women 4 hope

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Archive for November, 2007

Potential Problems with Tamiflu, and Questioning The Benefits of the Flu Vaccine

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 26, 2007

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Potential Problems with Tamiflu, and Questioning The Benefits of the Flu Vaccine — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

New warnings from the FDA about possible psychiatric events being observed in some patients that have taken Tamiflu and Relenza (antiviral medications used to minimize the symptoms of the flu).

When it comes to the flu, there are two aspects of concern. First…Are the medications safe? And second…Are the vaccines beneficial? Here are some of what’s been in the news and on the blogs recently.

Personally, I choose not to get the flu vaccine. In general, I just feel we are over vaccinated in this country. And maybe it’s just been a coincidence, but when I have gotten the flu vaccine, it seemed to exacerbate my already problematic medical conditions.

In documents prepared for the meeting next week and posted on the FDA’s Web site, agency staff recommended that Tamiflu’s label be strengthened to note: “In some cases, these behaviors resulted in serious injuries, including death, in adult and pediatric patients.”

The FDA staff also reviewed Relenza, a drug in the same class as Tamiflu, recommending its label be changed to note “reports of hallucinations, delirium and abnormal behavior” observed in some patients taking the drug. — Read Full Article

From a post at Nurse Tips – Health Headlines

Reports of neurological problems in children taking the flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza mean the medicines need a warning label on their packaging, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration safety review released Friday.

According to the Associated Press, the safety review follows 25 deaths among Tamiflu users under the age of 21, most of them occurring in Japan. In five cases, children fell from windows or balconies or ran into traffic, the AP said. — read full post

Then there is the issue of the Flu Vaccine…

CDC Facts about the Influenza (Flu) Vaccine

It seems the main controversy over the Flu Vaccine, has been over the possible adverse reactions to it. But equally as important, is discovering whether or not there is an actual benefit to this vaccine…And studies are now beginning to show, that the benefits may not be as great as we have been led to believe.

A new report has been released in which the effectiveness of flu vaccinations is queried. Focusing on their performance within the elderly, the report asserts that no data exists to suggest that yearly flu jabs prevent those involved from contracting significant illnesses in future years.

Those behind the report conceded that flu stood as an “important contributor” towards illnesses including emphysema and bronchitis. However, they added, no marked difference was noticed in the frequency of either condition within those that had had vaccinations, and those who passed on them. — Read Full Article

This is from Escaping To My Happy Place

Offering a sharp critique of the evidence, the authors of the study offered several reasons for questioning the notion that flu immunization saves lives in the elderly population:

1. Even thought vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15% to 65% since 1980, the overall mortality due to pneumonia and influenza in elderly people has increased in that period.

2. Few randomized, placebo-controlled trials have examined flu vaccine effectiveness in elderly people. The largest and best study, done in the Netherlands, showed a 50% reduction in confirmed flu cases among all the volunteers, but the reduction for those older than 70 was only 23%.

(Blogger’s Note: for regular folks, that still left only a 50% effectiveness. The flu vaccine has more listed side effects than any vaccine package insert I have ever read, including a host of respiratory problems such as ASTHMA)

There was no significant reduction in influenza-like illness. (Blogger’s Note – so you don’t get the flu, but you get flu-like. What a nice exchange!)

3. A number of investigators have reported finding evidence of flu vaccination benefits in the elderly by analyzing the records of large healthcare organizations. But these studies typically are flawed in that investigators looked for an effect on all-cause mortality, a nonspecific outcome, rather than on lab-confirmed flu.

4. Further, many such studies may be marred by a subtle selection bias, wherein relatively healthy older people were more likely to be vaccinated, thereby making vaccination look more beneficial than it really was.

More debate over the Flu Vaccine.

So…How do you feel about these latest findings? Do you get the Flu Vaccine? Why or why not? Are you concerned about the possibility of psychiatric problems related to the anti-viral medications used to treat the flu? Would you let your child take it if prescribed?

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Posted in children, Health, kids, life, medicine, news, opinion, vaccines | Leave a Comment »

Are You Going To Let The Government Tell You What’s Best For Your Child?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 19, 2007

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Get Your Child Vaccinated or Go To Jail — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at CatherineBlogs.com)

More problems associated with vaccines, this time the controversy is with the Chicken Pox vaccine. I haven’t been silent about my distrust with the pharmaceutical industry, and most recently with the collaboration between this industry and our government…specifically the rush to make the HPV vaccine mandatory for 9 to 12 year old girls. As much as I have a problem with *some* vaccines, I have a much larger problem with our government forcing parents to vaccinate for viruses such as Chicken Pox and HPV.

I am not someone who is against childhood vaccinations, as a nurse I fully understand the necessity for vaccinating children against polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. However, vaccinating against these diseases was begun for the sole purpose of saving the lives of children, that can not be said for most of the newer vaccines (Flu, HPV, Chicken Pox, Hepatitis, etc). The sole purpose for pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines today, is for one purpose and one purpose only…money (and a lot of it). I wont be able to go into each one in detail for this post (maybe in a future one), but here are a few statistics to just give you an idea of what I am talking about.

But now, let me talk specifically about the Chicken Pox vaccine and this latest controversy.

In Maryland parents are being threatened with fines and jail if they do not comply with vaccinating their children for chicken pox. Does anyone NOT see how insane that sounds? What the bleepidy-bleep is going on????

Speaking as one of the lucky ones, who lived through “The Great Chicken Pock Pandemic” of the 1970’s…oh wait, there was no pandemic and everyone I knew got the chicken pox and a couple days off from school, and actually lived to tell the tale. For those of us old enough to remember having the chicken pox…The memories are horrifying…the pustules, the itch, the dreaded calamine lotion. If you haven’t been through it yourself, you can not begin to imagine what we suffered with for those never ending couple of days. [My attempt as sarcasm…I know, don’t quit my day job.]

Seriously now. When my children were born (and at that time the vaccine was not yet mandatory), the pediatrician told me about it, and I decided that if my children weren’t exposed to the virus before they would be attending school, then I would consider it. [CHOICE…it’s a beautiful thing, but becoming more and more rare in our society.] My reservations had nothing to do with a possible adverse reaction to the vaccine…It was the fact that, getting chicken pox as a child is not serious, and getting the virus actually gives a life-long immunity (the vaccine does not). I also wondered why anyone would consider this vaccine, when there was already an anti-viral medication available, that reduced the severity of the symptoms and cut the duration of the illness?

READ FULL POST AT CatherineBlog.com

Posted in children, current events, daughters, Health, hpv vaccine, kids, opinion, parenting, political, thoughts, Women, YouTube | 4 Comments »

BlogHers Act on Maternal Health

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 15, 2007

BlogHers Act

The new BlogHers Act site is LIVE. Check out this post by Lisa Stone explaining the goals of this new site.

The site before you is the result of terrific work by a great team. Maria Niles, Denise Tanton and Web Producer Julie Douglas led a significant production, design, and project management effort, working with the insight, connections, passion and original concept of Contributing Editors Emily McKhann and Cooper Munroe of The Motherhood, whose blogging on this essential topic we can now enjoy in its new home. Thank you, wonder women. — read full post

This years commitment is to Maternal Health…

Are you aware that maternity is a leading killer of women worldwide?

It’s true. Every minute of every day, somewhere in the world a woman loses her life because of issues related to pregnancy or giving birth. In 2007-2008, BlogHers Act is committed to saving some of these lives by harnessing the power of women online and our blogs to address maternal health, the global health issue recommended by this community.

This is a very important issue, and a great way for women to help other women. I hope you’ll get involved. Just go to the New BlogHers Act Site, and see what you can do to help.

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, Health, life, motherhood, Women, women's health | Leave a Comment »

My First YouTube Video: Made for the 10Questions project.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 12, 2007

10Questions:  My Health Care Question for the Presidential Candidates — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

Morra Aarons asked me if I would contribute to the 10 Questions project, by making a video question about the issue of healthcare.

The questions are taken from the BlogHer Voter Manifesto.

As Morra Aarons wrote earlier this week, 10Questions is “a giant, web-wide contest where anyone can submit an online video question, view others’ questions, and vote for their favorite. At the end of the voting period, the top ten questions will be submitted to presidential candidates for answering. It’s like the CNN/YouTube Debate on steroids.”

READ FULL POST FROM LISA STONE

I was very flattered to be asked, and excited to participate. There was only one problem…I didn’t have a web-cam, and I had no idea how to make a video for YouTube…I guess that’s two problems, huh?

You can see the full post and my first ever YouTube video, at BlogHer.

Posted in 10questions, about me, blogging, chronic illness, Health, life, opinion, political, Politics, thoughts, Women, YouTube | 2 Comments »

Healthcare Crisis: SCHIP, HMOs, and Universal Healthcare, what can we do?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 10, 2007

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Healthcare Crisis: HMOs, Universal Healthcare, SCHIP, and the 2008 Presidential Election — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

I don’t think I go one day without reading or hearing about someone facing medical issues, and not having adequate health insurance. Cancer patients who can’t afford their treatment, coverage denied for people with insurance, uninsured kids, and people who are working hard to support their families, and still don’t have health insurance.

Just the other day on my Women 4 Hope blog…I had a young man comment about being told he had sleep apnea, and that he needed a special devise to help him breath at night or he could die. Oddly, his insurance company won’t cover the cost of this piece of equipment. How can that be? This young man has resourcefully started a blog in hopes to find a used machine, or raise enough money to purchase a new one.

So, how is it…That we are the richest country in the world, but we can’t afford to make sure our own citizens have quality affordable health insurance? This is actually a question I intend to pose to the presidential candidates at the10 Questions project, later this weekend (I’ll post the video here in comments, once I have it ready).

It’s beginning to appear that…Only the wealthy, and most poverty stricken people in this country are guaranteed health care. If you are not at one extreme or the other, your life could very well be on the line. That just doesn’t seem right? Yet, it is the reality for many people.

I didn’t see the movie SICKO, but I have heard Michael Moore speak of his belief that the insurance companies (especially HMOs), are the main problem in this healthcare crisis we are facing. And I agree. Of course insurance companies need to be profitable, but over the last 20 years or so, they have really began a systematic pillaging of the American people. HMOs are said to be “managed healthcare”, but unfortunately the only thing they are doing a good job at managing, is their shareholders money.

These insurance companies have no vested interest in the actual health of the customers they “serve” (I use that word lightly), and actually make their own rules, while having no accountability at all. At the very least, HMOs should change their name to reflect what they really are…PMHDs (Profit Making Health Dictators).

READ FULL POST AT BLOGHER

Posted in BlogHer, cancer, children, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic illness, family, Health, heart disease, kids, life, medicine, opinion, political, Politics | 3 Comments »

Breastfeeding News, Research, and Controversy

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 6, 2007

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Breastfeeding News, Research, and Controversy — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

I came across an interesting article today, about a new study on breastfeeding, and how it relates to IQ. Even though I’ve been personally out of the breastfeeding business for some time (my son is 16 and my daughter is 13), this article still intrigued me, so I decided to use it as the topic of todays post. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the only study (or news) on breastfeeding that had been released recently.

So, instead of this post being only about how breastfeeding relates to IQ, it’s also going to be about how breastfeeding relates to heart disease in adults, how asthma may hinder the benefits of breastfeeding, and whether or not breastfeeding is the leading cause of sagging breasts in women. There has also been another controversy over a women’s right to breastfeed her child in public, so I’ll tell you more about that too.

Let’s start with the research that first caught my eye today…

In two studies of over 3,000 children in Britain and New Zealand; breast-fed infants were found to have a 7 point increase in their IQ, when the child also carried a particular version of the FADS2 gene.

“It is this genetic variant in FADS2, a gene involved in the control of fatty acid pathways, that may help the children make better use of the breast milk and promote the brain development that is associated with a higher IQ score,” said Julia Kim-Cohen, assistant professor of psychology at Yale and a member of the research team.

“Children who do not carry the ‘helpful’ genetic variant have normal average IQ scores,” Kim-Cohen said. “Being breastfed for them is not associated with an IQ advantage.” — read full article

From Sandy at The Mouse Trap in a post on Nature vs Nurture…

The Nature vs Nurture debate is now old-fashioned and instead enlightened people like Malcom Gladwell have been reformulating it as Nature via Nurture where, for genes to make their impact, appropriate environmental agents have to be present. Ed Yong of the excellent Not Exactly rocket Science blog, blogs about a recent study that shows that IQ differences (of up to 7 points) in people with two different variants of a gene, FADS2, can be accomplished under the environmental conditions of breastfeeding. Thus, the gene, which is instrumental in metabolism of some fatty acids, leads to increase in IQ points, but only if the babies are breast-fed. The link seems that this gene is necessary to metabolize some of the the fatty acids present in mother’s milk. — read full post

Another study suggests that the benefits of breastfeeding do not stop when your baby is weaned. Breastfeeding my actually protect your baby from developing heart disease later in life.

This is from WebMD…

Researchers found that babies who are nursed for one month or longer have a lower body mass index (BMI) and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in mid-adulthood than their bottle-fed counterparts. A lower BMI and high HDL both protect against cardiovascular disease. — read full post

There is also new research about the lack of benefit of breastfeeding, when the mother has asthma. It seems that when mothers with asthma breastfeed, the child does not get the same sort of protection and improvements in lung function as other children.

There is an interesting study about asthma and breastfeeding in the first November issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Breastfed babies having less diarrhea, fewer ear infections and fewer incidents of wheezing in infancy. The new study suggests that the breastfed babies of asthmatic mothers, though, may be missing out on the positive effects of breastfeeding on lung development. — read full post

Breastfeeding usually helps babies have better lung function later in childhood, but it may not if their moms have asthma.

A new report from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Arizona Respiratory Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson finds longer breastfeeding in children of asthmatic mothers does not improve the child’s lung growth and it significantly decreases their airflow later in life. — read full article

Then there is the controversy over breastfeeding in public…

It bothers me that this is even a subject for debate. Hospitals practically force women to breastfeed their babies. While nursing my son in my maternity ward room, I could hear the nurse giving the young mother next door to me a guilt trip because she didn’t want to breastfeed her baby. So, here we are being bombarded with posters and fliers and nurses and doctors telling us that breastfeeding is natural and the best thing for the baby. There are breasts and nipples hanging out all over the place and no one bats an eye. Then we leave the hospital. — read full post from Modern Mommy

This is a news clip on the latest breastfeeding in public controversy…

It seems this is a law that every state should pass…From A Little Crunchy, Wisconsin Senate passes a breast feeding in public law.

And on a lighter note…

A new study reports that Breastfeeding does NOT cause a woman’s breasts to sag.

My personal opinion on this one is…It seems to me that gravity and age play a pretty large role in the ongoing saga of the saggy boob. But that’s just my personal opinion, and not based on anything except my own intellect and wisdom. *wink*

More moms blogging on breastfeeding…

Amanda’s Blog: Nursing in public

In A Strange Land: Childbirth, breastfeeding, power and hypocrisy

Mama Knows Breast: Breastfeeding and Sleep

So there you have it. One woman’s assessment of the recent news, research, and controversy surrounding breastfeeding. What do you think?

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I hope you will also check out my newest blogsCatherineBlogs.com and The Political Voices of Women

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Posted in blogging, BlogHer, family, Health, kids, life, motherhood, news, parenting, pregnancy, Women, women's health, women's issues, YouTube | 4 Comments »

Toxic Toys: A New CDC Report Gives Reason To Be Concerned.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 3, 2007

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Toxic Toys:  A New CDC Report Gives Reason To Be Concerned. — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

When we bring home toys to our children, the last thing we think is that we could be putting our child at risk for lead poisoning. However, we now know that many toys made in China (and most everything is made in China these days), are doing precisely that.

So…What do we do? What signs do we look for?

How can we protect our children from their own toys?

Well, there isn’t a simple answer, but I’ll try to address as many aspects of this problem as I can with this post.

Our children are being exposed to even greater levels of lead than we could have ever imagined, and now the CDC is reporting that even small levels of lead can be harmful.

Lead poisoning can cause irreversible learning disabilities and behavioral problems and, at very high levels, seizures, coma and even death. — read full article

Lead exposure, at levels that are much lower than previously thought, now appear to be causing low IQ’s, and other intellectual and learning disabilities in children. There is no safe level of lead in a child’s blood, even the smallest amount can be detrimental. And unfortunately, there is no way to lower these levels once they are discovered. For this reason, prevention is the most important aspect of reducing the risk of lead poisoning.

Lead is more dangerous to children than adults because it can harm the developing brain, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, among other things. Signs of lead poisoning may include irritability, low appetite and lethargy. — read full post at MOMformation

Since lowering your child’s exposure to lead is the best way to prevent lead poisoning, knowing what toys have been recalled is very important. Here is a link to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

But, if knowing what toys contain lead is so important…Why is it that our own Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t seem to be all that concerned?

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” was the first thing we thought after hearing on Tuesday that Nancy Nord, the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), doesn’t support legislation to greatly increase resources for her agency to stop toxic products from reaching children. Right now there is only one inspector charged with testing toys. — read full post from The Huffington Post

Here are some more links to other women blogging about the problem of lead in our children’s toys…

Alpha Mom: Lead The Metal Enemy

BlogHer Chris has a post called Getting the Lead Out

Growing Your Baby: More Lead Recalls

The Clutter Diet Blog

My kids are both in their teens now, so this toxic toy scare isn’t affecting me in the same way that I am sure it is affecting so many moms of young children. How is this affecting you? Are you worried? Have you felt the need to have your child tested? Do you trust our government to keep these toxic toys off the shelves? Where will you be buying your toys this Christmas?

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
also at CatherineBlogs.com and The Political Voices of Women

Posted in BlogHer, chronic illness, current events, Health, lead poisoning, life, media, news, parenting, political, Women, YouTube | 2 Comments »

MRSA aka The Super Bug: The Facts and the Fears.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 1, 2007

The Super Bug MRSA: Should You Panic? — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last ten days, you have more than likely heard about MRSA, a drug resistant form of Staph Infection (see one of the many news reports here).

This is by no means a new problem. What is new though, is that we are hearing about it affecting and sometimes killing children that are picking up this infection at their schools. Very scary. We’ve been hearing about sick kids, and schools closing for top to bottom hazmat style cleanings.

But before you panic…The best medicine is knowledge. Knowing the signs and symptoms of what to look for is the most important aspect of this story. Panicking is an option, but not a productive one. And like we’ve talked about before, MRSA is another one of those illnesses that may be caused by the overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial cleaners.

From around the blogosphere…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in awareness, BlogHer, children, Health, medicine, MRSA, parenting, viruses, YouTube | 5 Comments »