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Sun, 28 Aug 2016
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Medical debt forcing Americans to forgo care and use extreme measures to pay off massive medical bills

Recent evidence suggests that the Affordable Care Act is helping to reduce the burden of medical debt for American consumers. Yet, especially in states that have not expanded Medicaid, millions of Americans still lack insurance and many plans offer thin coverage. The result is that in 2014, 64 million people were struggling with medical debt, the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. In my latest Demos report, "Enough to Make You Sick: The Burden of Medical Debt," I explore how medical debt affects household finances and why we need more aggressive policies to reduce medical debt.

My report details the results of two surveys (in 2008 and 2012) Demos commissioned to explore the finances of lower to middle-income households carrying credit card debt. I find that households carrying medical debt on their credit card are more likely to take extreme measures to pay off their debts and forgo care. Medical debt has significant negative impacts on household finances, even when people are insured. A public option could help reduce the chances of people taking on medical debt, and that more rigorous consumer protection could mitigate the consequences.

Comment: Medical debt has reached a crisis point because Americans pay far more on healthcare and prescription drugs than any other developed country, yet have far worse health outcomes. The 'healthcare' system is designed to benefit the insurance industry while sucking the life and financial resources out of most Americans.


Be afraid! Zika virus expected to be on the rampage in Puerto Rico, says some random, unnamed 'health expert'

© Wikimédias
A health expert has warned he expects one in four people in the US territory of Puerto Rico to be infected with the Zika virus before the year's end. The Caribbean island has reported 1,914 new cases of the disease in the last week, and there are said to be 10,690 cases there altogether.

The island's Health Secretary Ana Rius has said that of the total cases 1,035 involve pregnant women. The virus is thought to cause serious birth defects including 'shrunken heads' in babies.Officials say 90 people in Puerto Rico have been hospitalised by the virus.

Roughly 30 of them are said to have been diagnosed with the temporary paralysis condition Guillain-Barre which is linked to the condition. Brazil has been worst affected by the outbreak which has swept across the Latin America. The spread of the virus prompted some athletes and golfer Rory McIlroy to pull out of the Rio Olympics.

It is feared the UK could be hit by Zika when Brits travelling to see the games return home. 50 people in Britain have already tested positive for Zika after returning to our shores from abroad.

Comment: The viral nature of the Zika virus has more to do with the fear-mongering media than the virus itself.



Government advises airlines to spray pesticides on passengers

Have you ever felt sick after flying, only to assume it's jetlag or a virus you picked up from another passenger? Well, think again! You might have been exposed to an insecticide, pesticides or other toxic chemicals - deliberately used by airline staff.

I think airline passengers should be outraged to know that poisonous chemicals are now being sprayed on planes regularly - DURING the flight, while travelers are inside the plane, This is true - the United States government is actually pushing this agenda of poisoning passengers.

You can't make this stuff up: Check out this disturbing video - does this look right to you?

Life Preserver

Got shoulder tension and pain? Make sure you're breathing with your Diaphragm

In this current day and age, it is very common for people to have shoulder issues. We sit down all day long, text frequently, and constantly stare at our phones trying to find a Pokémon (whatever the hell that may be).

As a coach that works with powerlifters, weightlifters, strongmen (and women), and the general public that just wants to feel better, the modern day posture and activities make my job more difficult. The good part about it is I have seen a lot of people with shoulder issues over the years. With this experience I have learned quite a few things.

Mike Boyle and Gray Cook's Joint by Joint Theory was game changing for me. This theory basically states that some joints require more mobility than others, and other joints require more stability than others. If we lose that required mobility or stability in a joint, it throws the entire system off.

Comment: In addition to these techniques, the Éiriú Eolas breathing and meditation program focuses on diaphragmatic breathing and stress relief that can help relieve shoulder tension and pain.


Emergence: Sequel to Lyme disease film reveals medical collusion and conflicts of interest that keep patients suffering

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, although some data suggest it may actually be over 440,000.1,2 While exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, what is known is that the prevalence is rising.

Since national surveillance began in 1982, the number of annual Lyme cases reported has increased nearly 25-fold. The disease is also creeping out geographically.3,4 Between 1993 and 1997, 43 U.S. counties had a high incidence of Lyme disease. By 2012, the number of hotspots had risen to 182.5

Today, Lyme disease is becoming more widely recognized as an actual disease, but sufferers still meet plenty of resistance from the medical community and insurers. In years past, Lyme sufferers were often told their problem was psychiatric; in essence, the symptoms were "all in their head."

Under Our Skin

"Under Our Skin 2: Emergence" is a sequel to the award-winning and Academy Award semifinalist documentary "Under Our Skin,"6 which exposed the hidden story of "medical and scientific malfeasance and neglect," as thousands of people with Lyme disease go undiagnosed, or get misdiagnosed each year.

"Under Our Skin" had a tremendous impact, raising awareness among patients, doctors and health authorities alike. Since the film's release in 2014, the CDC has raised its estimated prevalence of Lyme by 10 times, making it more prevalent than HIV and breast cancer combined in the U.S.

Even more importantly, scientific hypotheses presented in the film — such as the theory that Lyme organisms may thrive in biofilms, which helps explain why treatment is so difficult and recurrence so common — have now become widely accepted.

Comment: Further reading:


The benefits of magnesium bicarbonate

Magnesium's long list of health benefits are nothing short of impressive. However, with the good, comes the bad. When the magnesium levels in the body dip too low, the body cannot function properly and is at risk of several illnesses and diseases.

Getting enough magnesium in your diet can be challenging. However, with the help of supplements, like the latest trend of magnesium bicarbonate drinks, achieving adequate amounts of magnesium is not only attainable, it's easy. While magnesium bicarbonate cannot be found naturally in food, it can be made easily and affordably at home - and we've got a recipe to prove it.

Comment: See also:


Your health or your job: Hospital vaccine policies are becoming aggressively coercive

Over the past several years, hospitals have steadily increased their aggression towards employees who choose not to vaccinate. What began as a recommendation for employees to be updated in their vaccinations is now commonly presented as a requirement for consideration of employment. Obtaining an annual flu vaccine is also forced upon employees. [1]

Employees who oppose vaccinations for philosophical or religious reasons often feel they are forced to choose between their employment and health. Out of fear of losing their jobs, many succumb to the pressure to vaccinate, hoping they will not become vaccine-injured.

It is a sorry state of affairs when employers have the ability to control what should be a private health decision to obtain a medical procedure, proven to be far from safe or effective. [2]

Common Coercive Hospital Vaccine Policies

Unfortunately, it has become fairly standard for vaccinations to be a requirement of employment at hospitals in this country. Employees are commonly being forced to obtain an annual flu vaccine or face losing their job.

According to Alan Phillips, JD, vaccine exemption expert lawyer, most employees who attempt to obtain exemptions on their own are unsuccessful. The exemptions are typically written in a way that is very restrictive. Those who feel strongly about using exemptions, to avoid vaccines at their hospital job, must often employ a lawyer.


Bacon n Eggs

Yes, eating pastured meat really is more humane than vegetarianism

© Nom Nom Paleo
Bacon Love
There are a lot of people who believe that it's not "humane" to eat meat. I get it. On the surface, it can seem that the most humane thing to do is to not eat meat. Avoiding meat can also appear to be the best for sustainability and the "cleanest" way to eat. I understand that having compassion for animals seems at odds with eating them. This is why I don't support factory-raised meat.

There are some important environmental reasons why we need herbivores.

Recently, I wrote a piece explaining how grazing animals are beneficial for the soil. Their chomping on grass stimulates new growth, their hooves, urine and manure work critical microbes into the land, increasing the biodiversity of life underground, which helps in the carbon sequestration process. I explained how most of the studies showing how much water it takes to make a burger are actually looking at green water (includes rain) and not blue water (water used for drinking by the cattle). When you look at this study, which uses the blue water methodology, "typical" beef production has a similar water footprint to rice, avocados, walnuts and sugar. I also explained that when you look at the amount of land not suitable for crops, and only usable as pasture, that cattle and other herbivores don't need to compete with vegetables for space. Here's a great graph explaining the environmental impact of grass-fed beef.

There is another recent study from Tufts University explaining how a vegan diet is not the most sustainable from a land use perspective. Cropping all of the usable land in order to produce vegetables is simply not an efficient use of space. The study looked at land usage, and again, when we consider that much of the earth's land surface is not suitable for vegetable production, it's clear that including animal protein in the human diet is efficient from a land use perspective. What the study didn't consider is pasture-based herbivores as the primary source of protein. It considered "typical" meat intake. Factory-raised meat chickens, which have seen an increase of nearly 400% of global animal protein intake, eat grain. If we swap out chicken meat for grass-fed and finished beef, then the equation would look much different.

Comment: Veganism/Vegetarianism is, quite simply, more destructive to the environment than eating pastured meat, and is neither a natural diet for humans, nor for the integration of humanity into the natural system of the planet as a whole. Agriculture was quite possibly one of the greatest mistakes in the history of humanity.

For more information: Lierre Keith, author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, goes into more depth on the topic in the video below:


The ancient practice of cupping is back but does it work for pain relief?

© AP
There has been a great deal of media buzz about the purple dots on Michael Phelps' back and shoulders at the Rio Olympics. The Canadian broadcaster CBC focussed on it both on their web page and on Mark Tewksbury's commentary on TV. Both provided interesting discussions, but both concluded that there is no evidence or that "Some experts are skeptical of the treatments effectiveness."

Though there may be little evidence specifically of muscle recovery, there is plenty of evidence of benefit for the type of musculoskeletal pain that athletes can experience.


Life Preserver

Wearing blue-blocking glasses can improve your sleep and protect your body's internal rhythm

You may remember the blue-blocking sunglasses that were popular in the U.S. in the 1980s. The glasses, with their amber-colored lenses, had a bit of a cult following and were perhaps best known for how clear they made regular objects appear.

They were promoted by Joel Sugarman who is actually a friend of mine and regular reader of this newsletter.

However, many are not aware that these glasses were originally designed for the NASA space program. Astronauts need powerful eye protection in outer space, where ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are incredibly strong.

A sunglass manufacturer developed a special design that blocked not only the UV rays but also blue rays.1 The glasses had the desirable "side effect" of making objects appear sharper, but the real benefits of blocking blue light are only beginning to be understood.

Far beyond the benefits to your visual clarity, blocking blue light serves an important biological purpose, helping to regulate your internal clock to control sleep patterns and other body functions. Quite simply, avoiding blue light at night is crucial to protecting your health.

Why Exposure to Artificial Blue Light Needs to Be Avoided

Exposure to artificial light is one of the largest often-overlooked health risks of living in the 21st century. Your early ancestors had no such worries, as their day started and ended with the rise and fall of the sun, which synchronized perfectly with their circadian rhythm.

Today, your body is still attuned to this internal clock. In the morning, bright, blue-light-rich sunlight signals to your body that it's time to wake up. At night, as the sun sets, darkness should signal to your body that it's time to sleep.

The problem is that most people living in developed countries no longer go to sleep when the sun sets.

Comment: See also: