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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Warnings on Seprafilm and Entresto │ The Low-Sodium Diet Myth

My determination to work upon my Lawless Spirit website kept me from bed last night until roughly 12:31 a.m.

I started my new day this morning around 7:40 a.m., and was soon hard at finishing up a new post at that website; the post that is titled Peter Collins Holistic Mathematics II is undoubtedly only going to appeal to a relatively limited audience, but I rather enjoyed working on it.

My grasp of mathematics is so utterly limited that I cannot even begin to fathom what Peter Collins talks about, yet he is almost religiously passionate about numbers ─ so much so, that I honestly envy him his cerebral attunement to mathematical concepts.

Truly, it approaches the spiritual for him.

I have to wonder if this broad grasp that he has is innate, or if anyone can eventually achieve that level if he or she apply themselves?

It is a time like this when I most regret my age.  I haven't the years of life remaining to try and develop this mathematical conversion.

I wanted to finish and publish the post this morning before I left to take the signed home mortgage early renewal agreement to the nearest bank branch, roughly just over a mile away in Whalley.

I had learned via a phone-call that any branch can process the agreement, and that it did not have to be the originating branch in New Westminster.

The deadline for its receipt was tomorrow.

It had been lightly overcast initially this morning, but I never got away until just after the midway mark of the noon-hour.

I had a small mix-up at what I thought was my destination when the teller I approached amusedly informed me that I was in the wrong bank.

When finally I got to a teller at the correct bank, she seemed not to understand exactly what the document was.

She took it over to an office and spoke for some time to a couple of people within it; and then she disappeared from sight for awhile down what must have been a wing of other offices.

When she eventually returned, she said that the gal she had been conferring with ─ Aman ─ told her that she (Aman) could get me a better percentage than what I was agreeing to for the five-year renewal.

Was I interested?

So I asked the teller, "Does the paperwork still have to be in by tomorrow?"

Perplexed, she had to retreat to get the answer to that conundrum.

When she came back, she said that I might as well speak with Aman myself, so she led me to Aman's office.

What a delightful treat this young woman turned out to be!

She made me feel so comfortable about her, doing her very best to get me to understand what she was offering.

This included a conversion of the mortgage line-of-credit into the mortgage ─ I had been told of this conversion before, but no one explained it to me in any fashion that made any sense.

I'm still a little adrift, but at least now I am at ease that the conversion that I accepted through Aman is a good thing.

My wife Jack and I had only been making interest payments on the line-of-credit; now, some of the payment will actually go towards the amount owed.

Incidentally, the mortgage offer I had been renewing to was a 2.74% interest rate; Aman said she could get me 2.64%.

Jack will have to sign the new document, and I will bring it in to Aman on Monday.

And from that point, rather than a monthly mortgage due-date of roughly the 7th, the new date will be around the 21st beginning with August.

The payment remains about the same.  However, under the old contract, the interest was 3.5%.  I could have opted for whatever lower monthly payment the 2.64% would have resulted in; but by retaining the old payment amount, whatever extra I am paying will be applied towards bringing down the mortgage that much faster.

I was most surprised when ─ on my way home ─ I checked the time and saw that it was well after 2:00 p.m.

I guess Aman must have had me entranced there in her office.

And to think that had I mailed in that renewal agreement ─ or opted to do the renewal all on-line ─ I would never have found out about the reduced interest rate, nor converted the line-of-credit into the mortgage!

My youngest step-son Pote was still in bed when I got home.  He never got up until something like 3:15 p.m.

I have two reports from the Health Sciences Institute (HSI) which brilliantly spotlight the dreadful shortcomings of the FDA, and the greed and heartlessness of the pharmaceutical industry.

Have you ever heard of a product called Seprafilm?

This report on it is from two days ago:

A horror film
No woman should die from a routine gynecological surgery.

But that's exactly what happened to Jayne Heisner after her doctors treated her with Seprafilm. It's a thin, gel-like sheet that's placed on organs after surgery to keep scar tissue and adhesions from forming.

Jayne had such a severe allergic reaction to Seprafilm that it literally shut down her immune system. In less than a month she was dead.

But Jayne's reaction to Seprafilm is just the tip of the iceberg. It's being used in abdominal and pelvic surgeries all across America right now, even though it's been linked to hundreds of serious reactions and dozens of deaths.

A public interest group is trying to force the FDA to pull this dangerous product off the market once and for all. But you shouldn't wait for our government to act to protect yourself -- or someone you love -- from becoming the next Seprafilm victim.

Jayne Heisner's daughter, Laura Schmitz, has been on a crash course learning how the FDA operates. She learned how medical device manufacturers are protected from liability, similar to vaccine makers.

And she learned that when a loved one dies due to a dangerous medical device, there's not much you can do about it -- except, of course, to try and warn others.

But now Laura finally has some friends on the front lines to help her get the word out, and maybe, just maybe, even get Seprafilm out of circulation.

The consumer group Public Citizen recently petitioned the FDA to take away Seprafilm's approval, and also to recall every single piece of it out there in hospitals and clinics all around the country.

In fact, when you look at the product's history, Public Citizen Director Dr. Michael Carome says it "never should have been approved."

Seprafilm was introduced by Genzyme (now owned by mega-drug maker Sanofi) to prevent adhesions -- scar tissue that can essentially bind your organs and tissue together -- after surgeries.

But even during the first clinical studies in the 1990s, patients were having serious allergic reactions, bowel obstructions, and life-threatening infections after getting Seprafilm.

Of course the FDA did what it does best -- held its nose, looked the other way, and approved Seprafilm anyway. And the results since have been tragic.

Even the FDA admits that there have been 524 serious reactions and 21 deaths after surgical use of Seprafilm. But only a fraction of adverse events ever get reported to the agency, so the real number of people harmed and killed by Seprafilm will likely never be known.

What we do know is that you practically have to move heaven and earth to get the FDA or a manufacturer to pull an approved medical device off the market. No matter how many people die.

And that's because of a frustrating policy called "medical device preemption."

MDP prevents you from having your day in court when a medical device harms you. The Supreme Court even upheld that concept seven years ago. So if the FDA has given market approval to some disastrous device that hurts or kills -- as it did with Seprafilm -- tough luck.

Sanofi has no financial or legal incentive to ever pull Seprafilm off the market, even as the number of victims continues to pile up.

Since Seprafilm is still being sold and used, there's only one way to prevent another tragedy. That's to tell your doctor -- actually make sure it's written on your chart -- that you don't, under any circumstances, want this killer product put inside your body.

As Laura Schmitz said, "Our hope is that no one will ever again have to experience what our family and other victims of Seprafilm and their families have experienced."

If you have a friend or loved one scheduled for abdominal or pelvic surgery, please take a moment to share this email. That simple act just may end up saving a life.
I see that a U.S. law firm has a Seprafilm Class Action Lawsuit that they're involved with.

The Health Science Institute's second report concerning the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry was released yesterday, and involves a "heart failure" medication called Entresto:

Affairs of the heart
Novartis is claiming that it has a "once in a decade" medical breakthrough on its hands.

It's a new heart failure med called Entresto that was just approved by the FDA -- and some docs say they're already getting phone calls from patients who are eager to start the drug.

But as I told you back in February, there are some dark secrets about this pill that you're never going to hear about in a glitzy TV ad or an FDA press release.

Like how Entresto can cause your heart to suddenly stop beating. Or how its side effects were so debilitating that patients quit Entresto in droves during clinical trials.

Or how the FDA may have just approved a heart pill that could expose millions of us to dementia or even Alzheimer's.

Earlier this year Entresto generated so much media publicity that it sounded as if an actual cure for heart failure had been discovered. It became the lead story on every single news broadcast.

But one thing you probably didn't hear is that Entresto may be better at causing Alzheimer's than curing heart failure.

Despite all the hoopla surrounding the drug, some experts are actually terrified by how Entresto works. And you should be, too.

You see, your body produces a key enzyme called neprilysin that breaks down the toxic amyloid beta protein that researchers believe causes Alzheimer's.

But Entresto blocks neprilysin from doing its job. And the next thing you know, clusters of amyloid beta plaque could develop rapidly in your brain.

So is Entresto going to bring about an explosion of Alzheimer's cases?

We don't know. Because even though this risk was completely foreseeable, Novartis never even looked for signs of dementia or Alzheimer's during the drug's trials.

Talk about a case of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. In fact, the FDA approved Entresto and gave Novartis until 2019 to wrap up a study on whether it may cause Alzheimer's or dementia.

Of course, by then millions of people will be taking the pill.

And while Novartis and the FDA were happy to sweep a potential Azheimer's link under the rug, there were other shocking side effects during the Entresto trials that couldn't be ignored. I'm talking about dangerously low blood pressure, impaired kidney function, and sky-high blood potassium levels that could even stop your heart!

Entresto can also cause a side effect called angioedema, an allergic reaction that can trigger a sudden swelling in your face and neck that can choke you. Patients with angioedema often need a breathing tube or a surgical incision in their throats to allow them to breathe.

In fact another drug chemically similar to Entresto was rejected by the FDA because of the risk of angioedema.

Entresto's side effects were so bad that 18 percent of trial participants dropped out. Think about that -- these were desperate heart failure patients who decided they'd rather take their chances without the drug.

Facts like these -- along with a potential Alzheimer's link -- have medical experts like Dr. Marvin A. Konstam from Tufts University wondering whether Entresto will be worth the risk.

"How do we know what will happen in the real world?" he asked.

And the answer is -- we don't.

Like any newly approved drug, the real trial doesn't begin until millions of Americans unofficially enroll and start taking Entresto. And it's a trial that many of them probably won't make it out of alive.
People certainly do put themselves through Hell.

The Health Sciences Institute (HSI) has a great report on sodium that they released yesterday ─ don't listen to any government "health professional" who hypes a low-salt regimen:

Left hand, meet right hand
For years our government has pushed a low-sodium diet that's been disproven by science… is dangerous for our health… and has practically taken all the joy out of mealtime.

And now they're coming for our kids.

A new CDC report is calling for major sodium restrictions for school-aged children. It makes all the same tired threats about how salt is going to condemn our kids to lives of high blood pressure and heart disease.

But it looks like there's another report on salt and kids that the folks at the CDC haven't read -- but I have.

It proves once and for all that you can ignore everything the CDC, the American Heart Association and the rest of the low-salt lobby tells you about sodium limits for your kids and grandkids.

And for you.

When it comes to our government, the left hand often doesn't know what the right hand is doing. But the conflicting advice on salt and kids takes government miscommunication -- and incompetence -- to a whole new level.

You see, both the CDC and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) are housed under the exact same agency -- the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

And while the CDC was offering its new guidance on low-sodium diets for children, a study from the NHLBI was shedding light on what happens to kids who totally ignore the CDC's advice.

And the answer is -- nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The NHLBI study tracked more than 2,000 girls (they were all 9 or 10 when the research started) for a full decade. And girls who regularly consumed 3,500 mg. or more sodium a day didn't have higher blood pressure.

That 3,500 mg. of salt is 50 percent more than the 2,300 mg. limit set by the CDC (and, incidentally, more than twice the ridiculous and dangerous 1,500 mg. guideline set by the American Heart Association).

But despite the CDC's warning that "higher sodium intake in children" could lead to hypertension, heart disease and stroke, NHLBI researchers couldn't find any relationship whatsoever between eating more salt and blood pressure. And that's something I've been telling you for years.

You see, the CDC's 2,300 mg. guideline comes from a terribly misguided plan called Healthy People 2020. When it was released in late 2010, the report was called a "10-year agenda for improving the nation's health."

But researchers have found that Healthy People 2020 is nothing but a recipe for shortening our lives. The NHLBI research is just one of several studies proving that cutting salt doesn't lower your blood pressure and that low-sodium diets can be downright deadly for children and adults.

In fact, research out of Belgium a few years ago found that a low-salt diet can increase your risk of early death by as much as 500 percent! And a study last year in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at over 100,000 adults for three years and found that going under 3,000 mg. of sodium a day will put you at a big risk for heart attacks and strokes.

The average American consumes about 3,400 mg. of sodium daily, which is just fine. In fact, people who eat between 3,000 mg. and 6,000 mg. of salt a day -- far above what our government recommends -- have the lowest risk of death from heart disease.

So before you buy into the CDC's latest guidance on salt, remember that those limits have been totally debunked. And not just by independent researchers -- but now by our own government, too.

I received a call from my wife Jack a short while prior to me venturing out into the backyard around 4:30 p.m. to spend a half-hour seated in a chair, sunning my front.   

There was lots of light clouding ─ one might expect a showering of rain later today or tonight. 

But Jack had phoned to let me know that she had finally made a push toward acquiring an iPhone 6, and putting us on a new two-year couples' plan with Rogers.

Apparently she has gotten me an iPhone 5.  I've been using a fairly basic Samsung.SGH-T249. 

I am now going to close today's post with a very brief entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 24 years old, and living in a cheap housekeeping room in New Westminster.
MONDAY, July 15, 1974

David caught me home again.  We went to Swedana, and he hung about till near 5:30 p.m.

Then Stacey Cameron (Aug.) brought intensity.

David came over later.
My old friend Philip David Prince lived in his own housekeeping room just four blocks from me, at most.

I had known David since Grade VIII at Newton Junior High School during the 1962/1963 school term out in Surrey.

The Swedana smorgasbord was superb for lunch or supper, and quite inexpensive.  It was located in a shopping plaza at Eighth Avenue & McBride Boulevard.

After David finally went home, I resorted to some sexual relief via the August edition of Penthouse magazine ─ Stacey Cameron was the centrefold.

And then I had David's company again that evening.

This photo of David was taken on June 9, 1975, at another housekeeping room I was to later rent:

I miss him.

He died at the age of 35 in 1984 ─ 11 days after my own 35th birthday.  But I never knew until well later.

I happened to bump into his mother in Newton afterwards that year, and she told me.  David had been rooming downtown in Vancouver, so we did not see each other very often at all.

I think so much of him lately.
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