Can You Handle Hot Yoga?

original-67Many claim that Bikram is a great way to beat the chill of winter.  However with 26 therapeutic yoga postures and a room heated at 98.6 Fahrenheit it might not suit everyone!

Body and Soul write that you can burn as much as 597 calories in one 90 minute workout as well as massaging the internal organs, and stimulating the endocrine and nervous systems so it might be worth a try – what do you think?


Joint Announcement On Climate Change Is The Most Important Advance For Years

original-66According to The A-list, the recent US-China joint announcement on climate change and energy is the most important advance for many years.

China has agreed a clear target to reach a peak of CO2 emissions no later than 2030, with the intention of trying to peak earlier than 2030. The US’s failure to act decisively on its own emissions for two decades has long been defended by the Senate on the basis that the US should act only if China does as well. Now it is running out of excuses.

Are you feeling hopeful?


Edible Waste Free Packaging Does Exist – But Do We Want It?

original-64Tree Hugger questions the sense of a single food item that gets consumed within seconds leaving behind a piece of packaging that will linger on Earth for years. ‘Zero Wasters’ are strict about what they buy in terms of packaging, but the majority of us need to get over the mental barrier of buying things sold loose.

A Swedish company has come up with a series of food packages where the packaging has the same life span as the foods they contain. The “smoothie package” is made of agar seaweed and water, and withers at the same rate that you drink its contents.

Would you drink from this packaging?


Image credit: Shadowelement

Food For Thought …


With drug advertising everywhere what is the message being drummed into us all?

original-51Drug advertising is everywhere so what is the message being drummed into us and our children?  That for every symptom and sensation the solution is a pill?  The growing attitude that drugs are the answer for every ache and angst is destructive for individuals and societies.

Do you think we rely on pharmaceutical drugs too much?


Image Credit: Maja Vuckovic

US & UK Giving Tax Breaks To Explore New Reserves

original-52The guardian reports that rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

The most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies has found that the US government provided companies with $5.2bn for fossil fuel exploration in 2013. Most of the support was in the form of tax breaks for exploration in deep offshore fields.

Why do you think this is when the cost of renewable-energy technologies continues to fall?

Are We A Drugged Out Nation?

original-48Did you know that antidepressants were the third most-popular type of drug dispensed in 2008, with $9.5 billion in sales? Our article “Drugged Out Nation” highlights the damaging effects the overuse of prescription drugs is having on the health of our nation.

Image Credit: Slinkachu

Drug Ads on TV – A Brief History

Now&Then-2In my last article on Health, I stated that we are a Drugged-Out Nation, and that when you take medications, it lessens your ability to achieve true health.

How did we get to the point that drugs use is at such an epidemic level? As I mentioned in Drugged Out Nation, the per capita usage among Americans is 12 medications per person.

I’m not saying to quit taking your medications right now, as that may not be a wise thing to do. What I am saying is that you have to consider what your health goals are, and if it’s becoming healthy, then you have to start becoming proactive in getting off or at least cutting down on your medications.

Pharmaceutical drugs are not the answer to health, but it seems to be that people are being programmed to think they are. That’s because the drug companies are doing a good job of making people think they are the savior.

A patient of mine recently told me she was on high blood pressure medication. Her blood pressure was 118/80 before she went on medication, and I told her that she does not have high blood pressure and shouldn’t be on a drug for it.

She went to see her doctor, who said that new regulations are stating that her blood pressure puts her in the pre-high blood pressure category, and that it’s now recommended that when people are in that category they should go on blood pressure medication.

I couldn’t believe it when she told me this, and I told her that drug companies must have written that regulation, as the only one that serves is them. She was wise enough to stop the medication, and she’s doing fine.

tv-and-pills-crop-320x309So, how did we become so accustomed to taking so many drugs for every health problem – and as the example above shows, non-health problem – imaginable?

Blame it on drug ads on TV, which before August 1997 did not exist. It was at that point in time when everything changed. That’s when the FDA allowed it to happen.

Prior to 1997, the FDA rules said, “Advertisements promoting the medical use of prescription drugs must contain a ‘brief summary’ of all important information about the advertised drug, including its side effects, contraindications and effectiveness. In addition, advertisements broadcast over radio, TV or through telephone communications systems must include a ‘major statement’ prominently disclosing all of the major risks associated with the drug.”

Prior to August of 1997, print advertisements for prescription drugs were able to meet the “brief summary” requirement by including the risk-related sections of drug labeling together with the advertising copy. As the drug companies looked wistfully at the enormous marketing potential of television, they saw that there was no way to provide the required information about the drug in 30 second or one minute television ads.

Did Congress act? No, the FDA made the August 1997 rule change quietly and without consulting Congress or really anyone else. Their change allowed the drug companies to “…include information about any major risks, as well as instructions for how consumers can easily obtain more detailed information about the drug’s approved uses and risks.”

FDA Lead Deputy Commissioner Michael J. Friedman, M.D was one of the driving forces behind this change long sought by the drug companies. Dr. Friedman said in 1997, “Today’s action can help promote greater consumer awareness about prescription drugs. By describing realistic standards for television advertising of prescription drugs, we hope to end the uncertainty which has plagued both consumers and industry about the use of this medium. The FDA is committed to making sure that accurate and complete information is available to consumers.”

In the 1997 rule revision, the FDA “…presumes that the broadcast ad is truthful, not misleading, and contains information about the major health risks associated with the drug.”

drug adIn lieu of providing a “brief summary,” the advertiser would have to provide a mechanism to ensure that consumers can easily obtain full product labeling. In other words it is enough to quickly list some of the side effects along with a toll-free phone number or web address or advise the listener to speak with a physician.

Shortly after the FDA gave their blessing to the drug companies to advertise on TV, thanks to Dr. Michael Friedman, the good doctor left the agency. In 1998, President Clinton nominated Dr. Jane Henney to be the next commissioner of the FDA, and Dr. Friedman resigned to become a senior vice president at Searle, a subsidiary of Monsanto.

Which begs the question: In whose interests was Dr. Friedman looking after?

The United States and New Zealand are the only two industrial nations that allow drug companies to advertise on television in this fashion.

As a result of being given the green light to advertise on TV, drug companies have quadrupled expenditures on ads aimed at consumers. Spending on direct-to-consumer advertising increased by 296.4% from 1997 to 2005, from $1 billion to $4 billion.

And the five single drugs with the highest expenditures for direct-to-consumer advertising were Nexium, Lunesta, Vytorin, Crestor, and Advair.

So next time you see an ad on TV, and you hear the famous tagline at the end to “ask your doctor,” remember that drug use in the U.S. has increased exponentially over the last 10 years, thanks in no small part to all that advertising on TV.


How Are You Trying To Save The Earth?

original-47“Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you too will die.”

John Hollow Horn, Oglala Lakota, 1932


Image Credit: SavetheEarth

White Solar Panels Could Blend In With Buildings and Cool Them Down

original-37Treehugger reports that CSEM, a Swiss non-profit technology company, has come up with a technology that allows solar panel to be integrated into the walls of buildings, coming in different colors and having no visible connections.

White solar panels have been identified as being particularly useful, not just because of the versatility of the color, but because white solar panels would stay cooler, boosting efficiency and reducing the energy demand of cooling buildings.

Could this be the breakthrough that solar energy needs?

Image credit: CSEM

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