Health & Wellness


Tango your way to better health

© Allen McInnis/Montreal Gazette
Norma Di Maulo, 61, and Cam Cornier improve their balance, posture and co-ordination by taking tango lessons.
Looks like 82-year-old Cloris Leachman, a favourite cast member of this season's Dancing with the Stars, is on to something.

According to a study led by Patricia McKinley of McGill University's school of physical and occupational therapy, dance is beneficial for seniors.

McKinley's research focused on Argentine tango, a style born in Buenos Aires and known for its long, deliberate steps, outstretched arms and close contact between partners.

"I started doing tango myself after (age) 50, and I realized that the exercises I did in learning tango would be perfect for seniors who need to improve balance," said McKinley.

Anxious to test her theory, McKinley recruited 30 people between the ages of 62 and 91 who took either a tango class or went walking twice a week for 10 weeks. At the end of Week 10, the tango group outperformed the walking group in all measures of balance, posture, motor co-ordination and cognition.


Aspirin Doesn't Guard Diabetics Against Heart Disease

Two large studies released Sunday cast doubt on the cardiac benefits of either low-dose aspirin or vitamin supplements.

First, Japanese researchers found that low-dose aspirin did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in people with type 2 diabetes.

Second, Harvard researchers concluded that neither vitamin E nor vitamin C reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events in a group of low-risk, middle-aged male physicians.

People with diabetes are at a much higher risk for cardiovascular events, and the American Diabetes Association recommends the use of aspirin as a primary prevention measure. However, there is scant evidence to support the recommendations, said researchers from Kumamoto University in Japan.


Researchers create 'miniature brain' from stem cells

Researchers in Japan say they have created functioning human brain tissue from stem cells for the first time.

They say it should be possible to use the tissue to test brain therapies and drugs.

One of the researchers Yoshiki Sasai from the Riken Research Centre of Kobe says scientists also hope to be able to replace damaged parts of human brains in the future.

"This is made from human stem cells called ES cells and we culture them in special conditions for about 50 days and then they grow into a two-millimetre small mushroom type of structure," he said.


Child brain tumour breakthrough

A breakthrough by scientists could help cure deadly child brain tumours, a new study has claimed.

Researchers have for the first time pinpointed a rearrangement of DNA present in around two-thirds of all cases of the most common brain tumours in five to 19 year olds.

Described as a "significant discovery", the research published in Cancer Research - the journal of the American Association of Cancer Research - could provide leads for creating better treatments and make diagnosis of the disease more accurate.

Professor Peter Collins, who led the research at Cambridge University, said: "If we can diagnose exactly which type of brain tumour a child has as early as possible, the tumour is more likely to be treated successfully. We also hope the findings will mean it is possible to create therapies in the future that block the activity of the fusion gene and halt the growth of tumour cells."


Biogen Says Brain Illness Found in Tysabri Patient

Biogen Idec Inc. said a patient taking its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain illness, the third case reported since July.

The report sent shares down as much as $6.94, or 17 percent, to $35 in extending trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The patient was diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, after 14 Tysabri infusions, Biogen of Cambridge, Massachusetts said today in a regulatory filing.

Biogen and its marketing partner, Irish drugmaker Elan Corp., said in August they were revising Tysabri's prescribing information to show the rare brain infection may occur in patients taking the drug as a sole treatment. Two cases of Tysabri patients with PML, which has no cure, were reported on July 31, the first since the drug was reintroduced in the U.S. in 2006. The companies pulled Tysabri from the market in February 2005 after three patients, two of whom died, contracted the illness.

Comment: It is alarming to note that even though this drug has caused brain illnesses and even death, it remains available for use by the FDA.

But when alternative medicine even mentions the use of vitamin/mineral supplements, whole foods, and herbs and spices to help people with health issues, they are threatened, harassed, attacked and ruined by the FDA. The same people who are allowing, and even encouraging, death by medicine.

Evil Rays

Angry Neighbors Voice Concerns About Cell Phone Towers

Neighbors worried about cell phone antenna radiation and angry at city officials who have allowed it in their neighborhoods poured out their frustrations at the Berkeley Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday night.

Planning commissioners listened, questioned, then decided to hold off on any decision for another two weeks - in part because of a recent federal appellate court ruling.

But whatever the commission decides, Deputy Planning Director Wendy Cosin said she is obliged to make a recommendation to the City Council in January.

Cell Phone

Conflicting studies on possible health threats send mixed signals to cell phone users

© Associated Press
Is this a healthy habit? College students talk away at the University of Cincinnati.
We clip them to our belts or slip them in our pockets, manically text until our thumbs require medical attention, and are ditching the landline for them at a steady pace.

Statistically speaking, it's almost impossible to escape them.

With 262 million American wireless subscribers, we're very close to a cell phone democracy.

Almost 80 percent of American teens have a mobile device, mostly provided by a parent with safety in mind.

But are they safe?

Two recently released studies, a large one from Sweden of the long-term risk of brain cancer from cell phone use and a pilot study from a Cleveland Clinic fertility specialist, suggest they are not.

Comment: Don't forget just who funds most research projects and that if the analysis doesn't fit the agenda, then the funds dry up and researchers are without a job.

Also, the FDA, WHO and the American Cancer Society are not interested in the truth nor your wellbeing, but in lining their own pockets as well as keeping the corporate elite/pharmaceutical giants rich and happy. The sicker you are, the richer they become.

Better Earth

Tyson Foods Injects Chickens with Antibiotics Before They Hatch to Claim "Raised without Antibiotics"

Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat processor and the second largest chicken producer in the United States, has admitted that it injects its chickens with antibiotics before they hatch, but labels them as raised without antibiotics anyway. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) told Tyson to stop using the antibiotic-free label. The company has sued over its right to keep using it.

The controversy over Tyson's antibiotic-free label began in summer 2007, when the company began a massive advertising campaign to tout its chicken as "raised without antibiotics." Already, Tyson has spent tens of millions of dollars this year to date in continuing this campaign.

Poultry farmers regularly treat chickens and other birds with antibiotics to prevent the development of intestinal infections that might reduce the weight (and profitability) of the birds. Yet scientists have become increasingly concerned that the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture may accelerate the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could lead to a pandemic or other health crisis.

Better Earth

Cities, States Questioning Wisdom of Adding Fluoride Chemicals to Public Water Supplies

Grand Rapids, Mich. has become the most recent city to question the practice of fluoridating public water, as part of a growing tendency for local governments to question the use of many chemicals that formerly been taken for granted.

"I think this pattern has been growing because there is better environmental health research that draws connections between low levels of chemical exposure and changes in our bodies," said Dr. Howard Hu of the University of Michigan. "As the research has become more sophisticated, it shows that environmental toxicants can do other things beyond just kill you: they can stunt your growth, change behavior and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease."

Grand Rapids was the first city in the world to fluoride its public water supply, based on assurances from the government that the chemical reduces the risk of tooth decay while posing no serious risks. But based on a number of studies linking fluoride to problems with the thyroid, kidneys, central nervous system and skeletal system - including cancers - the city's director of environmental sustainability, Corky Overmyer, has ordered a new review of the scientific evidence concerning the risks and benefits of the chemical.


Narcissists Tend to Become Leaders

Narcissists like to be in charge, so it stands to reason that a new study shows individuals who are overconfident about their abilities are most likely to step in as leaders, be they politicians or power brokers.

However, their initiative doesn't mean they are the best leaders. The study also found narcissists don't outperform others in leadership roles.

Narcissists tend to be egotistical types who exaggerate their talents and abilities, and lack empathy for others. The researchers stress that narcissism is not the same as high self-esteem.