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Wed, 10 Feb 2016
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Health & Wellness


Insect Repellent DEET is Toxic to Brain Cells

If you insist on using chemical laden insect repellents containing DEET, you may be getting more than you bargained for -- including damage to your central nervous system. In fact, scientists writing in the open access journal BMC Biology don't just say that more studies should be done to confirm DEET's potential neurotoxicity to humans. The researchers are calling for more investigations of the chemical to be conducted on an urgent basis. The reason? They suspect that the potential brain cell damaging effects of DEET could be particularly harmful if used in combination with other neurotoxic insecticides. And that's exactly the way DEET is normally used in products applied to both adults and kids in order to prevent mosquito bites.

French scientists Vincent Corbel from the Institut de Recherche pour le Developement in Montpellier and Bruno Lapied from the University of Angers headed a team of researchers who studied the mode of action and toxicity of DEET, also known by the chemical name N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide. "We've found that DEET is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical but also inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetycholinesterase, in both insects and mammals," Corbel said in a statement to the media.

DEET has been in use since its discover in l953 and is now the most common ingredient found in insect repellent preparations. It is primarily hyped as a way to keep mosquitoes at bay and doctors and insect repellant manufacturers promote DEET's use through scare tactics, suggesting you are likely to get West Nile fever from mosquito bites unless you use the chemical.


Over-the-counter painkillers 'can cause addiction within three days'

© Paul Grover
Advertising will no longer state that the drugs are remedies for things like coughs and colds and only that they are acute and moderate pain
Over-the-counter painkillers taken by millions can cause addiction in just three days, the Government's drug watchdog has said.

The pills, which contain codeine, include brand names such as Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine Plus. They are sold without prescription and are routinely used to ease headaches, back problems and period pain.

Official figures show that tens of thousands of people have become dependent on the drugs, many accidentally, with women more likely to develop a habit.


Tick-Borne Illnesses Have Nantucket Considering Some Deer-Based Solutions


Dr. Timothy Lepore, a tick expert and Nantucket’s surgeon, removes ticks from deer that hunters have killed and sends them to researchers who test them for diseases.
Nantucket, Massachusetts - In the annals of animals linked to human disease, there is surely a place for Old Buck of Nantucket.

Spotted in 1922 deer-paddling in the ocean, he was scooped up by a fishing sloop and brought to Nantucket, an island then without a single deer. And since the animal, nicknamed Old Buck, was single, Nantucket took pity on him. With help from a summer resident, a diplomat who had helped create the League of Nations, two does were imported from Michigan in 1926, greeted at the wharf by a cheering crowd.

Nantucket became so sweet on its deer that when Old Buck was killed by a car in 1932, a newspaper editorialized: "he deserved to live to a good old age, that he might see his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and a lot more grand progeny, thrive happily in the swamps and moors of Nantucket."


How to read food labels: What you read is NOT what you get


Men lose their minds speaking to pretty women

© Getty
The research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an attractive woman perform less well in tests designed to measure brain function than those who chat to someone they do not find attractive
Talking to an attractive woman really can make a man lose his mind, according to a new study.

The research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an attractive woman perform less well in tests designed to measure brain function than those who chat to someone they do not find attractive.

Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or 'cognitive resources' trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks.

The findings have implications for the performance of men who flirt with women in the workplace, or even exam results in mixed-sex schools.

Evil Rays

Approaching Epidemic: Brain Damage from Mobile Phone Radiation

© Unknown
A collaborative team of international EMF activists has released a report detailing eleven design flaws of the 13-country, Telecom-funded Interphone study.

The exposé discusses research on cell phones and brain tumors, concluding that:

  • There is a risk of brain tumors from cell phone use
  • Telecom funded studies underestimate the risk of brain tumors
  • Children have larger risks than adults for brain tumors

The Interphone study, begun in 1999, was intended to determine the risks of brain tumors, but its full publication has been held up for years. Components of this study published to date reveal what the authors call a 'systemic-skew', greatly underestimating brain tumor risk.

The design flaws include categorizing subjects who used portable phones (which emit the same microwave radiation as cell phones,) as 'unexposed'; exclusion of many types of brain tumors; exclusion of people who had died, or were too ill to be interviewed as a consequence of their brain tumor; and exclusion of children and young adults, who are more vulnerable.


Believing is Seeing

Folk wisdom usually has it that "seeing is believing," but new research suggests that "believing is seeing," too - at least when it comes to perceiving other people's emotions.

An international team of psychologists from the United States, New Zealand and France has found that the way we initially think about the emotions of others biases our subsequent perception (and memory) of their facial expressions. So once we interpret an ambiguous or neutral look as angry or happy, we later remember and actually see it as such.

The study, published in the September issue of the journal Psychological Science, "addresses the age-old question: 'Do we see reality as it is, or is what we see influenced by our preconceptions?'" said coauthor Piotr Winkielman, professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego. "Our findings indicate that what we think has a noticeable effect on our perceptions."


New Research Maps Brain and Gene Function in Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder

Mount Sinai researchers have found that real-time brain imaging suggests that patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are physically unable to activate neurological networks that can help regulate emotion. The findings, by Harold W. Koenigsberg, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, were presented at the 11th International Congress of the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders (ISSPD), held August 2123 at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. The research will also be published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Dr. Koenigsberg observed how the brains of people with BPD reacted to social and emotional stimuli. He found that when people with BPD attempted to control and reduce their reactions to disturbing emotional scenes, the anterior cingulated cortex and intraparetical sulci areas of the brain that are active in healthy people under the same conditions remained inactive in the BPD patients.


"It's the Vaccines Stupid!"

Part I: Evidence Linking Autism Rise in Children to Vaccinations

The WHO and US Government CDC are escalating a public psychological conditioning to create hysteria and panic among an uninformed public about an alleged "virus" H1N1 Influenza A, aka Swine Flu, whose alleged effects to date appear comparable with a common cold. Before people line up in the streets demanding their vaccinations for their children and themselves, it would be wise to remember, to paraphrase a 1992 campaign statement of Bill Clinton to George H.W. Bush: "It's the vaccination, Stupid!"


Anger uncorked at bottle maker Sigg over BPA


This undated file photo shows the aluminum water bottles by SIGG, a Swiss company.
Sigg bottles are leaving Katy Farber with a bitter taste.

Like countless other eco-conscious consumers, the Middlesex, Vermont, teacher and blogger switched to the aluminum bottles for her two young girls because of bisphenol-A, or BPA, a substance commonly used to harden plastic that has raised health concerns and bedeviled buyers of plastic bottles.

Now this shocker from Sigg Switzerland: Bottles made by the company before August 2008 had "trace amounts" of BPA in the epoxy liners. Sigg officials knew it since June 2006, but didn't announce it until last month.