California Bill Would Mandate Open Access To Publicly Funded Research – Slashdot

“This week, advocates of open access to publicly funded research are keeping an eye on California’s Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act (AB 609), which could soon find its way to the California State Senate. The bill requires the final copy of any peer-reviewed research funded by California tax dollars to be made publicly accessible within 12 months of publication. If passed, the legislation would become the first state-level law mandating this kind of access. Opensource.com is featuring a collection of articles on open access publishing, which you can read while you await the verdict on AB 609.”
http://science.slashdot.org/story/13/05/30/1347248/california-bill-would-mandate-open-access-to-publicly-funded-research

The Black Death Is Doing Fine – And Becoming Resistant

from Contagions

Yersinia pestis-plague-black death“Tibet-Qinghai plateau region is where Yersinia pestis originated and the region where subsequent pandemics arose, I think its time to look more closely at regional outbreaks and case studies.

In this region, the marmot (Marmota himalayana) is the primary reservoir for Yersinia pestis. This large communal burrowing rodent is hunted by local Tibetan tribesmen for both meat and pelts. Butchering marmots has long been considered a risk factor for contracting plague via their fleas, aerosols or skin abrasions. To investigate the exposure of marmot hunters to plague, Chinese epidemiologists collected serum from 120 Qinghai villagers, 68 male hunters and 52 female family members, along with 120 negative controls from the non-endemic area of Beijing. None of the villagers or controls reported having a fever within the last two years.

The results are eye-opening and illustrates the importance of occupational exposure. Over a third of the male villagers had an antibody response to Yersinia pestis. Only 2% of their female family members produced an antibody response. Wether two fever-free years are enough time to determine if they had symptomatic plague in the past is an open question. Their letter to Emerging Infectious Diseases does not provide much information on the test subject’s histories or oral reports. [see more here LINK]”

Osterholm on “contagion exhaustion”

From Crof’s H5N1 Blog…

http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2013/05/osterholm-on-contagion-exhaustion.html/

Via The New York Times, Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of CIDRAP, writes today’s must-read: The Next Contagion – Closer Than You Think. Excerpt:

There has been a flurry of recent attention over two novel infectious agents: the first, a strain of avian influenza virus (H7N9) in China that is causing severe respiratory disease and other serious health complications in people; the second, a coronavirus, first reported last year in the Middle East, that has brought a crop of new infections. 

While the number of human cases from these two pathogens has so far been limited, the death rates for each are notably high. 

Alarmingly, we face a third, and far more widespread, ailment that has gotten little attention: call it “contagion exhaustion.” News reports on a seemingly unending string of frightening microbes — bird flu, flesh-eating strep, SARS, AIDS, Ebola, drug-resistant bugs in hospitals, the list goes on — have led some people to ho-hum the latest reports. 

Some seem to think that public health officials pull a microbe “crisis du jour” out of their proverbial test tube when financing for infectious disease research and control programs appears to be drying up. They dismiss warnings about the latest bugs as “crying wolf.” This misimpression could be deadly.  Continue reading

On Mayo – Rochester’s Expansion Plans

THOUGHTS FOR CONSIDERATION

As the Destination Medical Center (DMC) legislation hurtles its way at warp speed to a final vote by the elected representatives of the State of Minnesota, it is time to pierce through the blitzkrieg of slick marketing, expensive lobbyists and political campaign style non-substantive sound bites that have thus far dominated the public discussion. The legislation requires our community and State to comprehend and support a complicated, expansive and expensive private commercial development/public infrastructure investment on a scale never before proposed that will determine our future and have precedential value for other corporations doing business in Minnesota. We have been given roughly three months to consider this proposal and many have endeavored to raise serious, thoughtful and legitimate questions with respect to a complex initiative that has taken at least three years and millions of dollars to develop with no community wide input. The vast majority of these questions have neither been acknowledged nor answered.

DMC is promising, “conservatively”, 15,000 good paying jobs over the next 20 years and an additional 30,000 to 45,000 jobs spurred by this unprecedented public funding mechanism. This will theoretically triple our already robust projected population growth anticipated to naturally occur without the DMC law if we assume a corresponding population increase of three people per job. If the DMC job promises are accurate, what impact will this dramatic population growth have upon agricultural, residential, commercial property and other taxes that will be required to cover not only the previously projected $800 million gap in infrastructure funding over the next 20 years as it relates strictly to streets, bridges and sidewalks but also similar infrastructure demands created by the DMC initiative? What will be the projected funding gap for sewers, storm sewers and parks that is just now being analyzed by Rochester and Olmsted County? What will be the social justice costs attributable to creating affordable/accessible housing, expanding law enforcement, fire protection, social services, judicial resources, community corrections, mental health care, public and private educational institutions, as well as alternative learning centers such as Hawthorne Education Center in the wake of this population explosion? Will nonprofit entities such as the United Way, Rochester Area Family Y, Salvation Army, Women’s Shelter, Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center and others be able to serve the critical needs of growing and underserved populations? While not looking for precise answers, we should be aware of whether or not these important traditional and human infrastructures needs have been considered and, if so, what their projected costs are and how we expect to pay for them.

Every aspect of the DMC Corporation (DMCC) must be subject to the open meeting laws/government data practices. Legislation of this scope and magnitude usually takes at least five years to make its way through the legislative process so that implications about data practices, open meeting laws and donor disclosure can meaningfully be discussed understood and appropriately incorporated into a proposed law. Critical to the legislation is the consultants who will advise DMCC. Are they city, county, state, Mayo Clinic or DMCC employees? If paid by Mayo, do they have an inherent conflict of interest in a process that is purported to be open and subject to public debate? Should any consultants/firms thus far hired by Mayo to create and advance its DMC legislation continue to be involved with the DMCC? Who supplies and pays for the support staff necessary to run the non-profit? These are just a few aspects of a small but vitally important portion of the bill that remain unsettled.

The House of Representatives composition of the DMCC board is simply more of the exclusive inner circle. The Senate version is no better. Instead of a select few, the composition of this community corporation should include two local elected officials and representation from each of the following: Mayo Clinic, Independent School District #535/private schools/alternative learning centers, one of the surrounding Olmsted County communities, the downtown business/development community, public safety/social services/corrections/ mental health, RCTC/UMR/Winona State, a core neighborhood association, the Minnesota House of Representatives(central Minnesota) and the Minnesota Senate (northern Minnesota). If DMC is determined by the State to be a legitimate public purpose and in this community’s best interest, then a truly representative cross section of the community should be intimately involved in its planning, development and implementation in order to bring balance and objectivity to the discussion.

As it has publically unfolded in the past two weeks, this legislation’s only relationship to the delivery of health care is in its appeal to the well-heeled patient. The true intent, as reflected in the just unleashed “DMC Infrastructure Master Plan” which this community has never been afforded any opportunity to consider, is to commercially transform our downtown and surrounding residential neighborhoods with 5 star hotels, Las Vegas style atriums, Disneyland trams and other undisclosed commercial development plans that have likely been in the works for years. Don’t you believe the citizens of Rochester should decide if, when and how we should be “transformed”? The premise of this legislation, according to DMC’s marketing department, is that people will not come to Rochester for world class medical care because our downtown is “woefully inadequate.” Other than the vast expanse of Mayo Clinic surface parking lots and parking ramps, this is simply untrue; just ask the uncelebrated downtown small business owners, hoteliers, restaurateurs and their employees who interact with our visitors from around the world by providing their own measure of care and comfort supporting our unparalleled world class medical community.

In closing, we should be mindful of the insightful eloquence from one of our founders: “Commercialism in medicine never leads to true satisfaction … and to maintain our self-respect is more precious than gold.” W.J. Mayo, 1938 from Aphorisms of Dr. Charles Horace Mayo, 1865 to 1939 and Dr. William James Mayo, 1861 –1939.

John C. Kruesel
Kevin A. Lund
Rochester, Minnesota
Home to the Mayo Clinic

90% Of Ground Turkey Contaminated With Horrible Shit

New Study Finds 90 Percent Of Ground Turkey Contaminated With One Or More Dangerous Bacteria

Published 1, May 2, 2013 Link 2 Jonathan Turley Posting

Consumer Reports has come out with a rather alarming study that shows that 60 percent of ground turkey tested contained fecal bacteria and sixty-nine percent of ground-turkey samples contained enterococcus.

image002

Evil Bugz

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Noble Burd

Even more scary was that 80 percent of the enterococcus bacteria were resistant to three or more groups of closely related antibiotics (or classes), as were more than half of the E. coli.

In all, 90 percent of the samples tested positive for one or more of the five bacteria targeted by the study such as salmonella and staphylococcus aureus. Three samples were contaminated with the potentially lethal methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The percentage of such bacteria as E Coli did not change with organic or antibiotic-free turkeys.

The use of antibiotics (long criticized by health experts) has helped create a huge petri dish for generating resistant germs to antibiotics. Despite such studies, we continue to cut a demonstrably small force of food inspectors — relying on large part on the industry’s self-regulation.

The study is likely to have a huge impact on consumers who often view turkey as a healthier substitute for ground beef. It remains lower in fat but the contamination levels are astonishing.

The astonishing level of contamination in ground turkey would suggest that a large number of people are likely sickened every year without necessarily knowing that it was the turkey that was the culprit rather than the usual suspects of unclean restaurant conditions or other foods like lettuce etc. The problem is that people who are sickened by such food often do not trace their illness to a particular product. The result that tort actions remain rare due to factual causation problems — reducing the deterrence afforded by litigation.

Source: Consumer Reports

Consumer Health Digest for April-11th-2013 by Steve Barrett M.D.

Consumer Health Digest for 4-11-2013 by Steve Barrett, M.D.

Dr. Oz’s irresponsible amalgam attack rebutted. On March 28, the Dr. Oz Show featured a demonstration purporting to show that brushing the teeth that contain amalgam fillings releases toxic levels of mercury vapor within the mouth. Two articles that explain why this demonstration was misleading have been published. One notes that the apparatus did not mimic real world conditions and that the operator’s company is closely linked with Oz and has been a major contributor to Oz’s nonprofit corporation. [Baratz RS, Barrett S. Dr. Oz’s improper amalgam toxicity demonstration. Dental Watch, April 8, 2013] The other article provides a sentence-by-sentence analysis of the program’s transcript. [Barrett S. Analysis of Dr. Oz’s unwarranted attack on
amalgam fillings
. Quackwatch, April 9, 2013] The Dr. Oz Show too often provides a platform for unscientific viewpoints (including anti-vaccination and anti-fluoridation) and promotes useless products. Continue reading

Consumer Health Digest #12-46, December 27, 2012

Consumer Health Digest #12-46
December 27, 2012
Current # of subscribers: 10,994

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

Note: This issue is using software that embeds links into the text instead of showing them separately. It is also using styles instead of plain text. If these do not display properly in your computer, please send Dr. Barrett a message describing the problem and indicating what e-mail software you use.

###

Herbalife attacked as “pyramid scheme”

Billionaire hedge fund investor Bill Ackman has mounted an attack on Herbalife that he apparently hopes will drive it out of business. The attack was launched with a 3-1/2 hour presentation at the Sohn Conference Special Event on December 20th. During his presentation, Ackman noted:

**Herbalife recruits unwitting “distributors” with the promise they can achieve lofty incomes. However, fewer than 1 in 1,000 do so.

**Herbalife’s products are overpriced but sell because they are bundled with a perceived business opportunity. However, the vast majority of new distributors make nothing.

**Herbalife is a pyramid scheme because its participants obtain their monetary benefits primarily from recruitment rather than the sale of goods to consumers. Continue reading

Quackwatch

Dr. Steve Barrett keeps track of medical scammers, quack artists
and woovagelicals and sometimes pays a price for pulling the
curtain back… subscribe to his weekly digest and drop a buck
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Consumer Health Digest #12-45 12/20/2012

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited
by Stephen Barrett,
M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D.

It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments;
enforcement actions; news reports;
Web site evaluations;
recommended and nonrecom
mended books; and other information
relevant to
consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

###

EMF protection device claims blasted.

The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
has ordered Business Revolutions Ltd to stop claiming
that its WillauTronic devices can protect people from
alleged adverse effects of electrosmog (“eSmog“).
The company’s Web site claims that ever-present
magnetic fields induce tiny electric currents that produce
unhealthy effects in human, animal, and plant bio-systems.

The company further claims that “eSmog” can cause
nervousness, sleeplessness, headaches, allergies, cancer,
and death and that its devices can “keep your family
healthy.” After Dr. Stephen Barrett complained to the ASA,
the company claimed that (a) they were not aware that
their website was accessible to the public and (b) because
they hadn’t developed the products and were only an agent
to sell them, they should not be considered to be an advertiser.

They made some modifications, but the ASA concluded that
the claims were unsubstantiated and still misleading.
Business Revolution Ltd defied the ASA’s order to stop and
is now listed as a noncompliant online advertiser.
###

Chiropractor charged for criminally exploiting patient.

John O. Meadors, Utah Spine + Disk in Murry, Utah, has
been charged with one count of second-degree felony
exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

The Salt Lake City Tribune has reported that
(a) the patient, who
was unable to manage her financial
affairs, signed a contract for
20 visits and was persuaded
to open a $6,000 line of credit to
pay for them;
(b) Her legal guardian accompanied her to the clinic
but
was not aware of the contract or credit application;

(c) Meadors treated the woman three times but was paid
$5,250
by CareCredit for treatments that included the two
initial “free”
visits and additional treatments that were
not provided;

(d) Despite being told that the patient is disabled and that
the
contract was fraudulent, Meadors did not cancel any
charges;
and
(e) meanwhile the credit card company is pressing for

payment. [Dobner J. Chiropractor faces felony charge for
fraudulent contract. Salt Lake City Tribune, Dec 17, 2012]

Meadors’ clinic Web site refers to him as “the nation’s
leading
back pain relief expert” and “the defacto unrivaled
Number One
Chiropractor in the U.S.” In addition to
operating his own clinic,
Meadors also markets his treatment
system to other chiropractors.

In videos posted to You Tube, Meadors states that he has
collected
as much as $157,000 in a single week and promises
prospective
buyers they can make more money in a month
than they have been
able to make in a year. Many chiropractors
persuade patients to
sign contracts for multiple visits and
use CareCredit to finance them.

This appears to be the first time a chiropractor has been
criminally
charged with deception in connection with such
a contract.

For additional information about Meadors’ activities, see
http://www.chirobase.org/20PB/meadors.html
###

FTC issues food marketing report.

The Federal Trade Commission has released a comprehensive
analysis of food and beverage industry marketing expenditures
and activities directed to children and teens. The study,
A Review of Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents:
Follow-Up Report, assesses industry efforts to encourage food
advertisers to promote a healthy diet. The report notes that
industry self-regulation has resulted in modest nutritional
improvements from 2006 to 2009 within categories heavily
marketed to youth, including cereals, drinks, and fast food meals.
However, some significant companies have not joined the effort,
and the entertainment industry lags farther behind.
[FTC Releases follow-up study detailing promotional activities,
expenditures, and nutritional profiles of food marketed to children
and adolescents commends industry for progress, urges broader participation and continued improvement. FTC news release
Dec 21, 2012] Link

In July 2011, the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising
Initiative (CFBAI) whose member companies accounted for
nearly 90% of advertising expenditures for foods marketed
to children in 2009 announced standardized nutrition criteria
that will take effect at the end of 2013. Link

###

Marketers selling tainted “supplement” under new name.

The FDA is warning the public that a product distributed and
sold under the name ‘WOW’ can cause serious harm. Earlier
this year, the agency warned that Reumofan Plus, marketed
as a “natural” dietary supplement for the treatment of arthritis,
bone cancer, and various other problems contained undeclared
steroids and active ingredients found in prescription drugs
that should only be used under the medical supervision.

Since June, the FDA has received dozens of reports of serious
and sometimes fatal outcomes among users of Reumofan Plus.
The adverse effects include liver injury, severe bleeding,
corticosteroid withdrawal syndrome, adrenal suppression, and
stroke. Now the agency has discovered that some distributors
have deliberately renamed the product to sell remaining
supplies.
[Dangerous supplement now sold as ‘WOW.’,]
###

Continuing request for help from Dr. Barrett

In June 2010, Doctor’s Data, Inc. sued Dr. Barrett
because it didn’t like what what he wrote about them
on Quackwatch and in this newsletter. The events
leading up to the suit are described at
http://www.quackwatch.org/14Legal/dd_suit.html

In November, 2011, the judge dismissed about
half of the allegations, but discovery can proceed
for a few more months. The rest of the suit will
probably be dismissed soon afterward, but the
discovery proceedings have been time-consuming
and cost more than $30,000. Contributions to the
defense fund can be made by mail or through
QUACKWATCH DONATIONS
____________________________

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Consumer Advocate
Chatham Crossing, Suite 107/208
11312 U.S. 15 501 North
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Telephone: (919) 533-6009
http://www.quackwatch.org (health fraud and quackery)