Should you take the Emergency Vaccines?

Doctor’s Death After Covid Vaccine Is Being Investigated

How scary is that title? It worries me to know that the Coronavirus Pfizer vaccine that was created to save lives, are killing people all around the world.

Dr. Gregory Michael, 56-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist in Miami Beach, received the vaccine at Mount Sinai Medical Center on Dec. 18 and died 16 days later from a brain hemorrhage. Then in Norway, 23 people died after receiving the first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, 13 were nursing home patients. Steinar Madden, Medical director said, it is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients. Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated. Although these deaths are low, they are still significantly important because there’s clearly something wrong with the Pfizer vaccine. People need to understand, vaccines are not a ones-size-fits-all.

Agreeing to take the vaccine regardless of which drug company manufactured it, there is a high risk of side effects or possibly dying. When these drug companies, such as Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and AstraZeneca (to name of few), created the COVID-19 vaccine they applied for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for distribution.

What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. Taking into consideration input from the FDA, manufacturers decide whether and when to submit an EUA request to FDA.

Once submitted, FDA will evaluate an EUA request and determine whether the relevant statutory criteria are met, taking into account the totality of the scientific evidence about the vaccine that is available to FDA. This emergency use allows drug companies to skip many steps. Steps that would usually include many years of research studies on the efficacy and validity of the vaccine on various different variables. The population of people in the United States consists of so many variables to study. For example:

  1. The effects on people with high blood pressure
  2. The effects on breast cancer, blood cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer patients and so on.
  3. The effects on diabetics
  4. Liver diseases
  5. Genetic diseases
  6. Psychological and mental disorders
  7. Parkinson’s disease
  8. Allergies, pregnancy, infants, elderly, teenagers and so on

That list can go on and on because there are so many underline health conditions to consider when studying the effects on people. I’m not one hundred percent sold on the Emergency Use Authorization for these vaccines because the data is still pending. Everyone that opted-in now to be vaccinated are being studied and monitored closely.

In the months and years to come, that data may be used to adjust or even change the ingredients in the vaccines to address side effects and deaths that people have experienced. The more data on hand, the better the outcome. These first individuals will pave the way for concrete information to be used to create the most effective vaccine.

Please be careful because there are fake vaccines and treatments out on the market as well. Always consult with your healthcare professionals before taking any form of drug, tests, treatments, vaccines, and vitamins.

Unfortunately, there are people and companies trying to profit from this pandemic by selling unproven and illegally marketed products that make false claims, such as being effective against the coronavirus. These fraudulent products that claim to cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19 haven’t been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness and might be dangerous to you and your family.

Resources:

Stay Healthy🥦

Why Kevin Hart Obsesses Over Skin Care

The actor, Kevin Hart.
Here’s what his grooming and wellness routine looks like.

Kevin Hart is one of the realest comedians out there. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, and stick to his true moral convictions. Kevin lives his life unapologetically for him and his family. I admire that about him, and now his skin care regime. Who would have thought? I never thought I would be sharing an article on Kevin Hart’s skin care routine, which sounds a lot similar to my own routines. In the article below, Kevin describes everything he does for his skin, heart, body, and his mind. Enjoy!

The actor-comedian-producer Kevin Hart isn’t used to being homebound, but that doesn’t mean he is any less busy. Through his company Laugh Out Loud, he is working with Headspace, a meditation app, on content like “Mindful Runs,” “Energy Shots” and “Meditate With Me,” motivational programs that blend comedy with mindfulness. They’re all rolling out this month. And along the way, Mr. Hart, 41, has gone whole hog on skin care, wellness and even fragrance. Here’s his pandemic grooming and wellness routine.

First things first, I have a sip of water. I’m a faithful water-by-the-night-stand kind of person. Then I go to the bathroom and throw some water on my face. You have to change that sag and fatigue look in the mirror. Then I do a nice warm towel to the face.

My skin care is all by Tina K. She’s a facialist, and she’s done my face for 10-plus years. A friend referred me to her, and that friend was more committed to skin care than anyone in my life.

I had no idea of the different quality and levels of skin care regimens. I was blown away by Tina. She worked around my schedule. She made me make a commitment to my skin. I think of it this way: The same way I’m committed to health and wellness or writing a script, it should be the same with skin care.

Before Covid, I would see her about twice a month to make sure I got a deep clean. Then it’s about consistency — the wash, the scrub, the mask. These are things I never thought I’d be talking about in a thousand years! But anything deserves the opportunity to be taken care of — your skin, your heart, your body, your mind. It’s all stuff you have to work on, and it doesn’t just become good overnight.

After that, I’m in the gym by 6 a.m. I usually work out between 5 and 6 — I beat the sun up — because nine times out of 10, I don’t have to be anywhere. Getting up this early, this was a gradual change. I realized that if I didn’t clock in the gym time, I couldn’t consistently produce the best me. Especially when I was touring or shooting, the only time that was mine was my mornings.

I’ve been an early gym riser for about the last six years. I love it now — you’re getting some quiet, you can listen to music — it’s almost therapeutic for me. I’m working out with my trainer, Ron Boss Everline. We’ve hit about the eight-year mark. I like the fact that we’ve grown together.

A lot of my accomplishments have come from taking care of myself and my body, and I owe that to him. He helped me fall in love with the lifestyle. He didn’t throw me the most difficult thing in the world. It’s about learning to love it.

It’s not trying to get a crazy level of results in a short time. It’s about gradual results: As I achieve more, I can unlock different levels. We’re all over the map, anything from full body to weights to bands to cardio. For cardio, it can be mountain biking or beach workouts. We just try to keep it fun and fresh.

I’ll go to the steam room first, then shower. I love a steam. A good sweat is always welcome. In the shower, I’m a body-wash guy. I might use all these different combinations that Byredo has — the body wash and the lotions. Men deserve to smell good. My toothbrush, Bruush, it’s my newfound love, and I’m now an investor. You get the gums, you get every little place. And I’ve been using the same toothpaste, Colgate White, forever — since I was 4 years old. Deodorant, I’m into the standard Degree regular, 24-hour protection.

I got a Manscaper — it’s a real product! It’s pretty dope. Usually I swear by it, but sometimes you got to let it go out of control for a minute. The wife has to understand we’re on lockdown.

I don’t use anything fancy for my hair. No specific brand. I do like some of the Moroccanoil products, though.

I’m very into fragrance. Le Labo has an amazing collection. I love the exclusives that you can only get in certain cities — very exclusive drops. I’ve been wearing Lys 41. Learning about fragrance for me is like how I approach things all across the board. I have a lot of expectations on me from me. I choose not to cheat. I like the detail.

This past year, you definitely had a lot of thinking time. I’m available. You’ve got to make the best of trying to find a positive in the negative with what’s going on. For me, I get to sit down and be with my kids and my wife in a way I’ve never been available before.

There was a comedian who said something like, “I’ve never been home for a Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” Those are our work days. For years I haven’t been home for consecutive weekends ever. So having that time to really talk and communicate with my family, to understand my family and have my family understand me, has been amazing. I’m realizing there are ways of prioritizing and making myself more available and making sure my family is first.

Meditation plays a major part for me. The road biking and the running, that’s my best time to zone out and tap into a thinking space. I think about the wish list of what I want to do and the things I want to do better or aspire to do. At my house we have a massage chair, and it’s in an isolated location where there’s no TV and no music. There I use the Headspace app. I had to learn how to shut down in my mind. It’s not natural for me.

What I found with Headspace is you get coached through an easy way of relaxing and truly clearing your head. Currently I can do this for 10 to 15 minutes max. That’s why I partnered on content with them.

I also have the Theragun. I’m a fan. It serves a high value in my household, like when you’re just chilling on the couch.

I’ve tapped into some of the CBD stuff, but I haven’t OD’ed yet, in the sense that I haven’t done my research on everything out there and found what is best. I’m old school. I still do Epsom salt in the bath.

Resource: Bee Shapiro NYTimes.

Original Article here

Cicely Tyson Has a Secret About Living Life to the Fullest

Cicely Tyson is one of my all time favorite actress. Her beauty, grace, and courageous spirit are powerful qualities that sets her apart from her peers. At 96, she continues to show that age is really just a number. She’s sharp as a whistle and clever as ever. I came across this article by David Marchese in the New York Times, and I just had to share it with you all. Cicely definitely is living her life to the upmost fullest. Enjoy!

It’s no stretch to say that Cicely Tyson widened the scope of American popular culture. Her groundbreaking portrayals of complex, dignified Black women in feature films like ‘‘Sounder’’ (1972) and the 1974 television film ‘‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’’ showed aspects of the American experience that had rarely, if ever, been represented onscreen before. The gravitas and artistry that Tyson brought to those projects has been a constant throughout her long career, up through the actress’s Tony Award-winning turn in ‘‘The Trip to Bountiful’’ (2013) and ABC’s just-concluded legal drama series ‘‘How to Get Away With Murder,’’ for which she earned five Emmy nominations. Now, with her memoir, ‘‘Just as I Am,’’ which will be published on Jan. 26, Tyson, who is 96, has moved from telling her characters’ stories to telling her own. ‘‘I’m always searching for myself,’’ she says. ‘‘There’s so many facets to a human being. I surprise myself all the time.’’

You’re 96 years old. You’ve had a full life. What advice do you have about how to do that? Oh, I don’t know that I can say it now. Maybe at the end of the interview.

I like it. Let me ask a question that has to do with race and acting. You remember Pauline Kael? Yes. She gave me an excellent review for ‘‘Sounder.’’

A cliffhanger! That’s right. It makes sure you stay with me.

She also had an essay about ‘‘Jane Pittman,’’ and I want to read you something from it. She wrote: ‘‘I’m comparing Tyson to the highest, because that’s the comparison she invites and has earned. She isn’t there, but she’s on her way. She’s great, but she will be even greater when she can relax and smile without feeling she’s Uncle Tomming.’’ That’s a pretty big, fraught assumption Kael was making, that you were playing to racial perceptions. What do you think about that? That’s a surprise! I don’t Uncle Tom to anybody. I don’t care who it is. When I smile, I smile. I do not grin. There’s a difference, OK? And I would say that to Jesus, do you understand? White people always think that when Black people smile a lot or laugh a lot, they’re being Uncle Tom to white folks. Well, that is not me. Absolutely not me. I smile when I feel like smiling, and I don’t when I do not.

But what about Kael’s fundamental assumption? That your characterizations were informed by off-the-screen racial dynamics. Did you ever approach your work on those terms? No. I never worried about what people think about my performances. I work internally, and then when I’m not working on a character, I don’t think about them at all.

In your book, you write about some problematic people who were in your life. One is Bill Cosby, with whom you were close. But in the book, you don’t mention what has happened with him over the past few years or how you feel about it. Are you comfortable sharing your perspective on that? I think about it all the time. To tell you the truth, I can’t believe it. We were close. Miles and I were married in his home, you know? It’s hard for me to talk about, because I don’t know this person that is incarcerated and I never experienced anything that resembled the behavior that he is incarcerated for. I don’t know that person of whom they speak.

What does it say about human nature that this person you were close to had this other side? That you don’t know anybody. You think you know them, but you don’t. I mean, that a person could have a personality so far removed from the one that you know? How can you account for it? You can’t.

I also want to ask you about Miles Davis.Who’s that? [Laughs]

The portrait that you paint of him in the book is pretty unsparing. In your telling, he was physically abusive, he was unfaithful, he was dishonest and he was also dealing with serious addiction problems. Was it hard to disclose those experiences? No. That’s who he was. I have never seen Miles Davis smoke reefer, snort cocaine or hit a woman, OK? He never did it in front of me. He never brought any of those things into our home, all right? And when I tell people that, they say, ‘‘That’s because of his respect for you.’’

I don’t quite understand. In the book, you write about him punching you in the chest. Oh, that was the only time he ever hit me, and that was at the beginning of our relationship. I was shocked. Some people came to the house, a famous writer and his wife, and something happened. I had prepared lunch and —

You dropped a knife on the floor. Yes, and he thought I threw the knife on the floor because of something he said. I hadn’t even been listening to what he was saying. And he came to me, yes he did, and he punched me in the chest. That’s the only time he ever struck me. I’d never had anybody do that to me, all right? He was so sorry. I’m glad you reminded me of that. Those things come and go. The abuse that’s mentioned, I understood where it came from. People don’t behave in that way for no reason. It comes from something or someplace. And nine times out of 10, it’s because they have been deeply hurt. The way people would refer to Miles, ‘‘He’s bad, he’s this, he does that’’ — not in a vacuum, he doesn’t. Nine times out of 10, the abuse came out when he was under the influence of the drugs, of the alcohol.

After all that you went through with him, is he someone you still have love for?Listen, let me tell you something. I got to know the soul of a man who is as gentle as a lamb. He covered it up with this ruthless attitude because he was so shy. Shy, you hear me? And in trying to be the kind of tough person that people thought he was, he ruined his life. Yes, gentle as a lamb, you hear me? That’s the Miles Davis I knew.

But what about love? I’m curious about how your feelings for a man like that might have changed over time. Wait a minute. The man I love was not like that to me. When he was dying, a friend of mine went to the hospital to see him, and he was trying to tell her something. But he had had surgery, and she couldn’t understand what he was trying to say to her. The nurse came in and said to my friend, ‘‘Why don’t you go for a walk and come back in about 45 minutes, and he will be able to talk to you.’’ So she went for a walk. And she came back to the hospital, and he was able to talk loudly enough to tell her this: ‘‘Tell Cicely I’m sorry. Tell her I’m very, very sorry.’’

You’ve been in the entertainment business for more than 60 years. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen? There has been an attempt at being more lenient to Blacks. Let me correct that a little. They are hiring Blacks, but they are hiring Black actors from Africa. And the question has been: ‘‘What’s the difference? He’s Black.’’ Ah, but he’s Black African, as opposed to Black American. They’re taking away our jobs.

Are there examples you’re thinking of? If you take a look at the scene and the Black actors whose careers have come to fruition in the last few years, you will see that most of the Black male actors have been from Africa. Black males here have been quite upset about it. Do you follow?

I follow. I’m not sure I agree, but I follow. [Laughs.] They will kill me for that!

This is an inelegant segue, but at your age, you must think about death now and then. Does it scare you? I’m not scared of death. I don’t know what it is. How could I be afraid of something I don’t know anything about?

It’s something a lot of people are scared of. They just think they know death because other people say it is something to be scared of, but they don’t know that it is a frightening thing. Do you?

Nope. No, you don’t know what it is. People say it is this and it is that. But they don’t know. They’ve not been there. I’ve not been there. I’m not in a hurry to go either! I take it a day at a time, David, and I’m grateful for every day that God gives me.

What’s the most interesting thing about being your age? Holding on to your mentality. I have known a few people who lost it, and that to me is the saddest thing in the world. Because when you can look at your child and say, ‘‘Who are you?’’ or ‘‘What’s your name?’’ — that’s the worst that can happen to anybody. I can’t believe this medical science that looks at trying to give you more time when you don’t know who you are, don’t know who your children are, do not know anything. What’s the point?

Can we go back to the cliffhanger? I can tell you now: To thine own self be true.

That’s what you left me hanging for? I mean, it’s good advice but — Yes, that’s what it is. Do that, and you’ll have no regrets.

Have you ever not been true to yourself?I have tried not to. [Laughs.]

I think I’m confused by the double negative. Does that mean — You didn’t get that did you?

I don’t think I did. [Laughs.] I know it is confusing. Follow me, David.

You’re just playing with me now. Help me out. It’s simple. I try always to be true to myself. I learned from my mom: ‘‘Don’t lie ever, no matter how bad it is. Don’t lie to me ever, OK? You will be happier that you told the truth.’’ That has stayed with me, and it will stay with me for as long as I’m lucky enough to be here.


The original New York Times Magazine article can be found here. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity from two conversations.

Talk – January 10, 2021

By David Marchese

Children Produce Weaker Coronavirus Antibodies, Study Finds

Children seem to clear the infection must faster than adults and may be infectious for a shorter period of time.Credit…Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

The research suggests that children clear the infection much faster than adults and may help explain why many don’t become seriously ill.

Children infected with the coronavirus produce weaker antibodies and fewer types of them than adults do, suggesting they clear their infection much faster, according to a new study published Thursday.

Other studies have suggested that an overly strong immune response may be to blame in people who get severely ill or die from Covid-19. A weaker immune response in children may paradoxically indicate that they vanquish the virus before it has had a chance to wreak havoc in the body, and may help explain why children are mostly spared severe symptoms of Covid, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It may also show why they are less likely to spread the virus to others.

“They may be infectious for a shorter time,” said Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University in New York who led the study reported in the journal Nature Immunology.

Having weaker and fewer antibodies does not mean that children would be more at risk of re-infections, other experts said.

“You don’t really need a huge, overly robust immune response to maintain protections over some period of time,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “I don’t know that I would be especially worried that kids have a little bit lower antibody response.”

The study looked at children’s antibody levels at a single point in time, and was too small to provide insights into how the levels may vary with age. But it could pose questions for certain antibody tests that may be missing children who have been infected.

Dr. Farber and her colleagues analyzed antibodies to the coronavirus in four groups of patients: 19 adult convalescent plasma donors who had recovered from Covid without being hospitalized; 13 adults hospitalized with acute respiratory distress syndrome resulting from severe Covid; 16 children hospitalized with multi-system inflammatory syndrome, the rare condition affecting some infected children; and 31 infected children who did not have the syndrome. About half of this last group of children had no symptoms at all.

Individuals in each group had antibodies, consistent with other studies showing that the vast majority of people infected with the coronavirus mount a robust immune response.

“This further emphasizes that this viral infection in itself, and the immune response to this virus, is not that different from what we would expect” from any virus, said Petter Brodin, an immunologist at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

But the range of antibodies differed between children and adults. The children made primarily one type of antibody, called IgG, that recognizes the spike protein on the surface of the virus. Adults, by contrast, made several types of antibodies to the spike and other viral proteins, and these antibodies were more powerful at neutralizing the virus.

Children had “less of a protective response, but they also had less of a breadth of an antibody response,” Dr. Farber said. “It’s because those kids are just not getting infected as severely.”

The study has implications for many antibody tests, which are designed to detect antibodies that are largely absent in children.Credit…David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Neither group of children had antibodies to a viral protein called the nucleocapsid, or N, that is entangled with the genetic material of the virus. Because this protein is found within the virus and not on its surface, the immune system would only see it and make antibodies to it if the virus were widely disseminated in the body, she said.

“You don’t really see any of that in the children, and that suggests that there’s really a reduced infection course if these kids are getting infected,” she explained.

The finding could undermine the results from tests designed to pick up antibodies to the N protein of the virus. Many antibody tests, including those made by Abbott and Roche and offered by Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, are specific to the N antibodies and so may miss children who have successfully cleared the virus. “That’s absolutely an interesting implication of that finding,” Dr. Brodin said.

Lower levels of virus in the body would also explain why children seem generally to transmit the virus less efficiently than adults do. But experts urged some caution in interpreting the results because they represent samples taken from people at a single point in time. Samples from the more severely affected children and adults were collected within 24 to 36 hours of being admitted or intubated for respiratory failure; those from children with mild or no symptoms were banked after medical procedures.

The type of antibodies produced by the body varies over the time course of an infection. This was a limitation of this study because the researchers may have been comparing people at different points in their infection, Dr. Brodin said. “You risk comparing apples and oranges.”

Other experts cautioned that the study was too small to draw conclusions about how the immune response may vary in children of different ages. The children in the study ranged in age from 3 to 18 years, with a median age of 11. But some studies have suggested that teenagers may be just as much at risk from the coronavirus as adults.

“It’s very important to understand what happens in children,” to understand the nature of their illness, but also how they contribute to spread of the virus in the community, said Dr. Maria L. Gennaro, an immunologist at Rutgers University. But “to try and stratify by age, it’s a little bit of a stretch in the analysis,” she said.

The researchers were also not able to explain why children have a more limited antibody response. Having fewer types of antibodies may seem like a bad thing, but “having a ton of antibody isn’t necessarily a marker of a good thing,” said Dr. Bhattacharya. “It usually means that something went wrong early in the response.”

At least one other study has suggested that children have a powerful inborn immune system, intended to combat the many new pathogens they encounter, and that this first line of defense may clear the infection early without needing to rely on later antibodies.

Another possibility is that the children have some protection — in the form of immune cells called memory T cells — from previous encounters with common cold coronaviruses.

“Is it all innate? Or could there actually be some pre-existing memory?” Dr. Bhattacharya said. “I think those are both possible.”

Resources:

Aproova Manadvilli

New York Times

J&J Recalls Baby Powder After Trace Asbestos Found in Bottle

Johnson & Johnson on Friday recalled a single batch of its baby powder as a precaution after government testing found trace amounts of asbestos in one bottle bought online.

The regulator found trace levels of chrysotile asbestos in samples taken from a bottle of baby powder purchased from an online retailer, Johnson & Johnson said. The company has, for years, denied that the carcinogen is, or ever was, present in its talc-based products.

This is the first time Johnson & Johnson has ever pulled baby powder from the market over asbestos concerns, a spokesman for the company said, and comes as Johnson & Johnson is battling thousands of lawsuits brought by people who say that baby powder and other talc-based products caused them to develop cancer. Some have mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that is considered the signature disease of asbestos exposure, while others have ovarian cancer, which has also been linked to asbestos.

The recall will undermine defense claims against those suits, and could lead to the company having to pay more or to settle cases, said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor who studies corporate governance. Shares of the company fell 5 percent in early afternoon trading on Friday.

But in announcing the recall, the company also repeated part of its long-running defense against cancer claims, saying that “thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos.” The company said it was recalling the shipment out of an “abundance of caution.”

Though Johnson & Johnson said it has started “a rigorous, thorough investigation into the matter” it also appeared to question the testing process, saying in a statement that it is working with the F.D.A. to “determine the integrity of the tested sample and the validity of the test results.”

The recalled baby powder was produced and shipped last year. The recalled lot, #22318RB, involves 33,000 bottles sold by a retailer, which sold products online but may have shipped powder to stores, the spokesman, Ernie Knewitz, said. The F.D.A. has not responded to questions about the identity of the retailer.

A New York Times investigation last year found that Johnson & Johnson executives were aware for decades of the risks of asbestos contamination in talc but did not warn consumers. Internal memos and reports made public during litigation against the company document executives’ concerns about potential contamination that date back 50 years.

Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson disclosed that it is being investigated by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission over concerns about possible asbestos contamination of its talc-based products.

The company is now entangled in litigation on multiple fronts. On Thursday, it agreed to pay $117 million to settle claims that it deceptively marketed transvaginal pelvic mesh implants. Earlier this month, a jury in Philadelphia ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $8 billion to a Maryland man who accused the company of downplaying the risks associated with the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal. The company has also agreed to settle claims involving its role in the nationwide opioid crisis.

Lee Hambright, an analyst with Bernstein, wrote in a note to clients last week that Johnson & Johnson could face $5 billion in legal liability over the talc litigation. Of the 15,500 talc lawsuits the company has disclosed, Mr. Hambright estimated that 1,000 involved mesothelioma cases.

[Read our investigation into claims about asbestos in baby powder.]

Talc is a natural mineral that is mined from underground deposits, but asbestos can form under the same geological conditions that form talc, and geologists say veins of asbestos can intermingle with talc in underground mines.Johnson & Johnson officials emphasized that the level of asbestos detected was very low, the amount being “two ten-thousands of a percent” of the sample. U.S. health agencies, however, say there is no known safe level of exposure when it comes to asbestos.

While health risks increase with heavier and longer exposure times to asbestos, the overall evidence suggests no level of asbestos exposure is safe, and disease has been found in people with only brief exposures, according to the National Cancer Institute.

[Thousands of people who trusted Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for decades are suing the company after developing cancer. “The Weekly,” our new TV show, investigates their allegations.]

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Correction: Oct. 18, 2019

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson. His name is Ernie Knewitz, not Knewizt.

By Tiffany Hsu and 

Did You Know, Poultry is a Cause? Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.

Dr. Lee Riley of the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections. “We’ve suspected maybe some of these U.T.I. cases may be food-borne,” he said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

For generations, urinary tract infections, one of the world’s most common ailments, have been easily and quickly cured with a simple course of antibiotics. But there is growing evidence that the infections, which afflict millions of Americans a year, mostly women, are increasingly resistant to these medicines, turning a once-routine diagnosis into one that is leading to more hospitalizations, graver illnesses and prolonged discomfort from the excruciating burning sensation that the infection brings.

The New York City Department of Health has become so concerned about drug-resistant U.T.I.s, as they are widely known, that it introduced a new mobile phone app this month that gives doctors and nurses access to a list of strains of urinary tract infections and which drugs they are resistant to. The department’s research found that a third of uncomplicated urinary tract infections caused by E. coli — the most common type now — were resistant to Bactrim, one of the most widely used drugs, and at least one fifth of them were resistant to five other common treatments. “This is crazy. This is shocking,” said Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, who was not involved in the research. 

The drug ampicillin, once a mainstay for treating the infections, has been abandoned as a gold standard because multiple strains of U.T.I.s are resistant to it. Some urinary tract infections now require treatment with heavy-duty intravenous antibiotics. Researchers last year reported in a study that a third of all U.T.I.s in Britain are resistant to “key antibiotics.” Certainly, the day-to-day experience of having a U.T.I. is growing less routine for many women. Carolina Barcelos, 38, a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley, Calif., said she had several U.T.I.s as a teenager, all successfully treated with Bactrim. When she got one in February, her doctor also prescribed Bactrim, but this time it didn’t work.

Four days later, she returned and got a new prescription, for a drug called nitrofurantoin. It didn’t work either. Her pain worsened, and several days later, there was blood in her urine. Her doctor prescribed a third drug, ciproflaxacin, the last of the three major front-line medicines, and cultured her urine. The culture showed her infection was susceptible to the new drug, but not the other two. “Next time,” Dr. Barcelos said, “I’m going to ask them to do a culture right away. For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me.” Usually, it is people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions who are most vulnerable to drug-resistant infections, but U.T.I.s have a dubious distinction: They are the single biggest risk to healthy people from drug-resistant germs.

Resistance to antibiotics has become one of the world’s most pressing health issues. Overuse of the drugs in humans and livestock has caused germs to develop defenses to survive, rendering a growing number of medicines ineffective in treating a wide range of illnesses — a phenomenon that is playing out worldwide with U.T.I.s.

The World Health Organization, while noting that data on urinary tract infections and drug resistance is “scarce,” said the fact the infections were so common strongly suggested that increasing resistance would lead to more severe illnesses and fatalities. The solution, researchers and clinicians say, includes a continued push for more judicious use of antibiotics worldwide. But more immediately, a partial solution would be the development of quick, cheap diagnostic tools that would allow an instant urine culture so that a doctor could prescribe the right drug for U.T.I.s.

Carolina Barcelos had a urinary tract infection earlier this year. Neither of the first two drugs she took helped. “For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

But whether to wait the several days it usually takes to get lab results before prescribing presents a tough dilemma for doctors and patients, who frequently are desperate for relief. Plus, depending on a person’s insurance, getting a culture can be expensive. Generally doctors still do not order a urine culture before prescribing an antibiotic.

“In the old days, the list of antibiotic options was short but by and large they would all work,” said Dr. James Johnson, an infectious disease professor and leading researcher on urinary tract infections at the University of Minnesota. Some women have U.T.I.s that the body fights off on its own without using antibiotics, while other women may have a different low-level ailment that feels like a U.T.I., but isn’t. The safest course is to see a doctor and make an informed decision that includes a judicious determination of whether antibiotics are warranted. The science does not support the efficacy of some popular remedies like cranberry juice or cranberry pills.

Officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that U.T.I.s acquired by otherwise healthy people were a growing concern and one poorly studied. They are not tracked nationally. In older people, urinary tract infections can be deadly, but tracking in the United States is so weak that there are no reliable estimates on the numbers of deaths related to the infections. The C.D.C. published an estimate of 13,000 per year, but that figure comes from a paper looking at 2002 data and refers only to U.T.I.s acquired in hospitals. Dr. Clifford McDonald, associate director for science in the division of health care quality promotion at the C.D.C., said the government planned to expand its research.

“If we don’t do something soon,” Dr. McDonald said, “it’s going to push all our treatments to more advanced antibiotics that finally put a lot of pressure on the last-line treatments.”

What makes these infections so dangerous, and commonplace, is human anatomy. In women, the urethra — the gateway to the urinary tract — is in proximity to the rectum. This can lead to easy transfer of bacteria in fecal residue that otherwise resides harmlessly in the gut. 

In reproductive years, women are 50 times for likely than men to have a urinary tract infection; later in life, the ratio drops to 2 to 1, as men wind up having surgical procedures on their prostate, or catheters, that more easily expose their urinary tracts to infection.

There are multiple germs that cause U.T.I.s, and their resistance levels to drugs vary both by strain and by where a patient lives. By far the most common cause of U.T.I.s today is E. coli, and, in general, those infections have seen sharp rises in resistance to gold standard treatments over the past decade and a half.

Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician at San Francisco General Hospital, said one of her patients returned to the emergency room after a drug-resistant U.T.I. spread to her kidney. “It makes me wonder what the world looked like for women before antibiotics, and wonder if we’re going to see that now,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

New research shows that one crucial path of transfer of germs that cause U.T.I.s is food, most often poultry. The consumed poultry winds up in a person’s gut and can get transferred through fecal residue to the urethra.

A study published last year by the American Society of Microbiology, funded partly by the C.D.C., found 12 strains of E. coli in poultry that matched widely circulating urinary tract infection strains. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Lee Riley, a professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the University of California, Berkeley, said he was working on a C.D.C.-funded project to determine whether the urinary tract infection needs to be classified and reported as a food-borne illness.

Dr. Brad Frazee, an emergency room doctor at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., has been a co-author of research that adds another troubling wrinkle: Increasingly, E. coli is proving resistant not just to individual antibiotics, but also to a broad group of drugs known as beta-lactam antibiotics. These drugs share a way of attacking infection, and when a germ develops resistance to this method of attack, it eliminates several key treatment options all at once.

Recently, a woman carrying such resistance showed up at Dr. Frazee’s hospital, he said. She wound up with pyelonephritis, an infection in the kidney, and had to be treated in the hospital intravenously with a drug called ertapenem that can cost $1,000 a dose. A study found that around 5 percent of U.T.I.s at the hospital carried this resistance. 

Doctors are now confronting cases of resistant urinary tract infections in their practices. Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician in San Francisco, recently received notice that one of her patients, a healthy woman in her mid-30s, was back in the emergency room with another U.T.I. that was resistant to multiple antibiotics.

One of her prior U.T.I.s had failed to respond to two commonly used treatments and had spread to her kidney, requiring hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. This time Dr. Raphael consulted with infectious disease specialists. “It can be quite dangerous in this age where there is more and more resistance,” she said, noting that without effective treatment the infection can get into the blood. “It can be fatal.”

Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/health/urinary-infections-drug-resistant.amp.html

Why Some Dairy Products are More Closely Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Each year in the United States, approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed, bringing the total number of current cases up to about a million, with tens of thousands of people dying from the disease every year. The dietary component most often implicated is milk, as I discuss in my video Could Lactose Explain the Milk and Parkinson’s Disease Link?, and contamination of milk by neurotoxins has been considered the “only possible explanation.” High levels of organochlorine pesticide residues have been found in milk, as well as in the most affected areas in the brains of Parkinson’s victims on autopsy. Pesticides in milk have been found around the world, so perhaps the dairy industry should require toxin screenings of milk. In fact, inexpensive, sensitive, portable tests are now available with no false positives and no false negatives, providing rapid detection of highly toxic pesticides in milk. Now, we just have to convince the dairy industry to actually do it.

Others are not as convinced of the pesticide link. “Despite clear-cut associations between milk intake and PD [Parkinson’s disease] incidence, there is no rational explanation for milk being a risk factor for PD.” If it were the pesticides present in milk that could accumulate in the brain, we would assume that the pesticides would build up in the fat. However, the link between skimmed milk and Parkinson’s is just as strong. So, researchers have suggested reverse causation: The milk didn’t cause Parkinson’s; the Parkinson’s caused the milk. Parkinson’s makes some people depressed, they reasoned, and depressed people may drink more milk. As such, they suggested we shouldn’t limit dairy intake for people with Parkinson’s, especially because they are so susceptible to hip fractures. But we now know that milk doesn’t appear to protect against hip fractures after all and may actually increase the risk of both bone fractures and death. (For more on this, see my video Is Milk Good for Our Bones?.) Ironically, this may offer a clue as to what’s going on in Parkinson’s, but first, let’s look at this reverse causation argument: Did milk lead to Parkinson’s, or did Parkinson’s lead to milk?

What are needed are prospective cohort studies in which milk consumption is measured first and people are followed over time, and such studies still found a significant increase in risk associated with dairy intake. The risk increased by 17 percent for every small glass of milk a day and 13 percent for every daily half slice of cheese. Again, the standard explanation is that the risk is from all the pesticides and other neurotoxins in dairy, but that doesn’t explain why there’s more risk attached to some dairy products than others. Pesticide residues are found in all dairy products, so why should milk be associated with Parkinson’s more than cheese is? Besides the pesticides themselves, there are other neurotoxic contaminants in milk, like tetrahydroisoquinolines, found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, but there are higher levels of these in cheese than in milk, though people may drink more milk than eat cheese.

The relationship between dairy and Huntington’s disease appears similar. Huntington’s is a horrible degenerative brain disease that runs in families and whose early onset may be doubled by dairy consumption, but again, this may be more milk consumption than cheese consumption, which brings us back to the clue in the more-milk-more-mortality study.

Anytime we hear disease risks associated with more milk than cheese—more oxidative stress and inflammation—we should think galactose, the milk sugar rather than the milk fat, protein, or pesticides. That’s why we think milk drinkers specifically appeared to have a higher risk of bone fractures and death, which may explain the neurodegeneration findings, too. Not only do rare individuals with an inability to detoxify the galactose found in milk suffer damage to their bones, but they also exhibit damage to their brains.


Other than avoiding dairy products, what can we do to reduce our risk of Parkinson’s? See Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinson’s Disease?and Peppers and Parkinson’s: The Benefits of Smoking Without the Risks?.

You may also be interested in my videos Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Dietand Parkinson’s Disease and the Uric Acid Sweet Spot.

For the effect of foods on another neurodegenerative disease that affects our ability to move normally, see ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answersand Diet and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Written By 

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

A New Way to Detect Breast Cancer

Not long before Mihir Shah was to be married in 2007, his soon-to-be mother-in-law got a diagnosis of breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and survived, wearing a wig to the wedding. But while the women in Mr. Shah’s family — in both India and the United States — were able to get breast cancer screening, it made him think of the millions who weren’t as fortunate.

More than 90 percent of women in the developing world don’t have access to early detection of breast cancer. One reason is that mammograms, the gold-standard screening technique, are rarely used because of their high cost and a lack of trained radiologists. India has one radiologist for every 100,000 people; the United States has 12.

Then there are logistical challenges like a lack of electricity and poor roads. Many people are not aware of cancer, and the disease still carries a stigma.

Read on – nyti.ms/2BT0ap3

Happy Earth Day


Today, Saturday, April 22, 2017 is Earth Day. On this day we all should embrace our environment and take time out to do something for our environment. I’m not referring to the one in a shopping mall, nail salon, or in your bed. I’m referring to Mother Nature.  Earth day is a special day too.  The founder Gaylord Nelson, who was a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin got the idea after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  That catastrophe brought out many people, mostly students who supported the anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that same energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator.  Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.  April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected for Earth Day. 

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment.  This is the day we honor our land, sea, and climate. Doing nothing is worst.  Look at Earth Day like any other special day like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and even Christmas.  We honor our love ones by doing something special for them. Well, on Earth Day do something special for the earth.  Here are some great ideas:

  • Take action and donate
  • Plant wildflowers
  • Start a organic vegetable garden
  • Ways to Conserve water 
  • Recycle ♻️ Zero Waste Programs
  • This is my favorite: Eat Less Meat: The meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Help make a difference by limiting your meat consumption.

Take action and let’s Celebrate Earth Day!


Resources:

Care2.com: For Earth Day: RESIST Trump’s Offshore Oil Drilling Agenda petitions

The Old Farmers Almanac Earth Day 

Earthday.org:  This year’s campaign is all about environmental & climate literacy.

 

New Guidelines: Early Exposure to Peanuts May Decrease Allergies 


     A new study published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, suggest giving infants peanut power within the first 6 months of their lives.  This early exposure can possibly prevent peanut allergy through introduction of peanut-containing foods beginning in infancy.  Recorded data from 1999, peanut allergy was estimated to affect 0.4% of children and 0.7% of adults in the United States, and by 2010, peanut allergy prevalence had increased to approximately 2% among children in a national survey, with similar results reported in a regional cohort. 

     Peanut allergy is the leading cause of death related to food-induced anaphylaxis in the United States, and although overall mortality is low, the fear of life-threatening anaphylactic reactions contributes significantly to the medical and psychosocial burden of this disease.  Many families who have a love one with a peanut allergy knows this onus personally.  Simple family activities can be stressful, like eating out at a restaurant or going to a friends birthday party. As a parent you have to be extra careful at home and more importantly, in public.  I’m so blessed none of my three children have food allergies. I know many families that endure a lot of heartache dealing with children with serious food allergies, and it can be extremely daunting. 

To continue reading more about this study click here. 

Resources:  Addendum guidelines for the prevention of peanut allergy in the United States: Report of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases–sponsored expert panel

Peanut Allergy Overview