Thursday, December 04, 2008

From around the Blogosphere and such


It's been too long since I've posted, and I still don't have the time or focus to put together anything original or intelligent. Nevertheless, what follows are some stories or thoughts which have caught my eye recently. Let me know what you think.

On the Peace and Nonviolence Front...

Catholic Lt Col at Gitmo chooses the Cross over the Flag

Darrel Vandeveld is a devout Catholic. Not so long ago he was also a military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay. However, what he saw and experienced there struck him as immoral and un-American. His well-formed Catholic conscience was not comfortable. He emailed Fr. John Dear, a peace activist, and after much mental anguish chose to quit the US military. Watch the BBC's interview here and read more here

US Torture policies in Iraq have lead to the Deaths of countless Americans

Matthew Alexander was an interrogator for a special ops task force in Iraq in 2006. Other people in his position chose to torture alleged and/or known terrorists to attempt to get what they wanted. Alexander refused, and in an article titled "I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq" for the Washington Post he writes:

Torture and abuse are against my moral fabric. The cliche still bears repeating: Such outrages are inconsistent with American principles. And then there's the pragmatic side: Torture and abuse cost American lives.

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans.

Read the entire article here.

The FDA: What were they thinking?

This is Silly: Prescription Handguns!??

According to their website, the mission of the FDA is as follows:

The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.

If that's the case, why are they approving a miniaturized thumb-triggered handgun as something which can be prescribed? What!? Oh! In the near future it may be covered by Medicare. Ladies and Gentleman, your tax dollars hard at work!

More here.

This is dangerous and reprehensible: Gardasil - Bad for women (a shocker I know)

Remember how Gardasil was supposed to help prevent much of cervical cancer? Forgetting for a moment that you shouldn't have to be vaccinated for a disease caused by STDs, because... you know... your free will, chastity, abstinence, the moral life, etc. Forget about all that. Generally speaking a drug might be considered a good thing if it can prevent a large portion of the population from getting a deadly form of cancer. Well, as it turns out, Gardasil may actually make things worse.

Natural News reporter Mike Adams has uncovered some interesting facts about this vaccine. The FDA has been aware since 2003 that Human Papillloma Virus [1] does not cause cervical cancer. The Gardasil vaccine is unable to eradicate HPV virus from women who have been exposed to HPV (nearly all sexually active women). This makes vaccinating all young women in Texas against HPV virus a very questionable decision.

To make matters even worse it has now been learned that vaccinating women with Gardasil may actually increase the risk that those women harboring a benign cervical HPV viral infection have a 44.6 percent increased risk of having their benign HPV infection converted into a precancerous state by the HPV vaccine administration. Thus women vaccinated with Gardasil not only receive no benefit those who were sexually active before the vaccine administration have become at increased risk for developing cervical cancer.

Read the entire article here.
Hat tip to feminine-genius.

Anyone have any thoughts on any of this? Let me know.


Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago I attended a peacemakers group at a local church in pasadena, and was updated from a conference put on by evangelicals for human rights. i did a post on it a week or two ago on my blogspot, i encourage you to go and see as it has links to the website with the conference's findings, and speakers. there is also an action step where you can sign an interfaith petition against torture to be given to the administration. it's very telling and moving.


Henry Karlson said...

I think everyone understands why you are so busy -- though, when you have the time, and get there, I am clearly interested in seeing how your thesis work goes (even if I don't always post a response, I , and I am sure others, am reading it).

JB said...


Thanks for the heads up. I'll try to check it out soon.


Thanks for the kind words and encouragement and for the help you've already given me with sources and the like.

I need to do something on that soon.

Jacob G said...

Most cervical cancers ARE caused by the HPV virus. A new release by the FDA does not undo many years of scientific research.
My personal view is that in the future most cancers will be linked to viruses.
Liver cancer is due to the hepatitis virus, for example.

Many people are opposed to vaccinating young girls for HPV, but this is the group that vaccination is most effective because they have not yet been exposed to the virus. The virus does not vaccinate for all forms of HPV, but for the forms most likely to cause cancer. In addition, while a person can choose to wait until marriage to have sex, there is no guarantee that their marriage partner will have done the same. There is also no guarantee that they will not be raped (25% of all women are in the US). The vaccine is a way to protect people from a future cancer due to HPV, contraction of which, was not their intention or fault (due to rape or practices of their partner).

J Pathol. 1999 Sep;189(1):1-3.
Human papillomavirus is a necessary cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide.

Walboomers JM, Jacobs MV, Manos MM, Bosch FX, Kummer JA, Shah KV, Snijders PJ, Peto J, Meijer CJ, Muñoz N.
Department of Pathology, University Hospital Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
A recent report that 93 per cent of invasive cervical cancers worldwide contain human papillomavirus (HPV) may be an underestimate, due to sample inadequacy or integration events affecting the HPV L1 gene, which is the target of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based test which was used. The formerly HPV-negative cases from this study have therefore been reanalyzed for HPV serum antibodies and HPV DNA. Serology for HPV 16 VLPs, E6, and E7 antibodies was performed on 49 of the 66 cases which were HPV-negative and a sample of 48 of the 866 cases which were HPV-positive in the original study. Moreover, 55 of the 66 formerly HPV-negative biopsies were also reanalyzed by a sandwich procedure in which the outer sections in a series of sections are used for histological review, while the inner sections are assayed by three different HPV PCR assays targeting different open reading frames (ORFs). No significant difference was found in serology for HPV 16 proteins between the cases that were originally HPV PCR-negative and -positive. Type-specific E7 PCR for 14 high-risk HPV types detected HPV DNA in 38 (69 per cent) of the 55 originally HPV-negative and amplifiable specimens. The HPV types detected were 16, 18, 31, 33, 39, 45, 52, and 58. Two (4 per cent) additional cases were only HPV DNA-positive by E1 and/or L1 consensus PCR. Histological analysis of the 55 specimens revealed that 21 were qualitatively inadequate. Only two of the 34 adequate samples were HPV-negative on all PCR tests, as against 13 of the 21 that were inadequate ( p< 0.001). Combining the data from this and the previous study and excluding inadequate specimens, the worldwide HPV prevalence in cervical carcinomas is 99.7 per cent. The presence of HPV in virtually all cervical cancers implies the highest worldwide attributable fraction so far reported for a specific cause of any major human cancer. The extreme rarity of HPV-negative cancers reinforces the rationale for HPV testing in addition to, or even instead of, cervical cytology in routine cervical screening. Copyright 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

V said...

Also, the last comment about HPV was from me as well, not Jacob G. I wish I could repost it, but I dont have it word for word.

I read the article by Dr. Howenstine, and looked at his reference to the FDA article, March 2003. The FDA article does not actually match his quote. The FDA article is talking about a HPV DNA test, and the article states, "the HPV DNA test does not test for cancer, but for the HPV virus that can cause cell changes in the cervix."
The article makes no reference to the FDA disbelieving, or disproving HPV is the cause of cervical cancer.

I'm actually scrolling down on the article link and am seeing many things that are not supported by the American Public Health Association and most medical professionals.

JB said...

Thanks V,

I, of course, appreciate your reading and sharing your knowledge and expertise with us. I probably should have researched it more thoroughly before I reposted it, but I was short on time, and AB stumbled across it as I was posting, so I decided to throw it in.

In fact, a comment on the blog I linked from supports some of what you said.

My original concern with Gardasil was not based on this research. My concerns were (and are) as follows:
1 - I am, generally speaking, uneasy with advertisements for medicines (esp. with big companies like Merck). I am of the opinion that it is the job of doctors to prescribe medicines, not the job of pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to people as consumers. This leads to abuses.
2 - I am concerned about the manner in which informed consent is often side stepped. Gardasil has been billed as a cancer vaccine. It is an HPV vaccine, an STD vaccine. From the research I have seen HPV does not cause cancer. Rather it damages the cervical cells, which may lead to cancer. Apparently, a small percentage of women with HPV develop cancer. Therefore, those interested in the vaccine should be given the informed opportunity to way the risks: What are the chances that I (or my daughter) may be HPV? (for some that may be high, for some that may be miniscule) What are the chances that that HPV will lead to cervical cancer? (very low) IF I do get HPV and cervical cancer what are the consequences (pretty severe)
However the idea (right) of informed consent and the ability to way these risks personally has been ignored. Texas' Governor made Gardasil mandatory(!) for all girls entering 6th grade, and Gardasil was made mandatory for all immigrants trying to attain legal citizenship.

This is simply not acceptable. It is one thing to make mandatory a vaccine which prevents a highly contagious and deadly disease and which is contracted through air or touch, but this is something you can choose to avoid.

People may counter, "well even if I (or my daughter) remains HPV free through abstinence (or luck) there is no guarantee that her future husband will." True, but this something that should be discussed with said future husband. If there is a chance he may contracted HPV he should be tested. If he tests positive THEN she can get the vaccine. That makes sense.

What do you think?

V said...

Pharmaceutical companies and the AMA are in bed together and run health care in this country. They long ago pushed public health out of the picture, and treat individuals with drugs. When people go to the doctor, they usually expect to get a prescription.

I personally no longer go to the doctor unless I know what is wrong with me, and what medicine I need prescribed.

There aren't any FDA approved HPV tests for men.
Men are never tested for it except for research purposes.
All it takes is one exposure of the virus to infect someone. It need not even be intercourse. Genital to genital contact can transmit the virus.
While we cannot legislate morality, and we always hope that people will make the best choices, there is no guarantee. Rape happens (25% of all women), oral sex, almost sex happens. While it is hard to imagine, it may happen to your daughter.
HPV can be passed to a child during vaginal birth, infecting the child in the throat or eyes or any other mucous membrane. (another reason to prevent getting HPV)

Not all HPVs cause cancer, HPV is a lump term for any papillomaviruse. There are about 5 that cause Cancers (Cervical, anus, vulva, vagina, penis, and oralpharangyl. Only high-risk types are linked to cancer. High-risk HPVs include types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, 68, and 73. Types 16 and 18 cause about 70% of all cervical cancers.

The vaccine covers types 16 and 18, giving this vaccine will reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by 70%, if all women who are likely to get the virus are vaccinated.
Since most people will acquire the virus, most people should get the vaccine.
Efficacy of the vaccine is most effective before exposure to the virus. For most people this time period is at a young age.

Informed consent is very important I don't know what to say (right now) about mandatory vaccination of 6th graders. I guess I think its fine. The issue appears to be that it did not pass through a proper legislative process.
I don't really know what to say about mandatory vaccination for immigrants trying to obtain legal status. For me, it depends on their age and exposure status. If they are grown women with children and families, its probably too late for them. If they are a young woman before her "sexual debut" then it seems like a good idea.

When it comes down to it for me, HPV is a health issue, not an issue of morality.
The debate for me is health and statistics based.
I happen to be at a point of my life where it is unnecessary to get and HPV vaccination. I've either been exposed already, or I have 0 risk due to my sexual practices.
If I was a teenager, I would get it.