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Health & Wellness


Don't Forget to Eat Blueberries: Scientists Find They Help Memory

Although several studies involving laboratory animals have provided tantalizing clues that eating blueberries improves memory, could the delicious fruit actually help people retain their mental sharpness as they age? The good new appears to be "yes". In fact, blueberries might even boost brain power. For the very first time, a study has found evidence that blueberry juice improves memory in humans.

For the research project, a team of scientists from the University of Cincinnati, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Canadian Department of Agriculture worked with a group of volunteers in their 70s who suffered from early memory decline. Half the group drank the equivalent of two to two and 1/2 cups of blueberry juice every day for two months. As a control, a second group drank a different beverage that did not contain any blueberry juice.

After about eight weeks, the scientists conducted learning and memory tests to see if the research participants' cognitive abilities had undergone any measurable changes. The results, which were recently published in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that the elders who had been regularly drinking blueberry juice demonstrated significant improvement in their mental faculties.


Aspartame has been Renamed and is Now Being Marketed as a Natural Sweetener

In response to growing awareness about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, what does the manufacturer of one of the world's most notable artificial sweeteners do? Why, rename it and begin marketing it as natural, of course. This is precisely the strategy of Ajinomoto, maker of aspartame, which hopes to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with its rebranded version of aspartame, called "AminoSweet".

Over 25 years ago, aspartame was first introduced into the European food supply. Today, it is an everyday component of most diet beverages, sugar-free desserts, and chewing gums in countries worldwide. But the tides have been turning as the general public is waking up to the truth about artificial sweeteners like aspartame and the harm they cause to health. The latest aspartame marketing scheme is a desperate effort to indoctrinate the public into accepting the chemical sweetener as natural and safe, despite evidence to the contrary.

Aspartame was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter, a chemist who had been trying to produce an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug for G.D. Searle & Company back in 1965. Upon mixing aspartic acid and phenylalanine, two naturally-occurring amino acids, he discovered that the new compound had a sweet taste. The company merely changed its FDA approval application from drug to food additive and, voila, aspartame was born.


American study claims third-hand smoke bad for you

Old tobacco smoke does more than simply make a room smell stale -- it can leave cancer-causing toxins behind, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

They found cancer-causing agents called tobacco-specific nitrosamines stick to a variety of surfaces, where they can get into dust or be picked up on the fingers. Children and infants are the most likely to pick them up, the team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California reported.

"These findings raise concerns about exposures to the tobacco smoke residue that has been recently dubbed 'third-hand smoke'," the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, available here.

They suggested a good clean-up could help remove these potentially harmful chemicals and said their findings suggest other airborne toxins may also be found on surfaces.

Comment: The relentless push to eradicate smoking takes another ridiculous turn. It's as if they were afraid of smokers... now why might that be?

Let's all light up!


Environmental Exposure to Hairspray, Lipstick and Pollution Can Trigger Arthritis

The links between autoimmune diseases, infections and the environment are complex and mysterious.

But "Spondylo-arthropathies," a group of common inflammatory rheumatic disorders, appear to be triggered by environmental factors.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease afflicting more than 2 million Americans.

The disorder causes your body's own immune system to attack your joints, leading to pain, deformities and a substantial loss of mobility.

One root cause of arthritis is extreme stress, and some medications, such as the birth control pills, might be linked in some cases to the onset of lupus.

Environmental pollution is also a concern for those predisposed to an autoimmune disease. Second-hand smoke, food chemicals or chemicals in the air, jet fuel fumes, UV exposure and other forms of environmental pollution are amongst the triggers considered to provoke the onset of autoimmune diseases. Hairspray and lipstick are also known to be occasional triggers.


Science Daily January 25, 2010

Autoimmune Reviews December 21, 2009


Over Half a Million U.S. Kids Per Year Suffer Health Reactions From Drugs

More than half a million children suffer adverse reactions every year in the United States from prescription drugs, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Children's Hospital in Boston and published in the journal Pediatrics.

The researchers examined data on emergency room and clinic visits between the years of 1995 and 2005 by children under the age of 18. The average number of children receiving treatment for adverse prescription drug effects each year in that time period was 585,922. The number fluctuated very little from year to year.

Adverse drug events included accidental overdoses, side effects and wrong prescriptions.

Take 2

Shocking Facts You Didn't Realize About Your Food...

Between 1977 and 2002, the percent of the American population eating three or more snacks a day -- and most of it junk food -- increased to 42 percent from 11 percent. Further, researchers found, the percent of children surveyed who said they had eaten three meals on the previous day went down, while those who had had a snack went up more than 40 percent.

The U.S. consumed over $68 billion in packaged snack foods in 2008, up from $60 billion in 2004. Among the newest and best-selling concepts are small packs of cookies and other junk foods. The spread of snacking has been abetted by over-scheduled children and the death of the family dinner.

This is just one aspect of a much larger problem that encompasses a reliance on nutritionally depleted foods, chemical additives and pharmaceutical drugs to treat the resulting malnourished bodies. The new film 'Food Matters' -- you can watch the trailer above -- looks at these problems and provides some scientifically verifiable solutions for curing disease naturally.


New York Times January 19, 2010


More than 1,000 get mumps in New York, New Jersey since August - 77 percent were vaccinated

More than 1,000 people in New Jersey and New York, many of them adolescent Orthodox Jews, have been sickened with mumps since August, health authorities said Monday.

Orange County, New York, has confirmed 494 cases since early November, county spokesman Richard Mayfield told CNN. Almost all of those infected with the virus are of the Orthodox or Hasidic Jewish population, and their average age is 14, he said.

Comment: So not only were most of those infected vaccinated, disproving the theory that it would spread among the unvaccinated, it seems the disease had none of the so-called "complications" they use to instill fear in those who don't get vaccinated.


Activists Want Makers to Come Clean on Cleansers

© (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Cleaning products Brillo, Woolite, Tide and Ajax are arranged for a photo, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 in New York. The environmental group Earth Justice is hoping a New York lawsuit will force Church and Dwight, maker of Brillo, Reckitt-Benckiser, maker of Woolite, Procter & Gamble, manufacturer of Tide, and Colgate-Palmolive, which sells Ajax, to come clean about what's in household cleaning products.
New York - It's the mystery under the kitchen sink.

Exactly what's in floor cleaner? What's stain remover made of? And what effects, if any, might they have on human health or the environment?

Environmental advocates want to know, and they asked a court Thursday to use a 1971 New York state law to force such manufacturers as Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive to reveal just what makes up such household staples as Ajax, Ivory soap and Tide.

Red Flag

Weed Killer Atrazine May be Linked to Birth Defects

Living near farms that use the weed killer atrazine may up the risk of a rare birth defect, according to a study presented this past Friday at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Chicago.

About 1 in 5000 babies born in the U.S. each year suffers from gastroschisis, in which part of the intestines bulges through a separation in the belly, according to the March of Dimes. The rate of gastroschisis has risen 2- to 4-fold over the last three decades, according to Dr. Sarah Waller, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues.

Waller's team studied the potential link between the weed killer and the birth defect because, as they note in their conference abstract, "during the last 10 years, the highest percentage per population of gastroschisis was in Yakima County, in the eastern part of the state, where agriculture is the primary industry."

Eye 1

Revising book on disorders of the mind

Far fewer children would get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. "Binge eating disorder" and "hypersexuality" might become part of the everyday language. And the way many mental disorders are diagnosed and treated would be sharply revised.

These are a few of the changes proposed on Tuesday by doctors charged with revising psychiatry's encyclopedia of mental disorders, the guidebook that largely determines where society draws the line between normal and not normal, between eccentricity and illness, between self-indulgence and self-destruction - and, by extension, when and how patients should be treated.

The eagerly awaited revisions - to be published, if adopted, in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due in 2013 - would be the first in a decade.