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Sat, 27 Aug 2016
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Health & Wellness


Warning: Swine Flu Vaccine Coming Soon


Junk food triggers our 'bliss point'

Junk foods such as Snickers bars and ketchup really are irresistible. Manufacturers have created combinations of fat, sugar and salt that are so tasty many people cannot stop eating them even when full, according to America's former food standards watchdog.

David Kessler, former head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has warned that snacks, cereals and ready meals devised by food scientists can act on the reward centres of the brain in the same way as tobacco.

He argues that manufacturers are seeking to trigger a "bliss point" when people eat certain products, leaving them hungry for more.


Michael Pollan: We Are Headed Toward a Breakdown in Our Food System

Pollan gives a glimpse at the current state of food politics inside the White House and within his own home.

Michael Pollan's famous motto for a smart, healthy diet is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Add to that: "And when you happen to be on your publisher's expense account, splurge." The night we met up to chat at a place of his choosing, he tucked into a roasted slab of B.C. wild Chinook salmon, a tangle of salad greens and several glasses of good Okanagan Pinot Gris in the swank environs of the Blue Water Café in Vancouver's Yaletown neighborhood.


Obscene Drug Profits: Where They Go

Recently, a couple of Federal Budget Analysts from Washington, DC wondered about the profits in pharmaceutical drugs and came up with some interesting figures. Turns out that to purchase the active ingredients for many drugs is often pennies, while a hundred dollar plus price tag is passed on to consumers.

They found a 100 tablets of 20 mg Prozac runs the consumer about $247.47, while the active ingredients only cost $0.11. Yes, that's right. Eleven cents for all one hundred tablets. It's a 224,973 percent mark-up, a profit margin most business owners dream of - but could never get away with.


Caffeine reverses memory impairment in mice with Alzheimer's Symptoms

Coffee drinkers may have another reason to pour that extra cup. When aged mice bred to develop symptoms of Alzheimer's disease were given caffeine - the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day - their memory impairment was reversed, report University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Back-to-back studies published online July 6 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, show caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer's disease, both in the brains and in the blood of mice exhibiting symptoms of the disease. Both studies build upon previous research by the Florida ADRC group showing that caffeine in early adulthood prevented the onset of memory problems in mice bred to develop Alzheimer's symptoms in old age.

Alarm Clock

Suicide Warnings Required for Anti-Smoking Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration announced today that it is requiring the smoking-cessation drugs Chantix and Zyban to carry the strongest type of safety warning possible to alert patients that the medications can cause serious mental health problems, including depression and suicide.

The agency said it took the action requiring "boxed warnings" after finding a surprisingly high number of reports of problems involving changes in behavior among people taking the medications, including depression, hostility, suicidal thoughts and attempted and successful suicides. The agency had received 98 reports of suicide among patients taking Chantix and 188 reports of attempted suicide, and 14 suicides and 17 suicide attempts among patients taking Zyban, officials said.


Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder share genetic roots

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share genetic roots that seem to be specific to serious mental disorders, new studies have revealed.

A trio of genome-wide studies, collectively the largest to date, has pinpointed a vast array of genetic variations that cumulatively may account for at least a third of the genetic risk for schizophrenia. One of the studies traced schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in part, to the same chromosomal neighbourhoods.

"These new results recommend a fresh look at our diagnostic categories," said Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Magic Wand

Sustainable Food Ripe for Entrepreneurs to Drive Forward

What if I told you that America's food system is broken? What would you say?

Would you defend it by pointing out the abundance of choices offered in today's average supermarket, estimated to be over 45,000 items? Would you cite that per capita spending on food has dropped significantly over the last 50 years, freeing up incomes to improve quality of life? Would you talk about how American innovation is not only feeding our citizens, but is also feeding the world? Or would you quietly ask what a food system is?


The Revolution Will Not Be Petrochemically Fertilized

If you think diabetes and obesity are the two biggest health care crises Americans face these days, you're missing the forest for the trees - literally. Because the roots of all this diet-induced disease lie in two less publicized but even more pernicious epidemics: nature deficit disorder and kitchen illiteracy.

The symptoms include a woeful lack of familiarity with that elusive culinary commodity known as "real food," or "good food," or "slow food," and total estrangement from Mother Earth - who, by the way, keeps hanging around outside pining for a glimpse of you while you remain indoors, mesmerized by your monitor or TV screen and mindlessly munching on ersatz edibles.


US: EPA declares health emergency in Montana

An inspector screens a home in Libby for asbestos.

Northwest Montana, best known for its mountains, bighorn sheep, moose, and bear has also become known as a deadly place to live.

Health officials say as many as 200 people have died and another 1,000 residents - nearly 50 percent of the population of this small city -- have been sickened by asbestos-related illnesses.

Last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared a public health emergency in Libby and the surrounding area as a result of contamination created by asbestos mining in the region during the last century, and announced it will spend about $130 million to clean up the contamination and provide medical care in the region.

Residents of this northwest Montana city of about 2,600 south of the Canadian border, who have been dealing with the threat of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths for years, welcomed the news.

Eric Christiansen has been the pastor of St. John Lutheran Church for 13 years.

Of the 75 funerals he's conducted during his years in the community, Christiansen said about a dozen were attributed to asbestos. Christiansen said asbestos was so common here that it was once mixed in the soil of ball fields and in school running tracks.