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Mon, 26 Sep 2016
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Health & Wellness


Big Pharma's industrial waste is fueling the rise in superbugs worldwide

Pharmaceutical companies are fueling the rise of superbugs by manufacturing drugs in factories that leak industrial waste, says a new report which calls on them to radically improve their supply chains.

Factories in China and India - where the majority of the world's antibiotics are produced - are releasing untreated waste fluid containing active ingredients into surrounding areas, highlights the report by a coalition of environmental and public health organizations.

Ingredients used in antibiotics get into the local soil and water systems, leading to bacteria in the environment becoming resistant to the drugs. They are able to exchange genetic material with other nearby germs, spreading antibiotic resistance around the world, the report claims.

Ahead of a United Nations summit on antimicrobial resistance in New York next week, the report - by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and pressure group Changing Markets - calls on major drug companies to tackle the pollution which is one of its root causes.

They say the industry is ignoring the pollution in its supply chain while it drives the proliferation of drug resistant bacteria - a phenomenon which kills an estimated 25,000 people across Europe and globally poses "as big a threat as terrorism," according to NHS England's Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies.

Arrow Up

How a low carb, fat burning paleo diet can boost athletic performance

A few weeks back, I explored the potential benefits using fat as your primary fuel can have on cognitive function. While the strongest research centers on people dealing with age-related cognitive decline and other neurodegenerative diseases, and whether burning fat and ketones can boost cognitive function in healthy adults remains unconfirmed, the totality of the evidence suggests it can provide a benefit. Today, I'll be discussing a related topic with more solid scientific footing: the effects of fat-adaptation on athletic performance.

Detractors of high-fat, low-carb diets often claim that they're bad for physical performance. They may offer some help to people with certain forms of brain cancer, they can definitely help obese people lose weight quickly and easily, and the ketogenic diet is the gold standard treatment for epilepsy, but fat-adaptation severely hampers your ability to perform on the field, on the track, and at the gym.

Is this really true, though?

While the effect of fat adaptation on anaerobic performance is unclear, it can actually improve many other measures of physical performance. There may even be cause for anaerobic-centric athletes to get fat-adapted, if only for part of the time.

Let's dig right into the benefits.

Comment: Adopting a low carb or ketogenic paleo diet has a myriad of benefits for the human body:


Osteoporosis is scurvy of the bone - not calcium deficiency

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones."~ Proverbs 17:22

It saddens me to see older women diagnosed with "osteopenia" or "osteoporosis" listening to their doctors and taking supplemental calcium and even problematic drugs called bisphosphonates. These are irrational, dogmatic, harmful approaches to the problem of degrading bone as we age. In my time practicing nephrology and internal medicine, I saw numerous patients suffering from vascular disease while taking the recommended doses of calcium. X-rays revealed perfect outlines of calcified blood vessels and calcified heart valves.

Microscope 2

The looming medical apocalypse: Could ancient remedies hold the answer to the antibiotics crisis?

© Damon Casarez for The New York Times
Brazilian pepper tree, which is being studied for antibiotic potential.
One researcher thinks the drugs of the future might come from the past: botanical treatments long overlooked by Western medicine.

On a warm, clear evening in March, with the sun still hanging above the horizon, Cassandra Quave climbed aboard a jalapeño-green 4-by-4 and started to drive across her father's ranch in Arcadia, Fla. Surveying the landscape, most people would have seen a homogenous mat of pasture and weeds punctuated by the occasional tree. Quave saw something quite different: a vast botanical tapestry, rich as a Persian rug. On a wire fence, a Smilax vine dangled menacingly pointed leaves, like a necklace of shark's teeth. Beneath it, tiny wild daisies and mint ornamented the grass with pink tassels and purple cornets. Up above, on the sloping branches of oak trees, whiskery bromeliads, Spanish moss and the gray fronds of resurrection fern tangled in a miniature jungle all their own.

Each of these species intrigued Quave enough to merit a pause, a verbal greeting, a photo. An ethnobotanist based at Emory University in Atlanta, Quave, 38, has an unabashed fondness for all citizens of the kingdom plantae. But on this evening, her attention lingered on certain species more than others: those with the power to heal, with the potential to help prevent a looming medical apocalypse.


Mosquito-borne Mayaro virus detected in Haiti for the first time

© UF Health
John Lednicky, Ph.D.
University of Florida researchers have identified a patient in Haiti with a serious mosquito-borne illness that has never before been reported in the Caribbean nation.

Known as "Mayaro virus," it is closely related to chikungunya virus and was first isolated in Trinidad in 1954. Most reported cases, however, have been confined to small outbreaks in the Amazon. Whether this case signals the start of a new outbreak in the Caribbean region is currently unknown.

"While current attention has been focused on the Zika virus, the finding of yet another mosquito-borne virus which may be starting to circulate in the Caribbean is of concern," said Glenn Morris, M.D., M.P.H., director of the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute. "Hopefully we will not see the same massive epidemics that we saw with chikungunya, dengue and now Zika. However, these findings underscore the fact that there are additional viruses 'waiting in the wings' that may pose threats in the future, and for which we need to be watching."


Where are the epidemics, if only half of America is properly vaccinated?

© The Vaccine Reaction
While herd immunity may not exist, herd mentality most definitely does. Health authorities, media commentators, and schools and their parent–teacher associations waste no opportunity in perpetuating this myth.
In 2014, an outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) broke out in the San Diego area. Of the 621 individuals who were infected, nearly all of them were completely up to date on all preventive vaccinations. If vaccines are given to protect from disease, how could this happen?

San Diego public health official Dr. Wilma Wooten argued that the cause was related to a decrease in the protection offered by vaccines after the first year. This answer is most revealing, in that it speaks to the actual efficacy of vaccines. It also shows that the concept of herd immunity is largely myth—and completely misunderstood.

The theory of herd immunity states that when a critical mass of the population (usually stipulated at 95%) is vaccinated against a disease, the possibility of outbreaks is eliminated. This is the main argument that is used to shame parents who wish to refuse certain vaccinations for their children: by not vaccinating, they put the health of the "herd" at risk.

However, if vaccines start losing effectiveness after the first year, as Dr. Wooten says, then constant revaccination would be required, since the immunity offered is only temporary for most vaccines. Achieving the required rate of protection is virtually impossible under this paradigm.

Comment: Who's really putting put the health of the "herd" at risk?

Life Preserver

Facts about depression that will blow you away

Adapted from A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, MD
A silent tragedy in the history of modern health care is happening right now in America, but no one is talking about it. We have been told a story of depression: that it is caused by a chemical imbalance and cured by a chemical fix—a prescription. More than 30 million of us take antidepressants, including one in seven women (one in four women of reproductive age). Millions more are tempted to try them to end chronic, unyielding distress, irritability, and emotional "offness"—trapped by an exhausting inner agitation they can't shake.

It is time, even according to leaders in the field, to let go of this false narrative and take a fresh look at where science is leading us. The human body interacts in its environment with deep intelligence. Your body creates symptoms for a reason. Depression is a meaningful symptom of a mismatch, biologically, with lifestyle—we eat a poor diet, harbor too much stress, lack sufficient physical movement, deprive ourselves of natural sunlight, expose ourselves to environmental toxicants, and take too many drugs. Inflammation is the language that the body speaks, expressing imbalance, inviting change. We usually suppress these symptoms with medication but that is like turning off the smoke alarm when you have a fire going on.
Let's get the facts straight:

Comment: For more information on how to approach depression as an opportunity, check out Mass nervous breakdown: Millions of Americans on the brink as stress pandemic ravages society


Get your kids good and dirty - many microbes are beneficial

© GETTY Images
By preventing babies and children from following their innate impulse to get dirty, we shield them from the microbial exposure that is essential for the development of a healthy immune system
Researchers are discovering how crucial microbes are to our health and to avoiding a range of newly common diseases. So it's time to get dirty, eat better and stop overusing antibiotics

Our friend Julia moved to a small free-range pig and poultry farm when her first child, Jedd, was a preschooler. When her second baby was born, she would strap him on her back every morning so that she could go to the chicken coop to pick up eggs. Jedd would chase and ride the chickens—and sometimes taste their feed and touch the fresh eggs. A couple of times, she even caught him chewing on something he had picked up from the ground.

At first, all of this caused Julia to freak out. But once she realized that Jedd wasn't getting sick from these encounters with the chickens, she relaxed a bit. Her second child, Jacob, soon followed suit and never hesitated to get dirty on the farm. She once found him knee-deep in a cesspool of pig waste. Her early worries that her children were going to contract diseases from all this messiness dissipated, and she was pleased to see that they remained healthy.

Was Julia being an irresponsible parent—or might we all have something to learn from her example?

For most of the past century, we have considered microbes bad news, and for good reason: They cause disease, pandemics and death. Most human communities have experienced the benefits of medical advances like antibiotics, vaccines and sterilization, which have radically reduced the number and severity of infections that we suffer throughout life. Dying from a microbial infection is now a very rare event in the Western world, and, in the U.S., lifespans have increased by some 30 years since 1915—in large part because of success against infectious diseases.

Comment: Probiotics, or the introduction of good bacteria into your body, provide a number of great health benefits:


American Psychiatric Association lobbies FDA: 'If drugs don't work on kids—let's electroshock them'

“While the APA looks to seizure-inducing, brain-disabling, electricity as a form of ‘treatment,’ lobbying the FDA to make ECT available for children, no one in medicine, let alone psychiatry, has a clue how ECT machines ‘work’ or how passing large amounts of electricity into a child’s brain ‘treats’ the subjective mental disorder.”
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is aggressively lobbying the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow it broader use of Electroshock (ECT) on patients, including children.[1]While most Americans don't realize that electroshock is still used, the fact is more than 100,000 are subjected to electroshock in the U.S. alone—every year.[2] But that's not enough. Now the APA wants the "power" to electroshock children.[3] That's right. Children.

The APA states that "having access to a rapid and effective treatment such as ECT is especially meaningful in children and adolescents...."[4]

Let's take a look at how this "meaningful" and "effective" electroshocking of children plays out in real life. A child is laid out on a bed and put under anesthesia.[5] Then they are administered a muscle relaxant. The use of muscle relaxants prior to being electroshocked is due to the fact that the convulsions from electroshock are so violent, that patients commonly used to break bones due to the convulsions the electricity produced in the body.[6] So let's take a look at the muscle relaxant: The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states in their "Practice Parameters for Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy With Adolescents," that, "Muscle relaxation is achieved with succinylcholine."[7] According to the label for succinylcholine, the drug can cause cardiac arrest, severe, prolonged respiratory muscle paralysis, potentially life-threatening and/or fatal allergic reactions.[8] So the risk starts there. Also note the voltage given in today's ECT is higher than when patients were breaking bones so the muscle relaxant makes it appear less barbaric than earlier electroshock—but its not.[9] Next, electrodes are placed on one side of the head of a child or on both temples; the ECT machine is turned on, sending up to 460 volts and between 550 and 1,000 milliamps of electricity (depending on the machine) through the child's brain. This electricity shocks the brain producing a seizure that lasts about 60 seconds.[10]

Comment: 'Contrary to the APA's unsubstantiated belief that ECT use on children is somehow "meaningful," other words like abuse, torture, trauma, brain damage, and child abuse are more accurate terms'

Alarm Clock

A 'very smart bug': Thanks to misuse of antibiotics, gonorrhea is becoming untreatable

© Post Media Network
Guidelines for treating the infections had not been updated in more than a decade
For the tens of millions of people afflicted with gonorrhea infections each year, treatment is becoming much harder as doctors warn of rapidly increasing resistance to antibiotics.

On Tuesday, the United Nations sounded the alarm, updating the decade-old treatment guidelines for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis and asking doctors to be extra-careful when prescribing medications. The agency believes the 'misuse and overuse' of antibiotics is to blame for the resistance.

Medical officer Teodora Wi called gonorrhea a "very smart bug" that repeatedly adapts to new antibiotics.

Comment: The following article was carried by the Daily mail back in 2013: First cases of 'incurable' antibiotic resistant gonorrhea found in North America as CDC warns of public health nightmare?
The long feared nightmare of U.S. public health officials has come to pass with the news anti-biotic resistant Gonorrhea has been detected in North American patients. A study released today by the Journal of the American Medical Association announced it had found nine patients with a strain of the sexually transmitted disease immune to the last remaining effective oral antibiotic.

This confirms the fears of both the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation who warned last year that untreatable gonorrhea, the world's second most common STD would soon become a reality.' These are the clinical cases we've been waiting for,' said study leader Vanessa Allen of pUblic Health Ontario. 'This is the translation of the lab information into what the clinical consequence is.'