Health & Wellness


Deadly Vibrio infections at 10 year high in US coastal areas

Vibrio infection
© Bibas Reddy, DO, MPH, Hugh Durham, MD, and Sandra A. Kemmerly, MD.
This erythematous, violaceous lesion with a central abrasion and serous drainage developed after a man scratched his right forearm while he was removing crabs from a trap. Culture revealed Vibrio vulnificus. The infection completely resolved following appropriate antibiotic therapy
For years the Maryland Department of Environment has issued warnings about the deadly pathogen vibrio vulnificus, but infections are now at a 10-year high.

The bacteria "are found naturally in coastal areas" especially from May to October and "are not a result of pollution." Vibrio can infect the skin through an open wound. Two strains of the disease, vulnificus and parahaemolyticus, can be contracted by eating raw or undercooked seafood.

"I've grown up on the bay my whole life, and I'm 66," Rodney Donald told the Washington Post from his hospital bed at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Donald nearly lost his leg to vibrio.

"I'd never even heard about it," he said.

Vibrio infections in Maryland are up to 57 in 2013, compared to 25 in 2002, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Six cases were reported this year. The Calvert County Health Department reported five infections around the Chesapeake Bay this summer.

An open letter to angry vegetarians

About once a week I get an email or comment from the Animal Rights contingent. It is expected and usually I do not engage. I need to remember that when I published my first book I was a vegetarian raising a few laying hens and pet rabbits. Readers who knew me as the 25-year-old girl they read about (at the time just farm-curious and toying with the idea of homesteading) meet a very differnet woman on my current blog. To read that book and then pop into a blog where just seven years later that same vegetarian is raising hogs, lambs, and poultry for meat is unsettling and shocking to some readers. And so I get these notes from what I call the Angry Vegetarians. The folks who feel personally betrayed, not just for my change of diet but my change in ideas. Yesterday I was called a murderer. I've been called that many times, and in some emails, that is the nicest part of the correspondence.

The following is a letter to that Angry Vegetarian and to any others who may feel the same way. But before you read it please understand that this letter is not directed at the vegetarian diet in general. I have no qualms with it, at all. Millions of people avoid meat for religious, health-related, or various reasons of preference. This letter is not directed at them. This is a letter for the angry folks who think not eating meat makes them morally superior to those of us who do.

Dear A.V. Club,

I recently received your note, the one that accused me of being a murderer. I understand why you are angry and I applaud your compassion. I understand because I was a vegetarian for nearly a decade, the same breed as yourself actually. Meaning; I chose the diet because of a love for animals, passion for conservation, and concern for our diminishing global resources. Avoiding meat seemed to be a kinder, gentler, and more ecological choice. I supported PETA. I had ads in Vegan magazines for my design website. I am no longer a vegetarian and do raise animals on my small farm for the table, but we have more in common than you may realize.

Comment: For more information, listen to SOTT Talk Radio: Dissecting the Vegetarian Myth - Interview with Lierre Keith.
The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won't save us. The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems. The truth is also that life isn't possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you. [...] The reality is that agriculture has created a net loss for human rights and culture: slavery, imperialism, militarism, class divisions, chronic hunger, and disease.[...]

Agriculture is more like a war than anything else, an all-out attack on the processes that make life possible [...] Agriculture is carnivorous: what it eats is ecosystems, and it swallows them whole. -Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth.


Russia sues McDonald's, questioning quality of the food

The McDonald's cheeseburger will have its day in court.

Russia's consumer protection agency has filed a claim accusing the restaurant chain of violating government nutritional and safety codes in a number of its burger and ice cream products, a Moscow court announced Friday.

The suit could temporarily ban the production and sale of the chain's ice cream, milkshakes, cheeseburgers, and Filet-o-Fish and chicken sandwiches, said Yekaterina Korotova, a spokeswoman for Moscow's Tverskoi District Court, where the case will be heard.

"We have identified violations which put the product quality and safety of the entire McDonald's chain in doubt," Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia's consumer protection agency, said in statements reported by the Interfax news agency.

Comment: Considering the harmful ingredients in McDonald's products, one of many examples being their chemical-loaded hamburger, and their toxic effects on our health, it is only sensible that Russia's consumer protection agency files a claim against this 'restaurant'. If only more protection agencies in other countries would follow...


Big Pharma research of cancer drug helps to understand why sleeping in complete darkness is essential

Researchers have unveiled that sleeping in a bedroom with even low levels of light could stop breast cancer drugs from working.

Scientists at the Tulane University School of Medicine in the United States have found that light exposure could affect sleep hormones and consequently alter cancer cell function.

Animal study reveals that light plays significant role in making toumors become resistant to the widely used cancer medicine, Tamoxifen, according to the report published in the journalCancer Research.

While the light affects body clock and sleep hormones, it can cut Tamoxifen's working through violating hormones' functions.

The medicine stops the female hormone oestrogen fuelling the growth of tumors although the cancerous cells may eventually become resistant to the drug.

First Ebola case reported in Lagos, world's fourth most populous city

Death marks new and alarming cross-border development in world's biggest epidemic spreading across three countries.
Ebola workers
© Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images
Lagos authorities said they had requested the flight's manifest to contact the other passengers, and began distributing protective clothing to health workers.
A man has died of ebola in Lagos, the first confirmed case of the highly contagious and deadly virus in Africa's most populous metropolis.

Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian civil servant, collapsed on arrival in Nigeria's main airport on Sunday, health officials said. His condition rapidly deteriorated before he died, said Abdulsalami Nasidi, project director at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, who attributed his death to ebola.

Officials at the World Health Organisation confirmed a sample from Nigeria was being tested for ebola, but did not confirm the results.

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.