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Wed, 14 Nov 2018
The World for People who Think

Health & Wellness


New research makes the weak claim that coffee reduces diabetes risk

pouring coffee
© Global Look Press/ Jan Haas
You love coffee but are afraid to indulge because of its supposed health risks? Then the latest research on the effects of coffee will reassure you as it claims coffee helps reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Coffee is actually beneficial to your health in its ability to slash the risk of developing what is now deemed the world's most common long-term health condition, according to a report by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC).

In what will come as incredible news to those who worship the world's most common psychoactive drink, you don't need to stick to just one cup a day. In order for caffeine to effectively reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 25 percent, you must drink between three and four, the study claims. It doesn't discriminate between men and women. And even if you prefer decaf you're still ok.

Comment: We should be used to this by now: Goofy "study" comes out using epidemiological (questionnaires asking people to remember how often they consume a product) data that researchers use to make a weak association (not causal) to whatever health outcome they choose. The media laps it up and the public gets bombarded with headlines for a few days but no real clarity is gained on the subject. Rinse and repeat.


How the CDC uses fear and manipulated data to hype up demand for flu vaccines

flue vaccine
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that tens of thousands of people die annually from the flu, but what the public isn't told is that these numbers come from controversial models that may greatly overestimate, which happens to align with the CDC's stated aim of using fear marketing to increase demand for flu vaccines.

The CDC claims that its recommendation that everyone aged six months and up should get an annual flu shot is firmly grounded in science. The mainstream media reinforce this characterization by misinforming the public about what the science says.

A New York Times article from earlier this year, for example, in order to persuade readers to follow the CDC's recommendation, cited scientific literature reviews of the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration to support its characterization of the influenza vaccine as both effective and safe. The Times claimed that the science showed that the vaccine represented "a big payoff in public health" and that harms from the vaccine were "almost nonexistent".
What the Cochrane researchers actually concluded, however, was that their findings "seem to discourage the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure" (emphasis added). Furthermore, given the known serious harms associated with specific flu vaccines and the CDC's recommendation that infants as young as six months get a flu shot despite an alarming lack of safety studies for children under two, "large-scale studies assessing important outcomes, and directly comparing vaccine types are urgently required."

Comment: Every 'flu season' the CDC trots out the same lies and even throws in a few dead kids to scare people into getting a flu shot. Don't be scammed:

Heart - Black

Poverty tied to worse heart health among U.S. teens

american poverty
Adolescents from low-income families are more likely than their affluent peers to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease like obesity, inactivity, poor nutrition and tobacco use, a U.S. study suggests.

Income inequality has long been linked to disparities in heart disease risk among adults. The new study examined nationally representative data collected from 1999 to 2014 on 11,557 youth, ages 12 to 19, and found that household finances might also impact heart health for teens.

Low-income adolescents may have a greater risk for heart disease at least partly because they learn health habits from their families, and less affluent adults are more likely to smoke or be obese, said study leader Sandra Jackson of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Comment: It's funny that the study doesn't appear to report on stress as a possible contributing factor. It's undoubtedly true that poverty causes a great deal of stress, which has also been linked to heart health issues. Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise are likely contributing factors, but the stress connection should not be overlooked.

See also:

Microscope 1

CDC investigating burst of possible new cases of polio-like paralysis, as mystery persists

enterovirus D68
© Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Yiting Zhang/CDC
An electron microscopic image of enterovirus D68. A burst in cases of acute flaccid myelitis was first reported in the U.S. in the fall of 2014. That phenomenon coincided with a large outbreak of enterovirus D68, leading health officials to suspect it was the likely culprit.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating roughly 160 additional reports of children with illnesses similar to the polio-like paralysis that is puzzling health officials, officials said Tuesday.

So far this year, officials have confirmed 90 cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a condition in which the gray matter of the spinal cord becomes damaged, leading to muscle weakness and paralysis in one or multiple limbs. It is called AFM for short.

Still, the CDC does not yet know what is causing the spike in cases. Scientists are exploring a range of possible explanations, including whether the condition may be caused by an aberrant immune response to an infection, not the infection itself, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of agency's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters.

Comment: See also:


List of 390 drugs that can affect blood glucose levels

blood glucose meter
What drugs affect glucose levels? Many can, including steroids, anxiety and depression medications, statins, beta-blockers, some acne & asthma medications.

Knowing the drugs that can affect blood glucose levels is essential in properly caring for your diabetes patients. Some medicines raise blood sugar in patients while others might lower their levels. However, not all drugs affect patients the same way.

390 Drugs that can Affect Blood Glucose Levels is also available as a downloadable PDF:

390 Drugs that Can Affect Blood Glucose Levels (pdf)

Comment: Considering the fact that blood sugar disregulation is a growing problem among the populace, having a list of medication that may contribute to the problem can be useful for trouble shooting one's health.

For more on blood glucose issues, see:

Evil Rays

Smart cities - dumb people. 5G's corporate holy grail

5G Tower
© Alan Levine CC
There's a lot of hype about 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology that is being rolled out in various "5G test beds" in major cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, and Los Angeles. But it's hard to see why we should be excited. Proponents talk about the facilitation of driverless vehicles and car-to-car "talk," better Virtual Reality equipment, and, of course, "The Internet of Things" (IoT) - the holy grail of Big Tech that is just vague enough to sound sort of promising.

But when it comes to specifics, there seems to be a lot of hot air in the IoT bag.

For example, in March 2018, Canada's Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, while pumping $400 million into 5G test beds, reportedly "gushed" about IoT applications, including "refrigerators that monitor food levels and automatically order fresh groceries."

Then there is the 5G proponent who enthused to CBC News (March 19, 2018) about "augmented reality headsets" being replaced by "a pair of normal looking glasses," which everyone would be wearing in 10 years. Those glasses would "automatically recognize everyone you meet, and possibly be able to overlay their name in your field of vision, along with a link to their online profile."

Apparently, the future human will be too brain-addled to make a grocery list or remember the names of acquaintances... which may not be the image that 5G proponents are hoping for.

Comment: See also:


China plans to let victims sue vaccine makers for punitive damages after string of scandals

chinese vaccine scientist

China plans to let victims sue vaccine makers for punitive damages after string of scandals
China is planning new laws that would allow people to sue drug makers for punitive damages in cases of death or serious illness caused by faulty vaccines.

The draft Vaccine Management Law, posted online for public consultation on Sunday night, follows the country's largest vaccine safety scandal earlier this year.

The State Administration for Market Regulation said past scandals have exposed numerous flaws in supervision and in vaccine production and distribution.

Comment: Nice to see China has some sense in allowing patients to sue the manufacturer if they are injured, unlike in the US, where they are forced to try their case before a 'Vaccine Court' and the companies remain untouched.

See also:


Study: Panic attacks and anxiety episodes linked to nutrient deficiencies

With approximately 40 million adults across the United States experiencing anxiety each year, scientists and researchers have dedicated their careers to trying to better understand this condition. Despite this work, we are still somewhat unclear on what actually causes this condition to occur.

Characterized by feelings of nervousness and restlessness, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, difficulty concentrating and uncontrolled worry, it has the ability to impact every area of one's life. There are many theories regarding the root cause of the condition, including genetics, brain chemistry, environmental factors or other medical factors and/or disease, however, nothing has been proven definitively. Instead, the scientific community continues to explore these leads further in the hope of an answer.

Comment: It seems rather straight forward that a body that is missing key nutrients will not be able to function properly, leading to any number of differing symptoms, including mood and cognitive symptoms. Yet this idea is apparently still 'controversial' in mainstream medicine, who would rather throw psychotropic pharmaceuticals at mental issues rather than examining root causes.

See also:


Tech workers seeking an edge on peers turn to all-meat 'carnivore diet'

tech industry carnivores
© Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle
Hvmn employees Michael Brandt and Paul Benigeri and CEO Geoff Woo eat a meat-based lunch at the biohacking startup’s San Francisco offices in October.
As a meat-loving child, Ryan Parks cried on the way home from a video rental store when his parents said, as a joke, they were becoming vegetarian.

It came as little surprise when Parks, now 31, told his folks he'd begun a "carnivore diet" back in July.

His typical Whole Foods haul includes 6 pounds of ground beef or rib-eye steak, cheese and butter. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend less than 10 percent of calories per day come from saturated fats, in which Parks' food staples are replete.

Comment: It's nice to see the carnivore diet get some mainstream attention in a relatively positive light, even if the author feels the need to include a quote from some "experts" about it being unhealthy and tell readers how bad it is for the environment. It would be nice if they reached out to Joel Salatin or Lierre Keith about the environmental question of sustainable meat, but that's probably hoping for too much.

See also:


When an FDA ruling curbed fecal transplants, I performed my own

Clostridium difficile
© BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
To treat stubborn gut bacterial infections caused by Clostridium difficile, some patients have performed their own fecal microbial transplants.

Doctors and policymakers have been slow to endorse the treatment - a last line of defense against the superbug C. Diff. - even as many patients have embraced it.

I'd had intestinal distress before, but never like this. I was excreting not just waste, but blood and bits of my colon's lining - up to 30 times per day. My abdominal pain hit deeper and felt less productive than the pain of giving birth, epidural-free, to my second child. Even shingles, which stung like a dental drill against my face, paled in comparison. Such was the agony of Clostridium difficile.

Commonly known as C. diff., Clostridium difficile is an antibiotic-resistant superbug carried by approximately 5 percent of the adult population. The harmful gut bacterium is normally kept in check by other, good bacteria in the gut's microbiome. But when the microbial balance is upset - for example, by a dose of antibiotics - C. diff. can gain a foothold. Left to multiply unchecked, it may kill its human host.

Comment: As off-putting as the procedure may sounds, fecal transplants may just be the miracle procedure to fight off the plague of antibiotic resistant bacteria like C. diff. That doctors are so resistant to the idea likely means more and more people will be trying it themselves, or under the care of an alternative practitioner that cares more about the health of the patient than what arbitrary decision the FDA has made.

See also: