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Mon, 24 Jul 2017
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Health & Wellness

Life Preserver

The future of healing with food? MicroRNAs from plants

Chinese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
New research is exploding into scientific journals detailing exciting ways in which foods interact with the expression of our genes. In fact, there is a whole new field of study known as "nutrigenomics" researching the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression.

Recently, there have been major development in nutrigenomics that opens the possibility that successfully preventing and treating many diseases may be as simple as administering vegetables and medicinal herbs to deliver specific factors known as microRNAs.

Comment: Eating Plants May Change Our Cells
"The finding is obviously very thought-provoking," Zhang said. "It would indicate that in addition to eating 'materials' (in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, etc.), you are also eating 'information.'"


Spicy foods and hiccups -- what's the connection?

I love spicy foods and enjoy the benefits of the spicy chemical in peppers - capsaicin - that may improve health. Chili peppers, one of the main sources of capsaicin, are a staple in diets of Central America, Asia and India. Even in the U.S. there are many who believe "the spicier the better."

One recent food industry report found the number of people who enjoy spicy foods is growing, up to 54 percent from 46 percent in 2009.1,2 The same report found those between 18 and 34 were the most likely to order spicy food from a restaurant menu. Interestingly, the heat you experience from the chili pepper is a protection for the plant, designed to make you not want to eat them.

As far as scientists know, humans are the only animal who willingly chooses to eat chili peppers.3 On some level you may have learned to tolerate the heat, and may even crave the peppers. This ability to desensitize to the heat in peppers is well-documented, but other studies also demonstrate it may not play as large a role in your desire for spicy peppers as once thought.4

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University dug further and discovered people who enjoyed hot peppers also enjoyed sensation-seeking, including activities like riding roller coasters or exploring. Interestingly, individuals who enjoyed the peppers didn't feel any less heat from the capsaicin than those who didn't enjoy hot foods. In other words, this study group didn't demonstrate desensitization to the peppers.

Your preference for spicy foods may be determined by not only your personality type, but also your genetics.5 Using identical and non-identical twins from Finland, researchers evaluated their responses to capsaicin-laced jelly. Genetic factors accounted for a wide range in variation between people who perceived the spicy jelly as pleasant or unpleasant. Those who did find the experience pleasant shared a genetic variance.


Canadian study provides more evidence that cancer is a lifestyle disease largely caused by food

Shockingly, worldwide cancer rates are predicted to rise even further, and that by the year 2020, 1-in-2 women and 1-in-3 men will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. It is so common already, in fact, that it getting cancer is more common than getting married or having a first baby.

The cancer industrial complex is negligent in warning people who chemotherapy is now known to actually make some cancers spread and make some tumors more aggressive. Government and its myriad regulatory agencies work diligently to prevent access to natural or alternative cancer treatments, and doctors and the mainstream media give the impression that the causes of cancer are a mystery.

Bacon n Eggs

Don't believe the American Heart Assn. — butter, steak and coconut oil aren't likely to kill you

© Los Angeles Times
Grilled hanger steak with smoked tomato butter at Lucques in West Hollywood, Calif. on Sept. 6, 2015.
Last month, the American Heart Association once again went after butter, steak and especially coconut oil with this familiar warning: The saturated fats in these foods cause heart disease. The organization's "presidential advisory" was a fresh look at the science and came in response to a growing number of researchers, including myself, who have poured over this same data in recent years and beg to differ. A rigorous review of the evidence shows that when it comes to heart attacks or mortality, saturated fats are not guilty.

To me, the AHA advisory released in June was mystifying. How could its scientists examine the same studies as I had, yet double down on an anti-saturated fat position? With a cardiologist, I went through the nuts and bolts of the AHA paper, and came to this conclusion: It was likely driven less by sound science than by longstanding bias, commercial interests and the AHA's need to reaffirm nearly 70 years of its "heart healthy" advice.

It was in 1961 that the AHA launched the world's first official recommendations to avoid saturated fats, along with dietary cholesterol, in order to prevent a heart attack. This "diet-heart hypothesis" was adopted by most leading experts, though it had never been tested in clinical trials - the only kind of science that can establish cause-and-effect. Thus, from the beginning, the rap on saturated fats lacked a firm scientific foundation.

Comment: This article is based on a longer analysis of the recent AHA advisory that was co-written with cardiologist Eric Thorn and published this month on Medscape:

Saturated Fats and CVD: AHA Convicts, We Say Acquit
...since 1970, Americans have cut their intake of animal fats by 27% while increasing consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils by nearly 90%. Since the invention of these oils in a chemistry lab in the early 1900s, their consumption has risen more than any other foodstuff in America, to some 7%-8% of all calories by the year 2000.Meanwhile, cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death among men and women, killing more than 800,000 people each year. If replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats were the answer, it seems that we should have seen results by now.

Alarm Clock

Study shows how killer nanoparticles in air pollution cause heart disease

© The Ecologist -Alec Boreham
Red for Danger! London traffic lights in winter smog, 4th January 2015.
A new study explains for the first time how nanoparticles like those in diesel exhaust fumes cause heart disease by lodging in inflamed blood vessels, writes Oliver Tickell. The study, published as the UK government is ordered before the High Court to justify its refusal to publish plans to tackle illegal air pollution which afflicts 38 million people, also raises wider fears about 'engineered nanoparticles' in the environment.

Inhaled nanoparticles - like those released from vehicle exhausts, in particular from diesel vehicles - can work their way through the lungs and into the bloodstream, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Comment: Read more about Nanoparticles: The tiniest toxin
The report linked nanoparticles to:
  • Damage to DNA
  • Disruption of cellular function and production of reactive oxygen species
  • Asbestos-like pathogencity
  • Neurologic problems (such as seizures)
  • Organ damage, including significant lesions on the liver and kidneys
  • Destruction of beneficial bacteria in wastewater treatment systems
  • Stunted root growth in corn, soybeans, carrots, cucumber and cabbage
  • Gill damage, respiratory problems and oxidative stress in fish

Arrow Up

More salt please! The myth of the low-salt diet

Pass the salt. Eat a pickle! Add more anchovies to your salad! According to a new book by James DiNicolantonio, you can freely consume salt without worrying about your blood pressure and heart. In fact, too little salt can endanger your health.

Like Gary Taubes' book, The Case Against Sugar, pharmacologist and cardiovascular researcher James DiNicolantonio shakes up a nutritional hornet's nest with his new book, The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got it All Wrong-and How Eating More Might Save Your Life. DiNicolantonio's argument is simple: There is no credible evidence that a salt-restricted diet lowers blood pressure in the vast majority of people, nor does it lead to heart disease or stroke. In fact, he argues, salt restriction is harmful and seems to predispose us to such conditions as insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, abnormal workloads on the heart, and kidney disease. Finally, DiNicolantonio reminds us that salt is the wrong little white crystal to blame for chronic illness. The real culprit is sugar.

Comment: Read more about Why Salt Doesn't Deserve its Bad Rap and Why real salt is so important:


Semantic slight-of-hand used to hide vaccine related deaths

Vaccine scientists and the public health community cautiously and occasionally will admit that vaccines can cause adverse reactions just like "any other medication or biological product." Although experts are less willing to openly disclose the fact that adverse reactions can and do include death, one has only to look at reports to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to see that mortality is a possible outcome. From 1990 through 2010, for example, VAERS received 1,881 reports of infant deaths following vaccination, representing a 4.8% of the adverse events reported for infants over the 20-year period . Moreover, analysts acknowledge that VAERS, as a passive surveillance system, is subject to substantial underreporting. A federal government report from 2010 affirms that VAERS captures only about 1% of vaccine adverse reports.

Comment: Government's position on vaccine safety betrayed by Vaccine Court Stats on injuries and deaths
Every day, people in the United States are being injured and killed by vaccines. This is a fact that is not in dispute, as the Department of Justice's quarterly report on vaccine injuries and deaths clearly demonstrates. And yet, the government's official public statement about vaccines is that they are safe and effective, and should be mandated for all people. Any opinion or presentation of facts to contradict their position is vigorously suppressed and censored all in the name of "public health" for the "greater good."

The American public is largely unaware that there is a vaccine court known as the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP). This program was started as a result of a law passed in 1986 that gave pharmaceutical companies total legal immunity from being sued due to injuries and deaths resulting from vaccines. If you or a family member is injured or dies from vaccines, you must now sue the Federal Government in this special vaccine court. Many cases are litigated for years before a settlement is reached...

The U.S. government keeps a database of reports documenting vaccine injuries and deaths called The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The problem is that very few medical officials ever report vaccine injuries or deaths, either because they are not trained to recognize them, or due to pressure within their profession to not report them. To admit that vaccines do cause harm is professional suicide for most doctors and medical professionals.


Saving lives on reddit forums: The online world of opioid addicts

© iStockPhoto
Reddit is a modern day canary in the coal mine for the people of Appalachia - a region of the United States being disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic.

Since the presidential election, Reddit's r/opiates has transformed into a lifesaving map for people with addiction navigating a minefield frequently filled with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid nearly 100 times more potent than morphine.

In 2017 alone, r/opiates has featured fentanyl warnings for New York, Delaware, Virginia, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. These warnings are making a difference, moderator spinderalla69 said over private message.


Multiple drugs, including Prozac and cocaine, found in Puget Sound salmon

81 drugs and personal-care products were detected in the flesh of salmon caught in the Puget Sound.

Salmon is purported to be one of the healthiest foods due to its high omega-3 content, protein, and essential fatty acids, but if the fish is obtained from the Puget Sound, it is anything but healthy.

According to a recent study, up to 81 drugs and personal-care products were detected in the flesh of salmon caught in the Puget Sound. Some of the drugs include Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, Lipitor, and even cocaine. The Seattle Times reports that the levels are believed to be so high because either people in the area use more of the drugs detected, or because waste water plants are unable to fully remove the chemicals during treatment. Another theory is that leaky septic tanks are contributing to the problem, as high fecal coliform counts were detected.

Said Jim Meador, an environmental toxicologist at NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle:

"The concentrations in effluent were higher than we expected. We analyzed samples for 150 compounds and we had 61 percent of them detected in effluent. So we know these are going into the estuaries."


PET scans reveal many people diagnosed with Alzheimer's don't actually have the disease

© Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock
A significant portion of people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia who are taking medication for Alzheimer's may not actually have the disease, according to interim results of a major study currently underway to see how PET scans could change the nature of Alzheimer's diagnosis and treatment.

The findings, presented Wednesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London, come from a four-year study launched in 2016 that is testing over 18,000 Medicare beneficiaries with MCI or dementia to see if their brains contain the amyloid plaques that are one of the two hallmarks of the disease.

So far, the results have been dramatic. Among 4,000 people tested so far in the Imaging Dementia-Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) study, researchers from the Memory and Aging Centre at the University of California, San Francisco found that just 54.3 percent of MCI patients and 70.5 percent of dementia patients had the plaques.

A positive test for amyloid does not mean someone has Alzheimer's, though its presence precedes the disease and increases the risk of progression. But a negative test definitively means a person does not have it.

Comment: The ketogenic diet has been shown to both prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease.