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TimesSquareSubwayStationRescueThese two woman wouldn’t let this guy die on the #7 train platform in New York’s Times Square Station today. He was on the ground unconscious with a massive head injury lying in a pool of blood and urine. An MTA worker called for an ambulance but after 10 minutes none had come. At one point the man looked like he had died. People started walking away. But the women kept up the CPR. Finally a cop came, but after several more minutes still no ambulance (EMS). Then the guy opened his eyes. We got the name of the angel on the right — ‘Susanna’.

Photograph: Stephen Wise

Commentary: The Affordable Care Act, designed to reform the health care system in the U.S., will instead undermine public health — especially women’s health, by pushing activities that have proven to be harmful to women — from birth control to screenings and abortion services.

This week has seen Penn State Football and the legacy of Joe Paterno collapse in shambles, as well as a Catholic priest sent to prison for failing to protect young people from sexual predators. Referring to the priest, the prosecutor in Philadelphia said that he “enabled monsters in clerical garb.”

Commentary: With the nation focused on protecting young people, hopefully attention will be given to the many other ways children are being harmed everyday in the United States. One example is the over proscribing and improper proscribing of psychotropic medicines for children, including the testing of powerful drugs, off-label, on children in foster care. LE asked a psychiatrist from Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC about it today. He said: “It’s troublesome but there are others who have to address it.” That sounds like something Joe Paterno or the priest might have said.

Photograph: Stephen Wise

The Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) has developed a list of ten chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected of contributing to autism and learning disabilities.

Published in Environmental Health Perspectives July 7, 2012, they are: lead, methylmercury, PCBs, organophosphate pesticides, organochlorine pesticides, endocrine disruptors (BPA), automotive exhaust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, brominated flame retardants and perflorinated compounds.

The paper’s authors are Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, director of the CEHC, Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and Dr. Luca Lambertini also of the CEHC.

Commentary: With millions of American youth afflicted with disorders of the brain, one would think that the government and industry would do more to reduce toxicity in consumer products. And yet that hasn’t been the case, as free marketeers and bought bureaucrats fail to do the right thing for society, while maximizing their returns. A recent example is the US FDA reviewing BPA but then failing to put restrictions on it, even in baby products, as is the case in Europe. The U.S. is not ‘strong and secure’ for healthy living.

Maeda-En, out of Japan, makes a Matcha green tea powder — loaded with healthful properties — 10x regular green tea, but with one-third the caffeine of regular coffee.

The tea is described as ‘an energy enhancer and mood relaxer’ — also helpful for colds and the flu.

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is facing enormous pressure from industry lobbyists, Wall Street, Congress, and even the White House, to make compromises in standards and practices critical to public health and safety — anything for a ‘buck’, all in the spirit of innovation.

Stephen P. Spielberg (center), Deputy Commissioner, FDA and formerly of Merck, was joined by industry lobbyists and Wall Street investors on a panel at the Feb. 14 BIO CEO conference.

Commentary: The FDA performs a vital regulatory function for society. Recent experience in capitalism has shown that industry can not be trusted to regulate itself — doing the right thing for the common good — while trying to maximize ROI. Whatever can be done should be done to assure the integrity of the FDA and keep if from becoming politicized or manipulated by financial interests.

Photograph: Stephen Wise

At the recent BIO CEO conference in NYC one of the panelists said that in the coming years Baby Boomers will come down with Alzheimer’s disease at the rate of 10,000 per day.

Recent industry focus on beta-amyloid as the cause of Alzheimer’s was debated — in light of recent setbacks in the developmental process of drugs targeting amyloid.

Several people we spoke with acknowledged a possible link between depression drugs and neurodegeneration — which over time might contribute to Alzheimer’s.

Photograph: Stephen Wise

Back in November, Gilead Sciences acquired Pharmasset and its PSI-7797 anti-HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) drug — for $11 billion. They paid an 89% premium to the share price for a drug that still hasn’t received final FDA approval.

Gilead CEO John Milligan (red tie in photo) talked about the deal at the recent BIO CEO conference in New York.

Also at the conference was Moncef Slaoui, Chairman, Research & Development, GlaxoSmithKline, who said the deal was “impossible to justify.”

Commentary: Gilead’s $11 billion ‘bet’ is problematic for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they (over) paid for it using borrowed money. With Bank of America and Barclays, Gilead sold bonds — some unsecured with 30 year maturities, to institutional investors. So now if the drug doesn’t get approved, or live up to Gilead’s rosy projections, it will be pension funds and retirement accounts that get stuck with the loss. Mr. Milligan told LE that some Japanese banks also participated in the deal.

Debt financing, using pension funds, has become a license to steal. Nothing has changed since the Blackstone-Stuyvesant Town debacle looted $5 billion from two California pension funds in 2006.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

Jean-Jacques Bienaime, Chief Executive Officer of BioMarin, a biopharmaceutical company that manufactures drugs for ‘rare diseases’ — including one that sells for $400,000/year.

Photograph: Stephen Wise

Are veterans more likely to suffer from PTSD if the wars they fought in were ‘unjust’? The answer is a resounding “yes”, according to a number of the psychoanalysts and therapists we spoke with (including Dr. Claudio Eizirik lower photo), this week at the American Psychoanalytic Association 2012 National Meeting. Some said it needs further study.

Dr. Eizirik (with wife Mariza) was one of four recipients of the 2012 Mary S. Sigourney Award, in recognition of his contribution to the field of psychoanalysis.

“No country has ever profited from protracted warfare.” Sun-Tzu, Art of War

Photographs: Stephen Wise