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Sun, 04 Dec 2016
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Ambulance

American kids - sick is the new normal

The alarming rise in incidence of chronic, inflammatory-type disorders among children cannot be fully explained by such theories as the hygiene hypothesis, poor eating habits or defective genes. Certainly, there is more to the root cause of food allergies, asthma, autism-spectrum disorders, type 1 and 2 diabetes, obesity, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) (otherwise known as fatty liver disease), metabolic syndrome, and autoimmune disorders than can be rationalized as being caused by too much anti-microbial hand sanitizer, too many French fries or genes gone bad.

These hypotheses fail to consider that obesity rates have stabilized despite widespread continuation of sedentary children feeding on junk food, or that autoimmune diseases are increasingly prevalent despite few change in sanitation norms, or that there is no such thing as a "bad genes" epidemic. Vaccine-induced overload of the immune system has been implicated by some researchers as a major contributor to the child diabetes and metabolic syndrome epidemics that are just one part of the tidal wave of increasingly ill children growing up in developed countries.1

This is not a new theory. In a 17-year-old cover story "Shots in the Dark" written by Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) that was published in The Next City magazine, statistics for profound increases in autism spectrum disorder, asthma, learning disabilities, types 1 and 2 diabetes, and arthritis among children were cited.2 Those chronic disease and disability statistics were updated in Fisher's 2004 Mothering Magazine article, "In the Wake of Vaccines," and in a 2008 published review of the medical literature, Vaccines, Autism and Chronic Inflammation: the New Epidemic.

Beaker

Grocery stores are still a BPA minefield

© Jon Riley/Getty Images
A searchable database from the Environmental Working Group will help consumers who don't want to be exposed to the chemical.

Despite many major food manufacturers and retailers announcing in recent years that they would move away from using bisphenol A in packaging materials, BPA remains present in the lining of many canned goods. Recent testing by an advocacy group found BPA in 70 percent of nearly 200 samples—including products from companies such as Campbell's and Kroger's, which have pledged to phase out BPA.

The chemical, which is used in many plastics and resins, is considered an endocrine disruptor and has been linked to developmental problems in fetuses, infants, and children. According to the Food and Drug Administration, BPA is safe at the levels people are exposed to via canned foods. Still, many consumers would rather not risk it—and the Environmental Working Group has a new tool to help those shoppers avoid some 16,000 products that may have BPA in their packaging.

Comment: Are You Exposing Yourself to Toxic BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely used chemical substance. This chemical exists in nearly every plastic container, is used as lining for metal cans, and can even be found on receipts, toilet paper and worldwide currency.

BPA leaches from its container into whatever it happens to contain. If you microwave a TV dinner for example, the chemical content of the plastic container would find its way into the food you are going to eat. Likewise, when bottled water or a soft drink is manufactured and shelved, BPA leaches into the liquid over the time it takes to be purchased and consumed.

Because of its widespread application in all forms of packaging, manufacturing and otherwise, chances are that you are somehow interacting with this substance on a daily basis. Many other countries have already declared BPA a toxin and prohibited its usage in a number of products.



Question

Can Parkinson's disease be connected to bacteria in the gut?


People with Parkinson's harbor distinct gut bacteria that influence the disease's severity.
Researchers have connected gut bacteria to the brain changes in Parkinson's

Doctors who take care of people with Parkinson's have long known that the brain changes associated with the disease also come with a number of physical changes, especially in the digestive system. Patients often complain of constipation or bloating, difficulty swallowing and indigestion. Often these symptoms start years before the loss of motor control, the hallmark of the disease.

In a new paper published in the journal Cell, researchers led by Sarkis Mazmanian of the California Institute of Technology may have an explanation for that connection. Working with mouse models of the brain disorder, they found that changes in gut microbes may play a role in triggering Parkinson's. When he and his team transplanted fecal samples from people with Parkinson's into the mice—which were raised in a germ-free setting and therefore not exposed to other bacteria or viruses—the animals' Parkinson's symptoms worsened. The same did not happen when the mice received samples from people without the disease.

Comment: Also read Parkinson's disease protection may begin in the gut


Ambulance

Vomiting bug hits 166 primary school children in major outbreak

© Graham Beards / Wikipedi
Transmission electron micrograph of norovirus particles in feces.
Scores of children and teachers were sent home after a vomiting bug hit a primary school in the northern English city of Sheffield.

A total of 166 kids and three members of staff at Intake Primary School were registered as off sick in recent days as parents fear a major outbreak of winter norovirus. "We have taken advice from environmental health and public health," a school spokeswoman said. "People are saying it's the norovirus but there is no confirmed diagnosis yet."

A spokeswoman for Taylor Shaw food services, which caters for the school, told RT: "All we can tell you it's a vomiting bug, not food poisoning."

Earlier last month a school in Gloucestershire was closed suddenly due to an outbreak of a sickness bug, also believed to be norovirus.

The Longney C of E Primary School, in the Severnside village, which closed on a Friday, was deep-cleaned over the weekend and reopened on Monday. The school has since told reporters there will be a "deep clean" of its premises. The cause of the vomiting bug is as yet unconfirmed.

Syringe

Should we defend the scientific consensus?


Vaccine Brain Damage?
Earlier this week, Frontiers in Public Health published the abstract of a paper called 'Vaccination and Health Outcomes: A Survey of 6- to 12-year-old Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children based on Mothers' Reports'. Based on an online survey of 415 mothers involved in the homeschool movement, Mississippi-based researchers Mawson et al. reported that vaccination is associated with a much higher rate of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.

Hoo boy.

Evil Rays

93% of 'patient advocacy' groups funded by drug & medical giants - report

© Alexandra Beier / Reuters
US patient advocacy groups are seen as unbiased and independent authorities championing the public interest with regard to drug and medical issues before the FDA. However, a new study has shown that almost all are funded and led by the drug industry.

It turns out that at least 39 of 42 patient advocacy groups - or 93 percent - received funds from pharmaceutical companies, while at least 15 have drug company reps on their governing boards, according to research by David Hilzenrath at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

Patient advocacy groups add a lot to drug-related legislation in the Congress. A study from 2014 showed that 43 percent of public comments on the House version of a bill came from patient advocacy groups.

However, as the latest report by POGO suggests, their comments are far from being independent.

Pills

Will personalized probiotics become the wave of the future?

© Custom Medical Stock Photo/SPL

Intestinal bacteria play a key role in causing and preventing many diseases. Consequently, giving personalised gut health advice will be routine medical practice in five years, predicts the researcher behind the new start-up Map My Gut and big gut data projects British Gut and Kings College London's TwinsUK Registry.

There are over 400 species of bacteria in your belly right now that can be the key to health or disease.

Probiotic supplements of exceptional quality and effectiveness that contains at least 10 billion CPU (colony-forming units) of several human strains of "friendly" intestinal micro-flora can actively prevent illness.

The genomes of the bacteria and viruses of the human gut alone are thought to encode 3.3 million genes.

Professor Tim Spector of the genetic epidemiology department at Kings College London has had a busy few years with his continuing work on the TwinsUK Registry -- the world's richest collection of genotypic and phenotypic information tracking 13,000 twins over two decades -- and the launch of the crowdfunded British Gut Project.

Comment: The human microbiome: Gut Bacteria quickly being cast as culprits or saviors for a diverse array of ailments


Roses

Nature's Xanax: The one nutrient that can treat anxiety naturally without side effects


Black tea in cup
According to National Institute of Mental Health anxiety disorders are currently the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. Furthermore, anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country's $148 billion total mental health bill, according to "The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders," a study commissioned by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.(1)

How many times have you turned to Xanax in times when you felt anxious? For many people, this has become an everyday option, but many are unaware of the serious short term and long term side effects of Xanax. Benzodiazepines are a common prescription drug used to treat anxiety and depression. Alprazolam (aka Xanax) was number 8 on the list of the most prescribed medications in 2010 according to Data from SDI Health.

Health

Man 'cured' of prostate cancer after doctors shock tumour to death with testosterone


A man diagnosed with prostate cancer
A man with advanced prostate cancer is believed to be cured after doctors 'shocked' his tumour to death with huge amounts of testosterone.

The result has been described as 'unexpected' and 'exciting' because most prostate cancer therapies work by depriving tumours of testosterone, because cancer uses it as a fuel.

Other seriously ill men taking part in the same trial showed responses that astounded scientists, with tumours shrinking and the progress of their disease halted.

Levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), a blood marker used to monitor prostate cancer, also fell in the majority of the 47 participants.

One individual whose PSA levels dropped to zero after three months and shows no remaining trace of the disease after 22 cycles of treatment appears to be cured, said the researchers.

Professor Sam Denmeade, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, US, who led the study, said: ""Our goal is to shock the cancer cells by exposing them rapidly to very high followed by very low levels of testosterone in the blood. The results are unexpected and exciting.

"We are still in the early stages of figuring out how this works and how to incorporate it into the treatment paradigm for prostate cancer.

"Many of the men have stable disease that has not progressed for more than 12 months.

"I think we may have cured one man whose PSA dropped to zero after three months and has remained so now for 22 cycles. His disease has all disappeared."

Microscope 2

The gut brain connection: How microbes control our minds

The enteric nervous system (ENS) had been regarded as a digestive organ till; the remarkable discovery made by Michael Gershon that 90% of the body's serotonin is located within the walls of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

This ignited interests of various neuroscientists, including psychiatrists, about the GI nervous system (1) The enteric nervous system is composed of neuronal plexuses like the Meissners and Auerbach's plexus, surrounded by a pool of more than 30 neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, norephinephrine and nitric oxide, and other chemical mediators like neuropeptides and enkephalins.

It also contains glia-like supportive cells, and together contains nearly 100 million neurons as that in the spinal cord (2,3) The Gut-Brain Axis describes the bi‐directional neural pathways linking cognitive and emotional centers in the brain to the neuroendocrine centers, the enteric nervous system, and the immune system of the body (4).

Emotional states such as depression and behavioral dispositions, ranging from hostility to psychosocial stress, can directly influence both physiologic function and health outcomes in different ways (5). One such example is the Gut Brain Connection. The gut brain connection is intimately involved in explaining how the psychosocial stress - induced inflammatory response in the gut - is modulated by the bidirectional communication between the neuroendocrine and immune system of the gut with brain. Many lines of research have established multiple pathways by which the immune system and the enteric nervous system communicate bidirectionally with the brain (6).

Comment: Read more about the gut brain connection