America’s Number One Prescription Sleep Aid Could Trigger ‘Zombies,’ Murder and Other Disturbing Behavior

Ambien is becoming better known for triggering bizarre behavior than it is for treating insomnia.

On March 29, 2009, Robert Stewart, 45, stormed into the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina and opened fire, killing eight people and wounding two. Stewart’s apparent target was his estranged wife, who worked as a nurse in the home. She hid in a bathroom and was unharmed. Stewart was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder; if convicted, he could face the death penalty. Even though there was evidence that Stewart’s actions were premeditated (he allegedly had a target), Stewart’s defense team successfully argued that since he was under the influence of Ambien, a sleep aid, at the time of the shooting, he was not in control of his actions. Instead of the charges sought by the prosecutors, Stewart was convicted on eight counts of second-degree murder. He received 142 – 179 years in prison.

Ambien, a member of the class of medications known as hypnotics, was approved by the FDA in 1992. It was designed for short term use to combat insomnia and was a welcome change from the prevailing sleep aid at the time, Halcion, which had been implicated in psychosis, suicide, and addiction and had been banned in half a dozen countries. Ambien works by activating the neurotransmitter GABA and binding it to the GABA receptors in the same location as the benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium. The extra GABA activity triggered by the drug inhibits the neuron activity that is associated with insomnia. In other words, it slows down the brain. Ambien is extremely effective at initiating sleep, usually working within 20 minutes. It does not, however, have an effect on sustaining sleep unless it is taken in the controlled release form.

Although the Ambien prescribing information warned, in small print, that medications in the hypnotic class had occasional side effects including sleep walking, “abnormal thinking,” and “strange behavior,” these behaviors were listed as extremely rare, and any anecdotal evidence of “sleep driving,” “sleep eating,” or “sleep shopping”—all behaviors now associated with Ambien blackouts—were characterized as unusual quirks, or attributed to mixing the medication with alcohol. It wasn’t until Patrick Kennedy’s 2006 middle-of-the-night car accident and subsequent explanation to arriving officers that he was running late for a vote that the bizarre side effects of Ambien began to receive national attention. Kennedy claimed that he had taken the sleep aid and had no recollection of the events that night. After its approval, Ambien quickly rose to dominance in the sleep aid market. Travelers swore by it to combat jet lag, and women, who suffer more insomnia than men, bought it in droves. Sanofi, Ambien’s French manufacturer, made $2 billion in sales at its peak. In 2007 the generic version of Ambien was released, Zolpidem, and at less than $2 per pill, it still remains one of the most prescribed drugs in America, outselling popular painkillers like Percocet and prescription strength ibuprofen.

Shortly after the Kennedy incident, Ambien users sued Sanofi because of bizarre sleep-eating behaviors while on the drugs. According to Chana Lask, attorney for the class action suit, people were eating things like buttered cigarettes and eggs, complete with the shells, while under the influence of Ambien. Lask called people in this state “Ambien zombies.” As a result of the lawsuit, and of increasing reports coming in about “sleep driving,” the FDA ordered all hypnotics to issue stronger warnings on their labels.

In addition to giving consumers extra information so they could take the medication more carefully, the warning labels also gave legitimacy to the Ambien (or Zombie) defense. In March of 2011, Lindsey Schweigert took one Ambien before getting into bed at 6pm. Hours later, she woke up in custody with no idea how she’d gotten there. In the following weeks, Schweigert pieced together the events of that night. She’d gotten out of bed, drawn a bath, and left the house with her dog. She started driving to a local restaurant but crashed into another car soon after leaving her house. Police described her as swaying and glassy-eyed. She failed a sobriety test and was charged with DWI and running a stoplight.

Schweigert had a job that required a security clearance. She had never been in trouble with the law before and was terrified of losing her job and having a criminal record. Prosecutors initially wanted to impose a six month jail sentence in addition to other punishments, but Schweigert’s lawyer argued that Lindsey’s bizarre behavior on the night in question was a result of a medication which warned right on the label that “After taking AMBIEN, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night…Reported activities include: driving a car (“sleep-driving”), making and eating food, talking on the phone, having sex, sleep-walking.”  In fact, the lawyer argued, Schweigert should have been taken to a hospital, not to jail. Prosecutors dropped the charges and allowed Lindsey to plead to the lesser charge of careless driving, which meant that she could keep her security clearance. Her license was suspended for a year, however, and she had to pay upwards of $9,000 in legal fees.

As a result of the Schweigert verdict, an attorney successfully used the Ambien defense to overturn a 2006 DWI conviction for a New Jersey woman by arguing that the drug’s labeling had changed six months after his client’s arrest. The court agreed, saying that it would be an “injustice to hold her responsible for the undisclosed side effects of a popular and readily available medication that she was lawfully prescribed and properly administered.”

The Ambien defense was also used in the case of Julie Ann Bronson, a 45-year-old flight attendant from Texas. In April of 2009, Bronson took a couple of Ambien to help her sleep. She had been drinking wine earlier in the day, and went to bed early. She awoke the following morning in jail, still in her pajamas, barefoot and terrified. When she was told that she had run over three people, including an 18-month-old girl who suffered severe brain damage as a result of the wreck, she was horrified. “It was surreal. It was like a bad dream.” In May of 2012, Bronson pleaded guilty to the felonies of intoxication assault and failure to stop and render aid. “I did the crime but I never intended to do it,” she testified. “I wouldn’t hurt a flea. And if I would have hit somebody, I would have stopped and helped. We’re trained in CPR.” Bronson faced ten years, but because of the Ambien defense, she will serve six months in prison and have ten years of probation.

Not all prosecutors will consider the Ambien defense, and its position within established criminal rules is tenuous. It doesn’t really fall under “voluntary intoxication,” in which someone is responsible for his own intoxication and any events that occur as a result of that intoxication. The Ambien defendants knowingly took the drug, but they were not aware that they were drugging themselves in a way that could produce anything other than sleep. Nor does the Ambien defense fit under “involuntary intoxication,” which is when someone commits a crime after being drugged without his knowledge, or has an unpredictable reaction to a prescribed medication. The defendants knowingly took the medication, and the reactions, although surprising, were not unpredictable because they are listed as potential side effects in the prescribing information. Finally, there is the “unconsciousness/sleepwalking” defense, in which the person is not responsible for the crime if he did not intentionally cause the sleepwalking or unconsciousness. The whole motivation for taking Ambien in the first place is presumably to cause unconsciousness so this defense doesn’t really apply either.

Not everyone who engages in bizarre behavior as a result of taking Ambien ends up in legal trouble. And some people enjoy the high they get from the drug so much that they are willing to overlook the blackouts and negative consequences that result from their drug use. Most recreational users started out taking the drug to treat insomnia, but found that if they fought the drug’s sleep-inducing effect, they could get really high. “It’s like having that last drink at the bar when you know you should go home — I’d fight the pill’s effects and stay up, often telling my friends insane things like how to turn the light in the room into energy, or how paintings of forest scenes on their walls were actually drawings of mermaids bathing themselves in blood,” writes one young woman whose addiction to Ambien caused increasingly bizarre and alienating behavior. She continued taking the pill and staying awake regularly until one morning she woke up with two black eyes and a cut across her nose. Her pillows were bloody, and there was a stranger, naked and wrapped in a rug, on her floor. Neither she nor the stranger had any recollection of the events of the previous night. That situation, though jarring, was not enough to get her to give up Ambien; the high was too good. She took a break, but was soon back to taking it regularly, filled with rationalizations for her erratic behavior (All 20-somethings take drugs!) It wasn’t until she was found wandering the Brooklyn streets in the middle of the night, nearly naked, that she was able to give it up for good.Ironically, you are more likely to be successful using the Ambien defense if you injure or kill someone than if you just crash into a parked car or a tree. DWI laws usually just require the prosecution to prove that the defendant was loaded and got into a car to drive. There’s no requirement to show intention. When someone is harmed, however, it is up to the prosecutor to prove that the defendant was aware enough to be guilty of the crime. If people on Ambien are acting in an automatic, or unconscious state, it’s hard to claim that they have knowledge of their actions. That’s why people like Lindsey Schweigert get suspended licenses while Donna Neely, who was sleep-driving on Ambien and killed a mother of 11, was acquitted of vehicular manslaughter.

Rapper Eminem, whose albums have titles like “Relapse” and “Recovery,” has been open about his battles with prescription drug addiction, including his near overdose on methadone, his relapse, and his eventual detox.  He blames Ambien, however, for huge lapses in his memory over five years and an extended period of writer’s block. “…a lot of my memory is gone. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken Ambien, but it’s kind of a memory-eraser. That shit wiped out five years of my life. People will tell me stories, and it’s like, “I did that?” I saw myself doing this thing on [television network] BET recently, and I was like, “When was that?”” Eminem has kept some of his writing from that period, admitting to Rolling Stone that “It fucking creeps me out…Letters all down the page – it was like my hand weighed 400 pounds. I have all that shit in a box in my closet. As a reminder that I don’t ever want to go back.”

Tiger Woods was also famously associated with Ambien when one of his mistresses claimed that she and the golfer would have “crazy Ambien sex.” Ambien lessens inhibitions and erases memories, an ideal combination for someone who is cheating on his spouse. The buzz created by the drug appears to enhance sex as well. One woman described feeling “very relaxed and sensual” when she had sex on Ambien. “I suddenly have floaty energy. . I am tired, but energetic. It’s almost like I’m in a dreamlike state. I might compare it a little to weed, but nothing that I’ve done really compares, to be honest.”

The darker flipside to Ambien’s purported sex-enhancing qualities is that it is becoming increasingly used as a date rape drug. In fact, the only case of “sleep-sex” that appeared in a 2008 medical journal review of case reports on Ambien-related sleep behaviors involved the Ambien taker being raped.  The same lack of inhibition combined with amnesia that allows people to commit crimes, indulge in dishonest behavior, and have great sex on Ambien is also an ideal formula for a sexual predator. Ambien is also much more widely available and easily accessible than rohypnol, the drug usually associated with date rape.

Ambien is an effective sleep aid and a huge money maker for its manufacturer. Most people take it as prescribed and treat their insomnia successfully with no problems. But the problems that do occur with the drug are often extreme and tragic, and they seem to be increasing. (These cases only scratch the surface – currently a man in Northern California is using the Ambien defense to fight a charge of second degree sexual abuse of a minor and third degree sexual abuse of a minor. He allegedly molested a 10-year-old girl in April of 2012. He has no recollection of the alleged molestation and a polygraph test supports his claim. His court case is set for March. There is also a whole website,Ambien Outrage, dedicated to making “the public aware of the dangers of Ambien, Ambien CR and Zolpidem.” Additionally it maintains a database of “victims of Ambien,” those people who have either been harmed or killed by people on Ambien, or who have themselves committed bizarre acts while on Ambien.)

In May of last year, the FDA acted again to change the labeling on Ambien, this time lowering the recommended dose and warning people who take the controlled release version that they “should not drive or engage in other activities that require complete mental alertness the day after taking the drug because zolpidem levels can remain high enough the next day to impair these activities.”  If the whole idea of taking a sleep aid is to treat insomnia so that you can function more effectively during the day, being instructed to avoid driving and other activities that require mental alertness seems to defeat the purpose of taking the drug in the first place.

The DEA categorizes drugs according to their potential for abuse and addiction. Schedule I drugs are the most likely to be abused, and Schedule V drugs have the least potential for abuse or addiction. Ambien is a schedule IV drug, and can be prescribed and refilled without restriction. Some toxicologists, such as Janci Lindsay, believe that many Ambien-related tragedies would be avoided if the drug were upgraded to Schedule II, a category that includes controlled substances such as Ritalin and Oxycontin. Other countries, such as Australia, Taiwan, and Japan, have all issued special warnings about Ambien and have begun regulating the drug more carefully ever since reports started surfacing about “potentially dangerous” Ambien-induced behaviors.

Julie Ann Bronson took ambien and then later got out of bed and got behind the wheel in a blackout. She ended up running over people and causing a baby to have severe brain damage. Lindsey Schweigert also got out of bed, unconscious, and engaged in bizarre behavior before crashing her car. Even in the wake of these and other tragedies, Sanofi still maintains that “When taken as prescribed, Ambien is a safe and effective treatment for insomnia.” Sanofi also points out that the prescribing literature warns patients not to drive or to get out of bed after taking the medication.

Just think: If only Julie, Lindsey, and countless others had followed Sanofi’s instructions and not gotten out of bed, all these tragedies could have been prevented!

Merck is currently working on a new sleep medication which acts on different receptors than the hypnotic medications. In early studies, the drug appears to be effective at treating insomnia while lacking the disturbing side effects of the hypnotics. If successful, the drug would be a much needed alternative to the current group of sleep aids which all work the same way in the brain. It’s not clear, however, that any new medication could even make a dent in the $1.6 billion U.S. market for insomnia treatments currently dominated by Ambien.

Click to http://www.alternet.org/drugs/americas-number-one-prescription-sleep-aid-could-trigger-zombies-murder-and-other-disturbing?ak_proof=1&akid=.1121926.wDJK8-&rd=1&src=newsletter948677&t=11&paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

TeshuvahRoad

Ambien is just as Dangerous as Narcotic and Dangerous Prescription Drugs!

California governor declares drought emergency

Low snowpack in the Sierra will not ease water woes.

SACRAMENTO — In what could become one of California’s biggest crises in years, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought emergency Friday, an action that sets the stage for new state and federal efforts.

The governor also wants to focus Californians on the possibility of water shortages.

“All I can report to you is it’s not raining today and it’s not likely to rain for several weeks,” Brown said in a news conference in San Francisco. On Thursday, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center forecast below normal precipitation for two-thirds of California through April.

Brown’s proclamation allows California to request a broad emergency declaration from President Barack Obama, which would expedite some water transfers, provide financial assistance and suspend some state and federal regulations.

The situation in most of California and northern Nevada is extremely dry, according to the most recent report Thursday from the U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal website that tracks drought nationwide. Almost 99% of California is considered abnormally dry or worse; almost two-thirds of the state is in extreme drought.

2013 became the driest year on record in California; San Francisco had the least rain since record keeping there began during the gold rush of 1849.

For the past few weeks, Golden State lawmakers and California residents have been urging Brown to make the drought official, a situation made clear with bleak news from the first Sierra snowpack measurement of the season Jan. 10.

The northern Sierra has a snowpack that’s only 8% of normal for this date, according to the latest measurements released Thursday from the California Department of Water Resources. The central Sierra is at 16% of normal; the southern Sierra at 22%. Last year at this time, snowpack was normal or exceeded it.

The mountain snowpack, while a boon for Lake Tahoe ski resorts, also acts like a reservoir during winter and early spring, providing the state with its biggest and most reliable water supply.

Brown is urging voluntary water conservation to the tune of a 20% reduction. But he stopped short of saying such a reduction should be mandatory — for now, at least.

“We ought to be ready for a long, continuous, persistent effort,” including the possibility of drinking-water shortages, he said. “I think the drought emphasizes that we do live in an era of limits, that nature has its boundaries.”

The chairwoman of the state Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee sees the problem as an opportunity for the state to change the way it deals with water.

“With a hotter and drier future, we can’t duplicate water policies of the 20th century to address challenges of the 21st,” Sen. Fran Pavley, a Democrat like Brown, from Agoura Hills in Southern California. “We need to be resourceful and create new water supplies with cost-effective, sustainable strategies.”

Brown’s executive order directs state officials to offer extra help to farmers and California communities by allowing water managers to move water more quickly to rights-holders. And it qualifies agriculture interests for federal programs meant to help with unemployment and financial losses.

Most of California’s farmers rely on irrigation to grow hundreds of crops including broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, melons, lettuce and tomatoes year-round that are shipped across the USA. Some growers have had to leave fields fallow as their water allocations have run dry, affecting crops and jobs.

Across the state, agriculture is responsible for more than three-quarters of California’s water use, according to a 2009 UCLA report.

“Drought conditions are wreaking havoc on farmers in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley” from south of Sacramento to Bakersfield,” Tom Nassif, Western Growers president and chief executive, said in a statement thanking Brown for his executive order. “The situation is dire and requires the full attention of state and federal leaders, which is why the declaration is so important.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that counties in 11 states qualify as primary natural disaster areas. The designation for some counties in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah means eligible farmers can qualify for low-interest emergency loans from the department.

Brown also directed state agencies to use less water than they do now and to hire more firefighters for what already is a very dry winter. The state had six active wildfires Friday, including one that started as a campfire Thursday, destroyed five homes and threatened neighborhoods east of Los Angeles.

State water experts have compared current conditions to the bleak 1976-77 drought season in California, one that Brown also oversaw during his first term in office. The governor fielded a question about the comparisons Friday and simply said it’s a reminder that Californians need to look back at the conservation efforts of that era and how they use water in 2014.

“This effort is a call to arms,” he said.

California droughts

California periodically has peaks and troughs of precipitation across the state, but only once in almost 120 years — in 1982 — has the statewide average exceeded 40 inches. Below are the nine multi-year droughts in the state since 1900.

• 1918-20

• 1923-26

• 1928-35

• 1947-50

• 1959-62

• 1976-77

• 1987-92

• 2000-02

• 2007-09

Source: California Department of Water Resources

Click to http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/01/17/california-drought-emergency/4581761/

Calif. governor proclaims state in a drought

LOS ANGELES –  California is nearly as dry as it’s ever been. High water marks rim half-full reservoirs. Cities are rationing water. Clerics are praying for rain. Ranchers are selling cattle, and farmers are fallowing fields.

Gov. Jerry Brown formally proclaimed a drought Friday, saying California is in the midst of perhaps its worst dry spell in a century. He made the announcement in San Francisco amid increasing pressure from lawmakers and as firefighters battled flare-ups in a Southern California wildfire that chased thousands of people from their homes.

Unless the state gets significant rainfall in the next two months, television sets glowing with wildfires could play like reruns throughout the year.

Reservoir levels in the north and central parts of the state were more depleted than in Southern California, but Brown still asked Los Angeles to do its part to conserve — and gave a nod to the politics of water in the vast state.

“The drought accentuates and further displays the conflicts between north and south and between urban and rural parts of the state. So, as governor, I’ll be doing my part to bring people together and working through this.”

Farmers and ranchers in the nation’s No. 1 farm state already are making hard choices to conserve. Some cities are in danger of running out of water. And the first snow survey of the winter found more bare ground than fluffy white stuff — a key barometer of future supply.

“I am a fifth-generation cattle rancher, and it has never been this bad ever in my lifetime — and from my family’s history, it’s never been anywhere close to this bad ever,” said Kevin Kester, 58. He said his family’s records show the area’s worst drought previously was in the 1890s.

Kester’s Central California ranch normally gets 20 inches of rain between October and April. It’s gotten about a half-inch of precipitation since late fall. His cattle usually graze on lush green hillsides in winter. Now, they’re eating hay instead — a proposition that is too expensive to continue for long.

“I hope it’s something we can tell our great-grandkids about, but right now we’re just trying to figure out how we’re going to survive,” he said.

The drought doesn’t bode well for California’s notorious wildfire season, either.

Previous super-dry years led to catastrophic wildfire seasons in California in 2003 and 2007, said Tom Scott, a natural resources specialist with the University of California system. Fire crews beat back a wildfire southeast of Los Angeles earlier this week, but it was a stark reminder of the dry and dangerous conditions.

“People say that the fire season is starting early, but I guess you could say it never ended,” Scott said. “If you live in the backcountry, come July you probably should be thinking about putting your valuables in storage.”

Droughts also are persisting or intensifying elsewhere in the U.S.

On Wednesday, federal officials said they were designating portions of Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and California as primary natural disaster areas, highlighting the financial strain facing farmers in those regions.

Even in the moist Pacific Northwest, things were a little bit drier.

In Seattle, rainfall dropped by nearly 70 percent in December, with just 1.66 inches falling. Ski resorts are opening several weeks late, and a Bavarian-themed town in the Cascade Mountains had to modify its annual “ice fest” because there isn’t enough snow on the ground for activities. A plan to truck in snow was scrapped with high temperatures forecast this weekend.

And despite heavy flooding in Colorado in September, large portions of Colorado and Wyoming are abnormally dry, while ranchers on the plains of southeastern Colorado have severe drought conditions.

In California, the governor’s drought declaration will help battle unemployment in the agriculture industry as fields are left fallow.

Nearly 10,000 people lost their jobs during the last drought in 2009, said Karen Ross, California’s agriculture secretary. The drought also increases the burden on food banks in rural and agricultural communities.

The lack of rain also could have long-standing implications for the demand for crops that are almost entirely exclusive to California.

Eighty percent of the world’s almonds, for example, are grown in California, and the Almond Board of California receives 3 cents for every pound sold to build future demand for the nut. With many almond growers having to irrigate their crops three months early, a smaller crop might put a dent in the board’s ability to market almonds as broadly as it has been, said David Phippen, an almond grower who serves on the board.

“There’s huge implications everywhere you look,” he said. “What about five years down the road?”

Click to http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/01/17/calif-governor-proclaims-state-in-drought/

The Red Shield, Intel Security Group & Wearable Tracking Devices

Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer at Intel, spoke at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) about the rebranding of the newly acquired McAfee.

Although Intel will retain McAfee’s red shield logo; their “products will be rebranded” to match the new Intel Security Group (ISG).

Krzanich said: “Intel’s intent is to intensify our efforts dedicated to making the digital world more secure, and staying ahead of threats to private information on mobile and wearable devices.”

Doug Davis has been chosen as head of the Intel Internet of Things Solutions Group (ITSG). The group’s focus is on markets such as:

• Industrial automation
• Retail
• Aerospace
• Automotive
• Storage
• Communications systems

Krzanich demonstrated to the audience new devices such as:

• Wearable health and biometric devices
• Small wireless computers for appliances
• Stylish bowl-shaped mobile phone charger

Krzanich explained the benefits of having an electromagnetic energy pad that will recharge a cell phone.

Having appliances and electronics blend into everyday life, Krzanich believes that customers will appreciate that their electronics has lost their traditional look.

Krzanich remarked: “We’re looking at a broad ecosystem of wearables, not just the device or the silicon.”

One of the devices unveiled is intended for children.

This smartwatch is equipped with “geo-fencing” that will alert parents that their child has walked off, or possibly disappeared after not coming home on time.

Geo-fencing can be used at home, for school or in a familial neighborhood where the location of children can be assessed because they are wearing a device that uses GPS tracking and location.

Two years ago, Texas was the scene of the implementation of the Student Locator Project (SLP) which used radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to “make schools safer, know where our students are while at school, increase revenues, and provide a general purpose ‘smart’ ID card.”

The “smart” ID card allow students to:

• Check out library books
• Register for classes
• Pay for school lunch daily

This scheme also allowed for tracking of students to deter them from skipping classes.

RFID chips used in cell phones can track a user within centimeters of their GPS location thanks to new technology being employed in smartphones.

Apple, Google and Microsoft have been tracking their customers for years, storing personal digital data and collaborating with law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In Maryland, school districts installed PalmSecure, a biometric scanning system that requires elementary students to place their hand on infrared scanners in order to pay for their school lunch.

In 43 schools, Maryland installed a surveillance system with $300,000 of taxpayer money.

The unique nuances of each child’s individual hand will be catalogued and the image encrypted with a numerical algorithm that is combined with the cost of school lunches.

It is predicted that in 75 years “microchips can be installed directly in the user’s brain. Apple, along with a handful of companies, makes these chips. Thoughts connect instantly when people dial to ‘call’ each other. But there’s one downside: ‘Advertisements’ can occasionally control the user’s behavior because of an impossible-to-resolve glitch. If a user encounters this glitch — a 1 in a billion probability — every piece of data that his brain delivers is uploaded to companies’ servers so that they may “serve customers better.”

click to http://www.occupycorporatism.com/red-shield-intel-security-group-wearable-tracking-devices/

Where do religions stand on genetically modified foods? Ethics and Religion Talk

This week’s Ethics and Religion Talk column probes the issue of genetically modified organisms, which are used in food and are a point of contention as to their perceived threats to public health.

By Rabbi David Krishef

“Dennis” writes: I’m wondering about what religions think about Genetically Modified Organisms, particularly for food, when the modification makes it “unnatural” but it also holds out some promise of helping alleviate hunger in the world.

Sandra Nikkel, Ministry Coordinator of the Grand Rapids East Classis and Pastor of the multicultural Ministry at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, responds:

“Even though there are a lot of benefits that have come to us from genetically modifying organisms, specifically food, I believe that there are great risks involved. No matter how much we have advanced, our knowledge is partial. We do not know all the ways in which this ‘new food’ will affect our bodies. We take something out and put something, we twist and tweak, the quicker the better, and it might take us years to discover how it’s affecting us. The other problem I see is that often it is not any kind of ethical code that rules this practice but the desire to make money—at any cost.”

Sister Mary Timothy Prokes, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, responds:

“Obviously, Sacred Scripture and Tradition do not address “genetically modified organisms” as such. They do, however, provide principles for evaluating them. Among these principles are justice, truthfulness, reverence for creation, and charity. The genetic modification of foods is complex and calls for the application of each of these principles.
In justice, human persons have the right to know that what is presented/sold as food is eatable and if dangers or risks accompany their consumption. In the US, there are no requirements to label foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Milk, bacon, beef, chicken, cereals, and many processed foods already contain genetically modified ingredients.

“Major seed companies (who hold patents on modifications developed and employed by them) need to be truthful concerning the impact their products have on farmers, consumers, the seeds of the world, and the environment. Sadly, a major portion of the world’s foods has already been penetrated by GMOs without determining their long term effects on humanity or the earth. Eliminating so-called ‘superweeds’ and ‘superbugs’ that result from the use of pesticides and herbicides containing GMOs requires an increased use of toxic poisons. Reverence for creation requires careful determination of the long term consequences of artificially-contrived seeds and foods, a responsibility that is often dismissed in the struggle for commercial dominance.

“Charitable concern for farmers who want to protect organically grown crops is lost when there is insufficient distance between their fields and GMO-penetrated land, causing cross-pollination. Although commercial firms seek fruits and vegetables of ideal size and color, the natural tastes and textures of GMO-produced foods are altered. In sum, the ethical issues surrounding GMO’s and food are immense.”

Aly Mageed, a physician and Shura member (roughly equivalent to an elder or a member of the Board of Trustees) of the Islamic Mosque and Religious Institute of Grand Rapids, responds:

“[Regarding] GMO’s, I believe that the field is very vast and very rapidly growing and therefore would be difficult to have a general statement. It is also growing faster than bioethicists can have a chance to study all its implications. Without systematically studying all the potential harms and benefits, an opinion will not be truly objective. I would like to see it regulated at least with demanding specific labeling so that the issue can begin to be appropriately studied.”

Fred Wooden, the senior pastor of Fountain Street Church, responds:

“Long before modern science we had genetically modified species. Corn and wheat and other natural plants were once inedible. They were slowly modified by cross breeding and selective fertilization to be the staples we now enjoy. Animals from the horses to the chickens have been bred by humans to suit our needs more than theirs. If we were to be perfectly natural, meaning not interfering with nature in any way, we would have to abandon vaccinations, most drugs, most manufacturing mining and even farming. Clearly, we all ok with modifying nature.

“As saying an absolute no is not possible, we should ask if there is a moral or ethical principle that can prevent us from making a terrible mistake? No, sadly, but there are several principles that can help. One is the principle of stewardship, articulated in Genesis as the responsibility to ’till the garden and keep it.’ Another would be compassion, making choices that avoid causing suffering or permitting it when we can alleviate it. Your question reveals how ethical rules can come into conflict as stewardship would say no to GMO and compassion would say yes.

“What makes us uneasy is not deliberate evil, but unwitting evil. What if some of these changes bring about unknowable horrors in the future? Robert Oppenheimer thought that exact thought when watching the first atomic bomb. And I expect that GMO could be like that – a tremendous blessing and a terrible risk.”

Click to http://www.mlive.com/opinion/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/01/where_do_religions_stand_on_ge.html

“Shema Yisrael” – Yitro (Jethro) – Torah Scope – JANUARY 17, 2014

After considering what has thus far transpired in the Book of Exodus, this week’s Torah portion, Yitro, involves one of the most memorable scenes outside of the deliverance from Egypt. It is in this reading where the Lord visits Mount Sinai and delivers the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:1-20:17). The Ancient Israelites were deathly afraid of what was taking place, and so Moses has to explain what the intention of this awesome scene is intended to mean for them:

“Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin’” (Exodus 20:20).

Here at the bottom of Mount Sinai, the people of Israel actually hear the voice of the Lord. One would think that this would be a blessed event, but from the reaction recorded, we read that the people were absolutely terrified by the Voice:

“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance…So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven”’” (Exodus 20:18, 21-22).

Prior to this time since the Exodus from Egypt, the Lord had chosen to communicate to Israel through His intermediary Moses. For the most part, the Israelites were quite content with this means of communication. After all, a considerable amount of the information that came to them from Moses was very encouraging. Consider some of earlier statements from Moses just prior to the Divine declaration of the Ten Commandments:

“‘“Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.’ So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lordhad commanded him. All the people answered together and said, ‘All that theLord has spoken we will do!’ And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord” (Exodus 19:5-8).

Here, the Lord communicates a fairly simple if/then formula for Israel to become a holy nation of priests. It conveys the mission of what they are to do as intermediaries between the Creator and the rest of the Earth. It should have been something very hopeful to those who really were ready to enter into God’s purpose and no longer be slaves at the behest of Egypt.

The Israelites had just witnessed a great deliverance from the Egyptians and had only been in the desert several months. The Lord was fighting their battles. Their basic daily nourishment was provided for by the morning arrival of manna. They were probably feeling pretty confident about their relationship with Him. Without much hesitation, upon hearing what God was calling them to do, they responded to the proposal with these affirming words:

“All the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do!’ And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord” (Exodus 19:8).

Remarkably, the Scriptures record that all of the people agreed to do all that the Lord had spoken. This was apparently a sincere response. But little did the Ancient Israelites understand the magnitude of their commitment. At this point in the narrative, we see their response to the Lord, but not a huge amount of instruction on what it means to specifically follow and obey Him is given. As you can imagine, the Lord is already putting in motion a monumental event that will test the hearts of the Israelites, and ascertain whether they can really honor this pledge of obedience:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.’ Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord” (Exodus 19:9).

The Lord is going to accomplish two objectives by letting His people hear His voice. First, He will let them understand more about His holiness, and how they must consecrate themselves in order to even hear His voice. Secondly, He is going to solidify Moses’ position as their intermediary before Him. Moses comes back to the people and gives them instructions on how to consecrate themselves, before the Holy One will speak to them (Exodus 19:10-17). A period of separation commences, as physical actions start preparing Israel for hearing the voice of the Lord:

“The Lord also said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, “Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death”…So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. He said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman’” (Exodus 19:10-12, 14-15).

The people begin to prepare for hearing the voice of God. Looming in the distance was a dark cloud over Mount Sinai. The people could see, and possibly even feel, the presence of the Lord. They began to cleanse themselves and did not have sexual relations for several days. Limits were set around the base of the mountain. People were told not to touch it for fear of death. Each of these actions was preparing Israel for a profound event. By performing these required things, the hearts of the Ancient Israelites were being focused on the opportunity to hear the actual voice of the Creator.

On the morning of the third day, there was thunder, lightning, a thick cloud, and the blast of a piercing shofar. The moment for God to speak was approaching:

“Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder” (Exodus 19:18-19).

It is difficult to imagine how frightening this must have been for the Ancient Israelites. The noise of the shofar was increasing in intensity. The top of Mount Sinai was engulfed in fire and smoke. As they stood there, the whole mountain shook violently. The people thought they were going to die. After all, it had been much easier to listen to the requirements of the Lord when Moses came back and reported his conversations with Him. At this juncture, Israel was fully engaged in hearing the actual voice of God—and then the Lord declares the Ten Words. Can you imagine how petrified the people were when these commands came forth? The intensity of the fear is recorded after the commands are declared.

With fear and trepidation the people immediately wanted to go back to the former way of communing with the Most High (Exodus 19:20). Apparently, the voice of God was so powerful that the people believed they were going to die. Even after they were consecrated before Him, the Israelites were convinced that they would rather have Moses as their mediator. The fear was that intense!

Interestingly, Moses immediately tells the Israelites that the Lord is using this event to test them: “God has come only in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may be ever with you, so that you do not go astray” (Exodus19:20, NJPS). A holy fear should be instilled in them so that they would not sin and rebel against Him. God is very serious about His people not sinning—something that even until today has not changed!

How about today? Is there something we should be learning from the experiences of the Ancient Israelites? How should we be approaching the Lord?

The author of Hebrews refers to the events we have been considering in the past few Torah readings, imploring how Believers in Yeshua are to take seriously the Divine work of God. His admonition is to not let Believers’ hearts be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, and remember the examples of the past when God’s people have had to be severely punished for their disloyalty to Him:

“Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways’; as I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest”’ [Psalm 95:7-11]. Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Messiah, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me’ [Psalm 95:7-8]. For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:7-19).

In this passage, the author of Hebrews reminds his audience that the generation which came out of Egypt hardened their hearts instead of listening to God’s voice. By hardening their hearts, they did not know the ways of the Lord. In fact, because of their disobedience, they were not allowed to enter into the rest of the Promised Land because of their unbelief. Within his argument is the implication that if such severe punishment was enacted upon these people in Israel’s past, how much more severe punishment can be guaranteed those who deny the more recent (for the First Century C.E.) andeven more serious deliverance via the Messiah’s sacrifice?

We need to remember that according to the words of Yeshua Himself, the ability to hear the voice of the Holy One is something fully accessible to His followers. Today, in this post-resurrection era, we have the privilege of hearing the voice of the Most High. Instead of exclusively having to rely on others to listen to Him for us, we should be striving to listen to the voice of the Holy One ourselves. Remember that our Heavenly Father has sent His Son Yeshua to be the Good Shepherd over His people:

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd…My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:14-16, 27-28).

We know that in this passage Yeshua called Himself the Good Shepherd, and His flock were the people who would hear His voice. Are you part of His flock?Are you hearing the Lord’s voice and obeying Him? If you are, then you should be comforted by your desire to please Him. But if you are not hearing His voice and obeying Him—conforming your life to the example left by the Messiah—perhaps you need to cry out to the Lord for mercy. As the author of Hebrews reminds us concerning the ancient encounter at Mount Sinai, there is a different mountain that we should now be approaching—one even more awesome and profound—as awesome and profound as Mount Sinai enveloped in smoke surely was:

“For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.’ And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ‘I am full of fear and trembling’ [Exodus 19:12-13]. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and [congregation] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned themon earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven” (Hebrews 12:18-25).

Here, the warning is to seek Yeshua as the Mediator of the New Covenant. We are reminded that we should not refuse His voice (cf. Hebrews 3:3). If so, the consequences for Believers today are even worse than those from the Exodus generation: You will not enter His eternal rest! So without any hesitation, dear brothers and sisters, remember: hear and obey. Shema Yisrael!

Click to http://outreachisrael.net/torahscope/2013-2014/02_exodus/05_yitro.html

More vaccines or better nutrition to prevent disease?

(NaturalNews) The National Institutes of Health recently announced an expansion of its funding of nine Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units with an annual budget of $135 million dollars of government money.

This effort to decrease disease outbreaks by increasing the funding of vaccine studies is misguided. Financial and medical resources could be better utilized by focusing on the underlying causes of illnesses. Functional medicine has established that most diseases are caused by nutritional deficiencies and toxic overload, which together suppress the immune system, making one susceptible to disease.

Vaccine studies show unvaccinated persons are healthier than vaccinated

Population studies universally show that vaccinated populations experience more disease outbreaks than those with no vaccinations. In a 1992 New Zealand study comparing 226 vaccinated children to 269 unvaccinated children, the results overwhelmingly showed that the unvaccinated children suffered far less from chronic childhood illnesses, including tonsillitis, sleep apnea, hyperactivity, ear infections and epilepsy.

An Africa study done in 2000, covering a six-year period and examining the health of 15,000 children, showed that the death rate from diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough was twice as high in vaccinated children compared to unvaccinated children.

A 2011 German study of 8,000 unvaccinated children, with medical documentation from birth to age 19, showed that vaccinated children have at least two to five times more diseases and disorders than unvaccinated children

Disease outbreaks routinely occur in vaccinated populations

In addition, research has shown that disease outbreaks of whooping cough, chicken pox and measles occur in vaccinated populations.

Vaccines Injure and kill

Vaccinations, promising disease immunity, have been shown to injure and kill. A 2013 search of the National Vaccination Information Center database showed that 52,835 negative reactions were reported for the DTaP vaccine alone.

By 2012, there were 119 reports of death from the HPV vaccine, along with 894 cases of disability and 9,889 documented emergency room visits.

For those receiving the hepatitis B vaccine, as of March 2012, there were 66,554 reports of serious adverse reactions to the vaccine, along with 1,500 deaths, including those officially reported as sudden infant death syndrome. This data is just a sampling of the many vaccines in use at the present time.

Nutrition important to prevent disease

Following the dietary principles of the Weston Price Foundation is one way to greatly increase the nutritional content of food. Dentist Weston A. Price, in his remarkable ten-year study in the 1930s, discovered through meticulous observation that endemic cultures, who ate foods high in fat and water-soluble vitamins, exemplified perfect mental and physical health. These cultures were immune from the diseases of their time, including tuberculosis, as long as they maintained their nutrient-dense diets.

For those individuals who ate modern processed foods, including white flour, sugar, oil and canned vegetables, immunity to disease was quickly lost. Natives adopting a processed food diet quickly developed tuberculosis and suffered terribly from the disease.

Researcher Tyler Graham and physician Drew Ramsey, in their well researched book, The Happiness Diet, recommend a diet remarkably similar to the Price diet with high fats and low carbohydrates, including foods from pastured animals fed an organic diet. Nutrient-dense foods include pastured raw organic milk, butter, yogurt, kefir, cheese, eggs, home-made meat or fish broth, liver, fat and meat from pastured animals, soaked organic grains and nuts, fermented foods, and organic vegetables and fruit.

Conclusions

Tremendous government financial and medical resources are wasted on the development of more vaccines to prevent diseases. No research has proven the effectiveness or safety of vaccinations in preventing illness. To prevent disease, one guide is to avoid vaccinations and follow a nutrient-dense diet.

Resources used for this article include: 

http://vactruth.com

http://www.fiercevaccines.com

http://www.functionalmedicine.org

Morrell, Sally; Cowan, Thomas. (2013). The Nourishing Tradition Book of Baby and Childcare. Pp. 112. Washington, D.C: New Trends Publishing, Inc.

http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org

http://vactruth.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

Price, Weston A. (2009). Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. 8th Edition. La Mesa, CA: the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. Print.

Graham, Tyler. (2011). The Happiness Diet. Rodale, NY, NY: Rodale.

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.westonaprice.org

Click to http://www.naturalnews.com/043537_vaccines_proper_nutrition_disease_prevention.html

New Zealand boy dies after battle with brain cancer: Wi-Fi and wirelessly connected iPod likely culprits

(NaturalNews) A 10-year-old New Zealand boy, Ethan Wyman, died recently after an 11-month long battle with brain cancer. He attended Te Horo junior school along the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand. His death prompted his parents to petition the school that Ethan attended to disable their Wi-Fi system because of their suspicion that Wi-Fi is to blame for Ethan’s death.

Damon Wyman, Ethan’s father, said that his son was diagnosed with two brain tumors three months after the boy was given an iPod equipped with Wi-Fi. The parents later found out that Ethan had been sleeping with the device under his pillow. At the diagnosis, doctors estimated the tumors to be the approximate age of the length of time that Ethan had had his iPod.

Mr. Wyman did not say whether he believed that the Wi-Fi signals from Ethan’s school and iPod were responsible for Ethan’s death, but he stated that “it seemed like a bit of a coincidence.” He said that having Wi-Fi in a classroom is potentially exposing a full room of children to the same risks.

The New Zealand Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health have stated that research shows that Wi-Fi is safe to use and poses no human health risks. However, other studies done recently by Safe Wireless Technology New Zealand (SWTNZ) have shown that Wi-Fi radiation may be associated with cancer and other health problems such as nausea, headaches, tingling and burning sensations, fatigue, heart palpitations and digestive problems. However, the New Zealand government has chosen to ignore the findings.

Children and EMF/RFR

Because children’s bodies are still developing, they have rapid cellular replication and growth rates which makes them particularly vulnerable to DNA damage, according to Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, president of Environmental Health Trust. This makes them particularly susceptible to wireless radiation, much more so than adults who have denser tissue and bone structures. Exposure to EMF radiationfields damages DNA and impairs natural cellular repair functions, which over time can lead to the formation of cancer.

This critically important information about risks has been slow to become available to the public due to the fact that powerful entities in wireless industries have a vested interest in having the public believe that EMF/RFR radiation, which is invisible and cannot be heard, tasted or touched, is harmless. This of course is untrue, and recent studies are beginning to shed light upon the real facts.

Another thing to keep in mind is that radiation output standards are set based on testing adults, not children. This means that we are taking part in a mass experiment by exposing younger people to chronic, 24/7, always-on radiation for which proper tests have never even been properly conducted. This is a sure recipe for a long-term health disaster and may be what it will ultimately take for the public to wake up to the real-life risks of wireless non-thermal radiation.

EMF/RFR linked to multiple cancers

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is composed of 27 scientists from 14 countries, concluded that wireless and cell phone radiation is a class 2B “possible carcinogen.” Other items in this same category include pesticide DDT, lead, gas engine exhaust, burning coal and chemicals used in dry cleaning, among others. The children’s health expert panel explained that there are nine types of cancer linked to EMF/RFR radiation:

  • Glioma (brain cancer)
  • Salivary gland cancer (parotid gland in cheek)
  • Leukemia
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Eye cancer
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Meningloma
  • Testicular cancer
  • Breast cancer

These findings suggest that very careful precautions should be taken when interacting with wireless technology. Children and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to the risks and should avoid wireless signals and avoid using cellular phones except in emergencies.

Sources for this article include:

http://au.ibtimes.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

Click to http://www.naturalnews.com/043542_Wi-Fi_EMF_radiation_New_Zealand_boy.html

Widely-touted HIV cure turns out to be false; patients once again test HIV positive

(NaturalNews) It was big news back in 2013 — science unveils an alleged cure for AIDS after two men from Boston test negative for HIV following successful bone marrow transplants, read the glowing headlines. Except this apparently was not the case. New reports now indicate that both of the men have relapsed, so to speak, and are now back on their previous regimen of conventional antiretroviral therapy following rediagnosis with HIV.

According to Reuters, scientists are “inspired” by the failure, as they believe that it has taken them one step closer toward finding a real cure. But in the meantime, the scientific community is trying to figure out what went wrong. What was previously believed to be understood about the nature of the supposed human immunodeficiency virus has quickly unraveled, and scientists are now poised to continue their inquiry into how the disease actually works.

“Through this research we have discovered the HIV reservoir is deeper and more persistent than previously known and that our current standards of probing for HIV may not be sufficient,” explained Timothy Henrich from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to reporters. Henrich was one of the doctors who provided care for the acclaimed “Boston patients.”

The two men who were believed to have been cured of HIV both had a type of blood cancer known as lymphoma. One of the men was treated for his condition with a bone marrow transplant back in 2008, and the other received the same procedure in 2010. In the early part of 2013, both of the men decided to stop taking their AIDS drugs after tests revealed that the HIV had vanished.

But everything changed a few months later when one of the men began to show signs of HIV returning at the end of the summer, just one month after Henrich and his colleague Daniel Kuritzkes announced at a conference that their two patients may have been cured of their conditions as a result of the transplants. And just a few months later, in November, the second man followed suit.

“We’ve learnt many things here — and one of the most important is that a tiny, tiny amount of virus can get the whole thing going again,” added Sharon Lewin, an HIV expert at Monash University in Australia, to Reuters. “It’s a clear message that we need better ways to pick up the virus.”

Modern science finally beginning to recognize importance of strong immunity in eradicating disease

There have been a number of positive developments in the search for a cure for HIV and AIDS in recent years, including multiple “functional cure” cases where patients appeared to be clean of the virus. But it is now apparent that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, especially in the realm of conventional drug treatments. What patients really need is to bolster their immune systems so their bodies can naturally target the virus and keep it at bay.

“We need to attack in two ways — reduce the virus to very low levels and also to boost the immune response,” added Lewin to Reuters. “We can’t do one without the other. So we still have to think of other creative ways to control HIV. And it’s still early days… before we can say which approach is likely to be the winner.”

Meanwhile, integrative and individually customized approaches to HIV and AIDS treatment have seen major successes over the years. As documented by Dr. Gary Null, Ph.D., a press conference that took place back on December 9, 1993, brought to the table more than 25,000 scientific references from peer-reviewed literature showing the benefits of herbal, botanical, homeopathic and other alternative treatments in both fighting the virus and boosting the immune system.

You can read Dr. Null’s paper on this here:
http://prn.fm.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.reuters.com

http://www.medpagetoday.com

http://prn.fm

Click to http://www.naturalnews.com/043541_HIV_treatment_false_cure_AIDS.html

Contaminated Japanese rivers unleash ‘perennial supply’ of radiation into Pacific Ocean

(NaturalNews) A study published in the Elsevier journal Anthropocene late last year has revealed that many of the rivers, streams and other waterways located throughout coastal Japan have inadvertently become delivery systems for transporting radioactive waste directly from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility into the Pacific Ocean.

Researchers from both France and Japan discovered this after conducting a thorough sediment and soil erosion analysis, which revealed the presence of cesium-137, cesium-134 and even radioactive silver in the runoff from coastal rivers. A total of 2,200 soil samples were collected as part of the study, which was originally designed to look at the normal biogeochemical cycles and dispersion of contaminants via rivers and waterways.

Since it is already known that rivers play a functional role in cleansing the natural environment of toxins, a team of scientists from the Laboratory for Climate Sciences and the Environment in France and the Center for Research in Isotopes and Environmental Dynamics in Japan decided to look at how this process works with respect to radiation distribution.

With Fukushima radiation as the source indicator, the team looked for the presence of radioactive isotopes in soil samples collected all along the coastal regions of Japan. By tracking radiation in this way, the team was able to monitor from where the soil and sediment came to gain a better understanding of the transport patterns of particulate matter — and what they found is telling.

Based on the behaviors of the catchments observed, as well as their relation to the rivers that connect them to nearby mountain ranges, the team determined that many coastal rivers in Japan are a constant source of Fukushima radiation that ends up flowing directly into the Pacific Ocean. Early speculation that radioactive isotopes were probably concentrating in the upper layer of nearby soils also proved to be true.

“Our findings show that [the] Fukushima accident produced original tracers to monitor particle-borne transfers across the affected area shortly after the catastrophe,” wrote the authors of the study in their abstract. “We thereby suggest that coastal rivers have become a perennial supply of contaminated sediment to the Pacific Ocean.”

Contaminated rivers also sending deadly radiation into lakes, water reservoirs

But it is not just the Pacific Ocean that is suffering as a result of constant contamination from Fukushima. A similar study published earlier in the year in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivityfound that irrigation waters, paddy fields and lakes are all being poisoned by the runoff from Fukushima.

After collecting soil samples from two small rivers located in the mountainous region of Fukushima Prefecture, scientists from the Japan-based Institute for Environmental Sciences learned that aerial deposits of nuclear contamination are occurring all across the region, and especially in the top layers of soil found in catchments.

“Our results are extremely important to quantitative assessment of the migration of radiocesium and decontamination of radiocesium in the watersheds impacted by fallout from the accident,” concluded the authors about their findings.

Accumulation of radioactive cesium has also been identified in over 20 woody plant species tested in Abiko, which is located some 125 miles southwest of Fukushima and just to the northeast of Tokyo. Researchers from the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, or CRIEPI, found that the leaves of both coniferous and deciduous tree species had become contaminated as a result of radioactive rainfall.

“Further and continuous investigations are necessary to determine how long and how much radiocesium accumulates in the canopy and under the woody plants,” the researchers wrote.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.sciencedirect.com

http://www.sciencedirect.com

http://www.sciencedirect.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

Click to http://www.naturalnews.com/043544_contaminated_rivers_radiation_Pacific_Ocean.html