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Thu, 19 Oct 2017
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California Department of Public Health: STDs are spreading at a concerning rate

Treponema pallidum spirochete
Following the newly published statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday, which report more than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016, the highest number ever, California's "Top Doc" says sexually transmitted infections in her state are "increasing at a concerning rate".

"The number of reported STDs in California is increasing at a concerning rate," said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. "This is the third year in a row that we have seen increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis."

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to increase in California, according to new statistics from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Comment: And not only in California: STD infections have become a major health problem worldwide as antibiotics fail


Baa Baa Land: A film that really puts you to sleep

© REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Sheep are seen in front of the shores of Carlingford Lough in Omeath, Ireland, February 17, 2017.
Clad in a sparkling ball gown and tuxedo, the stars of the latest film to premiere in London's Leicester Square walked the red carpet in a rather unusual manner - on four legs.

The stars in question were a group of sheep who feature in a new eight-hour, dialogue-free film "Baa Baa Land" - billed by its makers as the dullest movie ever made.

It's not so much watching the grass grow as watching it be eaten.

The film - whose title plays on Hollywood hit "La La Land" -- features no actors, words or narrative and consists entirely of slow-motion shots of sheep in a field in Essex, England.

It was made as a tongue-in-cheek insomnia cure, by Calm.com, one of the companies vying for a piece of the fast-growing mindfulness industry, part of what the Global Wellness Institute estimates is a $3.7 trillion global wellness market.

Comment: Feeling sheepish about watching the most boring movie ever made as a way to get to sleep at night? Then check out these articles for proven ways to reduce stress and sleep better:


How dehydration affects brain function

Water makes up at least two-thirds of the human body and plays an important role in your normal functions. Subsequently, dehydration can lead to a number of other ailments, from migraines1 and constipation to kidney stones. It can also take a toll on your brain health, affecting your mood and overall brain function. For example, when you're dehydrated, you're more prone to irritability, anxiety and fatigue.

Dehydration happens when you've lost too much water in your body without replacing it, preventing your body from performing its normal functions. Mild dehydration can easily be treated but if it reaches extreme levels, it can be life-threatening and will require immediate medical attention.

Dehydration Shrinks Your Brain

About three-quarters of your brain is water, and when dehydrated, your brain actually shrinks in volume. (This shrinking is what causes a dehydration headache.)

Even mild or temporary dehydration can alter your brain function and impact your mood2 as revealed in a 2013 study,3 in which 20 healthy women in their mid-20s were deprived of all beverages for 24 hours. While no clinical abnormalities were observed in the biological parameters (urine, blood and saliva), thirst and heart rate did increase and urine output was drastically reduced. As expected, the urine also became darker. As for mood effects, the authors noted:
"The significant effects of [fluid deprivation] on mood included decreased alertness and increased sleepiness, fatigue and confusion. The most consistent effects of mild dehydration on mood are on sleep/wake parameters..."

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Mothers never warned about risk of birth defects from taking epilepsy drug during pregnancy

Nearly 20,000 babies have been born with disabilities since sodium valproate was introduced in the 1970s, figures show (sold as Dépakine in Europe)
Thousands of angry mothers believe they were deceived about the risks of taking scandal-hit epilepsy pills during pregnancy.

Nearly 20,000 babies have been born with disabilities since sodium valproate was introduced in the 1970s, figures show.

The drug can cause severe birth defects, including spina bifida, where the spinal cord doesn't form correctly, and heart and genital defects.

Sodium valproate is only recommend during pregnancy if there is no better option to control symptoms of their epileptic seizures.

But scores of women say they weren't warned of the extent of the risk. They are now set to provide evidence to a European drug regulator.

Julie Marjot, from Norfolk, told the BBC doctors waited until her last child was born to reveal the controversial pills harmed three of her four children.

Comment: This has become an all too familiar syndrome where the medical system refuses to disclose the real dangers of medications or even downplays their risks, then dodges responsibility for the after effects - a psychopathic business model indeed!


Akathisia: The grim side effect of the anti-depressant Paxil

Wendy Dolin, whose husband, Stewart killed himself in 2010, believes the antidepressant he had begun taking, a generic form of Paxil, was responsible
The last dinner Wendy Dolin had with her husband, Stewart, he was so agitated that he was jiggling his leg under the table and could barely sit still. He had recently started a new antidepressant but still felt very anxious. "I don't get it, Wen," he said.

The next day, Stewart Dolin, a 57-year-old Chicago lawyer, paced up and down a train platform for several minutes and then threw himself in front of an oncoming train.

Wendy Dolin soon became convinced that the drug her husband had started taking five days before his death - paroxetine, the generic form of Paxil - played a role in his suicide by triggering a side effect called akathisia, a state of acute physical and psychological agitation. Sufferers have described feeling as if they were "jumping out of their skin."

The distress of akathisia may explain the heightened risk of suicide in some patients, some psychiatrists believe. The symptoms are so distressing, a drug company scientist wrote in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, that patients may feel "death is a welcome result."

Dolin sued the original manufacturer of Paxil, GlaxoSmithKline, claiming the company had not sufficiently warned of the risks associated with the drug. In April, a jury awarded Dolin $3 million.

Comment: All this suffering over a class of drugs that work no better than a placebo.


What your sleeping position reveals about you

Those who have got a university degree are most likely to sleep on their left side each night - known as 'leftie loungers', according to a new survey.
The position you sleep in reveals plenty about your age, your job and your hobbies and how well rested you'll be, a new survey reveals.

According to the findings, those with a university degree are most likely to sleep on their left side each night and have been dubbed 'leftie loungers'.

And adults who drift off on the right side each night are more likely to be smokers and coffee drinkers, the poll of 5,000 people suggests.

The heaviest drinkers are regarded as 'stomach slumpers' - those who drift off while laying on their front. Utility workers struggle to stick to just one position, freestyling in a variety of different choices to fall asleep.

Comment: See also: The best sleeping position for cleaning up the brain's metabolic waste


Will opioid lawsuits by county officials against big pharma set a legal precedent - are vaccine makers next?

© Association of Health Care Journalists
"They know what they've been doing. They've been misrepresenting the dangers of these dangerous addictive drugs for years." - State Rep. Gen DiGirolamo

"Those pharmaceutical companies have made billions of dollars off the deaths of our children and our loved one." - Delaware County Councilman David White

Big Pharma companies have a significant presence in the suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, being neighbors doesn't matter, since Delaware County, the SE Pennsylvania county constituting some of Philadelphia's western suburbs, filed a lawsuit on September 21, 2017 against eleven pharmaceutical companies regarding the overwhelming opioid epidemic and problem.

The reason for the lawsuit is the amount of money Delaware County had, and has, to pay for all types of services rendered and other expenses due to opioid drug abuses.


The importance of vagal stimulation for health and well-being

At the center of our bodies resides a long, wiry nerve called the vagus nerve. It extends all the way from the brain down through the chest and beyond the stomach. In addition, it connects to all major organs, including ears, eyes, tongue, kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, and the colon. Scientists believe that vagus nerve stimulation can affect anxiety and depression, blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the function of digestive organs including the stomach, pancreas and the gall bladder.

Role of the Vagus Nerve in the Body

Being the largest nerve in the body, the vagus nerve affects more than just the body's physical functions. Some research indicates that a healthy vagus nerve is important to social bonding and empathy, as well as our ability to make complex decisions. Mystics believe that it is also the intersection between our conscious and unconscious minds, the physical and the subtle bodies. Therefore, the vagus nerve may be the most relevant part of our physical body that relates to our peace of mind and happiness.

Clearly, the vagus nerve plays a critical role in our bodies, hence it is also vital to our well-being. People with impaired vagal activity can suffer from depression, panic disorders, anxiety, mood swings and chronic fatigue. Physically, vagal imbalance can result in irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, heart burn, unhealthy heart rate, and chronic inflammation.


Suicidal thoughts and depression linked to brain inflammation

© makler0008/Shutterstock
A new study mirrors earlier research showing that suicidal thoughts and major depressive episodes have a strong correlation to brain inflammation, New Atlas reports. The findings also agree with post-mortems of suicidal patients, which showed inflammation in their brains. Researchers said this may be a new use for anti-inflammatory drugs.

Although multiple factors are likely to blame, with cases of suicide rising in the U.S. every year, these new findings certainly deserve attention, as inflammation is a known cause of numerous physical and mental conditions. Gut inflammation, for example, is known to be a cause of symptoms of depression.

From that end, scientific advances suggest your state of mind is strongly influenced by the microflora in your gut, and that probiotics (beneficial bacteria) can alleviate symptoms of depression. But, while a probiotic supplement may be helpful, it's unlikely to make a significant difference if you're still eating junk.

Comment: For more on the dietary links between diet and depression see:

Alarm Clock

Environmental toxins: Studies link heavy metals to the explosion of neurodevelopmental disorders & declining IQ in American children

© Medscape Reference
A "silent pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity" is disabling a generation of children around the world. This is the verdict of neurology experts Philippe Grandjean and Philip Landrigan in a 2014 report in Lancet Neurology. The staggering tsunami of developmental disabilities now affects at least one in six children in the U.S. and millions more worldwide. Two new studies suggest that the most common of these illnesses-autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and tics-are related to each other and may share common causation. The culprit? Environmental toxins, particularly heavy metals.

About 11% (or one in nine 4-17-year-olds) have received an ADHD diagnosis-and in some states, as many as 19%. The most recent ASD estimates in the U.S., from 2014 data, report a prevalence of one in 45 children, representing a "significant increase" compared to 2011-2013.

Comment: Protecting children from the "global, silent pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity"