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Sat, 22 Sep 2018
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Health & Wellness


The problem with excessive earwax

ear exam
Earwax, technically known as cerumen, is produced by glands inside your ear canal. It may be a gray, orange or yellow waxy substance, and is designed to protect, clean and lubricate the ear canal. It also provides protection against insects, water and bacteria.

The wax consists of dead skin cells, hair and secretions from glands in the outer ear canal. Other substances include lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme, fatty acids, alcohols and cholesterol. In fact, earwax really isn't wax at all, but a mixture of water soluble, self-cleaning agents with protective, lubricating and antibacterial properties.

Excess earwax normally makes its way slowly out of the ear canal, carrying with it dirt, dust and other small particles. According to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, up to two-thirds of people in nursing homes may suffer from a condition in which the wax collects to a point where it can completely block the ear canal.1


The Tennessee Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cluster: How Wyeth concealed the DPT vaccine SIDS link

Tennessee SIDS cluster
From August 1978 to March 1979, 11 infants died suddenly and unexpectedly within eight days of their DPT vaccination, all in Tennessee. Nine of the 11 infants had received the same lot of DPT vaccine (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) from Wyeth Laboratories: lot 64201. Four of the 11 were dead in 24 hours.

All of the deaths were classified as SIDS:
"Between August 1978 and March 1979, 77 infants in Tennessee died suddenly from unexpected causes - compared with 74 during the same period in 1977-78. These deaths were diagnosed as sudden infant death syndrome, or crib death. Of these 77 infants, eight died within a week of being vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) using the same lot of DTP vaccine.

Of these eight infants, one died in November 1978 and one in January 1979, both within 24 hours of having been vaccinated with this lot of vaccine.

In early March, the CDC learned that two more infants had died within 24 hours of DTP vaccination, again from the same lot of vaccine produced by Wyeth Laboratories, Inc. That brought the total to four deaths within 24 hours of vaccination."
In March, Wyeth Labs agreed to recall all remaining doses of DPT from lot 64201, and several other lots as well.

Comment: Silent canaries: Vaccines and the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


A Tale of Two Studies: Looking Beyond Headlines to Decode What the Science Really Says About Diet

steak no steak

Oh, I understand. Eat steak, but don't eat steak. Thanks again, science.
In my last article I ranted against a recent study from The Lancet that claimed low-carb diets would take years off your life, despite having poor methodology and none of the study participants actually doing a low-carb diet. In a video linked in that piece, Dr. Aseem Malhotra of the NHS in the UK mentions another study put out recently, also by The Lancet, that had the exact opposite findings. Called the PURE study (Prospective Urban and Rural Epedemiological study), the study made headlines (although fewer than the low-carb bashing one) stating that meat and cheese are back on the menu, claiming they actually help heart health.

Many low-carbers were quick to jump on this as a confirmation of what they've been saying all along, using this study as counter-evidence to the latest study which had opposite results. To be fair, the PURE study is, overall, a better conducted study: PURE had ten times the number participants and better design overall. But it's still an epidemiological study with all the limitations inherent to this type of science. It still relied on Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQs) and can still only make claims about correlation, not causation.

It's the height of confirmation bias to reject one study on the grounds of its execution but accept one that uses essentially the same methodology but gets the results one likes (note that Malhotra was not doing this, but was simply pointing out that contradictory evidence, of the same type, exists). Ironically, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a statement about PURE, warning of the limitations of FFQs. Perhaps they should apply that standard to the studies that justify their own dietary recommendations.

Bacon n Eggs

Low carb diet 'should be first line of approach to tackle type 2 diabetes' and prolong lifespan

fat guys
© Getty
Britain has some of the world’s worst adult obesity rates.
A low carbohydrate diet should be the first line approach to manage patients with type 2 diabetes and most likely prolong lifespan, according to a group of experts.

A large-scale review of randomised controlled trials of a moderate low carbohydrate diet, where up to 40 per cent of calories come from carbohydrates, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reveals how it is significant superiority over a low fat diet, where up to 30 per cent of calories come from fat, in the short term for glucose control and cardiovascular risk factors type 2 diabetics. The results show the former diet also has a marginal long term benefit in the same areas.

Study co-author Professor Hanno Pijl, from Leiden University in the Netherlands, said: "There is no plausible explanation for recent media reports that average carb consumption prolongs healthspan in all of us. Indeed, minimally processed, low carb (starch and sugar restricted) food should be the first line dietary approach in the management of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome."

Comment: See also:


Are carbs good for you? Fat chance!

salad bar
© robyn beck/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Dietary dogma's defenders continue to mislead the public and put Americans' health at risk.

The U.S. government's nutrition advice since 1980 has mainly been to increase consumption of carbohydrates and avoid fats. Despite following this advice for nearly four decades, Americans are sicker and fatter than ever. Such a record of failure should have discredited the nutrition establishment. Yet defenders of the nutrition status quo continue to mislead the public and put Americans' health at risk.

A widely reported study last month purported to show that carbohydrates are essential to longevity and that low-carb diets are "linked to early death," as a USA Today headline put it. The study, published in the Lancet Public Health journal, is the nutrition elite's response to the challenge coming from a fast-growing body of evidence demonstrating the health benefits of low-carb eating.

Comment: Amen! The Lancet study has been rather thoroughly debunked by actual experts. And Teicholz is right: it does seem "the paper's purpose was not to help people eat better and live longer but rather to quash public interest in low-carb, high-fat diets." The control of public perception is rarely, if ever, about the public's health. It's about protecting entrenched institutions, making sure the money river doesn't dry up.

See also:

Life Preserver

Study suggests lutein-rich diets may help preserve cognitive function as the brain ages

broccoli brain food

People with more lutein in their blood did better on intelligence tests.
Eating leafy greens helps preserve intelligence over the lifetime, research finds.

Leafy greens and other foods contain lutein, a plant pigment that protects the brain from aging.

People with more lutein in their blood did better on intelligence tests, the study found.

Lutein collects in the cell membranes of the brain, playing a 'neuroprotective' role.

Foods that contain high levels of lutein include leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach as well as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.

Comment: More tips on how to keep your brain functioning optimally:


Why does bottled water have an expiration date?

bottled water
Bottled water is a popular item to store in case of an emergency, and for good reason. It is normally readily available and water should be able to be stored forever, right? So then why is there an expiration date on bottled water?

Of course, water doesn't expire, but you should still check the expiration date on the bottle before you drink it. According to Live Science, there a few different reasons why water bottles come with expiration dates, and the first one, you shouldn't worry too much about, but the second one should make you think twice.

Since water is a consumable product, regulations and laws require bottles to be stamped with an expiration date even though water doesn't ever "expire." Rational people understand this, but the government feels the need to step in and protect us from ourselves anyway. The only reason they were put there in the first place was that a 1987 New Jersey state law required all food products to display an expiration date, including water, according to Mental Floss. Since it wasn't very cost effective for companies to label and ship batches of expiration-dated water to one state alone, most bottled water producers simply started giving every bottle a two-year sell-by date-no matter where it was going. Because the law is rather arbitrary, don't worry too much about drinking expired water just because a law demands a company stamp the bottle. However, the expiration date serves more of a warning about the bottle itself than the water contained inside.

Comment: The Health & Wellness Show: Bottled water: A surprising tale of waste and greed


'Time to abandon statins': Doctors conclude no link between cholesterol and heart disease after data review of 1.3M patients

statins big pharma

BigPharma and its shills won't be happy - The paper disputes recommendations in a number of reviews of statin use and claims those are "based on misleading statistics, exclusion of unsuccessful trials and ignoring numerous contradictory observations".
There is no evidence that high levels of total cholesterol or of "bad" cholesterol cause heart disease, according to a new paper by 17 international physicians based on a review of patient data of almost 1.3 million people.

The authors also say their review shows the use of statins - cholesterol lowering drugs - is "of doubtful benefit" when used as primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The authors include Galway-based Prof Sherif Sultan, professor of the International Society for Vascular Surgery; Scottish-based Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con; and Dr David M Diamond, a US-based neuroscientist and cardiovascular disease researcher.

Prof Sultan said millions of people all over the world, including many with no history of heart disease, are taking statins "despite unproven benefits and serious side effects".

He was also concerned that inhibitors to further lower LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), referred to as "bad" cholesterol, are being promoted. The cost of that medication is about €20,000 annually, he said.

Comment: Statins have been a blockbuster revenue generator for BigPharma which is why they have been so heavily promoted, and the nasty side effects seriously downplayed:

Life Preserver

Fasting triggers production of molecule that delays the aging of our arteries

cardiovascular system
New research has found that fasting triggers a molecule that can delay the aging of our arteries. The findings could help prevent age-related chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer's.

The search for eternal youth has preoccupied the human imagination since the times of Ancient Greece.

In fact, a quick look at Greek mythology shows that youth was more prized than immortality, as some myths tell the story of how futile the latter is if it's not accompanied by the former.

In this regard, modern medicine has recently been catching up with ancient mythology.

Emerging scientific breakthroughs encourage us to hope that the myth of eternal youth will soon become a reality.

In a recent study, researchers were able to reverse signs of aging such as hair loss and wrinkles in mice; and, perhaps more impressively, another team of researchers managed to rejuvenate aging human cells.

Now, a new study adds to the evidence that aging can indeed be reversed. Scientists led by Dr. Ming-Hui Zou - the director of the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine at Georgia State University in Atlanta - showed that fasting, or restricting calorie intake, can produce a molecule that delays vascular aging.

Comment: Why wait for the development of a drug that will likely produce a number of undesirable (if not downright dangerous) side effects? There are alternatives to fasting, such as time-restricted eating that can produce similar benefits. More information on fasting:


Can genetic variation raise the risk of post-traumatic pain?

post traumatic pain
Although the majority of individuals recover from a traumatic incident, a substantial proportion will develop chronic problems.

Unfortunately, almost every individual in the world will experience at least one traumatic event, such as a car crash, assault, exposure to war combat or a natural disaster during their lifetime. Many will endure more than one.

Although the majority of individuals recover from a traumatic incident, a substantial proportion will develop chronic problems, including post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression and chronic pain.