that can help you make informed decisions about
your personal and family health
Mammograms Have High False Positive Rate
Kornguth, P.J. and R. C. Bentley. (2001). Mammographic-Pathologic Correlation: Part 1. Benign Breast Lesions. Journal of Women's Imaging, 3(1):29-37.
It seems that a mammogram, a test designed to correctly identify both benign and malignant breast lesions, has an extremely high false positive rate, and many benign lesions are being mis-diagnosed as malignant.
A woman's breast tissue undergoes many changes during her lifetime. At almost every stage of female life, there are benign cysts and breast lesions which can be mistaken for malignancies, but which pose no threat to the woman. These changes in breast tissue occur primarily because of fluctuating hormonal levels.
The most common of these is fibrocystic breast disease. They have stopped calling it a disease because it occurs in 60% of healthy women's breasts, and therefore is a fairly normal rather than pathologic occurence. They occur most frequently in aged 35-50, and rarely in women under 30. They are normal, rarely lead to carcinoma even when palpable or painful, and are often incorrectly identified as malignant. When painful, the pain is simply caused by the amount of fluid in the cyst, nothing more. Fibroadenomas are the second most common group, and they occur mostly in the teens and early 20's. They will feel like a firm or rubbery moveable mass, usually painless, and entirely benign with no chance for degneration into a carcinoma. The 40-60 year old woman will often have mulitple Complex Sclerosing Lesions which usually cannot be felt manually and which are often misdiagnosed because even biopsies have trouble differentiating between the benign and malignant ones. It is stated that, while these are benign, there is a VERY SMALL increased risk of development into carcinoma; however, I personally feel that because they are having such trouble with the false positive rate, this very small statistical risk cannot be trusted to be an actual risk. In the 30 to 45 age group, there is also another lesion called Sclerosing Adenosis. This is a combination of collagen deposits and an increased number of glands in the breast. This one not only gives a false positive on mammograms, but on biopsies as well. It also does not directly lead to carcinoma as it develops.
Another type of lesion that can occur is Fat Necrosis, which occurs as a result of trauma. When the fat cells are injured, they release their fat and form a cyst. The trauma required to produce this is often very slight, and may not even be remembered by the woman. Iatrogenic (caused by medical treatment) trauma was also listed as a cause. This cyst can mimic a carcinoma very well, even when using fine needle aspiration, so it's false positive rate is high as well.
What conclusions do I take away from all this information? It is my opinion that many women are being diagnosed with breast cancer who don't really have it. These cysts can be caused by medical treatments of many kinds, extremely slight trauma to breast tissue, or normal fluctuations in hormonal levels. This is our body's way of dealing with the normal, everyday stresses of life. The misdiagnosis of these normal conditions shows that, if we didn't have medical technology at our disposal which allows us to peek inside our bodies, we wouldn't be misunderstanding what we weren't meant to see in the first place. Our bodies are very wise, they know what they are doing, and our intrusion into the inner sanctum of the body often causes more harm than it does good.
My personal view of mammograms is, why should I expose my body to even a small level of radiation in exchange for information that I can't trust to be accurate? I prefer to trust my body and my intuition, and adopt a cancer-proof lifestyle.
Cranberry Juice Reduces Urinary Tract Infection Risk
Kontiokari, T. (2001). Consumption of Cranberry Juice Reduces UTI Risk. British Medical Journal, 322;1571-1573.
Women with a history of urinary tract infections were divided into groups. One group was given a cranberry-ligonberry juice drink of about 50 ml, another group was given a 100 ml lactobacillius drink, and the other group was given neither. At the end of 6 months, the cranberry juice group had reduced the number of uti's by half, whereas the other groups experienced no effect.
While the apparent usefulness of cranberry juice is to slightly acidify the urinary tract, thereby inhibiting bacterial growth, it would be advisable to use freshly juiced, organic juice if possible so as to include the live enzymes which boost the immune system and help reduce bacterial levels as well. However, bottled juice is acidic simply by virtue of the fact that it has been cooked and bottled, so if one cannot get the fresh juice, it would seem the bottled juice an acceptable substitute in this case. However, taking enyzme supplements is advisable when ingesting any cooked, canned, or bottled food or drink because these substances tax the immune system's effectiveness.
Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer
Tryggvadottir, L. et al. (2001). Breast-Feeding Tied to Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology, 154:37-42.
A study of women who were diagnosed with breast cancer revealed that the risk for breast cancer at all ages is reduced if one has EVER breastfed, while the results were stronger for those diagnosed before age 40, and the protective effect seemed to increase as the duration of breastfeeding increased.
So it would appear that breastfeeding those babies longer is a good thing, ladies!
Prostiglandin Induction Increases Uterine Rupture Risk
Lydon-Rochelle, M., et al. (2001). Prostaglandin-Induced Labor Linked to High Risk of Uterine Rupture After C-Section. New England Journal of Medicine, 345:3-8.
The rate of uterine rupture per 1000 birthing women was 5.2 for spontaneous labor, 7.7 for induced labor without prostiglandins, and 24.5 for induced labor with prostaglandins, confirming what we have always known, that induced labor is more dangerous under any conditions than natural birth.
It should also be acknowledged, however, that in spontaneous labor, the event called "uterine rupture" normally amounts to no more than a slight loosening at the ends of the incision, and does not represent a bursting open of the uterus, as many women picture in their minds.
It was noted in the article that, even though prostiglandin induction increases the risks, it is nevertheless used quite frequently.
I'm not surprised by that, are you?
Childhood Asthma Linked to Pregnancy and Birth Complications
Annesi-Maesano, I. et al. (2001). In Utero And Perinatal Factors May Influence Asthma Risk in Children. Allergy, 56:491-497.
In a study of 4063 children, asthma was more common in children whose mothers had experienced complications during pregnancy. Early or threatened labor, or malposition or malpresentation of the fetus were both significantly related to the development of childhood asthma.
How could these events have anything to do with the development of asthma? Asthma originates from emotional causes. Do unborn fetuses experience emotions? Most certainly. Emotions are the result of hormonal changes in the blood stream. When expectant mothers experience extreme stress or fear, these hormones are dumped into the blood stream of the mother, and the hormones are carried to the fetus, who experiences the same emotional responses. In essence, the fetus' neurological system becomes programmed to respond these hormones with an asthmatic physiological response. Early or threatened labor can cause as well as be caused by factors which would trigger an extreme stress response in the body. Malposition or malpresentation of the fetus will cause fear in the mother, in most cases, only because her caregivers express concern about the positioning. Positions other than vertex (head down) frequently resolve themselves if no intervention is done, and breech positions can safely deliver themselves with as little human assistance as possible, and no fear from the mother. In my opinion, it is not the presentation or timing of labor which actually causes the asthma, but the fear response which the event, or more likely the caregivers, instill in the mother. There is also the issue of early or threatened labor sometimes being associated with stressful events in the mother's life, or with the mother's negative feelings about the pregnancy or the unborn child.
Trust in the process of birth, in the body's ability to give birth, as little intervention as possible, self-education and support, and the absence of caregivers will all contribute to reducing the development of asthma in the young child.
Yellow Fever Vaccine Causes Deaths
July 14th Issue of The Lancet cites association between Yellow Fever Vaccine and 6 deaths in the U.S., Brazil and Australia. Lancet, 358:84-85,91-104,121-122.
"Yellow fever vaccine has been around for more than 60 years and we never suspected that one of its side effects could be an illness very similar if not identical to wild-type yellow fever," Dr. Thomas P. Monath, from Acambis Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, told Reuters Health.
DUH....They never suspected it? It has been known for years that vaccines which carry a live virus can infect the recipient of the vaccine, make them sick with the disease, and even kill them. Researchers and doctors who say they would never have suspected this would seem to me to be either negligent or ignorant.
"This is a very rare host-determined genetic susceptibility to yellow fever," Dr. Monath said. "It does not seem to be related to any change in the vaccine manufacture or mutations of the host. Regulatory agencies and manufacturers are going to have to revise the package inserts to include mention of this rare side effect."
In other words, it is the recipient's fault that they have a genetic susceptibility, and the vaccine and it's manufacturers are not at fault.
These cases "bounced around the medical system without a diagnosis for a long time," Dr. Monath said. "Physicians need to instruct patients who receive this vaccine [that] if they get a fever or feel seriously unwell in the first week after vaccination, they need to get medical attention."
What they fail to mention is that when patients report something they feel is vaccine-related, they are usually told by their doctors that their condition could not have been caused by the vaccine, even though the symptoms occurred immediately after receiving the vaccine, and the doctors waste valuable time searching for other causes.
However, in an interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Cetron cautioned that "in no way should the cases reported this week lead to a discontinuation of the use of the vaccine either in endemic areas, epidemic areas or by travelers to those areas." The risk of going into an area with known yellow fever unprotected by vaccine is still far greater that the risk of having a vaccine-related adverse event, he stressed.
According to the World Health Organization, "The virus remains silent in the body during an incubation period of three to six days. There are then two disease phases. While some infections have no symptoms whatsoever, the first, "acute", phase is normally characterized by fever, muscle pain (with prominent backache), headache, shivers, loss of appetite, nausea and/or vomiting. Often, the high fever is paradoxically associated with a slow pulse. After three to four days most patients improve and their symptoms disappear. However, 15% enter a "toxic phase" within 24 hours. Fever reappears and several body systems are affected. The patient rapidly develops jaundice and complains of abdominal pain with vomiting. Bleeding can occur from the mouth, nose, eyes and/or stomach. Once this happens, blood appears in the vomit and faeces. Kidney function deteriorates; this can range from abnormal protein levels in the urine (albuminuria) to complete kidney failure with no urine production (anuria). Half of the patients in the "toxic phase" die within 10-14 days. The remainder recover without significant organ damage" (Available http://www.who.int/inf-fs/en/fact100.html).
So let's see....85% of those who contract the illness naturally recover within three to four days of manifesting symptoms. Of the other 15% who enter the "toxic phase" within 24 hours after exposure, half will recover without significant damage. So of those who contract the disease naturally, 7.5% will die within 10-14 days.
Of the six cases we know of that contracted this disease from the vaccine, three died. That's 50%. I'd rather take my chances with the disease, thank you.
Those who choose to forgo vaccinations can utilize many alternative methods for strengthening the immune system so that infectious diseases cannot gain a foothold at all. These natural methods of encouraging immunity have no side effects other than to make the individual feel stronger and healthier, as opposed to vaccines which tax the immune system so it cannot adequately do its job, and produce uncomfortable and dangerous side effects.
Pesticide Exposure linked to Low Birth Weight and Preterm Delivery of BabiesJuly 14, 2001 issue of The Lancet also reports increased risk of preterm delivery or low birth weight infants in those women exposed to DDT. 358:110-114.
"Among the women in the highest category of exposure, compared with those in the lowest category of exposure, the risk of preterm birth was increased about threefold," Dr. Longnecker told Reuters Health.
Although DDT is still used in only about 2 dozen countries (the USA not one of them), this should alert us to the dangers of pesticides in our diets. I would advise all pregnant women to eat only certified organic food products during their pregnancies, as well as during lactation. In reality, if they are not good for pregnant women, they aren't good for the rest of us either. The fact that pesticides influence the growth and reproduction of cells should alarm us all. Our bodies are constantly making new cells for healing and regeneration. If pesticides inhibit those processes, this can affect our bodies' ability to heal themselves from a variety of disease states, and can affect the aging process as well. We would all be advised to stay away from as many pesticides as possible.
Back to The Online Childbirth Class