The Increasing Problem of Overmedication
Increasingly, senior citizens are taking drugs to relieve pain. Yet research shows that the side effects of some drugs can create more health problems and even fatalities.
"Socrates once declared that medicine 'acts as both remedy and poison' and that 'this charm, this spellbinding virtue, this power of fascination, can be—alternately or simultaneously—beneficent or maleficent,'" writes Deborah Kotz in a U.S. News and World Report article titled "Overmedication: Are Americans Taking Too Many Drugs?" (October 2010).
Overmedication is a big problem for half of all seniors today who take three or more medications a day. "The drug-drug interactions can be worse than the disease," she quotes John Morley, director of geriatric medicine at the St. Louis VA Medical Center, as saying. Doctors sometimes suspend common sense when prescribing a treatment plan. "For example, they prescribe Aricept for Alzheimer's patients and then treat a frequent side effect, urinary incontinence, with an anticholinergic [an inhibitor of nerves responsible for involuntary movements] like Enablex or Ditropan whose side effects include delirium, confusion, and memory loss."
Kotz reports that some nursing home residents were given antipsychotics to treat anxiety, confusion and irritability, which were triggered by other medications. "Using antipsychotics for this inappropriate purpose 'has led to fatalities,' says Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research" (ibid.).
Aging is a natural and sometimes painful process that occurs to all physical living things. Overmedication can exacerbate the natural problems brought on by aging. Some doctors recommend at least two or three different medical opinions in order to avoid overmedication. (Source: U.S. News and World Report.)
Young People Who Have No Use for God
In Britain "religion is largely irrelevant to most young people, who rely instead on a 'secular trinity' of themselves, their family and their friends to give meaning to their lives...The study published by the Church of England concludes that people born after 1982—known as "Generation Y"—have only a 'faded cultural memory' of Christianity...Fewer than one in five young people believe in a God 'who created the world and hears my prayers'" (Tim Ross and Martin Beckford, "Young People Have 'Faded Memory of Christianity' Says Church Book," The Daily Telegraph, Oct. 5, 2010).
The new book discussed in the article, The Faith of Generation Y, observes that "the 'chain of Christian memory' had become 'eroded' in Britain, particularly as the authority of the church has declined" (ibid.).
Another Telegraph article states, "The young don't need religion, as the environment gives them all the certainty they need...According to The Faith of Generation Y, a study of 300 people born after 1982 who have been involved in the Church's youth and community projects, hostility toward Christianity has faded into brute indifference" (Robert Colvile, "God Isn't Dead—He Has Just Turned Green," Oct. 6, 2010).
What has happened to Britain? Eleanor Mills offers her analysis in an article in The Sunday Times titled "Without God, Culture Is Lost" (Oct. 10, 2010). She begins: "Christianity is woven into British life. The Queen is head of the Church of England, bishops sit in the House of Lords, the smallest organisational unit in our democracy is the parish...Yet it increasingly feels like a remnant of another age; the religious fervour of our forefathers seems almost as irrelevant today as the Norman castles that litter our landscape."
She continues: "These days our youngsters are so ignorant of Christianity that most can't even recite the Lord's prayer...Generally, though, our national religion is taught as just another belief system in schools." In contrast, she lamented, "Our educated forebears were steeped in the Bible."
Hanging on to British culture without the Christian dimension in an increasingly secular age is becoming all but impossible. She says that "a generation entirely ignorant of the Christian faith is going to find it incredibly difficult—probably impossible—to get to grips with large chunks of our most famous literature."
Such secularism is growing, even in supposedly religious America. What can you do to counteract this damaging trend in your children's life? If they are teens or young adults, encourage them to request a free subscription to our sister publication Vertical Thought or suggest that they read it online at www.VerticalThought.org. (Sources: The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times.)
Germany and Multiculturalism
When Germany talks about the problems with non-German immigrants within its borders, people should take notice.
Recent comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the problems of unassimilated foreigners into German culture have served notice that this is a front-burner issue. Chancellor Merkel said her Christian Democratic Union was "committed to a dominant German culture and opposed to a multicultural one." Fears that the German economy is being held back by unskilled labor were also expressed by Chancellor Merkel on Oct. 16 before a meeting of young members of her party.
Reports of this meeting highlight the emphasis on the need to preserve a dominant German culture. Such talk has not been so prominently voiced in Germany since the end of World War II. Germans have been, and in many respects still are, very sensitive to how they are viewed in relation to past treatment of ethnic minorities.
Germany's and Europe's response to immigrants is something many are carefully watching. A recent Wall Street Journal article, "Europe the Intolerant," exposed the "darker impulses" lurking beneath the surface of an imagined tolerant European facade.
"Europeans are leery not just of Muslim immigrants but of Jews, nearly exterminated on the continent 60 years ago. A recent Pew Global Attitudes poll found that nearly 50% of Spaniards have either a 'very' or 'somewhat unfavorable' opinion of Jews. The figures are 25% for Germans, 20% for French and 10% for British. This anti-Semitism was underscored by the recent assertion of European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht that 'it is not easy to have, even with moderate Jews, a rational discussion about what is actually happening in the Middle East'" (James Kirchick, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 12, 2010).
Chancellor Merkel's public comments could set in motion forces that would impact Germany and Europe and the global balance of power. Her words, and the sentiments they represent, should not be ignored or taken lightly. (Source: The Wall Street Journal.)
The Relentless Emergence of the Chinese Dragon
The Times of London reported: "China cruised past Japan to become the second-biggest economy in the world yesterday, casually stripping its neighbour of the title that it has held for more than 40 years and remorselessly tipping the balance of Asian power towards Beijing" (Leo Lewis, "Exhausted Old Giant Slips Into Shadow as China's Sun Rises," Aug. 17, 2010).
In another Times article, deputy business editor Ian King added: "China seems unstoppable. The Middle Kingdom [as China is sometimes referred to because of its historical view of itself as the center of civilization] is in its fifth decade of growth and, having overtaken Germany to become the world's third-biggest economy in January last year, has now overhauled Japan to claim the No 2 spot—18 months before expected" ("America Is Next on China's Economic Target List," Aug. 17, 2010).
The United States' hold on the no. 1 position is now in jeopardy. The projected date has been pushed ever closer to the present as America shows signs of stagnation and China shrugs off the aftereffects of the global economic crisis.
Meanwhile, Beijing talks of building a new power plant in Pakistan, whose relationship with the United States increasingly shows signs of fraying at the edges. China's own neighbor nations are deeply worried about the buildup of the Chinese navy in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Pacific. Of course, Taiwan, which despite its independence is claimed by mainland China, remains a major point of contention between China and the United States.
For a more complete analysis, read our World News and Prophecy article "The Enormous Expansion of Chinese Influence: What Does It Portend?" from the August 2009 issue in our archives at www.WNPonline.org. (Source: The Times [London].) WNP