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Sun, 23 Apr 2017
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Health & Wellness


EPA won't ban pesticide chlorpyrifos

© Earth Justice
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt denied a petition Wednesday requesting that the agency ban the use of the chlorpyrifos on all United States food crops. Chlorpyrifos, a product of Dow Agrosciences, is an insecticide proved effective against mosquitoes, cockroaches and fire ants, which has been registered for use in the US since 1965.

The petition dates back to September 2007, when the Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council requested a ban of the common pesticide based on concerns over its toxicity.The petitioners, some scientists and environmental groups claim that chlorpyrifos can harm children's developing brains and nervous systems. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, exposure to chlorpyrifos can cause a range of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, seizures and paralysis.

But some scientists and the US Department of Agriculture argue that chlorpyrifos is not harmful at exposure levels upheld by the EPA.

Comment: Ummm...wonder why the EPA did not respond to requests for comment?!
The EPA has already banned chlorpyrifos near homes, schools, and gardens.

Chlorpyrifos was eliminated from homes, schools, day care facilities, parks, hospitals, nursing homes, and malls—in 2000. But the EPA permitted continued use of chlorpyrifos in agricultural areas. "This pesticide was removed from home uses ... because EPA recognized the dangers to children at that point, but the uses in agriculture were still allowed," says Veena Singla, an NRDC staff scientist based in San Francisco, California.

She points out that the EPA's own assessment says that risks for farmworkers can't be mitigated by anything short of stopping its use. The EPA's revised human health risk assessment [PDF, see page 12], released last December, found some risks to farmworkers who mix and apply chlorpyrifos products to crops. The assessment also indicated that when chlorpyrifos is applied in high amounts in small watersheds, there are potential risks to drinking water.


Sugary breakfast cereals for kids are just as bad as alcohol

© Stockbyte/Rex Features
‘On average, cereal contains a whopping 12g of sugar, all added, in a typical serving.’
Breakfast is considered by most nutrition experts, including Public Health England, to be the most important meal of the day. It gets your brain and your metabolism going, and it suppresses the hunger hormone in your stomach so you won't overeat at lunch. But in our busy lives, it's easy to turn to what is quick, cheap, or what you can eat on the go. Cold cereal. Instant oatmeal. For those die-hard "I'm gonna serve something hot for breakfast" types, it's microwaveable breakfast sandwiches. Gotta get out the door now? Granola bars. Protein bars. Yoghurt smoothies.

Sadly, as the National Diet and Nutrition Survey found, what you're really doing is giving your children a huge sugar load while sending them on their way: half of their daily intake on average. There's a reason that the World Health Organisation and the United States Department of Agriculture have provided upper limits of sugar - because dietary sugar fries your kids' liver and brain; just like alcohol.

Alcohol provides calories (7kcal/g), but not nutrition. There's no biochemical reaction that requires it. When consumed chronically and in high dose, alcohol is toxic, unrelated to its calories or effects on weight. Not everyone who is exposed gets addicted, but enough do to warrant taxation and restriction of access, especially to children. Clearly, alcohol is not a food - it's a dangerous drug, because it's both toxic and abused.

Comment: Bacon and eggs!


The plight of the modern foot

For all the focus on hearts and arteries, brain tissue and muscle mass, we tend to neglect one critical part of the body with dramatic influence over how we fare in later decades. It's little surprise really. Feet don't exactly garner much attention, let alone media time. Yet, the stakes are big.

For example, research shows that foot conditions like hallux vagus (HV, a common forefoot deformity in older people commonly referred to as "bunions") was directly associated with marked decreases in quality of life. Foot pain, reduced foot function, lowered social capacity, and even degraded general health. That sort of thing.

But that's just one foot condition, right? Yes...and no. The picture of averages looks rather bleak.

A clinical assessment of 166 Hong Kong hospital outpatients over the age of 65 found that 70% of those patients had some sort of foot condition. In the U.S., things aren't much better. While surveys have shown extensive variability in reports of foot problems (anywhere between 30% and 95%), other research points to more dramatic prevalence of what I'd consider significant problems. Large-scale, random epidemiological studies aren't available without confounding factors that muddy the waters. Still, one extensive European study found that 78% of people over 65 suffered from kind of diagnosed foot issue. Even at the most conservative of estimates, that means a minimum of one third of all Americans over 65 will have some form of debilitating foot disorder. And the worst part? Many of the studies discovered that only a small percentage of these people actually report or complain about their foot problems. Apparently, for them it's just a fact of life.

But most of us here choose differently for ourselves. We prefer to challenge that fatalist "come what may" approach to aging. Feet shouldn't be an exception. In fact, given the statistics, they might well be a smart priority.

Comment: Helpful tips for the plight of the modern foot

Take 2

Farmed salmon: One of the most toxic foods in the world

Nicolas Daniel's documentary Fillet-Oh-Fish takes a critical look at the fish industry, featuring exclusive footage from fish farms and factories across the globe. Many still have a rather romanticized view of fishing, but when it comes to large-scale food production, the picture is actually rather grim.

Today's fisheries are faced with a range of severe problems, from overfishing to chemical pollution and genetic mutation from toxic exposures. As noted by the producers of the film, "through intensive farming and global pollution, the flesh of the fish we eat has turned into a deadly chemical cocktail."1

Despite that, the fish business is booming, in part due to efforts to keep the dirty underbelly of modern fisheries from public sight.

Aquaculture promotes itself as a sustainable solution to overfishing. But in reality, fish farms actually cause more problems than they solve. There's really little difference, in terms of environmental pollution, between land-based feedlots and water-based ones.


The many ways milk & dairy products make you sick

© Natural Mentor
Remember those milk commercials you used to see as a kid, claiming that milk "does the body good"? It turns out that might not be true at all. In fact, it could be the complete opposite. New evidence continues to emerge suggesting that drinking milk from a cow is not really natural, and not really good nor necessary for us at all. It's not a coincidence that approximately 65 to 75 percent of the total human population on our planet have a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. In some countries, more than 90 percent of the adult population is lactose intolerant.

It makes sense if you think about it, because every other species weans and then never drinks milk again for the rest of their lives. This is because they don't have the enzyme to break down sugar in milk. In this video, Katherine S. Pollard, PhD., from the University of California shares how during human evolution, some humans experienced a mutation in the LTC gene, the lactose gene, and that these are the mutations that allow us to process lactose as adults. We weren't born with this gene, we had to develop it.

Not only that, the animal industry alone kills billions of animals every single year, and that's just in America alone. Factory farming is causing extreme environmental degradation and excess of greenhouses gases. Another factor to consider is animal cruelty. This is a great little video done by Erin Janus, an animal and environmental activist who is raising awareness about multiple issues. In her video she brings up some great points about the modern day dairy industry.

Comment: How Big Food & education sold the false claim that 'milk does a body good'


Patient develops aortic aneurysm after using cipro

New FDA Warning About Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics
When IC patient Naomi* was prescribed Cipro for a bladder infection several years ago, she had no idea that it would lead to a life threatening aortic aneurysm. She, and others, found both both answers and outrage in an FDA safety alert released in May which required a stronger black box warning for fluoroquinolone medications (aka Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox) and urged that it only be used when no other therapy is available.(1)

Naomi shared,
"We've spent years trying to figure out why this happened to me. I had no risk factors, no family connection with aneurysms. But I did take Cipro several times including one months long prescription. It was often prescribed by my physicians."
Introduced in 1987, Cipro is a fluroquinolone antibiotic used to treat a wide variety of infections, including UTI and chronic prostatitis, some skin infections, respiratory tract, ear and joint infections. But it has a long record of serious side effects.

In 2008, the FDA issued a Black Box warning about an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, especially in the elderly. In 2013, the FDA warned about possible seizures and irreversible peripheral neuropathy. Headache, dizziness, and insomnia, tremor, anxiety, hallucination and suicide attempts were also reported.

Comment: Do your research, this antibiotic is not worth the risk of sudden death from an aortic aneurysm dissection. If you are prescribed fluoroquinolone antibiotics, urge your doctor to consider another option. See also:


The many reasons to love black tea: Benefits the heart, digestion, stress levels and more

Tea is actually the most consumed beverage worldwide after water so it's quite likely you may be acquiring black tea benefits already on a regular basis. But is black tea good for you? Loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols that protect human cells from hazardous free radical damage, black tea definitely makes the list of one of my top anti-aging foods. Plus, black tea has been linked with improved mental alertness, lower ovarian cancer risk, and a possible decreased likelihood of developing Parkinson's disease, diabetes and heart disease. (1)

While it's typically consumed "black" and hot in the East, in the West it's often consumed cold with lemon as iced tea or hot with milk and a sweetener like sugar or honey. Some varieties of black tea that may ring a bell include "English Breakfast" and "Irish Breakfast." You may also be familiar with "Early Grey," which is a black tea with bergamot essential oil, or chai tea, which combines a variety of spices with black tea. Any of these varieties come with black tea benefits so you can choose whichever one you prefer.

Today, black tea is by far the most popular of the tea varieties, and it's commonly consumed daily in Western as well as South Asian countries like Sri Lanka and India. So we definitely know it has a lot of fans, but how healthy is black tea? Let's take a look at exactly how black tea benefits your health whether you're already a long-time devotee or you're considering making it your new go-to caffeine of choice.

Heart - Black

Stress of child abuse impacts the physical growth and maturation of adolescents

© Roman Bodnarchuk / Fotoli
Maltreatment can affect a child's psychological development. New research indicates that the stress of abuse can impact the physical growth and maturation of adolescents as well.
While it has long been known that maltreatment can affect a child's psychological development, new Penn State research indicates that the stress of abuse can impact the physical growth and maturation of adolescents as well.

Jennie Noll, director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network and professor of human development and family studies, and Idan Shalev, assistant professor of biobehavioral health, found that young girls who are exposed to childhood sexual abuse are likely to physically mature and hit puberty at rates 8 to twelve months earlier than their non-abused peers. Their results were published recently in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"Though a year's difference may seem trivial in the grand scheme of a life, this accelerated maturation has been linked to concerning consequences, including behavioral and mental health problems and reproductive cancers," said Noll.

Comment: Long-term risks of early puberty - navigating early development in today's girls

Alarm Clock

CBS: Study finds unbelievable rise in mastectomies in certain states

In 2017, no one can say they haven't been affected by cancer to some degree; about 12.4% of women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during their lifetime. We all know someone or have a family member who the disease has maimed or killed. Yes, maimed.

According to a study published in JAMA Surgery, younger women with breast cancer are increasingly opting to undergo double mastectomies, even if they were diagnosed with early-stage cancer in only one breast. The procedure to remove the healthy breast, along with the affected breast is called a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM).In fact, the rate has gone up so much in some states, more than 42% of women 20 to 44 who underwent surgery between 2010 and 2012 opted to remove both breasts with a CPM, researchers want to know why.

(Above: Amberlea Childs, 36, was newly engaged when she found a lump the size of a large walnut in her right breast. She would go on to have a double mastectomy.)

Ahmedin Jemal, vice president for surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society, and senior author of the study believes there are a couple possibilities for the rise: the desire for symmetry and the Angelina Jolie effect. (Remember she was diagnosed with the BRCA-1 cancer gene that mutation that causes breast cancer and chose to have a double mastectomy.)

Quite surprisingly, both the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the American Board of Internal Medicine came to a consensus on CPM and published it in the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology:
"CPM should be discouraged for an average-risk woman with unilateral breast cancer. However, patient's values, goals, and preferences should be included to optimize shared decision making when discussing CPM. The final decision whether or not to proceed with CPM is a result of the balance between benefits and risks of CPM and patient preference."
The new study also included data on 1.2 million women aged 20 and older in the U.S. who were diagnosed with early-stage invasive unilateral breast cancer between 2004 and 2012.Researchers took a close look at which patients in the data underwent a lumpectomy 58.4%); a unilateral mastectomy, in which only the breast with cancer is removed(32.9%); or a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (8.7%) and found that the proportion of women opting for CPM declined with age. Only 2.4% of those 70 or older had both breasts removed, compared with 29.3% of those 20 to 29.

However, nationally, the prevalence of CPMs increased over time: between 2004 and 2012, the number of women 45 and older who had both breasts removed jumped from 3.6% to 10.4% and in women 20 to 44, the number rose from 10.5% to 33.3%.

Where women are more likely to get healthy breasts removed

The highest proportion of CPM is done in the Midwestern states: Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado and South Dakota. But the trend continues across the East Coast; in Virginia, 9.8% of younger women underwent CPMs between 2004 and 2006 and 32.2% between 2010 and 2012, in Rhode Island, 7.6% rose to 25.8%, and in West Virginia, 6% rose to 26.4%, in Wisconsin, 13.8% rose to 32.7%.From the article:
"Another study, published last year in the journal Annals of Surgery, found that the use of CPM overall more than tripled in the United States between 2002 and 2012, despite a lack of evidence that the procedure offers a survival benefit. 'Further examination on how to optimally counsel women about surgical options is warranted,' the authors of that study wrote."
What seems to be clear is that physicians need to make more of an effort to have a balanced discussion with patients to try to dissuade them from removing a healthy breast. Although quite frankly, the ideal situation is that physicians talk to their patients about living a healthy lifestyle that would help hinder cancer growth in the first place. But yes, please encourage women to stop removing their breasts!


Evil Rays

High exposure to low frequencies: ALS linked to occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields

© Werner Bartsch/Plainpicture
High exposure to low frequencies
Workplace exposure to electromagentic fields is linked to a higher risk of developing the most common form of motor neurone disease.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that ravages the body's nerve cells, leaving people unable to control their bodies. People can die as soon as two years after first experiencing symptoms.

"Several previous studies have found that electrical workers are at increased risk of ALS," says Neil Pearce, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "We don't know why the risk is higher, but the two most likely explanations involve either electrical shocks, or ongoing exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields."

Now an analysis of data from more than 58,000 men and 6,500 women suggests it is the latter. Roel Vermeulen, at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and his team found that people whose jobs exposed them to high levels of very low frequency magnetic fields were twice as likely to develop ALS as people who have never had this kind of occupational exposure.

Comment: For a more in depth look at EMF exposure in general and the numerous sources in our environment read the following: