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THE OREGONIAN 12/14/93

Research article says anxiety more of threat to heart than smoking

Men who complain of high anxiety are four to six times more likely to die from sudden heart failure than other men, Harvard researchers say.

And the risk of sudden cardiac death from anxiety is two to three times greater than that related to cigarette smoking, said lchiro Kawachi, an assistant pro­f essor of health and social behavior at the Har­vard School of Public Health in Cambridge, Mass.

Kawachi, who reported the findings with his colleagues in a recent issue of the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, said that intense psychological stress may trigger "electrical storms" in the heart, causing an irregular heartbeat that, in severe cases, can be fatal.

This heart rhythm problem, ventricular fibrillation, is not the same as myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, in which blockage of a heart artery causes part of the heart muscle to die.

The findings are based on data gathered in a continuing Veterans Affairs Department re­search project called the Normative Aging Study, which began in 1961 and included 2,280 men from the Boston area

Tobacco Corruption of American Medical Industry
by Wade Frazier

Oh, tobacco companies weren't on the roll, but it was easy to tell who they owned in the Senate and Congress.  The tobacco issue actually highlights how the system works.  Tobacco was decried as deadly by King James almost four hundred years ago.  It doesn't take an Einstein to know that inhaling smoke into one's lungs is harmful, but the tobacco companies and their payees were literally working hard to keep the harmful effects immune from mainstream action for generations.

During the 1930's 1940s and 1950s, when even the Nazis found out how deadly tobacco was (Hitler called it the red man's revenge on the white man), the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was literally filled with cigarette ads, making health claims!  The dictator of American medicine, Morris Fishbein (The JAMA editor) was finally deposed in 1949, and immediately went to work for Lorillard at a salary of $20,000 a year, big money in those days.  People like George Seldes were campaigning against cigarettes in the 1930's, and talking back then about how damaging cigarettes were, but the medical establishment, deeply in the pay of the tobacco interests, were covering it up.

The whole phenomenon of women smoking came as a result of the tobacco companies looking to expand their market.  There was a famous march by women (in the 1920s, I believe) where they smoked as they marched, demonstrating their newfound "freedom."  It turned out that the march was literally a publicity stunt dreamed up by Ed Bernays at the tobacco companies' behest.

Women were manipulated into thinking that smoking was somehow a badge of freedom.

In the 1950's, finally "science" was finding out the obvious: smoking is bad for your health.  Duh.  In the early 1950s you had the spectacle of Reader's Digest crusading against cigarettes, while JAMA was running ads making medical claims, and Morris Fishbein was literally advising the tobacco companies on how to structure their "research" so they could make medical claims in their ads.  Hard to believe but true.

The JAMA only stopped running ads in 1954 when the pharmaceutical companies started complaining.  The bone of contention was Lorillard's Micronite filter.  Reading about those days is shocking.  The campaign for the Micronite filter was so shameless that it alarmed the pharmaceutical companies, who felt pharmaceutical ads would be discredited if run in the same magazine that ran ads for cigarettes as if they were wonder drugs.  It was only then that the JAMA stopped running cigarette ads.  Guess what the vaunted Micronite filter was made of?  Asbestos!  You can read The Serpent and the Staff by Wolinksy and Brun or Reclaiming Our Health by John Robbins for a summary of that surreal situation.

But the influence of the tobacco companies over lawmakers and the medical profession did not end there.  By the 1960s the scientific evidence was overwhelming in its indictment of tobacco consumption.  The AMA was conspicuously absent in the debate, and Senators and Congressmen from the tobacco states were fervent defenders of the tobacco companies.  When the Surgeon General's report came out in 1964 the AMA literally raised $10 million from the tobacco companies and did its own study, one that concluded, among other choice nuggets of wisdom, that smoking in bed was harmful to your health because you might burn the house down, and they downplayed any cancer link.  Their conclusion was "Smoke if you feel you should, but be moderate."

When cigarette TV advertising was finally banned a generation ago, the AMA was silent as a mouse, and the only thing they would do would be mumble about more research being needed.  All the while they were still deeply in bed with the tobacco interests, as were a great number of congressmen and senators.

It wasn't until the mid-1980s when some idealistic young doctors started taking the AMA to task for its non-existent performance regarding cigarettes, that the AMA finally started taking a timid stand.  Then it was found out that two AMA board members were invested in a tobacco farm.  In 1996 (and it still might be true today) you could walk into the AMA lobby in Chicago and see a cigarette vending machine.  America has always had one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the industrialized world, and corrupting tobacco money kept it that way.

What is going on today with the tobacco industry is about 400 years overdue.  The rise and fall (not really, the tobacco companies are busy addicting the rest of the world to their product) of the tobacco companies in this century is a classic case of big business corrupting industry and "science."  That they have gotten away with selling an establishment-sponsored poison all these years is incredible.  Oh yes, there is progress sometimes made, though fitfully.  What we can hope is that maybe fluoride will finally get banned, but that situation is so Orwellian that most people have no idea that fluoride is a deadly poison, as it merrily springs from their tap.  I have an article on that issue published by what I consider to be the leading web site in the world on that issue at:

http://www.trufax.org/fluoride/scary.html

published on the page

http://www.trufax.org/menu/chem.html

It is another case of our vaunted system being decidedly anti-democratic, where money not only talks, it dictates.  I am not advocating any system, because I don't believe any system can solve our problems.  People will solve the problems, not a system.  If the system doesn't work, get rid of it.  One of the main conclusions in my book is that believing in any system is how we start losing our freedom.  Human designed systems are not laws of nature.  Capitalism is a system designed by greedy people trying to get rich.  There is nothing democratic about it.  Democracy is a nice idea.  But there has never been one in the history of the earth (Maybe the Iroquois came close), and our system only resembles it in the most superficial ways.

Going to the voting booth and voting for tweedledum or tweedlededee is hardly a democratic process.  A democratic process has a great deal of open debate and ferment before anybody goes to ballot booths.  That does not happen in America.  On the news and shows like McNeil Lehrer or Nightline it is the same old crowd of rich white men debating on an incredibly narrow spectrum of issues.  It amounts to propaganda, not a democratic exchange of ideas.

But that is how our "free press" operates.  He who owns a press is free to print what he/she wishes.  And if the same people who own our politicians also own the media, how "free" is such a system?  Not very.  The Internet has a great potential for helping freedom along.  If it ends up under commercial control like radio did, it will become another adjunct to the corporate system, about as stimulating as Dan Rather.  That is a real threat, and it has been educational to watch how the mainstream media has reacted to the Internet.

It has not been a welcome with open arms.

I live down the road from Bill Gates.  On the off ramp to his house I saw a man holding a sign saying he would work for food.  A few miles from Bill's palace people sleep on the streets by the thousands.  That is a broken system, and to the extent that exists, we are not a society.

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