Where Did It All Go? A Windfall of Money from Tobacco Companies – but None for Prevention.

Since 1998, the US Justice Department, and 46 States Attorney General have been collecting the sum of $10 billion per year from the tobacco companies.  One would think that by being forced to give a large portion of your profits to the US government, the days of Big Tobacco should have ended years ago.

The issue then comes to this question – where is all of this money going?  Tobacco prevention programs state to state?  Well – no.  According to the web site Public Health Law Center, the states have been collecting record amounts of money from tobacco companies – but over the past 20 years, only one state – North Dakota, even funds a tobacco prevention program at have the level that the CDC recommends. 

The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) came about due to the law suits from several different states against manufacturers such as Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Brown and Williamson, and Lorillard to recover a portion of the healthcare costs that the states and the Federal Government were paying for tobacco-related illnesses – usually covered by Medicare and state Medicaid mechanisms.  So – in 1998, these states entered into the largest litigation settlement in US history.

In lieu of making payments to individual families and class action groups, the MSA manufacturers agreed to make annual payments “in perpetuity” to the Settling States to compensate them for taxpayer money spent on healthcare costs related to tobacco illnesses.  The MSA sets the standards and imposes restriction on the sale and marketing of tobacco programs and company conduct. 

The companies have been paying a base amount per years with increasing costs.  Starting in 2000, it was $4.5 billion, then $6.5 billion a few years later, then $8.4 billion up to 2017, and this year - $9 billion.  The calculations are complicated, as the money is spread around to different types of payments, adjusted for inflation, etc.  The MSA also regulates the use of marketing (billboards, cartoon characters, free samples, branded merchandise, etc.).  Also – it creates a prevention foundation (called the American Legacy Foundation) that focuses efforts on preventing teen smoking and encouraging smokers to quit.   All enforced by States Attorney General. 

Again – it begs the question – where is all of this money going?  Because it’s certainly not going for youth programs.  In the executive summary of the Broken Promises Report (5), they state that in the 2015 fiscal year, states collected $25.6 billion in revenues from tobacco settlement and taxes.  They only spent 1.9% - $490.4 million – on programs to prevent kids from smoking and to help smokers quit. 

The state’s failure to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs is undermining the nation’s efforts to reduce tobacco use – the number one cause of preventable death in the US.  It is also indefensible given the conclusive evidence that such program work to reduce smoking and save lives, but also to reduce tobacco-related health care costs.  These costs total about $170 billion per year according to a report from the CDC. 

However – according to this Broken Promises report – the State of Florida saw a drop in teen smoking to a low of 7.5% in 2014 – one of the lowest state levels ever recorded.  Florida is well funded, but if they have the same percentages as national that are allocated to prevention, then what is the cause of this drop? 

I believe it has a lot to do with vaping.  E cigarettes came into vogue around 2005, and since then, the concept of vaping and using devices such as JUUL have transplanted cigarette smoking as “the new cool” for those who are into the smoking scene.  Companies such as JUUL state that they are committed to reducing cigarette smoking, and their take is that 98% of all tobacco related heart and cancer incidences are related to the burning of tobacco products – not the nicotine inherent to the cigarette itself.  They point to coffee, which has caffeine in it (a sister herb to nicotine) and that used as a stand-alone product, nicotine does not produce the carcinogenic effects and the use of cigarettes do.   Vaping companies state that they want to be part of the solution

In a personal communication with Dr. Brad Rodu, professor at University of Louisville, who has been involved with tobacco control research since the early 1990s, he states that in recent reports, the use of e-cigarettes was the second-most used method for quitting cigarettes, behind help from family and friends.  They are used now by Americans more often than NRT products or prescription drugs, which many think have far more problematic side effects than the nicotine associated with vaping.

Studies show that California, which has the nation’s longest-running tobacco prevention and cessation program, has saved tens of thousands of lives by reducing smoking-caused birth complications, heart disease, strokes and lung cancer. Lung cancer rates in California decreased by 33 percent from 1988 to 2011, while rates in the rest of the U.S. decreased only 11 percent from 1988 to 2009. Researchers have associated the declines in lung cancer rates with the efforts of California’s program.   A February 2013 study in the scientific journal PLOS ONE found that, from 1989 to 2008, California’s tobacco control program reduced health care costs by $134 billion, far more than the $2.4 billion spent on the program.

The tobacco industry is ultimately and directly responsible for cigarette marketing and contends its efforts are not directed towards attracting new smokers.  According to Phillip Morris, Inc., ‘Our marketing programs are designed to enhance brand awareness, recognition and loyalty among adult smokers, while honoring the Company's commitment to responsible marketing.’[i]  The tobacco industry uses brand loyalty as the main justification for continuing marketing efforts.  Further, other elements of society that indirectly market tobacco are not regulated.  As an example, the number of shows glamorizing smoking has decreased during the last decade.  However, television shows still show characters smoking and one show, the long-time running, animated and very popular Simpson’s claims to be family programming.  Yet every main character on the program has been documented with a cigarette.  Both Bart and Lisa, the adolescent main characters have smoked, and even Maggie, the infant sister of Bart and Lisa has been seen sucking on a cigarette.[ii]   

 

Of greater concern is the proliferation of cable TV shows over the past decade.  HBO, Showtime, and now Netflix produce and show their own brand of comedies, dramas, and even musicals.  Of interest is that – looking at Netflix programming, the resurgence of smoking is underway.  One would expect that period shows – such as Peaky Blinders (turn of the century English gang) would have smoking (a lot of smoking), and The Crown would show people in the 1950s and 60s smoke – it was fashionable, and Glow – which depicts early 1980’s Los Angeles back alley entertainment.  Just like the hit show Mad Men – in which every major character smoked at some level.  That was the time, and these shows represented it.  Current cable shows such as Breaking Bad, and spinoff  Better Call Saul (which represent the seedy side of life) show a lot of smoking, as do shows such as Shameless (about a south side Chicago family whose dysfunction knows no bounds), Stranger Things (both major characters smoke), and House of Cards, where the President and First Lady are closet smokers.  Even our lovable loser Hank Moody from Californication is a serial smoker.  It’s painful to watch, but it’s a part of his “in the gutter” character which had actor David Duchovny smoke so much over eight seasons.

One might expect that shows that depict violence (such as Narcos and Sons of Anarchy) would also show more smoking – they do.  It is more a part of their culture.  Perhaps this is why more of these types of shows are being produced – because the characters can be portrayed as “edgier” and thus normalize smoking within this group – both children and adults.   Let’s not forget shows such as Frankie and Grace, and Disjointed, where pot smoking is part of the norm (even when regular cigarette smoking is not featured). 

Out of the hundreds of new shows in production over the past half-decade, the majority of them feature some type of smoking (major or minor character).  Since less than 33% of American smoke (less than 13% in states like California), then the perception of smoking in many life situations is becoming more “normalized”.  This – in my opinion – is a brilliant marketing ploy by tobacco companies, as they are hamstrung in most other situations because of the MSA agreement, and state laws on smoking.  However – showing your favorite character smoking is a very good form of free advertising, and will maintain the percentage of current smokers, who will subconsciously remain smokers because they are constantly seeing their favorite characters smoke on their favorite shows. 

So – it begs the question.  After looking over the Tobacco Free Kids website, and seeing the small percentage of total state tobacco revenue settlement money that goes to states, I ask again – where is all of this money going?  The answer may lie in a tremendous investigative piece by Pro Publica finance reporter Cezary Podkul, who nosed around to find that states who were awarded tobacco settlement money (which would have trickled in year by year) were approached by Wall Street investment group such as Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers (the latter two are now out of business) to trade their settlements in for cash payments now, and agree to pay back these “loans” down the road (in less than 10 years) for balloon payments, some more that 10 times their initial payments.  So – as stupid as most government officials were – they took the payments (including the finance departments in Puerto Rico) in a process called securitization.  Those smart finance directors who opposed it (there were not many) were over ridden by governors, state attorneys general, and others who wanted a bigger payout now, and didn’t worry about future debt prospects.    

So, after investigating for two short days, I have figured out where the money has gone.  It has gone down the wasteland of beurocratic corruption to line the pockets of state officials, lawyers, and district supervisors.  According to the edits of the original MSA contract, states could decide.  Well, they decided to steal it before it ever reached the hands of we mire smoking prevention and cessation counselors.  It’s too important to give bigger salaries, raises, and pensions to those who shouldn’t see one cent of this money.  They don’t care if people quit smoking.  Think about it.  If smoking dropped off in the US by 10% in five years (hey – it could happen), then that’s a lot of money that municipalities DON’T have for the above-mentioned perks.  So, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, America.  Your political hacks need your money.  This is the biggest trough that they have gorged on in quite a while.  Of course, with all of the smoke and confusion – there is no end in sight. 

References

1.       http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/topics/tobacco-control/tobacco-control-litigation/master-settlement-agreement

2.      http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/resources/tclc-fs-msa-overview-2015.pdf

3.      Robin Miller, Annotation, Validity, Construction, Application, and Effect of Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) Between Tobacco Companies and Various States, and State Statutes Implementing Agreement, Use and Distribution of MSA Proceeds, 25 A.L.R. 6th 435 (2007).

4.      State of California v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. GIC 764118 (San Diego Cnty. Super. Ct., 2002). But see CA Sup Court case People ex rel. Lockyer v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Co., 124 P.3d 408 (Cal. 2005).

5.      Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 16 Years Later, CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO FREE KIDS 1 (2014), http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/content/what_we_do/state_local_issues/settlement/FY2015/2014_12_11_ brokenpromises_report.pdf.

6.      Xu, X, Bishop, EE, Kennedy, SM, Simpson, SA, Pechacek, TF.  Annual healthcare spending attributable to cigarette smoking.  2015.  Am. J. Prev. Med.  48(3):326-33. 

7.      Institute of Medicine, Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation, National Academy of Sciences, 2007

8.      https://www.juullabs.com/our-perspective/

9.      http://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com

10.   Rodu, B, Plurphanswat, N.  Quit methods used by American smokers – 2013-14.  2017. Int. J. Environ. Res.  Public Health.  14:1403; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111403. 

11.   Stuart Jackson, “FAQ’s, Guides & Lists: The Simpsons Vs. Smoking,” The Simpsons Archive, List found online (04-19-04) at: http://www.snpp.com/guides/ smoking.simpsons.html.

12.   Phillip Morris, USA, Inc., “Responsible Marketing,” http://www.philipmorrisusa.com/ responsible_marketing/default.asp.

13.   Podkul, C.  https://www.propublica.org/article/how-wall-street-tobacco-deals-left-states-with-billions-in-toxic-debt

Cancer and Bad Luck

To all of my friends and colleagues in the field of sports medicine and cancer – I want to share a post I wrote last year on Oncology Massage Discussion board – based on a recently published article by John Hopkins MC relating to the “genetics of cancer”, where they detail that over 65% of cancers can be attributable to “bad luck”. Would be interested in your thoughts.

After reading this article I have nothing but sadness for the profession of medicine. In reviewing data, the authors conclude that over 65% of cancers are caused by "random" gene mutations in the DNA. Really? With over 80,000 industrial chemicals in industry (OHSA), and GMOs in many foods, exposures to toxins from fetus to grave, and (in the US) lack of physical activity, John Hopkins wants to throw in the towel and blame it all on bad luck. How scientific!

Hueper.jpg

If we look at the research into environmental toxicity from the 1940s by former EPA researcher Wilhelm Heuper (above)) – one of the first environmental cancer experts in the US who was persecuted by the chemical industries in the 1950s, and read Epstein's classic report on the Politics of Cancer (1979), and dig deep into John Bailar's work on cancer prevention (1979, 1986), and the fantastic 1994 publication - Cancer Wars, by Robert Proctor, and the tens of thousands of research into the environment and cancer causality - one can only conclude that the authors have come to their conclusions through laziness, redundancy, and a pathetic sense of defeatism that is today's medical cancer industrial complex.

Bailar.JPG


Bad Luck - how about bad research, bad analysis, bad conclusions, and bad researchers. For those of us who have followed the cancer field for the past 20+ years, and have read the real science in many areas (epidemiology, clinical studies, complementary medicine, environmental medicine, sports medicine, wellness, etc.) we have a pretty good idea how cancer comes about - and it's not bad luck. Most of the answers are there - you only have to go looking. If you cancel out the probable causes because of your inherent bias, then you have nowhere to go even when you start. I'm glad I work in sports medicine - because I now have a renewed sense of optimism that those who have worked in the complementary fields for decades now can move to the forefront because those who now hold the baton have dropped it - and can't find it with the lights on. We will work for the improved survivorship of all patients, and use healing methods that are cost effective and are specific to each patient. For those who continue to toil in their one dimensional space - move over, and tough luck.

The claim that sparked this controversy? That “bad luck,” more than environmental factors or inherited genes, affects whether someone develops cancer, implying that preventive efforts from smoking cessation to environmental cleanups were largely pointless.

Now the authors of that 2015 paper are back. In a study published on recently in Science, they double down on their original finding but also labor mightily to correct widespread misinterpretations of it. This time, using health records from 69 countries, they conclude that 66 percent of cancer-causing genetic mutations arise from the “bad luck” of a healthy, dividing cell making a random mistake when it copies its DNA.

The scientists go to great pains to explain that this doesn’t mean that two-thirds of cancers are beyond the reach of prevention. But understanding the role of these unforced errors “could provide comfort to the millions of patients who developed cancer but led near-perfect [healthy] lifestyles,” said cancer biologist Dr. Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins University, senior author of both the original study and the new one. “This is particularly true for parents of children who have cancer” and might blame the tragedy on the genes they passed on to their child or the environment they provided, he said.

“They did it right this time,” Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said of the authors. “In the first paper they upset a lot of people who are advocates for cancer prevention, and confused a lot of people,” by leaving the impression that most cancers are beyond the reach of prevention. “But a reasonable person can read this one and think, prevention is not useless.”

Separate research has shown that roughly 42 percent of cancers are preventable by, for instance, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and not being exposed to cancer-causing pollutants.  That’s according to their research.  In reality – quitting smoking, a health supporting diet, exercise, and stress reduction can reduce the odds of cancer diagnosis by over 70%.  Those are good odds.  There are still a lot of factors that can’t be controlled – such as pollution, etc., but in general, I believe that this article (and the 2015 version) provide a “scapegoat” for poor diagnosis, poor medical consultation, poor referral, and poor education in general from school systems (who would rather teach memorization), medical systems (who would rather promote procedures and drugs), and politics (who refuse to look at prevention as one of the hallmarks of medical “intervention” by funding large scale treatment research at prevention’s expense. 

Therefore – bad luck is no such luck.  It’s about learning, applying, and changing lifestyles when necessary to achieve a lifetime goal of “low risk” for cancer – and that is good luck indeed. 

 

References

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/most-cancer-cases-arise-from-bad-luck/

https://www.statnews.com/2017/03/23/cancer-mutations-prevention-bad-luck/

Proctor, RL.  Cancer Wars.  Basic Books, New York. 1995. 

Epstein, S. S.  The Politics of Cancer.  Random House Books, New York, 1982. 

Couzin-Frankel, J.  The bad luck of cancer.  Science.  2015.  347(6217):12. 

Nowak, MA, Waclaw, B.  Genes, environment, and “bad luck”.  Science  2017.  335(6331):1266-67.


The New American Heart Association Hypertension Guidelines: Good for Who?

In November of 2017 the American Heart Association expert panel reconfigured the guidelines on blood pressure.  The panel, led by Dr. Paul Whelton, states that the committee sifted over thousands of documents and studies to come up with their new and improved guidelines for treatment of hypertension.

The first change in the guidelines was the actual definition of what constitutes hypertension in the first place.  For decades, there was a cut-off between hypertension, and normal blood pressure.  That cut-off was at 140/90 mm Hg.  The upper number, 140 milligrams of pressure was considered the bottom of borderline hypertension – the point where doctors would make a decision on lifestyle and medical interventions.  This usually meant that a prescription to lose weight, and perhaps take a prescription medication was in order.  The former being the first line of defense. 

However – this new set of guidelines takes a cut-off, and puts in into categories that actually lowers the borderline of hypertension 10 milligrams of pressure, and puts blood pressure readings into the following four categories:

HTN graph.png

Table 1:  New hypertension categories devised by the American Heart Association committee.

Dr. Whelton states that these are more in tune with the current consensus of what should be considered high blood pressure.  He made the following comments during his interview at the American Heart Association meeting on the new guidelines:

“In order to have a more accurate measure, persons should take their blood pressure on a more regular basis.  This would guard against white coat syndrome, where a reading may be abnormally high due to being in the doctor’s office, or readings that may be abnormally high outside of the doctor’s office”

Dr. Whelton also defined the table above as a new hypertension classification system, where a new category risk group was added.  That would be the “low risk” group of 120-29/80-89 section.  The low risk group should be contained from elevation through lifestyle interventions – such as exercise, diet, and weight management.  He states that the Stage 1 group (130-39/80-89) group should be using both lifestyle and medication to control their status.  This would reduce their 10% higher risk of a cardiovascular event then the normal groups (which would include heart attack, stroke, and PVD). 

The consensus of the AHA hypertension group was to redefine old guidelines based on newer information, to “empower” individuals to know more about their blood pressure status, and to take control over it by getting more readings, and to push more education through the American Heart Association, which Dr. Whelton calls a “Treasure Trove” of information for patients.

The Devil is in the Details

In many areas of medicine, there is a push to sell more and more medications.  We see this through “direct to consumer advertising”, new diagnostic criteria for diseases (adding more), developing newer and more costly medications for the same type of condition, and adding mandating medications (vaccines) for specific types of situations (such as employment, or school enrollment). 

Even though Dr. Whelton discusses combing over thousands of studies, most of the guidelines of this new recommendation come from the 2015 SPRINT study funded through NIH.  This report looked at a cohort of over 9,000 people with high blood pressures, and were randomized to drug treatment of approximately three medications, vs. the standard (control) treatment – which actually had an average of two medications throughout the study.  The investigators stopped the trial early because the types of adverse events (heart attacks, strokes, etc) in the treatment group was less than the control.  “Less than 120 systolic pressure had lower rates of fatal and non-fatal events than controls.  5.2% vs. 6.8% suffered an incident.  What this actually means is that the study treated 62 people with multiple medications to lower the effects to benefit one person (statistically) – everyone else had no benefit.  This is how the American Heart Association looks at data – how much intervention was necessary to lower the all cause morbidity to 61 persons.  Also - the effects of multiple medications in the treatment group produced serious adverse events such as hypotension, syncope, electrolyte abnormalities, kidney injuries and failure.  This is a primary example of doing a large study that may benefit the drug companies (all subjects were on medications), vs. doing a true control trial with a lifestyle intervention that may have better outcomes for the patients. 

The question to ask here is – do these guidelines truly reflect a change in the risk for developing a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack, or is it yet another method to add more medications to a larger percentage of persons who were (until November) within a “normal range” of blood pressure measures.

Most health professionals who learn about blood pressure readings in medical school or in other allied health programs know that blood pressure is one of the most fluctuating measurements in medicine.  A blood pressure reading of 120/80 can easily increase to 150/96 after climbing stairs – depending on fitness level and body weight.  Dr. Whelton is correct that multiple readings should take place, and in my opinion, one after the other, especially if the reading is too high.  The beauty of purchasing a portable blood pressure cuff on Amazon or other site allows anyone to take a reading – relax and breathe, then take another reading.  Hopefully it will lower by five to 10 points systolic.  I am also a big fan of working on the diastolic number, which measures the pressure of the artery walls at rest.  If they are too stiff and readings are too high (90 mm Hg or more) there is increased risk by performing moderate ADLs, vs. a normal diastolic reading, and an upper / systolic reading of 160 when stair climbing that can be lowered more easily.

Some critics, such as a recent article in AARP journal, discuss the fact that by changing the hypertension levels downward, seniors already on six medications may now face taking a seventh for their blood pressure, when it may be physiologically unwarranted. 

Other doctors say that the new guidelines will be unrealistic for patients to follow.  Dr. Matt Muldoon of the University of Pittsburgh MC states that “anytime these types of changes are put into place, it’s a boon for the drug companies”

I feel he is correct.  Here’s why.  First – if a blood pressure is taken and either the systolic or diastolic readings are high (say over 140/90 at rest), and we retake them and they are still high, then the first item of business would be to advise the person to begin a lifestyle change after we have assessed their current physical and emotional situation, and may see a need to make some types of changes.  Number one would be exercise.  No – walking through the grocery store is not exercise.  The new paradigm in fitness is more high intense exercise broken up into segments.  Even in seniors, this type of exercise regime is becoming more accepted.  It’s just modified to fit the person.  Second is to take a hard look at the nutritional status, and really make changes not just in calories, but types of foods (organic vs. inorganic), types of calories (meats and fats vs. carbohydrates), grocery store foods (processed vs. fresh from the farm), and other issues – smoking, alcohol, sugars, etc. 

There is a real tipping point happening in medicine and health care in the US.  More people are realizing that multiple medications, vaccines, and surgical treatments are not what we think they are.  Medicine in American is “overkill” – both figuratively and literally.  As more people access technology (like home blood pressure monitors), they can affect their own changes in health independent of a physician.  In order to maintain the status quo – things like changing blood pressure standards move the pendulum.  What health systems and pharmaceuticals may not realize is that the momentum is already moving in the opposite direction. 

References

http://professional.heart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_497446.pdf

https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2014/new-blood-pressure-guidelines-raise-controversy.html

http://professional.heart.org/professional/ScienceNews/UCM_496965_2017-Hypertension-Clinical-Guidelines.jsp

http://triblive.com/news/healthnow/12950746-74/expert-new-blood-pressure-guidelines-unrealistic

http://healthimpactnews.com/2017/dr-brownstein-new-blood-pressure-guidelines-creates-millions-of-new-customers-for-big-pharma/

SPRINT Research Group.  Randomized trial of intensive vs. standard blood pressure control.  New Eng. J. Med.  2015. 373:2103-16.

Nutrition and Health – Just the Facts

I have been involved in the nutrition movement since my graduate days in the mid-1980s.  When you take into account my reading of over 25 years of Prevention Magazine starting in junior high school in the 1970s (when the magazine had some of the top researched articles on health of any publication in America) – then I’ve been interested in nutrition for a long time.  Since 2001 I have spoken on medical nutrition to the Medical Wellness Association, and written about many types of nutrition issues in national publications.  So – I want you to know that I am very interested in nutrition – from a farming perspective, from a production perspective, and from an eating perspective. 

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The Rise and Fall of the Scientific Foundation

In the winter of 2014, a professor from the University of Michigan retired after 41 years on the job.  This professor, Dr. Victor Katch, is widely known in the fields of exercise physiology and pediatric cardiology.  He is the author of many science publications, and one of the top textbooks in exercise physiology over many years.  He is also author of a 1986 review paper entitled:  The Burdon of Disproof.  In this report Dr. Katch looks into the writings Dr. Karl Popper, JR Platt, and others who state that many people need to understand the tenets of science in general.  One tenet is that science doesn’t “prove” anything, as a number of papers can show one argument, but it takes just one report to “disprove” that hypothesis.  This is a central theme of today’s research – as with anything (like is coffee good for you, or bad?) – there are arguments for either side.  One needs to read all sides of the debate, and make an educated decision.

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Losing the War that Never Was

I love Dr. Samuel Epstein.  He is the Senior Director of the Cancer Prevention Coalition in Chicago, and the author of the push-back book - “The Politics of Cancer” back in 1979.  Dr. Epstein is one of my favorites because, like another Chicago-based cancer prevention man – Dr. John Bailar, he looks the cancer establishment in the eye, and says, “You’re friggin' wrong”.  

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Looking for a Sea of Change in the Oncology Community

 It may have started in the mid 1990s when I purchased a book called:  The Cancer Wars.  As much as I hate the connotation that everything is a “War”, when it’s not – this was a very eye-opening book.  The Cancer Wars spent a lot of time looking at the political side of the cancer industry, but from a scientific standpoint.  Author Robert Proctor from Penn State is a history professor – so he doesn’t have a political axe to grind, like Samuel Epstein’s important book – The Politics of Cancer.  Both will give you perspective about an industry that was built on deception, and continues unabated - fueled by the ever increasing funding by the pharmaceutical industry.  Here are, however – my levels of frustration.

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Ten 20 Minutes Ab Workouts At Home with No Equipment

How many times did you include exercising or losing weight, getting tight abs into your New Year’s resolution? Too many times. We have all been there. We always choose winter to work on our body in order to be in the best shape for the summer. However, we always give up. The reason people give up easily is because they either don’t do adequate exercises, and they don’t see any progress or they don’t have time.

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A Perspective on 20 years of Cancer and Exercise Programs

In the mid 1980s Dr. Meryl Winningham was the first sports medicine professional who pushed the envelope on the topic of exercise and cancer.  She developed interval training program for cancer patients (the WAIT protocol), and even though many in the oncology profession were not amused by her research, none the less admitted over time that the premise of exercise showed promise for improving quality of life in cancer care.

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Exercise & The Immune Response - Implications for Cancer

One of the most important areas of sports medicine research in the late 1980's was the application of immune system markers to exercise and conditioning programs. This has been seen as a "validation" of sorts as to the efficacy of exercise programs to a biological response from the body.  This article will concentrate on the effects of exercise on immune function, and let the reader decide as to how exercise can play a role in helping the body fight disease and improve general health.

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Uncharacteristic Psychology – Positive or Negative

Blogging allows writers to explore a bit. One of my favorite writers is columnist Jon Rappaport – who has some brilliant things to say about many esoteric things. As an athlete – we look to the positive in order to enhance performance.  Many people however, are stuck in negative thoughts. Jon had a recent column about psychology that I thought would be well worth putting in a blogspot (with my editorial, of course).

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The Fraud on Science

This is a tough blog for me to write.  I believe that science has been one of the only forms of thought process that allows us as a civilization to move forward.  Over the centuries persons with creative and scientific minds have shown that the earth revolves around the sun, that microbes to exist, and that applying a “method” to situations allows us to better understand our physical world.

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A Series of Exercises to Re-Align the Spine - A Postural Correction Perspective

I have worked over the past decade with a lot of people (workers / friends) who have had car accidents, or other types of accidents or just poor posture over time that have left their spine crooked, muscles imbalanced, and levels of pain higher than they should be.  Most of this is because people they don’t exercise at all or not the correct way when it comes to training for IMPROVED POSTURE vs. getting bigger biceps.  They exercise wrong, so may be actually worsening their condition. 

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The ACA and Wellness – Another Reason to Dump Obamacare

The Republicans are trying to find a way to remove most or all of the provisions of Obamacare since its inception in 2010.  Never mind that you can’t keep your doctor – your monthly premiums are too high for basic services, and the entire program is nothing more than a “gift” to health insurance companies.  Is there any other reason to get rid of this monstrosity and get to the business of real healthcare reform?

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