with my family, I decided to go for it.” Volovar immediately began an intense program to fight the IBC. The first two months she underwent treatment consisting of chemotherapy. The second step was the surgery to take her own stem cells, which were then stored away for use further on in her treatment. The third step saw Volovar through three more courses of chemotherapy, which was administered over three-day periods. “It was some tough stuff upfront, but this was my opportunity to live longer,” says Volovar. On Oct. 10, 2003 — after five months of upfront treatment — Volovar had her mastectomy; and after one month of recuperation, she was back for three more months of chemotherapy administered in Frederick.
But it was in February 2004 that Volovar feels she was truly given her new lease on life. “I went into complete isolation at NIH and was given high powered chemicals to destroy my immune system,” recalls Volovar. “Three or four days later they performed a stem cell transplant using my own stem cells.”
After two and a half weeks in NIH and a month off, Volovar went through her last phase of treatment — six weeks of radiation in Frederick. It took Volovar two years to recover completely.
“I recovered in degrees,” she says. “I didn’t realize how physically low I was until it was over and I looked back.” Four years later, Volovar suffers from some side effects, namely weak bones. But she feels like her old self again. “I just can’t sit still,” she says with a smile. “Now, my only problem is that there are so many people who were so good to me, I want to be sure I give back to all of them. ‘I owe’ is my philosophy.”
Today, Volovar is giving back. A fighter and victor over this deadly disease, she now speaks out as often as she can.
“Once this disease gets a grip, it’s hard to fight,” she says. “I want to make people aware of the symptoms, so that women can be diagnosed and treated in the early stages.”
Volovar also wants to be there to support women going through IBC. “Having a support system is half the battle. The love and encouragement from my family and friends is what helped me. When I was first diagnosed, my girlfriend said, ‘You may not know this now, but this will be one of the blessed times of your life.’ She was right. I have a new appreciation for the small things and my husband and I are more cognizant about enjoying life.”
The future of IBC Historically, survival statistics have been grim for women diagnosed with IBC, but there is hope. New approaches in treatment offer greater odds for survival than ever before. And while this is good news, Dr. Sportés does point to the controversy behind the transplant protocol.
“Unfortunately, many studies were started without much scientific information and then abandoned without researching the results further,” he says. “It was found that transplant didn’t work on other forms of breast cancer, yet with IBC, it does work. So there is hope.”
Volovar urges IBC victims to be hopeful. “While the transplant is not covered by insurance, there are experimental programs like NIH that can help,” she says. “The women who have undergone the stem cell transplant, most of them are doing well. It’s been 11 years for one woman.”
Macrolane will revolutionise breast enhancement
Cosmetic Surgery News
1st February 2008
The makers of Restylane, Q-Med, are set to release Macrolane to UK consumers later this year.The filler, based on hylauronic acid, like Restylane will evidently be targeted at women wanting breast enhancement without having implant surgery. The filler is injected into the breast via a catheter, and extensive clinical trials have been underway in Japan since last year.The lead surgeon in UK tests will be Dr Chris Inglefield, who will give fellow surgeons an overview of the procedure at this week's Aesthetic Medicine conference in London.
The treatment though, does have its sceptics. Among them is a US surgeon, Dr Greg Buford from Denver. "Although its main focus has been treatment of soft tissue contouring irregularities following liposuction, some injectors have advocated its use as an alternative to implant breast augmentation." he says, "Although I have an extensive background in the use of various HA fillers and feel them to be an excellent way in which to address volume loss, I do not see them as a cost-effective or long-term solution to breast implants. It would simply require too much volume to achieve desired results and the longevity of the product may require yearly touch-ups or more.
An announcement is expected from Q Med shortly.
MERCURY RELATED BILL
Proposed Senate bills take aim at threats to children's health
The Columbian - Vancouver,WA,USA
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
BY KATHIE DURBIN, Columbian staff writer
OLYMPIA - Lead. Mercury. Secondhand cigarette smoke.
Threats to children's health are pervasive in the environment, a Senate committee was told Monday as it heard testimony on a range of bills to reduce the risks:
Senate Bill 6287 would make it an infraction to smoke tobacco in a vehicle if children 13 or younger are present.
Senate Bill 6300 would ban more than trace elements of mercury in flu vaccines administered to children and adults.
Senate Bill 5981 would increase lead screening of children and boost efforts to prevent lead poisoning.
For good measure, the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee also heard Senate Bill 6421, sponsored by former smoker Sen. Craig Pridemore. It would pay for people enrolled in Medicaid to buy patches and other smoking cessation drugs.
By far the most controversial of the bills would ban flu vaccines containing more than 0.1 microgram of mercury. Those administering flu vaccines would be required to inform the patient of the risks associated with mercury exposure.
Under current state law, pregnant women and children younger than 3 cannot be vaccinated with a vaccine that contains more than 0.5 micrograms of mercury per 0.5 milliliter dose.
Sen. Eric Oemig, D-Seattle, who has two young children, said he introduced the bill because of his conviction that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, is associated with the sharp increase in the incidence of childhood autism that began in the 1990s.
Oemig cited statistics intended to refute studies that show no conclusive link between thimerosal and autism.
He was backed by Andy Cutler, a Princeton University-educated chemist and chemical engineer, who noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked manufacturers of childhood vaccines to voluntarily eliminate thimerosal from those vaccines in order to restore trust in the childhood immunization program. The preservative was eliminated from most childhood vaccines by 2000.
Cutler, now a Seattle-based consultant, is the author of a book describing how he got mercury poisoning from his amalgam dental filings.
"I am here as an expert chemist to show why thimerosal caused the autism epidemic," he said. "The only question is, Is the amount of mercury in flu vaccines significant?"
But Dr. Maxine Hayes, chairwoman of the state Vaccine Advisory Board and a Department of Health official, said passage of the bill "would pose a tremendous threat" by increasing the risk of flu outbreaks for very little benefit.
"The problem that the bill is trying to solve is not substantiated by science," she said.
Jim Alumbaugh of Seattle described how his 8-year-old daughter, Maria, died last Valentine's Day from heart failure triggered by influenza.
He warned that passage of the bill would make flu vaccine less accessible to children and could lead to more fatal complications.
Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, the committee's chairwoman, continued the hearing until Wednesday after cutting off testimony by several speakers because the panel was out of time.
On other bills:
Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, said he introduced his bill to make smoking while in a car with children a civil infraction because children are highly vulnerable to secondhand smoke. He noted that 26 percent of adults smoke and 51 percent of children younger than 5 live in homes with at least one smoker.
Because foster parents are not allowed to expose their foster children to secondhand smoke, "I just assumed we had laws" to protect all children, he said. "Even if you don't agree we need to help children, we will absorb the public health cost of many more kids developing emphysema."
Rich Jensen, representing the Washington State Troopers' Association, said state troopers are not allowed to smoke in patrol cars when others are present. He said the language in the bill, which would allow police to cite a smoker only if the driver is stopped for some other violation, would allow troopers to educate people about the danger to children from being in a small enclosed space filled with cigarette smoke.
No one spoke against the bill.
Oemig also co-sponsored a bill that would require the state to do more to inform parents of the dangers of lead exposure and require screening for children younger than 6 in certain "target populations." He said he recently had his own house screened for lead levels after many children's toys were recalled because they contained high lead levels.
To his horror, he said, he learned that the family's crockery cooker and "everyday plates" contained high lead levels, and that his infant daughter's lead levels were elevated "just from sucking on toys."
Steven Gilbert, director of the Institute for Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders at the University of Washington, said the state should lower action levels for the presence of lead in children five-fold. The first priority, he said, is to remove the sources of exposure.
He noted that 500,000 houses in Washington were built before 1950 and are likely to contain lead-based paint.
Pridemore introduced his smoking cessation bill by citing three numbers: 25 (years he smoked); 2.5 (packs a day) and 540 (days since his last cigarette).
On Aug. 5, 2006, he said, "I literally decided I was not going to go out and buy a pack of cigarettes. I slipped on a patch." But currently, he said, state law does not provide those same products to people covered by Medicaid.
"Thirty-nine percent of people on Medicaid are smokers," said Nick Federici, representing the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. "If you do one thing all year to promote stopping smoking, this is it."
GULF WAR RELATED CONTENT
U.S. soldiers continue to commit suicides bidding farewell to their patriotism
Pravda - Moscow,Russia
The number of suicides committed in the U.S. Army continues to grow. As many as 121 servicemen committed suicide in 2007, which marked the increase of more than 20 percent as opposed to 2006. Suicides continue to overshadow the army service in the United States despite numerous efforts taken during the recent years to improve the mental state of American servicemen.
Many of them make a decision to bid farewell to this world because of the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Eighty-nine suicides were confirmed in 2007, whereas 32 deaths were suspected suicides still under investigation, documents from the Army’s psychiatry consultant said.
More than a quarter of those U.S. soldiers committing suicide decided to end their lives being no longer able to stand the war in Iraq. The report also indicates an increase in the number of attempted suicides and self-inflicted injuries – about 2,100 in 2007 compared to less than 1,500 in the previous year.
The total of 121 suicides last year, if all are confirmed, would be double the 52 reported in 2001, before the Sept. 11 attacks prompted the Bush administration to launch its counter-terror war. Officials said the rate of suicides per 100,000 active duty soldiers has not yet been calculated for 2007. But in a half million-person active duty Army, the 2006 toll of 101 translated to a rate of 17.5 per 100,000, the highest since the Army started counting in 1980, officials said. The rate has fluctuated over those years, with the low being 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001, the AP reports.
Most likely, soldiers commit suicide over their inability to cope with symptoms of the so-called Gulf War Syndrome. It is an illness reported by combat veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War typified by symptoms including immune system disorders and birth defects. It is not clear whether these symptoms were the consequence of Gulf War service, or if the occurrence of illnesses in Gulf War veterans is higher than comparable populations.
Symptoms attributed to this syndrome have been wide-ranging, including chronic fatigue, loss of muscle control, headaches, dizziness and loss of balance, memory problems, muscle and joint pain, indigestion, skin problems, shortness of breath, and even insulin resistance. Brain cancer deaths, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and fibromyalgia are now recognized by the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments as potentially connected to service during the Gulf War.
Since the end of the Gulf War, the United States Veteran Administration and the British Ministry of Defense have conducted numerous studies on Gulf War Veterans. The latest studies have determined that while the physical health of deployed veterans is similar to that of non-deployed veterans, there is an increase in 4 out of the 12 medical conditions reportedly associated with Gulf War syndrome (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, eczema, and dyspepsia.) They have also concluded that while mortality was significantly higher in deployed veterans, most of the increase was due to automobile accidents rather than disease. This excess mortality was consistent with patterns of postwar mortality among veterans of previous wars, and was nonexistent after seven years.
Many U.S. veterans of the 2003 Iraq War have reported a range of serious health issues, including tumors, daily blood in urine and stool, sexual dysfunction, migraines, frequent muscle spasms, and other symptoms similar to the debilitating symptoms of "Gulf War Syndrome" reported by many veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, which some believe is related to the continued United States' use of radioactive depleted uranium.
MoD payout’s cynical
Feb 3 2008
by Michael Kelly, Sunday Sun
NICE of the Ministry of Defence to agree compensation to the Porton Down veterans for tests undertaken during the Cold War.The MoD says the £3 million pay-out announced last week doesn’t mean they accept that dousing vets with deadly nerve gases such as sarin could have in any way affected their health.
They’re just being nice.The cash fight began in earnest after a 2004 inquest into the death of RAF mechanic Ronald Maddison, who died at Porton Down 50 years earlier. Mr Maddison, of Consett, County Durham, volunteered as a guinea pig after being told he was testing a cold remedy.It was, in fact, sarin. The coroner concluded he had been unlawfully killed.
Cynics might think the Government has cut a deal because there are so few of the guinea pigs left now. It’s a tactic the Gulf War veterans are painfully aware of as, despite masses of medical evidence, the Government continues to deny there is such a thing as Gulf War syndrome.
If the Government is so convinced the Porton Down experiment didn’t kill the soldiers, why don’t they put forward Defence Minister Derek Twigg — who announced the compensation package like he was doing everyone a big favour — as a guinea pig in an updated version of the test? I’d even put myself forward to administer the sarin to him . . . and I’d accept full responsibility.
AGENT ORANGE ARTICLES
Getting the word out
Meridian Star - Meridian,MS,USA
Published: February 02, 2008 01:19 am
By Bobbye C. Jerone / guest columnist
Yesterday I assisted a Vietnam veteran in filing a claim for an increase in his percent of service connected disability for a medical issue he has had since he was on active duty; and which has become much worse.
As we talked he mentioned that he had had prostate cancer several years ago and still had some residual problems. He was shocked to find out that prostate cancer is one of the 11 diseases which are "presumed to be service connected" if a person served in Vietnam — or has been exposed to certain herbicides, most notably one called "Agent Orange." We filed a claim for the residuals of the cancer and medical problems, which are secondary to the cancer. The sad thing is that this Veteran, who has already suffered so much for our country, had no idea that he could be compensated for these medical problems. Last week I met a lady who lost her husband to cancer as a result of his exposure to herbicides in Vietnam. He was ill for over a year, and died in November of 2007. He never knew that he was eligible to file a claim for compensation for this 'presumed service connected' medical problem. The VA compensation would have been a godsend to this family when the man became too ill to work.
We are currently helping several young veterans who have been injured, or are ill, from their service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Most of the time they have no idea what the 'presumed to be service connected' disorders are that pertain to them. And no one seems to be standing in line to get the word out to them.
There are four lists of 'presumed to be service connected' medical conditions which are published by the VA. They are also listed in a VA Benefits Handbook, which is published every year by the government. The VA medical Centers, Regional Office, and Outpatient Centers have made these books available for no fee in the past. Unfortunately these Handbooks are scarce in printed form since the VA made the information available on the internet.
The four lists are, Former POW's, Vietnam Veterans (and those exposed to Herbicides, i.e., Agent Orange); Atomic Veterans (Exposed to ionizing radiation) and Gulf War veterans. Because of the space constraints of this column, we are unable to print them all here. If you, or someone you know, is a former POW, or has been exposed to Ionizing Radiation please consult the appropriate list for disorders which may affect you.
Following are the two lists which affect the largest number of veterans in our area:
Vietnam Veterans (or any veteran who can prove exposure to herbicides-most notably Agent Orange)
Soft tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma); Hodgkin's disease; multiple myeloma; respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea); non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; prostate cancer, Type II Diabetes; Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Chloracne or Porphyria Cutanea Tarda and Peripheral neuropathy (other than as secondary to diabetes).(with the last two disorders to be diagnosed within one year of exposure.)
Gulf War veterans: (Anyone who served in the first Gulf War and or the current War on Terrorism)
Medical unexplained or undiagnosed*, chronic multi-system illnesses defined by a cluster of signs or symptoms that have existed for six months or more, such as; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome; any diagnosed or undiagnosed illness that the secretary of VA determines warrants a presumption of service connection; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
* Symptoms of an 'undiagnosed illness' include: Fatigue, skin symptoms, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological and respiratory symptoms; sleep disturbances, GI symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, unexplained weight loss and menstrual disorders.
If you or anyone you know, has been diagnosed with any of the above disorders you should get your medical records together and file a claim for compensation immediately!
Submitted by Bobbye C. Jerone, Independent Veterans Advocate and president, American Legion Auxiliary No. 257 in Meridian. She can be reached at Bvj11012bellsouth.net or (601) 679-5055
US, Vietnam discuss Agent Orange remediation
Last Updated: Saturday, February 2, 2008
18:01:38 Vietnam (GMT+07)Thanh Nien Daily
Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam
The US Ambassador met Friday with members of the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin to discuss remediation for damages caused by the American military’s use of the deadly chemical in Vietnam.
Ambassador Michael Michalak briefed the group on US plans to use US$3 million on “environmental remediation and health activities” in Vietnam, according to a statement released by the American Embassy in Hanoi Friday.
He told members of the Dialogue Group that final steps were being taken to determine exactly how the funds would be spent.
Last September, the Ford Foundation – the charity organization that funds the Dialogue Group – pledged US$7.5 million for a Vietnamese program to rehabilitate Agent Orange victims in 2008 and 2009.
The US and its allies dropped over 11 million gallons of Agent Orange on Vietnam between 1961 and 1971 to deprive their enemies of forest cover and food, according to a BBC report.
Over 10 percent of the country was hit with the herbicide/defoliant.
Fourteen percent of the area targeted was farmland, said the BBC.
Dioxin released by Agent Orange has since been linked to a wide range of health problems, from birth defects to cancer.
Over four million Vietnamese today still suffer from Agent Orange-linked afflictions.US veterans, as well as veterans from South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, have all received compensation for damages caused by Agent Orange.
No Vietnamese has ever received compensation.
Reported by Thu Thuy
US-Vietnam project starts Agent Orange remediation
Feb 1, 2008
HANOI (AFP) — A US-Vietnamese group said Friday 1.2 million dollars had been spent to contain rainwater run-off from a "dioxin hotspot" at a war-time US airbase that was a depot for the toxic defoliant Agent Orange.
Containment measures at the airport of the central city of Danang aimed to protect nearby residents from further dioxin contamination, visiting members of the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin told a media briefing.
As part of the project, scientists had tested blood and breast milk samples from residents and workers near the base and found they exceeded safe levels of the most toxic dioxin type TCDD "by a wide margin," the group said.
A new cement cap had been built over a former Agent Orange loading area, water drains and treatment facilities which now contained run-off, and a downstream lake outside the base had been fenced off to stop people from fishing there.
Under the 1961-71 "Operation Ranch Hand" US forces sprayed about 80 million litres (21 million gallons) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on southern and central Vietnam to deprive enemies of forest cover and food crops.
Washington has rejected responsibility for the millions of people Vietnam says have suffered direct or second-generation disabilities due to Agent Orange, with US officials pointing to a lack of mutually agreed data.
However, in an effort to address the issue, US Congress last May set aside three million dollars "for environmental remediation of dioxin storage sites and to support health programmes in communities near those sites."
The money has not yet been released, but US Ambassador Michael Michalak told the dialogue group that "final steps are being taken to determine how these funds will be spent," his embassy said.
The dialogue group said in a statement that "there have been an alarming number of birth defects, cancers and health problems among both American troops and their families and generations of Vietnamese veterans and civilians."
"Dioxin has had a profound impact on generations of Vietnamese families," said Ton Nu Thi Ninh, a member of the group, which has received funds for the projects from the non-profit Ford Foundation and the US government.
"It has devastated lives and the environment for decades," she said. "But the initial progress we're seeing is very heartening. It is a meaningful contribution toward addressing the toxic legacy of the war."
The group is seeking public and private donors for other projects, including health and education services for disabled children and youths, landscape restoration, and to set up a high-tech laboratory to test for dioxin traces.
BIG PHARMA IN THE NEWS
Anti-smoking drug is linked to 37 suicides
Daily Mail - UK
By JO MACFARLANE
Last updated at 01:17am on 10th February 2008
Fears are growing over the safety of an anti-smoking "wonder drug", taken by nearly a quarter of a million Britons, after officials in America linked it to 37 suicides.
The Food and Drug Administration said it looks "increasingly likely" that there is a connection between the drug Champix and serious psychiatric problems.
The Mail on Sunday revealed in December that there were concerns over the drug after it emerged that seven deaths in Britain were thought to be linked to the pill.
But updated figures now suggest that 11 people taking Champix in the UK have died.
And reports of suspected adverse reactions to the drug to the Government's medicines watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, have risen by 35 per cent to 1,811 in just the past seven weeks.
The FDA began investigating Champix in November after a number of patients reported possible side-effects ranging from depression and agitation to headaches and nausea.
On top of the 37 suicides, it has recorded more than 400 cases of suicidal behaviour.
Manufacturer Pfizer has insisted a direct link between Champix and psychiatric problems has not been officially established and that nicotine withdrawal can lead to mood swings and behavioural changes.
But the FDA said it had found evidence that people taking Champix developed problems even if they were still smoking.
Bob Rappaport, a director at the FDA's drug-evaluation centre, said: "A number of compelling cases look like they are the result of exposure to the drug itself and not other causes."
Champix, which is marketed as Chantix in the US, was launched in Britain in December 2006 and touted as the most effective weapon in the fight to give up smoking.
In trials, 22.5 per cent of those who took the prescription-only drug were still not smoking after a year, compared with 16 per cent who used nicotine replacement therapy and three per cent relying on willpower.
The non-nicotine product works on brain receptors to relieve the cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with giving up smoking.
The European Medicines Agency that licenses Champix has ordered a safety warning to be included in patient information.
It said that any users who develop suicidal thoughts should stop their treatment and contact their doctor, but there were no plans to ban the drug.
A spokeswoman for Pfizer said: "Clinicians should be aware of the possible emergence of depressive symptoms in patients undergoing a smoking cessation attempt, with or without pharmacological treatment, and should advise patients accordingly. Our priority is patient safety."
Big pharma groups raided in EU antitrust probe
European Public Health Alliance - Brussels,Belgium
The European Commission has raided the offices of a number of top pharmaceutical companies to find out whether anti-competitive practices in the sector have hindered innovation and blocked the entry of cheap generics on the European market.
In a Decision, adopted on 15 January 2008, the Commission said it had "indications of commercial practices by pharmaceutical suppliers including notably patenting or the exercise of patents which may not serve to protect innovation but to block innovative and/or generic competition". The decision launched a major inquiry into competition in the European pharmaceuticals sector.
A series of unannounced inspections started immediately after the Commission decision, at 3pm, at the premises of a number of both innovative and generic pharmaceutical companies operating in Europe. The raids were co-ordinated with the competition authorities of those Member States where the inspections took place.
The UK’s GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, France’s Sanofi-Aventis, US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and the Swiss company Novartis AG have said their offices have been investigated. As to generic producers, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd headquarted in Israel and the US-based Wyeth were visited.
According to the EU executive, the inquiry was launched because fewer new pharmaceuticals are being brought to market, and the entry of generic pharmaceuticals sometimes seems to be delayed.
Anti-competitive practices include an innovative pharmaceuticals company buying a generic firm to close off the market, abusive patent litigations delaying the entry onto the market of cheaper generics, a company using its dominant position to block its competitor from launching new products and an innovative pharma company paying a generic company not to launch a generic, Commission officials said. "Such practices may limit consumer choice, reduce economic incentives to invest in research and development of new products and damage public and private health budgets," states the Commission decision.
The inquiry will examine:
whether agreements between pharmaceutical companies, such as settlements in patent disputes, infringe the EC Treaty’s prohibition of restrictive business practices (Article 81 ); and;
whether companies may have created artificial barriers to entry, either through the misuse of patent rights, vexatious litigation or other means, and whether such practices infringe the EC Treaty’s ban on abuses of dominant market positions (Article 82 ).
This is the first time a Commission sector inquiry has begun with unannounced inspections rather than with requests for information, because "the kind of information the Commission will be examining in this inquiry, notably concerning the use of intellectual property rights, litigation and settlement agreements covering the EU, is by its nature information that companies tend to consider highly confidential. Such information may also easily be withheld, concealed or destroyed," said the Commission.
According to the Commission, the number of new medicines reaching the market has considerably decreased over time, from an average of 40 novel molecular entities per year between 1995 and 1999 to an average of 28 between 2000 and 2004. "Patent protection in pharmaceuticals is huge and still the sector is going down," noted Commissioner Kroes.
HEATH LEDGER - TRAGEDY, WITH CONTROVERSY TO FOLLOW
American Chronicle - Beverly Hills,CA,USA
By Bill Haymin
January 25, 2008
By Byron J. Richards, CCN
The entertainment community is in shock over the loss of a rising star. Heath Ledger, dead at the age of 28, apparently from an accidental overdose of medication. Autopsy results have been delayed for 10 days, but enough information has already become public to understand what likely took place. Heath Ledger did not need to die.
It now appears that Ledger is one of the 100,000 people a year who needlessly die in America from the use of Big Pharma toxins. His health problems were difficult but not unfixable – except by medical doctors who have little skill other than trying to titrate various poisons in the name of symptom improvement. Oftentimes physicians ignore the warnings for the drugs being prescribed as well as the patient´s history, which appears to be the case in this situation. I have often wondered how so many deaths can be swept under the rug. Maybe now more people will begin to pay attention.
Ledger was suffering from a relatively common health problem called wind-up. In this condition the nerves feel like a cat on a hot tin roof. The mind races, yet the body cannot sleep even though the person is physically exhausted. Doctors give nerve sedation medications to treat the symptoms of this problem – substances that carry a high risk for addiction (especially in someone with addiction history), are inherently dangerous, and even more dangerous when combined with other sleep medications. The New York Post reported that Ambien pills (a hypnotic drug) were found near his body, and generic versions of the Xanax and Valium anti-anxiety pills prescribed in the actor´s name, were found in the house. A bottle of Donormyl, an antihistamine used as a sleep aid, and a packet of the drug Zopiclone (a controlled substance in the Ambien family), also used for insomnia, were found on his nightstand.
As reported by CNN: At the time of his death, Ledger had just finished playing the villain The Joker in "The Dark Knight," the latest installment in the Batman series. The film is to open in July. The role disturbed him, according to The Associated Press. He called The Joker a "psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy." "Last week, I probably slept an average of two hours a night," Ledger told The New York Times. "I couldn´t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."
Ambien has been in the spotlight for the past year due to its inducing of bizarre sleep-walking behavior, both in the U.S. and in Ledger´s native Australia. Even the FDA managed a warning on the issue. Those with a history of addictive problems are not supposed to take Ambien. Ledger has a known and recent history of battling heroin addiction, alcohol use, and depression. The simple fact is that he was on drugs he should not have been on.
Thus emerges a picture of a person with a weak nervous system in a wound up condition and unable to sleep – not unlike millions of sleepless Americans. His problems had been challenged by a demanding movie role and shaky personal life. It was likely that he was self-medicating with dangerous drugs and their combinations – with no idea he should not be on these drugs or that they could kill him – not unlike tens of thousands of other Americans who also die each year.
Of course, it is easy to argue that any sleep is better than no sleep. This argument loses value when the remedies don´t work well and the problem is ongoing. Like tens of millions of Americans, Ledger got high-risk toxic symptom management with little or no effort trying to fix the source of the problem. This is how Western Medicine is performed when no obvious disease can be found.
And now the real controversy emerges. Doctors who are trained only in Big Pharma are actually a liability to society. They betray the trust of those in need. Sure Heath Ledger had problems, where was the real help?
The FDA is doing everything in its power to prevent anyone from understanding how to naturally improve themselves. The FDA is the police force bully, protecting the profits of Big Pharma in exchange for future jobs at Big Pharma, at the expense of Americans trying to be healthy. The long and sordid history of the FDA, as well as its future plans to control your health options, are clearly laid out in my book Fight for Your Health: Exposing the FDA´s Betrayal of America (read free, click here).
Heath Ledger suffered from an excess build up of substance P in his nervous system – a problem doctors don´t even comprehend (as drugs don´t ever fix it and usually make the problem worse). Substance P is an inflammatory nerve chemical which must be cleared out of nerves before a person can sleep. Drugs that knock out the nervous system are like a credit card, with a very low credit limit. Nutrients can be used to naturally discharge substance P from the nerves, as well as restore natural balance to the brain stem, so a person can sleep.
He also needed help nutritionally building up his depleted nervous system – his underlying health problem. These issues can readily be fixed if a person understands what they are doing and why – I know – as a top nutritionist I help people fix them all the time and have for years. The problem is for the general public, wherein the FDA flagrantly suppresses the First Amendment right of our citizens to understand how nutrition works in the context of a health problem. Heath Ledger could well be alive today if the FDA wasn´t actively blocking access to how to use nutrition to solve difficult health problems.
2008 Truth in Wellness, LLC - All Rights Reserved
Byron J. Richards, Founder/Director of Wellness Resources, is a Board-Certified Clinical Nutritionist and nationally-renowned health expert, radio personality, and educator. He is the author of Mastering Leptin, The Leptin Diet, and Fight for Your Health: Exposing the FDA's Betrayal of America.
Richards encourages individuals to take charge of their health, stand up for their health rights, and not blindly succumb to propaganda from the vested-interests who profit from keeping Americans sick. As founder of Wellness Resources, Inc. of Minneapolis, MN, an independently-owned fine-quality dietary supplement company since 1985, he has personally developed 75 unique nutraceutical-grade nutritional formulas. www.wellnessresources.com
Disclaimer: Posting articles does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article. All articles that are posted are aimed at getting people to think & consider the various issues, ideas & factual research presented.
Reprinted by permission
Presented by Bill Haymin, 2008
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