Saturday, April 30, 2005

Mammograms in Canada on Faulty or Uncertified Equipment?
April 30 2005 Globe and Mail story below:
Why a mammogram anyway? Is it covered by insurance or public health programs?

There is a less invasive, less painful way. It is called thermography? A 'high tech' scientific medical diagnostic technique. Uses a digital infrared camera and high speed computer for imaging. Measures body tissue heat energy. Generally "problem areas" show high temperatures due to increased blood flow and increased metabolic activity.

No pain, no pain...
Medical Thermography, International Inc

--------- Here is the Globe and Mail Story -------------

Saturday, April 30, 2005


About 150 hospitals and clinics across Canada are operating breast-cancer screening machines that have failed a national quality test, have never been tested, or are no longer being tested, causing health-care experts to worry that cancers may be missed.

For thousands of Canadian women, that means they are being screened on equipment that is too old or of questionable quality. Or they are being sent to a facility that has let its accreditation with the Canadian Association of Radiologists lapse, or has never applied for it.

"If the accreditation was lost for quality reasons, there is a concern that cancers could be missed if the quality is really bad," said Normand Laberge, chief executive officer of the association. "Or women could be falsely told they may have cancer."

Unaccredited machines can be found in small clinics in rural areas and in big cities. Two of Ontario's 51 unaccredited machines are in Canada's biggest cancer hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Further west, accreditation on a North Battleford machine run by the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency was suspended, a Globe and Mail investigation has found.Fewer than half of New Brunswick's machines are accredited, while Prince Edward Island has none. In Newfoundland and Saskatchewan, almost one-third of the machines are not accredited, Mr. Laberge said.

The accreditation process involves testing the machines and scrutinizing the qualifications of the people operating them and the doctors interpreting the mammography films. There are also surprise inspections.

In much of the country, accreditation is voluntary. Only Alberta, Nova Scotia and Quebec demand breast-screening mammograms be done on accredited machines; British Columbia plans to do the same by the end of this year.

For the rest of Canada, nothing stops the 50 machines that have failed accreditation from being used.

Another 48 machines were never evaluated and 50 others have allowed their accreditation to lapse. Currently, 540 mammography machines have accreditation or are in the process of renewing it, Mr. Laberge said.

Dr. Rene Shumak, chief radiologist of the Ontario Breast Screening Program, does not recommend any woman get a mammogram at an unaccredited centre.

"If somebody hasn't gotten accredited by now, they aren't keen enough and maybe they shouldn't be doing screening mammography," Dr. Shumak said.

"If you go to a site that is not accredited, we don't know that it's no good but they haven't made the effort to prove that it is good."

Clinics are under no obligation to post their accreditation, or lack thereof, and women must consult the association's website to find clinics and hospitals that have passed the test.

Due to confidentiality agreements, Mr. Laberge could not identify clinics and hospitals that have failed accreditation. However, he would confirm or contradict information that clinics and hospitals provided for this article.

Some clinics told The Globe and Mail that the process is too costly, with it averaging $400 annually for three years, at which time the accreditation has to be renewed. A few have moved to digital machines and have had difficulty fulfilling the printing requirements.

Such is the case at Princess Margaret Hospital, in downtown Toronto, where 11,500 diagnostic and screening mammograms are performed each year.

Dr. Marcus Dill-Macky, who heads the hospital's breast-imaging department, said the quality available there is as good or better than at any accredited centre. The hospital, he said, let its accreditation lapse on one analog machine as there were plans to replace it. However, its replacement didn't work out.

Due to printing and bureaucratic issues, the hospital has not been able to obtain accreditation for the second machine, a digital one.

Princess Margaret Hospital plans to join the Ontario Breast Screening Program, which demands accreditation, by the end of summer, said Jennifer Kohm, the hospital's spokeswoman.

The accreditation on the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency's mobile North Battleford machine has been suspended, said Lois Harrison, executive director of the prevention and early detection division. She said the association believed an uncertified radiologist was interpreting the films when, in fact, a certified radiologist from Saskatoon was the one reading them.

"Our accreditation was suspended and we're not 100-per-cent sure exactly why," Ms. Harrison said. "There is some confusion as to whether there was an uncertified radiologist reading for us. There is not an uncertified radiologist reading for us." The quality of mammograms has never been an issue, she said.

Mr. Laberge confirmed the accreditation in North Battleford was suspended four months ago. Meanwhile, the association and cancer agency's screening program are reviewing the process to ensure standards are maintained, he said.

In stark contrast, no mammography machine can operate in the United States without a licence from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and an accreditation from the American College of Radiology.

Dr. Charles Finder, the FDA's associate director of mammography quality and radiation programs, said a voluntary accreditation program was established in 1987. But five years later, only 42 per cent of the machines had become accredited and only 10 states had adopted regulations requiring it.

After concerns were voiced about unaccredited facilities, the Mammography Quality Standards Act was passed in 1992, compelling all mammography facilities to be certified by October of 1994.

"Prior to implementation of the program in 1994, there was no enforceable standard for quality or radiation dose. Some women were getting mammograms at doses higher than they could have been," Dr. Finder said. "With the introduction of the MQSA program, all facilities must meet the established quality and radiation standards."

Dr. Nancy Wadden, a radiologist on the Public Health Agency's Canadian Breast Screening Initiative, made up of representatives of screening programs across Canada and others, said her group does "recommend the adoption of the accreditation program for all facilities."

And she recommends any woman needing a mammogram go only to an accredited facility.

"There are places doing wonderful mammography that are not accredited," Dr. Wadden said. "But you really have no external proof that that is so."

Indeed, Dr. Keith Sparrow, chairman of the radiology association's mammography accreditation committee, said he believes good work is being done at unaccredited centres.

However, "the danger [with an unaccredited machine] is always that an abnormality that might be seen is not seen because of poor positioning of the patient's breast," Dr. Sparrow said. ". . . Or the equipment is old and not working properly. Technical issues like that could be present and you would not know about them."

The Moncton Hospital failed its accreditation test in 2001 for a number of reasons, including film-processing problems, technical issues and the fact it had no chief technologist, according to Dr. Roy Tingley, the hospital's chief of radiology.

Knowing that its off-site Katherine Wright Family Wellness Centre would not be accredited for the same reasons, the hospital did not reapply; the accreditation lapsed in December of 2003. "If you see a boat going down over by the reef and then you send another boat by the reef, it's probably going to go down, too," Dr. Tingley said.

Since late 2003, the hospital and wellness centre have changed the film, bought new processors, hired a chief technologist and is looking toward gaining its accreditation again, a process it hopes to complete this year.

Dr. Tingley said the quality of the images is very good.

Michele Bernier, director of public relations for the Beauséjour Regional Health Authority, which oversees the Dr. Georges L. Dumont Regional Hospital in Moncton, said initially that one of its two machines was accredited until May of 2005. However, Mr. Laberge contradicted that information, saying that accreditation for one machine was revoked in January of 2004. Accreditation on the second machine lapsed.

Michele Leblanc, the hospital's mammography technician, said the facility has since replaced the problem piece of film-processing equipment and solved the dust problem created during hospital renovations.

And Dr. Louis Simard, the hospital's vice-president of medical services, said good-quality screening mammography is being done there, adding that "we feel we could pass the exam with flying colours right now."

In Prince Edward Island, a dust problem caused a machine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown to fail its accreditation. Knowing they would have the same problem on the second machine, officials did not apply for accreditation. Accreditation was not applied for at the Summerside site, where the machine is relatively new, said Calvin Joudrie, technical director of diagnostic imaging for the provincial service health authority.

Though construction is now over, dust remains an issue, despite the purchase of a new film processor and other equipment. However, Mr. Joudrie insisted that the quality of the breast images had no bearing on disease detection. He said there are plans to upgrade the machines to a special type of digital form that has not yet been licensed.

"There is nothing wrong with the machine," Mr. Joudrie wrote in an e-mail. ". . . The equipment and training were fine, the image quality had no issue with disease pickup, however there is a limit to dust allowed within the field of view."

In Corner Brook, Nfld., Western Memorial Regional Hospital does not have its machine accredited because it was never sought, Damon Clarke, its corporate director of communications said initially.

However, Mr. Laberge said the hospital began the process in 2002 and, after a full review, "it was found that the quality did not meet standards and therefore corrective measures were recommended and accreditation not granted." Western Memorial Regional Hospital was invited after the implementation of the recommendations to reapply. When it didn't, the file was closed, he said.

In a follow-up interview, Mr. Clarke said he was mistaken when he said they never sought accreditation. Western Memorial Regional Hospital has since purchased a new, second machine and is planning to become part of the provincial breast-screening program this fall and will be pursuing accreditation for both machines. The hospital, he said, is doing everything an accredited centre would.

In Ontario, about 82 per cent of clinics are accredited, just below the national average of 85 per cent. That leaves 51 machines that are not.

One of them is in Mississauga and another is in Etobicoke, says Dr. Murray Miller, a radiologist who works in those clinics and who is also on the association's accreditation committee. He refused to identify the two clinics that have unaccredited machines but said neither is accredited because both are brand new. He said he is pursuing accreditation for both.

"The bottom line is the quality is first rate," Dr. Miller said, adding that he believes the mammography quality at unaccredited Ontario centres to be very high.

Linwell X-Ray Centre-Midtown Plaza in St. Catharines allowed its accreditation to lapse because it didn't spell extra business.

"I think the quality of the films are there, it's just that we thought maybe it would increase our business but it didn't seem to matter," said its manager, Mrs. Briggs Jude. "But I still have everything done that we need for accreditation."

Though West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby, Ont., failed its accreditation, it still says it provides high-quality mammograms and is actively pursuing that stamp of approval from the radiologists' group.

"You have a period of time where if you don't pass it the first time, you can resubmit, but it's all part of the same application," said David Bird, executive director of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. "I guess you could say we failed."

Problems with dust and the film developer have been the main issues, he said. They have since cleaned up the area, replaced the ceiling tiles and purchased a new mammography machine and a new film developer. As well, they have a very experienced radiologist.

"I think the quality of our mammograms was still quite high, although it did not meet the standard at the time from the Canadian Association of Radiologists," Mr. Bird said.

In Winnipeg, the Breast Health Centre is not accredited because it does not perform a minimum volume of scans necessary to attain it, according to Heidi Graham, spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

"Because of the volume we do, we wouldn't qualify," said Ms. Graham, adding that by the time most women get to the centre, they have already had a cancer diagnosis.

Also in Winnipeg, Tache X-Ray Services said it allowed its accreditation to lapse, largely due to the volume of paperwork.

"It's one of those things where you are running your clinic on a daily basis, you sometimes don't have time for the extra paperwork involved," said Dorothy Beckman, the head technologist who has been performing mammograms for 17 years. "But everything is always being kept up to the standards that they recommend so you can be confident that things are working properly."

Women Beware: Can you Trust Your Mammogram

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Be careful about what you ask for, you might get it. | TV ads influence drug prescriptions: U.S. study

Advertising works. Study shows if you ask a doctor for a brand name antidepressant, you will get it, 55% of the time, even if the symptoms don't warrant it and benefits would be very minimal.
My opinion on SSRI antidepressants is that they can be dangerous, and made more dangerous when prescribed to people who would not benefit from them. The studies that the drug companies suppressed, showed that suicidal thoughts occurred in the "normal" test group, even though they weren't depressed before starting medication. Hmmm what happened to "first do no harm"

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Not only is flying unhealthy because you are breathing everybodies germs.
Now studies show it is the lack of oxygen that causes problems. Lack of oxygen can make you feel ill and may lead to DVT (deep vein thrombosis) a condition that they warn you against in the inflight magazine these days.
DVT is dangerous and the solution is to put you on blood thinners (rat poison) .
Telegraph | News | Low oxygen 'increases DVT risk for most air passengers'

Monday, April 25, 2005

More on "The People versus Merck and Vioxx"

Another pharmaceutical giant is being exposed as hiding or changing documentation to hide the evidence of the dangers in its pharmaceutical products.

The New York Times > Business > Evidence in Vioxx Suits Shows Intervention by Merck Officials

This is all because ALL drugs are toxic. ALL drugs have to have an established toxicity level before they can be approved. That toxicity level is called LD50 That stands for Lethal doseage 50% - that value is how much of the drug it takes to terminate 50% of the lab animals.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

In New York: HIV/AIDs children in foster care were used in drug testing / clinical trils in the late 1980's until 2001.

The children's services agency is being questioned as to whether the proper parental and guardian approvals were in place.

" . . . advocates like the Alliance for Human Research Protection have accused the agency of exploiting the children and subjecting them to medical harm."

One of the central issues is that foster children are already devalued. Using them as test subjects devalues them even more.

Read more here:
Probe Looks at Use of
Foster Kids in Drug Trials

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Read this article by Robert Kennedy Jr.
"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has buried a provision in the "Protecting America in the War on Terror Act" to insulate the pharmaceutical industry from liability for venal actions that may have poisoned an entire generation of Americans."
BELLACIAO - Playing Politics at Kids's Expense
He talks about the links between vaccinations which contain thimerosal (mercury) and the epidemic of neurological disorders like autism and ADHD.
"Instead of demanding the immediate removal of Thimerosal from all vaccines, and making the drug industry help defray the public and private costs of caring for injured children, Frist’s bill would give the industry a free ride at public expense."
"Autistic children have been shown to have higher mercury loads than nonautistics, and there have been reports of significant improvements in some brain-injured children by removing mercury from their bodies."

In another study released this month researchers have found that autistic children have levels of glutathione (antioxidant) in their blood, significantly below that of "normal" children.
Children with autism have a severely abnormal metabolic profile

Antioxidants are crucial in removing heavy metals like mercury from our bodies

So what would I do, I would take the best antioxidant I could, one that was clinically tested to raise glutathione levels in human blood tests and one that is tested for both water and fat soluable ORAC values.
Complete Immune and Antioxidant Support

Too many times patients are used as guinea pigs. Drugs are administered to patients in a best guess manner, and if that doesn't work, then doctors administer another one. However, DNA testing can be done for certain drugs.

You can be tested for how you produce enzymes that break down certain drugs. There are 4 levels that they test for; either your body really processes the drugs and they are not effective for you for what they are designed to do - or, on the other extreme, your body is very slow at the breakdown of those particular drugs and you end up being over-medicated. The latter is the most dangerous - doctors typically don't monitor those drug levels to adjust your prescription.

Genetic tests could prevent drug reactions - Genetics -

Again, I say. . . it is not drugs you are lacking if you have a condition, it is essential nutrients. Your body is a miracle designed to keep itself in good health if you give it what it requires to do that.

My disclaimer is - sometimes we need the drugs to keep us alive - but do find out what the problem is - what you are missing in your diet and eat that.

Note also: that you MUST supplement. Toxins and depletion of soil nutrients means that your food isn't what it used to be.

The Globe and Mail: The deadly tainted-blood scandal is more shameful than Adscam "The combination of bureaucratic bungling, lax regulation, short-sighted politicking and penny-pinching, corporate greed and outright misrepresentation has been costly, not only in dollars but in lives." The actions of the Canada Development Corporation cost taxpayers millions of dollars and wasted thousands of liters of donated blood. To make up for this shortfall blood was purchased from US prisons. Paul Martin was a board member when some of these decisions were made.

Studies show stem cells can turn cancerous if allowed to multiply too long outside the body. New Scientist News - Old stem cells can turn cancerous
Read how glyconutrients can stimulate your body to internally produce stem cells. Glyconutrients stimulate stem cell production.

A Pill for Every Ill

The Western World (not just the US as this indicates) tends to take a medication for every symptom. Your body's priority is to keep you alive, not to keep you comfortable. If something hurts, a prescription to stop the pain is not the solution to the illness. Find out what hurts and why, and work at fixing that.

Let's suppose the body is like a car. Your oil light comes on (you have a pain in your abdomen). If you take out a piece of black tape and put it over the light, then you can continue to drive the car without the awareness that your oil needs changing. You have not solved the problem by taking a pain med, you have only masked the boody's attempt to communicate with you that there is a problem.

Let's take a cancerous tumor as an example. If you cut out the tumor, in some cases that is a wise choice, but don't forget that the body built that tumor because of a breakdown in some process. Your body is building bad cells, perhaps in response to a breakdown in the toxin removal process, or free radicals, or cell communication issue. You can remove the tumor, or kill it, but you must also address the other issue to regain health indefinately.

America: The land of the medicated? - Health Care -

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Drug companies pile on perks for doctors

In recent years, the American Medical Association and the drug manufacturers have agreed to cut back on perks for doctors, but physicians say they can still get a free dinner almost any night for listening to a sales pitch. NBC's Robert Bazell reports.

Drug companies pile on perks for doctors - Nightly News with Brian Williams -

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it. Especially now with more and more about drugs and their side effects and even the involvement of the FDA in helping to approve things that are shown to be unsafe. (Aspartame, etc.)

And sometimes even the FDA gets hood-winked. The bottom line, folks, is that you have to educate yourself. You have to protect yourself. Contrary to popular belief, what you don't know CAN kill you, but there is hope for your health.

If you are ill, you don't lack in a particular inorganic chemical substance that is prescribed to you by your doctor. You lack nutrients.

There is no miracle drug.

There is no miracle cure.

The miracle is the amazing machine called the human body. If you give it the nutrients it was designed to consume, it can heal itself.

For more information - feel free to contact me.

Alzheimer's disease and Omega 3's - Essential Fatty Acids...

Great for the brain, why not for the memory? They are called essential for a reason. If you were to get all of the "essential nutrients" you would do wonders for your health. If you have health issues, you are not lacking in that prescription pill you just got from your doctor and pharmacist, you are lacking in nutrients.

News Wales > Health > Research hope for Alzheimer's

A new food pyramind: reflecting weight epidemic

A new food pyramid was created to educate people towards eating healthier for a healthier weight. Health issues related to unhealthy weight are well known.

AOL News - Officials Unveil Slimmer Food Pyramid for Fatter America

Unfortunately weight issues are related not just to poor eating choices, but to the toxic environment and a less than active lifestyle. Our body physiology and structure supports three hours of labour per day. Not many people get that.

Toxins in our environment, air, food and water, store in our fatty tissues, and sometimes the unhealthy weight is our bodies response to overtoxication, and and attempt to dilute the concentration of the toxins in it. We can assist this through proper eating choices and exercise.

Monday, April 11, 2005

UK Parliament SMASHES Big Pharma...

UK House of Commons Health Committee Report:
"The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry"

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

Thursday, April 7th, 2005

Just two days ago, in my newsletter article The
Coming "US Health Movement v. Big Pharma" Codex
War..., I announced the demise of Big Pharma's
attempt to shut down the supplement industry.
But little did I know at the time that that day,
Tuesday, April 5th, 2005, would go down in the
annals as a double-whammy of Big Pharma's
murderous intent. Wait 'til you read this.

Sit up straight. For, this story you are almost
NOT going to believe. I'm going to have to
convince you with data. To do that I'm going to
tell you that you are going to have to do what I
just did - you're going to have to read a 126
page report just issued by the British government
titled "House of Commons Health Committee - THE

The British government is setting up the
"guillotine." There's going to be a "Bastille
Day" in London. Sell your pharmaceutical stock -

This morning I received an e-mail from health
freedom advocate Larry Hanus (
who said:

Dear Friends,

This is a most important document. I encourage
you to read it in it's entirety. Please make
time to do so. You might want to read through
the conclusions and recommendations beginning on
page 97 of the report, then go back and read the
entire document.

Please ensure that your legislators have a copy
of this. The UK has provided an excellent
blueprint of what can and MUST be done here in
the United States with regards to restoring the
proper balance between the pharmaceutical
industry, it's regulatory agency, our political
leaders and the public trust. As those who
worked on this document conclude - the welfare
and health of the people is of paramount
importance. All decisions made should ultimately
be to benefit the public health.

I did just what Larry said to do - and he was
absolutely right. This report is dynamite. The
conclusions and recommendations are ASTOUNDING.
They sound like they came out of the mouth of the
North American Health Freedom Movement. For

The commercial success of the industry is not in
doubt, nor is its ability to produce excellent
science and important drugs; however, its ability
to put the health of the nation consistently
before the needs and expectations of its
shareholders may be questioned. The evidence to
this inquiry indicated that, in recent years,
large pharmaceutical companies have become ever
more focused on a marketing-based approach. In
our view, this is the source of many of the
problems we have identified. However, these
problems are global and we received no evidence
that the situation in the UK was worse than in
other countries.

In Chapter 8 we examined the overall influence of
the pharmaceutical industry. It is widely
welcomed and relied on, but it is also pervasive
and persistent. Our over-riding concerns are
about the volume, extent and intensity of the
industry's influence, not only on clinical
medicine and research but also on patients,
regulators, the media, civil servants and

The failings we have described have consequences,
in particular: The unsafe use of drugs; and The
increasing medicalisation of society. These
problems have existed in many countries. The UK
may have a better record than many others. Drugs
have been used unsafely in every country and we
have no doubt that the drift towards
medicalisation is a global phenomenon.

I won't go into what the report said about "the
unsafe use of drugs" - for the Vioxx scandal, et
al, are common knowledge. Read the report about
those findings. But what I find terribly
enlightening is their section on "The increasing
medicalisation of society." For example:

A major and recurring issue raised during the
inquiry is the increased 'medicalisation' of our
society – the pill for every problem.

The belief that every problem may be solved with
medication seems particularly relevant in the
context of antidepressants. While we readily
accept that antidepressants can be effective
medicines and have been successfully used by many
patients,... Unhappiness is part of the spectrum
of human experience, not a medical condition.

This trend has not been created by the
pharmaceutical industry but it has been
encouraged by it. The industry has acted, in the
words of some witnesses, as a "disease-monger",
with the aim of categorising an increasing number
of individuals as 'abnormal' and thereby
requiring (drug) treatment. This process has led
to an unhealthy over-reliance on, and an over-use
of, medicines. It also diverts resources and
priorities from more significant diseases and
health problems.

The "Conclusions" section of the report reads
like one of my opinion pieces. But, what will
stun you is the report's "Recommendations."
There were forty eight (48) of those, all told,
which, basically, would shut down Big Pharma's
pervasive influence and control, and provide
attention to non-drug therapies. These included:
(1) removal of most drug advertising, (2) tighter
monitoring of drugs before and after launch, (3)
government funding for non-drug alternatives, (4)
monitoring of funding of "patient" groups, (5)
training in medical schools on how to evaluate
drugs versus non-drug therapies, and much, much,
much, much, more.

Read the report - "House of Commons Health

We are heading for a health care "Nuremberg..."
And, it's about time...

Stay tuned...
Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate