Acupuncture May Help Manage Side Effects Associated With Breast Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture may help manage side effects associated with breast cancer treatment Acupuncture may be an effective treatment option for breast cancer patients who are experiencing pain and stiffness due to side effects of commonly used hormone therapies, according to a new study.

Previous research indicated that nearly half of the women who undergo aromatase inhibitor therapy, which is a common treatment for early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, experience some joint pain and stiffness.

For this reason, researchers from the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital aimed to identify a non-drug option to manage the symptoms.

In the study, the researchers randomly assigned 43 early breast cancer patients who had reported musculoskeletal pain to receive either true acupuncture or sham acupuncture twice a week for six weeks. They found that the majority of women who were treated with true acupuncture experienced significant improvement in joint pain and stiffness over the course of the study.

Moreover, a total of 20 percent of patients who had reported taking pain medication no longer needed to do so. No significant improvements were reported by those in the control group.

"To our knowledge, this is the first randomized, placebo-controlled trial establishing that acupuncture may be an effective method to relieve joint problems caused by these medications," said lead author Katherine Crew.

"However, results still need to be confirmed in larger, multicenter studies," she added.

House Passes Healthcare Reform Bill Following Obama’s Last Minute Deal-making

House passes healthcare reform bill following Obama's last minute deal-making The Senate’s version of healthcare reform legislation was narrowly passed by the House Sunday evening after President Obama struck a late deal with Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) and other pro-life Democrats, promising to issue an executive order clarifying abortion language in the bill.

After a dramatic week of impassioned debate and feverous name calling from both sides of the aisle, the Senate bill cleared the House by a 219-212 vote. A total of 34 dissident Democrats joined every House Republican in opposing the legislation.

Later in the evening, a second measure – which makes changes to the recently approved bill – was quickly passed by a margin of 220-211. That piece of legislation will now move to the Senate, which can approve the bill by a simple 51-vote majority by using the parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation.

A jubilant President Obama was relieved that his hallmark campaign measure, which seemed dead only a few months ago, is all but assured to be signed into law in the near future.

“We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests,” the president said. “We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things.”

Meanwhile, House Republicans leaders said that the now inevitable passage of healthcare reform legislation defies the wishes of the American people.

“We have failed to listen to America,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner. “This body moves forward against their will. Shame on us.”

Opponents Of Healthcare Bill Plan Rally In Washington

Opponents of healthcare bill plan rally in Washington As the crucial healthcare vote in the House of Representatives approaches, opponents of the proposed legislation are stepping up their efforts to stop it.

Under the auspices of the American Grassroots Coalition, various anti-tax and Tea Party groups are launching the final push before the vote by holding coordinated events, including a noon rally at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, a candlelight vigil and “virtual vigil” leading up to the vote.

Some of the speakers at the Saturday event will include Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), actor and activist Jon Voight and Ben Cunningham, founder of the Tennessee Tax Revolt.

“All of the groups have a mutual goal — to band together to communicate the frustration of the people and demand the termination of this health bill legislation,” said Jennifer Hulsey, co-founder of American Grassroots Coalition. The coalition is comprised of dozens of organizations, including Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, Family Research Council and Institute for Liberty.

In the past two weeks, nearly 1,000 fiscal conservatives from across the country have been staging events around the capital under the Take The Town Halls To Washington initiative and met with some 30 members of Congress to express their frustration with the proposed reforms.

CBO: Healthcare Reform To Cost $940 Billion Over The Next Decade

CBO: Healthcare reform to cost $940 billion over the next decadeLast week, the Congressional Budget Office released a report which estimates that the updated healthcare reform bill will cost approximately $940 billion over the next 10 years.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the measure will cut the federal deficit by as much as $130 billion in the next decade, and more than $1 trillion over the following 10 years due to revenue increases and cost savings, compared to the current system.

“I think the momentum is growing for this bill,” said Hoyer. “The more and more people have looked at this bill…a greater number of people are becoming more comfortable.”

The release of the estimate may set the table for a final vote on healthcare reform in the House this Sunday. Democratic leaders plan to post the reconciliation bill online Thursday to give the public and some conservative Democrats 72 hours to review the language, Fox News reports.

The package that was considered by the budget office was the Senate bill combined with supplemental changes instituted by members of the House. If Democratic leaders decide to use the parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation, and all indications are that they will, Republicans will not be able to prevent the bill from getting to President Obama’s desk.

Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine

On March 26, 1953, Dr. Jonas Salk made a momentous announcement: He had invented a vaccine that would prevent a child from catching one of the most feared contagions at the time, poliomyelitis.

Today, with polio virtually unknown in the West (the last case in the U.S. occurred in 1979) it is difficult to imagine the panic that took place half a century ago when a child was diagnosed with the disease. Playmates were forbidden to visit. A swimming pool he used would be empty in the middle of the summer. Parents would worry for weeks that one of their children might become crippled for life.

I witnessed the awful consequences of the disease because a family friend was infected in childhood. For the rest of her life, Eleanor was forced to don a metal harness every morning. There was a metal girdle around her waist, with steel braces running down each leg, ending in a pair of heavy black shoes.

Wearing this device and using crutches, Ellie could make her way slowly from room to room. Without it, she was totally immobile. But Ellie was determined to have as normal a life as possible. She and her husband Ken adopted two children and did everything families did back then—go on picnics, play in the pool, participate in the PTA. In the 50-some years I knew Ellie Hawthorne, I never heard her complain about her infirmity.

Thinking back on what she endured it seems almost miraculous that, thanks to the pioneering work of Salk, Dr. Albert Sabin and their colleagues, most children today will never see a case of polio, much less be afflicted by it.

Salk refused to patent his discovery or receive any money for it. He insisted that, “like the sun,” the vaccine should be free to everyone.

—Chip Wood

Study: Purified Fish Oil May Help Prevent Bowel Cancer

Study: Purified fish oil may help prevent bowel cancer A new purified form of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid may help reduce the number and size of precancerous polyps in individuals who are at a high risk of inheriting bowel cancer, a recent study has found.

Lead investigator Mark Hull, professor at the University of Leeds in the UK, says that treatment with specially prepared fish oil appears to be as effective as Celebrex, which is prescribed to people with an elevated genetic risk of developing precancerous polyps in bowel, a condition known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), according to Health Day News.

In the study, Hull and his colleagues monitored 55 patients who were suffering from FAP. A total of 28 patients were given a daily dose of purified omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, known as EPA, while the others were treated with a placebo.

After six months of follow-up, the research team observed a 12 percent reduction in the number of polyps in the EPA group, while the placebo group showed an increase in both the number and size of precancerous polyps.

“There is definitely a clinical need for an effective, preventative therapy that is both safe and well-tolerated, as the existing drug therapy for FAP can be associated with an increased risk of heart attack in older individuals,” concluded Hull.

Immigration Reform Supporters To Rally Against Obama’s Lack Of Progress

Immigration reform supporters to rally against Obama's lack of progressFrustrated with President Obama’s broken promise to overhaul the immigration system within his first year in office, thousands of grassroots activists rallied at the National Mall in Washington March 21 to express their displeasure with the lack of progress concerning immigration reform.

In the face of heavy criticism from supporters of new legislation, Obama reiterated his campaign promises last week, stating that he will “do everything in [his] power” to put an immigration bill in front of Congress by the end of 2010.

The president also supported a reform outline authored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), which will force undocumented workers to admit they broke the law, pay back taxes and perform community service to become legal United States residents, Fox News reports. Illegal immigrants would also need to pass a background check and an English exam before being cleared to stay in the country.

However, when asked about the administration’s current priorities, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs did not mention immigration reform and indicated that nothing would get accomplished without bipartisan support, according to ABC News.

“It’s got to be more than the president wants to get something done,” he said.

Supreme Court Case Pits Religious Versus Gay Rights

Supreme Court case pits religious versus gay rights Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Jewish Committee and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism have filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the University of California Hastings School of Law, whose nondiscrimination policy has been challenged by a religious group.

The case was originally brought by the Christian Legal Society (CLS) whose Hasting chapter was denied official university recognition and funding because it would have violated the law school’s anti-bias policy. CLS bars gay members from joining, and as such does not conform to the public university’s policy which prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation, Inside Higher ED reported.

“Because CLS does not need to be an official student group to communicate its message effectively to the Hastings student body the group’s First Amendment interest in discriminating against non-believers and the university’s interest in ensuring that its sanctioned extracurricular activities are open to all students are not incompatible,” the brief states.

Other organizations that have filed briefs in support of the school include American Council on Education, Lambda Legal and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

Why Wall Street Hates Gold

Wall Street hates gold. In fact they hate it as much as government does.

The reason is simple: ordinary investors that count on gold don’t need Wall Street. They don’t need the slick stockbrokers, the puffed-up analysts or the aristocratic money managers. In the eyes of Wall Street gold owners didn’t contribute a red cent to the $20-plus billion in bonuses they got last year.

Twenty-billion dollars might seem like a mega-lottery, but Wall Street always wants more. Bonuses were bigger last year than the year before even though Wall Street almost hurtled the world into an economic dark age.

But Wall Street is scared. They understand they are living it up because of the Barack Obama Bonus Brigade.* Most of all they fear sanity just might be contagious; that more and more investors will be reluctant to throw their hard-earned savings into a marketplace that is overpriced and on the verge of collapse.

Little wonder that CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and the rest of the financial media hammer away at gold. They reiterate the Keynesian mantra that it is a barbarous relic and call it a vastly overpriced commodity whose bubble is about to burst.

“Talk of a Gold bubble over the past 6-9 months grows louder and louder,” writes The Market Oracle. “It is comical and a sign of desperation among those losing their grip on the levers of power and influence. I have never seen a bubble so heavily recognized and announced.”

It does seem strange that today Wall Street is clairvoyant about the billions of dollars invested in the gold market, even though a couple of years ago it was oblivious to the trillions of dollars at risk in the sub-prime lending market.

Of course gold-bashing is nothing new. I saw it when I was a kid and watched my dad, C.V., on the TV show Wall Street Week. It was 1976 and gold was trading for a little more than $100 per ounce. That didn’t stop the host, Louis Rukeyser from calling my dad a gold bug and ridiculing him for telling his subscribers to buy bullion.

But Rukeyser and the rest of the Wall Street establishment weren’t laughing near so hard four years later when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading at 800 while gold was fetching $800.

Dirt Cheap, But Not for Long
The last time gold was frothy you could swap an ounce of bullion for a single share in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today it takes about 10 ounces of gold to buy a single share in the Dow.

But just how expensive is gold these days? It turns out that no matter how you measure it, gold is cheap. The reason is because the dollar buys so little. Back in 1980 when I was graduating from college I sold 10 Krugerrands and bought myself a shiny new Pontiac Trans Am right off the showroom floor. Today I would need 30 Krugerrands to buy a comparable Chevy Camaro.

In fact, if you account for the dollar’s decline in purchasing power, bullion would trade today at nearly $2,500 to have the same value it had in 1980. And even if you think gold only spiked above $800 per ounce, and a much fairer top is $700, it would still have to trade at $2,000 in today’s money just to have the same relative value.

Finally, bubbles usually burst because of inflated supply and falling demand. Not much sign of that in the gold market.

According to a recently released report by The World Gold Council, overall investment in gold was 7 percent higher last year than in 2008. It seems incredible, but gold demand actually climbed despite rampant fears of deflation and a physical shortage of gold. Moreover, in 2009 total funds invested in all forms of gold were a whopping 20 percent higher than in 2008.

Yet even as demand for the Midas metal continues to grow, production isn’t keeping pace. Output of gold from South Africa, the United States, Australia and Canada has dwindled every year over the past decade.

These countries, which produced two-thirds of global gold production through the 1980s, now produce less than half of the gold mined.

Over the past decade big gold companies have grown not through exploration but via the purchase of reserves in the form of corporate buyouts. The truth is it is getting harder and more expensive to find gold.

“In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined, barely enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools,” wrote National Geographic in January 2009. “Now the world’s richest deposits are fast being depleted, and new discoveries are rare. Gone are the hundred-mile-long gold reefs in South Africa or cherry-size nuggets in California. Most of the gold left to mine exists as traces buried in remote and fragile corners of the globe.”

When I was born some 50 years ago companies could get about 12 grams of gold for every ton of rock you pulled out of a mine. Today they have to mine four tons of rock to harvest that much gold.

So there doesn’t appear to be enough gold to satisfy demand, at least not at these prices. But there certainly has been an avalanche of money. Consider this: in the past half century the above ground levels of gold have doubled. Meanwhile M3, a broad measure of money, has risen from $300 billion to $10 trillion. In other words, there is twice the amount of gold as there was in 1960. But there are 30 times more dollars.

All of which leads me to think that Wall Street has it picture perfect once again; perfectly wrong. The real bubble is with paper assets. The only silver lining in any of it is that it will blow Wall Street to smithereens—right where it belongs.

Action to take: continue to accumulate gold. I’ve been telling subscribers this since October 2000 when I was writing Outstanding Investments. My stockbroker friends thought I was dead wrong then. They think I am dead wrong now. I’ve been getting a lot of last laughs and I expect to get a lot more.

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

* Footnote: Last month New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli admitted that Washington was responsible for lining Wall Street’s pockets with billions even as the rest of the country was mired in recession. “A lot of this (bonuses) is fueled by federal money,” DiNapoli said.

Opponents Say Proposed Idaho Law Will Violate Individuals’ Rights

Opponents say proposed Idaho law will violate individuals' rights A controversy regarding patient’s rights is brewing in Idaho after the State House passed a bill that allows all healthcare professionals—including dieticians and pharmacists—to refuse to provide care that violates their conscience.

In addition to end-of-life care, SB 1353 extends the provisions to abortion and emergency contraception, permitting any licensed healthcare provider to refuse to provide a treatment or medication on conscience grounds.

“The intent of this legislation is not to restrict or limit in any way healthcare services to women or men in Idaho,” said lead sponsor Senator Chuck Winder, a Republican, quoted by The Spokesman Review.

He specified that he considered the bill as “an attempt to correct what we perceived to be an oversight,” as the current state law permits doctors or hospital workers to refuse to participate in treatments, but does not cover all licensed healthcare professionals.

However, critics have alleged it will allow providers to override a family’s or a patient’s decisions expressed in living wills or through advance directives.

“The Idaho House said it’s all right for healthcare professionals to ignore the wishes and instructions of their patients—and that’s a dangerous direction for healthcare in our state,” said Jim Wordelman, state director for AARP in Idaho.

The organization has urged Idahoans to contact the governor’s office and urge him to remove the contentious language or veto the bill.