Dr Nicholas Gonzalez, Vermont Food Fight Fund, fast-food, save the bees, breastfeeding, malaria vaccine, and fracking
A tribute to Dr Nick Gonzalez, medical clinician and integrative oncologist
At the end of last week, news broke that on Tuesday, 21st July 2015, another visionary medical clinician died. Prominent alternative cancer doctor, Dr Nicholas Gonzalez, unexpectedly passed away due to possible cardiac problems, after a sudden collapse. Reports say that he appeared to be in excellent health prior to this and his sudden passing has come as a huge shock to everyone close to him. Dr Gonzalez is renowned for saving the lives of many terminally-ill, stage 4 cancer patients, many of whom have gone on to thrive under his care for years beyond their original ‘death sentence’. Dr Gonzalez’ untimely death is an unthinkable loss for many. Dr Kelly Brogan, lucky enough to work with him for much of 2015 has written an eloquent, fitting tribute to celebrate the life of this courageous, clinical genius.
Rocker Neil Young supports the Vermont Food Fight Fund
“I’m just a rock and roller who believes people should know what they’re eating.” These were Neil Young’s words during a backstage press conference in Essex Junction, Vermont just before he took to the stage to perform. The rocker has joined forces with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, and wants to “raise money for the Vermont food fight so [they] can beat Monsanto, beat the big corporations.” The performance included long-time favorites and songs from his latest album The Monsanto Years. Young has also donated $100,000 of ticket sales to the Vermont Food Fight Fund. He has been a long time proponent of GMO labelling and believes Monsanto and other corporations are choosing profit over people. Gov. Shumlin said, “This food fight is so critically important because if we win in Vermont, we’ll win in America. This is a very simple concept. Vermonters and Americans should join the 36 other countries in letting consumers know what’s in their food.”
Photographer depicts Australia’s fast-food burden
Warwick Thornton, an Australian photographer and film maker, has created a new series of shots of children in ‘fast-fast suicide vests’. The series, The Future is Unforgiving, is intended to send out a blunt message about the health issues facing the next generation of Indigenous kids in Australia: that overconsumption of fast food and alcohol is a ticking time bomb for them. The exhibition is on display at the Anna Schwartz Gallery in Melbourne, and Schwartz comments, “It is uncomfortable, because we are all agents in that future.” Following data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare earlier this year, National Heart Foundation’s Vicki Wade, said, “Our communities are forever in mourning for the lives of our young people lost to diseases that can and should be prevented.” These diseases being cardiovascular disease, infant and congenital conditions, gastrointestinal diseases, cancer and diabetes – are largely preventable through diet and other lifestyle factors such as alcohol and tobacco. Thornton says he doesn’t have the answers to tackling the abundance of junk foods, “That’s for the experts,” he says.
The fight to save the bees continues
As the UK suspends its ban on the use of pesticides that have been linked to serious harm in bees, the German Beekeepers Association (DIB), which represents almost 100,000 beekeepers, have called for a nationwide ban on GMO cultivation. This German call is due to the pesticides and insecticides used to treat the GM crops, and their role in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Many German pro-GM advocates are angry about the new law, calling it “unfounded,” and stating that it “lacks scientific justification,” while UK opponents have described the decision on the ban as “scandalous” and have criticised the government’s secrecy. German Beekeepers are hoping that the Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt (CSU) will soon administer a nationwide ban. Because “bees know no borders”, even if one state banned GM crops, cross-contamination from crops of a nearby state could still occur, and beekeepers think this is “environmentally and agriculturally unacceptable.” Meanwhile the National Farmers Union believe the late decision on lifting the UK ban means that many farmers wont be able to “take advantage” of the suspension. Not such a bad thing, we say…. Sign this petition asking environment secretary, Elizabeth Truss, to reverse this dangerous decision.
CDC advises to hold off breastfeeding as it inhibits vaccines
The latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that new mothers should hold off on breastfeeding their babies as breast milk inhibits the efficacy of live oral rotavirus vaccines. In effect, by demonstrating that breast milk counters the live vaccine, the 10 researchers have shown that breast milk counters the virus. Unsurprising because breast milk contains a number of immune-boosting nutrients and co-factors. Of more concern, despite this evidence, is that new mothers are not being encouraged to breast feed, instead the CDC is urging the opposite in favour of vaccines! Breast milk’s immune-boosting effects have been labelled by the researchers as a “negative effect”, with strategies advised to overcome the problem. Women would be right to question the motives behind this new paper before blindly following the advice. As always, follow the money trail!
Malaria vaccine given the green light
European regulators have given malaria vaccine, RTS,S or Mosquirix, the go ahead for use in babies in Africa. The vaccine was developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, and was part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The World Health Organisation (WHO) will now assess it. GSK scientist, Joe Cohen, said “I have absolutely no reservations in terms of rolling this vaccine out… It will have an enormously significant public health impact.” GSK's chief executive, Andrew Witty, said that the vaccine will be used alongside interventions currently available such as bed nets and insecticides.
Fracking increases hospitalisation rates
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University have found that, “people who live in areas near hydraulic fracturing are more likely to be hospitalized for heart conditions, neurological illnesses and cancer.” The study, published in PLOS ONE, concludes that “larger numbers of active hydraulic fracturing wells would increase inpatient prevalence rates over time due in part to increases in potential toxicant exposure and stress responses in residents evoked by increases in the hydraulic fracturing work force and diesel engine use.” The researchers looked at hospitalisation rates in parts of Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2011 and not only were they significantly higher in areas with fracking, but also showed higher rates of hospitalisation for neurological illness, skin conditions and cancer. However the energy industry and fracking supporters say the fears of pollution and health risks are overblown, and that the technology can be used safely.