Health & Wellness


Study: Sleep deprivation dulls our ability to accurately read facial expressions

A new study finds that the sleep-deprived brain can mistake friends for foes
© UC Berkeley
If you can't tell a smile from a scowl, you're probably not getting enough sleep.

A new study shows that sleep deprivation dulls our ability to accurately read facial expressions. This deficit can have serious consequences, such as not noticing that a child is sick or in pain, or confusing another pedestrian for a potential mugger.

"Recognizing the emotional expressions of someone else changes everything about whether or not you decide to interact with them, and in return, whether they interact with you," said study senior author Matthew Walker, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley. The findings were published today in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"These findings are especially worrying considering that two-thirds of people in the developed nations fail to get sufficient sleep," Walker added.

Indeed, the results do not bode well for countless sleep-starved groups, said study lead author Andrea Goldstein-Piekarski, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, who started the study as a Ph.D. student.

Comment: See also:


320% surge in Lyme disease reported by the CDC; high risk areas spreading

© Scott Bauer/US Department of Agriculture
Adult female deer tick.
Lyme disease is not only growing more rampant in its normal hotspots across the US, but it's also spreading dramatically to new geographic areas where it has been virtually unknown previously, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control.

"Over time, the number of counties identified as having high incidence of Lyme disease in the northeastern states increased more than 320 percent,"researchers wrote in the report. They also noted that the disease is appearing in some states for the first time ever.

Cases in the US remain concentrated in in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast, but more parts of those regions are now considered to be at high risk for infection. There are now 260 counties where the number of Lyme disease diagnoses is at least twice that expected for the population as a whole, up from 130 a decade earlier, the report published Wednesday said.

"The risk is expanding, in all directions," said Kiersten Kugeler, the lead author of the CDC study.

The high-risk counties are distributed among 17 states. The entire state of Connecticut, where the disease was first identified in 1975, has been a high-risk zone for decades. High-risk zones now encompass nearly all of New England.

Comment: Pestilence, the Great Plague and the Tobacco Cure

Apple Green

Value your health? Here are seven foods you should never consume

1. Canned Tomatoes Danger of BPA
Of all fruits and vegetables, tomatoes fare the worst when stored in cans. This is because tomatoes are very acidic and the acidity will cause the chemical that lines the cans to permeate into the food. Cans are known to contain about 50mcg of the toxic bisphenol-A, or BPA, which can severely affect adults and especially children.

Consumer Reports' latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods we tested contain some BPA.

Background: BPA is a toxic chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, increased risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems.

Comment: You might want to consider avoiding tomatoes altogether as they are nightshades. The nightshade family also includes potatoes, peppers, okra and eggplant and is linked to chronic pain and inflammation.

Aluminium Poisoning

When food is stored in an aluminium can, over time, it will gather some of the aluminium that it is stored in. This is especially so with tomatoes with its high acidity.

To avoid the toxic BPA, avoid canned foods completely and consume fresh fruits and vegetables. Another way is to switch over to brands that use glass containers instead—especially for acidic foods like tomatoes.

Comment: Another good idea would be to learn how to do your own canning. Food preservation is a good skill to have and this way you can have more control over quality and avoid consuming added potentially toxic ingredients.


Xanax addiction: Side effects, withdrawal, and rehab

Xanax is a highly addictive, yet commonly prescribed drug. It is relatively easy to get and many doctors prescribe it routinely. The fact that it is so easily prescribed, as well as readily available on the street, is one of the contributing factors to the Xanax addiction problem.

Abuse of this drug has become widespread in the last few years and, while it can affect anyone, it has become particularly popular among young people, with devastating results. Some people start using Xanax because it has been prescribed to them while others may discover it at a party or through friends. Not everyone who tries Xanax will become addicted, but anyone who uses it regularly risks becoming physically dependent on it.

Comment: The New Epidemic Sweeping Across America (and it's Not a Disease)
Death by medicine is a 21st-century epidemic, and America's "war on drugs" is clearly directed at the wrong enemy!

Prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs, and while most major causes of preventable deaths are declining, those from prescription drug use are increasing, an analysis of recently released data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the Los Angeles Times revealed.

The Times analysis of 2009 death statistics, the most recent available, showed:
  • For the first time ever in the US, more people were killed by drugs than motor vehicle accidents
  • 37,485 people died from drugs, a rate fueled by overdoses on prescription pain and anxiety medications, versus 36,284 from traffic accidents
  • Drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008, and more than tripled among people aged 50 to 69
Again, these drug-induced fatalities are not being driven by illegal street drugs; the analysis found that the most commonly abused prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.


How sugar destroys your health & literally makes you stupid

Sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup(HFCS), is the largest source of calories in the United States today. While its mass appeal is vastly rooted in cultures worldwide, its health impacts are substantially detrimental and are often overlooked by the majority.

In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Richard Johnson suggests about 50 percent of Americans consume as much as half a pound, more than 225 grams, per day. This statistic is the farthest thing from sweet.

While its no secret that sugar is a major player in the obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes epidemic, most would be shocked to discover that sugar literally makes you dumber as well.

Comment: SOTT.NET has carried many excellent articles about the detriment of sugar consumption:

Red Flag

Even more toxic chemicals set to enter the food supply

Surprise—the next generation of GMO crops will be resistant to far higher amounts of pesticides and herbicides, which will then be sprayed on our crops. Poison on the dinner table!

A recent article written by Dr. Jonathan Latham of the Bioscience Resource Project looks at the future of GMOs and argues that GMOs will become more unpopular as the technology takes them in a dramatically more toxic direction.

He points to the recent approval of crops resistant to the herbicides 2,4-D and Dicamba. The reason they need to resist these toxic sprays is because the overuse of Monsanto's herbicide Roundup is actually breeding Roundup-resistant "superweeds" that require more and more toxic chemicals to kill. Here's how it works:
  • Monsanto creates the herbicide Roundup. Unfortunately, it sometimes kills the crops along with the weeds.
  • Monsanto creates "Roundup-ready" crops that can withstand the toxic spray, which allows farmers to use even more Roundup to kill all the weeds.
  • Weeds increasingly become resistant to Roundup, becoming "superweeds" that require more toxic chemicals to kill them.
  • The biotech industry creates new crops that are resistant to other herbicides.
  • Inevitably, the weeds will become resistant to these new herbicides as well—a vicious cycle that threatens both our environment and our food supply.

Comment: The legacy of Agent Orange & Monsanto - Have things changed?

Things haven't changed, as the article states 'the recent approval of crops resistant to the herbicides 2,4-D and Dicamba', is just one example of how psychopathic corporations like Monsanto change the 'name' of herbicides used in their products so unsuspecting consumers have no idea their food is drenched in toxic poisons:


Study finds iron-containing microglia in brain tissue of people with Alzheimer's disease

© Norbert von der Groeben
Michael Zeineh is the lead author of a study that describes the discovery of what appear to be cells containing iron in the postmortem brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.
Examining post-mortem tissue from the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators identified what appear to be iron-containing microglia -- specialized scavenger cells that sometimes become inflammatory -- in a particular part of the hippocampus, a key brain structure whose integrity is critical to memory formation.

In post-mortem brain tissue from people not diagnosed with Alzheimer's, neither the iron deposits nor the scavenger cells engulfing them were present in that brain region.

The findings, recounted in a study now available online in Neurobiology of Aging, suggest that high-field magnetic resonance imaging, in particular an advanced version called 7T MRI that uses a powerful 7-Tesla magnet, could someday be used to diagnose and monitor Alzheimer's patients earlier than is currently possible.

The findings also add a new suspect to the Alzheimer's disease lineup. A long-held hypothesis holds that the most notorious feature of Alzheimer's disease, amyloid plaques, is the main cause of the disorder. These plaques are extracellular aggregations of a small protein called beta-amyloid that are prominent in diseased patients' brains, as well as in mouse models of the disease. The other most cited key player is tau, another Alzheimer's-associated protein that abnormally aggregates into threadlike tangles inside nerve cells. Surprisingly, in the brain region of interest there was no consistent overlap between the iron-laden microglia and the amyloid plaques or tau.


Arrow Down

Brain changes caused by poverty lead to lifelong depression, learning difficulties, low coping mechanisms

© Phils Photography / Fotolia
Low-income children have irregular brain development and lower standardized test scores, with as much as an estimated 20 percent gap in achievement explained by developmental lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
An alarming 22 percent of U.S. children live in poverty, which can have long-lasting negative consequences on brain development, emotional health and academic achievement. A new study, published July 20 in JAMA Pediatrics, provides even more compelling evidence that growing up in poverty has detrimental effects on the brain.

In an accompanying editorial, child psychiatrist Joan L. Luby, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, writes that "early childhood interventions to support a nurturing environment for these children must now become our top public health priority for the good of all."

In her own research in young children living in poverty, Luby and her colleagues have identified changes in the brain's architecture that can lead to lifelong problems with depression, learning difficulties and limitations in the ability to cope with stress.

Comment: Knowing how the developing brain is negatively impacted by growing up in a low-income household helps to understand the on-going cycle of poverty within families. It explains some of the difficulties people face in attempting to improve their lives and counters the heartless elitist meme that poor people lack the will or desire to change their circumstances, when in truth the system has likely been designed to keep the majority as an under-class to serve those in power.


Heat and high humidity can be a deadly combination

© ThinkStock
Heat and humidity can be a deadly combination.
It's getting hot out there.

As the mercury soars, so too do heat-related deaths -- whether it's a child left too long in a hot car or an elderly person stuck at home with no air conditioning -- heat proves to be a deadly agent every summer.

So, why can heat be so deadly?

Hot weather alone is not dangerous, said Chris Minson, an environmental physiologist at the University of Oregon, Eugene. Instead, it's a combination of hot temperatures, high humidity, and often preexisting health conditions that can push a person's core body temperature to reach the danger zone of 104 F. At that point, the nervous system goes haywire, the heart experiences excessive stress, and organ systems begin to fail.


Misinformed consent: Introducing Hepatitis C drugs in Georgia


Trust us, we... er, um... think it'll be good for you.
On May 6 New Eastern Outlook published an article about the new Hepatitis C drugs being introduced to Georgia. It stated that this is another US-imposed programme in which patients will be given experimental drugs which they cannot give their informed consent to taking because not enough information is known about them to give that consent. Georgians will be used as guinea pigs, in other words.

These suggestions produced howls of protest from people working in Georgia's healthcare sector. They insisted that the drugs were safe and the point of the programme was to see if Hep C could be totally eradicated in one go, using Georgians as a sample population. Even Georgia's Health Minister, Dr. David Sergeenko, weighed in by announcing that the new drugs have been approved and "Georgia is not a testing country".

The trouble is, Georgia's Health Minister and the others involved with this programme are not telling the truth. If they don't know this, they should resign. If they do, they should be in jail.