Monday, September 27, 2010

Something Fishy

But What About Gulf Seafood???

Exclusive: Gulf seafood poses long-term health risks, experts say

blue%20crabs%20gulf Exclusive: Gulf seafood poses long term health risks, experts say

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 -- 7:49 am

Despite repeated assurances from federal officials and President Obama, independent scientists and public health experts have serious concerns about the long-term safety of Gulf seafood consumption.

In particular, experts tell Raw Story, contaminants from the massive oil spill and unprecedented use of the dispersants employed to dissolve the spill have the potential to cause cancer and neurological disorders.

In interviews with Raw Story last week, scientists and public health experts expressed concerns over possible long-term risks from eating contaminated Gulf seafood.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are cancer-causing chemicals found in crude oil that can accumulate in the food chain, absorbed by fish and shellfish. During the ongoing testing of seafood in the Gulf of Mexico by federal and state authorities, PAHs are of primary concern.

But crude oil also contains heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium that can accumulate in the food chain as well, though at a slower pace than PAHs, and are toxic to the brain and nervous system.

Another potential long-term health concern left in the wake of BP’s catastrophic oil spill is the nearly two million gallons of dispersant unleashed into the Gulf, much of it subsurface, which made both the amount used and its use unprecedented.

In interviews with Raw Story last week, FDA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said that all fish and shellfish in reopened federal and state waters have tested well beneath the level of concern for PAHs.

But what worries some scientists and public health experts is what these tests don’t -- and can’t -- reveal. They feel it’s “premature” for government officials to claim Gulf seafood poses no future health risks.

“Those are the short-term effects,” said Edward Trapido, the Wendell Gauthier Chair of Cancer Epidemiology at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health.

“We don’t know the long-term effects,” he explained. “And we don’t know, particularly related to cancer and particularly related to age and exposure, what the long-term effects will be.”

Trapido testified in June at a House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing on the spill and is heading a research group at LSU that will look at a range of health effects, including psychiatric and behavioral effects, chronic diseases and cancers.

The issue we don’t know at this point, he said, is the extent to which these compounds may bioacccumulate in shellfish or fish and what the half-lives are.

“So you could imagine if a large fish feasted on several hundred small fish and each of those small fish have eaten a certain number of microorganisms which had a little of contaminant, there’s a possibility, certainly, that you could go over the current measurements.”

In interviews with Raw Story last week, NOAA and FDA officials, in general, tended to downplay bioaccumulation of PAHs in Gulf seafood. But in some cases they denied it’s occurring at all, or even that it could occur.

“We have not found it,” FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott claimed. “Every sample that we have tested for PAHs has come back clean. It has the potential to [bioaccumulate]. But we have not found it, even from samples taken from inside of closure areas.”

Christine Patrick, NOAA spokeswoman for seafood safety, went so far as to tell Raw Story, “The concept that the oil bioaccumulates [in seafood] – that’s not correct. It’s metabolized and excreted.”

Raw Story confirmed, in consultation with independent scientists, that these two statements were, respectively, impossible and inaccurate.

Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading national environmental group, underscored two things that NOAA, FDA and Gulf state officials have been playing down.

“The monitoring that’s currently being conducted by both NOAA and various different state agencies, and compiled by FDA, show that there is PAH contamination of fish in the Gulf,” she said. “They are detecting various different levels of the various different PAH constituents.”

Ellman, who contributed to last month’s peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study, which identified a number of issues about the health of Gulf seafood, also noted, “There is a good body of literature showing that seafood can be impacted by these contaminants.”

The JAMA report cites a 2002 study in the peer-reviewed journal Marine Environmental Research on the lasting effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which concluded: "Our data show that 10 years after the spill, nearshore fishes within the original spill zone were still exposed to residual hydrocarbons. All biomarkers [for contaminants] were elevated in fish collected from sites originally oiled, in comparison to fish from unoiled sites.''

Ellman added, “We understand that the different types of seafood – fish vs. crustaceans and bivalves – all have different capacities to retain the contaminants, and that’s important to note. But it’s not the basis on which to make a blanket statement that there’s no risk.”

“So it’s premature,” Trapido cautioned, “to say that it’s safe in the long-term.”

“We can say that it’s safe at this point based on what we know,” he continued. “But as a cancer epidemiologist, which is what I am, I have to maintain an air of skepticism and say, well, we don’t have any data to make a judgment on the long-term cases.”

The startling lack of data on the future health effects from oil spills on humans was a common lament among experts who spoke with Raw Story.

Trapido confirmed that the longest follow-up study that’s ever been done on people exposed to oil spills was just four years, and that was to track mental health only.

Two new areas of scientific research not being accounted for in the current risk assessments could also adversely impact future health, Ellman noted.

She said that studies have shown that early life exposure to the chemical benzo(a)pyrene, one of the most carcinogenic PAHs, increases the risk of cancer later in life. It wouldn’t have the same effect, she clarified, if the exposure came later in life.

“So because children’s bodies are different and they’re developing, exposures that happen early in life can have a more detrimental effect than if they were exposed later on,” said Ellman.

In addition to the cancer risks, Ellman told Raw Story that there’s also a new body of literature that has shown adverse developmental impacts from in utero exposure to PAHs, such as delayed growth, low birth weight and other indicators of impact during fetal development.

NOAA toxicologist John Stein said that he and other scientists within the agency have proposed to continue monitoring the Gulf waters to ensure seafood safety for the next three to five years. But Patrick confirmed that the agency has not made an official commitment to this.

Independent scientists and public health officials who spoke with Raw Story agreed that even if federal and state officials committed to such a time frame, it would still fall short of what's necessary.

They pointed out that due to bioaccumulation in the food chain, it's quite possible contamination levels in Gulf fish and shellfish may actually be higher in three to five years.

"If they were to completely suspend any monitoring prematurely," Ellman warned, "we wouldn't necessarily know whether levels of contaminants in seafood that we're most worried about have gone back down or remain elevated."

Brad Jacobson is a contributing investigative reporter for Raw Story.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Would you vote for a food bill Monsanto supports?

monsanto Would you vote for a food bill Monsanto supports?It all began in February of 2009, when HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act, sponsored by Rosa DeLauro D-CT, was introduced in the House. DeLauro received nearly $200,000 in campaign donations from agri-business, and her husband Stanley Greenberg had at one time been a political consultant for Monsanto.

Then in March ’09 we saw S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, followed by the House passage of H.R. 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, which has since stalled.

Gardiner Harris with the NYTimes blames “a stubborn senator from Oklahoma and an unusual coalition of left-and right-wing advocates for small farmers” for the delay of H.R. 2749. Harris would shamefully have you believe a cranky senator and a paranoid group of small farmers are to blame for preventing the FDA from correcting the flaws inherent in the nation’s food safety system.

So much for objective journalism from the Times. But since when has main stream corporate media been anything but stenographers for what ever party happens to occupy the White House?

The food safety system (FDA and USDA) has had over a century to correct their utter and complete incompetence and glaring ineptitude. The fact is, our food system is controlled by monopolies that — as Eric Blair notes — “fully controls the basic building blocks of the food that makes up the majority of the American diet. Those who control the corn, wheat, and soybeans,” says Blair, “control all food, since all livestock and all processed foods are dependent on those food resources. These monopolies place their cronies in government regulatory agencies like the FDA and USDA to weed out their competition through excessive regulation.”

How else could Austin “Jack” DeCoster, the man who owns Wright County Egg, responsible for 380 million of the 550 million recalled eggs, have escaped notice? DeCoster is a habitual offender who for two decades committed a series of egregious violations encompassing human rights violations, labor rights violations, environmental laws, and animal cruelty abuses.

eggs2 Would you vote for a food bill Monsanto supports?

FDA Corporate Favortism

Last month, the F.D.A. enacted new requirements on major egg producers to reduce egg-related salmonella cases. The new rules require salmonella testing of hens and eggs, improved sanitation in henhouses and improved refrigeration. But the F.D.A excluded from their new rules, the most potentially powerful weapon against salmonella by rejecting standard vaccination of hens against salmonella; the agency claimed there was not enough evidence vaccinations would prevent people from getting sick.

For ten years, from 1998 through 2008, a group of high-ranking corporate purchasing managers from some of the most well-known and largest food companies in North America were involved in racketeering, bribery, conspiracy, price fixing, bid rigging, and falsifying laboratory tests. The scope of corruption involved more than 55 companies, and included PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, Kraft Foods, B&G Foods, the maker of Ortega Mexican foods, Safeway, and SK Foods LP, one of the nation’s largest tomato processors.

This racketeering scam had been going on for 10 years. Where was the FDA while the American public was being sold contaminated food? No amount of federal regulation will change corruption and deliberate negligence within the federal regulatory system itself.

In 2008, the FDA participated in a cover-up of toxic melamine in US baby formula. As much as ninety percent of the infant formula sold in the US was contaminated; the FDA collected nearly 100 samples of infant formula made by U.S. manufacturers, then held a conference call to alert the manufacturers of their findings but withheld the test results from the public; they only released the results after the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request, revealing that Nestle, Mead Johnson and Enfamil infant formula products were all contaminated with melamine.

And the FDA has a history of intimate ties with the pharmaceutical industry. The agency approved “unsafe and ineffective medicine” for market from Ranbaxy Laboratories, even while Ranbaxy was being investigated by Congress. The Department of Justice concluded that a pattern of systemic fraudulent conduct, including submissions by Ranbaxy to the FDA contained false and fabricated information.

Food Safety Would you vote for a food bill Monsanto supports?

Orwellian Food Safety Bill is Food Fascism

While it’s true the new bill’s passage would require more government inspections of food manufacturing facilities and finally empower a deliberately weakened FDA with the authority to shut down plants, order recalls, and track food-borne illnesses, the FDA’s new authority will undoubtedly be enforced primarily on small farmers, even though the biggest offenders of contaminated food requiring food recalls are massive corporate-run farms.

As Blair observes, “This [food bill] can be an effective tool for the big multinational agri-corporations to further squeeze out their competition and gain near complete control of food resources in America. And the new food bill hands much of the FDA’s duties over to the Department of Homeland Security, mentioned 41 times in the bill.

HR 2749 – The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, would subject farmer’s markets, organic farmers, and even the Amish to:

* Random warrantless searches of business records even with no evidence of violation

* Full quarantine of “food facilities”, vehicles, and surrounding geographic area

* Forced tracing system for food

* Severe criminal and civil penalties, including prison terms of up to 10 yrs and/or fines of $100K

* FDA mandates to regulate how crops are raised and harvested

* Annual registration plus fee of $500

nature food Would you vote for a food bill Monsanto supports?The new food bill would place severe restrictions on “the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice.”

The bill would charge fees and force small producers to maintain detailed records about where their food is sold so it can be traced in the event of a recall or outbreak. Small farmers can’t afford to hire food safety staffs and pay for expensive laboratory testing.

Blair reminds us that the easiest way to determine if a proposed legislation will benefit the average Americans is to note who is supporting the bill, versus who opposes the bill. “Monsanto and other agri-monopolies support the bill with full force. Indeed, some speculate that they even wrote the bill themselves,” says Blair.

The incestuous relationship between government and agribusiness is all too clear. “Subsidies rain down on big agribusinesses that grow what the government tells them to grow. Industry leaders like Cargill, Monsanto, and Tyson essentially turn farmers into indentured sharecroppers,” notes Blair.

We’re witnessing the same attempt at food fascism when it comes to raw milk. The FDA has decided consumers have no inherent right to choose the food they eat, and has banned the interstate transport of raw milk.

As Mike Adams with Natural News points out, “The real reason why the FDA opposes raw milk is because Big Dairy opposes raw milk. Just like Big Pharma, Big Dairy has worked very hard behind the scenes to steer FDA policy in its favor. And according to some recent reports, Big Dairy is one of the primary forces trying to eliminate raw milk because it threatens the commercial milk business.”

No amount of added federal regulation will enhance food safety in a corrupt federal regulatory system controlled by the very corporations they are suppose to regulate. Worse yet, says Blair, this bill may just be the primer for the even more egregious bill HR.759 Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act, which fully restricts local food producers and natural health remedies.

Video:  California ballot initiative takes aim at Monsanto GMO toxic food labeling: declaring war on FDA

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  3. Food, Lies, Monsanto — And The Food Safety Working Group
  4. Monsanto Takes GM Food Fight to Supreme Court
  5. Organic Farmers, Amish, Farmer’s Markets, May Be Outlaws Under New Bill
  6. Georgia Man Fined for Growing Vegetables
  7. Frankenfood, Coming Soon to a Store Near You?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vaccine Laws

RECOMMENDATIONS VS. LAWS: It is important for you to know the legal requirements of the vaccination laws in your state and to understand the difference between a legal requirement and a recommendation. While vaccine policymakers in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that the MMR shot be given to all children, your state may legally require only measles and rubella vaccines. In this case, you have the legal option to vaccinate with only measles and rubella vaccines and not with mumps vaccine.

You also have the option in most states to be exempted from vaccination or re-vaccination if you can show proof of existing immunity. You can go to a private laboratory for a blood test to determine if there are enough antibodies to prove existing immunity to a disease such as measles or whooping cough. A blood test that measures antibody levels can cost $55 or more, depending on the disease.

When making an informed vaccination decision, it is important to consider whether one or more of the following factors will affect the safety and effectiveness of a particular vaccine or combination of vaccines your child will receive:

  • Child's age
  • State of health at the time of vaccination
  • Number and types of vaccines to be given simultaneously
  • Past history of acute vaccine reactions or serious health problems following vaccination
  • Family history of vaccine reactions, severe allergies or autoimmune or neurological disorders

Legal Exemptions to Vaccination
Medical, philosophical or personal belief exemptions are worded differently in each state. To use an exemption for your child, you must know specifically what the law says in your state.

Philosophical Exemption
The following 18 states allow exemption to vaccination based on philosophical, personal or conscientiously held beliefs: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

In many of these states, individuals must object to all vaccines, not just a particular vaccine in order to use the philosophical or personal belief exemption. Many state legislators are being urged by federal health officials and medical organizations to revoke this exemption to vaccination. If you are objecting to vaccination based on philosophical or personal conviction, keep an eye on your state legislature as public health officials may seek to amend state laws to eliminate this exemption.

Religious Exemption
All states allow a religious exemption to vaccination except Mississippi and West Virginia. The religious exemption is intended for people who hold a sincere religious belief opposing vaccination to the extent that if the state forced vaccination, it would be an infringement on their right to exercise their religious beliefs. Some state laws define religious exemptions broadly to include personal religious beliefs, similar to personal philosophical beliefs. Other states require an individual who claims a religious exemption to be a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) or another bonafide religion whose written tenets include prohibition of invasive medical procedures such as vaccination. (This kind of language has been ruled unconstitutional when it has been challenged in state Supreme Courts.) Some laws require a signed affidavit from the pastor or spiritual advisor of the parent exercising religious exemption that affirms the parents' sincere religious belief about vaccination, while others allow the parent to sign a notarized waiver. Prior to registering your child for school, you must check your state law to verify what proof may be needed.

Due to differences in state laws, the National Vaccine Information Center does not recommend or provide a prewritten waiver for religious exemption because it may not conform with what is required in your state, and may actually draw attention to your child, and you may be singled out and challenged.

If you are challenged, you could end up in litigation brought by your state or county health department to prove your religious beliefs. The religious exemption is granted based on the First Amendment of the Constitution, which is the right to freely exercise your religion. Because citizens are protected under the First Amendment of the United States, a state must have a "compelling State interest" before this right can be taken away. One "compelling State interest" is the spread of communicable diseases. In state court cases which have set precedent on this issue, the freedom to act according to your own religious belief is subject to reasonable regulation with the justification that it must not threaten the welfare of society as a whole.

However, parents have successfully obtained religious exemptions to vaccination. The constitutional right to have and exercise personal religious beliefs, whether you are of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other faith, can be defended. If you exercise your right to religious exemption, you must be prepared to defend it. It is always best to define your personal religious beliefs opposing vaccination in your own words when you write a letter defending them. If you do belong to a church and take the time to educate the head of your local church about the sincerity of your personal religious beliefs regarding vaccination, obtaining a letter from your pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual counselor affirming the sincerity of your religious beliefs may also be advisable.

Medical Exemptions
All 50 states allow medical exemption to vaccination. Proof of medical exemption must take the form of a signed statement by a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) that the administering of one or more vaccines would be detrimental to the health of an individual. Most doctors follow the AAP and CDC guidelines. Most states do not allow Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) to write medical exemptions to vaccination.

Some states will accept a private physician's written exemption without question. Other states allow the state health department to review the doctor's exemption and revoke it if health department officials don't think the exemption is justified.

Proof of Immunity
Some states will allow exemptions to vaccination for certain diseases if proof of immunity can be shown to exist. Immunity can be proven if you or your child have had the natural disease or have been vaccinated. You have to check your state laws to determine which vaccines in your state can be exempted if proof of immunity is demonstrated.

Private medical laboratories can take blood (a titer test) and analyze it to measure the level of antibodies, for example, to measles or pertussis that are present in the blood. If the antibody level is high enough, according to accepted standards, you have obtained proof of immunity and may be able to use this for an exemption to vaccination.

Vaccine Law Firm Directory

Source: NVIC

Monday, September 20, 2010

Remembering… One Year After Patrick Swayze’s Death After a Valiant Fight With Pancreatic Cancer

One Year After Patrick Swayze's Death, His Wife Celebrates His Legacy | Patrick Swayze

Lisa Niemi and Patrick Swayze  -  Courtesy Patrick and Lisa Swayze

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 marked one year since Patrick Swayze's death following a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer. For his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, it's an anniversary that brings both sorrow and hope.

"In some ways I look at the anniversary and I think, 'It's either going to knock me down or it's going to make me stronger," Niemi says. "And I know I'm stronger now. The fact that I've had some good days definitely gives me hope that I can have more."

As a new spokeswoman for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Niemi is launching an awareness campaign on this anniversary of Swayze's death. "Be a Hero in the Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer: Know it. Fight it. End it" will feature videos and personal messages from Niemi.

PHOTOS: Patrick Swayze: A Talented Heartthrob Remembered

"It's a merciless disease," she says. "If Patrick being sick can help somebody else, it's the highest possible honor I could help him have."
At home on the ranch she shared with Swayze just north of Los Angeles, Niemi said she was considering her own personal ways of celebrating her husband's life. "I'm looking at doing some things like picking out the most beautiful tree ever," she says, "and planting it in an extraordinary spot."

Surrounded by the couple's animals – three dogs, two cats and seven horses – Niemi still feels close to Swayze, especially when she hears the wind chimes on their back porch.

"Sometimes there won't be any wind, so I like to think [it's Patrick]," she says. "I do sense his presence, and I like that. Just because he's gone now doesn't mean that love doesn't go on."

PHOTOS: Patrick & Lisa: A Love Story

LOS ANGELES, Calif. --

“Dancing with the Stars” made an emotional return to television on tonight for its eleventh season, featuring a performance from one celebrity and her professional partner that left one of the judges – and much of the audience – in tears.

Jennifer Grey, who delighted audiences more than two decades ago as “Baby” in “Dirty Dancing” opposite Patrick Swayze, was as charming, effervescent and elegant as she was back then as she hit the ballroom for the first time with partner Derek Hough.

The two performed an enchanting Viennese waltz choreographed by Derek (and set to “These Arms of Mine,” a song from the 1987 film), which in rehearsals created an intensely emotional moment for Jennifer.

“In one second, it really took me back almost like in a time capsule and I was with Patrick. I just miss him and I just realized how fast time goes,” she said in a clip, later telling Derek, “He was like you, young and gorgeous, and now he’s like gone.”

During competition, Jennifer kept it together, throwing her emotions into the magical number, which featured some of the late actor’s movie moves. The dance more than delighted the judging panel who gave Jennifer and Derek the highest score of the night – 24 out of 30.

”‘Baby’ is back where she belongs. I know someone up there is going to be very, very proud of you,” judge Bruno Tonioli said, referring to Patrick, who was a longtime celebrity supporter of “DWTS” before his death due to pancreatic cancer, one year and one week ago.

Frankenfood, Coming Soon to a Store Near You?

WASHINGTON –  Watch for a new section between "frozen foods" and "organic" in your supermarket: genetically engineered. That is, if the government approves the so-called "frankenfoods" for sale.

The Food and Drug Administration Monday began a two-day look at the issue Monday, focusing on genetically modified salmon, which would be the first such food approved for human consumption.

The agency has already said the salmon, which grow twice as fast as conventional ones, are safe to eat. But salmon act as a genetic gatekeeper in this case: Approve them and open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including an environmentally friendly pig that is being developed in Canada or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease. 

"For future applications out there the sky's the limit," said David Edwards of the Biotechnology Industry Association. "If you can imagine it, scientists can try to do it."

Genetic engineering is already widely used for crops, but the government until now has not considered allowing the consumption of modified animals. Although the potential benefits -- and profits -- are huge, many individuals have qualms about manipulating the genetic code of other living creatures.

Genetically engineered -- or GE -- animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. Clones are copies of an animal. With GE animals, their DNA has been altered to produce a desirable characteristic.

In the case of the salmon, AquaBounty has added a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce their growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an on switch for the hormone, according to the company. Conventional salmon produce the growth hormone only some of the time.

Ron Stotish, chief executive of AquaBounty, testified at the day one of the hearings that his company's modified fish are environmentally sustainable and safe to eat. If approved, AquaBounty says it would be the first in the world to market genetically engineered fish.

AquaBounty submitted its first application for FDA approval in 1995, but the agency waited until two years ago to consider applications for genetically engineered animals -- a move seen as a breakthrough by the biotechnology industry.

In documents released ahead of the hearing, the FDA said there were no biologically relevant differences between the engineered salmon and conventional salmon, and there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from its consumption.

Critics have two main concerns: The safety of the food to humans and the salmon's effect on the environment.

Because the altered fish has never been eaten before, they say, it could include dangerous allergens, especially because seafood is highly allergenic. They also worry that the fish will escape and intermingle with the wild salmon population, which is already endangered. They would grow fast and consume more food to the detriment of the conventional wild salmon, critics fear.

A wide range of environmental, food safety and consumer groups have argued that more public studies are needed and the current FDA process is inadequate because it allows the company to keep some proprietary information private. Modified foods are regulated under the same process used for animal drugs.

"It is outrageous to keep this vital information secret," said Wenonah Hauter, director of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch. "Consumers have a right to know what FDA is trying to allow into our food supply."

Dr. Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, says the agency is relying on too little data, much of which is supplied by the company itself.

"FDA has set the bar very low," he said.

Ron Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty, countered that the company has more than addressed the concerns, and his product has come under much more scrutiny than most food.

"This is perhaps the most studied fish in history," he said. "Environmentally this is a very sustainable technology."

The company has several safeguards in place to allay concerns. All the fish would be bred female and sterile, though a small percentage may be able to breed. They would be bred in confined pools where the potential for escape would be very low.

In its environmental analysis of the fish released earlier this month, the FDA agreed with the company that there are enough safeguards in place.

Stotish says the fish would be bred in better conditions than many of the world's farmed salmon, and could be located closer to population centers to help feed more people. The company has also said the increase in engineered salmon production could help relieve endangered wild salmon populations.

The company is also arguing that the fish do not need to be labeled as genetically engineered, so the common customer would not know if they were eating the modified product or the conventional product. The second day of the FDA meeting will focus on the labeling question.

"This fish is identical to the traditional food," maintained Stotish. "The label could even be misleading because it implies a difference that doesn't exist."

If approved, the fish could be in grocery stores in two years, the company estimates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  Posted:'s SciTech

Reuters/Barrett & McKay Photo/AquaBounty Technologies

A genetically engineered AquAdvantage Salmon (background) is compared to an Atlantic salmon of the same age (foreground). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a two-day meeting starting September 19 to discuss whether to approve the altered fish for U.S. consumers to eat.

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Codex Alimentarius Signed Into Law by Obama

Friday, September 17, 2010

Study: 2 popular arthritis supplements don't work

updated 9/17/2010 9:10:07 AM ET  - MSNBC

LONDON — Two popular supplements used to treat joint pain don't work and health authorities should stop paying for them, a new study says.

European researchers analyzed the results of 10 past trials in 3,803 patients who took glucosamine, chondroitin or a placebo to treat arthritis in their hips or knees. They found neither supplement, taken either separately or together, did any better than a placebo.

The study was led by Peter Juni, head of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland. It was paid for by the Swiss National Science Foundation and was published Friday in the journal BMJ.

For the past decade, glucosamine and chondroitin have been recommended by doctors to treat arthritis in the hip or knee. The supplements are components of human connective tissues found in cartilage and bone. Globally, sales of glucosamine supplements hit nearly $2 billion in 2008.

Chronic arthritis in the hip or knee can be treated with drugs that reduce inflammation, but those can cause serious stomach and heart side effects if they are used in the long term.

In the BMJ analysis, the researchers didn't find any proof glucosamine or chondroitin were dangerous. "We see no harm in having patients continue (taking these supplements) as long as they perceive a benefit and cover the cost of treatment themselves," wrote Juni and colleagues.

Still, the researchers said because the supplements didn't reduce joint pain, insurers and governments should stop buying them. "New prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged," they wrote.

In Britain, the government does not pay for the supplements, citing a lack of evidence.

Jane Tadman, a spokeswoman for the charity Arthritis Research U.K., said results from previous trials testing the supplements had been mixed. She was not connected to the research and said it was up to patients to decide whether to keep taking the supplements.

"Some people may want to consider an over-the-counter trial as part of a wider self-management plan which includes exercise and keeping to an ideal weight," she suggested.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bayer Joins Other Industry Leaders at Today's White House Announcement

Bayer Corporation Joins Change The Equation


PITTSBURGH, Sep 16, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Bayer Corporation has joined Change the Equation (CTEq), the national initiative launched today that is mobilizing the country's leading corporations dedicated to STEM education in support of the Obama Administration's "Educate to Innovate" initiative. CTEq is an unprecedented initiative of business leaders who are connecting and aligning their work to transform science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning in the United States. Its more than 100 corporate members coordinate their efforts, share their best thinking, and leverage their investments to make a much bigger difference than they could on their own.

In joining CTEq, Bayer builds on its long-standing commitment to science education which the company demonstrates through its Presidential-award winning Making Science Make Sense(R) (MSMS) program. Currently celebrating its 15th anniversary, MSMS is Bayer's companywide initiative that aims to improve science education and advance science literacy across the United States through hands-on, inquiry-based science education, employee volunteerism and a national public education/awareness campaign led by astronaut, scientist and educator, Dr. Mae C. Jemison. Formalized in 1995, MSMS has its roots in school-based science education partnerships forged by Bayer employees in their local communities more than 40 years ago.

"We at Bayer are proud to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to strengthen science education by becoming a member of Change the Equation," said Greg Babe, President and CEO of Bayer Corporation. "Innovation, invention and discovery are the life blood of our business and this country. Long ago we recognized our corporate responsibility to support high-quality science education programs that are helping all American students, including those who traditionally have been underrepresented in STEM, have a place at the innovation table."

As a corporate member, the Bayer USA Foundation has provided seed money to create the newly-formed non-profit CTEq organization and has re-committed to CTEq's three goals. Specifically, Bayer will continue to support programs that improve STEM teaching at all grade levels, with a larger and more diverse cadre of highly-capable and inspirational STEM teachers; inspire student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers to increase success and achievement in school and opportunities for a collegiate education, especially among females and students of color; and, achieve a sustained commitment to improving STEM education from business leaders, government officials, STEM educators and other stakeholders through innovation, communication, collaboration and data-based decision making.

In marking the 15th anniversary of MSMS, Bayer recently launched a series of new online science education tools for various stakeholders. Among these resources is a revised "`How To' Guide for Business-Education Partners" designed for those wishing to create alliances, as well as a revised STEM Diversity Best Practice Compendium which offers an extensive listing of quality STEM education programs that can be replicated and/or scaled up in communities nationwide.

"For the United States, this is a moment of opportunity. The federal government is making unprecedented investments in STEM education, and states are striving to raise student achievement in the STEM fields. Educators, philanthropists, and public officials--including President Obama himself--are publicly championing the importance of STEM for students' workforce readiness," said Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation. "We're thankful to Bayer and all of our Change the Equation corporate partners who have pledged to harness this energy for the good of all children. By aligning our efforts, companies can help ensure that STEM investments, public and private, add up to measurable growth."

About Change the Equation

Change the Equation (CTEq) is a non-profit organization whose 100 member companies from across industry sectors are dedicated to promoting innovation and investment in STEM teaching and learning. CTEq aims to give STEM education a central place in the national lexicon of excellence and achievement, establishing a national movement to support, promote and implement excellent STEM education for every child.

About Bayer Corporation

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and high-tech materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company's products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time Bayer creates value through innovation, growth and high earning power. The Corporation is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its role as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen. Economy, ecology and social responsibility are corporate policy objectives of equal rank. In North America, Bayer had 2009 net sales of approximately 7.7 billion euros (about $10.7 billion) and employed 16,300 at year end. For more information, go to

Formalized in 1995, Making Science Make Sense is Bayer's national award-winning initiative to advance science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science learning, employee volunteerism and public education. Currently, 12 Bayer sites around the country have local MSMS programs.

About the Bayer USA Foundation

The Bayer USA Foundation is an endowed 501(c)(3) entity and is the primary source of Bayer Corporation's philanthropy in the United States. With a programmatic focus on the environment and sustainability; education and workforce development; arts and culture; and health and human services, the foundation creates and supports organizations that improve communities in which Bayer employees live and work, as well as society at large. The Bayer USA Foundation is one of three Bayer corporate foundations worldwide, including the Bayer Science & Education Foundation and the Bayer Cares Foundation.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available on the Bayer website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

SOURCE: Bayer Corporation

Bayer Corporation 
Bryan Iams, 412-777-5200

Copyright Business Wire 2010


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

20 States Go to Court Today To Challenge ObamaCare - Updated: Court Date Set

States respond in health care overhaul lawsuit

obamacare asteroid

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Twenty states and the nation’s most influential small business lobby plan Friday to file their response to the government’s attempt to dismiss their lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The Justice Department in June asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the U.S. District Court in Pensacola lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over some of the lawsuit’s claims. They also said other parts of the lawsuit failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted.

The states, the National Federation of Independent Business and several individual taxpayers will file their response in Pensacola federal court.

A key issue raised by their lawsuit is whether the federal government can require individuals to purchase health care insurance and fine those who don’t.

The court must hear the case to preserve individual liberties granted through the Constitution, said Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center of the National Federation of Independent Business.

“The federal government does not have the authority to regulate an individual’s decision to do nothing. If they did, then they could force us to purchase any product they want,” she said.

In a statement, Harned said the government’s motion to dismiss was based on “political rhetoric and flimsy legal arguments” and was an attempt to distract the court from evaluating the case’s constitutional issues.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, is leading the legal challenge. Other states that have joined the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has set a Sept. 14 hearing to consider arguments on the motion to dismiss.

In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the Justice Department said the requirement to buy coverage is an exercise of Congress’ constitutional power to tax and spend. Government attorneys also have said that while reasonable people may disagree on issues such as the health care overhaul, it cannot be moved from the elected branches of government into the courts without a genuine constitutional issue, which they maintain is absent in this case.

The states argue the new law will require them to pay additional Medicaid costs not covered by the federal government, but that they cannot opt out of the program for low-income and disabled people because it has become too popular.

They maintain that violates the 10th Amendment, which says the states and people have powers that the constitution does not grant to the federal government nor prohibit the states from having.

The health care law, passed along partisan lines, requires most Americans to carry health insurance — through an employer, a government program, or by buying their own policy. The mandate is effective in 2014. Insurers will then be required to take all applicants, and the government will offer tax credits to help middle-class households pay premiums. Medicaid will be expanded to cover millions more low-income people.

Individuals who refuse to get health insurance will face a tax penalty, with exceptions for financial hardship and religious reasons.

AP foreign, Friday August 6 2010

Video: Ready to Challenge 'Obamacare' in Court

ObamaCare in Pictures


Obama’s Small Business (Elections Ploy) Tax Credits Won’t Go the Distance to Absorb the Crush From ObamaCare

Americans Were Slipped a Pill in the Healthcare Bill

Health Insurers Plan Hikes – Blame ObamaCare

WATCH: Bilderberger Billionaire Bill Gates Wants Death Panels

Obama’s Small Business (Elections Ploy) Tax Credits Won’t Go the Distance to Absorb the Crush From ObamaCare

- US Heads For Civil War Over ObamaCare

- Judge Rules Virginia Can Continue Its Lawsuit To Stop Unconstitutional Obamacare

Obama Health Law: What It Says and How to Overturn It (Encounter Broadsides)

The Truth About Obamacare


Updated: December 16th Date Set…

Opponents of the proposed U.S. health care bill are pictured during a rally outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, March 21, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Opponents of the proposed U.S. health care bill are pictured during a rally outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, March 21, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

PENSACOLA, Florida | Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:31pm EDT

(Reuters) - A Florida judge said on Tuesday he would hear arguments on December 16 on a lawsuit by 20 U.S. states seeking to block President Barack Obama's overhaul of the healthcare system.

District Judge Roger Vinson, who is weighing a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, set the followup hearing on the lawsuit led by Florida and involving 19 other states, which was originally filed in March by mostly Republican state attorneys general.

Vinson said he would formally rule on the dismissal motion by October 14, but Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said the judge had already strongly indicated that the case would not be dismissed.

"The judge's apparent decision today means we will proceed," McCollum told reporters.

The lawsuit claims the sweeping reform of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system, pushed through by Obama's fellow Democrats in the Congress after months of bitter partisan wrangling, violates state government rights in the Constitution and will force massive new spending on hard-pressed state governments.

(Reporting by Michael Peltier, Editing by Vicki Allen

Monday, September 13, 2010

Top 6 Ways to Identify & Avoid GMO Foods

Recent polls across the world have consistently shown that, if they had a choice, 90% of people would actively seek to avoid GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in their food.

Unfortunately, GMOs are taking over our farmland so quickly, it is virtually impossible to avoid eating GM foods... unless you know what to look for:


1. Look at the stickers on fruit - there is a PLU code with either 4 or 5 numbers. If your fruit's label has 4 numbers, it is conventionally grown. 5 numbers starting with a 9 means it was organically grown, and 5 numbers starting with an 8 means GMO.

2. Buy local & talk to your farmers - this is the best way to ensure you're eating real foods. It's estimated that up to 85% of pre-packaged and processed foods contain GMOs, so buying fresh from the farm is a great way to avoid that.

3. Avoid the Top Four GMO Crops of Soy, Corn, Canola and Cottonseed - most blended oils in North America contain canola and cottonseed. Replacing these with 100% extra virgin olive oil is a safe alternative.

4. Encourage your favorite food providers to label their food GMO-free. We don't need the government to force companies to label their foods, and we're seeing more and more that we as consumers have tremendous power, and if enough of us ask for GMO-free labels, and support the companies that use them, we'll see a huge increase in labeling. And we're already starting to see this.

Get to know the companies that are labeling their foods GMO-free.

5. Buy Organically Grown Food - For now, the organic certification process is a relatively safe bet to ensure your food is free of GMOs, although this may not be the case in the future. Help support global sustainability by purchasing certified organically grown food.

6. Conventional Sugar - Over 90% of this year's sugar beet harvest will be Monsanto's GM Roundup-Ready Sugar Beet. That means if you are using sugar, or eating anything with sugar in it, you're eating GMOs. Alternatives to sugar are listed here.

7. Grow your own food - Plant a garden using heirloom seeds! (thanks to Amy31415 on YouTube for pointing out this important tip!)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

More tips, from A Little Bit of Green - "7 GMO Products I Bet You Are Still Using":

Iodized Salt - Iodine doesn’t like to stick to salt crystals so it needs a little “glue” in the form of corn starch. And the manufacturer doesn’t even have to list it on the label. Isn’t that nice for them.

Fresh Fruit & Vegetables - Have you heard that most fruit and vegetables aren’t GMO? They might not be when they come off the tree but many are by the time they get to the store. Apples, cucumbers and many others are coated with a layer of wax or oil mostly derived from cheap GM corn.

Canned Goods - Nice, cheap citric acid no longer just comes from citrus. Take a look at your canned tomatoes, fruit juice, etc. If they aren’t organic and they say citric acid or absorbic acid you may be looking at code for GM corn.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sex Rx for 5 Female Disorders

le Disorders

 Sex is supposed to be fun. But what if you aren’t into it? Or worse yet, it’s painful? We’ll help you feel sexy again with these solutions to 5 common female sexual disorders. Plus, find out what’s lowering your libido with our quiz…

Does it seem like everyone’s enjoying sex except you? Well, you aren’t alone: 43% of women experience some type of sexual disorder, according to the 1992 U.S. National Health and Social Life Survey, considered by experts to be one of the most comprehensive reviews of sexual behavior in the U.S.

Whether your sex life has been derailed because of menopause, inhibition, anger or a physical problem, here are some ways to get the zing back:

1. Lack of Desire
He’s revved and raring to go, but you can’t even get in gear for a night of romping.

Not being in the mood is a common complaint among women and their partners, says sex researcher Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., R.N., professor emerita at Rutgers University.

“Men think their partner isn’t attracted to them anymore,” she says, but other reasons may be to blame.

Why it happens: Stress, exhaustion and spreading yourself too thin can wreck your sex life, says Stephanie Buehler, psychologist and director of the Buehler Institute ( for sex therapy in Irvine, Calif.

So can a strict religious upbringing, fear of pregnancy and negative messages about sex in your head. A bad sexual experience and no emotional satisfaction in your relationship can also make you feel like a wet blanket in the bedroom.

“Lack of desire is probably the most complex sexual problem,” Buehler says. “And the causes are very individual.”

Even if your head and heart are in sync, physical conditions such as diabetes, fibromyalgia and hormonal imbalance (perhaps from thyroid disorders or menopause) can also throw your sex and love life for a loop.

That’s what derailed Leslie (identified by her first name only for privacy), 52, of Austin, Texas. She had a “super low libido” and vaginal dryness when she entered perimenopause.

“It literally felt like I was drying up like an old woman,” she says. “And that was not OK because I actually enjoyed sex and wanted to have as active a sex life as possible.”

Still, as her sex life declined, so did her 10-year marriage. It ended in divorce.

Finally, with hormone replacement therapy, Leslie got her sex life back on track. After a two-year break, she and her husband rekindled their relationship and remarried last February.

Sex Rx: So what’s the best way to ramp up your libido? It depends on the cause.

In pre-menopausal women, lack of desire is typically due to life circumstances, such as stress, lack of energy or fighting with your mate, says Elizabeth Houser, M.D., of the Urology Team in Austin, Texas, whose Web site,, deals with pelvic health.
Once you ID the cause, try these steps to put heat back between the sheets:

  • Reduce stress and increase energy level. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercise and balance in your life can help ignite the fire within.
  • Make time for sleepy sex. Try this suggestion from Seven Weeks to Better Sex (Westcom Press) by Domeena Renshaw, M.D., director of the Loyola University Health System Sex Clinic in Chicago.
    Pick a rendezvous night with your mate and set your alarm clock to ring 90 minutes after you go to bed, which takes advantage of the body’s first sleep cycle, when you should be at peak arousal. When the alarm goes off, take a shower together to refresh you, and then have sex, which will relax you and help you get back to sleep again.
    “You may be skeptical, but try it anyway and see what happens,” Renshaw says.
  • Look at your relationship. How much conflict do you have? Do you spend enough time together? Does he listen? Do you communicate with each other? Lack of desire could be a symptom of another relationship problem, Buehler says. Couples therapy can help address issues. So can restructuring your life so that your relationship is a priority, Houser says.
  • Get the bad thoughts out. Cognitive behavioral therapy, in which patients address negative beliefs and feelings, can help you examine your attitude about sex.
  • Expand your options. Sex isn’t just about inserting part A into part B. A woman may want a back rub or cuddling instead, Whipple says. “I encourage people to learn about different parts of the body and be aware of what they like – and to communicate to their partner what they find sensual.”

2. Lack of Arousal
“People associate arousal with vaginal lubrication,” Whipple says, but it’s more complicated than that.

When women are aroused, more blood flows to the clitoris and its surrounding flesh, which stimulates fluids to seep through blood vessels into the vagina. It also causes the upper part of the vagina, uterus, cervix and clitoris to expand and swells the lower vagina and labia (the flesh at the opening of the vagina) so the vaginal opening shrinks. In other words, your body gets ready to receive a penis.

When a woman isn’t aroused, the blood doesn’t flow and the process shuts down. “Women describe it as just being dead down there,” Houser says.

Why it happens: Many of the same things that inhibit desire also tamp down arousal. “If your vagina is dry and uncomfortable, it isn’t going to feel any stimulation,” Whipple says.

Often, it's because a woman can't let go of her worries and to-do list.
“She can’t relax,” Houser says. “Or she really doesn’t like her husband. Or she is thinking about their kid’s soccer tournament.”
Sex Rx: Water-based vaginal lubricants can help. Don’t use oil-based products, which can dissolve latex condoms and diaphragms, compromising your protection from a pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

If the vaginal dryness stems from a decrease in estrogen levels, hormone replacement therapy may help keep the vaginal lining plump and improve lubrication.

Your doctor can prescribe estrogen in several forms, including cream, skin patch or an estrogen-dispensing ring or tablets, which are inserted into the vagina.

Don’t use estrogen cream as a lubricant, Whipple cautions, because the body absorbs a small amount with each use and too much estrogen could be dangerous.

And skip antihistamines. If they dry out your nose, they probably dry you out down under.

Whipple also suggests ArginMax, a tested over-the-counter oral supplement (it contains the amino acid L-arginine) that may increase lubrication and satisfaction.

3. Anorgasmia
This is the inability for either sex to experience an orgasm, but the condition is far more common in women. In fact, only about 30% of women have orgasms from sexual intercourse, Whipple says.
Why it happens: Medical problems such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and gynecological cancers can interfere. So can antidepressants: 70-80% of women taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants, have a hard time peaking, Whipple says.

Sex Drive.
But maybe you aren't feeling the fireworks because you don’t know how to have an orgasm or haven’t schooled your partner about your sweet spots.

Sex Rx: It’s time to explore your nether regions. “You'd be amazed at how many women don’t know what they look like,” Buehler says.
First, get out a hand mirror out and examine yourself.
Now let your fingers do the walking. Get used to touching your body in a non-sexual but pleasurable way. Give yourself a massage or take a warm bath or shower and explore your entire body to find out what feels good. When you’re comfortable, move your hands to your genitals.

Stimulating your clitoris, G-spot and even the cervix can bring on an orgasm. The trick is finding what works for you, Whipple says. For more tips, check out How to Find Your G-spot.

As you learn your sexual responses, have a show-and-tell with your partner so he can recreate the sensation.

“A lot of people give up too easily,” Buehler says. Because of socialization or fear, the ability to have an orgasm is shut down. “You have to reawaken the wiring.”

Having an orgasm is a skill. And practice makes perfect.

4. Vaginismus
This condition causes the pelvic floor muscles to spasm, essentially blocking a penis from entering the vagina.

How common is the disorder? That’s debatable, because many women don’t seek treatment or are misdiagnosed. At the Sexual Dysfunction Clinic at Loyola University in Chicago, the vaginismus incidence rate is 7%, Renshaw says.

Untreated, vaginismus can be long-term: Renshaw says she treated a woman who had the disorder for 23 years before she sought help.

Why it happens: Repeated yeast infections or urinary tract infections can cause the reflexive muscle reaction, but so can fear of sex, pregnancy or emotional trauma from past sexual abuse.
Sex Rx: If the condition has a physical cause, at-home exercises may reverse it. In Seven Weeks to Better Sex, Renshaw suggests the following exercises:

  • Without your partner, lie down and get comfortable. Breathe slowly, opening your mouth when you exhale.
  • Lubricate your finger with water-based lubricant or saliva and insert it into your vagina. Continue to breathe deeply. As you explore your vagina, you’ll feel it start to loosen.
  • As if you're trying to stop the flow of urine, contract the muscles in the lower third of your vagina tightly around your finger. Relax and repeat to learn how to control the muscles.
  • Repeat the exercises for five minutes, twice a day. Use one finger on the first two days. For the next two days, insert two fingers while breathing slowly and contracting your muscles.
  • On the next two days, ask your partner to place one lubricated finger inside your vagina. Guide his finger and keep your mind focused on your sexual response.
  • On the following two days, spend as much time on foreplay as you need to get aroused and then ask your partner to lie passively next to you.
  • Straddle him and place his non-erect penis into your vagina. Contract and relax your muscles. You should feel your partner becoming erect without experiencing pain. If he is already aroused, you can insert his erect penis or slow things down until his erection subsides and try again. Allow yourself as much time as you need to feel comfortable at any stage of these exercises.

A physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor biofeedback – a kind of training program that can help people regulate body functions – can teach a woman how to consciously relax her muscles.
A doctor also can prescribe vaginal dilators – a set of plastic or silicone dildos, graduated in size, that are inserted into the vagina by the woman or her partner for 10 minutes a few times a week leading up to intercourse. The dilators gradually stretch the vaginal skin.

5. Dyspareunia
Pain during and after intercourse makes sex unpleasant. Unfortunately, many women are too embarrassed to discuss the subject with their doctor and avoid the act altogether, Buehler says.

“There are couples who don’t consummate their marriage for years. If they’d come in sooner, they’d have a smaller problem to solve,” she says.

Sex is an important part of a long-term relationship or marriage, and its absence can threaten it.

Why it happens: Endometriosis (the growth of the uterine lining outside the uterus), vaginismus, urinary tract infections, a dry vagina or any combination of physical or psychological factors can cause dyspareunia.

Sex Rx: First, head to your doctor for a physical exam, blood work and a check of hormone levels. Once a physical problem is ruled out, physical and sex therapy can help.

After all, sexual disorders don’t involve only the genitals, Whipple says. “I view sexual disorders holistically. It's really important to evaluate the total person and not just one part.”

Remember, intercourse isn’t the only way to get sexual pleasure. Try alternatives, such as oral, manual and anal sex. Anything that feels good can provide satisfaction minus the pain.

An extra tip: If you suffer from unexplained pain, your doctor may prescribe the antidepressant amitriptyline (Elavil). In very low doses — one-tenth of the amount you would take for depression — it can ease pelvic pain.

Need more help? Visit the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists at, and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research at
Get your own copy of Domeena Renshaw’s Seven Weeks to Better Sex.

What’s Lowering Your Libido?
Studies suggest that one third of women have lost interest in sex. How much do you know about what keeps your motor humming? Take our libido quiz and find out.

By Shanna Thompson Zareski, Special to Lifescript -  Published September 10, 2010

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