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Thu, 26 Apr 2018
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Health & Wellness


Good news: Latest research suggests our brains keep making new neurons well into old age

neuroplasticity, neurogenesis hippocampus
© M. Boldrini/Columbia Univ.
NEURON NURSERY Roughly the same number of new nerve cells (dots) exist in the hippocampus of people in their 20s (three hippocampi shown, top row) as in people in their 70s (bottom). Blue marks the dentate gyrus, where new nerve cells are born.
Your brain might make new nerve cells well into old age.

Healthy people in their 70s have just as many young nerve cells, or neurons, in a memory-related part of the brain as do teenagers and young adults, researchers report in the April 5 Cell Stem Cell. The discovery suggests that the hippocampus keeps generating new neurons throughout a person's life.

The finding contradicts a study published in March, which suggested that neurogenesis in the hippocampus stops in childhood (SN Online: 3/8/18). But the new research fits with a larger pile of evidence showing that adult human brains can, to some extent, make new neurons. While those studies indicate that the process tapers off over time, the new study proposes almost no decline at all.

Understanding how healthy brains change over time is important for researchers untangling the ways that conditions like depression, stress and memory loss affect older brains.

Comment: More on neuroplasticity:


Skin infestation delusions may not be so rare after all

magnified skin
© Manuel-F-O/istock
Not seeing isn't believing: Patients with delusional infestation undertake elaborate self-examinations in search of the offending invaders, using magnifying glasses, tweezers and photography.
Delusional infestation
de-LU-zhen-al in-fes-TAY-shun n.

A deep conviction that one's skin is contaminated with insects or other objects despite a lack of medical evidence.
She was certain her skin was infested: Insects were jumping off; fibers were poking out. Fearful her condition could spread to others, the 50-year-old patient told doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., that she was avoiding contact with her children and friends.

The patient had delusional infestation, explains Mayo Clinic dermatologist Mark Davis. Sufferers have an unshaking belief that pathogens or inanimate objects pollute their skin despite no medical evidence. Davis and colleagues report online April 4 in JAMA Dermatology that the disorder is not as rare as previously assumed.

Comment: Is the reason that these delusional infestations are more common than previously thought because they aren't 'delusions' in the strict sense of the word? Case in point, Morgellon's: GM Files: Horrifying New Disease Contains Identical Material to GM "Food". The lack of concrete answers does not automatically mean that an infestation is a delusion.


Hyaluronic acid: A crucial fluid for joint, skin and eye health

Hyaluronic acid, knee joint lubrication
Hyaluronic acid (also known as hyaluronan) is a polysaccharide found in nearly every cell in your body. Its main function is to reduce friction in your joints to keep them moving smoothly, as well as keeping your eyes lubricated.1 It's also a critical part of your skin, acting as a natural support for your dermis, delivering nutrients and keeping it moist by pulling water from your body.2 In fact, your skin uses up most of the hyaluronic acid, accounting for half of the amount.3

Your body can produce hyaluronic acid through an enzyme called "hyaluronic acid synthase." The enzyme combines two sugars, D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl glucosamine, to produce the acid.4

Aside from manufacturing your own hyaluronic acid, you can get it from food as well. Grass fed meats, especially pork, poultry and beef, are rich in this acid. Consuming bone broth made from these meats is also a beneficial way of getting this acid.5

Furthermore, certain foods may help synthesize and optimize the production of hyaluronic acid in your body. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as spices and citrus fruits, are notable options. Magnesium-rich foods are beneficial options as well. Dark leafy greens, nuts, beans, avocados and bananas are your best choices in this regard.6 This is because magnesium deficiency has been linked to hyaluronic acid abnormalities.7


Factory farms: Breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant superbugs

factory farm, CAFO
In August 2017, PBS News featured a concise overview of how concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) serve as breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant superbugs - and how farmers have the power to change that by raising their animals in a more natural way. Perhaps most disturbing is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) lack of action on this issue, even as antibiotic-resistant disease becomes a pressing public health threat.

Low doses of antibiotics are added to CAFO feed as a matter of course, not only to stave off inevitable infectious diseases created by the cramped, unsanitary conditions but also because they cause the animals to grow faster on less food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued voluntary guidance on agricultural antibiotics in 2013, asking drug companies to remove indications for "feed efficiency" and "weight gain" from the labels of their antibiotic products.

They also required veterinarians to oversee any addition of these drugs to animal feed and water. Most companies agreed to comply with the guidelines and state they no longer use antibiotics for growth promotion purposes, but there's a major loophole being exploited. Instead of saying the drugs are being used to promote growth, they simply state they use the antibiotics for disease prevention and control, a use that is still allowed under the FDA's guidance.

Comment: See also:


An invisible form of oppression: Our food system

Junk food
On April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, I was honored to be asked to speak at Riverside Church in Harlem, the church where 51 years ago to the day MLK Jr. spoke out about the injustice of the Vietnam War. From that same pulpit, I gave a talk about the role of our food system and the food industry in deliberately subverting public health and targeting the poor and minorities. The day was focused on MLK Jr's fight for civil rights and social justice for the minorities and poor. The harm of the food system, however, affects all of us. This is the transcript of the speech I gave on that auspicious night.

As a doctor, I took an oath to do no harm. Today, I stand here because there is harm being done to millions and I must speak out. We know all too well the visible forms of racism in our society. We know the inequities in income and opportunity. We know the brutal violence and discrimination of the police. We know the shooting of black children. We know the name of Tamir Rice. We know the name of unarmed black men shot in the back. We know the name of Stephon Clark.

But we don't know the names of millions of African Americans killed every year by an invisible form of racism, a silent and insidious injustice.

Comment: More from Dr. Mark Hyman:

Cell Phone

New study reproduces government findings — Cellphones strongly linked to cancer

In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cellphones as a Group 2B "possible carcinogen,"1 and the evidence supporting the theory that electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphones can trigger abnormal cell growth and cancer2,3 just keeps growing and getting stronger.

In February, the findings of two government-funded animal studies4 were published. Curiously enough, the published interpretation of this $25 million research (conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an interagency research program currently under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) significantly downplays the actual findings of the studies.

Comment: See also:


Can Chronic Gut Dysbiosis And Bacterial Overgrowth be Protective in Some Cases?

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition which falls under the umbrella of "gut dysbiosis". As the name implies, it is characterised by an overgrowth of microflora in the small intestine. The typical symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, excessive foul flatulence, burping, IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, halitosis, acne, etc. The bacteria which colonise this portion of the digestive tract are able to metabolise fermentable fibres to yield significant quantities of gas as a byproduct of metabolism.1 The two predominant gases are hydrogen and methane. The diagnosis of SIBO is based on a test which involves the consumption of a sugar-based solution and then a measurement of the contents of the breath.

Elevated levels of either hydrogen or methane gas indicates that there is an overgrowth of bacteria, and is used as evidence to support the adoption of a protocol designed to kill off the bacteria. Protocols typically involve prokinetic agents, digestive enzymes, biofilm disruptors, antimicrobial botanical herbs, antibiotics like rifaximin, and perhaps probiotics as well. Aside from being prescribed a wide array of supplements, people are often told to adopt a low FODMAPs diet or a more restrictive GAPS-type protocol to "starve the bacteria", minimise symptoms and support gut barrier integrity.

Arrow Down

Statins and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - More reasons to avoid them

'Primum non Noncere' - first do no harm.

Over a decade ago, in 2007, I was sent a link to a World Health Organisation study which reported the following:
'The WHO Foundation Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring (Uppsala Monitoring Centre [UMC]) has received many individual case safety reports (ICSRs) associating HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drug (statin) use with the occurrence of muscle damage, including rhabdomyolysis, and also peripheral neuropathy. A new signal has now appeared of disproportionally high reporting of upper motor neurone lesions.' 1
This reported has niggled at the back of my mind for a long time. There are few conditions that can match 'upper motor neurone disease/amyotrophic later sclerosis' for sheer bloody awfulness. Here I quote from Wikipedia:
'Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease (MND), and Lou Gehrig's disease, is a specific disease which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. Some also use the term motor neurone disease for a group of conditions of which ALS is the most common. ALS is characterized by stiff muscles, muscle twitching, and gradually worsening weakness due to muscles decreasing in size. This results in difficulty speaking, swallowing, and eventually breathing.

The cause is not known in 90% to 95% of cases. The remaining 5-10% of cases are inherited from a person's parents. About half of these genetic cases are due to one of two specific genes. The underlying mechanism involves damage to both upper and lower motor neurons. The diagnosis is based on a person's signs and symptoms, with testing done to rule out other potential causes.

No cure for ALS is known. A medication called riluzole may extend life by about two to three months. Non-invasive ventilation may result in both improved quality and length of life. The disease can affect people of any age, but usually starts around the age of 60 and in inherited cases around the age of 50. The average survival from onset to death is two to four years. About 10% survive longer than 10 years. Most die from respiratory failure. In much of the world, rates of ALS are unknown. In Europe and the United States the disease affects about two to three people per 100,000 per year.'
With ALS, your brain remains unaffected, whilst your body dies around you. People suffering ALS are often the ones you see in front of the High Court asking for a change in the law, so that they can be assisted to die, rather than suffocating to death. Thus far, in the UK, the courts have remained impervious to basic, caring, humanity. [You may infer what my views are on this matter].

Now, I have known for many years that statins are likely to cause damage to nerve cells. Probably through a direct effect on inhibiting cholesterol synthesis. Synapses are made, primarily, of cholesterol. Cholesterol is required to maintain the health of the myelin sheath, that surrounds and protects neurones. Glial cells in the brain, sustain the myelin sheath by synthesizing their own cholesterol and transferring it across to neurones, and suchlike.


Severe bleeding caused by synthetic weed outbreak has spread beyond Illinois

synthetic marijuana
© Kelley McCall (AP)
Maryland health officials reported that at least one person has come down with serious, uncontrollable bleeding after taking synthetic pot.
A frightening outbreak of uncontrollable bleeding linked to inhaling synthetic weed products seems to have spread beyond the borders of Illinois. On Thursday, Maryland health officials reported that at least one person in the state has come down with similar symptoms, the first case reported there.

The anonymous Maryland patient was rushed to the emergency room on April 3, having developed unexplained bruising and bleeding from different parts of their body soon after taking a synthetic pot product. The person was later hospitalized.

Health officials are now calling the condition "synthetic cannabinoid-associated coagulopathy."

Comment: Anyone who would opt for a synthetic version of marijuana must already be high.



Psychiatric meds withdrawal: Many people trying to quit antidepressants discover they can't

Victoria Toline zoloft withdrawal
© Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Victoria Toline needed nine months to taper off Zoloft. “I had to drop out of school,” she said. “My life’s been on hold.”
Victoria Toline would hunch over the kitchen table, steady her hands and draw a bead of liquid from a vial with a small dropper. It was a delicate operation that had become a daily routine - extracting ever tinier doses of the antidepressant she had taken for three years, on and off, and was desperately trying to quit.

"Basically that's all I have been doing - dealing with the dizziness, the confusion, the fatigue, all the symptoms of withdrawal," said Ms. Toline, 27, of Tacoma, Wash. It took nine months to wean herself from the drug, Zoloft, by taking increasingly smaller doses.

"I couldn't finish my college degree," she said. "Only now am I feeling well enough to try to re-enter society and go back to work."

Comment: The fact that so little is known about the withdrawal symptoms of psychiatric medications, and the fact that people going through them aren't taken seriously, is criminal. While in some cases the drugs are necessary (although no-doubt over-prescribed), no one should be put on these medications without being told the severe difficulty they may experience coming off of them.

See also: