Health & Wellness


Depression: It's not your Serotonin

Millions believe depression is caused by 'serotonin deficiency,' but where is the science in support of this theory?
"Depression is a serious medical condition that may be due to a chemical imbalance, and Zoloft works to correct this imbalance."
Herein lies the serotonin myth.

As one of only two countries in the world that permits direct to consumer advertising, you have undoubtedly been subjected to promotion of the "cause of depression." A cause that is not your fault, but rather; a matter of too few little bubbles passing between the hubs in your brain! Don't add that to your list of worries, though, because there is a convenient solution awaiting you at your doctor's office...

What if I told you that, in 6 decades of research, the serotonin (or norepinephrine, or dopamine) theory of depression and anxiety has not achieved scientific credibility?

You'd want some supporting arguments for this shocking claim.

So, here you go:

Comment: Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Carlat has said "psychiatry has become a proving ground for outrageous manipulations of science in the service of profit."

Listen to the SOTT podcast Good Science, Bad Science - Psychology and Psychiatry for a lively discussion on this topic:
In this second in our series of shows on the topic of science and its benefits and negative consequences for mankind, we'll be taking a look at the use and abuse of psychiatry and psychology.

From the psychotherapist's chair to anti-depressant drugs and diverse therapeutic modalities, psychiatry and psychology have come up with as many solutions for mental health issues as there are theories of what makes people tick.

While many individuals have benefited from some form of intervention or another, the application of psychological knowledge for propaganda purposes, mind control experiments and pure corporate greed has apparently left most people's psychological health more fragile than ever.

This week, we will attempt to sort the good from the bad and the ugly by 'psychoanalyzing' some of the questionable practices and theories of the mind, and untangle the confusion produced by psychological terminology that frequently overlaps the same basic underlying problems people encounter in our stressful modern world.

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Skin fat helps fight infection

© Nruboc | Dreamstime
Fat cells just under a person's skin may be the first responders to invading bacteria, buying time until the white blood cells arrive at a wound site, according to a new study.

The new findings suggest that the task of fighting infections is not solely the responsibility of the immune system, the researchers said. Moreover, fat cells may fight infections by producing antimicrobial compounds, lab experiments in mice and human fat cells showed.

"That was totally unexpected," study co-author Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of dermatology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said in a statement. "It was not known that [fat cells] could produce antimicrobials, let alone that they make almost as much" as immune system cells, he said.

Comment: Fat really is a wonderful thing! A high-fat, low-carb diet can reverse obesity and insulin resistance. And cold therapy not only activates brown fat cells, which enhances metabolism, but also boosts the immune system.


Big Pharma deflects responsibility for gruesome antibiotic side effects

burn victim
© unknown
A recent ABC news item featured an unfortunate tragedy of a women hospitalized in an intensive care burn unit with Stevens-Johnson syndrome after taking a pharmaceutical antibiotic. This "rare" syndrome is gruesome.

She was placed into intensive care of a burn unit in the University of California Irvine's burn unit, as 70 percent of her body is burning "from the inside out".

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatology professor at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan commented to ABC on this issue. "You're not truly burned, but what happens is you have compromised the skin barrier function." In other words, the epidermis separates from the dermis and 2nd and 3rd degree burns and blisters manifest painfully.

Pets may improve social skills of children with autism

Autism and pets
© University of Missouri
Children with autism have stronger social skills when they live with a pet, an MU researcher found.
Dogs, cats and other animals may improve social skills of children with autism.

Dogs and other pets play an important role in individuals' social lives, and they can act as catalysts for social interaction, previous research has shown. Although much media attention has focused on how dogs can improve the social skills of children with autism, a University of Missouri researcher recently found that children with autism have stronger social skills when any kind of pet lived in the home.
"When I compared the social skills of children with autism who lived with dogs to those who did not, the children with dogs appeared to have greater social skills,"
said Gretchen Carlisle, research fellow at the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.
"More significantly, however, the data revealed that children with any kind of pet in the home reported being more likely to engage in behaviors such as introducing themselves, asking for information or responding to other people's questions. These kinds of social skills typically are difficult for kids with autism, but this study showed children's assertiveness was greater if they lived with a pet."
Pets often serve as "social lubricants," Carlisle said. When pets are present in social settings or a classroom, children talk and engage more with one another. This effect also seems to apply to children with autism and could account for their increased assertiveness when the children are living in a home with pets, Carlisle said.

Comment: It's puzzling why the rates of autism have increased so dramatically during the last decades. It seems more and more likely that there are multiple external factors contributing to autism instead of it just being an accidental genetic neurological condition. Our medical authorities tell us that the high increase of autism is only due to improved and more efficient diagnosis of autism. In the mid '90s, 1 out of 500 children were diagnosed with autism. Now it's about 1 out of 70 children. In the United States, the prevalence of autism has increased 30% in just two years, between 2012 and 2014, according to CDC. Are we supposed to believe that this kind of epidemic growth is happening only because we're able to detect it better? Read these articles to learn more:


Altering your gut bacteria eases anxiety and depression

The plethora of microbes living in the human gut not only affect people's physical health, they may also influence mental health, according to a growing body of research.

Recent studies in animals show that changes in the gut bacteria community appear to make mice less anxious, and also affect levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

In humans, there is some very early evidence of a link between gut bacteria and mental health. A new study from England found that supplements that boost "good" bacteria in the gut (called "prebiotics") may alter the way people process emotional information, suggesting that changes in gut bacteria may have anti-anxiety effects.

Scientists are now interested in studying whether probiotics (strains of good bacteria) or prebiotics (carbohydrates that serve as food for those bacteria) could be used to treat anxiety or depression, or if the substances improve patients' response to psychiatric drugs, said study author Philip Burnet, a researcher in the University of Oxford's department of psychiatry. [5 Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Your Health]

Comment: For more fascinating results, see:


Why is it illegal for communities to protect themselves from toxic harm?

© unknown
The supposed answer to that question is the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, Article 6, paragraph 2:
"This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."
By inference, the individual states declare their own supremacy when local communities try to nullify or avoid state statutes.

Keep in mind that the US Constitution enumerates powers granted to the federal government, and reserves all other powers for the states or the people. But this restraint has been trampled on so many times it's barely visible under the tonnage of federal law and regulation.

Comment: Some communities are attempting to make a difference and stand up for the health of its citizens.


Ebola in the UK: New suspected case in Gloucestershire, as Scottish nurse worsens

Great Western Hospital, Swindon
A patient suspected of having the deadly Ebola virus is being transferred to hospital in Swindon, while doctors say Pauline Cafferkey, the Scottish nurse already stricken with the disease, has deteriorated to a critical condition

A new patient displaying symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus is being rushed to hospital as doctors say the Scottish nurse already suffering from the disease has worsened and is now in a critical condition.

Hospital officials said the unnamed new patient was being transferred to hospital in Swindon by specialist ambulance team after being taken ill after returning from West Africa.

The patient, from South Gloucestershire, will undergo tests at the hospital and if necessary be transferred to the specialist quarantine unit in London where nurse Pauline Cafferkey is already being treated.

A spokesman for the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "Any suspected patients will be tested for a variety of things. If there was a confirmed Ebola case, they would be transferred to London."


Nanosilver in your food? EPA sued for failing to regulate tiny pesticides

If you haven't heard of nanosilver, you're definitely not alone. But that doesn't mean these tiny silver particles intended to kill bacteria aren't ending up in your food. There are now over 400 consumer products [PDF] on the market made with nanosilver. These include many intended for use with food, among them cutting boards, cutlery, pans, storage containers, espresso machines, water filters, baby bottles, and refrigerators.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers nanosilver a pesticide and requires products that contain - or are treated with this germ-killer - to be registered with and approved for use by the agency. But most of the nanosilver products now on the market have not been reviewed, let alone approved by the EPA.

Comment: The EPA and FDA need to acknowledge 'significant gaps' in their 'understanding' of nanotechnology and address the toxicity of nanomaterials! For more information read the following articles:


Sugar substitutes and game-changing gut bugs

I'm an addict. My addiction? The same stuff used by diabetics, the overweight, those with sweet-tooths and the chronically sleep-deprived: diet soda.

Thus it is with mixed feelings that I report that this year has been a game-changer for understanding what soda's artificial sweeteners do to our bodies.

The science of sweets finally moved from correlation to causation. And it isn't pretty.

The short version: Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose can contribute to some of the health maladies that we're using them to avoid.

Comment: The 'bad news' about artificial sweeteners has been covered extensively on SOTT. As the author states: 'Artificial sweeteners can wreak havoc on this bacterial ecosystem, throwing it out of balance'. Additional evidence to support this claim:
The link between artificial sweeteners, gut bacteria and obesity has been charted as well, in a Duke University study that found that Splenda (sucralose) reduces the amount of "good bacteria" in the intestines, increases the intestinal pH level, and leads to increased body weight.

The new Nature study moves this ball of research forward by demonstrating that several artificial sweeteners, not just sucralose, can mess with our gut bacteria, and that this disruption is directly responsible for glucose intolerance - at least in mice. The researchers added three different artificial sweeteners (AS)- saccharin, sucralose and aspartame - to the drinking water of mice. After 10 weeks, all three groups of artificial sweetener-consuming mice showed glucose intolerance. Saccharin showed the most pronounced effect.


Genetically modified genes on rice can now be seen in human blood and organs

It's not earth-shattering news: genetically modified foods carry huge risks for humans. The newest information, however, shows that there are larger risks than ever before seen. These risks affect us on a much deeper level than previously thought.

The miRNA meant to regulate insects could end up regulating us.
Researchers at the Nanjing University in China have shown that small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) of rice can be seen in the organs and blood of the humans that eat the rice. The RNA is actually microRNA (miRNA). It is incredibly small, but plays a role in such diseases as Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes. MiRNA usually works to turn off or down the effects of certain genes. The Chinese researchers found the rice miRNA binding to receptors in the liver. The miRNA then affect how the body takes cholesterol from the blood.

A tiny change may not seem all that important, but it can greatly change things for the owner of that RNA. Before you think it's too small to make an impact, remember the African warning, "If you think it is too small to make a difference, spend the night with a mosquito." Genetically altered miRNA may be that buzzing mosquito.

Imagine yourself watching a high school football game. Suddenly a professional football player is substituted onto the field. The professional player is the miRNA. He's only a small part of the game. He might only be on the defensive line, but that game will be forever changed by his presence. Certainly the outcome will be different than if he wasn't there.

Comment: This is very concerning to say the least. For more info on micro RNA, see:
Since MicroRNAs serve as regulators in other capacities, Colas wanted to see if they were the culprits in regulating embryological development. The team found that two factors, let-7 and miR-18, were key players in this regulation.
  • Digging Deeper Into The Genetics Of Schizophrenia By Evaluating MicroRNAs
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have illuminated a window into how abnormalities in microRNAs, a family of molecules that regulate expression of numerous genes, may contribute to the behavioral and neuronal deficits associated with schizophrenia and possibly other brain disorders.
More food for thought:

On viral 'junk' DNA, a DNA-enhancing Ketogenic diet, and cometary kicks