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Trump Taps Vax Alarmist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Launch Review of Vaccines

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Vaccination skeptic alarmist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he will oversee a presidential panel to review vaccine safety and science at the request of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, in a move likely to reignite debate over now-debunked research that tied childhood immunizations to autism.

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“President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policy, and he has questions about it,” Kennedy, who has raised questions about the safety of vaccines, told reporters following a meeting with Trump in New York on Tuesday. “He asked me to chair a commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. I said I would.”

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Vaccine experts decried the appointment of a vocal vaccine skeptic to explore the safety of vaccines and their purported link with autism, an association raised by a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 that vaxxclaimed to find a connection between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.

That paper has been debunked, and The Lancet withdrew the study. Since then, numerous studies have affirmed the safety of the vaccine, most recently including a study of 100,000 children considered at high risk of developing autism.

“The concerns of public health officials and pediatricians and family doctors regarding the Trump administration and its attitude toward vaccines have just been reinforced,” said Dr. William Schaffner an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who advises the federal panel that sets U.S. vaccine policy.

Schaffner said Kennedy has “raised issues that have been settled securely and completely by good science, and 80,0000 pediatricians, many family doctors and the World Health Organization all reinforce the current recommended childhood immunization schedule. They are safe and they are effective.” Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Can Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Save The World From Zika? 

Should we fear the GM mosquitoes? A look at several mosquito-modification projects and the political and cultural pushback they’re facing.

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UPDATE: The trial release in the Florida Keys was approved by public referendum, but the Keys Mosquito District now has to seek FDA approval.

 


Donald Trump Chooses Tom Price as Health Secretary

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Price has led efforts to craft a GOP alternative to the spectacularly unpopular Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON— Louise Radnofsky and Peter Nicholas report: President-elect Donald Trump has chosen House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R., Ga.) as his nominee for secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, according to a transition team adviser, putting the six-term congressman in charge of the sprawling agency that will likely dismantle Democrats’ 2010 health-care overhaul.

“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care. The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best.”

Mr. Price, a 62-year-old former orthopedic surgeon, is one of several GOP physicians who sought to carve out a leading role in shaping the party’s health policy and, in particular, the party’s alternative vision to Democrats’ Affordable Care Act. Much of his criticism of the law has centered on the authority it gives to the federal government, and to the agency that he may now head.

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“There’s a genuine desire to have us coalesce around a single plan so that the American people can see who’s trying to solve these challenges. I wouldn’t draw any lines in the sand other than that the path that we’re on doesn’t work.”

“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care,” he said in an interview this summer. “The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

He has championed his own legislation, the Empowering Patients First Act, since 2009, taking a position on a number of hot-button issues for conservative health policy thinkers. In its latest iteration, the proposal includes refundable, age-adjusted tax credits for people to buy insurance if they don’t have access to coverage through an employer or government program. People in a government program, such as Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare, would also be allowed to opt out of it and get tax credits toward the cost of private coverage instead.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attends an event held in observance of World AIDS Day at the White House in Washington December 2, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama and his HealthCare.gov website face another critical test starting this week, as Americans who have been unable to enroll in health coverage under Obamacare rush to a site that continues to face challenges. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attends an event held in observance of World AIDS Day at the White House in Washington December 2, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama and his HealthCare.gov website face another critical test starting this week, as Americans who have been unable to enroll in health coverage under Obamacare rush to a site that continues to face challenges. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Mr. Price had previously included tax deductions in his plans, a tool typically favored by harder-line conservative health policy thinkers, but said he had “moved towards credits because we felt it was cleaner.”

The plan offers a one-time credit aimed at boosting health savings accounts, long described by supporters as a way of bringing down medical spending, and derives part of its funding from capping how much employers can spend on providing employee health care before being taxed. The plan seeks to make health insurance available to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions by helping states set up new “high-risk” pools or other programs for such enrollees, and sets new rules allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines.

At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law

At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law

But Mr. Price, whose rise in the congressional ranks began at the conservative Republican Study Committee and then steadily climbed, has already said he is open to compromise with fellow GOP lawmakers on many points. Read the rest of this entry »


Holy Smoke: 23% of Beijingers Light Up

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Laurie Burkitt reports: China’s capital city has a grand total of 4.19 million smokers, each of whom inhales around 15 cigarettes per day, just shy of a pack, according to a new survey from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.

To give some perspective on the smoking scale, Beijing’s smokers outnumber the population of the city of Los Angeles. About one in five people in the capital smoke, and the number of people they subject to secondhand smokeis around 10 million in addition to themselves, according to health officials cited in the Beijing News.

An advertisement for Shanghai's Meili brand cigarettes in the 1920s.[Photo/tobaccochina.com]

An advertisement for Shanghai’s Meili brand cigarettes in the 1920s.[Photo/tobaccochina.com]

The survey of nearly 8,500 Beijingers found that smokers on average spend around 160 yuan a month on cigarettes.

Beijing’s officials are drawing attention to the city’s full ashtrays ahead of a new ban on smoking indoors that will take effect June 1. The citywide ban takes aim at restaurants, bars and other indoor locations.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

It’s part of a national push to improve the health of Chinese. China’s lung cancer rates are rising with the country’s high tobacco usage and the effects of secondhand smoke.

china-smoking

The latest survey is an improvement over the previous one six years ago, which found that 27.4% of Beijing’s people smoked.

Still, some people, even health experts, are skeptical that Beijing’s ban will take hold, particularly given the high numbers of smokers. Beijing passed a ban previously, but it was all (cough) smoke and mirrors. Read the rest of this entry »


Pentagon Plans Ebola Domestic-Response Team of Medical Experts to Aid Doctors

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The Pentagon announced Sunday that it will create a 30-person team of medical experts that could quickly leap into a region if new Ebola cases emerge in the United States, providing support for civilian doctors who lack proficiency in fighting the deadly virus.

“Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on the Sunday talk shows, noting that there are just four medical facilities — in Maryland, Nebraska, Montana and Georgia — that are equipped to treat Ebola patients.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Pentagon’s Northern Command, which has a prime focus on protecting homeland security, to send this new team to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for high-level preparations to respond to any additional Ebola cases beyond the three confirmed in the country.

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The announcement came as federal health officials tried to calm the nerves of Americans rattled by Ebola’s arrival on U.S. soil. In Texas, dozens of health workers and others who came in contact with the lone man to die in the United States from Ebola are in the final stage of an emotional three-week isolation from the public, hoping that by early this week they can resume their lives if they show no hint of the virus.

“We need to have more than just the four in which you have people who are pre-trained so that you don’t come in and that’s the first time that you start thinking about it.”

— Anthony Fauci on NBC’s Meet the Press

“To be on the safe side, we stay home. . . . In my community, people used to come in and out of my house. Because of all the news [about Ebola], no one comes around,” Aaron Yah said in a telephone interview from his two-bedroom Dallas apartment, where he and his wife, Youngor Jallah, and their four children have cloistered themselves, skipping work and school until health officials assure them they are safe.

Jallah’s mother was engaged to Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital. “People don’t have education about it, and if they knew we didn’t touch anything [in her apartment], maybe they be different,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Ebola Cases May Reach 10,000 Weekly, Virus Killing 70% of People Who Contract Disease

NON-STOP-PANIC-2

U.N. Health Body Aims to Have Majority of Cases Isolated Within Two Months to Reverse Outbreak

WHO: Virus is Killing 70% of People Who Contract Disease

ZURICH— WSJ – Andrew Morse reports: The Ebola virus is killing 70% of the people who contract the disease, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, and as many as 10,000 new cases a week could be reported by early December.
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“Every time you isolate another patient, every time you have a safe burial, you’re taking some of the heat out of this outbreak.”

— WHO assistant director-general Dr. Bruce Aylward

Dr. Bruce Aylward, the WHO assistant director-general in charge of the organization’s response to the epidemic, said the Ebola virus is “still moving geographically, still escalating” in some bigger cities. He expressed concern the disease could spread to countries that share borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the epicenters of the current outbreak, singling out Côte d’Ivoire as particularly vulnerable. Read the rest of this entry »


NY POST Cover August 5 2014: ‘CNN GAL BITES EMT!’ ‘EBOLA! Man Tested in NYC’

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New York Post front page for Tuesday, August 5,….


Alex B. Berezow: ‘Why on earth would a science journalist write such unmitigated nonsense?”

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Outbreak of Political Correctness in Science Media

For RealClearScienceAlex B. Berezow  writes: The American media is widely perceived to lean to the Left. Though most journalists won’t openly admit the fact, it is indisputably true. As reported in the Washington Post, a 2014 study showed that among journalists Democrats outnumber Republicans by four to one. (The exact numbers were: 28.1% Democrat, 7.1% Republican, 50.2% Independent, and 14.6% “other” — whatever that means.) It is impossible to know exactly what to make of the roughly 65% of journalists who refused to put a label on themselves, but it is perhaps safe to assume that Left-leaning independents outnumber Right-leaning independents by the same margin. After all, about 93% of DC-based journalists vote Democrat, and 65% of donations from 51QorlgUJeL._SL250_journalists went to Democrats in 2010.

[Check out Berezow‘s book  “Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left” at Amazon.com]

For science journalists, political affiliation shouldn’t be a problem because the job of a science writer is to report data and facts. Yet, it is a problem. As Hank Campbell and I detailed in our book, Science Left Behind, science journalists are quick to point out unscientific flaws in Republican statements and policies, but shy away from doing the same for Democrats. (Thankfully, this is slowly beginning to change, as more journalists are rebuking Democrats for being opposed to GMOs.)

The left-wing echo chamber that is the modern-day science newsroom has resulted in some very troubling controversies. A recent outbreak of political correctness has resulted in the termination of a Scientific American blogger who committed the unspeakable crime of giving a favorable review to a controversial book on genetics by New York Times writer Nicholas Wade and for defending Richard Feynman against exaggerated accusations of sexism. Read the rest of this entry »


Female Genital Mutilation: Entire Class of Swedish Girls, 60 Cases Reported

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The Local (Swedish News in Englishreports: Some 60 cases of genital mutilation have been discovered in Norrköping in eastern Sweden since March with all 30 girls in one school class found to have undergone the procedure.

“Truly a ‘war on women,’ if there ever was one.”

— Ian Tutle, National Review Online

Of the 30, some 28 of the girls were found to have been subjected to the most severe form of genital mutilation, when the clitoris and labia are completely cut away and the genital area sewn together except for a small opening.

At the CornerIan Tuttle:

 Officials believe that the young girls’ parents, many of whom are immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa, are subjecting their daughters to the practice during visits to their home countries over summer vacations.

According to the World Health Organizationthere are no benefits to FGM, and the myriad consequences are both physical and psychological—and long-lasting: Most victims of FGM are between the ages of four and 14, though infants, too, are often “cut.”

The abuse was discovered by the school health services, according to a report by Norrköpings Tidningar. Additional resources have been provided by the local social services to help the girls.

Female genital mutilation has been illegal in Sweden since 1982 and can be punished with up to four years in prison. If the offence is considered to be aggravated then the penalty can be up to ten years…(read more)

Since 1999 it is also an offence under Swedish law if the procedure is performed in a different country.

When school breaks up for the summer holidays the risk of being exposed to the surgery increases for many Swedish girls due to the prospect of visits to their parents’ home countries. Read the rest of this entry »


Fat-Ass Nation: China is Now the World’s Second-Fattest Country After the U.S.


The Golden Age Is Now

For all the world’s problems, human beings have never had it better

20140523-yfFor City Journal, Yevgeniy Feyman writes:  Bjørn Lomborg is well-known as a climate “skeptic.” He has frequently voiced concerns that money spent battling climate change could shift scarce resources away from more urgent global problems, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. But the most recent book by the self-proclaimed “skeptical environmentalist” does more than just voice concern; it attempts to evaluate the damage caused by a variety of problems—from climate change to malnutrition to war—and project future costs related to these same issues. In How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World?, Lomborg and a group of economists conclude that, with a few exceptions, the world is richer, freer, healthier, and smarter than it’s ever been. These gains have coincided with the near-universal rejection of statism and the flourishing of capitalist principles. At a time when political figures such as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and religious leaders such as Pope Francis frequently remind us about the evils of unfettered capitalism, this is a worthwhile message.51u6XmYkS-L._SL110_

[Order the book How Much have Global Problems Cost the World?: A Scorecard from 1900 to 2050″ edited by Bjørn Lomborg (Cambridge University Press) from Amazon.com

The doubling of human life expectancy is one of the most remarkable achievements of the past century. Consider, Lomborg writes, that “the twentieth century saw life expectancy rise by about 3 months for every calendar year.” The average child in 1900 could expect to live to just 32 years old; now that same child should make it to 70. This increase came during a century when worldwide economic output, driven by the spread of capitalism and freedom, grew by more than 4,000 percent. These gains occurred in developed and developing countries alike; among men and women; and even in a sense among children, as child mortality plummeted. Read the rest of this entry »


Too Sweet: Experts suggest cutting sugar intake by half

I normally question official expert recommendations about food consumption, since health expert advice has often been notoriously misguided (the infamous food pyramid, which promoted unhealthy amounts of wheat, grains, carbohydrates, and erroneously demonized fats and oils, for example) but here’s one I’m inclined to agree with. Sugar consumption is something to pay attention to. So much is consumed mindlessly. Compared to our most recent ancestors, the easy abundance of it is problematic. Deducting half is not extreme. A realistic measure that could have proven benefits.

This is something that got my attention a while back: the amount of refined sugar the average American consumed annually in 1900, compared to the amount of sugar consumed per person by the end of the 20th century, is pretty drastic. Though I’m unsure of the exact figure, it’s exploded, multiplied from about one pound per year, per person, to 10-20 pounds per year, per person. How would that affect the health of a population?

From Mail Online:

Touching the limit: A single Mars bar contains five teaspoons of sugar

Touching the limit: A single Mars bar contains five teaspoons of sugar

Adults could be advised to halve the amount of sugar in their diets under new guidelines from the World Health Organisation.

Experts are considering lowering the recommended limit of ten teaspoons a day to just five over fears that it is contributing to heart disease, obesity and tooth decay.

Food companies may have to change their products to lower the sugar content, which would be hugely expensive and could prove unpopular with some consumers.

A single can of cola contains ten teaspoons of sugar, a Mars bar has five, a bowl of Coco Pops has about four and there are eight in some ready meals…

 More – via Mail Online


George W. Bush’s Africa Legacy

Bush_PEPFARFrom July, 2012, Eugene Robinson writes: This is an amazing accomplishment, especially because it wasn’t supposed to be possible.

Before PEPFAR, the conventional wisdom was that the drug-treatment regimens that were saving lives in developed countries would not work in Africa. Poor, uneducated people in communities lacking even the most basic infrastructure could not be expected to take the right pill at the right time every day. When the drugs are taken haphazardly, the virus mutates and becomes resistant. Therefore, this reasoning went, trying to administer antiretroviral treatment in poor African countries might actually be worse than doing nothing at all.

The Bush administration rejected these arguments, which turned out to be categorically wrong.

Africans are every bit as diligent about taking their HIV medications as are Americans or other Westerners. While there has been a “modest, contained and not alarming” rise in resistance to one class of drugs, according to a World Health Organization researcher who presented a study at this week’s AIDS conference, scientists no longer envision a nightmare scenario in which drug-resistant strains of the virus run rampant.

Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong quarantines 19 people over second bird flu case

English: Hong Kong (Aug. 7, 2003) -- Hong Kong...

AFP – Hong Kong on Saturday quarantined an additional 19 people after the city confirmed its second human case of the deadly H7N9 bird flu, less than five days after it confirmed its first, officials said.

The 19 people were close contacts of the second carrier of H7N9 in the city — an 80-year-old Hong Kong man who had been living in the neighbouring mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen.

The man developed a fever and was found to be infected with the virus on Friday after he was admitted to the city’s Tuen Mun hospital on Tuesday due to underlying medical conditions.

“Nineteen close contacts of the patient have been quarantined,” a government statement released late Saturday said.

Out of the 19 quarantined, 13 had stayed in the same cubicle with the elderly man at the city’s Tuen Mun hospital, five were his family members, and one other was the taxi driver who drove him from the border to the hospital, the statement said.

Eighteen of the quarantined patients have tested negative for the deadly virus, while the test results for an “asymptomatic” patient was pending. All 19 will be quarantined for 10 days since their last contact with the carrier.

Officials are still investigating whether or not the 80-year-old patient, who remains in stable condition, had come into contact with poultry on the mainland.

On Monday the city admitted a 36-year-old Indonesian domestic helper who was infected with the virus.

“She has a history of travelling to Shenzhen, buying a chicken, slaughtering and eating the chicken,” Hong Kong health minister Ko Wing-man had said of the patient, who remains in a critical condition.

Health officials said they have not found any links between the two cases.

The government has placed 17 people who had been in close contact with the Indonesian patient under quarantine since Tuesday.

Hong Kong is especially alert to the spread of viruses after an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) swept through the city in 2003, killing 299 people and infecting around 1,800.

In all, 138 human cases of H7N9 have been reported in mainland China since February with 45 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

FRANCE 24


Hong Kong on Bird Flu Alert

Indonesian woman in critical condition after apparently being infected with H7N9 strand during visit to Shenzhen

An airport security personnel takes a body temperature reading of a boy as he arrives at Hong Kong International Airport April 9,2013. Tyrone Siu / Reuters

An airport security personnel takes temperature of a boy as he arrives at Hong Kong International Airport April 9,2013. Tyrone Siu / Reuters

Hong Kong has confirmed its first human case of potentially deadly H7N9 bird flu, and raised its influenza pandemic response level from “alert” to “serious.”

A 36-year-old Indonesian domestic worker was hospitalized with the virus on Nov. 27 after apparently being in contact with live poultry in the nearby Chinese city of Shenzhen last month, reports the Wall Street Journal. She is currently in a critical condition, and those who had been in close contact with her have also been isolated for further observation.

The H7N9 strain of bird flu was first confirmed to have infected humans in March, after Chinese state media blamed the virus for two deaths. Since then, there have been 139 confirmed cases and 45 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, but the number of infections has dropped significantly in recent months.

[WSJ]  TIME.com

Read the rest of this entry »


Was Brittany Murphy Poisoned?

Actress Brittany Murphy died on December 20 at the age 32.

Actress Brittany Murphy died on December 20 at the age 32.

A new toxicology report ordered by the family of actress Brittany Murphy says rat poison may have been the cause of her death.

Murphy’s mother found her dead at home on December 20, 2009 and the Los Angeles Coroner ruled her death was due to pneumonia and anemia.

Strangely, Brittany’s husband Simon Monjack died from the same causes a five months later.

Actress Brittany Murphy (left) and her husband Simon Monjack, both shockingly died from pneumonia five months apart. CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS

Brittany Murphy and her husband Simon Monjack both died from pneumonia five months apart.  CARLO ALLEGRI

But an independent report ordered by her father Angelo Bertolotti found that the actress did not die of natural causes, according  to The Examiner. The report even suggests that Brittany and Simon could have been murdered by a third party.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Kids Know Their Smokes

Nearly nine out of 10 Chinese children aged 5 and 6 can identify at least one cigarette brand, and roughly one out of five say they expect to smoke when they grow up.

Students posed with cigarette models made from waste paper during a campaign ahead of the World No Tobacco Day in Handan, Hebei province, in May.

Students posed with cigarette models during a campaign ahead of the World No Tobacco Day in Handan, Hebei province, in May.

Brittany Hite reports: Those are some of the breathtaking results of a recent study by Johns Hopkins University on the effects of tobacco marketing on children in low- and middle-income countries.

The survey, which questioned 396 children Jialing town in Qi County, Shanxi province, found that 71% of Chinese 5- and 6-year-olds had someone who used tobacco in their household while 86% could identify at least one cigarette brand – higher than survey counterparts in Brazil, India, Nigeria, Pakistan or Russia.

The researchers said they chose Jialing, a small town in China’s northwest, rather than a place like Beijing or Shanghai because they thought it would be representative of what a typical child in China might see. Previous surveys have foundsmoking rates to be higher in the Chinese countryside than they are in cities.

Read the rest of this entry »


10 of Americas Most Dangerous Roads

The United States may not have anything like Bolivia’s “death road,” but for highway deaths per capita, the World Health Organization ranks the U.S. as much more dangerous than most northern European countries at 11 highway deaths per 100,000 population per year—three times the death rate of the U.K. These are some of our deadliest stretches of pavement.

BY PHIL BERG

I-10 in Arizona

Although Interstate 10 runs the entire width of the U.S., the 150-mile stretch from Phoenix to the California border is particularly dangerous, with this section through lightly populated desert seeing up to 85 deaths in a single year, according to the website i10Accidents.com. The entire state death toll in Arizona is only about 700 for all roads in an average year.

MORE via 10 of Americas Most Dangerous Roads.