Monthly Archives: February 2007

Childhood Trauma and Adult Disease – The Link

Many of us in the healing arts know that trauma suffered while a child, like beatings and molestation can have ramifications down the road. What this study done by researchers at King’s College in London shows is a real definitive link between childhood trauma and adult diseases like heart disease.

What these researchers found was people who were physically or sexually abused, or physically rejected by their mothers at a young age had significantly higher levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein in their blood. What Dr. Andrea Danese said was “Inflammation is a natural response to physical trauma such as cutting yourself or getting an infection, but psychological stress can also trigger inflammation, because stress is really the anticipation of pain.” What constant stress seems to do is inhibit a child’s ability to produce the hormone glucocorticoid which helps the body turn off the inflammatory response.

As Andrew Steptoe noted about the study: “They have elegantly connected childhood stress to a real adult risk of disease.”

Statins and Telomere’s – A Study Worth Listening To

As many of my readers may know by now, I am not the biggest fan of statin drugs, especially in light of the excellent book by Dr. John Abramson, Overdo$ed America . But I must admit there is some data showing benefits of taking this drug in some cases. Now, researchers may have found a key indicator which can target the drug use to the right people and not just trying it on everyone.

Published in the January 13, 2007 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet , authors Brouilette, Moore, and McMahon, et al, report that middle aged men with shorter telomere lengths benefit the most from statin treatment. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomal DNA. While not fully understood, these strands seemingly are involved in the maintenance of cellular stability. As they get shorter, your cellular biologic clock winds down and your cells begin to die.

Basically the authors propose that testing for leukocyte telomere length is advisable given the data they uncovered. I would not oppose such an idea but I’m sure the harmaceutical (spelling is intentional) industry would object because it might lower the number of users and cut back on their ridiculous profit margins.

One side note; wouldn’t it be smarter and more logical to lead a healthier life in the first place, taking adequate supplements, especially omega-3 fatty acids, b-complex nutrients and other life enriching compounds that to wait until you need artificial drugs to prop up an unhealthy body?

Fight on the Hill – Will Big Pharma Get the Tide Turned on Them

Ever since the Republican’s have had control over the House and Senate, as well as the White House, Big Pharma has received a lot of benefits, which in my opinion have been undeserved and unwarranted. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 was a gift to the industry to the tune of more than $8 billion dollars of additional profit according to the January 13, 2007 issue of The Lancet . Since the top ten harmaceutical companies half-year profits in 2006 were a staggering $38 billion, this seems utterly ridiculous.

This opinion piece is not meant to bash a political party. Lord knows they both deserve bashing. What I do have a gripe with is how the Republicans have unabashedly pandered themselves to Big Pharma’s deep pockets. That party received more than 2/3rd’s of the industry’s campaign contributions annually. They spent more than $800 million lobbying Congress and the rest of the Federal government agencies since 1998.

Well, you might ask, they have been creating a bunch of life saving drugs with all the research they’ve been doing, right? Poppycock I say. According to the General Accounting Office, their R & D spending went up by 147% from 1993 to 2004 but new-drug applications only went up 38% in that time frame. Not only that, but the number has been dropping since 1996. If you call Viagra, Cialis and Levitra life saving drugs, well maybe I’m wrong.

In reality, in 2007, there are relatively few new drugs in the pipeline. the industry is in legal battles because of their patent dishonesty when it came to potential side-effects of their drugs (Vioxx, Zypreza to name a few).

The Democrats have already begun the introduction of bills requiring Medicare drug price negotiation, something the Republican backed bill of 2003 forbade. Other bills such as increasing the availability of generics, importation of cheaper drugs from Canada and improved after approval monitoring of existing drugs seem to be on their way. While my faith in politicians is similar to my faith in dinosaurs suddenly appearing at my two young daughter’s elementary school, I do hope a change of climate in Washington D.C. will begin to pull back bad policy decisions made over the past 13 years.