Monthly Archives: August 2009

joshua rings a bell – western classical music…

A couple of days back, ‘wordrunk’ – a nammashaale ‘aunt,’ sent me a link.

Apparently, Joshua Bell (in my opinion, one of the finest violinists) played to the gallery one busy morning –  near a dumpster in a subway station at Washington DC a few years back, arranged by The Washington Post with the teaser:  ‘an experiment in context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

The link is here, thanks to ‘wordrunk’ : Pearls before Breakfast.  Apparently, this feature article won a Pulitzer in 2008.

May be we should have an evening of choicest western classical music renditions (um, unfortunately at best, it would be restricted to a annotational presentation and playing of the musical pieces on an audio system – say, may be for two hours?). Images of rapturous music of Bach (the father), Beethoven Mozart and Brahms float by… Synesthesia indeed!

Would you say aye to this?

May be we can even follow this up with evenings of Indian Classical Music – both Karnatic and Hindusthani?

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mAss media swine, paranoia in times of flu…

Much apologies to the innocent Swine, Ass and other animals. I have a lot of respect for them, for the contributions that they have made and continue to make to us, human beings… But whether we are worth their efforts, it is definitely a moot question.

Okay, I literally burnt the midnight CFL, wrote quite a few posts like a man possessed, as I felt that there is way too much of paranoia but very little research and level-headed  information that is available – I am sick of all the disinformation and stupidity that surrounds this latest sensationalism about this demented mutant monster deranged  ninja mad A(H1N1) virus-  am talking about the poor swine flu and the way most of the world is behaving irrationally… Not to mention the next to useless thing called Tamiflu, which is touted as the magic medicine!

It is obvious that with the incessant fear-mongering by the mAss media, and the irrational psychosis that is created, the immunity of the whole nations will go down, if the disinformation goes unchecked…

I remember the paranoia and all that hoopla around SARS (does any one even remember the expansion), bird flu virus and AIDS in the recent past. What a waste of precious resources like time, energy, emotions and money… Sheesh!

The manipulative mass media swine and a massively gullible us is a potent & symbiotic combination, sadly.

Disinformation, Paranoia everywhere, but not an Iota of truth to drink…

So, I have bunched together all the posts that I posted  related to this swine flu and have provided links to them in a consolidated post; to make it doubly sure that one gets to the posts directly – on the slightly rearranged nammashaale blog, on the ‘right hand side panel’ there is this link called: FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul… – just below the FAQs on ‘education’; this is that consolidated post – there is also a post on the chikungunya and dengue. Please read, reflect & relax.

The aspects that are covered in the set of posts (in the form of questions and answers) are:

  • A mandatory disclaimer
  • Anatomy of any illness – including swine flu – why do we get any illness or dis-ease at all?
  • The basics of virus, infection and spreading – how really severe this Swine Flu is, in the context of other competing deadly diseases.
  • Debunking the overstated ‘pandemic’ nature of the flu
  • The specifics of A(H1N1) swine flu virus and how to avoid it – Swine Flu FAQ – all answers are here, along with questions. (A = answered / asked / avoided / alluded)
  • Debunking the myths around this Tamiflu – a popular and primarily useless drug
  • Details of the virulent & deadly Idiot Flu Virus – A write up on the little known, but dangerous and widely prevalent Idiot Flu Virus variants (N0H0P3, H0P3L355 ) that no one is telling you about.
  • Some useflu tips and ideas on rumour mongering, just in case someone needs it -incredible & exclusive professional tips on Rumour mongering around the Swine Flu business. (Don’t let go of this GREAT chance to spread vile rumours; earn a lot of goodwill from your conversation-partners, while working-them-up from home; after all, everyone is EAGER to spread bad news. Incidentally, you only need a telephone and/or Internet connection)
  • Some good online articles, all angst laden – to provide counter points to the mass hysteria. (to be done)

We may do well to remember that: Living is FATAL. Being human and being born is a TERMINAL condition. The reward for life is moving-on. Death is but natural, virus or us.

But then, life is fun – especially rubbishing popular misconceptions, venting spleen and ranting, that is…

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Other health & swine flu related posts are here:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

virus, infections, swine flu etc – FAQ/basics

This post of the illustrious  Swine Flu series deals with the basics, to give a reasonable grounding on the fascinating life forms called viruses as also some relevant details of Swine Flu.

It would be useful, if you could read the posts / articles that are given in an order in:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

This is in a Q & A form like the other posts in the series.

What is a virus?

Viruses are cutesy, fascinating life forms. They are nothing to be afraid of.  Don’t worry. They don’t even dress up like an Aamir Khan in Ghajini. (Ghajini is a sad & tragic Hindi language remake of Christopher Nolan’s Memento; believe me, there are some very good films and film makers from India!)

Seriously, viruses are those wonderful subcellular entities that are capable of assembling themselves from their raw mateials. It is like, if someone hacked away my body parts (someone just might, given the sarcastic naure of the blog posts) – then by some magic, I could reassemble myself. MAGIC!

Not only that, Viruses can replicate themselves and multiply endlessly. They can change some of their characteristics along the way. They can borrow characteristics from other fellow viruses. They somehow seem to ‘know’ that they have to exchange genetic materials with other fellows, to ensure their own species diversity and survival! We actually have to learn a thing or two from viruses, I tell you!

But the conditions have to be suitable for them to go plug themselves onto hosts from whom to derive raw materials, and thrive. They can’t make their own raw materials.

These happy go lucky viruses incidentally use our bodies (among others) to get their raw materials so that they can ‘go forth and multiply.’  They must have read The Bible too, I think…

In the process of propagating themselves, they may weaken their hosts. That’s where the myths and the horror start. I meant the rumours, actually.

Can I have a little bit more information on viruses and how they are constructed?

Sure. Viruses are non cellular life forms that have RNA or DNA (both generally referred to as the basic building blocks of life) within a protective sheath of some protein. They feed off cells/ bacteria and do all the things in the previous answer.

Two examples of how a virus is structured to feed off a cell /  bacterium (host) and how they propagate, after entering a host are provided below.

virus1

The above scanned image and the one below have  been ‘borrowed’ from one of my alltime favourtite books –  Godel, Escher, Bach – An Eternal Golden Braid – by Douglas R Hofstadter.

virus2

I suppose, both images are lucid and self explanatory.

What is Influenza??

This is a viral infection that is common in birds and mammals; human beings get infected by it too. In a normal year (for a given value of ‘normal’) approximately 40,000 people die of complications involving among others, Influenza viruses, in USA alone. This Influenza is not even called an epidemic in spite of these kinds of numbers/casualty, leave alone them being a flash in the pandemic!

What is this Flu? Flew? What?

It is nothing but a shortened form of Influenza, period.

What is this Swine Flu, then?

As I mentioned earlier, these viruses are capable of borrowing notes and stuff from other friendly & conniving viruses.

Mammals and Birds have been having their own virus infections (belonging to the Influenza family); at some point, nearly 100 years back, due to contact with human beings, the original flu viruses which then were only with Pigs ‘learnt’ and mutated to infect human beings. Still that infection could spread only from Pigs to human beings; now, lately, these fascinating viruses have learnt to move from human being to human being… This is the reason for all the hoopla. By itself it is not dangerous – which fact we shall elaborate upon further down this post.

So, how come we are getting affected?

See, our human immune systems do not readily recognize these new strains. So, if the immune systems are already compromised by our bad lifestyles, then they cannot handle this virus at all.But if they are not badly compromised then, the body can learn to deal with this new virus-kid on the block – with the help of that impossible pharmaceutical factory that our brain is!

Oh, that’s why people die, if they are infected by the Swine Flu virus?

Huh?

Viruses, after ‘infecting’ the hosts, will normally weaken and look for other ‘learning opportunities’ so to say. They are also not interested in killing their hosts as that will jeopardize their own survival and their own propagation (it is amazing that the survival ‘instincts’ are available in a few DNA strands or RNA in a give virus!)

While it is possible that the A(H1N1) virus could mutate and could become a dangerous virus, it is also possible for it to weaken and become mild. Typically the latter happens, as it was with the SARS and Bird Flu.There is no special or specific reason for the viruses to behave otherwise.

As of now, the Swine Flu Virus is not dangerous at all, anyway.

At this juncture, I would like to point to a great popular science article by David Fraser Harris: A Chemical Basis of Life. This lyrical 1912 article is available online. Enjoy!

When are we likely to know the final verdict?

What do you mean?

As I have been saying, Swine Flu Virus is still mild and no life has been lost ONLY because of the virus. It is likely to weaken and become milder and scope itself out, with the human beings as a species, developing immunity for it.

In my opinion, it could take uptill 2010 to get to know how we are faring – if the mAss media hasn’t already weakened the population by their manipulative fear-mongering, that is.

I am not very confident – what if there is this runaway mutation of the virus?

Your question is quite paranoid, but I would still answer that.

You should understand and realize that we are always surrounded by undesirable things like viruses, bacteria, and fungi – not to speak of the Cell phone signals, TV Chatter, ambient noises and Times of India!

And, these viruses / bacteria / fungi could be pathogenic to us or may not be. Even if they are pathogenic, it all depends on their virulence, and most importantly, our ability (immunity and level-headedness) to face them.  There could be various combinations of these competing forces.

You should also understand that UNLESS we are frequently / periodically exposed to the pathogens (except TV & Times of India), our bodies would not know how to deal with them. You would be surprised to hear that even as I type this and even as you read my posts, your body – that fantastically designed pharmaceutical factory of your own – is learning and devising ways to survive, sustain and grow.

Further, the history of virus mutations and the self preserving & propagating nature of these little forms of life, will dictate that they become less virulent over a period of time as they go from host to host, even as the human beings develop effective systems to handle them – without us EVER noticing what’s going on!

The runaway mutation and ghastly destruction of humanity by a Virus, typically happens or threatens to happen only in badly written science fiction & in films or in the mouths of half-baked jackasses in the field – especially those TV experts and clueless doctors (not all of the latter, though).

But still, can you elaborate on the varieties of reactions in or bodies that the Swine Flu Virus prompts – you were talking about the ‘combinations of the competing forces’? And, may be I will decide what is likely to happen to me!

I really appreciate your curiosity. This combined with hope and optimism, will see that you and your loved ones will ‘go forth and multiply!’.

There are many levels of reaction in our bodies that will be the direct results of invasions from any pathogen – including this particular Swine Flu Virus… Let us handle them one by one:

  • You may be a completely healthy (both physically and mentally) person with a positive outlook on life (is there a difference between health & optimism?); in this case, since you are obviously a person with significant immunity, your body/brain will deal with it, with you not even NOTICING that some virus is being appropriately handled. In other words, you will be healthy as usual and nothing will happen. Boring, eh?
  • You could be a healthy person but may suffer from occasional immune problems. Your body and mind are not in exact congruence. You are given to bouts of unhappiness. The body is not able to quickly respond with alacrity. You see a lot of TV. In this case you may have some reaction to the infection, it could even be significant, but you would recover.
  • You could be not a very healthy person. And you may have compromised immune systems. You may be very unhappy about life & what it has meted out to you. You may be repeatedly falling ill, while not in turn developing immunity. You may see a lot of TV and to top it, may even regularly read Times of India too, the horror. the horror! So you will go on to have chronic illnesses and show symptoms like Heart problems, Asthma, Skin problems, the works. If you could recover from the virus (or any other pathogen) attack, then it will take months or even years for you to get back to the normal mode. (you may remember  about Dengue and Chikungunya, which have these kinds of lasting and lovely impact!)
  • You are in real ill health. You watch a lot of ‘breaking news’ and revel in seeing and discussing disasters. You only read the gossip columns in Times of India – which means, everything else in that darned paper except the Crossword puzzle.You feel that the world is a treacherous place and others are out to get you. You hate life and happiness. Your body cooperates with your mindset. So you would have no ability (read: reason) to respond to pathogens. You have a significantly compromised immune system and suffer from a combination of cardiac, digestive, breathing and renal problems. (Get Will soon – that is, be prepared to please write a Will soon!)

I think we should map ourselves to one of the four levels or somewhere in between and work ourselves upwards, without giving up…

Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You know that there are various kinds of pathogens that float around us all the time  – and there are SOOOOOO many people who can potentially get all these illnesses. Then think about these paradoxical situation, as to how & why only a very few get the illnesses?

Actually it is NOT paradoxical at all.

Go on, get a life. A healthier one at that!

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Other swine flu & health related posts are here:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

An interesting & clueful web article – The Reality of the Swine Flu was a major ‘inspiration’ for some parts of this faq, and is acknowledged with thanks.

swine flu – avoiding, getting used to – faq

So, you want to avoid getting infected by swine flu. Or you may want to help your dear family members, not to get it. Either way I must say, it is very noble desire.

Have you already read: virus, infections, swine flu etc – basics? Have you read the other posts such as: mAss media swine, paranoia in times of flu…  – anatomy of any illness (swine flu, for example)  – swine flu: debunking the pandemic (hic) swine flu posts: a claimer etc etc? If you want to read the whole series on swine flu – check out: FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

The above links/posts give you some context for this FAQ.

What do you think of Tamiflu? Will it help me in this swine flu business?

NO. I am afraid, it would depend on your faith in the drug. Really.

I don’t think Tamiflu could be useful. Please do your own research and find out if you are not convinced about my arguments/research(hic).

My views: Swine Flu: Tamiflu myths & disinformation  

Is there is a Vaccine for the Virus?

No. Not yet and may not be possible. This is because, the viruses are brilliant beings and they keep morphing and mutating at every available opportunity. Hence there are many strains of virus that are all grouped under A(H1N1) virus types. In fact, there are more than 1500 or so variants of this virus, as I write this blog. And, developing vaccines takes time – at least 6 months. And then, there have to be field trials and validations. By that time, the variants would have already morphed in another gazillion ways.

Vaccines sound tantalizing. But they are not going to be effective and even there, when one wants them. Attention: I said wants and not needs. I hope you get the difference! 

In my not so very humble opinion, all vaccines are suspect, anyway.

I see that there are people wearing facemasks and respirators all over the place. Will it help prevent the spread of the disease?

No. A resounding NO. Even in the normal run-of-the-mill Influenza, the masks and respirators do not help. There is NO clear scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of facemasks and respirators in protecting lives / humans against influenza type infections; but, like everything else, psychologically it may help. That’s all.

One thing – if you keep wearing the same mask, thanks to the moisture that is trying to get out of your nose along with your breath, a nice colony of microbes can develop near your nose. Since this portion is likely to be slightly wetter than the rest of the mask, it will also attract and retain good talents like dirt & other cutesy microbes. If not anything else, the Mask will be useful – to make you fall ill in one way or the other, that is!

Oh, another thing. Your children may get mighty amused by the mask angle – so, to this extent, wearing these appendages may increase the happiness levels of the family.

And yes, we can make fashion statements about these masks, traipse up and down on the Brigade Road and Commercial Street (if you are in Bangalore, but equivalent traipsable, catwalky kind of places should be available in any city) and generally ‘accessorize’ them. Am sure, Gunjan Jewellers (this is off Adultery road, NOT Infantry Road)  could come up with an idea of a platinum wire reinforced, precious stone embedded, Gold fabric woven masks, for the new degeneration fashionistas and paranoid androids.

The cell phone makers can cross-sell these masks and have a small mike installed in the mask which could have a Bluetooth ‘BT’ connectivity to the headsets… The works!

We may be fearful, ill-informed and stupid, but why do we need to let go off the business opportunities… eh?

Why do the A(H1N1) variants of Swine Flu attack the human beings at all?

I would instead answer the question – why would the human beings gat attacked at all, by virus, bacteria, whatever… Pleaer reread the section: anatomy of any illness (swine flu, for example).

In fact, we don’t get attacked by any virus or a barcterium for that matter, but actually we invite them to please wake us up about our body’s sad immunity levels.

But there are news reports of  people dying and others crying and mAss media braying and governments praying and all that!

You surely are a victim of well, um – your own gullibility. Sorry.

Did you read that rant: swine flu: debunking the pandemic ?

Does the virus attack ALL people? How come only a few in USA are only affected as opposed to what the mAss media would like you to believe? Do you have any idea about how many are possibly infected and how many have actually died?  

Again, how come only a few in India are only affected? Shouldn’t all of us be dropping dead by the roadside by now?

And again, how many of the so called swine flu deaths happened only because of the reasons solely attributable to the A(H1N1) virus? It is precisely zero.

How do you explain the deaths due to this virus then?

See, it is true that this A(H1N1) debilitates and makes the upper respiratory tract weaker. But this alone is NOT responsible for the death or the ‘attack.’ It is even able to enter and play with the body only because of  the weakened immune systems. Anyway, typically, such people could die of pneumonia due to fluid collection in their lungs. This fluid collection itself is due to the harmonal work of the body to ward off the effects of the virus.

You should also understand that, so far the virus (not directly) has resulted in the deaths of only a few  people who have been having at least one or more of the following:

  • Totally or partially compromised immune systems
  • Preexisting complications involving cardiac, renal, nuero histories
  • Indifferent physique

In my not so very humble opinion, as a flu strain, so far, it isn’t very deadly at all. It is not that people just dropped dead because of the flu, while in the midst of viewing their favourite TV serial or some other useless 20-20 cricket tamaasha.

Okay, what should I do, to escape the swine flu?

Three things:

  1. Healthy food practices.
  2. Healthy thought practices.
  3. Healthy practices, period.

No, what should I DO, to escape the swine flu?

Wash your hands &, wash your face and wash the ‘other’ body parts when required.

  1. Cook some nice, healthy food.
  2. Eat good food at appropriate times.
  3. Go to bed early, after smashing up your TV.
  4. Sleep properly.
  5. Get up early in the morning, watch the sunrise.
  6. Read some good books.
  7. View some good films.
  8. Listen to good music.
  9. Stop going to work at that Corpotation. Enough is enough. Do something that interests you, instead. Besides, your family needs you.
  10. Do some physical work, to work up your system.
  11. Meditate. Think.

‘nuff said (rather ranklingly self-righteously), eh? 

In other words, be absolutely NORMAL. Get it?

What should I avoid, to escape the swine flu?

It is rather simple – a bunch of 4 simple ideas, that’s all:

  • First, you should NOT read or view or listen to any terror news about the swine flu, from any of the mAss media.
  • Second, you should positively avoid obsessive, compulsive rumour-mongers. As all health advisories say: ‘Avoid contact with sick people.’
  • Third, arbitrary Doctors (of medicine), who are abysmally clueless
  • Fourth, the deleterious food, life and other allied practices.

May you and your loved ones live as long as you / them want to live!

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Other swine flu & health related posts are here:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

Swine Flu: Tamiflu myths & disinformation

I thought the Swine Flue hysteria was bad enough. But, to be honest, I wasn’t ready for the mass of disinformation around this Tamiflu. So this post seeks to understand the drug, tries to lay down the details in a layman’s language, thusly proving that this drug is next to useless in dealing with the pandemic-hic.

Oh yeah, sorry. It is of course quite useful. It is effective in filling the topline, bottomline and all the other lines in between for the companies that manufacture the generic drug – Oseltamivir Phosphate. It gives enough scope for clueless doctors and hospitals to ‘prescribe’ this wonder drug. One cannot ask for more. Won’t our GNP go sky high??

Thank GOD, we have Tamiflu  – otherwise, this Swine Flu will get us one way or the other! Unfortunately this drug is not freely available off the counter at our pharmacies/drugstores… What a pity…

Please come near me. Remove your shirt/vest – I just want to check whether you have a belly button. May be you are from some other planet. May be you extra-terrestrials process information differently there – wherever the heck that you come from, that is..

What makes you think that Tamiflu will solve the Swine Flu ‘pandemic?’ Do you still believe that a certain Santa Claws or a Banta Talons comes sailing in thru the chimney and drops gifts in to the greedily waiting socks? Do you still preserve your fallen teeth, in the hope that some darn Tooth Fairy will make a nice pair of dentures for you? What?

When did you even do your homework last, if at all

But, aren’t there anti viral drugs for the Swine Flu? Can you tell me more about these drugs please! Can’t you see I am anxious?

There are basically two classes of drigs / anti virals that are touted around for the Swine Flu infection.

  1. Inhibitors of neuraminidase – They go under two generic names – Oseltamivir Phosphate  and Zanamivir Phosphate. The former is marketed under the name Tamiflu by Roche Laboratories worldwide. The latter is marketed as Relenza, by GlaxoSmithKline worldwide.
  2. Adamantanes – such as Amantadine and Rimantadine.

Adamantanes? How come I never heard about them?

You see, there is no advertisement blitz about these. They are derivatives of petroleum bye-products. In any case they are not effective and our friend A(H1N1) virus shows heavy resistance to Adamantanes – at least in USA and Mexico.

I seriously think that if we unleash the Indian medical representatives, they would make a big success out of these drugs. I see a business opportunism lurking in there.

 But, I suppose these Tamilflu and Relenza are effective. Aren’t they?

Am not at all sure about this. These are NOT vaccines. There are three issues that need to be addressed before the TamiFlu (a Roche product) types are taken as miracle medicines, which will solve the Swine Flu issue once & for all… 

  1. Beyond 48 hours of the inception of the infection, the TamiFlu has not been established to work. But, by the time, a patient realizes that he/she has been displaying (Swine) flu like symptoms, it will be too late, anyway. Too late does not mean, it is endgame for the patient. It merely means, the Tamiflu is next to useless in this context. It is also a sheer waste of money.
  2. It only inhibits the spread of virus under some special conditions.
  3. From the webpages of Roche (http://www.tamiflu.com/treat.aspx ) I am reproducing the following:
    1. “Adults felt better 30 percent faster (1.3 days) than flu patients who did not take TAMIFLU
    2. “Children felt better up to 26 percent faster (1.5 days) than flu patients who did not take TAMIFLU

What does this mean? Even if you DON’T take Tamiflu, you will ANYWAY improve in the next 1.5 days, at the outer limit! So what is that the patient supposedly benefitting from? Just one and a half days of saved leave, is it? This Tamiflu is a costly myth. I rest my case.

So, what does this Tamiflu thingie do?

I am going to quote from a Roche lab document (available off: http://www.rocheusa.com/products/tamiflu/pi.pdf) and am going to excerpt and comment on the same – the idea is to make the statements simple enough (minimal use of jargon) without resorting to over simplification.

p1-1

This merely states that the drug in the Tamiflu tablet is ester hydrolysed (in the digestive system of the human being – by esterases produced in the lever) and inhibits the influenza virus from releasing the viral particles, which could potentially replicate the virus and multiply. I would say, it is a fair enough statement – but it is a moot point how effective it is the organic phosphatic salt (that Tamiflu is primarily made up of) conversion to Carboxylate  is. There is no detail of how this is effectively done. In all probablity not much research has been done in this pharmacokinetic direction, because, if it had been done, the information would have been shared. In my opinion, if Roche wants to make a killing in the market, then it had better share all relevant information. If it doesn’t, then, the motives of the firm would be suspect.

p2-2

 When an antiviral drug is tested in a laboratory for efficacy, the drug in required quantities is introduced in to a suitable cell culture. The effect of the drug is studied. Then, it is tested on animals that are akin to human beings in certain respects, unfortunately. They would typically be mice, rabbits, sheep etc – all mammals. And then the drug would be tested on human beings  – this would involve the so called   ‘controlled’ experiments with placebos and double blind methodologies, for a starter… If there is good correlation that exists between various stages of the sickness / clearing of illness between the test subjects – then the drug would be deemed to be worthy of use in a specific context.

But, what we find here is that there is no relationship or linkage or correlation. Roche is actually admitting that the lab test results and the effect on human heings show no connection at all! Amazing!!

p2-3

Why? Why werent interaction studies conducted with vaccines? Fears of possible side effects because of possible deleterious effects of interaction? And again, what is this non impairment of normal humoral activity? Who decides what is normal and what is abnormal?

p2-4

If Tamiflu takes away so much esterases from our livers, then won’t it impair the functioning of them? How will ester splitting (into alcohols and acids) will effectively happen?  Won’t this be a deleterious side-effect? So, Tamivlu can potentially lead to heavy load on the lever and hence to a possible liver malfunction?

p2-5

Hmm… I don’t understand this at all. How can one give only a single dose and then study the effects? Is it possible for a child to get cured of swine flu in a single dose? Amazing. You can always give a trivial dose of the medicine and then assume that it would not give rise to undesirable side effets. What a convenient way of doing research, sadly so.

Should we therefore assume that a real dose of Tamiflu is a bad thing for children? I think it is a YES.

Okay, can you give some possible side effects of Tamiflu?

Thanks to some good FDA regulations in USA, the pharma companies have to publish all critical data including the side effects of their drugs. The companies also publish some information to escape legal action (such as class action suits) – and hope that the fear-gripped population wouldn’t read the smallprint…

I am reproducing content from the Roche pages on Tamiflu (http://www.tamiflu.com/sideeffects.aspx) for your edification.

“Rare but serious skin reactions and allergic reactions have been reported. Stop taking TAMIFLU and call your doctor if you experience any of these reactions, as they could be very serious.”

“People with the flu, particularly children and adolescents, may be at an increased risk of self injury and confusion shortly after taking TAMIFLU and should be closely monitored for signs of unusual behavior. A healthcare professional should be contacted immediately if the patient taking TAMIFLU shows any signs of unusual behavior.”

“The most common side effects of TAMIFLU are mild to moderate nausea and vomiting.”

There is some more such dire stuff at the webpage cited.

Um, what are the side effects of Relenza?

I am reproducing the information from Relenza’s own website – http://www.relenza.com/

“In studies, the most common side effects with RELENZA have been headaches; diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; nasal irritation; bronchitis; cough; sinusitis; ear, nose, and throat infections; and dizziness. Other side effects that have been reported, but were not as common, include rashes and allergic reactions, some of which were severe.”

So, given the side effects, what do you think of these Relenza and Tamiflu types?

See, I started of with the premise that these drugs are next to useless. But, now I think they are more dangerous to us human beings, rather than to viruses!

In fact, we would be paying to these pharma companies to make us more sick than curing ourselves… Then they call sell us more drugs to cure us of the side effects of these drugs. It is profits all the way for these companies. thanks to gullible us.

I believe that all the above litany of woes of these drugs – they are not the side effects, but intended effects.

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One can go on and on AND on, laughing at the inadequacies, lies, statistics, word hijinx, in the document. But am bored to shred the whole 23 page document of Tamiflu.  It is not challenging enough.

The moral of the whole write-up is : Tamiflu is actually very good. Not for Swine Flu, but for Roche & GsK, that is! Ha.

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Other swine flu & health related posts are here:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

swine flu: debunking the pandemic (hic)

In this post, I deal with the numbers, politics, greed and mass hysteria surrounding the disease.

The swine flu itself and its supposed antiviral drug – tamiflu are dealt with separately.

Isn’t the number of fatalities attributed to Swine Flu startling? Isn’t it scary to think of the future with vast populations dropping dead on the pavements and sidewalks?

No. Not at all.

May be you should stop reading trashy & sickly science fiction and viewing stupid TV channels that fuel meaningless paranoia.

What? Isn’t this Swine Flu a pandemic?  

No. If you want proper and realistic examples of pandemic – that would be a Barbie or a Hannah Montana or a Google (all from US) and say, an Aamir Khan or a Mayawati or a Sonia Gandhi or for that matter, an Arundhati Roy – all from our India.

Why? Surely an UN organization like WHO, is a respectable entity. Why did they do it then? Why did they declare the swine flu, a pandemic?

I don’t want to give any ‘conspiracy theory’ orientation to this. Though there is some subconscious line of conspiratorial goings-on that probably are happening.

My motto is: Never ascribe anything to Malice, that can be sufficiently explained by stupidity.

In this line of thought, WHO is not malicious at all? What punful rhetoric, eh?

Okay, why do you think the deaths attributed to the Swine Flu are not startling?

Obviously you don’t have any idea about the quote attributed to Joseph Vissariyanovich Stalin:  ‘A single death is a tragedy, but a million – a statistic’

The mAss media have been projecting individual deaths and are successfully propagating & spreading the irrational fear and paranoia. Apparently, they perhaps find that there is something sexy about this Swine Flu! Or they are plainly stupid. More likely they are malicious, because they get to mightily benefit by it – read: viewership ratings, advertisements and sponsorships! ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching…

Now look at the real and gory statistic of India and of the world. Let us think for ourselves how come we seem to be soooo bothered about this stupid swine flu business…

What is the no of people who have died of Swine Flu so far? Any idea? We will look at it after digesting the death data pertaining to other phenomena…

Tuberculosis: About 500,000 people die of Tuberculosis every year in India; this amounts to some 1400 deaths daily!  The viruses responsible for TB are much more virulent and spread widely and swifty than our friend A(H1N1) virus.

Smoking: About 900,000 individuals die every year in India, for reasons that are directly attributable to smoking; this amounts to some 2500 people every day!

Alcoholism: Some 500,000 people die of alcoholism every year in India. This amounts to some 1400 deaths per day!

Traffic accidents: About 260 people die per day in India, because of road accidents. The comparative figure for USA is about 100.

Take the case of the existing variants of good ol’  Influenza: In the USA, that is! Every year some 40,000 die because of complications resulting from Influenza. This translates to about 110 per day, in US alone!

Hunger and starvation: Everyday close to 37,000 people die of starvation and lack of food, of which about 30,000 are children! Unbelievable, but disgusting truth!

Waterborne diseases, AIDS etc: Close to 3ooo people die everyday – worldwide!

Farmer suicide deaths: This is about 1500 per month, in India. This works out to 30 per day, unbelievable…

Now, slightly going away from the tragic and wasteful deaths of human beings…

Species extinction: Thanks to our wayward ways, circa 100 SPECIES are becoming extinct everyday!

No noise about these things. No hoopla! No concern at all. No ‘breaking noose.’ Quietly swept under the carpet.

If these are not pandemic situations, what else could be?

Contrast this with the figure for the Swine Flu virus: As per WHO, till 6 July 2009 — Cumulative Total number of confirmed cases of deaths attributable to  H1N1 World Wide: 429 deaths. ONLY!

I rest my case. I think this swine flu thingie has some unknown/sexy celebrity status. There is no other explanation. Think about Briney’s spheres. Think about Aishvirus Rai. Think hard. Think very hard. There is nothing that warrants a celebrity status for them, in them. They are merely a mAss media creation. May be this swine flu is a figment of mAss media imagination. Or our collective delirium…

The ‘pandemic’ is indeed the creation of the ravenous mAss media and nothing else!

(Look. I did undertake good due diligence, computed quite a few ‘back of the envelope calculations,’ to arrive at the numbers above – wherever I could not lay my hands on some official figure/statistic, that is. Hence the numbers are there NOT to make you panic – but to merely make you understand the context and proportions)

What do you think of the healthcare situation in India? Is it adequate to address the pandemic?

Pandemic? My illustrious foot! Why is this even called an epidemic? Since when common cold has become a pandemic? WHO asked for this panic button?

Healthcare? All we have now, thanks to the hysteria on radio. TV, Newspaper is only HealthScare.

With so many eager & greedy HealthScare providers, fear mongers, clueless managers and administrators (a truly potent combination indeed), it is obvious that things will continue to be sensationalized, hyped – and of course, basic truth and sanity will be the casualty.

Having said that, it is obvious that the Indian Government has huge palace loads of the medicines (amassed from all sorts of the generic drug vendors), kits etc etc – so, assuming proper distribution, there is enough and more to go around. (our tax rupees at work, sir)

But the efficacy of the drug is a moot point! Don’t even ask about the pan-dummyc.

Who are the beneficiaries from the spread of Swine Flu? (or for that matter any epidemic)

Tamiflu manufacturers – this is obvious. This is the drug that supposedly helps. The magic bullet. Hic.

Mask, Respirator, Testing kits, Cleaning agents manufacturers – this is also obvious.

HealthScare providers – as the frenzy to admit and check whether a person has got the Swine Flu ‘attack’ grows, as and when the close relatives/friends of this person chance upon as trivial as a loosely hanging snot in one of the nostrils of this person… sheesh!

[Stock market tip: RIGHT time to buy the stocks of the firms in the above three businesses]

Doctors – most of them can continue to be clueless and continue to get their ‘knowledge’ by the colour brochures, gifts from the pharma companies, with their kickbacks (‘referral fees’) from diagnostic service providers and pharmacies, intact. It is business as usual for them – only that their income will go up by a few orders of magnitude.

Governments and the Administration – they can now legitimately keep all the so-called development projects in cold storage and start fire fighting. Of course there is illicit money to be made in awarding contracts, acquiring stocks of medicines, kits and then in dispensing them. (Our tax money at work, what else!)

mAss Media – of course for all their programmes, the TRP  ratings are going to go up as people sit glued to their seats, watching the ‘breaking-noose’ items about random deaths in absolute mortification; the revenues go up.

GNP – the GROSS (really) national products of the nations of the world are likely to go up as also the various indices of the stock markets, because of the increased spending on medicine and healthScare.

Parents and other jobless people – they can make merry, run around like headless chickens, cackle like demented poultry discussing with fellow parents, lobbying for the closure of the schools, worry for their children, worry about managing the children if the school indeed closes, the works…

Children – the paranoia has reached such a high level that all children will be made to stay at home where they can threaten to make an incredible nuisance of themselves – so the parents will surrender the Remote control for the TV, Sony PSP and horrendous video games, so that peace can be restored in homes!

Well, actually it is a win-win situation for EVERYONE. Why bother to complain?

Let us sit back , relax and ENJOY the spreading of the Swine Flu virus! Ha Ha!

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Other swine flu & health related posts are here:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

Minimal & Effective FAQ: chikungunya, dengue fever…

See, there is this loong & basic FAQ in which a lot of ground has been covered in the context of infections, health, viruses in general, swine flu etc, etc.

But, this document is relatively short – and deals only with how to effectively and sanely avoid Chikungunya , Dengue fever etc.

How do these fevers & infections (Chikungunya, Dengue et al) spread?

They spread through our helpful little friends, viruses. These viruses are insect-borne in the sense that they get transmitted by Mosquitoes – primarily.

Why do we get / acquire them?

Simple. Toxemia. Our weakened and absolutely compromised immune systems; weak and effete physique. Nothing else. Not those viruses!

This has been handled in detail in the basic FAQ.

But, how do we get it?

You see, the viruses weaken the body, mind and soul – as we have goofed up on our health. It per se, does not kill. But the viruses lay open the body for all kinds of bacterial illnesses and infirmities. Also, if the viruses are not controlled, they multiply like crazy, further weakening the body. Karma, the bunch of evil deeds that we have done to ourselves, eventually catches up. We get ill. That’s all!

Are vaccines available for this dengue fever and chikungunya?

No. Not yet. Even if they are made available after some extensive research and fieldtrials, the virues mutate and morph faster, making a particular / specifically-targetted vaccine  next to useless.

However, there are medicines (some antiviral drugs, NOT vaccines) available to reduce the after effects of the infection and reduction in the multiplication of the viruses inside our bodies.

Can we fumigate our environment – our homes and surroundings – so that mosquito colonies are wiped out?

No. You can only temporarily get rid of the problem, if you do that. But then, what about the mosquitoes from the other areas and stagnant pools of tepid water that are veritable breeding grounds for them?

Besides, mosquitoes have a short lifetime and so they multiply and mutate and morph faster and eventually become resistant to all kinds of killer chemicals used against them. You haven’t solved the problem here, have you?

The far more senseless and dangerous thing is that you have screwed up and spoilt your environment and made it absolutely poisonous for your lovable children and others – by the stupid act of fumigation.

Of course you have endangered yourself too in the process, but then since YOU started it all, good riddance! You deserve it.

Can I use the Goodnight kind of liquid mosquito repellants, that are packaged as canisters that are pluggable into power outlets? May be the cream, that we can smear on our bodies, can be used?

No. Unless you can live with all the after effects of D-Allethrin pesticide that is the basic component of most of these formulations / liquids.

Besides, you are wasting the valuable electrical power (because of the electrical heating element involved) that came to your place after burning a couple of trees in Australia or elsewhere!

D Allethrin is a Pyrethroid compound that is used as an industry grade insecticide – in farming operations and otherwise!

Why can’t you see that – if it is dangerous to such resilient creatures as mosquitoes, it is potentially harmful to us? You don’t even need to bother about the chemistry and all that of these things!

Can I use Insecticide sprays? Pest control methods? Baygon spray??

No. But I understand that we all live, outsourcing every damn thing to other servicewallahs. What we want are aseptic and ‘clean’ homes and environments – never mind the long term damages. Okay.

Yes. You can use the sprays. But, do us all a favour. First spray them on yourself. At least some problems facing the world can be solved, thusly. I am sure you can be composted, though there would be some remnant insecticide. We will handle it, don’t you worry. Please rest / decompose in peace!

Can I use mosquito coils that smoke out mosquitoes?

No. Unless you want to develop breathing problems in the medium / long run. Also, some of these smoking coils have the same D Allethrin!

Besides, the clothes & bedlinen stink like nobody’s business, if you use them coils.

So, what is the magic bullet – the ONE action that will help us NOT get these dis-eases/infections? Please, please!

Actually there are two things that you can actually do.

A: Healthy habits. Please read the FAQ

B: Mosquito nets for beds and Mosquito net shutters for windows & doors.

This ‘B‘ is a zen like solution – cheaper, effective, nonpolluting, portable and whatnot. Believe me!

Our family is addicted to the mosquito nets. So much so that, we regularly transport/lug the net along with us, when we travel. It is our distinguished family member, in fact.

We live in a fairly big accommodation, with a zillion windows and doors,  right in the middle of the flight path of some 100,000,000,000,000,000,0000  odd mosquitoes vying with each other for our blood, and to gratuitously transfer your infections to us.

But, we have managed to healthily survive thus far, thanks to the bed nets and shutter nets, no doubt.

The NET benefit to the world and to us is so damned good that we are seriously in love with our mosquito nets…

Consider it.

Don’t give lame excuses like:

  • We feel claustrophobic inside the net (yeah? What about your darned office cubicles and badly designed chairs and offices and kitchens and bathrooms??)
  • We don’t know where to get a good one! (of course, but then you would know who Mallika Sherawat is supposed to be ‘seeing’ these days or for that matter, a Hannah Montana, argh!)
  • They need to be washed regularly! (Um, I hope you wash yourself after you finish, um your ablutions in the mornings??)
  • We need to drive nails for hanging the net, but our landlord doesn’t permit that? (um, surely you can use bedposts?)
  • But we don’t have bedposts! (huh?)
  • Can we switch on the ceiling fan instead and let it run in full blast?? (Okay, OKAY – I get the drift.You get bittten,  infected – and may you DIE soon)

THE END. 🙂

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Other swine flu related posts are here:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

anatomy of any illness (swine flu, for example)

Why do we get any illness or dis-ease at all?

THE answer is Toxemia. Our bodies, our souls are so abused (not by anyone else, but by ourselves) that our body is weak. So any tom, dick and harry kind of destabilizing microbes or whatever would be able make us fall ill. Swine Flu is merely one indicator of the trend. That’s all.

Actually, we don’t even need microbes and stuff. With our mere will, we can screw ourselves up. As a species, we are so very capable, you know!

Incidentally, given the negative sides of the ‘development’ – of course there are positive sides too – we are given to stunningly lopsided habits such as:

  • eating not merely unhealthy, but dangerous foods,
  • exercising very little,
  • breathing bad air,
  • thinking useless thoughts,
  • viewing and listening to useless things,
  • mistaking hectic activity for productivity,
  • complaining endlessly and acting very little,
  • painstakingly developing various ailments in ourselves,
  • and then, going to doctors & hospitals for treatments,
  • swalloowing more toxic medicines,
  • doing more of the above
  • and dieing uselessly – thankfully so!

We generally make a mess of ourselves and things around us. We can’t blame the viruses or for that matter, our spouses. Period.

One obviously doesn’t need an MD or an MBBS degree to decipher that.

For a starter, one can read the books of Steven Heller and Louise Hay. And, then one can start practising.

As Steve Solomon puts it: Health begins in the soil; Healing begins with hygiene; Liberty begins with freedom.

Goodluck.

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Other health & swine flu related posts are here:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…

swine flu posts: a claimer

Full disclosure / Disclaimer / whatever…

Till a couple of days back, I did not pay any attention to this dirty swine business – but the hysteria reached my own doorsteps; we started getting calls from paranoid androids.

 I had to act. I had to snuff (and snub) out the raging flames of gibberish and ‘fear.’

Well, it doesn’t take much to research the subject with an open mind – provided you have reasonable fundamentals. Sometimes I wonder, why folks generally don’t even make an attempt to understand the issues involved! Anyway… 

  • I am not related to Obama or Manmohan Singh. (!)
  • I do not own shares/stocks of the firms that manufacture anti viral drugs. I am not even a disgruntled IT subcontractor to, guess WHO?
  • I am healthy. I plan to be healthy. So I will be healthy. Viruses notwithstanding. No, Ass Media notwithstanding.
  • I am not a doctor. So, no MBBS. So, no BS, umm, not really.
  • Definitely I am NOT a ‘patient’ either.
  • The opinions in these posts are all mine. But I did recheck my stance with a few folks who I respect for their wisdom,  technical insight and professional integrity – they are doctors of medicine and one, an incredible pharmaceutical researcher, who left his research to search after truth, period.
  • My basic question is – why are we not considering a Hannah Montana or a Barbie pandemic? Or an Aamir Khan or a Sonia Gandhi – an epidemic?

You can’t blame me if you don’t benefit by this series of posts, debunking the swine flu hysteria if you are already affected by N0H0P3 virus! Sorry.

swine flu rumour-mongering: some hot tips

Frankly,  I am amused by the hysteria and clueless paranoia – and all that hoopla around this swine flu virus.

But then, I agree that this is a great opportunity to spread unfounded and uncalled for rumours – and to liberally spread panic all over and generally run around like headless chickens, melancholically muttering mutt-headed muddle. In this age of the Internet, it is so easy and tempting to do this, so I jump in with my own, hard-earned 2 cents…

I have known very well that people like spreading improbable & half-baked  ideas. They have too much time in their hands (like someone we know).

But alas, many of them lack the brains to think about fantastic (im)possibilities and then infect the other like minded dumb folks with their ideas like the ‘imminent end of the world is fast approaching, sinners – so do more of sin.’

Hence, these clueless folks merely end up forwarding mails (containing banal and amusing things like ‘See for yourself this fantastic real photo taken from the North Pole, of Sun, Earth and the Moon together during a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse’ kind of Photoshop images) and hearsays to one another, even without reading the subject line. The thing is that if they pause to read the subject lines (leave alone the body/text of the email/message), then, they won’t have the time to forward to their private collection of drooling nincompoops, the other 232 emails that have in turn been forwarded to them by other like minded cretins…

But then, gory, mortifyingl and spine chilling fear mongering requires some dollops of creativity. Here’s were I grandly step in to help my fellow travelers…

Anyway, to these fellow dumb folks, I dedicate these ideas & conversation pieces; unfortunately I had to restrict myself to the swine flu and its after effects, but then, you do get the drift, yeah?

  • This is a ploy of Barack Obama to divert the attention of the world from the wars at Iraq, Pakistan etc etc and Wallstreet fiascos.
  • This is a conspiracy hatched by the Bavarian Illuminati to dominate the world.
  • Actually H1N1 is a non-immigrant visa category (of USA) for virus and other lowly life forms to enter US – and not what you think.
  • The manufacturers of Tamiflu unleashed the virus, along with Center for Disease Control (CDC, Atlanta). Of course Atlanta, you know, is closely related to Atlantis, from where the Pyramid cult of 2012 has been predicting doom and destruction for the entire world, excepting of course, the Bermuda triangle & Pentagon.
  • Swine flu was actually predicted by the famous rock group Pink Floyd. Haven’t you heard their song ‘Pigs on Wings?’ I am sure Atom Heart Mother has hints on how to develop antidotes. 
  • Did you read the ‘Times of India’ noosepaper today? No, I am not talking about the Digambar Saints AKA the starlets, stardust & star-detritus of the Bombay film world, Silly! It seems most of the schools have declared a holiday to celebrate the arrival of the virus. What are the rest of the schools waiting for? Don’t you know that a holiday is a definite antidote for any illness? I think, we should pressurize our children’s school to down shutters. What? What do we do with Children? Easy-Peasy! We will switch on our TV sets at home!
  • Tamiflu manufacturers obviously want to make a killing and so are spreading the virus. Dirty capitalists. Yesterday, we had a visitor (he is a software pogrommer AND from IIT, you know)  from ‘States’ who confirmed this. (In spite of the software programmer and IIT angle, I personally rumour that this is a definite possibility – at least companies like Roche and our own Indian  Hetero, Ranbaxy & Cipla are likely to fuel the paranoia, if not the virus itself)
  • Swine flu virus was developed by the disgruntled communists in Russia, to destabilize the world capitalist system. Don’t you remember the times when all leftists were branded as ‘Communist Swine?’ Just wait till the Taliban unleash the scoundrel flu virus on the western powers… These  Taliban technolgists are already researching in Tora Bora about planting the virus in foxes living in the Bush and then sending the infected foxes through a Firefox plug-in to all Mozilla users and Google searchers! Of course everyone knows that these Taliban Binarycides are funded by Microsoft, to ensure eternal world damnation – Proof: Vista (windows) and Virus (swine) have three letters in common v-i-s and the rest of the letters make a–r-a-t which is again is ‘A Rat’ – we all know that rats are responsible for the spreading of plague, yeah? 
  • My doctor said that since this swine flu is a virus disease, we should have broad spectrum antibiotics administered immediately and this will solve all problems including the fiscal deficit of India. (actually this is not a rumour idea; many doctors in Bangalore actually give anti bacterial (anti biotic) medication for essentially virus spread diseases!)

 Ha Ha!

PS: pssst! If you want to spread more such gems of human devolution, please contact me. My normal hourly rates are high, but, I have a very special discounted rate especially for you because of two reasons:

Indian Independence day falls on 15th August, 2009 (!)

You obviously are a focussed rumour monger.

Rumouro Ergo Sum. 🙂

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Other health & swine flu related posts are here:  FAQs & HowTos: health, body, soul…