The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
God's Hand Behind the News

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Can Flame-Retardant Chemicals Cause Infertility?

Women with high levels of a common type of flame retardant in their blood took longer to become pregnant than women with low levels. PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers are found in common household items including plastics, fabrics, carpets, insulated wires, and foam furniture.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that for each 10-fold increase in the concentration of PBDEs in the blood, a woman's odds of conceiving decreased by 30 percent. For women actively attempting to become pregnant, the odds of conceiving dropped by 50 percent in any given month.

"We aren't looking at infertility, just subfertility, because all the women in our study eventually became pregnant," the study's lead author, Kim Harley, adjunct assistant professor of maternal and child health and associate director of the Center for Children's Environmental Health Research at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, said in a statement. "Had we included infertile couples in our study, it is possible that we would have seen an even stronger effect from PBDE exposure.

"There have been numerous animal studies that have found a range of health effects from exposure to PBDEs, but very little research has been done in humans," Harley said. "This latest paper is the first to address the impact on human fertility, and the results are surprisingly strong. These findings need to be replicated, but they have important implications for regulators."

Although there are 209 different mixtures for PBDEs, only three formulations � pentaBDE, octaBDE, and decaBD � were developed for commercial use as flame retardants. They became common in the 1970s when new fire safety standards were implemented throughout the United States.

The EPA banned two of the PBDE mixtures in 2005 (pentaBDE and octaBDE), and the third will be phased out in 2013.

"The good news is these chemicals have or are being phased out," Hardley told the San Francisco Chronicle. "The bad news is their legacy will continue because of their presence in a lot of items in our homes."

"Every month, it seems, there are new studies linking this class of chemicals to problematic health concerns," Judy Levin, pollution prevention coordinator for the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, told the Chronicle. "A bigger question is why are chemicals allowed to be placed in commerce and into our bodies before their toxicity is fully understood?"

How can you avoid PBDEs? Use these tips from the Environmental Working Group:

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bipolar Diagnosis Jumps in Tots

The number of children aged 2 to 5 who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed powerful antipsychotic drugs has doubled over the past decade, according to research released on Friday.

The research suggests that while it is still rare to prescribe powerful psychiatric drugs to 2-year-olds, the practice is becoming more frequent.

The data, compiled from 2000 to 2007, and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, could inform testimony at the upcoming Boston-area murder trials of the parents of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley. The girl died of an overdose of mood-stabilizing medication in 2006.

A Boston child psychiatrist, Kayoko Kifuji, diagnosed Riley with bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when she was 30 months old, and placed her on several powerful drugs: Depakote, an antiseizure medication also used for bipolar disorder, and clonidine, a blood pressure medication.

Kifuji's testimony may be crucial to the fate of Michael and Carolyn Riley, who face first-degree murder charges. A grand jury and a review by the state's medical licensing board cleared the doctor of wrongdoing.

Prosecutors claim the Rileys deliberately overmedicated their daughter to subdue her. The couple say they were following Kifuji's instructions and their daughter died of pneumonia.

The case has shone the spotlight again on a debate within the psychiatric profession about whether bipolar disorder can be diagnosed in very young children and whether it is wise to prescribe powerful medications.

Bipolar disorder, characterized by severe mood swings, was once thought to emerge only during adolescence or later. But Dr. Joseph Biederman, a child psychiatrist at Harvard University, transformed views on the subject by arguing that children could have the disorder at extremely young ages.

He is credited with spearheading a more than 40-fold increase in the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder over the past decade.

Biederman was accused in 2008 by Republican U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of failing to fully disclose payments by drug companies, including some that produced medication for bipolar disorder. Biederman declined to be interviewed about the latest study.

"The psychiatric diagnosis of very young children is anything but an exact science," said Harry Tracy, a psychologist and publisher of NeuroInvestment, a monthly publication specializing in central nervous system disorders.

"Such disparate causes as ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, sexual abuse, and family dysfunction can produce very similar symptoms in a toddler."

The report's author, Mark Olfson, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, said about 1.5 percent of all privately insured children between the ages of 2 and 5, or one in 70 children, received some sort of psychotropic drug�whether an antipsychotic, a mood stabilizer, a stimulant or an antidepressant�in 2007.

If a child is diagnosed with bipolar disorder between the ages of 2 and 5, about half are prescribed an antipsychotic, such as Eli Lilly & Co's Zyprexa, AstraZeneca Plc's Seroquel, and Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal. They are prescribed to about one in 3,000 2-year-olds, according to his report.

"There might be a role for these drugs but only after you've tried other interventions, with the parents, or with the parents and child together, but that is not happening when you examine the billing records," Olfson said.


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Monday, January 18, 2010

A spanked child may be a better adult: study

Young children spanked by their parents may perform better at school later on and grow up to be happier, according to a controversial new study that is drawing scorn from critics.

The U.S.-based research states that spanking children up to six years old made them more successful in school, more optimistic about life, more likely to take voluntary work, and more keen to attend university than their never-spanked counterparts.

The findings were drawn from interviews of more than 2,600 people, including a core group of 179 teenagers. The teens were asked how old they were when they were spanked and how often it happened. Their answers were compared with information they gave about their behaviour that could have been influenced by smacking.

Lead researcher Marjorie Gunnoe, a psychology professor at Michigan's Calvin College, said her research is not a green light for parents to spank their children, but rather a red light for those groups who want corporal punishment banned.

"There isn't enough evidence that kids who are not spanked look better than kids who are spanked," said Prof. Gunnoe, a mother of two children (she has spanked only one). "Some need the extra deterrent ... for young children, the external motivator is more effective."

However this latest research, which Prof. Gunnoe admitted was previously rejected by two professional journals, including the Journal of Family Psychology, contradicts other findings that spanking is counterproductive.

Dr. Diane Sacks, former president of the Canadian Paediatric Society, says research has proven that spanking, whether short or long-term, leads to "bad, physical behaviour."

"Many studies show that when children are spanked in order to teach, they don't learn," said Dr. Sacks, a pediatrician with 35 years experience. "When afraid, children learn poorly. Fear is a very bad teacher."

Instead, Dr. Sacks suggests non-physical methods to control the child. Time-outs, keeping the child out of the situation, or a firm "no" are much better forms of discipline.

Grant Wilson, president of the Canadian Children's Rights Council, suggested that the study's results may have been influenced by Calvin College's Christian affiliation, adding that some religious groups have opposed abolition of corporal punishment.

"People get confused over what discipline is -- it's not hitting children," Mr. Wilson said. "There are better methods of parenting rather than hitting.... It's not OK to hit children."

The spanking study had Prof. Gunnoe interviewing teenagers between ages 12 and 18. Their answers to a questionnaire about their childhood discipline was compared with their current behaviour, possibly affected by spanking. These measures covered topics around good behaviour such as academic aspirations, doing well in school and optimism for the future. The bad outcomes included violence, depression and anti-social behaviour.

Teenagers who had been spanked between ages two to six performed slightly better on the positive behaviors, but no worse on the negative measures than those who had never been spanked, the study found.

Only the teenagers who were still being spankYoung children spanked by their parents may perform better at school later on and grow up to be happier, according to a controversial new study that is drawing scorn from critics.

The U.S.-based research states that spanking children up to six years old made them more successful in school, more optimistic about life, more likely to take voluntary work, and more keen to attend university than their never-spanked counterparts.

The findings were drawn from interviews of more than 2,600 people, including a core group of 179 teenagers. The teens were asked how old they were when they were spanked and how often it happened. Their answers were compared with information they gave about their behaviour that could have been influenced by smacking.

Lead researcher Marjorie Gunnoe, a psychology professor at Michigan's Calvin College, said her research is not a green light for parents to spank their children, but rather a red light for those groups who want corporal punishment banned.

"There isn't enough evidence that kids who are not spanked look better than kids who are spanked," said Prof. Gunnoe, a mother of two children [she has spanked only one]. "Some need the extra deterrent ... for young children, the external motivator is more effective."

However this latest research, which Prof. Gunnoe admitted was previously rejected by two professional journals, including the Journal of Family Psychology, contradicts other findings that spanking is counterproductive.

Dr. Diane Sacks, former president of the Canadian Paediatric Society, says research has proven that spanking, whether short or long-term, leads to "bad, physical behaviour."

"Many studies show that when children are spanked in order to teach, they don't learn," said Dr. Sacks, a pediatrician with 35 years experience. "When afraid, children learn poorly. Fear is a very bad teacher."

Instead, Dr. Sacks suggests non-physical methods to control the child. Time-outs, keeping the child out of the situation, or a firm "no" are much better forms of discipline.

Grant Wilson, president of the Canadian Children's Rights Council, suggested that the study's results may have been influenced by Calvin College's Christian affiliation, adding that some religious groups have opposed abolition of corporal punishment.

"People get confused over what discipline is -- it's not hitting children," Mr. Wilson said. "There are better methods of parenting rather than hitting.... It's not OK to hit children."

The spanking study had Prof. Gunnoe interviewing teenagers between ages 12 and 18. Their answers to a questionnaire about their childhood discipline was compared with their current behaviour, possibly affected by spanking. These measures covered topics around good behaviour such as academic aspirations, doing well in school and optimism for the future. The bad outcomes included violence, depression and anti-social behaviour.

Teenagers who had been spanked between ages two to six performed slightly better on the positive behaviors, but no worse on the negative measures than those who had never been spanked, the study found.

Only the teenagers who were still being spanked showed clear behavioural problems, receiving the worst scores.

However, the results were less clear for the teenagers spanked between ages seven to 11. Against the never-spanked group, they scored slightly worse on the negative behaviours, being more prone to violence and anti-social behaviour. But they also scored well on the positive measures.

The study also compared teenagers from different ethnic groups and genders, but found little difference between them.ed showed clear behavioural problems, receiving the worst scores.

However, the results were less clear for the teenagers spanked between ages seven to 11. Against the never-spanked group, they scored slightly worse on the negative behaviours, being more prone to violence and anti-social behaviour. But they also scored well on the positive measures.

The study also compared teenagers from different ethnic groups and genders, but found little difference between them.

Study Finds Exposure to Chemical Pollutants Increases Fat

Researchers have for the first time found a connection between exposure to certain chemicals and insulin resistance, according to a study published in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.

A group of European scientists examined whether exposure to persistent organic pollutantsobesity and difficulty regulating blood levels of fat and sugar. (POPs) contributed to insulin resistance, which has been increasing around the world. More than 25 percent of U.S. adults suffer from metabolic conditions stemming from insulin resistance that include fatigue,

Researchers fed rats a high-fat diet of either crude or refined fish oil from farmed Atlantic salmon over 28 days. The crude fish oil contained average levels of POPs that people are exposed to through fish consumption, while the refined oil contained none. Both had equal fat levels.

They found that rats exposed to the crude fish oil developed belly fat and could not regulate fat properly. They had higher levels of cholesterol and several fatty acids in their livers. Those exposed to the refined fish oil experienced none of those symptoms.

Researchers said the findings provide "compelling evidence" of a causal relationship between POP exposure common in the food chain and insulin resistance, and highlight the need to understand the interactions of POPs and fat-containing foods such as fish, dairy products and meat.

How to deal with POPs is particularly challenging because they persist in the environment for long periods and can build up in animals' tissues.

The 2001 Stockholm Convention, which the United States has ratified but not signed, lists and bans numerous POPs from manufacture and use. The researchers say their evidence reinforces the need to have international agreements aimed at limiting the release of POPs into the environment in an effort to protect public health.

Studies demonstrate link among Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome and atherosclerosis

Nearly 20 years ago Huntington Potter kicked up a storm of controversy with the idea that Down syndrome and Alzheimer's were the same disease. Now the evidence is in: He was right.

And that's not all. , artery-clogging cardiovascular disease, and possibly even diabetes

, appear to share a common disease mechanism with Alzheimer's disease,

Dr. Potter and colleagues at the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute, recently reported.

The researchers' two papers - one in Molecular Biology of the Cell and the other in -- implicate the Alzheimer's-associated protein (amyloid protein), which damages the microtubule transport system responsible for moving chromosomes, proteins and other cargo around inside cells. Both studies were done in mice and humans cell cultures modeling Alzheimer's disease. Together, the laboratory discoveries suggest that protecting the microtubule network from this amyloid damage might be an effective way to prevent or even reverse Alzheimer's disease and associated disorders.

The first paper, by Antoneta Granic and colleagues published online Dec. 23 in Molecular Biology of the Cell, provides the mechanism behind previous work by Dr. Potter's laboratory showing that all Alzheimer's disease patients harbor some cells with three copies of chromosome 21, known as trisomy 21, instead of the usual two. Trisomy 21 is a characteristic shared by all the cells in people with the Down syndrome as well. This earlier work demonstrated that Alzheimer's disease could be considered a late onset form of Down syndrome.

By age 30 to 40, all people with Down syndrome develop the same brain pathology seen in Alzheimer's disease, including a nerve-killing buildup of sticky amyloid protein clumps. This contributes to accelerated nerve cell loss and dementia. With the study reported in MBC, Dr. Potter and his colleagues now show that the Alzheimer's-associated amyloid protein is the culprit that interferes with the microtubule transport system inside cells. The microtubules are responsible for segregating newly duplicated chromosomes as cells divide.
"After stem cell treatment, I would no longer freeze" - www.xcell-center.com/Parkinson

"Beta amyloid basically creates potholes in the protein highways that move cargo, including chromosomes, around inside cells," said Dr. Potter, who holds the Eric Pfeiffer Endowed Chair for Research on Alzheimer's Disease.

When the microtubule network is disrupted, chromosomes can be incorrectly transported as cells divide and the result is new cells with the wrong number of chromosomes and an abnormal assortment of genes. For example, Down syndrome cells contain three copies of the beta amyloid gene on - leading to more accumulation of the "bad" amyloid protein over a lifetime, Dr. Potter says. "Alzheimer's disease probably is caused in part from the continuous development of new trisomy 21 nerve cells, which amplify the disease process by producing extra beta amyloid."

The second paper by lead author Jose Abisambra and colleagues, published Dec. 31 in the online journal PLoS ONE, describes another consequence of the damaged microtubule network caused by the amyloid protein.

Many Alzheimer's disease patients also commonly develop vascular diseases and diabetes. Whether this coincidence is bad luck or due to shared disease processes is intensely debated. Research teams have investigated the role that low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol that causes atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke, may play in the development of Alzheimer's with mixed results. However, the USF group focused on the amyloid protein's potential effects on LDL metabolism. The receptor needed to detect and use LDL is among the proteins transported by the microtubules.

As previously reported by their colleagues in the MBC paper, the second USF team found that the amyloid protein inflicts damage to the microtubule network. As a consequence, the receptor needed to pull LDL circulating throughout the bloodstream into the body's cells has trouble getting to the cell surface to retrieve this bad cholesterol. This interference with LDL metabolism may allow bad cholesterol to build up in into plaques that choke off blood supply to the brain and heart in people with Alzheimer's, Dr. Potter said.

Similarly, other key proteins - including insulin receptors and receptors for brain signaling molecules -- are also likely locked inside cells when the transport system is damaged by amyloid or other factors. "The insulin receptors are needed to get blood sugar inside the cell where it can be used for energy. The nerve cell signaling receptors help promote memory and learning," Dr. Potter said. "So, if these receptors are unable to function properly, it may lead to diabetes and problems with learning and memory."

"We're beginning to understand how conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes may manifest some of the same underlying disease processes as Alzheimer's disease," he said, "rather than being independent diseases that just happen to develop in the same patient."

More information: Journal articles cited:

1. "Alzheimer Ab Peptide Induces Chromosome Mis-segregation and Aneuploidy, including Trisomy 21; Requirement for Tau and APP," Antoneta Granic, Jaya Padmanabhan, Michelle Norden, and Huntington Potter. Molecular Biology of the Cell, Dec. 23, 2009.

2. "LDLR Expression and Localization Are Altered in Mouse and Human Cell Culture Models of Alzheimer's Disease," Jose Abisambra, Tina Fiorella, Jaya Padmanabhan, Peter Neame, Inge Wefes, and Huntington Potter, PLoS ONE, Volume 5, Issue 1. (January 2010).

Provided by University of South Florida Health

Stress really CAN cause heart attacks, say researchers

Getting stressed really is bad for your heart, according to new research.

For years, stress has been linked to heart attacks and other heart complaints but with very little medical evidence to back it up.

Now a major trial by doctors at University College London has proved for the first time that people who get stressed are also likely to have heart disease.

The study involved 514 men and women, with an average age of 62. None had signs of heart disease.

Each underwent stress tests and then levels of cortisol - a chemical produced by the body at times of stress and which causes arteries to narrow - were measured. Their arteries were also scanned for any signs of furring and narrowing.

Those people who were stressed by the tests were twice as likely to have furred arteries as those who remained calm, the study in the European Heart Journal found.

Cardiologist Professor Avijit Lahiri said: 'This study shows a clear-cut relationship between stress and silent coronary artery disease. This is the first clear proof.'

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe?

Genetically modified foods have come to your local supermarket, even though most Americans don't want them and many believe they're dangerous. A CBS poll found that 53 percent of Americans wouldn't buy food they knew had been genetically modified. But here's the rub there's no easy way to know which foods contain genetically modified ingredients. MORE>>>>>>>>>>>

Vitamin D and Calcium Reduce Fractures

Daily supplements of calcium and vitamin D reduce the risk of fractures in women and men of all ages, even if they've suffered previous fractures, but vitamin D supplements alone don't offer significant protection, a new study has found.

Researchers analyzed data from 68,517 people, average age 70, who took part in seven studies that looked at the effect vitamin D or vitamin D plus calcium had on reducing fractures.

The analysis revealed that vitamin D given alone in doses of 10 micrograms to 20 micrograms per day doesn't prevent fractures. However, calcium and vitamin D given together reduce the risk of hip fractures, total fractures, and possibly vertebral fractures.

The study, published online Jan. 12 in British Medical Journal, called for additional studies of vitamin D, especially vitamin D given at higher doses without calcium.

To read the full HealthDay story--Go Here Now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Eye test that spots Alzheimer's 20 years before symptoms: Middle-aged could be screened at routine optician's visit

A test that can detect Alzheimer's up to 20 years before any symptoms show is being developed by British scientists.

The simple and inexpensive eye test could be part of routine examinations by high street opticians in as little as three years, allowing those in middle age to be screened.

Dementia experts said it had the power to revolutionise the treatment of Alzheimer's by making it possible for drugs to be given in the earliest stages.

Posed picture of man having eye test

Simple: The middle-aged could visit their local optician and have the special eye test as part of a routine examination

The technique, being pioneered at University College London, could also speed up the development of medication capable of stopping the disease in its tracks, preventing people from ever showing symptoms.

Rebecca Wood, of the Alzheimer's Trust, said: 'These findings have the potential to transform the way we diagnose Alzheimer's, greatly enhancing efforts to develop new treatments.'

Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia blight the lives of 700,000 Britons and their families, and the number of cases is expected to double within a generation.

There is no cure and existing drugs do not work for everyone.

Current diagnosis is based on memory tests, and expensive brain scans are also sometimes used.

However decisive proof of the disease usually comes from examination of the patient's brain after death.

Eye drops

Diagnosis: Eye drops would be used in the test to highlight diseased cells at the back of the eye

The eye test would provide a quick, easy, cheap and highly-accurate diagnosis.

It exploits the fact that the light-sensitive cells in the retina at the back of the eye are a direct extension of the brain.

Using eye drops which highlight diseased cells, the UCL researchers showed for the first time in a living eye that the amount of damage to cells in the retina directly corresponds with brain cell death.

They have also pinpointed the pattern of retinal cell death characteristic of Alzheimer's. So far their diagnosis has been right every time.

With research showing that cells start to die ten to 20 years before the symptoms of Alzheimer's become evident, it could allow people to be screened in middle age for signs of the disease.

However, some may not want to know their fate so far in advance. There is also the fear that insurance companies could increase premiums for those who test positive while still young.

The experiments, reported in the journal Cell Death & Disease, have been on animals but the team are poised to start the first human trials.

Researcher Professor Francesca Cordeiro said: 'The equipment used for this research is essentially the same as is used in clinics and hospitals worldwide.

'It is also inexpensive and non-invasive, which makes us fairly confident that we can progress quickly to its use in patients.

'It is entirely possible that in the future a visit to a high street optician to check on your eyesight will also be a check on the state of your brain.'

The technique could also improve the diagnosis of other conditions, including glaucoma and Parkinson's disease.

In the short term, an early diagnosis would give patients and their families much more time to prepare for the future.

In the longer term, it would allow new drugs that stop the disease in their tracks to reach their full potential.

Professor Cordeiro said: 'If you give the treatment early enough, you can stop the disease progressing, full stop.'

Dr Susanne Sorensen, of the Alzheimer's Society, cautioned that the test was still experimental but added: 'This research is very exciting. If we can delay the onset of dementia by five years, we can halve the number of people who will die from the disease.'

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Plastics Chemical Linked to Heart Disease

Exposure to a chemical found in plastic containers is linked to heart disease, scientists said on Wednesday, confirming earlier findings and adding to pressure to ban its use in bottles and food packaging.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Red Wine Fights Tooth Decay

Red wine may stain your teeth, but new research shows it also keeps them from decaying. Italian scientists demonstrated red wine made it difficult for harmful bacteria to cling to teeth, and, in a statement on the United Kingdom's National Health Service site, concluded that the prevention of tooth decay "may be another beneficial effect of the moderate consumption of red wine." MORE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, January 1, 2010

The latest anti-smoking campaign is not about health, drugs, or children ...

It is about JURISDICTION... They want it!


Politics of Division
Today, the primary tactic is to "divide and conquer" - to heap guilt on smoking parents making them out to be the villain who doesn't care for their children. In the place of parents, Hillary's "Village", trial lawyers, and big government made its entrance as the savior of the children.

You are told, for example, that cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death and that smokers have a greater risk of developing various diseases including clogged arteries, cancer, and pulmonary disease. Beyond the loss of life, they are quick to point out the alleged economic consequences of smoking: $50 billion in direct medical costs related to smoking, added strains on already overburdened health-care systems, losses stemming from such factors as absenteeism from work, reduced productivity, fire losses, and lost income because of early death. Indeed, they claim that smoking is responsible for approximately 7 percent of total U.S. health care costs.

So, Americans blindly accept higher taxes to pay for more failed government programs, increased government intrusion into American businesses, and higher insurance premiums to line the pockets of insurance industry CEO's.

The liberal propagandists who want your money understand that one of the first milestones they must achieve is to turn public opinion away from the ruthless capitalist tobacco companies and look to big government and socialist programs to protect you.

Smoking BogartIn that effort of turning public opinion, in January, 1998, Congressman Henry Waxman revealed some secret memos of the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company where in 1975 one executive allegedly wrote, 'The Camel Brand must increase its share penetration among the 14 - 24 age group -- which represent tomorrow's cigarette business.' He was clearly presenting evidence here making the tobacco companies out to be the villain. "For decades, the tobacco industry has ruthlessly controlled the public health agenda in this country," said Charles Romaine, Executive Vice President for the American Heart Association, Ohio-West Virginia Affiliate. "Since the release of the first Surgeon General Report on tobacco 33 years ago, the tobacco industry has been responsible for more than ten million tobacco-related deaths. If there is anything we have learned in the last four decades, it is that the tobacco-industry cannot be trusted." Yeah, sure ... and don't forget to send in your contribution!

But, "government studies prove..." you might say? Have you ever looked at these studies objectively, or do you just take their word for it? Take for example the EPA report that mentions carcinogens found in smoke. Why do you suppose they listed them in a chart, without explanation? Why? So the unsophisticated could draw the false conclusion that this somehow answers the question which science cannot.

The American public is expected to trust those who brought us "dancing condoms" to our television screens encouraging teens to engage in "protected sex", have made AIDS the first disease in history to be endowed with civil rights, and have called the wholesale slaughter of millions of babies in their mothers womb "freedom of choice."

Insurance companies surely can't be wrong. They spend all that money on those actuarial studies that prove a connection between smoking and disease. The insurance salesmen tell us we pay higher premiums because smokers have a higher risk of contracting disease and their health care costs are higher than the non-smoker. What they don't tell you is that their insurance plans cover "domestic partners" (that's politically correct jargon for homosexuals) whose risk of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease is astronomical and their health care costs are out of control. No double standard here!

Imagine the uproar if insurance companies wanted to charge homosexuals more for their insurance. Homosexuals cost the federal and state government enormous dollars in healthcare. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, given today’s life expectancy rates, the years of potential life lost due to AIDS are 24% more than the years lost from lung cancer.


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A pain therapy not advised for back

U.S. neurologists have issued new guidelines for transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation used to treat pain.

Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation therapy applies a mild electrical current to the nerves through electrodes using a pocket-sized portable unit.

Members of the American Academy of Neurology in St. Paul, Minn., say research on the nerve stimulation therapy for chronic low-back pain has produced conflicting results. For the guideline, the authors reviewed all evidence for low-back pain lasting three months or longer. Acute lower-back pain was not studied.

"The strongest evidence showed that there is no benefit for people using transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation for chronic low-back pain," Dr. Richard Dubinsky of Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, who wrote the guideline, said in a statement.

"Doctors should use clinical judgment regarding transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation use for chronic low-back pain. People who are currently using transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation for their low-back pain should discuss these findings with their doctors."

The guidelines, published in the journal Neurology, also determined the nerve stimulation technique can be effective in treating diabetic nerve pain -- also called diabetic neuropathy -- but concluded more and better research is needed to compare it with other treatments for this type of pain.

FDA warns of extortion scam targeting online prescription buyers

Reporting from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - Extortionists posing as federal agents have taken as much as $31,000 from frightened people who thought they would be prosecuted for purchasing their medications from outside the country, federal regulators say.

The Food and Drug Administration has received 75 to 100 reports nationwide recently of people receiving calls from individuals claiming to be FDA special agents or law enforcement officials, the agency said this week. The targets were told that buying drugs online or over the phone was illegal and that if they did not immediately pay their "fine," they would be arrested, jailed or deported, the FDA said.

Several dozen people sent the money, usually through a wire service, to an address in the Dominican Republic, FDA spokesman Tom Gasparoli said. Most paid about $1,000 to $5,000, although some sent much more.

"People thought they just had been trying to save money by buying from online companies, and some of them really panicked," Gasparoli said. "They thought there would be an officer outside their door at any moment."

It is against the law for American consumers to re-import drugs from foreign countries, but only the courts can impose fines, with penalties payable to the U.S. Treasury.

It's unclear how those running the extortion scheme decided whom to call, but Gasparoli said the majority of victims had bought, or thought they were buying, prescription drugs from Canada. It's estimated that almost 2 million Americans a year buy their medications through pharmacies in Canada, whose healthcare system negotiates with manufacturers, keeping prices substantially lower than in the U.S.

Gasparoli said telemarketers associated with the extortionists posed as an online pharmacy and, in some cases, called consumers and tempted them with low prices. Those who bought the drugs were later called by the fake agents.

Experts say prescription shoppers should be cautious when buying online. An Internet pharmacy may not be legitimate if it:

* offers to sell you medication without a prescription.

* will sell you a controlled substance.

* does not have a secure website. Secure sites show a padlock icon toward the bottom of the page.

* does not have a telephone number or a way to contact a pharmacist.

FDA officials encourage anyone who gets a call from a fake federal agent or law enforcement officer assessing and collecting fines to file a report by calling (800) 521-5783.

The Truth about Eggs

The Truth About Eggs


Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the last few decades. Deemed bad for the heart by health experts, they have been the subjects of criticism and scrutiny. But are our white (sometimes brown) friends really that unhealthy for us? In the last few years, numerous health organizations have been vindicating eggs' reputation. So what are we to believe; why were eggs chastised, only to be acclaimed again?


old egg myths

It was previously thought that eggs raised blood cholesterol levels -- one of the main causes of heart disease. The yolk in a single large egg contains five grams of fat, so it was only natural for nutritionists to assume that eggs clogged up people's arteries, especially since they also contain dietary cholesterol .

Another myth was that cholesterol is fat. That is simply not true. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that resembles fat, but has little to do with it. Today, scientists know that cholesterol content in food and the cholesterol in our blood aren't as directly related as once thought. So to unravel the mystery that is the egg, one must look at cholesterol.


cholesterol

First, one has to understand that cholesterol is not necessarily bad. Humans need it to maintain cell walls, insulate nerve fibers and produced vitamin D, among other things. Second, there are two types of cholesterol: dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol . Both are important.

Dietary cholesterol is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and diary products. The second type (blood cholesterol, also called serum cholesterol) is produced in the liver and floats around in our bloodstream. Blood cholesterol is divided into two sub-categories: High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). LDL cholesterol is considered bad because it sticks to artery walls.

What is bad, however, is the amount of LDL blood cholesterol in the body. Too much of it can cause heart problems, but scientists are now discovering that consuming food rich in dietary cholesterol does not increase blood cholesterol. At least that is what some experts believe (they are somewhat disagreeing on the matter... as usual).

Evidence showing that eating a lot of dietary cholesterol doesn't increase blood cholesterol was discovered during a statistical analysis conducted over 25 years by Dr. Wanda Howell and colleagues at the University of Arizona. The study revealed that people who consume two eggs each day with low-fat diets do not show signs of increased blood cholesterol levels.

So what does raise blood cholesterol? One of the main theories is that saturated fat does. Of the three types of fat (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), saturated fat raises blood cholesterol and LDL levels. It so happens that eggs contain mostly polyunsaturated fat, which can actually lower blood cholesterol if one replaces food containing saturated fat with eggs.


delicious, nutritious

Eggs are actually quite nutritious. They are not just fat (yolk) and protein (white). In fact, they contain a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals. Here is what's in an egg...

Vitamins
A: good for the skin and growth.
D: strengthens bones by raising calcium absorption.
E: protects cells from oxidation.
B1: helps properly release energy from carbohydrates.
B2: helps release energy from protein and fat.
B6: promotes the metabolism of protein.
B12: an essential vitamin in the formation of nerve fibers and blood cells.

Minerals
Iron: essential in the creation of red blood cells.
Zinc: good for enzyme stability and essential in sexual maturation.
Calcium: most important mineral in the strengthening of bones and teeth.
Iodine: controls thyroid hormones.
Selenium: like vitamin E, it protects cells from oxidation.

best type of protein

If that wasn't enough, egg whites contain the purest form of protein found in whole-foods. It is so high that nutritionists use them as the standard when comparing other whole-food proteins. Their "biological value" -- a measurement used to determine how efficiently a protein is used for growth -- is 93.7. Milk, fish, beef, and rice respectively have a bio value of 84.5, 76, 74.3, and 64.

The higher the value, the better the protein is absorbed. This is why many bodybuilders include eggs in their diet. When a person eats beef, for instance, all of the protein is not necessarily absorbed and used to rebuild tissue.

Protein is a complex substance, which is why bodybuilding protein supplement makers are constantly trying to refine the quality of their product and why some protein shake brands boast that their protein is made from egg whites. Having said that, each large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein.

how to eat eggs

Experts advise that despite being low in saturated fat, one should not eat more than two eggs a day on a low-fat diet. Egg yolk is mainly fat, so even though it doesn't raise blood cholesterol levels, it can cause other problems if abused.

Contaminated eggs kill up to 5000 individuals each year. One egg in 10,000 is contaminated with salmonella, so you should never eat undercooked eggs, make eggnog on your own or mimic Rocky by swallowing them raw.

The proper way to cook eggs depends on the type of food served. The American Egg Board advises that grills should never be set higher than 250F. Anything above that will leave the interior raw while burning the outside. If an egg has runny parts, it means it is still not cooked properly.

mmm, mmm, eggs

So now you know the truth about the incredible, edible egg. Once a foe, now a friend, this mighty whole-food contains many great nutrients and isn't as bad as people once thought. A great source of protein and easy to prepare, eggs are nature's golden food... if you don't eat too much of them, that is.

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