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Wed, 16 Aug 2017
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Health & Wellness


Study shows older hearts could be rejuvenated with stem cells from younger ones

© David Oxberry / Global Look Press
Older hearts may soon be able to be rejuvenated with stem cell injections from younger hearts, according to a new study which successfully reversed signs of cardiac aging in elderly rats.

Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute gathered two groups of rats for the study. One group had an average age of 22 months - which is considered aged in the rat world - and the other had an average age of just four months.

Before beginning the study, they measured the heart function of all the rats, both young and old.

The researchers then injected a type of stem cell known as cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) into some of the older rats.

Other elderly rats received a placebo treatment which consisted of saline injections instead of stem cells.

A month after receiving treatment, the heart functions of the group of older rats which received CDC cells were tested a second time.


Air pollution causes spikes in stress hormones and alters our metabolism

A man wearing a respiratory protection mask walks toward an office building during the smog after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing's central business district, China, December 21, 2016.
Breathing dirty air causes stress hormones to spike, new research suggests, which could help explain why long-term exposure to pollution is associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a shorter life span.

Dr. Haidong Kan of Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and colleagues looked specifically at the health effects of particulate matter (PM), small particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, from industrial sources, that can be inhaled and become lodged in the lungs. While PM levels have gone down in North America in recent years, they are on the rise worldwide.

"This research adds new evidence on how exposure to PM could affect our bodies, which may (ultimately) lead to higher cardiovascular risk," Dr. Kan told Reuters Health in an email interview. "Our result may indicate that particulate matter could affect the human body in more ways than we currently know. Thus, it is increasingly necessary for people to understand the importance of reducing their PM exposure."

Comment: Air pollution is contributing to the premature deaths of some 3.3 million people around the world every year. It has been associated with increased risks of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illnesses, and cancer, among numerous other health issues:


Big increase in opioid-related admissions and deaths in nation's ICUs

© Victor Moussa/Fotolia
Analyzing data from the period between January 1, 2009 and September 31, 2015, the researchers documented a 34 percent increase in overdose-related ICU admissions.
Since 2009, hospital intensive care units have witnessed a stark increase in opioid-related admissions and deaths, according to new study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's (BIDMC) Center for Healthcare Delivery Science. Published online today ahead of print in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, the study is believed to be the first to quantify the impact of opioid abuse on critical care resources in the United States. The findings reveal that opioid-related demand for acute care services has outstripped the available supply.

Analyzing data from the period between January 1, 2009 and September 31, 2015, the researchers documented a 34 percent increase in overdose-related ICU admissions. The average cost of care per ICU overdose admissions rose by 58 percent, from $58,517 in 2009 to $92,408 in 2015 (in 2015 dollars). Meanwhile opioid deaths in the ICU nearly doubled during that same period.

"This study tells us that the opioid epidemic has made people sicker and killed more people, in spite of all the care we can provide in the ICU, including mechanical ventilation, acute dialysis, life support and round-the-clock care," said the study's lead author, Jennifer P. Stevens, MD, associate director of the medical intensive care unit at BIDMC and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Comment: See also:


Bubonic plague tested positive on Arizona fleas, locals warned to 'take precautions'

© James Gourley / Global Look Press
Fleas in Arizona have tested positive for the bubonic plague, prompting health officials to advise residents to "take precautions" to reduce their risk of becoming infected with the disease, which killed millions during the Middle Ages.

Navajo County confirmed on Friday that fleas in the area have tested positive for the disease, once known as 'the Black Death.'

"Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits and predators that feed upon these animals," the county wrote in a post on Facebook

Comment: See also:


UK midwives renege on campaigning for natural childbirth

The college no longer wants people to think there is anything wrong with caesareans. Doctors have welcomed the change in language .
Midwives are backing down on their decade-long campaign for natural childbirth - because they say it makes women feel like failures.

Pregnant women will no longer be told that they should have babies without medical intervention as part of an overhaul of professional guidance.

The Royal College of Midwives have announced they want to avoid giving the impression that interventions such as caesareans and epidurals are abnormal.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the college, denied that the 'campaign for normal birth' which has run since 2005, has compromised the safety of women and unborn children.

She admitted, however, that it had 'created the wrong idea' and would be ended.


How to decrease the lectin content in your food

Lectins1 - sugar-binding plant proteins that attach to cell membranes - may be a hidden source of weight gain and ill health, even in an otherwise healthy diet. In fact, since lectins are present in most plant foods, if you're eating a whole food diet yet find yourself still struggling with weight gain and/or stubborn health problems, lectins may well be a hidden culprit.

Many lectins are proinflammatory, immunotoxic, neurotoxic and cytotoxic. Certain lectins may also increase blood viscosity, interfere with gene expression and disrupt endocrine function.

The problem with recommending an altogether lectin-free diet is that this would eliminate most plant foods,2 which should ideally make up the bulk of your diet. Moreover, in small amounts, some lectins can be quite beneficial,3 so 100 percent avoidance is likely neither possible nor ideal. They key then becomes finding a happy medium where the worst lectins are avoided, and the effect of others are tempered through proper preparation and cooking.

How Lectins Can Wreck Your Health

Before we get into strategies to reduce lectins in your diet, let's review the reasons why. As explained in Dr. Steven Gundry's 4 book, "The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in 'Healthy' Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain," some plant lectins can contribute to leaky gut by binding to receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells, thereby interfering with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall.

As such, they act as "antinutrients," and can have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora. Among the worst culprits are wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), found in wheat and other seeds in the grass family.5

Comment: Beyond Gluten-Free: The Critical Role of Chitin-Binding Lectins in Human Disease

Eggs Fried

A vascular surgeon explains why he ditched statins for more meat and less sugar, lowering his cholesterol in the process

© Fotolia
For eight years, I faithfully popped atorvastatin pills, without side effects. Then, one day last May, I stopped. It wasn't a snap decision; after looking more closely at the research, I'd concluded statins were not going to save me from a heart attack

When I had a routine health checkup eight years ago, my cholesterol was so high that the laboratory thought there had been a mistake. I had 9.3 millimoles of cholesterol in every litre of blood - almost twice the recommended maximum.

It was quite a shock. The general practitioner instantly prescribed statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that are supposed to prevent heart disease and strokes. For eight years, I faithfully popped my 20mg atorvastatin pills, without side effects. Then, one day last May, I stopped. It wasn't a snap decision; after looking more closely at the research, I'd concluded statins were not going to save me from a heart attack and that my cholesterol levels were all but irrelevant.


The Poison business: The Monsanto papers reveal media, science, and regulatory collusion

Major tectonic shifts have occurred around the historically secretive multinational corporate structure of Monsanto, forcing transparency, furthering the public debate, and assisting lawsuits that expose the true nature of Monsanto's toxic product and its multi-level collusion to hide the fact of its carcinogenicity.

The public and regulatory pushback against Monsanto's flagship herbicide Roundup® and its active ingredient glyphosate has slowly simmered for years and now appears to be hitting breakaway speeds. A large regulatory blow to Monsanto was the 2015 decision of the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to give glyphosate a Group 2A designation of being "probably carcinogenic to humans." The second blow came in June 2017 when California state's health officials added glyphosate to the list of chemicals that can cause cancer under California's Proposition 65.

Comment: The "Poison Papers" represent a vast trove of rediscovered chemical industry and regulatory agency documents and correspondence stretching back to the 1920s. Taken as a whole, the papers show that both industry and regulators understood the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products and worked together to conceal this information from the public and the press.
But, before we get into the competing studies, here is a brief look at the 'extensive' work that Monsanto and the EPA did prior to originally declaring Roundup safe for use (hint: not much). As the excerpt below reveals, the EPA effectively declared Roundup safe for use without even conducting tests on the actual formulation, but instead relying on industry research on just one of the product's active ingredients.
"EPA's minimal standards do not require human health data submissions related to the formulated product - here, Roundup. Instead, EPA regulations require only studies and data that relate to the active ingredient, which in the case of Roundup is glyphosate. As a result, the body of scientific literature EPA has reviewed is not only primarily provided by the industry, but it also only considers one part of the chemical ingredients that make up Roundup."
Meanwhile, if that's not enough for you, Donna Farmer, Monsanto's lead toxicologist, even admitted in her deposition that she "cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer" because "[w]e [Monsanto] have not done the carcinogenicity studies with Roundup."


Why flip-flops are not the best choice for daily footwear

Especially in colder climates, summertime means the bliss of putting away coats and boots and hauling out shorts and flip-flops. It's great to step outside, wriggle your toes and literally cool your heels without restriction. Best of all, you can just slip them on and go - no lacing, zipping or buckling required. But are flip-flops your best bet for foot health? You probably already know the answer is not so much.

As the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) reports, 198,437 emergency room visits in 2014 were due to shoe-related injuries, and flip-flops were blamed for 25,300 of them.1

Podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Christina Long, from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, says summer is the time people with flip-flop-related foot conditions start showing up at her door. Most of them are due to the unstructured nature of flip-flops, which result in a lack of support for your feet. Medicine Net quoted Long:
"Flip-flops don't offer any arch or heel support, and you have to grip them with your toes to keep them on. Wearing them for too long or for the wrong activity can cause a lot of different problems."2
Dr. Jordan Metzl, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, says he sees a lot of people coming in for help with pain due to suddenly wearing flip-flops every day after having worn better-constructed shoes all winter.3 Much of the pain comes from having too much pressure placed on your tendons and bones, known as "overuse" injuries, and even from altering your foot structure.

Alarm Clock

Surprise! Big Pharma is hindering treatment of the opioid addiction epidemic

© AP Photo/David Dermer
Paul Wright, in treatment for opioid addiction in June 2017 at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic in Youngstown Ohio, shows a photo of himself from 2015, when he almost died from an overdose.
"A crippling problem." "A total epidemic." "A problem like nobody understands." These are the words President Trump used to describe the opioid epidemic ravaging the country during a White House listening session in March.

The percentage of people in the U.S. dying of drug overdoses has effectively quadrupled since 1999, and drug overdoses now rank as the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

Drugs do exist to reverse opioid overdoses or treat long-term opioid addiction. But while opioids have become easier and easier to obtain through illicit markets and sellers on the dark web, a drug that could save countless lives has become increasingly out of reach.