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Sat, 19 Aug 2017
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Health

The use of low level light therapy for reducing pain and inflammation and promoting healing in the tissues and nerves

The use of low levels of visible or near-infrared (NIR) light for reducing pain, inflammation and edema, promoting healing of wounds, deeper tissues and nerves, and preventing tissue damage has been known for almost forty years since the invention of lasers.

Originally thought to be a peculiar property of laser light (soft or cold lasers), the subject has now broadened to include photobiomodulation and photobiostimulation using non-coherent light.

Despite many reports of positive findings from experiments conducted in vitro, in animal models and in randomized controlled clinical trials, LLLT remains controversial. This likely is due to two main reasons; firstly, the biochemical mechanisms underlying the positive effects are incompletely understood, and secondly, the complexity of rationally choosing amongst a large number of illumination parameters such as wavelength, fluence, power density, pulse structure and treatment timing has led to the publication of a number of negative studies as well as many positive ones.

In particular, a biphasic dose response has been frequently observed where low levels of light have a much better effect than higher levels.

Comment: See also the recent Health & Wellness show Lightening up: The Benefits of Photobiomodulation and The Therapeutic Effects of Red and Near-Infrared Light


Health

The Therapeutic Effects of Red and Near-Infrared Light

I have previously written about the vast research showing that irradiation by red light or near-infrared appears to have health benefits. Thousands of research articles showing these benefits have been published.

In the scientific literature, this treatment with red light or near-infrared is called either photobiomodulation (PBM) or low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT). I will be using the term photobiomodulation.

In photobiomodulation, the affected tissue is irradiated by light, usually from a laser or LED source. This irradiation appears to improve the function of the malfunctioning tissue.

Alarm Clock

Regularly sleeping less than 6 hours a night could be as dangerous as binge drinking and severely damage your brain


Sleep deprivation is linked with acute cognitive impairment which is so severe that driving while sleep deprived could be as dangerous as driving when drunk.
Regularly getting less than six hours sleep a night could cause the same long-term damage as alcohol abuse, according to a worrying new study.

For the body, sleep deprivation results in increased risk of obesity, depression, heart attacks and strokes - causing experts to dub it the 'modern ill'.

However, the most worrying consequences are rooted in the brain and new research suggests the effects are far more destructive than previously thought.

Research suggests that being awake for 18 hours results in the same cognitive impairment people get from being drunk.

This is so severe that driving while sleep deprived could be as dangerous as driving when drunk, researchers found.

Comment: Some helpful information to help counter insomnia and get more quality sleep:


Bulb

What happens when doctors only take cash

© Dan Farnum / TIME
Anesthesiologists Steven Lantier and Keith Smith founded a cash-based medical center in Oklahoma City that posts its prices online.
When Art Villa found out, after one too many boating accidents, that he needed a total knee replacement, he began asking around to see how much it would cost. The hospital near his home in Helena, Mont., would charge $40,000 for the procedure, he says. But that didn't include the anesthesiologist's fee, physical therapy or a stay at a rehabilitation center afterward. A 2015 Blue Cross Blue Shield study found that one hospital in Dallas billed $16,772 for a knee replacement while another in the same area charged $61,585.

It was in the midst of this confounding research that Villa, who's 68, heard about the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, whose business model is different from that of most hospitals. There, the all-inclusive price for every operation is listed on the website. A rotator-cuff repair for the shoulder costs $8,260. A surgical procedure for carpal tunnel syndrome is $2,750. Setting and casting a basic broken leg: $1,925.

The catch is that the whole facility is cash-based. It doesn't take insurance of any kind. Not Aetna. Not Cigna. Not Medicare or Medicaid. Patients or their employers pay whatever price is listed online, period. There are no negotiated rates, no third-party reimbursements and almost no paperwork. "We say, 'Here's the price. Here's what you're getting. Here's your bill,'" says Keith Smith, who co-founded the Surgery Center in 1997 with fellow anesthesiologist Steven Lantier. "It's as simple as that."

To Villa, the model seemed refreshingly subversive. The Surgery Center would charge $19,000 for his whole-knee replacement, a discount of nearly 50% on what Villa expected to be charged at his local hospital. And that price would include everything from airfare to the organization's only facility, in Oklahoma City, to medications and physical therapy. If unforeseen complications arose during or after the procedure, the Surgery Center would cover those costs. Villa wouldn't see another bill.

Easter Egg 2

EU warns pesticide-contaminated eggs from Dutch farms may have entered four more countries

© Francois Lenoir / Reuters
The ongoing scandal over contaminated eggs from Dutch farms, which so far has seen millions of them removed from shelves in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, has widened to include four more EU countries.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, European Commission spokesperson Anna-Kaisa Itkonen announced that the four more countries now at risk are France, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

The European Union has notified food safety authorities in France, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK that some eggs contaminated with the harmful insecticide might have entered their countries.


Snakes in Suits

"Poison Papers": Newly uncovered documents prove EPA colluded with industry to conceal toxicity of widely used chemicals


Many of the chemical products still in use today were deemed "safe" by EPA based on studies the agency knew were fraudulent and dangerous.
Secrecy, collusion, deception, cover-up, concealment. These are some of the words used in a bombshell report to describe how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal regulators sacrificed human and environmental health on the altar of corporate profit.

Through the determined work of watchdogs at the Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy, over 20,000 hidden documents have come to light proving that U.S. regulatory agencies betrayed the public trust to unleash highly toxic chemicals - many of which are still in use today.
"The "Poison Papers" represent a vast trove of rediscovered chemical industry and regulatory agency documents and correspondence stretching back to the 1920s. Taken as a whole, the papers show that both industry and regulators understood the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products and worked together to conceal this information from the public and the press. These papers will transform our understanding of the hazards posed by certain chemicals on the market and the fraudulence of some of the regulatory processes relied upon to protect human health and the environment...

Corporate concealment is not a new story. What is novel in the Poison Papers is abundant evidence that EPA and other regulators were, often, knowing participants or even primary instigators of these cover-ups. These regulators failed to inform the public of the hazards of dioxins and other chemicals; of evidence of fraudulent independent testing; even of one instance of widespread human exposure. The papers thus reveal, in the often-incriminating words of the participants themselves, an elaborate universe of deception and deceit surrounding many pesticides and synthetic chemicals."

Comment: More evidence that the EPA functions more as an arm of the industries they supposedly regulate:


Health

Gut microbes can use flavonoids to prevent severe flu

Microbes that live in the gut don't just digest food. They also have far-reaching effects on the immune system. Now, a new study shows that a particular gut microbe can prevent severe flu infections, likely by breaking down naturally occurring compounds -- called flavonoids -- commonly found in foods such as black tea, red wine and blueberries.

Strong evidence from several studies have shown that individuals consuming fruits and vegetables rich in different flavonoids have a reduced risk of overall mortality and of several chronic diseases.

The research, conducted by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, also indicates that this strategy is effective in staving off severe damage from flu when the interaction occurs prior to infection with the influenza virus. This work also could help explain the wide variation in human responses to influenza infection.

"For years, flavonoids have been thought to have protective properties that help regulate the immune system to fight infections," said first author Ashley L. Steed, MD, PhD, an instructor in pediatrics who treats intensive care patients at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "Flavonoids are common in our diets, so an important implication of our study is that it's possible flavonoids work with gut microbes to protect us from flu and other viral infections. Obviously, we need to learn more, but our results are intriguing."

Smoking

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, a smoker for 50 years, quits then gets lung cancer

© Norman Seef
Ron Wood, 1979
Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has revealed he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.

During a routine health check, his doctor asked if he could also check his heart, lungs and blood - and discovered what Wood describes as "a supernova burning away on my left lung... He asked me what I wanted to do and my answer was simple: 'Just get it out of me.'" The cancer hadn't spread to his lymph nodes, meaning that after a five-hour operation, Wood is healthy for now.

Wood, who smoked for 50 years before giving up when his wife gave birth to twin daughters, told the Mail on Sunday that he hadn't considered chemo - but not because he didn't think it would work. "It's more I wasn't going to lose my hair. This hair wasn't going anywhere. I said, 'No way.' And I just kept the faith it would be all right." He had to wait for a week before receiving his test results: "There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains, time to say goodbye."

Wood warned: "People have to get checked. Seriously have to get checked. I was bloody lucky but then I've always had a very strong guardian angel looking out for me. By rights I shouldn't be here."

Comment: Specifically, he quit in May 2016. By May 2017, they were cutting a tumor out of him.


Arrow Down

World's most evil company - Monsanto rocked by new court documents

© Corbett Report
The case against Monsanto is the gift that keeps on giving.

Previously in these pages I discussed how the trial of Monsanto currently taking place in the California Northern District Court-technically known as "Multidistrict Litigation," with the formal title of "In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2741)"-is airing some of the agrichemical behemoth's dirtiest laundry. In my article "Monsatan On Trial For Roundup Cancer," I revealed how dozens of lawsuits filed against Monsanto for its role in causing the non-Hodgkin lymphoma of thousands of people across the US had been rolled into one dramatic court case, and how discovery from that case had yielded the remarkable deathbed testimony of EPA whistleblower Jess Rowland.

Then new documents emerged from the case confirming what many had long suspected: Monsanto has an entire internal corporate program (appropriately entitled "Let Nothing Go") employing an army of internet trolls who spam the company's propaganda on every social media post, forum and online comment board where its products and practices are being discussed.

Just this week, one of the law firms working on the trial released an equally explosive collection of "Monsanto's Secret Documents," proving another long-suspected claim against the world's most evil company: That it has in fact ghostwritten many of the key articles defending its products in the mainstream press-articles that were supposedly written by "independent" journalists. When the embarrassing details of the story came to light, including a suggested "draft" of an article written by Monsanto for Forbes "journalist" Henry Miller in 2015 that was exactly identical to the article that appeared under his name, Forbes pulled the piece from its website and ended Miller's employment. In a different leaked email exchange, former Monsanto consultant John Acquavella complained to a Monsanto executive, "I can't be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication," adding, "We call that ghost writing and it is unethical."

But if all that weren't bad enough, the latest documents to emerge from the case also detail exactly how Monsanto attempted to smear the research of Gilles-Éric Séralini, the French scientist who published a groundbreaking study showing an increase in tumors among rats fed genetically modified corn and Monsanto's RoundUp herbicide.

Syringe

Polio wasn't vanquished, it was redefined

Opinion piece by Marco Cáceres

Perhaps the most egregious example of clever sleight of hand (... not to mention the outright, blatant rewriting of history) on the part of public health officials in the United States occurred in 1954 when the U.S. government changed the diagnostic criteria for polio. It was the year that medical researcher and virologist Jonas Salk produced his inactivated injectable polio vaccine (IPV). The vaccine was licensed in 1955 and began to be used to inoculate millions of children against polio.

The Salk vaccine has been widely hailed as the vanquisher of polio, and it is commonly used as the shining example of how vaccines are the miracle drugs for combating infectious diseases... and now even against diseases that are not infectious. Pick any disease, illness or disorder you want. You got cancer, cholera, peanut allergies, stress, obesity... we'll develop a vaccine for it.

What the apologists for the Salk vaccine regurgitate from a common script (... some might say scripture) is that before the vaccine was introduced and tested on one million children-the so-called "Polio Pioneers"-in 1954 more than 50,000 people in the U.S. were contracting polio each year, and that by the end of the 1950s the numbers were down to less than 10,000. Ergo, the Salk vaccine saved the U.S. from polio. Open and shut case.

Hmm, not so fast.

What is conveniently omitted from this heroic story is that the reason the number of polio cases in the U.S. dropped so precipitously following the mass introduction of the Salk vaccine in 1955 was not medical, but rather administrative. Yes it's true, in 1952 there were 52,879 reported cases of polio in the U.S. And yes, in 1955 the number went down to 28,985, and by 1959 it had dropped to 8,425. But first of all, it's important to note that the numbers were already declining significantly prior to the initial use of the Salk vaccine. In 1953, there were 35,592 cases of polio in the U.S. So there were other things going on in the U.S. at the time totally unrelated to the Salk vaccine.

More importantly, though, in 1954 the U.S. government simply redefined polio. Yes, the government can do that. It does this kind of stuff occasionally in order to help it meet its public policy objectives when it is unable to actually achieve them. How often have you heard of Congress playing smoke and mirrors, gimmicks with the national budget deficit, or on the issue of the unemployment rate? Exactly.

When it comes to government and public policy, the truth is seldom absolute. That's just the nature of the beast.

According to Dr. Bernard Greenberg, head of the Department of Biostatistics of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health:
In order to qualify for classification as paralytic poliomyelitis, the patient had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for at least 60 days after the onset of the disease. Prior to 1954, the patient had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for only 24 hours. Laboratory confirmation and the presence of residual paralysis were not required. After 1954, residual paralysis was determined 10 to 20 days and again 50 to 70 days after the onset of the disease. This change in definition meant that in 1955 we started reporting a new disease, namely, paralytic poliomyelitis with a longer lasting paralysis.1
As I wrote in my piece The Salk 'Miracle' Myth...
Under the new definition of polio, thousands of cases which would have previously been counted as polio would no longer be counted as polio. The change in the definition laid the groundwork for creating the impression that the Salk vaccine was effective.