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Tue, 17 Oct 2017
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Cell Phone

Nomophobia: 'Phone separation anxiety' is for real


Nomophobia-the fear of being without your smartphone-is affecting everyone.


You know the feeling - you have left your phone at home and feel anxious, as if you have lost your connection to the world. "Nomophobia" (short for no-mobile phobia) affects teenagers and adults alike. You can even do an online test to see if you have it. Last week, researchers from Hong Kong warned that nomophobia is infecting everyone. Their study found that people who use their phones to store, share and access personal memories suffer most. When users were asked to describe how they felt about their phones, words such as "hurt'" (neck pain was often reported) and "alone" predicted higher levels of nomophobia.

Comment: The Complete Guide to Breaking Your Smartphone Habit


Pills

Researchers reverse schizophrenia-like symptoms in mice by using pharmaceutical to increase GABA

© Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Steven Laviolette and Justine Renard in their lab at Western University.
Researchers at Western University have found a way to use pharmaceuticals to reverse the negative psychiatric effects of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. Chronic adolescent marijuana use has previously been linked to the development of psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, in adulthood. But until now, researchers were unsure of what exactly was happening in the brain to cause this to occur.

"What is important about this study is that not only have we identified a specific mechanism in the prefrontal cortex for some of the mental health risks associated with adolescent marijuana use, but we have also identified a mechanism to reverse those risks," said Steven Laviolette, professor at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

In a study published online today in Scientific Reports the researchers demonstrate that adolescent THC exposure modulates the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. The team, led by Laviolette and post-doctoral fellow Justine Renard, looked specifically at GABA because of its previously shown clinical association with schizophrenia.

"GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and plays a crucial role in regulating the excitatory activity in the frontal cortex, so if you have less GABA, your neuronal systems become hyperactive leading to behavioural changes consistent with schizophrenia," said Renard.

The study showed that the reduction of GABA as a result of THC exposure in adolescence caused the neurons in adulthood to not only be hyperactive in this part of the brain, but also to be out of synch with each other, demonstrated by abnormal oscillations called 'gamma' waves. This loss of GABA in the cortex caused a corresponding hyperactive state in the brain's dopamine system, which is commonly observed in schizophrenia.

Health

Stomach growls and bowel sounds: What's normal and what's not?

Your body lets you know every day, in a variety of ways, that it is alive and well. One such way is the familiar growl of your stomach, which, to most of us, signals hunger.

But, are all those rumbles and noises actually coming from your stomach? Are they really a sign you need to eat? The answer to both questions is a resounding "No." I'll take this opportunity to remind you about what's really going on when you feel and hear a rumble in your belly.

Is All That Noise Coming From Your Stomach?

You may not realize stomach growling actually originates as muscular activity in both your stomach and your small intestine. To better understand what causes it, let's take a closer look at how your body digests the foods and beverages you consume. As you probably know, one of the primary components of your digestive system is a long hollow tube called the esophagus, which runs from the back of your mouth all the way to your anus.

Your esophagus connects with all of your various organs along your gastrointestinal tract, such as your gallbladder, liver, pancreas and stomach, as well as your small and large intestines (also referred to as your bowels).

The walls of your esophagus are primarily composed of layers of smooth muscle, which are squeezed and contracted as a means of digesting and propelling food through your body. This process is called peristalsis. As peristalsis does its work, the food and beverages you consume are steadily being moved along from your stomach to your anus.

Health

Mouse study suggests medicated skin patch that delivers fat-shrinking drug could be used to treat metabolic disorders

Researchers have devised a medicated skin patch that can turn energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat locally while raising the body's overall metabolism. The patch could be used to burn off pockets of unwanted fat such as "love handles" and treat metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes, according to researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the University of North Carolina.

The findings, from experiments in mice, were published online today in ACS Nano.

Humans have two types of fat. White fat stores excess energy in large triglyceride droplets. Brown fat has smaller droplets and a high number of mitochondria that burn fat to produce heat. Newborns have a relative abundance of brown fat, which protects against exposure to cold temperatures. But by adulthood, most brown fat is lost.

For years, researchers have been searching for therapies that can transform an adult's white fat into brown fat-a process named browning-which can happen naturally when the body is exposed to cold temperatures-as a treatment for obesity and diabetes.

"There are several clinically available drugs that promote browning, but all must be given as pills or injections," said study co-leader Li Qiang, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and cell biology at CUMC. "This exposes the whole body to the drugs, which can lead to side effects such as stomach upset, weight gain, and bone fractures. Our skin patch appears to alleviate these complications by delivering most drugs directly to fat tissue."

Comment: Cold therapy is a much safer method to increase metabolism by encouraging "unhealthy" white fat to change into "healthy" brown fat. In addition cold therapy has other benefits including boosting the body's immune response, easing chronic pain and healing nerve damage.


Pills

Researchers use experimental drug to convert white fat into calorie-burning brown fat

An experimental drug causes loss of weight and fat in mice, a new study has found. The study results will be presented Friday at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego.

Known as GC-1, the drug reportedly speeds up metabolism, or burning off, of fat cells.

"GC-1 dramatically increases the metabolic rate, essentially converting white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity and metabolic disease, into a fat like calorie-burning brown fat," said study author Kevin Phillips, PhD, a researcher at Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston.

Until several years ago, scientists thought that only animals and human infants have energy-burning, "good" brown fat.

"It is now clear," Phillips said, "that human adults do have brown fat, but appear to lose its calorie-burning activity over time."

Pills

Antidepressants found to increase risk of death by preventing major organs from functioning properly

Antidepressant medications, most commonly prescribed to reduce depression and anxiety, increase the risk of death, according to new findings by a McMaster-led team of researchers.

It's widely known that brain serotonin affects mood, and that most commonly used antidepressant treatment for depression blocks the absorption of serotonin by neurons. It is less widely known, though, that all the major organs of the body-the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver-use serotonin from the bloodstream.

Antidepressants block the absorption of serotonin in these organs as well, and the researchers warn that antidepressants could increase the risk of death by preventing multiple organs from functioning properly.

The researchers reviewed studies involving hundreds of thousands of people and found that antidepressant users had a 33% higher chance of death than non-users. Antidepressant users also had a 14% higher risk of cardiovascular events, such as strokes and heart attacks. The findings were published today in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

"We are very concerned by these results. They suggest that we shouldn't be taking antidepressant drugs without understanding precisely how they interact with the body," says author Paul Andrews, an associate professor at McMaster University who led the research team.

Comment: With the mounting evidence that these drugs often don't work as intended and the many side-effects, it's clear that the medical establishment is the only real beneficiary: More useful information to help combat depression:


Brain

The electric body: How your body's voltage can help you heal

Your body runs on bioelectricity, and having a deeper understanding of how it works can be quite helpful when it comes to optimizing your health. Natural health pioneer Dr. Jerry Tennant has written an excellent book on this topic called "Healing Is Voltage: The Handbook."

The Electric Brain

Trained as an ophthalmologist, Tennant transitioned into natural health as a result of being forced to solve his own health challenges. After doing laser eye surgery on a patient with leukemia, Tennant ended up developing encephalitis. He believes the virus, which is not killed by laser, traveled from the patient's cornea, through the mask, up through his nose into his brain. He was forced to quit work in November 1995, and spent the next seven years bedridden, without hope for recovery.


Comment: Further reading: How electrons affect our lives: Dr Jack Kruse


Beaker

Assessing the data: Can low doses of chemicals affect your health?


Paracelsus
Toxicology's founding father, Paracelsus, is famous for proclaiming that "the dose makes the poison." This phrase represents a pillar of traditional toxicology: Essentially, chemicals are harmful only at high enough doses.

But increasing evidence suggests that even low levels of "endocrine disrupting chemicals" can interfere with hormonal signals in the body in potentially harmful ways.

Standard toxicity tests don't always detect the effects that chemicals can have at lower levels. And, even when the data do suggest such effects, scientists and policymakers may not act upon this information in a timely manner.

Comment: Endocrine Disruptors: What are they & how you can avoid them


Cheeseburger

Global disease study reveals: Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths

© Dominic Lipinski/PA
Eating foods high in salt raises the risk of an early death, the study says.
Study compiling data from every country finds people are living longer but millions are eating wrong foods for their health

Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths around the world, according to the most comprehensive study ever carried out on the subject.

Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. Eating a diet that is low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils and high in salt raises the risk of an early death, according to the huge and ongoing study Global Burden of Disease.

The study, based at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, compiles data from every country in the world and makes informed estimates where there are gaps. Five papers on life expectancy and the causes and risk factors of death and ill health have been published by the Lancet medical journal.

Comment: The ongoing study by Global Burden of Disease really misses the mark when they claim: "Eating a diet that is low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils and high in salt raises the risk of an early death". Read more about Going Against the Grain Towards Better Health:


Alarm Clock

Mysterious illness affecting wildlife forcing police to shoot, kill animals; neighbors worried for their pets

© KDKA
Some people who live in Ross Township say something strange is going on with wildlife in the area. They are concerned and wondering if it could also affect them.

Barbara Leininger, who lives in the area, says she's very worried.

"That there is a disease going around," she said. "Could it be transmitted to people or our pets?"

This has been going on for about a week in the area of Rodenbaugh Avenue. There have been raccoons and groundhogs coming out of the woods behind the houses that appear sick.

Karene Meyer says each time, police are called.

"They seem to be sick, doesn't seem to be rabies. The reason why they are saying they are sick is because they are not responding, moving or running away from them and they are listless. It's like they are dying," said Meyer.

Ross Township Police say they shoot and kill five to 10 animals a day, then toss them back into the woods.

But that creates another problem, a foul odor. Ross police say they aren't allowed to transport the dead carcasses in their vehicles. They contract with a company that will haul them away, but they have been killing so many, it is difficult to keep up.

"It was smelling like something dead. I had a whiff of it in my garage. It's not in my garage, because I tore it up looking, and it got smellier when we went outside, and it smelled up the whole neighborhood," Deborah Langhorne, a neighbor, said.

So what is making the animals sick?

Ross Township Police think it could be an oral rabies vaccine that state and county agencies have placed in wooded areas, either on foot, or dropped from low-flying planes or helicopters.

KDKA's Brenda Waters spoke with a representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program who said the rabies vaccine has been used since 1995, and is not known to cause any adverse effects.

The agency will be reaching out to Ross Township authorities.