Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Mysterious Link Between Sleeplessness and Heart Disease

Sleep 7 hours a night, my friends. Here's another reason why. Your brain needs it and your organs need it particularly if you're under more stress than you can handle. Why are you not sleeping? Are you staying up late watching TV and surfing the net? Or do you go to bed and have trouble sleeping? With some work on your part and nutritional solutions to your hormonal problems you can normalize sleep and improve your waking hours and your life!

Lack of sleep and lack of regular sleep times has a negative effect on hormone balances. Melatonin, cortisol, and insulin are thrown out of balance. This will age you faster than normal and lead to some diseases on the way. It will cause you to start on prescription meds and put your health and life on a downward cycle. Are you waiting for the crisis to hit before you change your habits? The average person is symptom oriented only. If there's no pain there's no problem they think. Only they don't understand that the first symptom of a heart attack is the heart attack. The deadliest cancers are often asymptomatic until it's end stage and too late. It's already a big event when you feel the pain! The human nervous system does not make pain a priority. It has lots of other things to deal with. By the time you feel pain you're experiencing a major event of some sort. Sometimes it's fixable and sometimes it's not.

Sleep. Recharge your battery. Normalize your sleep and normalize your life. Be in balance with your purpose. Be healthy and choose life!

A Mysterious Link Between Sleeplessness and Heart Disease

By RONI CARYN RABIN December 24, 2008, NYT

People who don’t get much sleep are more likely than those who do to develop calcifications in their coronary arteries, possibly raising their risk for heart disease, a new study has found.
The 495 participants in the study filled out sleep questionnaires and kept a log of their hours in bed. At night they also wore motion-sensing devices around their wrists that estimate the number of hours of actual sleep. At the beginning, none of the participants, who were ages 35 to 47, had evidence of coronary artery calcification.

Five years later, 27 percent of those who were sleeping less than five hours a night on average had developed coronary artery calcification for the first time, while only 6 percent of those who were sleeping seven hours or more had developed it. Among those who were sleeping between five and seven hours a night, 11 percent had developed coronary artery calcification, the study found.

After accounting for various other causes, the researchers concluded that one hour more of sleep per night was associated with a 33 percent decrease in the odds of calcification, comparable to the heart benefit gained by lowering one’s systolic blood pressure by 17 millimeters of mercury.
The study was published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The data were drawn from the ongoing Coronary Artery Risk Development In Young Adults study.
Senior author Diane S. Lauderdale cautioned that the new report does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between a lack of sleep and heart disease.

“It’s important to say that this is the first report and this does not yet prove the association is causal,” said Dr. Lauderdale, an associate professor of health studies at the University of Chicago Medical Center. “Until we know what the mechanism is -- that it’s really a direct or a causal relationship -- there is no point in making recommendations based on this.”

Although a number of studies have suggested that people who sleep less are at greater risk of heart disease and death, this is the first investigation to measure how much its subjects actually are sleeping, said Dr. Sanjay Patel, assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University and expert in sleep medicine. Patients’ own self-assessments can be very inaccurate, he added.

What isn’t clear is whether reduced sleep triggers physiological changes that increase heart disease risk, or whether a third, unrelated factor causes both changes, he said.

“It’s possible, for example, that people who are under more
stress may be both sleeping less and at higher risk of heart disease,” Dr. Patel said.

If so, he added, “If we got those people to sleep more but they still were under a lot of stress, it wouldn’t change their risk of heart disease.”

Higher education levels are also associated with both a lower risk of heart disease and a tendency to get more sleep, said Dr. Lauderdale.

But it is also possible that lack of sleep leads to certain changes, like increasing blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can raise the risk of coronary artery disease over time, Dr. Lauderdale said.

Another possible mechanism could be through the effect that sleep has on average blood pressure levels over a 24-hour period. Blood pressure usually dips when people are asleep, which could provide health benefits for those who get more sleep, Dr. Lauderdale suggested.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Your Portable Guide to Stress Relief

Ask anybody and they're sure to say that stress levels are at an all time high. It seems that everything we could once count in is now an uncertainty. Where will terrorist bombers hit next? Which financial institution will crumble? Entire governments are going bankrupt, people are losing their jobs and homes, and major corporations are slipping down the slope to oblivian. People seem to be sicker than ever and they're starting younger than ever.

Before all this started we weren't in the best of shape. People are more sedentary, there's more major diseases occurring earlier in life, personal credit is out of control, and technology is putting us out of touch with what's important. How much time is lost by people aimlessly surfing the net and playing on their xboxes? How much human interaction is forfeited? Technology, like anything else, can be used for our great benefit or our great harm. It's that powerful.

When all is said and done a major amount of our illnesses, both mental and physical, are rooted in not being able to handle stress. Some stress is beneficial but apparently many of us have more than we can handle today and that is very damaging on all body systems.

From Harvard University here is a portable guide to stress relief. It's 5 suggestions and only 4 pages! So if you don't have time to read a book with this you can take as little as 30 seconds to help yourself out with some helpful tips.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Worried Sick:Stressed By Downturn, Patients Flocking To Health Professionals

As an integrative practitioner I see many people who have either stress as a component of their health problems or as the true root of their physical ailments. Everyone has stress and to some degree it's good for us. Unfortunately most of us have more than we can handle. The key is to improve the body's ability to handle the stress that comes our way. This can be done in various ways. More and better sleep is powerful. So is simply drinking your 64-80 oz of water daily. And then there are great foods and nutrients which give the body the raw materials it needs to build hormones, neurotrasmitters, and immune factors. So if you're experiencing stress that is overwhelming you should see someone who knows about these methods. The stressors may still be there but you'll be able to handle it better! That's how you can break the vicious circle that occurs with the effects of stress on the body.

HARRISONBURG - As the economic news worsens by the day, physicians and therapists who treat the physical and mental effects of stress and anxiety are seeing more new patients - and an increase in symptoms among longtime patients.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, stress due to the economic downturn is making Americans angry, sleepless and anxious - and that survey was completed in August 2008, before the worst of the news about the economy had surfaced.

Seventy-two percent of Americans cited money as a significant source of stress, and 69 percent cited the economy, according to the APA.

"Some clients have expressed distress over losing large portions of their retirement that was tied to the failing stock market as well as the mortgage crisis," said Dr. Audie Gaddis, owner of Commonwealth Psychological Services. "Many are reporting fears that they may lose their jobs."

Work is causing stress in 68 percent of Americans, with housing coming in at 47 percent and job insecurity at 34 percent, according to the survey. Forty-six percent of Americans are now worried about providing for their families' basic needs, the APA said.

Physical, Mental Effects

Gaddis is seeing more clients who need basic anxiety management techniques and strategies to live within their means or prepare for personal financial crises.

"Clients heavily in debt and living paycheck to paycheck are quite anxious that should they lose their job their problems could readily mushroom out of control, forcing them to sell their already devalued homes or worse, face the prospects of bankruptcy," Gaddis said. "The problem [is that] these mood disorders could adversely impact job performance and money management strategies."

That in turn, he said, could lead to "self-fulfilling prophecies" among patients who lose their jobs or savings due to poor performance or bad financial decisions.

Gaddis' office also provides employment consulting and coaching, and has seen more clients coming in for help on resumés and interview skills.

Increased Fatigue, Depression

At Atwell Family Chiropractic, Dr. Daniel Atwell, who has been a chiropractor in Harrisonburg for eight years, has seen clients mention both directly and indirectly the health effects of the economy.

The APA said stressors tend to manifest themselves in distinct physical ways. In the survey, 53 percent of Americans have reported fatigue, lack of interest and motivation, feeling depressed, headaches and muscular tension, and lost sleep.

Chiropractors don't just treat physical pain, but also work to relieve stress in the nervous system, which can appear as stress tension in the spine, nervous system, back or neck, Atwell said.

Holiday Stress

Clients seem to be more stressed at this time of year, and more than last year especially, Atwell said.

Emotional stress is one of the most overlooked common factors in pain, he said.

"When it comes to any condition, we always ask our patients, if you think back to when your back or neck went out, or when you had pain, you were probably under physical, nutritional or emotional stress," he said. "It's almost always true."

It's a fair assumption that economic stress coupled with the typical stress of the holiday season can make people sick with symptoms that are often painful, Atwell said.

"What do we do during the holidays? We don't eat the best, we're also physically doing more shopping, more walking, and getting less sleep," he said. "So all parts of us are being attacked."

In his cold and flu prevention seminars, Atwell urges clients to watch those three areas - physical, nutritional and emotional.

"You can also find an avenue for stress, like journaling or meditation before you go to bed," he said. "Exercise is also a great avenue."

Contact Kate Prahlad at 574-6277 or

Prominent Physician Advises Against Flu Shots

From Dr. Mercola's website:

Dr. Donald Miller, a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington, recommends avoiding the flu shot and taking vitamin D instead. According to Dr. Miller, “Seventy percent of doctors do not get a flu shot.”

Health officials say that every winter 36,000 people will die from it. But the National Vital Statistics Reports compiled by the CDC show that only 1,138 deaths a year occur due to influenza alone -- more than 34,000 of the “36,000″ flu deaths are actually pneumonic and cardiovascular deaths.

There is also a lack of evidence that young children benefit from flu shots. In fact, a systematic review of 51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo. But there is also a risk of harm from the flu vaccine itself, particularly from the mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde it contains.

Eco Child’s Play November 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moisturizers Containing Estrogen Could Cause Breast Cancer

This news video segment discusses the link between breast cancer and the use of body lotions.

The point is that many commercial hand and body lotions contain various forms of the hormone estrogen. The skin is highly absorbant and the largest organ in the body. These absorbed estrogens have a powerful effect on metabolism and breast fat and glands are highly metabolic tissue.

Dr. Ashton also mentions the prevalance of environmental toxins. Heavy metals, volatile chemicals, plastics, etc. are rampant in the air, soil, and water. Everything we eat, breathe, and drink contains these toxins. Many toxins don't have a metabolic pathway for excretion and therefore get stored in joints and fat. The breast is mostly fat and very susceptible to environmental toxins and excess estrogens.

Dr. Ashton invokes the ayurvedic (Indian medicine) principal which says if something is not edible then don't put it on the skin. She suggests simply rubbing in sunflower, olive, or other natural oils.

My suggestion in addition to this very good idea is to stay well hydrated by drinking 64-80 oz of water and day and making sure to ingest these same oils. In this way you'll moisturize the skin from the inside out. Another important point is to use extra virgin oils or cold pressed oils in dark glass bottles.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Study Suggests Some Cancers May Go Away

It's well known by scientists and doctors that undetected cancerous cells are much more prevalent than people realize. The body has ways of taking care of them. This is a fascinating study that seems to underscore this basic aspect of physiology. I wonder if the treatment for cancer causes more deaths than the disease itself. This study may suggest that.

Study Suggests Some Cancers May Go Away

November 25, 2008 NYT

Cancer researchers have known for years that it was possible in rare cases for some cancers to go away on their own. There were occasional instances of melanomas and kidney cancers that just vanished. And neuroblastoma, a very rare childhood tumor, can go away without treatment.
But these were mostly seen as oddities — an unusual pediatric cancer that might not bear on common cancers of adults, a smattering of case reports of spontaneous cures. And since almost every cancer that is detected is treated, it seemed impossible even to ask what would happen if cancers were left alone.

Now, though, researchers say they have found a situation in Norway that has let them ask that question about breast cancer. And their new study, to be published Tuesday in The Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that even invasive cancers may sometimes go away without treatment and in larger numbers than anyone ever believed.

At the moment, the finding has no practical applications because no one knows whether a detected cancer will disappear or continue to spread or kill.

And some experts remain unconvinced.

“Their simplification of a complicated issue is both overreaching and alarming,” said Robert A. Smith, director of breast cancer screening at the American Cancer Society.

But others, including Robert M. Kaplan, the chairman of the department of health services at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, are persuaded by the analysis. The implications are potentially enormous, Dr. Kaplan said.

If the results are replicated, he said, it could eventually be possible for some women to opt for so-called watchful waiting, monitoring a tumor in their breast to see whether it grows. “People have never thought that way about breast cancer,” he added.

Dr. Kaplan and his colleague, Dr. Franz Porzsolt, an oncologist at the University of Ulm, said in an editorial that accompanied the study, “If the spontaneous remission hypothesis is credible, it should cause a major re-evaluation in the approach to breast cancer research and treatment.”

The study was conducted by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a researcher at the VA Outcomes Group in White River Junction, Vt., and Dartmouth Medical School; Dr. Per-Henrik Zahl of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health; and Dr. Jan Maehlen of Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo. It compared two groups of women ages 50 to 64 in two consecutive six-year periods.

One group of 109,784 women was followed from 1992 to 1997. Mammography screening in Norway was initiated in 1996. In 1996 and 1997, all were offered mammograms, and nearly every woman accepted.

The second group of 119,472 women was followed from 1996 to 2001. All were offered regular mammograms, and nearly all accepted.

It might be expected that the two groups would have roughly the same number of breast cancers, either detected at the end or found along the way. Instead, the researchers report, the women who had regular routine screenings had 22 percent more cancers. For every 100,000 women who were screened regularly, 1,909 were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer over six years, compared with 1,564 women who did not have regular screening.

There are other explanations, but researchers say that they are less likely than the conclusion that the tumors disappeared.

The most likely explanation, Dr. Welch said, is that “there are some women who had cancer at one point and who later don’t have that cancer.”

The finding does not mean that mammograms caused breast cancer. Nor does it bear on whether women should continue to have mammograms, since so little is known about the progress of most cancers.

Mammograms save lives, Dr. Smith said. Even though they can have a downside — most notably the risk that a woman might have a biopsy to check on an abnormality that turns out not to be cancer — “the balance of benefits and harms is still considerably in favor of screening for breast cancer,” he said.

But Dr. Suzanne W. Fletcher, an emerita professor of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School, said that it was also important for women and doctors to understand the entire picture of cancer screening. The new finding, she said, was “part of the picture.”

“The issue is the unintended consequences that can come with our screening,” Dr. Fletcher said, meaning biopsies for lumps that were not cancers or, it now appears, sometimes treating a cancer that might not have needed treatment. “In general we tend to underplay them.”

Dr. Welch said the cancers in question had broken through the milk ducts, where most breast cancers begin, and invaded the breast. Such cancers are not microscopic, often are palpable, and are bigger and look more ominous than those confined to milk ducts, so-called ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, Dr. Welch said. Doctors surgically remove invasive cancers and, depending on the circumstances, may also treat women with radiation, chemotherapy or both.

The study’s design was not perfect, but researchers say the ideal study is not feasible. It would entail screening women, randomly assigning them to have their screen-detected cancers treated or not, and following them to see how many untreated cancers went away on their own.

But, they said, they were astonished by the results.

“I think everybody is surprised by this finding,” Dr. Kaplan said. He and Dr. Porzsolt spent a weekend reading and re-reading the paper.

“Our initial reaction was, ‘This is pretty weird,’ ” Dr. Kaplan said. “But the more we looked at it, the more we were persuaded.”

Dr. Barnett Kramer, director of the Office of Disease Prevention at the National Institutes of Health, had a similar reaction. “People who are familiar with the broad range of behaviors of a variety of cancers know spontaneous regression is possible,” he said. “But what is shocking is that it can occur so frequently.”

Although the researchers cannot completely rule out other explanations, Dr. Kramer said, “they do a good job of showing they are not highly likely.”

A leading alternative explanation for the results is that the women having regular scans used hormone therapy for menopause and the other women did not. But the researchers calculated that hormone use could account for no more than 3 percent of the effect.

Maybe mammography was more sensitive in the second six-year period, able to pick up more tumors. But, the authors report, mammography’s sensitivity did not appear to have changed.

Or perhaps the screened women had a higher cancer risk to begin with. But, the investigators say, the groups were remarkably similar in their risk factors.

Dr. Smith, however, said the study was flawed and the interpretation incorrect. Among other things, he said, one round of screening in the first group of women would never find all the cancers that regular screening had found in the second group. The reason, he said, is that mammography is not perfect, and cancers that are missed on one round of screening will be detected on another.

But Dr. Welch said that he and his colleagues considered that possibility, too. And, he said, their analysis found subsequent mammograms could not make up the difference.

Dr. Kaplan is already thinking of how to replicate the result. One possibility, he said, is to do the same sort of study in Mexico, where mammography screening is now being introduced.

Donald A. Berry, chairman of the department of biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said the study increased his worries about screenings that find cancers earlier and earlier. Unless there is some understanding of the natural history of the cancers that are found — which are dangerous and which are not — the result can easily be more treatment of cancers that would not cause harm if left untreated, he said.

“There may be some benefit to very early detection, but the costs will be huge — and I don’t mean monetary costs,” Dr. Berry said. “It’s possible that we all have cells that are cancerous and that grow a bit before being dumped by the body. ‘Hell bent for leather’ early detection research will lead to finding some of them. What will be the consequence? Prophylactic removal of organs in the masses? It’s really scary.”

But Dr. Laura Esserman, professor of surgery and radiology at the University of California, San Francisco, sees a real opportunity to figure out why some cancers go away.

“I am a breast cancer surgeon; I run a breast cancer program,” she said. “I treat women every day, and I promise you it’s a problem. Every time you tell a person they have cancer, their whole life runs before their eyes.

“What if I could say, ‘It’s not a real cancer, it will go away, don’t worry about it,’ ” she added. “That’s such a different message. Imagine how you would feel.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Did You Know All the Drugs in Your Milk?

A film by Jeffrey M. SmithDairy products from cows treated with Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) may sharply increase cancer risk and other diseases, especially in children. Already banned in most industrialized nations, it was approved in the US on the backs of fired whistleblowers, manipulated research, and a corporate takeover at the FDA. This must-see film includes footage prepared for a Fox TV station—canceled after a letter from Monsanto's attorney threatened "dire consequences."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Child's sleep linked to adulthood obesity risk

Adequate sleep is needed for normal cortisol and melatonin levels. When cortisol is high so is insulin. Insulin regulates blood sugar but it also helps to promote fat deposits. Ghrelin, a hormone which regulates satiation is also affected. Kids getting the usual Standard American Diet (SAD) of lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, lots of simple carbs, low fiber, inadequate water and not enough excercise will sleep poorly. This will set up the vicious cycle of not enough sleep leading to obesity. The key point in this article is that the research shows that kids who don't get enough sleep in childhood will become obese adults. It has long term effects.

The bedroom should be free of distractions like TVs, computers, stereos, etc. It should be dark and well ventilated. The mattress should be firm and comfortable. The room and bedding should be as dust free as possible to reduce or eliminate dust mites. In short it should be a relaxing haven and a place to disconnect from the rest of the world. The bedroom should be for sleeping only, therefore no eating and no reading. Some of these suggestions may rub some the wrong way, but please just stop and think about how much stimulation we are exposed to every day. One of the main functions of the brain is to dampen all of the sensory stimuli that come our way. In today's electronic world we are constatly bombarding the brain with too much stimulus. At the very least the bedroom should be the place to shut it all out and give our brain and body a chance to recoup and function normally!

Mon Nov 3, 2008 11:50am EST
By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Consistently getting a good night's sleep may help protect children from becoming obese as adults, a study published Monday suggests.

Researchers found that among more than 1,000 people followed from birth to age 32, those who got too little sleep as children were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to become obese adults.

Even with a range of other factors considered -- like childhood weight and TV habits, and adulthood exercise levels -- there remained a link between sleep deprivation during childhood and obesity risk later in life.

All of this supports the idea that early sleep habits have a direct effect on weight in the long term, according to Dr. Robert John Hancox, the study's senior author.

"Although we cannot prove that this is a cause-and-effect relationship," he told Reuters Health, "this study provides strong evidence that it probably is."

Hancox and his colleagues at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, report the findings in the journal Pediatrics.

A number of studies have found that sleep-deprived adults and children are at greater risk of being overweight. However, this is the first study to show a long-term relationship between sleep and obesity risk, Hancox said.

The study involved 1,037 men and women who had been followed since their birth, between 1972 and 1973, up to the age of 32. When the participants were 5, 7, 9 and 11 years old, their parents reported on their usual bed time and wake-up time.

In general, Hancox and his colleagues found, as childhood sleep time declined, adulthood body mass index, or BMI, climbed.

Adults who had been "short sleepers" as children -- averaging fewer than 11 hours in bed each night -- generally had a higher BMI than those who'd gotten more sleep as kids.

"Importantly, this is not because children who were short sleepers grew up to be short sleepers as adults," Hancox pointed out. "In other words, inadequate sleep in childhood appears to have long-lasting consequences."

The findings, according to the researchers, suggest that weight control may stand as another reason for children to get a good night's sleep. Experts generally recommend that children between the ages of 5 and 12 sleep for about 11 hours each night, while teenagers should get 8.5 to 9.5 hours. **(Dr. Rosenberg's note; 7 hours of sleep per night is optimal for most adults).

It's thought that children today are getting less sleep than the generations before them did, Hancox noted. That trend, he added, could be helping to feed the rise in obesity.

No one knows for certain why lack of sleep is linked to heavier weight. One theory, based on research in the sleep lab, is that sleep deprivation alters the normal balance of appetite-stimulating and appetite-suppressing hormones. Sleepy children may also be too tired for physical activity during the day.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, November 2008.

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Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dark Chocolate Prevents Heart Disease

Inflammation is a normal and useful body process but it seems that today we have too much of it. Inflammation is the real underlying culprit behind most diseases. Most diseases lead to more inflammation, so it's a negative cycle. Some ways to reduce inflammation are through diet (less meat, sugar, white flour and rice, fewer grains, more vegetables and fruits, and 8-10 glasses of water a day), better sleep, and stress reduction. A good detox program will also eliminate inflammatory and acid producing toxins from the body.

In this study it was found that a very small daily dose of dark chocolate reduced levels of C-Reactive Protein, a standard hallmark of inflammation. Resveratrol from red wine and grape juice and green tea also contain the same family of compunds that reduce inflammation.

Dark Chocolate Prevents Heart Disease

Sept. 29, 2008
(WebMD) A piece of dark chocolate a day - a very small piece - keeps the doctor away. An Italian study shows that dark chocolate can significantly reduce the inflammation that leads to cardiovascular disease. The ideal amount is 6.7 grams per day (0.23 ounces). A typical Hershey chocolate bar weighs about 43 grams. That means eating one dark chocolate bar over the course of 6 1/2 days to get 6.7 grams per day. Milk chocolate doesn't appear to offer the same benefits. The study was conducted by Research Laboratories of the Catholic University in Campobasso and the National Cancer Institute of Milan and has been published in the Journal of Nutrition. The data come from an epidemiological study called the Moli-sani Project, which selected men and women at least 35 years old randomly from city hall registries in southern Italy. For the chocolate study, researchers identified 4,849 people in good health without risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These participants were asked about their dark chocolate consumption. Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, so keeping inflammation under control is a major part of preventive treatment. Research has shown that patients who have a low amount of C-reactive protein in their blood have lower levels of inflammation. People who eat dark chocolate regularly, in small servings, have significantly lower levels of C reactive protein, according to the study. This holds true even after accounting for any other potential confounding factors (such as differences in other dietary practices).By Caroline WilbertReviewed by Elizabeth Klodas©2005-2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
This is a health blog. That usually means topics relating to the human body are covered, but our finances are also related to our health and well-being. Lately the financial news has been quite unbelieveable and devastating. Here is a 12 minute clear explanation of what happened. Can you ever trust Wall Street again?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Chiropractic Plays Significant Role in U.S.A. Men's Water Polo Olympic 2008 Silver Medal Win

CARMICHAEL, Calif., Oct 02, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Merrill Moses, goal keeper for the U.S.A. Men's Water Polo team, and his teammates took home silver medals from Beijing this year. Terry Schroeder, D.C., a standout from the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympics helped Moses and his teammates as the current head coach of the Men's Water Polo team and resident doctor of chiropractic. While they were considered underdogs in this year's games, the team pulled together to achieve silver medal victory in a match against Hungary, and Moses and teammates attribute much of their success to the role that chiropractic played in their performance.

"I can honestly say that without chiropractic, many Olympic athletes would not be able to perform to their potential," says Moses. "We take such a pounding on our bodies, especially in water polo, because it's a contact sport. I like to get a chiropractic adjustment everyday just to keep my body healthy."

Moses, who is 31 years old, 6'3", and 215 pounds, was playing at the top of his game this year, an achievement which he attributes to the four practicing Olympic Committee team chiropractors in the Olympic Village as well as Schroeder, who treated Moses and other team members throughout the games.

"Athletes know that the difference between winning and losing can be a matter of fractions," says Schroeder. "When looking for that edge, chiropractic often makes all the difference."

To help this year's team to victory, Schroeder drew on his chiropractic knowledge and his experience as a two-time Olympic silver medalist in water polo. He was inducted into the U.S.A. Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1998. A statue of Schroeder's likeness sits at the entrance to the Los Angeles Coliseum commemorating the 1984 Olympics. He is noted for turning this team around by encouraging teamwork and vigorous training only months prior to the Beijing Olympic Games.

Moses plans to follow in his coach's footsteps by attending chiropractic college and earning his Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. His interest in chiropractic stems from a passion for helping others. He believes chiropractic helps those who cannot physically excel, including many of the Olympic athletes who participated in this year's games.

"I believe that chiropractic is going to continue to be of growing importance in the Olympic world," concludes Schroeder.

About the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress is a 501c6 corporation that represents a cross section of the chiropractic and vendor communities with the goal of increasing the public's awareness of the benefits of chiropractic. For more in depth information about these Olympians please visit
SOURCE: Foundation for Chiropractic Progress Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
Jessica Giordano, 201-641-1911 x35

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Truth About Splenda

Fiction: Splenda is natural sugar without calories.
Fact: Johnson & Johnson claims that "Splenda is made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar".

Johnson & Johnson wants consumers to think that it is natural sugar without calories. The truth is that Splenda is not natural and does not taste like sugar. The sweetness of Splenda derives from a chlorocarbon chemical that contains three atoms of chlorine in every one of its molecules. The manufacturer of this chlorinated compound named it sucralose. The improper use of “ose” in the name creates the illusion that sucralose is natural like sucrose which is the precise name for table sugar. Johnson & Johnson wants consumers to believe that the taste of Splenda is due solely to natural sugar, that is, due to sucrose. However, the manufacturer has patented several chemical processes for making the chlorinated chemical compound it calls sucralose. The patent literature illustrates that sucralose can be chemically manufactured from starting materials that do not require natural sugar. In one patent, for example, the manufacturer constructs sucralose from raffinose by substituting atoms of chlorine for hydroxyl groups in raffinose. Raffinose is a molecule found naturally in beans, and onions and other plants, but unlike natural sucrose, it has very little taste. In another patented process three atoms of chlorine are substituted for three hydroxyl groups in sucrose. The end product of both of these manufacturing processes is an entirely new chlorocarbon chemical called sucralose. Each molecule of sucralose contains three atoms of chlorine which makes it 600 times sweeter than a natural molecule of sugar which contains no chlorine. Splenda has it’s own artificial taste which is due to this chlorinated compound.

Fiction: Splenda is safe to eat, even for children.
Fact: There are no conclusive tests that support this statement. Again, there have been no long-term human studies conducted to determine the potential health effects of Splenda on humans, including children

Until long-term human studies are conducted, no one will know for sure whether Splenda is really safe or unsafe for humans to eat.

Fiction: Splenda has been thoroughly tested.
Fact: There has not been a single long-term human study to determine the potential health effects of Splenda on people.

The FDA relied on a few short-term tests when it reviewed the safety of Splenda for human consumption. Worse, these human tests were all conducted by the manufacturer of Splenda, hardly an unbiased source. The vast majority of tests reviewed by the FDA to determine whether Splenda was safe for human consumption were conducted on animals, including rats and rabbits.

Fiction: Products made with Splenda do not need warning labels.
Fact: Splenda is found in nearly 3,500 food products and amazingly, not all of these products list Splenda as an ingredient, and none of them say the product contains chlorine.

Furthermore, none of the regulatory agencies or scientific review bodies that have confirmed the safety of sucralose require any warning information to be placed on the labels of products sweetened with sucralose.

Consumers have a right to know exactly what is contained in the food products they buy for themselves and, particularly, for their children. Consumers should be provided with information that allows them to make educated choices about the food products they include in their diets. This is especially true for products that contain Splenda, a chemical substance made with chlorine that has not been the subject of any long-term human studies to determine its health effects on the human body.

Fiction: Once eaten, Splenda simply passes through the body.
Fact: This is what the manufacturer of Splenda claims, and consumers who realize they are actually eating chlorine may hope it is true, but the FDA determined that as much as 27% of sucralose can be absorbed by the body. This is particularly alarming for a chemical substance containing chlorine. Clearly the makers of Splenda are not being entirely forthcoming about their product's influence in the body.

Fiction: The chlorine found in Splenda is similar to that found in other foods we eat.
The manufacturer of Splenda claims that chlorine is naturally present in such foods as lettuce, mushrooms and table salt, but they never directly state that eating Splenda is the same as eating these foods. Remember, Splenda is not a natural substance, it is an artificial chemical sweetener manufactured by adding three chlorine atoms to a sugar molecule. And again, because there have been no long-term human studies on Splenda to determine the potential health effects on people, no one can say with certainty that the substance is safe to eat.

Fiction: Consumers have every reason to believe what they see and hear in Splenda’s advertisements.
In an effort to convince consumers that “Splenda is made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar” and to encourage them to “Think sugar, say Splenda”, the giant drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson is running a multi-million dollar advertising campaign encouraging the misperception that their artificial sweetener is equivalent to all-natural sugar. Splenda is not sugar and is not natural.

Splenda’s advertisements that read “The Dance of the Splenda Plum Fairy,” “Splenda and Spice and Everything Nice,” and “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Splenda is Sweet and So Are You” have been characterized by one marketing ethics reporter as nothing but “sleight-of-hand marketing.” Despite all the slick Madison Avenue advertising, the fact remains that Splenda is actually a chemical compound that contains chlorine. The more chlorine atoms, the sweeter the taste. Consumers deserve to know the truth about the food products they are purchasing for themselves and their families.

Probiotics may reduce eczema in young children

I can finally show you a study (there are others out there) showing a link between probiotics and the effects on skin conditions. Patients seem to be mystified by the connection and have trouble believing it.

The gut contains 80% of the immune system. The skin is one of the four ways humans detoxify. When other systems are overloaded the skin will take up this load. This can be expressed as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, etc. I've been giving patients probiotics for years for skin conditions with great results.

Probiotics may reduce eczema in young children: Study Date: 10/1/2008 9:00:00 AM Author: Stephen Daniells

Daily supplements of a probiotic strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus may reduce the incidence of childhood eczema by about 50 per cent, according to a new study.

Two years of supplementation with L. rhamnosus strain HN001 led to less severe symptoms of eczema, scientists from the University of Otago and the University of Auckland report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“There has been controversy about whether probiotics prevent the development of eczema,” wrote the authors, led by Professor Julian Crane. “Our study provides further evidence that L rhamnosus is indeed an effective intervention for reducing the prevalence of eczema among high-risk children.”

However, no benefits were observed when children were supplemented with the bacterial strain Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. Both strains were provided by New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group, which also co-sponsored the study along with the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

“By comparing two different probiotics, we were able to demonstrate that not all probiotics are equally effective,” added the researchers. “Given the uncertainty about how probiotics exert their effects on allergic disease, future studies investigating their modes of action are required.”

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD), is one of the first signs of allergy during the early days of life and is said to be due to delayed development of the immune system. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists it affects between 10 to 20 per cent of all infants, but almost half of these kids will 'grow out' of eczema between the ages of five and 15.

Study details
Crane and his co-workers performed a double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial. Four hundred and fort-six pregnant women were recruited and randomly assigned to take daily supplements of L. rhamnosus HN001, B. animalis subsp lactis strain HN019 or placebo from 35 weeks gestation and for a further six months if breastfeeding. The infants received the same interventions from birth to two years of age.

All children were considered at ‘high-risk’ of inheriting eczema due to a family history of allergic disease.

Infants in the L. rhamnosus arm had significantly lower incidence of eczema, compared to the placebo group, said the researchers. However, no difference was observed between the placebo group and B. animalis subsp lactis group was observed.

Additionally, none of the interventions had any effect of measures of allergic hypersensitivity (atopy) after two years.

“Our study is unique in combining prenatal and postnatal probiotic supplementation, continued use of probiotics for two years post-natally, comparison of two different probiotics, and faecal sample analysis,” wrote the researchers. “Understanding how Lactobacilli act to prevent eczema requires further investigation,” they added.

Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical ImmunologyPublished online ahead of print 31 August 2008, doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2008.07.011“A differential effect of 2 probiotics in the prevention of eczema and atopy: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial”Authors: K. Wickens, P.N. Black, T.V. Stanley, E. Mitchell, P. Fitzharris, G.W. Tannock, G. Purdie, J. Crane and Probiotic Study Group

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Six rules every doctor should follow.

A recent study found that most doctors fail to show empathy when given the opportunity.

What are the six rules every doctor should follow? See if you agree with them by clicking on this short video!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wine Compound May Protect Against Radiation Exposure

In our current world we are exposed to all sorts of radiation sources, the majority of which occur naturally and some of which are man made. Add resveratrol to anti-radiation nutrients. Miso has also been shown to protect against radiation.
Rat study finding could lead to human treatments that are effective, non-toxic

TUESDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The antioxidant resveratrol, found in many plants and in red wine, may help protect against radiation exposure, say University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers.

They gave acetyl-altered resveratrol to mice before exposure to radiation and found that the rodents' cells were protected from radiation-related damage. The team is conducting further studies to determine whether acetylated-resveratrol can help protect humans against radiation.
The findings were expected to be presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting, in Boston.

The research, led by Dr. Joel Greenberger, chairman of the department of radiation oncology, is overseen by the university's Center for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation. The center's mandate is to identify and develop small molecules that can protect people against radiation in the event of a large-scale radiology or nuclear emergency.

"New, small molecules with radioprotective capacity will be required for treatment in case of radiation spills or even as countermeasures against radiological terrorism. Small molecules which can be easily stored, transported and administered are optimal for this, and so far acetylated resveratrol fits these requirements well," Greenberger said in a prepared statement.

"Currently, there are no drugs on the market that protect against or counteract radiation exposure. Our goal is to develop treatments for the general population that are effective and non-toxic," he added.

In 2004, Greenberger's team identified a drug called JP4-039, which can be delivered directly to the mitochondria (the energy-producing areas of a cell) to help the mitochondria combat radiation-induced cell death.

More information
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has more about the
biological effects of radiation.

A Honey of a Sinusitis Treatment

Honey is more effective than antibiotics in fighting sinus infections. Pathogens shield themselves in a substance called a bioshield. Whereas the most powerful antibiotics were unable to penetrate this sheild, honey did a far better job.
Keep in mind that sinus problems are usually related to gut function. The gut contains 80% of the immune system and there are more microbes living in the than there are cells in the body. They perform a multitude of functions including digestion, absorption, immunity, acid-alkaline balance, and have anti-cancer capabilites.
When you have sinus problems you have an imbalance of microbes in your digestive tract. I wonder if honey can be diluted in water and spritzed into the nose.
A Honey of a Sinusitis Treatment

The natural sweet defeats the bacteria that drive the ailment, study shows

By Steven ReinbergHealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Honey may help bring sweet relief to chronic sinusitis sufferers, new Canadian research suggests.

Scientists say natural germ fighters in honey attack the bacteria that cause the discomforting disorder.

"Honey has been used in traditional medicine as a natural anti-microbial dressing for infected wounds for hundreds of years," noted study co-author Dr. Joseph G. Marsan, from the University of Ottawa.

The objectives of the study were to evaluate the activity of honey on so-called "biofilms," which are responsible for numerous chronic infections, Marsan explained.

"Certain bacteria, mainly Staph aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, have found a method of shielding themselves from the activity of anti-microbials by living in substances called biofilms, which cannot be penetrated by even the most powerful anti-microbials," he said.

The report was to be presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation's annual meeting in Chicago.

In the laboratory, Marsan's team applied honey to biofilms made up of the bacteria that cause sinusitis.

They found that honey was more effective in killing these bacteria than antibiotics commonly used against them.

"Our study has shown that certain honeys, namely the Manuka honey from New Zealand and the Sidr honey from Yemen, have a powerful killing action on these bacterial biofilms that is far superior to the most powerful anti-microbials used in medicine today," Marsan said.

This study has shown that certain honeys may play some role in the management of these chronic infections that are extremely difficult to treat, Marsan said. "This study was carried out in-vitro in the lab and we must now find how to apply this activity in-vivo on lab animals and subsequently on patients," he added.

The Canadian findings echo research published last year in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, by a team at Penn State College of Medicine. That group found that honey worked better than commercial cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DM) in easing children's cough.

But Dr. Ian Paul, director of Pediatric Clinical Research at Penn State and the leader of the cough study, isn't sure how the sinusitis findings would be applied clinically.

"Bacteria do not grow very well in honey," Paul noted. "There is data that honey works well for wounds, in smothering the bacteria that that grow in wounds. So it's not altogether surprising that honey would be effective in killing these bacteria."

However, whether honey could be used clinically to treat sinusitis isn't apparent, Paul said.
"I wonder how they are going to propose using honey, clinically, in sinusitis," Paul said. "I'm wondering how they are proposing it would be curative or helpful in that setting?"

Results of another study, slated to be presented at the meeting Tuesday, show that many patients with sinusitis sufferer from aches and pains that are equal to those experienced by people with arthritis or depression. Researchers found that endoscopic sinus surgery to relieve the blockage in the sinuses, also significantly people's reduced pain.

"This study highlights an important point: Chronic sinusitis should not be considered as a minor localized disease condition rather, as this study emphasizes, sinusitis can cause serious clinical levels of discomfort in many patients," study co-author Dr. Neil Bhattacharyya, an otolaryngologist and sinus surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.

More information
For more information on sinusitis, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Joseph G. Marsan, M.D., University of Ottawa, Canada; Ian Paul, M.D., M.Sc., director, Pediatric Clinical Research, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey; Sept. 23, 2008, presentation, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting, Chicago
Copyright © 2008
ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

WebMD reports how chiropractic cuts blood pressure

A chiropractic study run by Dr. George Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center shows that chiropractic adjustments lower blood pressure. This makes sense given what we know about neurology, physiology, and anatomy and the effect of chiropractic adjustments on receptor systems in the autonomic nervous system, but it's great to have the scientifc studies to back it up! Granted this was only a small study but it's a step in the right direction and hopefully it will be expanded upon.

WebMD reports how chiropractic cuts blood pressure

September 22, 2008 — Studies and research regarding the chiropractic adjustment are being performed more and more to show the validity of chiropractic. WebMD has recently released information showing a special chiropractic adjustment called the Atlas Adjustment, can significantly lower high blood pressure. “This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George Bakris, MD, told WebMD. “And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems,” added Dr. Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center.

Research showed that eight weeks after undergoing the procedure, 25 patients with early-stage high blood pressure had significantly lower blood pressure than 25 similar patients who underwent a sham chiropractic adjustment. Because patients are unable to feel the technique, they could not tell which group they were in. WebMD reported that patients that got the real procedure saw an average 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure and an average 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure. None of the patients took blood pressure medicine during the eight-week study.

Dr. Bakris notes that some researchers have suggested that injury to the Atlas vertebra can affect blood flow in the arteries at the base of the skull. Dr. Dickholtz thinks the misaligned triggers release of signals that make the arteries contract. Whether the procedure actually fixes the injuries is unknown, Bakris says.

Source: Parker College of Chiropractic,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Children who use mobile phones are 'five times more likely to develop brain tumours'

Children who use mobile phones are five times more likely to develop brain tumours, research has suggested.

Slowly the evidence is beginning to trickle in. Unfortunately the really solid proof may be decades in the making as it takes many years for disease to develop. If cell phone exposure increases brain tumour risk by a factor of 5, then how much, if any, does the constant exposure to cell antennas increase the risk?

By Daniel MartinLast updated at 8:33 PM on 21st

A study suggests that children who use mobile phones are five times more likely to develop a type of brain tumour.

Children who use mobile phones are five times more likely to develop a type of brain tumour, research has suggested.

The Swedish study indicated that under-16s are more at risk of radiation from mobile phones because their brains and nervous systems are still developing.

Because their heads are smaller and their skulls are thinner the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains, it is believed.

After presenting their findings, the scientists said that children under 12 should only use mobiles for emergencies.

They added that teenagers should use hands-free devices and try to restrict themselves to texting.

But other researchers have cast doubt on the findings - saying that mobiles have not been on the market long enough to test accurately the risks associated with them.

Around 90 per cent of under-16s in Britain have a mobile phone as do 40 per cent of primary school children.

The Swedish research was reported at a conference on mobile phones and health.

It was held at London's Royal Society by the Radiation Research Trust, an independent organisation campaigning for further research into the possible dangers of electromagnetic radiation.

One major finding of the study was that the earlier a person started using a mobile phone, the higher the risk of developing a tumour.

Professor Lennart Hardell, of the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, said: 'People who started mobile phone use before the age of 20 had a more than five-foldincrease in glioma.'

This is a cancer of the glial cells which support the central nervous system. About half of all primary brain tumours are gliomas, according to Cancer Research.

Professor Hardell said that home cordless phones were almost as risky as mobile phones, with youngsters using them four times as likely to develop glioma.

Those who started using a mobile phone before the age of 20 also increased the risk by five times of getting an acoustic neuroma.

These are benign tumours which do not cause cancer. Nevertheless, they can damage the auditory nerve and cause deafness.

The researchers said that those who started using their mobiles in their 20s were 50 per cent more likely to contract glioma and twice as likely to get acoustic neuromas.

Professor Hardell said: 'This is a warning sign. It is very worrying. We should be taking precautions.'

The research led to calls from other scientists to look again at the potential risks of mobile phone use.

David Carpenter, of the State University of New York, said: 'Children are spending significant time on mobile phones.

'We may be facing a public health crisis in an epidemic of brain cancers as a result of mobile phone use.'

However other scientists expressed doubts about the Swedish research.

One of the problems with studying the effects of mobile phone radiation is that it can take years for cancers to develop - perhaps much longer than mobile phones have so far been generally available.

Britain is carrying out its own research involving 90,000 people, called the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme.

Professor David Coggon, who is working on the study, said: 'It looks frightening to see a five-fold increase in cancer among people who started use in childhood.'

But he added that he would be 'extremely surprised' if the risk were shown to be that high once the evidence was in.

Find this story at

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Bilingual Brain

Here is a great article from the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C.
The brain is an organ which is designed to receive sensory information and produce some type of motor output. The more you stimulate the brain with thinking activities and movement the more it will reward you.

Chiropractic is great for the brain because it releases locked up joints which contain motion receptors. When the joints are moving properly these receptors fire information to the brain. And when the joints are locked up or fixated they cannot fire off to the brain. The chiropractic adjustment does three things:

  1. it restores motion to the joint
  2. it fires off those receptors
  3. decreases muscle spasm

Having moved from the U.S. to Israel I'm slowly learning to speak Hebrew. It's good to know that all the struggle to learn a new language may pay off with increased brain function!

As scientists unlock more of the neurological secrets of the bilingual brain, they're learning that speaking more than one language may have cognitive benefits that extend from childhood into old age.

Parlez vous francais? Sprechen Sie Deutsches? Hablas español? If so, and you also speak English (or any other language), your brain may have developed some distinct advantages over your monolingual peers. New research into the neurobiology of bilingualism has found that being fluent in two languages, particularly from early childhood, not only enhances a person’s ability to concentrate, but might also protect against the onset of dementia and other age-related cognitive decline.

These discoveries are leading to:
A better understanding of how the brain organizes speech and communication tasks.
Greater insight into how specific types of brain activity may prevent or delay dementia and other age related cognitive problems.

More targeted and effective therapies for helping bilingual individuals recover their communication skills after a brain injury.

Bilingualism is common in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 18 percent of Americans speak a language other than English at home. Of those, three-quarters also report that they speak English “well” or “very well”—a strong indication that they are bilingual.
Until fairly recently, parents and educators feared that exposing children to a second language at too early an age might not only delay their language skills but harm their intellectual growth. New research, however, has found that bilingual children reach language milestones (such as first word and first fifty words) at the same age as monolingual children. Nor do they show any evidence of eing “language confused.”

In fact, being bilingual may give children an advantage at school. Bilingual preschoolers have been found to be better able than their monolingual peers at focusing on a task while tuning out distractions. A similar enhanced ability to concentrate—a sign of a well-functioning working memory—has been found in bilingual adults, particularly those who became fluent in two languages at an early age. It may be that managing two languages helps the brain sharpen—and retain—its ability to focus while ignoring irrelevant information.

Other research suggests that bilingualism may delay the onset of age-related dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, by up to four years. Although scientists don’t know why bilingualism creates this “cognitive reserve,” some theorize that speaking two languages may increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain and keep nerve connections healthy—factors thought to help ward off dementia.

More recently, scientists have discovered that bilingual adults have denser gray matter (brain tissue packed with information-processing nerve cells and fibers), especially in the brain’s left hemisphere, where most language and communication skills are controlled. The effect is strongest in people who learned a second language before the age of five and in those who are most proficient at their second language. This finding suggests that being bilingual from an early age significantly alters the brain’s structure.

Exactly how the brain organizes language in bilingual individuals has been debated for many years. Is each language “stored” in its own area of the brain or in overlapping regions? Thanks to technological advances in brain imaging, scientists have recently discovered that the processing of different languages occurs in much of the same brain tissue. However, when bilinguals are rapidly toggling back and forth between their two languages—that is, in “bilingual mode”—they show significantly more activity in the right hemisphere than monolingual speakers, particularly in a frontal area called the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (the source of the bilingual advantages in attention and control). This expanded neural activity is so prominent and predictable on brain scans that it serves as a “neurological signature” for bilingualism.

Finally, neuroscience research is showing promise for evaluating and treating bilingual patients who lose the ability to produce or understand speech after a brain injury. Research is showing that rehabilitation efforts that use both languages, not just one—even a patient’s native language—hold the greatest promise for recovery.

Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature. 2004 Oct 14;431:757. ©2004.
Brain scans of bilingual individuals found greater gray-matter density (yellow) in the inferior parietal cortex, an area in the brain’s language-dominant left hemisphere. The density was most pronounced in people who were very proficient in a second language and in those who learned a second language before the age of five.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cactus Goo Makes Water Safe

The gooey stuff inside a cactus leaf can bind to dirt and arsenic in water and also kills bacteria. This stuff is called mucilage, which call also be found in oats, flax seeds, okra, and other plant sources. Mucilage is very important for its binding properties. It essentially acts as a detoxifier by binding to unwanted and toxic substances. In the body the whole bound up complex is expelled in the waste but what good news this is to find out that mucins can also detox our water before we drink it!
By the way pectins are also a powerful binding detoxifier. Apples come first to mind as being very high in pectins. You know about the apple a day keeping the doctor away!
Cactus Goo Makes Water Safe
Jessica Marshall, Discovery News

Sept. 17, 2008 -- The slimy ooze inside prickly pear cactuses that helps the plants store water in the desert can also be used for scouring arsenic, bacteria and cloudiness out of rural drinking water, according to research at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Biochemical engineer Norma Alcantar first learned of the cactus's unique abilities from her grandmother, a native of north central Mexico. There, the residual water from boiling the flat, oval-shaped lobes of prickly pear for salads and other dishes was used to clear up cloudy water drawn from the river before use for cooking or drinking.

"When you boil [the prickly pear], what is getting separated is mucilage," Alcantar said.

Mucilage is the clear, gooey, viscous liquid from within the cactus which helps to seal water inside the plant so it can survive desert-dry conditions.

Alcantar began to study how the mucilage worked to clear cloudy water. She found that the mucilage binds to the dirt and causes the particles to coagulate, forming large enough clumps that they can settle out of the water.

Then, she turned her attention to other water contaminants. The group's more recent research has shown that the mucilage can also form a complex with arsenic, a carcinogenic water contaminant that can occur naturally or from industrial or agricultural pollution.

The arsenic-mucilage complex is large enough that it can be removed by drawing the water through a sand filter.

"Sometimes we get 80 percent removal, and sometimes we get lower than 50 percent removal," Alcantar said. "We don't yet know exactly what it is; we haven't found what are the exact best conditions for the mucilage [to get the most arsenic removal]."

What percentage removal is sufficient will depend on the amount of arsenic in the water supply.

Other ongoing research by Alcantar's team has shown that the mucilage can also kill bacteria in the water, solving another potential water quality problem. The mucilage either engulfs the bacteria and starves them, or it binds to the bacteria and causes them to settle out of the water.

Mucilage consists of carbohydrates and sugars. The team is investigating exactly how these components interact with bacteria, arsenic and suspended particles. The evidence so far suggests that when arsenic binds to the sugars, the number of charges on the particle changes, which changes its ability to stay dissolved. Similar processes appear to be at work with the other contaminants.

Alcantar estimates that one lobe of prickly pear would supply a family of five for about five weeks. Alcantar's team is still optimizing and developing the best system, but she envisions that each family would pass their water through a filter that would periodically be recharged with fresh mucilage from prickly pear grown at home or in the community.

An advantage of the approach is that prickly pear is familiar to local communities, which her work suggests will help ease its acceptance by local people in Temamatla, Mexico, where she is working with families to design and supply filters.

"Our survey showed that 97 percent of the community wanted to have a filter, especially if it's based on something that they know and are accustomed to," said Alcantar

"There are a number of aspects to this project that I think are unique," said Angela Lindner of the University of Florida in Gainesville. "She knows these communities so she understands the social aspects that are involved. She's keeping in mind that the one who is going to be making these filters is going to be the person who is drinking the water. That's rarely done in engineering design."

Common plastics chemical linked to human diseases

Plastic bottles leach chemicals into the drinks they contain. That's why I tell people be careful of bottled water. First of all, bottled water itself is less subject to testing and filtration than tap water. Secondly it's usually contained in a plastic bottle. Water is the universal solvent and it will cause toxic chemicals to leach from the plastic, especially if the bottle has been exposed to sunlight or heat.

This study concludes that a very common chemical called BPA leaches into bottled water. The people with the highest levels of BPA "were more than twice as likely to have heart disease and, or diabetes compared to the 25 percent of with the lowest levels."

Diabetes and heart disease are probably not the only diseases that are associated with BPA. They're just the first two which have been scientifically proven.

The best bet is a good home filtration system and a glass water bottle for the road.

And once again here is another great reason for a thorough detoxification program!

Common plastics chemical linked to human diseases

Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:52am EDT
By Michael Kahn

LONDON (Reuters) - A study has for the first time linked a common chemical used in everyday products such as plastic drink containers and baby bottles to health problems, specifically heart disease and diabetes.
Until now, environmental and consumer activists who have questioned the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA, have relied on studies showing harm from exposure in laboratory animals.

But British researchers, who published their findings on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed urine and blood samples from 1,455 U.S. adults aged 18 to 74 who were representative of the general population.

Using government health data, they found that the 25 percent of people with the highest levels of bisphenol A in their bodies were more than twice as likely to have heart disease and, or diabetes compared to the 25 percent of with the lowest levels.

"Most of these findings are in keeping with what has been found in animal models," Iain Lang, a researcher at the University of Exeter in Britain who worked on the study, told a news conference.

"This is the first ever study (of this kind) that has been in the general population," Lang

Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry group, said the design of the study did not allow for anyone to conclude BPA causes heart disease and diabetes.

"At least from this study, we cannot draw any conclusion that bisphenol A causes any health effect. As noted by the authors, further research will be needed to understand whether these statistical associations have any relevance at all for human health," Hentges said in a telephone interview.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel of outside experts on Tuesday will hear testimony on health effects from BPA as it reviews a draft report it issued last month calling BPA safe.

"The study, while preliminary with regard to these diseases in humans, should spur U.S. regulatory agencies to follow recent action taken by Canadian regulatory agencies, which have declared BPA a 'toxic chemical' requiring aggressive action to limit human and environmental exposures," Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri and John Peterson Myers of the nonprofit U.S.-based Environmental Health Sciences, wrote in a commentary accompanying the study.


BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material in products ranging from baby and water bottles to plastic eating utensils to sports safety equipment and medical devices.
It also is used to make durable epoxy resins used as the coating in most food and beverage cans and in dental fillings.

People can consume BPA when it leaches out of plastic into liquid such as baby formula, water or food inside a container.

In the study, the team said the chemical is present in more than 90 percent of people, suggesting there is not much that can be done to avoid the chemical of which over 2.2 million tons is produced each year.
The researchers, who will also present their findings at the U.S. FDA session on Tuesday, added it was too early to identify a mechanism through which the chemical may be doing harm.

Animal studies have suggested the chemical may disrupt hormones, especially estrogen.

The researchers also cautioned that these findings are just the first step and more work is needed to determine if the chemical actually is a direct cause of disease.

"Bisphenol A is one of the world's most widely produced and used chemicals, and one of the problems until now is we don't know what has been happening in the general population," said Tamara Galloway, a University of Exeter researcher who worked on the study.

Canada's government in April decided BPA was harmful to infants and toddlers and announced plans to ban some products.

The European Union's top food safety body said in July the amount of BPA found in baby bottles cannot harm human health.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Will Dunham)
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