That’s ‘Sicko’
Health care news often is front and center, but documentarian Michael Moore has brought this issue to the big screen with his latest film, “Sicko.” In it, Moore follows the lives of Americans whose lives have been destroyed by health care catastophes. He also delves deep into why so many citizens are uninsured. Furthermore, the controversial movie maker visits other countries, comparing their governmental systems to ours in an effort to seek a solution. Among the claims made by Moore:
• There are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance.
• 18,000 Americans will die this year simply because they’re uninsured.
• The United States is ranked #37 as a health system by the World Health Organization.
• There are four times as many health care lobbyists as there are members of Congress.
• The Medicare Part D plan will hand over $800 billion of our tax dollars to the drug and health insurance industry.
• Fourteen Congressional aides went to work for the industry; Billy Tauzin left Congress to become CEO of PhRMA for a $2 million annual salary.
• Canadians live three years longer than we do.
• In a study of older Americans and British people, the Brits had less of almost every major disease. Even the poorest English person can expect to live longer than the richest American.
• A baby born in El Salvador has a better chance of surviving than a baby born in Detroit.
• Even the French live longer than we do.
• There is a company in France, SOS Medecins, which will perform doctor house calls at any time.
• In the United States, health care costs run nearly $7,000 per person. But in Cuba, they spend around $251 per person.
• Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate and a longer average lifespan than the United States.
You might not like Moore or his often extreme political stances, but this movie raises questions that are of impact to everyone. For details, visit
Aspartame Safety
Consumers who are paranoid about cancer-causing agents can rest assured on one count: Aspartame has no link to cancer. That’s the word from a new report published in the Annals of Oncology that evaluated case-control studies of more than 7,000 men and women of all ages.
Italian researchers, led by Dr. Silvano Gallus, collected data from northern, central and southern Italy over a 13-year period, comparing the level of sweetener consumption by cancer patients with that of a control group of non-cancer patients. The statistical analysis saw no correlation between sweetener consumption and cancer rates at nine common cancer sites in the human body.
This confirmation of aspartame’s safety comes in addition to an epidemiological study by the United States Cancer Institute that found no link between aspartame and brain tumors, as well as the findings of the European Food Safety Authority’s review published in May 2006.
Bad Booty
Turns out one popular snack food is far from “bootylicious.” This spring, a strain of salmonella found in Veggie Booty (a sister product of Pirate’s Booty) caused 61 consumers — nearly all of them ages 3 or under — in 19 states to become ill, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency’s findings supported test results from the Minnesota Agricultural Lab.
It’s believed that the seasoning in the snack food, purchased from Atlantic Quality Spice & Seasonings, Edison, N.J., contained the bacteria, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections — especially in young children, frail or elderly people and those with weakened immune systems.
The FDA has advised consumers not to eat Veggie Booty or Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks due to contamination concerns. Veggie Booty is marketed by Robert’s American Gourmet, Inc., Sea Cliff, N.Y.