(Subjects: Religion/Worship, Lightworkers, Food, Health, Prescription Drugs, Homeopathy, Innate (Body intelligence), New Age movement, Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text version)

“…… Should I use Doctors and Drugs to Heal Me or Spiritual Methods?

"Dear Kryon, I have heard that you should stay natural and not use the science on the planet for healing. It does not honor God to go to a doctor. After all, don't you say that we can heal with our minds? So why should we ever go to a doctor if we can do it ourselves? Not only that, my doctor isn't enlightened, so he has no idea about my innate or my spiritual body needs. What should I do?"

First, Human Being, why do you wish to put so many things in boxes? You continue to want a yes and no answer for complex situations due to your 3D, linear outlook on almost everything. Learn to think out of the 3D box! Look at the heading of this section [above]. It asks which one should you do. It already assumes you can't do both because they seem dichotomous.

Let's use some spiritual logic: Here is a hypothetical answer, "Don't go to a doctor, for you can heal everything with your mind." So now I will ask: How many of you can do that in this room right now? How many readers can do that with efficiency right now? All of you are old souls, but are you really ready to do that? Do you know how? Do you have really good results with it? Can you rid disease and chemical imbalance with your mind right now?

I'm going to give you a truth, whether you choose to see it or not. You're not ready for that! You are not yet prepared to take on the task of full healing using your spiritual tools. Lemurians could do that, because Pleiadians taught them how! It's one of the promises of God, that there'll come a day when your DNA works that efficiently and you will be able to walk away from drug chemistry and the medical industry forever, for you'll have the creator's energy working at 100 percent, something you saw within the great masters who walked the earth.

This will be possible within the ascended earth that you are looking forward to, dear one. Have you seen the news lately? Look out the window. Is that where you are now? We are telling you that the energy is going in that direction, but you are not there yet.

Let those who feel that they can heal themselves begin the process of learning how. Many will be appreciative of the fact that you have some of the gifts for this now. Let the process begin, but don't think for a moment that you have arrived at a place where every health issue can be healed with your own power. You are students of a grand process that eventually will be yours if you wish to begin the quantum process of talking to your cells. Some will be good at this, and some will just be planting the seeds of it.

Now, I would like to tell you how Spirit works and the potentials of what's going to happen in the next few years. We're going to give the doctors of the planet new inventions and new science. These will be major discoveries about the Human body and of the quantum attributes therein.

Look at what has already happened, for some of this science has already been given to you and you are actually using it. Imagine a science that would allow the heart to be transplanted because the one you have is failing. Of course! It's an operation done many times a month on this planet. That information came from the creator, did you realize that? It didn't drop off the shelf of some dark energy library to be used in evil ways.

So, if you need a new heart, Lightworker, should you go to the doctor or create one with your mind? Until you feel comfortable that you can replace your heart with a new one by yourself, then you might consider using the God-given information that is in the hands of the surgeon. For it will save your life, and create a situation where you stay and continue to send your light to the earth! Do you see what we're saying?

You can also alter that which is medicine [drugs] and begin a process that is spectacular in its design, but not very 3D. I challenge you to begin to use what I would call the homeopathic principle with major drugs. If some of you are taking major drugs in order to alter your chemistry so that you can live better and longer, you might feel you have no choice. "Well, this is keeping me alive," you might say. "I don't yet have the ability to do this with my consciousness, so I take the drugs."

In this new energy, there is something else that you can try if you are in this category. Do the following with safety, intelligence, common sense and logic. Here is the challenge: The principle of homeopathy is that an almost invisible tincture of a substance is ingested and is seen by your innate. Innate "sees" what you are trying to do and then adjusts the body's chemistry in response. Therefore, you might say that you are sending the body a "signal for balance." The actual tincture is not large enough to affect anything chemically - yet it works!

The body [innate] sees what you're trying to do and then cooperates. In a sense, you might say the body is healing itself because you were able to give it instructions through the homeopathic substance of what to do. So, why not do it with a major drug? Start reducing the dosage and start talking to your cells, and see what happens. If you're not successful, then stop the reduction. However, to your own amazement, you may often be successful over time.

You might be able to take the dosage that you're used to and cut it to at least a quarter of what it was. It is the homeopathy principle and it allows you to keep the purpose of the drug, but reduce it to a fraction of a common 3D dosage. You're still taking it internally, but now it's also signaling in addition to working chemically. The signal is sent, the body cooperates, and you reduce the chance of side effects.

You can't put things in boxes of yes or no when it comes to the grand system of Spirit. You can instead use spiritual logic and see the things that God has given you on the planet within the inventions and processes. Have an operation, save your life, and stand and say, "Thank you, God, for this and for my being born where these things are possible." It's a complicated subject, is it not? Each of you is so different! You'll know what to do, dear one. Never stress over that decision, because your innate will tell you what is appropriate for you if you're willing to listen. ….”

Monsanto / GMO - Global Health

(Subjects: Big pharma [the drug companies of America] are going to have to change very soon or collapse. When you have an industry that keeps people sick for money, it cannot survive in the new consciousness., Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text version)
"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Lose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Pedal wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)
"THE BRIDGE OF SWORDS" – Sep 29, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: ... I'm in Canada and I know it, but I will tell those listening and reading in the American audience the following: Get ready! Because there are some institutions that are yet to fall, ones that don't have integrity and that could never be helped with a bail out. Again, we tell you the biggest one is big pharma, and we told you that before. It's inevitable. If not now, then in a decade. It's inevitable and they will fight to stay alive and they will not be crossing the bridge. For on the other side of the bridge is a new way, not just for medicine but for care. ....) - (Text Version)

Pharmaceutical Fraud / Corruption cases

Health Care

Health Care
Happy birthday to Percy Julian, a pioneer in plant-drug synthesis. His research produced steroids like cortisone. (11 April 2014)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Clinical trials go wrong in India

Deutsche Welle, 27 July 2012

Indian activists say pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for deaths caused by unauthorized clinical trials of drugs on human beings.

Prabha Devi's son Manish is yet to fully recover after developing white spots on his skin which he developed after undergoing a clinical trial in a private hospital in the northern Haryana state of India.

"Medical workers came to our village and spoke of a new vaccine for newborn babies. What was tempting about it was that the vaccine was free, which otherwise would have cost us 6000 Rupees (80 Euros)," Devi's husband Jagan Das told DW. Manish, he said, was now being treated by doctors so that his spots could be removed.

In another incident in the southern Andhra Pradesh state, some 35 women, all limekiln workers from Guntur district, were allegedly put through clinical trials to test a breast cancer drug. The women were paid money to undergo these tests. But the doctors had to abruptly stop the tests after the women complained about nausea, joint and chest pains.


Experts say Indian health
sector needs treatment
The Indian Supreme Court has recently asked the Madhya Pradesh state government to explain its position on why it allowed large-scale illegal drug trials in the state.

"Human beings are being treated as animals. This is unfortunate," Justice R M Lodha told DW.

Experts blame the lack of proper laws and regulations to hold multinational pharmaceutical companies accountable for the deaths allegedly caused by unauthorized clinical trials.

“Things are getting worse. Between 2004 and 2006, many pharmaceutical companies carried out clinical trials on patients and repeatedly violated the prescribed guidelines and regulations. Sadly, no hospital or doctor was ever penalized,” Puneet Singh of the Swasthya Adhikar Manch (Health Rights Forum) told DW.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in India, on an average 10 people have died every week in clinical trials since 2006.

Between 2008 and 2011, 2,031 deaths were reported during these trials, forcing the Indian government to set up a committee to review clinical trial approval procedures in the country. However, the number of deaths remained high despite the public outcry with 438 deaths reported in 2011 - preceded by 668 in 2010; 637 in 2009; and 228 in 2008.

“The lack of supervision by Indian health officials has created a culture of impunity for drug research companies and the doctors who work for them,” said Dr Lalit Kumar.

International standards

Drug companies say they conduct trials on people suffering from serious ailments with limited or no cure, and that they should not be blamed for the deaths.

“The standards applicable to clinical trials in India are no different from those in the US, the EU, or elsewhere in the world,” a spokesperson of a multinational company told DW on conditions of anonymity.

But it is not enough to convince the Indian activists who demand that a committee of experts consisting of members of civil society and the All India Drug Action Network be formed to examine existing legal provisions related to clinical trials in India and abroad.

Author: Murali Krishnan
Editor: Shamil Shams

Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ - Published in Federal Gov't Journal

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Reuters, Tue Jul 24, 2012

Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ - Published in Federal Gov't Journal

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, July 24, 2012

NEW YORK, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Harvard University researchers' review of fluoride/brain studies concludes "our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children's neurodevelopment." It was published online July 20 in Environmental Health Perspectives, a US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' journal (1), reports the NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. (NYSCOF)

"The children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ than those who lived in low fluoride areas," write Choi et al.

Further, the EPA says fluoride is a chemical "with substantial evidence ofdevelopmental neurotoxicity."

Fluoride (fluosilicic acid) is added to US water supplies at approximately 1 part per million attempting to reduce tooth decay.

Water was the only fluoride source in the studies reviewed and was based on high water fluoride levels. However, they point out research by Ding (2011) suggested that low water fluoride levels had significant negative associations with children's intelligence.

Choi et al. write, "Although fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in animal models and acute fluoride poisoning causes neurotoxicity in adults, very little is known of its effects on children's neurodevelopment. They recommend more brain/fluoride research on children and at individual-level doses.

"It's senseless to keep subjecting our children to this ongoing fluoridation experiment to satisfy the political agenda of special-interest groups," says attorney Paul Beeber, NYSCOF President.  "Even if fluoridation reduced cavities, is tooth health more important than brain health? It's time to put politics aside and stop artificial fluoridation everywhere," says Beeber.

After reviewing fluoride toxicological data, the NRC reported in 2006, "It's apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain."

Choi's team writes, "Fluoride readily crosses the placenta. Fluoride exposure to the developing brain, which is much more susceptible to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature."

Fluoride accumulates in the body. Even low doses are harmful to babies, the thyroid, kidney patients and heavy water-drinkers. There are even doubts about fluoridation's effectiveness (2). New York City Legislation is pending to stop fluoridation. Many communities have already stopped.

Infant formula when mixed with fluoridated water delivers 100-200 times more fluoride than breastmilk. (3)

More information on fluoride's impact on the brain is here.

Contact: Paul Beeber, JD, 516-433-8882 nyscof@aol.com

SOURCE NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Soda companies racing for a new sweet spot

Associated Press, by Candice Choi, Jul. 26, 2012

A Monday, June 11, 2012, photo shows cans of ten-calorie soda from Dr Pepper
 Snapple Group displayed in New York. Coke and Pepsi are chasing after the
sweet spot: a soda with no calories, no artificial sweeteners and no funny aftertaste.
 The world's top soft drink companies hope that's the elusive trifecta that will silence
 health concerns about soda and reverse the decline in consumption of carbonated drinks.
But coming up with such a formula could still be years away. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Coke and Pepsi are chasing after the sweet spot: a soda with no calories, no artificial sweeteners and no funny aftertaste.

The world's top soft drink companies hope that's the elusive trifecta that will silence health concerns about soda and reverse the decline in consumption of carbonated drinks. But such a formula could be years away.

That's because the ingredient that makes soda taste good is also what packs on the pounds: high-fructose corn syrup. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame that are used in diet drinks don't have any calories but are seen as processed and fake. Natural sweeteners that come from plants present the most promising alternative, but companies haven't yet figured out how to mask their metallic aftertaste.

Despite the complexities, soft drink makers push on in their search.

"I can't say when it will be here, but it's in the reasonable future," said Al Carey, who heads the beverage unit for the Americas at PepsiCo Inc., the world's No. 2 soda maker.

There's good reason that soft drink makers are so eager to tweak their formulas. Once a beloved American treat, sodas are now being blamed for the nation's bulging waistlines — two-thirds of the country's adults are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That, coupled with the growing variety of flavored waters and sports drinks, has sent per capita soda consumption down 17 percent to about 1.3 cans a day since its peak in 1998, according to Beverage Digest, an industry tracker.

In New York City, a ban on the sale of sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces in restaurants, theaters and stadiums could take effect as early as March. The mayor of Cambridge, Mass., proposed a similar ban last month. And in Richmond, Calif., voters will decide in November whether to pass the nation's first penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks such as fruit juices and teas.

All the negative publicity has some once-faithful soda drinkers cutting back. Krista Koster, a 29-year-old who lives in Washington D.C., used to down about two cans of soda a day. Now she's trying to kick the habit and be more conscious about what she drinks.

"I've just been hearing how bad soda is," said Koster, who works in public relations. "You start considering a lot of the ingredients, whether it's fake sugar or the real sugar."

High-fructose corn syrup, the cheap sweetener that's used in most sodas, has the same nutritional value and taste of sugar. A can of regular soda typically has about 40 grams of high-fructose corn syrup and 140 calories. By comparison, the same amount of apple juice has about 38 grams of sugar and 165 calories, but companies can tout the vitamins and other nutrients juice provides.

Aspartame, the artificial sweetener commonly used in drinks such as Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, doesn't have any calories. But some drinkers worry about the fact that the sweeteners are not naturally occurring in nature. Public perception has been colored by past studies that have suggested it caused cancer and brain tumors in rats even though The American Cancer Society says there's no evidence showing it has any link with an increased risk for cancer in adults.

The concerns have led soft drink companies to search for natural, zero-calorie sweeteners, including stevia, which is derived from a South American shrub. Natural sweeteners have neither the calories of sugar nor the negative associations of artificial sweeteners. The trick, however, is figuring out how to make them taste good in colas.

"Every sweetener has its own notes that need to be mixed with other flavors," said Mehmood Khan, chief science officer for PepsiCo. "It's a bit like an orchestra playing music, as opposed to one instrument."

So far, stevia is the natural sweetener that has gotten the most attention and is already used in Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products, including orange juice and bottled teas. But it's proving more difficult to hide the aftertaste in colas.

Soft drink makers are testing different extracts from the stevia plant that they hope will be easier to blend. They're also scouring the world for other naturally occurring sweeteners, such as one called mogroside that is extracted from monk fruit and a derivative of a berry called miracle fruit.

Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, says it's currently testing additional drinks that use stevia and other natural sweeteners but declined to give details. The tests are part of the ongoing "home-use tests" the company conducts, in which consumers may be given a six-pack of a new product to try over the course of a week.

To accelerate the pace of such trials, Coca-Cola two years ago dedicated a production line at one of its plants solely to churning out test beverages. But taste isn't the only consideration for the world's biggest soda maker.

"Some of the very exciting (sweeteners) we're playing with are really small in terms of production and planting, and they need to be nurtured," says Katie Bayne, president of Coca-Cola's North American soda business.

Coca-Cola also is testing versions of its Sprite and Fanta that use stevia in Atlanta, Detroit, Louisville, Ky. and Memphis, Tenn. The drinks have about half the calories of regular Sprite and Fanta (70 per can, instead of 140 or 160, respectively). But the "Select" drinks fall short of the ideal because they have sugar.

PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., is also on the hunt for new drinks that use natural, no-calorie sweeteners. In 2010, the company entered a $62 million, four-year deal with food flavor company Senomyx Inc. to develop natural sweeteners and "taste enhancers" that can intensify sweetness. Coca-Cola also previously had an eight-year contract with Senomyx; neither of the partnerships has yet produced any products for commercial use.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the nation's third-largest soda maker, also is searching for the right combination. The company's line of flavored sodas, such as Sunkist and A&W Root Beer, may make it easier to mask the taste of natural sweeteners like stevia than with colas.

At a beverage industry conference earlier this year, Dr Pepper's Chief Financial Officer Marty Ellen said he thinks a "sweetener breakthrough" is achievable in the next few years.

Recreating the exact taste of extremely valuable brands such as Coke and Pepsi is a high-stakes game and companies don't want to rush any drinks to the market. But making a natural cola that doesn't have any calories isn't impossible. Smaller companies such as Zevia, based in Culver City, Calif., already make such colas using stevia.

Zevia is now sold in 10,500 locations — including Kroger and Whole Foods — up from just 850 locations four years ago. CEO Paddy Spence doesn't think Coke and Pepsi's efforts to come up with their own zero-calorie drinks will threaten his company.

"When consumers see a brand all of a sudden with different positioning, they see right through that," Spence said. "They'll say 'you're a sugar soda company that has a couple different stevia products.'"

Still, considering their enormous resources, it's likely that soda companies will eventually find a way to make natural drinks with no calories that taste good, says Mike Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"If you look 10 years ahead, we're going to see a different marketplace for sodas," he said.

AP Writer Jason Keyser contributed from Chicago.

Hunter gatherer clue to obesity

BBC News, by Helen Brigss, 26 July 2012 

Related Stories 

The Hadza live a hunter gatherer
existence that has changed little
in 10,000 years
The idea that exercise is more important than diet in the fight against obesity has been contradicted by new research.

A study of the Hadza tribe, who still exist as hunter gatherers, suggests the amount of calories we need is a fixed human characteristic.

This suggests Westerners are growing obese through over-eating rather than having inactive lifestyles, say scientists.

One in 10 people will be obese by 2015.

And, nearly one in three of the worldwide population is expected to be overweight, according to figures from the World Health Organization.

The Western lifestyle is thought to be largely to blame for the obesity "epidemic".

Various factors are involved, including processed foods high in sugar and fat, large portion sizes, and a sedentary lifestyle where cars and machines do most of the daily physical work.

The relative balance of overeating to lack of exercise is a matter of debate, however.

Some experts have proposed that our need for calories has dropped drastically since the industrial revolution, and this is a bigger risk factor for obesity than changes in diet.

A study published in the PLoS ONE journal tested the theory, by looking at energy expenditure in the Hadza tribe of Tanzania.

The Hadza people, who still live as hunter gatherers, were used as a model of the ancient human lifestyle.

Members of the 1,000-strong population hunt animals and forage for berries, roots and fruit on foot, using bows, small axes, and digging sticks. They don't use modern tools or guns.

A team of scientists from the US, Tanzania and the UK, measured energy expenditure in 30 Hadza men and women aged between 18 and 75.

They found physical activity levels were much higher in the Hadza men and women, but when corrected for size and weight, their metabolic rate was no different to that of Westerners.

Diverse lifestyles

Dr Herman Pontzer of the department of anthropology at Hunter College, New York, said everyone had assumed that hunter gatherers would burn hundreds more calories a day than adults in the US and Europe.

The data came as a surprise, he said, highlighting the complexity of energy expenditure.

But he stressed that physical exercise is nonetheless important for maintaining good health.

"This to me says that the big reason that Westerners are getting fat is because we eat too much - it's not because we exercise too little," said Dr Pontzer.

"Being active is really important to your health but it won't keep you thin - we need to eat less to do that.

"Daily energy expenditure might be an evolved trait that has been shaped by evolution and is common among all people and not some simple reflection of our diverse lifestyles."

This restructuring of your physical body is certainly being felt - (Constant Companions channeled through Aisha North)

Aisha North, July 26, 2012

The manuscript of survival – part 173 - (Constant Companions channeled through Aisha North)

Let us begin this missive by saying that the amplitude is once again increasing, and we gather that many of you have already felt this in your very bones. You see, this restructuring of your physical body is certainly being felt in those least flexible parts of you, namely the densest parts of your structure, and as such, you have mayhaps already suffered some rather painful alterations already. This will feel very unpleasant at times, and if these pains occur in parts of your cranium, they might very well be mistaken for something else. Do not fear these movements or shifts dear ones, they can in many ways be likened to the shifts of your continental plates, and as such, this grinding and sliding will be felt all over, but they will certainly not create the same kind of havoc the shifts in your planet’s continental plates incur. So rest assured that all is well, even if your body parts are trying to convince you otherwise.

As usual, this is only growing pain, in the most literal way, and even if the sharpness of the pain can seem to signal something else, this is not harmful at all. Rather, take it as another sign of stepping into your new self, both in a mental and physical way, and as always, the physical part of you is the one that needs more time to adjust. It is also the part that will protest the loudest, because it has been in so many ways ”trained” to avoid any changes at all. But now, it too must literally suffer the consequences of this constant flux of energies, and as such, it will again moan and groan, and we venture to guess that these protests have been louder than usual these last few days.

We will not give you any ”finishing date” on this process as usual, but we will again repeat the fact that the louder the response from your body, the more thorough this process usually is. In other words, do not feel down because of these ”adjustment pains”, but let them come and go, and think of it as another step taken towards that oft-mentioned finishing line. As we have said so many times now, as you approach that line, the pressure will certainly mount, and so too the effects on your physical body at times. Just breathe into it, and do not go into fear and think that anything is amiss. You are being reconstructed according to the original blueprint, and when you see the finished result, you will all agree that it was worth every painful moment along the way.

Yoga Reduces Stress; Now It's Known Why

ScienceDaily (July 24, 2012)

Six months ago, researchers at UCLA published a study that showed using a specific type of yoga to engage in a brief, simple daily meditation reduced the stress levels of people who care for those stricken by Alzheimer's and dementia. Now they know why.

As previously reported, practicing a certain form of chanting yogic meditation for just 12 minutes daily for eight weeks led to a reduction in the biological mechanisms responsible for an increase in the immune system's inflammation response. Inflammation, if constantly activated, can contribute to a multitude of chronic health problems.

Reporting in the current online edition of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, Dr. Helen Lavretsky, senior author and a professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and colleagues found in their work with 45 family dementia caregivers that 68 of their genes responded differently after Kirtan Kriya Meditation (KKM), resulting in reduced inflammation.

Caregivers are the unsung heroes for their yeoman's work in taking care of loved ones that have been stricken with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, said Lavretsky, who also directs UCLA's Late-Life Depression, Stress and Wellness Research Program. But caring for a frail or demented family member can be a significant life stressor. Older adult caregivers report higher levels of stress and depression and lower levels of satisfaction, vigor and life in general. Moreover, caregivers show higher levels of the biological markers of inflammation. Family members in particular are often considered to be at risk of stress-related disease and general health decline.

As the U.S. population continues to age over the next two decades, Lavretsky noted, the prevalence of dementia and the number of family caregivers who provide support to these loved ones will increase dramatically. Currently, at least five million Americans provide care for someone with dementia.

"We know that chronic stress places caregivers at a higher risk for developing depression," she said "On average, the incidence and prevalence of clinical depression in family dementia caregivers approaches 50 percent. Caregivers are also twice as likely to report high levels of emotional distress." What's more, many caregivers tend to be older themselves, leading to what Lavretsky calls an "impaired resilience" to stress and an increased rate of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

Research has suggested for some time that psychosocial interventions like meditation reduce the adverse effects of caregiver stress on physical and mental health. However, the pathways by which such psychosocial interventions impact biological processes are poorly understood.
In the study, the participants were randomized into two groups. The meditation group was taught the 12-minute yogic practice that included Kirtan Kriya, which was performed every day at the same time for eight weeks. The other group was asked to relax in a quiet place with their eyes closed while listening to instrumental music on a relaxation CD, also for 12 minutes daily for eight weeks. Blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study and again at the end of the eight weeks.

"The goal of the study was to determine if meditation might alter the activity of inflammatory and antiviral proteins that shape immune cell gene expression," said Lavretsky. "Our analysis showed a reduced activity of those proteins linked directly to increased inflammation.

"This is encouraging news. Caregivers often don't have the time, energy, or contacts that could bring them a little relief from the stress of taking care of a loved one with dementia, so practicing a brief form of yogic meditation, which is easy to learn, is a useful too."

Lavretsky is a member of UCLA's recently launched

Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program

, which provides comprehensive, coordinated care as well as resources and support to patients and their caregivers. Lavretsky has incorporated yoga practice into the caregiver program.

Funding for the study was provided by the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation in Tucson, Ariz.. Other authors of the study included David S. Black, Steve Cole, Michael R. Irwin, Elizabeth Breen, Natalie M. St. Cyr, Nora Nazarian, all of UCLA, and Dharma S. Khalsa, medical director for the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation in Tucson.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Washington AIDS summit heralds 'turning point'

Deutsche Welle, 22 July 2012

As researchers say they have reached a turning point in the battle against the virus, more than 21,000 attendees were expected at an International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. starting this week.

It's a calling card that many have come to expect. Ahead of this year's International AIDS Conference in Washington, scientists believe they have truly arrived at a turning point.

Not only does this 19th gathering of experts in the field of HIV/AIDS research come soon after the American approval to allow the use of an HIV treatment drug as a prophylactic - but it also comes as some say they can see the first glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel.

"For the first time, I have a feeling that we're at the end of the AIDS epidemic," says Dr Diane Havlir, a doctor at San Francisco General Hospital and a co-chair of the XIX International AIDS Conference.

Turning the tide

Starting Sunday, researchers and other interested parties were gathering for a week of meetings and presentations.

"Turning the Tide Together" is the motto of this year's conference - it's a motto that reflects Havlir's own efforts in the battle against AIDS.

Havlir has researched and worked with HIV-infected patients since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

She says she has good reason for her new found hope.

"Over the past three years, there has been a series of breakthroughs in HIV research that will help us significantly reduce the number of new infections and deaths from AIDS," says Havlir.

The world's top HIV/AIDS researchers are gathering in the US capital,

Drugs can now prolong life for longer and some can even prevent infection - up to a point. The US Food and Drug Administration this week approved the drug Truvada for preventative use. In tests, the drug reduced the risk of infection by up to 75 percent.

Protection against infection will be a major focus for the 25,000 participants at this year's conference.

New medicines, tests and treatments, as well as the ongoing search for a vaccine - and ultimately, a cure - will be discussed in workshops and panels consisting of researchers, doctors, policymakers and those living with the virus.

As financial crises continue around the world, participants will also debate new ways to finance HIV/AIDS research.

"It's necessary to have continuous investments in times when the US and other countries face major financial challenges," says Chris Collins, vice president of amfAR, a US foundation for AIDS research.

Still an upward battle

Some fear the issue has lost its urgency in public debate.

"AIDS has largely disappeared from the radar in the US and abroad," says Havlir. "We are aware of this problem but it currently doesn't receive the attention for us to take the necessary measures."

About 30 million people have died from AIDS worldwide.

Currently, 34 million people are known to be HIV-positive, but only 6 million are being treated - it's a number that Havlir hopes will soon double.

Meanwhile, Deborah von Zinkernagel, coordinator of the US AIDS Imitative in the US State Department praises the collaboration with African states.

"One example is South Africa where the government and civil society are very committed because they realize what impact the epidemic has on their country, but we also observe this in other countries such as Namibia and Botswana," says von Zinkernagel.

The so-called war on AIDS is also a war for human rights around the world.

In 2009, US President Barack Obama lifted a travel ban which had stopped HIV-infected people from entering the country. This, in part, has allowed the bi-annual conference to return to the US after an absence of 22 years.

Author: Christina Bergmann / jrb
Editor: Zulfikar Abbany

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aids breakthrough as study says treatment should cost less

Clinton Foundation delivers report showing cost of treating people with HIV is four times less than previously thought

guardian.co.uk, Sarah Boseley, health editor, Friday 20 July 2012

Bill Clinton with school pupils in Matugga, Uganda. The former US president
 has hailed the results of the Clinton Foundation study. Photograph: 
Kasamani Isaac/AFP

Lack of money can no longer be considered a reason – or an excuse – for failing to treat all those with HIV who need drugs to stay alive, following game-changing work about to be published by the Clinton Foundation that shows the real cost is four times less than previously thought.

The striking findings of a substantial study carried out in five countries of sub-Saharan Africa are hugely important and will set a new hopeful tone for the International Aids Conference in Washington DC, which opens on Sunday. It will help make the argument for President Obama and other international donors to dig deeper into their pockets – because the cost of saving lives, slowing the spread of HIV and achieving the ambition of an Aids-free world is lower than anyone assumed.

The work by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) shows that the total cost of treatment in health facilities – including drugs, lab tests, health workers' salaries and other overheads – comes to an average of $200 a patient a year across Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia – four of the Aids-hit African nations studied. That rises to $682 in South Africa, which has higher salaries and lab costs.

Until now the generally accepted total cost of treating a patient for a year was an average of $880 – based on a study by the US president's emergency plan for Aids relief (Pepfar) released at the last International Aids Conference two years ago in Vienna.

Bernhard Schwartländer, director of strategy at UNAIDS, believes the CHAI work should lead to new optimism. "I think the cost argument is just a false argument and it has been used as an escape. We do need more money but it is not at a level that will be impossible," he said.

The costings are particularly important in the wake of recent scientific findings that show putting people on antiretroviral drugs makes them far less likely to infect others – helping to stop the spread of HIV as well as keeping people alive. CHAI will also announce that it has negotiated down the prices of some of the newer and most important drugs needed for treatment by around a third.

Former US president Bill Clinton hailed the findings as evidence that all 15 million people with HIV in need of treatment could affordably get it — the target for 2015. At the moment, 8 million are being treated. "We now have compelling evidence that universal access to high-quality HIV treatment is achievable, sustainable, and within our means," said Clinton.

"Together, the costing study and price reductions open the door to scaling up and sustaining services for the 7 million people who currently lack access to HIV treatment. Providing treatment will save lives and help prevent the spread of HIV."

CHAI worked with the Centre for Global Development and the governments of those African countries involved to collect data from 161 health facilities for the last financial year on record – mostly 2010.

The original aim of the study was to find out whether there was any potential to reduce waste, cut costs and save money, but researchers found salaries and other costs were already so low that this was unlikely, except possibly in South Africa.

Average costs per patient were lowest in Malawi, at $136 a year. That rose to $186 in Ethiopia, $232 in Rwanda and $278 in Zambia. Nearly half the cost, on average, was the price of drugs – which will increase slightly as countries begin to use more effective and more expensive drugs now recommended by the World Health Organisation. CHAI, however, is about to announce a deal with generic drug companies, which will reduce tenofovir-based regimens, which are the "gold-standard" in the USA and recommended by the World Health Organisation, to $125 from $409. CHAI says this will save countries over $500 million between now and 2015.

Kate Condliffe, executive vice-president for health programmes at CHAI, said finances were thought to be a bottleneck to expanding the numbers of drugs in many countries. "The perception that treatment costs are higher is casting a cloud over conversations on how to accelerate treatments," she said.

"You sit through conversations on treatment and prevention where there should be incredible optimism, given the science, and yet there is concern about feasibility and cost that lead to an incremental approach."

But while there are not huge opportunities to save money on treatment in the clinics, there is a disparity between the costs at health facilities and the costs at government level. That was illustrated this week in the major UNAIDS report, which referred to national costs in Zambia – around a third higher than costs in the clinic.

Schwartländer said that even if one assumed a cost of $300 a patient a year, the bill to put 20 million people on HIV treatment would be $6bn a year. "It is not outrageous. It can really be handled," he said.

"Look at the amount of money moving around in low-income countries. $6bn should not shock us – it is not impossible. We need a different view from that of the 'treatment timebomb'."

An Aids treatment clinic in South Africa – a study says the average cost
 of treatment in Africa should be $200. Photograph: Stephane De Sakutin/
AFP/Getty Images

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Tutu calls for end to gay stigma to help tackle HIV

BBC News, 20 July 2012

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Archbishop Tutu heads an
HIV foundation in South Africa
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for homosexuality to be decriminalised to help tackle HIV.

His comments come in an analysis in The Lancet journal of why incidence of the virus continues to grow among men who have sex with men.

Dr Tutu said anti-homosexuality laws would in the future be seen as "wrong" as apartheid laws are now.

Campaigners said it was important for community leaders to speak out.

The archbishop is patron of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, based in Cape Town, which provides treatment for HIV and carries out research.

Writing in The Lancet, he said: "In the future, the laws that criminalise so many forms of human love and commitment will look the way apartheid laws do to us now - so obviously wrong.

"Never let anyone make you feel inferior for being who you are. When you live the life you were meant to live, in freedom and dignity".

Also writing in The Lancet, an international team of researchers, led by Prof Chris Beyrer of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, said men who have sex with men (MSM) bore a "disproportionate burden" of HIV.

The fact HIV was first identified in gay men has "indelibly marked the global response" and "stigmatised those living with the virus", they said.

The researchers' paper said there was optimism among HIV specialists about the potential to use prevention, such as the drug Truvada, to reduce levels of HIV in men who have sex with men.

Earlier this week, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for preventative use in those at high risk of infection and who may engage in sexual activity with HIV-infected partners, the first time it has approved a drug to prevent HIV infection.

'Struggle for equity'

But the international team said the picture was very different in many other countries.

"In too many settings in 2012, MSM still do not have access to the most basic of HIV services and technologies such as affordable and accessible condoms, appropriate lubricants and safe HIV testing and counselling," they said.

"The struggle for equity in HIV services is likely to be inseparably linked to the struggle for sexual minority rights—and hence to be both a human rights struggle, and in many countries, a civil rights one."

The paper, published on the eve of the international Aids 2012 conference, adds that by the end of 2011, only 87 countries had reported prevalence of HIV in MSM.

Data is most sparse in the Middle East and Africa, where homosexual activity is a criminal offence.

The researchers call for same-sex relations to be decriminalised in all countries, so that a true picture of the scale of HIV in men who have sex with men can be ascertained.

A spokeswoman for the UK's Terrence Higgins Trust said: "We've got to have community leaders and people with influence speaking out.

"That's why what Desmond Tutu is saying is so important."

And she said it was right to focus efforts on men who have sex with men, in all countries.

She added: "In London, one in seven gay men has HIV."

This 2011 file photo shows two women, both active duty sailors in the Navy
 who gave their names as Nikki, left, and Lisa, kiss as they march in the Gay
 Pride Parade in San Diego. The Defense Department on Thursday announced it
 is allowing service members to march in uniform in a gay pride parade for the first
 time in US history. The department said it was making the exception for Saturday's
 San Diego's Gay Pride Parade because organizers had encouraged military personnel
 to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention. (AP Photo/
 Gregory Bull, File)

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Plea to introduce anti-HIV pill in the Netherlands

RNW19 July 2012, by Louise Dunne

A Dutch specialist is calling for the introduction in the Netherlands of a pill that can dramatically lower the risk of infection with the HIV virus.

According to Michiel van Agtmael, a consultant in infectious diseases at Amsterdam’s VU hospital, the drug Truvada, is “a breakthrough in the fight against HIV”. The medicine is already available in the United States and can cut the risk of infection by up to 73 percent.

Van Agtmael believes the pill should be made available to high-risk groups such as prostitutes and HIV-negative gay men whose partners are infected with the virus. However, he warns that users of the drug need to be carefully monitored for side effects. Longterm use of Truvada can damage the kidneys and bone structure.

Speaking to daily free newspaper Metro, Van Agtmael also warned of the danger that, “People could have a false sense of security. Just because the danger of infection is halved doesn’t mean you can make love without a condom.

Another disadvantage is the price: Truvada costs around 20 euros per pill, a sum that health insurers may be unwilling to cover.