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Wed, 22 Jan 2020
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Health & Wellness


South Korea puts woman in isolated treatment amid concerns she brought viral pneumonia back from China

viral pneumonia south korea
© Getty
South Korea has put a 36-year-old Chinese woman under isolated treatment amid concerns that she brought back a form of viral pneumonia that has sickened dozens in mainland China and Hong Kong in recent weeks.

The Korea Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said on Jan. 8 that the woman, who was diagnosed with pneumonia on Tuesday following two business trips to China last month, represented the country's first possible case of the respiratory illness whose cause remains unknown.

The unidentified woman, who works for a South Korean company near capital Seoul, has experienced cough and fever since returning from a five-day trip to the Chinese city of Xiamen on Dec. 30, the KCDC said in a press release.

Comment: See also: China probes for Sars links in pneumonia outbreak

Cupcake Choco

Processed foods highly correlated with obesity epidemic in the US; researchers still blame red meat

processed foods
As food consumed in the U.S. becomes more and more processed, obesity may become more prevalent. Through reviewing overall trends in food, George Washington University (GW) researcher Leigh A. Frame, PhD, MHS, concluded that detailed recommendations to improve diet quality and overall nutrition are needed for consumers, who are prioritizing food that is cheaper and more convenient, but also highly processed. Her conclusions are published in a review article in Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology.

"When comparing the U.S. diet to the diet of those who live in "blue zones" -- areas with populations living to age 100 without chronic disease -- the differences are stark," said Frame, co-author of the article, program director for the Integrative Medicine Programs, executive director of the Office of Integrative Medicine and Health, and assistant professor of clinical research and leadership at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. "Many of the food trends we reviewed are tied directly to a fast-paced U.S. lifestyle that contributes to the obesity epidemic we are now facing."

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Elderberry compounds directly inhibit flu virus entry and replication in human cells

Folk medicines and herbal products have been used for millennia to combat a wide range of ailments, and in the process confounding modern scientists who have struggled to understand their medicinal benefits.

Now a new study from the University of Sydney has revealed exactly how one popular ancient remedy - elderberry fruit - attacks and thwarts the influenza virus. The virus, one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide, affects nearly 10 percent of the world population and contributes to one million deaths annually.

In their new paper, Australian scientists describe how elderberry compounds directly inhibit the flu virus's entry and replication in human cells, while also strengthening the body's immune response to influenza.

Otherwise known as Sambucus nigra, the elderberry is a small, antioxidant rich fruit common to Europe and North America that is still commonly consumed as a jam or wine. Although elderberry's flu-fighting properties have long been observed, the group performed a comprehensive examination of the mechanism by which phytochemicals, compounds that positively effect health, from elderberries combat influenza infections.

Comment: See also: Scientists confirm elderberry beats the flu, prevents colds & strengthens immunity


Op-ed: Yes, food is grown in sewage waste and that's a big problem

Food is grown in sewage waste
The EPA and states must insist municipalities investigate alternative methods for reuse of sewage wastes.

You may not realize it but some foods you eat may have been grown in soil containing toxic sewage wastes. Labeling is not required.

In 2019, about 60 percent of sewage sludge from 16,000 wastewater processing facilities in more than 160 U.S. cities has been spread on our soils - farmland and gardens, as well as schoolyards and lawns.

The U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) allows this use of sewage waste, claiming it has beneficial use because it contains properties similar to fertilizer — certain heavy metals, phosphorus and nitrates — that could enhance soil conditions.

Microscope 1

Microbe that got man drunk could help explain common liver disease

Klebsiella pneumoniae
© Ami Images/Science Source
Some strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae in the gut can turn starchy and sugary foods into alcohol.
A man in China who, after eating high-carbohydrate or sugary meals, became so intoxicated that he blacked out, has led researchers to discover strains of bacteria in the human gut that could be an important driver of the world's most common liver disease.

That condition, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), affects an estimated 1 billion people worldwide, and nearly one in three Americans. The excess fat in liver cells that is characteristic of the disease usually does not cause any symptoms, but in about 25% of people with NAFLD, the accumulation progresses and sometimes causes life-threatening cirrhosis or liver cancer. Scientists found that that the Chinese man's odd malady stems from gut bacteria that synthesize alcohol from his meals. Researchers say the finding could lead to better ways of predicting who will develop severe forms of NAFLD and may even suggest ways to thwart its progression.

Comment: See also:

Microscope 1

Bacterial link in celiac disease

bacterial proteins mimic gluten proteins
© Artist in residence Erica Tandori, from the Rossjohn laboratory at Monash University
Artwork depicting the way bacterial proteins mimic gluten proteins, causing an immune response to celiac disease.
Bacterial exposure has been identified as a potential environmental risk factor in developing coeliac disease, a hereditary autoimmune-like condition that affects about one in 70 Australians.

It is estimated that half of all Australians are born with one of two genes that cause coeliac disease, and approximately one in 40 are likely to develop the condition.

People with coeliac disease must follow a lifelong gluten-free diet, as even small amounts of gluten can cause health problems.

Comment: It's certainly a possibility that there could be a bacterial component to the initiation of celiac disease. Many sufferers report coming down with condition after suffering a bout of food poisoning or illness of some kind. If a bacterial infection is responsible, this may lead the way to treatment for the condition.

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The very unappetizing truth about McDonald's hamburgers

On January 2, KUTV ran a story about a Utah man who is the proud owner of a 20-year-old McDonald's hamburger. They posted in a video in which David Whipple — said burger owner — shows off the Big Mac to the world. In the video, he takes the burger out of a tin for the first time since he bought it on July 7, 1999. In what should not be a surprising find, the burger looked almost the same as the day it was purchased, and it emitted a smell similar to that of cardboard.

If this is the first time you're seeing a years-old McDonalds hamburger, you may be a little out of the loop. Disturbing reports over the years show that Big Mac's and other hamburgers that hail from the golden arches do not decompose or rot for weeks, months and even years after they've been cooked.

Part of the embalmed-like feature of the meat patty could be because of its high-sodium content. Salt is a natural preservative that has been used throughout history. But you have to admit that when something does not decompose, or even show signs of decomposing after days, months or years, it seems suspicious. After all, the hallmark of live food is that it wilts and decomposes — something that, apparently, does not occur in these burgers.

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Why the world needs livestock whether or not consumers choose to eat red meat

Montana Ranch cows

Montana Ranch
What this article is about: 1. Why the world needs livestock. 2. What is Holistic Management. 3. How grazing animals are perhaps more important to climate change than eliminating fossil fuels.

What this article is not about: Debate over consumer preferences on animal protein versus lab or cell-based protein. Nor is it about, vegan versus carnivore. I support free markets and consumer preferences and we all should have the option to buy food of our choice.

Our planet is experiencing climate change and increasing population at an accelerated rate. That statement is not an opinion, it's just science and math. As such, we need to leverage science to do with precision and safety what nature has been doing recklessly since the beginning of mankind. We also need to embrace capitalism as our planet's greatest problem-solving mechanism to accelerate increasing investment in agriculture. Investment needs to be thoughtful and focused on addressing known and quantifiable poorly or unmet market needs with detailed value propositions. A value proposition simply means what a product or service does better than the next best alternative. For example, Walmart's is "Everyday Low Prices" and Whole Foods's is "America's Healthiest Grocery Store". A value proposition needs to deliver either a risk mitigation, cost reduction or an increase in profitable revenue to grow sales or attract investment.

Comment: The short-sighted climate vegans simply have no concept of the damage that would be done were all pastured animal farming eliminated. Their solution would bring on a climate catastrophe the likes of which the world has never seen. Yet they promote a cowless future as the solution to a non-problem and call for its immediate implementation. There's nothing more dangerous than an ideologue dictating policy.

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Why we eat too much: the new science of appetite (and what it tells us about losing weight)

© E+/Rouzes
These treats are bad for you... but so is starving yourself.

Obesity is on the rise, and our approach to weight loss isn't working. Dr Andrew Jenkinson explains why it's time for a rethink

Dr Andrew Jenkinson was once as prejudiced as most people are about obesity. He thought those who tipped the scales at 20st but carried on eating regardless, often bingeing on calorific foods, were irresponsible and lacked will power. Indeed when a patient once walked into his bariatric clinic carrying a plastic bag full of sausage rolls, crisps and snacks, he told the man to take some responsibility for himself and go on a diet, he tells me a little sheepishly.

Today he thinks differently. His understanding of the science of hunger and weight means he appreciates being obese isn't the lifestyle choice he once thought it was.

Comment: Most of the advice given in this article, and presumably in Dr Jenkinson's book, is reasonable. But the doctor seems to pull back at the point that most would start to see real benefit - entering ketosis. It's a moderate approach, which may serve some people just fine. But one has to wonder if being a proponent bariatric surgery, a drastic and highly invasive 'solution' to the obesity problem, has tainted his perspective in some ways.

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The truth about 'Game Changers' documentary

game changers movie poster
In recent weeks, I have been asked many times if I have seen 'Game Changers' and what I thought about it. Apparently, this film is regarded as convincing by many people. I watched it so that I can give my honest appraisal.

Having spent several years researching the science of our dietary needs and our evolution, I can state categorically that it is impossible for a vegan diet to be superior to an omnivore diet or, indeed, an entirely carnivorous diet. I can make this statement because we are not herbivores. This is the only indisputable fact that anyone needs to remember when wondering if veganism is for them. If you are a member of the human race, veganism cannot be your optimum diet: it is lacking in too many essential nutrients.

My book is called Stop Feeding Us Lies for a very good reason. We are constantly bombarded with myths, misinformation, fake news and downright lies. You just have to watch a political debate to know that. 'Game Changers' is just another big lie. It is part of a large and well-coordinated attack on our traditional foods by vested interests. Those vested interests are food manufacturing companies that stand to make a fortune if they persuade enough people to stop eating the animal foods our ancestors have been eating for a million years and switch to fake foods made in their laboratories.

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