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Friday, Nov 28th

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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A 1999 clinical study that Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) said was done to test side effects of its now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx was done primarily to support a marketing campaign before its launch, according to researchers.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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Why Scented Products (Fakegrances) Are Not Safe

If all fake fragrances (I call them fakegrances) were banned tomorrow, the world would be a dramatically healthier place by the following day. That's not going to happen, but the more people who refuse to use them in any form, the faster they'll disperse (so to speak). But watch out, those who manufacture products containing fakegrances are sneaky. The word "unscented" usually means that fragrances have been used to cover up fragrances. To actually avoid fragrances you have to look for the words "fragrance free" on the label.

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Drug prices up 100% — or higher

Drug companies are quietly pushing through price hikes of 100% — or even more than 1,000% — for a very small but growing number of prescription drugs, helping to drive up costs for insurers, patients and government programs.

Among the examples: Questcor Pharmaceuticals last August raised the wholesale price on Acthar, which treats spasms in babies, from about $1,650 a vial to more than $23,000. Ovation raised the cost of Cosmegen, which treats a type of tumor, from $16.79 to $593.75 in January 2006.

The average wholesale price of 26 brand-name drugs jumped 100% or more in a single cost adjustment last year, up from 15 in 2004, the university study found. In the first half of this year, 17 drugs made the list.

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Fluorescent Light Bulbs Linked with Eczema, Seizures, Migraines, Skin Rashes

Approximately 100,000 people in the United Kingdom have medical conditions that make their skin sensitive to fluorescent light.

The groups warned that a complete ban on incandescent lighting for people with such conditions would violate the Disability Discrimination Act, and that employers should also be allowed to purchase incandescent lights if their employees have a need for them.

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U.S. Paying Through the Nose for Poor Quality Health Care

American medical care is the most expensive in the world, and it is definitely not worth every penny. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund highlights the stark contrast between what the United States spends on its health system and the quality of care it delivers.

The report shows that the United States spends more than twice as much on each person for health care as most other industrialized countries. But it has fallen to last place among those countries in preventing avoidable deaths through use of timely and effective medical care.

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Broccoli may undo diabetes damage

Eating broccoli could reverse the damage caused by diabetes to heart blood vessels, research suggests.

A University of Warwick team believe the key is a compound found in the vegetable, called sulforaphane.

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