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Sun, 18 Mar 2018
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Health & Wellness


'Disease X': The mystery killer keeping scientists awake at night

Disease X

WHO have named Disease X as a disease with pandemic potential
Over two days in early February, the World Health Organisation (WHO) convened an expert committee at its Geneva headquarters to consider the unthinkable.

The goal was to identify pathogens with the potential to spread and kill millions but for which there are currently no, or insufficient, countermeasures available. As the meeting opened, the city's eponymous lake reflected a crisp blue winter sky. Only as the meeting progressed did an icy rain set in.

It was the third time the committee, consisting of leading virologists, bacteriologists and infectious disease experts, had met to consider diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential. But when the 2018 list was released two weeks ago it included an entry not seen in previous years.

In addition to eight frightening but familiar diseases including Ebola, Zika, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the list included a ninth global threat: Disease X.

Comment: This article seems pretty transparently intended to incite fear among the masses, despite what they might claim. The WHO, more or less, simply included a category on their list that was a potential unknown contagion, but by calling it an ominous sounding name, "Disease X", and speculating on what sort of disease this might come to be, imaginations run wild and fear is spread. 'There may be an unknown epidemic in the future' sounds scary, but logical. 'Beware Disease X', sounds terrifying.

See also:


Lethal Sex -The Rise of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the Age of Postmodernist Liberalism


Syphilis treatment in 1498 (Vienna): Urine examination and treatment with ointments (mercury).
Syphilis, one of the most feared infections of the Middle Ages and Victorian eras, was until recently virtually eradicated from our world. In the United States, after being close to zero in 2000, the syphilis rate began a sharp climb in 2011. Experts are squeamish about giving an answer to the upsurge of STDs in general. Perhaps they are naive or prudish when it comes to sexual matters, or perhaps they're living in a bubble.

In this article, you'll learn about the shocking statistics on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) - a veritable sign of our times. Hopefully this will increase the disgust factor a few notches for those still 'on the fence'. When it comes to STDs, it doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution.

The Yuk Factor

Jonathan Haidt, author of the acclaimed book The Righteous Mind - Why People are Divided by Politics and Religion, explains how moral foundations are innate - "organized in advance of experience". In this sense, moral foundations are like the first draft of a book that gets revised as individuals grow up within their own unique culture. Haidt describes six moral foundations:

Arrow Down

EPA plans to slash funding for animal testing

lab rat mouse raton
© Alessia Pierdomenico / Reuters
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a draft strategy to reduce animal testing, but the agency has been using thousands of animals every year in taxpayer-funded experiments.

EPA's animal testing facility used about 20,000 animals a year, including rodents, rabbits and fish, according to watchdog group White Coat Waste-reviewed contract solicitation.

EPA published the results of at least 20 animal exposure studies in the past two years, based on a search for such studies in the agency's science database. These experiments exposed lab rats to air pollutants EPA claims can be deadly in humans.

"Americans don't like, want or need these outdated, expensive and deadly EPA animal tests that are siphoning money off of important programs that can actually help taxpayers and the environment," White Coat Waste Project Advocacy and Public Policy Vice President Justin Goodman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.


World's oldest woman had an 'awful' diet - and lived to be 122

Jeanne Calment, smoking a cigarette.
© jean pierre fizet/Getty Images
Jeanne Calment, smoking a cigarette.
Jeanne Calment spent her life doing almost everything that doctors advise against if you want to live a long life. She smoked, she drank, she played with guns, she ate excessive amounts of sugar and red meat, and she never ate breakfast, save for a cup or two of coffee.

She also lived to be 122 years, five months, and 14 days old.

Throughout her long, long life, (from her birth in 1875 to her death in 1997) Jeanne Calment broke several records, all of them after she'd spent a century on earth.

Comment: See:


Daylight saving time has a dark side

train crash engineer
© Associated Press/Robert Stolarik
A New York engineer is wheeled away in December 2013, after a train he was driving crashed. Lack of sleep could have been a factor.
A train hurtled around a corner at 82 mph, eventually coming off the rails and killing four passengers.

Decades earlier, faulty decision-making resulted in the deaths of the seven-person crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Years before these events, a stuck valve regulating the supply of coolant to a nuclear reactor nearly resulted in the meltdown of a nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. In each of these cases, poor or inadequate sleep was one of the factors that contributed to the failure.

Even if you are not an engineer working in one of those contexts, the odds are pretty good that you occasionally get a poor night's sleep. In fact, over one-third of American adults sleep less than the suggested minimum seven hours a night and two-thirds of American teens sleep less than their minimum recommended eight hours. Even for those with good sleep hygiene, there is one time of year when you are likely to be short on sleep - the annual shift to daylight saving time.

Life Preserver

New study suggests cannabis can help end the opioid crisis

If you feel pain in your body (particularly after surgery), you can easily schedule a doctor's appointment and receive opioid pain relievers. The decision to do so could be lethal, however. Every day in America, approximately 116 people overdose from opioids. Such is a result of 1 in 10 people becoming hooked on the painkillers.

Cannabis, on the other hand, which is quite effective at reducing pain, is non-addictive, and even has components proven to remedy various types of cancer, remains illegal. It is classified as a Schedule 1 drug on a federal level in the United States - despite the fact that 0 people have overdosed on it in the history of Earth. Is this logical? Simply, no. Fortunately, new research is emerging proving cannabis to be very helpful to patients who are hooked on opioid painkillers.

Comment: The Health & Wellness Show: The Highs and Lows of Cannabis as Medicine


Is the oral cancer epidemic in men outwitting natural defenses?

HPV is human papilloma virus
© Richard Dymond / Bradenton Herald
HPV is human papilloma virus which doctors say can cause infections which can lead to adult cancers including cervical, head, throat, neck and others.
Five years ago, when actor Michael Douglas candidly revealed that his throat cancer was linked to having oral sex, two things happened.

He made headlines that mortified his family. And he helped publicize the fact that a pervasive, sexually transmitted virus called HPV was unleashing an epidemic of oral cancer among men.

Since then, scientists have made headway in figuring out why HPV, the human papillomavirus, has this glaring gender bias. Men are four times more likely than women to be diagnosed with oral cancer, a hard-to-detect, hard-to-treat disease that has overtaken cervical cancer as the most common HPV-related malignancy in the United States.

To be sure, changes in sexual norms over the last few generations have played a role in this alarming trend. But research increasingly shows the real problem is something men have practically no control over: their immune response.

Comment: One wonders why the author didn't just state how one can naturally build up one's natural defenses to oral cancer.

To mention only a few:

Monkey Wrench

Research exposes new heath risks of GMO mosquitos & salmon

GMO tech

Just when genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes got their approval by the Cayman Islands and the government of Canada's Prince Edward Island is trying to approve GM salmon, new research reveals unexpected and potentially dangerous effects of genetic engineering.

Unfortunately, neither the makers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) nor their regulators conduct the studies that are necessary to protect the public. Being bitten by GM mosquitoes and eating GM salmon remains a serious gamble.

The new discomforting research published in Nature Methods examined the unintended impacts of gene editing on the DNA of mice. Gene editing is touted by its promoters as the safer, more precise version of genetic engineering. The earlier version that was used to create the GM crops we all know about (soy, corn, etc.) forced genetic material from bacteria or viruses into plant DNA. Gene editing, on the other hand, does not necessarily introduce genes from foreign species. Rather, it cuts the DNA in a predetermined location. The cell's DNA repair mechanisms are then activated to repair the cut.


Over a dozen popular Texas beaches test positive for high levels of fecal bacteria

High levels of fecal bacteria on Texas beaches
© Caller Times
If you're headed to Texas for spring break you might want to stay off the beach or at least out of the water, according to a new report.

Over a dozen popular beaches have tested positive for high levels of fecal bacteria according a website run by the Texas General Land Office. TexasBeachWatch.com says parts of Corpus Christi Bay and North Padre Island were both found to have high amounts of fecal bacteria in their waters.

The website also listed Matagorda Bay, Freeport, and parts of Galveston as places where fecal bacteria was on the rise. "Pathogens can make our waters unsafe for humans. Swimming and other recreational activities in water contaminated with pathogens can make people ill," according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Study finds being exposed to small amounts of light during sleep is linked to depression

sleeping in bed light
It may be time to invest in some blackout curtains, according to new research.

A study published recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology found a strong association between even low-level nighttime light exposure and depressive symptoms among elderly adults. The findings suggest that snoozing in total darkness may be ideal not only for your sleep quality, but also for your mental health, says study co-author Kenji Obayashi, a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at Nara Medical University School of Medicine in Japan.

"Maintaining darkness in the bedroom at night may be a novel and viable option to prevent depression," Obayashi wrote in an email to TIME.

Comment: The effects of light exposure during sleep are well known, and have been shown to have a detrimental effect on the body. So in addition to blocking out external light, internal light from devices like cellphones, power bars, appliances etc should also be removed to keep things as dark as possible while you sleep. See also: