Here we go — 2016 is down to the wire. I know, it seems like just yesterday we were ringing it in.
But as the year sped by like a blazing comet, it has left some really weird and frightening developments in its wake. From pigs being grown with human organs to research linking the no-cal sweetener aspartame to diabetes, it’s been like a trip to Bizarroland!
So before you get ready to ring in the New Year, here’s a brief look at the top contenders for our 2016 Hall of Shame.
Trading acid for sudden death
In October, a data scientist announced these shocking findings: If you take the acid-reducing med Prevacid plus a widely-prescribed antibiotic called ceftriaxone, you’re risking a potentially deadly heart rhythm called “QT prolongation.”
While the scientist used the FDA’s own data to make this discovery, so far, the agency is about as interested in it as a cup of stale coffee, leaving getting the news out to a group of reporters at the Chicago Tribune.
The scientific forbidden fruit
A group of researchers at Kaiser Permanente decided to look – for the very first time – at the possible connection between getting a flu shot while pregnant and autism. And they found that moms who get the vaccine during the first trimester have a “significantly increased” risk of having a child diagnosed with autism.
Despite the significance of that finding, the media somehow spun it better than Rumpelstiltskin did straw into gold, with headlines saying the flu vaccine has been proven safe for expectant moms.
The sci-fi story that came true
On a college farm in California, scientists are busily creating pigs with fully human organs. They’re claiming these “Frankenswine” will save lives, but it looks like they didn’t give much thought as to how this genetic stew could put us all at risk.
It’s terrifying enough to think what could happen if one of these human-pig monsters escaped, bred with normal pigs, or heaven forbid ended up on our dinner plates. And don’t think anyone from the government will be putting a stop to it. The feds are actually planning to be a part of this experiment!
Diabetes in a can
Researchers out of Massachusetts General Hospital found that the artificial sweetener aspartame not only won’t help you lose weight, but can make you a sitting duck for metabolic syndrome.
Aspartame, it turns out, messes with a very important gut enzyme, and if that’s interfered with, you can be smack in the danger zone for not just one, but two big killers – heart disease and diabetes. Despite that and many other findings about the danger of this fake sweetener, the FDA continues to maintain it’s perfectly safe.
Statin double trouble
In October the American Heart Association dropped this bombshell: Statin drugs, like Lipitor and Crestor, can have serious interactions with numerous other heart medications.
How serious? Well, enough to intensify the agony of statin-induced muscle damage – including a form so severe that it can lead right to kidney failure. Or to cause a deadly bleed if you’re also taking a blood-thinning med.
But don’t expect the kibosh to be put on these drugs anytime soon, as they are among the mainstream’s most cherished sacred cows.
The Chantix shell game
The last big decision for the FDA in 2016 was one that can’t help but have serious repercussions for many, many years to come.
At the end of this month, the agency granted Pfizer its biggest Christmas wish, and made that pesky black-box warning on its stop-smoking med Chantix disappear. That means many individuals who decide to use this heavily hyped drug to kick their smoking habit may now be unaware that it can cause violent and suicidal behavior, paranoia and psychosis. Leave it to Big Pharma to come up with a “solution” that’s even more dangerous than smoking!
It’s hard to guess at what else the FDA, CDC and our other supposed “watchdog” agencies may have in store for us in 2017.
But if you want to be among the first to know, be sure to keep reading your eAlerts every day!
Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year from every one at HSI!