Stats for thought

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Autoimmune, Cancer and Heart Disease

Up to 40 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease [Stephen Edelson MD and Deborah Mitchell, What your Doctor May Not Tell You About Autoimmune Disorders]. Of that number, about 75% are women, making it the fourth largest cause of disability in women.
Autoimmune disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women in all age groups up to 64 years of age.

Researchers have identified 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis. These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates up to 9 million Americans have cancer and 22 million have heart disease.In the U.S. alone…

Toxins

We are exposed to 6 million pounds of mercury and the 2.5 billion pounds other toxic chemicals each year.

There are currently more than 80,000 chemicals in consumer goods, with little or no safety information about their impact on human health.

The average newborn baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are toxic to the brain and nervous system.

15 percent of American women of child-bearing age have toxic levels of mercury in their blood. That means that 15 percent of the 4 million children born in the United States each year, or 600,000 children, are exposed to toxic levels of mercury in the womb.

Then there are the 3,500 different chemicals that are added to our food, and the more than 3,000 chemicals found in our homes.

The average American consumes literally pounds of hormones, antibiotics, food chemicals, additives, artificial sweeteners, and MSG each year. Each one of these toxic chemicals has been shown to harm the brain.

On average we consume a gallon of neurotoxic pesticides and herbicides each year by eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. (That’s with people eating much less than the 8 to 10 servings generally recommended.) Notice that pesticides work because they are neurotoxic to pests—they attack the nervous system.

Mental Disorders

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.

In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44.

Mood disorders include major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.

* Approximately 20.9 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a mood disorder

Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).

* Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.

Antidepressants

One in ten Americans today uses antidepressants, while more than eight million children are taking stimulants like Ritalin.

189 million prescriptions are written for depression, at a cost of $12 billion a year. The use of these drugs has tripled in the last decade, according to a report by the federal government. In 2006, spending on antidepressants soared by 130 percent.

60 percent of people quit their antidepressant regimen after a few months because of side effects such as weight gain, loss of sex drive, or worse.

A team of researchers that reported their findings in The New England Journal of Medicine took a critical look at all the studies done on antidepressants, both published and unpublished. [Turner EH et al. 2007. Selective publication of antidepressant trials and its influence on apparent efficacy. New England Journal of Medicine. 358: 252-260.]

The researchers had to search the FDA databases, call researchers, and track down hidden data under the Freedom of Information Act in order to access the unpublished studies.

After looking at 74 studies involving 12 drugs and over 12,000 people, they discovered that 37 of 38 trials with positive results were published, while only 14 of 36 negative studies were published. And those that showed negative results were published in a way that conveyed a positive outcome.

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