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GarDinSprite13
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Chef N.
GarDinSprite13
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Arden, NC
Post #: 985
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GarDinSprite13
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Arden, NC
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GarDinSprite13
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Tainted meats point to superbug C. diff in food
Study finds gut germ in 40 percent of grocery meats; CDC says not to worry
Image: Meat section in grocery store
An Arizona researcher found 40 percent of meat products tested from three national chain stores were contaminated with bacteria normally associated with severe hospital infections. Federal health officials, however, say more study is needed to determine whether C. diff is transmitted through food.
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Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

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By JoNel Aleccia
Health writer
msnbc.com
updated 8:22 a.m. ET, Tues., Nov. 18, 2008
Chef N.
GarDinSprite13
Group Organizer
Arden, NC
Post #: 990
JoNel Aleccia
Health writer
• E-mail

A potentially deadly intestinal germ increasingly found in hospitals is also showing up in a more unsavory setting: grocery store meats.

More than 40 percent of packaged meats sampled from three Arizona chain stores tested positive for Clostridium difficile, a gut bug known as C. diff., according to newly complete analysis of 2006 data collected by a University of Arizona scientist.

Nearly 30 percent of the contaminated samples of ground beef, pork and turkey and ready-to-eat meats like summer sausage were identical or closely related to a super-toxic strain of C. diff blamed for growing rates of illness and death in the U.S. — raising the possibility that the bacterial infections may be transmitted through food.
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“These data suggest that domestic animals, by way of retail meats, may be a source of C. difficile for human infection,” said J. Glenn Songer, a professor of veterinary science at the Tucson school, who talked with msnbc.com about work now under review by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But specialists from the CDC and scientists who study C. diff said the connection between the presence of C. diff bacteria and infection has not been established and that there’s not enough evidence about food transmission to warrant public alarm.

“There are no documented cases of people getting Clostridium difficile infection from eating food that contains C. difficile,” said Dr. L. Clifford McDonald, chief of prevention and response for a division of the CDC. “However, because C. difficile has been found in some retail meats, that possibility does exist.”

Songer's samples included brands sold in grocery stores across the nation. Contamination ranged from 41 percent of pork products and 44 percent of turkey products to 50 percent of ground beef samples and more than 62 percent of samples of braunschweiger, a type of liverwurst.

Nearly three-quarters of the C. diff spores were toxinotype V, a type linked to illness in pigs and calves and, increasingly, in humans, Songer noted.

80 percent of infections occur in hospitals
C. diff has long been a common, usually benign bug associated with simple, easily treated diarrhea in older patients in hospitals and nursing homes. About 3 percent of healthy adults harbor the bacteria with no problem. But overuse of antibiotics has allowed the germ to develop resistance in recent years, doctors said, creating the toxic new type that stumps traditional treatment.

About 80 percent of C. difficile infections now occur in hospital or health care settings — and the number of infections is rising. About 13 in every 1,000 hospital patients is infected or colonized with the bacteria, a rate between 6.5 and 20 times higher than previously estimated, according to figures released last week by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, or APIC.
Chef N.
GarDinSprite13
Group Organizer
Arden, NC
Post #: 974
Every day, those infections likely cost $32 million, on average, and claim more than 300 lives, the study showed.

Especially worrisome has been a new, more virulent strain, called NAP1, which produces about 20 times the toxins of ordinary strains. It can cause severe, repeated diarrhea that resists all but the most powerful drugs. In worst cases, C. diff infection can destroy the colon and lead to blood poisoning and death.

It’s not clear, however, where the remaining infections — those that occur outside health settings, in the community — originate. Recent victims have included a 10-year-old girl with no history of antibiotic use who became very ill but recovered and a 31-year-old woman pregnant with twins who spontaneously aborted her babies and then died after becoming infected, according to a 2005 review by the CDC.

“For these community-associated sources, there has to be a source outside the hospitals,” Songer said. “It may well be that retail meats are a source or the main source.”

C. diff is a tricky bug, hard to kill with anything but bleach in the hospital and able to survive most cooking techniques in the kitchen. And, unlike scary infections like E. coli 0157:H7, which has transmitted illness through foods from ground beef to fresh spinach, C. diff can't be traced quickly to its source.

"With difficile, you can eat a nice, thick braunschweiger sandwich today, then two weeks from now you get strep throat, take antibiotics and develop difficile-related disease," Songer explained. "You're weeks separated from the event."

Songer detected C. diff in every type of meat he tested, including uncooked ground beef, pork and turkey; pork sausage and chorizo; and ready-to-eat products including beef summer sausage and pork braunschweiger, a spreadable liver sausage luncheon meat.

He collected 88 samples of retail packaged meats bought from large chain stores near Tucson on three occasions during a two-month period in 2006. Earlier analysis indicated that about 30 percent of samples showed C. diff, but that percentage increased under closer review, Songer said.

Thirty-seven of the samples, or nearly 42 percent, showed evidence of C. diff, including about 40 percent of the cooked products and nearly 48 percent of the ready-to-eat products.

Meat by the pound

In 2007, the average American consumed
— 84.9 pounds of chicken
— 63.5 pounds of beef
— 48.2 pounds of pork
— 17.5 pounds of turkey
— 1 pound of lamb and mutton

Source: National Turkey Federation
Contamination could be nationwide
All of the samples collected were national brands available in grocery stores across the country, except the pork chorizo, which was locally made. Songer declined to identify the specific brands, saying that it would unfairly target a single producer when the problem is likely endemic to all.

“My perspective on this is not to blow the whistle on the meat production or meat processing agencies but to point out that we may have a problem and if we do we should work together to solve it,” he said.

At least one meat industry official said Songer’s findings served as a warning to producers, but that the research hasn’t been replicated. Liz Wagstrom, assistant vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board, said she’s awaiting confirmation from the CDC and other sources.

“I feel very confident in the safety of our product,” she said. “If there is any animal-to-human transmission, it is a very small part of the picture.”

James “Bo” Reagan, chairman of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council, declined to discuss specific strategies for addressing C. diff. Instead, in an e-mail to msnbc.com, he said beef producers have spent $27 million on research to identify new food safety technologies and processes.

“Our efforts have resulted in new safeguards throughout the beef production chain and we continue to work with our partners in beef production to find ways to ensure beef is safe,” Reagan wrote in an e-mail.

‘Yes, it's there’
Songer’s study follows a 2007 report in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, which showed Canadian researchers detected C. diff in 12 — or 20 percent — of 60 retail meat samples collected in 2005.

Neither report, however, definitively answers questions about C. diff in the food supply, said the study's lead researcher J. Scott Weese, an associate professor of pathobiology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

“Yes, it’s there,” he said. “But we need to find out how much is there.”

Processed meats like those Songer studied may be more likely to show contamination because they combine sources of meat and because they require more handling than, for instance, a pork chop from a single pig, Weese said.

In addition, scientists don’t know when C. diff exposure sparks infection in people — or how much of a dose is necessary to cause infection, said Dr. Dale N. Gerding, a national expert in C. diff epidemiology and a professor with the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago.

“With a real susceptible source, it only takes a few spores,” he said.

Bug might be in water, soil — even vegetables
But Gerding also noted that C. diff has been found in many places other than hospitals and meat counters, including water sources and soil.

“We actually wouldn’t know if a carrot in the dirt would have it just as much as hamburger,” Gerding said.

That's little comfort to Mary Woodard, 51, of Rock Falls, Ill., whose 6-year-old granddaughter, Nichole Lilly, contracted a C. diff infection in October. The child hadn't had antibiotics for six months and she'd been nowhere near a hospital or health center. But she wound up doubled over on the floor with severe cramps and diarrhea for nearly two weeks, until a clinic cultured her stool and diagnosed the illness.

Woodard is scared the infection will return, or that it will strike one of her other grandchildren. Word that C. diff has been detected in meat made Woodard think twice, despite CDC assurances to the contrary.

"I'll cut back, probably, on my meat eating," she said. "After seeing her with the bad cramping, I don't want to see her like that again."

Most consumers worried about C. diff infection should pay closest attention to hospitals and health care settings, Gerding said. Lax hand hygiene, improperly cleaned hospital rooms and overuse of antibiotics are far more likely to transmit C. diff than food products.

Although C. diff spores can be hard to kill, even Songer said most healthy consumers don’t need to change their diets because of the bug.

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“To bring it right down to personal terms, I haven’t changed my eating habits one bit,” said Songer, who admits he’s a lifelong braunschweiger fan. “I’ve got about 40 pounds in my freezer that I’m eating.”

Further research will clarify the link between C. diff detection in food animals and infection in humans, Gerding said.

“The connection between the animal, the food and the disease has not been made,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

More on C. diff | MRSA
Chef N.
GarDinSprite13
Group Organizer
Arden, NC
Post #: 1,017
Gene Ups Risk for Those on Blood-Thinner Plavix
Younger patients with the mutation faced higher odds of heart attack, death, study found

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay News) -- A gene variation can make younger heart attack patients more prone to another heart attack, death or other heart problems if they receive the anti-clotting drug Plavix, researchers report.

The study is published in the Dec. 23 online edition of The Lancet.

Plavix plus low-dose aspirin are often used to prevent blood vessels from clogging after a heart attack or after patients receive an artery-opening stent.

But some patients do not do well on Plavix (clopidogrel). Until now, the reasons for that variance have been unclear.

Plavix "targets a very important receptor on platelets, but people vary substantially in how good an anti-clotting effect they have" from the drug, explained Dr. Robert F. Storey, from the Cardiovascular Research Unit at the University of Sheffield School of Medicine in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of an accompanying comment in the journal.

"The variation in response is partly due to genetics, but there are other factors such as age which influence the response," Storey said.

For the study, a team led by Dr. Gilles Montalescot, from the Hopital Pitie-Salpetriere in Paris, collected data on 259 patients aged 45 and younger who suffered a first heart attack and were given Plavix.

Among these patients, 28 percent carried a gene variation called CYP2C19*2. This variation is common among the western population and even more common in Asia, the researchers noted.

During an average of a year of follow-up, patients with the gene variation were more than three-and-a-half times more likely to die, have another heart attack or require additional cardiac treatment compared to those without the variation, the researchers found.

In addition, patients with CYP2C19*2 were six times more likely to have a blockage in a stent they had received after a heart attack.

Moreover, the variation continued to cause heart problems up to eight years after treatment with Plavix. In fact, patients with the variation were four times more likely to suffer additional heart problems after receiving the blood thinner.

So, what can be done to minimize the risk? "Checking people's genetic make-up after a heart attack is probably not necessary, since it may be better to do a different blood test to see if they have had a good anti-clotting response to clopidogrel," Storey said. He added that "new treatments that work more reliably than clopidogrel should hopefully be available within the next year or so."

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, noted that treatment with Plavix in combination with aspirin does greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients after an acute coronary event, or in patients undergoing coronary stent placement.

"However, it is well recognized there is variable response to clopidogrel, and some patients have thrombotic events, despite treatment with aspirin and clopidogrel," Fonarow said. "If these findings can be confirmed in additional studies, genetic testing may be useful in personalizing the choice and dosing of anti-platelet therapy in cardiovascular patients," he said.

Two other recent studies also found problems with Plavix in some patients.

In one study of 259 people treated with Plavix, published in the Aug. 12 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that patients who smoked had significantly less clot formation than nonsmokers.

In a second study, published in the Oct. 28 online edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Austrian researchers found that calcium channel blockers drugs, widely prescribed to lower blood pressure, might reduce the Plavix' anti-clotting effects.

More information

For more on Plavix, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Robert F Storey, M.D., Cardiovascular Research Unit, University of Sheffield School of Medicine, U.K.; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; Dec. 23, 2008, online edition, The Lancet
Chef N.
GarDinSprite13
Group Organizer
Arden, NC
Post #: 1,027
A Message from David Wolfe-Time to Overgrow the Government



Time to Overgrow the Government by David Wolfe

Everyone!

Dandelion (friend and TBDE member) delivered a brilliant phrase the other night: "Overgrow the Government." That deeply resonated within my heart. I immediately started writing a manifesto that will be primarily for TBDE members on: How To Overgrow The Government. Planting food plants, banned plants, etc. faster than ANY government or religion can even understand what is going on.

Years ago, my friends Patrick and Hunter and I took 1,000 date pits from from a dinner and lecture event I did with Juliano in LA and planted them in one of the canyons behind Beverly Hills at 3 am. It took us nearly two hours. There are now date palms growing back there. Food for free. That's the beginning of freedom.

Always bring viable seeds with you. Get into guerilla planting as a hobby on EVERY hike and outdoor adventure (or even trips to courthouses and downtown environments).

We've got to do our homework and understand what is going with plants. We can use plants to save the planet and alter the course of history if we're clever and we have our wits about us. Plants have always been doing this anyway, now it is time to do it CONSCIOUSLY.

I am always amazed by how many people bought into the government-sponsored program called "The War on Drugs." I am amazed at how many people are "against drugs." When all day long all they do is take drugs (coffee, chemical tobacco, pharmaceuticals, sugar, cooked meat, bread, rice, alcohol, etc.). In truth, every thing we have ever put in our mouth is a drug. The question is: "What drugs are you on!??"

Only the drugs of civilization cause the up then the down. Natural plant drugs consumed naturally are only up...no down...at least when all programming and resistance have been removed from your consciousness.

I have been musing over the whole "yoga trip" which is really mostly a ganja smoking religion that is now supposedly about "meditation." And the Capitalism world (and the Protestant Work Ethic) which is really a "cooked coffee," "chemical tobacco" smoking, and red meat religion. Don't believe it? Take coffee and tobacco away from New York for one day and business as usual stops IMMEDIATELY. Mainstream religions (Judeo-Christian-Muslim) cannot exist without bread. Look closely and you'll see what I mean. Buddhism cannot exist without rice. What is the connection between Islam and rice and hash??? It's deep. You get off the plane in Tehran, Iran and they have hash at the airport. That's right...hash at the airport. That's a major reason why the US military wants to bomb Tehran with depleted uranium.

Grocery stores and "the food product industry" cannot exist without corn. Western medicine and surgeries cannot exist without poppies (morphine, heroine, etc.). The breakdown of the poppy plant into its opiates allowed for anasthesia.

Nearly every cult movement worldwide is based on very extreme forms of demineralized or chemicalized plants (drugs) grown unconsciously and consumed or smoked even less consciously.

The rave culture cannot exist without Sassafras which is what the drug Ecstacy is made out of. LSD, which ushered in psychedelia, and brought in the 1960s freedom movements cannot exist without ergot (a mushroom). LSD has to be produced by a couple of reactions from the starting plant material. LSD is not a synthetic drug as we've been told.

To me, thebestdayever.com is a forum where we are not going to lie to ourselves about drugs and plants.

Let's STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS by OVERGROWING THE GOVERNMENT.

Listen to what happened to me the other day in Canadian Customs. The woman at customs asked me what I do. I said "I am an author." She asked "on what subject?" I said "Superfoods." She said "What's a superfood?" I started talking about goji berries and cacao. On cacao, she stopped me and said "I eat cacao." I said "you eat cacao?...like, raw chocolate?" She said yes, "it's great." She stamped my passport. I said "you should read my book Naked Chocolate, its about cacao" and walked away. WHAT ON EARTH ARE THE ODDS OF THAT HAPPENING? Here is a food cacao that I brought back from the brink of extinction (in the consciousness of humanity). I brought it back from the grave for the express purpose of transforming mainstream consciousness subversively by using cacao to direct mainstream consciousness towards natural thoughtforms, inspirations, and ideas. Then, suddenly, I am in front of a GOVERNMENT CUSTOMS OFFICIAL who eats cacao and let's me sail right through!!

I got the message: What we're doing is WORKING.

The future...it's time to plant for it! It works! Superfoods and superherbs for the masses. Tell everyone you know.

We better start doing our homework. Start planting on your way to the library.

Have THE BEST DAY EVER!!!

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