Archive | September, 2013

ObamaCare Impact on US Healthcare

30 Sep

It is clear that the intention of The Affordable Healthcare Act, for better or worse, is to bring healthcare services to more Americans. It is done through engaging more Americans into the healthcare system through the use of insurance companies and “exchanges“. It will be considered a success if everyone in the US has access to healthcare services. The AHA does not directly address the cost of that healthcare, nor the quality.

Given the direction that the US has taken (by choice), we can expect to see further increases in the cost of healthcare and no progress in terms of improving the quality of health, unless each individual takes responsibility for their own health. That personal responsibility, of course, is not a part of the AHA/ ObamaCare Program.

It would have been nice to see the US look at other countries’ healthcare programs and learn from them. The healthcare providers in the US are the best qualified to determine the treatment and healthcare to individuals, and should be empowered to do their job without the intervention of some “intermediary”.

Other countries in the world, with much more efficient healthcare delivery systems were not used as “best case comparisons”.

    “the world’s richest country spends more of its money on health care while getting less than almost every other nation in return.”

There are flaws in the existing AHA that need to be addressed. Hopefully there will be improvements made during the implementation process. Meanwhile, for your best health outcomes, a little individual responsibility goes a long way.


Nutrient Depletion in Soil and Crops

27 Sep

A recently proposed Ohio Senate bill seeks to curb runoff of fertilizers from farmland.

The proposed bill is designed to stop the spread of a toxic blue-green algae bloom in Lake Erie, which scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) predict to be significant this summer. Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, grow thick after feeding phosphorus in fertilizers, and manure that runoff into nearby streams that feed into Lake Erie.”

Also pointed out in this article is:

    “Healthy soil structure also allows plants to establish vibrant root systems that resist erosion.”

The impact of industrial food production in America is showing up in many ways. The well-known methods of crop rotation, natural decay of insects, and the use of cow manure have been replaced with the heavy use of fertilizers and insecticides. The result is that there is more chemical runoff, a reduction in the nutrient value of food that we eat, and a depletion of the nutrient content in the soil itself.

Instead of legislation, farmers should move toward a more organic method of production that does not rely so heavily on the use of chemicals.

Also important to recognize is that as the nutritional value of foods that we eat has been eroded with the soil, the use of vitamin supplements becomes that much more important. A healthy diet is still important, but the addition of the supplements compensates for what is lacking in many foods.

“They can plug nutrition gaps in your diet, but it is short-sighted to think your vitamin or mineral is the ticket to good health — the big power is on the plate, not in a pill,”

Thalidomide and Angiogenesis

26 Sep

Once prescribed for morning sickness, Thalidomide accounted for many birth defects and deaths in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s. The (now) well-known negative impact of Thalidomide on the process of angiogenesis was in effect stunting the growth of fetuses.

It is, though, well-known that angiogenesis is what feeds cancer cells. A history of Thalidomide can be found here.


Blood vessel formation. Tumor angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. This process is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor and by host cells near the tumor.

The National Institute of Health shows that Thalidomide is an inhibitor of angiogenesis. Thalidomide has some side effects beyond the obvious birth defect issue.

Thalidomide patent is still current, and the “Methods for delivering a drug to a patient while preventing the exposure of a fetus or other contraindicated individual to the drug” are clear.

Thalidomide as a treatment for cancer is being studied.

There exists an Angiogenesis Foundation which promotes a diet which does not contribute to angiogenesis. It is also in pursuit of effective drug treatments for cancer.

A Part of the Incarceration Industry in America

23 Sep

One of the more successful businesses in the US, the private prison system is alive and well. This is due in no small part to the close relationship between the government and this private industry group. First let’s start with an image of how many countries in the world have a higher incarceration rate than the “Land of the Free”:

That’s right. The US is the world’s leader in incarceration. The next closest incarceration rate to any country that is not an island nation is Rwanda.

In another measurable in the incarceration world, the US is the only country in the world that incarcerates children for life. You can find an image of all the countries that condemn children to die in prison here.

In order to further the success of this business, below is a graphic of the location of prisons where state governments are committed to finding enough offenders to fill 90% of the available beds:

And in California, the state is working toward not releasing nonviolent drug offenders despite a federal court order. Instead, they are discussing a new alignment between the state’s prison guard union and the private prison corporations that would expand the current incarceration levels.

Also of note, although blacks in the US only make up 30% of the population, they make up 60% of the prison population. A graph of the African-American population in the US has a relationship to the incarceration map above.

This sure looks like a strange form of capitalism, where business failure is not an option. You can find out more about how to invest in this growing business at CCA’s investor page.

Iron Supplements Are GRAS

20 Sep

Iron is considered to be GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA. The FDA has a list of ingredients that are considered to be GRAS, and that list of 373 can be found here.

What does it take to get on the GRAS list?

“… convene a meeting of scientists ….. (paid by the company)… to sit in a room and declare a substance is GRAS.”

Iron appears on this list 10 times in various forms. There is indication that there is some concern about iron enrichment in cereal from : “Iron – Report on Clinical Research Protocols to Elucidate The Possible Hazards of Increased Iron Enrichment of Cereal Products”. There is also a YouTube demonstration of how one can find iron in cereal here.

Iron builds up in the body and can cause Hemochromatosis.

Too much iron is toxic to your body. It can poison your organs and cause organ failure. In hemochromatosis, iron can build up in most of your body’s organs, but especially in the liver, heart, and pancreas.”

The National Institute for Health assigns blame to one’s genetic trait to absorb too much iron from food sources. It does not address the fact that iron is an additive not necessary in a normal diet.

Primary hemochromatosis is caused by a defect in the genes that control how much iron you absorb from food. ”

There is no doubt that we all need iron. A deficiency can cause death, while an excess can cause organ failure. What is important is that there are plenty of natural sources of iron, and there is no need to consume any iron additives when you have a healthy diet. You may want to check your vitamin supplement for this unnecessary ingredient.

Antibiotics Are Losing Their Effectiveness

18 Sep

The CDC officially acknowledged that antibiotics will soon become ineffective.

Centers for Disease Control warned that America is threatened by a wave of new antibiotic-proof germs that could threaten public health”

The cause of this problem is due to the over-use of prescribed antibiotics as well as the over-use of antibiotics in industrial agriculture.

There is and has been a concept known as Wait-And-See Prescriptions (WASP) for some time. The specific reason WASP has been used in countries like Sweden, is to reduce the likelihood of antibiotics losing their potency or effectiveness.

Perhaps it is time to initiate a WASP/ Wait-And-See Prescription program in the US.

Monsanto’s Activities This Week

17 Sep

If you were looking for the latest news on genetically modified seeds, Monsanto did not disappoint this week.

First of all, The Daily Show decided that their target audience might enjoy a little Monsanto enlightenment, which you can find here. Aasif Mandvi learns that greedy farmers have threatened the livelihood of Monsanto’s heroic patent attorneys.

Then there was the quiet passing of an extension to the “The Monsanto Protection Act” last Tuesday, as part of a budget rider that:

“shields biotech behemoths like Monsanto, Cargill and others from the threat of lawsuits and bars federal courts from intervening to force an end to the sale of a GMO (genetically-modified organism) even if the genetically-engineered product causes damaging health effects.”

Next there was the acknowledgement by Washington State agriculture officials that traits of low level genetically modified seeds were found in a farmer’s alfalfa crop, preventing him from exporting his crop. Of note is that if traces of genetically modified plants are found in farmer’s (non GM) fields from contamination, Monsanto sues the farmer for all he’s got. But when such contamination stops a farmer from selling his crop, Monsanto brings up the “conspiracy theory” argument that somebody else was responsible.

And lastly it’s of interest that Monsanto contributed $4.6M to defeat passage of a genetically modified labeling bill in Washington State, making the total dollar contributions against passage 3 times greater than contributions for passage of such a bill.

It seems that a lot of folks in the US are starting to take the threat of genetically modified crops seriously.

The World of Plants

15 Sep

A good video on the position plants take in affecting our health can now be found in The Numen Film. The “Healing Power of Plants” is what 80% of the humans on this planet use routinely when faced with health problems. While the US ranks #38 in the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked health systems, it ranks #1 in cost.

In a previous blog, I discussed The Flexner Report. “Flexner sounded the death knell for the for-profit proprietary medical schools in America.” The Flexner report was the death knell for homeopathy in the US, yet a report from the Milken Institute in 2007 shows what the financial differential is between a more homeopathic solution (avoidable treatment costs) and the actual costs (Output losses).

The negative impact of processed foods, environmental chemicals, and genetically modified foods on our health cannot be overstated. The Numen Film brings together several experts on the subject highlighting the reality that over the history of humanity, plants have always been and will continue to define our health.

Do We Really Need To Buy Chicken Nuggets from China?

11 Sep

In an article this week, The US Department of Agriculture “quietly” announced ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The US food industry can now import chicken nuggets without the need to state the country of origin. The four initial plants approved for shipments to the US can (for now) only ship product made from birds imported from the United States, or Canada.

To me, this is egregious in many ways. For starters there is the concern for the quality of the product. There must have been a reason in the first place that these imports were banned. And, of course, the implications are that birds raised in China will be next in line for the nugget machines. Are we to assume that the Chinese birds are of the same quality level acceptable by the US Department of Agriculture?

Beyond the potential quality issues is just the simple fact that the creation of chicken nuggets is highly automated. Is it to be believed that the labor costs in China are so low that a fully automated process in China can be so much more cost effective that it can absorb the transportation costs to and from China for these chickens? Or is it that Chinese chickens are what are so inexpensive? The plan may be for this initial approval (and lack of country or origin label) to allow for the US consumer to experience a “transparent” transition from American chicken nuggets to Chinese chicken nuggets.

There is a company in China, sometimes referred to as the eBay of China, with sales in excess of Amazon and eBay combined. Known as The Alibaba Group (, it is a business to business entity where anybody can buy pretty much anything. In the case of automated chicken nugget making machines, offers quite a selection.

I suggest that it would be cheaper to buy these machines and use them in the US to process domestic chickens. Was there some other reason, beyond cost that motivated the Agriculture Department to approve these imports?

Now back to the original question: “Do we really need to be buying chicken nuggets from China?”

Corn – The #1 Subsidized Crop in America

10 Sep

A naturally occurring source of high protein is now a nutritionally deficient, inedible, bio-engineered product for commercial use only. The genetically modified corn in the US is used to produce ethanol (40%), high fructose corn syrup, and animal feed. The animal feed is primarily used as feed for cattle (to generate protein) who cannot survive on such a diet without the use of antibiotics. The high fructose corn syrup is used as a food additive in breadscereals, breakfast barslunch meatsyogurtssoft drinkssoups, and condiments. In King Corn, two college students followed the progress of field corn they raised on an Iowa farm from the field to the table.

The transition from simple farming in the 1950’s to the industrial production today did not occur overnight. Any changes will take time to implement. It is clear that America has been sold, and is buying cheap food. The consequence of cheap food is exhibited in the increased rates of obesity and diabetes. Below are two studies on the effects genetically modified corn on laboratory rats. (USA leads the world in biotech crops with approximately a 90% adoption rate across all biotech crops. – ISAAA Publication)

Three different genetically modified corns were used to compare their effects of on mammalian health” :

“Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs…. Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.”

Excerpted from “Long-term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize“:

This is the first long-term peer reviewed toxicity study into the health impact of a GM tolerant maize crop and the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup. The research shows that consuming even relatively low levels of the commercial NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize or of the herbicide, Roundup, can result in greatly increased levels of mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and premature death in laboratory rats.

Between the genetically modified corn seeds through the commercialization of the product itself a fresh look at corn is in order.