Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Playmate kills kids

A killer is on the loose. As many as 900 children may have died as a result of one person, and the number is still rising. Sometime this month, the number of children made ill because of this menace is expected to top 100,000. Children across America now are infected with diseases that were once declared eliminated largely because of the efforts of this individual.

This killer isn't a terrorist or a war criminal, it's nude model and television personality Jenny McCarthy. Rather than living behind bars or hiding shamefully in exile, McCarthy is busy hosting a reality show on NBC and appearing on the cover of this month's issue of Playboy, earning paychecks almost as large as her (very ample) cup size.

So how did a Playboy Playmate-turned television tomboy end up with the blood of so many children on her hands?

In 2005, McCarthy received devastating news. Her 3-year-old son, Evan, had been diagnosed with autism. Like most parents, McCarthy searched for causes and cures. Regrettably, one of the places she found answers was in a widely discredited 1998 paper by British medical researcher Andrew Wakefield that linked a common vaccine to an increase in rates of autism.

Armed with Wakefield's research, McCarthy used her fame as a platform to spout scientifically spurious anti-vaccination rhetoric. In order to spread her belief that vaccines caused autism, McCarthy wrote a series of parenting books, made hundreds of public appearances and appeared on shows such as "The Oprah Winfrey Show," lining her pockets and convincing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of parents not to vaccinate their kids along the way.

Wakefield's study was always viewed with overwhelming skepticism in the medical and scientific communities. In 2004, it was determined that he had falsified his research and no scientific proof linked vaccines to autism. Wakefield had invented the data after being bribed more than $600,000 by lawyers hoping to bring lawsuits against drug companies that manufactured vaccines.

In 2010, Wakefield's medical license was, thankfully, revoked. Later the same year, McCarthy came forward with the claim that her son was cured of autism as a result of treatments including aromatherapy, electromagnets, vitamins, a gluten-free diet and other such silliness. In truth, her son never had autism in the first place. He was simply misdiagnosed and is now a healthy 8-year-old kid, albeit with a dishonest dope for a mother.

Despite the fact that the study that she relied on for her facts was as fake as a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge, and her son, whom she claimed had contracted autism through a vaccination, never had autism in the first place, that hasn't stopped her anti-vaccine campaign. She continues to defend Wakefield's study and urge parents not to vaccinate their children.

As a result, the website Jenny McCarthy Body Count blames 895 deaths by preventable illnesses on McCarthy due to her anti-vaccine screeds. The website, which uses reports on vaccine-preventable illnesses published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as its basis, also pins the illnesses of 99,135 on McCarthy's ignorant anti-vaccination evangelization.

Cases of mumps and whooping cough are at their highest levels in generations, and measles, which the CDC declared "eliminated" in the United States in 2000, plagued 222 Americans last year -- and McCarthy is almost single-handedly responsible.

It's vital that every parent in America understand that vaccines pose no threat to children, but the consequences of not vaccinating a child may be fatal. For the sake of your children, take healthcare advice from a doctor, not a Playboy Playmate.


Parched and tired all the time? You could have 'dry body' syndrome

Good to hear that there are potential medications for it on the way

Dry eyes are a problem for many of us at some point or another.  But when Fiona Sewell started waking each day with her eyelids sticking together and the whites of her eyes a worrying shade of red, she knew something more serious was going on.

‘My eyes constantly felt gritty and uncomfortable — I had poor vision and applying make-up was an ordeal,’ says Fiona, 50, a part-time student from Rugby.  ‘Eye drops just seemed to make them worse.  'I was clueless as to what could be causing it.’

She developed other symptoms including a dry mouth, which made swallowing difficult, constipation, abdominal pain and fatigue.

‘First thing in the morning, my mouth would be so dry that when I tried eating I would end up retching and choking,’ she says.

‘The fatigue could be incredible — sometimes I had to stop what I was doing to lie down, and then I’d have the deepest sleep.’

It took eight years before Fiona was finally diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an auto-immune condition thought to affect up to half a million people in Britain.

The American tennis player Venus Williams recently revealed she has Sjögren’s, and commentators have suggested her shock early departure from the ladies singles at Wimbledon this year was down to fatigue from the condition (though she did manage to win the doubles with her sister Serena).

Sjögren’s occurs when white blood cells attack the body’s secretory glands, including the tear and saliva glands, causing inflammation and reducing the amount of saliva, tears and fluid produced.

This causes a dry mouth and dry eyes, as well as constipation, vaginal dryness, joint pain and fatigue.

‘For reasons no one knows, the immune system malfunctions and causes problems in the glands that keep things moist,’ says Dr Simon Bowman, a rheumatologist at University Hospital Birmingham and Spire Parkway Hospital.

‘We believe B-cells (one of the main types of immune cells) are particularly activated in Sjögren’s, particularly those related to salivary glands.  'But this can have an effect anywhere in the body where lubrication is required.’

It can also trigger inflammation in the joints, causing swelling and pain, and the nervous system, causing loss of feeling in the hands and feet.

Like many auto-immune illnesses, it’s a condition that affects more women than men — 20 to 30 for every man — probably because the female hormone oestrogen can interfere with the immune system.

It is most common in those aged 40 to 60, and doctors believe the menopause — when levels of oestrogen begin to fall — may have a role.

Some patients are prescribed Pilocarpine, a drug that treats the symptoms of dryness by stimulating secretion.

However, there’s no specific medication to tackle the cause, says Dr Bowman.  ‘There are quite a few medications that are being used in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus that could be trialled in Sjögren’s, so we’d be keen for the pharmaceutical industry to invest in exploring those options.’

Dr Bowman is leading a £1 million clinical trial on behalf of Arthritis Research UK looking at the drug Rituximab.  This is licensed to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis, and works by attacking B-cells.

The hope is that by easing the immune response in this way the drug could dramatically improve dryness and fatigue in Sjögren’s sufferers.

‘There is good background research to suggest Rituximab is worth looking at,’ says Dr Bowman.  ‘Our earlier pilot study showed that treating patients with a single course of the drug resulted in some improvement in fatigue.  ‘An earlier Dutch study that looked at 30 patients also resulted in improvement in fatigue levels and the dryness symptoms.’

Patients in the new 12-month study will receive two courses of Rituximab or a dummy infusion.  Each course is made up of two infusions given two weeks apart — the courses will be given six months apart.


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