Health & Wellness


Ebola virus is rapidly mutating

Ebola micrograph CDC
© CDC/ Frederick Murphy
Electron micrograph of Ebola virus
A study of some of the earliest Ebola cases in Sierra Leone reveals more than 300 genetic changes in the virus as it has leapt from person to person.

These rapid changes could blunt the effectiveness of diagnostic tests and experimental treatments now in development, say researchers.

"We found the virus is doing what viruses do. It's mutating," says study lead author Pardis Sabeti of Harvard University and the Broad Institute.

The study is based on samples from 78 people in Sierra Leone, all of whose infections could be traced to a faith healer whose claims of a cure attracted Ebola patients from Guinea, where the virus first took hold.

The findings, published in Science , suggests the virus is mutating quickly and in ways that could affect current diagnostics and future vaccines and treatments, such as GlaxoSmithKline's Ebola vaccine, which was just fast-tracked to begin clinical trials, or the antibody drug ZMapp, being developed by California biotech Mapp Biopharmaceutical.

Study suggests low doses of marijuana may slow progression of Alzheimer's

© Reuters / David McNew
Extremely low levels of THC compound, a chemical found in marijuana, may slow down or halt the progression of Alzheimer's disease, US neuroscientists have found, thus laying the ground for the development of effective treatment in the future.

In recent research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, scientists from University of South Florida revealed their findings, that may shed light on controversial therapeutic qualities of marijuana.

Comment: A far safer and more useful means of halting the progression of Alzheimer's would be to switch to a ketogenic diet. This diet is helpful in enhancing the immune system and has been found to alleviate symptoms of numerous diseases. In addition to a healthy diet, researchers have long been aware that fewer smokers get Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases than non-smokers. Despite all the mainstream negative propaganda surrounding the use of tobacco products, pure additive-free tobacco actually has numerous health benefits and may also be a good preventive for Ebola!

Snakes in Suits

"Let them eat veggies" - Michelle O's lunch rules sour first day of school for many students

© Unknown
Students arrived on the first day of school and realized a lot had changed over the summer.

The lunch line they used to visit to pick up pizza and french fries now had "same school lunch food as the others with more salad." reports:

Sophomore Madeline Taylor noticed that hardly anyone was eating.

"The entire rest of the day all I heard about was how hungry everyone was," she said. "I then became very concerned about what would happen if this continued everyday throughout the school year."

Comment: The problem of the SAD (Standard American Diet) has been with us a long time and has done serious damage. In a time when the Ebola virus is spreading across the world, a healthy diet is crucial to our well-being, and Mrs. Obama replacing pizza with salads is simply not going to cut it:

Low carbohydrate diets look good for the prevention and treatment of cancer

The ketogenic diet: An overview

Gluten causes nerve damage

The long list of hidden gluten: Unsafe ingredients for gluten sensitivity


Baby born with brain tumors had 20 seizures daily until ketogenic diet helped

© Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Life has not been easy for tiny Blake Shore and his family. When he was only one day old, he underwent open-heart surgery to remove a large tumor blocking his blood flow. And although the months since have involved medical challenges and adjustment, the baby is now celebrating his first birthday with a cake catering to the ketogenic diet needed to help control his seizures, reported High Point Enterprise on Aug. 21.

"He's started a ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat, low-carb diet that has almost no sugar," Amber Shore explained. "So as you can imagine, it was difficult figuring out what to do for his first birthday cake, but luckily we found a recipe."

Blake's condition is called tuberous sclerosis. Although benign, the tumors cause problems based on their location. His brain tumors, for example, have caused up to 20 seizures daily.

"That's been our biggest battle right now," revealed Amber. "We'll see him learn something, and then he'll have a seizure, and it almost instantly erases what he's learned. He just hasn't been able to take off developmentally because of these seizures."

But miracles in the medical world do happen, and Amber is grateful for what her baby has achieved. Implementing a ketogenic low carb diet has made a dramatic difference.

Comment: Before reaching out for that milk, see Why Milk Is So Evil.

For more information, see: The Ketogenic Diet - An Overview.

In fact, regardless of your health problems, prepping your diet is the way to go:

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175 dangerous chemicals in food packaging

A total of 175 chemicals known to be harmful for health are used in food packaging on both sides of the Atlantic, in the European Union countries and the United States, according to a study published by a Swiss non-governmental organization.

As the study authors point out, the use of many of these substances, which are linked to cancer, hormonal disorders or infertility in other products has already been limited or is to be prohibited. However, these regulations do not concern food packaging due to gaps in legislation.

Researchers of the Food Packaging Forum, a non-governmental organization in Switzerland, compared two lists of hazardous chemicals - the so-called 'Substitute it now!' list, also known as Sin, and the TEDX list of endocrine disruptors - with three official lists of substances allowed to be used in the manufacture of food packaging, in particular, the ESCO Working Group list of non-plastic food contact substances by European Food Safety Authority, Annex I of EC 10/2011 which includes the allowed plastic food contact substances and the so-called Pew list of food additives authorized in the United States.

Comment: Comment: "The best way to ensure that you avoid these chemicals ending up in your body would be to steer clear of packaged food all together. The alternative?" Read more about Packaging - unwrapped:


The couch cleanse

Distorted science. Fabricated watchdog groups. False testimonies. Decades of public deception. It's the stuff of a summer blockbuster - but truth is stranger than fiction, they say.

And so it is with the story of how, over the course of nearly 40 years, flame retardant substances ended up in nearly every piece of furniture, every electronic, every household ware and article of clothing in the U.S. In a four-part series from 2012, the Chicago Tribune used thousands of government, scientific and internal documents to expose the intricate web of lies that made it possible for chemical companies to fill American homes (cars, classrooms, hospitals...) with compounds known to cause cancer, disrupt sexual and neurological development and impair fertility.

But things seem to be moving in a new, less toxic direction as the California law that has required California manufacturers to include flame retardant chemicals in their products, the law that essentially set the national standard for furniture production since 1975 - Technical Bulletin 117 - was revised last year to allow California manufacturers to produce upholstered furniture without flame retardant foam. The revised standard, TB 117-2013, went into effect on Jan. 1, giving many environmentalists, toxicologists and concerned citizens hope that the Golden State will again lead the way - this time on a less poisonous path. And taking things one step further, if everything goes well on the floor of the California Senate in the last week of August, furniture manufacturers who sell in California will also be required to label whether furnishings do or do not contain flame retardant chemicals, yet another promising step forward for the nation as a whole.

Ebola test underway for young girl in Quebec - child in hospital isolation

'Young girl' feeling sick after returning from trip to Sierra Leone
© Frederick Murphy/DPA
The Ebola virus
A young girl from Gatineau, Que., is in isolation after feeling sick upon returning from visiting family in Sierra Leone, one of the west African countries hard hit by this year's Ebola outbreak.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Courteau, medical officer of health for the Outaouais region, said in an interview with Radio-Canada they're being cautious because of her symptoms but couldn't go into detail. He said they don't believe she came into contact with anyone who had Ebola while in Sierra Leone. "The criteria that is missing is the history of contact with an Ebola case or contact with sick people in health facilities in Africa," Dr. Courteau said.

The girl is in isolation at an undisclosed hospital after coming with her family to a Gatineau emergency room earlier in the day Friday with flu-like symptoms. There is no risk of contamination for medical staff and other people there, Dr. Courteau said. He said testing is being done in Winnipeg and results should be known by Saturday afternoon.

No confirmed Canadian cases

Ebola is a viral disease spread by bodily fluids that causes fever, muscle pain, intense weakness and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

British made Pacific islanders fat by civilising them with fried food

Obese Islanders
© Alamy
Social changes, introduced when the islands were under colonial rule, have significantly contributed to unhealthy diets.
British colonisers turned Pacific islanders into some of the fattest people in the world by trying civilise them with fried food, a study by Oxford University has found.

Islanders on Nauru and the Cook Islands in the Pacific have the highest levels of obesity in the world.

Their average weight gain is increasing at four times the global average, 4.4lbs per decade (2kg) compared with global average of 1.1lbs (0.5kg).

Now researchers at Oxford believe they are discovered the source of their obesity. They suggest that social changes, introduced when the islands were under colonial rule, have significantly contributed to unhealthy diets.

Anthropologists Dr Amy McLennan and Professor Stanley Ulijaszek found that islanders lost many of their traditional food cultivation, preparation and preserving skills after settlers insisted that they learn western ways of eating.

They taught the locals to fry fish rather than eat it raw, and forced them to import unhealthy produce after co-opting farmland for mining.

"Under colonial rule, much changed in how food was sourced, grown and prepared and the social change was swift," said lead author Dr McLennan

"What happened to the land also changed as colonial agriculture and mining industries expanded. There was an increase in family size meaning food was increasingly imported."

The Cook Islands were taken as a British protectorate in 1888, and became New Zealand's first South Pacific Island colony in 1901 until political independence in 1965.

Comment: No, it wasn't that they taught them to fry their food. Instead they introduced refined carbohydrates to their diet, a strong emphasis on eating lots of carbs and in due course the use of trans fats rather than natural fats. Look anywhere where the standard food pyramid, with its emphasis on carbs and its avoidance of fats is used and you will find huge numbers of obese people. The USA is a classic example


Congo confirms 7 new cases of Ebola in 2nd outbreak - reported number of cases in West Africa explode to 550 in one week

Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have confirmed seven new Ebola cases in the northwestern Equateur Province, bringing up to 13 the number of people who had contracted the deadly virus in the province, a U.N.-run radio station said Friday. "There are now 13 cases affected by the addition to 16 other suspected cases," Health Minister Felix Kabange was quoted as saying by the Kinshasa-based Okapi radio. He asserted that the outbreak is still confined to Boende area in northern Equateur province, noting that Ebola cases reported recently in Kinshasa and Katanga proved negative. On Monday, Joseph Mboyo Limpoko, government medical inspector in Equateur, told Anadolu Agency that a total of four people countrywide had been confirmed dead from Ebola.

Ebola - a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure - has claimed 1,552 lives in West Africa since the outbreak began in January. Most of the deaths were registered in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Six fatalities have also been confirmed in Nigeria. The tropical fever, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the DRC, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals. It also reportedly spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have died of the disease.


Comment: See also:
  • Are you prepping your diet?
  • Vitamin C - A cure for Ebola


An unusual respiratory virus is striking children in Kansas City, Missouri

An unusual respiratory virus is striking children in the metro in big numbers. Children's Mercy Hospital is hospitalizing 20 to 30 kids a day with the virus. The hospital is as full now as it is at the height of flu season. This is not the same virus we told you about several weeks ago that can cause meningitis. This one can cause severe breathing trouble. Children's Mercy has seen more than 300 cases in recent days in kids of all ages. Preston Sheldon's mom says he seemed fine when she took him to pre-school Tuesday.

But minutes later, the Grain Valley mom got the call. Her three-year-old son was having trouble breathing. "You could see his ribs, and his stomach was pushing out really hard... I thought it was an asthma attack," said Pam Sheldon. But it was a virus that is inundating Children's Mercy with patients. "To be at winter census is quite unusual in August obviously. To see a virus we've not seen before is unusual, too," said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, an infectious disease specialist.

It is enterovirus 68. The doctor says it's well-known around the world, but cases have not been seen in Kansas City before. "We have about 10 to 15 percent who have severe illness from this virus which actually acts like asthma exacerbations," said Dr. Jackson. She says about two-thirds of the hospitalized cases are in children like Preston who have a history of asthma or wheezing. But others are having trouble breathing, too. She says the virus will produce an ordinary cold in many kids. What should parents watch for? "The difficulty breathing is a very obvious tip-off sign they need to come into the hospital," said Dr. Jackson.

To try to stop the spread, Children's Mercy has posted signs at security entrances saying children 12 or younger should not visit in-patients. Nor should those with symptoms visit. Dr. Jackson says good hand washing, covering your cough and not sending your child to school if he or she appears sick can help control the spread. There's no anti-viral medicine for enterovirus 68 and no vaccine. Supportive care, including oxygen, has helped Preston. His mom is glad they didn't wait to go to the emergency room. "Cause it can hit really fast. And without medical treatment, it could get really bad," she said. - Fox 4 KC