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Tue, 26 Mar 2019
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Health & Wellness


Why do you want to poison me? Iowa town bans fluoride as chemical's danger becomes increasingly apparent

flouride dangers
A small town in northwestern Iowa called Ida Grove has voted to end treating its city's drinking water with fluoride.

The Ida Grove City Council voted to halt fluoride treatment in the city's water supply, the Sioux City Journal reported. The move comes after city leaders and residents challenged whether the fluoride was effective at preventing tooth decay or presented health risks

A recent survey distributed through utility bills found that most citizens of the 2,000 population city didn't support fluoridation, according to the clerk's office.

Fluoridating water has long been debated across the country, and some opponents have argued that its health effects aren't completely understood.

Comment: See also:


US: Organic and regular avocados recalled in six states after listeria found in facility

The regular avocados recalled by Henry Avocado have “Bravacado” on the yellow sticker
Listeria is rare but dangerous Listeria is a bacteria that can cause food-borne illness, known as listeriosis. It can grow in foods such as uncooked meats, vegetables, soft cheeses and unpasteurized milk.

Henry Avocado announced a recall of California-grown whole avocados in six states after listeria was found in the company's packing facility.

All shipments from the California packing facility, which Henry Avocado began using in January, are recalled. Avocados packed there went to Florida, California, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

The recalled avocados are sold with yellow stickers that say "Bravacado" and "California" or, on the organic avocados, yellow and green stickers with "Organic" and "California."

Comment: Contaminated products and outbreaks of all kinds are increasingly in the news these days:


The dark side of green smoothies

green smoothie
© istockphoto.com/Kkolosov
The green smoothie fad has taken the world by storm, with everyone from staunch vegans to Paleo people hopping on the kale-and-spinach-laden beverage bandwagon. While green smoothies have gained a reputation for being extremely healthy, these drinks have a dark side that few people are aware of. Read on to learn about the health problems associated with the "over-enthusiastic" consumption of green smoothies and why drinking these beverages regularly may not be conducive to optimal health.

Green Smoothies: Not Necessarily a "Health Food"

In the health community, the green smoothie has become the poster child for healthy eating. If you are a green smoothie fan, your typical recipe probably looks something like this:
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 8 ounces unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups stemmed and chopped spinach or kale
  • 1 cup broccoli

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Statins war of words: Matt Hancock dragged into ongoing debate over cholesterol-lowering drug taken by millions of Britons

medication pills elderly
© PA
A pensioner with her daily prescription drugs. A recent study recommended more over-75s should be staking statins.

More than six million people in the UK take statins, but the arguments continue over whether everyone should be on them.

Few drugs polarise the academic and medical world like statins - the most commonly prescribed medicine in the UK with at least six million people taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs. In recent days, the debate surrounding statins has seen daggers drawn once more with even the Health Secretary dragged into the latest war of words.

Earlier this month a "devastating investigation" in the Mail on Sunday claimed to unmask a group of high profile "statin deniers" who were spreading "deadly propaganda" about the drug. Dr Aseem Malhotra, an honourary NHS consultant cardiologist at Lister Hospital Foundation trust in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and in private practice, Dr Zoe Harcombe, an academic whose research focuses on food and nutrition, and Dr Malcolm Kendrick, a GP from Cheshire, who says people are "being conned" over statins in his recent book on the subject, were the focus.

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Terminally-ill British mother shocks medics after tumour shrinks by 75% following alternative treatment in Mexico

Kate Malvenan

Kate Malvenan, 40, was told she just had months left to live after she was given a shock lung cancer diagnosis last October
A terminally ill mother - who kept her cancer diagnosis a secret from her toddler - has shocked doctors after her tumour was reduced by 75 per cent following alternative treatment in Mexico.

Back in October 2018, Kate Malvenan's world came crashing down after doctors broke the horrific news that the non-smoker had just six to 24 months to live following a shock lung cancer diagnosis.

The 40-year-old, who is originally from Kessingland, Suffolk, but now resides on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, said she has always taken great pride in maintaining her good health by eating nutritious foods and regularly working out at the gym - while also being a strict non-smoker.

Comment: A very interesting story, and certainly not unique. There are many instances of people overcoming cancer using alternative therapies, particularly Intravenous Vitamin C therapy.

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Genetic risk scores alone aren't that good at predicting health

genetic risk score
© Andrew Brookes/Getty
Polygenic risk scores estimate your likelihood of developing some health conditions
The UK's health secretary said last week that he had booked a blood test because genetic testing revealed he had a high risk of getting prostate cancer. But a new study suggests that this type of genetic technique may not yet be accurate enough to inform healthcare decisions.

Genetic tests for conditions caused by a single gene, such as cystic fibrosis, are already used in healthcare. But many health problems involve multiple genes that each have a small effect, making it more difficult to screen for a person's genetic risk for heart disease or diabetes, for example.

A new type of genetic screening, however, can estimate a person's risk of developing common conditions like these. "Polygenic risk scores" are calculated by looking at genetic variants in a person's genome and comparing these with analyses of large data sets of genetic data to produce an illustrative picture of how likely an individual is to develop a particular condition.

One US study last year said that such polygenic risk scores could help identify people with four times the usual risk of heart disease. The scores could be used to help prevent high-risk individuals from developing the disease by treating them or supporting lifestyle changes, the team behind the work said.

But new work by David Curtis of University College London disputes the accuracy of this study, suggesting that polygenic risk scores may in fact be of little use in healthcare.

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Data from medical research: The right to know, or not know

A familiar scenario: as part of having your cholesterol checked, your clinician also orders a standard blood panel - a red blood-cell count, and then a breakdown showing the proportions of five types of white blood cells. Less familiar: your cholesterol is fine (congratulations), but the white blood-cell counts are off, with values that could mean something fairly mild, such as a viral infection, or point to a serious, potentially fatal problem, such as cancer.

Would you want your clinician to tell you about this abnormal finding?

If you said 'yes', then you are expressing your right to know about the result. If you said 'no', then you are expressing the opposite: the right not to know.

In most cases, the clinician would tell the patient about such an abnormal finding and discuss it. But what if the finding turned up in samples donated for medical research instead of taken for medical testing?


Saffron: A safe and effective treatment for postpartum depression


Depression is a common health condition, with few conventional treatment options. Forced to choose between talk therapy and medication, many people choose to be treated with drugs. But what about new mothers, whose desire to breastfeed means they are not candidates for psychiatric meds? Nature is providing hope in the form of a delicate flower: saffron

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that affects as many as 1 in 7 new mothers. Characterized by deep mood swings, low energy, and a loss of interest in daily activities, postpartum depression may be caused by the sudden drops in estrogen and progesterone that occur in a woman's body immediately after giving birth.[1] Currently, the only approved medical treatments for postpartum depression are talk therapy and psychiatric medications. If a mother wishes to breastfeed, the pharmaceutical path is contraindicated due to contaminating breast milk with medication metabolites. Now, thanks to an exotic spice, there is another choice that demonstrates the power of nature to heal from within.

Comment: Saffron: Very expensive but highly therapeutic
So, what is the evidence to support the notion that flowers, and saffron, elevates the human spirit, contributes to happiness and well-being?

There is a rather extensive body of human clinical literature on its role in treating depression, with a recent meta-analysis of the literature concluding: Findings from clinical trials conducted to date indicate that saffron supplementation can improve symptoms of depression in adults with MDD [Major Depressive Disorder][1]

Also, a study reported about on Life Extension reveals that saffron is as at least as effective as the blockbuster pharmaceutical drug Prozac for treating mild to moderate depression:
At the close of the 6-week, double-blind, randomized trial, saffron was found to be as effective as Prozac® in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. There were no significant differences in unwanted reactions.


Will more genetically engineered foods be approved under the FDA's new leadership?

GMO image
© Lightspring/Shutterstock.com
Both the U.S. FDA and the World Health Organization have declared genetically modified crops and engineered food safe.
The world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned and will step down in early April. His temporary replacement is Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.

As the news filtered out, stocks went up and down, consumer advocacy groups looked back on Gottlieb's legacy and commentators worried about the future of the agency.

Most of the attention surrounding Gottlieb's departure has focused on the consequences of the resignation for the vaping and tobacco industries. But the impact of changes in FDA leadership extends well beyond that. FDA-regulated products make up 20 percent of consumer spending in the U.S. In the realm of food alone, FDA regulates 75 percent of our food supply.


Barbara Loe Fisher: Taking no prisoners in the vaccine culture war

© The Vaccine Reaction
NVIC's “No Forced Vaccination” Message Back Up in Times Square
On a cold winter morning in November 2007, I watched hundreds of parents line up with their children in front of a Maryland county courthouse. The children had been kicked out of school by state officials and were truant. The mothers and fathers were holding letters threatening them with imprisonment or fines of $50 a day for failing to show proof their children had gotten a chickenpox or hepatitis B shot. 1

Confused, angry and frightened, but mostly resigned, they were working Moms and Dads trudging toward the courthouse on a Saturday morning to face a judge ordering them to vaccinate their children or go to jail.

Patrolling the scene was an armed SWAT team of policemen with dogs.