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Mon, 24 Oct 2016
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Health & Wellness


Use of birth control pills linked to depression, says new study

Taking hormonal birth control might be associated with an increased risk for depression compared with those who don't use contraception, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry last week.

The finding is something that users have long suspected, as about 30% of women who ever used the pill in the United States eventually quit because of dissatisfaction with side effects, according to a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF).

We have known for decades that women's sex hormones estrogen and progesterone have an influence on many women's mood. Therefore, it is not very surprising that also external artificial hormones acting in the same way and on the same centers as the natural hormones might also influence women's mood or even be responsible for depression development," said Dr. Øjvind Lidegaard, a professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and lead supervisor of the study.

Lidegaard and his colleagues tracked the health of more than 1 million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 34 over 14 years, using data from the National Prescription Register and the Psychiatric Central Research Register in Denmark.

Comment: Big Pharma birth control has more risks than just depression:


Natural health: The silver bullet to medical vampires

It turns out that unvaccinated children aren't little time bombs walking around ready to blow and spread devastating disease in their wake.

That's a myth. It's told by the medical cartel, for their own obvious reasons.

And it turns out that children raised in a healthy way are strong, and have strong immune systems.

This was once viscerally known and understood and accepted as a truism.

Those who insist on 50 or 60 shots of germs and toxic chemicals for every child, like it or not, are participating in an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Their vision is unnatural and perverse.

It turns out that stimulating the production of antibodies—which is the purpose of vaccines—is not the be-all and end-all of existence. It isn't the road to health. It isn't an automatic lease on life.


Eden Alternative: One doctor builds a better nursing home and the patients thrive

"If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man."

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
Thinking about aging conjures unpleasant imagery of becoming weak and frail, losing our autonomy, and being placed in a nursing home to live out the remainder of our days alone.

Self-described "Nursing Home Abolitionist" Dr. Bill Thomas has been working on changing that, and his ideas and philosophy are reforming the traditional long-term care model.

Dr. Thomas is an international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare and is the founder of The Eden Alternative, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for elders and their care partners.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1986, Dr. Thomas worked in emergency care until a late night call and an encounter with an elder patient inspired him to change course.


Flint: Fear of washing hands with contaminated water leads to shigellosis outbreak

© Reuters
Two years after Flint, Michigan, residents were exposed to unsafe levels of lead contamination in drinking water and an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, local officials report an outbreak of a highly-contagious gastrointestinal illness, shigellosis.

Genessee County, home of Flint, is leading the state in reported cases of shigellosis, with 84 through September, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. At least 53 of those cases have occurred within Flint city limits, Jim Henry, Genesee County's environmental health supervisor, told CNN. At least 27 of the Flint cases resulted in hospitalization.

Meanwhile, neighboring Saginaw County has the second-highest cases of shigellosis in the state, with 47, according to state health records.


CDC: Mysterious paralysis-causing syndrome appears to be on the rise

© Mike Segar / Reuters
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a dangerous health condition, acute flaccid myelitis, which appears to be on the rise with 50 new cases. The illness can cause temporary or permanent paralysis in severe cases.

"We continue to receive reports of sporadic cases of Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). From January 1 to August 31, 2016, a total of 50 people in 24 states across the country were confirmed to have AFM," said the CDC on Monday. "AFM is a rare illness that anyone can get. It affects a person's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. AFM can result from a variety of causes, including viral infections."

AFM causes damage that can result in temporary or permanent paralysis in severe cases. The CDC said the syndrome has a variety of causes, including enterovirus D68.

Comment: More information about the mysterious paralysis-causing syndrome:
Vaccines are causing an unprecedented number of mutations creating superbugs and potent viruses and bacteria that may eventually threaten future generations and humanity itself. Evidence continues to mount from the scientific community who now admit that certain vaccines are in-fact causing both viral and bacterial mutations.


Surprise! Monsanto-funded study says RoundUp weed killer doesn't cause cancer

There's yet another review of the health risks glyphosate presents to humans.

If you've been worried ever since the world's leading body of cancer experts designated the most heavily used herbicide in the history of modern agriculture a probable human carcinogen, take heart: Four "independent expert panels" have reviewed the science and determined it's unlikely the chemical, a cash cow for agrochemical giant Monsanto, poses a carcinogenic risk to humans at all. Of course, whether that's comforting depends on how you define "independent."

That "independent" appears prominently in the title of the study, which was published this week in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, should probably be a tip-off. If you have to say you're "independent"—i.e., you haven't been swayed by the very company whose flagship product you're evaluating—there's a good chance you technically aren't.

In this case, readers have to scroll aaaallll the way down to the "Declaration of Interest" to find out that, sure enough, the study was bought and paid for by Monsanto. The declaration goes on to state: "Neither any Monsanto company employees nor any attorneys reviewed any of the Expert Panel's manuscripts prior to submission to the journal."

Comment: Surprise! Monsanto CEO lying through his teeth: "Roundup is not a carcinogen"


DEA orders opioid production cut by 25% in 2017 due to decreased sales

© Mike Blake / Reuters
The Drug Enforcement Administration has ordered manufacturers to cut production of opiate and opioid medication by 25 percent or more in 2017, citing falling demand. Some medicines, like hydrocodone, will be cut as much as 34 percent.

The agency said demand for the opioid medicines, represented as prescriptions written by DEA-registered practitioners, had decreased, according to sales data from IMS Health, and amid growing concern over the abuse of prescription painkillers.

The DEA regulates the total amount of a controlled drug that can be produced each year, necessary to meet the estimated medical, scientific, research, industrial, and export needs, and for the maintenance of reserve stocks. The cuts affect Schedule II drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone and morphine.

Comment: Since 1999, Time reports, "fatal prescription-­opioid overdoses in the U.S. have quadrupled." In 2014, opioids were involved in 60 percent of 47,000 drug overdose deaths. And while official reports on deadly incidents involving opioids in 2015 are yet to be released, SAMHSA reports that 12.8 percent of people aged 12 or older who used pain relievers in the past year — about 12 million people— "misused" the drugs.
See also: What you're not being told about drug laws, Obamacare & prescription drug abuse in America


Developing brain regions in children hardest hit by sleep deprivation

© unknown
Sleep is vital for humans. If adults remain awake for longer than usual, the brain responds with an increased need for deep sleep. This is measured in the form of "slow wave activity" using electroencephalography (EEG). In adults, these deep-sleep waves are most pronounced in the prefrontal cortex -- the brain region which plans and controls actions, solves problems and is involved in the working memory.

Sleep deprivation in children increases deep sleep in posterior brain regions

For the first time, researchers from UZH have now demonstrated that curtailed sleep in children also results in locally increased deep sleep. "However, a child's brain reacts differently to acute sleep deprivation than an adult's," stresses Salome Kurth from the Pulmonary Clinic at University Hospital Zurich. "The deep-sleep effect doesn't appear in the front regions of the brain like in adults, but rather in the back -- in the parietal and occipital lobes."

The team of researchers also discovered that the heightened need for sleep -- measured as an increase in deep sleep -- in children is associated with the myelin content in certain nerve fiber bundles: the optic radiation. This brain region is part of the visual system responsible for spatial perception and processing multi-sensorial input. The level of myelin -- a fatty sheath around the nerve fibers, which accelerates the transfer of electrical signals -- is a yardstick for brain maturity and increases in the course of childhood and adolescence. The new results now reveal that the higher the myelin content in a brain region, the more similar the deep-sleep effect is to adults.

Comment: For an excellent look at the importance of sleep, the negative effects of sleep deprivation and what you can do to improve your sleep, listen to our Health and Wellness Show on the topic: The Health & Wellness Show: The Importance of Sleep

Magic Wand

Can you zap your brain back to health?

© unknown
Rather than taking medication, a growing number of people who suffer from chronic pain, epilepsy and drug cravings are zapping their skulls in the hopes that a weak electric current will jolt them back to health.

This brain hacking -- "transcranial direct current stimulation" (tDCS) -- is used to treat neurological and psychiatric symptoms. A do-it-yourself community has sprouted on Reddit, providing unconventional tips for how to use a weak electric current to treat everything from depression to schizophrenia. People are even using commercial tDCS equipment to improve their gaming ability. But tDCS is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and scientists are split on its efficacy, with some calling it quackery and bad science.

Here's the issue: Until now, scientists have been unable to look under the hood of this DIY therapeutic technique to understand what is happening. Danny JJ Wang, a professor of neurology at the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, said his team is the first to develop an MRI method whereby the magnetic fields induced by tDCS currents can be visualized in living humans. Their results were published on Oct. 4 in Scientific Reports, a Nature Publishing Group journal.

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Cannabis reduces creativity, but user generally not aware

Regular users of cannabis are less aware of their own mistakes, and they are not good at creative thinking, concludes new research on the effects of cannabis
© ShutterDivision / Fotolia
Kowal studied the direct and chronic effects of cannabis on dopamine-related functions, such as creative thinking and the ability to recognize one's own mistakes.
Regular users of cannabis are less aware of their own mistakes, and they are not good at creative thinking. This is the conclusion drawn by psychologist Mikael Kowal from his research on the effects of cannabis. PhD defence 6 October.


Kowal conducted experiments on 40 regular users of cannabis. The control group of 20 non-users were given a placebo. Kowal studied the direct and chronic effects of cannabis on dopamine-related functions, such as creative thinking and the ability to recognise one's own mistakes. The brain chemical dopamine is important for the proper working of the brain and also plays a role in learning performance.

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