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Wed, 11 Dec 2019
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Health & Wellness


Addiction medicine: Ibogaine-based wonder drug due to start human trials

ibogaine shrub
© Sipa/Rex/shutterstock
The root of the ibogaine shrub provided the chemicals which were refined to form 18-MC. Unlike the plant root, 18-MC is not believed to be hallucinogenic.
A psychedelic drug with the potential to cure addiction is set to undergo human trials in America next year.

Psychedelics have long been known to inhibit cravings and help fight addiction, but a litany of ethical, health and legal issues have made them unsuitable as a treatment.

18-MC is made from an intense African shrub called ibogaine which can induce intense trips - including hallucinations and visions - lasting several days.

But the version being used in labs has been adapted to not produce hallucinations or comedowns, offering the tantalising possibility of a treatment without side-effects.

Micro-dosing is a growing phenomenon that sees people use tiny amounts of drugs such as LSD to keep their addictions at bay during day-to-day life.

This is illegal and can often lead to inadvertent trips.

But the developers of 18-MC claim the modified drug has the ability to manipulate a person's brain into hitting the reset button and turning off the sections responsible for cravings without these side-effects.

Comment: See also: How Psychedelics Saved My Life


Obesity is an epidemic — why haven't we responded accordingly?

heart rate check
© Getty Images
The term "epidemic" derives from the Greek "epi" meaning "about" or "upon," and "demos," meaning "of the people." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an epidemic as "an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area."

The characteristic of urgency has also been attached to the term. For example, Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines an epidemic as "an urgent or pressing need."

Historically, epidemics have been caused by infectious agents. For example, Ebola and influenza are classic epidemics caused by viruses. But the opioid epidemic is caused by a medication, and the epidemic of lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan was caused by a heavy metal.

Comment: It's unfortunate that the above author feels like the solution to the obesity epidemic is to throw more money at it. While it's true that any implemented solution will require funding, what really needs to be done about the problem would involve a fundamental shift in multiple avenues from the very ground up. Promoting exercise, taxing sugary drinks and forcing kids to eat government mandated lunches are unlikely to have anything more than a marginal effect (if any).

See also:


Surgeons withdraw support for heart disease advice after unpublished data and conflicts of interest come to light

heart scan
European clinical guidelines on how to treat a major form of heart disease are under review following a BBC Newsnight investigation.

Europe's professional body for heart surgeons has withdrawn support for the guidelines, saying it was "a matter of serious concern" that some patients may have had the wrong advice.

Guidelines recommended both stents and heart surgery for low-risk patients.

Comment: The sad truth is that the advice given to patients about their best health choices are always tainted by conflicts of interest and big money. Patients believe their doctors are giving them the treatments with the best scientific evidence behind them, and often the doctors believe the same. But a quick peek behind the curtain reveals the treatments offered are usually the ones that get the right people the most money and have little if anything to do with what would be best for the patient.

See also:


Former vegan influencer gets savaged by fans after revealing new carnivore diet improved her health

vegan alyse parker

I swallowed my pride + decided I’d give it a shot. Full onnn carnivore. I woke up the next morning feeling more mentally clear, focused, wholesome, and healthy than I had felt in years.⁣
Well, that's a big change.

A formerly vegan influencer revealed to her fans that she spent 30 days eating nothing but meat and animal products. She also revealed that the new diet had some surprisingly positive effects on her health.

Comment: Vegan ideologues are frothing at the mouth with outrage as more and more of their compatriots bail from this ship of fools after discovering the benefits of eating meat:


'Cannot be trusted ... causing harm': Top medical journal takes on big pharma

Dr Anna Stavdal
Dr Anna Stavdal, president-elect of the World Organisation of Family Doctors, Assistant Professor Ray Moynihan and Dr Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of The BMJ, in Sydney before the campaign launch
A leading medical journal is launching a global campaign to separate medicine from big pharma, linking industry influence to the pelvic mesh scandal that injured hundreds of women.

The BMJ says doctors are being unduly influenced by industry-sponsored education events and industry-funded trials for major drugs.

Those trials cannot be trusted, the journal's editor and a team of global healthcare leaders write in a scathing editorial published on Wednesday.

The "endemic financial entanglement with industry is distorting the production and use of healthcare evidence, causing harm to individuals and waste for health systems", they write.


Man's DNA changes after bone marrow transplant, replaced by German donor following treatment for leukemia

Chris Long

Chris Long
A Nevada man discovered his DNA had changed after a bone marrow transplant and had been replaced, in part, by that of his German donor.

Chris Long, from Reno, found that not only had his blood swapped, but his semen was also changed, following his treatment for leukemia.

Long, who works at Washoe County Sheriff's Department, told The New York Times: 'I thought that it was pretty incredible that I can disappear and someone else can appear.'

Now his police colleagues are looking into how such changes could affect criminal cases and forensic work.

Long, who is in remission from acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, had agreed to have swabs collected to monitor any changes.

Comment: It's worth remembering that our understanding of DNA, genetics, and all it entails, is still in its infancy, so one would hope researchers are proceeding with caution:


Playing sports may play a role in the brain's ability to hear properly

© CC0
There have been many headlines in recent years about the potentially negative impacts contact sports can have on athletes' brains. But a new Northwestern University study shows that, in the absence of injury, athletes across a variety of sports — including football, soccer and hockey — have healthier brains than non-athletes.

"No one would argue against the fact that sports lead to better physically fitness, but we don't always think of brain fitness and sports," said senior author Nina Kraus, the Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory (Brainvolts). "We're saying that playing sports can tune the brain to better understand one's sensory environment."

Athletes have an enhanced ability to tamp down background electrical noise in their brain to better process external sounds, such as a teammate yelling a play or a coach calling to them from the sidelines, according to the study of nearly 1,000 participants, including approximately 500 Northwestern Division I athletes.

Kraus likens the phenomenon to listening to a DJ on the radio.

"Think of background electrical noise in the brain like static on the radio," Kraus said. "There are two ways to hear the DJ better: minimize the static or boost the DJ's voice. We found that athlete brains minimize the background 'static' to hear the 'DJ' better."

Comment: See also,


How myofascial release therapy can reduce pain, improve posture and flexibility

Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial release (or MFR) is a type of hands-on treatment that is used to reduce tightness and pain in the body’s connective tissue system. It’s intended to improve range of motion, flexibility, stability, strength, performance and recovery.
Whether you're an athlete looking to improve your training and performance, or someone trying to reduce pain and achieve better alignment, myofascial release therapy can likely help.

This type of manipulative therapy targets hard knots and trigger points in the muscle tissue that can elicit tenderness, pain, stiffness and even twitching.

While it's still considered an "alternative treatment," one that has been studied significantly less than similar approaches, there's evidence that it may be beneficial for those dealing with pain or inflexibility even after trying surgery, medication and stretching.

What Is Myofascial Release?

Myofascial release (or MFR) is a type of hands-on treatment that is used to reduce tightness and pain in the body's connective tissue system. It's intended to improve range of motion, flexibility, stability, strength, performance and recovery.

The purpose of MFR is to detect fascial restrictions — areas of connective tissue that are tight, painful or inflamed — and then to apply sustained pressure to that area in order to release the fascia.

Comment: For a more in-depth discussion of methods to release tension and stored emotions in the body, see: More on Fascia:


US flu season arrives earliest in 15 years, driven by unexpected virus

influenza virus microscopy
Electron microscopy of influenza virus.
The U.S. winter flu season is off to its earliest start in more than 15 years.

An early barrage of illness in the South has begun to spread more broadly, and there's a decent chance flu season could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say.

The last flu season to rev up this early was in 2003-2004 — a bad one. Some experts think the early start may mean a lot of suffering is in store, but others say it's too early to tell.

"It really depends on what viruses are circulating. There's not a predictable trend as far as if it's early it's going to be more severe, or later, less severe," said Scott Epperson, who tracks flu-like illnesses for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Comment: This, just after 2018 was dubbed as one of the worst flu seasons in the US in nine years, and the UK fared just as badly: NHS cuts and flu crisis push UK hospitals to the brink

See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Buyer Beware: GMO Stevia is everywhere

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), a perennial shrub native to South America, has a long history of use as a natural sweetener for food, medicines and beverages.1 Whole stevia contains a number of substances, including various stevioside compounds, rebaudiosides and glycoside.

Steviol glycosides, including rebaudioside A, rebaudioside D and rebaudioside M (Reb A, Reb D, Reb M respectively), are what provide the sweet taste, with Reb A being the sweetest.2 In its isolated, purified form, Reb A is 250 to 400 times sweeter than sugar.

Despite hundreds of years of safe use of stevia, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has labeled stevia leaf and crude stevia extracts "unsafe food additives,"3 granting GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status to certain high-purity steviol glycosides only.4