Health & Wellness


Deadly 'kissing bug' reported in 28 U.S. states, spreading parasite linked to Chagas disease

© Charles Hedgecock/AP
Here's another reason to stay in New York this holiday season — the "kissing bug" has now spread to 28 states.

Texas is the latest to report an outbreak of infections from the Latin American triatomine bug after the pest had been spotted in other southern and western states, including Georgia, Alabama and California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The creepy crawler resembling a cockroach gets its colorful nickname because it likes to bite around the lips and eyes of people when they are asleep. More than half of the bugs carry a parasite that can cause Chagas disease in humans, dogs and other mammals.

The good news? To actually pass on the disease, the bug not only needs to bite you, but then defecate into the gash. If left untreated, up to 30% of bite victims will develop chronic conditions such as difficulty breathing, heart and intestinal complications, and, in extreme cases, death.

There have been eight million cases in Latin America and South America because of poorly constructed rural homes, according to the CDC.

To prevent an outbreak, the CDC recommends:
Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors.

Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house.

Comment: Living in a toxic world: Iodine to the rescue


Who's saying no to GMO Salmon?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) controversial approval of AquaBounty's genetically modified (GMO) salmon has garnered further backlash from national grocery stores and restaurant chains.

Costco, the second largest retailer in the world with 487 stores and one of the largest retailers of salmon and seafood in the U.S., has made a firm commitment not to sell GMO salmon.


Stimulant drugs for ADHD may worsen inattention by impairing sleep

Taking stimulant medications may decrease quantity and quality of sleep for kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to an analysis of existing studies.

"Some researchers note that stimulants may improve sleep, because they reduce bedtime-resistant behaviors," said lead author Katherine M. Kidwell, a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska.

"However, our study shows that stimulant medications impair sleep in children," Kidwell told Reuters Health by email.

Her team reviewed nine studies of children or teens with ADHD who were randomly assigned to receive stimulant medication or not. All of the studies used objective measures of sleep.

The results of the individual studies sometimes contradicted each other, but in general, kids on stimulant medications took longer to fall asleep than others, and that time lengthened as the number of doses per day increased.

Comment: Some doctors argue that the ADHD is an extremely questionable "disorder", and possibly a fraud intended to justify starting children on a life of drug addiction. Studies have shown that often diet may play a large part in creating the behaviors that are being labeled as ADHD and that in some cases, ADHD may be an allergic or hypersensitive disorder that gets triggered due to use of artificial colors in food.


Natural flavors are more like natural disasters!

Although seeing the world "natural" might put your mind at ease, natural flavors are more like natural disasters.

Comment: See more:


Plants cure cancer, not chemicals

Unbeknownst to most, a Copernican revolution has already taken place in cancer theory. Today, the weight of evidence indicates that plants and not chemicals are the solution for reversing the global cancer epidemic.

Our understanding of what causes cancer has undergone something akin to a Copernican revolution in the past decade. Biological fatalism has been the predominant force in medicine over the past half century, where most conditions including cancer were believed predestined 'in the genes,' and therefore impossible to reverse. Instead of looking for root cause resolution of disease (RCRD), we resigned ourselves to 'finding it early' and in the case of cancer, when doing so (even when it was benign), we waged war against it, quite literally using weapons grade materials (mustard gas- and nuclear materials-derived agents). Now, however, in this post-Genomic era, factors above (epi-) the control of the genes - epigenetic factors - are taking center stage; these include environmental exposures, stress, nutritional factors, and various lifestyle-based variables that are within the ambit of our control and volition, and which are often reversible.


The Health and Wellness Show - The Importance of Sleep

We spend one third of our lives in a state of sleep, yet the reason we do so is still illusive.

Despite its clear importance, sleep seems to be one of the first things we sacrifice when the going gets tough.

Are you sleeping properly? Are our modern habits interfering with this essential life process?

How can we maximize the benefits of sleep to insure greater health and vitality?

All these topics and more will be discussed in today's Health and Wellness show. Also included will be Zoya's Pet Health segment.

Here's the transcipt of the show:


Attacking ourselves: Doctors reveal how vaccines turn our immune system against us

The research is hard to ignore, vaccines can trigger autoimmunity with a laundry list of diseases to follow. With harmful and toxic metals as some vaccine ingredients, who is susceptible and which individuals are more at risk?

No one would accuse Yehuda Shoenfeld of being a quack. The Israeli clinician has spent more than three decades studying the human immune system and is at the pinnacle of his profession. You might say he is more foundation than fringe in his specialty; he wrote the textbooks. The Mosaic of Autoimmunity, Autoantibodies, Diagnostic Criteria in Autoimmune Diseases, Infection and Autoimmunity, Cancer and Autoimmunity - the list is 25 titles long and some of them are cornerstones of clinical practice. Hardly surprising that Shoenfeld has been called the "Godfather of Autoimmunology" - the study of the immune system turned on itself in a wide array of diseases from type 1 diabetes to ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis.


Zika virus: Public health alerts in South America and Caribbean as fears illness may cause birth deformities

© Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
The Aedes mosquito can spread Zika virus in addition to dengue fever and chikungunya virus. The virus was first spotted in the Americas in 2014.

Doctors believe the illness may be linked to a rise in cases of microcephaly in infants

A virus believed to cause under-developed brains and skulls in newborn babies has sparked a public health emergency in Brazil and the Caribbean.

The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease similar to dengue fever, was first identified on Easter Island, Chile in February last year and has since spread to Brazil, Columbia and the Caribbean.

On Monday, the Caribbean Public Health Agency confirmed five cases of the Zika virus in a territory of the Caribbean Community, according to Liverostrum News Agency.

The territory where the cases were confirmed has not been revealed.

Reports say the disease surveillance system operated by one of the community's members, Grenada, has since been heightened and health officials are on alert.

Doctors are now investigating whether the virus could be linked to a rise in cases of microcephaly in infants, after the Brazilian health ministry confirmed nearly 400 cases of newborns with abnormally small heads in an infected region of north-east Brazil, according to the Telegraph.

Comment: See also: Zika who? Costa Rica on alert following first confirmed cases of the virus in the Americas

Top Secret

Drug advertising & the FDA: Hear no evil, see no evil

In 1997, the FDA decided to relax the guidelines pertaining to televised pharmaceutical ads. In the following years, direct-to-consumer ads took off from a $12 million dollar business to a $4.1 billion dollar business by 2006. In 2011, it was estimated that 1 billion per year was being spent.

The amount of money spent is a boon to the television stations and one of the reasons mainstream news media often buries news that is unfavorable to pharmaceutical companies. They don't want to bite the hand that feeds them.

Aside from obvious corruption, the naiveté of the American people regarding pharmaceutical companies is astounding. Although some reports of the pharmaceutical companies' flagrant disregard for human lives are publicized and stories of them being fined billions of dollars for civil and criminal activities should concern us, somehow we don't connect the dots. The same company that may have been fined billions for corruption regarding another drug also makes vaccines, but we are told vaccines are safe and, therefore, believe what we want to hear.

Comment: Hopefully the recent article Breaking Big Pharma: Doctors call for immediate drug advertising ban will help consumers look at drugs more critically and demand full information before they succumb to Big Pharma drugs with serious side effects!
During a recent vote at the annual meeting in Atlanta, the nation's American Medical Association decided that they were going to call for a ban on consumer drug commercials in magazines and television commercials.

This vote "reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris in a statement announcing the votes result. "Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate."

Alarm Clock

Broken sleep


Karen Emsile is a Scottish writer, artist and photographer. She has been car-jacked in Barcelona, lost in the Alps, and harassed by fake police in Cuba, but still loves the adventurer’s life. She is based in Spain.
It is 4.18am. In the fireplace, where logs burned, there are now orange lumps that will soon be ash. Orion the Hunter is above the hill. Taurus, a sparkling V, is directly overhead, pointing to the Seven Sisters. Sirius, one of Orion's heel dogs, is pumping red-blue-violet, like a galactic disco ball. As the night moves on, the old dog will set into the hill.

It is 4.18am and I am awake. Such early waking is often viewed as a disorder, a glitch in the body's natural rhythm - a sign of depression or anxiety. It is true that when I wake at 4am I have a whirring mind. And, even though I am a happy person, if I lie in the dark my thoughts veer towards worry. I have found it better to get up than to lie in bed teetering on the edge of nocturnal lunacy.