Sugar pills work as well as leading prescribed drugs on juvenile migraine — and no side effects

❝ Sugar pills worked as well at preventing kids’ migraines as two commonly used headache medicines, but had fewer side effects, in a study that may lead doctors to rethink how they treat a common ailment in children and teens.

It’s the first rigorous head-to-head test in kids of two generic prescription drugs also used for adults’ migraines: topiramate, an anti-seizure medicine, and amitriptyline, an anti-depressant. The idea was to see if either drug could reduce by half the number of days kids had migraines over a month’s time. Both drugs worked that well — but so did placebo sugar pills.

❝ The study was released online Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development paid for the research.

“The fact that it shows that two of the most commonly used medications are no more effective than a placebo and have adverse effects makes a very clear statement,” said Dr. Leon Epstein…He said it should lead neurologists to rely on other prevention strategies; he advises lifestyle changes including getting more sleep and reducing stress, which he said can help prevent migraines in teen patients…

❝ Side effects from the drugs were common, including fatigue, dry mouth and forgetfulness. Almost one-third of kids on topiramate also had tingling sensations in their hands, arms, legs or feet. There was one suicide attempt in the topiramate group, another known side-effect of that drug.

The side effects were not unexpected, but given the risks, the results suggest the drugs shouldn’t be “first-line prevention treatments” for kids’ migraines, study author Scott Powers said.

Sad commentary on much of American medicine: inadequate testing to determine effectiveness – lax IMHO. Drug manufacturers are essentially focused on achieving at least a minimal positive effect – while not killing the patient – and providing the highest possible profit margin.

Save the day

It was a big deal in the neighborhood where I grew up – to be a second generation American. My mom and dad, all their brothers and sisters, were the first generation in their respective families to be born in the USA.

It’s a shame how many Americans have forgotten what a good feeling that was. How it was available to all.

Ever wonder how many asthma attacks are caused by the oil and gas industry?


AP/Carlos Osorio

❝ New analysis from the Clean Air Task Force shows that by 2025 America’s children will experience 750,000 asthma attacks each summer that will be directly attributable to the oil and gas industry.

The report, Gasping for Breath, is the first to quantify the effects of smog caused by oil and gas production and distribution. The authors used industry data submitted to the EPA’s National Emissions Inventory, particularly looking at methane and volatile organic compounds, which can interact to create smog. This chemical reaction is facilitated by ultraviolet rays and heat — which is why smog is a bigger problem in the summer than the winter.

VOCs, which include gasoline, benzene, and formaldehyde, are particularly concerning. Not only are they often heavier than air, allowing them to pool in low-lying areas, where people live and breath — many VOCs are known carcinogens.

❝ While the report looks specifically at the year 2025, when most currently proposed regulation is expected to be fully in effect, the level of impact is roughly the same today, according to Lesley Fleischman, the report’s lead author. That’s because most of the facilities expected to be in production in nine years are already being used.

“There is reason to think that the impact today is on the same scale,” Lesley Fleischman, the report’s lead author said. “The vast majority of emissions are from existing sources.”

Meanwhile, oil and gas production continues to grow

Every major organization associated with the producers of oil and gas – of course – rejects plans to reduce this crap getting into the air we breathe. Profits are more important than people. Especially in one of the oldest and most powerful extractive industries in the United States.

One more reason not only to holler at your Congress-critter to support doing something about the problem; but, make certain they’re not taking money from the industry they should be trying to regulate. For our health and safety.

Children forced to be their own attorneys in immigration courts

After a long, scary trek through three countries to escape the gang violence in El Salvador, a 15-year-old boy found himself scared again a few months back, this time in a federal immigration court here. There was an immigration judge in front of him and a federal prosecutor to his right. But there was no one helping him understand the charges against him.

“I was afraid I was going to make a mistake,” the boy said in Spanish from his uncle’s living room, in a modest cinder-block house on the south side of this city. “When the judge asked me questions, I just shook my head yes and no. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing.”

Every week in immigration courts around the country, thousands of children act as their own lawyers, pleading for asylum or other type of relief in a legal system they do not understand.

Suspected killers, kidnappers and others facing federal felony charges, no matter their ages, are entitled to court-appointed lawyers if they cannot afford them. But children accused of violating immigration laws, a civil offense, do not have the same right. Immigration court is, in fact, the only court in the United States where the government has no obligation to provide lawyers for poor children and adults, legal experts say…

Having a lawyer makes a difference. Between October 2004 and June of this year, more than half the children who did not have lawyers were deported. Only one in 10 children who had legal representation were sent back…

Ever get a chance, ask the Deportment of so-called Justice why they insist on defending regulations promulgated by pimp politicians instead of working for justice for the needy?

Ask one of your elected representatives in Congress. You may have to explain the question.

The next Flint, Michigan is in Indiana — and the cover-up is 40 years old!


Click to enlargeNORTHWEST INDIANA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY, CBS CHICAGO

Akeeshea Daniels first suspected something was off when her two toddlers came down with scarlet fever. It was 2004, and she just moved her family into a spacious public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana.

“I looked it up. Scarlet fever hasn’t been a problem since the ‘50s,” she said. “It was something straight out of a history book.”

But when she brought her concerns to the East Chicago Housing Authority — the manager of her public housing complex— she was brushed off…

The next decade was rife with mysterious family health issues: Ear infections, upper respiratory problems, throat infections. Her son was put on ADHD medication when he was seven. At any time, Daniels or one of her three children were sick with something they couldn’t kick. Just last month, Daniels took her now-18-year-old son to the emergency room for severe stomach cramps, and left with no better understanding of what was wrong.

It wasn’t until the last week of July that Daniels got her answer, in the form of two letters.

The first, sent by the Environmental Protection Agency, told her that the soil surrounding her home had been contaminated with toxic levels of arsenic and lead since at least 2014. The second, penned by East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, informed Daniels that she and hundreds of fellow residents in the West Calumet Complex where she lives would be “temporarily relocated” due to the public health risk. The following day, the city posted a notice that the entire WCC complex was going to be demolished after tenants leave.

Since 1920 this neighborhood has been home to one or more lead-based industries. Polluting the air, killing those who worked in plants fouled with the poisonous element, torn down and leaving behind a soil bank paying interest in lead contamination often more than 200 times the allowable level.

Politicians, generations of politicians knew about the contamination. There was always a reason to do nothing. There never was a reason to inform the people – mostly poor and Black – living on top of a minefield of infection and illness.

Local government did nothing. The state did nothing. The feds performed minimal tasks when pushed and nothing more for decades. And now it’s time for the chickens to come home to roost and – at a minimum – pick up the tab for ailments afflicting these families until they die.

Assign responsibility. Make those responsible pay for their crimes!

Drinking water in three Colorado cities contaminated with toxic chemicals

Invisible toxic chemicals are contaminating drinking water for 80,000 people south of Colorado Springs, one of 63 areas nationwide where the chemicals, widely used to fight petroleum fires, have been measured at levels the EPA deems dangerous.

These perfluorinated chemicals rank among the worst in an expanding multitude of unregulated contaminants that federal scientists are detecting in city water supplies, including hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and anti-depressants. Perfluorinated chemicals don’t break down. Boiling water won’t get rid of them.

Military airfields are suspected by Colorado health investigators as a point where the chemicals seeped into the Fountain Creek watershed north of Widefield, Fountain and Security. Air Force officials told The Denver Post it’s too early to tell.

It has reached the point where the water in all 32 of the Security Water and Sanitation District’s municipal wells is contaminated with PFCs at levels exceeding an EPA health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion. At one well, PFCs have hit 1,370 ppt, federal data show — nearly 20 times higher than the limit. EPA officials recommended that pregnant women and small children should not drink local water

Prolonged exposure to perfluorinated chemicals is linked to health harm: developmental damage to fetuses during pregnancy, low birth weight, accelerated puberty and distorted bones. The EPA advisory also linked the chemicals to kidney and testicular cancer, liver tissue damage, impaired production of antibodies and cholesterol changes.

Perfluorinated chemicals aren’t regulated under any national water standard, although Vermont and New Hampshire have launched state-level action. Colorado has not.

RTFA for lots more scary details. Colorado’s version of Flint, Michigan.

43% of foods aimed at children contain artificial dyes

In an effort to appeal to picky young palates, food processors often make their products more tempting by putting color in the food. A recent study has shown, though, that 43% of foods marketed to children contain artificial food colors…

According to researchers…the food most likely to contain artificial dyes is — no surprise — candy, with 96.3% of the brands sampled containing artificial dyes. Next on the list were fruit-flavored snacks (94.7%); drink mixes and powders (89.7%); and frozen breakfasts (85.7%).

At the other end of the scale were produce (0%); cheese, yogurt and milk products (12%); ice cream and cones (16%); and packaged pasta and soups (19%)…

Researchers surveyed grocery stores and found 810 products that were marketed to children. Other foods that aren’t specifically marketed to children, such as soda pop, were not included in the survey.

Kraft Foods was the leader in using AFCs, with 105 of that company’s line using the dyes, amounting to 65.7% of their products. Kellogg was next at 69 products, followed by General Mills with 67.

The most popular AFC used by food processors was Red 40, followed by Blue 1 and Yellow 5.

Just in case you wished to coordinate your kids’ finger-painting with the crap palette used on foods aimed at their young lives.

E-cigarette poisonings reach epidemic levels in young children

Electronic cigarettes have sickened rising numbers of young children, a study of U.S. poison center calls has found. Most cases involve swallowing liquid nicotine.

While most kids weren’t seriously harmed, one child died and several had severe complications including comas and seizures.

This is an epidemic by any definition,” said lead author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital…

The researchers say the results highlight a need for better parent awareness about the importance of keeping the devices out of sight and reach of young kids. They also recommend stricter regulation and applauded long-awaited restrictions the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued…

The study examined poison center calls about exposure to nicotine and tobacco products among children under age 6 from January 2012 through April 2015. The most worrisome findings involved e-cigarettes — battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable vapor. Some feature colorful packaging and flavored nicotine that can attract young children.

I find it hard to believe that parents are ignorant of the dangers presented by these materials. Sure, they bullshit themselves to keep up their habit/addiction. Still, they must realize the threat to young children.

RTFA for details on the study. I chalk this one up to stupid.

Nursery ‘raised fears of radicalisation’ over boy’s cucumber drawing


School authorities think Daddy doing this really means he’s making a bomb

Staff at a nursery school threatened to refer a four-year-old boy to a de-radicalisation programme after he drew pictures which they thought showed his father making a “cooker bomb”, according to the child’s mother.

The child’s drawing actually depicted his father cutting a cucumber with a knife, his mother says, but staff misheard his explanation and thought it referred to a type of improvised explosive device.

On Friday the boy’s mother showed the Guardian video footage of her son in which he is playing happily on the floor of his home, and is shown a cucumber and asked what it is. “A cuker-bum,” he says, before going back to his toys.

The footage was taken by the mother at the family home in Luton after the nursery discussed referring the child to a de-radicalisation programme out of concerns that pictures drawn by him referred to explosions and an improvised explosive device known as a “cooker bomb”.

In between the odd tear and laugh of disbelief, the mother spoke about the experience, which she said had left her shaken and upset, and involved her being told at one point:Your children might not be taken off you … you can prove yourself innocent…”

A spokesperson for the nursery…said…“Under statutory guidance, as reflected by our own safeguarding policies, early years providers are required to record – and if necessary, report – any incidents that they feel may warrant further attention or discussion.

“In this instance, after seeking advice from the appropriate agencies, we concluded that no referral was necessary…”

Don’t you just love cover-your-ass language?

The child’s mother says that she remains disappointed that no apology was made and claims to have come under pressure from the nursery to sign a form which appeared to endorse its assessment.

“When I dropped him in one day they were there as a pack, with his various pictures and a report,” she said.

“Some of the pictures were just scribbles, but I said that I knew one of them and it was of his dad cutting a cucumber. She said: ‘Well, he said to us that it is a cooker bomb.’ For the life of me I didn’t associate the two words.”

She said that she was left distraught by the experience and particularly by what she says was a mention of social services. “The thing you think about is that they take children away from families,” she said, “so that was the worst thing you could say to a parent…”

The conversation, she says, also turned to what her son had been watching on television: “I said to her: ‘Can we just put it to bed? I won’t let him watch Power Rangers … I actually went home and put parental control over the kiddie channels…”

“Initially I was so upset and distraught that I told him not to do any more drawings … God bless him, he said: ‘I won’t draw anything … I’ll just draw a house, or the remote control. And I said: ‘Don’t draw the remote!’”

Sounds like anything that could happen here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Petty bureaucrats, small-minded authority pimps in charge of children want to run other people’s lives as if everyone shared the fear-and-trembling crucial to their own pitiful existence.

BTW, this isn’t so much a Liberal vs Conservative thing. Pointy-headed psychologizers are as responsible for the demise of much Western education as anyone else. Mostly worrying that you may harm a child’s self-image for life by suggesting they actually learn stuff.

Governments have way too many crap politicians who have learned it’s easier to pass repressive laws by shouting it’s needed to “protect our children”.

Thanks, Honeyman