Cautionary Medical Facts About Potassium Iodide
March 16, 2011
What is potassium iodide?
Potassium iodide is the potassium salt form of iodide, a naturally occurring substance.
Potassium iodide is an expectorant. It thins mucus secretions in the respiratory tract that may be caused by chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.
Potassium iodide is also used to protect the thyroid gland from radiation injury before and following administration of radioactive iodide (e.g., for diagnostic purposes) and in radiation emergencies (e.g., accidental exposure to radiation).
Potassium iodide may also be used for purposes other than those listed here.
What is the most important information I should know about potassium iodide?
Tell your doctor and dentist that you are taking this medication before having surgery or taking other medicines.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking potassium iodide?
Before taking potassium iodide, talk to your doctor if you have:
You may not be able to take potassium iodide, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.
- a history of previous allergic reaction to iodide, iodine, or other medicines;
- Addison's disease;
- a high level of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia);
- cystic fibrosis;
- thyroid problems;
- goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland); or
- kidney problems.
Potassium iodide is in the FDA pregnancy category D. This means that it is known to be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take potassium iodide without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Potassium iodide passes into breast milk and may affect a nursing baby. Do not take potassium iodide without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Toxins from BP's spilled oil are now found in people
January 20, 2011
(Source: The Institute for Southern Studies)
Today marks nine months since the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and sending millions of gallons of crude oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico.
Though the gushing well was capped last July, oil continues to wash ashore along the Gulf Coast. BP's oil is also washing up in people's bodies, raising concerns about long-term health effects.
This month the Louisiana Environmental Action Network released the results of tests performed on blood samples collected from Gulf residents. Whole blood samples were collected from 12 people between the ages of 10 and 66 in September, November and December and analyzed by a professional lab in Georgia, with the findings interpreted by environmental chemist and LEAN technical adviser Wilma Subra.
The individuals tested were two boys ages 10 and 11, four men and six women. They included cleanup workers on Orange Beach, Ala., crabbers from the Biloxi, Miss. area and people living on Perdido Key, Ala.
Four of the people tested -- including three adults and the 10-year-old -- showed unusually high levels of benzene, a particularly toxic component of crude oil. Subra compared the levels found in the test subjects to the levels found in subjects in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a research program conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Specifically, Subra compared the benzene levels in the Gulf residents to the NHANES 95th percentile value -- that is, the score below which 95 percent of the NHANES subjected tested. In other words, she compared the benzene levels found in Gulf residents to some of the highest levels found in the general population.
That comparison shows cause for concern, as the benzene levels in the blood of four Gulf residents ranged between 11.9 and 35.8 times higher than the NHANES 95th percentile value of 0.26 parts per billion. Benzene is known to cause a host of health problems including anemia, irregular menstrual periods, ovarian shrinkage and leukemia.
The Gulf residents with the highest levels of benzene in their blood included a family of crabbers -- a 46-year-old man and woman and a 10-year-old boy -- and a 51-year-old woman crabber, all from the Biloxi area.
Ethylbenzene was detected in all 12 blood samples from Gulf residents over the NHANES 95th percentile value of 0.11 ppb, with some individuals testing over three times that concentration. Ethylbenzene is known to cause dizziness, damage to the inner ear and hearing, and kidney damage, and it's also thought to cause cancer.
Eleven of the 12 individuals tested had relatively high concentrations of xylenes, with some of them testing up to 3.8 times higher than the NHANES 95th percentile value of 0.34 ppb. Xylene exposure can lead to headaches, dizziness, confusion, skin irritation, respiratory problems, memory difficulties and changes to the liver and kidneys. The blood test results also found high levels of other toxic petrochemicals including 2-methylpentane, 3-methylpentane and isooctane.
The two boys showed some of the highest blood concentrations of the chemicals, and the 10-year-old boy from the Biloxi area suffered severe respiratory problems as a result. His mother, the crabber, also had some of the highest concentrations of the chemicals in her blood.
Earlier this month, residents from across the Gulf called on members of the President's oil spill commission -- which recently released its final report on the disaster -- to address the region's growing health crisis. One of them was Cherri Foytlin, co-founder of the grassroots group Gulf Change, who recently learned her own blood has alarming levels of ethylbenzene.
"Today I'm talking to you about my life," she told the commission. "My ethylbenzene levels are 2.5 times the [NHANES] 95th percentile, and there's a very good chance now that I won't get to see my grandbabies."
Foytlin reported seeing children from the region with lesions all over their bodies. "We are very, very ill," she said. Meanwhile, doctors in the region are treating patients with high levels of toxic petrochemicals in their bodies -- even in people who do not live right on the coast and were not involved in the cleanup.
Commission member Frances Beinecke, chair of the Natural Resources Defense Council, pledged to take the health concerns back to the White House. But nine months since the disaster began unfolding, Gulf residents are still waiting for the government to address the ongoing environmental health crisis.
Read Full Article Here
Radiology-based breast exams actually cause cancer!
September 15, 2010
Over and over, women are pushed to have mammograms in order to detect breast cancer. But you rarely hear about the research that shows these tests, which expose breast tissue to radiation, may actually cause breast cancer. For example, as NaturalNews has covered previously, a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) last winter conclusively showed that low-dose radiation from annual mammography screening significantly increases breast cancer risk in women with a genetic or familial predisposition to the disease. But, thankfully, the newest technology such as nuclear-based breast imaging exams must be designed to be safer, right?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. In fact, according to a report just published in the journal Radiology, some nuclear-based breast imaging exams increase a woman's risk of developing radiation-induced cancer. And not just a little. If you thought the risk from mammograms was worrisome, wait until you hear how dangerous breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) or positron emission mammography (PEM) examinations are: one single BSGI or PEM carries a lifetime risk of inducing fatal cancer that is far greater than the cancer risk associated with having annual screening mammograms starting at age 40.
Specifically, a single BSGI exam is estimated to cause the lifetime risk of terminal cancer to soar 20 to 30 time over that of digital mammography in women aged 40 and up, while the lifetime fatal risk of cancer caused by only one PEM is 23 times greater than that of digital mammography. What's more, BSGI and PEM may increase the risk of not only breast cancer but also malignancies in other organs, too -- including the intestines, kidneys, bladder, gallbladder, uterus, ovaries and colon.
read the full article here
2 experts resign from WHO Swine Flue panel due to possible conflict of interest
June 22, 2010
The World Health Organization said Tuesday that two members of an expert panel reviewing the global body's response to the swine flu outbreak have resigned over concerns about perceived conflict of interest.
John MacKenzie and Tony Evans stepped down because their close association with the UN health organization during the outbreak could be seen as conflicting with the panel's ability to remain independent, WHO said.
"Both have been closely engaged in deliberations at WHO which our committee is charged to review," said panel chairman Harvey Fineberg. "They each concluded it would be better to avoid the position as reviewer of their own earlier actions."
Mackenzie, a professor of tropical infectious diseases at Curtin University in Australia, and Evans, medical chief of the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization, were on the emergency committee that advised WHO's Director-General Margaret Chan before she declared swine flu a pandemic.
WHO convened the panel in April to conduct a "credible and independent review" of how it and national authorities handled the outbreak. Concerns were raised at the time that several panel members were trusted WHO advisers and government employees who could end up whitewashing any failures.
1976 Flu Shot May Protect Against H1N1
Monday, April 26, 2010
People who got immunized against the 1976 "swine flu" epidemic that never happened may have benefited from the shots after all — they may have been protected from the 2009 H1N1 swine flu strain.
Tests of blood from medical staff and their spouses showed those who had been vaccinated in 1976 had evidence of extra immune protection against both the 2009 H1N1 swine flu and the seasonal strain of H1N1 that circulated the year before.
"We gave this vaccine to 45 million people and it was declared one of the greatest public health blunders of all time, and now we are finding out that it actually did some good," said Dr. Jonathan McCullers of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., who led the study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
The study, published on Friday, supports a theory that different strains of flu virus cycle in and out of circulation, and that getting a flu vaccine every year may protect people from possible flu strains in the future.
"Our research shows that while immunity among those vaccinated in 1976 has waned somewhat, they mounted a much stronger immune response against the current pandemic H1N1 strain than others who did not receive the 1976 vaccine," McCullers said.
Every year, several different strains of influenza circulate. The viruses are mutation-prone and change a little bit every year, forcing vaccine makers to reformulate the seasonal flu vaccine cocktail every year, too.
"You never know with flu — more immunity is always good," McCullers said in a telephone interview.
Several times a century, a new strain pops up and causes a pandemic. That happened in 1918 with H1N1, 1957 with H2N2, and 1968 with H3N2. Usually, the new pandemic strain settles down and joins the seasonal mix, which may eventually happen with the 2009 H1N1 strain.
In 1976, a new strain of H1N1 broke out at an Army base in New Jersey, and U.S. officials, worried about a pandemic, rushed out a vaccine and pushed hard to vaccinate the population.
The virus never spread off the base, and the vaccine was linked with a rare but devastating side effect called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Many Americans have been suspicious of vaccines ever since.
The 1976 virus was a distant cousin of the 1918 pandemic H1N1 and of the current swine flu pandemic strain. Before the 2009 swine flu reached Tennessee, McCullers and colleagues tested the blood of 116 St. Jude employees and their spouses who were 55 and older, including 46 people vaccinated in 1976.
It was not possible to follow the employees and find out if they were less likely to catch the 2009 H1N1 swine flu if they had been vaccinated in 1976, because all were vaccinated against the 2009 virus as soon as a vaccine was available. But tests of their blood indicated they were protected.
"It turns out the 1976 vaccine wasn't so bad after all," McCullers said.
read the full article here
WHO: Volcanic Dust Cloud Increases Risk of Death
Friday, April 16, 2010
(Source: Fox News)
The World Health Organization issued a warning to Europeans Friday to stay indoors as ash from Iceland's volcano starts settling. Small amounts of ash have already begun to fall in Iceland, Scotland and Norway.
In the midst of a volcanic eruption strong enough to halt air travel over certain parts of Europe, concern is growing about the potentially deadly health effects the ash could have on people living in the region.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, said he thinks it is common sense that an eruption of this magnitude could be hazardous to people’s health.
“We need to be very careful if this cloud persists — it’s foolish to think that all flights have been cancelled because of it, and we are not going to be exposed,” Alvarez said.
The enormous dust cloud, hovering 20,000 feet over much of northern Europe, may contain large amounts of silica, a natural component of rock that comes with these types of volcanic explosions.
“Inhaling silica into your respiratory system can lead to a deadly, chronic lung disease called silicosis that can damage the lungs and heart,” Alvarez said. “It also increases the potential of developing lung cancer.”
Silicosis is an incurable, irreversible lung disease that progresses even after exposure has ended.
read the full article here
Pregnancy following breast cancer treatments not only safe but may be beneficial
Friday, March 26, 2010
(Source: Fox News)
Women who have been treated for breast cancer can have babies without increasing their risk of dying from their cancer, according to research published by The Times Friday.
Studies being presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona suggest that pregnancy may even have a protective effect.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not advise against pregnancy, but recommends that women wait for up to five years after treatment, depending on the aggressiveness of the cancer, to allow assessment of long-term survival from the cancer.
A meta-analysis of 14 trials, carried out by researchers from Belgium and Italy, shows that pregnancy is safe for breast cancer survivors. It covered trials that had taken place between 1970 and 2009, involving 1417 pregnant women with a history of breast cancer and 18,059 women with a history of breast cancer who were not pregnant.
Hatem Azim, of the Institute Jules Bordet in Brussels, said that the findings did not support the notion that hormonal changes associated with pregnancy could prompt a cancer to recur or become more aggressive.
The analysis actually suggested that patients who became pregnant after a diagnosis of breast cancer had a reduction of 42 percent in the risk of death compared with those who did not get pregnant, Azim said.
He said that while it was well known that estrogen was linked to breast cancer, the apparent protective effect of pregnancy could be explained by higher levels of the hormone inhibiting cancer cells or the way the body bolstered its immune system.
"Our findings demonstrate that pregnancy is safe in women with a history of successfully treated breast cancer. There is a perception in the oncology community that women with history of breast cancer should not get pregnant for fear of pregnancy increasing the risk of recurrence by means of hormonal stimulation. This meta-analysis strongly argues against this notion."
Study links age of both parents to autism risk
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
(Source: The New York Times)
Older mothers are more likely than younger ones to have a child with autism, and older fathers significantly contribute to the risk of the disorder when their partners are under 30, researchers are reporting.
In a study published online Monday in the journal Autism Research, the researchers analyzed almost 5 million births in California during the 1990s, and 12,159 cases of autism diagnosed in those children — a sample large enough to examine how the risk of autism was affected when one parent was a specific age and the other was the same age or considerably older or younger.
Previous research found the risk of autism grew with the age of the father. The new study suggested when the father was over 40 and the mother under 30, the increased risk was pronounced — 59 percent greater than for younger men.
By contrast, for women 30 and older, the risk of autism rose 13 percent when the father was over 40.
Every five-year increase in a mother's age raised her risk of having a child with autism by 18 percent; a 40-year-old woman's risk was 50 percent greater than that of a woman who became a mother in her late 20s, and 77 percent higher than that of a woman under 25.
But while the number of California women giving birth in their 40s rose sharply in the 1990s, the researchers said that could not account for the sevenfold rise in autism during the decade.
"The rise in autism is occurring among children of parents of all ages," said Janie Shelton, a graduate student in epidemiology at the University of California, Davis, who was the paper's lead author. "We can't say that the shifting trend of maternal age is responsible for the increased rates of autism."
Study: PBDE levels affect women's fertility
by Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Women with high levels of common flame-retardant chemicals in their blood took much longer to get pregnant than women with low levels of the commonly used chemicals, according to a study by UC Berkeley researchers published Tuesday.
Researchers found women with high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, were 30 to 50 percent less likely to get pregnant each month than women with low levels.
The chemicals are found in many household products, such as the foam used in couches and other furniture, drapery material and insulated wires in many electronics.
The Environmental Protection Agency banned two of the three mixtures of PBDE developed for commercial use as flame retardants in 2005, and the third version is set to be phased out of production in 2013.
But the study's authors remained concerned.
"The good news is these chemicals have or are being phased out. The bad news is their legacy will continue because of their presence in a lot of items in our homes," said the study's lead author, Kim Harley, adjunct assistant professor of maternal and child health and associate director of the Center for Children's Environmental Health Research at Berkeley's School of Public Health.
Researchers measured PBDE levels in blood samples taken about 10 years ago from 223 pregnant women in the Salinas area who enrolled in a long-term study examining environmental exposures, particularly pesticides, and reproductive health.
The researchers found that the women who were actively trying to get pregnant were half as likely to conceive in any given month if they had high levels of PBDE in their blood. The researchers were able to develop a model that ruled out the effect of pesticide exposure.
Studies suggest that 97 percent of U.S. residents have detectable levels of PBDEs in their blood, levels than are some 20 times higher than people from Europe and Asia, Harley said.
Californians tend to have even higher than average levels, most likely because of the state's relatively stringent flammability laws. The women in the study, however, had lower levels than the general population because most had grown up in Mexico, where PBDE exposure is limited.
Harley said manufacturers are replacing the banned PBDEs with new chemicals to meet fire safety standards, but "we know less about the health effects of these new chemicals than we do about PBDEs."
"Every month, it seems, there are new studies linking this class of chemicals to problematic health concerns," said Judy Levin, pollution prevention coordinator for the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland. "A bigger question is why are chemicals allowed to be placed in commerce and into our bodies before their toxicity is fully understood?"
Opiate painkillers raise fracture risk
by Amy Norton
Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:15pm EST
(Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine, online January 5, 2010)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older adults who take powerful prescription painkillers known as opioids face an increased risk of bone fractures, especially at moderately high medication doses, a new study finds.
The new study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, confirms the risk of fracture associated with opioids, and also shows that moderately higher drug doses further the hazard.
Researchers found that among more than 2,300 older adults with chronic pain, the risk of suffering a bone fracture was higher when patients were using an opioid for a prolonged period than when they were opioid- free.
The annual rate of fractures among study participants who were not currently using opioids was just under 4 percent, while current users showed a fracture rate of 6 percent. And among patients currently taking opioid doses of at least 50 milligrams per day, the annual fracture rate was 10 percent.
"Some of these fractures were significant," said senior researcher Dr. Michael Von Korff, of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.
In an interview, he noted that 37 percent of fracture victims ended up in the hospital and nearly one-quarter entered a nursing home within one month of the accident.
About 8 million Americans are using opioids to control chronic pain, Von Korff said, yet the long-term effectiveness of the drugs is uncertain, and may vary widely from person to person. Some people find relief, while others find their pain actually worsens, Von Korff noted.
The bottom line, Von Korff said, is that "these drugs need to be taken cautiously and under close medical supervision."
MU researchers receive more than $1 million to continue to study the effects of fetal/infant exposure to BPA
Posted on: Tuesday, 19 January 2010, 12:28 EST
(Source: University of Missouri-Columbia)
FDA BPA Decision Is A Step Forward, But More Needs To Happen
Today, the FDA shifted its stance on bisphenol A (BPA) and said that exposure to the chemical is of "some concern" for infants and children. Previously, the agency's stance was the chemical posed no risk to humans; this stance was consistent with the chemical industry's stance. Today, FDA officials declared that more research was needed and suggested reasonable steps to reduce exposure to BPA. Frederick vom Saal, a University of Missouri scientist, says that this stance is a step forward but more steps need to be taken. Since 1997, research from vom Saal and other MU colleagues have shown adverse health effects of BPA at exposure levels below those currently considered safe by the FDA. Vom Saal has received more than $1 million of the $30 million that government agencies, including the NIH, have committed in the next 18 to 25 months to study the health risks of BPA exposure.
"The FDA formally acknowledging concern about BPA and working with NIH to incorporate research from outside of the chemical industry is a huge step forward," said vom Saal, who is a Curator's professor of biological sciences in MU's College of Arts and Science. "The FDA position presented today is consistent with the position that the National Toxicology Program made two years ago. Since then, considerable published research reaffirmed the health dangers of BPA. The FDA says they want to respond more quickly. Now, we will see if they are really able to respond to the huge amount of new science showing dangers not recognized two years ago. They should move quickly to restrict the use of by BPA in products used by adults as well as infants."
BPA is a one of the world's highest production-volume chemicals and has been used for 40 years to make hard plastic items, such as, drinking glasses, baby bottles, food-storage containers, the lining of food and beverage containers, and dental sealants. Previous studies have shown adverse health effects of BPA on the brain and reproductive system, as well as metabolic diseases in laboratory animals.
"The Japanese industry voluntarily removed BPA from can linings 10 years ago and thus, were able to reduce exposure to BPA by 50 percent," vom Saal said. "Last year, Congress asked companies in the United States to take similar actions; however, companies have made no move toward compliance. A huge problem facing the FDA is that it does not have the regulatory authority to even determine what products contain BPA, and Congress will have to pass new laws giving the FDA the authority it needs to regulate chemicals such as BPA."