UK Govt opts for prevention

The UK government has this week called for people to take more responsibility for their own health to tackle the rise in obesity and chronic diseases. Its plan, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ sets out a vision to help people live well for longer. Urging individuals, the NHS and local authorities to ‘put prevention at the heart of everything they do’, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said in his speech outlining government plans, “Our focus must shift from treating single acute illnesses to promoting the health of the whole individual. And from prevention across the population as a whole to targeted, predictive prevention.” A hallelujah moment for many of us given how long we, and others, have campaigned for an upstream, citizen-led, disease prevention model of healthcare that is both sustainable and focused on optimising health and wellbeing. However, recognising that Government calls for a shift in healthcare focus are all very well, but that mainstream medicine is ill equipped to deliver what’s needed. Such a model for moving from disease management to disease prevention and health creation is core to our ‘Blueprint for health system sustainability’. If you would like to endorse the ‘Blueprint’ please contact our outreach and comms officer, Melissa Smith on [email protected] for more information and to see a copy of the pre-publication ‘Blueprint’. 

Breakfast with a little poison on the side?

Increasing evidence points to the grave threat to human health posed by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Previously, our sister organisation ANH-USA, tested popular breakfast foods in a lab and found evidence of glyphosate contamination in all the products tested. Now the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in the US has published the results of more tests they’ve carried out on popular US oat-based breakfast cereals. In the most recent tests virtually all samples tested (26 out of 28) contained glyphosate residues at levels higher than those considered safe by the EWG. The EWG’s first round of testing also showed levels in tested cereals above EWG standards. Big Food has hit back stating levels are within regulatory limits set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. However, safety is not conferred just because something may be legal! Given the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s conclusion that glyphosate is a ‘probable carcinogen’, how much is too much, particularly when it comes our children’s health?

Mobile phone radiation linked to cancer

The world around us demands that we are reliant on mobile technology. However, the health effects of this technology are still being vigorously debated. Following 10 years of study, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in the US has finally concluded there is clear evidence linking high levels of mobile phone radiation, typically found in 2G and 3G phones, with the development of cancer in rats. Despite this being the most comprehensive assessment to date, its compelling evidence continues to be swept under the carpet when it comes to the possible effects on human health. It’s not just cancer that’s of concern; electrohypersensitivity also causes severe (sometimes life threatening) health issues for those affected, greatly impacting quality of life. Our EMR campaign page has more information about electromagnetic radiation and its potential effects on our health.

The HPV vaccine juggernaut keeps rolling

GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance) has announced the introduction of the HPV vaccine into Senegal’s vaccination programme. Up to 200,000 nine-year-old girls and a further 900,000 12-14 year-old girls are predicted to be reached. The announcement comes hot on the heels of Merck’s third quarter financial report showing Gardasil sales have increased 55%, from $675 million to $1.05 billion from the third quarter of 2017. Merck’s president of global human health puts this down to an, “unprecedented increase in worldwide demand for the HPV vaccines”. We hope that Senegalese parents will be party to a fully informed consent process and at the same time be given unbiased information about the vaccine, including its potential to cause harm, before their child is vaccinated.

UK medical cannabis hopes dashed

The UK government supposedly legalised the use of medical cannabis on 1stNovember 2018. However, having raised patients’ hopes, prescribing guidelines issued on 31 October 2108 have been deemed so restrictive virtually no-one will get access to medical cannabis in the UK. This has dealt a particularly crushing blow to those families with seriously ill children whose only hope for relief is medical cannabis. A petition has been started to get the help for the people who so desperately need it. You can add your voice to the many calling for the regulators and the UK Government to provide proper access to medical cannabis for those who truly need it. Sign the petition.