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Question

Which comes first: The leaky gut or the dysfunctional immune system?

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I was asked by healthline.com to comment on a new study from researchers at Lund University in Sweden that was published earlier this month in the journal PLoS ONE. The study is entitled Intestinal Barrier Dysfunction Develops at the Onset of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis, and Can Be Induced by Adoptive Transfer of Auto-Reactive T Cells. Yep, that's a mouthful, but hang in there. This study is absolutely fascinating and is very relevant to everyone battling autoimmune disease. It's so interesting that I'm devoting an entire blog post to it!

Comment: Learn more about the importance of Gut health listen to The Health and Wellness Show - 13 April 2015 - Connecting the Dots


Pills

Negative thoughts? Try probiotics

New research finds that our gut bacteria linked with negative thinking - and supplementing probiotics can reduce negative thoughts.
Negative thinking is defined as a spiraling of thinking that takes a person from one negative thought to the next. Often this is lightly attributed to getting up on the wrong side of the bed. But now we find it may also be a case of 'bad bugs'.

Could the little microbes teeming in our gut have anything to do with negative thinking? Surely not, you say smugly.

Think again.

Triple-blind study finds probiotics affect negative thoughts

Research from the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition in The Netherlands has determined that one's gut bacteria indeed will affect our negative thinking and cognitive state.

Comment: For more on probiotics see: Also, listen to the Health and Wellness show's episode on gut health.


Pills

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry Study: 70% of people on antidepressants don't have depression

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If sales for antidepressants such as Zoloft, Lexapro, or Prozac tell us anything, it's that depression is sweeping the nation. But a new study questions the validity of most of these sales. The study has found that the majority of individuals on antidepressants - a whopping 69% - do not even meet the criteria for clinical depression. These individuals are likely just experiencing normal sadness and hardships that most of us experience.

In addition to finding that nearly two-thirds of antidepressant-takers don't meet criteria for depression, the researchers also note how 38% of those taking antidepressants for other psychiatric disorders do not meet the criteria. These include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobio, general anxiety, and a number of other arguably fabricated mental disorders.

Comment: 'Manufacturing Depression': Are Doctors Overprescribing Antidepressants?
Is depression manufactured? Two decades after the introduction of antidepressants, it's become commonplace to assume that our sadness can be explained in terms of a disease called depression. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates more than 14 million Americans suffer from major depression every year and more than three million suffer from minor depression. Some 30 million Americans take antidepressants at a cost of over $10 billion a year.

My next guest argues while depression can be debilitating, it's also been largely manufactured by doctors and drug companies as a medical condition with a biological cause that can be treated with prescription medication. Psychotherapist and writer Gary Greenberg participated in a clinical trial for antidepressant medication and found that more often than not the drugs failed to outperform placebos. His latest book is a scientific, medical, historical and cultural exploration of the antidepressant revolution here in the United States. It's called Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease.



Arrow Up

Big Pharma continues to lose credibility

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When you visit the websites for leading pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Novartis, you'll find mission statements that will feed you with inspiring goals such as "improve health and well-being," "provide access to safe, effective and affordable medicines," and "to prevent and cure diseases, to ease suffering and to enhance the quality of life."

Who still believes this? Let's keep it straight: major pharmaceutical companies are in the business of dealing drugs and making money. Here's some food for thought that might make you question the credibility of pharmaceutical companies.

Comment: Drugged up America: Exposing Big Pharma


Stormtrooper

Monsanto is the Department of Homeland Security for food

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© occupy.com
Monsanto's death grip on your food
"Whenever people encounter a crazy idea, a high-flying absurd notion, they reject it out of hand. That's the first impulse. 'No, no one would believe that. It's ridiculous.' But as time passes, and this crazy idea is repeated over and over again, people make adjustments to their own minds. 'Well, maybe it's true, a lot of important authorities accept it, so maybe I should accept it. I guess it does make sense.' This is the process of buying a cover story, buying an egregious lie meant to obscure a hidden truth." (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)
Being the US government means being on permanent wartime status.

Wherever it is possible to fantasize enemies, enemies are there. They must be conquered. They must be stopped.

Comment: Monsanto hates democracy: Fascism seems to work best
Nine out of 10 of us want to know where Monsanto's been hiding the GMOs in our food and a most of us wouldn't eat those GMOs if we knew where they were.

If everything in this country were decided democratically, most of the food we eat would be non-GMO and Monsanto would be driven out of business.

We don't have a problem convincing people we're right, we have a problem with our democracy when we can't get the politicians to pass the laws that the majority of us want.

...

The Obama Administration is currently negotiating two huge new trade deals, one with Europe and one with countries around the Pacific , including Japan and Peru. The US position is that bans on GMOs, but also pre-market safety testing and labels, are barriers to trade. The person who's negotiating this for Obama is Islam Siddiqui who used to be the Vice President and Chief Lobbyist for CropLife America - that's Monsanto, Dupont, Dow, Syngenta, Bayer and BASF, that's the group that sent a letter of protest to Michelle Obama when she planted her pesticide-free and GMO-free organic garden. Siddiqui is a political operator. He got is job with Obama by fundraising for Obama. Before working as a lobbyist for Monsanto and the rest, he worked for Clinton trying to get GMOs, sewage sludge and irradiation into organic.



Pills

Oral contraceptive pill could be altering the physical structure of your brain

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© Point Fr/ Shutterstock
The pill is a very popular contraceptive choice for women, with around 100 million individuals worldwide currently using it. There is no doubt that it has helped revolutionize contraception, and most users report satisfaction, but it is also apparent that it can cause undesirable side effects in women. For example, many studies have demonstrated that its use is associated with metabolic and emotional effects, and one study even found it could influence a woman's choice of partner.

Now, a new investigation is adding to the growing body of evidence that the pill may be associated with neurological alterations, with the discovery that oral contraceptives are linked to thinning in two different regions of the brain, possibly altering their function.

Magnify

Study finds Alzheimer's may be linked to a misfiring immune system

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© Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas
Researchers have found that some immune cells designed to protect the brain from infection start consuming an amino acid called arginine, triggering the onset of classical hallmarks of the disease, including brain plaques and memory loss.

The study, carried out by researchers at Duke University and published April 15 in the Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrated that particular immune cells that are meant to protect the brain start to become destructive and consume an essential nutrient known as arginine.

Senior author Carol Colton, professor of neurology at the Duke University School of Medicine, said the new research not only indicates the potential cause of Alzheimer's, but also may eventually lead to a new treatment therapy.

"If indeed arginine consumption is so important to the disease process, maybe we could block it and reverse the disease," Colton said in the Duke University press release.

Water

Low-dose BPA exposure negatively affects fertility for three generations

© Jodi Flaws
BPA exposure during pregnancy was associated with reproductive problems in the next three generations of mice, researchers report.
When scientists exposed pregnant mice to levels of bisphenol A equivalent to those considered safe in humans, three generations of female mouse offspring experienced significant reproductive problems, including declines in fertility, sexual maturity and pregnancy success, the scientists report in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.

Bisphenol A, an industrial chemical, is found in polycarbonate plastics used in food and drink packaging, and in epoxy resins, which coat the insides of some food containers and plumbing pipes. Thermal paper receipts and dental sealants also may contain BPA.

A national study found detectable levels of BPA in 93 percent of 2,517 human urine samples tested in 2003-04, suggesting that most of the U.S. populace is regularly exposed to the chemical. BPA also has been detected in human ovarian follicular fluid, placental tissue and fetal plasma, said University of Illinois comparative biosciences professor Jodi Flaws, who led the new analysis. According to the National Institutes of Health, the primary route of human exposure to BPA is diet.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means that it can interfere with the body's normal hormone signaling. Many studies in animals indicate that BPA exposure can undermine reproductive function, but no previous studies have looked for its effects in three generations of offspring.

Comment: Conventional toxicology, where the assumption is that a higher concentration of a toxic substance is linearly connected to a higher quantifiable adverse response, is unrealistic. Living systems are highly dynamic and the affects of xenobiotic chemicals are unpredictable. It's best to avoid when possible any unnecessary exposure, instead of abiding by what regulators consider 'an acceptable level of harm.'


Stop

WHO warns Ebola virus found in semen six months after recovery

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© AFP/Francisco Leong
Traces of Ebola have been found in the semen of a man six months after his recovery, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, urging survivors to practice safe sex "until further notice".

The man had been declared free of the deadly virus in Liberia last September, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP.

"He has provided a semen sample which has tested... positive for Ebola, 175 days after his negative blood test," he said in an email.

The UN health agency had previously said the virus had been detected in semen around three months after a patient had been declared Ebola free.

The new finding has led WHO to recommend that survivors abstain from having sex or that they practice safe sex using a condom beyond the three-month period previously prescribed.

"Ebola survivors should consider correct and consistent use of condoms for all sexual acts beyond three months until more information is available," it says on its website.

Jasarevic said more research was needed before WHO could provide more detailed advice.

"We need to understand better if this particular case is an anomaly or if there really are groups of people who might (carry) parts of the Ebola virus longer," he said.

Until more is known, Ebola survivors should abstain from sex or practice safe sex "until further notice," Bruce Aylward, who heads WHO's Ebola response, told reporters last week.

Comment: See also:

Be careful who you sleep with: Study shows women carry the DNA of sexual partners


Bacon

New study finds underweight people more likely to develop dementia

New study finds a surprising link between body weight and dementia risk.
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© Getty Images
Underweight people are one-third more likely to develop dementia than those of a healthy weight, a new study finds.

It also found that very obese people are 30% less likely to develop dementia than those with a healthy weight.

This surprising conclusion comes from the largest ever study of middle-aged people's dementia risk and body weight.

The findings fly in the face of previous research suggesting a positive connection between obesity and dementia.

Professor Stuart Pocock, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who led the study, said:
"Our results suggest that doctors, public health scientists, and policy makers need to re-think how to best identify who is at high risk of dementia.

We also need to pay attention to the causes and public health consequences of the link between underweight and increased dementia risk which our research has established.

However, our results also open up an intriguing new avenue in the search for protective factors for dementia — if we can understand why people with a high BMI have a reduced risk of dementia, it's possible that further down the line, researchers might be able to use these insights to develop new treatments for dementia."
For the research data was analysed from nearly two million people.

Comment: Dementia is preventable and likely curable if a ketogenic diet is followed. See: