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Wed, 24 Aug 2016
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Syringe

Thimerosal: A Vaccine Ingredient's Toxic Legacy

April, 1948 an article is published in the journal Pediatrics:
"Inspection of the records of the Children's Hospital for the past ten years has disclosed 15 instances in which children developed acute cerebral symptoms within a period of hours after the administration of pertussis vaccine. The children varied between 5 and 18 months in age and, in so far as it is possible to judge children of this age range, were developing normally according to histories supplied by their parents. None had convulsions previously."

"Twelve of the children were boys and three were girls, a sex difference also encountered in relation to other substances, such as lead, causing gross injury to the developing nervous system. At inoculation time, the children varied in age between 5 and 18 months. Developmental data were obtained in detail on all but two of the children, whose mothers simply stated that they had developed normally. Reference to the case histories showed that such objective activities such as sitting, walking, and talking had appeared in many of the children prior to the inoculations; and the regressions or failure of further development occurred after the encephalopathies [Any disease or symptoms of disease referable to disorders of the brain] in several instances. In so far as it was possible to judge none of the children were defective prior to their acute illness."

"In common with many other biologic materials used parenterally [not by mouth], an important risk of encephalopathy attends the use of prophylactic pertussis vaccine. The mechanism whereby the encephalopathy is produced is not elucidated by the present study. The universal use of such vaccine is warranted only if it can be shown to be effective in preventing encephalopathy or death from pertussis itself in large groups of children. If avoidance of the inconvenience of the average attack of pertussis is all that is expected, the risk seems considerable. Efforts to diminish the hazard by modification of the vaccine or new methods of administration seem indicated."

Red Flag

Use of Potentially Harmful Chemicals Kept Secret Under Law

Of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States -- from flame retardants in furniture to household cleaners -- nearly 20 percent are secret, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, their names and physical properties guarded from consumers and virtually all public officials under a little-known federal provision.

The policy was designed 33 years ago to protect trade secrets in a highly competitive industry. But critics -- including the Obama administration -- say the secrecy has grown out of control, making it impossible for regulators to control potential dangers or for consumers to know which toxic substances they might be exposed to.

At a time of increasing public demand for more information about chemical exposure, pressure is building on lawmakers to make it more difficult for manufacturers to cloak their products in secrecy. Congress is set to rewrite chemical regulations this year for the first time in a generation.

Arrow Up

New Study Confirms: Organic Food is Far Healthier Than Conventional

Organic produce is nutritionally superior to so-called "conventional" produce, according to a comprehensive review conducted by researchers from the University of Aix-Marseille for the French food agency (AFSSA) and published in the journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development.

"This critical literature review indicates that organic agriculture, as developed until now, has the potential to produce high-quality products with some relevant improvements in terms of anti-oxidant phytomicronutrients, nitrate accumulation in vegetables and toxic residue levels," the researchers wrote.

To be recognized as "organic," a food product must be produced without the use of genetic modification or chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and must promote sustainable cropping methods. In the United States, organically produced meat and dairy must be raised without the use of synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics. Hormones and antibiotics are banned in animal production across the board in the European Union.

Question

After Scary Year, Will Food in 2010 Be Any Safer?

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Some food safety advocates say the government needs to do a better job with labels, including telling consumers whether meat products contain any E. coli bacteria, even at federally accepted levels.
Here's a holiday menu that we'd all like to forget:

For the appetizer: San Antonio Bay oysters polluted with Noroviruses. For the main course: grilled beef infected with E. coli from contaminated tenderizing needles; chicken with Campylobacter or imported ham with Listeria monocytogenes. Then there's a side dish of stuffing loaded with salmonella-contaminated hazelnuts. And for those watching their weight: a popular nutritional drink fouled with the food poison Bacillus cereus.

All were recalled this month by the federal government or were the subjects of warnings by food safety experts. And 2010 isn't shaping up to set a safer table, according to some of the country's leading food safety experts.

That's not the message from the government's three big players in the war against dangerous food -- the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control. All predict the food supply will be safer because of new safeguards being pushed by the Obama administration.

Less than two months after taking office, the president announced the creation of the Food Safety Working Group and promised more resources to safeguard the nation's food supply. "Many of the laws and regulations governing food safety in America have not been updated since they were written in the time of Teddy Roosevelt," Obama said at that time.

Bell

Dramatic Example of How the Food Industry Lies to You About Corn

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SweetSurprise.com offers a number of surprising facts about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). For example, the site tells you that, "Research confirms that high fructose corn syrup is safe and no different from other common sweeteners like table sugar and honey. All three sweeteners are nutritionally the same."

They also claim that "Though the individual sugars are metabolized by different pathways, this is of little consequence since the body sees the same mix of sugars from caloric (nutritive) sweeteners, regardless of source.

Of course, SweetSurprise.com is a site run by the Corn Refiners Association ... so I suspect there's a chance they may be biased.

There are two types of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS): HFCS-55 and HFCS-42. HFCS-55 is composed of 55 percent fructose, 42 percent glucose and 3 percent higher sugars, and tastes as sweet as table sugar, while HFCS-42 is somewhat less sweet.

When HFCS-55 was developed, it was specifically formulated to provide sweetness equivalent to table sugar so that consumers would not perceive a difference in product sweetness and taste.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the consumption of high fructose corn syrup was just over 40 pounds per year, per person, as of 2007. It accounts for roughly 41 percent of all caloric sweeteners consumed in the U.S.

Sources:

SweetSurprise.com

Health

Many Symptoms Suggest Sluggish Thyroid - Do You Have Any of These?

Most people realize that their thyroid is important for controlling their metabolism and body weight.

But did you know that depression, heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopausal symptoms, muscle and joint pains, irritable bowel syndrome, or autoimmune disease could actually indicate a problem with your thyroid?

The classic signs of a sluggish thyroid gland include weight gain, lethargy, poor quality hair and nails, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and constipation -- and these symptoms are relatively well known.

However, some of the conditions you might not associate with your thyroid include:
  • High cholesterol
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Low libido
  • Infertility
  • Gum disease
  • Fluid retention
  • Skin conditions such as acne and exzema
  • Memory problems
  • Poor stamina

Health

Increased Risk of Death, Stroke in Postmenopausal Women Taking Antidepressants, Study Finds

Women participating in the Women's Health Initiative study who reported taking an antidepressant drug had a small but statistically significant increase in the risk of stroke and of death compared with participants not taking antidepressants. The authors of a report in the December 14 Archives of Internal Medicine note that their findings are not conclusive but may signify a need for additional attention to patients' cardiovascular risk factors.

"Depression is a serious illness with its own health risks, and we know that antidepressants can be life-saving for some patients. No one should stop taking their prescribed medication based on this one study, but women who have concerns should discuss them with their physicians," says Jordan W. Smoller, MD, ScD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Psychiatry, the study's lead author. "Older women taking antidepressants can talk with their physicians about their cardiovascular risk, work on modifying other risk factors, and discuss the risks and benefits of various treatment options. We need to study this association more to determine exactly what it signifies."

Health

Running Shoes May Cause Damage to Knees, Hips and Ankles, New Study Suggests

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) accounts for more disability in the elderly than any other disease. Running, although it has proven cardiovascular and other health benefits, can increase stresses on the joints of the leg. In a study published in the December 2009 issue of PM&R: The journal of injury, function and rehabilitation, researchers compared the effects on knee, hip and ankle joint motions of running barefoot versus running in modern running shoes. They concluded that running shoes exerted more stress on these joints compared to running barefoot or walking in high-heeled shoes.

Sixty-eight healthy young adult runners (37 women), who run in typical, currently available running shoes, were selected from the general population. None had any history of musculoskeletal injury and each ran at least 15 miles per week. A running shoe, selected for its neutral classification and design characteristics typical of most running footwear, was provided to all runners. Using a treadmill and a motion analysis system, each subject was observed running barefoot and with shoes. Data were collected at each runner's comfortable running pace after a warm-up period.

Eye 1

Assessing Eyesight and Ethnic Group Norms in Young Children

How common are vision disorders in infants and young children, and do rates differ by ethnic group? The Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study (MEPEDS) based at the Doheny Eye Institute, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, is the first large study to consider these questions in preschool-aged children. Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, and colleagues report their findings on refractive error, the leading cause of vision problems in young children.

They studied the prevalence of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and anisometropia (a difference in refractive error between the two eyes) in more than 6,000 Hispanic and African American children (about 3,000 per ethnicity) aged 6 to 72 months.

Life Preserver

Seasick? Try Controlling Your Breathing

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© Pierre Denise
Sickening. The effects of controlled breathing were tested in this flight simulator.
If you get seasick easily, you may prepare for boat rides with pressure-point bracelets, ginger, or a prescription skin patch. Now there's one more remedy: timing your breathing to counteract the nauseating motion. The technique presumably works because it helps control gravity sensors in the abdomen--a lesser-known input to our fine-tuned balance system.

The brain is traditionally thought to sense body position in three ways. The inner ears sense motions of the head; the eyes see where the head is; and tiny sensory organs in muscles and tendons sense where the rest of the body is. More recently, researchers have realized that sensors in many other parts of the body also play a role: in the abdomen, the lower organs, and even blood vessels. As long as all of these sensors send matching signals to the brain, we feel oriented. But if one or two don't match up, the brain gets confused and we become nauseated.

Scientists knew the most sickening motions closely match the rate of natural breathing; they also knew that people naturally tend to breathe in time with a motion. In fact, Navy seamen in World War II discovered that they could use certain breathing tricks to combat motion sickness. But no one had ever tested whether breathing out of time with a motion could prevent nausea.