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Tag Archive: Infant


 

chinese baby with doctor Why Are Babies Dying in China After Receiving the Hepatitis B Vaccine?

 

Health Impact News

 

At least nine babies have died in China the past few weeks after being injected with the Hepatitis B vaccine.

 

In China, the Hepatitis B vaccine is given in three stages. The first shot is taken immediately after birth. The second and third shots of the vaccine are taken after a baby is one month and then six months old.

 

The pharmaceutical company manufacturing the vaccine has conducted quality control tests on the batch currently in the market, and has not found anything wrong with the vaccine. Similar statements have been made by health authorities:

 

The drug supervision department in Shenzhen says their test results indicate the vaccines were safe.

 

“According to our investigation, BioKangtai has produced the vaccine strictly under required standards. And their samples have passed our tests.” Wang Lifeng with Drug Administration of Shenzhen said.

 

The deaths, which have occurred within a very short time after receiving the vaccine, are gaining wide exposure in the China media. Because vaccines are almost always promoted as safe, injuries and deaths often are not associated with the vaccine, so there may be more deaths than have currently been reported. One of the deaths was reported by a family member after hearing about other babies dying shortly after receiving the vaccine in the media. When the family originally was fighting to save the baby from dying, they had not suspected the vaccine.

Read More Here

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NY Times

China Investigates Vaccine Maker After Deaths of Infants

 

 

SHANGHAI — Health authorities in China are investigating one of the nation’s biggest vaccine makers after eight infants died in the past two months following injections that were meant to immunize them against hepatitis B.

 

The government said this week that it had suspended the use of millions of doses of a hepatitis B vaccine produced by the manufacturer, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products. Government inspectors have been sent to examine the company’s facilities.

Six of the deaths have been linked to vaccines produced by Shenzhen Kangtai; the two other infant deaths occurred recently after the use of a hepatitis B vaccine produced by another drug maker, Beijing Tiantan Biological Products. The government did not say whether any action had been taken against Beijing Tiantan or its vaccines. Investigators have not determined the cause of the deaths or linked them directly to the injections, but the cases come at a time of growing public concern in China about food and drug safety problems.

In recent years, China has been troubled by a series of scandals, including tainted rice and milk and the mysterious appearance of thousands of dead pigs floating in the Huangpu River in Shanghai. China has vowed repeatedly to crack down on food and drug safety violations and has moved to strengthen the powers of health officials.

In the vaccine cases, the government is focusing on the role of Shenzhen Kangtai, a privately run drug maker formed in 1992 with government support and the cooperation of the American pharmaceutical company Merck.

Read More Here

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Gaia Health

July 22, 2013 by admin

One of modern medicine’s routine practices is vaccination of virtually all infants on a schedule—even if they’re premature. This study clearly documents the likelihood that preemies are being subjected to severe harm by the practice. Yet, health agencies and doctors won’t even slow down in the rush to jam needles into the weakest among us.

Neonate in Sepia, by Chris and Lara Pawluk

Neonate in Sepia, by Chris and Lara Pawluk (cropped)

by Heidi Stevenson

Premature infants are vaccinated as aggressively as full term babies. This is done in spite of research clearly documenting a high rate of cardiorespiratory harm to these neonates. Known as the Pourcyrous study, it also revealed that a full 85% of these infants who receive the standard multi-vaccine dose at two months of age will experience an abnormal elevation of the C-reactive protein level, a measure of inflammation indicating the presence of infection or other disease state.

The primary question must be: Why does the medical profession routinely do a medical procedure that is known to be harmful? Worse yet, why is such a procedure done to the most helpless and weakest among us?

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises vaccinating premature and low birth weight babies on the same schedule as full term babies. This is, of course, based on … well, that’s a good question. It’s obviously not based on evidence.

Shall we hammer another nail in the evidence-based medicine coffin?

In any case, the authors of the Pourcyrous study—named for the lead researcher, Massroor Pourcyrous, MD—noted that a high rate of cardiorespiratory events, anywhere from 23 to 47 percent, has been reported in premature infants after their initial DTaP (diphtheria, typhus, acellular pertussis) vaccination at age two months. They wrote:

Vaccination-associated adverse reactions are not uncommon and may resemble serious infection in infants. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of inflammation or infection in neonates. A consistent increase in CRP has been reported after immunization of preterm infants with vaccines containing diphtheria-tetanus-whole cell pertussis (DTwP); however, CRP responses to DTaP and other vaccines have not been studied.

Therefore, they decided to study the question.

The Study

The researchers investigated 239 premature infants who were 2 months or more of age and were scheduled to receive the standard vaccines. Infants who were not acutely ill, had bacterial infections, or were otherwise deemed to have serious health problems were not included.

Infants were given either single or multiple vaccines. 168 of the 239 preemies received a single injection, and 71 received multiple injections. Note that the term “single” vaccine refers to number of injections, not number of antigens. So, the vaccines given were:

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis)
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenza)
  • IPV (inactivated poliovirus)
  • HBV (Hepatitus B vaccine)
  • PCV7 (pneumococcal 7-valent vaccine)

Children given multiple vaccines were given 2 or more injections in a single day.  The neonatal intensive care staff kept them on cardiorespiratory and pulse oximetry (oxygen) monitoring for 3 days. The researchers documented outcomes of:

Read More Here

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abortion

Monday, July 29, 2013
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

(NaturalNews) Today Natural News denounces Melissa Harris-Perry, the latest talking head “death worshipper” to publicly imply that she supports the murder of living, breathing newborn children. According to Harris-Perry, life begins when the parents feel like life begins. And together with some twisted new “ethics” arguments from the radical left, this can include months or years after a child is born.

That’s why I need to premise this article with a disclaimer: This article is not about abortion. It’s about the murder of children after they are born. Because once a child is born alive, terminating that life is no longer a “choice” … it’s murder by every legal and moral standard. Because while abortion friends and foes can argue about when life begins in the womb, no one disagrees that a child born alive is, well, ALIVE… do they?

Indeed, they do. MSNBC talking head Melissa Harris-Perry insists that life only begins when the parents have a “feeling” that it begins. “When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling — but not science,” Harris-Perry said to nationwide astonishment on her July 21 MSNBC show.

And in one stroke, she simultaneously condones the murder of newborn infants (i.e. “post-birth abortion”) while attacking the science of biology which unambiguously states that a living, breathing infant with a heartbeat and brain function is alive, not dead.

But don’t tell that to the radical abortion whackos. Far beyond arguing for the “right” to abort a baby in the first or second trimester, many abortion advocates who run in the same circles as Melissa Harris-Perry are now publicly arguing that it is okay for parents to kill their children up to age three. This is now being promoted as a “post-birth abortion.”

It was also called a “fourth trimester abortion” by a clever pollster who recently took to the streets of George Mason University to find out if summertime college students would sign a petition legalizing fourth-trimester abortions. Nearly all who were asked to sign the petition did so! One of the college students even asked whether the procedure would “cause harm to the child.”

“Well the child wouldn’t be there anymore,” responded the pollster, after which the college student then proceeded to sign the petition.

Watch this video yourself at:

And yes, this is how incredibly stupid many of today’s college students really are. Then again, I remember a guy back in college who walked in on a group of us watching a football game and asked, “How many quarters are there in a football game?” His lack of mathematical prowess would have made him a ripe target for the “fourth trimester abortion” gimmick, I’ll bet.

Murdering live babies under the label of “abortion”

Let’s be clear about where all this is headed. This is not about arguing over a woman’s right to have a first- or second-trimester abortion. This isn’t even a debate about a third-trimester abortion, the kind of abortion that was recently outlawed in Texas, much to the despair of late-term abortion advocates across the country, some of whom actually chanted “Hail Satan” in unison at the Austin abortion rally.

This is really about the zealous desire of the radical left to legalize the “aborting” of babies after they are born alive so that parents can have the legal right to kill living babies they suddenly decide they don’t want to raise.

Getting back to Harris-Perry, according to her radical brand of death culture ideology, a parent can “decide” that a baby born alive isn’t really alive yet. That parent can wait to see whether the baby is well-behaved, or cute, or has the right skin color, or whatever, before deciding whether to keep it or kill it. If such an ideology were fronted by someone like George Bush, it would be wildly derided as barbaric and anti-human, but because the idea of murdering newborn babies is being pushed by liberals, it is met with silence instead of outrage.

“When a pregnancy is wanted . . . It is easy to think of the bump as a baby,” says Melissa Harris-Perry, implying that when a pregnancy is not wanted, that bump isn’t a baby at all. Somehow it’s just a mass of dead tissue that you can dispose of at will. The fact that the “bump” results in a live childbirth is never admitted by people like Harris-Perry. The baby isn’t “alive” until you decide it is!

Read More Here

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All Life Is  Precious photo AllLifeIsPrecious_zps717c96cc.jpg

This Whole  thing makes me weep and mourn the loss of our  humanity.

I want  to be perfectly  clear.  I am  pro choice , however ,I  am not pro  murder  at the whim of an irresponsible  , self absorbed monster who has no respect  for life.  Abortion is not  birth  control, it is  to  be used in dire circumstances  under conditions and terms of  the  law  which  are  violated  by  people such as  this.

While  I  am a  firm  believer  that a  woman  has the  right  to  choose   that  does not  give  any  person the right  to do anything  as  heinous  as  this.  I  would never  personally choose abortion  as I  feel I could not live  with that  choice  personally.  However, I  do not believe  that  I  have  the  right  to choose for another   as is the  case  in  rape and  incest  victims.  To condemn a  woman  to  carry  out the  pregnancy   which   was  the result  of an  attack  is cruel and unusual  punishment making  that  woman  a  victim   twice.  I  do not  believe  that  anyone  has  the  right  to  impose  that  on  another  human  being.  We  must  each  make our choices  and live   with  their consequences  and the part  we  played in it.

Those calling for abortion to  be   illegal because   no one has the right  to  go through  with  an  abortion  would take  a  step back and judge not lest  you  be  judged.  When  society  does a better job   at  taking  care  of  all the unwanted  children  that  we  already  have  and  no one  even  gives a  second  thought   to .  When instead  of condemning  a  young girl who has made a mistake, she  is  taken in and  counseled and  nurtured  then  perhaps  society  can  have a  say . But  not  until then.  For you to pass  judgment then  you  must  first  walk a  mile in their  shoes.  Some out there have  absolutely  no idea  what  other less  fortunate   human  beings  have  to  live through.  Until you  do  , you  don’t get  a say  in  what they  need to  do  to  live it.  Unless  you are planning  to  step in and  help!

That  being  said, those of  you   who have  waited  till  you are   7months  pregnant to   go  through  with  an abortion  should be put in  jail.  You  had  7 months to  think about  it , to  allow that   child to  grow  inside your  body  , to  feel it  move inside you  and   you  still believe  it  is  something  that  needs  to  be  removed  and thrown  out like so much  garbage?

At  7  months it is not only   ILLEGAL to   perform  an  abortion  it  is  IMMORAL and  REPREHENSIBLE.

How  dare  you?

How dare  anyone   think that they have  the  right  to  take a life in this manner and  walk  away with no consequences.  You  had  the  opportunity  to use   birth control and opted out  or it  failed (it  happens).  But  you  also had  ample time to  understand  what  needed  to be  done  if you truly cannot have that  child.

What  were  you  doing   in those   7 months that  was  so  important  that  you  could not  do the responsible thing?

What  in the  world  could  have  been  so important?

To those  performing  the abortion what  kind of  uncaring  unfeeling monster  are you to take a child that is  alive  , breathing  and completely  helpless and  do something like this?

To  treat that  small baby  like it  did  not matter.

Dear  God and we wonder  why  we  are  in  the  situation  we  are in?

Only an  unfeeling uncaring Monster  with  no  heart  could do something like this  and  feel no  remorse……

I like  to believe  that  there  is   good in all people and  it  is stories like this  that  make me think I  am so  very   wrong.  There is   so  much  apathy  and disregard  for  life  in this society.  One  life not as worthy as the  next   depending  on   who you are and  what  level of  society  you  come from.  Self righteous screamers  and  utterances  of curses and punishments who  are   at the  ready  to point  out  the faults  of  others  but  are blinded  to their own  lack of faith in  what  is  expected of  them.  When we  are taught  to love  our  neighbors as  we  love  ourselves , it  did not  say unless they  are poor, raped,imperfect,or  sinners.  It is  not your  job  to   judge  , it is  your   job to be there  to  help pick up the  pieces  and  make this  world a better  place.  Last  I  checked  pointing  fingers  and  yelling insults did not make the  world  a better  place.

Laws  are in place   and   they  need  to be   enforced. Why are they  not  being   enforced?  These  are  crimes  as  real as  the ones committed  at the Boston Marathon.

Why are law  enforcement and FBI not all over this?

This  is a hypocritical issue  everyone pulling   in their  respective  direction and  no one  really  addressing the  problems that   bring it  about.  A little more love  and  care  and   a  lot less   accusations  and  judgement  would go a  very  long  way  in that  respect…….

~Desert Rose~

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April 25, 2013
cnsnews

black

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) took to the House floor on Wednesday, condemning the late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, saying, “May God forgive us.”

Black also blasted President Barack Obama for not speaking out against the “house of horrors” abortion clinic run by Gosnell, who would sever the spinal cords of babies with scissors after they had survived late-term abortion procedures.

“Mr. Speaker, I stand here today outraged and deeply saddened by the heartbreaking story of the abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell,” said Black.  “This is the man currently on trial for the murder of eight people, seven of which were newborns who were killed after surviving late-term botched abortions in his house of horrors clinic.”

“But Gosnell didn’t act alone,” she said.  “He had a host of silent co-conspirators who referred women to his practice knowing full well of the horrors that went on behind those closed doors.  And, meanwhile, the State boards gave Gosnell a free pass for 17 years by failing to inspect his clinic.”

gosnell

Dr. Kermit Gosnell. (AP)

Gosnell, 72, is currently on trial for the murder of four babies born alive and a mother, who overdosed at his clinic the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia.  Gosnell was originally charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, but Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart dropped three of the charges onWednesday, apparently concluding that the prosecution did not present enough evidence that the babies in those cases were “not viable,” or born alive.

Gosnell is also facing charges of infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses.  The six-week long trial is set to conclude on Monday, with closing arguments after Gosnell’s defense rested on Wednesday, without offering any witnesses. Gosnell did not take the stand.

Rep. Black also condemned President Obama for not speaking out against Gosnell who, according to the grand jury in the case, had killed “hundreds” of babies over the years by snipping their spinal cords.

“When asked about Gosnell’s crime, our president tells us he has no comment,” Black said.  “Where is your outrage, Mr. President?”

Read Full Article And Watch Video Here

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Gosnell Trial Witness: Baby Abortion Survivor Was ‘Swimming’ in Toilet ‘Trying to Get Out’

April 18, 2013

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gosnellDr. Kermit Gosnell, charged with 7 counts of first-degree murder, killing babies reportedly born alive at his abortion office in West Philadelphia, Pa. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – On the last day of testimony before the prosecution rests in the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, a former worker at Gosnell’s clinic testified that she saw one late-term baby who survived an abortion “swimming” in a toilet and “trying to get out.”

Kareema Cross, a “medical assistant” who worked at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic for four-and-a-half years, testified in a Philadelphia court today, telling of the horrors of babies who survived abortions only to have their necks snipped with scissors.

“Did you ever see those babies move?” asked Prosecutor Joanne Pescatore.

“Yes, once in the toilet,” said Cross.

The baby “was like swimming,” she said.  “Basically, trying to get out.”

Adrienne Moton, an employee at the clinic, then took the baby and snipped the back of its neck while the mother was still in the room.

Cross told the jury that when Shayquana Abrams came into the clinic in July 2008 she was pregnant, “and she was big.”

“That was the largest baby I ever saw,” Cross said.

When the baby was born alive, Abrams was sleeping.  Cross said Dr. Gosnell took the baby boy, which she described as 12 to 18 inches long, and put him inside a plastic container the size of a shoebox.

“The baby was still breathing,” she said.  “He didn’t cut the neck right there.”

The baby was too big for the plastic container, with his arms and legs hanging over the sides.

“The Doctor cut the back of the baby’s neck but didn’t do suction—normally Dr. Gosnell would do suction … to suck the brains out,” Cross said.

“I called people over to come see it [the baby] and we took pictures,” she said.

Grand Jury Report, Abortionist: 'This Baby Is Big Enough to Walk Around With Me or Walk Me to the Bus Stop'Baby Boy A, allegedly killed after being born alive and then having his spinal cord cut at the abortion office of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. (AP)

The baby boy had curled himself into the fetal position and laid on his side in the box.  An image of the baby taken by Cross was shown to the court, showing him laying lifeless on his side.  (the photo of the infant, Baby A, is included in the Grand Jury Report and is posted in this article.)

“It was supposed to go upstairs in the freezer, but it was still there the next day because the janitor complained,” Cross added.

Read Full Article Here

The  government has  taken away  our right to hold Monsanto responsible for the poisons they are  putting in our  foods. There is only  one way  left  to us.  That  way  is to exert the only power  left  to us.  Consumer leverage.  There   is  power  in the force  behind where we spend our  dollars.  Our  voices will be  heard  because it  is where  their bread is buttered.

If  we tell them we will not  buy their product  they  will have to listen.  Without our   money  they are  nothing.  It is time we let  them know that  we  are still in charge of what purchase,  what  we eat  and what  we  feed our  children; not  corporate  America  and not the government!!!!

~Desert Rose~

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GMOs: Tell Makers of Similac That Our Babies Are Not “Human Lab Rats”

April 18th, 2013

formula-6-sml

GMOs—foods that have been genetically engineered by Monsanto and other chemical manufacturers—have never been adequately tested for long-term human health or environmental safety.

Many of the ingredients used in infant formula, especially soy-based formula, are derived from crops that have been genetically altered to internally produce pesticides or to be resistant to specific herbicides, so that weed killers that would normally kill or injure the plant can be sprayed more frequently and at higher doses.

Nobody should be eating GMO foods, especially babies.  But until infant formula makers stop using GMO ingredients, hundreds of thousands of newborns and infants will be unwitting participants in this huge, uncontrolled experiment with the health of the next generation.

It’s time to tell infant formula makers to stop experimenting with the health of babies who consume their infant formula — sign the petition below.  

 

GMOs are prohibited in organic infant formula, but widely used in conventional formula.  Babies are not the human equivalent of lab rats.  Given that some scientific studies point to serious harm from consuming GMOs, all formula should be free from GMOs until they can conclusively be proven safe.

Thanks to the work of As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy group, owners of Abbott Laboratories stock (makers of Similac infant formula, one of the leading US formula brands), will be voting on April 26 on a resolution to adopt a non-GMO policy.

Let’s make our voices heard!  Add your name to the petition urging Abbott Laboratories to remove GMOs from its Similac infant formula.

 

Visit The Cornucopia Institute  Website  Here

Miami Mother Helps Open Florida’s First Nonprofit Milk Depot

PRWeb | February 14, 2013
Photo: PRWeb

The Gathering Place and Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas to Accept Breastmilk Donations from South Florida Mothers and help feed premature, medically fragile infants. Breastfeeding moms who want to become donors can be screened at no charge.

(PRWEB) February 14, 2013

A South Florida mother’s quest to get enough donor breastmilk to feed her son has led to a Florida first: a nonprofit human milk depot to collect breastmilk donations from lactating women.

Mothers, babies and maternal and pediatric health specialists will celebrate the grand opening of the first nonprofit human milk depot with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, February 19 at 10 a.m. at The Gathering Place, a pregnancy, childbirth and parenting resource center at 5810 Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33137.

The ribbon-cutting symbolically “opens” the deep freezer unit which will store breastmilk donations from women in South Florida. A milk and cookies toast will follow remarks from Ana Rodriguez, who gives to the milk depot, as well as lactation consultant Mirine Dye, MPH, IBCLC.

Miami is the first Florida city to open a nonprofit milk depot, giving lactating mothers a drop off location for donations of much-needed breastmilk. The depot at The Gathering Place will be serviced by the Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, a nonprofit milk bank that provides donor human milk to hospitals in 10 states. Women who are currently breastfeeding infants under one year old are eligible to be screened at no charge to become human milk (aka breastmilk) donors.

The Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas fills prescriptions written by physicians for premature and medically fragile babies who need the life-giving and sustaining nutrition of donor human milk to thrive. There are more than 35,000 babies born each year in Dade County, and although hospitals in the region prescribe donor human milk to NICU babies, a milk collection depot did not exist until now.

Co-owner of The Gathering Place Tamara Taitt decided to open the milk depot after she was approached by Florencia Martinez, a mom who attends classes at The Gathering Place and shared how her son’s severe allergies affected him. “He couldn’t digest anything other than breastmilk,” said Martinez “He would suffer devastating intestinal distress and bleeding, it was terrifying to us.”

 

Read Full Article Here

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Local10.com News

Watch Video Here

FDA Approves Neurotoxic Flu Drug For Infants Less Than One

Written By:

Sayer Ji, Founder

FDA Approves Neurotoxic Flu Drug For Infants Less Than One

Whereas the flu is self-limiting, the FDA’s capacity for bad decisions is not…

The recent decision by the FDA to approve the use of the antiviral drug Tamiflu for treating influenza in infants as young as two weeks old, belies an underlying trajectory within our regulatory agencies towards sheer insanity.

Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, has already drawn international concern over its link with suicide deaths in children given the drug after its approval in 1999. In fact, in 2004, the Japanese pharmaceutical company Chugai added “abnormal behavior” as a possible side effect inside Tamiflu’s package.  The FDA also acknowledged in its April, 2012 “Pediatric Postmarket Adverse Event Review” of Tamiflu that “abnormal behavior, delirium, including symptoms such as hallucinations, agitation, anxiety, altered level of consciousness, confusion, nightmares, delusions” are possible side effects.[i]

Recent animal research on Tamiflu has found that the infant brain absorbs the drug more readily than the adult brain,[ii]  [iii]lending a possible explanation for why neuropsychiatric side effects have been observed disproportionately in younger patients.

The very mechanism of Tamiflu’s anti-influenza action may hold the key to its well-known neurotoxicity. Known as a neuromindase inhibitor, the drug inhibits the key enzyme within the flu virus that enables it to enter through the membrane of the host cell.  So fundamental is this enzyme that viruses are named after this antigenic characteristic. For instance,  the “N” in H1N1 flu virus is named for type 1 viral neuromindase.

Mammals, however, also have neurimindase enzymes, known as ‘sialidase homologs,’ with four variations identified within the human genome so far; NEU1,NEU2,NEU3 and NUE4.  These enzymes are important for neurological health. For example, the enzyme encoded by NEU3, is indispensable for the modulation of the ganglioside content of the lipid bilayer, which is found predominantly in the nervous system and constitutes 6% of all phospholipids in the brain.

It is therefore likely that neurimindase-targeted drugs like Tamiflu are simply not selective enough to inhibit only the enzymes associated with influenza viral infectivity. They likely also cross-react with those off-target neurimindase enzymes associated with proper neurological function within the host. This “cross reactivity” with self-structures may also explain why the offspring of pregnant women given Tamiflu have significantly elevated risk of birth defects (10.6%) relative to background rates (2-3%), according to a 2009 safety review by the European Medicines Agency.

Beyond the recognition of Tamiflu’s intrinsic toxicity, there are two additional problems with the use Tamiflu in infants:

 

Read Full Article Here

Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

 

  Community : Health  – Nutrition – Breast Feeding – Poisons in Our Foods  – Food Safety  –  Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) –  Corporate Assault on Our Lives And Our Health

 

If breastfeeding is healthier for babies, why are hospitals pushing corporate infant formula? How a growing number of states and cities are banning marketing in the maternity ward.

 

YES Magazine

Mother breastfeeding by Amy Bundy-555.jpg

Photo by Amy Bundy.

From TIME magazine’s provocative photo of a mother breastfeeding her toddler to the recent controversy surrounding an American University professor who breastfed her baby while teaching a class, how we feed babies often attracts its fair share of media attention.

But while news coverage often focuses on what are perceived as personal choices related to infant feeding, an important piece of the puzzle is often missing from their analysis: the intrusion of massive corporations into the relationships between patients and health-care providers, and the subordination of public-health considerations to profit margins.

Fortunately, advocates and activists are joining forces and putting a spotlight on this missing piece of the puzzle. And momentum is building as hospitals across the country—including all of those in Massachusetts and Rhode Island—are telling the infant-formula industry to take their marketing pitches elsewhere.

Science or sales pitch?

With the many benefits of breastfeeding touted by the Surgeon General and other public-health officials, why would hospitals send a new mom home with a bag full of formula?

Consider this: Across the country, up to 72 percent of health-care facilities with maternity units distribute so-called infant formula to new mothers in industry-supplied “discharge bags,” complete with formula samples, coupons for formula, and marketing materials.

With the many benefits of breastfeeding touted by the Surgeon General and other public-health officials, why would hospitals send a new mom home with a bag full of formula? Because the infant-formula industry, which is worth $3.5 billion in the United States alone, knows there couldn’t be a better marketing tool than hospital freebies that are seemingly endorsed by health-care providers.

Studies show that women who receive infant formula samples in maternity wards are more likely to stop breastfeeding sooner and less likely to breastfeed exclusively. Though all major health care organizations recommend that infants be breastfed exclusively through six months, only 16.3 percent of moms nationwide achieve this goal. Experts agree that one of the obstacles to exclusive breastfeeding is ubiquitous infant formula marketing.

Prop37-555.gif
Soccer Moms Face Off Against Monsanto
An initiative on the ballot in California to require the labeling of genetically modified organisms seems likely to succeed.

Certainly, families should make their own decisions about how to feed their babies, taking into account a variety of life circumstances and personal preferences that might make them elect to use infant formula instead of breastfeeding. But as far as practicing evidence-based medicine goes, it makes sense for health care providers to recommend the option that is best for their patients’ health. That recommendation is seriously undermined by infant-formula marketing in health care facilities, highlighting the conflict between the ideal goals of hospitals (health) and goals of formula manufacturers (profit). As one humorous comic put it, discharge bags seem to send the message, “Breast is best, but you probably can’t do it.”

This issue strikes a chord that goes beyond this particular product. We look to our health care providers for scientifically based medical advice, not for a sales pitch. So many aspects of our lives are commercialized, from schools plastered with advertisements, to bridges, highways, and roads named for the corporations that make the highest offer. Still, at the very least, shouldn’t our relationships with our health care providers be spared from the encroachment of values that turn every human interaction into one of buying and selling? Shouldn’t we be able to trust that our doctors, nurses or midwives are offering us advice that is best for us, not best for the bottom lines of deep-pocketed corporations?

The struggle for a marketing-free maternity ward

Last fall, Rhode Island became the first state in which all maternity hospitals voluntarily eliminated industry-sponsored discharge bags.

Fortunately, we are starting to see change on this issue, thanks to many years of work by committed public-health advocates and activists. Recently, Public Citizen, the organization I work for, launched a campaign calling on health-care facilities to stop allowing the distribution of infant-formula samples to new moms. More than 15,000 people have signed Public Citizen’s petition calling on the three major manufacturers of infant formula—Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Nestlé—to stop using health-care facilities to market their products. Some states are leading the charge to get infant formula marketing out of hospitals.

Last fall, Rhode Island became the first state in which all maternity hospitals voluntarily eliminated industry-sponsored discharge bags. This summer, Massachusetts followed suit, with all 49 of its hospitals ending formula marketing on their premises. Massachusetts advocates overcame significant obstacles: In 2005, then-governor Mitt Romney forced the state’s department of health to overturn regulations that would have banned formula discharge bags from hospitals. Most recently, 28 of New York City’s hospitals voluntarily agreed to stop distributing infant-formula marketing materials to new moms.

The movement to ensure that health care facilities promote health, not corporate profits, is gaining speed. It’s time for hospitals across the country to say “no more” to corporate interests encroaching on patients’ access to quality health care.


Elizabeth Ben-Ishai adapted this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. She is a Senior Researcher and Campaign Coordinator at Public Citizen.

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By Rachael Rettner

 

Certain soaps used to wash babies shortly after birth may cause the baby to test positive for marijuana on some newborn screening tests, a new study suggests.

In the study, urine samples that contained minute amounts of any of five baby soaps — Johnson & Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash, J&J Bedtime Bath, CVS Night-Time Baby Bath, Aveeno Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and Aveeno Wash Shampoo — gave a positive result on a drug screening test for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana.

The researchers began their investigation after nurses at a North Carolina hospital reported an increase in the number of newborns testing positive for marijuana.

The amount of soap in the urine needed to produce a positive test result was tiny, less than 0.1 milliliters, the researchers said.

It’s important to note the soaps do not produce a “high,” or any other effects of marijuana, in infants. “It’s not marijuana a in any way, shape or form,”  said study researcher Catherine Hammett-Stabler, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

A screening test that indicates a baby has been exposed to marijuana can lead to the involvement of social services, and accusations of child abuse, the researchers said.

Given these consequences, it’s important for health-care providers and laboratory staffs to be aware that these soaps may lead to a positive test for marijuana, and to consider confirming positive tests with a more sensitive method, the researchers said.

“We really did this to help protect families from being falsely accused” of drug use, and to help ensure that intervention efforts are directed to babies who are truly at risk of drug exposure, said study researcher Dr. Carl Seashore, a pediatrician in the newborn nursery at UNC Chapel Hill.

Drug screening tests in hospitals that come back positive are not usually sent out to laboratories for additional conformation, because of the time and cost involved, said study researcher Catherine Hammett-Stabler, also of UNC Chapel Hill.

Newborn screening for exposure to marijuana is common, and is especially recommended for babies born to women considered to be “high risk” for drug use, such as those who do not come in for prenatal care visits, Hammett-Stabler said. At UNC Chapel Hill, 10 to 40 percent of babies born in the hospital receive the test each month, Seashore said.

 

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