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Mon, 06 Dec 2021
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Health & Wellness

Life Preserver

Scientists: Appendix protects good germs

Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the troublesome and seemingly useless appendix: It produces and protects good germs for your gut. That's the theory from surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, published online in a scientific journal this week.

For generations the appendix has been dismissed as superfluous. Doctors figured it had no function, surgeons removed them routinely, and people live fine without them.


Higher infections for babies in pools

Research in Germany linked higher infection risks, especially for diarrhea, to babies who swam in pools during their first year of life.

However, the study, published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, found no increased risks for atopic diseases -- which is when the immune system is dysregulated, resulting in allergic inflammation.


Bilberry studied as anti-cancer substance

British researchers are investigating whether an extract from bilberries -- already known to help with night vision -- can prevent or delay some cancers.


Andy Gescher and colleagues at the University of Leicester, is leading an investigation to carry out clinical trials with the commercially produced substance Mirtoselect -- extracted from bilberries -- with the cooperation of patients about to undergo surgery for colorectal and liver cancer.

Black Cat

My psychopathic sweetheart: he may seem the ideal mate, but the romantic predator's narcissism eventually surfaces

The courtship is always a whirlwind. He is handsome, charming, confident. His love letters are filled with longing. The flattery flows. You are smart. You are beautiful. You are his ideal love.

Master of the grand gesture, he whisks you off on romantic weekends. Mid-Atlantic, he pulls out a little present for you, just as the stewardess fills your glasses with wine.

You have no idea that he is a psychopath: deeply narcissistic, devoid of real feeling, a romantic predator. Why would you? He is your dream man.

Comment: Apart from the excellent books sited in the article, we recommend this reading list on the subject of psychopathy as well, "that can help the layperson understand psychopaths, narcissists, and their own vulnerability."


Got calcium? UWM researcher finds that food labels confuse consumers

Consumers often don't get nutritional information they need.

Current food labeling leads to under-consumption of calcium, according to this study. Those who were taught how to translate the information consumed more. Researchers believe the same is true for other beneficial nutrients.


Workplace woe: Are abusive bosses or inferior employees to blame?

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Considerable attention, both in blogs and in popular media, has been given to abusive bosses over the past few years. (See the Web sites HateBoss.com and WorkRant.com, for example.) Less discussed are employees' responses to such behavior. How do employees react to abusive supervisors" Do they simply take what is dished out, or do they actively seek to change the situation"

Comment: The study the way it is described appears to blame the victim of workplace abuse. The researchers would do well to read the book Snakes in Suit by Hare and Babiak.


Pipe Dreams - Contaminants and Chlorine in Drinking Water

In a time when we endlessly scrutinize the ingredients of our food and insist on pesticide-free peaches, why are we still mixing carcinogens into our children's lemonade? From herbicides to arsenic, the Environmental Protection Agency has set standards for 80 different chemicals, specifying how much of each should be allowed in our drinking water. Yet no regulations exist for thousands of other contaminants that make their way into our drinking water.

These unregulated contaminants include industrial byproducts, agricultural chemicals, drugs and even most of the toxic compounds that are formed when we add chlorine for disinfection. The combined effect of these contaminants has never been evaluated.

Comment: The author tries to sell the notion that the EPA has our best interest at heart and high cost is the only thing that is preventing water from being properly purified. However, there is plenty of evidence that suggests otherwise. The most notable example is fluoride, which is deliberately added to drinking water despite a huge amount of research pointing to its toxicity.

So if you care enough about what you and your family drink, take the matter into your own hands and buy a reverse osmosis filter. Better yet, buy a water distiller and drink only distilled water.


Right on Schedule: Bird flu virus mutating into human-unfriendly form

The H5N1 bird flu virus has mutated to infect people more easily, although it still has not transformed into a pandemic strain, researchers said on Thursday.

The changes are worrying, said Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Comment: But you can bet that they are working on it. And soon they will have achieved their goal. A pandemic.


Eat fish while pregnant, U.S. experts recommend

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should eat at least 12 ounces (340 grams) of fish and other seafood a week because the benefits for infant brain development outweigh any worries about mercury contamination, a group of U.S. experts said on Thursday.

The recommendations contradict U.S. government warnings that these women should consume no more than 12 ounces of fish and other seafood weekly due to concerns that mercury -- which can harm the nervous system of fetuses -- might exist in trace amounts in this food.


Will New Food Labels Make Americans Thin

The line between health education and marketing just got blurrier.

2005 was the year of the whole grain. While nutritionists and dietitians had long touted the benefits of whole grains, it was food behemoths like General Mills and Kraft that had the financial capabilities of generating national buzz by transforming their classic products into more nutritional edibles. Nutritional fads are nothing new and neither are the reformulations processed foods undergo to cater to them. For example, Trix, that rainbow-hued confection with a sugar-induced white rabbit for a mascot, could now boast wholesome graininess on the side of its box. And while the cereal technically reduced its sugar content, it maintained the same number of calories (as well as a disturbing 13 grams of sugar per 30-gram portion). It was a superficial makeover designed to ease the consciences (but not the waistlines) of consumers.