Shining secret that makes silver precious for your health

Before the discovery of antibiotics, surgeons used to stitch wounds with thread woven with silver as they believed it helped to prevent infection.

Meanwhile, bandages were laced with silver in the First World War, as it was thought to help save lives. And they were right.

As shown in more than a thousand medical studies, silver has powerful antiseptic and wound-healing properties. So just what are the health secrets of this precious metal?

‘Research has shown that silver is a powerful antimicrobial agent that is non-irritating and non-toxic,’ says Valerie Edwards Jones, professor of microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University. ‘Recent studies have shown that silver can kill up to 650 species of pathogenic microbes.

‘The metal consists of thousands of tiny silver ions,’ she says. ‘These prevent bacteria, viruses and fungi from spreading by entering the cell and deactivating proteins. The microbes cannot reproduce and die, so the spread of infection is prevented.’

There has been a resurgence of medical interest in silver, according to Prof Edwards Jones, because it effectively kills antibiotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA.

In 2007, the NHS spent more than £23million on silver dressings for leg ulcers and the Health Protection Agency has recommended that silver-coated catheters be introduced for the prevention of urinary tract infections.

Indeed, silver is set to be increasingly added to medical equipment and hospital furniture as a way of preventing hospital-based infections.

‘Research with the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has found that silver, incorporated in the surfaces of hospital equipment furniture, can reduce bacterial levels by 99 per cent,’ says Dr Richard Hastings, microbiologist for BioCote, a Wolverhampton company that makes silver-based medical products.

‘This, in turn, cuts infection risk from superbugs such as MRSA, E. coli and salmonella.’

Silver is also emerging as an effective tool for the treatment of skin conditions, burns and wounds.

‘Silver dressings are now widely used to aid wound healing. In the treatment of burns, where there is a high risk of irritation and infection, it has been very successful,’ says Prof Edwards Jones.

‘Silver could also combat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis – topical cream containing one per cent silver can suppress the kind of inflammation found in these allergic skin conditions.’

And silver may also one day be used as an internal antibiotic-In a study at the University of Texas, silver particles killed 100 per cent of the HIV virus within three hours. It also killed the flu virus as well as the antibiotic resistant superbug, MRSA.

However, more research needs to be conducted for the internal use of silver to be considered safe. ‘A side effect when taken internally, is that you can develop blue discolouration beneath the skin,’ says Prof Edwards Jones.

‘ Researchers would need to know more about this and any other adverse effects before it is used in this way.’

Daily Mail Online Feb. 27, 2010

Toyota's consumer safety problems are dwarfed by body count of Big Pharma's deadly drugs

Even as Toyota now finds itself the target of an increasingly hyped-up inquisition about “public safety,” skeptical consumers are asking the commonsense question: If public safety is so important, then why isn’t Congress asking about the dangers of Big Pharma’s deadly drugs?

Toyota’s problems with throttle controls and brakes haven’t actually killed anyone as far as we know. Even if deaths have occurred, their number would be extremely small compared to the number of deaths caused by Big Pharma’s products. FDA-approved pharmaceuticals kill nearly 270 people each day in the United States alone, and that’s according to conservative calculations published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s equivalent to a jumbo jet airliner falling out of the sky and crashing in a giant ball of flame every single day in the U.S.

If you’re concerned about public safety in the United States, there’s no industry that’s more dangerous than the pharmaceutical industry. All the automobile manufacturers combined can’t even begin to approach the body bag count produced by Big Pharma. So why is the U.S. Congress and mainstream media all of a sudden so gung-ho to accuse Toyota of compromising public safety while ignoring the far greater threat posed by Big Pharma? Because Toyota is an easy, convenient target that can distract people from the far worse dangers that no one dares speak of. As long as Americans can be distracted into focusing their fear and anger on Toyota, Big Pharma keeps on committing its crimes without being called to task.

And remember: Toyota is a foreign company while the giants of Big Pharma are American companies. Congress is quick to defend U.S. companies like General Motors and Merck, even if those companies pose a very real danger to public safety.

Just yesterday, published a story about the deliberate cover-up of deaths caused by Avandia, a top diabetes drug made by GlaxoSmithKline. According to FDA scientists, this drug is linked to 83,000 heart attacks. The company knew about this increased risk — and so did the FDA! Yet both the FDA and GSK conspired to hide this information from the public, says the U.S. Senate committee report (…).

As a result of this effort to deliberately mislead the public over the lack of safety for its drug, Avandia remained “FDA approved” and now causes an estimated 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure every month in the USA alone.

That’s the body count from just one medication. Add up the fatalities from all the other thousands of medications sold by the drug industry and you start to get the picture of just how large this threat to public health really is. People are dying every day in America due to dangerous prescription medications that the FDA knew were dangerous years ago!

Why medications are far more dangerous than defective vehicles

For Toyota to even come close to this level of dangerous deception, the company would have to deliberately build high-explosive bombs into its cars that were randomly set off when drivers tapped the brakes.

If 200 cars a day exploded into huge balls of flame on America’s roads, then Toyota might start to approach the level of fatalities caused by Big Pharma’s defective products. Until that happens, this whole attempt to attack Toyota over its relatively rare problems with throttle control is just a political witch hunt designed to distract people from the much larger threat to public safety posed by American companies like Merck.

Fraud and corruption

The real difference between Toyota and Big Pharma is that Toyota is trying to build safe cars while Big Pharma has no intention to do anything other than sell more drugs no matter how dangerous they are. In fact, Big Pharma goes out of its way to actually falsify evidence that attempts to turn dangerous chemicals into “scientifically proven safe drugs.” It even invents fake diseases and then markets those to the public (“disease mongering”) in order to sell more drugs that people don’t even need!

NaturalNews: Feb. 23, 2010

Beware of McCain's Freedom-Destroying Dietary Supplement Regulatory Bill

Most are familiar with those commercials on television promoting prescription drugs that supposedly offer relief from a variety of ailments, if one would only pressure one’s doctor to obtain them. They have become a source of great entertainment and amusement to some, the kicker coming at the end of each commercial when the FDA-approved medication’s obligatory litany of warnings and dangerous side effects is recited: “Tell your doctor if….”and “Side effects may include…..” Some of the warnings are mild like diarrhea and constipation, some list serious effects like cancer or tuberculosis, and others admit that sometimes even death can result.

The point here is that these are all FDA-approved drugs being advertised and used extensively. Drugs that can cause serious diseases like lymphoma. Drugs that can kill. The FDA’s dismal safety record is well documented; even PBS ran a Frontline special that investigated and exposed the FDA’s unsafe drug record, the influence of Big Pharma inside the FDA, and lack of long-term testing and medical review of many, many dangerous drugs. The FDA seldom removes a drug from the market even after it proves to be harmful or deadly, however they do post quarterly reports with details of the latest potentially dangerous side effects of drugs currently under investigation.

Nonetheless, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants this same FDA, with its dismal safety record, to regulate dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA), S. 3002 (text of this bill posted on Senator McCain’s website), that McCain has introduced with one cosponsor, would repeal key provisions of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) to “more effectively regulate dietary supplements that may pose safety risks unknown to consumers.”

Under attack by the DSSA is the once-protected field of supplements, as they have always been considered food. Potencies would have to be reduced to comply with what appears to be a plan modeled after the European Food Safety Authority. A new list of “Accepted Dietary Ingredients” would be “prepared, published, and maintained by the Secretary,” in the future. That’s a bit like being handed a blank check and told to fill it out later as one wishes. It could certainly be used to severely limit access to, and even production of, hundreds of life-sustaining and essential mineral, herb, and vitamin products.

All ingredients contained in each supplement would have to be disclosed at the time the company registers all of its “manufactured, packaged, held, distributed, labeled or licensed,” products with the FDA. An onerous burden would be placed on the shoulders of suppliers and retailers of dietary supplements, as they would have to “obtain written evidence” from the seller that the product is registered as required by law, and keep that documentation on file. Monetary penalties for non-compliance “may, in addition to other penalties imposed in this section, be fined not more than twice the gross profits or other proceeds derived from the manufacture, packaging, holding, distribution, labeling, or license of such dietary supplement.”  Those are very broad dictates and most likely subject to even broader interpretation.

The McCain bill would change existing mandatory serious adverse reporting regulations, requiring minor adverse effects to be reported as well so that the FDA could arbitrarily pull supplements off the shelves or reclassify them as drugs. This immediate recall authority would be granted to the “Secretary upon determination,” that there is a “reasonable probability”  that the product is “adulterated” or “misbranded.” Adulterated in this bill takes on a whole new expanded definition: “A dietary supplement which contains a new dietary ingredient shall be deemed adulterated under section 402(f) unless there is a history of use or other evidence of safety.”  The development of new products that contain newly discovered nutritional components may be entirely quashed. The hypocritical contrast between the regulation of drugs that can kill and the proposed hyper-regulation for food products — vitamins, minerals, herbs — is as plain as the nose on everyone’s face.

A Pandora’s box of intended and unintended legal complications and government harassment of nutritional supplement manufacturers and sellers could very well be unleashed if this bill is passed. There are already existing laws on the books that protect consumers from misbranded, fraudulent, or contaminated products. Granting the FDA additional regulatory authority over nutritional supplements seems a bit suspicious, especially considering the influence the enormous pharmaceutical industry has wielded over the research, development, and approval process inside the FDA. Let’s face it, the FDA has been no friend and often has been positively antagonistic toward the nutritional supplement industry. Therefore one wouldn’t set the wolf to guarding the sheep without dire consequences.

In this perverted overly-regulated country, food is now toxic, and drugs and chemicals are safe for ingestion, no matter the harm that results. This inversion should remind us that those who best have the consumers health and safety interests at heart are the consumers themselves. It is big government that has a proven track record of not protecting the public.  And it is big government that is seeking to take away yet another individual freedom, the right to choose one’s own treatment. (Where is the pro-choice crowd on this one; the ones that claim, “my body, my choice?”)

Contact your federal legislators and urge them not to cosponsor, support, or vote for such a power-grabbing, bill. Let them know Americans want unrestricted access to nutritional supplements, and the government out of their health choices.

Sen. McCain described his bill as a “no brainer.”  For constitutionalists it’s a “no brainer” that it should be rejected for the dictatorial, power-grabbing, choice-limiting attack on the nutritional marketplace and individual freedoms that it is.

Defective signalling pathway sheds light on cystic fibrosis

In a study that could lead to new therapeutic targets for patients with the cystic fibrosis, a research team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has identified a defective signalling pathway that contributes to disease severity. In the study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, the researchers report that defective signalling for a protein called the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) accounts for a portion of disease symptoms in cystic fibrosis, and that correction of the defective pathway reduces symptoms of the disease in mice.

In the paper published in the February 14 edition of the journal, lead investigator Gregory Harmon, MD, study supervisor Christopher Glass, MD, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine, and colleagues show that both mice and cells from patients with cystic fibrosis have a defect in signalling for PPAR-gamma, as a result of reduced levels of prostaglandins that activate the receptor.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common, potentially lethal genetic disease among whites, occurring in one in 3,000 births. The disease is a multisystem condition that leads to progressive lung failure, pancreatic failure and gastrointestinal obstruction, or blockage.

‘Cystic fibrosis results from a genetic mutation in a channel, or membrane pore, that facilitates the transport of chloride and bicarbonate electrolytes from inside the cell to the spaces outside the cell,’ said Harmon. ‘Loss of the cystic fibrosis pore channel results in inflammation and mucus accumulation. It also results in dehydration of the cell surfaces that make up the lining spaces inside the lungs and other affected organs, such as the intestinal tract.’

Exactly how the process occurs has been a matter of intense scientific scrutiny; yet despite numerous therapeutic advances, individuals with the disease continue to endure a shortened lifespan. ‘Someone born in the 1990s with cystic fibrosis is expected to live to an age of around 40,’ Harmon added.

Working with isolated cells from mice and human cell lines from patients with the disease, Harmon identified that multiple genes affected by PPAR-gamma were reduced in cystic fibrosis. When the researchers treated mice with cystic fibrosis with the drug rosiglitazone, a thiazolidinedione drug that binds and activates PPAR-gamma, gene expression was largely normalised and survival improved. The drugs also corrected part of the inflammatory process in the tissue. Deleting the PPAR-gamma protein in the intestine of mice worsened the disease, leading to mucus accumulation in the intestine. Additionally, the researchers found that activating PPAR-gamma could increase bicarbonate production in the intestinal tissue by increasing the activity of bicarbonate-producing enzymes called carbonic anhydrases.

‘For the first time, we are able to use a drug that activates bicarbonate transport without affecting chloride transport, and see improvement in the disease,’ Harmon said. The results provide support for the hypothesis of experts in the field such as UCSD’s Paul Quinton, PhD, who has written that increasing bicarbonate in cystic fibrosis tissues could be a relevant target for future therapies.

‘The finding of the reduced PPAR-gamma activating prostaglandin in cystic fibrosis is exciting since it could serve as a marker to identify which patients might benefit from treatment with PPAR- and gamm activating drugs,’ said Glass.

Source: UCSD News Centre

For a more information see the articles about natural compounds that work the same way:

Hearts Actually Can Break

Dorothy Lee and her husband of 40 years were driving home from a Bible study group one wintry night when their car suddenly hit the curb. Mrs. Lee looked at her husband, who was driving, and saw his head bob a couple of times and fall on his chest.

In the ensuing minutes, Mrs. Lee recalls, she managed to avoid a crash while stopping the car, called 911 on her cellphone and tried to revive her husband before an ambulance arrived. But at the hospital, soon after learning her husband had died of a heart attack, Mrs. Lee’s heart appeared to give out as well. She experienced sudden sharp pains in her chest, felt faint and went unconscious.

New research shows that dying of a broken heart isn’t just a metaphor. WSJ’s Ron Winslow talks with Simon Constable about studies that show real, and sometimes fatal, changes can occur in the heart after a traumatic breakup or death of a loved one.
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When doctors performed an X-ray angiogram expecting to find and treat a blood clot that had caused Mrs. Lee’s symptoms, they were surprised: There wasn’t any evidence of a heart attack. Her coronary arteries were completely clear.

Doctors eventually determined that Mrs. Lee had suffered from broken-heart syndrome, a name given by doctors who observed that it seemed to especially affect patients who had recently lost a spouse or other family member. The mysterious malady mimics heart attacks, but appears to have little connection with coronary artery disease. Instead, it is typically triggered by acute emotion or physical trauma that releases a surge of adrenaline that overwhelms the heart. The effect is to freeze much of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, disrupting its ability to contract and effectively pump blood.

The phenomenon is a “concussion” of the heart, says Scott Sharkey, a cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute. “It’s really a heart attack which is triggered by stress rather than by a blocked artery,” he says.

Achy Breaky Heart

Broken-heart syndrome mimics a heart attack and is brought on by acute emotion or physical trauma. Here are some triggers that doctors say prompted patients to suffer the malady.

Emotional stressors:

  • Death of a spouse
  • Patient’s dog caught in a raccoon trap
  • Losing large amount of money in a casino
  • Getting lost while driving in an unsafe neighborhood at night
  • Feeling overwhelmed by new computer software

Physical stressors:

  • Migraine headache
  • Knee surgery
  • Low blood sugar
  • Adverse drug reaction
  • Respiratory distress

For reasons that aren’t fully understood, the problem, formally known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, afflicts mostly women after menopause. The syndrome is relatively uncommon, accounting for an estimated 1% to 2% of people-and about 6% of women-who are diagnosed with a heart attack. In addition to such common emotions as grief and anger, doctors say broken-heart syndrome has been triggered by a person’s anxiety over making a speech, a migraine headache or the emotional response to a surprise party. It can be fatal on occasion, but for the most part patients recover quickly, with no lasting damage to their hearts.

In a conventional heart attack, an obstructed artery starves the heart muscle of oxygenated blood, quickly resulting in the death of tissue and potentially permanently compromising heart function. In contrast, the heart muscle in broken-heart-syndrome patients is stunned in the adrenaline surge and appears to go into hibernation. Little tissue is lost. “The cells are alive, but mechanically or electrically disabled,” Dr. Sharkey says.

PJ-AT514A_HEART_NS_20100208194949Mrs. Lee’s heart was so weakened by her episode in 2005 that she nearly died. The 63-year-old required a special balloon pump to support her left ventricle during the first couple of days in the hospital. But Mrs. Lee, who runs her own clothing repair business in a Minneapolis suburb, was discharged within five days. Despite cautions by her doctors, she attended her husband’s funeral a few days later. “I was able to work through my grief both positively and spiritually,” she says. “I have no effects of [the heart episode] today.”

Weak Pumping

When patients are hospitalized with broken-heart syndrome, their hearts might be pumping at as little as 20% efficiency, a mark of serious heart failure, says Chet Rihal, a cardiologist and director of the catheterization clinic at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. But within 48 to 72 hours, many recover to the 60% level that is considered healthy. “It’s remarkable how quickly this will occur and how quickly they will recover,” he says.

The phenomenon was first identified in the early 1990s by Japanese researchers, who named the condition “tako-tsubo” cardiomyopathy, because in X-ray images, the left ventricle affected by broken-heart syndrome takes the shape of a vase-like pot used in Japan to trap octopuses.

The first major studies in the U.S. – one from Dr. Sharkey and his colleagues and another by Ilan S. Wittstein and other researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore – appeared within 10 days of each other in 2005.

The researchers say that more than 90% of those affected by broken-heart syndrome are post-menopausal women – possibly because lower levels of the hormone estrogen make heart cells in some women more vulnerable to an adrenaline rush. But some men and younger women have also been diagnosed with the syndrome, complicating the estrogen argument. And just last month German researchers reported an episode in a 2-year-old girl who was undergoing surgery. (Her heart recovered fully.)

In any event, experience at the medical centers in Minnesota and Baltimore suggests that the problem afflicts a small portion of the people who arrive at the emergency room with heart-attack symptoms.

“It’s a small number, but it’s really important to learn how to recognize them,” says Dr. Rihal. “The treatment for these patients is really different” than that prescribed for patients with a conventional heart attack. For one thing, it’s risky to give a clot-buster drug to a patient without an arterial blockage, due to the potential to cause a stroke.

Doctors don’t yet understand the mechanism that causes broken-heart syndrome. Nor are there any established ways to identify people who might be susceptible to the condition or known strategies patients might adopt to reduce their risk.

While doctors use blood-pressure pills such as beta-blockers and ACE-inhibitors to help treat the condition, Dr. Sharkey says that about 20% of patients who suffer an attack of broken-heart syndrome are already on such medications.

“This is so powerful that with currently used doses, we haven’t found a way to block it,” he says. The problem recurs in about 10% of cases.

Triggers for broken-heart syndrome seem as varied as the number of people affected. While death of a spouse or other close family member or friend is a common cause, breakups such as a divorce or separation have also sparked the event, according to a study of 136 patients by Dr. Sharkey and his colleagues published Jan. 26 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For others, being overwhelmed by new software at work, seeing a poultry barn burn down, or losing money at a casino all have brought the condition on, doctors say.

Nonemotioal Triggers

But physical stress can cause a broken heart as well. “The emotional aspects get all the press,” says Dr. Wittstein of Johns Hopkins. “But nonemotional triggers” are at least as common. A sudden drop in blood pressure, an asthma attack, a surgical procedure, an adverse drug reaction and withdrawal from alcohol are among such causes.

Pat Dorn’s trigger, like that of Mrs. Lee, was the health of her husband. She went to awaken him one morning in 2006 and found him in bed lying on his back with his hands crossed over his chest. “I kept slapping his face and calling to him and he didn’t respond,” she recalls. When an ambulance crew arrived, her husband regained consciousness but seemed disoriented; she worried he was having a stroke.

At Mayo Clinic’s St. Mary’s Hospital two hours later, she began suffering chest pains. But she was reluctant to tell anyone because she felt her husband still needed her to help describe his condition to doctors. In addition, the retired college English teacher exercised regularly and doubted she was having a heart attack.

Wrong Diagnosis

When she finally sought help, nurses at the hospital just looked at her and told her she was having a heart attack. An electrocardiogram supported the assessment. But an angiogram didn’t find any blockage and Mayo doctors quickly recognized the tell-tale shape of tako-tsubo shape of her left ventricle that was characteristic of broken-heart syndrome. She spent three days in the hospital and went home the same day as her husband, who recovered from an unusual episode of brain inflammation.

One explanation for broken-heart syndrome may lie in the interaction between adrenaline and heart-muscle cells. Adrenaline causes calcium to rush into heart cells, which is how they contract, Dr. Wittstein explains. Some abnormality in the relationship may result in a calcium overload that stuns the heart.

Researchers are also identifying gene variants that may predispose some people to suffering from the condition, he says.

Another question is why some events with strong emotion affect people while others don’t. One patient in Dr. Wittstein’s research suffered an episode after she entered a dark room and people jumped out to wish her a happy birthday. A year later, her brother died. “You’d think that would be much more stressful, but she didn’t get the syndrome.”