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Sun, 28 Aug 2016
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Bug

Zika virus: Study reports adult memory loss possible in some vulnerable individuals

© Rockefeller University/Cell Stem Cell
The green reveals the adult mouse brain could be infected by Zika in a region called the subgranular zone of the hippocampus. Full of neural progenitor cells, this part of the brain is important in learning and memory and linked to Alzheimer's in people.
Much of the focus around the mosquito-borne Zika virus has been on pregnant women and brain abnormalities in fetuses, but now scientists think some adult brain cells could be vulnerable too. Infections may even be as destructive as Alzheimer's disease.

By engineering mice to mimic the human Zika infection, and using fluorescent biomarkers to tag infection sites, scientists at the Rockefeller University and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology found that adult neural progenitor cells could be hijacked by the virus, leading to brain shrinkage and mental impairment.

"Our results are pretty dramatic - in the parts of the brain that lit up, it was like a Christmas tree," said Professor Joseph Gleeson, head of Laboratory of Pediatric Brain Disease at The Rockefeller University, in a released statement about the new study. "It was very clear that the virus wasn't affecting the whole brain evenly, like people are seeing in the fetus."

Gleeson said in healthy individuals, neural progenitor cells become fully formed neurons and are resistant to Zika, but for some people with weakened immune systems, they may be vulnerable to the virus.

The mature brain, Gleeson said, is learning, and memory that is impacted by Zika could bring about a cognitive decline that is normally associated with Alzheimer's disease or depression. "In the adult, it's only these two populations that are very specific to the stem cells that are affected by virus. These cells are special, and somehow very susceptible to the infection," Gleeson said. "Based on our findings, getting infected with Zika as an adult may not be as innocuous as people think."


Comment: Is this a case of finding a new threat in order to scare a new segment of the population and require more vaccinations to a bogus virus?


Comment: This sexually-transmitted virus has been around for 69 years and is marketed by two companies: LGC Standards (headquartered in the UK) and ATCC (headquartered in the US). And who owns the patent on the virus? The Rockefeller Foundation! Of significance, the Zika virus is a commodity which can be purchased online from the ATCC-LGC for 599 euros, with royalties accruing to the Rockefeller Foundation.
© unknown
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Butterfly

Good relationships equal better sleep, says study: How responsive partners boost mental health

© Pixabay, Public Domain
The best sleep aid might be a supportive and attentive partner, new research suggests.
The people we are closest with may have a significant impact on the quality of sleep we get, suggests new research published Wednesday in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The researchers studied data from a nationally representative survey of middle-aged Americans that examined how behavioral, psychological, and social factors affected people's health and well-being. Among people in relationships, they noticed a consistent pattern: Those who had responsive partners, meaning those who were attentive, supportive, and empathic, were generally calmer and experienced less stress. As a result, they also slept better.

Alarm Clock

Napping for health: Afternoon siestas can save your life

Napping is not just for dogs and children. Some of the world's most influential thinkers and leaders have catnapped every day. Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Salvador Dali, John F Kennedy and Calvin Coolidge all found that a short snooze left them refreshed, recharged and ready to work. Science confirms that napping can help beat the post lunch slump and boost cognitive performance, but now there is evidence that a siesta could also save your life.

You probably don't need me to tell you that a nap can make you feel better; more alert, sharper and less grumpy. Research has shown that naps can improve our problem solving abilities and our memories, naps can also enhance perceptive skills and speed up reaction times. But the benefits go way beyond that. Short daytime sleeps have been shown to be good for the heart, decrease blood pressure, help our bodies cope with stress and even help us battle the bulge.

Comment: See also:


Health

The soothing effects of a sitz bath

Everyone needs a bit of TLC now and then. Sometimes certain body parts could use a little extra, such as your posterior region.

That's where a sitz bath may come in handy. Another term for sitz bath is hip bath, which helps describe the part of the anatomy having difficulty (referred to in many anatomy textbooks as the perianal area).

Rather than a full-fledged bath in a standard bathtub, a warm, relaxing sitz bath takes care of cleansing and soothing delicate areas with minimal pressure. Part of the beauty of this bottom-bathing option is that you don't even have to take all your clothes off!

It goes without saying that this is a delicate topic, because it's a delicate area, and people sometimes feel uncomfortable talking about it. But if you've never had toosh troubles, it's good to know how to deal with them beforehand.

Pills

Tightening the noose: FDA revises guidelines on dietary supplements to benefit BigPharma


In direct violation of Congress' intent in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (intended to allow consumers greater access to more nutritional supplements), the FDA has instead made a 180-degree turn to do just the opposite. Under the new FDA guidelines supplements will undergo more stringent oversight than pharmaceuticals!


I truly wish that I had been wrong. Four years ago I predicted in writing that the whole-food industry's jubilance over the decision of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revise the FDA's Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues would be short-lived and lead to nothing more than crumbs for the industry and consumers alike. And, on August 11, 2016, the FDA finally issued its revised New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) draft Guidance,[1] proving me right and throttling any industry glee in its collective throat. Crumbs for all of us, imperiously cast down by a rogue agency that does not listen to Congress or to its supposed, ultimate masters, the U.S. citizenry.

But, then, my prediction was an easy one. We live in a time when all government agencies are rogue and out-of-control, where they defy the wishes of the people and even assault them continually with new taxes disguised as "fines," stultifying rules and regulations, and arbitrary and whimsical dictates. Yes, a five-year-old could have made my prediction; it just took recognizing the nature of the Beast - a nature that will not ever change through our feeble begging.

The NDI Draft Guidance

The FDA's Draft Guidance, as you will recall, requires, among many other things, that all dietary ingredients introduced into the marketplace as of and since October 15, 1994, undergo drug-like safety testing prior to marketing. The tests - which are actually more onerous than those for new drugs - could cost millions of dollars per each new ingredient.[2] And, that includes each variation on those ingredients too. These requirements will not make supplements any safer than they are today but they will require supplement makers to lay aside 20 years of profits to conduct the tests. To make matters worse, tens of thousands of workers could lose their jobs as the supplement industry would be forced to remove products from store shelves and smaller supplement companies close their doors.

Comment: When the corruption and close ties between the FDA and pharmaceutical cartel are understood, it becomes obvious that these guidelines have nothing whatsoever to do with guaranteeing the health and safety of the public, but are intended to placate BigPharma. The FDA simply turns a blind eye to the millions of deaths caused by prescription medications while continuing to undermine alternatives that would put a dent in pharma profits.


Donut

UK plans to impose a sugar tax on soft drinks in attempt to tackle childhood obesity epidemic

© Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
The British government has announced plans to impose a sugar tax on soft drinks companies and invest the funds raised into health and sports projects for schoolchildren.

The step comes as part of a strategy to tackle obesity among children. Statistics shows that every third child in Britain is obese by the time they leave primary school.

Under the new plan, food and drink enterprises will cooperate with the authorities to lower sugar levels in foods most eaten by children by 20 percent, with a 5 percent target in the first year, according to a consultation document published by the Treasury.

The government's health agency Public Health England will check the progress twice a year.

Obesity costs Britain's National Health Service (NHS) billions of pounds every year, Junior Finance Minister Jane Ellison said in a statement.

Soft drinks are the only huge source of sugar for children that is totally unregulated, according to the government. A can of soda contains nine teaspoons of sugar, with an average child getting much more than the recommended daily intake by having just one portion.

Comment: A tax on sugary drinks isn't likely to do much of anything to curb the child obesity epidemic. Jailing the executives of companies that knowingly destroy people's health for profit, on the other hand...


Cell Phone

The politics behind the science of cell phone safety

In an article published in the New York Times last week entitled "At C.D.C., a Debate Behind Recommendations on Cellphone Risk", author Danny Hakim discusses the controversy surrounding the potential health risks of using cell phones.

Hakim writes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines recommending "caution in cellphone use", due to the potentially harmful effects of radiation emitted by the wireless devices on human health. Included in the guidelines was information about reducing exposure among children. Just a few weeks after the CDC's publication, and amid rising concerns about cell phone safety, the CDC rescinded the advisory completely.

Today, the CDC website takes an ambiguous stance on the issue, stating:

Can using a cell phone cause cancer?

Attention

Fourth brain-eating amoeba case of the year being treated in Florida

An unidentified patient in Florida is being treated after being infected with a brain-eating amoeba last week, according to the Florida Department of Health. It is the fourth known case this year of infection by the parasite Naegleria fowleri.

"We believe that the individual contracted the infection after swimming in unsanitary water on a single private property," said Mara Gambineri, the health department's communications director, noting that there is no risk to the general public.

The parasite is almost always deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1962 and 2015 there were 138 known cases of primary amebic meningoencephalitis, the infection caused by the amoeba, and only three of those patients survived.

Individuals become infected when swimming in warm freshwater, such as a lake or river. The amoeba enters the nose and then goes to the brain, where it destroys brain tissue, causing swelling and death. Symptoms begin between one and nine days after exposure and include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Comment: See also: 18-yo girl dies from brain-eating amoeba causing closure of N. Carolina waterpark


Health

Health authorities sound alert over soaring rates of Syphilis in London

© Thinkstock
Syphilis is caused by the bacterium treponema pallidum and in some cases can prove fatal
An alert about Londoners' sexual health has been sounded as new figures show five times more people were diagnosed with syphilis in London last year than in any other region in England.

The report, published Wednesday by Public Health England, says the number of cases have more than doubled in the capital in the last five years, rising by 163 percent.

The report raises concerns about "high-risk" practices such as "chemsex," sex between men that occurs under the influence of drugs, dating apps, unprotected sex and people seeking HIV-positive partners.

Gay men were disproportionately affected, the report says. The demographic, which represents about 2 percent of the total London population, accounted for 90 percent of new diagnoses in 2015, or 2,406 cases.

Books

Reading books can extend your life and improve quality of life

A new study reveals that reading books can enhance lifespan for up to two years and improve the quality of life.

The study found that people who read books for just 30 minutes a day lived two years longer compared to non-book readers.

Even though the Amazon Kindle and other types of e-books have got more popular over time, printed book sales are increasing.

Nielsen BookScan reported 571 million print books were sold in the U.S. last year, which is greater than print books sales in 2014.

Comment: Further reading: