Health & Wellness
Map


Donut

Sugar is as addictive and toxic as drugs and alcohol

toxic sugar
Sugar. Just the thought of a sweet snack can make even the most hardcore dieter weak at the knees. The promise of a single fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie can make children eat an entire plate of vegetables or motivate couch potatoes to run that one extra mile. So what exactly does sugar do to our brains that make it so, well addictive?

Hooked From The First Bite

From the first bite sugar sends a message to the brain, activating the its reward system. That's right; sugar has a similar effect on your brain to hanging out with friends, sex, and even drugs. This reward system is a series of electrical and chemical path systems across several different regions of the brain, Dr. Nicole Avena, a researcher in the department of psychiatry at the University Of Florida College Of Medicine explained in a recent TED talk.

The main chemical involved in this biological reward system is dopamine. In people who experience dependency on drugs, nicotine, and alcohol, the dopamine receptors are sent into overdrive causing the individual to be constantly seek that "high" effect. The end result is addiction. Sugar causes a similar reaction in the brain, although not nearly as extreme as in the case of other addictive substances.

Comment: See these additional articles explaining the risks of eating sugar as well as their 'natural' alternatives:

Sweet Sabotage: The Harsh Reality of Sugar, Sugar Substitutes and "Natural Sweeteners"
Sugar Should Be Regulated As Toxin, Researchers Say
It's not just rotting teeth and obesity you're risking: From dementia to liver damage, the real toll of sugar
Cancer Cells Feed on Sugar and Sugar Free Products Alike

Health

Ebola epidemic: Now taking toll on doctors

© Samaritan's Purse via AP
An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 670 people in Africa is now taking a toll on doctors and health care workers battling the deadly disease, including two Americans.

Kent Brantly, 33, an American doctor who has been working in Liberia since October for the North Carolina-based aid organization Samaritan's Purse, is receiving intensive medical treatment after he was infected with Ebola, according to a spokeswoman for the group.

Melissa Strickland said Brantly, who is married and has two children, was talking with his doctors and working on his computer while being treated.

A second U.S. citizen, Nancy Writebol, also has tested positive for Ebola, Samaritan's Purse said. Writebol is employed by mission group SIM in Liberia and was helping a joint SIM/Samaritan's Purse team treating Ebola patients in Monrovia. Writebol is married with two children, the organization said.

"Both of them tonight are in stable condition," Ken Isaacs, Samaritan Purse's vice president of programs and government relations, said Sunday. "But they are not out of the woods yet."

A Liberian government official said Sunday that one of that country's highest-profile doctors has died in what the World Health Organization (WHO) calls the largest recorded outbreak of the disease.

Comment: Instead of creating more wars and suffering in the world, our "dear leaders" should really start to take notice of this emerging pandemic, because in the end, it will affect ALL OF US!

THEM included ...

Megaphone

Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs) have NOT been proven safe

© politicalcartoons.com
The resounding claim of GMO proponents is that GMOs have been proven safe. Some scientists are quite emphatic about this, such as Dr. Pamela Ronald from UC Davis, who says:
"Genetically engineered crops currently on the market are as safe to eat and safe for the environment as organic or conventional foods."
Dr. Roger Clemens, from the USC Department of Pharmacology, also weighs in, saying:
"They're tested and evaluated in voluminous documentation that would fill this backyard. We don't know of any health risk at this particular time."
Dr. Clemens also defends food additives, sugar, and processed foods, but I digress...

Comment: Doctors and Animals Alike Tell Us: Avoid Genetically Modified Food
What they've uncovered should give us all pause. Because the symptoms veterinarians and researchers have observed in animals are not unlike many of the chronic, and increasingly prevalent, health problems plaguing humans today. Digestive disorders. Damaged organs. Infertility. Weak immune systems. Chronic depression.

"We've got a real mess," says Dr. Art Dunham, an Iowa veterinarian who has treated farm animals for several decades. Dunham is a staunch believer that GMO crops are wreaking havoc with the health of animals and humans. His daughter, Leah Dunham, who tagged along with her father on many a farm visit over the years, recently wrote America's Two-Headed Pig . Drawing on her father's clinical notes, and the work of scientists like Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus in plant pathology at Purdue University, Leah Dunham outlines some of the ways in which humans are adding to the suffering of farm animals by feeding them a glyphosate-tainted, GMO diet.


Chalkboard

Epigenetic changes can drive cancer

© Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Lanlan Shen, associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.
Cancer has long been thought to be primarily a genetic disease, but in recent decades scientists have come to believe that epigenetic changes -- which don't change the DNA sequence but how it is 'read' -- also play a role in cancer. In particular DNA methylation, the addition of a methyl group (or molecule), is an epigenetic switch that can stably turn off genes, suggesting the potential to cause cancer just as a genetic mutation can. Until now, however, direct evidence that DNA methylation drives cancer formation was lacking.

Researchers at the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have now created a mouse model providing the first in vivo evidence that epigenetic alterations alone can cause cancer. Their report appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"We knew that epigenetic changes are associated with cancer, but didn't know whether these were a cause or consequence of cancer. Developing this new approach for 'epigenetic engineering' allowed us to test whether DNA methylation changes alone can drive cancer," said Dr. Lanlan Shen, associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor and senior author of the study.

Shen and colleagues focused on p16, a gene that normally functions to prevent cancer but is commonly methylated in a broad spectrum of human cancers. They devised an approach to engineer DNA methylation specifically to the mouse p16 regulatory region (promoter). As intended, the engineered p16 promoter acted as a 'methylation magnet'. As the mice reached adulthood, gradually increasing p16 methylation led to a higher incidence of spontaneous cancers, and reduced survival.
Newspaper

Thanks to court rules: Rampant misuse of antibiotics on factory farms can continue

© Shutterstock
Despite U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientific findings that the misuse of antibiotics in farm animals threatens human health from "superbugs," business will continue as usual.

Yesterday, in a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FDA does not need to consider banning the routine feeding of antibiotics to healthy animals despite the agency's findings that this misuse of antibiotics fundamentally threatens the effectiveness of medicines in both humans and animals.

Comment: To learn more about antibiotic resistant 'Superbugs' read the following articles:

Superbugs: Will Millions Die Needlessly Before We Act?
New Superbugs Resist Most Powerful Antibiotics
Antibiotic Resistance Marching Across Europe
Common Infections Will Be 'Untreatable' If Antibiotic Misuse Continues

The articles listed below provide additional data regarding the growing concern of the overuse of antibiotics in factory farmed meat production:

U.S. Consumers Say 'No' to Antibiotics for Meat Production
What the USDA Doesn't Want You to Know About Antibiotics and Factory Farms
The FDA Finally Reveals How Many Antibiotics Factory Farms Use
Drugs, Poisons and Metals in Our Meat - USDA Needs A Major Overhaul

TV

Study: Background TV bad for kids cognitive development

University of Iowa study shows link between TV programming and children's learning and development.

Parents, turn off the television when your children are with you. And when you do let them watch, make sure the programs stimulate their interest in learning.

That's the advice arising from University of Iowa researchers who examined the impact of television and parenting on children's social and emotional development. The researchers found that background television - when the TV is on in a room where a child is doing something other than watching - can divert a child's attention from play and learning. It also found that non-educational programs can negatively affect children's cognitive development.

Comment: Read more about the debilitating effects of TV on children:

Ambulance

Deadly Vibrio infections at 10 year high in US coastal areas

Vibrio infection
© Bibas Reddy, DO, MPH, Hugh Durham, MD, and Sandra A. Kemmerly, MD.
This erythematous, violaceous lesion with a central abrasion and serous drainage developed after a man scratched his right forearm while he was removing crabs from a trap. Culture revealed Vibrio vulnificus. The infection completely resolved following appropriate antibiotic therapy
For years the Maryland Department of Environment has issued warnings about the deadly pathogen vibrio vulnificus, but infections are now at a 10-year high.

The bacteria "are found naturally in coastal areas" especially from May to October and "are not a result of pollution." Vibrio can infect the skin through an open wound. Two strains of the disease, vulnificus and parahaemolyticus, can be contracted by eating raw or undercooked seafood.

"I've grown up on the bay my whole life, and I'm 66," Rodney Donald told the Washington Post from his hospital bed at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Donald nearly lost his leg to vibrio.

"I'd never even heard about it," he said.

Vibrio infections in Maryland are up to 57 in 2013, compared to 25 in 2002, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Six cases were reported this year. The Calvert County Health Department reported five infections around the Chesapeake Bay this summer.
Document

An open letter to angry vegetarians

About once a week I get an email or comment from the Animal Rights contingent. It is expected and usually I do not engage. I need to remember that when I published my first book I was a vegetarian raising a few laying hens and pet rabbits. Readers who knew me as the 25-year-old girl they read about (at the time just farm-curious and toying with the idea of homesteading) meet a very differnet woman on my current blog. To read that book and then pop into a blog where just seven years later that same vegetarian is raising hogs, lambs, and poultry for meat is unsettling and shocking to some readers. And so I get these notes from what I call the Angry Vegetarians. The folks who feel personally betrayed, not just for my change of diet but my change in ideas. Yesterday I was called a murderer. I've been called that many times, and in some emails, that is the nicest part of the correspondence.

The following is a letter to that Angry Vegetarian and to any others who may feel the same way. But before you read it please understand that this letter is not directed at the vegetarian diet in general. I have no qualms with it, at all. Millions of people avoid meat for religious, health-related, or various reasons of preference. This letter is not directed at them. This is a letter for the angry folks who think not eating meat makes them morally superior to those of us who do.


Dear A.V. Club,

I recently received your note, the one that accused me of being a murderer. I understand why you are angry and I applaud your compassion. I understand because I was a vegetarian for nearly a decade, the same breed as yourself actually. Meaning; I chose the diet because of a love for animals, passion for conservation, and concern for our diminishing global resources. Avoiding meat seemed to be a kinder, gentler, and more ecological choice. I supported PETA. I had ads in Vegan magazines for my design website. I am no longer a vegetarian and do raise animals on my small farm for the table, but we have more in common than you may realize.

Comment: For more information, listen to SOTT Talk Radio: Dissecting the Vegetarian Myth - Interview with Lierre Keith.
The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won't save us. The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems. The truth is also that life isn't possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you. [...] The reality is that agriculture has created a net loss for human rights and culture: slavery, imperialism, militarism, class divisions, chronic hunger, and disease.[...]

Agriculture is more like a war than anything else, an all-out attack on the processes that make life possible [...] Agriculture is carnivorous: what it eats is ecosystems, and it swallows them whole. -Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth.


Cheeseburger

Russia sues McDonald's, questioning quality of the food

The McDonald's cheeseburger will have its day in court.

© civileats.com
Russia's consumer protection agency has filed a claim accusing the restaurant chain of violating government nutritional and safety codes in a number of its burger and ice cream products, a Moscow court announced Friday.

The suit could temporarily ban the production and sale of the chain's ice cream, milkshakes, cheeseburgers, and Filet-o-Fish and chicken sandwiches, said Yekaterina Korotova, a spokeswoman for Moscow's Tverskoi District Court, where the case will be heard.

"We have identified violations which put the product quality and safety of the entire McDonald's chain in doubt," Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia's consumer protection agency, said in statements reported by the Interfax news agency.

Comment: Considering the harmful ingredients in McDonald's products, one of many examples being their chemical-loaded hamburger, and their toxic effects on our health, it is only sensible that Russia's consumer protection agency files a claim against this 'restaurant'. If only more protection agencies in other countries would follow...

Bulb

Big Pharma research of cancer drug helps to understand why sleeping in complete darkness is essential

Researchers have unveiled that sleeping in a bedroom with even low levels of light could stop breast cancer drugs from working.

Scientists at the Tulane University School of Medicine in the United States have found that light exposure could affect sleep hormones and consequently alter cancer cell function.

Animal study reveals that light plays significant role in making toumors become resistant to the widely used cancer medicine, Tamoxifen, according to the report published in the journalCancer Research.

While the light affects body clock and sleep hormones, it can cut Tamoxifen's working through violating hormones' functions.

The medicine stops the female hormone oestrogen fuelling the growth of tumors although the cancerous cells may eventually become resistant to the drug.
Top