Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hilarious:  Fluoride reduces your IQ

Journal abstract below.  They found an effect due to fluoride of less than one IQ point  -- which is well within the error of measurement.  The fluoride freaks never give up.  That the toxicity is in the dose is beyond their comprehension

"Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"

By Anna L. Choi et al.


Background: Although fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in animal models and acute fluoride poisoning causes neurotoxicity in adults, very little is known of its effects on children’s neurodevelopment.

Objective: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies to investigate the effects of increased fluoride exposure and delayed neurobehavioral development.

Methods: We searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Water Resources Abstracts, and TOXNET databases through 2011 for eligible studies. We also searched the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, because many studies on fluoride neurotoxicity have been published in Chinese journals only. In total, we identified 27 eligible epidemiological studies with high and reference exposures, end points of IQ scores, or related cognitive function measures with means and variances for the two exposure groups. Using random-effects models, we estimated the standardized mean difference between exposed and reference groups across all studies. We conducted sensitivity analyses restricted to studies using the same outcome assessment and having drinking-water fluoride as the only exposure. We performed the Cochran test for heterogeneity between studies, Begg’s funnel plot, and Egger test to assess publication bias, and conducted meta-regressions to explore sources of variation in mean differences among the studies.

Results: The standardized weighted mean difference in IQ score between exposed and reference populations was –0.45 (95% confidence interval: –0.56, –0.35) using a random-effects model. Thus, children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses also indicated inverse associations, although the substantial heterogeneity did not appear to decrease.

Conclusions: The results support the possibility of an adverse effect of high fluoride exposure on children’s neurodevelopment. Future research should include detailed individual-level information on prenatal exposure, neurobehavioral performance, and covariates for adjustment.



The patients prescribed up to 25 different drugs a day with devastating results

This is alarmingly common.  When people go into hospital, they usually take their normal medications with them.  So when I went into hospital last year at age 68, my medications should have come with me.  Excerpt there weren't any.  I practice skepticism as well as preach it. A nurse who looked into my medication cupboard said it was the only empty one she had ever seen.  The hospital was a top private one so nearly all the patients were older people

Jean Smith felt as if a thick fog had descended on her brain as once again she found herself having to re-read sentences three times so she understood what they meant.

‘Even when I talked I struggled to find the right words,’ recalls Jean, a 63-year-old former civil servant, who lives in Liverpool with her husband, Kenneth, 58, a factory supervisor.

‘I told Kenneth the same things over and I never knew what the day was.  'I just couldn’t think clearly and was worried I was beginning to lose it.’

She was also sleeping more than usual.

In fact, Jean’s brain was absolutely fine — the real problem was the dozens of medications she’d been prescribed by her GP.

Jean was on a cocktail of more than 25 pills, patches and creams a day, from an anti- hypertensive drug for high blood pressure to painkillers for arthritis.

The prescriptions had increased during a 15-year period.

‘The effects built up gradually as my prescriptions escalated. I felt I was under a chemical cosh,’ recalls Jean.

‘To be fair, my GP is pretty good at checking up on how I get on with new drugs — the problem is like most people I just wasn’t aware that some of the symptoms I had were actually side-effects  of drugs.’

But last November, after Jean experienced dizzy spells and sudden low blood pressure, her doctors and GP decided to reduce her drugs down to just nine.

‘They were unsure whether my symptoms were linked to a new medical condition or were a symptom of drug interactions. It actually turned out to be a combination of both.’

For although the bad news was that Jean had another problem — an autoimmune condition affecting her adrenal glands — coming off some of her drugs actually cured her memory problems.

‘I can think clearly again and I’m not forgetting things,’ she says happily. ‘I don’t feel like I’m drugged up to the eyeballs any more.’

Jean is one of a growing number of patients in the UK on a daily cocktail of drugs to treat medical conditions, prevent others and increasingly, to deal with the side-effects of prescribed medication (in other words, the drugs they are given for their genuine ailments in turn create symptoms).

The annual number of prescriptions per head of population has increased from 11.9 in 2001 to 18.3 per person in 2011.

Most of this increase has been in prescribing for the elderly. Almost half the over-65s have three chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis. It’s quite common for this age group to be taking eight to 12 different types of medication daily.

Taking lots of different prescription pills and medicines — known as polypharmacy — is a major issue for this age group, says Dr Chris Fox, consultant old age psychiatrist at  the Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia.

Experts warn the problem is partly due to prescribers being too quick to medicate — without always checking what other medication the patient is already on. As we shall see, GPs are also effectively incentivised to put patients on pills.

Elderly patients often don’t know why they are on so many drugs, says Dr Trisha McNair, specialist in medicine for the elderly at Milford Hospital, Surrey: ‘One GP friend of mine says she had a patient who kept all her pills on a huge glass bowl on the kitchen table and just took a random handful when she  was passing.’

Dr McNair says she often sees patients who are on between 12 and 20 different types of medication, including pills, sprays and creams.

The problem with polypharmacy is that the more drugs you take, the more likely you are to experience side-effects that are then misinterpreted by the healthcare practitioner as a symptom of disease that needs treating with additional medicine, explains Dr Fox.

‘Many older people on beta-blockers for blood pressure, for example, will report depression.’

This could be because depression is a known side-effect of beta-blockers.

But some patients may not need the beta-blockers at all — the problem is the drug then slows down their heart too much and it is this that makes them tired and depressed.

‘This may lead to them being prescribed anti-depressants they don’t need.

'Others who are on statins might suffer from muscle pain and this may mean they need painkillers, which may then have more side-effects, including gastric problems, which then necessitate more drugs.

‘A lot of these drugs do prevent illness, it’s true, but there is often a price to pay in terms of side-effects.’

It’s not just that the drugs can cause side-effects — there’s also the problem of them interacting with each other.

‘A big part of our workload is sorting out whether these patients’ symptoms are an illness or a result of drug interactions,’ says Dr McNair.

This task is not helped by the fact that drugs are not tested on patients who are on multiple pills for different conditions, adds Dr Fox.

‘I was always taught that if you take more than three drugs at a time you can expect interactions — but these days it’s not unusual for the over-65s to be on five or more different drugs for three or more chronic health conditions. No one really knows what the cumulative effects of this are yet.

‘Although GPs use computerised prescribing systems that should flag up drug interactions, they may also write paper prescriptions on home visits and not have access to this, so the system is not infallible,’ says  Dr Fox.

The elderly are more at risk of drug side-effects because their metabolism is slower, meaning drugs build up in their systems, he adds.

Dr Fox recently published research that suggested commonly prescribed anticholinergic drugs — used for treating movement disorders, incontinence and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — are associated with cognitive decline in the elderly and an increased risk of death.

An estimated 20 to 50 per cent of all over-65s are being prescribed at least one anti-cholinergic drug, and while the effects of some are small, their cumulative effects may cause significant mental deterioration in older people who already have some cognitive problems, warns Ian Maidment, a senior lecturer at Aston University’s School of Pharmacy and joint author of the study.

‘Doctors can definitely do more harm than good by prescribing too many drugs — GPs are ideally placed to take a holistic view of the patient’s overall health, but they are hard-pressed.

‘And sometimes the patient is under four or five different specialists and it can be hard for GPs to find out why a patient has been prescribed a particular drug, so they tend to leave them on it.’

‘We need more research into poly-pharmacy to see what the effects are. It requires a co-ordinated response from community pharmacists, patients and their carers too.’

There is an added problem with patients self-medicating with over-the-counter drugs and herbal  remedies, says Dr Fox.

Tackling polypharmacy can make a significant difference, as Jean Smith discovered.

Her experience is borne out by an Israeli study in 2010 that found that when the elderly patients in a nursing home were taken off some of their medication (under supervision), 88 per cent reported improvements in their overall health.

Fifty-six of the 70 participants reported improvements in their cognitive health.


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