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Mon, 20 Nov 2017
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Health & Wellness


Insys CEO arrested and charged with racketeering and bribery

John Kapoor, 74, board chairman of Akorn Pharmaceuticals and CEO of Insys Therapeutics Inc. and several others have been indicted and charged with leading a nationwide conspiracy to bribe doctors to prescribe his company's opioid painkiller Subsys, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Kapoor is being charged with RICO conspiracy, as well as other felonies, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law in a larger conspiracy.



Know where your beef comes from: Why most grass fed labels cannot be trusted

Worldwide, we're seeing strong growth in organics and grass fed farming. As of 2016, the organic food sector accounted for 5.3 percent of total food sales in the U.S.1 We now also have a brand-new grass fed certification by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), which is the highest certification you can get for dairy, beef, sheep and goats.

In short, we're seeing a radically increased demand for healthier foods. A lot more people now know about the drawbacks of factory farmed beef and dairy, and are aware that when herbivores are grazed naturally, without hormones, antibiotics and other drugs, you end up with a healthier product.

Unfortunately, the current food system still leaves a lot to be desired. Built around efficiency and profit, inevitable quality and safety deficiencies are par the course. International trade agreements also protect profits over safety and consumer ideals.

While traceability is key for food safety, country of origin labeling (COOL) was rejected by the World Trade Organization (WTO) for being "discriminatory." In other words, you're not allowed to know where a food comes from simply because that might influence you to buy or not buy, depending on your preferences.

The ramifications are presently evident in the beef industry, where tainted beef is being exported around the globe while local ranchers struggle to compete with bottom-priced imports.


NHS recommends deadly statins for children with familial hypercholesterolemia

© Lucas Oleniuk / Global Look Press
Statins are used to treat high cholesterol levels.
Tens of thousands of children with inherited risk of high cholesterol should be put on statins as early as the age of 10, according to new guidance. It comes as part of a radical National Health Service (NHS) strategy to tackle deadly heart disease.

New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) calls on GPs to dig out medical records to find who may be carrying the gene defect that afflicts them with high cholesterol levels, a condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).

Amid growing concerns that cases of high cholesterol are going undetected, Nice argues prescribing the drugs to children as young as 10 could minimize the risk of them suffering from heart disease when they reach middle age. Although it is believed up to 260,000 people - including 56,000 children - are suffering from the genetic defect, only 15 percent are actually being treated for the condition. Some 600 of those are children.

Professor Mark Baker, director of the center for guidelines at Nice, said: "Familial hypercholesterolemia is a serious, often undiagnosed but relatively common condition which, if treated early, ideally in childhood, will not affect normal life expectancy for the majority of people with it.

Comment: The side effects from these dangerous drugs would probably do more to lower these childrens' life expectancy than hypercholesterolemia ever would.


Study shows intrusive thoughts may be mitigated by use of GABA

Scientists have linked a neurotransmitter known as GABA to unwanted and intrusive thoughts. These findings could have a major impact on our understanding of conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia.

Don't Think About It

Most of us know the feeling of being unable to distract ourselves from a particular thought, however much we might want to. Now, scientists might have found the reason why.

In a study carried out at the University of Cambridge, participants were given pairs of words to associate with one another. The words were unrelated in order to ensure that pre-existing associations didn't have any influence. Participants were then given a word and either a green or a red signal. If it was the former, they would try to recall the other half of the pairing, and if it was the latter, they would try to deliberately suppress the associated term from their mind.

Comment: Depression, anxiety, stress - some of the biggest detriments to health of our time. See more on what can be done to help yourself: as well as:


How intermittent fasting and manipulating mitochondrial networks may increase lifespan

© Harvard Chan School
“Although previous work has shown how intermittent fasting can slow aging, we are only beginning to understand the underlying biology,” said William Mair, associate professor at Harvard Chan School. Mitochondrial networks in the muscle cells of C. elegans (pictured) have been key elements in the study.
Manipulating mitochondrial networks inside cells - either by dietary restriction or by genetic manipulation that mimics it - may increase lifespan and promote health, according to new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, published Oct. 26 online in Cell Metabolism, sheds light on the basic biology involved in cells' declining ability to process energy over time, which leads to aging and age-related disease, and how interventions such as periods of fasting might promote healthy aging.

Mitochondria - the energy-producing structures in cells - exist in networks that dynamically change shape according to energy demand. Their capacity to do so declines with age, but the impact this has on metabolism and cellular function was previously unclear. In this study, the researchers showed a causal link between dynamic changes in the shapes of mitochondrial networks and longevity.

Comment: Learn more:


Colon cancer breakthrough could lead to prevention, plus foods that may help

Colon cancer, Crohn's, and other diseases of the gut could be better treated - or even prevented - thanks to a new link between inflammation and a common cellular process, established by the University of Warwick.

Led by Dr Ioannis Nezis at Warwick's School of Life Sciences, new research demonstrates that autophagy - an essential process whereby cells break down and recycle harmful or damaged elements within themselves to keep our bodies healthy - causes tissue inflammation when dysfunctional, which in turn leaves us susceptible to harmful diseases, particularly in the gut.

Understanding this link could lead to more effective treatments for gut diseases - such as colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis - giving healthcare professionals the ability to target the root cause of these diseases, by regulating and controlling autophagy.

Comment: Also see:


A sleep scientist on the vicious cycle of insomnia and sleeping pills

© H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images
Maybe you're one of the estimated 50 to 70 million Americans who suffer from sleep disorders, including insomnia; maybe you're also among the 4 percent of American adults who rely on prescription medication in order to fall asleep. If so, Matt Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, has a bit of bad news for you.

In a section of his new book, Why We Sleep, Walker explores the latest scientific research to show the unfortunate truth about sleeping pills: They don't work as well as we wish they did. Sleep medications don't deliver the same restorative benefits as natural sleep, and even though people who take them often swear by them, the research suggests that the drugs don't tend to increase sleep quality beyond placebos. Currently, Walker says, the best available treatment method for combating chronic sleeplessness is not pharmacological at all; it's psychological.

Recently, we spoke with Walker about this aspect of his book, including his skepticism over sleeping pills and his enthusiasm for cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I. What follows is a lightly edited and condensed version of our conversation.

Comment: For more information on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, check out:

6 easy steps to falling asleep fast


Can Alzheimer's be 'caught'? Study suggests the illness could be spread via blood transfusions and surgical equipment

© zephr/ SPL
A brain destroyed: deep folds and shrinkage appear green and orange in this MRI scan
Can you catch Alzheimer's disease? Fear has been growing that the illness might be capable of spreading via blood transfusions and surgical equipment, but it has been hard to find any evidence of this happening. Now a study has found that an Alzheimer's protein can spread between mice that share a blood supply, causing brain degeneration.

We already know from prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) that misfolded proteins can spread brain diseases. Variant CJD can spread through meat products or blood transfusions infected with so-called prion proteins, for example.

Like CJD, Alzheimer's also involves a misfolded protein called beta-amyloid. Plaques of this protein accumulate in the brains of people with the illness, although we still don't know if the plaques cause the condition, or are merely a symptom.

There has been evidence that beta-amyloid may spread like prions. Around 50 years ago, many people with a growth disorder were treated with growth hormone taken from cadavers. Many of the recipients went on to develop CJD, as these cadavers turned out to be carrying prions. But decades later, it emerged in postmortems that some of these people had also developed Alzheimer's plaques, despite being 51 or younger at the time.

Comment: See also:


Link found between condition of gut bacteria and several age-related diseases

A new study shows for the first time that gut bacteria from old mice induce age-related chronic inflammation when transplanted into young mice. Called "inflammaging", this low-grade chronic inflammation is linked to life-limiting conditions such as stroke, dementia and cardiovasuclar disease. The research, published today in open-access journal Frontiers in Immunology, brings the hope of a potentially simple strategy to contribute to healthy ageing, as the composition of bacteria in the gut is, at least in part, controlled by diet.

"Since inflammaging is thought to contribute to many diseases associated with ageing, and we now find that the gut microbiota plays a role in this process, strategies that alter the gut microbiota composition in the elderly could reduce inflammaging and promote healthy ageing," explains Dr Floris Fransen, who performed the research at the University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands. "Strategies that are known to alter gut microbiota composition include changes in diet, probiotics, and prebiotics".

Comment: It seems like modern science is always playing a game of catch-up with the alternative health community. Here's a sampling of the numerous articles which state pretty much the same thing as the article above:


New study offers insights into a dog's life in families with children

'Let's go play ball!'
Millions of families know how rewarding and enjoyable dog ownership can be - but now a new study has for the first time examined the quality of life for a pet dog owned by a family with children.

There is now extensive scientific research showing the many benefits that pet dogs bring to families, including improved family functioning and wellbeing for those with children with neuro-developmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD. For all children, dogs can provide valuable companionship, encourage exercise and family activities, and teach them about responsibilities.

Until now, little attention has been paid to how living with children affects quality of life for pet dogs (those not trained as assistance dogs). Funded by Dogs Trust - the UK's largest dog welfare charity - a team of animal behaviour and welfare specialists from the University of Lincoln's School of Life Sciences are examining this question.