Protection or ethnopiracy for South African traditional knowledge?

In South Africa, there’s a new threat to its some 220,000 traditional healers and their medicine. The 'Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems' (IKS Bill) bill is intended to stop ‘ethnopiracy’, but South Africa’s Traditional and Natural Health Alliance (TNHA) warn it will instead legalise state-sanctioned ethnopiracy. The bill gives the State power to become the custodian of all indigenous knowledge. If passed into law in its current form, “the Bill will not protect indigenous knowledge vested in traditional healers and indigenous communities as much as it will create a multi-billion Rand franchise for State institutions to commercialise and monopolise indigenous plants usage in partnership with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries”. The TNHA are calling for solidarity and support as they prepare their presentations for the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Science and Technology.

Does paracetamol in pregnancy affect babies’ brains?

A new study just published in JAMA Pediatrics casts doubt on the wisdom of taking the pain-relieving medication paracetamol (Acetaminophen) during pregnancy. The UK study from the University of Bristol is entitled, “Association of Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy With Behavioral Problems in Childhood”. It looked at associations between offspring behavioural problems and (1) maternal prenatal acetaminophen use, (2) maternal postnatal acetaminophen use, and (3) partner’s acetaminophen use. The study involved 7796 mothers along with their children and partners. The researchers found that, “children exposed prenatally to acetaminophen in the second and third trimesters are at increased risk of multiple behavioral difficulties, including hyperactivity and conduct problems”. Such associations were not found postnatally, nor with partners’ paracetamol use. Paracetamol is currently considered “generally safe for use during all stages of pregnancy”.

Merck’s blockbuster Gardasil sales expected to rise to $655 million this quarter

Gardasil (including Gardasil 9) is one of Merck’s blockbuster vaccines. It’s reported that, “the Gardasil franchise is the leading vaccines franchise of Merck and Co” and that, “Gardasil sales are expected to rise to $655 million” this quarter. The report continues to say that Gardasil contributed ~4% of total revenues for Merck during the second quarter of 2016, following the decrease of 7% in total sales of Gardasil. During this quarter, the Gardasil franchise revenues were impacted by the timing of public sector purchases. In addition, it seems that Merck’s overall vaccine sales have increased from “~$1.17 billion during 2Q16” compared with “$1.13 billion during 2Q15”.

The Gardasil vaccine is intended to prevent infection by various strains of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which in turn are believed responsible for causing around “70% of cervical, cancers, as well as most HPV-induced cancers and genital warts”. However, as ANH-Intl have reported on numerous occasions, there are serious concerns about the vaccine and its effects on the health of far too many young women, and now boys. Meanwhile, the vaccine is being mandated in some parts of the USA.

Fluoridated NZ city has second fluoride-free tap

In Hamilton, New Zealand, a new fluoride-free tap is almost ready to be switched on at the Claudelands Events Centre. The new tap will draw water from the city’s fluoridated supply and will use de-ionising technology to remove the fluoride. When Fluoride was reintroduced into Hamilton’s water supply, on New Zealand’s North Island, the City Council had planned to provide and maintain two unfluoridated water outlets. It’s reported that, “Both outlets will be provided and maintained by the Hamilton City Council, with the two expected to cost $70,000 to set up with an annual operating cost around $6000”. One of the outlets is an existing water supply bore at Taitua Arboretum which is naturally low in fluoride.

Fluoride Free NZ raised $30,000 for the recent screening of anti-fluoride ads. In response several pro-fluoride groups have lodged formal complaints about the ads.

New US Bill threatens Reiki and other natural therapies

The Massachusetts Senate Bill S2461 is moving quickly through the US legislature. Reiki practitioners are concerned that if the Bill passes, they will be unable to practice Reiki in Massachusetts without first having a licence from the state. It’s believed it will also affect bodywork practitioners practicing the Feldenkrais method; reflexology; Trager Approach; Ayurvedic Therapies; Rolf Structural Integration, Polarity Therapy; Asian bodywork therapy; acupressure; Jin Shin Do; Qi Gong; Tui Na; Shiatsu; body-mind centering. An urgent call to action has been made, and interested parties are being urged to make their views known to the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing, as per the instructions in the link.