Good News From The Medical Sector

Bloomberg News is reporting today that a blood test that may be able to detect breast cancer up to five years before symptoms develop could be available by 2025 if development is fully funded, U.K. researchers said. This is wonderful news. Breast cancer can be cured if it is detected early.

The emedicinehealth website includes the following chart:

The article at Bloomberg News reports:

“A blood test for early breast cancer detection would be cost effective, which would be of particular value in low and middle income countries,” Daniyah Alfattani, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham said in a statement. “It would also be an easier screening method to implement compared to current methods, such as mammography.”

About 2.1 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, according to the World Health Organization. It killed an estimated 627,000 women last year, accounting for 15% of all cancer deaths among women.

…“We need to develop and further validate this test,” Alfattani said. “However, these results are encouraging and indicate that it’s possible to detect a signal for early breast cancer. Once we have improved the accuracy of the test, then it opens the possibility of using a simple blood test to improve early detection of the disease.”

The research was presented at the U.K. National Cancer Research Institute cancer conference in Glasgow.

Wow. Wonderful news.

Wisdom From A Friend

John Droz, Jr., is a physicist who has spent a lot of time studying the impact of wind farms and wind energy. The following is the result of some of his research:

Wind Energy: Local Economics 101

What about the claim that industrial wind energy projects are a “financial boon” to hard-pressed rural communities? On the surface that sounds plausible, but to evaluate this assertion this we need to look a bit deeper. This is a two part answer…

First, we do not select our electrical energy sources based on the economic impact to host communities. Instead our electrical energy sources are chosen because of their reliability, true cost to ratepayers & taxpayers, proximity to demand centers, dispatchability, etc.

Wind energy fares poorly on ALL such metrics — which is why wind salespeople try the sleight-of-hand tactic to talk instead about local taxes, local lease payments, etc. We need to be careful about getting tricked by such marketing tactics.

Secondly, the only way that we can know if these projects are genuinely an economic asset, is if a proper NET financial analysis is done. In other words we need to do a comprehensive and objective investigation into the pros and cons of these projects.

We know the positives, as the developers and their proponents have done a fine job at spelling out the possible benefits: property tax income, lease payments to selected landowners, several construction jobs, a few permanent jobs, etc.

But what about the negatives? How do we come up with the numbers on the other side of the equation, so that we can do an accurate NET financial assessment? The answer is to carefully research studies done by independent experts — i.e scientists, academics, economists, physicians, etc. who generally have no dog-in-the-fight.

After carefully doing that research here are some reasons why a wind project can be an economic liability to a host community:

1 – Independent experts have concluded that local agricultural income can decrease as: a)bats being killed will reduce crop yields, b) turbines can affect local weather [up to 15 miles away!] which will also lower crop yields, and c) in some cases, farmers with turbine leases will reduce or terminate operations. For much more on this, see here.

2 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that there can be serious hydro-geological consequences from wind projects. Here is a sample study done in Vermont.

3 – Studies from independent experts have concluded tourism will drop in the region. For example, North Carolina State University (avid wind proponents) surveyed tourists. Although the majority of the visitors stated that they supported wind energy, 80%± said that they would not vacation in an area where wind turbines were visible. Some other studies that have concluded that tourism will be reduced are listed here.

4 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that property values will decrease for residences within 1± miles of a wind project. This was the conclusion of largest study in the world on this topic, done by the London School of Economics. Here is an extensive list of other studies and articles that came to the same conclusion.

5 – Studies from medical professionals have concluded that some nearby citizens will experience adverse health effects. The biggest concern is from infrasound (noise we can not hear). The World Health Organization has stated (p53) that infrasound is more problematic than audible sound. Infrasound can be so harmful that the US military is researching weaponizing it. Over a hundred studies have concluded that there will be health consequences (here is a representative sample, including cancer).

6 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can cause major eco-system damage. See this sample study (esp. pages 103-122).

7 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can harm wildlife and livestock animals. Sample reports: here, here, here, here and here.

8 – Studies from independent experts have concluded that industrial wind projects can adversely affect local hunting (and possibly fishing). Here is an explanation of that.

9 – Research by independent experts has shown that wind projects can cause serious interference with military facilities. Here is an overview of the topic.

10-Despite implications otherwise, leaseholders can suffer economic losses. See this explanation of 40+ possible legal and financial liabilities to signing turbine leases.

So what might the NET be after taking the positives and negatives into account? A sample analysis was done of the proposed NY Horse Creek wind project. The conclusion is that the NET economic impact would likely be a loss of $10± Million a year. For comparison, an analysis of the NC Timbermill wind project was also done. The conclusion is that there could be a NET economic loss of $12± Million a year.

So before any community can say that a “wind project is a financial windfall,” a comprehensive and objective financial analysis must be done. Right now, no one in any federal, state or local agency, is thoroughly investigating these wind energy liabilities.

Without such an analysis, all financial claims are simply one-side of the economic equation — and are not an accurate representation of the NET economic impact. The evidence to date indicates that wind energy is the “gift” that keeps on taking.

Let me know any questions (email: “aaprjohn at northnet dot org”). john droz, jr. physicist 5/31/19

PS — For additional information on all of these costs, please see WiseEnergy.org.

Wind energy is probably a good idea, but we are not there yet in terms of technology. If the free market were allowed to function in the energy industry, we might get there faster.

Note:  I have linked a few of the studies listed in this paper. To go to the original paper and get the complete list go here.

Propaganda Masquerading As News

On June 28, The New Yorker posted an article with the following headline:

Many Gazan Women Are No Longer Able to Enter Israel for Cancer Treatment

Horrible if true. Thankfully it is not true.

The article cites claims by patients Amani Abu Taema and Dena Mekhael, stating:

In 2012, Israel approved ninety-two per cent of medical permits for Gazans. In 2014, a year of deadly conflict, eighty-two per cent of patients were allowed in. But, since the beginning of 2018, with no announcement of a change in policy, more than half of applications for medical permits from Gaza have been turned down or left unanswered, according to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, or P.H.R.I., a nonprofit organization that represents many of these patients. A 2017 directive from the Defense Ministry gave Israel twenty-three working days to process requests for medical permits, an increase from the previous ten-day processing time. (The extension, according to the ministry, was due to a backlog of some sixteen thousand travel-permit requests, the result of an overwhelming number of applications and the time needed to run proper security checks.) The average case now takes months—if it’s approved at all.

Since Mekhael’s last checkup in Tel Aviv, a year ago, she has found a new lump, this time in her right breast. She applied for a medical permit last December (the permits are only valid for a few weeks) but has not been approved to cross the border. “I never got a refusal, but they keep saying it’s ‘under review,’ ” she told me. Her options in Gaza are dismal: its public hospitals provide very limited and sporadic access to functional MRI and mammogram machines, so she has no way of receiving a diagnosis, let alone treatment.

This is shenanigans. According to reliable sources:

• Had reporter Ruth Margalit bothered to check Dena Mekhael’s account with the Israeli authorities, she would have learned that it is the Palestinian side which is holding up her permit approval; she has valid security clearance from Israel but the Palestinian committee has failed to provide the needed updated hospital appointment information necessary for her request to be approved.

• It is not true that Israel “turned down or left unanswered” over half of the applications for medical permits from Gaza in 2018. According to figures from the World Health Organization and Israel’s COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), Israel approved more than half of the applications this year.

…Regarding Amani Abu Taema, Margalit had reported, “In January, she was allowed into Israel for an MRI and radiation therapy, but since then her application for a permit has been declined four times without explanation.” According to the Israeli spokesman, Abu Taema did indeed enter Israel in January for medical treatment, but since then has not reapplied for an additional entry. The Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee has likewise not received any requests from Abu Taema since her January visit. Thus, Abu Taema’s claim that her application permit was declined four times was flatly rejected and refuted by the Israeli authority, with whom New Yorker never consulted.  

In addition, the claim that there are no MRI machines in Gaza is also false:

…according to the United Nations, a scientific  journal, Palestinian sources, and the European Gaza Hospital (a public institution), along with mainstream media, there are indeed MRI machines in Gaza. Notably, a 2017 report in The Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences (“Evaluation of advanced medical imaging services at Governmental Hospitals – Gaza Governorates, Palestine“), noted there are two MRI machines in the Gaza Strip per one million inhabitants. This compares to four MRI machines in Israel per one million inhabitants. Both Israel and the Gaza Strip lag significantly behind other countries, including Turkey, France, Australia, and especially Germany.

There are a few things that are noteworthy in this article. First of all, the women were able to get treatment for cancer in Israel. After all the money the world has poured into Gaza, why aren’t the medical facilities there adequate? Where is the money going? With all the rockets, etc., Gaza has aimed at Israel, Israel is still treating patients from Gaza. It seems to me that Israel is the humanitarian force here–not Gaza.

The story in The New Yorker is an example of misstating facts in order to achieve a specific goal–anti-Israel sentiment. Nowhere does the writer question the lack of infrastructure in Gaza after all the money poured in there. Nowhere does the writer note that Israel routine helps with medical needs in Gaza. Nowhere does the writer mention the terrorist activities against Israel that originate in Gaza–the rockets, the tunnels, the suicide bombers, etc.

This is a blatant example of fake news with the purpose of stirring up anti-Israel sentiment while Gaza continues its terrorist activities with no repercussions.

In What Universe Does This Make Sense?

Townhall.com is reporting today that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe has been named one of the World Health Organization‘s “Goodwill Ambassadors. Wow.

The article reports:

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since 1980, has seen the country essentially fall apart under his leadership. Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is just 60 years and Mugabe is accused of dozens of human rights abuses.

…Many major governments, including the U.K. and the United States, have criticized the WHO for this move. The organization is now reportedly “rethinking” their decision. 

Mugabe is hardly a goodwill ambassador for any cause, but it’s a sick joke to name him one for healthcare. 

The man is a dictator accused of human rights abuses. Why is he even being considered for a position with the United Nations?

This is the first item in the United Nations charter:

To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

The italics are mine. How can appointing a dictator accused of human rights violations be part of suppression of acts of aggression and conformity with the principles of justice and international law? It is time to stop funding the United Nations, remove them from New York (force them to pay their parking tickets), and start an organization that actually supports freedom and human rights.

The Keystone Kops Battle An Epidemic

There is nothing comical about Ebola, but right now it looks as if the Ebola virus is being fought by the Keystone Kops. If you were to make a horror movie about a world-wide epidemic spread by incompetence and a lack of common sense, the current Ebola crisis could easily provide the script.

This article is based on a number of articles. I am only including small parts of each article and strongly suggest that you follow the links back to the original articles to get the full story.

The New York Post is reporting today that a worker in the Texas hospital that cared for the first Ebola patient is now in quarantine on a cruise ship. What in the world was she thinking?

The article reports:

The Carnival Magic was being held off the coast of Belize on Friday until the hospital worker could be removed from the ship and returned to the United States.

“At this time, the guest remains in isolation on board the ship and is not deemed to be a risk to any guests or crew,” Carnival said in a statement. “It is important to reiterate that the individual has no symptoms and has been isolated in an extreme abundance of caution.”

The Belize government, however, turned down a request by the United States to evacuate the worker through the international airport in Belize City.

She is not showing any symptoms or feeling ill, but knowing the risk, why are we letting hospital workers who may have had contact in some way with the disease travel?

From the New York Post yesterday:

A passenger died on a Nigeria-to-JFK flight after a vomiting fit Thursday — and a top lawmaker said officials gave the corpse only a “cursory” exam before declaring that the victim did not have Ebola.

How does one detect Ebola after a cursory exam? Again, what is the likelihood of someone vomiting and dying on an airplane other than from some serious illness–whether it be Ebola or something else?

The New York Daily News reported today:

The World Health Organization has admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems. 

Despite the admission, the U.N. health agency officially declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Senegal and the organization commended the country for its diligence in putting a stop to the transmission of the virus.In a statement Friday the WHO said the sole introduced case was confirmed Aug. 29 in a young man who had travelled to Dakar, by road, from Guinea, where he had had direct contact with an Ebola patient. 

The statement called Senegal’s response “a good example of what to do when faced with an imported case of Ebola.”

It said Senegal government’s response included identifying and monitoring 74 close contacts of the patient, prompt testing of all suspected cases, stepped-up surveillance at many entry points and public awareness campaigns. 

But the U.N. health agency acknowledged that, at times, the bureaucracy in its organization was a problem.

Note the stepped-up surveillance at many entry points. The bigger the bureaucracy, the less efficient it is.

These are just some of the examples of the departure of common sense in the handling of Ebola. Unfortunately, many people may die because of bloated bureaucracy and a total lack of common sense.

Under The Radar In UNESCO Funding

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about John Bolton’s book Surrender Is Not An Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad. In the book, John Bolton tells the story of the PLO’s efforts to be recognized by the United Nations without negotiating with Israel.

The article reports:

In early 1989, Bolton writes, the PLO had launched a major effort to join several specialized UN agencies in the UN system. — “yet another example of the PLO’s perennial strategy to improve its position vis-a-vis Israel by doing anything other than negotiating directly with the Israelis.” The PLO membership campaign followed from the PLO’s 1988 decision to change its name card at the UN from “Palestine Liberation Organization” to “Palestine” — “apparently under the theory that if you sound more like a country than an organization, people will treat you more like a country.”

The next logical step, Bolton reports, was to have “Palestine” become a member of the various UN agencies, thus further attesting to its status as a “state” in international circles in that membership in the organizations is limited to states. How could the United States effectively opposed the PLO’s charade given the PLO’s wide support at the UN?

The first targets of the PLO were the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The United States countered that move by telling the WHO that the United States would withhold funding if Palestine was admitted. We had already withdrawn from UNESCO, but stated that we would not rejoin if Palestine was admitted. In 1990, Congress passed a law requiring the termination of United States funding of any international organization that recognizes Palestinian statehood in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel.

Based on that law, we withdrew funding of UNESCO last year when Palestine was admitted. Unfortunately, President Obama has overturned that withdrawal.  The article reports:

But that’s not the end of the story. JTA reports: “The Obama administration formally announced its intention to ask Congress to waive a ban on funding UNESCO over its recognition of Palestinian statehood.”

And that’s not all! The Obama administration courageously buried announcement of its intention in a footnote to the budget that the White House submitted to Congress this month.

Will Congress restore funding? That’s not entirely clear, but not if Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has anything to do with it. “Any effort to walk back this funding cutoff will pave the way for the Palestinian leadership’s unilateral statehood scheme to drive on, and sends a disastrous message that the U.S. will fund UN bodies no matter what irresponsible decisions they make,” she said in a statement. The Bolton spirit lives on, if not in the Obama administration.

The President needs to follow the law as it was passed in 1990.

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