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  Department of Health & Self

The Department of Health & Self primary deals with the physical and mental health of the BlackState. Self knowledge and awareness is essential to the health of the BlackState. This department features news and interest stories relating to health and self awareness and esteem in the black world. Public health issues featured include AIDS, High Blood Pressure, Cancer, Eating Right and Proper Exercise.

Health & Self Features:

GM Food Alternatives To GM Foods by Mike Scantlebury

In England, GM foods will always be associated with lies and deception. That's for a very good reason, because everything we have been told here about GM over the years is provably untrue. Take one example: we were told that GM crops were necessary for the good of the Third World. It would help eradicate hunger, it was said. Now we find out that the vast majority of GM crops in the world today are grown in North America. If GM type food is being developed for the benefit of the Third World, why is the First World deriving so much benefit from it first, before the others? Why on earth do the wheat growers of the US and Canadian prairies need seed that delivers higher yields? If GM is so important for Africa and Asia, why aren't they top priority instead? It beggars belief that GM is touted as the answer to world hunger but is busy being devoted mainly to feeding the fattest people on the planet, and not the needy and under-nourished. Nobody is saying the scientists are lying. The men in white coats who invented the new way of growing crops no doubt had the best interests of humanity at heart. Unfortunately, their patents are in the hands of businessmen, people who struggle to produce a convincing picture of altruism. One example: GM seeds that are making it to Africa are being sold to the farmers there, sold in a market where farmers rarely deal in a cash economy, and, moreover, sold as First Generation hybrids, which means they are sterile. Local farmers are used to conserving seeds from one season to the next, to provide for the new crop. They are having to get used to a brand new system of selling all their harvest each year and saving money from the proceeds to buy next year's seed. It's a plan that ties the dirt poor farmer to the big seed companies - forever. There is no way the farmers can break out of the trap. Worse, they are being tempted to grow inappropriate crops: the rice farmers are not just being offered GM rice, but the whole range of GM plants. Farmers are switching to what might seem the most profitable product available, a short-term philosophy that ignores local need; local climate conditions; and local food supply. CONTINUE

ribbon Bush Administration Failing America’s AIDS Crisis by Gene C. Gerard

In 2001 the Bush administration joined 188 other governments in adopting the United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. This committed each government to improving their response to its domestic AIDS epidemic and establishing targets for financing, policy and programming. Last week, in an address before the United Nations commemorating the 25th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic, Secretary General Kofi Annan warned, “The epidemic continues to outpace us. There are more new infections than ever before.” While we expect third world nations to have difficulties coping with the epidemic, a new report suggests that the Bush administration is failing to adequately combat the crisis in America.

The Open Society Institute, a public policy research organization, recently released a comprehensive report on the state of HIV/AIDS in America. It suggests that President Bush has failed to effectively handle this devastating epidemic. Although the Office of National AIDS Policy, located in the White House, is responsible for domestic efforts to reduce new infections, it has a tiny staff and little if any authority. CONTINUE

Yoga An Exercise For Everyone by Michael Gray

Many adults enjoy and are aware of the rewards of yoga. Yoga stretches tight muscles, builds body awareness, improves endurance, and calms the mind and body. But yoga is now attracting a younger audience who is finding out that yoga can be a fun way to exercise and relax.

Yoga may not look like other forms of exercise to most people, but they are amazed at how the seemingly simple poses can work out so many different areas of their body. Continue

White Physicians Slower to Prescribe HIV Medications for African American Patients Than for White Patients, UCLA Study Shows

A new UCLA study shows that African American HIV patients treated by white doctors receive life-saving HIV medication later than those who have an African American doctor.

"Does Racial Concordance Between HIV-Positive Patients and Their Physicians Affect the Time to Receipt of Protease Inhibitors?" is published in the November issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The clinical implications of the findings are that delay in effective treatment could result in more deaths for African American patients. The researchers conclude that policy changes boosting the number of African American physicians are "imperative." Click Here to continue

A Mommy Like You

Every night before my two young girls get ready for bed, we spend time enjoying their favorite books. Although my goal is to keep it to one favorite, the girls always end up choosing five or six. One night, my oldest daughter selected the book “When I Grow Up” to be included in the volumes of children’s stories we would enjoy that evening.

“When I Grow Up” had lots of cute pictures to keep kids interested and highlighted enough high profile careers to impress even the most eager-to-see-their-kids-be-successful parents. “Great choice,” I thought, as my mind danced at the thought of how much potential my daughter must have to already be planning her profession at the tender age of four. click here to continue

Got (Problems with) Milk?

by Kristine Kieswer 

Ads on TV or in magazines may have you convinced that all of the answers to bone health can be found inside a milk jug. Drink it by the gallon (chocolate flavored, too) and eat plenty of dairy-based products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and smoothies, and your bones will stay sturdy for life, right? Well, not quite.

The dairy industry has done a stellar job of playing up the fact that milk contains calcium. While this is an essential nutrient for building strong bones, it is just one player in the complex process of bone building. Unlike a fingernail, bones are living tissues with their own nerves and blood vessels; they are the factories where blood cells are made, and are constantly breaking down and rebuilding. To be of optimal value, calcium must be delivered in the right package, and many researchers and physicians believe cow’s milk is far from ideal. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE

Tell Us Something We Don't Know: Study says racism raises victims' Blood Pressure

UPI-- A Duke University medical study says experiencing racism in everyday life constantly contributes to high blood pressure among African Americans.

The study's researchers measured blood pressure night and day. It said blood pressure or hypertension is more prevalent, and leads to worse outcomes, among African Americans than among whites. It said genetic factors apparently are less at fault than environmental, psychological and social causes such as diet, income, education or stresses like racism.

The study covered the effects of perceived racism when blood pressure is monitored over a 24-hour period. It appears in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Researchers recruited 69 African-American men and women, aged 25 to 44 years. Their blood pressure was measured in the clinic on three separate visits, each one week apart.

The volunteers were then fitted with an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. "The results demonstrate that perceived racism is related to blood pressure as measured during daily life, and that although perceived racism and anger inhibition are correlated with each other, they are independently related to ambulatory blood pressure," said Patrick Steffen, the study's lead author.

African American High Risk For Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a form of eye disease that can slowly rob a person of vision. Because it damages the optic nerve gradually and presents no symptoms for many years, it’s often called "the sneak thief of sight." While glaucoma is a concern for anyone middle-aged or older, Dr. Leon Herndon, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Duke University Eye Center, says the disease strikes one group faster, earlier and harder than any other. "The greatest risk factor for glaucoma is being of African-American ethnicity. Blacks have a four to six times higher rate of glaucoma than their white counterparts. If you’re an African American, your risk is extremely high. And if you have a family history of glaucoma, that increases your risk." If glaucoma is detected early, treatment options include medication, laser treatments and, ultimately, surgery. Herndon says the key is early screening and detection, and this should start even earlier for African Americans. "The indications for screening processes are earlier with the African-American race. We say by age 40, if you’re an African American, you should have a dilated eye examination once a year."


Department of Health and Self: Got Milk? Why US milk has Monsanto growth hormones.

Question: How is it that every industrialized nation in the world has banned Monsanto Corporation's rBGH as unsafe, but it's legal (and unlabeled) in the United States?

Answer: In order for the FDA to determine if Monsanto's growth hormones were safe or not, Monsanto was required to submit a scientific report on that topic. Margaret Miller, one of Monsanto's researchers put the report together. Shortly before the report submission, Miller left Monsanto and was hired by the FDA. Her first job for the FDA was to determine whether or not to approve the report she wrote for Monsanto. In short, Monsanto approved its own report. Assisting Miller was another former Monsanto researcher, Susan Sechen. Deciding whether or not rBGH-derived milk should be labeled fell under the jurisdiction of another FDA official, Michael Taylor, who previously worked as a lawyer for Monsanto.

Monsanto claims that rBGH-derived milk is no different from the natural stuff, despite documentation that rBGH milk contains substantially higher levels of a potent cancer tumor promoter called IGF-1. Monsanto sued two dairies and threatened several thousand retailers in 1994 for labeling or advertising milk and dairy products as "rBGH-free." Despite Monsanto's intimidation tactics, more than 10% of U.S. milk is currently labeled as "rBGH-free," while sales of organic milk and dairy products (which prohibit rBGH) are booming.


Prior to being the Supreme Court Judge who put G.W. in office, Clarence Thomas was Monsanto's lawyer. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (Anne Veneman) was on the Board of Directors of Monsanto's Calgene Corporation. The Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) was on the Board of Directors of Monsanto's Searle pharmaceuticals. The U.S. Secretary of Health, Tommy Thompson, received $50,000 in donations from Monsanto during his winning campaign for Wisconsin's governor. The two congressmen receiving the most donations from Monsanto during the last election were Larry Combest (Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee) and Attorney General John Ashcroft. (Source: Dairy Education Board)

Gene possibly linked to breast cancer more active in black women: study

WASHINGTON (AP) - Researchers investigating a gene they suspect helps spur breast cancer found an unusual racial disparity: The gene appears active more often in the tumours of black women than white women.

Breast cancer isn't as common among black women as white women, yet black patients are more likely to die of their disease. Only part of the problem is socioeconomic. Specialists now agree that breast cancer seems more aggressive in black women, although they can't explain why.

The new study of the gene called BP1 provides a promising lead, said chief researcher Dr. Patricia Berg of George Washington University Medical Center, whose findings will be published Tuesday by the journal Breast Cancer Research.

Berg first discovered that BP1 was active in numerous patients with a type of leukemia. Her research suggested that when the gene is switched on, it interferes with cell regulation in a way that helps cancerous cells survive.

Wondering if BP1 played a role in other malignancies, she tested breast cancer tissue from 46 patients. Berg found BP1 activity in 89 per cent of the tumours from black women, compared with 57 per cent of the white women's tumours.

Berg found BP1 expression in only one of seven samples of normal breast tissue.

Another surprise: BP1 was active in 100 per cent of tumours that are hard to treat because they are not affected by estrogen, compared with three-fourths of estrogen-sensitive tumours.

Other cancer specialists called the findings intriguing, but cautioned that the study was far too small to determine if BP1 really plays a role in breast cancer, particularly the racial disparity.

"This may be a tip-off, but it's too early to tell," said Dr. Herman Kattlove of the American Cancer Society.

Another question is just what role BP1 plays in overall cancer development, said Dr. Joseph Fontana of Wayne State University - noting that Berg also found BP1 activity in two benign breast tumours.

Berg plans additional testing to see how often BP1 activity is detected in non-cancerous breast tissue, and is working to develop a blood test.


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Brotha A Challenge To The 21st Century Black Man
by Peggy Butler (A Citizen Commentary Submitted to

As night draws near, and the city dissipates into its nocturnal ritual, millions of Black men ponder their fate. Pausing briefly, I observe the man seated across the aisle from me, and note the confusion in his eyes. It is a look that I’ve seen many times before. Only now it is more subtle, and tinged with a bizarre combination of fear and serenity. What exactly are you thinking Brotha? Are you sad, happy? Do the two emotions evolve into one, leaving you restless and confused?

For several minutes you engage in a cat-and mouse game of Why, What and How. As your mind swerves from one question to another, your thoughts trickle in fast and furious, each more horrifying than the other. Why Am I Here? Am I My Own Worst Enemy? As a Black Man Why Am I So Misunderstood? And so it goes.

Finally, the man drips into a blissful sleep, where dreams are the only thing standing between sanity and desperation. Five hours later, he awakens to the sound of water dripping. Alone, in the dark, with his thoughts, he becomes conscious of the drip. Plop, Plop, each drop resonates with the sound of furry. Fast forward to the Present: Arise my Brotha! The next time these thoughts enter your head, I encourage you to take My Challenge Test. Now, before you get your boxers in a wad, allow me to give you a brief synopsis of this Unique Challenge. It was created primarily for the Black Man. Moreover, its purpose is to help you become the person you are capable of becoming, despite your present circumstances. Now Brotha, without further interruption, here is my challenge to you.

1. I challenge you to stop subscribing to the theory that you are weak, lazy and inadequate.
2. I challenge you to get the best education possible, and use your skills wisely.
3. I challenge you to take pride in your race, and become conscious of your heritage. Hey guys, have you forgotten that you are the descendents of kings and queens?
4. I challenge you to wrap yourself in the fragrant embrace of hope, and stop exhibiting signs of weakness.
5. I challenge you to stop letting western civilization dictate your true value and self-worth.
6. I challenge you to free your mind from the pity, anger and hatred deeply ingrained in your psyche.
7. I challenge you to refrain from the self-destructive behavior (criminal activity) that has led to your selection on the heavily populated Crooks R-US roster.
8. I challenge you to release all resentment, stop living in the past, and stand on your own two feet.
9. I challenge you to get off the corners and seek gainful employment.
10. I challenge you to combine the exhalation of your soul, mind and body, and walk with your head high. By doing this, you will let the world know that you are no longer influenced by unjust criticism.
11. I challenge you to refrain from all thoughts of despair and despondency. Instead, fill your mind with hope, faith and serenity.
12. I challenge you to choose wisely, live honorably and always anticipate the best.
13. I challenge you to assert your constitutional rights and become optimistic about the future.
14. I challenge you to be a leader, despite your present circumstances.
15. I challenge you to submit your mind to a Higher Authority. With God’s help you can gravitate to a state of true happiness.
16. I challenge you to reclaim your role as “head of household”, a phrase used to describe a man who is capable of providing food, clothing and shelter for his family. Aren’t you sick and tired of the media referring to you as the “non-supportive” parent who makes babies, but is incapable of taking care of them?

Lastly, Black Men, I urge you to commit yourself to these challenges. Only through mutual understanding and in-depth analysis, can you successfully reach your full potential. Arise my Brother, Arise!


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