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Wed, 26 Apr 2017
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The Health & Wellness Show: Don't Panic, Lighten Up!

Chuckles, giggles, mirth, merriment, guffaws -- laughter by any other name. The physiological study of laughter has a name -- gelotology -- and there are actually researchers who study humor and laughter and how they have an impact on the brain and body. They've found that yukking it up has numerous health benefits: It releases tension, lowers anxiety, boosts the immune system, aids circulation and much, much more. Laughter is so vital to well-being that this therapy is being merged with traditional medical treatments and laughing yoga groups have sprung up worldwide.

The benefits of a big, belly laugh cannot be overstated so join us on The Health and Wellness Show for a dose of laughter therapy.

Running Time: 01:17:19

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USA

Yet another Veterans Hospital investigation finds troubling conditions: "Unnecessary risks" for patients

© mitre.org
"Taking care of our veterans is a cost of war. If you can spend six trillion dollars sending people to war, you can spend a few billion dollars taking care of them when they come home." - Senator Bernie Sanders

Sanders may get a lot of things wrong, but he's absolutely correct here.

The war machine continues to create more veterans, but the government isn't taking adequate care of the ones it has already created.

Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General issued a rare preliminary report to alert patients and the public about the dangerous conditions at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

That VA location is about four miles away from the department's national headquarters and a block away from the White House. It has faced problems for "some time" without improvements, the report states.

It "serves" more than 98,000 veterans in the region.

Comment: Autogenocide: Over a quarter million US veterans have died while waiting for basic healthcare


Health

Apple cider vinegar bath for good health

© earthclinic
If you think apple cider vinegar added to your bath would ruin your bathing experience, you may be up to the risk after you read about the marvelous health benefits of this healing soak.

Apple cider vinegar baths are an easy natural remedy for a number of health problems. ACV baths can improve your skin and hair, promote healing of infections, reduce body odor and help you to sleep better. Don't knock it until you try it!

Comment:


Health

No more butt-less gowns: Hospital patients in street clothes get well faster

A new campaign from the NHS is prompting hospital staff to encourage patients to get up and change out of hospital gowns as soon as they are able to move around. Can we all agree, that in America, the butt-less gowns need to go?

Daily Mail reported:
The idea is that by bringing them closer to their regular routine, patients will gain the confidence they need to return home. In addition, keeping them upright and walking is intended to reduce the loss of mobility from a lengthy hospital stay and reduce associated problems such as pressure sores, all of which delay recovery.

For elderly patients, ten days of bed rest in hospital equates to ten years of muscle ageing, according to doctors - which could make the difference in simple activities such as getting out of bed or using the toilet unaided.

Health

Chronic disease: There is nothing inevitable or natural about it

© Dvortygirl/Flickr
In the 1830s, British settlers in New Zealand imported European rabbits for food and sport. With no native predators, the rabbits soon took over. Accounts from the period describe thousands of hectares run through with burrows, and huge tracts of arable land destroyed by overgrazing.

In a desperate bid to stem the scourge, the New Zealanders brought in a natural predator of the rabbit - ferrets. Without native predators to pick them off, the new imports did well. But they also played a prominent role in the decline of several endangered bird species, including the kiwi, the weka, and the kakapo. It's a familiar parable (Mark Twain even riffed on it) about unintended consequences, and the danger of applying reductionist logic to a world that is characterised by extraordinary interdependence and complexity.

As a physician, I can't help but be reminded of ferrets in New Zealand as I write prescriptions for the drugs we use to manage chronic disease. Hydrochlorothiazide for high blood pressure. Sulfonylureas, a class of medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Statins for heart disease.

Don't get me wrong, these drugs work. They absolutely save lives. But the human body is a precisely interdependent system, and these drugs are like sledgehammers. The ferrets did kill rabbits, but they were such an indelicate intervention that they wrought their own special havoc on the native ecosystem. The kakapo might never again be seen on the New Zealand mainland. How much collateral damage are we inflicting on the human ecosystem with our powerful medicines?

Popcorn

Low-calorie sweeteners promote fat accumulation and inflammation

Low-calorie, artificial sweeteners appear to play havoc with the body's metabolism, and large consumption of these sugar substitutes could promote fat accumulation, especially in people who are already obese, preliminary research suggests. The study results will be presented Monday at ENDO 2017, the Endocrine Society's 99th annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

"Many health-conscious individuals like to consume low-calorie sweeteners as an alternative to sugar. However, there is increasing scientific evidence that these sweeteners promote metabolic dysfunction," said Sabyasachi Sen, M.D., an Associate Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and the study's principal investigator.

Sen and his colleagues tested sucralose, a popular low-calorie sweetener, on stem cells -- cells that could change into mature fat, muscle, cartilage or bone cells--taken from human fat tissue. They placed these cells in Petri dishes for 12 days in media that promotes fat production. At a 0.2-millimolar sucralose dose similar to the concentration found in the blood of people with high consumption of low-calorie sweeteners -- equal to four cans of diet soda per day -- the researchers said they observed increased expression of genes that are markers of fat production and inflammation. There also was increased accumulation of fat droplets in cells, particularly at a larger dose (1 millimolar), Sen reported.

Comment: See also:


Extinguisher

Commonly used organophosphates are making people 'flame retardant'

In 1973, the U.S. government passed a law requiring that all children's sleepwear must be fire resistant. Legislators may have believed they were preserving public health, believing such laws help keep citizens safe. But, to borrow a phrase, the medicine is sometimes worse than the disease.

Here's why: Fewer than five years later, scientists discovered that the chemical used to make those flame-retardant fabrics — brominated Tris — was responsible for rising incidences of cancer. Brominated Tris was then banned in kids' pajamas.

By 1977, other chemicals were being used to render such articles as baby toys, clothing, carpeting, sofas, draperies and even crib mattresses flame resistant. Growing realization that the chemicals were causing even more health problems led to widespread concern. Consumer Reports noted:
"In 2004, such concerns led to one of the most commonly used flame-retardant mixtures, called pentaBDE, being voluntarily phased out after it was linked to health problems and was detected in alarming levels in people's bodies. Many manufacturers began to use organophosphates in their place."1
But a new, comprehensive study led by Duke University2 revealed that two flame-retardant chemicals in a class called organophosphates are showing up in peoples' urine. Worse, the two most commonly used organophosphates, TDCIPP and TPHP, have risen steadily in urine samples collected between 2002 and 2015.

Experts say the reason this is an issue is because these substances cause not just cancer, but fertility problems, hormonal changes, thyroid regulation, neurological disorders and endocrine disruption.

Comment: Are Flame Retardants Safe? Growing Evidence Says 'No'


Info

A new poll finds Americans' fears about water pollution hit a 16-year high

© KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS
Drinking-water scares like the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, appear to have had a lingering impact on Americans’ concerns with their drinking-water supplies.
The U.S. population appears to be more concerned with polluted water than it has been in over a decade, just as the Trump administration is rolling back water protections.

According to a new Gallup poll, 63 percent of respondents said they worried "a great deal" about pollution of drinking water, while 57 percent of overall respondents also said they were concerned about pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

The percentage of respondents with water concerns is at its highest level recorded in Gallup's annual environmental poll since 2001. That number also surpasses the percentage of respondents who are concerned with the four other environmental issues included in the poll — air pollution, climate change, the loss of tropical rainforests and the extinction of plant and animal species.

The pollsters say respondents' water pollution concerns are likely linked to the high-profile drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which has elevated an issue that is often out of sight and out of mind.

It appears that is particularly the case for lower-income and minority Americans who live in communities like Flint.

Comment: Drinking water is becoming increasing scarce and toxic


Syringe

Top vaccine maker? GlaxoSmithKline


GSK’s business strategy is based on selling “lots of vaccines.”
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Merck & Co., Pfizer, and Sanofi account for 80 percent of global vaccine revenues. Although these "big four" vary significantly by portfolio and pipeline size, GSK of the United Kingdom ranked first in terms of research and development, pricing strategy and registration, and manufacturing and supply, according to a report released by the Access to Medicine Foundation.1,2

The Access to Vaccines Index report on the vaccine industry evaluated and compared eight companies: GSK; Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Pfizer of the United States; Sanofi of France; Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Daiichi Sankyo Co. of Japan; and Serum Institute of India. It "mapped" how these companies are "responding to global calls to increase immunisation coverage." It found that the companies measured approach access to vaccines in different ways, which were "generally linked to whether their businesses are focused more on developing new vaccines or on marketing existing ones, or on both."1, 2

Comment: Scandal rocks Big Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline - firm faces bribery & wrongful death charges


Chalkboard

Fourteen lies taught in medical school and the rise of a society addicted to psychotropic drugs

© Unknown
Lie # 1:

"The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) tests all new psychiatric drugs"

Lie # 2:

"FDA approval means that a psychotropic drug is effective long-term"

Lie # 3:

"FDA approval means that a psychotropic drug is safe long-term"

Comment: Countless films and documentaries have been made on this horrible situation. Here's one: