Health & Wellness


Health advocates target Big Pharma to combat opioid epidemic

© ep_jhu/flickr/cc
Recent studies have found that most heroin and opioid addictions start with legally prescribed pain medication.
Initiatives to help addicts highlight links between legally prescribed pain medication and opioid addiction.

Faced with a growing nationwide opioid addiction, health and consumer advocates say it's time to identify and sever ties with the culprits behind the scourge—pain medication manufacturers and the companies who promote their products.

In Massachusetts, which recently saw a spike in deaths related to heroin overdoses, police and community organizations in Gloucester implemented a new program this year - known as the Angel Initiative - to help addicts get clean in favor of arresting them for illegal drug use.

Comment: Big Pharma and organized crime — They are more similar than you may think


Florida boy poisoned by termite pesticide, family sues Terminix

Peyton McCaughey
A Florida boy who has been hospitalized since August and suffered brain damage after his home was fumigated was poisoned by pesticides, a state investigation concluded.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a statement Thursday that 10-year-old Peyton McCaughey's sickness was a "pesticide-related illness and injury." The boy's Palm City home was fumigated on Aug. 14.

The report said Sunland Pest Control, which was subcontracted by Terminix, could not provide investigators with working gas meters when asked. The meters ensure that it is safe to reenter the home.


WHO's been nominated to head the FDA?

© Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma has friends in high places by Martha Rosenberg
FDA nominee thinks being a Pharma consultant is a "very good thing"

Imagine a doctor who "served as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for Genentech" and reports 23 financial links to drug companies including stock ownership being FDA commissioner? A doctor who defends Merck's Vioxx behavior which cost thousands of lives and said "many of us consult with the pharmaceutical industry, which I think is a very good thing. They need ideas and then the decision about what they do is really up to the person who is funding the study," on PBS.

Top Secret

Monsanto knew all along! Sealed documents reveal the truth behind Roundup's toxicological dangers

The year 2015 hasn't been kind to Monsanto. In March, the World Health Organization declared that the company's flagship product, its herbicide glyphosate or Roundup, is a probable human carcinogen.

Increasingly, national health ministries are taking a hard second look at glyphosate's health and environmental dangers and efforts are underway to ban the herbicide. [1]

To protect its citizens, last year the Netherlands, Bermuda and Sri Lanka have either banned or imposed strict limits on Roundup. Last June, France banned its use in gardens. Brazil, Germany and Argentina are considering legislative bans.

And this month, California's environmental protection agency launched plans to label Roundup as a carcinogen. [2]


A primal primer on Candida: Diagnosing and treating a fungal overgrowth

© Unknown
It's been awhile since I've done one of these, but I think it's about time for a Primal Primer. Today we'll be discussing candida, a genus (more than a species, less than a family) of yeast with many members, at least one of which is currently residing on or in your body: candida albicans. Candida albicans and friends are everywhere, and they're usually a normal, healthy part of the human microbiome, but it can get a little out of hand. As I've mentioned before, the human gut hosts a tumultuous mix of microbial species vying for position and supremacy and trying to further their own ends. If all's well, a balance is maintained, and the various species keep each other in check while promoting good health for the human host. But things can get out of whack. The balance can be upset. Certain species can gain ground on the others, perhaps by utilizing a new source of sustenance or taking advantage after a round of antibiotics, to our detriment. Candida is a particularly robust microbe who can thrive on a variety of fuel sources to apparently make itself a real nuisance in these situations. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Comment: Fungal overgrowths are typically associated with high carb diets, junk food, grains, and leaky gut. Eating paleo and reducing the carbs to a level that's appropriate for you (while remaining in the generally low carb range), healing your gut, and taking steps to eliminate the fungal imbalance can do a great deal to improve your health physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Neem: The miraculous blood purifying herb

© Unknown
The neem tree is native to India and Burma and the neem oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the olive shaped fruit. Herbalist Klaus Ferlow outlines some of neem oil's numerous and remarkable healing properties which have made it a mainstay of the Ayurvedic pharmacy.

For thousands of years humans have sought to fortify their health and cure various ills with herbal remedies. The search for the true panacea or cure-all has been undertaken by virtually every civilization. While hundreds of substances have been tried and tested, few have withstood modern science scrutiny. Perhaps no other other botanical better meets the true definition of a panacea than Neem, a tropical evergreen native of India and Burma. Every part of this fascinating tree has been used, from ancient to modern times, to treat hundreds of different maladies. While it is still revered in India for its superior healing properties, recent investigation has dramatically increased world wide interest in Neem and many products are now manufactured around the Globe using this miraculous herb.

Comment: Neem is a very powerful, but "fragrant" herb. For internal use, capsules or tablets may be easier to take than the liquid oil. If you suspect that you have a fungal overgrowth, parasite infestation, or bacterial or viral infection, it may be worth trying neem to see if it improves your condition.

2 + 2 = 4

Telltale mouth microbes

The composition of the plaque microbiome can reveal a child's risk of dental caries months before the decay appears, according to a study.

When the human body changes as a result of disease, age, or other factors, site-specific microbiomes are also altered. Now, researchers report that changes in the oral microbial community can be used to predict the onset of dental caries in young children months before clinical signs of disease appear. The results, published today (September 9) in Cell Host & Microbe, suggest that changes to the oral microbiome can be used as an indicator of disease risk for some conditions.

The work is a "great contribution" to understanding how the oral microbiome develops in young children with and without caries, according to Elisabeth Bik, a microbiologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine who was not involved in the study.

Evil Rays

Is your wireless router putting you in danger?

© One News
Broadband Wireless Router.
The debate surrounding the relative dangers of electromagnetic radiation has raged on for years. As technology has become more and more advanced, and more electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, are created, the fact that electromagnetic radiation can be harmful cannot be ignored. Wireless routers, one of the most convenient products in homes across the world, can actually contribute high levels of EMF exposure to your home.

What Are EMFs?

When any kind of electronic device is used, it often creates its own EMF. The structure of the EMF varies, depending upon the frequency and intensity of the electricity; however, all EMFs have the power to become harmful if you are exposed to them too often or for long periods of time.

Comment: For more on the hazards of EMF and how to decrease its impact listen to this episode of the Health and Wellness Show.

Cupcake Choco

Our unhealthy addiction to sugar is harming the poor and making the rich richer

The production of sugar is poverty-inducing, health-damaging and unequal throughout the world.

The following is written by Ben Richardson, based on his new book Sugar (Polity Books, 2015):

Class, gender, nationality and race structure sugar's unequal production, exchange and consumption across the world. This can be seen most vividly in the corporeal effects of sugar: the new type of chronic kidney disease striking down sugarcane field workers in Central America, the high rate of prostitution and HIV in sugar towns in Zambia, and the disproportionate level of tooth decay among poor and Hispanic children in Colorado, US. The circulation of sugar is also embodied in the landscape with unequal effects on wildlife. Fertilizer run-off from sugar farming has contributed to the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and the destruction of fisheries in the Indus delta (by contrast, the sugarcane plantations have provided welcoming habitats for rats and snakes). Yet these environmental changes are also social. In the case of water pollution, those worst affected have tended to be indigenous people and artisanal fisherfolk traditionally dependent on communal resources for drinking and fishing.

So to really get at the global politics of sugar, the essential question for me was "why does it harm some more than others?"

Comment: Sugar High: The Dark History and Nasty Methods Used to Feed Our Sweet Tooth


Quiet is crucial to your health: The dangers of noise pollution

The noise is so loud, Kollyn Zeder often doesn't let the children in her home daycare play outside, worried it might damage their hearing. Windows stay shut, even though she wants fresh air. Often she can't hear her own TV.

"They fly so low over the homes, you can wave to the pilots and they wave back," she said. " It's roaring, roaring, roaring."

The noise from Naval Air Station Oceana, a master jet base in Virginia Beach, Virginia, dominates almost every aspect of her life. And new studies say it may be affecting her health in ways she doesn't realize. While her situation is extreme, her plight typifies what many Americans in urban settings endure: constant loud noise with little recourse for stopping it and few policies for controlling it in the first place.

Comment: Living near highways may be hazardous to your health