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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are Cancers Newly Evolved Species? Tumors Are Parasitic Organisms Not Cell Mutations Says New Theory

Are Cancers Newly Evolved Species? Tumors Are Parasitic Organisms Not Cell Mutations Says New Theory

Cancer patients may view their tumors as parasites taking over their bodies, but this is more than a metaphor for Peter Duesberg, a molecular and cell biology professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Cancerous tumors are parasitic organisms, he said. Each one is a new species that, like most parasites, depends on its host for food, but otherwise operates independently and often to the detriment of its host.
A karyograph is one way to display the number of copies of each chromosome in a clone of cells from an individual or a cancer. Here, the karyograph shows the chromosomes of 20 individual cells (represented by black lines) of a normal human male. Each cell has precisely two copies of 22 chromosomes and one copy of each sex chromosome, demonstrating that human cells have a fixed and stable karyotype.
Credit: University of California - Berkeley

In a paper published in the July 1 issue of the journal Cell Cycle, Duesberg and UC Berkeley colleagues describe their theory that carcinogenesis – the generation of cancer – is just another form of speciation, the evolution of new species.

“Cancer is comparable to a bacterial level of complexity, but still autonomous, that is, it doesn’t depend on other cells for survival; it doesn’t follow orders like other cells in the body, and it can grow where, when and how it likes,” said Duesberg. “That’s what species are all about.”

This novel view of cancer could yield new insights into the growth and metastasis of cancer, Duesberg said, and perhaps new approaches to therapy or new drug targets. In addition, because the disrupted chromosomes of newly evolved cancers are visible in a microscope, it may be possible to detect cancers earlier, much as today’s Pap smear relies on changes in the shapes of cervical cells as an indication of chromosomal problems that could lead to cervical cancer.

Carcinogenesis and evolution

The idea that cancer formation is akin to the evolution of a new species is not new, with various biologists hinting at it in the late 20th century. Evolutionary biologist Julian S. Huxley wrote in 1956 that “Once the neoplastic process has crossed the threshold of autonomy, the resultant tumor can be logically regarded as a new biologic species ….”

Last year, Dr. Mark Vincent of the London Regional Cancer Program and University of Western Ontario argued in the journal Evolution that carcinogenesis and the clonal evolution of cancer cells are speciation events in the strict Darwinian sense.

The evolution of cancer “seems to be different from the evolution of a grasshopper, for instance, in part because the cancer genome is not a stable genome like that of other species. The challenging question is, what has it become?” Vincent said in an interview. “Duesberg’s argument from karyotype is different from my argument from the definition of a species, but it is consistent.”

Vincent noted that there are three known transmissible cancers, including devil facial tumor disease, a “parasitic cancer” that attacks and kills Tasmanian devils. It is transmitted from one animal to another by a whole cancer cell. A similar parasitic cancer, canine transmissible venereal tumor, is transmitted between dogs via a single cancer cell that has a genome dating from the time when dogs were first domesticated. A third transmissible cancer was found in hamsters.

“Cancer has become a successful parasite,” Vincent said.

Mutation theory vs. aneuploidy

Duesbeg’s arguments derive from his controversial proposal that the reigning theory of cancer – that tumors begin when a handful of mutated genes send a cell into uncontrolled growth – is wrong. He argues, instead, that carcinogenesis is initiated by a disruption of the chromosomes, which leads to duplicates, deletions, breaks and other chromosomal damage that alter the balance of tens of thousands of genes. The result is a cell with totally new traits – that is, a new phenotype.

“I think Duesberg is correct by criticizing mutation theory, which sustains a billion-dollar drug industry focused on blocking these mutations,” said Vincent, a medical oncologist. “Yet very, very few cancers have been cured by targeted drug therapy, and even if a drug helps a patient survive six or nine more months, cancer cells often find a way around it.”

Chromosomal disruption, called aneuploidy, is known to cause disease. Down syndrome, for example, is caused by a third copy of chromosome 21, one of the 23 pairs of human chromosomes. All cancer cells are aneuploid, Duesberg said, though proponents of the mutation theory of cancer argue that this is a consequence of cancer, not the cause.

Key to Duesberg’s theory is that some initial chromosomal mutation – perhaps impairing the machinery that duplicates or segregates chromosomes in preparation for cell division – screws up a cell’s chromosomes, breaking some or making extra copies of others. Normally this would be a death sentence for a cell, but in rare cases, he said, such disrupted chromosomes might be able to divide further, perpetuating and compounding the damage. Over decades, continued cell division would produce many unviable cells as well as a few still able to divide autonomously and seed cancer.

Duesberg asserts that cancers are new species because those viable enough to continue dividing develop relatively stable chromosome patterns, called karyotypes, distinct from the chromosome pattern of their human host. While all known organisms today have stable karyotypes, with all cells containing precisely two or four copies of each chromosome, cancers exhibit a more flexible and unpredictable karyotype, including not only intact chromosomes from the host, but also partial, truncated and mere stumps of chromosomes.

“If humans changed their karyotype – the number and arrangement of chromosomes – we would either die or be unable to mate, or in very rare cases become another species,” Duesberg said. But cancer cells just divide and make more of themselves. They don’t have to worry about reproduction, which is sensitive to chromosomal balance. In fact, as long as the genes for mitosis are still intact, a cancer cell can survive with many disrupted and unbalanced chromosomes, such as those found in an aneuploid cell, he said.

The karyotype does change as a cancer cell divides, because the chromosomes are disrupted and thus don’t copy perfectly. But the karyotype is “only flexible within a certain margin,” Duesberg said. “Within these margins it remains stable, despite its flexibility.”

Karyographs display karyotype variability

Duesberg and his colleagues developed karyographs as a way to display the aneuploid nature of a cell’s karyotype and its stability across numerous cell cultures. Using these karyographs, he and his colleagues analyzed several cancers, clearly demonstrating that the karyotype is amazingly similar in all cells of a specific cancer line, yet totally different from the karyotypes of other cancers and even the same type of cancer from a different patient.

In contrast to normal cells, cervical cancer cells (HeLa) have flexible chromosomes. The 23 normal chromosomes have between 0 and 4 copies, while the several dozen hybrid or “marker” chromosomes have between 0 and 2. The copy numbers differ in the 20 individual HeLa cells shown, but they are nearly clonal, varying around an average clonal number.
HeLa cells are a perfect example. Perhaps the most famous cancer cell line in history, HeLa cells were obtained in 1951 from a cervical cancer that eventually killed a young black woman named Henrietta Lacks. The 60-year-old cell line derived from her cancer has a relatively stable karyotype that keeps it alive through division after division.

“Once a cell has crossed that barrier of autonomy, it’s a new species,” Duesberg said. “HeLa cells have evolved in the laboratory and are now even more stable than they probably were when they first arose.”

The individualized karyotypes of cancers resemble the distinct karyotypes of different species,, Duesberg said. While biologists have not characterized the karyotypes of most species, no two species are known that have the same number and arrangement of chromosomes, including those of, for example, gorillas and humans, who share 99 percent of their genes.

Duesberg argues that his speciation theory explains cancer’s autonomy, immortality and flexible, but relatively stable, karyotype. It also explains the long latency period between initial aneuploidization and full blown cancer, because there is such a low probability of evolving an autonomous karyotype.

“You start with a chromosomal mutation, that is, aneuploidy perhaps from X-rays or cigarettes or radiation, that destabilizes and eventually changes your karyotype or renders it non-viable,” he said. “The rare viable aneuploidies of cancers are, in effect, the karyotypes of new species.”

Duesberg hopes that the carcinogenesis-equals-speciation theory will spur new approaches to diagnosing and treating cancer. Vincent, for example, suspects that cancers are operating right at the edge of survivability, maintaining genomic flexibility while retaining the ability to divide forever. Driving them to evolve even faster, he said, “might push them over the edge.”

Duesberg’s colleagues are postdoctoral fellow Daniele Mandrioli and research associate Amanda McCormack of UC Berkeley and graduate student Joshua M. Nicholson in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Duesberg’s research is funded by the Abraham J. and Phyllis Katz Foundation, philanthropists Dr. Christian Fiala, Rajeev and Christine Joshi, Robert Leppo and Peter Rozsa of the Taubert Memorial Foundation, other private sources and the Forschungsfonds der Fakultät für Klinische Medizin Mannheim der Universität Heidelberg.

Staining chromosomes with different dyes highlights the orderly nature of the normal human karyotype (left), that is, humans have precisely two copies of each chromosome with no leftovers. A bladder cancer cell (right) has extra copies of some chromosomes, a few missing normal chromsomes, and a lot of hybrid or marker chromosomes, which characterize cancer cells.

Credit: University of California - Berkeley

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cholesterol drugs promote diabetes - Journal of the American Medical Association

Say “GOODBYE” to Lipitor (and other statin drugs) Natural Cholesterol Reduction Complex

It's true: Cholesterol drugs promote diabetes. That's how Big Pharma works, you see: One drug causes another disease, which is treated by a second drug, which causes a third disease, and so on:

Seven years after the American Diabetes Association urged all diabetics, regardless of whether or not they had high cholesterol, to take statin drugs because they "may have some other qualities that have not been tested," (, a new analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that statin drugs actually cause diabetes.

The findings also confirm the general ineptitude of American disease and medical groups that continually push dangerous drugs on the public that have never been adequately verified for safety or effectiveness.

The study, which includes data from five randomized clinical trials, appears poised to highlight the alleged benefits of statins to lower cholesterol levels, rather than focus on their link to causing diabetes.

But what the study actually proves is that taking statins leads to more disease, especially in light of various recent studies that show statins do not even work effectively to lower cholesterol, let alone treat anything else (

Despite an slight decrease in cardiovascular events among patients taking statins like Lipitor, Pravachol, and Crestor, the data does not indicate whether other factors like dietary and lifestyle changes may have played a role in this outcome. And yet at the same time, the data shows an 8.4 percent rise in diabetes among the statin groups.

Aside from their many serious side effects, which include loss of muscle mass, liver disease, kidney failure, depleted Coenzyme Q10 levels, and heart attacks, statins have never been proven safe or effective for their stated purpose.

Numerous studies, including one published last year in the British Medical Journal, show that statins harm more people than they actually help -- and in truth, there is scant evidence that statins do anything beneficial at all for patients.

In other words, patients with high cholesterol levels do not need to take statin drugs for the rest of their lives to manage their "condition" -- this is not the only option.
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

What are the real risks of antidepressants?

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What are the real risks of antidepressants?

(This article was first printed in the May 2005 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter. For more information or to order, please go to

Since the late 1980s, America and the world have been enjoying the benefits of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These antidepressants — fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro) — are among the world’s most widely prescribed medications. They are remarkably safe and effective. The range of their uses has expanded from depression to anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and many other psychiatric conditions.

The number of patients who suffer destructive outcomes may be small, but no medical treatment is without risk. In recent years, the side effects of these drugs, from sexual dysfunction to suicidal behavior, have received more attention. Drug makers have been instructed to add warnings about the most serious dangers, particularly the risk of suicide. So the public and professionals are weighing risks and benefits anew. All clinicians and patients should be aware of potential problems, questions, and concerns. We review those issues here and try to put them in perspective.

Physical symptoms. Some patients taking SSRIs develop insomnia, skin rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea. These problems are usually temporary or mild or both. A more serious potential problem is reduced blood clotting capacity because of a decreased concentration of the neurotransmitter serotonin in platelets. Patients are at increased risk for stomach or uterine bleeding, and are more likely to require a blood transfusion during or after surgery. This risk is about the same as the risk of bleeding with NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen). If patients use SSRIs and NSAIDs at the same time, the risk more than doubles, so they must be combined with care.

Involuntary movements. These include tics, muscle spasms, dyskinesia (repetitive muscle movements), parkinsonism (rigid and trembling limbs, a shuffling gait, loss of fine motor control), and akathisia (compulsive restlessness), any of which may be accompanied by severe anxiety. Though rare, these symptoms are more likely in the elderly and in patients taking fluoxetine and citalopram, the SSRIs that remain longest in the body.
Treatments include the anti-anxiety drug diazepam (Valium), the beta-blocker propranolol (Inderal), and antiparkinsonian drugs such as benztropine (Cogentin). It may also help to switch to a different kind of antidepressant.

Sexual effects. For many patients, SSRIs diminish sexual interest, desire, performance, satisfaction, or all four. In men, SSRIs can delay or inhibit ejaculation, and in women, delay or prevent orgasm. They may also hinder lubrication of the vagina, erection of the penis, and engorgement of the clitoris. And many users of SSRIs who can function physically lose interest in sex.
Lowering the dose may help, although the patient may lose the drug’s benefit. Another solution is adding or substituting bupropion (Wellbutrin), which works by a different mechanism and does not generally cause sexual side effects.

Sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis), taken an hour before sex, helps maintain an erection in men by increasing blood flow to the penis. The main potential side effects are headaches, flushing, upset stomach, and heartburn. Used by a person taking nitrates for angina, these drugs could cause a dangerous fall in blood pressure. They have not clearly shown benefits for women in controlled trials.

Drug interactions. SSRIs are broken down in the liver by a group of enzymes known as the cytochrome P450 system. By engaging these enzymes, SSRIs may bump out another drug that requires the same breakdown process, thus increasing its blood level and prolonging its action. The danger is greatest with fluoxetine and paroxetine. Physicians who prescribe SSRIs must know about other drugs a patient is taking so that the dose can be adjusted.

If an SSRI is taken along with another drug that enhances serotonin activity, a rare condition called the serotonin syndrome may develop — racing heart, sweating, high fever, high blood pressure, and sometimes delirium. In particular, SSRIs should not be mixed with certain other medications, especially the herbal remedy St. John’s wort, monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as phenelzine (Nardil), and clomipramine (Anafranil). The serotonin syndrome has also been reported when an SSRI is combined with lithium, the standard treatment for bipolar disorder.

The elderly. SSRIs are safer than tricyclic antidepressants for older people because they do not disturb heart rhythms and rarely cause dizziness that results in falls. But liver function is less efficient in older people, so there is a greater risk of drug interactions involving the cytochrome P450 system. For that reason, older people do best with rapidly metabolized drugs like sertraline.

Loss of effectiveness. Any antidepressant may lose its effect after months or years, sometimes because the brain has become less responsive to the drug (tolerance). Solutions include increasing the dose and switching to another antidepressant with a different mechanism of action.

Discontinuation symptoms. Symptoms that may occur on stopping an SSRI include dizziness, loss of coordination, fatigue, tingling, burning, blurred vision, insomnia, and vivid dreams. Less often, there may be nausea or diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, irritability, anxiety, and crying spells. “Discontinuation syndrome” is a better description than “withdrawal reaction,” a phrase associated with addiction. The syndrome is usually (but not always) mild and brief, peaking in the first week and quickly fading.

Although none of these drugs should be stopped abruptly, paroxetine tends to produce the most intense discontinuation symptoms. Here is a place where the longer-lasting drugs have an advantage; some clinicians switch to fluoxetine before gradually lowering the dose.

Antidepressants before birth. Some (but not all) studies have found a higher than average risk for low birth weight and premature delivery when antidepressants are taken during pregnancy, especially in the last three months. At birth, infants may suffer withdrawal symptoms, including jitters, crying, irritability, shivering, and, rarely, seizures. One study, correcting statistically for other factors including the mother’s depression, found more respiratory distress in infants exposed to paroxetine in the last months of pregnancy. The symptoms were most intense in the first few days and usually disappeared within a month.

Reports of discontinuation symptoms are difficult to interpret because they do not come from controlled experiments. Risks to the fetus must be weighed against the considerable risks of depression to both mother and child. More seriously depressed women are more likely to need antidepressant drugs while pregnant, and depression itself can affect the unborn child. In such situations, it may be essential to prescribe antidepressants for pregnant women.

Breast-feeding. Similar cautions apply to nursing mothers. A meta-analysis published in 2004 indicated that the quickly eliminated drugs paroxetine and sertraline do not reach significant levels in breast milk, but fluoxetine and citalopram do.

Suicide. The risk that antidepressants will incite violent or self-destructive actions is the subject of renewed controversy. Suicidal thoughts (although no suicides) in patients taking SSRIs were first reported in 1990, shortly after the drugs were introduced. An FDA committee rejected the association, and most mental health professionals accepted that conclusion. But the issue was never completely settled.

One reason for concern is the increasing number of children and adolescents receiving prescriptions for antidepressants. An analysis of clinical trials in patients under age 18 found that SSRIs raised the risk of suicidal thinking when compared with a placebo. Many studies have followed, and although results vary, there is a consistent trend. When compared with a placebo, all antidepressants, including SSRIs, seem to double the risk of suicidal thinking, from 1%–2% to 2%–4%, in both children and adults.

In October 2004, after much hesitation and pressure from parents and Congress, the FDA issued a Black Box Warning for physicians and pharmacists — its strongest available measure short of withdrawing a drug from the market. The warning is placed on package inserts for all antidepressants in common use. It mentions the risk of suicidal thoughts, hostility, and agitation in both children and adults, specifically citing statistical analyses of clinical trials. The FDA has also issued a public advisory to parents, physicians, and pharmacists, and it will develop an information guide to be distributed with each new prescription.

Professional organizations are also acting. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has established a committee to monitor controlled trials, set standards, and promulgate guidelines for the use of drugs in children. The Academy will also work with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to publish a review of these issues and a guide for investigators. The American Medical Association is preparing an independent review of the evidence on risks and benefits of antidepressants.

Self-destructive feelings and thoughts in patients taking SSRIs may be the result of anxiety or akathisia. Sometimes a person with hidden bipolar disorder receives an antidepressant and develops an irritable manic reaction. Some patients may recover their energy and therefore their ability to act before mood improves or hope returns. The danger is greatest in the first few weeks of treatment. If a patient begins to have suicidal thoughts after many months on an antidepressant, the drug is probably not to blame. It's more likely to be caused by the underlying illness.

A bad outcome can be avoided by regular follow-up and close monitoring. Patients should be warned that there is a slight chance they will feel worse for a while, and they should let their prescribing clinicians know immediately if they begin to feel worse or develop new symptoms, especially after changing the medication or the dose.

Weighing the risks for children. Those who think antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs are being prescribed too freely for children and adolescents may feel vindicated by these developments. They doubt that we know enough about the long-term effects of antidepressants and other drugs on children’s growth or developing brains.

As of early 2005, only fluoxetine is FDA-approved for major depression in patients under age 18. Fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, and sertraline are approved for childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder. In a clinical trial, paroxetine was found effective for social anxiety disorder in children. But the difference between drug and placebo is moderate, and psychotherapy is generally equally effective. The NIMH is also sponsoring a study of antidepressants and psychotherapy in adolescents who have attempted suicide.
The warnings and regulations have influenced professional judgments. The number of antidepressant prescriptions for children, which rose rapidly throughout the 1990s, has begun to fall almost as precipitously. According to a company that processes prescriptions for HMOs and employers, child and adolescent antidepressant use dropped 16% in the last three months of 2004.

Overall, pediatricians and general practitioners write about a third of antidepressant prescriptions for children and adolescents. It’s expected that many of them will stop prescribing these drugs and instead refer patients with suspected depression to mental health professionals. One optimistic view is that this change will result in closer monitoring. And in the future SSRIs may be prescribed mostly for children and adolescents with persistent or severe symptoms that are not responding to psychotherapy.

The other side. The practical significance of the findings on suicidal thinking is still uncertain. The lifetime suicide rate of people with major depression is 15%, and depression can also be lethal in other ways; for example, a history of major depression doubles the risk of heart disease. And it has been estimated that only 25% of cases of major depression receive adequate treatment of any kind, either drugs or psychotherapy. The adolescent suicide rate declined nearly 15% in the United States between 1985 and 1999, while use of SSRIs in that age group was rising by nearly 70%. Only 20% of adolescents who commit suicide have ever taken an antidepressant drug. Ironically, the most worrisome potential side effects of SSRIs — loss of libido and suicidal thinking — are also common symptoms of depression. Another irony is that SSRIs have largely replaced the older tricyclic antidepressants partly because they cannot be used to commit suicide.

Some will always think that drugs are overused, others that they are not used enough. Decisions about SSRIs engage professional loyalties — psychologists naturally tend to be more skeptical about drugs than psychiatrists — as well as economic interests, including concern about the rising costs of health care. There are larger issues, too — whether the current popularity of drug treatment means that psychotherapy is being neglected and depression understood too exclusively as a biochemical problem.

Research in genetics, pharmacology, and neuroscience may eventually reduce uncertainty and anxiety by helping us choose which antidepressant will have the greatest benefits with the fewest side effects for a given patient. Meanwhile, the period of adjustment we have been going through in the early 2000s should help bring judgments on the risks and benefits of antidepressants into better balance.



If you are on medications your nutrition is probably depleted.

Many of the side effects associated with prescription drugs are related to the nutritional deficiencies caused by those drugs.

New health challenges can emerge which are caused by drug induced nutritional deficiencies.

Full spectrum nutrition available from Shaklee “VITALIZER” will protect you from these health risks.  Contact information at bottom of article.

ALIVE - Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition
Common Drugs Deplete Nutrients
by Daniel T. Wagner, RPh, MBA

The growing fusion of natural medicines with nutrition and allopathic medicine has spawned a new area of specialization called drug/nutrient depletion.

Current estimates are that 62 to 68 per cent of North Americans take "alternative" medicines and therapies (including herbs, botanicals, vitamins, minerals and homeopathy.) The growth in this industry has increased unabated for over a decade. Although the media is full of reports on nutritional supplements, many consumers (and unfortunately many physicians and other health professionals) don't understand that some medications can reduce absorption (and even cause depletion) of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes crucial for good health. Pharmacists can play an important role in educating customers about this potentially serious problem.

Many pharmacists, widely regarded as the "drug experts" in American medicine, are feeling compelled to "catch-up" and learn as much as possible about integrative pharmacy practice.

The concerns that a patient may have interactions with nutrients versus drugs, or drug versus food, adds volumes of credibility to the role of the pharmacist in role as a counselor. A health professional (particularly a pharmacist) who can have a foot in both the worlds of allopathic and complementary medicine is in a unique position to counsel patients in this emerging area of expertise.

There are numerous problematic interactions that can take place between drugs and nutrients. Some involve similar structures and metabolic pathways that may affect vitamin depletion. A common example is aspirin's negative effect on the body's depletion of vitamin C and iron.

Other times, depletions may impair system metabolism. An example would be a diuretic drug's effect on potassium loss, or an oral contraceptive’s depletion of folic acid and vitamin C. Sometimes depletions can cause another disorder to arise. An example of this may be how statin drugs deplete co-enzyme Q10 levels, or how antibiotics eradicate intestinal flora, spurring candida outbreaks. Lastly, certain nutrients may interfere with the accuracy of lab results, resulting in false (positive or negative) readings. A common example of this is concurrent use of ginkgo biloba and warfarin, and other anti-coagulate medicines. This misreading could prove extremely dangerous, or even fatal, to the patient.

The following list is a concise, but accurate measure of common drug/nutrient depletions.
Intestinal Bacterial Flora - A healthy physiological intestinal flora is very important for a healthy organism. Although antibiotics are quite effective in eradicating the body of harmful "bad" bacteria, they unfortunately also rob the body of beneficial "good" bacteria, located in the gut. Research shows that the absence of good gut flora can cause problems with digestion. This also leads to a malabsorption of nutrients (especially from your food) and symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, belching, constipation, pressure and sometimes rebound acidity. To ensure that your bowel flora is intact, supplement with:Acidophilus: To replenish and replicate the friendly bacteria. It is suggested to take lactobacillus acidophilus each time you take the antibiotic, and possibly take it for five to seven days after the course of antibiotics is finished to ensure normalization. (Yogurt is a good natural source of acidophilus, but it may be a problem for people sensitive to lactose intolerance).Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and Other Probiotic Support: To help restore other gastrointestinal problems that the antibiotics may induce (especially the stronger, third generation type) and help offset the imbalance of the GI flora.Antidepressant Drugs
Includes drugs used to stimulate the mood of a depressed patient. Some are used in eating disorders, treating obesity, and panic disorders. Drugs include tricyclic and SSRI medicines such as Amitriptyline, Elavil, Trazodone, Desipramine, Pamelor, Nortriptyline, Serzone, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft and Imipramine.
B-Complex Vitamins: Additional B--vitamins are critical when taking antidepressants for short or extended periods. Vitamin B12 and folic acid are especially necessary. There may also be an additional need for riboflavin (B2).Selenium: Stores of selenium are compromised with extended use of these drugs. A suggested supplementation dose would be 50 to 100 micrograms daily.Zinc: Depletion of this antioxidant can slow wound healing and reduce the sense of taste. Supplement with a dose of 10--35 mg per day.L-Gluthathione: An important amino acid that decreases free radicals and helps to protect the liver.Calcium/Magnesium: Take for nutritional support, along with additional minerals.Vitamin C
Diabetic Medications
Includes sulfonylurea drugs such as Diabinese and Tolinase; second generation drugs Glynase and Diabeta; and miscellaneous diabetes drugs such as Metformin and Acarbose.
Chromium: This mineral is essential for the body's metabolism of glucose. Low levels may lead to insulin insensitivity and abnormal insulin usage.Vitamin C: Vitamin C improves all aspects of diabetes, and is often depleted due to free-radical destruction and increased urinary excretion.Magnesium: There is a direct relationship between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance. Magnesium also improves all aspects of diabetes, aiding in arterial strength, normalizing blood pressure, and aiding in glycolysis. Most diabetics have an 80 to 85 percent deficiency.Vitamins B6 and B12: B6 may aid in healthy eye support and proper vision. Bilberry, lutein and other bioflavonoids may be supplemented when vision problems, diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration are present. (Note: these herbs may be contraindicated with warfarin use.)Folic Acid: A deficiency is especially noted with Metformin use.Estrogen and Progesterone
Includes oral contraceptives agents and estrogen compounds (Premarin, Estratest) and estrogen-progesterone combinations (Prempro).
B-Complex Vitamins: B vitamins are important to maintain healthy skin, nails, nerves, hair and cells. They are also critical in the production of energy. An increased requirement for vitamin B6 may be even more acute. Folic acid may be required, especially with oral contraceptives.Calcium/Magnesium: Perhaps there are not two more important minerals for women (especially menopausal or post-menopausal.) Calcium supplements with vitamin D are especially recommended.Vitamin C, E and Beta Carotene: These three essential anti-oxidants are valuable in reducing a woman's risk of post-menopausal breast cancer. They help to reverse free-radical destruction and boost the immune system. Additional supplementation with vitamin E may ease hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.Essential Fatty Acids: The omega-3 and omega-6 essential oils aid in anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties. Omega 3 stores can be depleted in a typical North American diet high in saturated fatty foods.Arthritis Medications
Includes non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Advil.
Calcium/Magnesium: These two critical minerals are essential when taking arthritis medicines. Both are needed to build bone, muscles and nerves all through life, especially in the senior years. Long term depletion can lead to high blood pressure, heart irregularities, muscle cramps and asthma-like symptoms. Since bone loss can ensue with continued steroid use, vitamin D should be supplemented to prevent osteoporosis.Vitamin C: NSAID medicines can cause increased urinary excretion of Vitamin C. This vitamin is essential for maintaining connective tissue, reducing the levels of free radicals that weaken the immune system and synthesizing collagen to strengthen bones.Folic Acid: This important nutrient, aids in the inhibition of uric acid, anemia and cardiovascular disease.Glucosamine: Although not an anti-inflammatory, glucosamine plays a role in stimulating cartilage cells, regenerating cartilage and binding with collagen so that cartilage can be strong. It relieves the pain of arthritis and may decrease the need for NSAIDs.Essential Fatty Acids: The omega-3 and omega-6 essential oils aid in anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties. They "lubricate" the joints.Corticosterolds
Steroid drugs are used as antiinflammatories and for a wide range of diseases, including dermatitis, autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergic disorders. Drugs include cortisone, hydrocortisone, prednisone, triamcinolone, dexamathasone and azulfidine.
Vitamin C: Steroid overuse can deplete vitamin C stores, leading to easy bruising, lower immunity, asthma and allergy-like symptoms, and poor wound healing.B-Complex Vitamins: Folic acid depletion can lead to inhibition of uric acid, anemia and cardiovascular disease. Steroid use can also raise blood sugar; chromium might be needed as an additional supplement.Potassium: Loss leads to edema, irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness. Supplementation amounts are determined by blood levels.Zinc
Includes all drugs used in the management of edema associated with congestive heart failure and renal or liver disease, including furosemide, Lasix, hydrochlorothiazide, Dyazide, bumetanide, Bumex, spironolactone and chlorthalidone.
Potassium: All of the loop diuretics and the thiazides can contribute to severe potassium deficiency that can lead to defects in the kidneys, skeletal muscle, central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract and heart muscle. Excessive loss leads to edema, irregular heartbeats and muscle weakness.Calcium/Magnesium: Long term use of diuretics can eliminate these essential minerals along with potassium which is vital for cardiac function. B-Complex Vitamins: Diuretics can especially deplete thiamin (vitamin B1) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). This depletion can elevate homocysteine levels, leading to harm to the heart.Zinc
Vitamin C

Nutrient Depletion Charts

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:

The following pages identify which nutrients are depleted by specific types of drugs.   You will also want to refer to the Nutrient–Drug Interaction Page to explore many other interactions.   The principal benefit of this page is that they list “brand names” for drugs as well as their “generic” names.

You will also find value at the
Drug-Nutrient Interactions & Depletions Page.   Sadly, this site doesn't sort drugs by their brand name... for example,
you'd need to know that Zoloft was actually called Sertraline if you wanted complete information. Also try this one

No single website provides all that information for free, but by using all 3 pages, you can gather much of the information you need.

If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary.   If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual.   You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this topic.

Products in harmony with nature!  Sam & Bunny Sewell


So, the mercury bulbs were deemed harmful to the environment by CONGRESS in 2005.  But now they're a MUST USE for indoors?  THAT IS INSANE.....Just as we have repeatedly said.
   Yep, "Dumb and dumber" are any elected officials who vote for this indoor MUST USE.
   Do forward this to all your elected officials...and demand that they REPEAL the ban on the incandescent (regular) light bulbs...if only so they show any ability to think. Demand to know WHY they want the harmful mercury ones.
   Excerpt..."Yes, you read that right.  In 2005, Congress passed a law banning mercury vapor streetlights – two years before it banned incandescent light bulbs in favor of mercury vapor compact florescent bulbs.
   Under the Energy Policy Act, signed by President Bush in August 2005, manufacturers cannot make or import ballasts for mercury vapor lights after Jan. 1, 2008.
  According to the act, mercury vapor security lights are being phased out to "protect the environment" and to "promote energy efficiency" in lighting.
  .....Yet the federal government is pushing consumers to replace traditional incandescent bulbs used in their homes with compact fluorescents containing toxic mercury vapor.
  A former Energy Department official says there's a regulatory "disconnect" regarding mercury lighting.
  "We're removing mercury from outside the home while adding it inside," he said. "It makes no sense."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WARNING: - Statins Worsen Heart Function

More people have suffered with and died from heart disease in the United States than any other disease. In 2009, more than 615,000 people died from heart disease. With such a high number of deaths from heart disease, the health care community has spent time and money trying to reduce the number of people that are affected. A major risk factor for heart disease is high cholesterol, while treatment and control of high cholesterol reduces the risk. The most popular form of treatment has become the use of statins to lower cholesterol. While these drugs are being prescribed like candy to millions of Americans, recent research has shed light on just how dangerous these drugs can be.

A new study published in Clinical Cardiology found that statin drugs are associated with decreased myocardial (heart muscle) function.1 Statin use is also known to be associated with myopathy, muscle weakness and rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents into the bloodstream. With such a growing body of evidence on the risk of statins, you must think long and hard before deciding to take these dangerous medications.

If you do have high cholesterol, it is critical to understand how important cholesterol is to our body and what it is used for. Cholesterol is necessary to create vital hormones in the body, repair cell membranes, make Vitamin D, make bile acids to digest fats, allow healthy neurological function, as well as repair damaged cells. In fact, it is not cholesterol that is the problem; it is the OXIDATION of cholesterol. When arteries are damaged, cholesterol is sent to help repair the area, but if there is chronic inflammation in the body, many times due to sugars or damaged fats, then that cholesterol may be oxidized causing it to cling to the walls of the arteries.

When cholesterol levels become too high in the body, this is commonly a sign that there is chronic inflammation in the body.  The cause of the problem must be addressed instead of focusing on the symptom that is produced in the body. With this startling discovery about cholesterol and the dangers of statins, it is easy to see that restoring your health and finding the cause is more important than ever before.

Let’s look for the cause of health problems.

Inflammation can be addressed through:

  1. Diet and limiting or eliminating grains, sugars, and bad fats.  
  2. Exercise by understanding stress caused by low intensity, long duration types of exercise.  
  3. Knowing the most dangerous toxins and how to safely eliminate them from your body.  
  4. Reducing nerve irritation.  
  5. Managing stress

Many researchers will tell you that Inflammation may be the most common cause of disease.  It’s a side-effect of modern living.  It is important to correct the causes of inflammation.  By addressing one or all of these causes, you are fighting for your health so you don’t end up fighting for disease.  That’s the real definition of prevention.

1“Statin therapy decreases myocardial function as evaluated via strain imaging.” Clin Cardiol. 2009 Dec ;32(12):684-9.
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My Personal Story of Statin Poisoning
As it happened, this first appointment with a physician did absolutely nothing to ease my growing suspicion of modern cardiac medicine. He reiterated the message from Dr. Ghoul: my medical needs could not be met in Naples and I was being referred to a surgeon in Tampa for a heart transplant.

I asked Dr. Babbitt about the Lipitor dose he had prescribed me. By then, I had already found for myself the safety and efficacy FDA studies that originally approved Lipitor. These studies had used doses of 2.5 mg and 5 mg daily. Yet interestingly, the lowest available dose of Lipitor manufactured by the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, was 10mg – double the highest dose used in the FDA studies for safety and effectiveness! 

If that wasn’t enough to raise my eyebrows, Dr. Babbitt prescribed 80 mg daily doses of Lipitor – 16 to 32 times the doses used in the FDA studies. I told my doctor about my research on the FDA studies.

“You shouldn’t worry about those FDA reports – I have studies showing that 80 milligrams per day are safe, and more effective than those lower doses.”

 I asked him who had done his studies. 

I didn’t tell him that I was already aware of the Pfizer sponsored studies.

I suspect that Dr. Babbitt never saw the actual Pfizer studies, but had simply taken the word of a “detail man,” a representative of a drug manufacturer who calls on doctors to promote the products from that company. I wondered if he would be so enthusiastic about high-dose Lipitor had he actually read the study.

In 2005, the New England Journal of Medicine published a report funded by Pfizer that described the efficacy of high-dose Lipitor in cardiovascular disease. The authors concluded that high-dose Lipitor (80 mg) was superior to a ‘standard dose’ (10 mg) in reducing negative cardiovascular events in coronary heart disease (CHD) patients. Ten thousand CHD patients participated in the five-year study. Half of them received a daily dose of 80 mg of Lipitor, while the other half received a control, ‘standard’ dose of 10 mg/day.

The Pfizer study observed a reduction in major cardiovascular events in the high-dose Lipitor group (heart attack and/or stroke) over the course of the experiment. In the 80 mg group, 8.7% (or 434 patients) suffered a major cardiovascular event, compared to 10.9% (or 548 patients) of patients in the standard 10 mg group. When you do the math, that’s a difference of 2.2% – or 104 fewer cardiovascular incidences in the high-dose Lipitor group – a statistically significant improvement over standard treatment. Furthermore, only 126 patients in the 80 mg/day Lipitor group died from cardiovascular problems during the study, as compared to 155 in the 10 mg/day group.
I was surprised to discover that treatments were tested and put into practice with such small efficacy ratings. But, 2.2% is better than nothing, right?

Not when you take into account that in this same study, 158 deaths due to non-cardiovascular events occurred in the 80 mg/day group (3.2%), versus only 127 (2.5%) in the lower dose condition. Cancer, particularly lung and gastrointestinal, was responsible for more than half of these deaths. Hemorrhagic stroke and other, non-traumatic causes contributed to the remainder of non-cardiovascular deaths in both treatment conditions. However, this difference of 31 more deaths from non-cardiac related causes in the high-dose group brings the total deaths to 282 in the 10 mg Lipitor group, and 284 in the 80 mg group – statistically, that means there was no difference at all. Your chances of survival were actually 1 in 5000 lower if you took a high dose rather than a standard dose of Lipitor.

Between the actual statistics revealing the serious side effects associated with Lipitor and other statin drugs, and the failure to improve overall survival rate by using higher doses of Lipitor, I suspected that my doctor, had he actually been up on the facts, could have made a wiser choice. However, the professional to whom I was entrusting my life didn’t seem to be as well informed on the subject as I was. Later I was to discover that this isn’t unusual; it doesn’t take much research to be better informed than some doctors.

However, it was easy to understand why the drug salesmen from Pfizer only talked about the (tiny) advantage in reducing cardiac events and failed to mention the fact that there was no overall advantage in reducing death.
So why were the patients in the high-dose Lipitor study dying more frequently from non-cardiovascular causes? At this point, the mechanisms underlying this effect are unclear – we just can’t tell. But as one expert in the field wrote, “we need further reassurance as to the safety of this approach before making this higher dose a standard practice in CHD pharmacological therapy.” Despite their prevalence, the statins are not the only available method that can be used to lower LDL-C levels. Hybrid therapies with other drugs, natural therapies, and nutrition can all be effectively used for this purpose. But my highly paid doctor didn’t know that, either.

Read Sam & Bunny’s story of triumph over adversity!
*Doctors, drugs & surgery are not always the best answer!
*Includes scientifically validated Total Life Saving Regimen!
*NOW ~ You can buy our new book:
     Healthy, Natural Alternatives to Drugs and Surgery
        and have it sent directly to family & friends at:
         $19.95 PRINT ~ only $12.50 as PDF download
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Read our famous Chapter 16 on Stress Management at

Another Example of Pfizer Killing People for Profit

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ritalin and Prozac -- a troubling combo for children?

Parents Warned: Don't Use Ritalin

Hyperactive children should no longer be given Ritalin, new health guidelines say.

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Our treatment regimen includes nutrition, bio-feedback, and parent training.

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Outcome-based Comparison of Ritalin versus Food-supplement Treated Children with ADHD

Ritalin versus Nutritional Treatment for Children with ADHD

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Superwellness for Superkids—A Free Parent’s Guide

Ritalin and Prozac -- a troubling combo for children?

Four in 10 kids who get a diagnosis of either depression or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) end up getting both diagnoses sometime in their young lives. That means a lot will spend some part of their adolescence taking two psychiatric medications: methylphenidate (better known by its commercial name, Ritalin) and fluoxetine (better known as Prozac, the only of the new-generation antidepressants approved for kids as young as 8 years old). A new study conducted on rats suggests that taking that combination of drugs may change the adults they will become in ways that are distinctly troubling.

Taking Ritalin and Prozac together during adolescence appears to set in motion subtle changes in brain function that, in adulthood, makes an individual more sensitive to reward as well as to stress, and more likely to exhibit the pessimism and hopelessness seen in depression, concluded the study, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The study's findings suggest "that combining methyphenidate and fluoxetine early in life may lead to lifelong behavioral and chemical abnormalities," wrote the authors, from Florida State University and Cal State San Bernardino. Specifically, the combination of the stimulant drug methyphenidate and the serotonin-boosting antidepressant fluoxetine appears to act on the brain in much the same way as does cocaine.

In children's developing brains, the researchers demonstrated that that combination  turns on and off production of certain proteins in the ventral tegmental area, a key node in the brain's reward circuitry. If those production processes get knocked out of whack during adolescence, the result can be subtle changes in an adult's ability to regulate mood and to moderate reward-seeking behavior such as eating, drug-taking or sexual activity.

"This is not necessarily maladaptive and may not represent enhanced addiction potential," the authors cautioned. But adult rats who got the Ritalin-plus-Prozac combo as pups were more likely than those who had no early exposure to psychotropic drugs to prefer highly sugared water to the plain stuff, and to stay longer in a compartment where they had gotten a dose of  cocaine--evidence they were waiting around hoping for another. In assessing a rat's propensity to addiction, those are troubling signs.

These effects were not the result of massive doses, either. In the study, researchers gave pre-adolescent rat pups two doses daily of the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug and the antidepressant for 15 days, at dosages roughly the equivalent to what human children being treated with those medications would receive. The researchers also tested the long-term effects on rat pups of Prozac-only, Ritalin-only and saline solution-only.

The rat pups who got Prozac only also seemed more sensitive to rewards as adults--but on the plus side, they were also more resilient to stress than those who got none. The rats who got Ritalin-only as pups demonstrated not only less inclination toward sugar water, but a "significant aversion to cocaine" as adults--a sign that treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may head off drug abuse later. But they also showed greater sensitivity to stress later on.

But while Ritalin and Prozac seemed to effect long-term changes in both positive and negative directions, something about the combination of the two seemed particularly worrisome, the authors said. "These results underscore the complexity of drug effects in the immature brain, and detailed assessments of these phenomena are needed."

Will the many kids who now take both medications respond the same? That's not clear. The subjects in this experiment were not only rats, they were rats that were developing  normally and were by all appearances free of depression or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms. Children with mood and behavioral problems that may reflect neurobiological differences might well need those differences corrected if they are to become healthy adults. There are a lot of "ifs" involved in applying these findings directly to humans.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

“Mass Psychosis in the U.S.”

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James Ridgeway, “Mass Psychosis in the U.S.”

“Mass Psychosis in the U.S.”
by James Ridgeway

“Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.

Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses - primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.

It is anything but a coincidence that the explosion in antipsychotic use coincides with the pharmaceutical industry's development of a new class of medications known as "atypical antipsychotics." Beginning with Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Seroquel in the 1990s, followed by Abilify in the early 2000s, these drugs were touted as being more effective than older antipsychotics like Haldol and Thorazine. More importantly, they lacked the most noxious side effects of the older drugs - in particular, the tremors and other motor control problems.

The atypical anti-psychotics were the bright new stars in the pharmaceutical industry's roster of psychotropic drugs - costly, patented medications that made people feel and behave better without any shaking or drooling. Sales grew steadily, until by 2009 Seroquel and Abilify numbered fifth and sixth in annual drug sales, and prescriptions written for the top three atypical antipsychotics totaled more than 20 million. Suddenly, antipsychotics weren't just for psychotics any more.

By now, just about everyone knows how the drug industry works to influence the minds of American doctors, plying them with gifts, junkets, ego-tripping awards, and research funding in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the latest and most lucrative drugs. "Psychiatrists are particularly targeted by Big Pharma because psychiatric diagnoses are very subjective," says Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, whose PharmedOut project tracks the industry's influence on American medicine, and who last month hosted a conference on the subject at Georgetown. A shrink can't give you a blood test or an MRI to figure out precisely what's wrong with you. So it's often a case of diagnosis by prescription. (If you feel better after you take an anti-depressant, it's assumed that you were depressed.) As the researchers in one study of the drug industry's influence put it, "the lack of biological tests for mental disorders renders psychiatry especially vulnerable to industry influence." For this reason, they argue, it's particularly important that the guidelines for diagnosing and treating mental illness be compiled "on the basis of an objective review of the scientific evidence" - and not on whether the doctors writing them got a big grant from Merck or own stock in AstraZeneca.

Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and a leading critic of the Big Pharma, puts it more bluntly: "Psychiatrists are in the pocket of industry." Angell has pointed out that most of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the bible of mental health clinicians, have ties to the drug industry. Likewise, a 2009 study showed that 18 out of 20 of the shrinks who wrote the American Psychiatric Association's most recent clinical guidelines for treating depression, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia had financial ties to drug companies.

In a recent article in The New York Review of Books, Angell deconstructs what she calls an apparent "raging epidemic of mental illness" among Americans. The use of psychoactive drugs - including both antidepressants and antipsychotics - has exploded, and if the new drugs are so effective, Angell points out, we should "expect the prevalence of mental illness to be declining, not rising." Instead, "the tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007 - from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling - a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children." Under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are "simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one." Fugh-Berman agrees: In the age of aggressive drug marketing, she says, "Psychiatric diagnoses have expanded to include many perfectly normal people."

What's especially troubling about the over-prescription of the new antipsychotics is its prevalence among the very young and the very old - vulnerable groups who often do not make their own choices when it comes to what medications they take. Investigations into antipsychotic use suggests that their purpose, in these cases, may be to subdue and tranquilize rather than to treat any genuine psychosis. Carl Elliott reports in Mother Jones magazine: "Once bipolar disorder could be treated with atypicals, rates of diagnoses rose dramatically, especially in children. According to a recent Columbia University study, the number of children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder rose 40-fold between 1994 and 2003." And according to another study, "one in five children who visited a psychiatrist came away with a prescription for an antipsychotic drug."

A remarkable series published in the Palm Beach Post in May revealed that the state of Florida's juvenile justice department has literally been pouring these drugs into juvenile facilities, "routinely" doling them out "for reasons that never were approved by federal regulators." The numbers are staggering: "In 2007, for example, the Department of Juvenile Justice bought more than twice as much Seroquel as ibuprofen. Overall, in 24 months, the department bought 326,081 tablets of Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal and other antipsychotic drugs for use in state-operated jails and homes for children...That's enough to hand out 446 pills a day, seven days a week, for two years in a row, to kids in jails and programs that can hold no more than 2,300 boys and girls on a given day." Further, the paper discovered that "One in three of the psychiatrists who have contracted with the state Department of Juvenile Justice in the past five years has taken speaker fees or gifts from companies that make antipsychotic medications."

In addition to expanding the diagnoses of serious mental illness, drug companies have encouraged doctors to prescribe atypical anti-psychotics for a host of off-label uses. In one particularly notorious episode, the drugmaker Eli Lilly pushed Zyprexa on the caregivers of old people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, as well as agitation, anxiety, and insomnia. In selling to nursing home doctors, sales reps reportedly used the slogan "five at five" - meaning that five milligrams of Zyprexa at 5 pm would sedate their more difficult charges. The practice persisted even after FDA had warned Lilly that the drug was not approved for such uses, and that it could lead to obesity and even diabetes in elderly patients.

In a video interview conducted in 2006, Sharham Ahari, who sold Zyprexa for two years at the beginning of the decade, described to me how the sales people would wangle the doctors into prescribing it. At the time, he recalled, his doctor clients were giving him a lot of grief over patients who were "flipping out" over the weight gain associated with the drug, along with the diabetes. "We were instructed to downplay side effects and focus on the efficacy of recommend the patient drink a glass a water before taking a pill before the meal and then after the meal in hopes the stomach would expand" and provide an easy way out of this obstacle to increased sales. When docs complained, he recalled, "I told them, 'Our drug is state of the art. What's more important? You want them to get better or do you want them to stay the same - a thin psychotic patient or a fat stable patient.'"

For the drug companies, Shahrman says, the decision to continue pushing the drug despite side effects is matter of cost benefit analysis: Whether you will make more money by continuing to market the drug for off-label use, and perhaps defending against lawsuits, than you would otherwise. In the case of Zyprexa, in January 2009, Lilly settled a lawsuit brought by with the US Justice Department, agreeing to pay $1.4 billion, including "a criminal fine of $515 million, the largest ever in a health care case, and the largest criminal fine for an individual corporation ever imposed in a United States criminal prosecution of any kind,''the Department of Justice said in announcing the settlement." But Lilly's sale of Zyprexa in that year alone were over $1.8 billion.

As it turns out, the atypical antipsychotics may not even be the best choice for people with genuine, undisputed psychosis. A growing number of health professionals have come to think these drugs are not really as effective as older less expensive medicines which they have replaced, that they themselves produce side effects that cause other sorts of diseases such as diabetes and plunge the patient deeper into the gloomy world of serious mental disorder. Along with stories of success comes reports of people turned into virtual zombies.

Elliott reports in Mother Jones: "After another large analysis in The Lancet found that most atypicals actually performed worse than older drugs, two senior British psychiatrists penned a damning editorial that ran in the same issue. Dr. Peter Tyrer, the editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry, and Dr. Tim Kendall of the Royal College of Psychiatrists wrote: "The spurious invention of the atypicals can now be regarded as invention only, cleverly manipulated by the drug industry for marketing purposes and only now being exposed."