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Fri, 22 Jun 2018
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Health & Wellness

Bad Guys

Why Taking Statins Might be Pointless - And Even Bad for You

A few years ago many people would never have heard of statins. Now more than five million Britons take the cholesterol-lowering drugs every day to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

But do they actually work for many of us? A new study has raised serious questions about whether they do - meanwhile, other new evidence has linked ­statins with severe depression and suicide.

Statins have been hailed as 'wonder pills' by doctors and drug companies. They are prescribed to anyone in Britain who is believed to have more than a 20 per cent chance of having a heart attack or stroke over the next ten years. It is hoped that, by lowering their cholesterol, the patients' death risk will drop significantly.

© Daily Mail, UK
Extreme: Some patients are being prescribed statins even if their cholesterol levels come under the traditional category of 'normal'.
The trend for believing that any cholesterol at all is automatically bad has intensified to the point where growing numbers of patients are being prescribed statins even if their cholesterol levels come into the traditional categories of 'normal' or even 'low'.

A new study by a prestigious U.S. university calls all this into question. The research suggests a great many people may not get any benefit from taking statins - that's because it's our calcium levels, not cholesterol, that really matter, claim the researchers.

Comment: So, it's calcium now. Soon they'll want to convince people to take drugs to lower their calcium!

Arrow Down

Exposure to seasonal flu weakened armour against H1N1

Faulty antibodies from previous infections boosted severity of swine flu in the middle-aged.

One of the puzzles of last year's H1N1 'swine flu' pandemic - which caused thousands of deaths worldwide - was that seemingly healthy middle-aged adults were hit hardest. A study has now shown that previous infection with other, seasonal, influenza strains primed patients' immune systems to harm their bodies rather than to mobilize against the new threat.

The study, published online today in Nature Medicine, began with a hunch that antibodies from past encounters with pathogens might have determined the severity of H1N1 cases.


Study: US Water Has Large Amounts of Likely Carcinogen

glass of water
© unknown
A US environmental group has found that drinking water in 35 American cities contains hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

The study by the Environmental Working Group -- the first nationwide analysis measuring the presence of the chemical in US water systems -- is to be made public on Monday, the daily reported.

The group found hexavalent chromium in the tap water of 31 out of 35 cities sampled. Of those, 25 had levels that exceeded the goal proposed in California, which has been trying aggressively to reduce the chemical in its water supply.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether to set a limit for hexavalent chromium in tap water. The agency is reviewing the chemical after the National Institutes of Health, deemed it a "probable carcinogen" in 2008.

Hexavalent chromium has long been known to cause lung cancer when inhaled, and scientists recently found evidence that it causes cancer in laboratory animals when ingested. It has been linked in animals to liver and kidney damage as well as leukemia, stomach cancer and other cancers.


Scare Tactics: UK: Swine flu: Half of Worst Afflicted Were Previously in Good Health

© Caters
Fallon Devaney with her children, from left: Jordan, 4, Lauren, 2, Aylissa, 3, and Demi, 5
Fears of a major swine flu crisis were growing last night after a letter from the country's top doctor warned that half of the most severe cases have involved people who were previously healthy.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government's chief medical officer, has written to all GPs and NHS hospitals warning of a "sharp increase" in the numbers of patients admitted to intensive care because swine flu has caused their lungs to fail.

The letter says pressures on critical care services are "significantly over and above" those expected at this time of year.

Crucially, the memo, written on Tuesday, says that while "half of patients requiring respiratory support have had recognised comorbidities [underlying health problems] which increase the risk for severe influenza, half have had no recognised comorbidities."

A spokesman for the Department of Health (DoH) confirmed that the presence of so many previously healthy people among those worst affected by the virus was "unusual" and said anyone concerned about worsening flu-like symptoms should contact their GP.

While overall flu levels remain normal for this time of year, the rate of flu has more than doubled in just seven days, latest figures show.

Comment: It is interesting to note that pregnant women are "being advised to be immunised." While there are studies coming out, pointing to the high rate of miscarriages caused by taking the H1N1 vaccines.

Thousands of US Pregnant Women Miscarry After the H1N1 Vaccine

Shocking Stories From Pregnant Women Who Have Had Miscarriages After Taking The Swine Flu Vaccine

Shocking Vaccine Miscarriage Horror Stories


How Much Vitamin D? What's Missing From the New Recommendations

© newbedfordguide.com
One day, vitamin D seems like the cure for everything, and the next, we are inundated with warnings about dangers and lack of science. Confusion is rampant about the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI's) for Calcium and Vitamin D recently released from the Institute of Medicine.

I have reviewed the report carefully and gathered input from international experts on vitamin D and the clinical team at my medical center - which includes four master's degrees in nutrition, authors of textbooks on nutrition, and international leaders in nutrition education for physicians and dietitians. Collectively we have 100 years of reviewing nutrition research and applying it with thousands of patients. Here is what I think about the new vitamin D recommendations based on a synthesis of all this information.


Is Butter Healthy?

© n/a
Ah, butter. The old-fashioned fat. The perfect partner for a baked potato. My misunderstood friend. It's creamy, flavorful, and downright delicious on toast. But is butter healthy?

I started out writing a post on why butter is healthy, and quickly realized the merits of butter are so far-reaching it will take more than one post to even begin to delve into this controversial subject. After all, most of us have been told for decades that butter belongs on the top of the "do not eat" list. It takes more than one simple blog post to undo years of USDA propaganda.

Comment: For more information about Why Butter is Better read what the Weston A. Price Foundation says about nutrition and how butter can be a very healthy part of your diet.


Broth: A Food That Heals

© farmersfreshcsa.com
Homemade broth is one of those foods that anyone can make - and a food that everyone should make. Canned broth must have seemed like a great invention at the time, but stocks and broths found on grocery store shelves are devoid of nutrients and real flavor. Large amounts of refined salt and harmful additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) are usually added to make these more palatable. Real broth made at home is filled with nutritionally valuable trace minerals in their natural state. And nothing can compare with the depth of rich flavor a homemade broth can bring to so many dishes.

The nutritional value of real broth was well-known in ancient cultures and is still revered in traditional communities today. Broth is often viewed as a powerful health elixir which can strengthen the joints and bones, prevent and cure illnesses, and provide ample amounts of energy and stamina. These claims are not antiquated myths, though it may seem like that if you try to cure modern ailments with canned broth. That won't work. But by preparing your own stock the old-fashioned way, you can reap many health benefits from it.


Potential Celiac Patients Show Signs of Disease

Patients who are diagnosed with "potential" celiac disease appear metabolically similar to those who actually have the disease, researchers say.

Among 29 "potential" patients, 24 were classified as having the disease on metabonomic analysis, Ivano Bertini, MD, of the University of Florence in Italy, and colleagues reported in the Journal of Proteome Research.

"Our results demonstrate that metabolic alterations may precede the development of small intestinal villous atrophy and provide a further rationale for early institution of a gluten-free diet," they wrote.

In genetically susceptible patients, celiac disease is triggered by ingestion of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It has been shown to have a well-defined metabonomic signature, the researchers said.

Often, its clinical symptoms will disappear with a gluten-free diet.

Yet the condition remains underdiagnosed, experts say, partially because some patients who have immunological abnormalities don't show clear celiac disease on jejunal biopsy.

So to determine the metabolic profile of these potential patients, the researchers used magnetic resonance metabolic profiling to analyze the biochemical markers in the blood and urine of 61 patients with celiac disease, 29 with potential disease, and 51 healthy controls.


Year of mystery meat: Blogger eats school lunch every day

A forgotten lunch one day turned into part of a movement for national reform

Blame it on the bagel dog.

If not for that sad excuse for an entree, the blogger known as Mrs. Q might never have gotten so disgusted with school lunches that she decided to show the world how bad they are. She never would have eaten, photographed and blogged about 160 elementary-school lunches - one per school day for the past year. She never would have attracted the attention of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and food activist Marian Nestle.

And Mrs. Q (who hides her identity to protect her job) might have gone on thinking that school lunch is "just food." Instead, she told TODAYshow.com, "I have learned that food is personal, food is life, food is health."

Red Flag

Not Soy Fast

© ryoryozo via Flickr
Thanks to Michael Pollan, many Americans are now aware that when a food boasts a health claim it usually means it's actually not that healthy after all. But there's one food that consistently flies below the radar despite its numerous health claims when found in processed and packaged foods: Soy. A long-time staple in the American health food repertoire, it is a prominent example of Pollan's observation. And the research is mounting that soy foods are not only questionable in terms of their benefits, but in fact, may be hazardous to your health.

Most recently, the Cornucopia Institute conducted research on the processing of soy foods and found that the industry commonly uses hexane - a petroleum-based solvent and known neurotoxin - to process soy ingredients found in many "natural" food products.

Thanks to their research and consumer concern, the Cornucopia Institute announced last week that some companies have voluntarily changed their processing practices and eliminated hexane from their products. Unfortunately, there are still well over two dozen "all-natural" nutrition bars and veggie burgers that still use hexane to process soy.