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Wed, 26 Oct 2016
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Health & Wellness


Boosting levels of glutathione with N-acetyl-cysteine may prevent metabolic declines associated with aging

© drshel.com
Researchers at Oregon State University have found that a specific detoxification compound, glutathione, helps resist the toxic stresses of everyday life -- but its levels decline with age and this sets the stage for a wide range of age-related health problems.

A new study, published in the journal Redox Biology, also highlighted a compound -- N-acetyl-cysteine, or NAC -- that is already used in high doses in medical detoxification emergencies. But the researchers said that at much lower levels NAC might help maintain glutathione levels and prevent the routine metabolic declines associated with aging.

In that context, the research not only offers some profound insights into why the health of animals declines with age, but specifically points to a compound that might help prevent some of the toxic processes involved.

Decline of these detoxification pathways, scientists say, are causally linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, some of the primary causes of death in the developed world.

"We've known for some time of the importance of glutathione as a strong antioxidant," said Tory Hagen, lead author on the research and the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Health Aging Research in the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU.



Exceptional nation: Over half of Americans have at least one chronic health condition, mental disorder or substance-use issue

With the future of US healthcare likely to rest on the next presidency, a new study from Psychology, Health & Medicine highlights just how complex the medical needs of many Americans now are.

As the authors of the study, Elizabeth Lee Reisinger Walker and Benjamin G. Druss, observe: "The health of individuals in the U.S.A. is increasingly being defined by complexity and multimorbidity, the co-occurrence of two or more chronic medical conditions."

Given the medical and socio-economic difficulties often faced by people with mental illness, and the lack of research into the other medical conditions they might suffer from, the authors set out to discover, using publicly available data, what proportion of US adults experience each combination of mental illness, substance abuse/dependence and chronic mental conditions. They also investigated how those combinations of conditions were related to poverty.

They found that overall, 18.4% of adults had a mental illness in the past year, and 8.6% reported substance abuse/dependence during the same time. Nearly 40% had one or more chronic medical conditions in their lifetimes, and 14.7% were living in poverty.

Comment: Being American Is Bad for Your Health


The truth is out there: Scientists bewildered by Zika's path across Latin America

© Felipe Dana/AP
Infants born with microcephaly and their family members in Pernambuco state in Brazil.
Nearly nine months after Zika was declared a global health emergency, the virus has infected at least 650,000 people in Latin America and the Caribbean, including tens of thousands of expectant mothers.

But to the great bewilderment of scientists, the epidemic has not produced the wave of fetal deformities so widely feared when the images of misshapen infants first emerged from Brazil.

Instead, Zika has left a puzzling and distinctly uneven pattern of damage across the Americas. According to the latest U.N. figures, of the 2,175 babies born in the past year with undersize heads or other congenital neurological damage linked to Zika, more than 75 percent have been clustered in a single region: northeastern Brazil.

The pattern is so confounding that health officials and scientists have turned their attention back to northeastern ­Brazil to understand why Zika's toll has been so much heavier there. They suspect that other, underlying causes may be to blame, such as the presence of another ­mosquito-borne virus like chikungunya or dengue. Or that environmental, genetic or immunological factors combined with Zika to put mothers in the area at greater risk.

Comment: Don't let the Zika virus hype scare you. More articles on this mysterious virus:


Superbugs out of control: Hospital beds should come with warning signs

What the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling a "winnable battle"1 is currently claiming the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every year.

According to the CDC, between 5 and 10 percent of people admitted to the hospital acquire an infection while an inpatient.2 In real numbers this accounts for 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths, incurring $20 billion in healthcare costs.

Many believe an antibiotic will cure all infections, but that is rapidly changing. In fact, according to infectious disease experts, the age of antibiotics is drawing to a close. Many bacteria are becoming drug-resistant, increasing the number of deaths from illness that, in the past, rapidly responded to medication.

This in combination with the reduction in development of new antibiotics, as the profit margin is poor, has led to the development of bacteria not just winning some battles, but poised to win the war. Experts have been warning about the upcoming diminished efficiency of antibiotics, and that time is now here.

Bacteria has found a way to resist most of the antibiotics produced, and we're now facing a time in history during which medical care may revert to the pre-antibiotic age, impacting surgical procedures, giving birth and even simple cuts and scrapes with significant casualties.


A vote for Clinton is a vote for Big Pharma & mandatory vaccination

Hillary Clinton has made little attempt to play politics or engage in double speak on the topic of vaccinations. In the world of healthcare, medicine and parenting no other topic symbolizes the hot button nature of health freedom and medical choice vaccination represents. Amidst the bickering of fabricated issues and discussions of little or no importance to the public, the presidential debates have left out a laundry list of vital topics. The US has the developed world's highest infant mortality rates. The US has epidemic-level rates of autism spectrum disorder over the past decades. And the US maternal mortality rate has more than doubled from 2000 to 2014.

California is fighting back against Senate Bill 277 (SB277) as parents and families who want to retain their health freedom and medical choice have been left with no choices as forced vaccination is now mandatory. Unbeknownst to most of the country, a growing subsection of US people have been beating back continued, unrelenting forced vaccination legislation in many states attempting to mirror SB277. Pharmaceutical company lobbyist continually swarm US politicians in order to secure SB277-like legislation in states to secure a revenue stream on their for-profit, zero-liability vaccine products.

Comment: Hillary Clinton's evil jab: More vaccine propaganda


CDC confirms link between factory farms & superbugs

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health worldwide, and the primary cause for this man-made epidemic is the widespread misuse of antibiotics.1

Antibiotic overuse occurs not just in medicine, but also in food production. In fact, agricultural usage accounts for about 80 percent of all antibiotic use in the US,2 so it's a MAJOR source of human antibiotic consumption.

According to a 2009 report3 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on this subject, factory farms used a whopping 29 million pounds of antibiotics that year alone.

Animals are often fed antibiotics at low doses for disease prevention and growth promotion, and those antibiotics are transferred to you via meat, and even through the animal manure that is used as crop fertilizer.

Antibiotics are also used to compensate for the crowded, unsanitary living conditions associated with large-scale confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Comment: More information on Factory farms & superbugs

Wine n Glass

Uncorked: In alcohol consumption - woman are finally equal to men

The gender gap in alcohol consumption has almost vanished, according to a new study, which says women are binge drinking nearly as much as men due to a booming 'wine o'clock' culture.

The research looks at the convergence of drinking habits between men and women over time from 1891 to 2014. It pools the results of 68 international studies published since 1980 to look at the changing ratio of male to female drinking.

It says young men born between 1991 and 2001 are just 1.1 times more likely to drink at all than women of the same age. That can be compared to men who were born between 1981 and 1910 who were 2.2 times more likely to drink than women.

The research, published in the medical journal BMJ Open, also found men born in the early 1900s were three times as likely to drink to problematic levels, and are now just 1.2 times as likely to binge drink.

Comment: America has a drinking problem - studies indicate it is only getting worse
It's women, by the way, who have largely driven these increases. In the years between 2005 and 2012, binge drinking increased just 4.9 percent among men, but jumped 17.5 percent among women. The reason for such a significant rise is likely due to changing social mores, according to Tom Greenfield, scientific director at the Alcohol Research Group, who spoke withKaiser Health News. Men still drink more than women do, but women have narrowed the gap in recent years.

Microscope 1

Healthy guts are swarming with bugs, so what do they do?

© unknown
The healthy human body is swarming with microorganisms. They inhabit every nook and cranny on the surfaces of our body. But by far the largest collection of microorganisms reside in our gastrointestinal tract - our gut.

These tiny organisms, which can only be seen with the aid of a microscope, make up our microbiota. The combination of microbiota, the products it makes, and the environment it lives within, is called the microbiome.

Great advances in DNA sequencing technologies have enabled us to study the gut microbiota in intricate detail. We can now take a census of all the microorganisms that are in the microbiota to help us understand what they are doing.


Comment: Related articles:


Research check: Can drinking coffee reduce your dementia risk?

© Tim Wright/Unsplash, CC BY
Many reasons that weren’t explored may account for the findings that women who drank coffee decreased their risk of dementia.
Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a growing problem worldwide. There are 350,000 people with dementia in Australia and this is set to rise to 900,000 by 2050. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease.

So if "coffee really can help to prevent dementia", as a headline by the Daily Mail last week suggested, that would be amazing. This is why the study on which the headline was based received so much interest.

It was reported on by publications such as the the Independent and websites dedicated to anti-ageing research.

According to the Daily Mail, the study showed:
Women over the age of 65 who had a normal caffeine intake were 36% less likely to develop a cognitive impairment.
Unfortunately there are many reasons not to get excited. The study was observational: a look back through data collected over many years. This means many reasons that weren't explored may account for the findings that women who drank coffee decreased their risk of dementia.

Comment: An interesting look at the flaws associated with observational studies, based on self assessment via questionnaires. As the author points out, this has lead to questionable results. It is worth noting that virtually ALL the research supposedly proving that smoking is harmful is also based on theses same observational studies and self assessment via questionnaires - which should, to the unbiased observer, lead to similar questions regarding the veracity of the results that have been published. That is not politically correct, so it does not happen.


Researchers make breakthrough discovery for male birth control pill

© Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images
After decades of research, experiments and failure, scientists may have finally made the breakthrough needed to create a non-barrier contraception for men that doesn't require surgery. Yes, the birth control pill for men may finally become a reality.

Researchers at the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom have come up with a new approach that may make men temporarily infertile. It uses a peptide — a short chain of amino acids — that inhibits the ability of the sperm to swim, making it impossible for it to fertilize the egg. In collaboration with scientists from Aveiro University in Portugal, the U.K. researchers created a cell-penetrating peptide that turns off the protein that allows the sperm to swim.

If the compound can be made into a successful contraceptive, its benefits could be significant. It would do away with much of the hormonal side effects that women who are on the pill face. It would also allow men to be more in control of their own fertility without having to go through a vasectomy, which even though reversible, is still a surgery.

Comment: We'll believe it when we see it. Here's a different version of a male birth control pill which is also looming on the horizon.