All posts by Elizabeth Worley

Newsflash from The Cloud Forest – Nov Newsletter

TAKE MORE DRUGS!!! Big Pharma and the American Heart Association say not enough adults are taking statins!

The new guidelines, if observed, will soon have over 70% of the adult population popping statin drugs, daily, month after month, year after year, for the rest of their lives. At a HUGE cost to both their pocketbooks and their well-being and longevity. Because, you see, there is precious little evidence that statins do any of the things they are prescribed to do.

To read more about this study, suggested all-natural alternatives and how we can help, see the complete Cloud Forest Botanicals November 2014 newsletter.

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Big Pharma says: Take More Drugs! We say: NO!

Don’t Give More Patients Statins

By JOHN D. ABRAMSON and RITA F. REDBERG

Published: November 13, 2013 in the New York Times

ON Tuesday, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new cholesterol guidelines that essentially declared, in one fell swoop, that millions of healthy Americans should immediately start taking pills — namely statins — for undefined health "benefits."

This announcement is not a result of a sudden epidemic of heart disease, nor is it based on new data showing the benefits of lower cholesterol. Instead, it is a consequence of simply expanding the definition of who should take the drugs — a decision that will benefit the pharmaceutical industry more than anyone else.

The new guidelines, among other things, now recommend statins for people with a lower risk of heart disease (a 7.5 percent risk over the next 10 years, compared with the previous guidelines’ 10 to 20 percent risk), and for people with a risk of stroke. In addition, they eliminate the earlier criteria that a patient’s “bad cholesterol,” or LDL, be at or above a certain level. Although statins are no longer recommended for the small group of patients who were on the drugs only to lower their bad cholesterol, eliminating the LDL criteria will mean a vast increase in prescriptions over all. According to our calculations, it will increase the number of healthy people for whom statins are recommended by nearly 70 percent.

This may sound like good news for patients, and it would be — if statins actually offered meaningful protection from our No. 1 killer, heart disease; if they helped people live longer or better; and if they had minimal adverse side effects. However, none of these are the case.

Statins are effective for people with known heart disease. But for people who have less than a 20 percent risk of getting heart disease in the next 10 years, statins not only fail to reduce the risk of death, but also fail even to reduce the risk of serious illness — as shown in a recent BMJ article co-written by one of us. That article shows that, based on the same data the new guidelines rely on, 140 people in this risk group would need to be treated with statins in order to prevent a single heart attack or stroke, without any overall reduction in death or serious illness.

At the same time, 18 percent or more of this group would experience side effects, including muscle pain or weakness, decreased cognitive function, increased risk of diabetes (especially for women), cataracts or sexual dysfunction.

Perhaps more dangerous, statins provide false reassurances that may discourage patients from taking the steps that actually reduce cardiovascular disease. According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of cardiovascular disease is caused by smoking, lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, and other lifestyle factors. Statins give the illusion of protection to many people, who would be much better served, for example, by simply walking an extra 10 minutes per day.

Aside from these concerns, we have more reasons to be wary about the data behind this expansion of drug therapy.

When the last guidelines were issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2001, they nearly tripled the number of Americans for whom cholesterol-lowering drug therapy was recommended — from 13 million to 36 million. These guidelines were reportedly based strictly on results from clinical trials. But this was contradicted by the data described in the document itself.

For example, even though the guidelines recommended that women between the ages of 45 and 75 at increased risk of heart disease and with relatively high LDL levels take statins, the fine print in the 284-page document admitted, “Clinical trials of LDL lowering generally are lacking for this risk category.” The general lack of evidence for LDL level targets is why they have been dropped from the current guidelines. In fact, committee members noted that cholesterol lowered by drugs may not have the same effect as cholesterol lowered by nondrug methods, such as diet, exercise and being lucky enough to have good genes.

The process by which these latest guidelines were developed gives rise to further skepticism. The group that wrote the recommendations was not sufficiently free of conflicts of interest; several of the experts on the panel have recent or current financial ties to drug makers. In addition, both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, while nonprofit entities, are heavily supported by drug companies.

The American people deserve to have important medical guidelines developed by doctors and scientists on whom they can confidently rely to make judgments free from influence, conscious or unconscious, by the industries that stand to gain or lose.

We believe that the new guidelines are not adequately supported by objective data, and that statins should not be recommended for this vastly expanded class of healthy Americans. Instead of converting millions of people into statin customers, we should be focusing on the real factors that undeniably reduce the risk of heart disease: healthy diets, exercise and avoiding smoking. Patients should be skeptical about the guidelines, and have a meaningful dialogue with their doctors about statins, including what the evidence does and does not show, before deciding what is best for them.

John D. Abramson, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and the author of “Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine,” serves as an expert in litigation involving the pharmaceutical industry. Rita F. Redberg is a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and the editor of JAMA Internal Medicine.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on November 14, 2013, on page A33 of the New York edition with the headline: Don’t Give More Patients Statins.

 

SCORPION: A Healing Ally? Yes. But Ugly.

Scorpion: An ugly ally!

Scorpion: An ugly ally!

Neuroscientists working with brain cancer patients in Washington have recently been astounded to find that a chemical produced by Israeli "death-stalker" scorpion venom (Leiurus quinquestriatus) can cross the blood barrier, identify cancer cells and attach its molecules to the damaged cells. The scientists are using the scorpion venom molecules to carry a bright dye into the brain, thus illuminating the cancer cells and allowing for a much more targeted form of surgery. The venom was said to be a 100 more sensitive than an MRI in identifying cancer cells.

Not only did the scorpion venom point to tumors in the brain but also those in the colon and breast.

On another front, a team of researchers at Israel's Tel Aviv University's Department of Plant Sciences, led by Professor Michael Gurevitz, Ph.D., is investigating ways in which scorpion venom may replace morphine (and other narcotic drugs) for pain relief.

Scorpion venom has been used for medicinal purposes before.

Ancient Chinese physicians were perhaps the first to experiment with scorpion venom, using it for pain relief and other applications. Scorpion venom contains neurotoxins, which directly affect the human nervous system. One of the first signs of venomous poisoning (from scorpions or snakes) is numbness or loss of physical sensation, particularly in the region of the body that was bitten. 

During his interview regarding this amazing discovery of the scorpion venom's possibilities, neurosurgeon Dr. Jim Olsen, chief neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said that it was time for science to open itself to the possibility of other plants and animals having similarly powerful chemicals that could be useful for health purposes.

At Cloud Forest Botanicals, we could not agree more!

 

Reduced Shipping Rates! YAY! and Special Offer

Super Immune Booster -- stay strong and laugh at colds and flu! Already gotcha? Send it away fast with Super Immune Booster.

Super Immune Booster -- stay strong and laugh at colds and flu! Already gotcha? Send it away fast with Super Immune Booster.

Good news and a Special Offer

for online customers!

New rules have enabled CFB to cut our domestic AND international shipping costs almost IN HALF...and we are passing that savings on to our clients! This means that packages under 4 pounds will now only cost $8.25 instead of the previous $16.00. Woohoo! 

Mailing from the cloud forest in Boquete, Panama has its challenges. The rules change, often. For awhile, all boxed packages had to be completely covered in tape. Then, suddenly, NO tape was allowed, and packages had to be wrapped in plain brown paper (even if they weren't porn!) and GLUED shut. On another day, suddenly, all packages had to be brought unsealed for on site visual inspection. A week later you had to present a photocopy of your id.  It goes on and on. We only recently learned that mail from Boquete only gets sent out into the world on Mondays and Fridays!

Still the postal ladies are usually smiling, always helpful, and the mail does get delivered, if slowly.

If you are ordering from the US or Canada, please allow 3 full weeks for delivery from the time we respond to you order saying it has been shipped. You may be pleasantly surprised and it will arrive in less time. You will certainly be pleased now to know that your orders will cost 50% less to order.

Thank you.

Also, as our way of saying THANK YOU for your growing support of the Herbal Revolution (as our mentor, Franklin, Man of the Mountain, calls it):  order two or more tinctures during the month of October and we will include with your order a FREE half ounce of our popular and EFFECTIVE Super Immune Booster.

Just in  time to help you through the oncoming cold and flu season!

We look forward to hearing from you soon. And, as always, keep smiling and be well. 

 

 

 

 

Good News! New Reduced Shipping Rates! – Oct. Newsletter

Good news for all online customers!

New rules have enabled CFB to cut our international shipping costs almost IN HALF...and we are passing that savings on to our clients. This means that small packages under 4 pounds sent through the postal service to the US or Canada will now only cost $8.25 instead of the previous $16.00. Packages to Europe will cost $17.50.

To read more about shipping our products to you worldwide, about what a tincture is and how we make them and about our new book, Romancing the Bean: Chronicles of a Coffee Snob in Panama, check out our

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