Why Do AIDS Deaths Go Unnoticed Amongst EBOLA Panic?

Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus

It is interesting to watch the media and public (necessarily) panic over EBOLA. While one (1) person has died in the United States from EBOLA, due to the incompetence of a Texas hospital, 1.5 MILLION people died (world-wide) from AIDS in 2012(i) . Why is it that AIDS no longer dominates the national discussion? Is it because it is no longer the “death sentence” it was, at least here in the United States? Or is it the “MSM” category that AIDS falls into, that is, “men who have sex with men” which unfortunately continues to brand this disease as the “gay disease.”

When AIDS first came to public awareness in the early 1980’s, I was working in Massachusetts General Hospital’s blood chemistry analysis laboratory. Hospital administration decided to have any patients they “suspected” of having AIDS, labeled as such – both in their charts and their tubes of blood received a yellow warning tape wrapped around the top. It took those geniuses at the top four months to figure out the flaw in this system… people like me handing these test tubes, opening them up to conduct chemical analysis, would be more careful with the yellow tubes than those not marked with the warning. If a doctor let an AIDS patient slip by (perhaps he didn’t appear gay enough?) and his tube of blood had no yellow maker, well I might be in the lab tossing it up in mid-air between tests. So, after six months of insanity, MGH, one of the top hospitals in the world, changed the protocol and from then on, every tube of blood was to be handled as if it had AIDS in it.

There is a point to all of this. Back then, people really were scared and they had reason to be. This virus was brand new, nothing about it was known with certainty in the beginning. Nobody knew for sure exactly how it was transmitted, although it appeared not to be airborne. I was very worried, working in the chem lab, and this worry increased ten-fold when I accidentally stuck myself with a needle that didn’t even have blood anywhere near it. I had to be tested for AIDS every other week for three months, and every other month for another six before I was ruled safe. That was a frightening experience. With Ebola, which has been around since first appearing in 1976, we KNOW how to deal with it. Yet the media insists on creating as much fear and panic as possible. I have friends that are preparing Ebola survival kits. Are you kidding me? My reaction to their insanity is, “Are you insane?” The number one response is, “Hey, it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Really? Why not walk around in a bubble to be extra safe then?

Now New York and New Jersey has begun to enforce a mandatory quarantine for anyone who has had any contact with someone else who has Ebola. This is regardless of whether they have any symptoms… for anything. Fox News responded, not questioning the quarantine, but rather whether the quarantine will be long enough. “How do we really know how long a period is safe?” Wow! Ebola first presented itself in 1976(ii) ! WE KNOW.

People do need to get a grip, as President Obama suggests. Ebola is under control and anyone who suggests otherwise is either ignorant, afraid, or both. What we need to do is focus on the source of Ebola, help those in Africa, and continue to push for AIDS treatment and research. AIDS is killing MILLIONS of people every year. If a few straight Americans died from AIDS, everyone would be up in arms, but sadly it is transmitted through drug use and homosexually active men – in a far majority of cases… so most in the U.S. will not ever care. People living with HIV continues to spiral out of control; in 1990, 7 million people were infected, by 2012, this number has jumped to 34 million(iii).

(i) http://1.usa.gov/1zwXTbf

(ii) http://bit.ly/10rVwqS

(iii) http://bit.ly/1rH91t0

WHO Says Millions of Candidate Ebola Vaccine Doses Ready for 2015

Millions of doses of a candidate Ebola vaccine are expected to be available next year, with efficacy trials beginning in certain West African countries this December, the World Health Organization said this morning. There are currently two candidate vaccines for Ebola that are ready to begin human trials, and five others are expected to get started during the first several months of next year. The vaccines must be determined to be safe and effective before a mass vaccination begins, however. The WHO says that there are no plans to begin a mass vaccination program until at least June 2015, and then only if the growth of the epidemic justifies it.

Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus

The WHO cautioned that even a working vaccine would not be a “magic bullet” for stopping the spread of Ebola, according to the BBC. Rather, the WHO says that the vaccine could be a “very important tool” should the current response not be enough. “And even if the epidemic would be already receding by the time we have vaccine available, the modeling seems to say vaccine may still have an impact on controlling the epidemic,” WHO assistant director-general Marie-Paule Kieny says, according to the BBC. The WHO says that by the end of the first half of 2015, a few hundred thousand doses of candidate vaccine will be available.

New York City Confirms First Case of Ebola

New York City has its first confirmed case of Ebola in a doctor who had recently been traveling in West Africa to treat patients suffering from the deadly disease. Craig Spencer, 33, was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan earlier today after experiencing a 103 degree fever and other symptoms, reports The New York Times. An initial test has since confirmed that Spencer contracted the disease, which has killed 4,877 people and infected nearly 10,000 across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Spencer’s now in isolation, though was reportedly bowling and taking Uber for transportation on Wednesday night, raising questions about whether others may have been in close contact.

In a statement, Bellevue Hospital said it “designated for the isolation, identification and treatment of potential Ebola patients by the City and State,” and that New York City was taking “all necessary precautions” to keep others from getting the disease.

This is not the first person with Ebola in the US, though it’s the first for New York, which has more than 8.4 million residents. Thomas Duncan, 42, was the first patient to develop symptoms of the virus in the US after traveling in Liberia, and died from it earlier this month. Two Texas healthcare workers then contracted the virus from Duncan, though both recovered from the virus. Since then, the US has funneled travelers coming from Ebola-stricken countries to just five US airports where they’ve undergone enhanced screening. The country’s also appointed an “Ebola Czar” to coordinate the government’s efforts to combat the virus.

Physiological Changes To The Brain Caused By Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is arguably the most difficult disease a human being and his or her loved ones can go through. It is difficult to describe exactly what it is, because nobody knows… and nobody ever will know the details of this sometimes outright cruel disease. Alzheimer’s disease attacks the brain physiologically and literally wipes its victim’s memory, therefore details are absent. This occurs over several stages, over varying lengths – depending on the individual, typically from a few months through several years and then into decades should the person otherwise be healthy. Alzheimer’s may begin very slowly, starting out innocently with inconsequential things like forgetting where the car keys are… something that has happened to you more times than you care to remember, even as a teenager!

Seven years pass and your general practitioner and wife are very concerned because you are having a very hard time counting the change in your pocket. Cut to: fifteen years later; and you are backed up into the corner of some room, squatting, there are three strangers approaching (one has a needle, you can tell), they keep saying it is okay Mr. Canigliaro, eventually they grab you, take some blood, and leave. This happens enough times during the day and night that you seem to remember that it keeps happening… so it must be fairly frequent? You simply cannot be sure.
There are research hospitals, institutions, colleges, and other facilities searching for a way to cure Alzheimer’s disease… or at least minimize its impact on victims and their loved ones. At the top of the list: The Mayo Clinic located in Rochester, Minnesota, and named the top hospital in the nation for the year 2014 – 2015.

Alzheimer’s Disease Research:

The Mayo Clinic has a separate research facilities (located in both Minnesota and Florida) dedicated to the research and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other forms of dementia. Be careful to understand the terminology when discussing this disease and others in this category. Dementia, for example, is not a specific disease… it is a broad term that describes an inclusive range of symptoms describing a loss of memory and/or thinking skills that reduce a person’s ability to care for themselves or perform regular daily activities. Of all dementia cases, Alzheimer’s cases make up approximately 60% to 80%.

Why does the Brain Deteriorate as Alzheimer’s disease First Sets In?

Dementia of any kind involves the brain (this always varies by individual – that is in which of the several areas of the brain) and damage to the nerve cells of the brain. There are two types of dementia: progressive dementia – which starts out slowly but always gets worse over time, and cannot be treated; and dementia – which can be treated and some of which may be reversed.
Alzheimer’s disease is very much an individual illness, affecting people in vastly different ways; therefore, it has been very difficult to determine an exact cause in most cases. Extensive research has been done over decades because Alzheimer’s has always been considered such a callous, heartless disease for everyone associated with it – the patient, loved ones, and health care providers.
Researchers have found that people with Alzheimer’s disease do have plaques and tangles in their brains. Plaques are defined as “clumps of protein called beta-amyloid”, and tangles are “fibrous tangles made up of tau protein.”
Alzheimer’s disease is still very mysterious despite the progress research has allowed. What causes the initial preclinical stage to begin in the brain is unknown, but scientists believe that damage to the brain begins at least ten years before any Alzheimer’s symptoms begin to appear . This means that horrific physical changes are taking place inside one’s brain for perhaps a decade or more, unbeknownst to the person who has become a walking dementia time-bomb. Neurons are slowly losing their ability to function normally because abnormal deposits of proteins are forming tau tangles (also known as neurofibrillary tangles ) and amyloid plaques all through the brain. These tangles (formerly called tangled bundles of fibers ) and plaques interfere with and otherwise cause to malfunction the nerve cells – once they form… they stay in place and interfere with whatever area of the brain they occupy. Once those neurons lose their ability to communicate with each other, they cannot function and they will simply die.
When this process occurs in the part of the brain called the hippocampus, an area essential to forming memories, the neurons surrounding it similarly die and the hippocampus begins to shrink. Researchers now know that by the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, brain tissue injured by tau tangles and amyloid plaques shrank considerably.
Alzheimer’s is a complex disease of the brain because it involves the brain, specifically memory. Understanding something this complex takes time and because scientists have put in a lot of time, researching this type of dementia, we are fortunate to know as much as we do. The complexity of it all means that the underlying cause likely involves a mixture of genetic, environmental, and even lifestyle factors – each of which is more or less important depending on each individual person.
The latest research on lifestyle choices and the impact, if any, on Alzheimer’s disease is promising, however. There is a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (and cognitive decline as well) when people focus on taking care of themselves physically and mentally – through activities such as eating well, exercising, social activities, and playing chess. The Mayo Clinic advises that maintaining healthy lifestyle choices promote good overall health, and this must contribute to better cognitive functioning. This choice (healthy lifestyle) is the only way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, to date.








Keywords: Early Alzheimer’s disease, individual diagnosis, mild cognitive impairment, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cognitive reserve

Crohn’s Disease and Excessive Bone Loss

Under both physiological and pathological conditions, bone volume is determined by the rate of bone formation by osteoblasts and bone resorption by osteoclasts. Excessive bone loss is a common complication of human IBD whose mechanisms are not yet completely understood. Despite the role of activated CD4(+) T cells in inflammatory bone loss, the nature of the T cell subsets involved in this process in vivo remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to identify the CD4(+) T cell subsets involved in the process of osteoclastogenesis in vivo, as well as their mechanism of action. CD4(+) T cells were studied in IL10-/- mice and Rag1-/- mice adoptively transferred with naive CD4(+)CD45RB(high) T cells, representing two well-characterised animal models of IBD and in patients with Crohn’s disease. They were phenotypically and functionally characterised by flow cytometric and gene expression analysis, as well as in in vitro cocultures with osteoclast precursors.

The authors, (Thomas Ciucci, Lidia Ibáñez, Agathe Boucoiran, Eléonore Birgy-Barelli, Jérôme Pène, Grazia Abou-Ezzi, Nadia Arab, Matthieu Rouleau, Xavier Hébuterne, Hans Yssel, Claudine Blin-Wakkach, Abdelilah Wakkach) as published in, Gut 2014 October 8, showed that bone marrow Th17 TNFα cells induce osteoclast differentiation, thereby linking bone destruction to IBD and Crohn’s disease.

Dietary Supplements: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Dietary Supplements: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
By John Michael Ricci, March 28th, 2014

In 2009, Americans spent $27 billion on dietary supplements. Of this $27 billion, U.S. dietary supplement sales by product category showed 34% were spent on vitamins, 19% on herbs and botanicals, 11% for sports nutrition, 10% on meal replacements, 8% on minerals, and 18% on specialty or other supplements.1 More than 30% of the adult population take supplements, some to lose weight, some to stay healthy, and some to gain an edge in sports. Of course, some of these adults are doing this for any combination of these reasons.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil

While many of these supplements are perfectly safe, consumers must be aware that some – although manufactured and sold legally, have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services which is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, dietary supplements, prescription medication, bottled water, and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1942 mandates that the FDA regulate dietary supplements as foods, not drugs. When contemplated by Congress, special interest groups and lobbyists convinced enough members of Congress to classify dietary supplements as foods in order to evade the regulation and oversight that the Act would provide. Although calling zinc, copper, potassium, or vitamin E for that matter, a food is absurd, the multi-billion dollar industry got what they wanted and the American consumer suffers for it. Because dietary supplements are not subject to safety and efficacy testing, there are no approval requirements. As a result, the FDA can only take action against dietary supplement manufacturers after they are proven unsafe. An example of this was posted by the FDA in June of 2010, when a company supplied a product called “Magic Power Coffee”, an instant coffee being sold online as a dietary supplement for sexual enhancement. After conducting lab experiments, the FDA determined that this coffee contained a chemical similar to the active ingredient in Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction, which can cause dangerously low blood pressure. The report told consumers to “stop using this product immediately.”3 This product would never have made it to the market if the 1994 Act had classified dietary supplements as drugs.

Without the regulatory authority the FDA needs, it lacks the ability to inspect manufacturing plants, which has resulted in numerous reports of supplements contaminated with heavy metal, pesticides, and other dangerous substances. China is a major supplier of raw supplement ingredients and has been caught many times exporting contaminated products. The FDA will eventually be given the authority to regulate this industry properly, as more dietary supplements are shown to be unsafe, ineffective or both. Until then, consumers must be cautious when purchasing these products.

In 2010, Consumer Reports joined the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (an independent research group) and published an article in their September, 2010 issue entitled “Dangerous Supplements – What You Don’t Know About These 12 Ingredients Could Hurt You”4 which identified a dozen ingredients linked to “serious adverse events” following clinical research. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database now has more than 54,000 dietary supplement products listed and reports that only one-third of them are safe and effective.
Consumers can take steps to make sure the supplements they take are both safe and effective. Suggestions that can prevent unnecessary illness include:

1) Consult your physician: Patients should inform their doctors of any dietary supplements they are taking. Many supplements are perfectly safe, but may interact with prescription medications. Women who are pregnant or nursing should always let their pediatrician know exactly what they are taking.

2) Check for a “USP Verified” mark: U.S. Pharmacopeia is a trusted, non-profit organization that verifies quality, purity, and potency of both raw ingredients and finished products. It indicates that the dietary supplement manufacturer has voluntarily asked to have their products tested. USP maintains a list of verified products on its website at http://www.uspverified.org.

3) Avoid products that claim “mega doses”: It is possible to overdose on vitamins and minerals, even if they are beneficial in recommended daily amounts. More is not always better, and this is especially true for infants and children. The FDA has warned that overdosing infants with vitamin D can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, abdominal pain, confusion, fatigue and kidney damage – even though proper amounts of vitamin D play a key role in developing strong bones. The human body can only absorb a certain amount of supplements over a given time period, and excesses can damage your liver, kidneys, and other organs.

4) Do your own research: Check online to see if a particular product has been banned or if warnings have been published. Some reliable sources include: The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplement at http://www.ods.od.nih.gov and the FDA at http://www.fda.gov.

5) Find out where the dietary supplement is made: Why buy supplements from China? Buy American made dietary supplements or purchase from companies you trust, for example those that voluntarily apply for and receive “USP Verified.”
Until the 1994 Act is repealed and the FDA is given the authority to adequately monitor manufacturers of dietary supplements, taking them should be done with caution. Taking the right amount of vitamins and minerals is fundamental to proper nutrition. It is always better to get nutrients through healthy foods, but assuring adequate amounts through dietary supplements, including multi-vitamins and minerals is optimal. Take measures to make sure anything you put in your body is safe and effective.


1 Nutrition Business Journal at http://www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com/supplements/market-research/supplement-business-report-nutrition-journal/
2 The Dietary Supplemental Health and Education Act of 1994 at http://www.ods.od.nih.gov/About/DSHEA_Wording.aspx
3 FDA at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm216399.htm
4 Consumer Reports. Dangerous Supplements – What You Don’t Know About These 12 Ingredients Could Hurt You, September 2010, p. 16

Tags: dietary, FDA, health, NIH, nutrients, nutrition, supplements, USP, vitamins