Proton beam therapy – a new pioneering cancer treatment?

Proton beam therapy has hit the headlines again in the UK. But instead of being associated with desperate parents running from the NHS to save their offspring from the fate of whole brain radiation, it’s being heralded as a revolutionary, new pioneering cancer treatment. One can only imagine how Sally Roberts, Leon Roberts’ mother, is feeling reading these new headlines. Sally was portrayed in 2013 as, “An ignorant, perhaps self obsessed women determined to press unscientific ‘quackery’ on her suffering child”, while fighting for Leon to receive this much less invasive therapy than the whole brain radiation that he was since forced to undergo. As construction begins on the UK’s first proton beam therapy centre in Northumberland, slated to open by the end of 2017, the therapy is now completely de-rigeur, no longer the territory of quackery. Proton beam therapy involves the use of Protons instead of X-rays which causes much less damage to surrounding tissues and has fewer side effects, like permanent brain damage. Proton beam therapy, used on young Asher King after his parents absconded to Europe, is now being publicly praised after he was given the all-clear. However reports fail to mention the previous proclamations made by the media claiming Brett and Naghemeh King put Asher’s life in danger when they ‘kidnapped’ him. Not to mention the authorities throwing them in jail, all because they were desperate to win their fight to seek the treatment in the Czech Republic and avoid the fate of Neon Roberts. This complete aboutface leaves a particularly foul taste in one’s mouth. The needless suffering and permanent adverse effects of whole brain radiation that have been forced on British children denied the opportunity to have proton beam therapy in another EU country is downright criminal.

American College of Pediatricians announce concerns over HPV vaccine

The American College of Paediatricians (ACP) has released a statement on its website stating that the four-strain human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV4), Gardasil "could possibly be associated with the very rare but serious condition of premature ovarian failure (POF), also known as premature menopause”. The statement reveals knowledge of two recent case report series, documenting that “post-menarcheal adolescent girls developed laboratory documented POF within weeks to several years of receiving Gardasil”. The authors highlight that ‘long-term ovarian function’ was not assessed in any of the vaccine safety studies or trials. They stress that most primary care physicians are likely unaware of such an association and may not report cases of POF, or prolonged amenorrhea to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Since 2006, “there have been about 213 VAERS reports... involving amenorrhea, POF or premature menopause, 88% of which have been associated with Gardasil”. The ACP specifically states that “a causal relationship between human papillomavirus vaccines (if not Gardasil® specifically) and ovarian dysfunction cannot be ruled out at this time” and that these concerns should be addressed. ACP’s statement was posted “so that individuals considering the use of human papillomavirus vaccines could be made aware of these concerns pending further action by the regulatory agencies and manufacturers… this information should be public knowledge for physicians and patients considering these vaccines”. How long before such warnings are issued in Europe, Australia and elsewhere, we wonder?

Statins cause heart attacks — and more!

A new study, just released, revealing the dangers of statin use has caused significant controversy. Supporters of the drug say that, “They save lives by lowering cholesterol and UK health regulators say they are safe”. However, Professor Sir Rory Collins of Oxford university warns that statins could in fact, “Cause very large numbers of unnecessary deaths from heart attacks and stroke”. Many patients and practitioners alike feel that the side affects (skeletal weakness and muscle pain, far outweigh the meagre ‘benefits’. Lead author Dr Harumi Okuyama describes extensive and compelling evidence that statins are actually to blame for accelerating the hardening of arteries, which causes heart failure, and does not protect the heart as they are ‘supposed’ to do. Other studies also found that patients on statins are more likely to have deposits of calcium in their arteries which is a condition that can be directly linked to heart attacks. This occurs because the statins actually block the molecule that is needed for the body to produce vitamin K, a vital vitamin in the prevention of calcification of the arteries. Dr Okayama’s team, “… propose that current statin treatment guidelines be critically re-evaluated”. Dr Peter Langsjoen of Texas agrees with them, adding that, “These drugs should never have been approved for use. The long term effects are devastating”. For those interested in misuse and abuse of one of the world's most profitable drugs, we draw your attention to the recently published book by David Evans, titled "Statins Toxic Side Effects: Evidence from 500 scientific papers" available in paperback and for Kindle. It should be essential reading for any person taking, prescribing or contemplating taking statins.

Anti vaccination PhD thesis attacked by critics

Judy Wilyman, a graduate of the University of Wollongong in Australia, was attacked by supporters of SAVN (Stop the Australian (Anti)Vaccination Network) after her PhD thesis criticising the Australian Government’s vaccination policy was published on the university’s digital archive, Research Online. The thesis attracted a barrage of attacks, including articles written in The Australian, a large number of hostile blogs and tweets, a one-sided Wikipedia page, and a petition entitled “Stop the University of Wollongong’s spread of Disease and Death Via Anti-Vaccination PhD”. Brian Martin, Judy’s principle supervisor, writes that, “It seems that many outsiders, based on limited knowledge, assume that the thesis must be no good, my supervision was inadequate and the university was derelict”, it is as though critics assume that it is not possible to carry out a scholarly critique of Australia’s vaccination policy and therefore assume that Judy Wilyman is wrong resulting in a case of academic misconduct in the eyes of SAVN. They fail to see both sides of the argument highlighting the importance of the availability of all the information to allow people to make an informed vaccination decision.

Kew Gardens to help in new medicinal medical standard

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens have reported that Kew’s Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS) will be involved in helping world health regulators to ensure that herbal products are traded safely by developing a new medical standard. Bob Allkin explains that, “Poor labelling and a lack of standard terminologies has led to considerable confusion among patients, practitioners and regulators alike”. He reports that this could lead to a variety of issues, such as mistakenly substituting one plant or remedy for another or the publication of ambiguous or misleading health regulations. He also talks about the difficulties communicating between countries due to the use of alternative names for some plants. Over the last ten years, the world’s health regulators have been working to develop a new data standard entitled “Identification of Medicinal Products”. Bob Allkin reports that the MPNS has provided “controlled vocabularies”, standardised lists of terms to ensure consistency. The list will allow regulators to check plant names used to register new products and also improve communication regarding which substances are controlled and which plants are used in medicinal products. It is reported that legislation will come into force during 2016 and 2017.

Seralini removes toxic GMO study

Seralini has recently removed a study from their online journal after just one day online. The study into long-term observational data by Seralini shows that GM Bt176 maize is ‘most probably’ toxic in animals, the Food Navigator has reported. The paper in question examined the raw data from pathology reports of a herd of dairy cows in Germany. From 1997 to 2002 the herd were fed feed containing up to 40% GM maize, prior to this they had consumed no GM food stuffs. This introduction coincided with a massive milk yield fall from 70% to only 40% with a peak mortality rate of 10% and around 30% of the herd was unhealthy. The study says, “The GM maize, subsequently withdrawn from the market, was at the time the only intended managerial change for the cows. It is proposed that it provoked long-term toxic effects on mammals, which are typically not observed in the usual high-turnover (more rapid than 3 years) conditions of intensive farming”. The study was published in the Scholarly Journal of Agricultural Sciences online, but after being presented at a recent press conference organised by the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering in Brussels it has subsequently disappeared. The study can still be viewed on the GM Watch website.

BoniRob – a substitute to herbicides?

Bosch has developed a weedkilling robot called BoniRob! It is able to learn what weeds look like and quickly navigate through fields stamping down smaller weeds and getting rid of the larger ones. This new development could end the need for herbicide use, eliminating the dangers of herbicide toxicity. The world’s number one herbicide is Monsanto’s Roundup, which is sprayed liberally on most GM crops and even some non-GM crops such as cereals, oilseed rape, sunflowers and many more, contains glyphosate. This is a highly toxic chemical and has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “possible carcinogen”, it is also know to have a toxic affect on mammal hearts and is not something everyone feels confortable being used in the food chain. The BoniRob is already being tested on farms and although there are some improvements still to be made this really could be the future of farming without the use of dangerous herbicides such as Roundup.

Unhealthy advertising is increasing childhood obesity

The University of Liverpool has carried out a study looking into the effect of exposure to unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverage advertising on the intake in children and adults. They found that after unhealthy food advertising there was a significant increase in food intake in children, but not in adults. This study suggests that the media have a large role to play in the educating children and young adults about healthy lifestyle choices, which includes diet, exercise & movement and rest (sleep & peace of mind). However, it is reported that, “These data support public health policy action that seeks to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising”, such as the UK’s “statutory ban on television advertising of foods high in fats, sugar and salt during children’s programming”, but are we doing enough or should tighter regulations be enforced?

Low cost supermarket to encourage healthier habits

Forbes magazine has recently reported that Aldi is not only planning to expand their natural food selection, but also replace the confectionary at the checkout, designed to tempt customers while they wait, with healthier items. This could be brilliant news for lower-income shoppers if the supermarket attaches their usual affordable price tag to the new products. On top of this the supermarket are also ensuring that all of it’s dairy products are free from artificial growth hormones and all private label products, that are reported to take up 90% of the store, are now free from synthetic, hydrogenated oils and added MSG. Jason Hart, Aldi’s CEO has said, “At Aldi, we truly care about our customers, and we’re responding with guilt-free checkout zones and increased food options they can feel good about”. This comes after Aldi’s existing efforts to make organic and healthy food’s affordable for everyone when they expanded their organic food range of products in 2014, while still maintaining their low-price positioning.

Revolving doors within the EFSA

EFSA are at it again. The chief scientist at the UK Food and Drink Federation, Barbara Gallani, is to become EFSA’s communication head in May 2016, despite fears over a conflict of interests. Food Navigator reports that this “has sparked criticism over its revolving door recruitment process”. The Brussels-based NGO Corporate European Observatory has criticised the swift transition from chief scientist and policy and sustainability director at the UK’s Food and Drink federation to the head of communications and external relations department at the European Food Safety Authority in May, saying, “This transition without [a] cooling-off period is simply scandalous, it’s a plain case of revolving doors. Does EFSA seriously think appointing a food industry lobbyist at the head of its Communications is going to help public trust into the agency?” The EFSA, however have responded saying that “it has a robust policy and rules in place regarding its independence and scientific decision making” and that “the application of this policy, is also audited by the European Commission Audit Service and the European Court of Auditors” resulting in their being no need for a cooling-off period in their eyes as there is no risk of a conflict of interests.