Archive for Health

Gardasil (again) – what’s good for the goose…

Apparently, boys should be inoculated too. I guess first of all, it would prevent boys/men from getting and passing HPV to girls/women. But that reason alone wasn’t good enough to force offer the vaccine to males.

It’s possible that Gardasil can prevent anal cancer in men:

HPV vaccine may help to prevent anal cancer

The new vaccine against human papillomavirus, which became available last summer, could potentially prevent thousands of cases of cervical cancer. But doctors hope the vaccine will be able to prevent a less well-known, but potentially fatal, disease in gay men, anal cancer. The same strains of HPV cause both cancers.

Although anal cancer can affect anyone, it is most common among men with histories of receptive anal intercourse — an annual rate of about 35 cases per 100,000, and perhaps twice that for those infected with HIV, which weakens the immune system.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the HPV vaccine last year for girls and women from 9 to 26 after studies indicated that it was extremely effective against infection by four of the dozens of strains of HPV, including the ones responsible for most cases of cervical and anal cancer.

“The cervix is similar biologically to the anus, so there’s plenty of hope that it will work there also,” said Dr. Joel Palefsky, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. But he cautioned that its effectiveness against anal cancer remained to be proved.

The anal cancer rate for gay men is similar to cervical cancer rates before the advent of Pap smears, the test that can detect precancerous cell abnormalities. In recent years, some doctors who treat gay men have advised their patients to undergo anal Pap smears as part of routine preventive care.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with 6.2 million people infected each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though many people clear the virus without having symptoms or knowing that they were infected. And many gay men do not realize they have an elevated risk of anal cancer.

Regulators in Australia and the European Union have approved the vaccine, called Gardasil and made by Merck, for boys ages 9 to 15. They cited data showing that it produced an immune response in boys, though its effectiveness in preventing infection in sexually active men has not been proved.

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Gardasil – The reactions range from loss of consciousness to seizures

Oh, and that’s not the reaction from the parents who will be forced to have their daughters injected with the HPV semi-preventative vaccine. Those are actually the reports of reactions of those who have received it.

Vaccine center issues warning
By Gregory Lopes
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
February 3, 2007

The National Vaccine Information Center yesterday warned state officials to investigate the safety of a breakthrough cancer vaccine as Texas became the first state to make the vaccine mandatory for school-age girls.

Negative side effects of Gardasil, a new Merck vaccine to prevent the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, are being reported in the District of Columbia and 20 states, including Virginia. The reactions range from loss of consciousness to seizures.

“Young girls are experiencing severe headaches, dizziness, temporary loss of vision and some girls have lost consciousness during what appear to be seizures,” said Vicky Debold, health policy analyst for the National Vaccine Information Center, a nonprofit watchdog organization that was created in the early 1980s to prevent vaccine injuries.

Following federal approval of the vaccine in July 2006, a storm of legislation was introduced across the nation that would make the vaccine mandatory in schools. The District and Virginia are part of a group of at least 17 states considering such legislation. A measure had been introduced in Maryland, but it was shelved last week over concerns about the mandatory language in the bill.

Yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed an order making Texas the first state to require the vaccine. Girls ages 11 and 12 would receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine before entering the sixth grade starting in September 2008.

Now, admittedly, I’m not sure if this information is real or hype considering the National Vaccine Information Center promotes the whole autism/childhood vaccination link – which, like global warming, is an unproven theory based on pseudo-science, sketchy data and conspiracy hype. But considering there are other ways to prevent HPV (abstinence), I prefer not to be told my daughters MUST be vaccinated when I haven’t seen the track record of the vaccine. Perhaps I’m still miffed that the “Tell Someone” campaign commercials made my eight-year-0ld daughter believe she could get cancer from catching a cold virus – “A cancer that’s caused by a virus? Why didn’t I know about this?”

Read Her Body, Your Choice at See Jane Mom – some lively discussion follows the post.

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Could the religion of environmentalism have gotten it all wrong?

Say it isn’t so!

The dark side of greenGreat interview with John Berlau about his new book, Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health in the Washington Post this morning.

Is Silent Spring responsible for the death of millions every year in Africa? Is the banning of DDT connected to population control? Wow, that one almost sounds like a moonbat conspiracy theory.

I quote in my book the late scientist and author Dixy Lee Ray as saying that for many enviros, the problem with DDT was that it worked too well at saving lives. I refer to a passage by Alexander King, co-founder of the Club of Rome, where he said that DDT wiped out malaria in Guyana but “greatly added to the population problem.” There are many other statements like that in the book. Population-control guru Paul Ehrlich was and still is a big supporter of banning DDT.

Berlau even gives credit to Rush Limbaugh for spreading the word:

Q: Mr. Limbaugh famously dubbed environmentalists “tree-huggers” — do you wonder what he might say if he were to read the chapter of your book where you explain how tree-hugging leads to problems like forest fires, Lyme disease and even increased air pollution?

A: I imagine he would say some things that were very profound, just as he has all these years about the tragic effects of the DDT ban. He deserves credit for bringing the facts to millions of Americans. Now the New York Times editorial page and the World Health Organization have to some degree followed his lead and endorse DDT spraying to combat malaria in Africa. His constant stating of the facts is a significant factor in the millions of lives that hopefully will be saved from malaria.

How about this for a conspiracy theory – the floods in New Orleans were not Bush’s fault but the blame lies at the feet of an environmentalist group:

Louisiana group Save Our Wetlands persuaded a federal judge to halt the gates in 1977 because of the alleged damage they could do to fish, even though the project had already been granted a thumbs-up in a review from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Save our Wetlands indeed.

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The National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) condemns recent recommendations by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Tolleson
770/604-9500 January 23, 2007 ATLANTA – The National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) condemns recent recommendations by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that convey tacit approval for terminating pregnancies where the fetus has Down syndrome.The recommendation for first trimester screening of all pregnant women is a change from the current practice of primarily screening women over age 35 who have a higher probability of having a baby with Down syndrome. Women under age 35 are also being screened, often without their full knowledge or consent.Among the concerns cited by the medical doctors comprising NDSC’s Professional Advisory Committee:

The primary medical reason for first trimester screening is to encourage earlier diagnostic testing in “at risk” pregnancies, in order to facilitate early terminations. Other reasons for prenatal diagnosis, such as hospital selection and delivery management, do not require first trimester testing.

Based on ACOG’s figures, the recommended screenings will produce numerous false positives, potentially leading to unnecessary patient distress and possible termination of pregnancies where medical concerns do not exist.

All screening or diagnostic tests need to be fully explained to patients, who should be provided the opportunity to decline or give their informed consent for testing. If patients decline certain tests, physicians and other medical personnel should respect the individual’s wishes and not overtly or covertly pressure patients to undergo undesired screenings.

Recent studies by Dr. Brian Skotko, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2005) and Pediatrics (2005) note that many doctors are inadequately prepared to deliver a diagnosis of Down syndrome, and often use negative language or out-of-date information. ACOG’s recommendations do not address this situation, nor how it will be corrected.

Studies have shown that parents and siblings of children with Down syndrome overwhelmingly report that having a family member with that diagnosis has been a good situation. Early intervention and inclusive education have led to largely positive outcomes for children with Down syndrome. It is unacceptable that many obstetricians present negatives — and seem to emphasize pregnancy termination — rather than reporting the facts, which paint a much more positive picture.

Parents who receive a diagnosis that their fetus has Down syndrome should have the opportunity to meet a family that includes a person with the syndrome, a move in keeping with the spirit of the Kennedy-Brownback bill.

NDSC Executive Director David Tolleson notes that “Down syndrome is a serious diagnosis; however we have seen families thrive.” “We empathize with obstetricians who fear ‘wrongful life’ lawsuits,” Tolleson adds, “but the cure for that problem is tort reform, not preventing the births of a whole class of people.”

Jeff Mattson, a man with Down syndrome, agrees: “People with Down syndrome want to live life to the fullest.”

According to Tolleson, “the NDSC is here to support doctors in delivering a diagnosis and parents through the pregnancy, birth and life of their child.”

I grabbed this from Barbara Curtis’ blog Mommy Life

See my post – The attack on kids with Down syndrome 

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The Attack on Kids With Down Syndrome

The theme of Monday’s 34th annual March for Life was, “Thou Shalt Protect the Equal Right to Life of Each Innocent Human in Existence at Fertilization – No Exception! No Compromise!” But a whole lot of people, more specifically 85% of those with a prenatal diagnosis, take exception and some will compromise their Judeo-Christian ideals to terminate a baby with Down syndrome.

Look for that 85% figure to rise. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is now recommending that ALL pregnant women (regardless of age) receive prenatal genetic testing and counseling.

Yes, it’s going to lead to more termination, but it’s going to be fair to these women who are 24 who say, ‘How come I have to raise an infant with Down’s syndrome, whereas my cousin who was 35 didn’t have to?’” Dr. Andre Lalonde, the executive vice president of the SOGC, told the National Post.

To make it easier on everyone (but the baby), a non-invasive nuchal fold translucency test can be performed at 10 to 13 weeks of pregnancy, when a mom is barely showing, so no one has to know if she chooses to terminate.

Those whose results are most worrisome could then undergo a procedure called chorionic villus sampling (CVS) to confirm the diagnosis while still in the first trimester. Those whose results are less clear and are worried about the small risk of miscarriage posed by CVS can wait until the second trimester to undergo the quadruple test. If that is positive, they could then undergo amniocentesis, which also carries a small risk of miscarriage.

Women who would opt to terminate a pregnancy based on the results would be able to do so much earlier, when abortion is less risky and less traumatic, Malone said.

“By the time you’re 20 weeks pregnant, most women will be feeling fetal movement. We wouldn’t want to underestimate the psychological or emotional difficulty of undergoing pregnancy termination that late,” Malone said. “Also, at that point it’s easy to tell by looking at the woman if she is pregnant. This way she can make her decision in utmost privacy.”

Canada is recommending automatic amniocentesis for all women over 40:

The Canadian society of obstetricians and gynaecologists recommends that all women be “given” amniocentesis, and that women over 40 should “automatically be given” amniocentesis. One wonders what the word “automatically” means here. Is there a distinction between being given amniocentesis and being automatically given amniocentesis? If so, what is it? Whatever it is, you can be sure of the direction in which the eugenic screws are turning. (From Reflections on Faith and Culture Blog)

I may be reaching, but I truly believe that the push for earlier diagnosis and genetic prenatal testing for ALL women stems from John Edward’s attack on obstetricians using junk science exclaiming cerebral palsy is caused by malpractice during the birth process. Now lawyers are finding other conditions to blame on obstetricians and are filing wrongful life/birth suits on behalf of parents and children with issues like Down syndrome. Testing all women gives them the opportunity to remove less than perfect babies from their bodies and no reason to sue their ob/gyn.

After my son was born, I needed to find others who had children with Down syndrome. Among the famous were columnist, George Will, and actor, John McGinley.

George Will has always been one of my favorite columnists. Following is an excerpt from his most recent column in Newsweek. Follow the link to read the entire column.

Golly, What Did Jon Do?
By George F. Will
Newsweek

Jan. 29, 2007 issue – What did Jon Will and the more than 350,000 American citizens like him do to tick off the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists? It seems to want to help eliminate from America almost all of a category of citizens, a category that includes Jon.

Born in 1972, Jon has Down syndrome. That is a congenital condition resulting from a chromosomal defect that causes varying degrees of mental retardation and some physical abnormalities, such as low muscle tone, small stature, a single crease across the center of the palms, flatness of the back of the head and an upward slant to the eyes (when Jon was born, Down syndrome people were still commonly called Mongoloids). There also is increased risk of congenital heart defects, childhood leukemia and Alzheimer’s disease. Down syndrome, although not common, is among the most common congenital anomalies—47.9 per 100,000 births (compared with 77.7 with cleft lips or palates, which also can be diagnosed in utero, and which sometimes result in abortions).

As women age, their risk of having a Down syndrome baby increases. It has become standard practice for women older than 35 years old to be offered genetic counseling and diagnostic testing. But because of the higher fertility rates of women under 35, such women have 80 percent of Down syndrome babies. So new ACOG guidelines recommend that all pregnant women, regardless of age, be offered such counseling and testing.The ACOG guidelines are formally neutral concerning what decisions parents should make on the basis of the information offered. But what is antiseptically called “screening” for Down syndrome is, much more often than not, a search-and-destroy mission: At least 85 percent of pregnancies in which Down syndrome is diagnosed are ended by abortions.

Medicine now has astonishing and multiplying abilities to treat problems of unborn children in utero, but it has no ability to do anything about Down syndrome (the result of an extra 21st chromosome). So diagnosing Down syndrome can have only the purpose of enabling—and, in a clinically neutral way, of encouraging—parents to choose to reject people like Jon as unworthy of life. And as more is learned about genetic components of other abnormalities, search-and-destroy missions will multiply.

Nothing—nothing—in the professional qualifications of obstetricians and gynecologists gives them standing to adopt policies that predictably will have, and seem intended to have, the effect of increasing abortions in the service of an especially repulsive manifestation of today’s entitlement mentality—every parent’s “right” to a perfect baby. Happily, that mentality is not yet universal: 214 American families are looking for Down syndrome children to adopt.

Read more here

I also urge you to read La Shawn Barber’s article, Baby Killing as a Civil Right. We come to the table of right to life with different, yet simlar, ideas:

Last October, Planned Parenthood joined the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, an organization founded at the dawn of the modern civil rights movement. This isn’t news per se, but I thought it was a timely tidbit for today, the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that fashioned a Fourteenth Amendment “right to privacy” for women to kill their babies in utero.

Says conservative writer and friend Mychal Massie: “How can a civil rights group that claims to support underprivileged blacks embrace an organization created expressly to hasten the demise of black people? People of conscience should be appalled and outraged by this alignment.”

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Alzheimer’s vaccine ‘in a patch’

I have a personal interest in this story.  You’re probably thinking that I’m concerned about older loved ones in my life (or myself).  Actually, it’s my four year old son with whom I’m concerned.  He has Down syndrome and 25% of adults with Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 40.  65% of those with Down syndrome who live to age 60 will have the disease and all autopsies of people with Down syndrome have shown brain patterns indicative of Alzheimer disease.

This vaccine patch could be very good news for him and other children with Down syndrome.

Alzheimer’s vaccine ‘in a patch’

A patch which delivers a vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease through the skin has been shown to be safe and effective, a study has found.

University of South Florida researchers reported the patch was able to clear brain-damaging plaques from mice.

More:

Alzheimer’s is linked with the build up of a protein called beta amyloid in the brain, where it clumps together to form damaging plaques.

The vaccine – given transdermally – works by triggering the immune system to recognise beta amyloid protein, attack it and break it down.

Comments (1)

Alzheimer’s vaccine ‘in a patch’

I have a personal interest in this story.  You’re probably thinking that I’m concerned about older loved ones in my life (or myself).  Actually, it’s my four year old son with whom I’m concerned.  He has Down syndrome and 25% of adults with Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 40.  65% of those with Down syndrome who live to age 60 will have the disease and all autopsies of people with Down syndrome have shown brain patterns indicative of Alzheimer disease.

This vaccine patch could be very good news for him and other children with Down syndrome.

Alzheimer’s vaccine ‘in a patch’

A patch which delivers a vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease through the skin has been shown to be safe and effective, a study has found.

University of South Florida researchers reported the patch was able to clear brain-damaging plaques from mice.

More:

Alzheimer’s is linked with the build up of a protein called beta amyloid in the brain, where it clumps together to form damaging plaques.

The vaccine – given transdermally – works by triggering the immune system to recognise beta amyloid protein, attack it and break it down.

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