Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit

Friday, November 28, 2014

Suicide - The Utah Paradox








Neuroscientist Perry Renshaw, who works out of the University of Utah, is offering a theory to the high rate of suicide that exists in the state of Utah. It's a theory that may surprise many, may make many laugh or leave exasperated.

Theresa Fisher, a Brooklyn-based journalist who writes and edits for 'Brain Mic', has written an article based on Renshaw's findings [theories].

As expected the whole antidepressant/suicide link is not even refered to, quite bizarre given that the opening ramblings of Fisher's article mentions that Utah is, and I quote, "...the No. 1 state for antidepressant use."

Rather than delve into the suicide link between antidepressant use we are taken down a different path of opinion that results in the suggestion that the high rate of suicides in Utah is down to... wait for it... altitude.

Fisher reports that...

"Renshaw believes that altitude has an impact on our brain chemistry, specifically that it changes the levels of serotonin and dopamine, two key chemicals in the brain that help regulate our feelings of happiness. America's favorite antidepressants (and party drugs) work by controlling the level of these chemicals in the brain. The air in Utah, one could say, works just like this."

The above, of course, is supposition but the author of the study believes that he has found "mounting statistical, scientific and anecdotal support for his theory."

Utah, we are told, is not only the No. 1 state for antidepressant use, it also has the highest suicide rates in the country (aside from Alaska)

Putting these two facts together throws up some interesting theories for people like me that writes about the dangers of antidepressants. One would think it would have raised alarm bells for Renshaw - alas, he, it appears, avoids the blindingly obvious, opting instead to lay the blame on altitude.

In a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Renshaw, along with others, analyzed state suicide rates. The criteria they focused on were gun ownership, population density, poverty, health insurance quality and availability of psychiatric care. Once again we see no focus on whether or not the medication could be playing a part in suicide.

According to Renshaw, the 2011 study and a follow-up study found a positive correlation between suicide and altitude, adding that the elevation at which people live, he found, is a strong predictor of their mental health status.

It's an alternative opinion yet one that I find hard to swallow, particularly (and I know I keep saying it) that Renshaw et al seem to totally dismiss the notion that the actual 'cure' for depression could be the cause of the suicide. Even if it's not, the two statistics for the state of Utah would suggest that the antidepressants just aren't working. Dig deeper and you may just find that these pills that have been heavily marketed as 'life-savers' may just be the exact opposite.

Whilst dismissing the antidepressant suicide link Renshaw (on evidence he found regarding altitude and suicide) says that his evidence is "too strong to dismiss as coincidental."

"Hello, McFly, anyone at home?"

Let's just see what he overlooked again...

1. Utah is the No. 1 state for antidepressant use.

2. Utah has the highest suicide rates in the country (aside from Alaska)

Ergo it must be altitude causing the suicides!

The highest city in the world is, according to Wikipedia, La Rinconada in Peru. I'm left wondering if Renshaw et al actually obtained suicide reports from this part of the world?

It would be very interesting if Renshaw and co could go back to their study and through their evidence obtained try to decipher which of those who died by suicide were on an antidepressant medication at the time of their death... or were taking an antidepressant 3 months prior to their death.

Maybe then we can put the altitude theory to bed and focus on trying to save lives.

Bob Fiddaman.










Tuesday, November 25, 2014

AC/DC - Rock or Bust Review





First and foremost, no pussy-footin' around on this one folks. Crank the volume up to an acceptable level, I suggest 11.

Secondly, and most importantly, if you want lyrics that will make you sit and ponder, go listen to Coldplay or any other band of that ilk.

AC/DC's 'Rock or Bust' appears in stores Dec 1 and 2 but the band have given fans a very special, an early, Christmas gift by allowing the whole album to be streamed in its entirety via Itunes, that glunky piece of software that causes more headaches than...well, than any other piece of software I've ever known.

Being an AC/DC nut, I managed to hear the full album before AC/DC launched the 'official stream'. Hey, that's what us Acca Dacca nuts live for.

The one thing, for me at least, that sticks out about AC/DC's new offering, is the vocals. Brian Johnson has been belting out songs for AC/DC since the early days of Back In Black - anyone who has tried to imitate 'BJ' will have found, like me, that it's just plain impossible to sound like him without sounding like Donald Duck.

Johnson, like a fine wine, improves with age - is it down to his actual vocals or the production and mix of the album? - Does anyone really care?

It's almost as if Johnson has been given a new lease of life. "Here's the Mic, just do what you do best."

... and he does.

We hear the standard AC/DC sound throughout with a few little surprises thrown in.

I remember, back in 79, when I read a review in Sounds for the Highway to Hell album, the headline read "AC/DC Discover Harmony" - if they did, indeed, discover it back in 79, Rock or Bust shows how they have perfected it.

Here's a breakdown of the album...along with my thoughts.

1."Rock or Bust" -  3:04
I was fortunate to be present at the video shoot for Rock or Bust back in October [back story] - my views on this ballbuster haven't changed. It's AC/DC rockin out with their cocks out, balls n' all. As title tracks go, it's on a level with 'For Those About To Rock' [minus the cannons]. Their previous title track, 'Black Ice' , didn't really cut it for me - the album was great, the title track didn't really tick all the boxes. 'Rock or Bust' ticks them all.

2."Play Ball"  - 2.47
Another that has been circulating for some time - the song is better than most think, again it's your typical AC/DC riff with some nice picks, nothing too complex, just simple rock n' roll. The accompanying video to 'Play Ball' could have been better. Memo to AC/DC and David Mallett - AC/DC's 6th man is the fan - always include the 6th man in any future videos.

3."Rock the Blues Away" - 3:24
The opening is.... um, fuck me, Georgia Satellites meets The Angels. The verse is the same, I mean exactly the same melody as 'Anything Goes' (Black Ice). The chorus will just grab you buy the Jaffa's, superb harmonies - it's akin to a Geordie chorus [Brian's former band] - The lead break from Angus builds up slowly with some fine rhythm playing from Stevie. This is a crowd pleaser and is, at present, my favourite from the album.

4. "Miss Adventure" - 2:57
Stevie and Cliff have voices! Nice little shout of "Miss Adventure" and "Na na's" thrown in for good measure. I'm not sure about this one yet, for me, at least, it sounds like something that could have come a year or so after they released Rock or Bust, you know, a track that never made the final album, similar to the way 'Down on the Borderline' never made it to the final cut of 'Blow Up Your Video'. I'm sure it will grow on me...it may take some fertilizer though.

5. "Dogs of War" - 3:35
AC/DC fading in a song? Hmmm? Think 'War Machine' (Black Ice) "We be the dogs of war" (Soldier's of fortune") - It has one hell of a groove that will give most hardcore AC/DC fans callouses on their back foot  [left or right, depending how they have emulated Malcolm over the years] - Great harmonies once again, hard to believe that Malcolm is missing on this one - it has his rhythm written all over it. Take a bow Stevie!

6. "Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder" - 3.22
Typical Rudd beat, typical foot-stomping start, typical psychic presence of the Young family just knowing when and when not to hit those strings. AC/DC aren't just about music, they are about knowing when to give us those little pauses in between hitting those strings. Nice guitar work from Angus on this one - fades out too quickly - would have liked to have heard more Angus. If they play it live we probably will.

7. "Hard Times" - 2:44
This little baby is all about the chorus and harmonies. Stevie keeps things rolling in the style of Uncle Mal whilst Cliff's thumping bass holds everything together. It's refreshing to hear backing vocals over lead vocals - makes everything sound like a party.

8. - "Baptism by Fire" - 3:30
Oh baby! I would just love to have been in the studio when they knocked this one out. What fun, what movement (groove) -  it's a train that starts at high speed and keeps its momentum throughout it's 3.30 short journey - it's something you could imagine a younger band doing...but doing it poorly. AC/DC are the past (and present) masters of the locomotive groove. You jump on board the party train and just feel the motion of it all through every part of your body.

9. "Rock the House" - 2:42
A Zep type riff, a 'Faith No More' funky bass riff, a killer vocal, with the help of Cliff and Stevie's shout of "Rock the House". It's the shortest song on the album, not the strongest AC/DC track you will ever hear, not the most memorable either. Another one that will, undoubtedly grow on me over the coming months.

10. "Sweet Candy" - 3.09
Oh yeh, oh yeh... if track 9 [Zep and Faith No More] disappoints then Sweet Candy gives us the return of AC/DC. This could have been lifted straight from the 'Blow Up Your Video' sessions, only with better production, much better!

11. "Emission Control" - 3:41
Like "Rock the House"we have the funky bass riff. What sets this aside is the chorus and harmonies. Stevie brings in a voice to the harmonies that, for most hardcore fans, will be the only sign that Malcolm is missing from this album.

All in all it's an album that will delight the majority of AC/DC fans. Sure, there will be those who may even suggest that AC/DC should hang up their guitars, uniforms and cloth caps - those that suggest such sacrilege should be tried for treason.

AC/DC are, without doubt, the biggest rock act on the planet. They have a style and, for the most part, they have stuck to that tried and tested formula throughout Rock Or Bust.

If you enjoyed Black Ice, you'll enjoy Rock Or Bust. If you compare it with Back In Black or the phenomenal 'Powerage' then it will disappoint.

Never, under any circumstances, compare one AC/DC album with another... just enjoy each one individually.

To stream the album go to Itunes here.

Liverpool and Scottish legend Bill Shankly once said, "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."

Same can be said for AC/DC





Bob Fiddaman.






Friday, November 21, 2014

Medication Madness





Just when you thought it was safe to go back to school...

I thought I'd seen every trick in the book to get kids hooked on medication. From pharmaceutical reps professing to doctors that "of course these drugs are safe for kids to take" or wining and dining a particular dr to get him/her to prescribe more drugs to kids (even though the particular drug was not recommended for child use.

So, with those avenues pretty much exhausted after large fines laid down by the Department of Justice, the pharmaceutical companies had to come up with a way of getting their products into the mouths of teenagers.

Step forward InstyMeds, a vending machine that dispenses prescription medications directly to patients at the point-of-care.

And where is this apparent 'point of care'?

Arizona State University's Health Services Building, a homestead full of teenagers.

Here's what Allan Markus, director of ASU Health Services had to say, "Serving the health-care needs of our students is still our highest priority; we believe the measures we have taken will help our students with their prescription needs," 

InstyMeds is missing a couple of important letters me thinks. Perhaps InsanityMeds would be more appropriate.

Forget those pack-lunches with an orange drink full of vitamin C - go for the psychiatric medication instead.

I suspect the science lab will be getting huge gas bills with those bunsen burners working overtime - Breaking Bad anyone?

Yet another classic example of the Pharmafia at work folks!


Sunday, November 09, 2014

Remembrance





I’m cold, I’m lonely,
I’m scared of shell fire.
Digging a trench
KABOOM! Goes the choir.
Closer and closer
To the fallout dust.
To gain a few inches
In a war that’s unjust.
There’s a whistle overhead…

Bob Fiddaman (2001)

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Robin Williams - Autopsy Reveals Antidepressants




Actor and comedian Robin Williams died by suicide according to a coroners findings.

An autopsy report revealed no alcohol or illegal drugs.

What the autopsy did reveal however is that Williams had concentrations of antidepressants in his system. The media are reporting that "therapeutic concentrations" of prescription medications were found, including two antidepressants.

I had to do a double take. Coroners often use this terminology.

Let's look at the word 'therapeutic'

DEFINITION

Therapeutic - producing good effects on your body or mind (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Antidepressant - a drug that is used to relieve or prevent depression in a person (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

And now Williams is dead.

Anyone else see the hypocrisy here?

If antidepressants are prescribed to relieve or prevent depression and they are, as we are told, effective, then why would someone taking them wish to end their own life?

If antidepressants are supposed to produce good effects on your body or mind then, same question, why would someone taking them wish to end their own life?

Now, the flipside.

For years many people from all walks of life have suggested that antidepressants induce suicide, even the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and market these drugs have conceded to this fact.

Why then did the coroner return a verdict of suicide for Robin Williams?

Could Williams have killed himself for other reasons than depression?

Why didn't the coroner delve deeper into the antidepressant suicide link?

Why did he not return a verdict that Williams death was induced, or could have been induced by the antidepressants he was taking?

Suicide, maybe so but maybe there was a third party involved here?

The mainstream media are, in the main, running with the headlines that Williams killed himself and no drugs were found in his system. As yet I have not seen one headline in any of the mainstream outlets that have used the headline 'Antidepressants found in Robin Williams system'.

Once again, it's left to bloggers who, no doubt will be labelled 'conspiracy theorists' by prescribing psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies alike.

RIP Robin. You entertained millions, your voice was heard globally. Sadly, your voice has been suppressed in your death by a coroner who had a duty to give you a voice.

Bob Fiddaman.


















Thursday, November 06, 2014

Give Them Hell, Brisdelle




Back in 2013 I wrote about the FDA's approval of an apparent 'new' drug to treat hot flashes during menopause.

The perfectly pink packaged Brisdelle is now being shown on US TV screens, a marketing strategy aimed, of course, at women.

The 60 second ad avoids telling the viewer that what is actually being advertised is a chemical compound called paroxetine, better known to millions of US citizens as Paxil, an antidepressant with a less than savoury history.

Brisdelle is 7.5mg of Paxil with a new brand name, by adding Paxil to the combination the patient will actually be overdosing.

Another antidepressant, Wellbutrin, is also marketed for different uses, once again under a different brand name - Zyban. For those that don't know Zyban is a smoking cessation drug cum antidepressant - exactly the same as Brisdelle is a drug to treat hot flashes cum antidepressant.

Quite why the FDA granted a licence to Brisdelle knowing what they know about Paxil astonishes me.

Let's watch the 60 second ad... pay attention to what the voice-over says, it follows the words, "Call your doctor if". Then listen to the same voice-over list the three apparent 'played down' side effects..






Tell your doctor if you are allergic to paroxetine?

Quite a spin - it probably means tell your doctor if you have taken paroxetine before and suffered its multitude of side effects, which include; suicidal ideation, completed suicide, birth defects and addiction to name but a few.

Last month Dr Evan Levine wrote a brilliant piece regarding Brisdelle. Levine wrote the column for the Ridgefield Press and made some astute comments.

For me, it’s yet another example of Big Pharma exploiting an unwary public with the phrase “Approved by the Food and Drug Administration.” Brisdelle is the trade name of a drug that has been available for years as a cheap generic, paroxetine, also known as Paxil, now rebranded and sold in a dose that is both convenient for the manufacturer and equally inconvenient for the consumer.
At 12 weeks into treatment, those patients who took this antidepressant (Brisdelle) had, on average, 5.9 fewer hot flashes and those patients who took the placebo had 5.0 fewer hot flashes; again statistically fewer hot flashes for those who took the Brisdelle, but not even less than one fewer hot flashes a day when compared to the nothing-pill. A quick review of the data and you’ll notice that the subjects taking the placebo for three months actually had fewer hot flashes than the patients who took it for a month!

Levine continues with...

And now the most disturbing part. The FDA’s independent advisory committee voted 10-4 not to approve Brisdelle, in March of 2013, on the grounds that it did not provide sufficient benefits. Yet the FDA went ahead and approved it anyway! The FDA rarely approves a drug that has more negative than affirmative votes.

Great observation from Levine.

We can't point the finger at GlaxoSmithKline for this one folks. It's Noven Therapeutics who market Brisdelle.

My advice to women suffering from hot flashes is simple. Stay away from Brisdelle, your reaction to it could cost you your life.

Further reading on the risks of paroxetine here.


Bob Fiddaman.