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Wed, 23 Jan 2019
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Biohazard

Only the tip of the iceberg: How toxins cause disease

Toxins in petri dish
Although the word toxin sounds scary, most people don't grasp precisely how toxins interact with human physiology and how long this has been a problem for humans. Doctors noticed almost two hundred years ago that toxins like mercury were causing "mad hatter disease." It was also known that toxicity from leaded water pipes was a major cause of the decline of the Roman Empire. But in the past, these toxins were largely limited to occupational exposure.

Only people who performed certain specific tasks- coal miners, who inhale coal dust, for example-were known to be casualties. Doctors didn't consider the rest of the population to be at risk. But with the explosion of industrial activity and products, that has changed. Following more research, scientists and perceptive clinicians now better understand that toxicity affects most-if not all-of the population. The more research I look at and the more patients I care for, the more convinced I am that we are seeing only the tip of the iceberg.

How toxins damage our bodies

Basically, there are eight ways toxins damage our bodies.

Toxins poison enzymes so they don't work properly.

X

What foods are banned in Europe but not in the U.S.?

foods
© Eric Gaillard/Reuters
Some foods, like those found in this grocery store in Nice, France, don't contain food additives that would otherwise be allowed in foods in the United States.
The European Union prohibits many food additives and various drugs that are widely used in American foods.

Q. What foods are banned in Europe that are not banned in the United States, and what are the implications of eating those foods?

A. The European Union prohibits or severely restricts many food additives that have been linked to cancer that are still used in American-made bread, cookies, soft drinks and other processed foods. Europe also bars the use of several drugs that are used in farm animals in the United States, and many European countries limit the cultivation and import of genetically modified foods.

"In some cases, food-processing companies will reformulate a food product for sale in Europe" but continue to sell the product with the additives in the United States, said Lisa Y. Lefferts, senior scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food safety advocacy organization.

Dollars

How much does Big Pharma pay your doctor?

money
In 2014, Harvard University stated that prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death. North American culture practically worships the pharmaceutical industry and often fails to recognize many of the issues within it. Many Americans are completely unaware that new prescription drugs have a 1 in 5 chance of causing serious reactions, even after being approved.

In fact, approximately 1.9 million people are hospitalized annually due to properly prescribed medication (not including any overdoses, self-prescriptions, or mis-prescribing). 128,000 people die every year in the U.S. from drugs prescribed to them, so why is this still happening? The reality is, drug companies make a lot of money from selling prescriptions, and they even pay doctors to do it for them.

Comment: Dollars for Docs: How Industry Dollars Reach Your Doctors


Rose

Could nurturing your green thumb help you live to 100?

Work hard. Nicoyan centenarian
© Enchanting Costa Rica
Work hard. Nicoyan centenarian
Dan Buettner has studied five places around the world where residents are famed for their longevity: Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece, and Loma Linda in California and Sardinia in Italy.

People living in these so-called "blue zones" have certain factors in common - social support networks, daily exercise habits and a plant-based diet, for starters. But they share another unexpected commonality. In each community, people are gardening well into old age - their 80s, 90s and beyond.

Comment: Blue Zones: Lessons for living longer from centenarians across the globe


Health

Multimillion $ industry: Colonoscopy found to be far more 'dangerous and potentially deadly' than previously thought

Colonoscopy
The procedure known as colonoscopies as a prophylactic for colon cancer is a multimillion dollar industry. Every year, over 14 million perfectly healthy individuals age 50 and up, submit themselves to this invasive procedure hoping to detect colorectal cancer. But is it really effective?

It's a Painful and Dangerous Procedure

It's actually far more dangerous-and potentially deadly-than they'd like to admit. According The Annals Of Internal Medicine's report on colonoscopies, an estimated 70,000 (0.5%) will be injured or killed by a complication related to this procedure. This figure is 22% higher than the annual deaths from colorectal cancer itself - the very disease the device was designed to prevent.

According to the Telemark Polyp Study I, colonoscopies actually increase mortality by 57% . For every person saved by a colonoscopy, 56 people suffer serious injury. A person can live for decades with colon cancer, but if the doctor punctures a hole in your intestine, you can die in a hurry.

It is very possible, and clinically proven, that you can be infected by HPV (Human Papilloma Virus); HIV; Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Helicobacter pylori,; Hepatitis B and C; Salmonella; Pseudomonas and Aeruginosa; Flu Viruses and other common bacteria such as, E. Coli O157:H7 and Creutzfeldt- Jakob Disease.

Life Preserver

Acupuncture's largest and most all-encompassing channel is stimulated by a popular yoga pose

down dog
Downward-facing dog is the most ubiquitous pose in yoga. Interestingly, the ancient Chinese art and science of acupuncture can help explain why.

This popular yoga pose is the one we see in advertisements and movies, on yoga DVDs, and the covers of health and fitness magazines. Downward-facing dog is taught in beginner yoga classes and returned to again and again by the most advanced yoga practitioners.

Almost everyone who has tried yoga, no matter their skill level, is familiar with downward-facing dog. Even people who have never set foot on a yoga mat can visualize the pose, known in Sanskrit as adho mukha svanasana.

So why is downward-facing dog the media darling of yoga poses? What keeps people coming back to this pose? Why does downward-facing dog make us feel so good? And what the heck does this have to do with acupuncture?

Comment: Modern science confirms yoga's many health benefits


Donut

Dr. David Perlmutter: A high-carb diet may lead to brain inflammation

carbs
© PhPierre Gui on Unsplash
Celebrating five years since Grain Brain was published, David Perlmutter doubles down on his warnings.

Sustainability and prevention are counterintuitive to human biology, which likely explains why we tweet out screeds against climate change from smartphones that are, themselves, contributing to climate change. Is it hypocrisy if we're ignorant to all of the mechanisms behind our folly? When contemplating the bigger picture, absolutely, yet every animal leaves a planetary imprint. Some are just larger than others.

We think in years, not generations, centuries, or epochs. More to the point, we think in seconds. The fact that those seconds add up to hours (and so on) often eludes us in the moment. We're not designed to consider eras even if our imaginations entertain them.

Comment: Read more from Dr. Perlmutter:


Info

Blue light is causing the human eye to attack itself

Blue light
Excessive exposure to blue light isn't great for our eyes, contributing to a slow loss of vision over the course of a lifetime.

Scientists from the University of Toledo in the US now understand precisely how this toxic effect works, which could be good news for anybody at risk of degenerative eye conditions.

For the rest of us, it's just one more reason to give serious thought to limiting our exposure to the cool glow of a screen long after the Sun goes down.

Comment: Blue Light: Is it making you sick?


Mail

Peter C. Gøtzsche: My dismissal is scientific judicial murder

Peter C. Gotzsche
It is a full-blown scandal that Rigshospitalet will dismiss me. It is a clear attack on both independent research and freedom of expression.

Peter C. Gøtzsche Professor and Suspended Director, Nordic Cochrane Centre

You would not believe that this could happen in a country like Denmark. That Rigshospitalet fires an official without prior service warning who co-founded the Cochrane Collaboration 25 years ago, created the Nordic Cochrane Centre out of nothing and made it a world-class research centre.

Comment: The House of Cards is Falling: The shake up at Cochrane


Syringe

Are doctors actually giving patients any up-to-date vaccine safety information?

doctors
In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA), a carefully crafted piece of legislation that gave vaccine manufacturers their dream come true: blanket immunity from liability for injuries resulting from childhood vaccines. Throwing a bone to the safety concerns of consumers, the Act also mandated that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (via the CDC) develop and distribute educational materials to inform vaccine recipients and/or their parents about a given vaccine's risks and benefits.

The NCVIA stipulated that doctors give out the appropriate materials-currently called Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) "prior to every dose of specific vaccines," including before "each dose of a multi-dose series." Early on, government documentation emphasized the importance of giving VISs every time a vaccine is administered because "the health status of the child could have changed" and as an example of changes in health status, the CDC cited children with "evolving neurological disorder[s]."