Health & Wellness
The highway of poisoned products that runs from China to the United States is not a one-way street. America ships China up to 80 percent of U.S. electronic waste - discarded computers, cell phones, TVs, etc. Last year alone, the United States exported enough e-waste to cover a football field and rise a mile into the sky.
So while the media ride their new lead-painted hobbyhorse - the danger of Chinese wares - spare a thought for Chinese workers dying to dispose of millions of tons of our toxic crap.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the hippocampus has been extensively studied on neurological and psychiatric disorders. Particularly in studies on schizophrenia and mood disorders, findings regarding the hippocampal involvement have been most controversial. Previously, minor volume loss of the hippocampus in alcoholism, a major comorbidity alongside psychiatric disorders, has been reported.
No data has existed on the hippocampal volumes in subtypes of alcoholism, despite the need and interest to further identify and study subgroups of alcoholics with psychiatric and behavioral syndromes that occur outside and within the context of their abuse. In this case, the distinction was drawn to alcoholism with and without antisocial and violent behavior.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer. Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness: Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.
Fri, 04 Jan 2008 18:38 CST
The switch to energy-saving light bulbs may put thousands at risk of painful skin reactions, health charities warn.
Terry J. AllenAlterNet
Thu, 03 Jan 2008 18:01 CST
The drug industry spends billion on advertising that tells us health and happiness are commodities, and anything less is a disease.
Jane's family is suffering from plagues of biblical-lite proportions. Her teenage son is unruly and easily distracted. Her daughter has menstrual cramps, is 12 pounds overweight and shy. Her husband sleeps fitfully and has occasional heartburn and irregularity -- not to mention that his libido is falling and his cholesterol rising. As for Jane, her menopause generates more heat than a blowtorch. Her knees twinge, her breasts are less perky and her jaw line more blurred. Her personality is flat and her legs restless. All of them are less happy than they think they should be.
Although there is a diagnosis, pill or surgical treatment for each of their ills, the family members could simply be suffering from exposure to advertising that sells a fantasy of flawless health, perfect skin, clockwork bowels, extended youth and perpetual cheerfulness in the face of disappointment, aging, money woes and the reign of George Bush. They may, in fact, be healthy people snookered by the pharmaceutical industry, the media and their doctors into believing that ordinary frailties are diseases; that the human condition can be cured.
A $4.2 billion annual industry incessantly reinforces this medicalization of complaints through direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising.
Fri, 04 Jan 2008 16:13 CST
New TAU research links depression to loss of the sense of smell, suggesting that the blues may have biological roots.
Can't smell the roses? Maybe you're depressed. Smell too much like a rose yourself? Maybe you've got the same problem. Scientists from Tel Aviv University recently linked depression to a biological mechanism that affects the olfactory glands. It might explain why some women, without realizing it, wear too much perfume.
Placebos are a surprisingly common prescription, according to a US study in which nearly half of the doctors surveyed said they had doled out a dummy pill at some point.
Researchers at the University of Chicago said yesterday that the study raises ethical questions and suggests a need for greater recognition and understanding of placebo use.
"It illustrates that doctors believe expectation and belief have therapeutic potential," said Rachel Sherman, a medical student at the University of Chicago, whose study was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Many people pay silly money to wear a particular logo or a designer brand. Of course, a designer outfit doesn't keep you any warmer or dryer than an unbranded one, but functionality is only part of the story. Designer products say something about you - you are a trendy, sexy or sophisticated person. Brands help us to express who we think we are and who we want to be.
Big name brands are an integral part of our lives, says Davide Ravasi, associate professor in the Institute of Strategic Management of Bocconi University, Italy. Whether its Levi jeans, BMW cars or Nokia phones, we know the brands we like. These are more than products; they are symbols, or in other words, they are objects carrying meaning.
In a recent ESF Exploratory Workshop convened by Ravasi, scholars of various disciplines within the social sciences discussed how symbolic attributes of products affect their adoption and evolution.
The Dream Robbers
What happens when a rat stops dreaming? In 2004, researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison decided to find out. Their method was simple, if a bit devilish. Step 1: Strand a rat in a tub of water. In the center of this tiny sea, allot the creature its own little desert island in the form of an inverted flowerpot. The rat can swim around as much as it pleases, but come nightfall, if it wants any sleep, it has to clamber up and stretch itself across the flowerpot, its belly sagging over the drainage hole.
In this uncomfortable position, the rat is able to rest and eventually fall asleep. But as soon as the animal hits REM sleep, the muscular paralysis that accompanies this stage of vivid dreaming causes its body to slacken. The rat slips through the hole and gets dunked in the water. The surprised rat is then free to crawl back onto the pot, lick the drops off its paws, and go back to sleep - but it won't get any REM sleep.
The growth in relative materialism over the past 20 years is taking a heavy toll on the wellbeing of English-speaking nations
By far the most significant consequence of "selfish capitalism" (Thatch/Blatcherism) has been a startling increase in the incidence of mental illness in both children and adults since the 1970s. As I report in my book, The Selfish Capitalist - Origins of Affluenza, World Health Organisation and nationally representative studies in the United States, Britain and Australia, reveal that it almost doubled between the early 80s and the turn of the century. These increases are very unlikely to be due to greater preparedness to acknowledge distress - the psychobabbling therapy culture was already established.
Add to this the astonishing fact that citizens of Selfish Capitalist, English-speaking nations (which tend to be one and the same) are twice as likely to suffer mental illness as those from mainland western Europe, which is largely Unselfish Capitalist in its political economy. An average 23% of Americans, Britons, Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians suffered in the last 12 months, but only 11.5% of Germans, Italians, French, Belgians, Spaniards and Dutch. The message could not be clearer. Selfish Capitalism, much more than genes, is extremely bad for your mental health. But why is it so toxic?