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Tue, 12 Dec 2017
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Health

The unraveling of the sugar conspiracy

sugar death
© iStock
An explosive new study in the PLOS Biology journal confirms three things that independent health researchers have been saying for years:
  1. Sugar-heavy diets are worse for your health than fat-heavy diets.
  2. Researchers have known this fact for decades.
  3. The sugar industry actively covered up the research supporting this fact.
The study-bearing the typically unwieldy title "Sugar industry sponsorship of germ-free rodent studies linking sucrose to hyperlipidemia and cancer: An historical analysis of internal documents"-reads like an unlikely pairing of crime thriller and academic article.

At the heart of this medical thriller lies the mysteriously named "Project 259," a research study which ran from 1967 to 1971 to examine the link between sucrose consumption and coronary heart disease. From the outside, the project, headed by Dr. W.F.R. Pover at the University of Birmingham, appeared to be just another clinical study in nutritional science. It involved a feeding experiment in which lab rats were separated into two groups, one eating a high-sugar diet and the other eating a so-called "basic PRM diet" of cereal meals, soybean meals, whitefish meal, and dried yeast.

Comment: Is Sugar Toxic? You betcha.


Arrow Down

Prescription medication treatment for depression can drive some users to murder and suicide

Paxil
After taking GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil for just two days, retired oilman Don Schell brutally murdered his wife, daughter and 10-month-old granddaughter in the middle of the night before turning the gun on himself. The murders, which took place in 1998 in Gillette, Wyoming, shocked neighbors who couldn't understand why Schell, who had no history of violence, appeared to have spontaneously killed the people in his life he loved the most.1

The bodies were discovered the following afternoon by Tim Tobin, the husband of Schell's daughter Deb. After overcoming the shock of discovering such a gruesome scene, Tobin and other family members started to piece together what may have happened. The only thing that stood out was that Schell, who was a doting grandfather, had started taking Paxil just two days before the killings. At the time of the killing, he had taken just two tablets.

Could Paxil have been responsible for driving Schell to murder his family? The featured film, "The Secrets of Seroxat," explores the dark and tormenting side-effects of Paxil (known as Seroxat in the U.K.) and GSK's attempt to conceal the drug's negative effects.


Comment: As we learned from the tragic suicide of musician Chris Cornell, Ativan is another SSRI that could very well be leading individuals to destructive thoughts and behavior.

See also:


Pills

Antipsychotics nearly triple the risk of major cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attack

Big Pharma
© Pexels
A new study published in the fall of 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry shows that certain antipsychotics nearly triple the risk of major cardiovascular events in adult patients, compared to those antipsychotics with lower metabolic side-effect profiles. The researchers examined 1,008 adults age 30 and older who were initiated on antipsychotics between 2002 and 2007. Each patient was followed from the time they started the medications until the end of the study period (December 31, 2013) or until they developed a cardiovascular event, died, or disenrolled from their health plan.

The antipsychotics prescribed were separated into three categories-low, intermediate and high-risk-based on the severity of their side effect profile on causing weight gain, increasing lipids and raising glucose levels.

The high-risk drugs were: Thioridazine (Mellaril), olanzapine (Zyprexa) and clozapine (Clozaril).

Comment: This is only the tip of the iceberg:


Brain

Smartphone addiction wreaks havoc in teenage brains

smartphone junkies,handy sucht
People who are constantly checking their phone, social media or are watching cat and bunny videos may be suffering from serious addiction, a new study suggests.

Smartphone addiction harms mental health especially in teenagers, according to a new research by scientists from the Korean University in Seoul, South Korea.

Dr. Hyung Suk Seo has warned that there's more danger in this addiction than just the potential wastage of time sharing memes and viral videos.

"Teens who are addicted to their phones and the Internet have a chemical imbalance in their brains that predisposes them to depression and anxiety," Medical News Today reported the hypothesis of the scientist.

Comment: Switch to a 'dumbphone' and prepare to be surprised of the cognitive improvement you'll see.


Magnify

A scientist explores the mysteries of the gut-brain connection

gut brain connection
© Sacha Vega/iStock
The brain in your head and the one in your gut are always exchanging info. But how do they do it? Neuroscientist Diego Bohórquez is trying to find out the answers.

If you were asked where the human body's nervous system is located, you'd probably answer "the brain" or "the spinal cord." But besides the central nervous system, which consists of those two organs, our bodies also contain the enteric nervous system, a two-layer lining with more than 100 million nerve cells that spans our guts from the esophagus to the rectum. The enteric nervous system has been called "the second brain," and it's in constant contact with the one in our skull. That's why just thinking about food can lead your stomach to start secreting enzymes, or why giving a speech can lead to your feeling queasy.

Until recently, scientists thought the two systems communicated solely via hormones produced by enteroendocrine cells scattered throughout the gut's lining. After sensing food or bacteria, the cells release molecular messengers that prompt the nervous system to modulate behavior. But it turns out the process may be much more direct. Intriguingly, Duke University gut-brain neuroscientist Diego Bohórquez, a TED Fellow, has found that some enteroendocrine cells also make physical contact with the enteric nervous system, forming synapses with nerves. This revelation opens the door to rethinking how we might affect these signals - and might someday change how we treat conditions as varied as obesity, anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome, autism and PTSD.

Comment: It seems that the brain literally encompasses our whole body. See also:


Question

What's up with all the new-fangled cooking oils?

cooking oils
I often get questions about all these new-even new-fangled-oils like grape seed oil, rice bran oil, hemp seed oil and argan oil. Other oils new to the scene include avocado oil and camelina oil. Do they have any health benefits, and should we use them in cooking and food preparation?

To answer these questions, let's begin by looking at the fatty acid profiles. Remember that we want to avoid oils too high in omega-6 fatty acids. Ideally the level of omega-6 should be less than 15 percent, and the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 should be two or three to one.

Cow

Thanks to Big Ag, the 'organic' label might not mean what you think

cows
© Getty
The integrity of the Organic Standards is in jeopardy. With my five-year term on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) just completed, I am concerned about the future of the USDA Organic Seal.

The interests of big business and industrialized agriculture are having an outsized and growing influence on the organic standards, compared to the waning influence of organic farmers, who started the organic farming movement. Perhaps that is not surprising.

As organic food is becoming a $50 billion business, big business not only wants a bigger piece of the pie, they seem to want the whole pie.

We now have "organic" Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) for chickens, with as many as 200,000 chickens crammed into a building with no real access to the outdoors.

Comment: Has 'Organic' Been Oversized?
"In some ways, organic is a victim of its own success," says Philip H. Howard, an assistant professor at Michigan State University, who has documented the remarkable consolidation of the organic industry. Organic food accounts for just 4 percent of all foods sold, but the industry is growing fast. "Big corporations see the trends and the opportunity to make money and profit," he says.

Big food has also assumed a powerful role in setting the standards for organic foods. Major corporations have come to dominate the board that sets these standards.

As corporate membership on the board has increased, so, too, has the number of nonorganic materials approved for organic foods on what is called the National List. At first, the list was largely made up of things like baking soda, which is nonorganic but essential to making things like organic bread. Today, more than 250 nonorganic substances are on the list, up from 77 in 2002.



Syringe

Crunching the vaccine numbers: How many shots are on the CDC schedule?

vaccines
World Mercury Project gets questions about the number of vaccines given to young children in America today. Different articles cite different numbers and the totals can be confusing. This article and chart are designed to clarify the vaccine schedule and explain why the numbers may not always "add up." To be accurate, wording about total numbers of vaccines should include phrases like, "may receive up to" or "typically" or "between X and Y" number of vaccines. The individual numbers for any given child will vary depending on the specific vaccines used in his pediatrician's practice or clinic.

Health

Which essential oils can help cold, cough and congestion?

essential oils colds
A cough combined with nasal congestion is, simply put, annoying. These symptoms often accompany the common cold, but they also occur with allergies.

An alternative to sugary cough syrups, one can use essential oils like lemon, frankincense, lavender, etc, as a vapor rub or as a cough syrup.

A holistic-minded medicine cabinet may be the place to go to for cough and cold relief. Aromatic oils and plants have been used for thousands of years in medicine and religion.

Various ancient cultures have used essential oils, including Egypt, India, China, and Southern Europe. Aromatic, or essential, oils can be found in various parts of a plant including the root, leaves, flowers, bark, wood, seeds, resin, and balsam.

Essential oils are also called volatile oils or ethereal oils. These oils provide the "essence" of the plant's fragrance, as well as a specific flavor. For example, the essential oil of a lemon or an orange is not difficult to identify-we can easily recognize the citrus scent.

Health

Vitamin C's antioxidant power could help Alzheimer's patients

Vitamin C
© The Urban Clinic
Early clinical features of sporadic Alzheimer's disease include alterations in mitochondrial function that appear prior to classical features. Mitochondrial dysfunction increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which then drive the production of Amyloid beta, creating a vicious cycle accelerating Alzheimer's pathology. Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant and thus, could be protective against disease pathology.

Fiona Harrison, Ph.D., and colleagues used mouse models to examine the effects of Alzheimer's-linked mutations and vitamin C deficiency on mitochondrial function.

Comment: More on the power of Vitamin C: