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Thu, 23 Jan 2020
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Boys born underweight 'more likely to have infertility problems'

drooling baby
© Tognopop via Wikimedia Commons
Baby boys born small for their gestational age have a greater chance of infertility as adults than those born at an average weight, research suggests.

About one in seven heterosexual couples in the UK experience infertility, meaning a year or more of trying for a baby without conceiving, figures show.

But while the focus is often on women's reproductive health, men's fertility problems are a problem of equal proportion, with both accounting for about a third of known causes of difficulties conceiving. The remaining third are down to unclear causes.

Comment: Interestingly, the risk of low birth weight increases as mothers are exposed to air and chemical pollutants, stress, and anxiety. See the articles below for more information.

Cloud Grey

Air pollution interventions can rapidly improve public health

air pollution
Air pollution takes a toll on the whole body, contributing not only to physical risks but also mental health problems. Worldwide, it's responsible for more than 4 million deaths per year, contributing to stroke, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer and more. But according to a new analysis published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, there is a silver lining: improving air quality can quickly provide significant health benefits.

Researchers found that as early as two weeks after a pollution source is removed, hospital visits are reduced and respiratory symptoms experienced by residents improve. As early as two months after the source of pollution is removed, mortality rates may drop as well.


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Ex-NHS psychologists warn children are being over-diagnosed, over-medicated for gender dysphoria, staff fear being branded 'transphobic'

gender dysphoria
The NHS is "over-diagnosing" children having medical treatment for gender dysphoria, with psychologists unable to properly assess patients over fears they will be branded "transphobic", former staff have warned.

Thirty five psychologists have resigned from the children's gender-identity service in London in the last three years, Sky News research suggests.

Six of those have now raised concerns about hormone treatment being given to children with gender dysphoria, a condition where a person experiences distress due to a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity.

Comment: As doctors and psychologists forget the maxim of 'first do no harm' in favor of their careers and financial rewards, children are being led to make choices that will have permanent and in many cases deleterious effects on their physical and emotional well-being. At some point there will be a reckoning and the legal profession will have a field day.


The benefits of reading books compared to reading from screens

In the age of information we are being bombarded left, right and center with quick facts, fake news, censored information, video images and so much more. This is greatly affecting the span of our attention. To many the idea of picking up a book, when we could just as easily listen to it, or read segments on our phones is completely absurd. However, there are many benefits that come along with reading books that just might make it worth it to you.

Consider just the very act of reading a book in itself, holding it, turning the pages, seeing your progress in the development of the story, it's almost as if you are a part of it.

Comment: Boosting your brain: Why reading and writing on paper beats digital screens


Eating out is hammering Americans' savings and contributing to the expanding waistlines of millions

Joenomias / Pixabay
© Joenomias / Pixabay
Nearly one in three Americans said dining out was this year's top budget buster for them, followed closely by spending on groceries.

Fast food and takeout are anathema to the 'clean eating' lifestyle trend that has swept the US - and much of the developed world - over the past 10 years. But while spending on gym memberships and boutique fitness classes has risen significantly over the past ten years, recent studies show that over-spending on takeout was the biggest financial mistake made by younger Americans in 2018, according to a MarketWatch report that cited data from a recent study published by Principal.

According to the data, nearly one in three Americans - 29%, up from 26% in 2018 - said dining out was this year's top budget buster for them, followed closely by spending on groceries (which is ironic given the proliferation of low-cost grocers like Aldi that have sprouted up in recent years).

But that's not all: In a separate study, Fidelity found that the No. 1 small financial mistake that most Americans admit to is dining out too much, something that 36% of respondents said they'd done in the past year.

Comment: How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life


The dark side of plant-based food - it's more about money than you may think

veggie burger
© Nina Firsova/Shutterstock.com
There’s more behind that vegan burger than it seems.
If you were to believe newspapers and dietary advice leaflets, you'd probably think that doctors and nutritionists are the people guiding us through the thicket of what to believe when it comes to food. But food trends are far more political - and economically motivated - than it seems.

From ancient Rome, where Cura Annonae - the provision of bread to the citizens - was the central measure of good government, to 18th-century Britain, where the economist Adam Smith identified a link between wages and the price of corn, food has been at the centre of the economy. Politicians have long had their eye on food policy as a way to shape society.

That's why tariffs and other trade restrictions on imported food and grain were enforced in Britain between 1815 and 1846. These "corn laws" enhanced the profits and political power of the landowners, at the cost of raising food prices and hampering growth in other economic sectors.

Comment: As much as it may be disguised as a grassroots movement, the vegan putsch is a big business enterprise that cares little about the consequences on the population at large. It's a push for greater and greater dominance of the entire food system, an industrialization of food that will keep the plebes strong enough to work the machines, but sick enough to prevent rebellion. Resisting the putsch is fundamental to the health of the individual.


300 medical students complete first mandated plant-based nutrition program in the US

plant-based medical students
The Wayne State University School of Medicine recently hosted its first mandated plant-based nutrition instruction for 300 first-year medical students.

Created in conjunction with the school's medical student-led plant-based advocacy group, the Plant Based Nutrition Group (PBNG), the month-long curriculum consisted of videos, lectures, and multiple-choice quizzes relating to evidence-based science behind a whole-foods plant-based diet and how to integrate the nutrition knowledge into clinical practice.

Students received comprehensive educational materials created by both PBNG and medical group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine detailing the connection between their basic science curriculum and plant-based nutrition.

Comment: While it's nothing new to have medical students go through an indoctrination of propaganda rather than an actual health education, this is still quite alarming. Soon doctors will have not only a pill for every occasion, but a pill and a radical dietary change. As if the US could afford to get any less healthy.

See also:


Addiction medicine: Ibogaine-based wonder drug due to start human trials

ibogaine shrub
© Sipa/Rex/shutterstock
The root of the ibogaine shrub provided the chemicals which were refined to form 18-MC. Unlike the plant root, 18-MC is not believed to be hallucinogenic.
A psychedelic drug with the potential to cure addiction is set to undergo human trials in America next year.

Psychedelics have long been known to inhibit cravings and help fight addiction, but a litany of ethical, health and legal issues have made them unsuitable as a treatment.

18-MC is made from an intense African shrub called ibogaine which can induce intense trips - including hallucinations and visions - lasting several days.

But the version being used in labs has been adapted to not produce hallucinations or comedowns, offering the tantalising possibility of a treatment without side-effects.

Micro-dosing is a growing phenomenon that sees people use tiny amounts of drugs such as LSD to keep their addictions at bay during day-to-day life.

This is illegal and can often lead to inadvertent trips.

But the developers of 18-MC claim the modified drug has the ability to manipulate a person's brain into hitting the reset button and turning off the sections responsible for cravings without these side-effects.

Comment: See also: How Psychedelics Saved My Life


Obesity is an epidemic — why haven't we responded accordingly?

heart rate check
© Getty Images
The term "epidemic" derives from the Greek "epi" meaning "about" or "upon," and "demos," meaning "of the people." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an epidemic as "an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area."

The characteristic of urgency has also been attached to the term. For example, Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines an epidemic as "an urgent or pressing need."

Historically, epidemics have been caused by infectious agents. For example, Ebola and influenza are classic epidemics caused by viruses. But the opioid epidemic is caused by a medication, and the epidemic of lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan was caused by a heavy metal.

Comment: It's unfortunate that the above author feels like the solution to the obesity epidemic is to throw more money at it. While it's true that any implemented solution will require funding, what really needs to be done about the problem would involve a fundamental shift in multiple avenues from the very ground up. Promoting exercise, taxing sugary drinks and forcing kids to eat government mandated lunches are unlikely to have anything more than a marginal effect (if any).

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Surgeons withdraw support for heart disease advice after unpublished data and conflicts of interest come to light

heart scan
European clinical guidelines on how to treat a major form of heart disease are under review following a BBC Newsnight investigation.

Europe's professional body for heart surgeons has withdrawn support for the guidelines, saying it was "a matter of serious concern" that some patients may have had the wrong advice.

Guidelines recommended both stents and heart surgery for low-risk patients.

Comment: The sad truth is that the advice given to patients about their best health choices are always tainted by conflicts of interest and big money. Patients believe their doctors are giving them the treatments with the best scientific evidence behind them, and often the doctors believe the same. But a quick peek behind the curtain reveals the treatments offered are usually the ones that get the right people the most money and have little if anything to do with what would be best for the patient.

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