Dr Gigi Chow

Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

ADHD Medication Given to Poor Kids to Improve Academic Performance

In Big Pharma, Environment on October 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

This is just a down right scary and disturbing trend…

Published in New York Times on Oct 9, 2012

When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall.

The pills boost focus and impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.

“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance.

It is not yet clear whether Dr. Anderson is representative of a widening trend. But some experts note that as wealthy students abuse stimulants to raise already-good grades in colleges and high schools, the medications are being used on low-income elementary school children with faltering grades and parents eager to see them succeed.

“We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,” said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, a child mental-health services researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.”

The above excerpt is taken from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/health/attention-disorder-or-not-children-prescribed-pills-to-help-in-school.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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TSA Removes Body Scanners from Major Airports

In Environment on October 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

The Transportation Security Administration has been quietly removing its X-ray body scanners from major airports over the last few weeks and replacing them with machines that radiation experts believe are safer.

The TSA says it made the decision not because of safety concerns but to speed up checkpoints at busier airports. It means, though, that far fewer passengers will be exposed to radiation because the X-ray scanners are being moved to smaller airports.

The backscatters, as the X-ray scanners are known, were swapped out at Boston Logan International Airport in early October. Similar replacements have occurred at Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago O’Hare, Orlando and John F. Kennedy in New York, the TSA confirmed Thursday.

The X-ray scanners have faced a barrage of criticism since the TSA began rolling them out nationwide after the failed underwear bombing on Christmas Day 2009. One reason is that they emit a small dose of ionizing radiation, which at higher levels has been linked to cancer.

In addition, privacy advocates decried that the machines produce images, albeit heavily blurred, of passengers’ naked bodies. Each image must be reviewed by a TSA officer, slowing security lines.

The replacement machines, known as millimeter-wave scanners, rely on low-energy radio waves similar to those used in cell phones. The machines detect potential threats automatically and quickly using a computer program. They display a generic cartoon image of a person’s body, mitigating privacy concerns.

“They’re not all being replaced,” TSA spokesman David Castelveter said. “It’s being done strategically. We are replacing some of the older equipment and taking them to smaller airports. That will be done over a period of time.”

He said the TSA decided to move the X-ray machines to less-busy airports after conducting an analysis of processing time and staffing requirements at the airports where the scanners are installed.

The radiation risk and privacy concerns had no bearing on the decision, Castelveter said.

Asked about the changes, John Terrill, a spokesman for Rapiscan — which makes the X-ray scanners — wrote in an email, “No comment on this.”

The TSA is not phasing out X-ray body scanners altogether. The backscatter machines are still used for screening at a few of America’s largest 25 airports, but the TSA has not confirmed which ones. Last week, Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., installed two of the machines.

Moreover, in late September, the TSA awarded three companies potential contracts worth up to $245 million for the next generation of body scanners — and one of the systems, made by American Science & Engineering, uses backscatter X-ray technology.

The United States remains one of the only countries in the world to X-ray passengers for airport screening. The European Union prohibited the back scatters last year “in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens’ health and safety,” according to a statement at the time. The last scanners were removed from Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom last month.

Read more at: http://www.propublica.org/article/tsa-removes-x-ray-body-scanners-from-major-airports

Please Support Proposition 37: Mandate GMO Labelling

In Diet on October 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Eat Less For Longer, Healthier Lives

In Diet on October 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Published on Naturalnews.com: http://www.naturalnews.com/037388_calorie_restriction_longevity_lifespan.html

Diet as a major environmental factor has been shown to have a profound effect on many aspects of health. Specifically caloric restriction (CR) has been shown to expand the maximal lifespan of many species. While CR has not been proven to increase lifespan in humans, CR has also been shown to delay a wide range of aging-associated diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases in higher mammals, such as nonhuman primates and humans. CR may therefore increase longevity by favorably influencing broad aspects of human health.

Although some define CR as a 30 to 40 percent reduction in calorie intake (as determined by daily energy expenditure) there is no “official” definition of caloric restriction, and investigations have revealed CR benefits can still occur with less-restrictive caloric intakes. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) sponsored a randomized human clinical study to assess the safety and efficacy of CR in non-obese but overweight healthy individuals. Researchers followed overweight , middle-aged (average age 37) individuals for 6 months who reduced their daily caloric intake by 25% or by 12.5% with an additional 12.5% caloric expenditure from exercise. Both intervention groups demonstrated reduced body weight and abdominal fat, as well as reduced liver fat deposits and DNA damage. In addition, the participants were able to improve two markers of longevity (reduced body temperature and reduced fasting plasma insulin), as well as reduce cardiovascular risk factors (LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure).

Similar results have also been observed from another study on slightly older 50-60 year old non-obese overweight volunteers after 1 year of CR. However, some of the older volunteers also experienced decrease in muscle mass, strength, and aerobic capacity. Exercise is therefore very important for this age group in order to minimize these consequences.
There are many hypotheses on how CR minimizes aging-associated diseases and improve longevity. Possible mechanisms include protection from oxidative damage, increased cellular and DNA repair, reduction in the inflammatory molecules and therefore inflammation that may be responsible for a wide range of conditions from cancer to cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
The significant impact of CR on delaying aging and preventing aging-related diseases has motivated efforts to identify natural or synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of CR. Resveratrol is such a compound that has garnered much research as a CR mimicker. Resveratrol is a compound found in the skin of red grapes and it is a potent antioxidant. Studies have revealed promising and universal effects of resveratrol by favorably increasing cellular detoxification, protecting DNA damage, modulating metabolic processes such as blood sugar and insulin regulation and inhibiting tumor formation and growth, all of which significantly improve human health and lead to increased human lifespan.

While there is no specific and definite composition of the CR diet, the potentially significant reduction in caloric intake necessitates the consumption of nutrient-dense foods, and the avoidance of “empty” calories from foods such as white flour and refined sugar. It is also important to mention that the focus of CR is on health and longevity and not merely weight loss. When adopted long-term, the CR lifestyle may be a simple way to prevent various potentially debilitating diseases and promote longevity.

References
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3175174/?tool=pubmed
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278796/?tool=pubmed
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3058481/?tool=pubmed
http://www.lef.org/protocols/lifestyle_longevity/caloric_restriction_01.htm