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Fri, 20 Jan 2017
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Health & Wellness


Surprising benefits of melatonin: Alleviating depression, treating autoimmune disorders and fighting cancer

The hormone melatonin plays many important roles in your health, from helping you sleep better to strengthening your immune system, slowing down brain aging, reducing migraine attacks, protecting bone mass, and preventing cancer.

Lack of sun exposure during the day combined with artificial lighting late into the night disrupts your biological clock and hence, your melatonin production, and this disruption can provoke a number of adverse health effects.

In fact, melatonin has been the subject of preclinical research on over 100 different disease applications, many of which go hand in hand with your need for sleep.

Melatonin for Sleep and Beyond

Your master biological clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of your brain (SCN), which is part of your hypothalamus. Based on signals of light and darkness, your SCN tells your pineal gland when it's time to secrete melatonin, and when to turn it off.

In scientific studies, melatonin supplementation has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep, experience less restlessness, and prevent daytime fatigue.

Keep in mind that you may only need a very minimal dose. I recommend taking only 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg to start, and adjusting upward from there. Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier, so start low and adjust your dose as needed.

Comment: See also:


It's official: HPV vaccine, the most dangerous vaccine yet

Anyone daring to suggest that a vaccine might present a risk, especially to children as the most vulnerable members of our society, are usually shot down in flames. Health authorities have tried their best to continue telling everyone that HPV vaccines (note use of plural as there are three different types available) are safe, despite ongoing research suggesting otherwise.

A study just released by a World Health Organization (WHO) monitoring centre in Sweden shows that adverse event reports received from national authorities — and these will represent only a fraction of those actually experienced — show a tendency to produce clusters of serious adverse events that include complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome(POTS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) that exceeds any other vaccine.

GMO vaccine released a decade ago

The genetically engineered vaccine, first introduced for mass vaccination around 10 years ago, has been delivered to around 80 million girls, women and, in some countries, boys.

Comment: See also: Gardasil: Medical torture and child abuse by Big Pharma
There is something deeply wrong with a giant pharmaceutical company spending hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate women and influence legislation in order to generate a revenue stream of billions of dollars a year for itself at the expense of a gullible public.

Bacon n Eggs

Billions wasted on cholesterol myth

The alleged benefits of lowering our cholesterol have never materialized and we have wasted tens of billions of dollars over the last two decades, deluded by a myth. It's time to drop that myth.
© Alamy Stock Photo
Earlier this year scientists said controversy surrounding the cholesterol-reducing pills had put patients' health at risk.
Though it may appear to my readers that I have cried wolf far too often on cholesterol-lowering drugs, I'm prepared to howl at the moon at least one more time. If you've read my columns over the last decade, you've seen me rant about the futility and absolute waste involved in our society's collective obsession with cholesterol and our foolishness in swallowing a paradigm promoted by the pharmaceutical industry and the specialists in their employ. The alleged benefits of lowering our cholesterol have never materialized and we have wasted tens of billions of dollars over the last two decades, deluded by a myth. It's time to drop that myth.

Ever since the early 1990s when the first cholesterol lowering drugs were being introduced to the market, no one had really ever heard of "high cholesterol" and certainly no one was going to their doctor just to get something checked that they never knew existed, that they couldn't feel and which was responsible for zero symptoms. Then along came the blockbuster statins and physicians followed guidelines that told them a patient's cholesterol level was an important risk factor for death by coronary heart disease (CHD). The hypothesis said that if you measured and lowered the cholesterol of patients deemed "high risk," those patients would live longer and avoid dying from heart attacks. So how's that working out?

Comment: Vascular surgeon: Why I've ditched statins for good
GPs are, by definition, generalists. They don't have time to read and analyse data from every paper on every medical condition. Even so, in a recent survey by Pulse magazine, six in 10 GPs opposed the draft proposal to lower the risk level at which patients are prescribed statins. And 55 per cent said they would not take statins themselves or recommend them to a relative, based on the proposed new guidelines.

If that doesn't speak volumes, I don't know what does.


Get moving! Sitting down for hours a day speeds up aging, according to new research

© Media Mogul
People should aim to stand up every 20 minutes, according to Age UK
Elderly people who spend most of their time sitting down age significantly quicker than more active contemporaries, according to new research.

A study of 1,500 pensioners found those who kept to a sedentary position for ten hours or more a day and who did less than 40 minutes moderate physical activity had the bodies of people eight years older.

They were discovered to have shorter telomeres, the tiny caps found on the ends of strands of DNA which protect chromosomes and which are associated with faster ageing.

Experts have said the research represents a "wake-up call" for Britain's growing elderly population and that pensioners should aim to stand up and walk around every 20 minutes if they can.

"People don't realise that if you sit down all day it can undermine all the exercise you do," said Professor James Goodwin, head of research at Age UK.



Sunlight energizes infection fighting T cells

Sunlight allows us to make vitamin D, credited with healthier living, but a surprise research finding could reveal another powerful benefit of getting some sun.

Georgetown University Medical Center researchers have found that sunlight, through a mechanism separate than vitamin D production, energizes T cells that play a central role in human immunity.

Their findings, published today in Scientific Reports, suggest how the skin, the body's largest organ, stays alert to the many microbes that can nest there.

"We all know sunlight provides vitamin D, which is suggested to have an impact on immunity, among other things. But what we found is a completely separate role of sunlight on immunity," says the study's senior investigator, Gerard Ahern, PhD, associate professor in the Georgetown's Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. "Some of the roles attributed to vitamin D on immunity may be due to this new mechanism."

They specifically found that low levels of blue light, found in sun rays, makes T cells move faster - marking the first reported human cell responding to sunlight by speeding its pace.

Comment: The Health & Wellness Show: Seeing the Light with Dr. Alexander Wunsch

Top Secret

Federal court documents reveal how Monsanto & the EPA seek to keep talks about Glyphosate Cancer Review a secret

© Dame Magazine
Monsanto and officials within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are fighting legal efforts aimed at exploring Monsanto's level of influence over regulatory assessments of the key chemical in the company's Roundup herbicide, new federal court filings show.

The revelations are contained in a series of filings made within the last few days in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as part of litigation brought by more than 50 people who are suing Monsanto. The plaintiffs claim they or their loved ones developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after exposure to Roundup herbicide, and that Monsanto has spent decades covering up the chemical's cancer risks.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs want the court to lift a seal on documents that detail Monsanto's interactions and discussions with former top EPA brass Jess Rowland regarding the EPA's safety assessment of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Monsanto turned the documents over in discovery but marked the documents "confidential," a designation plaintiffs' attorneys say is improper. They also want to depose Rowland. But Monsanto and the EPA are fighting both requests, the filings show.

Comment: Read more about The EPA & Monsanto - A love story
In June, the EPA found "no convincing evidence" glyphosate acts as an endocrine disruptor. How the agency reached this conclusion involved quite a bit of distortion and manipulation, as The Intercept points out in a recent report:
But the EPA's exoneration — which means that the agency will not require any further tests of the chemicals' effects on the hormonal system — is undercut by the fact that the decision was based almost entirely on pesticide industry studies. Only five independent studies were considered in the review of whether glyphosate interferes with the endocrine system. Twenty-seven out of 32 studies that looked at glyphosate's effect on hormones and were cited in the June review — much of which are not publicly available and were obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request — were either conducted or funded by the industry. Most of the studies were sponsored by Monsanto or an industry group called the Joint Glyphosate Task Force. One study was by Syngenta, which sells its own glyphosate-containing pesticide, Touchdown.


Will Robert Kennedy Jr uncover what the CDC is trying to hide?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
President-elect Trump has wasted no time in filling his cabinet before inauguration day. He has appointed men and women from both sides of the aisle who have been criticized as "anti-establishment." Trump is someone who questions the status quo. And being so, he has appointed others who do the same. The time for questioning has arrived.

Comment: Trump has spoken out on the link between vaccines and autism and his choosing RFK Jr. for the Vaccine Safety Commission is fitting.

As the new chair of the Vaccine Safety Commission, Trump has chosen Robert Kennedy Jr.
President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policies, and he has questions about it. His opinion doesn't matter, but the science does matter, and we ought to be reading the science, and we ought to be debating the science. - Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The response has triggered inflammatory editorials from government-sanctioned mainstream news sources to send an orchestrated message that not only is "Fundamentalist Trumpism" dangerous for questioning vaccines, but his supporters are "anti-vaccine fanatics."

Comment: Trump appoints noted vaccine skeptic RFK Jr. to chair a commission to investigate vaccine safety


Antibiotic resistant nightmare bacteria show worrisome ability to diversify and spread

Enterobacteriaceae. Citrobacter freundii, one member of the family.
A family of highly drug-resistant and potentially deadly bacteria may be spreading more widely—and more stealthily—than previously thought, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Researchers examined carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) causing disease in four U.S. hospitals. They found a wide variety of CRE species. They also found a wide variety of genetic traits enabling CRE to resist antibiotics, and found that these traits are transferring easily among various CRE species. The findings suggest that CRE is more widespread than previously thought, that it may well be transmitting from person to person asymptomatically, and that genomic surveillance of these dangerous bacteria should be increased.

The study will appear online January 16, 2017 in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

"While the typical focus has been on treating sick patients with CRE-related infections, our new findings suggest that CRE is spreading beyond the obvious cases of disease. We need to look harder for this unobserved transmission within our communities and healthcare facilities if we want to stamp it out," said William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study.

Comment: More on CREs:


Man suffers severe burns and loses seven teeth after e-cigarette explodes in his face

© Facebook/Andrew Hall
If you're someone who occasionally puffs on electronic cigarettes, you should stop right now. Because when shit goes awry, it turns into a disgusting scene of blood, charred skin, and broken bones.

An Idaho man claims he lost seven teeth and suffered second-degree burns to his cheek after his vaporizer pen exploded in his face. Andrew Hall, of Pocatello, says he was getting ready for work on the morning of January 14 when his vaporizer pen unexpectedly exploded. Hall later shared extremely graphicphotos of the incident on his Facebook page.

Comment: E-cigarettes are dangerous. If you're gonna smoke, go for a real cig with organic tobacco.


Medical Interventions Are Overused Worldwide

Lack of "right care" causes physical, psychological and financial harm to patients.
In a series of papers and comments published in The Lancet, Vikas Saini, and his colleagues provide a framework for thinking about how to address the inequities in the provision of affordable healthcare to people. The analysis addresses inequity in both high-income countries (HICs) as well as low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Their hope is to spark "serious discussions about what kind of health system we want for the 21st century as part of our commitment to universal health coverage." They believe that overuse (the provision of medical services that are more likely to cause harm than good and underuse (the failure to use effective and affordable medical interventions) of medical services takes away from "right care."
"In its simplest definition it (right care) is care that weighs up benefits and harms, is patient-centred (taking individual circumstances, values, and wishes into account), and is informed by evidence, including cost-effectiveness."
In the paper that focuses on evidence for overuse of medical services, the authors Brownlee and her colleagues make a distinction between services that are clearly and universally beneficial when used on the right patient and services that are definitely inappropriate. However, they point out, most services lie within a "grey zone" where the risk-benefit profile varies widely depending on the patient (e.g. antidepressants for adolescents). Moreover, decision making in providing these services is often based on physician assumptions and biases rather than being grounded in client preferences. They report on overuse measured in two ways - directly through registries and medical records and indirectly, through geographical variation in service utilization that is not linked to the populations serviced.

Comment: See also:

A closer look at the myth of cancer screening tests

When It's Time For a Health Check-up, Avoiding Your Doctor Can Save Your Life