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Sun, 18 Mar 2018
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Health & Wellness

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A fifth of antibiotic prescriptions are needless; superbugs set to kill more people than cancer, Jeremy Hunt warns

pharmacy shelf drugs
© PA
Antibiotics should be used more sparingly, experts said.
Superbugs will kill more people than cancer without swift action to stop GPs doling out needless antibiotics, Jeremy Hunt has warned.

It came as new research found at least one in five prescriptions by family doctors should never have been issued, fuelling antibiotic resistance.

Health officials urged GPs to rein in prescribing of the drugs, amid warnings that routine hospital operations could become too dangerous if common medications become ineffective.

Leading family doctors said the findings were "extremely disappointing," but said GPs should not be blamed for handing out so many needless drugs.

Comment: Antibiotic resistance issue is a huge threat to public health, and while many are crying "don't blame the GPs", they are the front lines where the problem is actually manifesting. A change in prescribing habits seems to be the only way to actually curb this plague. And as pharmaceutical interventions continue to fail a turn to natural antibiotics may become an emerging trend.


Fibromyalgia, CFS, IBS and childhood trauma

Traumatic experiences and stressors in childhood have historically been overlooked as predisposing factors in the development of various chronic pain disorders and psychiatric conditions, including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the tide is turning as research is revealing a significant correlation between childhood trauma and adult health.

The central nervous system is rapidly developing during childhood and being conditioned to respond to various stimuli and stressors that are encountered in life. As an assortment of environmental stimuli are encountered, new pathways are created between the cells of the brain in response to each stimulus. For example, a pleasurable experience such as a hug from a parent or a sweet food creates pathways that teach the brain to respond pleasurably to those stimuli. Likewise, a frightening experience will create and exercise pathways that respond in fear. This process of creating new pathways in response to stimuli is referred to as neuroplasticity.

As we age, neuroplasticity decreases, meaning it is more difficult to develop new pathways and adjust our brain's responses to stimuli. Children are at a distinct advantage in possessing a high degree of neuroplasticity. However, this also highlights the importance of delivering meaningful stimuli to the developing brain, to ensure the development of positive pathways.

Comment: See Also:


Millennials on course to be the fattest generation on record with 74% projected to be overweight by age 40

Millennials obesity
© Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters
Millennials are set to become the fattest on record
Millennials are on course to become the fattest generation on record. A staggering three-quarters of 'Generation Y' will be obese or overweight by the age of 40.

Despite fad diets and Instagram health stars shooting to fame among the health-trend generation, the majority are actually putting themselves at serious risk, new figures show.

An over-indulgent culture has been blamed on the rising weight of people born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s. So much for the avocado trend sweeping the 'food conscious' age group which guzzles down quinoa. After tweeting about it.

Cancer Research UK has revealed 6 million Britons in the age group are on course to struggle with weight gain. The figures are described as "horrifying," and mean millennials are the most overweight generation since records began.


Quercetin far superior to Tamiflu as flu remedy

quercitin molecule
Your immune system is your first-line defense against all types of infections, be they bacterial or viral, so the most effective way to prevent infectious illness - including influenza - is a robust immune system. Your diet and other lifestyle factors are foundational for good immune function, but certain supplements can also be quite helpful.

One such supplement is quercetin,1 an antioxidant flavonol found naturally in apples, plums, red grapes, green tea, elder flower and onions, just to name a few. For a more exhaustive list, see Superfoodly's ranking of the top 100 quercetin-packed foods.2 Quercetin has been shown to combat inflammation and acts as a natural antihistamine. Elder flower extract, which is rich in quercetin, has been traditionally used as a tonic to boost immunity. It is also widely known to promote lung and bronchial tract health.

Quercetin is also available in supplement form and has been used to ameliorate obesity, Type 2 diabetes,3 circulatory dysfunction, chronic inflammation, hay fever and mood disorders.4 A number of studies have also highlighted quercetin's ability to prevent and treat both the common cold and influenza.5

Comment: For more on natural remedies for flu, including swine flu, see:

Microscope 1

Scientists catch on film the rogue molecule that can trigger autoimmunity (VIDEO)

(L-R): This is an image of Monash BDI researchers Professor Ben Kile and Dr Kate McArthur.
© Steve Morton
(L-R): This is an image of Monash BDI researchers Professor Ben Kile and Dr Kate McArthur.
A research team has discovered the process - and filmed the actual moment - that can change the body's response to a dying cell. Importantly, what they call the 'Great Escape' moment may one day prove to be the crucial trigger for autoimmune diseases like arthritis.

The research team, led by Professor Benjamin Kile from Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), has discovered - and filmed - the exact moment when DNA escapes out of the mitochondria (the organelles inside cells that produce energy) during cell death. The study, published today in the journal Science, involved major collaborators from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus in the US.

Comment: See Also:


'World's largest brain tumour' removed

massive brain tumour
© Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty
Digital scans show Santlal Pal's brain tumour before his operation.
For the past several years, Santlal Pal had been watching a tumour emerge from his skull.

Doctors in India say Pal's brain tumour grew so big that it weighed nearly four pounds (1.8 kg) and measured nearly 8-by-12-by-12 inches (20 by 30 by 30 cm), according to local news reports.

It may have been the largest brain tumour in the world.

But now it is gone: Doctors successfully removed the mass during an intensive, six-hour operation on Valentine's Day.

Comment: Jeebus! It's pretty miraculous that a person can grow a tumor that big, on his brain, no less, and still live to tell the tale. We hope Pal recovers his vision, but even if not, it's still rather miraculous that he's able to live a normal life after such a harrowing experience. See also:


'Every Child Alive' report states: The United States' falls embarrassingly far behind other wealthy countries in infant mortality rates

Eighty percent of our newborn deaths are entirely preventable.

A report by the United Nations' children's rights agency found that the United States' infant mortality rate is below average for high-income countries, and is only slightly lower than that of less economically-stable countries including Ukraine and Sri Lanka.

Four out of every 1,000 American newborns die within a month of being born, while other wealthy nations have an average infant mortality rate of three per 1,000 live births, according to UNICEF's report, entitled "Every Child Alive."

Comment: A national embarrassment: Why is the U.S. infant mortality rate so high?
The United States spends more on health care per capita than any other country and still has one of the highest levels of infant mortality among the world's developed countries? The question is what is going on! This could be why many parents are considering home births safer than hospital births:
The United States has a 32.2 percent C-section rate, a maternal mortality rate of approximately 16 per 100,000 (which means more than 600 women die from childbirth-related causes in America each year), and an infant mortality rate of six deaths for every 1000 live births, a rate so high compared to other developed countries that the Washington Post has called it a "national embarrassment." We also have the highest maternal mortality rate of any country in the industrialized world. Though Flowers tells me they are still compiling the most recent statistics, out of over 2,800 births, The Farm has never lost a mother and have had a single-digit number of infant mortalities.


America's other prescription drug epidemic? Benzodiazepines

I got the call every addiction doctor dreads: A patient of mine nearly overdosed. He had a long history of addiction, starting with opioid pain pills in his teens after a sports injury and progressing to heroin by his early 20s. He had been in recovery for six months.

"Was it heroin?" I asked the doctor, who was calling from the emergency department.

"Not opioids," said the doctor. "Benzos."

"Benzos" is shorthand for benzodiazepines, a class of drugs often used to treat anxiety and insomnia. The dozen or so different types include Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax. Most people have heard of them. More people than you might think are taking them (three benzodiazepines are in the top 10 most commonly prescribed psychotropic medications in the United States). Yet few people realize how many people get addicted to and die from them.

Comment: A shadow epidemic: The rising problem of Benzodiazapine addiction


'Experts' declare turmeric just a health fad, despite evidence

turmeric Latte
Turmeric. Is. Everywhere.

It's the latte flavour of the moment - matcha is so 2016 and charcoal hasn't quite hit the mainstream yet - with even Starbucks launching its own version of the spicy drink last autumn.

Health brands and eateries have all jumped on the bandwagon: store shelves are brimming with turmeric teas, capsules, nuts, ghee and more, and eateries are adding the spice to everything from juice shots to cocktails.

Comment: It seems it's rather trendy in journalism to take natural remedies and dismiss them as health fads for hipsters. While most (although not all) of what is said above isn't a complete lie, the general tone of the article, to be dismissive of natural remedies as nothing more than health fads, is disingenuous. Sure, sprinkling a little turmeric in a latte isn't going to cure cancer. But used in a targeted way, under the guidance of those who know what they're doing, it can be a potent medicinal. The bottom line: if you're expecting something you bought at Starbucks to cure you're IBS, there's not much hope for you anyway. See:


The flu is a global threat for which the world is poorly prepared

Flu patient
© Reuters/Mike Blake
Emergency room nurse Christine Bauer treats Joshua Lagade of Vista, California, for the flu as his girlfriend Mayra Mora looks on in the emergency room at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California on Jan 18, 2018.
A century ago, people woke up ill in the morning and fell dead by evening.

Considered the deadliest pandemic in human history, global influenza infected a third of humanity, killing no less than 50 million and perhaps as many as 100 million people. In one twelve-month period, one out of every 100 people on the planet died from the flu.

The 1918 pandemic disproportionately impacted healthy young adults, ages 20 to 40. Mortality peaked at age 28 years. Young adult men in the military, especially those in close quarters in frontline trenches, were hit hard.

It is estimated that the flu killed more US soldiers and sailors than enemy weapons during World War I. A year after its initial outbreak, the global pandemic had killed more than double the 10 million who had died in World War I.

Comment: While the concept behind vaccines, and the universal vaccine, may be sound (although certainly not without its issues), its implementation remains problematic. As long as Big Pharma is in charge, can we really expect any kind of safety, efficacy or indeed any transparency? For more on the universal flu vaccine, see: