American Holistic Health Association (AHHA)
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Special Updates e-Reports from the American Holistic Health Association with items of interest to those actively enhancing their health and well-being are periodically sent out to e-mail addresses provided by the individual or organization. AHHA President, Suzan Walter, is the Editor. You can have these Special Updates sent to you personally by signing up online.


Special Updates Archives for 2005

December 9, 2005

Starting with this issue we are expanding the content of this e-report. The new FEATURED RESEARCH section will present new research that may be relevant as you (and your healthcare support team) consider health-enhancing lifestyle and treatment options. AHHA has invited a number of sources to suggest appropriate research to be included in the section. These sources were selected because of their known high standards for evaluating research.

Our previous FEATURED NEWS section has been renamed FEATURED HEALTH FREEDOM NEWS. This section will continue alerting you to regional, national, and international legal and legislative matters that can impact your right to implement your personal health choices. AHHA is not an advocacy group. Our role is to inform you as to what it happening. It is your responsibility to locate advocacy groups that support the positions and issues you favor.

FEATURED RESEARCH
Recent German research findings published in Atherosclerosis (International Journal for Research and Investigation on Atherosclerosis and Related Diseases) indicate that B vitamins reversed plaque buildup in the neck's carotid artery. We thank The Health Resource for alerting us to this finding. Their article is B-Vitamins Reverse Plaque Buildup in Neck.

FEATURED HEALTH FREEDOM
If we want to make sound decisions about our health and healthcare, we need information. There are claims that the American public is being denied access to certain credible data about benefits of vitamins and minerals. A bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on November 9, 2005, that would prevent the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) from censoring truthful claims about the healing or preventive effects of dietary supplements. HR 4282, the Health Freedom Protection Act, would stop the FDA from prohibiting the distribution of scientific articles and publications to consumers regarding the role of nutrients in protecting against disease. It would also prevent the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from censoring truthful health claims by requiring supplement manufactures to satisfy an unobtainable standard of proof that a health claim statement is true.

New bills go first to the appropriate House committee, which considers whether the bill should be presented to the House as a whole, and in what form. Most bills never make it out of committee. HR 4282 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Those against HR 4282 appear to be ignoring it. Supporters of HR 4282 will need to influence the members of this committee to allow it to move out of committee and proceed to the House floor for consideration.

The most comprehensive article we found explaining this bill is "Action Alert! HR 4282, the Health Freedom Protection Act needs You!" This article offers a general overview of the situation, a list of fifteen things the bill could do, a link to the text of the bill, a list of the bill's sponsors, and a link to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Who is on your personal healthcare team? Whether it's one individual or a diverse group, the ideal is when you and your physicians and other professionals function as partners and everyone espouses a holistic (whole person) approach to creating optimal wellness. If this isn't happening in your case, consider making some changes in 2006. A great place to start your search is the AHHA Practitioner Member list. This list is searchable by several different factors. As you select candidates to add to your healthcare team, also consider the tips in our Self-Help Articles section. Look under the category SELECTING AND DEALING EFFECTIVELY WITH A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL.


November 4, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
If you buy organic produce, milk, etc., because they are produced without synthetic substances, you might be interested in what just happened as Congress approved the U.S. Department of Agriculture's fiscal 2006 budget. A last-minute amendment to the bill specified that certain artificial ingredients could be used in organic food. This injects Congress directly into the debate over whether artificial ingredients and industrial chemicals should be allowed in products labeled organic.

The Organic Consumers Association, Consumers Union, The Center for Food Safety, and other advocacy and consumer watchdog groups unsuccessfully fought against passage of the amendment. Their reactions are reflected in "Organic Farmers & Consumers Protest Sneak Attack on Organic Standards by Congress"

The Organic Trade Association had submitted the language for this "clarification." Their delight in the passage of the amendment can be reviewed in "The Organic Trade Association Applauds Congress’ Decision to Restore National Organic Standards"

The Natural Foods Merchandiser offers a balanced explanation, presenting concerns both pro and con, in "Congress Acts to Amend Organic Foods Law Amid Industry Split"

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
The upcoming holiday season is especially difficult for people who are dealing with a serious health challenge or who have recently lost a loved one. One way to send them a thoughtful, caring message is with one of AHHA's Get Well(ness) Messages. Take a moment to send one to someone you know.


October 7, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
If you consider information about your personal health to be highly sensitive and deserving of the strongest protection under the law, you will be interested in keeping up with what is developing at the national level.

You may remember that when Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Regulations went into effect in 2003 there was a flurry of permission documents suddenly required by your doctor's office related to access to your medical records. For more information on how HIPAA directly and indirectly impacts your records, you can review the material presented by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse at www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8-med.htm

However, consider the following statements. Do these seem to be in conflict?
* Government program to restrict access to your medical records
* Government program to combine all medical records into a national electronic master system for all health records.

This latter is closer than you think. On October 5, 2005 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced U.S. government commitment to establishing a national system for electronic health records. See "HHS Accelerates Use of E-prescribing and Electronic Health Records." In spite of a survey released earlier this year showing that a majority of Americans have privacy concerns about the development of an electronic medical record system, on October 6 HHS announced millions in grants toward development of such a program. See " AHRQ Awards Over $22.3 Million in Health Information Technology Implementation Grants."

The Institute for Health Freedom has a detailed explanation of the government's EHR agenda that it compiled earlier this year. See www.forhealthfreedom.org/Publications/Privacy/RecordsNetwork.html.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
AHHA offers information on many interesting paths for improving your health and well-being. Check out the list of health-related "Books, CDs & Videos." Creative AHHA members are the authors of these sources of information and inspiration.

FOLLOW -UP ON ORGANIC ISSUES
About once a year, we learn about another bill in Congress to relax the strict regulations protecting organic standards. The Organic Consumers Association sounds the alarm that it is happening again in 2005. See "OCA & Activists Move to Protect Organic Standards from USDA & Trade Group."


September 2, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
The controversy about fluoridation of drinking water is center stage again.

Eleven Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee unions representing over 7,000 Civil Service environmental and public health professionals have called for a moratorium on drinking water fluoridation programs across the country. Citing "startling and disturbing new information that confirms the worst fears expressed in the earlier testimony," they have asked EPA management to recognize that fluoride poses a serious risk of causing cancer in people. Particular attention is called to work done at Harvard College’s School of Dental Medicine by Dr. Elise Bassin. Hidden since 2001, Bassin's work shows that pre-adolescent boys who drink fluoridated water are at a seven-fold increased risk of osteosarcoma, an often fatal bone cancer. You can review their concerns and arguments in the press release, "EPA Unions Call for Nationwide Moratorium on Fluoridation - EPA Headquarters Union, August 19, 2005."

The American Dental Association website states that the ADA continues to endorse the fluoridation of community water supplies and maintains that the use of fluoride-containing products are safe and effective measures for preventing tooth decay. The ADA response to the EPA comments, "ADA Statement on Water Fluoridation and Bone Cancer."

If you haven't faced the decision whether to drink fluoridated tap water or bottled water before, you certainly will now.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Have you considered expanding your personal health care team? AHHA has compiled a Practitioner Referral Sources list with over 90 organizations offering referrals to over two dozen different modes of healing. This searchable database at ahha.org/ahhaprs.asp includes hyperlinks from the listing to the organization's online referrals.


August 1, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
Another example of media headlines not reflecting actual research results has just occurred. This time the subject is use of Echinacea for treating the common cold. If you review both the information on the actual study and the clarifications presented by an herbal association, you will note that the laboratory created herb used in the study was not representative of the natural herbs used in common Echinacea products on the market, nor were the dosage levels used in line with the latest scientific findings.

"An Evaluation of Echinacea angustifolia in Experimental Rhinovirus Infections"
Article in New England Journal of Medicine (July 28, 2005)

"Herbal Science Group Says Dosage Too Low in New Echinacea Trial"
Comments from the American Botanical Council

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Perhaps the most important resource ever created by AHHA is the Health Information Search Services list. This unique list includes organizations with experts who can research information and treatment options for any health condition. The patient can learn what both conventional medicine and alternative approaches have to offer. If you know of someone dealing with a life threatening or debilitating diagnosis, please let him or her know about this valuable support option.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
RE: Dietary Supplements Access
There are currently two active pieces of legislation designed to weaken the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) that currently protects your access to dietary supplements.
* "U.S. House of Representatives Bill 3156 -- Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act" proposes to revise the "unreasonable risk" clause of DSHEA by significantly strengthening the FDA's ability to judge a supplement unsafe.
* "U.S. Senate Amendment 1379" (attached to U.S. Senate Department of Defense Authorization Bill 1042) requires dietary supplement manufacturers to report serious adverse events. It also prohibits supplements with stimulants to be available in military installation stores.

RE: Food Stamps & Dietary Supplements
"U.S. Senate Bill 1546 -- Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act" would allow the purchase of vitamin and mineral dietary supplements with food stamps.

RE: Medical Treatment Choices
"U.S. House of Representatives Bill 2792 -- Access to Medical Treatment Act" is designed to permit an individual to be treated by a health care practitioner with any method of medical treatment that he or she requests.

TRADE AGREEMENTS UPDATE
The controversial Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) treaty ratification passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 28 with a close vote of 217 to 215. The next developing trade agreement to watch is Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). This one is to encompass the North and South American continents. Health freedom advocates are very concerned about the terms that could be used to force the U.S. to harmonize DSHEA with the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements.


July 6, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
After more than a decade in development, an international trade regulation for vitamin and mineral supplements was given final approval on July 4, 2005. Finalized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the most controversial section of the "Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements" dictates the establishment of upper limits for the amount of a nutrient that will be allowed in a supplement product. While business interests are celebrating a regulation that these upper limits will be based on science, consumer health advocacy groups are fearful that it's defective science that will be used, resulting in inappropriately low ceilings. Only time will tell who will establish these limits and what they will be. To better understand the motivation of other countries to work toward restrictive regulations, read "Looks like the EU outmaneuvered the U.S." Comments from a number of individuals attending the CAC session have been posted online.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Summer is vacation time. Some extra special trips require long term planning. The online Calendar in the AHHA site spotlights a number of unique options for health-related events in 2006 that are sure to be both enjoyable and enlightening.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS UPDATE
As mentioned above, the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements have become official. Those interested in this topic can track the impact of these Guidelines in AHHA's special site codexinfo.org. You can sign up to be kept up to date as new materials are added to codexinfo.org by e-mailing your full name and e-mail address to codex@ahha.org.

TRADE AGREEMENTS UPDATE
The joint resolution for the U.S. to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WTO) has failed, but it had more support than five years ago.

The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) treaty ratification passed the U.S. Senate on June 30. It is expected to be voted on in the House on July 11, when members return from their holiday break. With the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements now officially available to be enforced by the WTO, health freedom advocacy groups point out that some terms in CAFTA would strengthen the movement to force the U.S. to weaken DSHEA (which currently provides U.S. residents free access to dietary supplements.)


June 2, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
There are increasing concerns about the power of the World Trade Organization (WTO) over domestic matters in the United States, including healthcare. Using the WTO Dispute Resolution Process one country can lodge a complaint against another country over a trade matter. The WTO has the clout to force the losing country to pay large penalties as annual trade sanctions until that losing country changes its law to match an international trade standard.

The U.S. must renew its willingness to be part of the WTO and submit to its controls every five years. This year, the five-year renewal came up and the president agreed to another five years. The Senate and House have the opportunity to oppose this decision. House Joint Resolution 27 for "Withdrawing the approval of the United States from the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization" was filed and is following the required process. A vote in the full House will take place some time in June.

If you are interested in becoming informed about this matter, you can review the following websites.

"Does the WTO Serve Our Interests?" by Representative Ron Paul of Texas, May 16, 2005

Anti-WTO materials presented to the House Ways and Means Committee by Lori Wallach of the Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, May 17, 2005

The 2004 Trade Policy Agenda and 2003 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program, Chapter II, The World Trade Organization. This report, required every five years, sets forth the administration's view of the WTO's benefits for the U.S. (103 pages)

If you wish to contact your elected officials to express your preference for how he/she will vote, faxes and e-mail messages are most effective. Click here for researching contact data for elected official.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Keeping your brain active is one of the secrets to staying young. The AHHA Organizational Member online database has two Education categories. How about treating yourself to one of the programs available? The Education-Personal list offers an interesting array of self-improvement options. The Education-Professional list includes training programs in popular areas of natural and alternative healing approaches.

CAFTA UPDATE
Voting on the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) detailed in our May report was delayed. It is now expected to come up for voting in the House in June.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS UPDATE
The codexinfo.org site maintained by AHHA is in the process of being totally restructured. You can sign up to be kept up to date as new materials are added to codexinfo.org by e-mailing your full name and e-mail address to codex@ahha.org.


May 2, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
Although trade agreements normally would not seem to be related to personal health freedoms, those finding potential threats in the activities of the World Trade Organization are evaluating other trade agreements and voicing their concerns. It is interesting that conservatives, liberals, Democrats, Republicans, and citizen advocacy groups are all opposing the Central American Free Trade Agreement (known as CAFTA) that is expected to be voted on in Congress this month (May 2005). You may want to take a few moments to become informed about this matter. Here are some websites to include in your research:

www.accessmed-msf.org/documents/ftabriefingenglish.pdf

www.citizen.org/trade/cafta/

www.stoptheftaa.org/cafta/index.html

www.wola.org/economic/cafta.htm

If you wish to communicate your opinions to your elected officials, you can locate contact information at www.capwiz.com/apma/home/. Sending a fax or e-mail that includes your full name and address with zip code will get the attention of the elected officials serving your specific community.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
As AHHA completes the fifth year of our monthly e-reports, AHHA Special Updates, a quick review shows that some issues don't seem to go away. People still need to be educated about complementary and alternative medicine. People still have divergent viewpoints as to what is considered to be dangerous to our health and safety. Our personal health rights are still threatened. You are invited to visit the archives of our reports at ahha.org/updates.htm for a reminder of matters about which to be vigilant.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS UPDATE
Those who follow international events related to dietary supplements will be interested to learn that representatives from several dozen organizations met in April and committed themselves to creating an organization to coordinate efforts to protect health freedoms in general and to stop the finalization of the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements. The groups include trade organizations, healthcare modality associations, and consumer health advocacy groups. Incorporation of the Coalition for Health Freedom is expected to be completed in early May. The codexinfo.org site maintained by AHHA will be following developments and posting at codexinfo.org. If you have not done so already, you can sign up to be kept up to date when new materials are added to codexinfo.org by e-mailing your full name and e-mail address to codex@ahha.org.


April 5, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
The comprehensive definition of a health-promoting diet seems to be constantly changing. Even the traditional food pyramid that has been around for decades has been updated by the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. The new government USDA Food Guide Pyramid can be reviewed online.

But other groups see healthy food selection very differently. You might want to check out the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine's Healing Foods Pyramid available online.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
The Self-Help Articles archive is becoming one of the most popular sections of the AHHA website. The category ENHANCING YOUR LEVEL OF WELLNESS includes ideas that can be applied to your lifestyle, whether you are in great shape or dealing with a health challenge. You can use the searchable article menu to see what captures your interest or stop in once a week to review the "Featured Article of the Week" linked off the AHHA home page.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS UPDATE
Those who follow international events related to dietary supplements will be interested to learn that the case filed against the European Union Vitamin Directive by the Alliance for Natural Health had a preliminary opinion (released April 5, 2005) saying that the EU Directive is invalid. The final decision is expected in June. If the preliminary decision holds, this will delay implementation of the August 1, 2005 removal of 75% of dietary supplements from the shelves of stores in EU countries. For further details see "Supplements Directive Lacks Transparency - Advocate General's Opinion."


March 10, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
This is an alert for those concerned about genetically engineered items in the food chain.

During the next month or so, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) will be introducing a number of bills related to genetically engineered food. While passage of these controversial bills is not expected this year, the awareness generated will be valuable. If this is a cause you want to support, you can help by encouraging your member of congress to co-sponsor one or more of these bills. The more colleagues supporting a bill, the better its chance for success.

The bills will be:

  1. Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act
  2. Genetically Engineered Food Safety Act
  3. Genetically Engineered Crop and Animal Framer Protection Act
  4. Genetically Engineered Organism Liability Act
  5. Real Solutions to World Hunger Act
  6. Genetically Engineered Pharmaceutical & Industrial Crop Safety Act
Details of the 2003 versions of these bills can be reviewed at www.house.gov/kucinich/issues/genetic_longsummary.pdf

You can review the background of Representative Kucinich's involvement with this cause at www.house.gov/kucinich/issues/agriculture.htm

Your message to your local representative can be sent by e-mail, fax, or U.S. mail. If you are not sure who your representative is or need contact information, use the search function at www.capwiz.com/apma/dbq/officials/

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
More and more diseases are being documented as being the result of poor everyday lifestyle choices. AHHA's booklet, Wellness From Within: The First Step, reminds you of the power of how you live each day. Give yourself the gift of a better life. Take time to review the options included in this booklet online. Pick one thing to do differently in your everyday routine. It will make a difference. If you want a printed copy of this booklet, contact the AHHA office. One free copy will be mailed free of charge to any U.S. address.


February 10, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
An article being heavily circulated by e-mail discusses Codex, dietary supplements, and threats to your access to vitamins and minerals. As some of the information in that article was incorrect or outdated, we were very concerned that some people believed the AHHA office sent it out. To set things straight, the Featured News Items for this month is an article stating the facts as researched by AHHA president, Suzan Walter. You are invited to review the article, "Summer of '05: Critical Time for Dietary Supplements." Compare this to what you read elsewhere, and draw your own conclusions.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
We were recently told that AHHA is probably the only organization that is promoting holistic health, but not trying to sell you something. We at AHHA want you to discover that the holistic perspective is a power tool you can use to enhance the quality of your life. You are invited to read the articles in the What is Holistic? section that explain what holistic means.


January 3, 2005

FEATURED NEWS ITEM
Deadlines are looming for input to international and national organizations related to future policies that will impact your health consumer rights.

(1) The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are establishing a joint nutrient risk assessment project to define a scientifically-based nutrient risk assessment. It is expected that their findings will be used as the safe upper limits of international trade standards for vitamin and mineral food supplements. This work is expected to begin in May, 2005. Applications to serve as an expert for this important project are being accepted until January 7, 2005. Details are online including a link to qualification criteria for the experts.

(2) The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has called for public comments on its plans to establish a National Health Information Network (NHIN) within ten years. This would be a nationwide electronic network overseen by public and/or private organizations to include personal medical records and genetic data for individuals in the U.S. Considerations will need to be made weighing benefits for improved public health vs. loss of individual privacy. The deadline for comments is January 18, 2005. Send electronic responses to NHINRFI@hhs.gov with "NHIN RFI Responses" in subject line. For additional details call (877) 474-3918 or review the Federal Register notice.

(3) The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reopened the comment period for receiving comments on the FDA's premarket notification program for new dietary ingredients. Originally the deadline was December 3, 2004, but the FDA is reopening the comment period in response to a request from trade associations representing firms in the dietary supplement industry. The new deadline is February 1, 2005. For additional details contact the FDA at (888) INFO-FDA or review the Federal Register notice.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Do you feel passionately about supporting a specific cause? Join forces with others sharing your viewpoint. AHHA has compiled a Causes section that lists a number of lobbying and advocacy groups.


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