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Tue, 18 Feb 2020
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Health & Wellness


Bees absolutely love cannabis and it could help restore their populations

Bees and cannabis
Bees are major fans of hemp and a recent study has found that the taller the hemp plants are the larger the number of bees that will flock to it.

The new research, spearheaded by researchers at Cornell University and published last month in Environmental Entomology, shows that humans aren't the only fans of weed. The findings also reinforce a study published last year at Colorado State University that discovered the same thing.

The study shows how bees are highly attracted to cannabis due to the plant's plentiful stores of pollen, and it could pave the way for scientists to figure out new ways to support their struggling population as well as floral populations.

According to the study, the greater the area covered by the hemp plant the greater the chance that bees will swarm to the area. Additionally, those hemp plants that are taller have a much greater likelihood of attracting bees with the tallest plants attracting a stunning 17 times more bees than the shortest plants.

Comment: See also: Bee population recovering due to regenerative farming, producers say


Many aging doctors undergo memory tests to keep patients safe

The number of doctors over the age of 65 in the United States has almost quadrupled since 1975 reaching more than 300,000, according to the American Medical Association. And those figures have led to more questions after a new report shows that many aging doctors are experiencing significant memory loss.

A group of researchers at Yale University presented results from a three-year program where doctors over the age of 70 were tested for memory skills, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The hospital administrators used a variety of neurocognitive tests to detect age-related memory problems.

Doctors who wanted to renew their appointment to the medical staff had to meet a specific score to continue to see patients without any supervision.

In the program, the group examined 141 healthcare providers over three years between the ages of 69 and 92. About 57% of those tested were allowed to continue working, while 24% were required to be closely monitored as they showed mild memory impairments. Meanwhile, 13% of the healthcare workers were found to have more severe memory impairments where they were required to be either supervised or asked to retire from working with patients.

Microscope 2

Common foods alter gut bacteria by influencing viruses

Illustration of phage viruses attacking a bacterium

Illustration of phage viruses attacking a bacterium.
A group of researchers has brought the idea of food as a medicine one step closer. They have identified certain common foodstuffs that alter our microbiome.

In science today, food and gut bacteria are two topics that are guaranteed to fuel interest and debate. Both, of course, are interrelated, and a new study focuses on some subtleties of this relationship.

The lack of a healthy population of gut bacteria compromises our health; the same is true when we do not eat a healthful diet. However, scientists do not entirely understand the exact impact of specific foods on gut bacteria.

This knowledge gap is due, in part, to the unbelievable complexity of the microbiome. One factor that muddies the water is bacteriophages, or phages for short.

Comment: This is a fascinating study. It gives a possible mechanism as to why some medicines 'only kill the bad bacteria' while leaving the good bacteria alone. It was always a mystery as to how a substance could be selectively antibacterial. If the ingested substance is actually waking normally dormant phages which are type-specific in the bacteria they attack, rather than having a direct anti-bacterial effect itself, this mystery seems one step closer to being solved.

See also:


British two-star Michelin chef Sat Bains refuses to cater to vegans

Sat Bains

Sat Bains
Nottingham's two Michelin-starred chef Sat Bains' refusal to bow down and serve a vegan menu has won overwhelming support from NottinghamshireLive readers.

The chef said he is not anti-veganism and has enjoyed vegan food himself but it's his choice not to serve it his world-acclaimed Restaurant Sat Bains.

And he questioned the ethics of those who buy vegan burgers from a deep-fried chicken shop.

Comment: You never hear of any other groups complaining about restaurants not catering to their self-imposed dietary restrictions. Kosher, Halal, paleo, gluten-free, ketogenic - no other group but vegans complain about restaurants not accommodating them. Instead, they act like adults and find other establishments that serve the food they wish to eat. It's not that difficult.

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America's most widely consumed oil, soybean oil, causes genetic changes in the brain

soybean oil
New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, and depression.

Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.

It certainly is not good for mice. The new study, published this month in the journal Endocrinology, compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil.

Comment: While you're throwing away all your soybean oil, you might as well throw out all those other vegetable oils while you're at it, and switch to healthy animal fats like grandma used to use.

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Sepsis kills nearly 5 times as many Americans as breast cancer each year and is responsible for a fifth of worldwide deaths, study finds

Bacteria in the gut
Sepsis is now a bigger killer than cancer worldwide and claims the lives of nearly five times as many Americans as breast cancer reach year, a new study finds.

One person every three seconds dies from the condition worldwide, which accounts for almost a fifth of global deaths, say researchers.

Their Global Burden Of Disease Report (GBDR) on sepsis estimates there were 48.9 million cases in 2017, and 11 million deaths, across 195 countries and territories.

This equates to just under a fifth (19.7 percent ) of all global deaths that year, including 189,623 deaths in the US, about a third as many Americans as are killed by any cancer annually.

The most recent global estimate, in 2016, was of 19.4 million cases and 5.3 million deaths, based on data on adults in hospitals in seven high-income countries.

Comment: See also:


Toxic Hangover: The EPA is aggressively approving very dangerous pesticides

As reported by U.S. Right to Know last May, court documents showed that a domestic policy advisor at the White House said, 'We have Monsanto's back on pesticides regulation.'

In a new and unsettling report from the Center for Biological Diversity, we now have confirmation that this promise is being kept.

The study, called Toxic Hangover: How the EPA Is Approving New Products With Dangerous Pesticides It Committed to Phasing Out, found that the EPA approved 1,190 pesticide products and denied only 71 in the 2017-2018 time period, giving it a 94% approval percentage.

And for the products that were denied, they were rejected largely because of procedural issues, such as minimum study or packaging requirements having not been met, rather than toxicity concerns.

Comment: EPA favors industry when assessing chemical dangers


How to destroy your health and your relationship with your parents at the same time

© David Cheskin/PA
A nurse preparing to give a patient a vaccine.
You may have seen an article on WikiHow that's been making the rounds. I don't want to tell you how to feel, but as a parent I found it deeply disturbing.

You see, the article gives step-by-step instructions for "How to Get Vaccinated without Parental Consent."

In other words, it encourages children to subvert their parents' decision to refuse powerful immune-modulating drugs with potentially devastating side effects for their children.

Comment: What an absolutely reprehensible article on WikiHow. The site also offers such gems as 'How to Have Phone Sex', 'How to Get Revenge on Anyone' and 'How to Give a Lap Dance'. It seems the entire modus operandi of the site is to give questionable advice mostly by skirting around the parents.

See also:

Bad Guys

Save the planet - by destroying farming?

© Matt Kenyon
In a hall filled to the rafters with agroecological and regenerative farmers, a man approaches the podium.

Most already know what he's going to say, but they've come to listen anyway — only half believing that what they've seen and heard about his assault on farming and farmers could be accurate.

George Monbiot is a journalist and author specializing in environmental issues. His work is read all over the world. You could be forgiven for thinking that he might be on the side of agroecological farming. But increasingly he isn't. And if there was ever any doubt of this, Monbiot's performance at the UK's prestigious Oxford Real Farming Conference, following the debut of his TV documentary, Apocalypse Cow, was enough to remove any last shred of that doubt.

Comment: George Monbiot, Extinction Rebellion And The Madmen Who Want to Wreck Civilization

Arrow Down

Chemicals in tap water cause thousands of cancer deaths across Europe - but the EU probably won't do anything about it

chemical pollution tap water
© Getty Images / Cavan Images
Each year, more than 6,500 cases of bladder cancer, roughly five percent of all cases in Europe, are found to be attributable to exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) in drinking water - and it's all perfectly legal.

For a study of countries' water quality, the EU28 became the EU26, as adequate data for Bulgaria and Romania could not be obtained. Nevertheless, the project covered 75% of the total EU population, and a reading of its findings is ominous.

What the hell are THMs?

THMs are a class of molecule that appear as a by-product of the disinfectants used to clean drinking water. When chlorine, the main chemical used to clean drinking water, comes into contact with organic matter, it breaks down into THMs. And despite being legal up to certain levels, long-term exposure to them has been consistently associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. The EU has set that legal limit at 100 lg=L, but anything over 50 lg=L causes a 51 percent increase in the probability of bladder cancer, in men at least. This study was undertaken at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, in a city which has THM levels above the present regulatory maximum limit of 100 lg=L. Astonishingly, there is no provision for the lowering of this maximum in the latest European Council directive.

Comment: Chemicals from disinfectants are just the tip of the iceberg that no bureaucrat wants to acknowledge (and the EU isn't alone):