Monthly Archives: February 2013

Book Recommendation that Will Save Your Life: Are Your Prescriptions Killing You?

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Folks! I highly recommend this book written by Armon B. Neel, Jr. and Bill Hogan. Armon B. Neel, Jr. is a board-certified geriatric pharmacist who has decades of experience advising elderly patients on prescription drugs. Send copies to your elderly parents, keep a copy handy as you get older. I’m sure the public libraries have copies of this book for anyone on a tight budget to learn about the harmful stuff out there.  Read the rave reviews on Amazon.

The pharmaceutical companies work like the advertisers on Madison Avenue, they don’t include test subjects who are over the age of 60. Their drug research subjects are basically young people. But older people have less efficient livers and kidneys to process all the prescription drugs that were tested and worked for younger people only. So the drugs were only proven to work for younger people who have stronger livers and kidneys to begin with, but the drugs were not tested on elderly people to see if they also work on aging and weaker body systems. Considering the sheer size of the Baby Boomer generation entering retirement years, this is fast becoming an epidemic issue.

On the other hand, many doctors are NOT trained on geriatric medicine. They don’t know the drugs they prescribe to elderly patients are not suitable and often times fatal to elderly patients.

About the Author

Armon B. Neel, Jr., whose work has been featured in the AARP Bulletin, Prevention magazine, and Reader’s Digest, is a board-certified pharmacist whose medial career spans four decades. He lives in Georgia.
Bill Hogan is an award-winning investigative journalist in Washington, D.C. He has worked as a writer and consulting editor for the AARP Bulletin and as a consultant to CBS News.

Reviews on the book:

“If anything can make you hoist yourself out of that beach chair and go find a pen, this is the book that will do it.” —New York Times
“[This book] could not be more timely or important.” –Library Journal
“An eye opener, both for caregivers, and for baby boomers approaching older age.” —Boston.com
“In our pursuit of healing, doctors sometimes overlook the fundamental rule to ‘first do no harm.’ Armon Neel’s book is an important reminder – for doctors and patients alike – that medications can be a double edged sword. We may be swinging at the disease but we can accidentally slash the patient along the way.” –Lisa Sanders, M.D., author of Every Patient Tells a Story

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that medical historians will judge the last 50 years as the ‘dark age of drug therapy.’ Though there are many advances in modern pharmacy, the truth is that many drugs produce a desired effect only to create many more that are unwanted. Armon Neel’s book provides concrete evidence that the problems with many prescription medications are known today. Fortunately, he also provides some practical guidance to help navigate the land mines of drug therapy.” —Michael T. Murray, N.D., author of What the Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know

“[Armon Neel’s] expertise in the pharmaceutical management of patients is unparalleled.” –James Gore, MD, and George Capo, DO

“Armon Neel literally saved my life. I was bedridden because I was being overprescribed medications by my doctor. But in a few short weeks on Dr. Neel’s ‘new’ regimen, I was back to my old self.” –Carla Moore

“My family and I appreciate your help for our mother. I took down everything you told me concerning her medications and typed it up for the doctor. He followed everything you advised and my mother came out of renal failure.” –Marilyn Lipper

“In my 32 years as a practicing geriatrician, I have not met a healthcare professional who better understands the pathophysiological principles behind the use of medications for the elderly.” —Zaheer Khan, MD, MRCP, founder and president of the Center for Aging, Huntsville, AL

“Armon Neel is a pioneer in the field of geriatric drug therapy and has a wealth of experience.” —Thomas R. Clark, RPh, MHS, CGP, Executive Director of the Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy, Alexandria, VA

“After seeing many doctors over the years, I had hit rock bottom. Then I found Armon Neel, and within six months, I was a new person.” —Diane Marsh, Williamson, GA

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Picketing H-Mart at the NYC Flushing Lunar New Year Parade on Feb 16

Protest to End Their Racist Hiring Policies!

Even in suburban neighborhoods with majority non-Korean population, H-Mart only hires Korean workers with low level jobs going to Hispanics. Don’t forget H-Mart is an INTERNTATIONAL supermarket chain with more than 40 stores in 3 countries (USA, Canada and the UK). It’s not your mom-and-pop shop that cannot comply with EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

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Photo courtesy of Queens Courier.

DATE: Saturday, February 16, 2013
START TIME: 10:30am till the end of the parade
WHERE: Northwest or southwest corners of Main St. and 37th Ave

CONTACT PERSON: Jim MacDonald
PHONE: (917) 284-1506
EMAIL: JamesMacdonald49@hotmail.com

If you cannot make it to the picketing on Feb 16, call H-Mart headquarter in New Jersey: (201) 507-9900 or toll-free (877) 427-7386, tell H-Mart to end their racist hiring. The H-Mart founder and CEO is called Il-Yeon Kwon, tell him to end his big supermarket chain’s racist hiring.

WHY PICKET H-MART? Because H-Mart is an international supermarket chain with at least 40 stores in 13 states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and the state of Washington), plus stores in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada and London, England. It isn’t a mom-and-pop store, diversity in hiring and equal opportunity employment should not cause hardship to an international supermarket chain such as H-Mart.

In case you didn’t notice, H-Mart only hires Korean workers (most don’t speak English) plus low-level jobs going to Hispanics, even in suburban neighborhoods with majority non-Korean population such as Great Neck (85% White, 9% Hispanic, 4.9% Asian and 2.8% Black), and Williston Park (90% White, 6.98% Asian, 0.4% Black) in Long Island, NY. Likewise, about half of the population in Bayside NY are non-Asian (i.e. Greek, Italian, Irish, Hispanics, African-American, etc). The other half of the population consists of Asian from different countries such as China, Taiwan, Korea, Phillipines, India, etc. There is ZERO chance for H-Mart hiring the old Waldbaum’s workers who had worked at 46-40 Francis Lewis Blvd, Bayside, NY 11358. They will picket at H-Mart in Bayside once it is opened for business.

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Dr. Waney Squier who was once a big believer in Shaken Baby Syndrome made U-Turn to appear as Expert Witness for Defense

UPDATE April 4, 2013 See this news link from the UK Daily Mail published on March 7, 2013: “We were accused of abusing the child we adore: It’s the most harrowing ordeal  imaginable – yet it happens more and more“. Three innocent couples in the UK share their  stories. One of the accused British parent, Heather Toomey, has written a book called “When Truth No Longer Matters” available for purchase as paperback or e-book on Amazon, iTune, Lulu, Kobo, Nook and Google Play. Toomey’s son Sean actually has a genetic condition called “Storage Pool Disorder” that caused him to have a brain hemorrhage when he was just 3-weeks-old. The Shaken Baby Syndrome child abuse accusations are not isolated incidents. You can also read the stories on the “FeatureWorld” article in the UK. In addition, a Wisconsin mom Audrey Edmunds was wrongfully convicted of SBS homicide, she spent 11 years in prison for a crime she never committed. Edmunds wrote her book, “It Happened to Audrey” and she was interviewed by Katie Couric on her talk show in December 2012.

At least half of all parents tried over shaken baby syndrome have been wrongly  convicted, expert warns
By Angela Levin
UPDATED:12:13 EST, 1 May 2011
The UK Daily Mail

It is a case that haunts Dr Waney Squier and one any parent will find deeply  distressing.

Eleven years ago, Lorraine Harris stood trial at Nottingham Crown Court  charged with manslaughter. Although described as a woman of good character and a  careful and caring mother, she was accused of shaking her four-month-old baby  Patrick to death two years earlier.

Neuropathologist Dr Squier wrote a report for the prosecution saying that the  child was the victim of shaken baby syndrome (SBS).

Lorraine, who vehemently protested her innocence, was convicted and jailed  for three years.

Her punishment was not limited to incarceration, as tragic consequences  rippled out from Patrick’s death. Lorraine wasn’t allowed to go to his funeral;  a baby she gave birth to as she was starting her sentence was taken away for  adoption; her partner left her and both her parents died while she was in  prison. Her life fell apart.

By the time Lorraine’s appeal was heard in 2005, Dr Squier had become  convinced the criteria she had used to define whether SBS had taken place were  wrong. In a complete U-turn, she now appeared as an expert witness for the  defence. Lorraine’s conviction was quashed.

It is difficult to imagine Lorraine’s feelings as she digested this news. Relief, perhaps, but the occasion could hardly be described as joyous. One of her children had died and she had not been allowed to grieve. Another child had been taken from her. And she would possibly never be free from the taint of the original conviction.

‘Her conviction was overturned but it was a hollow victory because her life  had been completely devastated,’ says Dr Squier, who had helped right a wrong  but could not erase the pain it had caused.

‘I did and sometimes still do feel terrible about what happened.

‘I now believe that half or even more of those who have been brought to trial  in the past for SBS have been wrongly convicted. It is a frightening thought.’

It is indeed, and it is an extraordinary claim but one that should be taken  seriously. Dr Squier, 63, is the most experienced paediatric neuropathologist in  the country. She has spent 30 years researching baby brains and has a solid  international reputation.

She has appeared countless times in court as an expert witness in cases of  SBS, when a child is said to have been shaken so violently that it results in  brain injury or death.

You would imagine that when such an eminent scientist says recent scientific  developments show that, in the past, she and others have been wrong about SBS,  she would be listened to.

Instead Dr Squier has been on the receiving end of vicious attacks by some  doctors, lawyers and police officers who do not like her views. She has even  been referred to as a supporter of child abusers.

‘Why would I want to do that?’ she asks.

‘I have children of my own. I am chilled by the thought of getting it wrong  because of the risk of sending babies back to abusive households, or taking them  away from families, or putting people in prison.’

About 250 SBS cases go to court each year. Expert witnesses play a pivotal  role in trials. Babies often do not have any symptoms other than bleeding to the  head and eyes so, unlike most criminal cases, the opinion of the pathologist may  be the only evidence to consider.

However, some convictions are controversial. The problem has been that there  is no single agreed definition of SBS. Instead, for the past 30 years, the  findings of a U.S. radiologist, John Caffey, have been used in courts.

These findings centre on three signs – swelling of the brain, bleeding  between the skull and the brain, and bleeding in the retina – known collectively  as the triad. If they are present then a conviction is likely.

But Dr Squier is one of a growing number of doctors who believe that relying  on the triad alone is no longer enough.

‘Over the past ten years so much more has been discovered about how a baby’s  brain develops in its first year and these developments have seriously  undermined SBS,’ she explains.

‘We now know, for example, that almost half of babies have a triad at birth,  which can be caused by different factors.

‘In the past four years there have been several discoveries about the dura,  the membrane covering the brain. It was thought that it was there to protect the  brain from shock, but we now know it also has the very important function of  controlling blood flow out of the brain.

‘At birth the dura has huge blood channels that can leak – and not  always as  a result of trauma. They do, however, disappear during the  child’s second year  of life.

‘These findings are so significant  that I now believe that half or even more  of those who have been brought to trial in the past for SBS have been wrongly  convicted.

‘I am also  convinced we can virtually exclude shaking as a cause of death in  babies unless, as well as bleeding in the brain, we have additional evidence  of  trauma, such as serious damage to the neck.

‘When a baby is  shaken, the head will flop back and forth and the neck  becomes the weak  point. In other words, if you shake a baby so hard that it  dies, it is  the neck that is going to show the damage, not the brain.’

Although her view is gathering momentum worldwide, it has ignited an  increasingly toxic argument between doctors, lawyers and police.

‘Some pathologists want to remain in an unchallenging comfort zone of an  outdated theory,’ Dr Squier explains.

‘Some judges don’t like the fact that new scientific discoveries make  convictions more complex, and the police don’t like them because it can  prevent them from getting the convictions they want.

‘I think the police are so put-out that they are trying to ban me from court.  It’s why I would like Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke to set up an inquiry into  the methods police have used to deter expert witnesses who challenge old  mainstream beliefs.

‘This raises serious concerns that one side of the argument is not being  heard and means there cannot be a fair trial.

‘If I am blocked from giving evidence in court, defendants already having to  cope with the tragic death of a baby will not get the benefit of the new  science. Equally, if the courts fail to accept that the mainstream view of 30  years ago can no longer be relied upon, there will be serious miscarriages of  justice.’

Dr Squier, who is divorced with two grown-up daughters, is devoted to her  work and, despite the pressure she is under, she speaks calmly. Born in Surrey,  she qualified as a doctor at Leeds Medical School.

After spells in Bristol, Cornwall and London, she moved to Oxford in 1984 and  took up a post as consultant pathologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, where  we talked.

‘Once I came here I specialised in baby brains,’ she explains. ‘I have looked  at thousands and written more than 100 medical papers on normal brain  development and what happens when things go wrong both in pregnancy and after  birth. In the past 15 years, I have investigated many unexpected deaths.’

Her change of opinion was triggered ten years ago by pioneering work carried  out by Jennian Geddes, a former consultant neuropathologist at the Royal London  Hospital.

Geddes argued that, in a small number of cases, injuries associated with the  triad can occur naturally; that some babies suffer from a lack of oxygen supply  that triggers bleeding; and that there should be some signs that the baby  suffered trauma.

‘A light went on in my head,’ Dr Squier says.

‘I became concerned that the whole basis for shaking was poor.’

She began to conduct her own investigations and found similar evidence to  Geddes.

‘It made me feel guilty about my previous unquestioning acceptance of the  shaking hypothesis.

‘All my cases are now based on a newer understanding of the science. I am  happy with rigorous debate but take exception to attacks on my integrity and  professionalism. It is intellectual laziness to apply the old triad diagnosis  when symptoms can be explained by natural causes.’

Dr Squier has an impeccable professional reputation so she was shocked early  last year to receive a letter from the Human Tissue Authority, an organisation  which ensures that doctors keep good records and have consent for everything  they do.

‘The Metropolitan Police had raised concerns about the way I was handling  post-mortem tissue and the possibility that unrecorded material was being  stored, used and disposed of without the knowledge of the police. Fortunately,  our procedures at John Radcliffe are absolutely robust, we know where every  piece of tissue is, and no action was taken.

‘Then last June, I heard that a complaint on the same subject had been lodged  against me with the General Medical Council.’

Dr Squier had to face an interim orders panel, which was set up after the  conviction of Harold Shipman to protect the public and the profession from  dangerous doctors. Her appearance was requested by the National Policing  Improvement Agency and Detective Inspector Colin Welsh, lead investigator at  Scotland Yard’s child abuse investigation command.

‘I barely slept for six weeks,’ she says.

‘It was a terrible experience but the hearing had barely got under way when  it was dismissed and no restrictions were made on my practice.

‘However, the panel couldn’t remove the complaint lodged about me with the  GMC and I don’t know whether it will take it forward. It is hanging over me like  a dark cloud.

‘I know the GMC will not approve of me speaking out but too much is at stake  for me to stay silent.’

Unknown territory: Doctors are still learning how a  baby’s brain develops – and discoveries in just the last ten years have  ‘seriously undermined SBS’ according to Dr Squier

The accusations began to make sense following a conference on shaken babies,  which took place in Atlanta, Georgia, last September.

DI Welsh, in a public lecture, talked disparagingly about prosecution cases  that had failed largely due to expert defence witnesses.

He described a way of eliminating them from criminal and possibly family  court trials, thus precluding alternative views being presented. He believed  they confused the jury and possibly the judges with the complexity of science.

DI Welsh’s solutions included ‘questioning everything – qualifications,  employment history, testimony, research papers presented by these experts, go to  their bodies to see if we can turn up anything’.

Among the audience was lawyer Heather Kirkwood, who was so shocked that she  took notes and has signed an affidavit that these notes are a true record.

She says: ‘In the past decade, we have learned that much of what we thought  we knew about SBS was wrong, and that many of the babies that we thought were  shaken were instead suffering from birth injuries, childhood stroke, or  metabolic or infectious disease.

‘Now that we know we got it wrong, we need to get it right. Instead, many  prominent advocates of shaken baby theory have resorted to attacking researchers  such as Dr Squier, who is one of the world’s leading experts on the infant  brain.

‘Families and children deserve better. To get it right, we need open, honest  debate, not cover-ups or attacks on those identifying the problems and seeking  solutions.’

Dr Squier was outraged to learn of DI Welsh’s comments.

‘It proved in my mind that the police have set out to remove me and two other  neuropathologists who share the same view from the courts because we have stood  in the way of their campaign to improve conviction rates. If an expert witness  bases an opinion on reasonable scientific ground, even if the opinion is a  minority one, it should not be excluded.

‘I am determined not to be silenced and if I can’t speak out in court, I  shall do it in scientific papers. It cannot be fair to gag one body of opinion.  The whole thing is a nightmare, not least because instead of researching vital  things about babies, I have to spend time trying to clear my name.

‘Meanwhile, the number of court cases I have been asked to attend has  plummeted from 30 a year a few years ago to five in the past year.

‘Some lawyers are still willing to instruct me because they believe I will  give them an opinion based on the science. Others feel they can’t use me while  the complaint is hanging over me.

‘The experience has made me feel like a whistleblower – on the one hand  challenging all those who prefer the comfort of old mainstream opinion, and on  the other struggling for my professional life.’

DI Welsh was unavailable for comment, but Scotland Yard said in a statement: ‘The Metropolitan Police did register concerns about certain practices of a  doctor with the Human Tissue Authority in December 2009. The Metropolitan Police  also agreed to provide any relevant information to the GMC following a report  registered by the National Policing Improvement Agency with the GMC.’

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