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Tue, 21 Feb 2017
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Health & Wellness


Study finds excessive air pollution may account for a fifth of dementia cases

© Fred Prouser / Reuters
Airborne particulate matter emitted by automobiles and power plants in urban areas may account for 21 percent of dementia cases and may nearly double the likelihood that women older than 64 years will develop cognitive impairment, a new study says.

The chances of developing dementia increase by around 92 percent for women ages 65 to 79 who are exposed to air pollution consisting of particulate matter up to 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) in diameter, a level that exceeded US Environmental Protection Agency standards from 2012, according to the study, released this week in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

Applying the study's findings to the population beyond older women, PM2.5 could be the cause of about 21 percent of all dementia cases, according to the University of Southern California researchers responsible for the study. PM2.5 "mainly comes from power plants and automobiles," researchers said in a news release.

"Microscopic particles generated by fossil fuels get into our body directly through the nose into the brain," said Caleb Finch, co-senior author of the study and a professor at the University of Southern California's Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. "Cells in the brain treat these particles as invaders and react with inflammatory responses, which over the course of time, appear to exacerbate and promote Alzheimer's disease.


Why Is Milk Consumption Associated with More Bone Fractures?

Three glasses a day was associated with nearly twice the risk of premature death, and they had significantly more bone and hip fractures. More milk, more fractures.
Milk is touted to build strong bones, but a compilation of all the best studies found no association between milk consumption and hip fracture risk; so, drinking milk as an adult might not help bones, but what about in adolescence? Harvard researchers decided to put it to the test.

Studies have shown that greater milk consumption during childhood and adolescence contributes to peak bone mass, and is therefore expected to help avoid osteoporosis and bone fractures in later life. But that's not what researchers have found (as you can see in my video Is Milk Good for Our Bones?). Milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture, and if anything, milk consumption was associated with a borderline increase in fracture risk in men.

It appears that the extra boost in total body bone mineral density from getting extra calcium is lost within a few years, even if you keep the calcium supplementation up. This suggests a partial explanation for the long-standing enigma that hip fracture rates are highest in populations with the greatest milk consumption. This may be an explanation for why they're not lower, but why would they be higher?

Comment: Although the author might have some arguments which seemingly favor a vegetarian hypothesis, data suggests the contrary: For more information on this topic, see:


Regular exposure to sunlight is one of the best ways to protect or improve your vision

Nearsightedness is incredibly common, affecting an estimated 40 percent of Americans and up to 90 percent of young adults in Asian countries.1 According to research published in 2009, rates of nearsightedness in the U.S. have risen by 66 percent since the early 1970s.2

A 2015 study estimated up to one-third of the world's population may be nearsighted by the end of the decade — that's 2.5 billion people.3 The following year, a meta-analysis of 145 studies predicted nearly half of the world will be nearsighted by the year 2050.4

Just what might be causing this rapid mass-deterioration of vision? One longstanding theory was that excessive reading at close distance (particularly in poor lighting) could lead to nearsightedness by altering growth and shape of the eyeball.

As computers and smartphones grew in popularity, squinting at computer screens has received a majority of the blame.

The "bookworm theory" first emerged centuries ago when German astronomer Johannes Kepler claimed his studies caused his nearsightedness. It seemed plausible enough, especially as rates of the condition skyrocketed in regions like Shanghai, where teens spend about 14 hours a week on homework.5

However, once investigated further, the bookwork theory came up short. When researchers looked at number of books read per week or hours spent using a computer among children in Singapore, no significant link to nearsightedness was actually found.6

According to the authors, "neither reading nor parental myopia history were associated with values for anterior chamber depth, corneal curvature, or lens thickness."

They went on to suggest that "corneal curvature and lens thickness may be subject to unrelated postnatal growth control mechanisms." Interestingly, a number of studies now suggest one of these control mechanisms might be sun exposure.

Comment: More on the benefits of sunlight:


Missouri: New bill to ban giving mercury containing vaccines at public health clinics

A Missouri House bill would ban public health clinics from administering vaccines that contain mercury or any other metal put into the vaccine for preservation purposes, contradicting approved federal policy.

House Bill 331 (HB331) was introduced by Rep. Lynn Morris (R-Nixa) to mitigate concerns regarding vaccine safety. With the exception of health emergencies determined by the Department of Health & Senior Services with concurrence from the governor, the following provision would apply:
Beginning August 28, 2018, no vaccine containing mercury or other metal for preservation or other purpose shall be administrated to a child or adult in a public health clinic in Missouri.
HB331 begins the process of nullifying potential vaccine mandates, which generally have their basis in federal recommendations or guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although these federal rules are not technically binding, they often influence policy-makers and individuals at the local and state levels to adopt coercive mandates regarding mercury-laced vaccines and other toxic substances.

By taking the rule-making power back into their own hands, the state of Missouri can disconnect from federal control and restore its sovereignty on this key issue.

Comment: Good luck, Missouri.


Wreaking havoc throughout the body: Vegetable oils lead to fatigue, migraines, heart disease and dementia

In the middle of the 20th century, concerned by the growing heart-attack epidemic, Americans ditched butter and other saturated fats in favor of vegetable oils.

According to Dr. Catherine Shanahan, author of the new book "Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food" (Flatiron Books, out now), that was a fatal mistake.

Shanahan — a family physician based in Denver with a degree in biochemistry and genetics — has built a career around bucking the nutritional norm. Unlike many doctors and dieticians who suggest diets packed with fruits and vegetables, Shanahan recommends an eating plan based on animal fats and proteins, along with traditional healthy foods such as vegetables and nuts.

She began her career practicing medicine and studying traditional diets in Hawaii, and gained a fan in Kobe Bryant. She overhauled his diet, taking out vegetable oils and sugar and adding in foods such as bone broth, and went on to became the director of the Lakers' nutrition program, a position she still holds. With the release of "Deep Nutrition," she's made it her mission to get Americans to ditch vegetable oils — or, in her words, "your brain's worst enemy."

Comment: Read more about the toxic effects of vegetable oils:


Chemicals associated with cancer and other health problems found in fast food packaging

© Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
Some fast-food packaging has been found to contain chemicals linked to cancer, but researchers are not calling out specific companies
Chemicals that have been associated with cancer and other health problems have been found in some fast-food packaging, according to a new study. Researchers found the substances, which can leach into food, in sandwich and dessert wrappers and paperboard containers.

"We have more than one reason to try to eat more fresh food, and to reduce our consumption of fast food," said Laurel Schaider, one of the study's authors, and a research scientist for the Silent Spring Institute. "This is another reason."

The chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), are used in nonstick, stain-resistant and waterproof products. Fast-food packaging manufacturers might use them to keep sauces or grease from leaking through the wrapper. (Consumers are also exposed to them in other products, such as certain types of cookware, coats and carpets.) Some of the substances in this category are associated with kidney and testicular cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease and immunotoxicity in children, among other outcomes.

Schaider and her team tested wrappers from 27 fast-food companies, including McDonald's, Wendy's, Starbucks and Panera Bread. One-third of all samples tested contained detectable concentrations of flourine, a marker for PFASs. The food packages that were most likely to contain the fluorine were paper wrappers for desserts and sandwiches. Paper board — such as the stiff containers for french fries or pizza — also contained fluorine. Paper cups for beverages were in the clear, though.


Trump admits in 2015 interview he's never had the flu, vaccines filled with 'bad stuff'

© thepotomacreporter.com
In an October 18, 2015 interview with Opie and Anthony on Sirius XM, Donald Trump admits he's never had the flu or a flu vaccine:
I've never had one. And thus far I've never had the flu. I don't like the idea of injecting bad stuff into your body. Which is basically what they do. And I guess this one has not been very effective to start off with. I've never had a flu shot and I've never had the flu.

"I have friends that religiously get the flu shot and then they get the flu. You know, that helps my thinking because I say why am I doing this? I've seen a lot of reports that the last flu shot is virtually totally ineffective.

Comment: See also: Unsettled science: Trump sets off media firestorm with creation of Vaccine Safety Review Panel


Acupuncture boosts the effectiveness of standard treatments to significantly lessen chronic pain and depression

Health specialists at the University of York have found than acupuncture treatment can boost the effectiveness of standard medical care, lessening the severity of chronic pain and depression.

In a report published in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Journals Library, the researchers showed that there is significant evidence to demonstrate that acupuncture provides more than a placebo effect.

Professor of Acupuncture Research, Hugh MacPherson, working with a team of scientists from the UK and US, brought together the results of 29 high quality clinical trials focused on patients treated with acupuncture and standard medical care.

In the majority of these trials, patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture and standard medical care were tested against those who were provided with standard medical care alone, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. The trials involved approximately 18,000 patients diagnosed with chronic pain of the neck, lower back, head, and knee.

The report shows that the addition of acupuncture compared to standard medical care alone significantly reduced the number of headaches and migraine attacks and reduced the severity of neck and lower back pain. It also showed that acupuncture reduced the pain and disability of osteoarthritis, which led to patients being less reliant on anti-inflammatory tablets to control pain.

Comment: With documented use dating back more than 2,500 years, acupuncture has been proven to impact a wide range of diseases and health conditions. Evidence suggests that it activates the body's own opioid system, and may also work by stimulating the central nervous system to release natural chemicals that alter bodily systems, pain and other biological processes.

Arrow Up

About time: Three insulin drug makers being sued for price-fixing

© Klaus Ohlenschläger / www.globallookpress.com
Eleven diabetes patients have filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Massachusetts accusing three big pharmaceutical companies of inflating the prices of lifesaving drugs by 150 percent and harming patients in the process.

Diabetes sufferers, who need daily doses of insulin to survive, watched as Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly jacked up the price of insulin from $25 per prescription to as much $300-400 over five years, according to the complaint filed Monday.

Drug manufacturers usually rationalize drug price increases by claiming the high costs of research and development. In this instance, the plaintiffs claim, manufacturers admitted their price hikes were neither related to such costs nor any jump in production expenses.

Comment: As Marcia Angell, the former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine stated, the supposedly high cost of research and development has very little to do with how high pharmaceutical companies price their products. Basically, drug companies charge what they think they can get.


What causes abdominal bloating?

"Bloating", the feeling of a full and swollen belly, is one of the most common complaints we hear about in medical practice from patients, with 10 to 30% of people experiencing it.

The term is used by patients to describe a wide variety of abdominal sensations, usually associated with abdominal discomfort (feel like one's going to burst) or tummy cramp. People suffering from bloating may also experience burping, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal swelling and excessive passing of gas (flatulence).

If we are to understand bloating we need to look at some basic anatomy. The intestinal tract is made up of a hollow tube with a muscular wall. This tube serves different functions in different parts.

The stomach is like a bag that holds food while it mixes with acid to help break it down. The small intestine is long and thin allowing for digestion of food as it mixes with the body's digestive juices. And the large intestine serves as a reservoir to allow for the final processing of stool.