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Friday, Oct 31st

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Tobacco firms kept quiet on polonium role in cigarettes

var articleheadline = "Tobacco firms kept quiet on polonium role in cigarettes ";Some of the world's biggest tobacco firms researched the lethal radioactive substance polonium – present in cigarettes – over a 40-year period but never published the results, according to a new scientific article.

Polonium 210 is known to cause lung cancers in animals and studies suggest it is responsible for 1 per cent of all lung cancers – equivalent to 11,700 deaths globally – each year in the US. It is also the substance that poisoned the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Yet tobacco companies, while attempting but failing to remove the substance from their products, have kept quiet about their research, experts say.

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Drug giants accused over doctors' perks

Drug companies are spending millions of pounds every year on all-expenses-paid trips to conferences around the world for doctors and other hospital staff, in what critics say is a massive marketing exercise dressed up as medical education.

Consumers International (CI) said the lack of transparency was unacceptable. "When a medical professional speaks on a health issue, we assume that they are putting patients' interests first. If that person has a conflict of interest because they or their organisation are receiving funding from a drug company the least we should demand is the right to know about it," said Justin Macmullan, head of campaigns. "Pharmaceutical companies will tell you that what they are funding is medical education. But our concern is that this is really highly effective, well-targeted marketing. This throws any notion of impartiality out of the window and jeopardises a doctor's ability to make an informed, balanced decision about the most appropriate treatments."

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Vaccines Found to Cause Diabetes in Children

Two new studies showing that vaccines increase the risk of diabetes have been published in the Open Pediatric Medicine Journal.

"Our results conclusively prove there is a causal relationship between immunization schedules and diabetes," J. Bartholomew Classen said at the time.

"The recent data shows that common childhood vaccines are especially dangerous to children with a strong family history of diabetes," Classen said. "Parents of a child with a strong family history of insulin-dependent diabetes ... should know that the administration of a full series of vaccines may have a greater than 5 percent chance of causing their child to develop diabetes."

Another study, published in the same issue of the Open Pediatric Medicine Journal, demonstrated a connection between the hepatitis B vaccine and Type 2 diabetes.

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Rules Let Health Workers Deny Abortions

The Bush administration has proposed stronger protections for health-care workers who refuse to participate in abortions, issuing a sweeping regulation that could also undercut access to birth-control pills and other forms of contraception.

The new rules, which could take effect after a 30-day comment period, threaten state governments with a cutoff in federal funding if they force medical personnel to perform, assist in or refer patients to abortion services.

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TVNL Comment: The ultimate insanity of this rule would allow health care providers who profess to be Christian Scientists to refuse patients ALL medical services on religious grounds. 

HRT Drugs Found to Cause Abnormal Mammograms, Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may increase women's risk of developing breast cancer and interfere with cancer diagnostic techniques after as little as one year, according to a new large-scale study conducted by researchers from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Merck Vioxx study was for marketing: researchers

A 1999 clinical study that Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) said was done to test side effects of its now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx was done primarily to support a marketing campaign before its launch, according to researchers.

The real aim of the study, called ADVANTAGE, was to promote prescription of the new medicine when it became available -- a so-called "seeding" project -- U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

"Documentary evidence shows that ADVANTAGE is an example of marketing framed as science," they wrote in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Kevin Hill, a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., and colleagues said the findings showed how studies masquerading as clinical science could be used to bolster marketing plans.

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The Many Environmental and Health Benefits of Hemp

It seems as though hemp is not only an answer to our global health problems, both for people who don't have enough to eat and for people in the western world who are malnourished from eating the wrong foods, but also an answer to our environmental crisis.

Hemp seeds are perhaps the purest, most nutritionally dense food on our planet. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, and are also the only edible seeds with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an essential fatty acid. In fact, its essential fatty acid ratio is absolutely perfect for our bodies.

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