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Thu, 23 Mar 2017
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Health & Wellness


Common insecticides can ruin your sleep by binding to melatonin receptors

When we think of things which may disrupt our sleep, many come to mind. Alarm clocks set too early? Definitely. A middle-of-the-night emergency text? Of course. Screaming children and rambunctious pets? For sure. Thunderstorms, eating something not-so-healthy the night before and too much evening coffee? These are also a given.

But what about exposure to insecticides? This may seem downright counterintuitive. Most of us know that insecticides are made of toxic chemicals, but how could they possibly affect our sleep? Well, new research from the University of Buffalo has found a connection.

Common insecticides and melatonin

The study, published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, looked at two common insecticide chemicals: carbaryl and carbofuran. Carbaryl is widely used in the United States, although it has been banned in some other countries. Carbofuran, on the other hand, is considered to be the most toxic of the carbamate insecticides. It has been banned in the United States since 2009. However, this insecticide is still used in a variety of other countries — places that export to the United States.


Cancer in America is a product of failed policies on energy, buildings, food & manufacturing

Forty-five years ago President Richard Nixon declared that "the time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering cancer."

Some four decades and more than $120 billion later Republicans have added more money to the National Cancer Institute budget than requested by President Obama to fund another Cancer Moonshot - bringing the total to more than $5 billion this year.

It might be a good idea to ask what have we won so far? We have made tremendous progress in treating relatively rare cancers of children. Breast and colon cancer are now often chronic diseases.

But rates of childhood cancer today are 50 percent higher than when the war began. Still taking into account the older age and larger size of our population, cancer deaths overall have fallen just five percent - most of this due to declines in smoking.

By now it is clear that curing cancer has nothing in common with what was involved in tapping existing technologies to place Neil Armstrong on the moon. In fact, for more than fifty years we have known a lot about how to prevent cancer from developing.

Evil Rays

California warns cell phone users - 'keep your distance'

© Earth Island Institute
Under a court order, last week California public health officials released draft guidelines advising cell phone users to keep phones away from their bodies, use speaker phone and limit use. The guidelines, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, advise Californians that scientific studies have linked electromagnetic radiation from long-term cell phone use to an increased risk of brain cancer and other health problems.

The advice itself is not surprising. Eight years ago, EWG published a review of the science on cell phone radiation, reporting studies by the World Health Organization that linked cell phone radiation to brain cancer, and other studies that linked cell phone radiation to diminished sperm count and sperm damage. EWG also published its own Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use, which you can find here.

The California Department of Public Health had to be forced to release the guidelines by a lawsuit from a University of California, Berkeley, researcher and says the guidelines don't constitute its official position, but this is a major development in the debate over cell phone safety. Public health officials in the nation's largest state and largest cell phone market are acknowledging the need for caution, even as the cellular industry continues to insist there's nothing to worry about and fights efforts to inform the public.

Comment: A good place to start on really making sense of all the data that has come to light over the cell phone = cancer debate is to read about what 15 minutes on your cell phone actually does to your brain and then read the following articles:

Book 2

Tech addiction: Why we can't look away from our screens

In a new book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, the social psychologist Adam Alter warns that many of us — youngsters, teenagers, adults — are addicted to modern digital products. Not figuratively, but literally addicted.

Dr. Alter, 36, is an associate professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University who researches psychology and marketing. We spoke for two hours last week at the offices of The New York Times. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity and brevity.

Comment: For a more in depth look at tech addiction listen to The Health & Wellness Show: Digital 'pharmakeia': Glow kids, screen addiction, gaming and the hijacking of children's brains


Daylight saving time could be hazardous to your health

Moving the clock ahead one hour this weekend for daylight saving time is saving energy for the conservation fight, but it's also leading to more depression and heart attacks, making it hazardous to your health.

A magazine published by Duke Energy, one of the largest electric utilities in the country, included an article this week that took aim at the clock-changing law, which was updated just over a decade ago by a 2005 energy bill. It pointed out a number of adverse health effects that are a side effect of using 0.5 percent less energy per day as a result of gaining an hour of sunlight.

The practice has ebbed and flowed over the last 50 years, but most states in the U.S. adopted the practice after the policy was updated by Congress. Included in that adoption was Vice President Mike Pence's home state of Indiana, which had been an outlier for years.

The Duke Energy "Illumination" article said Energy Department data showed Indiana actually increased its energy use by 1 percent after the daylight saving time adoption, forcing residents to spend millions of dollars more per year.

Comment: See also: Why daylight saving time is bad for you


Baking soda linked to reduction in premature death by balancing pH levels

Research published this month in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that having balanced baking soda, or bicarbonate, levels in your body could reduce your chances of an early death.

The study examined data compiled in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study for 2,287 participants. Participants were healthy adults who, at the onset of the study in 1997, were between the ages of 70 and 79, and were followed for approximately 10 years. Survival data were gathered through February 2014.

What did they find?

Study author Dr. Kalani Raphael, associate professor and nephrology and hypertension specialist at the University of Utah, and colleagues investigated pH, carbon dioxide and bicarbonate in association with long-term survival. According to the University of Utah press release, "Critically ill patients with severe acid-base abnormalities have a very low likelihood of surviving their illness, but it's unclear whether more subtle changes in the body's acid-base status have an effect on the longevity of relatively healthy older people."

Comment: Probably easier and healthier to just take the baking soda. More on baking soda:


Spurious link to diabetes: Gluten-free diets attacked again

© CHROMORANGE / Bilderbox / www.globallookpress.com
Those with the least gluten in their diets had a slightly higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over a few decades, according to Harvard University School of Public Health.

"We wanted to determine if gluten consumption will affect health in people with no apparent medical reasons to avoid gluten," Dr. Geng Zong, a Harvard University research fellow, said Thursday at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Portland, Oregon.

The Harvard team examined 30 years of medical data from nearly 200,000 patients. Over this period, just under 16,000 participants developed Type 2 diabetes. Wong's team looked at people's gluten intake and found that participants who ate the least gluten had a higher risk of development diabetes over time.

Comment: Gluten-free does not mean low carb. Gluten-free replacement foods can be just as bad, or worse, than gluten containing foods on blood sugar and insulin response.
Gluten-free foods are made with:
  • Rice starch (or brown rice starch)
  • Tapioca starch
  • Cornstarch
  • Potato starch
in place of wheat and gluten. People go gluten-free because of some real or perceived sensitivity to gluten, and they replace wheat and gluten with gluten-free foods. Big mistake. These gluten-free ingredients:
  • Send blood sugar sky-high. From a blood sugar standpoint, wheat is bad. Few foods are worse for blood sugar than wheat - except for gluten-free foods made with these junk carbohydrate ingredients.
  • Cause insulin resistance - the fundamental process that leads to diabetes.
  • Grow abdominal visceral fat - the inflamed fat, expressed on the surface as a "muffin top," that causes hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Trigger high triglycerides - which thereby leads to formation of small LDL particles that cause heart attack.
  • Trigger the phenomena of glycation, i.e., glucose modification of proteins, that leads to cataracts, knee and hip arthritis, hypertension, and heart disease.
Looking further into this 'study' (from which the original source is missing from the numerous articles posted over the web) we find the following:
In this long-term observational study, researchers found that most participants had gluten intake below 12 grams/day, and within this range, those who ate the most gluten had lower Type 2 diabetes risk during thirty years of follow-up. Study participants who ate less gluten also tended to eat less cereal fiber, a known protective factor for Type 2 diabetes development.

After further accounting for the potential effect of cereal fiber, individuals in the highest 20 percent of gluten consumption had a 13 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in comparison to those with the lowest daily gluten consumption (approximately fewer than 4 grams).

The researchers estimated daily gluten intake for 199,794 participants in three long-term health studies -- 69,276 from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), 88,610 from the Nurses' Health Study II (NHSII) and 41,908 from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) -- from food-frequency questionnaires completed by participants every two to four years. The average daily gluten intake in grams was 5.8 g/d for NHS, 6.8 g/d for NHSII, and 7.1 g/d for HPFS, and major dietary sources were pastas, cereals, pizza, muffins, pretzels, and bread.

Over the course of the study, which included 4.24 million person-years of follow-up from 1984-1990 to 2010-2013, 15,947 cases of Type 2 diabetes were confirmed.

Study participants reported their gluten consumption and the study was observational, therefore findings warrant confirmation by other investigations. Also, most of the participants took part in the study before gluten-free diets became popular, so there is no data from gluten abstainers.
Long term observational studies and food-frequency questionnaires are notoriously unreliable. Who can remember how much gluten they ate over the course of two to four years? This 'study', which was basically a doctor's presentation given at a meeting of the American Heart Association --which has a long history of dispensing dubious medical advice themselves--, should be taken with a grain of unrefined, non-processed sea salt.


Mumps outbreaks continue to spread across the USA

© USA Today
Hundreds of cases of mumps have been reported across the country since the start of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of March 4, the CDC had received reports of 1,242 cases of mumps, a contagious viral infection that can result in swollen salivary glands and flu-like symptoms. In Washington state, Seattle and King County Heath officials said a dozen University of Washington students, all connected to sororities or fraternities, contracted the illness, KING-TV reported. This year, there have been 563 reported cases of mumps and probable mumps statewide, an increase from last year when 154 cases were reported in the state, according to the Washington State Health Department.

In Tulsa, officials investigated five confirmed cases of mumps in the area, KFOR-TV reported. In Illinois, the Lake County Health Department announced its partnering with Barrington School District 220 to hold a vaccination clinic after four cases of confirmed mumps were reported and 35 probable cases identified in the area.

Though cases of the mumps fluctuate each year from a few hundred to a few thousand, the high number of cases so early in 2017 has some health officials concerned.

Comment: Merck's Mumps Vaccine Fraud - Not Being Reported in Mainstream Media
Let's start with the current — under-reported — story of the Merck "mumps" whistleblowers.

In 2010 a pair of former Merck virologists filed suit claiming Merck engaged in mumps research fraud. One of the Merck whistleblower virologist alleged in her 2010 lawsuit the following:
"During her employment there [Merck], she witnessed firsthand, and was asked to directly participate in, fraud in a clinical trial relating to the efficacy of Merck's mumps vaccine."
In 2012, a clinic and two MD's filed a class action lawsuit against Merck claiming violation of the Sherman Act — monopolistic, anti-competitive behavior resulting from the fraud — and violation of various state laws.

Merck has a full monopoly over the mumps — and MMR — vaccine in the United States being the sole manufacturer licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. 2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of Merck's de-facto exclusive license from the federal government to manufacture and sell a mumps vaccine in the U.S.

How does all this information relate to Harvard's — and any other — mumps outbreaks?

The former Merck virologists stated in their 2010 lawsuit:
"The ultimate victims here are the millions of children who, every year, are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection," And while federal health officials have said the disease was supposed to have been eradicated by now, "the failure of Merck's vaccine has allowed this disease to linger with significant outbreaks continuing to occur."
The lawsuits are still ongoing at the moment.


Obamacare 2.0: Big Pharma and the corruption of the Trump administration

(Era of Wisdom) Disclaimer: we don't support the Affordable Care Act either.

A hurricane of restless competing interests, none really for the benefit of the people, have defined the first few months of Trump's presidency.

The proposed replacement for Obamacare is being drafted by big pharma's representatives in politics: recipients of hundreds of thousands of dollars from pharma corporations, namely Paul Ryan (Speaker of the House) and Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif).

It's called the American Health Care Act (AHCA). We don't really get to see what is in it yet, but those vying for power have privileged access to ponder it before us citizens.

Ryan and McCarthy created the bill. They are respectively the 2 House of Representatives members with the closest financial ties to big pharma.

They each received over $200,000 from pharma corporations in the past 2 years, well documented at MapLight.org:


Research suggests Vitamin B essential to treating schizophrenia symptoms

Schizophrenia, a brain disorder that affects the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, relates to others, and perceives reality, affects 2.2 million Americans. Genetics, brain chemistry, environment, and substance use are all considered considered to be the common causes for it.

Treatment for the disorder can allow many people to continue on with their lives in a highly productive and rewarding manner. But, like many other chronic illnesses, some patients do extremely well, while others continue to be symptomatic and need support and assistance.

The primary treatment for schizophrenia and similar thought disorders is medication, but one of the biggest problems associated with this is the inability for patients to follow through with a medication treatment, along with the concern of how such medications actually subside the most severe symptoms.

Comment: See also