Our kids’ bodies contaminated with chemicals! (Part 8)

Updated 31 December 2014

Our kids’ bodies contaminated with chemicals! (Part 8)

In last week’s article, I discussed the effects of mercury toxicity on children’s health and brains. I pointed out to you where the heavy metal is found. Unfortunately, it is found in our food (fish), vaccines, certain pharmaceuticals, body care products, and more than you can guess. But, I also announced to you (I am sure some of you are already informed) the good news that the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally asked the Pfizer subsidiary to stop adding the toxic inorganic arsenic (3-Nitro) to chicken feed that helps fatten commercial chicken while giving them less feed. I only hope that the company does not continue adding arsenic to the feed for export (outside the US).
Now, I will go back to the topic of today. It is about aspartame, the “universal” sugar substitute, which is “concealed” in off-the-shelf packaged foods and which is detrimental to health and brain by being a neurotoxin.
Aspartame is the calorie-free chemical sweetener that replaces sugar for people to cut on calorie intake. It is around 200 times sweeter in taste than sugar, yet much less calorie intense (suitable for weight loss dieting and diabetics?!). The chemical is found in most sugarless drinks and processed snacks and drinks (sodas, flavored water, ice-tea, ice-creams, yogurt, cereals, chocolates, candy, chewing gum, sugarless throat soothing pastilles, cough syrups…). It is used freely and without restriction now under the name of AminoSweet. The manufacturer, Monsanto, claims it to be harm-free, but I advise you to do your own research on the Internet to have more scientific evidence (independent researches). It is a neurotoxin (toxic to the brain), especially to little children and foetuses through mother’s intake. Moreover, it makes you crave sugar more, especially if you are trying to lose weight or diabetic.
The FDA initially banned it in the 1970s for its adverse effects, but with Reagan in office in the 1980s, Donald Rumsfeld (member of the board of Monsanto, the manufacturer), with his political influence, had the ban lifted without restriction. Rumsfeld still sits on the board of Monsanto, the drug company that produces aspartame, GMO products, Roundup (dangerous weed-killer), Tamiflu (vaccine for bird and swine flus) and more.
Aspartame (aspartic acid, methanol, phenylalanine) is a neurotoxin for both children and adults. It is a chemical that triggers brain tumors as well. Anxiety attacks, slurred speech, depression, migraines, autoimmune disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS), and other symptoms are linked to excessive aspartame consumption (mostly through abusing diet sodas). The hazard coming from sugar-free beverages is that they give you freedom to drink without restriction to the point of abuse.
Sugar-free (diet, zero) sodas become even more damaging to the brain, when the soda cans are exposed to heat in cars or under the sun. Young American military men and women developed strange mental conditions when they drank Diet Coke and Pepsi cans exposed to hours of midday sun during The Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, in early 1991.
Aspartame is sometimes referred to on labels with E951 to have it concealed and make it difficult for the consumer to easily recognize it on packets and labels. Any product that has on its label “sugar-free” most probably contains a sugar substitute. Other sugar substitutes like saccharin and others are harmful as well. Watch for them. With so many comestibles containing aspartame, you lose count with how much you have consumed.
Safer low calorie sweeteners are stevia, coconut sugar, agave syrup and maybe xylitol. Even better, train yourself and children not to use sweeteners. Sugar is bad for the health, and aspartame is equally bad, but both are dangerous to the brain and health. (You have more information in my articles Say No to Aspartame, published in Arab News, April 13, 2011).
Many people believe that soda and soft drinks are harmless; thus parents allow their youngsters and even children to abuse them without restriction. Scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Highly sweetened (sugar, fructose, dextrose…) beverages could modify the brain proteins. Studies show that consuming them over a long period could cause hyperactivity in children through changing “the hundreds of proteins in the brain. This recent finding came after many others before, indicating that sodas have been linked to higher risk of “heart attacks, diabetes, weight gain, brittle bones, pancreatic cancer, muscle weakness, and paralysis.”
One Australian research was done on lab rat that were given sweetened water triggered hyperactivity in the rodents after the consumption of sugary water. Analyzed tissue from one section of their brains showed alterations in the proteins (300 proteins of them).
Simple sugar is also harmful. Once it is dumped into the body, the pancreas respond to it likewise by releasing high amounts of the hormone insulin to metabolize it. The process is done so efficiently and rapidly that the person becomes sugar and energy depleted, leading to increased craving to eat or drink more sugary stuff. This cycle continues until the person becomes obese and stricken with diabetes type 2, a devastating disorder that leads to cardiovascular disease, heart problems, strokes, and amputations.
The good news is that you can reverse early diabetic conditions by losing weight and quitting sodas, soft drinks, sugary foods, cakes, pastries, desserts, ice-creams, shakes, Frappucinos, snack bars (Mars, Bounty, Snickers…), fast and fried foods, chips, crackers, and most processed foods, which contain loads of sugar and fat.
According to researcher Jane Franklin of the Maquarie University of Sidney, consumption of sugary beverages have reached an “alarming increase” around the globe and “For many adults, these drinks represent substantial proportion of their daily caloric intake… [which] can cause long lasting changes to behavior and a profound change in the chemistry of the brain… as well as your waistline.” She also recommends drinking water instead and fresh juices and soft drinks should be consumed in moderation.
Coca-Cola president, Sandy Douglas, admitted that regular Coke contains “too many calories” (10 to 12 lumps of sugar in a can) by saying: “Sometimes I have a Coke Zero in the afternoon, but not a regular one because it has too many calories.”
It is not only about the excessive amount of sugar in soda and soft drinks; it is also about obesity that triggers diabetes type 2 and from then on cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, amputations and so on. How do all these disorders happen? Here is the story of five-year-old Kayla who managed to consume over four thousand Pepsi Colas during her short life, which according to her doctors, made her obese, which led to diabetes, amputation, and finally a heart-breaking death. The sad part is that sugar does not spare anyone, not even children. It is calorie-intense and nutrient-empty.
One Swedish scientific research suggested that the consumption of a single fizzy drink a day could increase the risk of prostate cancer by about 40 percent.
Soda and overly sweetened soft drinks should not be sold in schools. Parents should not keep them in their homes within reach of children. They should restrict the intake of such harmful beverages and keep a vigilant eye on their children’s diets and lifestyles. I have seen parents stop their children from ordering colas, yet they sip the soda in front of the child. They should set a good example for their children: NO SUGARS! NO FAST FOOD! NO SMOKING! NO ALCOHOL! NO DRUGS!
Next week, in Part 9 I will comment about energy drinks and I will continue discussing the dangers of sugar in more details with compelling scientific research, let alone that it leads to obesity and health complications.

• Chemical in Everyday Products and Children’s Health by Philip J. Landrigan, MD
• Planet in Peril by Anderson, Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin, and Sanjay Gupta for CNN
• Interview with vaccine researcher (refused to be named) by Jon Rappoport (www.nomorefakenews.com)
• Autism Statistics – mindspec.org
• Why the manufactured food supply is designed to keep you addicted, not nourished by Mike Adams
• Four most dangerous toxins to the brain by Derek Henry
• Chicken feed contains cancer-causing arsenic: www.naturalcuresnotmedicine.com
• Meat Companies Go Antibiotics-Free as More Consumers Demand It, by David Kesmodel

Individuals with medical conditions or on medication should consult their physicians when they decide to introduce anything new in their diet even if it is natural.

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How Saudi Arabia is leading Middle East’s fight against breast cancer

Updated 17 October 2019

How Saudi Arabia is leading Middle East’s fight against breast cancer

  • Advancements in medicine and technology are increasing rates of survival among patients
  • The Eastern Province accounts for the largest number of breast-cancer patients in Saudi Arabia

ABU DHABI: Cancer of the breast remains the most common form of the disease among women despite major advances in treatment coupled with improved screening and awareness campaigns. 

Rates of the disease are increasing in nearly every region globally as aging populations and factors such as obesity take their toll.

In 2018, more than 2 million new cases were reported worldwide of what is one of the biggest and most preventable killers of women.

Dr. Samer Abushullaih, an oncologist and physician manager at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare in Dhahran, said that despite rising detection rates and the introduction of cutting-edge technology, health experts cannot afford to be complacent.

“In the past 20 years we have seen major advances in the survival of breast cancer patients around the world,” he told Arab News.

“It has been an amazing journey of heightened awareness, technological advances and changes in culture. Unfortunately, we are a long way away from defeating the disease.”

The Middle East is forecast to experience the fastest increase in cancer rates globally over the next two decades. By 2030, prevalence of breast cancer is expected to be double what it was in 2012, according to experts at the War on Cancer Middle East.

Regionally, Lebanon has the highest incidence among Arab countries, followed by Bahrain and Morocco. In the UAE, cancer is the third-biggest cause of death, with breast cancer being the most prevalent type.

As the world marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, experts say that Saudi Arabia is leading the fight against the disease regionally. Even so, cancer incidence rose in the Kingdom by 49 percent between 2008 and 2017, and breast cancer remains the most common form of the illness among women.


2.1 MILLION - women diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide each year.

627,000 - An estimated 627,000 women died of breast cancer in 2018. (WHO)

50 - Women over 50 years old affected most, but younger women also at risk.

Abushullaih said that the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia has the largest number of breast cancer patients in the country .

“The use of 3D mammography and advanced MRI images have improved early detection,” he said, adding that treatment of breast cancer has evolved significantly in the past few years.

“Surgery moved from the traditional mastectomy and lymph node dissection to more cosmetically friendly procedures such as lumpectomies and sentinel lymph node biopsy,” he said.

“Also, the new techniques of oncoplastic surgeries, such as skin sparing and nipple sparing mastectomies, spare a lot of women the physical and emotional agony of losing their breasts.”

According to Abushullaih, advancements in molecular profiling have improved the understanding of breast cancer. Physicians can tell who needs chemotherapy, sparing those who do not the dreaded side effects.

Drug development has also evolved in the field of targeted therapy. Medicines such Herceptin, suitable for women with a particularly fast-growing form of the disease, cut the risk of cancer returning by up to half. Tamoxifen, designed as a contraceptive, is now used to prevent breast cancer in women at high risk.

“These are drugs that target the cancer cells and spare the normal cells,” said Abushullaih.

He said that new medicines, targeted therapies such as radiotherapy, and advances in surgery, along with screening, have expanded the resources available to beat breast cancer.

“On the horizon, research and advances in immunotherapy, where the body’s immune system works with medication to fight the disease, are promising to advance survival and cure rates,” said Abushullaih.

When it comes to Saudi Arabia, Abushullaih said: “The Kingdom is in the lead in the fight against cancer and other diseases, both in the GCC and the Middle East.”

Early detection rates for breast cancer are relatively low in the Gulf. (Shutterstock) 

However, he said that heightened awareness will help in early detection of the disease, ensuring that women carry out regular self-examination and get screened early.

“I think our early detection rate is still very low compared with the West. More than 50 percent of all breast cancer cases in the Kingdom are still detected after it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body,” said Abushullaih.

One of the biggest obstacles facing women is being proactive in requesting a mammography, even when it is not offered, he said.

“Treating breast cancer at an early stage is much easier. Saudi Arabia and many of the countries in the Middle East fare the same way with regard to screening. However, in the Kingdom it is slowly improving.”

Another obstacle in patient care is the cost of therapy, said Abushullaih. “Here, the Kingdom fares better than most, if not all, the countries in the region as the government invested heavily early on in providing for cancer patients,” he said.

Dr. Nazura Siddiqi, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at the UAE’s Bareen International Hospital, said the first step to a diagnosis is self-examination.

“Women should check for lumps and change in size or other signs linked to breast cancer,” she said.

“The other forms include visiting a health care facility and getting clinical breast examination by a physician, ultrasound, MRI or mammogram.”

Siddiqi quoted research by the American Cancer Society that showed almost one in eight women suffers from breast cancer.

“In fact, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International’s statistics, 12 percent of all new cancer cases and 25 percent of all cancers in women could be linked to breast cancer,” she said.

The risk doubles for women who have one first-degree female relative (sister, mother, daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer. If two first-degree relatives have been diagnosed, the risk is five times higher than average.

“There is also a group of women who don’t have family history, yet can develop breast cancer,” Siddiqi said. “Therefore, it is highly recommended to undergo regular screening in order to detect the condition in its early stages.”

Hormonal factors such as early menarche, late menopause or late childbirth are also potential risk factors, said Siddiqi.

Use of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy are also believed to raise breast cancer risks.

Lifestyle is another issue, said Siddiqi. “Research shows that factors that contribute to breast cancer and resulting mortality include alcohol use, obesity and physical inactivity,” she said.

According to the Saudi Cancer Registry of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, breast cancer has a prevalence rate of 21.8 percent in the Kingdom.

Earlier this year, Tareef Yousef Alaama, of the Saudi Ministry of Health, told Arab News that a string of cancer-prevention measures were planned in the Kingdom.

These included the roll-out of advanced screening programs, increased palliative care and greater public awareness about risk factors associated with the illness.