Health & WellnessS


Flashback Aspartame's Sweet Dreams; Who Are We to Disagree?

Aspartame, sold as NutraSweet, Equal, NatraTaste and Canderel, was discovered in 1965 by G.D. Searle Co., and originally used to treat ulcers.

It is now found in almost every dietetic or low-calorie food and beverage on the market. Used by such companies as Bayer, Con Agra Foods, Dannon, Smucker, Kellogg, Wrigley, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods (Crystal Light), Conopco (Slim-Fast), Coke, Pfizer, Wal-Mart and Wyeth, aspartame can even be found in children's vitamins.


The Threat of Mercury in Florescent Light Bulb and Vaccines

"The public awareness has been raised by the sequential wave of experiences ... Including mercury exposure from additives, fish, contaminated air, bird deaths from eating mercury-contaminated seed grains, dental amalgam leakage, mercury allergy, etc ... ." -- Dr. Maurice Hilleman, 1991

Maine's Department of Environmental Protection led the nation in its recent study of mercury loosed by compact florescent light bulb (CFL) breakage. The DEP is very clear that the overall environmental impacts of reducing carbon emissions through more energy efficient lighting is positive and substantial. Still, since CFLs contain a potent neurotoxin, mercury, staffers in the Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management wanted to offer Maine citizens good advice just in case they dropped a bulb and had an unexpected "release" in their homes.


USDA Rejects 'Downer' Cow Ban

Agriculture Secretary Finds Existing Meat-Processing Rules Adequate


How Good People Turn Evil, From Stanford to Abu Ghraib

As an expert witness in the defense of an Abu Ghraib guard, Philip Zimbardo had access to many images (NSFW) of abuse taken by the guards. His TED presentation puts together a short video of some of the unpublished photos, with sound effects added by Zimbardo. Many of the images are explicit and gruesome, depicting nudity, degradation, simulated sex acts and guards posing with corpses. Viewer discretion is advised.

Courtesy Philip Zimbardo
View slideshow (NSFW)


US society helping to make people sicker

New York -- Americans should be living four years longer at current rates of healthcare spending, signalling that US society is helping to make people sicker, a report on health inequality said on Thursday.


Study: Spanking tied to sexual violence later in life

New research by a University of New Hampshire domestic abuse expert says spanking children affects their sex lives as adults. Professor Murray Straus concludes that children who are spanked are more likely as adults to coerce partners to have sex, to have unprotected sex and to have masochistic sex.


Parents facing full brunt of the state as more choose health freedom from vaccinations

AS states move to require more vaccines for school-age children, an increasing number of parents are saying no to some of the inoculations. They are seeking exemptions from the state in growing numbers, citing religious reasons or saying that they believe the vaccines will do more harm than good.

©New York Times
SECOND THOUGHTS Jaime Polatsek, of Trumbull, Conn., stopped allowing vaccinations for her children, Coby and Sophie, after Sophie was found to have autism.


Is depression good for you?

Pills aren't the answer to helping many people recover from depression, says a report out this week. But there's growing evidence that gloominess could be a positive experience.

What depressed the cavemen? It may strike us as a particularly modern malaise for a time-poor, fast-paced society but a new reappraisal of depression suggests it has always been around.


The Truth About Autism: Scientists Reconsider What They Think They Know

The YouTube clip opens with a woman facing away from the camera, rocking back and forth, flapping her hands awkwardly, and emitting an eerie hum. She then performs strange repetitive behaviors: slapping a piece of paper against a window, running a hand lengthwise over a computer keyboard, twisting the knob of a drawer. She bats a necklace with her hand and nuzzles her face against the pages of a book. And you find yourself thinking: Who's shooting this footage of the handicapped lady, and why do I always get sucked into watching the latest viral video?

Autism researchers
©Jessica Dimmock
Michelle Dawson, right, is autistic. She's also a researcher in the lab of Laurent Mottron (left), a psychiatrist who specializes in autism.


Flashback French Women Don't Get Fat but Do Get Lucky

Paris, France -- If I have to get old, I want to do it in Paris.

It's not because of the dank weather, the constant personal snubs or a fetish for unpasteurized cheese. It's because, quite frankly, I'd like to keep having sex.

Comment: While this piece is somewhat fluffy and celebrity-obsessed, it does point up something of the Puritanism of English-speaking societies, which can lead to a loss of playfulness in many areas of life. Engendered by such Puritan attitudes, deep-seated insecurities about oneself commonly lead to a fractured psyche - which can then be exploited all the more easily by our grim masters.