Health & Wellness


First Ebola victim in Sierra Leone capital on the run

health worker
© Reuters/Tommy Trenchard
A health worker with disinfectant spray walks down a street outside the government hospital in Kenema, July 10, 2014.
Sierra Leone officials appealed for help on Friday to trace the first known resident in the capital with Ebola whose family forcibly removed her from a Freetown hospital after testing positive for the deadly disease.

Radio stations in Freetown, a city of around 1 million inhabitants, broadcast the appeal on Friday to locate a woman who tested positive for the disease that has killed 660 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since an outbreak was first identified in February.

"Saudatu Koroma of 25 Old Railway Line, Brima Lane, Wellington," the announcement said. "She is a positive case and her being out there is a risk to all. We need the public to help us locate her."

Koroma, 32, a resident of the densely populated Wellington neighborhood, had been admitted to an isolation ward while blood samples were tested for the virus, Health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis. The results came back on Thursday.

Genetically engineered food: Is it toxic or just depleted of essential nutrients?

I read with interest the account of columnist Blythe Nilson about the anti-GMO cult assembly in Kelowna that did not allow dissent.

I cannot comment about the meeting itself since I did not attend, but Nilson glosses over the important parts and misses entirely the reasons why people are concerned about the safety of engineered food.

There are many promising developments in genetic engineering in agriculture, but none of them comes close to the success of RoundUp-Ready technology. Starting in 1996 with the first two engineered crops, corn and soybean engineered to survive being doused with the herbicide RoundUp, the spread of the technology has been nothing but revolutionary.

Comment: The author states, "There is considerable anecdotal evidence that our microbiome is damaged by such a diet." Read the following article for more evidence.

Are you inflamed over GMO foods?

It's important to understand that the glyphosate actually becomes systemic throughout the plant, so it cannot be washed off. It's inside the plant. And once you eat it, it ends up in your gut where it can wreak total havoc with your health, considering the fact that 80 percent of your immune system resides there and is dependent on a healthy ratio of good and bad bacteria.


Poland investigates suspected case of African swine fever in farm pigs

Polish local authorities said on Wednesday that preliminary tests have pointed to a case of African swine fever (ASF) among farm pigs in eastern Poland near the city of Bialystok.

The head of the Grodek county, Wieslaw Kulesza, told Reuters that preliminary results of tests showed that ASF was the cause of death of two-three farm pigs in the county.

"We are marking the area," Kulesza said, adding that further steps, such at laying special mats, were being taken.
Heart - Black

Health providers in UK severely underfund mental health care despite high rates of mental illness

mental health care
© AFP Photo / Jean-Philippe Ksiazek
Depression and anxiety care is woefully underfunded in parts of the UK it has been revealed, as many regional health providers were found to spend a fraction of their budget on treating these serious illnesses.

One in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorders according to the UK based Mental Health Foundation. With 400 cases per 100,000, the UK has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe.

On average, local health authorities across England spent 10 percent of their annual budgets on mental health services during 2013/14, despite research from the London School of Economics that shows that it accounted for 23 percent of the burden of disease.

NHS Surrey Health CCG is among the poorest performers, spending 6.55 percent of its budget on these services, despite 11.4 percent of people under its care requiring their help.

Is your food safe? Burger King, Starbucks, Japanese branches of McDonald's join China 'rotten food' scandal

Checkout at a Burger King in Japan
© Reuters / Michael Caronna
Chinese fast food restaurants have pulled meat products from their menus in response to a health scandal involving Husi Food Co Ltd
China's fast food scandal has spread to Burger King, Starbucks and the Japanese branches of McDonald's as the chains admit using rotten meat from a supplier in Shanghai.

On Tuesday, Starbucks said some of its cafes previously sold products containing chicken originally sourced from Shanghai supplier Husi Food Co Ltd, Reuters reports. Starbucks says it removed from shelves sandwiches made with chicken that originated at Husi.

McDonald's apologized on Monday to Chinese customers for apparently using rotten chicken and beef from Husi in its products, and has admitted that Japan branches have also sourced meat from the Shanghai company since 2002. The fast-food chain said it stopped selling chicken McNuggets supplied by Husi at more than 1,300 outlets across Japan.

Comment: Who can say how long this meat has been tainted? What about other suppliers?

Burger King and Pizza chain Papa John's have also stopped using the Husi meat products.

New study: Deadly 'superbug' is spreading in US hospitals

superbug CRE
CRE bacteria invades U.S. hospitals
Cases of the contagious and deadly "superbug" known as CRE increased five-fold in community hospitals from 2008 to 2012 in the Southeastern U.S., according to a new study.

And while the actual number of patients discovered was low - 305 - the worry is that CRE infections are under-reported and threaten health care facilities nationwide, said one of the report's authors. CRE is an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that usually strikes people in hospitals, nursing homes and other health centers.

"This is a wakeup call for hospitals on how to detect the disease," said Dr. Joshua Thaden, one of the leading authors for the study published in the August issue of the medical journal, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

"And the reason this is very serious is because of the high mortality rate (50 percent) of CRE," Thaden explained. "The fact that we're seeing an increase is concerning."The study was conducted at 25 community hospitals in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia from January 2008 through December 2012.

MRSA found in firehouses

Adding to the concern is a report published last month that found another superbug, MRSA, at firehouses in Washington state.

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health tested 33 firehouses for the presence of MRSA. The bug was found at 19 of those firehouses on ambulances, trucks and on kitchen surfaces.Twelve crews reported having at least one member who had gotten an infection requiring medical care. No deaths have been reported.

Comment: We are what we eat. Pay attention to those labels!


Mood, Food and Bipolar Disorder

How eating the right nutritious foods can help with mood swings and depression.

If you're one of the estimated 5.7 million U.S. adults dealing with bipolar disorder, you know the potent control it can have on your moods, energy and emotions. What you may not know is how much power you have to control it.

Thanks to an emerging science called epigenetics, researchers have learned that DNA is no longer destiny and that each of us has the ability to influence how our genes express themselves to the rest of the body. With healthy lifestyle choices and environmental changes, we can actually alter our own destiny.

For those with bipolar disorder, it's an empowering message: No longer are you a prisoner of your genetics, thought to play a key role in the disorder. And through healthier lifestyle choices, you may be able to decrease your reliance on medication to manage your illness, although this remains a critical part of the overall treatment equation. By taking a holistic and integrative lifestyle approach that includes the practice of mindfulness and stress reduction, using nutrition based on whole foods, and adding a more active lifestyle - what I like to call my Mind, Mouth and Muscle blueprint - you can reduce the effects of the bipolar condition and improve the quality of your life.

The movie: Cereal Killers

The persistent myth that dietary fat causes obesity and promotes heart disease has undoubtedly ruined the health of millions of people. It's difficult to know just how many people have succumbed to chronic poor health from following conventional low-fat, high-carb recommendations, but I'm sure the number is significant.

In the featured documentary, Cereal Killers, 41-year-old Donal O'Neill turns the American food pyramid upside-down - eliminating sugars and grains, and dramatically boosting his fat intake. In so doing, he improves his health to the point of reducing his hereditary risk factors for heart disease to nil.

Watching people's reactions to his diet brings home just how brainwashed we've all become when it comes to dietary fat. Most fear it. Yet they will consume sugar in amounts that virtually guarantee they'll suffer all the devastating health consequences they're trying to prevent by avoiding fat, and then some!

Comment: Learn more on WHY Saturated Fat is Good for You:

Alarm Clock

Chinese lock down city of 30,000 after man dies of Bubonic Plague

plague causing bacteria Y. pestis
© National Institutes of Health (NIH), via Wikimedia Commons
Scanning electron micrograph of plague causing bacteria Y. pestis
As a precautionary measure after a man died of bubonic plague last week, a small city in China is in lockdown and 151 individuals have been placed in quarantine, the Guardian reports.

According to China Central Television (CCTV), the 38-year-old man died from the disease last Wednesday which was likely the result of contact with a dead marmot, a large ground squirrel usually found in mountainous areas.

In an attempt to prevent further cases, CCTV said that the 30,000 residents of Yumen, located in the north-western province of Gansu, are not allowed to leave and police have set up roadblocks around the city in order to prevent motorists from entering. Furthermore, four quarantine sectors have been set up in the city for individuals that have been in contact with the man that died, but so far no other cases have been reported.

"The city has enough rice, flour and oil to supply all its residents for up to one month," CCTV said. "Local residents and those in quarantine are all in stable condition."

Comment: New Light on the Black Death The Cosmic Connection


Two-thirds of UK chickens contaminated with potentially lethal bacteria - major supermarkets launch inquiries

© Reuters / Srdjan Zivulovic
Two-thirds of fresh retail chicken in the UK could be contaminated with potentially lethal bacteria.
A Guardian investigation has revealed alleged widespread hygiene failings in Britain's poultry industry, prompting three major UK supermarkets to launch emergency inquiries into their chicken suppliers.

Undercover film footage, photographic evidence, and allegations from whistleblowers indicate the UK's strict hygiene standards to avoid the contamination of chicken by a potentially lethal "campylobacter" bug can be easily flouted on British factory floors and farms.

In the last month, an array of hygiene breaches were uncovered that could contribute to the spread of this dangerous bug - including a factory floor littered with chicken guts and instances of chicken carcasses being ferried to factory production lines by workers' footwear. Other worrying practices concerning the processing of retail chicken and increased risks of contamination were also revealed by the investigation.

Comment: Whether it's the FSA or the FDA, they're both so far into the pockets of big business you couldn't pry them out with a greased crowbar. Buy local whenever possible.