Health & Wellness


The hidden health dangers of kale have been revealed

© Wikimedia Commons
Curly kale growing in the garden.
People who love kale, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower often eat these vegetables on a regular basis. But over-indulgence may be dangerous. It may sound strange, but healthy-eating food addicts may be doing themselves harm.

A small study has found that if consumed in prodigious amounts, kale, and other members of the cruciferous family of vegetables to which it belongs, can be dangerous, and it doesn't matter if the kale is organic or not.

Biologist Ernie Hubbard is an alternative medicine researcher, living in Marin County, California. In 2010, he had the opportunity to conduct a study for a Cleveland-based company on a detoxification formula, called ZNatural. Hubbard is a molecular biologist with a background in biochemistry and genetics.

With his background, he was able to develop some tests not usually found in traditional laboratories, including "bio-impedence" analyzers that measure cellular energy and "chelating" formulas like ZNatural. While chelating formulas are controversial, ZNatural proved to be safe.

But it was during the testing phase of the product that Hubbard discovered something quite by accident, and that is the real story. Twenty volunteers were involved in the study conducted by Hubbard, and they happily peed into cups before, during and after the consumption of the ZNatural product.

Hubbard noticed an odd pattern in the testing of the urine samples. Several people had high levels of thallium and cesium in their urine, two heavy metals. "At first, I just thought 'Oh, another one of those.' By the third or fourth, I started scratching my head," Hubbard said.


Doctors searching for clues to child paralysis cases now suspect a different enterovirus

A mysterious outbreak of child paralysis cases previously linked to enterovirus D68 may instead have another cause, doctors at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital are cautioning after determining that a stricken child appeared to be suffering from a different virus.

A 6-year-old girl arrived at UVA Children's Hospital in October after her parents noticed that her right shoulder was drooping and that she was having difficulty using her right hand. She had previously exhibited cold-like symptoms, including a cough, a slight fever and headache. The child's paralysis symptoms were similar to those seen in more than 100 other children during an outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis that began in the summer of 2014.

While enterovirus D68 has been the primary suspect in the paralysis cases, the girl's test results identified a different potential culprit, enterovirus C105. "Surprisingly, it came back with this enterovirus C105, which I'll admit, when it came back, I'd never heard of," said UVA's Ronald B. Turner, MD. "It was just described in the last eight or nine years and it hasn't been seen much around the world. Now, I think you have to be careful with that, because we don't look for it. And you don't see what you don't look for. So it's possible it's out there and it's not being detected because nobody's sending specimens to be tested in this way."

Comment: One thing not being mentioned is the link between the epidemic of child paralysis and vaccinations. It has been reported that all of the afflicted children have been vaccinated with the MMR vaccines, influenza vaccines, and polio vaccines, yet the illness has not been occurring in un-vaccinated children. Paralysis is associated with polio infection and Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) is a class of paralyses that is indistinguishable from the paralysis occurring in thousands within the vaccinated population.


Some psychiatric drugs seem to affect moral decisions

A new study in which researchers observed people making moral decisions while taking prescription drugs sheds light on how the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are deeply connected to a variety of human behaviors.

When healthy people were given citalopram, a serotonin-boosting antidepressant, they became significantly harm aversive. In fact, they were willing to pay twice as much to prevent harm to themselves or others compared to people given placebo drugs.

In contrast, when healthy people were given levodopa, a dopamine-boosting Parkinson's drug, they became more selfish, virtually eliminating altruistic behaviors.

The findings provide insight into the neural basis of clinical disorders characterized by a lack of concern for others, such as psychopathy.

Comment: Additional examples of how 'commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs influence moral decisions in healthy people'


Lost knowledge — 10th century cure for MRSA "Superbug"

© The British Library Board (Royal 12 D xvii)
If the "leech" doctors circa 1000AD were able to treat superbugs that modern doctors struggle with, I wonder what other knowledge has come and gone and had to be rediscovered?

How many lives have been lost because information was not there when they needed it?

Judith Curry posted a link this week to a story about a medieval recipe for an "eyesalve" that rather surprised researchers when it worked against the ghastly MRSA superbug, which is resistant to almost all modern antibiotics.

The book is one of the earliest known medical texts, called Bald's Leechbook. The recipe called for garlic, onion, wine, and bile from a cow. It was very specific — the mix had to be brewed in brass and then left for nine days. The researchers at the University of Nottingham followed it closely, then it was tested in the lab. Will it work on people, and what are the side-effects?

I wonder if the nine day wait is an incubation period for microbial growth? Some of our best antibiotics come from fungus like penicillin and the cephalosporins - which has had five hundred million years or so to figure out uber-tricky ways to kill competitors and pests.

Perhaps the stew gets the conditions right for one particular type of mould to grow? Though the story doesn't mention that (and I would expect the researchers would have looked for it). They suggest it may be a slow chemical reaction.


Truth emerging: More psychiatrists question low serotonin theory of depression

The common belief that depression is linked to low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin is again being questioned by top psychiatrists.

Professor David Healy of the Hergest Unit, Bangor, U.K., writes in the British Medical Journal that the idea that serotonin levels might be lower in people with depression was rejected in the 1960s. But when serotonin reuptake inhibiting (SSRI) drugs were developed in the 1980s, the manufacturers searched for a problem the drugs could solve.

So drug companies attempted marketing SSRIs for depression, Healy writes, even though they were less effective than older tricyclic antidepressants, and "sold the idea that depression was the deeper illness behind the superficial manifestations of anxiety."

"The approach was an astonishing success, central to which was the notion that SSRIs restored serotonin levels to normal, a notion that later transmuted into the idea that they remedied a chemical imbalance," he writes.

But "[N]o one knew if SSRIs raised or lowered serotonin levels; they still don't know," he states. "There was no evidence that treatment corrected anything."

Comment: Once again, we see the hand that BigPharma has played in co-opting science, much to the detriment of millions of people who have likely worsened their overall health due to the predatory nature of this criminal industry.


Pollution blamed for nearly 10,000 deaths in London in 2010

© AFP /Ben Fathers
Air pollution obscures the view of the London eye in central London on April 9, 2015
Air pollution was the cause of the early deaths of almost 9,500 people in Britain's capital city in 2010, according to research by King's College London.

The study showed for the first time the impact of nitrogen dioxide from exhaust fumes and fossil fuel burning, and showed the problem was far greater than previously thought.

According to the study for Transport for London and the Greater London Authority, in 2010 there were 3,537 premature deaths in London due to particulate matter, and 5,879 due to nitrogen dioxide.

The knock-on cost to the economy was estimated at £3.7 billion.

"In one of the busiest cities in the world people are at greater risk of being killed by the air they breathe than in a car accident," said Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation.


Heart - Black

Fracking linked to high hospitalization rates in people living near drilling sites

© Unknown
Hospitalizations for heart conditions, neurological illness, and other conditions were higher among people who live near unconventional gas and oil drilling (hydraulic fracturing), according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University published this week in PLOS ONE. Over the past ten years in the United States, hydraulic fracturing has experienced a meteoric increase. Due to substantial increases in well drilling, potential for air and water pollution posing a health threat has been a concern for nearby residents.

To address this issue, researchers from two Environmental Health Science Core Centers (EHSCC) of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences -- the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and the Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, examined the link between drilling well density and healthcare use by zip code from 2007 to 2011 in three northeastern Pennsylvania counties.

Comment: More evidence keeps emerging that fracking causes devastating consequences to health and the environment, yet the EPA under the sway of the oil industry keeps sidestepping the issue.


New research shows GMO soy accumulates carcinogenic formaldehyde and depletes glutathione

A new study published today in the peer-reviewed journal Agricultural Sciences reveals genetic engineering of soy disrupts the plant's natural ability to control stress, and invalidates the FDA's current regulatory framework of "substantial equivalence" used for approval of genetically engineered food (GMOs).

The study, led by Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., an MIT-trained systems biologist, utilizes his latest invention, CytoSolve, a 21st century systems biology method to integrate 6,497 in vitro and in vivo laboratory experiments, from 184 scientific institutions, across 23 countries, to discover the accumulation of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and a dramatic depletion of glutathione, an anti-oxidant necessary for cellular detoxification, in GMO soy, indicating that formaldehyde and glutathione are likely critical criteria for distinguishing the GMO from its non-GMO counterpart.

Comment: Considering the influence that the biotech and agriculture industries wield, it is unlikely that there will be imminent changes to the safety assessments of GMO soy, despite the thoroughly documented scientific studies describing the serious negative consequences to health and the environment.


Rhodiola: An arctic herb that acts as a stress vaccine

Dry roots and fresh flowers of Rhodiola rosea
Constituents Of This Arctic Plant Act Like A Stress Vaccine.

Our stress response system — the HPA axis — is calibrated for intermittent, severe threats (such as lions). Not for the incessant, trivial threats of modern life (such as difficult phone calls). We don't want our hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis to charge up and release cortisol every time we drive in heavy traffic, but it will do so.

If you're like me, you are trying to ease up on the HPA throttle. I practice yoga. I take magnesium. I switch off my computer in the evening like a good naturopath. I sternly instruct my HPA axis to power down, but I must say that it does not always listen. If I could only be more Buddha-like, then I would not need to coax my adrenal axis with an herbal medicine like rhodiola.

Comment: For more information on this beneficial herb, see the GreenMedInfo database on Rhodiola and Rhodiola Rosea: The Herb That Came in From the Cold


Got sleep? 7 Reasons the well-rested prepper will prevail

According to the CDC, there's a public health epidemic you need to be on the lookout for. It's not contagious, but has spread due to the North American lifestyle. You may have suffered from it yourself, without even realizing you were part of the population at risk.

That epidemic is insufficient sleep.

Blamed for automotive accidents, industrial disasters and occupational errors (including ones by those chronically sleep deprived health care workers) lack of sleep affects more than 35% of adults in our country each day. Each year, according to the National Department of Transportation, drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries in the United States.

The trouble is, most of us push sleep to the back burner. We have so many things to do. Just getting through the demands of work, family life, chores, and a bit of leisure leaves little time for much else - sleep seems to draw the short straw. Add prepping to the equation and, well, you get the drift: burning the candle at both ends becomes the norm rather than the exception.