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Thu, 12 Dec 2019
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Deep sleep can rewire the anxious brain

© CC0 Public Domain
When it comes to managing anxiety disorders, William Shakespeare's Macbeth had it right when he referred to sleep as the "balm of hurt minds." While a full night of slumber stabilizes emotions, a sleepless night can trigger up to a 30% rise in anxiety levels, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.

UC Berkeley researchers have found that the type of sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronized, and heart rates and blood pressure drop.

"We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganizing connections in the brain," said study senior author Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience and psychology. "Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night."

Comment: Science is only just beginning to understand just what happens when we sleep, what is clear is that if we are sleep deprived a cascade of negative effects follow.

See also:


Several reasons why a low-carb or ketogenic diet can improve your mental health

brain power
Benefits for neurotransmitters, inflammation, and more.

Interest in low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets continues to rise as people discover their potential to help with stubborn physical health problems, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes — but could this same strategy help with mental health problems as well?

Low-carbohydrate diets have tremendous potential in the prevention and management of psychiatric disorders. The field of nutritional psychiatry is admittedly in its infancy, and rigorous clinical trials exploring the effect of dietary changes on mental health are few and far between, but a tremendous amount of science already exists detailing how high-sugar diets jeopardize brain health, and how low-carbohydrate diets support brain health.

For people with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, psychotic disorders, PTSD, autism spectrum disorders, and other psychiatric disorders who prefer not to take medication, don't improve with medication, can't tolerate or afford medication, only partially benefit from medication, or have bothersome side effects from medication, trying a simple, low-carbohydrate diet (or even a stricter ketogenic diet, particularly in cases of more serious or stubborn chronic symptoms) is well worth trying, with very few exceptions. This statement is based on my study of the science in combination with my clinical experience with patients in the real world.

Comment: Here are even more reasons why a ketogenic or low carb diet can be beneficial:


Counterfeit prescription pills made of fentanyl are killing Americans

© Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images
Tablets believed to be laced with fentanyl are displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration Northeast Regional Laboratory on Oct. 8, 2019 in New York.
The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning on Monday about counterfeit prescription pills, saying the pills are "killing Americans."

"Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl," according to a press release from the DEA.

Twenty-seven percent of counterfeit pills seized by the DEA contain "potentially lethal doses of fentanyl," according to the government agency.

"Capitalizing on the opioid epidemic and prescription drug abuse in the United States, drug trafficking organizations are now sending counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in bulk to the United States for distribution," said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon in a statement. "Counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl and fentanyl-laced heroin are responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths in the United States each year."


Yes, you can catch insanity

© Adam McCune
A LAST SHOT: At first, Isak’s parents had no idea where their son’s violent tics and terrifying visions came from. Right around the time he snapped this photo, says his father, Adam McCune, Isak “stopped letting us take his picture. He would scream at the sight of seeing us raise our phones.”Adam McCune
A controversial disease revives the debate about the immune system and mental illness.

One day in March 2010, Isak McCune started clearing his throat with a forceful, violent sound. The New Hampshire toddler was 3, with a Beatles mop of blonde hair and a cuddly, loving personality. His parents had no idea where the guttural tic came from. They figured it was springtime allergies.

Soon after, Isak began to scream as if in pain and grunt at his parents and peers. When he wasn't throwing hours-long tantrums, he stared vacantly into space. By the time he was 5, he was plagued by insistent, terrifying thoughts of death. "He would smash his head into windows and glass whenever the word 'dead' came into his head. He was trying to drown out the thoughts," says his mother, Robin McCune, a baker in Goffstown, a small town outside Manchester, New Hampshire's largest city.

Isak's parents took him to pediatricians, therapy appointments, and psychiatrists. He was diagnosed with a host of disorders: sensory processing disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). At 5, he spent a year on Prozac, "and seemed to get worse on it," says Robin McCune.

The McCunes tried to make peace with the idea that their son might never come back. In kindergarten, he grunted and screamed, frightening his teachers and classmates. "He started hearing voices, thought he saw things, he couldn't go to the bathroom alone," Robin McCune says. "His fear was immense and paralyzing."


Massive hummus recall in UK over salmonella fears

A massive recall of hummus from UK supermarkets has been extended and now includes some 80 products potentially contaminated with Salmonella the country's Food Safety Authority has warned.

Dip maker Zorba Delicacies raised the alarm after discovering potential contamination in its products in the last week of October. Zorba supplies major retailers like Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury's, John Lewis and Iceland among others.

The initial recall affected goods with a use-by date up to and including November 7 but that has now been extended by ten days to include products expiring on November 17.

The full list of recalled products can be found here.

Comment: We're seeing a disturbing rise in cheap food substitutes being passed off as something they're not (like horse meat being sold as beef), a worrying trend of food contamination and poisonings, as well as an uptick in infectious diseases, and one can't help but wonder whether they're in some way connected:


Lard rated one of the top 10 healthiest foods

For decades, saturated fats like butter, lard and tallow were said to cause heart disease. Responding to such health concerns, the food industry replaced saturated fats with hydrogenated oils that are loaded with trans fats, giving rise to a whole new market of low-fat (but high-sugar) foods.

Americans' health plummeted in tandem with this systemwide change, and millions have been prematurely killed by it. As it turns out, trans fat, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, acts as a pro-oxidant, contributing to oxidative stress that causes cellular damage.

Trans fat is also a major contributor to insulin resistance, currently affecting an estimated 8 in 10 Americans,1,2 and many researchers agree that there is no threshold at which trans fats are safe.

Comment: See also:


Cancer cases in India spike by over 300% in 1 year, new govt data shows

Indian Cancer Patients
© REUTERS/Munish Sharma
The number of Indians diagnosed with cancer more than tripled between 2017 and 2018, according to a new government report. The increase is attributed to a rise in unhealthy lifestyles, as well as better detection.

Of the 65 million patients who visited state-run NCD (non-communicable disease) clinics in 2018, 160,000 were treated for common cancer - including cervical, oral, and breast cancer. Revealed in India's 2019 National Health Profile, the figure represents a nearly 324-percent increase from the previous year.

Cancer distribution in India
© cancerindia.org
Geographic distribution and burden of cancers in India - 2018
See also:


1 dead, 8 others hospitalized in Salmonella outbreak likely tied to ground beef

Ground beef
© Erik Isakson/Getty Images/Tetra images RF
One person has died and eight others have been hospitalized in a Salmonella outbreak likely tied to ground beef, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lab testing indicated that ground beef is a "likely source" of the most recent outbreak but that a "single, common supplier of ground beef has not been identified," according to the CDC.

There are 10 known people from six states who have been infected and the illnesses in this outbreak are more severe than expected from typical Salmonella infections, in which only 25% usually required some type of hospitalization, according to the CDC.

Salmonella was positively identified from repackaged leftover ground beef from an ill person's home in California. Other Salmonella patients reported eating different types and brands of ground beef, which were purchased from many different locations, according to the agency.

Life Preserver

Lion's Mane Mushroom proven to reduce anxiety and depression

lions mane mushroom
Lion's mane mushroom is a medicinal food with many benefits that has been used for centuries and has now been shown to be an effective natural depression and anxiety treatment.

A placebo-controlled human clinical study took 30 female patients to investigate the effects of lion's mane on menopause, depression, sleep quality and anxiety.

Of those who finished the study, 14 took a placebo and 12 took lion's mane mushroom extract that was baked into cookies. Two grams of lion's mane mushroom per day were consumed and after four weeks of use, a reduction in depression and anxiety were reported by the lions mane mushroom group.

Comment: Lion's Mane mushroom: Unparalleled benefits for your brain & nervous system


The Pill Pitch

Prescription drugs help many people and even save lives. But use of prescription drugs as prescribed is also a leading cause of death in the U.S.

Are some pharmaceutical companies skirting TV ad rules so that they don't have to disclose side effects of some vaccines and other prescription medicine?

Some critics say "yes." And when I asked the FDA about the allegations, the agency told me it's planning a new study into the issue.

Below are excerpts from my Full Measure investigation with a link to the full story at the bottom.
Full Measure has learned the FDA is planning a new study on TV advertising of prescription drugs. It's a multi-billion dollar industry benefiting both pharmaceutical companies and the television networks paid to run the ads. Supporters say patients benefit too. But almost nowhere in the world is it allowed except here. And with prescription drugs a leading cause of death and injury, we investigate the Pill Pitch.

Comment: Hopefully the article Breaking Big Pharma: Doctors call for immediate drug advertising ban will help consumers look at drugs more critically and demand full information before they succumb to Big Pharma drugs with serious side effects!
During a recent vote at the annual meeting in Atlanta, the nation's American Medical Association decided that they were going to call for a ban on consumer drug commercials in magazines and television commercials.

This vote "reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris in a statement announcing the votes result. "Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate."
In his excellent book, Generation RX, Greg Critser traces the history of direct-to-consumer advertising and unveils early concerns from major drug companies that it would raise fears of disease, sell unnecessary pills and corrupt the doctor/patient relationship. That's exactly what has happened and Pharma is lamenting it all the way to the bank.