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Sun, 08 Dec 2019
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Wine n Glass

Brain circuit that controls compulsive drinking has been discovered in mice, offering hope of a cure for alcoholism

mouse alcohol
© Shutterstock
A brain circuit that controls the compulsive drinking of alcohol has been discovered in mice, offering a hope of one day finding a cure for alcoholism in humans
Scientists have long sought to understand why some people are prone to develop drinking problems while others are not.

The team's discovery in mice, if translated to humans, may provide doctors a way to reveal whether someone is likely to become a compulsive drinking later in life.

Alcoholism is a chronic brain disease in which an individual drinks compulsively — often accompanied by negative emotions.

Whereas previous studies have focused on examining the brain after a drinking disorder develops, the researchers from the Salk Institute in California set out to prove that brain circuits can make some people more likely to be alcoholics.

'We've found for the first time a brain circuit that can accurately predict which mice will develop compulsive drinking — weeks before the behaviour starts,' said lead researcher and neuroscientist Kay Tye.

Comment: Researchers test Ecstasy as possible treatment for alcoholism

Can zapping the brain with lasers cure alcoholism? Scripps scientists think so

Alcoholism: LSD is Possible Viable Treatment Researchers Say


Shoe

The benefits of fasted exercise

exercise stretching
If you're in the habit of eating breakfast before exercising in the morning, you may want to reconsider the order in which you start your day as there are significant benefits to exercising in a fasted state.

A common belief is that you need to eat breakfast to optimize exercise performance. While there's evidence to support this stance,1 other evidence suggests you can reap important health benefits by exercising in a fasted state.

Fasted Exercise Curbs Food Intake and Improves Cognition

Research2,3 published in the August 2019 issue of The Journal of Nutrition found that skipping breakfast before exercise helps curb food intake for the remainder of the day, resulting in an overall energy deficit — in this case averaging 400 calories per day.

Earlier research,4 published in 2015, found that women who skipped breakfast and worked out on an empty stomach had better working memory in the mid-afternoon and reported less mental fatigue and tension later in the day than those who ate breakfast (in this case a cereal-based meal) before exercising.

Comment: Some of us SOTT crew have started exercising regularly first thing in the day. It's been great!


Cow

Adventists say Bible favors vegetarianism, but Mayo paper on dairy and prostate cancer raises question of religious bias in nutrition research

vegetarian bowl
© James Sutton/Stocksnap
If you are a doctor and devout person of faith, and if your religion says vegetarianism is the diet endorsed by the Bible, can you be expected to study the science of food and health without bias?

It's an emerging question for the communities waging battle over methodological weaknesses in the dietary sciences, one highlighted by a recent, widely reported Mayo Clinic clinician-authored paper on the association between diet and prostate cancer.

The publication, a Journal of the American Osteopathic Association study by the Mayo oncology and hematology fellow Dr. John Shin and four Mayo Clinic Scottsdale colleagues, reviewed 47 studies dating back 11 years. It rendered a timely, vegan-friendly conclusion that diets high in dairy products "may be associated" with increased prostate cancer risk, and diets high in plant-based foods "may be associated" with decreased prostate cancer risk. The study was reported in new outlets across the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

Comment: An interesting question with a rather obvious answer. As stated in the comment above, any studies should include a full disclosure of who it is doing the research and what is informing their worldview. This of course goes for nutritional studies, but also any other scientific research. The 7th Day Adventist church has had an enormous influence on shaping worldwide government dietary guidelines, pushing them further and further toward a plant-based recommendation. People have the right to know that the dietary advice that they're receiving comes from a religious sect of dubious origins.

See also:


Ambulance

Millennials 'are seeing their health decline faster' than Gen X, worrying experts

millennials health sick
© BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
Millennials are getting sicker.
The declining health of the millennial generation could have a serious impact on the U.S. health care system, according to experts.

"Millennials are seeing their health decline faster than the previous generation as they age," a Moody's Analytics report analyzing Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index data stated. "Without intervention, millennials could feasibly see mortality rates climb up by more than 40% compared to Gen-Xers at the same age." (Pew Research defines millennials as Americans born between 1981 and 1996.)

These declines will lead to greater demand for treatment, which could have a serious financial impact on the cost of health care.

Comment: See also:


Evil Rays

WiFi and EMF exposure causes DNA damage through peroxynitrite production in the body

laptop wireless
A thorough review of the available published science on wireless (WiFi) and electromagnetic frequency (EMF) exposure has identified at least seven different ways that WiFi and EMF microwave pollution actively harms the human body.

Published in the journal Environmental Research, the peer-reviewed paper explains that exposure to WiFi signals, which are everywhere these days, can lead to: oxidative stress, sperm and testicular damage, neuropsychiatric effects including EEG (electroencephalogram) changes, apoptosis (programmed cell death), cellular DNA damage, endocrine changes, and calcium overload.

As many as 16 different reviews also show that exposure to other microwave EMFs is directly associated with these same effects as well as others, proving that living in the wireless age isn't nearly as safe as health authorities in collusion with the telecommunications industry would have us all believe.

Comment: Despite the constant reassurances from government agencies and the telecom industry, it is clear that Wi-Fi and other wireless communication signal exposures have a detrimental effect on the proper functioning of the body. Eat as many goji berries as you like, the best course of action is to limit exposure as much as possible.

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Magic Wand

Cells that 'taste' danger set off immune responses

Taste and smell receptors in unexpected organs monitor the state of the body's natural microbial health and raise an alarm over invading parasites.
lungs with tongues
© RenderBurger for Quanta Magazine
Cells with taste receptors sometimes develop inside the lungs of animals infected with influenza. By “tasting” the presence of certain pathogens, these cells may act as sentinels for the immune system.
When the immunologist De'Broski Herbert at the University of Pennsylvania looked deep inside the lungs of mice infected with influenza, he thought he was seeing things. He had found a strange-looking cell with a distinctive thatch of projections like dreadlocks atop a pear-shaped body, and it was studded with taste receptors. He recalled that it looked just like a tuft cell — a cell type most often associated with the lining of the intestines.

But what would a cell covered with taste receptors be doing in the lungs? And why did it only appear there in response to a severe bout of influenza?

Herbert wasn't alone in his puzzlement over this mysterious and little-studied group of cells that keep turning up in unexpected places, from the thymus (a small gland in the chest where pathogen-fighting T cells mature) to the pancreas. Scientists are only just beginning to understand them, but it is gradually becoming clear that tuft cells are an important hub for the body's defenses precisely because they can communicate with the immune system and other sets of tissues, and because their taste receptors allow them to identify threats that are still invisible to other immune cells.

Marijuana

CBD and Lupus: The future of treating Autoimmune Disease

HOPE

CBD offers hope in the treatment of Lupus and autoimmune diseases without the side effects of pharmaceuticals

Five million people worldwide suffer from joint pain, rashes, and chronic fatigue due to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune condition. There is no cure and few options for help for the sometimes debilitating symptoms. There is hope, though. As the restrictions on research and the use of cannabis are lifted, more lupus and autoimmune disease sufferers may find relief through the use of CBD. The research on cannabis is also pointing the way to a better understanding of how our bodies work to fight pain and inflammation; the insight that may prove to be invaluable for the millions suffering from a host of autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Patricia Frye of Takoma Park Integrative Care in Maryland and the author of Medical Marijuana prescribes cannabis for her patients for a variety of conditions. Cannabis, as well as CBD, help modulate the symptoms of autoimmune disorders like SLE, or lupus. In addition, it can be more efficacious and comes with fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals.

"It generally has an overall anti-inflammatory effect," Frye says.

Heart

New large study casts doubt on need for many heart procedures

medical
© Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis
People with severe but stable heart disease from clogged arteries may have less chest pain if they get a procedure to improve blood flow rather than just giving medicines a chance to help, but it won't cut their risk of having a heart attack or dying over the following few years, a big federally funded study found.

The results challenge medical dogma and call into question some of the most common practices in heart care. They are the strongest evidence yet that tens of thousands of costly stent procedures and bypass operations each year are unnecessary or premature for people with stable disease.

That's a different situation than a heart attack, when a procedure is needed right away to restore blood flow.

For non-emergency cases, the study shows "there's no need to rush" into invasive tests and procedures, said New York University's Dr. Judith Hochman.

There might even be harm: To doctors' surprise, study participants who had a procedure were more likely to suffer a heart problem or die over the next year than those treated with medicines alone.

Hochman co-led the study and gave results Saturday at an American Heart Association conference in Philadelphia.

Comment: Changing our lifestyle and what we consume can go a long way in preventing the need for heart medication or procedures. See also,


Health

China sees 3rd plague case after man, 55, eats wild rabbit

Bubonic plague
A 55-year-old man in China has become the country's third case of plague in recent weeks.

Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of northern China, confirmed a case of bubonic plague on Sunday, according to Reuters. The man, who was not identified, became ill after eating wild rabbit meat on Nov. 5, according to the outlet. He is isolated and being treated at a hospital in Ulanqab.

At least 28 other people who had close contact with the man are also isolated and "under observation," per Reuters, which noted they do not appear to be showing any symptoms of the disease at this time.

Plague is a serious bacterial infection that's separated into three main types: bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic. Plague is usually contracted after being bitten by a rodent flea carrying the Yersinia pestis bacterium or by handling an infected animal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The disease can be fatal if not promptly treated.

Health

Why overuse of antibiotics is a massive, 'staggering' problem in health care

superbug microscope
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that we are losing ground in the battle against so-called superbugs -- the harmful or deadly bacteria resistant to nearly all our antibiotic defenses. William Brangham talks to Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, who works on infection control at the CDC and helped compile the report, about how we can prevent these dangerous infections.

Transcript

Judy Woodruff: A new report out from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control highlights that we are still losing the battle against so-called superbugs, bacteria that are resistant to nearly all the antibiotics.

As William Brangham tells us, the scope of the problem is bigger than previously estimated.

Comment: Funny how they're putting the onus of responsibility on the patients rather than the doctors. If the doctors don't want to prescribe an antibiotic because they know it won't be effective, they shouldn't do so, no matter how much their patient whines about it. There's also the fact that patients aren't equipped to determine when they need an antibiotic and when they don't. The final decision is the doctor's, not the patient's, so put the responsibility where it belongs.

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