Archive | August, 2013

Water Works

31 Aug

Depending upon our age, our body is somewhere between 50% and 75% water and that water is used to perform many functions including:

  • Regulating body temperature
  • Humidifying the air we breathe
  • Helping organs assimilate nutrients
  • Helping organs expel toxins and excess salt
  • Helping to keep blood pressure down, thus reducing the probability of a heart attack


It’s no wonder that the attention to water quality has been such a concern lately.

In the Environmental Working Group’s Water Treatment Contaminants: FORGOTTEN TOXICS IN AMERICAN WATER report from February of this year, “studies have shown that there are more than 600 unwanted chemicals created by the interaction of water treatment disinfectants and pollutants in source water.” This study was released along with another report which focused on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the drinking water along the East Coast. That report goes into great detail about potential cancer causing effects of trihalomethanes in drinking water supplies.

Bottled water may be a good source for water, but it presents a whole set of other issues on the environment due to the use of plastics.

That leaves home purification systems as a solution. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service offers a good guide explaining the available home solutions and their relative benefits for quality water.

It remains important to stay focused on your source of water to insure your personal health.

Running Out Of New Drugs to Take

28 Aug

In 2012, the US employed around 650,000 people whose total costs were an average of $74,615 to research and develop new drugs. The average cost to develop a new drug is now over $1.2B, if you include the ones that don’t make it to market.


There are fewer and fewer success stories in the development of marketable drugs though. This is driving up the cost of drug development, and consolidating the industry. As Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), and Merck (NYSE: MRK) have lucrative patents that are going to expire, other companies like AstraZeneca and Amgen are buying up small companies to fill their developmental shortfalls.

The reality is there are fewer drugs being found that perform better than ones already in existence for most medical ailments. Perhaps a clear example of this is in the area of psychiatric medication.

“…. antidepressants, antipsychotics, hypnotic medications and the like…… each … is filled with “me too” drugs, which are essentially just copies of one another; we have six S.S.R.I. antidepressants that essentially do the same thing, and likewise for the 10 new atypical antipsychotic drugs.”

“After a series of failed clinical trials in which novel antidepressants and antipsychotics did little or no better than placebos, the companies seem to have concluded that developing new psychiatric drugs is too risky and too expensive”

In the case of psychiatric medication, there are those that argue that these are hugely over prescribed as well. And along that line, there’s a site called the ADHD University, suggesting that there’s a place for higher education where the only subject studied is how to diagnose patients as ADHD. This site does come with a warning though, it is for “US Healthcare Professionals Only.”

It was also suggested in Richard Freidman’s New York Times article that an effective psychiatric medication could be found in Ketamine. That’s not hard to understand as Ketamine was developed to replace PCP, commonly known on the streets as “angel dust”, an effective hallucinogen.

We are running out of new drugs to take.

Let The Football Games Begin

26 Aug

The boxing industry faced criticism for the obvious physical damage done to its boxers. Now it’s time for the NFL to admit to what many see is an obvious danger to the sport’s players.

The PBS program Frontline has been working on a show called “League of Denial” on the effects of football on brain concussions. Last week, ESPN was forced to withdraw from contributing to the show’s production due to pressure from the NFL itself.

The boxing industry survived, as will the NFL. This recent strong arming of ESPN does not help the NFL’s cause. It is unfortunate they brought even more attention to their denial by attempting to block the story from ESPN’s perspective.

We should expect to see some changes in the way the game is played as well as the way in which the players are compensated, but it’s unlikely that this American sport is going to lose any viewership.

Jimmy Carter and George Orwell

22 Aug

What do Jimmy Carter and George Orwell have in common? On Tuesday of this week, Carter said that the “US does not….. have a functioning democracy.” Taken from a recent book, George Orwell: A Life In Letters by Peter Davison, Orwell said in 1944, in the US, there is a “general indifference to the decay of democracy.” What was seen in 1944 by George Orwell as simply a decay of democracy has reached its fruition as no longer functioning per Jimmy Carter.


Other signs of collapsed democracies or Orwellian societies can be seen in:

Tamiflu Testing – Publication Bias

20 Aug

Billions of dollars of Tamiflu had been stockpiled for the H1N1 2009 potential flu pandemic. The problem is that publication bias, like most “evidence based medicine” studies today, affected the Tamiflu test results. An explanation of the data so far disclosed, can be found here.

Ben Goldacre is a concerned doctor who prescribes drugs to treat his patients. He relies on his training and due diligence to research and study the efficacy of his prescriptions to establish confidence in his treatment programs. While uncovering information pertinent to one of his patients, he discovered some interesting information about how test results get published. Ben can be seen on TED discussing his research on the subject.


Ben points out that positive, or favorable test results are twice as likely to be published as unfavorable test results. “Unflattering” test results go unpublished. The bias is so well documented that it puts evidence based medicine at risk.

In the case of Tamiflu, you may ask, how effective is it? Well, as Roche refuses to release the data on its complete testing it is hard to say. An organization in the UK, called BMJ, maintains a website on the Tamiflu data where the following updates are found:

The (their) bottom line:

Perhaps it was decided to release a (possible) treatment for a (possible) H1N1 Flu pandemic than to have no prescription to offer at all. Many of the “stockpiles” of Tamiflu (2007-2009) expired on June 23, 2010.

The 2012-2013 Flu season recommendations can be found here, where it lists the schedule and dosages of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to treat all age groups.

Drop in Dow Industrials Perspective August 15, 2013

16 Aug

The Dow (DJI) dropped today by 225.47, or 1.47%. It is currently up 12.67% for the year. Below is a chart of the DJI on a daily basis for the year.

Consider your timeframe whenever entering a position. Below is the DJI on a weekly timeframe.

Looking at a weekly chart, no action being taken (always) is an option. Entering or adding to positions is also a consideration, as the averages have simply dropped to intermediate moving averages. An exit plan would be appropriate for any additional entries in the event the market continues down.

Also, depending upon your perspective, on both a weekly and a daily timeframe these charts suggest that the market is more likely to go down than up. Re-entering the market when the DJI returns to the slower moving average is perhaps a better bet.

Contact your broker or financial advisor for any decision you may choose to make.

God Bless The Queen!

Biotech Seed Companies and Coca-Cola Fight Back

14 Aug

Both the soft drink industry and the GMO seed producers are laying exposed their vulnerabilities in an attempt to convince the consumer of their product benefits.

Coca-Cola is going to begin advertising their diet colas using the scientific evidence that shows that Aspartame (NutraSweet) is safe while the biotech seed companies launched a website to tout the virtues of genetically modified organisms. In both cases, the move is in response to consumers becoming more informed about the effects of messing with Mother Nature.



The Coca-Cola article just happened to occur one day before Utah researchers came out with a conclusion that what is considered a “safe” level of sugar consumption in humans, when fed to mice, had a dramatic negative affect on their health. Coca-Cola was not preparing in advance of this release, more so, was responding to the decrease in sales of sodas. Likewise, the GMO producers were responding to negative public perception and their total failure to convince the Europeans to continue to use GMO products. The seed and chemical companies are desperate to maintain their position within the US Agriculture Community.

In each case, the industry is laying exposed their greatest vulnerabilities, which are directly tied to consumer awareness. At this point in time, they have no other choice. As for the consumer, the consumer always has an alternate choice. We will see how successful these industry campaigns are in garnering customer loyalty, or not. With what many call the failure of Microsoft’s RT products recently, it is clear it takes more than multi-million-dollar ad campaigns to sell products. The products more and more need to offer real value and stand up to the scrutiny of an ever increasingly informed public.