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Red Flag

Activists raise warning flags about 'synthetic biology' ingredients

Opponents of genetic modification say there is a new, potentially more powerful technology to contend with: synthetic biology. Purveyors of natural products who are concerned about this technique have coined the term for the way in which scientists have created single-celled organisms to secrete various molecules of interest in a fermentation setting.

Comment: Learn more about this frightening new trend in genetic modification: Synthetic Biology - Genetic Engineering on Steroids

Light Sabers

Ongoing vaccine wars: The censoring of Rob Schneider

Yesterday, I reported on State Farm dropping Rob Schneider from their TV ads because he's alerted people to vaccine dangers.

Because he has a view about vaccines that departs from the norm.

"Punch a hole in consensus reality and you can't be a spokesman for our products."

"Cause a ripple among the sleeping populace and you're out."

What's next?
Newspaper

GMO crops portrayed in the media: Debunking popular myths

© Center for food safety
The recent article, "Seeds of Doubt," in the August 25, 2014 issue of The New Yorker by Michael Specter echoes common myths about genetically engineered (GE) crops and omits legitimate scientific critiques of the technology. The resulting article fails to deliver the high level of integrity and journalism that is expected of The New Yorker.

Biotechnology corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and marketing each year. Monsanto, one of the leading biotech companies, spends from $87 million to $120 million annually on advertising, much of it focused on GE crop technology. The industry spends millions more on lobbying, opposing ballot initiatives to label GE foods, and further promotional activities. Such massive spending has effectively framed a favorable narrative about GE crops and foods in several major media outlets, including The New Yorker.

The frame of this particular article presents Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., as the leader of an international movement in opposition to GE crops at the expense of science-based solutions to feed the world's poor. However, it is the failure of this technology - not Luddite fear mongering - that has prompted scientists, academics, policymakers, governments and regular people to question the biotech industry.

Comment: Read more about this topic:Gunning for Vandana Shiva: The New Yorker, GMOs and chemical farming

Roses

Death toll from Ebola in West Africa hits 3,000 - WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the death toll from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has now risen to over 3,000.

The WHO said on Friday that at least 3,091 out of 6,574 probable, suspected and confirmed cases died according to data received up to September 23. The data provided by the UN health agency shows that Liberia has recorded 1,830 deaths. It is the most affected country, with around three times as many fatalities as any other nation in West Africa. The outbreak, which began in Guinea, has ravaged neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

WHO officials say the world's worst Ebola epidemic in history may kill tens of thousands of people. Nigeria and Senegal have also confirmed cases of Ebola, but no new cases or deaths have been reported in the two countries over the past few weeks.

Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding.
The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

Comment: These numbers are probably under-reported. See:

Livestock incinerator imported from Europe to cremate corpses from Ebola plague - 'I've never seen this amount of bodies before'

Liberia's Ebola death rate actually 84%?

Heart

Tumeric may encourage repair, growth of nerve cells in the brain - study

© Healthydebates.com
A spice commonly found in curries may boost the brain's ability to heal itself, according to a report in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy.

The German study suggests a compound found in turmeric could encourage the growth of nerve cells thought to be part of the brain's repair kit.

Scientists say this work, based in rats, may pave the way for future drugs for strokes and Alzheimer's disease.

But they say more trials are needed to see whether this applies to humans.

Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany, studied the effects of aromatic-turmerone - a compound found naturally in turmeric.

Rats were injected with the compound and their brains were then scanned.

Particular parts of the brain, known to be involved in nerve cell growth, were seen to be more active after the aromatic-turmerone infusion.

Scientists say the compound may encourage a proliferation of brain cells.

Comment: Health Benefits of Turmeric

Question

Scientists mystified by outbreak and escalation of enterovirus 68 among children

© Cyrus McCrimmon/Denver Post via Getty Images

Nine-year-old Jayden Broadway of Denver being tended to at Children’s Hospital Colorado, which treated about 3,600 children for respiratory illness from Aug. 18 to Sept. 24.
An outbreak of respiratory illness first observed in the Midwest has spread to 38 states, sending children to hospitals and baffling scientists trying to understand its virulent resurgence.

As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed 226 cases of infection with enterovirus 68. But it is likely that many times that number have been stricken. One case involved an adult, and no deaths have been linked to the infection.

"What the C.D.C. is reporting is clearly the tip of the iceberg," said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, the division director of infectious diseases at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. The hospital was the first to alert the agency last month to an unusual increase in children with trouble breathing. Since then, Dr. Jackson has received calls from colleagues nationwide seeking guidance. Some report that the influx of children to hospitals is "almost outweighing the resources available," she said.

Three times in the past month, the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital has had to divert ambulances to other hospitals because its emergency room was filled with children, most of them younger than 5, with severe respiratory illness. Before the outbreak, the hospital had not had to divert ambulances in 10 years, said Dr. Daniel Johnson, the interim section chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the hospital.

Enteroviruses are common, but this strain is not. Symptoms in the current outbreak resemble those of a bad cold, including body aches and cough. But some children progress to wheezing and having breathing difficulties. Scientists say they do not know why it is happening.

Comment: The best defense you have against illness and disease is a low carb (ketogenic) diet.
"From the 1960s onwards they have become widely known as one of the most common methods for obesity treatment. Recent work over the last decade or so has provided evidence of the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets in many pathological conditions, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, neurological diseases, cancer and the amelioration of respiratory and cardiovascular disease risk factors. The possibility that modifying food intake can be useful for reducing or eliminating pharmaceutical methods of treatment, which are often lifelong with significant side effects, calls for serious investigation. This review revisits the meaning of physiological ketosis in the light of this evidence and considers possible mechanisms for the therapeutic actions of the ketogenic diet on different diseases. The present review also questions whether there are still some preconceived ideas about ketogenic diets, which may be presenting unnecessary barriers to their use as therapeutic tools in the physician's hand.

Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets
See also:
Ketogenic Diet (high-fat, low-carb) Has Neuroprotective and Disease-modifying Effects
Are you prepping your diet?

Blackbox

Enterovirus 68 now causing paralysis? CDC investigating 9 cases in Colorado

© AP Photo/Children's Hospital Colorado

This 2007 photo provided by the Children's Hospital Colorado shows the facility in Aurora, Colo. On Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, the CDC said it is investigating nine cases of muscle weakness or paralysis in children at the hospital, and whether the culprit might be enterovirus 68 which is causing severe respiratory illness across the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday sent doctors an alert about the polio-like cases and said the germ - enterovirus 68 - was detected in four out of eight of the sick children who had a certain medical test. The status of the ninth case is unclear.

The virus can cause paralysis but other germs can, too. Health officials don't know whether the virus caused any of the children's arm and leg weaknesses or whether it's just a germ they coincidentally picked up. "That's why we want more information," and for doctors to report similar cases, said the CDC's Dr. Jane Seward.

The cases occurred within the last two months. All nine children are being treated at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, and most are from the Denver area. A hospital spokeswoman said the patients' families didn't want to talk to the media.

The nine children had fever and respiratory illness about two weeks before developing varying degrees of limb weakness. None seems to have a weak immune system or other conditions that might predispose them to severe illness, but the cases are still being investigated, Seward said. Investigators don't think it's polio - eight of the nine children are up to date on polio vaccinations. It's not known whether the limb weakness or paralysis is temporary or will be long-lasting.

The cases come amid an unusual wave of severe respiratory illness from enterovirus 68. The germ is not new - it was first identified in 1962 and has caused clusters of illness before, including in Georgia and Pennsylvania in 2009 and Arizona in 2010. Because it's not routinely tested for, it's possible the bug spread in previous years but was never distinguished from colds caused by other germs.
Heart - Black

Embarrassing statistics that prove American 'healthcare' is a travesty

healthcare graphic
© unknown
The health of people in the United States is plagued by conundrums.

We spend more on healthcare than any other developed nation, yet we lead far shorter lives. A baby born on American soil is the most expensive in the world, yet our newborns have a lower chance of surviving past infancy than those born in eight other developed nations. The Affordable Care Act has made health insurance more accessible to the poor, yet bills for medications and basic hospital procedures remain strikingly high.

Here are 11 charts that show in embarrassing detail some of the many shortcomings of our healthcare system.

1. Americans don't live as long as we should.

In terms of overall life expectancy, the United States ranks 26th out of 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries. Americans enjoy fewer years than Slovenians and Koreans, living just a tad longer than Czechs and Chileans, who used to rank far behind us.
birth life expectancy america

Comment: Only the wealthy and those whose occupations still provide decent insurance (and that is growing scarcer every year) can afford healthcare in America. The system is designed to benefit the insurance industry while sucking the life and financial resources out of most Americans.

Bacon n Eggs

The four biggest dietary lies that need to be corrected

There is no more doubting long-standing myths that mainstream nutrition adopted as truths due to poorly designed and corrupt scientific studies. On behalf of public health regulators -- doctors, nutritionists and many other health experts have relied on this misinformation to guide millions with false dietary advice which we now know to be harmful.
food groups
© unknown

1. Saturated Fat Is Harmful


When health professionals started blaming saturated fat for heart disease, people abandoned traditional fats like butter, lard and coconut oil in favor of processed vegetable oils. These oils are very high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation and various problems when consumed in excess. These oils are often hydrogenated, which makes them high in trans fats. Many studies have shown that these fats and oils actually increase the risk of heart disease, even if they aren't hydrogenated.

Comment: For more on a healthy high fat, low carb diet see: The Ketogenic Diet - An Overview

Attention

Millions of children infected with 'vaccine safety experts' Rotateq vaccine

Paul Offit says you can safely administer 10,000 vaccines to infants at once. But he also profits from the patent he holds for the Rotateq vaccine. What's wrong with this picture?

Dr. Paul Offit is a pediatrician who co-invented a rotavirus vaccine (trade name Rotateq), who once stated in an interview that a child can be administered 100,000 vaccines safely at once (later revised to 10,000). A professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, he is the darling of the mainstream media and a widely cited self-appointed 'vaccine safety expert,' despite the glaring conflict of interest implied by such a designation.

Unfortunately for Dr. Offit (not so affectionately named Dr. Profit), a 2010 study published in Journal of Virology revealed that his multi-million dollar grossing patent on the Rotateq vaccine contains a live simian retrovirus (with a 96% match of certainty) that has likely infected millions of children over the past few years with a virus that causes great harm. Retrovirus infections are permanent, and can carry on indefinitely into future generations. In other words, once they are inserted into the human genome they can not be removed. View the entire PDF here.

Comment: Read more about the questionable credibility of Dr. Offit: In vaccines we trust?

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