Doubts Cast On Common
Prostate Cancer Test
By Ed Edelson
A review of 20 years' worth of tissue samples casts doubt on the value of
prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer, a new study contends.
In fact, the resulting treatments that often follow a worrisome PSA test result may
do more harm than good, according to the study by Stanford University
"I have here in my laboratory a 20-year collection of thin sections that allow us to
construct the extent of cancer in the prostate," said lead study author Dr. Thomas
A. Stamey, a professor of urology at Stanford. "We can look at the relationship
between PSA levels and the size of the cancer.
"In the first five-year period, there was a 60 percent relationship between the size
of the cancer and the level of PSA. In the last five years, that has fallen to 2
percent, which is why we say the PSA era is over. We are no longer finding
significant cancers by PSA screening," Stamey said.
A key word in that sentence is "significant." Over the past decades, research has
shown that "all men will get prostate cancer if they live long enough," Stamey said.
The incidence is 8 percent for men in their 20s, compared to 70 percent to 80
percent for men in their 70s, he said.
Yet prostate cancer is rarely fatal, Stamey said, with a death toll of only 226 per
100,000 men over the age of 60. In many cases, it progresses so slowly that it
poses no major danger.
Yet doing a biopsy to see whether cancer is present has some risks, while
treatment of prostate cancer by radiation or surgery can cause major problems,
such as impotence, he said.
As a result, "lots of the cancers we diagnose don't need to be diagnosed. Far more
men die with prostate cancer than of prostate cancer," said Dr. Howard L. Parnes,
chief of the prostate group in the division of cancer prevention at the National
The Stanford study appears in the October issue of the Journal of Urology.
Stamey said there was a strong correlation between a high PSA level and prostate
cancer 20 years ago because the test was usually done only when a physician
suspected cancer. Today, the test is usually done as a matter of routine, he said.
Since PSA production is related to the size of the prostate, a high level usually is
related to benign prostatic hyperplasia, the harmless increase in prostate size that
occurs with aging, he said.
Another important thing to note about PSA screening, Parnes said, is that "there is
no magic threshold of PSA below which you can be assured you do not have
prostate cancer and none above which a biopsy should automatically be
Right now, he said, "the National Cancer Institute does not have a position on
prostate-cancer screening. We are conducting studies to determine if
prostate-cancer screening actually saves lives."
One such study has enrolled 75,000 men who are undergoing regular PSA testing,
to determine whether testing can reduce deaths from prostate cancer. Results will
be available "probably at least five years from now," Parnes said.
Another study, started 10 years ago, is intended to tell whether surgery provides a
benefit over watchful waiting for men with high PSA readings, he said. Again,
results are not expected for several years.
Meanwhile, Parnes suggests a cautious approach to PSA testing.
Often, the test is given because "the perception of physicians is that patients think
they are not good doctors if they don't give the test," Parnes said. "What doctors
should do is to find the time to discuss the pros and cons of screening. A PSA test
should be done with the informed consent of the patient."
For new research into bacteria as a possible cause of prostate cancer, go to:
Discovered In Prostate Cancer
2004 Alan R Cantwell, M.D.
Los Angeles, CA
Ivan May Just Be a Messenger
By Stephen Leahy
September 15, 2004
Hurricane Ivan is among the most powerful Atlantic
storms in recent history, and more such storms are
likely in the future due to global warming, say climate
"Global warming is creating conditions that (are) more
favorable for hurricanes to develop and be more
severe," said Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate
analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric
Research in Boulder, Colorado.
While few climate and hurricane experts are willing to
go that far publicly, there is little debate that the
Earth is retaining more of the sun's energy than in the
past. Emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide act as
an extra blanket that keeps some of the sun's energy
from dissipating into space. The extra energy from this
"greenhouse effect" has already warmed the Earth by
about 1 degree Fahrenheit, according to the 2001 report
by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The
report is based on evidence and research from more than
2,500 scientists from about 100 countries.
Hurricanes need warm water, and the oceans are heating
up, as evidenced by the 1 1/4-inch rise in global sea
levels over the past 10 years, said Trenberth. The
additional heat is causing most of this sea level rise
because of thermal expansion -- just as a very full pot
of water heated on a stove will spill over.
While the warming of the oceans isn't uniform -- the
north Pacific and north Atlantic are a bit cooler over
the past 10 years -- the hurricane-producing mid-
Atlantic and Caribbean oceans are warmer and, most
important, there is more water vapor in the air.
Water vapor or moisture in the air is the high-octane
fuel of hurricanes. Oceans need to be 80 degrees
Fahrenheit or more to produce enough water vapor for a
hurricane to get started. New research by Trenberth's
group has found that water-vapor levels are now 15
percent higher on average in the hurricane zone than
they were 20 or 30 years ago.
Will that result in more Category 4 or 5 storms?
"That's the logical conclusion, although it may be
somewhat controversial," Trenberth said.
Before it struck Cuba a glancing blow, Ivan was a
Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which rates
hurricanes from one to five according to wind speeds
and destructive potential. Category 5 hurricanes have
winds that blow continuously above 155 mph. Ivan's
gusts topped 200 mph at times, and it is considered the
sixth most powerful hurricane on record for the
Hurricanes need exactly the right conditions to form,
and warm water and high water-vapor levels are just two
of the ingredients, said David Battisti, an atmospheric
scientist at the University of Washington.
However, global warming is greatly increasing the odds
in favor of more intense and more frequent hurricanes
and cyclones, Battisti said. Where these storms will
appear is very difficult to predict. Traditional
hurricane zones may not see any increase while
countries that have never experienced them will, he
Brazil was struck by the first-ever hurricane in the
south Atlantic last March, while the Atlantic coast of
Canada got smacked by the storm of the century,
Hurricane Juan, late last year. While these may be
flukes, the Canadian government suspects global warming
and is worried about the future.
"What is certain, the Earth is trapping more energy and
that energy must be dissipated," Battisti said.
Largely unnoticed in the attention focused on
hurricanes is the record number of tornadoes the United
States has experienced this year. The National
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency says a record 173
tornadoes were reported in the month of August, 47 more
than the previous record, set in 1979. Iowa has already
experienced a record high of 110 tornadoes this year,
when its 30-year average is just 45.
As for thunderstorms, "the evidence is very strong that
their frequency and intensity has increased in the
U.S.," said Trenberth.
The changing ocean and atmospheric conditions due to
global warming are also making historical weather
cycles or patterns less useful in helping to do long-
range climate forecasts, said Battisti. "In 50 years,
conditions will be so different they will overwhelm
these historical cycles."
Subject: Cosby lauds Min Farrakhan
Date: Tuesday 14 September 2004 12:53
From: "Jehron Hunter" <email@example.com>
Cosby Again Stirs Controversy, Lauds Farrakhan's Nation of Islam
31 August 2004 - Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, whose recent comments
critical of the Black poor have rankled many, repeatedly praised the Nation
of Islam led by Min. Louis Farrakhan. Dr. Cosby made his remarks today at
the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, during a meeting
he called with city leaders to address a spate of youth murders in the city.
The meeting was attended by an influential group of Springfield officials
and community leaders, including the mayor, police chief, district attorney,
Urban League president, the publisher of the city's newspaper, and the
Nation of Islam's Min. Yusuf Muhammad.
Dr. Cosby, when asked by Mayor Charles Ryan what they should do to limit the
flow of drugs into the city, tersely stated that he should "call the
Muslims." When asked a similar question by the district attorney, Cosby
again responded by saying "the Muslims must be involved with the dialogue,
if you all are serious." When it was pointed out that many officials in
attendance had actively shunned Nation of Islam involvement, Dr. Cosby
emphatically stated that "this is my meeting," and assured them that Nation
of Islam representatives would "always be welcomed" at the meetings he
intends to organize in the future. Cosby then admonished those city
officials, stating that "it would be in the best interest of the city to
include the Nation of Islam in all meetings concerning violence in the city
of Springfield..They can go into the drug-infested areas, places where the
police and the churches cannot go and they get results. I am not sure if
[the police and the churches] desire to go where the Muslims go."
During the meeting Min. Yusuf Muhammad read from Dr. Cosby's 1973 doctoral
dissertation, in which Cosby targeted American racism and inadequate
teaching in the schools attended by Blacks. Cosby added that "institutional
racism is an enemy of the black community used by whites against us but
cannot not be used as an excuse for us to solve our problems." Cosby
repeatedly attacked "the insidious nature of institutional racism," which,
he said, "our schools perpetuate." Dr. Cosby expressed his desire to meet
with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
The meeting follows recent comments made by Cosby that have been widely
reported in the media in which Cosby appears to attack poor Blacks as the
source of Black ills. Many whites seized upon the remarks as exoneration of
racism for the myriad problems still facing Blacks. But Springfield
officials listened uncomfortably as Cosby returned to themes of his unheeded
past writings where he asserted emphatically that "The ferociousness with
which racism is perpetuated transcends all class levels" and attacked the
schools' "time-worn racial and intellectual inferiority myth preaching..
[T]he debilitating sense of worthlessness whites convey in a variety of
ways," Cosby continued, "feed the self-hatred produced by discrimination and
Cosby left the meeting without speaking with reporters but vowed to continue
"playing an active role" in the local Springfield area. Min. Yusuf Muhammad,
referring to Cosby's statements of more than two decades ago, added that
"Had America taken Dr. Cosby seriously in the first place, our communities
would have solved many of the chronic racial problems he speaks about
[Reporter Mary Ellen O'Shea of the Republican newspaper contributed to this
Cosby Again Stirs Controversy, Lauds Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam
31 August 2004 – Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, whose recent comments critical of the Black poor have
rankled many, repeatedly praised the Nation of Islam led by Min. Louis Farrakhan. Dr. Cosby made his
remarks today at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, during a meeting he called with city
leaders to address a spate of youth murders in the city. The meeting was attended by an influential group of
Springfield officials and community leaders, including the mayor, police chief, district attorney, Urban League
president, the publisher of the city’s newspaper, and the Nation of Islam’s Min. Yusuf Muhammad.
Dr. Cosby, when asked by Mayor Charles Ryan what they should do to limit the flow of drugs into the city,
tersely stated that he should “call the Muslims.” When asked a similar question by the district attorney, Cosby
again responded by saying “the Muslims must be involved with the dialogue, if you all are serious.” When it was
pointed out that many officials in attendance had actively shunned Nation of Islam involvement, Dr. Cosby
emphatically stated that “this is my meeting,” and assured them that Nation of Islam representatives would
“always be welcomed” at the meetings he intends to organize in the future. Cosby then admonished those city
officials, stating that “it would be in the best interest of the city to include the Nation of Islam in all meetings
concerning violence in the city of Springfield….They can go into the drug-infested areas, places where the
police and the churches cannot go and they get results. I am not sure if [the police and the churches] desire to
go where the Muslims go.”
During the meeting Min. Yusuf Muhammad read from Dr. Cosby’s 1973 doctoral dissertation, in which Cosby
targeted American racism and inadequate teaching in the schools attended by Blacks. Cosby added that
“institutional racism is an enemy of the black community used by whites against us but cannot not be used as an
excuse for us to solve our problems.” Cosby repeatedly attacked “the insidious nature of institutional racism,”
which, he said, “our schools perpetuate.” Dr. Cosby expressed his desire to meet with the Honorable Minister
The meeting follows recent comments made by Cosby that have been widely reported in the media in which
Cosby appears to attack poor Blacks as the source of Black ills. Many whites seized upon the remarks as
exoneration of racism for the myriad problems still facing Blacks. But Springfield officials listened uncomfortably
as Cosby returned to themes of his unheeded past writings where he asserted emphatically that “The
ferociousness with which racism is perpetuated transcends all class levels” and attacked the schools’
“time-worn racial and intellectual inferiority myth preaching…. [T]he debilitating sense of worthlessness whites
convey in a variety of ways,” Cosby continued, “feed the self-hatred produced by discrimination and
Cosby left the meeting without speaking with reporters but vowed to continue “playing an active role” in the
local Springfield area. Min. Yusuf Muhammad, referring to Cosby’s statements of more than two decades ago,
added that “Had America taken Dr. Cosby seriously in the first place, our communities would have solved
many of the chronic racial problems he speaks about today.”
[Reporter Mary Ellen O’Shea of the Republican newspaper contributed to this article.]
"Venezuela Rejects U.S. Sanctions" - news release
Press release from the Embassy of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela to the United States - Washington
D.C - Sept.12, 2004 - "Venezuela Rejects US Sanctions"
English and Spanish text. Please scroll down 'por
EMBAJADA DE LA REPUBLICA BOLIVARIANA DE VENEZUELA
WASHINGTON DC, Septiembre 12, 2004
Venezuela Rejects US Sanctions
We were disappointed to learn that on Friday, September
10th, President Bush issued a determination that the
United States intends to take action against Venezuela
for allegedly not standing strongly against human
trafficking. The Government of Venezuela stands firmly
against trafficking in persons. We have signed and
ratified the UN Convention Against Transnational
Organized Crime, and the UN Protocol to Prevent,
Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially
Women and Children, which the United States has yet to
As well, we work closely with the regional office of
the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR)
to put an end to illegal incursions by traffickers
along our borders. In addition, the Government of
Venezuela has taken significant steps, including the
removal of immigration officials involved in human
smuggling, among others. We are committed to stopping
these wrongful practices, and to prosecute violators
under our laws. We have done much, much more needs to
be done, and much more will be done.
But, let us be clear: the real purpose of President
Bush's executive determination is political. It is
unfortunate and even outrageous that the United States
has come to this decision without even minimal
communication, or consultations with Venezuela. We are
extremely disappointed that the government of the
United States has politicized what is an important
It is well documented that the U.S. Government has
provided financial assistance to political actors in
Venezuela opposing the current government. The
referendum of August 15, 2004, the results of which
were internationally recognized, expressed the
democratic will of the people of Venezuela to keep the
current administration in office.
Following that referendum, we reached out to the United
States seeking to improve relations between our
countries. This was an expectation not only of the
international community, but also of important sectors
within our own countries. The decision by President
Bush to use the influence of the United States in the
international financial arena to deny funds to
Venezuela appears to rebuff our efforts to improve
bilateral relations; instead, it reflects a decision to
continue the aggressive and unilateral policies of the
Incredibly, the one exception for continuing financial
assistance to Venezuela is not to help us strengthen
our capacity in dealing with important issues such as
human trafficking, but to allow the U.S. government to
continue supporting opposition political parties and
organizations. We are disappointed that a government
that has long held itself to be a beacon of Democracy,
appears incapable of accepting democracy in Venezuela.
President Bush's determination last Friday would commit
U.S. officials to using the influence of the government
in international financial institutions to forbid the
authorization of funding to Venezuela. We are certain
that the international community will not follow suit.
Many of the projects for which funds are made available
through those international institutions not only help
us to continue to strengthen our country's social
development and institutions of democracy, but also to
strengthen the energy sector and infrastructure of
Venezuela, which has long been a productive and
reliable source of energy to the United States.
Oranges, Bananas And
> Turmeric Prevent Leukaemia
> By Shaoni Bhattacharya
> Giving infants oranges and bananas regularly may halve their risk
> of developing childhood leukaemia, suggest the results of a new study. And
> a diet containing the curry spice turmeric may also be protective -
> accounting for the differences in childhood leukaemia rates between east
> and west - says a leading scientist.
> Children who ate oranges, orange juice or bananas between four to
> six times a week during their first two years of life had a significantly
> reduced risk of developing the cancer, revealed the observational study by
> US researchers.
> Previous studies on childhood leukaemias have not examined the
> effects of the overall diet in this way, focusing more on possible risk
> foods like cured meats.
> "Our study is unique, and we have elucidated a significant
> protective association with the consumption of oranges, bananas and orange
> juice," says Marilyn Kwan, an epidemiologist at the University of
> California, Berkeley.
> However, she cautions that without carrying out a randomised
> controlled trial, it is difficult to predict exactly how protective eating
> these fruits may be, or to make firm public health recommendations. But she
> notes that in her study "there was a 50 per cent reduction in risk".
> The evidence for oranges and bananas, and turmeric in preventing
> leukaemia was presented at Children with Leukaemia's international
> leukaemia conference in London, UK, on Thursday.
> Luncheon meats
> Kwan and colleagues studied 328 children under 15 who had
> developed leukaemia and matched controls. Questionnaires were given to each
> child's mother on the child's eating habits between birth and age two. Nine
> food groups were discussed, including: hotdogs, hamburgers, vegetables,
> apples and grapes, oranges and bananas, and carbonated drinks.
> Two previous studies have found that eating cured meats like
> hotdogs or luncheon meats increased the risk of brain tumours and, to a
> lesser extent, leukaemia in children. However, the new study did not
> confirm this link.
> Kwan believes that diet between birth and two could be crucial.
> "We think it might be a critical window of exposure," she told New
> Scientist. "There are a lot of developmental processes occurring during
> that time."
> Oranges and bananas may protect against childhood leukaemia
> because they are a rich source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. They
> could act by reducing oxidative DNA damage, and so stop the initiation of
> cancerous processes.
> Bananas are also rich in potassium. Animal studies have indicated
> that potassium stabilises DNA and can reduce rates of mutation.
> Baby food
> Turmeric may also protect against childhood leukaemia, suggests
> Moolky Nagabhushan, a cancer research scientist at Loyola University
> Medical Centre in Chicago, US. He and colleagues in India have shown
> protective effects of the yellow spice's main active component - curcumin -
> in a long-running series of studies. And curcumin is now undergoing initial
> safety testing in humans.
> Childhood leukaemia rates are much lower in Asia than in western
> countries - and this could be due to differences in diet. The cancer is the
> most common childhood cancer in the west, afflicting at least one child in
> every 100,000. But in India, if affects only 1 child in 1,000,000. The
> consumption of turmeric is high in India - some estimates suggest each
> adult eats an average of 3 to 5 grams a day.
> Nagabhushan's work has shown that curcumin and other turmeric
> extracts can block the mutagenic effects of cancer-causing agents called
> polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from smoke emissions. In animal studies,
> it inhibited the formation of stomach and skin tumours. And curcumin can
> also mop up cellular molecules involved in tumour development.
> Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant he says. "They put so many
> antioxidants in food - but instead of artificial antioxidants, they could
> use this," he told New Scientist. He suggests it could even be used in baby
> foods after strict safety testing.
> Kwan's work has been accepted for publication in the November
> issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
> © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.
Fluoridation: No Benefit, another study shows
NEW YORK, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Dental
examinations of 4800 South Australian ten- to
fifteen-year-olds? permanent teeth reveal unexpected
results ? similar cavity rates whether they drink
fluoridated water or not, reports Armfield and Spencer
in the August 2004 ?Community Dentistry and Oral
Children sampled lived in fluoridated and
nonfluoridated metropolitan and rural areas of the
Australian state, South Australia.
Collected rainwater, or tank water, is the main
non-fluoridated (non-public) water source for 37% of
South Australians, 8% drink bottled water. The public
water supply is fluoridated in Adelaide, South
Australia?s capital city. The rest of South Australia
is predominantly non-fluoridated, the authors report.
?The effect of consumption of nonpublic
(non-fluoridated) water on permanent caries (cavities)
experience was not significant,? report Armfield and
?It should be noted that, as discussed here, the
drinking of bottled or tank water is neither
immediately deleterious nor beneficial to oral health
in and of itself,? write the authors.
The American Dental Association asserts that
fluoridation provides 15-35% cavity reductions in
fourteen to seventeen-year-olds. But South Australian
adolescents averaged less than 1 decayed, missing
or filled permanent tooth surfaces (28 teeth have 128
surfaces), whether they drank fluoridated water or
Actually, many studies show, after fluoridation
ceases, cavities decline (2). Others reveal
fluoridation is ineffective at reducing tooth decay
The media recently used the Australian study to blame
fluoride-free bottled or tank water for increased
cavity rates in primary or baby teeth (4). However, no
decay data was included for one- to four-year-olds,
the children with the most baby teeth. The studied
group (5100 five- to nine-year-olds) already shed
primary teeth, perhaps some decayed. This places doubt
on the validity of the conclusion that fluoridated
water is linked to decreased primary-tooth cavities in
this population sample.
?Cities waste millions of dollars fluoridating their
water supplies; but the poor, malnourished or less
educated still get the most cavities and the least
dental care,? says lawyer Paul Beeber, President, New
York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.
?Dental health crises exist in many, fluoridated
cities (5); while residents of non-fluoridated
Wichita, Kansas and Long Island, New York have better
dental health than many fluoridated areas (6),? says
Contact: Paul Beeber, Esq., President,
SOURCE New York State Coalition Opposed to
PO Box, 263,
Old Bethpage, NY 11803
To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
Contact: Suzanne DeMuth, Henry A. Wallace Center for Agricultural &
Environmental Policy, (703) 525-9430 ext. 675, firstname.lastname@example.org; or
Kate Clancy, email@example.com.
EFFECTIVENESS OF USDA PROGRAMS IN SERVING SMALL FARMS IS FOCUS OF NEW REPORT
Arlington, VA (September 9, 2004) - Today the Wallace Center is releasing
the results of a study of the effectiveness of selected USDA programs in
serving the needs of small farms. The main finding is that most of the
programs have not been evaluated, so their success in enhancing the economic
well-being of the nation's small farms is not known.
The study focused on 19 programs housed within seven agencies or offices of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The programs provide support for
conservation, product and market development, farmland preservation, general
farm operations, and other efforts. Sixteen of the 19 programs either
explicitly or more ambiguously intend to assist small farms through grants
for research and other services, direct payments, loans, or technical and
information assistance. Only two of the programs, the Conservation Reserve
Program and the Direct and Guaranteed Operating and Ownership Loans program,
have been formally evaluated as to the extent of support given to small
farms. Both are administered by the Farm Service Agency. No evaluations have
actually measured the effectiveness of these programs in fulfilling the
objective of enhancing small farm viability.
"We found that most of the programs provide a variety of assistance directly
to small farms or organizations serving small farms, yet collated statistics
on the extent of support are sparse," said Kate Clancy, who co-authored the
report. "In many cases, program administrators do not collect data on the
size or gross income of the farms and ranches that receive benefits, and the
legislation that defines each program does not require evaluations," she
Information from such examinations would help to improve the quality of
support and target research, extension, and other services to this important
agricultural sector. According to the USDA's classification, 'small farms'
account for more than 90 percent of the nation's farms and ranches. The
majority of farm and ranch operations have modest acreage, so responsible
management of the soil, water, and wildlife they encompass can offer
significant public benefits. The small farm sector produces an enormous
range of foods and other products, and also boosts local economies,
strengthens rural communities, helps to ensure food security, and enhances
the quality of life for urbanites by providing green space and fresh,
locally grown foods.
Based on the findings of the study, the authors recommend the following:
-- Simple evaluations to be done on all programs to understand what total
and proportionate awards and other forms of support are going to small
-- Funding appropriated to undertake formal evaluations of some key
programs, especially the value-added and market development grants programs,
to see how effective they are, and most importantly, to use as a basis for
improving those that are not as effective; and
-- More funding to the USDA Small Farm Program so that it can oversee the
programs investigated in this study, as well as others, and advocate for
more evaluation and attention to small farms issues within them.
"USDA Programs: What Do We Know About Their Effectiveness in Improving the
Viability of Small Farms?" is available in PDF format at
http://www.winrock.org/wallace. For more information, contact the Henry A.
Wallace Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy, Winrock
International, 1621 N. Kent Street, Suite 1200, Arlington, VA 22209;
telephone (703) 525-9430 ext. 675; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The study was supported in part by a grant from the Wallace Genetic
The Henry A. Wallace Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy at
Winrock International uses its expertise in research, policy analysis, and
development to foster sustainable and equitable agricultural and food
systems. Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with
people in the United States and around the world to increase economic
opportunity, sustain natural resources, and protect the environment