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Thu, 23 Jan 2020
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Objective:Health: #39 - ITN - FDA Approves Ebola | Pill Makes Brain Small | Millennials' Health Declining

O:H header
We're back for the New Year with an analysis of the current health headlines. Happy New Year - 2020 is gonna be a doozy!

This week we talk about the Ebola vaccine that the FDA has just approved which has all the signs of, like the polio vaccine before it, causing more Ebola cases than it prevents. We also discuss the outbreak of whooping cough in a Texas school that had a 100% vaccination rate. Can we say vaccine failure?

Then we move on to the latest research that found women who take oral contraceptives have a smaller hypothalamus than women who don't and finish off with a discussion on a study that found millennials are getting sicker earlier than previous generations.

Join us for the Objective:Health take on the state of health as we move into 2020.

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Running Time: 00:57:28

Download: MP3 — 52.1 MB


US on track for deadliest flu season in over 40 years

influenza virus microscopy
Electron microscopy of influenza virus.
This flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in decades, according to the United States' top infectious disease doctor.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said while it's impossible to predict how the flu will play out, the season so far is on track to be as severe as the 2017-2018 flu season, which was the deadliest in more than four decades, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Comment: It's notable that the record for worst flu seasons are so recent.

The initial indicators indicate this is not going to be a good season -- this is going to be a bad season," Fauci said. So far this flu season, at least 2,900 people in the US are estimated to have died of the flu, according to data released Friday by the CDC. That's 800 more deaths than estimated the previous week.

Comment: And this season's is also the earliest in 15 years...

See also: And check out SOTT radio's:

Light Saber

Melatonin may suppress breast cancer tumor growth

Researchers found the hormone reduced the number and size of cancer cells in lab experiments.
breast cancer

Based on a theory that sleep-deprived modern society puts women at greater risk for breast cancer, researchers found in a lab experiments that melatonin -- made by the brain at night to help regulate sleep and wake cycles -- reduced the number and size of breast cancer cells
Based on a theory that the sleep-deprived culture of modern society puts women at higher risk for breast cancer, researchers found melatonin may be a way to control the growth and proliferation of cancer cells.

Melatonin decreased the number and size of cancer cells in lab experiments, suggesting deficiencies of the natural hormone contribute to the growth of breast cancer, according to a study published in the journal Genes and Cancer.

The hormone melatonin is made by the brain at night and helps control the body's sleep and wake cycles. And while sleep, or lack thereof, has been considered as playing a role in a range of diseases and adverse health conditions, few studies have confirmed this.

Reseachers at Michigan State University found that when they exposed lab-grown breast tumor cells to melatonin, their growth was limited -- even when they were simultaneously exposed to chemicals known to encourage cancer development.

Additionally, the researchers say the technique used in the experiments could prove to be valuable for future research into disease treatment.

Comment: See also,


Melatonin: Range of Effects and Therapeutic Applications


Along with its effects on the endocrine system, melatonin is involved in regulating certain parameters of the cardiovascular system and central nervous system.
In the 60 years since Aaron Lerner and colleagues isolated melatonin, the hormone has been found to affect every system of the body. Although it is primarily synthesized by the pineal gland, melatonin is also produced in peripheral tissues and serves numerous critical physiological functions.1 In mammals, its synthesis in the pineal gland is timed by the suprachiasmatic nucleus via projections to the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus. Melatonin is most well-known for its role in regulating circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycles.1

Pineal melatonin production mainly occurs at night and is dependent on darkness, as light blocks its release. In addition to its immediate effects such as sleep induction, reductions in body temperature and blood pressure, induction of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, and blockade of cortisol secretion, melatonin also leads to prospective effects that manifest throughout the following day.1

"During its daily secretory episode, melatonin coordinates the night adaptive physiology through immediate effects and primes the day adaptive responses through prospective effects that will only appear at daytime, when melatonin is absent," explained a paper published in Endocrine Reviews.1 These include increased pancreatic sensitivity to glucose and incretins-induced insulin secretion, induction of insulin sensitivity, regulation of blood pressure, and energy balance.1,2

Melatonin "regulates energy metabolism, acting in every step of the energy balance, including energy intake (eating), energy flow to and from storages, and energy expenditure...[and] synchronizes energy metabolism requirements to the daily and annual rhythmic environmental photoperiod," the review authors wrote.1 As this suggests, the influence of melatonin extends beyond its immediate or short-term effects, given that the "annual history of the daily melatonin secretory episode duration primes the central nervous/endocrine system to the seasons to come."

Comment: See also,


UK doctors shocked by 5-inch 'dragon horn' sprouting from man's back

Dragon horn man's back UK
© BMJ Case Reports

This is not what they meant by "grabbing life by the horns."

A UK man baffled doctors after a 5-inch cancerous "dragon horn" sprouted out of his back despite him having no history of skin cancer, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.

The unnamed 50-year-old day laborer's protuberance — which also resembled a gnarled talon and pumpkin stem — was diagnosed with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, the second-most prevalent strain of non-melanoma skin cancer, study authors report.

His growth was perplexing, as the patient had "no previous or family history of skin malignancy and was not immunosuppressed," per the report. Not only that, but there weren't any of the lymphatic abnormalities generally associated with such an aberration.

While most cutaneous cases are surgically nipped in the bud, this patient had allowed his tumor to blossom for three years — in effect making a mountain out of a malignant molehill.


China probes for Sars links in pneumonia outbreak

Healthworker China SARS
© nbcnews.com
Health worker walks past a SARS billboard in Hefei, the capital of China's Anhui province.
China is investigating an outbreak of atypical pneumonia that is suspected of being linked to Sars, the flu-like virus that killed hundreds of people a decade ago, state media reported on Tuesday (Dec 31).

A team of experts from the National Health Commission were dispatched on Tuesday to Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province, and are "currently conducting relevant inspection and verification work", state broadcaster CCTV reported.

An emergency notification issued on Monday by the Wuhan municipal health committee said hospitals in the city have treated a "successive series of patients with unexplained pneumonia", without offering details.

Chinese news site The Paper reported 27 cases of viral pneumonia in Wuhan in December, citing unnamed health officials from the city. "Of the 27 cases, seven were critical, the rest were under control, and two patients are expected to be discharged from hospital in near future," The Paper said.

It is unclear whether all these patients are suspected of having contracted severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), a highly contagious respiratory disease.


Mexican TV star dies from parasitic tissue infection after reportedly eating tapeworm-contaminated pork

sebastian ferrat
© AFP / Genome Biology
Instagram / @sebastianferrat ; MRI scans showing a tapeworm in a brain
Actor Sebastian Ferrat, beloved in his native Mexico, has died after a long and horrifying struggle with an infection he reportedly contracted from contaminated pork. Is 2020 the year to give up bacon?

Fans are in deep sorrow as Sebastian Ferrat, 41, died on Sunday after a long battle with a grave illness that local media identified as cysticercosis, a parasitic infection that attacks the brain, muscles, or other tissues. According to reports, the actor, best-known for his roles in various television dramas, contracted the deadly infection after eating spoiled pork.

He reportedly languished in a coma for several months in hospital before finally succumbing to the infection.

Comment: While the incidents noted above by themselves aren't particularly significant, and the risk of contracting an infection of one kind or another are heightened due to unsanitary conditions or when in an unfamiliar country, if we take into account the sheer number of reports of outbreaks and unusual infectious diseases, there does appear to be a trend - here are some stories from just this year:


Wearing shoes from a young age makes your ankles less flexible

© Sebastian Kopp/Getty Images
Wearing shoes from a young age may not help you put your best foot forward
Your shoes are changing your feet. The ankles of people who habitually wear shoes are different to those of people who walk barefoot.

These changes to ankle bones take place over the course of a person's life, and there is no evidence that they can be passed on genetically.

In modern industrial societies, most people wear shoes from a young age. However, in traditional hunter-gatherer societies people often go barefoot, or wear only very thin footwear.

"We know that there are some variations in the feet of modern humans, due to the use of shoes," says Rita Sorrentino of the University of Bologna in Italy. But most previous findings relate to the front and middle of the foot. Sorrentino and her team have focused on the ankle, which is crucial because it links the foot to the leg.

They studied 142 ankle bones from 11 populations from North America, Africa and Europe. These included modern sandal-wearing Nguni farmers in southern Africa, people living in modern New York, and preserved bones from Stone Age hunter-gatherers.

Comment: See also: For more:


Tired of being tired: 6 ways to fight fatigue

fatigue office coffee
Taking ownership of your health will be key to help you live your best life. If you suffer from chronic fatigue, it becomes increasingly difficult to feel and look your best.

Understanding the root causes of fatigue and discussing with your clinicians may be exactly what is needed to get you back on your path to success.

Better quality sleep: Most people know you need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but getting quality sleep is just as important. First, you want to make sure you don't have sleep apnea, which can hurt your ability to get a good night's rest. You also need to prepare well for sleep. You can discuss getting a sleep study with your clinician, especially if you snore, to evaluate whether you have sleep apnea. To help you get enough sleep, have a consistent sleep time, avoid screen time at night, sleep in cooler temperatures and make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible at night.

Comment: See also:


'Ultraprocessed' foods may make you eat more, clinical trial suggests

ultraprocessed vs real food
Researchers tracked how much people ate on “ultraprocessed” (left) and “minimally processed” (right) diets that were matched for calories and nutrients.
Something about the industrial processing of food makes us more likely to overeat, according to a new study. Volunteers ate more and gained more weight on a heavily processed diet than an unprocessed one, even when the two diets had the same available calories and nutrients.

The study is "a landmark first," and a "shot over the bow" in a debate over the health of processed food, says Steven Heymsfield, an obesity researcher at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge who was not involved with the work. But some experts question whether the study controlled for important differences between the diets.

The definition of "processed food" is controversial. Nearly all the food at grocery stores is subject to some processing: It's pasteurized, vacuum sealed, cooked, frozen, fortified, and mixed with preservatives and flavor enhancers. Some of these processes can change its nutritional qualities. And some studies have found associations between processed diets and increased risk of obesity, cancer, and even earlier death, but none has shown a causal link.

Comment: It could be that the processed foods, carefully formulated to maximize palatability, are addictive, and there is little doubt this has some affect on how much of it people eat. But it could also be that the food is so lacking in essential nutrients that the body actually signals one to eat more of it in order to get the minimum required nutrition. While the above study meticulously measured the nutrient content of the foods served in both trials, matching them as best they could, how many unknown nutrients are found in fresh whole foods that are lost during processing?

See also: