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Tue, 09 Feb 2016
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Hot chocolate: The tasty drink that could help boost memory & thinking skills

© Shutterstock
60 people were given tests of memory and thinking skills after drinking this for 30 days.

Two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy, a recent study finds.

The research involved 60 people whose average age was 73.

They were given tests of memory and thinking skills and the blood flow in their brains was measured.

Comment: Additional health benefits of chocolate:
The health benefits of eating dark chocolate have been extolled for centuries, but the exact reason has remained a mystery - until now. Researchers have just reported that certain bacteria in the stomach gobble the chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart...

"When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke," said John Finley, Ph.D., who led the work. He said that this study is the first to look at the effects of dark chocolate on the various types of bacteria in the stomach.

Eye 1

Government advisory group calls for screening every adult, pregnant women for depression

A new recommendation has been released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government advisory group that is now recommending all adults be routinely screened for depression as part of their healthcare.

The first part of the recommendation suggests that all adults be screened, but singles out pregnant women and new mothers as a target population. The second part of the recommendation mentions the need to ensure that systems are in place that will allow for the proper diagnosis and treatment of people who are singled out through this screening. The guidelines, which were published in the journal of the American Medical Association, did not specify how often adults should be screened.

Comment: A similar government 'recommendation' known as The Mother's Act was implemented back in 2009. While the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines appear to be for the benefit of pregnant women and new mothers, enforcement of so called recommended guidelines could represent a slippery slope toward medical tyranny.

As the author suggests: 'What about individuals who don't want to seek counseling, take antidepressants, or otherwise engage in a "treatment policy?"' Is this current Task Force being set up to ultimately benefit Big Pharma? The following quote from the 2009 article about The Mother's Act seems to suggest that this could be the case:
Mixtures of antipsychotics, antidepressants and anticonvulsants, now used as "mood" stabilizers, are regularly prescribed for the all "anxiety" and "mood" disorders sought to be marketed via the Mother's Act. Drug cocktails represent dollar signs.

The doctors make out like bandits as well. "Psychiatry has increasingly replaced psychotherapy with something called 'medication management,' which largely consists of symptom assessment and prescription updates," Dr Bruce Levine, author of, Surviving American's Depression Epidemic, reports in the August 13, 2008 Huffington Post...

"The bottom line," he says, "is that psychiatrists who offer only medication management routinely make nearly triple the income as do psychiatrists who provide mostly psychotherapy."


Ancient clay used by aboriginal Canadians for centuries could fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria - study

© University of British Columbia
Shovel of clay from Kisameet Bay, British Columbia.
Ancient mineral clay used by aboriginal people in Canada for centuries could be the key to fighting against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and published in the American Society for Microbiology's mBio journal on Tuesday, found that the clay killed 16 strains of ESKAPE bacteria samples from nearby hospitals and waste treatment facilities.

ESKAPE bacteria - which includes Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae,Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species - causes the majority of infections in US hospitals, and is resistant to antibacterial drugs.

Comment: See also: The antibacterial benefits of medicinal clay


The brain has its own immune system

Recent research shows basic anatomy that has eluded scientists and clinicians up until this point: the brain has a lymphatic system, one of the primary purposes of which is to connect it to the immune system.

We have entered a time in the history of modern medicine that is awkward at best, and intolerable at worst. We've gone too far down the wrong path, once again. We've made a lot of silly mistakes in the past from thinking the world is flat to doctors endorsing smoking. Making mistakes is ok! What's not ok, however, is a failure to acknowledge the error of our ways when it becomes self-evident.

Comment: Missing link found between brain, immune system - with major disease implications
In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer's disease to multiple sclerosis...

The unexpected presence of the lymphatic vessels raises a tremendous number of questions that now need answers, both about the workings of the brain and the diseases that plague it. For example, take Alzheimer's disease. "In Alzheimer's, there are accumulations of big protein chunks in the brain," Kipnis said. "We think they may be accumulating in the brain because they're not being efficiently removed by these vessels." He noted that the vessels look different with age, so the role they play in aging is another avenue to explore. And there's an enormous array of other neurological diseases, from autism to multiple sclerosis, that must be reconsidered in light of the presence of something science insisted did not exist.

Life Preserver

How doctors use vitamin C against lead poisoning

We hear about the hazards of lead. We know that lead poisoning can cause severe mental retardation. Lead has been clearly linked with Alzheimer's disease. We have been told to avoid lead in our homes and in our water, and to clean up lead pollution of our environment. But we have not been told how to remove it from our bodies. Vitamin C megadoses may be the answer.

Dr. Erik Paterson, of British Columbia, reports:
"When I was a consulting physician for a center for the mentally challenged, a patient showing behavioral changes was found to have blood lead levels some ten times higher than the acceptable levels. I administered vitamin C at a dose of 4,000 mg/day. I anticipated a slow response. The following year I rechecked his blood lead level. It had gone up, much to my initial dismay. But then I thought that perhaps what was happening was that the vitamin C was mobilizing the lead from his tissues. So we persisted. The next year, on rechecking, the lead levels had markedly dropped to well below the initial result. As the years went by, the levels became almost undetectable, and his behavior was markedly improved."
How much vitamin C?

Frederick Robert Klenner, M.D., insisted that large amounts of vitamin C are needed to do the job. One old (1940) paper got it wrong, and Dr. Klenner comments:
"The report by Dannenberg that high doses of ascorbic acid were without effect in treating lead intoxication in a child must be ignored, since his extremely high dose was 25 mg by mouth four times a day and one single daily injection of 250 mg of C. Had he administered 350 mg/kg body weight every two hours, he would have seen the other side of the coin."
Here is what 350 milligrams of vitamin C per kilogram body weight works out to in pounds, approximately:


CDC adds two more destinations on Zika virus travel warning list

The United States has added the Dominican Republic and the US Virgin Islands to the list of countries for pregnant women to avoid amid the spread of the Zika virus through Latin American and the Caribbean, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in a statement.

"CDC is working with other public health officials to monitor for ongoing Zika virus‎ transmission," the statement said on Tuesday. "Today, CDC added the following destinations to the Zika virus travel alerts: United States Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic."

Comment: This virus is really getting around:


Coming soon: Death by 'phantom menace' superbugs

Just because Big Pharma can't make big money from the potential solutions is not a reason for further delay.

Antibiotic-resistant illnesses currently kill an estimated 700,000 people a year globally. By 2050, these illnesses are expected to kill 10 million people. Based on recent research, it could be even worse—and coming even sooner.

We have had a taste of this over the winter, with an especially nasty Avian (or Type A) influenza bug hitting people, and in some cases being followed by secondary bacterial infection such as bronchitis or pneumonia. From what we hear, many of the people infected by the virus had the flu shot—which may have been more on target than last year, but which is never very protective, as we have pointed out before, and still contains mercury. Fortunately in most cases antibiotics still work against the secondary bacterial infections, which could otherwise be life-threatening.

Comment: While the headline about 'phantom menace' superbugs may sound a bit dramatic, the reality of this issue is concerning:


Puerto Rico confirms 19 cases of mosquito-born Zika virus

© REUTERS/ Denis Balibouse
The US territory of Puerto Rico has 19 cases of the mosquito-born Zika virus, which is believed to cause serious birth defects if contracted by pregnant women, the Puerto Rico Health Department confirmed on Tuesday.

"[Puerto Rico] today confirmed 19 cases of Zika virus in Puerto Rico, chiefly in the southeastern zone," Health Department Secretary Ana Riu was quoted as saying by El Vocero.

The US Centers for Disease Control has stated there are serious birth defects of the brain called microcephaly as well as other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with the Zika virus. The Zika virus can be spread from pregnant women to unborn babies.


First US case of Zika virus detected in Arkansas

© CDC / Cynthia Goldsmith / Reuters
A transmission electron micrograph (TEM) shows the Zika virus, in an undated photo provided by the Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Arkansas Department of Health has just confirmed a resident has tested positive for Zika Virus.

The US Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) told the department late yesterday afternoon that the infected resident recently traveled out of the country and had "a mild case of Zika".

Originally discovered in Africa in the 1940s, the relatively-new disease first appeared in Brazil in May 2005.

According to the Arkansas health department's statement, the virus has since spread to at least 20 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.


The cells of our ancestors, children or siblings infiltrate every part of our bodies

How's this for caring? Without being in the same room, building or even the same city as your mother, you can literally patch up her heart. Or your child can patch up yours. It's an idea that takes getting used to at first, but hear us out: you probably left tiny little bits of you inside your mother. And you got stuff from her, too: her cells take up residence in most of your organs, perhaps even your brain. They live there for years, decades even, meddling with your biology and your health.

Sure, your blood, skin, brain and lungs are made up of your own cells, but not entirely. Most of us are walking, talking patchworks of cells, with emissaries from our mother, children or even our siblings infiltrating every part of our bodies. Welcome to the bizarre world of microchimerism.

You are more than the sum of your cells. This idea came to prominence in mid-90s, when molecular biologist Richard Jefferson realised that the microbes inside and on us play an integral role in how healthy we are.

The idea emerged in the 1970s, when cells with male Y chromosomes were detected in the blood of pregnant women. Until then, we assumed that a mother's body and her child's were kept completely separate during pregnancy. Their blood came into close proximity in the placenta -- that large, messy bundle of blood vessels connecting mother and child via the umbilical cord -- but never actually mixed. Nutrients, oxygen and waste shuttled from one to the other through filters.