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“People will die”: 2 years on, Australian documentary on statins continues to rouse ire

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A study by Australian medical researchers is the latest salvo in the battle triggered by the documentary, “Heart of the Matter,” which raised questions about the safety and effectiveness of statins, a class of drugs that block the body’s ability to synthesize cholesterol.

The study, which appeared in the 15 June issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, found that thousands of Australian patients stopped taking statins after the two-part documentary aired on the 24th and 31st of October 2013 on the science journalism series Catalyst. Citing a 2005 meta-analysis by the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration, the authors wrote “[T]his could result in between 1522 and 2900 preventable, and potentially fatal, major vascular events,” such as heart attack and stroke.

Writing in the Australian, science journalist Lara Sinclair told readers “The ABC may have contributed to the deaths of thousands of Australians.” The MJA paper did not look at mortality data…

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Ancient Wings

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I’m standing on the banks of the Casselman River, in the heart of the Catoctin Mountains of Western Maryland. It’s late summer, the day after Labor Day. The sun is shining brightly, but a cool mountain breeze is blowing in my face. Below me, I can hear the water gurgling over the rocks. From an unseen location amidst the riparian vegetation, crickets are trilling. Amidst the riot of green, splashes of color: daisies, goldenrod, orange jewelweed, blood-red columbine, and bayberries the color of indigo.

A doe exits from the thicket alongside the riverbank and glances at me, regarding me coolly for a few moments before turning away and trotting off unhurriedly. Two more deer emerge, both bucks, still wearing the summer coating of velvet on their antlers. They, too, regard me coolly for a few moments before trotting away. To my left, a dragonfly is skimming over the water surface like an Exocet missile.

I’ve always been fascinated by dragonflies. With their speed, maneuverability, and brilliant metallic colors, they truly are the Ferraris of the insect world…

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The statinization of America

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Anyone who wants to know why medical costs continue to skyrocket needs only to look at the paper published in the July 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that examined the “cost-effectiveness” of increasing statin use.

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Antidepressants: A deadly treatment?

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The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, allegedly the intentional act of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, and the deaths of all 150 people on board is indeed a tragedy. But, some good may come out of it if it induces people to take another look at those substances the pharmaceutical industry calls “antidepressants.”

The link between antidepressants and violence, including suicide and homicide, is well established…

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“I’ve lost so much:” How Abilify became the best-selling drug in America

600px-Abilify®_(aripiprazole)_10mg“Psychiatry has destroyed my life in so many ways.”

So says Jarrett, a young man from Orange County, who for the past three and half years has been taking a cocktail of various psychiatric medications, including America’s best-selling drug, Abilify.

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The churches of Port Deposit

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First Baptist Church (more…)

Saint Michael’s

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES 18 October 2014 The Christ Church of Saint Michael’s Parish (a parish of the Anglican church) was built in 1672 on the banks of what was then known as Shipping Creek (now the Miles River) in Talbot County Maryland. The town of Saint Michael’s was founded in 1775 on 20 acres of land purchased by James Braddock. Once upon a time the town was a major center for the packaging and distribution of seafood, but those days are long gone. Today its principle industry would appear to be the processing of tourists. I mean that in the nicest possible way, having just spent a pleasant afternoon there. (more…)

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