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Thu, 22 Jun 2017
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Health & Wellness

Alarm Clock

Dr. Kelly Brogan: That naughty little pill

It was early in my actualization as a feminist-minded, righteous post-adolescent that I began to think of birth control as a woman's right (who was anyone to tell me that I couldn't assault my hormones with synthetic imposters). It would be years before I would learn about the nuanced considerations of tacit permissiveness toward reckless unprotected sex, the wholesale delegation of contraception to the female counterpart, and the fundamental divorce of a woman from the very feedback systems that fire up her reproductive age vitality.

These concerns would begin to color my perception of this gift from Pharma, well before I began to learn about functional biochemical concerns surrounding the metabolism of synthetic hormones. With over 100 million women using this form of hormonal suppression worldwide, I have to wonder how many of them have any exposure to information about the Pill's subtle but important perturbations to the system, not to mention the consensus risks of thromboembolism, hypertension, cerebrovascular events, gallstones, and cancer.

As notorious as our hormones are for wreaking havoc, they are what pop us into high relief - they excite us, move us, drive us and enliven us. The highly non-linear relationships between sex hormones, thyroid hormone, and adrenal hormones is like the magic of 3-D glasses: if you cover one lens, things just don't look as exciting.

Comment: The Health & Wellness Show: Keeping it Rill About the Pill

Snowflake Cold

Human powers: Environmental conditioning as a way of recovering the strength of our ancestors

© Shutterstock/Dudarev Mikhai
There are ways to do this without jumping into an ice hole (sticking to cold showers is safer), but there's something dramatic about the idea. l
There's a lot we don't know about our Paleolithic ancestors and their fitness. We can't exactly put them through a modern strength test or fitness routine.

But we do know that thousands of years ago, those ancestors spread out across the globe, traversing deserts like the Sahara and freezing regions like Siberia, scaling mountain ranges like the Alps and Himalayas, and even crossing segments of the ocean to populate new lands.

When you consider the physical feats those people accomplished, they put us all to shame.

But the ability to accomplish all that wasn't due to a superpower that has been genetically lost, as Scott Carney, the author of What Doesn't Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength, recently explained in a TEDx Talk at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Those abilities are what he calls "human powers" — and we can still learn to resist cold, survive extreme heat, and last on long journeys at high altitudes.

Comment: Learn more about Cold adaptation: The effects & benefits of cold water


All hail the vagus nerve: 12 ways to unlock its powers for a healthier life

Vegas nerve stimulation can keep you slimmer and heart healthy

The vagus nerve is the most important nerve you probably didn't know you had.

Unlike the other Vegas, what happens in this vagus doesn't stay there. The vagus nerve is a long meandering bundle of motor and sensory fibers that links the brain stem to the heart, lungs, and gut. It also branches out to touch and interact with the liver, spleen, gallbladder, ureter, female fertility organs, neck, ears, tongue, and kidneys. It powers up our involuntary nerve center —the parasympathetic nervous system - and controls unconscious body functions, as well as everything from keeping our heart rate constant and food digestion to breathing and sweating. It also helps regulate blood pressure and blood glucose balance, promotes general kidney function, helps release bile and testosterone, stimulates the secretion of saliva, assists in controlling taste and releasing tears, and plays a major role in fertility issues and orgasms in women.

"Without the vagus nerve, key functions that keep us alive would not be maintained," says Dr. Justin Hoffman, a Santa Rosa, California, licensed naturopathic medical physician.

Comment: Stimulate the vagus nerve naturally with the Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program, check out the online program available for free here.


No surprise: TVs in children's bedrooms linked to increase in child obesity, study finds

© Donald Iain Smith / Getty Images
In news that will come as a surprise to people nowhere, a new study has suggested that kids who have a gogglebox in their bedroom are more likely to be overweight than those who do not.

Researchers from University College London (UCL) discovered that children who have a TV in their room by the age of seven are far more likely to become overweight or even obese by age 11.

Girls were more likely than boys to become overweight, 30 percent compared to 20 percent. The team poured over data on more than 12,000 UK children to come to their semi-expected conclusion.

The study was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Comment: See also: What screen time does to a child's brain & sensory processing ability


Pharmaceutical pollution implicated in the rise in antibiotic resistance

The issue of "pharmaceutical pollution" was recently highlighted in a study that points to inadequate waste management policies leading to the presence of both pharmaceutical products as well as drug-resistant superbugs in the waters of India.

The study, published in the scientific journal Infection, focused on the environmental impact of drug production in Hyderabad, a city in India that produces 40% of Indian generic drugs and 50% of the country's exported drugs. India produces about 20% of the world's generic pharmaceuticals.

This study was conducted to "determine the environmental presence of active anti-infective pharmaceuticals in a major production area for the global bulk drug market" and "document the ongoing environmental pollution by the pharmaceutical industries" in Hyderabad.

Researchers collected water samples from various areas within and around Hyderabad's industrial district where several drug manufacturing facilities are located. Sampling locations "were chosen to cover the direct vicinity of bulk drug manufacturing facilities, rivers, lakes, ground water, drinking water, water sources contaminated by sewage treatment plants, and surface water from populated urban as well as rural areas," according to the study.

Comment: Is it too late to step back from the abyss?


Ad hominem attacks, libel and the power of ignorance

"Knowledge is power; but who hath duly Considered the power of Ignorance?Knowledge slowly builds up what Ignorance in an hour pulls down. Knowledge, through patient and frugal centuries, enlarges discovery and makes record of it; Ignorance, wanting its day's dinner, lights a fire with the record, and gives a flavor to its one roast with the burned souls of many generations." — George Eliot, from the author's last novel, Daniel Deronda
"Cognitive dissonance is the psychological discomfort that most thinking humans experience when a deeply held belief is challenged by new information that disproves the old belief. Since it is impossible for most people to simultaneously hold two mutually exclusive beliefs, anxiety, confusion, anger and denial can result, including the urge to harm the messenger of the new truth."

"Libel is published defamation of character, as opposed to spoken defamation, which is slander. Libel can expose a person to hatred, shame, disgrace, contempt or ridicule; injure a person's reputation or cause the person to be shunned or avoided; or injure the person in his or her occupation. Libel is by definition false."— www.thoughtco.com
"Ad hominem - short for argumentum ad hominem, is now usually understood as a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person...rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself."Wikipedia

Brick Wall

Surprise! Study suggests VAERS reported data on vaccines may not build public trust or adherence

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national vaccine safety reporting system that collects information about possible side effects that may occur after inoculation. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and available online, anyone can report possible adverse reactions to vaccines for any reason, making it a rich source of information about possible vaccine harms. Recently, University of Missouri researchers proposed that open communication about VAERS could improve public trust that vaccines are safe, thereby increasing vaccine acceptance. Findings from the study suggest that data and stories may not increase the public's acceptance of vaccines.

"One of the issues in vaccine acceptance is trust," said Laura Scherer, assistant professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. "Individuals, parents and vaccine opponents lack trust that doctors and the government have done sufficient research to validate the safety of vaccines. By educating participants about the VAERS system, we thought that this might increase trust that the Centers for Disease Control are doing everything that they can to research and document vaccine harms."

Alarm Clock

More evidence that proper sleep is more important than ever thought

Mark Zielinski knew he was onto something when his mice stopped sleeping. Normally, the animals woke and slept on a 12-hour cycle. When the lights were on in the lab, the mice were active. When it went dark on a timer, down they went. But Zielinski, who teaches psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, had recently tweaked their schedule to keep the mice up past their bedtime.

Zielinski and his colleagues would rustle the bedding in the mice's cages to keep them from dozing off when they started to display the telltale signs of sleepiness—drooping lids, sluggish walk, EEG readings showing their brain activity was waning. But Zielinski noticed that when the mice were left alone to slumber at will after the disruption, they didn't, or perhaps couldn't, fall asleep.

That the sleep-deprived rodents slept less than they normally would didn't really surprise Zielinski. The mice had a genetic mutation that he suspected was linked to sleep problems. More striking were the electrical brain readings showing that even when they did sleep, they weren't getting the deep, restorative kind of rest that doctors say matters most—not just to rodents but also to humans.

In the right conditions, researchers believe, the brain produces a signal that essentially tells the body's major systems—the heart, the lungs, the digestive system, the nervous system, even the muscles—that it's time to call it quits for the day. Zielinski's research has found that, just as with the mice with the mutation, it's likely that in some people with chronic sleep problems, that critical signal isn't firing.


Red light therapy benefits, research & mechanism of action

Through emitting red, low-light wavelengths through the skin, red light therapy helps naturally jump-start the process of tissue recovery and other forms of rejuvenation through increased blood flow, collagen stimulation and more. 2010 marked the 50th anniversary for medical laser treatments like red light therapy, providing a host of evidence on their benefits. (1)

If you've never heard of red light therapy before, you might already be familiar with other terms that are used to describe this treatment, such as low level laser therapy (LLLT), biostimulation (BIOS), photonic stimulation or simply light box therapy. Red light is considered "low level" because it works at an energy density that's low compared to other forms of laser therapies.

Red light therapies have come a long way, but do they really work? Clinical studies show that, yes, red lightbox therapies have certain healing capabilities and medical applications thanks to the way they positively affect the human endocrine and immune systems. LLLT is now FDA-approved for treating conditions like chronic joint pain and slow-to-heal wounds. In the near future, we can expect approval for many more conditions thanks to red light benefits, such as increased immunity, tissue repair, anti-aging effects, improved joints and more.

Comment: For a most instructive conversation on the benefits of light therapy, listen to The Health & Wellness Show: Seeing the Light with Dr. Alexander Wunsch (transcript available)

Cell Phone

Late night screen time is ruining the sleep and mental health of teens

Poor sleep quality due to late-night texting or calling has been linked to an increase in depression and low self-esteem in adolescents, say researchers.

A study of 1,101 Australian secondary school students aged between 13 and 16 years found that those who reported high levels of night-time mobile phone use also reported higher levels of depression, externalising behaviour and low self-esteem after a year.

Mobile phone usage was seen to increase as adolescents progressed through school.

Comment: Blue light - it's not for night: What screen time does to a child's brain & sensory processing ability
Night-time exposure to LED-illuminated devices (most of the screens out there today: computers, tablets, phones, flat screen TVs, e-readers, video games) suppresses melatonin and disrupts the natural sleep cycle.

This Scientific American article describes the following study where volunteers spent several evenings reading for a prolonged period of time before a 10PM imposed bedtime. Some used printed books and some used e-readers. Those who used e-readers took longer to fall asleep, had less REM sleep and felt sleepier and less alert for hours after they woke up in the morning - even if they had gotten the same amount of sleep.

We repeatedly see sleep cycle issues in the children who come to our clinic. When we probe, we almost inevitably hear that they're playing video games, using social media or watching TV for an extended period before they go to bed. Sleep cycle disruptions are a significant contributor to ADHD and other mood and behavioral issues.
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