Acupuncture helps chemotherapy patients

Acupuncture helps chemotherapy patientsPatients treated with radiation for head and neck cancer often experience severe dry mouth (xerostomia), but new research shows biweekly acupuncture may bring relief.

The pilot study – conducted by a team from the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, which included an acupuncturist from the Center’s Integrative Medicine Program – treated 12 patients with xerostomia who had completed radiation therapy at least four weeks earlier.

They were given two acupuncture treatments each week for four weeks on the ears, chin, index finger, forearm and lateral surface of the leg, and the researchers noted highly statistically significant improvements in symptoms.

Dr. Mark S. Chambers, a professor in the Department of Dental Oncology and the study’s senior author, says radiation-induced xerostomia impacts the quality of life by preventing patients from being able to speak or eat properly. He adds that none of the conventional treatments provide long-lasting relief.

However, "patients with severe xerostomia who underwent acupuncture showed improvements in physical well-being and in subjective symptoms," says Chambers.

Acupuncture is based on the ancient Chinese practice of inserting and manipulating very thin needles at precise points on the body to relieve pain and restore health.

Traditionally, stimulating these points is believed to improve the flow of vital energy through the body.

Contemporary theories about acupuncture’s benefits suggest needle manipulation stimulates natural substances that dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to different areas of the body.

The results of the study appeared online in the journal Head & Neck.
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19152113-ADNFCR

Pajamas TV: TEA Party turnout exceeded one million

TEA Party turnout exceeded one million, according to Pajamas TVWith over 77 percent of events reporting, Pajamas TV has announced 935,000 people attended the nationwide tax day tea party protests.

The conservative online TV company has also estimated the total turnout could range from 1,014,000 to 1,071,000. Thus far, Texas has reported the highest turnout, followed by California, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and New York.

"The size of the tea party protests indicates that a significant number of Americans are not happy with the economic direction of the country and took the time to make their voices heard," says Roger L. Simon, CEO of Pajamas Media.

On April 15, conservatives from coast to coast expressed their dissatisfaction with the course of Obama’s economic policies by attending the National TEA Party Day, which stands for "taxed enough already."

The organizers called on citizens to march against politicians who "are spending trillions of borrowed dollars, leaving a debt our great-grandchildren will be paying" and want to redistribute hard-earned wealth.

Meanwhile, organizations such as the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and Americans for Tax Reform have criticized the government for imposing limits on tax deductions for charitable donations.

They say this will make wealthy people give less to charity at a time when such donations are more needed than ever.

ADNFCR-1961-ID-19152112-ADNFCR

Bank not giving up on offshore opportunities

Bank not giving up on offshore opportunities A Swiss bank at the center of U.S. tax authorities’ investigation into secret offshore accounts has asked a U.S. court to reject demands by the IRS for confidential information about its American clients.

UBS plans to argue before a federal court in Florida that such a disclosure would violate Switzerland’s bank secrecy laws, according to media reports.

"Despite the clear historical record, the IRS now asks this court to force a Swiss financial institution and its employees, over the express objection of the Swiss government, to violate Swiss law by producing a massive quantity of confidential account information located exclusively in Switzerland," UBS said in its filing.

According to Reuters, under a 1996 treaty, Switzerland may turn over account data only on a reasonable suspicion of tax fraud. However, Swiss law does not view tax evasion as a crime.

The IRS is pursuing a civil lawsuit against UBS seeking access to data on 52,000 wealthy Americans it claims are hiding nearly $15 billion of assets in Swiss bank accounts.

The U.S. government’s crackdown on what it sees as tax havens was prompted by the financial crisis and the costly stimulus bill as well as several rounds of bailouts that need to be paid for.

It gathered steam after last month’s G20 summit in London where global leaders pledged cooperation in pursuing the matter.

ADNFCR-1961-ID-19152111-ADNFCR

Organization blasts healthcare reform fast-track deal

Organization blasts healthcare reform fast-track deal Congressional Democrats have struck a deal to use a fast-track budget process to speed up President Obama’s healthcare reforms, in a move that was compared to a "declaration of war" by one Republican senator.

Republicans, and even some Democrats, have warned against trying to implement such a major reform without bipartisan support, but Democrats now hope they will be able to push it through as early as this summer, according to CNN.com.

One of the organizations that criticized the move, which it sees as "muzzling" any meaningful debate, is Grassfire.org., an organizing center for activists for traditional and conservative values.

"Once again statist politicians have carved out a deal in darkness and silenced opposition debate," says Steve Elliott, president of the alliance.

"A shift this monumental needs to be debated in clear view of the public, not hidden behind a closed door on Capitol Hill," he adds.

The organization has also called on citizens to flood Congress with faxes and phone calls opposing the fast-track provision.

Conservative groups have also been outraged about the recent nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Sebelius, known for her pro-abortion views, has been accused of failing to disclose how much money she had received from a controversial provider of late-term abortions.
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19151849-ADNFCR

At 100 days Obama gets mixed reviews

At 100 days Obama gets mixed reviewsAs the new president marks 100 days in office, critics and supporters are fiercely debating the merits of his policies.

Barack Obama has been praised by some commentators for his dynamic tackling of the ongoing economic crisis, closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, setting clear goals for Iraq and Afghanistan and for stressing the need to develop a new energy policy.

The president’s foreign policy has also received high marks, in particular for his efforts to reach out to leaders with whom previous administrations refused to talk.

However, criticism of Obama has also been vocal and, in some cases, focused on the same issues as those singled out by his supporters.

The economic stimulus package and the recently passed $3.4 trillion budget, as well as the proposed healthcare reform, have been blasted by the critics as marking the largest expansion of federal government in decades.

It is also setting the stage for a crushing debt which will be inherited by future generations, they say.

Conservatives are also increasingly worried about what appears to be an erosion of the system of checks and balances in Washington.

In particular, the recent move by Pennsylvania senior senator, Arlen Specter, to join the Democratic Party has brought the latter a step closer to the filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

ADNFCR-1961-ID-19151848-ADNFCR

Varicose veins sufferers may benefit from natural therapies

Varicose veins sufferers may benefit from natural therapiesVaricose veins, which affect some 12 million people in America, can lead to health complications and often present aesthetic challenges. However, many health practitioners have suggested natural remedies have beneficial effects and may help avoid surgery.

Natural therapies work by strengthening veins thereby reducing leakage from vessel walls.

In particular, moderate muscle-toning exercise or yoga help veins preserve their natural shape, while the cholesterol-lowering effects of exercise may act to boost vein health from within.

Herbal supplements, such as horse chestnut extract are also commonly used to treat varicose veins.

Studies have shown the active component in horse chestnut called aescin appears to block the release of enzymes that damage capillary walls, according to the alternative health section of About.com, an informational website.

Other natural remedies include grape seed and pine bark extracts which contain antioxidant complexes that appear to strengthen the connective tissue of blood vessels and reduce inflammation.

Meanwhile, Holistic Online, a natural health website, recommends eating fresh fruits, whole grains especially buckwheat and millet, as well as garlic, onions, ginger, cayenne pepper and fish.

Those suffering from varicose veins are also well advised to avoid red meat, fats and refined carbohydrates as well as sugar, salt, alcohol, cheeses and ice cream.

Finally, oriental medicine techniques such as acupuncture and acupressure can help prevent varicose veins form getting worse, while reflexology and massage may alleviate discomfort associated with the condition.
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19151847-ADNFCR

Sebelius confirmation stirs controversy

Sebelius confirmation stirs controversy The U.S. Senate confirmed Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on April 28, but numerous groups continue to voice their opposition.

Sebelius’ pro-choice and sex education stance has put her at odds with Christian and conservative organization across the country such as the American Life League (ALL).

"[The Senate appointed] a woman who, wedded to the Kansas abortion lobby, helped make that state the late-term abortion capital of the world," says ALL president Judie Brown.

She adds, "In her new position as secretary of Health and Human Services, Sebelius will have the power to make the U.S. the abortion capital of the world."

Meanwhile, Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright told Washington Independent declaring the swine flu health emergency was designed to facilitate Sebelius’ confirmation.

This sentiment was supported by the Family Research Council president Tony Perkins who vowed to continue the fight to ensure that healthcare reform "is not infected with Sebelius’s pro-abortion views."

He added the American people will not accept public funding for abortion and will oppose the violation of conscience rights, which risk driving medical personnel from their fields.
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19149589-ADNFCR

Despite swine flu spreading, officials rule out border closure

Despite swine flu spreading, officials rule out border closure The U.S. government has said it was not planning to close the border with Mexico due to the swine flu outbreaks.

According to the Star Telegram, Representatives Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, and Eric Massa, a New York Democrat, along with a national anti-illegal immigration group, have asked federal officials and Texas Governor Rick Perry to shut down the border.

"The border should be closed," said Burgess, quoted by the newspaper. "At least until we get a better handle on how big this is."

Meanwhile, the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee called on Perry to send the National Guard to the border immediately.

However, officials in Washington believe this would be counterproductive.

"Closing our nation’s borders is not merited here," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at a mid-afternoon briefing.

She added the move would have enormous adverse economic consequences and would have "no impact or very little" to help stop the spread of the virus which is already present in our country.

However, she admitted the government was consulting with scientists to see whether any "additional screening beyond what we are already doing in terms of active monitoring would make sense at the borders."

U.S. scientists are racing to develop a vaccine, but they caution it would take several months before enough doses are available for testing in humans .
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19149588-ADNFCR

Senator Arlen Specter flips the aisle

Senator Arlen Specter flips the aisle Saying the GOP has moved too much to the right, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announced yesterday he will be seeking reelection as a Democrat next year.

The move will also offer Senate Democrats a possible 60th vote, allowing them to block filibuster and facilitate the Obama administration’s implementation of its new agenda.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine commented on Specter’s move saying his willingness to set politics aside and be part of a solution to the country’s problems will find a welcome reception in the Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden admitted he had encouraged Specter to switch for several years.

The Republicans, on the other hand, did not hide their disappointment and warned the Pennsylvania senator’s decision will lead to unchecked power by the White House and Congress.

"The threat to the country presented … by this defection really relates to the issue of whether or not in the U.S. our people want the majority party to have whatever it wants without restraint, without a check or balance," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

However, Elsie Hillman, former Republican National Committeewoman, said that while she was saddened by the news, Specter "is the brightest member of the U.S. Senate and I will continue to support him and will vote for him in next year’s general election."

ADNFCR-1961-ID-19147046-ADNFCR

Swine flu cases continue to climb

Swine flu cases continue to climb As the number of confirmed cases of swine flu increases across North America, the first fatality has been reported in the U.S.

The number of cases in the U.S. has risen to 91 and is spread across 10 states, according to the CDC. A 22-month-old child from Mexico who came to Texas for treatment became the first fatality in the U.S.

"Although it is far too early to know the degree to which the current swine flu outbreak warrants alarm, the number of cases and the speed with which the virus has spread around the globe serves as an opportunity to [discuss] the critical nature of preparedness," says Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

Swine flu presents similar symptoms to other strains of flu virus, including coughing, sneezing, fever, chills and vomiting. Some people may also experience difficulty breathing, dizziness or a rash.

At this time, it may be wise to avoid crowded places and wear masks if it is necessary to ride a subway or go to a supermarket.

Washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers frequently during the day is also good practice. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Experts have also stressed the importance of keeping the workspace clean by sanitizing desktops, phones and computer keyboards, especially if they are used by many people.

Talking to your employer about their contingency plan for a situation where many employees are unable to work may also be a good idea.

ADNFCR-1961-ID-19147045-ADNFCR