Category Archives: Science & technology

Scientists now admit many vaccines were made with cells from aborted babies

This is a follow-up on a post I did in 2011, “Aborted Human Fetal Cells in Your Food, Vaccines & Cosmetics.”

After decades of ignoring the issue, scientists finally are acknowledging that many vaccines were made with cells from aborted fetuses babies.

We must ask ourselves about the morality of vaccines — whether the end justifies the means.

When we treat human beings, albeit very small human beings, as things — as mere means to our ends — we’ll soon discover that all human life is cheapened and objectified, including our own.

8-week-aborted-fetus

The dark story of immortality

Michael Cook | MercatorNet | 22 August 2013

After decades of ignoring the issue, Nature, the world’s leading science journal, has finally acknowledged that creating life-saving vaccines from tissue from aborted foetuses is a deeply controversial ethical issue.

In 1964, an American researcher obtained cells from a Swedish foetus aborted because her mother already had enough children. He coaxed them into multiplying into a cell line which he called WI-38. Since they were normal and healthy, they were ideal for creating vaccines. Two years later, scientists in the UK obtained cells from a 14-week male fetus aborted for “psychiatric reasons” from a 27-year-old British woman. This cell line is called MRC-5.

It is undeniable that the vaccines made from WI-38 and MRC-5 cells have saved millions of lives. Scientists have made vaccines against rubella, rabies, adenovirus, polio, measles, chickenpox and shingles, as well as smallpox, chicken pox and hepatitis A.

But protests by opponents of abortion have been largely ignored by the scientific community. If you Google “vaccines” and “abortion”, only Catholic groups, right-to-life organisations and sites warning about the dangers of vaccinations mention the topic. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention barely alludes to it even though it has abundant information on vaccines. A website called Vaccine Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics fails to mention it.

The reason is clear: vaccines save lives and the abortions happened a long time ago. Get over it. Who cares? “At the time [the fetus] was obtained there was no issue in using discarded material. Retrospective ethics is easy but presumptuous,” says Stanley Plotkin, the American scientist who developed the rubella vaccine. “I am fond of saying that rubella vaccine has prevented thousands more abortions than have ever been prevented by Catholic religionists.”

But now even Nature – which supports abortion rights and reproductive technology – has expressed its misgivings. “More than 50 years after the WI-38 cell line was derived from a fetus, science and society [have] still to get to grips with the ethical issues of using human tissue in research,” its editorial declared in June.

What has changed?

If you could single out a reason, it would be the intensely moving 2010 best-seller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. This book has nothing to do with abortion, but it highlights the deep respect, almost sacredness, that the body of a human person must command, even something as insignificant as discarded tissue.

Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman who was 31 when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Cells from her tumour became the first human cells cultured continuously for use in research. HeLa cells have helped to make possible some of the most important medical advances of the past 60 years, including modern vaccines, cancer treatments, and IVF techniques. They are the most widely used human cell lines in existence. More than 300 scientific papers are published every month using HeLa cells.

There is no question about their usefulness – but were they obtained ethically? Is it ethical to continue using them?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks raises disturbing questions which transcend “usefulness”. Henrietta Lacks was poor and black. Her children, it seems, are even poorer. A doctor at Johns Hopkins removed her cells without asking her. He cultivated the cells without informing her. He distributed the cells without asking permission of her family. Companies became rich by using her cells without paying royalties. Her family only learned that their mother’s cells had been scattered around the world in 1973. Their complaints were ignored for many years – after all, they were only poor, uneducated black folks.

No one cared about the woman called Henrietta Lacks who was overdosed with radium, who died leaving five children behind, one of them an epileptic housed in a filthy, chaotic institution called The Hospital for the Negro Insane. Some people even thought that HeLa cells originated with a woman named Helen Lane. Her daughter wrote in a diary, “When that day came, and my mother died, she was Robbed of her cells and John Hopkins Hospital learned of those cells and kept it to themselfs, and gave them to who they wanted and even changed the name to HeLa cell and kept it from us for 20+ years. They say Donated. No No No Robbed Self.”

It was only earlier this year that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) negotiated an agreement with the family. All researchers who use or generate full genomic data from HeLa cells must now include in their publications an acknowledgement and expression of gratitude to the Lacks family.

Incredibly, despite all the publicity, scientists continued to ignore the concerns of the Lacks family. Just a few months ago, German researchers published the first sequence of the full HeLa genome. This compromised not only Henrietta Lacks’s genetic privacy but also her family’s. (The researchers have removed the sequence from public view.)

The story of HeLa cells, in short, is twofold: a story of towering scientific achievement and a story of exploitation by ambitious and callous scientists.

Less famous, but even more important, says Nature, have been WI-38 cells [from an aborted Swedish fetus baby]. HeLa cells multiply prolifically, but they are cancerous. WI-38 cells are healthy and normal and have been used to develop vaccines against rubella, rabies, adenovirus, polio, measles, chickenpox and shingles. Their origin is even more controversial than the dark story of Henrietta Lacks.

In 1962 a Swedish woman who was four months pregnant had a legal abortion because she did not want another child. The lungs of the foetus were removed and sent to Philadelphia. At the Wistar Institute for Anatomy and Biology they were minced up, processed and cultured by Leonard Hayflick. He had been culturing cells from aborted foetuses for years, even though abortion was technically illegal in Pennsylvania at the time, except for medical emergencies.

Leonard Hayflick examines WI-38 cells which were derived from an aborted Swedish girl.

After he successfully multiplied the WI-38 cells, Hayflick created more than 800 batches and distributed them freely around the world to drug companies and researchers. He eventually quarrelled with Wistar authorities because he thought that his contribution was being ignored. Without permission, he took all the remaining batches to California and his new job at Stanford. This led to years of bitter legal battles over who owned the cells. No one worried about where they had come from.

The abortion connection is beyond dispute, although, as Nature points out, “until now, that story has failed to reach the broad audience it deserves.” As in the Henrietta Lacks case, no informed consent was given by the Swedish mother. Her identity is known but she refuses to talk about the case. The doctors involved are all dead. A Swedish medical historian told Nature that in Sweden, “research material like tissues from aborted fetuses were available and used for research without consent or the knowledge of patients for a long time”, both before and after consent rules were tightened later in the 1960s.

The drug companies and institutions which have used WI-38 deny that there are serious ethical concerns either with the use of cells from aborted foetuses or with the lack of consent.

The institution which has examined this issue most closely is the Vatican. In 2005 it released a meticulously researched study of the ethical issues involved in using vaccines which had been developed with tissue from aborted foetuses. Even though it contended that parents could have their children vaccinated with a clear conscience, it did not dismiss the question as irrelevant or absurd. On the contrary, it concluded that “there is a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems.”

And it said that the existing situation was completely unjust. “Parents… are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk. This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.”

What is the way forward?

I am writing from suburban Sydney which long ago lost its connection to the Aboriginal tribes who once lived here. Yet at every civic ceremony we acknowledge the memory of the Cammeraygal and Wallumedegal peoples. It is a form of reparation for the dispossession, disease and death which carried them away, leaving neither names nor descendants.

Doesn’t the story of Henrietta Lacks suggest that drug companies should do something similar with their vaccine products? From now on, the NIH says, scientists who use HeLa cells must include “an acknowledgment and expression of gratitude to the Lacks family for their contributions”.

Why shouldn’t drug companies and researchers who use the WI-38 (or the MRC-5 cells) do the same? “This vaccine was developed with the cells of a Swedish child who was aborted in 1964. We are grateful for her contribution and grieve at her absence.”

H/t California Catholic Daily

To find which vaccines are morally acceptable go to Children Of God For Life.

See also:

~Eowyn

Remarkable cancer cure story using ADULT stem cells

Mattaniah Eytan

Mattaniah Eytan is the founding director of a distinguished law firm in the S. F. Bay Area.

In 2007 when he was 67 years old, much to his surprise because he was feeling well, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells which usually begins in the bone marrow and results in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. These white blood cells are not fully developed and are cancerous, immature white blood cells called lymphoblasts. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising problems, feeling very tired, and an increased risk of infections — which are all due to a lack of normal blood cells. Diagnosis is typically by blood tests or bone marrow biopsy.

He was advised by expert oncologists that there was no cure. In fact, all treatment alternatives were strictly palliative and sometimes worse than the symptoms of the disease.

After extensive review of medical literature and relying on a strong gut feeling, Eytan underwent outpatient allogeneic nonmyeloablative stem cell transplantation (NST) at the International Center for Cell Therapy and Cancer Immunotherapy (CTCI) in Tel Aviv.

Remarkably, the treatment was a complete success, with no remaining evidence of disease and no residual side effects. Eytan has since returned to manage his office and enjoys routine life in California.

This is one example of leukemia treated at an early stage of the disease, where cure was accomplished without a single overnight hospital stay. (While receiving treatment, Eytan stayed in a hotel near the Tel Aviv beach.)

Thankfully, the stem cells used were not fetal stem cells, but adult stem cells donated by Eytan’s brother.

~Eowyn

Russian hackers stole 1+ billion user names and passwords

hacker

Here we go again.

Once again, hackers have stolen our Internet passwords and user names.

This time, it’s a ring of Russian hackers who have stolen more than a billion online user names and passwords, including more than 500 million email addresses. They are believed to be using that data to spam Internet users.

It’s unclear which websites the Russian hackers hit, but with so much stolen data, there’s a chance you may have been affected. If you think you are a victim of this attack here are steps you can take (h/t Los Angeles Times):

1. Change your passwords

  • Go to your most important online accounts (your email, bank, credit card, etc.) and change the passwords.
  • Ideally, your password should consist of lower and uppercase letters, several numbers and no words that can be found in the dictionary.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts.

2. Monitor your debit and credit card activity

Make sure all the purchases listed are ones you made. If they aren’t, you might be a victim of identity theft.

3. If you suspect you’re a victim of identity theft

  • Create an identity theft report: Go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website to create an Identity Theft Affidavit. Use that affidavit to also file a police report.
  • Freeze your credit report: Notify the three credit reporting agencies to put a freeze on your credit report to block anyone, including yourself, from getting more credit using your identity. You’ll still be able to use your credit cards, but you won’t be able to get new ones while the freeze is in effect. To do this, head to the websites of Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You will be charged a fee of up to $5 if you are not a victim of identity theft.
  • Get a copy of your credit report: After freezing your credit report, ask the three credit reporting agencies for a copy of it. You should read the reports to make sure you recognize all of the transactions and accounts listed.
  • Dispute errors: If you find erroneous transactions or accounts, you will have to contact the fraud departments of the credit reporting agencies as well as the businesses involved explaining the error and your situation.
  • For more detailed information on what to do if you are a victim of identity theft, here’s a helpful guide from the FTC.

UPDATE:

My bud Mark S. McGrew, who is way less naive than I am, thinks that this is a hoax, perpetrated to (a) trash Russians; and (b) to scam us by frightening us into purchasing online protection against security breaches.

Lending credence to McGrew are:

  1. The company that supposedly “discovered” this latest hacking is offering an “alert service” to let you know if someone is using your data, for a fee of $120. The MSM obligingly report on this “hacking” to generate business for that company. See

    http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1792.htm.

  2. There has been no — ZERO — reports of any actual breach of online security as a result of this “Russian hacking.”

Whatever is the case, it doesn’t hurt to change your passwords, which we are advised to do regardless of hackers.

~Eowyn

And Today We Bring You The Latest On Kim Jong-Un

Yup, Gonna Nuke The White House he says. And in other news…..

download

Go ahead. I don't care.  :)

Go ahead. I don’t care. :)

Seoul (AFP) – A top-ranking North Korean military official has threatened a nuclear strike on the White House and Pentagon after accusing Washington of raising military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The threat came from Hwang Pyong-So, director of the military’s General Political Bureau, during a speech to a large military rally in Pyongyang Sunday on the anniversary of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Hwang, who holds the rank of vice marshal in the Korean People’s Army, said a recent series of South Korea-US military drills, one of which included the deployment of a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier, had ramped up tensions.

“If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival… our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon — the sources of all evil,” Hwang said in his speech broadcast Monday on state television.

It is not the first time that North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric has included threats of nuclear strikes on the continental United States and US bases in the Pacific.

But most experts believe it is still a long way from developing a viable intercontinental ballistic missile with the required range.

Rest Here!!!

~Steve~

Creation: Crab Nebula

He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
-Psalm 147:4-5

Crab NebulaCrab Nebula (Hubble Space Telescope photograph, 2005)

A supernova is a massive star exploding at the end of its life. The explosion creates spectacular glowing debris fields called supernova remnants.

The Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant and pulsar wind nebula in the constellation of Taurus, part of the Perseus Arm of the  Milky Way galaxy. Located at a distance of about 6,500 light-years from Earth, the nebula has a diameter of 11 light years and expands at a rate of about 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) per second.

First recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054, the Crab Nebula was observed later by English astronomer John Bevis in 1731 and is the first astronomical object identified with a historical supernova explosion.

At the center of the nebula lies the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star 17-19 miles across with a spin rate of 30.2 times per second, which emits pulses of radiation from gamma rays to radio waves.

Crab Nebula supernova remnants

Crab Nebula supernova remnants

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA released four new images of the Crab Nebula supernova remnants. These supernova remnants are very hot and energetic and glow brightly in X-ray light, which allows Chandra to capture them in exquisite detail.

Chandra, one of NASA’s current “Great Observatories,” along with the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, is specially designed to detect X-ray emission from hot and energetic regions of the universe.

On July 23, 1999, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia — the largest satellite ever launched by the shutter. Since its deployment 15 years ago, Chandra has helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe through its unrivaled X-ray vision. Orbiting far above Earth’s X-ray absorbing atmosphere at an altitude up to 139,000 km (86,500 mi) allows for Chandra’s long observations unobscured by Earth’s shadow.

With its superb sensitivity and resolution, Chandra has observed objects ranging from the closest planets and comets to the most distant known quasars. It has imaged the remains of exploded stars, or supernova remnants, observed the region around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and discovered black holes across the universe. Chandra also has made a major advance in the study of dark matter by tracing the separation of dark matter from normal matter in collisions between galaxy clusters. It also is contributing to research on the nature of dark energy.

Source: NASA.gov

For Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/chandra

H/t FOTM’s Igor

~Eowyn

A Can’t Miss .50 Cal Round. Kinda Cool/Scary

What will those folks at DARPA think of next? Watch quick vid, and be amazed.

 ====================================================

Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide

 

The research arm dedicated to creating breakthrough technology for the Pentagon has shared video of a successful test of self-guided bullets.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency conducted a test April 21 with Teledyne Scientific & Imaging. Video posted to YouTube earlier this month shows a round with a ballistic path far from its intended target. As the round makes its way along the errant trajectory it suddenly curves, corrects itself and hits the intended target.

DARPA had a promising prototype for its Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance (EXACTO) .50-caliber bullets in 2012, but the new video confirms that the agency has perfected the technology.

“The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines,” DARPA’s website stated.

The new rounds will make American snipers even more efficient, allowing them to acquire moving targets in any environment. A self-guided bullet makes eliminating a target with one shot more likely, which better safeguards the sniper’s exact location.

~Steve~

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/11/sniper-heaven-pentagons-successful-self-guided-bul/#ixzz37N9F8tkt

U.S. running out of more and more prescription drugs

drug shortages box and pillKatherine Eban, “Drug Shortages: The Scary Reality of a World Without Meds,” Reader’s Digest Magazine, June 2014:

Jennifer LaCognata, 40, a booking agent for United Airlines from Safety Harbor, Florida, first suffered an attack of night blindness in early 2011. It took months to properly diagnose her. She was vitamin A deficient, due to a shortened bowel that made her body unable to absorb fat. The good news: The problem was totally fixable with injections of a basic medicine called Aquasol A, made by Hospira, an American generic drug company.

But bad news quickly followed. LaCognata learned that manufacturing challenges had forced Hospira to stop selling the drug, effectively plunging the entire world into a shortage. Without Aquasol A, LaCognata is going blind. United Airlines placed her on unpaid medical leave because she could no longer look at a computer screen. She is forced to wear an eye patch and can see only kaleidoscopic fragments out of one eye. “My kids call me Pirate now,” she says, “instead of Mom.”

LaCognata and her husband canvassed the world for Aquasol A. They contacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the State Department, and every major eye hospital in America. (They found two vials, but they were expired, so hospitals wouldn’t release them.) The couple wrote and called hospitals and organizations in Israel, China, Canada, and Brazil. LaCognata contacted charities, including the Red Cross and the Helen Keller Foundation, that serve foreign populations prone to vitamin A deficiency, without luck.

A Hospira spokesperson said that the company recognized the “critical need” for Aquasol A and had contracted with a separate manufacturing company to “accelerate the product’s return to market.” But years later, the company has yet to resume its production.

It is listed on Hospira’s website as “out of stock.”

“I can’t believe this could happen in America,” LaCognata says.

A Shocking Epidemic

It seems unfathomable in our high-tech medical system, but in 2007, 154 drugs were in shortage, a number that almost tripled to 456 in 2012, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Threatening medical-care options and patients’ lives, drug shortages have occurred in almost every pharmaceutical category. Antibiotics, cancer drugs, anesthesia, pain control, reproductive and gynecological drugs, cardiac medicine, psychiatric drugs, and intravenous-feeding solutions have all been in varying degrees of short supply or not available at all. Recently, nitroglycerin, an emergency room staple used to treat heart attack patients, has been in such severe scarcity that its sole U.S. manufacturer has restricted hospitals to 40 percent of their usual orders. A study published this March in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings attributed more than 15 documented deaths since 2010 to either lack of treatment or the switch to an inferior drug as a result of medication shortages.

Though the FDA has scrambled to alleviate the crisis and physicians have become deft at juggling or substituting treatments, there is no comprehensive solution to this drug-supply breakdown, which has persisted for a complex array of reasons.

The first is all about money. As generic drug prices have dropped, so have manufacturers’ profits. As a result, some manufacturers have failed to invest in infrastructure and quality control. To ensure safety, the FDA has taken regulatory actions that have halted supplies, with sterile injectable drugs, such as pain meds and chemotherapy, dominating the shortage list. (These are the most complex and costly generics to make.) The business model of just-in-time manufacturing—in which companies make drugs as patients need them but do not stockpile extra—leaves no margin for unexpected events.

Noting that there are no shortages of big profit-generators, like Viagra, many practitioners and patients suspect less-than-honorable motives by drugmakers. Some experts suggest that manufacturers may have financial incentive to temporarily stop production of a drug. Medicare reform imposed certain price controls on generic drugs, but, due to a loophole, these controls are lifted if a manufacturer stops making the drug for six months.

Limited manufacturing capacity is an important factor too. Over half the drugs on the FDA shortage list had only one or two manufacturers, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Some blame hospital buying groups, middlemen that purchase drugs and supplies for many of the nation’s hospitals, which have awarded contracts to some manufacturers and not others, thereby suppressing competition and innovation. The result is that for any given drug, there may be only one or two generic manufacturers left to produce it, which can lead to shortages.

Predatory middlemen are making the situation even worse. A congressional investigation led by Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, has found that shady secondary wholesalers buy up drugs in shortage and resell them, often at exorbitant prices. This explains, in part, the haphazard ebb and flow of the shortages that makes them particularly hard to handle: One day the medicine is just gone, but there’s plenty the next.

But as experts debate the cause of the shortages, there is no disagreement over their devastating impact. They’ve turned pharmacists into professional beggars and have forced doctors to change treatment protocols on the fly—in some cases, turning routine care into a roll of the dice. They’ve stopped clinical trials and have led to the suspension of the death penalty in some states that use lethal injection.

Shortages are leading hospitals and patients to get drugs from less regulated and potentially less safe sources, such as drug compounders, specialty pharmacies that mix medications for individual patients. Some compounding pharmacies, which are not subject to regulation as stringent as that for drug manufacturers, have taken advantage of this and started churning out large volumes of drugs. But this can lead to safety issues. Such dangers became vividly clear in 2012, after contaminated steroids from the New England Compounding Center led to an outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 patients. A 2013 report by the Health and Human Services inspector general found that drug shortages have led 68 percent of U.S. hospitals to turn to compounders to make versions of medicine in short supply.

Patients today have to cope not only with being sick or choosing between treatment options but also with the possibility that the drug they need may be available solely from a risky source—or not at all.drug shortages by yearA Scary Reality for Cancer Patients

Those with life-threatening diseases have been hit hardest by shortages, in part because many of their medications have no substitute and their exacting treatment regimens cannot be delayed.

Justine Zirbes, 33, a TV producer in Minneapolis, was seven months pregnant with twins in October 2010 when she learned that her three-year-old, Axel, had leukemia. The distressing news sent her into early labor, and she was confined to bed.

As her son embarked on grueling chemotherapy for a disease that can often be cured if treated—but is almost certainly fatal if not—Zirbes learned that a national shortage of the chemotherapy drug cytarabine would affect his regimen. Doctors offered a drug called clofarabine, which was not standard treatment. Though still pregnant and on bed rest, Zirbes flatly refused. “How is this possible, in this country in 2011, that these lifesaving drugs are not widely available?” Zirbes recalls. “I was beside myself with disbelief.”

Zirbes was justified in her concern. According to a 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, drug substitutions due to shortages led to higher relapse rates among children with an otherwise curable form of lymphoma.

Like Jennifer LaCognata, Zirbes embarked on a quest to find the right medicine. She contacted her senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who took up the cause with proposed legislation. Zirbes produced two news segments on children affected by drug shortages. She worked every connection she had and looked as far away as Europe to find her son’s drug. Ultimately, the day before Axel was due for treatment, the hospital got enough cytarabine to treat him and another child.

Axel was reasonably lucky. Other patients, like Carey Fitzmaurice of Bethesda, Maryland, almost certainly suffered recurrence of their cancer because of drug shortages.

In 2006, Fitzmaurice, 37, was happily married with two young children and a job she loved as a policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, when she learned that she had ovarian cancer and a BRCA1 genetic mutation that had likely caused it.

Over five years, she bravely underwent debilitating treatment, a recurrence of her ovarian cancer, an additional diagnosis of breast cancer, and a radical mastectomy. In the middle of 2011, things finally seemed to be breaking her way. Her breast cancer was in remission, and a chemotherapy drug called Doxil, made by a contractor for the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen, Inc., appeared to be vanquishing a recurrence of the ovarian cancer. But in August 2011, she learned there was not enough Doxil to complete her treatment.

Fitzmaurice assumed that she would be able to find some on her own. “I work for the federal government,” she says. “A lot of what I do is help people cut through red tape and find solutions. That’s how I tackled cancer to begin with: find out who the right doctor is, where to get surgery.”

But the shortage of Doxil thwarted her every effort. After four months without the medication, her ovarian cancer returned.

In a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 83 percent of oncologists and hematologists said they’ve faced cancer drug shortages, and of those, nearly all said their patients’ treatment had been affected by drug shortages.

At the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, Ryan Forrey, associate director for pharmacy and infusion services, says that in 2012, of the 60,000 doses of chemotherapy administered intravenously at his facility, almost 35 percent were affected by shortages. Treatment was interrupted or canceled, patients were switched to alternative drugs, or an alternative supply for the needed drug had to be found. His overwhelmed staff “was forced to beg, borrow, plead to get drugs for patients,” he says.

Now, whenever a patient begins chemotherapy, Forrey’s hospital sequesters the entire treatment regimen, which can be months of medication, to ensure that it is available. But Forrey is not optimistic that the drug shortages will ease.

“Every time I think it can’t get worse, it does get worse,” he says.

drug shortages five drug classesAre Drug Shortages a New Normal?

Shortages are not limited to drugs for cancer or uncommon diseases. Experts fear that scarcity of the heart attack drug nitroglycerin is endangering patients’ lives. Last spring, the most basic of antibiotics, doxycycline, used for everything from acne to Lyme disease, disappeared from pharmacies. Even intravenous saline solution, a hospital staple, has been in short supply, leading some hospitals to ration their use. In fact, almost every U.S. hospital has faced a lack of basic medicine, found an American Hospital Association survey. Many have even hired a full-time staff person specifically to navigate shortages.

Hospitals have developed complex formulas to help ration existing drug supplies—essentially, to determine which patients get medication and which don’t.

“No doctor wants to prioritize,” says Richard Schilsky, MD, chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “But if you have five patients and only three vials, that’s a very real problem.”

A significant shortage creep is affecting mainstays of reproductive and sexual-health medicine, from anesthetics used in gynecologic surgery to antinausea drugs for pregnancy to antibiotics for sexually transmitted diseases, says Michele Curtis, MD, an ob-gyn in Houston. “I work in the most expensive health-care system in the world, and I am being asked to do it in third world conditions,” she says.

Thirty-seven of the 38 different components used in intravenous nutrition bags have been in fluctuating shortage since spring 2009, which is a serious threat to our country’s youngest and most fragile children. Insufficient zinc, for example, has led to raw blistering sores on the tiny hands of premature infants.

“We have been compromising what we feel is optimal care for close to three years now, and we don’t really see any end in sight,” says Jay M. Mirtallo, immediate past president of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Rolling the Dice

Doctors, patients, and regulators have jury-rigged fixes with their own hazards, using drugs that may have worse side effects or less favorable outcomes or come from unsavory wholesalers or less regulated drugmakers.

The shortages have forced Susan Agrawal, in Chicago, to make difficult decisions as she struggles to keep her nine-year-old daughter, Karuna, alive. Karuna was born with cerebral palsy due to a ruptured umbilical cord. She has since developed an autoimmune disease that causes her organs to fail. She survives by getting her nutrients intravenously and needs bags of liquid nutrition with 14 components, which Agrawal gets from a specialized sterile infusion facility.

Agrawal has had to canvass local pharmacies and drug compounders to find the ingredients that the facility can’t get. In fact, she’s even purchased drug components from a compounding pharmacy that has had repeated run-ins with state regulators for unsanitary conditions. Then she must reconstitute the components, from powder to liquid, at her dining room table, with no guarantee of sterility, and add them to her daughter’s IV bags. “It’s like, ‘Cross your fingers,’ ” she says.

Although Karuna is very sick, the fact that her IV nutrition—which shouldn’t be this complicated—is so fraught may be compromising the quality of life she has left. Agrawal fears that given her daughter’s fragile health and immune system, the shortages “will surely cause her death.”

In a survey of 1,800 health-care practitioners, about 25 percent reported errors due to shortages. Among the 1,000 incidents: a patient who died from an infection that could have been treated had the antibiotic amikacin been available, accidental overdoses of alternative drugs, and prolonged hospitalizations due to side effects from alternative drugs.

A medicine substitution sickened Sharon Brown, who was being treated for stage 2 breast cancer at Ohio State University. She was suffering relatively few side effects from her chemotherapy drug, Taxol, but then in June 2011, her doctors were unable to procure her next dose and switched her to a similar drug, Taxotere.

Two days after her first dose, she suffered a devastating reaction, an uncommon but known side effect: She grew dizzy, broke into a cold sweat, and could not lift her arms over her head. She was so dehydrated that hospital staff could not even draw blood from her veins. For the next two weeks, she needed IV fluids every other day just to treat her dehydration. She was too sick to resume chemotherapy for another month.

Even the FDA has been boxed into a corner. After the cancer drug Doxil became unavailable in late 2011, the FDA made an emergency provision to allow an Indian generic-drug company, Sun Pharma Global, to temporarily export a similar generic drug, Lipodox, which is not approved in the United States. Although patients and doctors applauded the move, Sun Pharma has faced repeated past FDA sanctions for poor quality. (In 2009, U.S. marshals raided its U.S. manufacturing plant and shut down production.)

Patients say that drugmakers have forced them into unacceptable treatment. Sufferers of Fabry disease, a rare life-threatening enzyme disorder that dangerously slows blood supply, have only the drug Fabrazyme, made by the company Genzyme, to treat their disease. But in 2009, Genzyme was forced to shut down its manufacturing plant in Allston, Massachusetts, after a viral contamination was discovered.

As Genzyme entered into a consent decree with the FDA and struggled to open a new plant, it established a rationing program. Patients would be required to take a reduced dose instead of their whole dose. If they refused, they would be given no medicine and placed at the bottom of the waiting list. A spokesperson for Genzyme says the company imposed this condition after it consulted with a working group that included doctors and patient advocates. However, patients say that the FDA did not study the impact of the diminished dose, and—more shocking—the European Medicines Agency, Europe’s main drug regulator, found that a reduced dose accelerated disease in some patients. (Genzyme spokeswoman Lori Gorski says that during the shortage, the FDA did permit patients to take an alternative drug, Replagal, made by Shire.)

In February 2012, a Pittsburgh patent lawyer, Allen Black, PhD, who had worked as a drug developer, filed a lawsuit against the FDA on behalf of patients affected by drug shortages. Those included patients with Fabry disease as well as Jennifer LaCognata, who needs Aquasol A. The lawsuit alleged that by allowing drug companies to stop making a drug, the FDA effectively allows them to make life-or-death decisions for patients. As Black says, “There’s no appeals process. You get denied a drug? Tough.” The FDA’s response offered little comfort to patients expecting help. In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the FDA stated that while it “works with manufacturers to help prevent and mitigate these shortages, the FDA’s authority to address potential and actual drug shortages is limited.” Last November, the court dismissed the case.

For Real Solutions, We Need Big Reform

In July 2012, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which included provisions originally spearheaded by Justine Zirbes’s senator Amy Klobuchar. The law requires that drugmakers give the FDA early notification of any manufacturing issues or business decisions that may lead to shortages. It requires the FDA to expedite inspections and reviews of manufacturing sites that could help resolve shortages.

There is some evidence that the FDA has been successful in holding back the tide. In 2013, the number of new drugs added to the shortage list was far less than the number added in 2012. But in the first quarter of 2014, active shortages remained close to the highest level ever. The situation, which was the subject of a congressional hearing in February, remains “very critical,” says Erin Fox, director of the University of Utah’s drug information service.

Critics say the FDA’s response is mere window dressing that has done little to change underlying problems. “It’s fine to say that the FDA should have six months’ advance notice,” says Dr. Schilsky. But he views the new legislation as “doing nothing to address the root causes” of the problem.

Meanwhile, doctors and patients have little information about when they can expect shortages to be resolved. Despite planning and promises from drugmakers, “many resolution dates are unknown or unmet,” says Ryan Roux, chief pharmacy officer at the Harris County Hospital District in Texas.

Companies aren’t penalized for drug shortages or incentivized to avoid them, experts say. The only real solution, say a number of health-care professionals, is to require drug manufacturers to stockpile medicine and to ensure that more than one drugmaker produces it. “There needs to be a way to obligate multiple manufacturers to make these lifesaving medications,” says Ohio State’s Forrey.

The FDA would have to require that manufacturers change their just-in-time manufacturing model and set aside reserves of lifesaving drugs, which the FDA has claimed is impossible. But one executive at a pharmacy benefit-management company, who asked to remain anonymous, says the FDA could easily mandate this: “Don’t give me this stuff: ‘We can’t tell the drug companies what to do,’” he says. “Yes, you can; you do it all the time.” The FDA, with all its leverage, “could probably solve 90 percent of the problem.”

Some vital industries, such as technology and defense, encourage what is called second sourcing, in which manufacturers may sublease at least one fifth of production to backup companies to avoid supply-chain disruptions in the event of natural or other disasters. Justine Zirbes, who faced the prospect that her son Axel could have died from leukemia without cytarabine, says that manufacturers who “stop making a lifesaving drug” should be subject to criminal prosecution.

In a separate proceeding, Jennifer LaCognata sued Hospira on the grounds that the company failed to plan for contingencies in its shortage of Aquasol A. Last June, Florida’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit. Her lawyer, Allen Black, then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to take the case. LaCognata, whose vision continues to deteriorate and who lost her house in a foreclosure proceeding, says she has to remain strong for her kids. “I have to have a very upbeat attitude,” she says, “or it would just consume [me].”

Just recently, her lawyer was staggered to learn from a friend who works for Doctors Without Borders that a version of the vitamin A drug that LaCognata needs is being manufactured in France, sold under the name Nepalm Vitamin A. But with her financial resources depleted, her doctor reluctant to prescribe it, and her need to get a compassionate-use exemption from the FDA (so the drug can get through customs), LaCognata just has to figure out how to obtain it.

Bill Gates funds contraceptive/abortion microchip that’s remote controlled

Melinda and Bill GatesMelinda & Bill Gates

Bill Gates is the multibillionaire founder of Microsoft, whose net worth is estimated to be a mind-boggling $79.1 billion.

Via his eponymous foundation, Gates is also famous for his philanthropy, a word that the dictionary defines as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.”

One of the funding outlets of his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are vaccines for poor people in the Third World. But a Freudian slip that Gates made in a speech at the 2010 TED conference belies the philanthropic purpose of those vaccines.

In his speech, Gates was on the subject of how to reduce global warming by lowering the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth’s atmosphere. A major way to do that is to reduce the world’s population.

Beginning at the 1:03 mark in the video below, Gates said:

“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a REALLY great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health service, we could lower that by perhaps 10 to 15 percent.”

You heard it. Gates was championing vaccines as a way to lower the world’s population.

Since when do vaccines, which immunize us against diseases, curb reproduction and in so doing reduce the rate of population growth?

Gates’ latest initiative is even more sinister.

Ben Johnson reports for LifeSiteNews, July 8, 2014, that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the development of a contraceptive microchip that can be remotely controlled to release hormones that can act as abortifacients — drugs that induce abortion — into a woman’s body for up to 16 years.

The chip, which measures 20 x 20 x 7 millimeters (0.79 x 0.79 x 0.28 inches), can be implanted under the skin of a woman’s buttocks, upper arm, or abdomen in 30 minutes. The device contains a 16-year reservoir of the drug levonorgestrel, releasing 30 micrograms a day – but the dosage can be altered by remote control, as well.

Gates microchipThe technology was originally intended, and tested, to release osteoporosis medication in elderly women, but Dr. Robert Langer of MIT changed his focus to contraception after a personal discussion with Bill Gates. Gavin Corley, a biomedical engineer, told the BBC the technology could be used to achieve contraceptive targets in the developing world, indicating “a humanitarian application as opposed to satisfying a first-world need.”

The announcement comes as the Gates Foundation is spearheading an international, multi-billion-dollar push for expanding birth control in the developing world, bringing charges from pro-life and political that they are engaged in global population control.

There are at least 4 reasons to object to the Gates contraceptive microchip:

1. The chip isn’t just a contraceptive; it is also an abortifacient

Numerous studies have indicated that levonorgestrel, the hormone used both by this chip and the morning after pill, has a strong anti-implantation effect, meaning it acts in part by preventing a newly-conceived embryo from implanting in the uterus. One study found the hormone only has an “effectiveness rate” of 49% when blocking ovulation alone.

At a minimum, the contraceptive microchip that acts as an abortifacient puts the lie to Melinda Gates’ recent denial that the Gates Foundation “has decided not to fund abortion” as part of its efforts. The Catholic Church is opposed to both artificial contraceptives and abortion; the latter is an “intrinsic,” i.e., non-negotiable, evil. But Melinda professes to be Roman Catholic.

2. The hormones in the microchip can negatively affect women’s health

Fr. Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, warns that “Administration of dangerous hormonal contraceptive drugs, whether through new technologies or traditional oral methods, should not be considered a boon for women’s health, as the serious risks of these drugs are better known every day. Our concerns are only heightened when we see reporters promoting this effort of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation without mention of the harm done to women by other versions of these drugs, as if this only promises good health and empowerment for women. This isn’t reporting; it’s propaganda, and it is especially dangerous given the risks involved.”

3. PRIVACY CONCERNS

Civil libertarians worry about how hackers – and rogue government agencies – could exploit that technology. John Whitehead, a constitutional attorney and founder of The Rutherford Institute, warns: “Whatever that chip transmits will go into a government file. The chip may actually know when you’re having sex. So, there will be no privacy, no.”

4. HackERS

One source of privacy violation is hackers.

A remote-controlled computer chip potentially leaves the patient’s health at the mercy of anyone with sufficient computer skills. Dr. Robert Farra of MIT said the subcutaneous computer chip must be given “secure encryption” so that “someone across the room cannot re-program your implant.” To date, that security has not been developed.

In April, Wired magazine reported on a two-year effort led by Scott Erven that successfully hacked hospitals’ drug-infusion pumps, allowing them to alter the amount of morphine administered to patients; accessed defibrilators, creating unnecessary shocks or preventing life-saving shocks to restart a patient’s heart; refrigeration units that house blood, changing the temperature and potentially allowing the blood supply to spoil; viewed X-rays; and had the ability to change patients’ online medical records.

Another is government. Whitehead extensively researched the extent of government surveillance for his new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.

Whitehead warns about the potential for abuse and violations of the Fourth Amendment: “Here’s what I’ve learned about government – whatever technology we have, theirs is much greater. The FBI is collecting a huge DNA database now.” The Supreme Court upheld widespread DNA collection in its 2013 Maryland v. King decision. “I’m afraid the chip could be activated in some harmful way,” such as a future eugenics program. “It could basically bar certain people from having children.” But instead of protecting citizens’ liberties, “Congress has given us no guidelines” about invasive forms of technology. Whitehead believes that is because Congress is “funded by the same groups that are providing the technology.”

Pre-clinical testing of the new microchip begins next year. Langer’s development team at MicroCHIPS Inc., based in Lexington, Massachusetts, hopes to introduce the product by 2018, pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Fr. Boquet warns, “The Gates Foundation and its partners are likely to continue this assault on women’s health until a sustained world-wide backlash ensues.”

~Eowyn

Epic Fails. And Then Some.

Who needs U-Haul?

Who needs U-Haul?

download (2)

 

Umm, that's not what I had in mind.

Umm, that’s not what I had in mind.

download (9)

Stupid is as stupid does.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Finally a sensible solution.  :)

Finally a sensible solution. :)

With friends like these....

With friends like these….

Ooo, That'll leave a mark.

Ooo, That’ll leave a mark.

Ahh, That was refreshing!

Ahh, That was refreshing!

~Steve~                                       H/T Joseph

http://www.theburningplatform.com/2014/07/05/saturday-fail/

One More Nail In The Coffin Of Global Warming!

OK Friends a few days ago I did a post saying NOAA was busted on Global Warming HERE

There was some controversy surrounding the new data . After a few days many others recreated and verified this data. Well now we have NOAA quietly reinstating July 1936 as the hottest month on record. Umm it was July 2012 but now they have mysteriously changed it to 1936. No notice, no explanation. Further proof that their data sets were fudged all along and now they are busted.

——————————————————————————————-

NOAA Reinstates July 1936 As The Hottest Month On Record

Michael Bastasch                      12:58 PM 06/30/2014

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, criticized for manipulating temperature records to create a warming trend, has now been caught warming the past and cooling the present.

July 2012 became the hottest month on record in the U.S. during a summer that was declared “too hot to handle” by NASA scientists. That summer more than half the country was experiencing drought and wildfires had scorched more than 1.3 million acres of land, according to NASA.

According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in 2012, the “average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the warmest July and all-time warmest month on record for the nation in a period of record that dates back to 1895.”

“The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936, when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F,” NOAA said in 2012.

This statement by NOAA was still available on their website when checked by The Daily Caller News Foundation. But when meteorologist and climate blogger Anthony Watts went to check the NOAA data on Sunday he found that the science agency had quietly reinstated July 1936 as the hottest month on record in the U.S.

“Two years ago during the scorching summer of 2012, July 1936 lost its place on the leaderboard and July 2012 became the hottest month on record in the United States,” Watts wrote. “Now, as if by magic, and according to NOAA’s own data, July 1936 is now the hottest month on record again. The past, present, and future all seems to be ‘adjustable’ in NOAA’s world.”

Watts had data from NOAA’s “Climate at a Glance” plots from 2012, which shows that July 2012 was the hottest month on record at 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit. July 1936 is only at 77.4 degrees Fahrenheit. [Annotations in the graph are from Watts].

noaa_usavg_temps_july_focuson_1936_from_20121

Temperature graph by Anthony Watts at http://wattsupwiththat.com/

Watts ran the same data plot again on Sunday and found that NOAA inserted a new number in for July 1936. The average temperature for July 1936 was made slightly higher than July 2012, meaning, once again, July 1936 is the hottest year on record. [Annotations in the graph are from Watts]

 Rest Of Story Here

~Steve~

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/06/30/noaa-quietly-reinstates-july-1936-as-the-hottest-month-on-record/#ixzz36DfcejCC