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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Facts on Smoking You are Not Told, or Why George Burns Lived to 100!


by Robert R. Barney

We are running a series of articles in our YOUR HEALTH TODAY section which I think will absolutely blow most of our readers today! Over the past 40 years, we have been overwhelmed with the evils of smoking. The message has basically been, SMOKE ONE CIGARETTE and YOU WILL DIE A DAY YOUNGER! Have you ever thought of any benefits of smoking? Honestly, could there be any benefits? Well I did my own investigation and guess what? Smoking in moderation may actually be GOOD for you! I know that smacks in the face of everything science and government has been telling us, but sometimes governments LIE! Here are just a few examples of FACTS I bet you don't know:


-- Q10 is made from Tobacco
-- Smoking Reduces both Parkinson Disease AND Alzheimers!
-- Smoking increases certain hormones and can act similar to Viagra!
-- A Reduced risk in women who smoke to Colon Cancer
-- Moderate Cigar or Non-Filtered Cigarettes may actually help you live Longer

I realize that this sounds like I have gone bonkers, but friends, every statement I have made has proven science behind it and I document it below! Drinking wine can kill you. If you drink two to thee bottles of wine a day, you will probably be at a much greater risk of developing a host of diseases related to alcoholism, yet we know that those who drink a glass a day statistically live longer than tea-tottlers. The same seems to apply to smoking. Very low doses of smoking (a Cigar or two once a week or two or three NON-FILTERED cigarettes a day) actually helps our bodies. It has been documented for years that Japanese men out smoke American men yet have lower incidences of lung cancer! ( http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/full/10/11/1193 )

One looks at people like George Burns who lived to be 100, smoking a cigar his entire life. Would he have lived to 150 if he didn't smoke? Well, the evidence I am presenting suggests that he lived that long BECAUSE he smoked.

If you notice,whenever I mentioned cigarette smoking, I always wrote of NON-FILTERED cigarettes. Again, big businees like the tobacco companies and our government know that the filters on these cigarettes are much more harmful than the tobacco smoke! More than 90% of the cigarettes sold worldwide have a filter. Nearly all filters consist of a rod of numerous ( > 12 000) plastic-like cellulose acetate fibres. During high speed cigarette manufacturing procedures, fragments of cellulose acetate that form the mouthpiece of a filter rod become separated from the filter at the end face. The cut surface of the filter of nearly all cigarettes has these fragments. In smoking a cigarette in the usual manner, some of these fragments are released during puffing. In addition to the cellulose acetate fragments, carbon particles are released also from some cigarette brands that have a charcoal filter. Cigarettes with filters that release cellulose acetate or carbon particles during normal smoking conditions are defective. Philip Morris, Inc has known of this filter defect for more than 40 years.
results of investigations substantiating defective filters have been concealed from the smoker and the health community. The tobacco industry has been negligent in not performing toxicological examinations and other studies to assess the human health risks associated with regularly ingesting and inhaling non-degradable, toxin coated cellulose acetate fragments and carbon microparticles and possibly other components that are released from conventional cigarette filters during normal smoking. The rationale for harm assessment is supported by the results of consumer surveys that have shown that the ingestion or inhalation of cigarette filter fibres are a health concern to nearly all smokers. (From “Cigarettes with defective filters marketed for 40 years: what Philip Morris never told smokers” (Tobacco Control 2002;11:i51-i61):)

Notes and References


1) The miracle supplement (for skin, heart, brain rejuvenation) Coenzyme Q10 is extracted from tobacco leaf! http://www.ritecare.com/prodsheets/and-503000.html
Dr. Ricjard A. Kunin extols the benefits of Coenzyme Q10. He also says: The energy of oxidation in cells depends on CoQ in partnership with niacinamide (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and minerals such as iron and copper to effect the movement of electrons and hydrogen protons in the power plant of cell, the mitochondrion. Incidentally, tobacco leaf is the champion source, containing 184 mg in a quarter pound. Note that the doctor follows with the disclaimer, "In fact, the Japanese companies make their CoQ from tobacco, however it is only released by means of bacterial fermentation not by smoking." The fact remains that CoQ 10 is a natural miracle for the human body and it's chief source is tobacco!

2) Smoking Reduces Parkinson's Disease: Studies world-wide has notice that smokers have a significally lower incidence of getting the disease, yet this is never mentioned in any of the anti-smoking campaigns.

Neurology. 1999 Sep 22;53(5):1158. Smoking and Parkinson's disease: a dose-response relationship Gorell JM, Rybicki BA, Johnson CC, Peterson EL
Department of Neurology, Henry Ford Health System, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center in Molecular and Cellular Toxicology with Human Applications, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.


Also see Smoking lowers Parkinson's disease risk from Reuters (Mar 20, 2007).

From “Temporal relationship between cigarette smoking and risk of Parkinson disease” (NEUROLOGY 2007;68:764-768):


3) The by-product of smoking (Nitric Oxide) helps in opening our arteries! Nitric oxide stimulates peripheral circulation (this is the mechanism behind Viagra effect).Low concentration carbon monoxide (as found in tobacco smoke) protects cells in harsh conditions, such as low oxygen and general cell death

4) Smoking actually increases GROWTH Hormones! Like testosterone and DHEA.
source: Geriatrics & Gerontology International (Volume 6 Issue 1 Page 49-52, March 2006)Relation of age and smoking to serum levels of total testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in aged men in , which found these results, "Serum T did not decrease with age, and was significantly higher in smokers than for non-smokers. Serum DHEA decreased with age more sharply in non-smokers than for smokers."


5) Smoking reduces IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)--at least in males for sure. In animal experiments, lowered insuline growth factor IGF-1 change extends lifespan.


6) Reduced Incidence of Colorectal Cancer--especially in women.

Cigarette Smoking and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Women (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 80, No. 16, 1329-1333, October 19, 1988) states, "Colorectal cancer incidence rates for smokers, nonsmokers living with smokers (i.e., passive smokers), and non-smokers in smoke-free households were compared in a 12-year prospective study of 25, 369 women who participated in a private census conducted in Washington County, MD, in 1963. Women who smoked had a decreased relative risk of colorectal cancer compared with the risk for nonsmokers (age-adjusted relative risk, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.52–1.10). The risk for passive smokers was similar to that for smokers. The relative risks were significantly reduced for older women; relative risks were 0.42 for smokers and 0.66 for passive smokers over age 65. The data suggest that older women who smoke have a lower risk of colorectal cancer than non-smokers. The effect may be mediated by an antiestrogenic effect of smoking."


7) People who smoke fare better than nonsmokers when exposed to occupational hazards.
From Lack of combined effects of exposure and smoking on respiratory health in aluminium potroom workersBritish Medical Journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Vol 56, 468-472, 1999):

8) Cigarette smoking may be an independent protective factor for developing schizophrenia. These results are consistent with animal models showing both neuroprotective effects of nicotine and differential release of prefrontal dopamine in response to nicotine.
From Cancer in schizophrenia: is the risk higher or lower? in Schizophrenia Research (Volume 73, Issue 2, Pages 333-341) at
http://www.schres-journal.com/article/PIIS0920996404002130/abstract :
The incidence of cancer in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia was compared with the incidence in the general population. The results showed that the cancer standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for all sites were significantly lower among men and women with schizophrenia, 0.86 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.80–0.93] and 0.91 (95% CI 0.85–0.97), respectively. This reduced overall risk was clearest for those born in Europe–America, both men (SIR 0.85, 95% CI 0.74–0.97) and women (SIR 0.86, 95% CI 0.77–0.94).
Appetite Suppressant -- no citations. Common sense. Most stimulants are appetite suppressants, and nicotine does seem to be a stimulant.

9) Tobacco: the definitive link in healthy aging by Daniel John Richard Date.
Reduces incidence of Alzheimer's, among other degenerative diseases.

"A statistically significant inverse association between smoking and Alzheimer's disease was observed at all levels of analysis, with a trend towards decreasing risk with increasing consumption" (International Journal of Epidemiology, 1991)

"The risk of Alzheimer's disease decreased with increasing daily number of cigarettes smoked before onset of disease. . . . In six families in which the disease was apparently inherited . . . the mean age of onset was 4.17 years later in smoking patients than in non-smoking patients from the same family" (British Medical Journal, June 22, 1991)

"Although more data are needed . . . [an analysis of 19 studies suggests] nicotine protects against AD" (Neuroepidemiology, 1994)

Nicotine injections significantly improved certain types of mental functioning in Alzheimer's patients (Psychopharmacology, 1992).

One theory: nicotine improves the responsiveness of Alzheimer's patients to acetylcholine, an important brain chemical.

“When chronically taken, nicotine may result in: (1) positive reinforcement [it makes you feel good], (2) negative reinforcement [it may keep you from feeling bad], (3) reduction of body weight [by reducing appetite and increasing metabolic rate], (4) enhancement of performance, and protection against: (5) Parkinson's disease, (6) Tourette's disease [tics], (7) Alzheimer's disease, (8) ulcerative colitis and (9) sleep apnea. The reliability of these effects varies greatly but justifies the search for more therapeutic applications for this interesting compound." ("Beneficial Effects of Nicotine," Jarvik, British Journal of Addiction, 1991)

See more on smoking and reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease. In this compilation of 19 studies, 15 found a reduce risk in smokers, and none found an increased risk. Also noted is the fact that acute administration of nicotine improves attention and information processing in AD patients, which adds further plausibility to the hypothesis.
Smoking is Good for You: Absence, Presence, and the Ecumenical Appeal of Indian Islamic Healing Centers
In Shop owner says smoking 'doesn't cause disease' a shop owner "tells his customers that smoking calms the nerves and soothes the mind." This is in sync with what Albert Einstein stated upon becoming a lifetime member of the Montreal Pipe Smokers Club at the age of 71, "I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs."

Smoking Does Not Cause Lung Cancer! (According to WHO/CDC Data)*

Smoking Does Not Cause Lung Cancer! (According to WHO/CDC Data)*

By: James P. Siepmann, MD

Yes, it is true, smoking does not cause lung cancer. It is only one of many risk factors for lung cancer. I initially was going to write an article on how the professional literature and publications misuse the language by saying "smoking causes lung cancer"1,2, but the more that I looked into how biased the literature, professional organizations, and the media are, I modified this article to one on trying to put the relationship between smoking and cancer into perspective. (No, I did not get paid off by the tobacco companies, or anything else like that.)

When the tobacco executives testified to Congress that they did not believe that smoking caused cancer, their answers were probably truthful and I agree with that statement. Now, if they were asked if smoking increases the risk of getting lung cancer, then their answer based upon current evidence should have be "yes." But even so, the risk of a smoker getting lung cancer is much less than anyone would suspect. Based upon what the media and anti-tobacco organizations say, one would think that if you smoke, you get lung cancer (a 100% correlation) or at least expect a 50+% occurrence before someone uses the word "cause."

Click here

Smoking Benefits???

Nicotine's protective effect against neurodegenerative disorders

While the health risks of tobacco are well known, several studies have shown that people with a history of cigarette smoking have lower rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. However, the explanations for nicotine's neuroprotective effects continue to be debated.

Now a team of neuroscientists at the University of South Florida College of Medicine presents new evidence of an anti-inflammatory mechanism in the brain by which nicotine may protect against nerve cell death. Their study was published today in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

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Grapes Lower Blood Pressure Caused by Salt


Grapes helped lower blood pressure and improve heart function in lab rats fed an otherwise salty diet, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

The findings, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, may help people with high blood pressure, they said.

"These findings support our theory that something within the grapes themselves has a direct impact on cardiovascular risk, beyond the simple blood pressure-lowering impact that we already know can come from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables," Mitchell Seymour of the Cardioprotection Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan said in a statement.

In a study sponsored in part by California grape producers, Seymour and colleagues examined the effects of ordinary grapes on rats that develop high blood pressure when fed a salty diet....more

Germ Hotbeds in the House

Someone in your house have the sniffles? Watch out for the refrigerator door handle. The TV remote, too. A new study finds that cold sufferers often leave their germs there, where they can live for two days or longer.

Scientists at the University of Virginia, long known for its virology research, tested surfaces in the homes of people with colds and reported the results Tuesday at the nation's premier conference on infectious diseases.

Doctors don't know how often people catch colds from touching germy surfaces as opposed to, say, shaking a sick person's hand, said Dr. Birgit Winther, an ear, nose and throat specialist who helped conduct the study.

Two years ago, she and other doctors showed that germs survived in hotel rooms a day after guests left, waiting to be picked up by the next person checking in.

For the new study, researchers started with 30 adults showing early symptoms of colds. Sixteen tested positive for rhinovirus, which causes about half of all colds. They were asked to name 10 places in their homes they had touched in the preceding 18 hours, and researchers used DNA tests to hunt for rhinovirus.

"We found that commonly touched areas like refrigerator doors and handles were positive about 40 percent of the time" for cold germs, Winther said.....more

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Half of U.S. Doctors Give Placebo Treatments

About half of American doctors in a new survey say they regularly give patients placebo treatments — usually drugs or vitamins that won't really help their condition. And many of these doctors are not honest with their patients about what they are doing, the survey found.

That contradicts advice from the American Medical Association, which recommends doctors use treatments with the full knowledge of their patients.

"It's a disturbing finding," said Franklin G. Miller, director of the research ethics program at the U.S. National Institutes Health and one of the study authors. "There is an element of deception here which is contrary to the principle of informed consent."

The study was being published online in Friday's issue of BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal.


Read the Story

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Stink in Farts Controls Blood Pressure

A smelly rotten-egg gas in farts controls blood pressure in mice, a new study finds.

The unpleasant aroma of the gas, called hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can be a little too familiar, as it is expelled by bacteria living in the human colon and eventually makes its way, well, out.

The new research found that cells lining mice's blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents' blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). This gas is "no doubt" produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said.

"Now that we know hydrogen sulfide's role in regulating blood pressure, it may be possible to design drug therapies that enhance its formation as an alternative to the current methods of treatment for hypertension," said Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., a co-author of the study detailed in the Oct. 24th issue of the journal Science. ...more

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Even Mild Sleep Apnea Increases Heart Risks

People with even minimally symptomatic obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease because of impaired endothelial function and increased arterial stiffness, according to a study from the Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine in the UK.

“It was previously known that people with OSA severe enough to affect their daytime alertness and manifest in other ways are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but this finding suggests that many more people—some of whom may be completely unaware that they even have OSA—are at risk than previously thought,” said lead author of the study, Malcolm Kohler, M.D.

The study will be published in the first issue for November of the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

“Only one out of approximately five subjects with [clinically defined OSA] complains of excessive daytime sleepiness in population studies,” wrote Geraldo Lorenzi-Filho, M.D., Ph.D. in an editorial in the same issue of the Journal. “[I]t is now recognized that OSA triggers a cascade of biological reactions, including increased sympathetic activity, systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, and metabolic alterations that are potentially harmful to the cardiovascular system.”

To determine the exact nature of some of these effects, Dr. Kohler and colleagues performed a controlled, cross-sectional study to assess differences in endothelial function (often a harbinger for cardiovascular problems to come), arterial stiffness and blood pressure in patients with minimally symptomatic OSA. They compared 64 patients who had proven OSA to matched control subjects without OSA.

Their findings suggested that minimally symptomatic OSA is a cardiovascular risk factor to a degree not previously known.

“In our study, the augmentation index, a measure of central arterial stiffness that independently predicts cardiovascular events in high-risk populations, was significantly higher in patients with minimally symptomatic OSA compared to matched controls,” said Dr. Kohler. “We also found impaired endothelial function as indicated by decreased vascular reactivity of their arteries compared to control subjects without OSA.”

The difference in arterial stiffness between OSA patients and control subjects, Dr. Kohler said was “comparable in size to the effect seen after four weeks’ continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy in patients with moderate to severe symptomatic OSA.”

This suggests that asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic patients with OSA may enjoy a cardiovascular benefit from CPAP therapy.


newsmax.com

Cell Phones Fry Sperm

Men who are heavy users of cell phones have up to 40 percent lower sperm counts than lighter users, according to a new Australian study which demonstrated that DNA in semen is damaged after 16 hours of exposure to cell phone radiation.

Researchers at the University of Newcastle created a device that irradiated sperm with radio waves set at the same frequency as cellular phone calls. “After 16 hours of exposure, there was clear evidence of DNA damage,” said study spokesman Professor John Aitken, who characterized the damage as high levels of DNA fragmentation.

The fragmentation is caused, the researchers say, by oxidative stress, which occurs when the generation of free radicals outstrips the body’s anti-oxidant defenses. DNA fragmentation has in the past been tied to oxidative stress brought on by infection, aging, and smoking, but until this time little research with cell phones had been carried out.

DNA damage in sperm has been linked to a decrease in fertility, an increased risk of disease in offspring such as childhood cancer, and also to neurological conditions such as bipolar disorder and autism.


Newsmax

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Junk Food Causes a Third of Heart Attacks


Diets heavy in fried foods, salty snacks and meat account for about 35 percent of heart attacks globally, researchers reported on Monday.

Their study of 52 countries showed that people who ate a "Western" diet based on meat, eggs and junk food were more likely to have heart attacks, while those who ate more fruits and vegetables had a lower risk.

The study supports previous findings that show junk food and animal fats can cause heart disease, and especially heart attacks.

Dr. Salim Yusuf at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues questioned more than 16,000 patients, 5,700 of whom had just suffered a first heart attack.

They took blood samples and had each patient fill out a detailed form on their eating habits between February 1999 and March 2003.

They divided the volunteers into three groups.

"The first factor was labeled 'Oriental' because of its high loading on tofu and soy and other sauces," they wrote in their report, published in the journal Circulation.

"The second factor was labeled 'Western' because of its high loading on fried food, salty snacks, and meat intake. The third dietary factor was labeled 'prudent' because of its high loadings on fruit and vegetable intake."

People who ate more fruits and vegetables had a 30 percent lower risk of heart attack compared to people who ate little or none of these foods, they found.

People eating a Western diet had a 35 percent greater risk of heart attack compared to people who consumed little or no fried foods and meat. Those eating the "Oriental" diet had an average risk of heart attack compared to the others.

The finding is important because it has not been clear if it is food per se or something else driving heart attack risk. Rich diets may be associated with a richer lifestyle that includes little or no exercise, for instance.

But the researchers note that heart disease is no longer an affliction only of the rich.

"Approximately 80 percent of the global cardiovascular disease burden occurs in low- and middle-income countries," they wrote.

The tofu-rich diet could be neutral rather than protective because it is high in sodium, they said. High sodium intake can raise blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Coffee Shrinks Breasts

Swedish researchers at Lund University have found a clear link between the amount of coffee a woman drinks and the size of her breasts. Amazingly, drinking three or more cups of coffee each day could cause a woman’s breasts to shrink!

Oncologist Helena Jernstrom noticed that large-breasted women were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but found that drinking at least three cups of coffee reduced their risk of developing breast cancer. She began looking for a link and found a gene in half of all women that relates to coffee intake and breast size. The researchers also studied almost 300 women, quizzing them about their coffee intake and their bust measurements.

Read the story

Gastric Bypass Reduces Heart Risks


The risk faced by obese people of having a heart attack or other cardiovascular "events" is reduced substantially after they undergo gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, according to a recent study.

The take-home message is that "bariatric surgery can be considered as a means to reduce cardiovascular risk (in obese patients) after conservative treatment options have failed," Dr. John A. Batsis told Reuters Health.

Batsis, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire and his colleagues identified six studies that looked at cardiovascular risk after bariatric surgery for obesity. The risk was estimated from standard tables that assigned a score for factors such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Depending on how the patients' risk was assessed, the researchers found that gastric bypass reduced the risk for a future cardiovascular event anywhere from 8 percent to 79 percent, compared to not having the procedure, the team reports in the American Journal of Cardiology.


Read the story

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Avoid Flu Shots With the One Vitamin that Will Stop Flu in Its Tracks

Another influenza season is beginning, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will strongly urge Americans to get a flu shot. In fact, the CDC mounts a well-orchestrated campaign each season to generate interest and demand for flu shots.

But a recent study published in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu appeared to have no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.

At first glance, the data did suggest that children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years derived some protection from vaccination in these years. But after adjusting for potentially relevant variables, the researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.

Additionally, a Group Health study found that flu shots do not protect elderly people against developing pneumonia -- the primary cause of death resulting as a complication of the flu. Others have questioned whether there is any mortality benefit with influenza vaccination. Vaccination coverage among the elderly increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now, but there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza or pneumonia.

There is some evidence that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease, most likely as a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde. Mercury in vaccines has also been implicated as a cause of autism.

Three other serious adverse reactions to the flu vaccine are joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralytic autoimmune disease.

One credible hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease.

Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.

Studies show that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections, and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. The increased number of deaths that occur in winter, largely from pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, are most likely due to vitamin D deficiency.

Unfortunately, now, for the first time, flu vaccination is also being pushed for virtually all children -- not just those under 5.

This is a huge change. Previously, flu vaccine was recommended only for youngsters under 5, who can become dangerously ill from influenza. This year, the government is recommending that children from age 6 months to 18 years be vaccinated, expanding inoculations to 30 million more school-age children.

The government argues that while older children seldom get as sick as the younger ones, it's a bigger population that catches flu at higher rates, so the change should cut missed school, and parents' missed work when they catch the illness from their children.

Of course, this policy ignores the fact that 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.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Plastics Chemical Linked to Disease in Adults


Bisphenol A or BPA, a chemical found in plastics, has been linked to some of the most deadly and rapidly increasing medical conditions in American adults.

A research team from the University of Iowa, the Peninsula Medical School, the University of Exeter, and the University of Plymouth found evidence that links BPA to heart disease and diabetes in adults. BPA, which is used in polycarbonate plastic products such as refillable water bottles, some plastic eating utensils, compact disks and many other everyday products, is one of the world’s most widely-used chemicals.....more

New Drug Shows Exenatide-Like Promise in Type 2 Treatment

An experimental exenatide (Byetta)-like drug called liraglutide has shown the ability to enhance insulin and glucagon production and suppress appetite in type 2 patients, according to a report in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Liraglutide is a manmade analog of the hormone GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), which stimulates the growth of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and insulin secretion.

Because of liraglutide's success in the phase 3 trial, its manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, will now seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market liraglutide in the United States.

In the one-year Novo Nordisk-funded study conducted by the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, 746 type 2 patients received once daily injections of either 1.2 mg or 1.8 mg of liraglutide or a once daily oral tablet of glimepiride, a sulfonylurea that promotes insulin production.
Patients receiving liraglutide also took dummy pills, while patients taking glimepiride also received dummy injections.

As they began treatment, patients' A1c's ranged from 7% to 11%. By the end of the study:

  • the A1c's of patients receiving 1.8 mg of liraglutide daily dropped by 1.14 percent
  • the A1c's of patients receiving 1.2 mg of liraglutide daily dropped by 0.84 percent
  • the A1c's of patients taking glimepiride daily dropped by 0.51 percent

Six patients had to drop out of the study due to severe nausea. Common side effect of exenatide-like drugs are. nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, symptoms that ease up or disappear within 30 days in most patients.

The study also tracked weight: in the first 16 weeks, the subjects taking liraglutide lost weight, while most of those taking glimepiride gained weight.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fructose Sets Stage for Sudden, Rapid Weight Gain


Eating too much fructose can induce leptin resistance, a condition that can easily lead to becoming overweight when combined with a high-fat, high-calorie diet, according to a new study with rats.


Although previous studies have shown that being leptin resistant can lead to rapid weight gain on a high-fat, high-caloric diet, this is the first study to show that leptin resistance can develop as a result of high fructose consumption. The study also showed for the first time that leptin resistance can develop silently, that is, with little indication that it is happening.


The study, “Fructose-induced leptin resistance exacerbates weight gain in response to subsequent high-fat feeding,” was carried out by Alexandra Shapiro, Wei Mu, Carlos Roncal, Kit-Yan Cheng, Richard J. Johnson and Philip J. Scarpace, all at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. The study appears in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, published by The American Physiological Society....more

Steroid Use Doubles Risk of Violence

Young men who use anabolic steroids are twice as likely to engage in violence than those who do not use the muscle-building drugs, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. ...more

Doctors Say There Is a Link Between Oral Sex and Throat Cancer


Teresa Dillon was surprised to learn four years ago that what she deemed as an average sore throat actually was stage 2 cancer on her tonsil. "People think the face of oral cancer is a 70-year-old man who's been chewing tobacco and drinking whiskey all his life," she said. "But the face of oral cancer now is — it's me, a young woman, healthy, nonsmoking, fit."

But what really shocked the waitress and then 38-year-old was that the human papillomavirus may have caused her illness, a illness that is often sexually transmitted. "It was a virus that caused my tumor, the HPV virus, which just knocked me over," Dillon said.
The HPV Cancer Connection ...more

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Americans Have High Blood Pressure

The number of Americans with high blood pressure is on the rise thanks in large part to growing rates of obesity, researchers said on Tuesday.But increasing numbers of those with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, are getting the condition treated, researchers from the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health wrote in the journal Hypertension.

High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. It is sometimes called the "silent killer" because it has no symptoms, and many people have it for years without knowing it.Data spanning six years through 2004 showed that 29 percent of U.S. adults had high blood pressure, compared to 24 percent in the six-year period ending in 1994, the researchers said.....more

Docs Often Skip Key Test Before Heart Surgery


People on Medicare who get elective surgery to open blocked heart arteries often do not get the recommended stress tests to confirm the surgery is warranted, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

The surgery, known as PCI or percutaneous coronary intervention, involves threading a balloon-tipped catheter through the arteries and opening up a clog. A tiny wire-mesh coil called a stent is often inserted to prop open the artery.

PCI costs Medicare, the U.S. government's health insurance program for people age 65 and older, $10,000 to $15,000 per procedure and has contributed significantly to increases in Medicare spending since the mid-1990s.....more

Surfing Internet May Keep Memories Sharp

Searching the Internet may help middle-aged and older adults keep their memories sharp, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles studied people doing Web searches while their brain activity was recorded with functional magnetic resonance imaging scans.

"What we saw was people who had Internet experience used more of their brain during the search," Dr. Gary Small, a UCLA expert on aging, said in a telephone interview.....more

Energy-Saving Lightbulbs a Health Danger


Some energy-saving lightbulbs emit enough harmful ultraviolet radiation to cause sunburn if placed too close to the body. These fluorescent lightbulbs, which are coil-shaped and unencapsulated, are promoted as energy-savers since they use about two-thirds less energy and last ten times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

But Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) issued a warning to people who use the bulbs close to their bodies, such as in reading lamps or in their occupations, such as jewelry makers, and those who have medical conditions that make them sensitive to UV light. If skin is in very close proximity to the bulbs, it gets the same exposure as if it were exposed to bright sun.

The HPA advises people not to use the bulbs any closer than twelve inches from the body for any longer than one hour a day. Those who use lightbulbs close to the body for longer periods should switch to an encapsulated form which is shaped more like a traditional bulb.

The agency doesn’t say that the lightbulbs could cause skin cancer, but they do believe they could cause sunburn. Still, they advise people not remove most bulbs from their homes. “This is precautionary advice,” said HPA’s Chief Executive Justin McCracken. “We are advising people to avoid using the open lightbulbs for prolonged close work until the problem is sorted out and to use encapsulated bulbs instead. In other situations where people are not likely to be very close to the bulbs for any length of time, all types of compact fluorescent light bulbs are safe to use."

The safety of the new lightbulbs has been questioned before. They contain a small amount of mercury and some scientists fear it could cause brain and kidney damage if the bulb is accidently broken and mercury vapor is inhaled. Even unbroken bulbs could eventually contaminate soil and ground water if improperly disposed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fish Oil May Slow Healing of Wounds


A recent study shows that popular fish oil supplements have an effect on the healing process of small, acute wounds in human skin. But whether that effect is detrimental, as researchers initially suspected, remains a mystery.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are widely considered to benefit cardiovascular health and other diseases related to chronic inflammation because of their anti-inflammatory properties. But insufficient inflammation during the initial stage of wound healing may delay the advancement of later stages.

In the study, blister wounds on the arms of people taking fish oil supplements were compared to the wounds of people taking a placebo. The wounds healed in about the same amount of time – but at the local cellular level, something unexpected happened. The levels of proteins associated with initiating and sustaining inflammation were higher in the blister fluid in people who had taken the active fish oil supplements. The researchers had expected those proteins to be lowered by the increased systemic presence of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood.

“That finding was hard to explain,” said Jodi McDaniel, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of nursing at Ohio State University. “These proteins may have other functions that we don’t yet fully understand. And our results also suggested there could be a difference between men and women in the amount of inflammatory proteins that are produced, because on average, women had lower levels of one of the proteins.”

If the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the fish oils do indeed delay acute wound healing, then they probably should be discontinued for awhile by patients scheduled for surgery, McDaniel said. They appear to have enough of an effect that patients should at least inform their doctors if they’re taking a fish oil supplement, she added.

But there could still be a bright side to the supplements’ ability to alter those proteins and other molecular substances that control inflammation locally. Fish oil’s systemic anti-inflammatory power, which has been illustrated in previous studies, still might assist in the healing of chronic wounds at the local level. Chronic wounds are essentially stuck in an inflammatory stage that slows or prevents transition to the later stages needed for complete healing. That mechanism needs to be explored further, McDaniel said.

“There’s so much information out there now about omega-3s and they clearly have lots of potential,” McDaniel said. “We’re just trying to figure out how to evaluate what they do and how to advise people to take these supplements. Our goal isn’t to stop supplement use but to fill in the picture of what conditions they help and what they might hurt.”

The research is published in a recent issue of the journal Wound Repair and Regeneration.

Study participants were divided into two groups of 15 healthy adults each. One group took a placebo, and the other took an active supplement containing 1.6 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1.1 grams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily for four weeks. EPA and DHA are the polyunsaturated fatty acids obtained primarily from fish oil that serve as the basis of most standard omega-3 supplements.

Previous research has suggested that these fatty acids affect the production of proteins called proinflammatory cytokines, which signal biological processes during the inflammatory stage of wound healing. The primary cytokines in the process are interleukin-1 beta (IL-1b), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a).

But research had not yet addressed how the interaction between fatty acids and these cytokines might affect human wounds.

McDaniel and colleagues expected to find that research participants taking the fish oil supplements – and therefore being affected by their anti-inflammatory properties – would have significantly lower levels of the cytokines in their blister wounds during the initial stage of inflammation, resulting in a slower healing process.

Instead, the group taking the fish oil had significantly higher levels of IL-1b in their blister wounds than did the placebo group 24 hours after the wounds were created. The active group also had higher levels of IL-6 and TNF-a cytokines in their blisters over time than did the placebo group, but those differences in levels were not significant. The blisters took an average of 10.7 days to completely heal in the active supplement group and an average of 9.8 days in the placebo group, but the difference was not significant.

The results suggest that the function of these cytokines still isn’t completely understood, McDaniel said. And the scientists were also surprised to find that gender appeared to make a difference in cytokine production. Men were more likely than women among the active supplement group to have higher levels of the IL-1b cytokine in their wounds. McDaniel said that some studies have suggested that estrogen plays a role in inhibiting the production of this particular protein during the inflammatory stage of wound healing, but more research is needed.

McDaniel and colleagues are following up with a similar study in which they are adding a low-dose aspirin to both the fish oil supplement and placebo groups. Some research has shown that aspirin can facilitate the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, and low-dose aspirin is commonly included in the medication regimen of patients with cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also will look at different biological markers in blister wounds to see if the combination of fish oil and aspirin produces compounds that function as what McDaniel called “stop and go switches” in controlling inflammation.

“If we find that the fish oil can work in an anti-inflammatory fashion at the local level of wound sites, we would consider moving on to the chronic wound population,” McDaniel said. “Even if we find that there are times when omega-3 fatty acids should not be taken in advance of creating an acute wound, such as in elective surgery, we still have high hopes that fish oil might be beneficial for chronic wounds in certain situations.”

Your Mirror Provides an Instant Health Checkup


A hard, close-up stare at yourself in the mirror every morning can provide a daily health checkup that could extend your life and perhaps even save it someday. “Mirror, mirror on the wall—who’s the healthiest of them all?” is a phrase you should take to heart, since many expert diagnosticians believe our faces reflect our state of health. They believe that all too often warning signs like bloodshot eyes are ignored as inconsequential when they could in fact be evidence of serious illness.

Here are some of the medical problems that a long look in the looking glass can reveal:

Eye Warning Signs: Bloodshot or inflamed eyes can signal everything from an infection to gastroenteritis, or even autoimmune diseases such as arthritis. A white ring around the iris or colored part of the eye can be an indication of fatty deposits triggered by high cholesterol, as can small waxy lumps on the skin around the eye. Pale eyelids may indicate anemia. Drooping eyelids, often caused by eye strain, can also be signs of either a stroke or even lung cancer, which can put pressure on a nerve group in the chest that affects the eyes.

Hair Warning Signs: Premature grayness can signal vitamin B12 deficiency because it is essential for pigmentation. This condition is known as pernicious anemia, and other symptoms can be weight loss, fatigue, and diarrhea. Thinning hair in women can be a sign of an iron deficiency. In both sexes, thinning hair on the head and/or eyebrows, especially if accompanied by dry skin and fatigue, can be a symptom of an underactive thyroid gland.

Skin Warning Signs: A spotty complexion can indicate irritable bowel syndrome. Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause acne in women due to hormonal changes. Changes in skin color, especially to yellow, can be a sign of jaundice and liver problems. A color change to orange can be a sign of too much beta-carotene consumed in yellow and red vegetables and fruit. Sallow skin can be a symptom of dehydration. Itchy skin can be eczema, while itchy hands and feet can be a sign of poor liver function.

Mouth Warning Signs: Bleeding gums are commonly a sign of gingivitis due to poor oral hygiene, but they can also indicate leukemia, which affects blood clotting. Ulcers can be a sign of minor burns from food, or even stress, but if they last more than two weeks they need to be evaluated for cancer. Cracked lips, especially at the corners of the mouth and if they’re persistent, can be caused either by anemia or diabetes. Pale lips can be a sign of low oxygen levels in the blood caused by heart or lung problems, and also can be yet another indicator or anemia. White patches on the tongue can be caused by a fungus called thrush, and be cleared quickly by an anti-fungal mouthwash. White patches that are not sore and don’t go away need to be checked for cancerous cell changes.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved. www.newsmax.com


Study Confirms Vioxx Doubles Heart Risks

A long-term analysis of people who took the arthritis drug Vioxx confirms it doubles the risk of strokes and heart attacks, researchers said on Monday, but this risk goes away a year after people stop taking it.

And other drugs in the same class of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors may cause similar harm, they said.

What the Chemical Industry Doesn't Want You to Know about Everyday Products

chemicals, bisphenol A, BPA, FDA, plasticThe global chemical industry annually produces about 6 billion pounds of bisphenol A (BPA), an integral component of a vast array of plastic products, generating at least $6 billion in annual sales. The value of BPA-based manufactured goods is probably incalculable. Environmental Working Group studies have found BPA in more than half the canned foods and beverages sampled from supermarkets across the U.S.


Soon after scientists Frederick Vom Saal and Wade Welshons found the first hard evidence that miniscule amounts of BPA caused irreversible changes in the prostates of fetal mice, a scientist from Dow Chemical Company showed up at the Missouri lab. He disputed the data and declared, as Vom Saal recalls, "We want you to know how distressed we are by your research."


"It was not a subtle threat," Vom Saal says. "It was really, really clear, and we ended up saying, threatening us is really not a good idea."


The Missouri scientists redoubled their investigations of BPA. Industry officials and scientist allies fired back, sometimes in nose-to-nose debates at scientific gatherings, sometimes more insidiously. "I heard [chemical industry officials] were making blatantly false statements about our research," says Welshons. "They were skilled at creating doubt when none existed."


The industry's increasingly noisy denials backfired. By the turn of the millennium, dozens of scientists were launching their own investigations of the chemical. But the chemical industry can be expected to fight aggressively against more regulation. Earlier this year, the industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat a California legislative proposal to ban BPA in food packaging. The Chemistry Council and allied companies and industry groups hired an army of lobbyists. Tactics included an industry email to food banks charging that a BPA ban would mean the end of distributions of canned goods for the poor.



Read More...

Plastic Ingredient May Cause Smaller Penises


A common chemical ingredient in plastics has been linked to smaller penises and incomplete descent of testicles in baby boys. Phthalates, which are added to plastics to keep them soft and pliable, are linked to a feminizing effect on boy fetuses whose moms had above-average levels of the chemical in their urine while pregnant. Moms who had the highest amounts gave birth to boys with more feminine characteristics.

Scientists have been concerned about the effects of the phthalates, known as DEHP, because rodent studies showed it had a negative effect on the masculinity of young rats.

Current research conducted in three different areas of the United States, showed their concerns were well-founded. Scientists found a definite correlation between levels of the chemical in pregnant moms and a feminizing effect on their sons. They theorize that phthalates may reduce testosterone synthesis.

Phthalates are added to many personal care products including perfume, nail polish and hair spray. They are also included in many cosmetics, but the consumer is unaware because they are not specifically listed on the label, hiding under other items such as fragrances.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Personal Liberties at Stake in Raw Milk Issue


Our constitutional right to liberty is systematically being attacked by government agencies flanked by anti-competitive forces in the food industry.

Nowhere is this more obvious than on the raw milk issue. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently vetoed SB201, a bill to preserve consumers’ rights to access farm fresh milk while guaranteeing its safety.

The governor, who likely consumed raw dairy in his rise to stardom as a body builder, thwarted the freedoms of the over 40,000 raw milk devotees in his state. He ignored the will of the people in favor of the milk processors and the government regulators bent on crushing the raw dairy producers in their state — two of which are the most successful in the nation.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, whose officials repeatedly refused to appear at hearings on the legislation, pushed The Terminator’s pen on a bill that received populist support and nearly unanimous approval by both houses of the legislature.

Similar backroom politics killed the Farm Fresh Milk Act in Maryland last year, which would have reinvigorated struggling small dairy farms by recognizing their right to sell milk direct to consumers at the farm gate. Hundreds of Maryland families participated in lobbying efforts in support of the bill, and yet it was killed in committee (by a very close vote) because of the bureaucrats’ dire warnings of an imminent threat to public health.

In Pennsylvania, an aggressive anti-raw milk stance has created a hostile atmosphere for over 100 family farms. Pennsylvania raw milk farms practice humane animal husbandry and consequently offer a superior product to thousands of consumers, many of whom consume raw milk for its healing qualities.

Bill Chirdon, the director of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s (PDA) Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services, is spearheading a pathogen witch hunt that appears to be aimed at chilling consumer demand for raw dairy.

Through stepped up inspection schedules and a flurry of negative press releases warning of pathogens in raw milk in 2008, Chirdon has managed to damage farmer’s livelihoods, thus raising the ire of consumers and farmers alike. Taking a guilty until proven innocent attitude toward one dairy farmer in a recent case, he even issued a press release pinning blame for several illnesses on the dairy, prior to the return of official test results.

When the test results came back negative, he proceeded to withhold the release of the results to the media. At the same time, he disseminated another press release, which claimed a pathogen was found in an opened milk container from a sick household.

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund board member, Ted Beals, M.D., a pathologist and former laboratory chief says that the testing of an opened container, especially from a sick household, is an unacceptable test. An opened container may be cross-contaminated, and this is even more likely to happen in a home where there is illness. Releasing these unorthodox test results to the media totally eclipsed the PDA’s subsequent announcement that the official test results for pathogens came back negative. The dairy had been exonerated, yet the public’s perception remained that it was risky to buy raw milk.

Consumer choice and the survival of family farms, particularly those who practice traditional and sustainable farming methods, are under siege by government policies informed by institutional bias against unprocessed milk.

Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation www.westonaprice.org and the nation’s leading champion of raw dairy for its nutritional benefits, www.realmilk.com has a dire warning of her own. “The right to produce and consume raw dairy is vital to the health of the family farm and our citizens. The future of sustainable agriculture and the health of our nation depend on a new paradigm that respects the essential liberties of farmers and consumers.”

Bureaucrats and Big Business with wanton disregard for our freedoms, may stir up such resistance that they end up stimulating demand for raw dairy, rather than curbing sales. Their campaign of oppression may be just what we need to bring that new paradigm about.

Kimberly Hartke is a raw dairy consumer in Virginia. Virginia outlawed retail and farm sales of raw milk, so her family had to buy a share of a cow in order to have access to farm fresh milk. She is now the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation, which suggests raw dairy from pasture-raised cows can heal many health problems. Visit her blog: www.hartkeonline.blogspot.com.

Friday, October 10, 2008

5 Ways to Keep Bisphenol A, or BPA, Out of Your Food

With studies stacking up against the chemical, here's what you need to know to lower your exposure

Posted September 17, 2008

With yesterday's study linking bisphenol A—a chemical in hard plastics and the linings of food and beverage cans—to diabetes and heart disease, you may be wondering what you can do to minimize your exposure. The Environmental Working Group last year conducted an analysis of BPA in various canned foods and found the amount varies widely depending on the food. Condensed milk, for instance, has relatively little BPA, while infant formula has a lot more—about one fifth the safe dose limit set by the Food and Drug Administration. Of course, the potential risk also depends on how much you consume. Canned soda has less BPA per serving than some other foods, but if you're having a six pack a day...

(Courtesy of Environmental Working Group)
Video: The Dangers of Heart Disease
Video: The Dangers of Heart Disease

Here are some good rules of thumb for reducing your intake of BPA.

1. Buy your tomato sauce in glass jars. Canned tomato sauce is likely to have higher levels of BPA because the high acidity of the tomatoes causes more of the chemical to leach from the lining of the can. Think beyond plain tomato sauce to any canned pasta—like ravioli and those fun-looking kids' meals.

2. Consume frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned. In addition to their BPA-free benefit, fresh and frozen produce usually have more nutrients, which often get lost in the process of canning. Eden Foods does offer canned beans that are BPA-free.

3. Purchase beverages in plastic or glass bottles. Canned soda and juice often contain some BPA. You don't need to worry, though, about disposable plastic water bottles. Most don't contain bisphenol A, and those that do are usually marked on the bottom with a number 7 recycling code.

4. Use powdered infant formula instead of ready-to-serve liquid. A separate assessment from the Environmental Working Group found that liquid formulas contain more BPA than powdered brands.

5. Think in terms of moderation. You don't need to avoid all canned foods. Just consult the chart below and follow a sensible approach, eating less of those foods that are high in BPA. Click here for the full report on canned foods.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Even Occasional Smoking Harms Arteries


Even occasional cigarette smoking can impair the functioning of your arteries, according to a new University of Georgia study that used ultrasound to measure how the arteries of young, healthy adults respond to changes in blood flow.


“Most people know that if they have a cigarette or two over the weekend that it’s not good for their arteries,” said study co-author Kevin McCully, a professor of kinesiology in the UGA College of Education, “but what they may not be aware of—and what our study shows—is that the decrease in function persists into the next week, if not longer.”


Previous studies have shown reductions in the arterial health of people who smoke regularly, McCully said, but what’s surprising about his finding is that the study subjects were occasional smokers (less than a pack a week) who had not smoked for at least two days before their ultrasound. The study, which appears in the early online edition of the journal Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, found that the arteries of occasional smokers were 36 percent less responsive to changes in blood flow than non-smokers. ....More


Also See: Thank You for Smoking

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Get 2 1/2 Hours of Exercise Each Week

Adults should aim to get in 2 1/2 hours of exercise a week and children should run and play for at least an hour a day, according to new exercise guidelines issued by the U.S. government on Tuesday.

The guidelines, meant to be akin to the "Food Pyramid" nutritional advice, are based on studies that show clear health benefits from regular, moderate exercise.

"More than 59 percent of adults don't get enough physical activity and a quarter of adults aren't active at all in their leisure time," Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said in a telephone interview. ....more

Warning Highlights Dangers of Microwaving


OMAHA, Neb. -- Zapping frozen meals in the microwave may be fast and easy, but it also can make you sick if it's not done properly.

That message has been slow to catch on, despite a spate of illnesses last year from improperly microwaved frozen foods. On Sunday, the government issued a new warning urging consumers to thoroughly cook frozen chicken dinners after 32 people in 12 states were sickened with salmonella poisoning.

"Given how people use microwaves, it's great for reheating, but maybe not so good for cooking," said Doug Powell, scientific director of the International Food Safety Network based at Kansas State University. ....more

Red Wine Cuts Lung Cancer Risk


Enjoying a glass or two of red wine daily may slash your risk of developing lung cancer by 60 percent if you’re a smoker. A study published in the October issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, found that moderate consumption of red wine lowered the risk of lung cancer in men.

“An antioxidant compound in red wine may be protective of lung cancer, particularly among smokers,” said Chun Chao, Ph.D., a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, California.

The study collected information on over 84,000 men aged 45 to 69 years old in California’s healthcare system. Scientists measured the effects of beer, white wine, red wine and liquor on the risk of developing lung cancer. Factors such as race, education, body mass index, and smoking history were also considered.

The researchers found that for every glass of red wine consumed each month, the risk of developing lung cancer dropped by two percent. The biggest reduction was seen in smokers who drank one or two glasses of red wine daily. Their risk was reduced by 60 percent. Beer, white wine and liquor had no measureable effect.

“Red wine is known to contain high levels of antioxidants,” said Chao. "There is a compound called resveratrol that is very rich in red wine because it is derived from the grape skin. This compound has shown significant health benefits in preclinical studies.”

Researchers warn that their findings shouldn’t encourage heavy drinking and also noted that even smokers who drank red wine had a higher risk of lung cancer than non-smokers.

www.newsmax.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Putting a fan in baby's room might fight SIDS

Having your baby sleep on his back is still the best way to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, but a new study suggests that using a fan in the room can help, too.

The study, published in October's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found that running a fan appears to reduce the risk of SIDS, the leading cause of death for babies 1 month to 1 year old.

The cause of SIDS remains unknown. But re-inhaling exhaled gases, such as carbon dioxide, during sleep has been identified as a possible cause.

"It is conceivable that increasing room ventilation by using a fan helps to disperse accumulated carbon dioxide ... around the nose and mouth," the study authors wrote.

Nationally, deaths from SIDS have dropped by more than half since 1992, with parents heeding doctors' recommendation to place babies on their backs to sleep. Still, an estimated 2,500 infants nationwide die each year.

The study found that, in rooms where the temperature was above 69 degrees, having a fan on lowered the odds of SIDS by 94 percent.

The research was based on a survey of 185 mothers of infants with a confirmed diagnosis of SIDS and mothers of more than 300 randomly selected infants.....more

Young Kids Shouldn't Have Hamsters, Exotic Pets

Warning: young children should not keep hedgehogs as pets — or hamsters, baby chicks, lizards and turtles, for that matter — because of risks for disease.

That's according to the nation's leading pediatricians' group in a new report about dangers from exotic animals.

Besides evidence that they can carry dangerous and sometimes potentially deadly germs, exotic pets may be more prone than cats and dogs to bite, scratch or claw — putting children younger than 5 particularly at risk, the report says.

Young children are vulnerable because of developing immune systems plus they often put their hands in their mouths.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Asian/White Couples Face Specific Pregnancy Risks

Pregnant women who are part of an Asian-white couple face an increased risk of gestational diabetes as compared with couples in which both partners are white, according to a new study from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The researchers also found that Asian women whose partners are white are more likely than white women with Asian or white partners to have a caesarean delivery, as part of a broad analysis of perinatal outcomes among Asian, white and Asian-white couples.

The study will be published in the October issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The findings, the authors say, could benefit clinicians working with an increasingly diverse patient population.

"There's great heterogeneity in our country; there are people of many different races and backgrounds," said co-author Yasser El-Sayed, MD, a Packard Children's Hospital obstetrician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the medical school. "Gaining better insight into the risks facing specific populations provides for better counseling and better prenatal care."

It's difficult to estimate the prevalence of Asian-white couples, but 14.3 percent of Americans reporting Asian race in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 survey also reported being of mixed Asian-white ancestry. Although past studies have looked at ethnic differences in perinatal outcomes, the majority of research has focused on white- African-American couples. Few studies have focused specifically on Asian-white couples, said El-Sayed, who is also associate chief of maternal-fetal medicine.

To learn more about outcomes and risks in this population, the researchers looked at data from white, Asian and Asian-white couples who delivered at the Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services at Packard Children's from 2000 through 2005. (During that time period, 5,575 white, 3,226 Asian and 868 Asian-white couples delivered babies at the hospital.) The team recorded the type of delivery - caesarean vs. vaginal - and examined perinatal outcomes including gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, preterm delivery and birth weight.

El-Sayed and his colleagues found, as noted in their paper, that Asian- white couples "represent a population with distinct perinatal risks that differ depending upon which parent is of Asian race."

More specifically, the researchers found that white mother/Asian father couples had the lowest rate (23 percent) of caesarean delivery, while Asian mother/white father couples had the highest rate (33.2 percent). Because birth weights between these two groups were similar, the researchers say the findings suggest that the average Asian woman's pelvis may be smaller than the average white woman's and less able to accommodate babies of a certain size. (Asian couples had babies with the lowest median birth weight, so caesarean delivery was less common among those women.)

It's important for clinicians to know which women may have an increased risk of caesarean delivery, so they can conduct proper counseling prior to childbirth, El-Sayed said.

El-Sayed and his colleagues also found that the incidence of gestational diabetes was lowest among white couples at 1.61 percent and highest among Asian couples at 5.73 percent - and just under 4 percent for Asian-white couples. These findings weren't altogether surprising: past studies have shown an increased risk of diabetes among Asian couples, which researchers attribute to an underlying genetic predisposition. But the interesting finding, El-Sayed said, was that the risk for interracial couples was about the same regardless of which parent was Asian.

Based on their findings, El-Sayed said clinicians should consider both maternal and paternal race when determining a patient's risk for perinatal complications. "One has to factor in as many relevant variables as possible when you counsel a patient about pregnancy," he said. "We've shown in this paper that if you have an interracial couple, depending on which parent is of which race, there may be different relative risks of certain outcomes that could inform and enhance clinical management."

Anti-obesity drug bites the dust

The search for anti-obesity drugs got a setback with Merck's announcement Thursday that the company has ended obesity research on its experimental drug taranabant. According to a statement from the company, though phase three results showed it did help people lose weight, it also had too many side effects. Here's the company's Oct. 2 statement.

Taranabant is a chemical that blocks a receptor in the brain that is activated by THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. (Readers may be aware that partaking of marijuana stimulates the appetite; conversely, blocking the brain receptor through which this effect occurs might be expected to have an anti-munchie effect.) But the receptor blocked by taranabant is widely distributed in the brain and presumably involved in a variety of brain processes. Plus it's also found in certain other tissues of the body, including fat cells and the adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands. So it's not surprising the drug would have other effects unrelated to appetite.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, "The company said Thursday that both effectiveness and side effects are dependent on dose levels, with higher doses producing greater effectiveness but more adverse events. Essentially, Merck wasn't able to find a dose level that adequately minimizes risk while helping people lose weight to a significant degree."

This isn't the first anti-obesity drug developed that acts on cannabinoid receptors. Another, Sanofi-Aventis' rimonabant (Accomplia), is available in some countries in Europe but hasn't received FDA approval in the U.S.; in 2007 an FDA advisory committee recommended against approval because of side effect concerns.

-- Rosie Mestel

Be Careful Which Breakfast Cereals Your Kids Eat

 

Consumer Reports Health has issued a warning on many popular cereals, revealing that severl of them that kids consume daily are loaded with sugar...Boston (ChattahBox) - Consumer Reports Health has issued a warning on many popular cereals, revealing that severl of them that kids consume daily are loaded with sugar.

It is important for parents to pay attention to the report, set to be published in the November issue of Consumer Reports.

The report looked at 27 different brands of cereal, and found that 11 were loaded with sugar, as much as a glazed doughnut in just one serving.

Cereals which were found to have more than 50% sugar by weight included Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, Kraft Foods Inc’s Post Golden Crisp, as well as others.

Other cereals loaded with sugar included Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Rice Krispies, Apple Jacks, and Cocoa Krispies.

Cereal has been touted as a great source of carbs, vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc, but not with this much sugar.

The cereals which rated the best were General Mills’ Cheerios, Kix, Honey Nut Cheerios, as well as Quaker Oats’ Life.

Rodent of the week: When mice overeat

Rodent_of_the_weekOvereating not only makes your body expand, it sends your brain off-kilter, say the authors of a new study on obesity. The study, from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, showed that a part of the brain that is normally dormant can be activated by too many calories.

Previous research has shown that over-nutrition causes an inflammatory response in many tissues in the body. This inflammation can lead to diseases like diabetes. A particular molecular compound called IKKbeta/NK-kappaB is known to promote this inflammation. But by giving mice loads of sugar or fat, the same molecular compound was activated in their brains. That, in turn, caused dysfunctions in the way they handled nutrition, such as changes in the important metabolic hormones insulin and leptin. Insulin lowers blood sugar while leptin controls appetite.

Researchers think that this normally inactive pathway in the brain may have been important in our evolutionary past, perhaps by boosting the body's immunity. But it's definitely something modern-day humans want to avoid. So go easy on that never-ending pasta bowl.

"In today's society, this pathway is mobilized by a different environmental challenge -- over-nutrition," said Dongsheng Cai, the lead author of the study. "The pathway leads to a number of dysfunctions."

The study also found that treatments that prevent the activity of IKKbeta/NF-kappaB in the animals' brains protected them from obesity. Scientists now hope they can create treatments to block this pathway in humans. The study was published in the journal Cell.

-- Shari Roan

Top Psychiatrist Didn’t Report Drug Makers’ Pay

One of the nation’s most influential psychiatrists earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers from 2000 to 2007, failed to report at least $1.2 million of that income to his university and violated federal research rules, according to documents provided to Congressional investigators.More...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Toxic Chemicals Common in Baby Products

Toxic fire retardant chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurological and other health problems are prevalent in common baby products, according to a study released by national environmental group Friends of the Earth.

The study, “Killer Cribs: Protecting Infants and Children from Toxic Exposure,” found that these toxic chemicals, called halogenated fire retardants, appear in a high percentage of baby products, including portable cribs, strollers, car seats and infant carriers. Due to their prevalence in common household products, these chemicals have been found in breast milk and in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to the health effects of these chemicals as they impact development at critical stages of growth.

“We’re poisoning our children, one crib at a time,” said Russell Long, Vice-President of Friends of the Earth. “Given the clear links to learning disorders and reproductive problems, this is beyond foolish. Fortunately, there are fire-safe alternatives, but the chemical industry is fighting hard to keep its profits at the expense of our kids.”

Friends of the Earth’s Sara Schedler, the report’s lead author said, “We sampled a wide variety of children’s products, and what we found was alarming. Toxic chemicals are being put into products that children and babies interact with on a regular basis, endangering their health. The government must act now to limit these chemicals’ use, and companies should immediately phase them of their products.”

The largest state in the nation may soon enact safeguards. A bill sponsored by California Assemblyman Mark Leno (AB 706) would end the use of these dangerous chemicals in many products and has already passed the California Assembly. Action is pending on the California Senate floor.

“Kids shouldn’t have to sleep on or play with toxic products that could cause long-term damage to their health,” Leno said. “Our bill would help ensure they don’t.”more..

Overeating Makes Brain Go Haywire

Overeating makes the brain go haywire, prompting a cascade of damage that may cause diabetes, heart disease and other ills, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.more..

Saliva Ingredient Helps Heal Wounds, Report Says

Human saliva contains a compound that greatly speeds wound healing, according to scientists from The Netherlands.

The scientists' report, published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), may offer hope to people suffering from chronic wounds related to diabetes and other disorders, as well as traumatic injuries and burns. In addition, the fact that the compound can be mass produced means it has the potential to become as common as antibiotic creams and rubbing alcohol.

"We hope our finding is ultimately beneficial for people who suffer from non-healing wounds, such as foot ulcers and diabetic ulcers, as well as for treatment of trauma-induced wounds like burns," said Menno Oudhoff, first author of the report.

Specifically, scientists found that histatin, a small protein in saliva previously believed to kill only bacteria, was responsible for the healing. The researchers used epithelial cells that line the inner cheek and cultured in dishes until the surfaces were completely covered with cells. Then they made an artificial wound in the cell layer in each dish, by scratching a small piece of the cells away.

In one dish, cells were bathed in an isotonic fluid without any additions. In the other dish, cells were bathed in human saliva.

After 16 hours the scientists noticed that the saliva-treated "wound" was almost completely closed. In the dish with the untreated "wound," a substantial part of it was still open.

This proved that human saliva contains a factor which accelerates wound closure of oral cells. Because saliva is a complex liquid with many components, the next step was to identify which component was responsible for wound healing. Using various techniques the researchers split the saliva into its individual components, tested each in their wound model, and finally determined that histatin was responsible.

"This study not only answers the biological question of why animals lick their wounds," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, "it also explains why wounds in the mouth, like those of a tooth extraction, heal much faster than comparable wounds of the skin and bone. It also directs us to begin looking at saliva as a source for new drugs."

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