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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Consolidation of seed companies leading to corporate domination of world food supply

(NaturalNews) Throughout the history of agriculture across the globe, farming has always been a diversified sector of the economy. Small, self-sustaining, family farms were the order of the day in most cultures. Even as small farms grew larger and more specialized over time, many of them still saved seeds or purchased them from other farmers, which kept control of farming in the hands of the people.

But today everything has changed, as large chemical and agribusiness firms have acquired or merged with seed companies and other agricultural input companies. They have successfully gained a foothold on genetically-modified (GM) crops with transgenic traits.

These primary factors and several others have facilitated a crescendo towards the global domination of agriculture by corporations, and thus the world's food supply.

The dismal state in which we find ourselves today did not come overnight, of course, but it did pick up rapid speed after the introduction of GM crops in the mid-1990s. Since that time, multinational corporations like Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta have seized a significant amount of control over the global seed industry, which has greatly limited agricultural diversity and freedom.

The ability to patent both seeds and seed traits has also added injury to insult, as the ability to obtain natural or heirloom seeds is becoming increasingly difficult, and many farmers feel they have no choice but to go with the flow.

Professor Philip H. Howard from the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University published a study in 2009 entitled Visualizing Consolidation in the Global Seed Industry: 1996 - 2008 that analyzes the trend in agriculture towards corporate dominance.

The report, which was featured in a special issue of the journal Renewable Agriculture, provides both an extensive data analysis of agriculture's dramatic transformation over the past several decades, as well as a highly-informative visual analysis of this truly shocking hostile takeover situation.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Over half of Alzheimer's cases may be preventable, say researchers

Over half of all Alzheimer's disease cases could potentially be prevented through lifestyle changes and treatment or prevention of chronic medical conditions, according to a study led by Deborah Barnes, PhD, a mental health researcher at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Analyzing data from studies around the world involving hundreds of thousands of participants, Barnes concluded that worldwide, the biggest modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer's disease are, in descending order of magnitude, low education, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, mid-life hypertension, diabetes and mid-life obesity.

In the United States, Barnes found that the biggest modifiable risk factors are physical inactivity, depression, smoking, mid-life hypertension, mid-life obesity, low education and diabetes.

Together, these risk factors are associated with up to 51 percent of Alzheimer's cases worldwide (17.2 million cases) and up to 54 percent of Alzheimer's cases in the United States (2.9 million cases), according to Barnes.

"What's exciting is that this suggests that some very simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, could have a tremendous impact on preventing Alzheimer's and other dementias in the United States and worldwide," said Barnes, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

The study results were presented at the 2011 meeting of the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Paris, France, and published online on July 19, 2011 in Lancet Neurology.

Barnes cautioned that her conclusions are based on the assumption that there is a causal association between each risk factor and Alzheimer's disease. "We are assuming that when you change the risk factor, then you change the risk," Barnes said. "What we need to do now is figure out whether that assumption is correct."

Senior investigator Kristine Yaffe, MD, chief of geriatric psychiatry at SFVAMC, noted that the number of people with Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple over the next 40 years. "It would be extremely significant if we could find out how to prevent even some of those cases," said Yaffe, who is also a professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at UCSF.

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The research was supported by funds from the Alzheimer's Association, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the UCSF School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging.

SFVAMC has the largest medical research program in the national VA system, with more than 200 research scientists, all of whom are faculty members at UCSF.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What's in Your Meat?

The Agriculture Department wants consumers to know when there's less chicken in their chicken.

A proposed rule aimed at food companies would require that poultry and other raw meats be labeled appropriately when they're plumped up by added solutions such as chicken broth, teriyaki sauce, salt, or water. The practice of adding those ingredients is common, but many consumers don't know about it.

According to USDA, about one-third of poultry, 15 percent of beef, and 90 percent of pork may have added ingredients — about 40 percent of all raw, whole cuts of meat. The rule does not apply to ground beef, which may have other added substances.


Read more: What's in Your Meat? USDA Calls for Clearer Labeling
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dr. Brownstein: 5 Lifestyle Changes for Prostate Health

Prostate cancer is a concern for most men, and with good reason — more than 190,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, according the American Cancer Society. But there are steps men can take to keep their prostate gland healthy, and try and minimize cancer risk, Newsmax Health contributor Dr. David Brownstein says.

“Unfortunately, most men are susceptible to (prostate cancer),” says Brownstein, editor of “The Natural Way to Health” newsletter. “We have one in three men in the United States with prostate cancer today. It’s occurring at epidemic rates. It generally occurs in older men, but lately we’re seeing younger and younger men being afflicted with this.”

Story continues...Read more: Dr. Brownstein: 5 Lifestyle Changes for Prostate Health

Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is Robotics Driving Prostate Surgeries?

After Wisconsin hospitals acquired robotic surgery technology, the number of prostate removals they performed doubled within three months, a new study shows.

By contrast, the number of prostate surgeries stayed the same at hospitals that didn't purchase the new $2 million technology.

The increase in such surgeries raises questions about whether more doctors at hospitals with robots are recommending surgery for men with prostate cancer, say the authors, instead of alternative treatments like radiation or "watchful waiting."


Read more: Is Robotics Driving Prostate Surgeries?
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How To Appeal A Health Insurance Denial

Getting your health insurance claim denied can feel like insult added to injury, but if you take these steps you can get your claim "rehabbed," and get your money.

The NY Times Bucks blog interviewed Martin Rosen, whose business, Health Advocate, helps employees negotiate the tricky waters of their employer insurance. He offered these tips:

1. Double-check all the rules of your insurer's appeals process, especially deadlines.
2. Get all your documents ready and organized.
3. Call HR if you get insurance through your employer. They might become your advocate.
4. Ask your doc to write a "letter of medical necessity" and send it to the insurance company.
5. Make a log of all your calls when you contact the insurance company, including dates, times, whom you spoke to, what you talked about, and the length of the conversation.
6. Write down and refine your logical argument for why your claim should go through and refer to it when necessary throughout the process.
7. Keep checking on the status of your claim with the insurance company.

Have you ever had to dispute a health insurance denial? What methods did you use?

7 Steps in Appealing a Health Insurance Denial [bucks.blogs.nytimes]

From ConsumerReports.org:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Teflon Chemical Linked to Arthritis

High blood levels of a man-made chemical used in non-stick coatings were associated with a raised risk of arthritis in a large new study of adults exposed to tainted drinking water.

Researchers found that people with the highest levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in their blood were up to 40 percent more likely to develop arthritis than people with lower blood levels more typical of the general U.S. population.

Dr. Kim Innes of the School of Medicine at West Virginia University and colleagues used data on nearly 50,000 adults living in areas of Ohio and West Virginia where a chemical plant had contaminated water supplies with PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), both chemicals widely used in non-stick and stain-resistant coatings.


Read more: Teflon Chemical Linked to Arthritis
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nanotechnology: Tracking food from farm to fork…and you right along with it

image source
Marti Oakley, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

I had come across an article in the Dairy Reporter last year, about the coming plans to insert nano-technology into food. In the article from DR: Nanotechnology in food: What’s the big idea? By Caroline Scott-Thomas, 26-Jul-2010 this observation was made:

“At IFT’s nanoscience conference last week, major industry players discussed how to avoid a rerun of the GMO debacle with consumers – with some saying that one solution could be to say nothing about introducing nanotechnology in foods and to do it anyway.”

We all have enough experience with today’s bio-pirates who are openly colluding with the USDA, FDA and anyone else in government, like “Dirty Harry” Reid NV (D), who single-handedly and unanimously cast the one vote needed to pass the fake food safety bill, to know that food safety and longer shelf life is most likely not what this technology is actually intended to do. As it is, most products on the shelves of stores now are so chemically laden and contain so much GMO that I doubt spoilage is an option. After all…can chemicals, pesticides and herbicides actually rot?

Most of what sits in our stores is not really food as we have known it. It is a stew of sorts; chemicals, additives, flavorings, colorings, enhancers, preservatives, aspartame, neotame, and stuff we can’t even identify along with residual hormones, vaccines, antibiotics, herbicides and pesticides. It has been irradiated, sprayed with viruses and now covered in ammonia. Reading any label for content makes one think you would be just as well off if you drank floor cleaner and it most likely might be a lot tastier although just as empty of nutrition.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Type 2 diabetes in newly diagnosed 'can be reversed'

An extreme eight-week diet of 600 calories a day can reverse Type 2 diabetes in people newly diagnosed with the disease, says a Diabetologia study.

Newcastle University researchers found the low-calorie diet reduced fat levels in the pancreas and liver, which helped insulin production return to normal.

Seven out of 11 people studied were free of diabetes three months later, say findings published in the journal. Read More>>>>

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mother's milk: A secret weapon for everything

Motherhood in the FatherlandPhoto: DPA

Mother's milk: A secret weapon for everything

Yes, to cure all that ails that tiny tummy (and other mini body parts), mum's boobs have the answer.

To say that nursing is encouraged here in the Fatherland would be an understatement. Even the makers of formula acknowledge on their packaging that, “Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby.”

There is even the government-funded German National Breastfeeding Institute (Nationale Stillkommission) whose responsibility is to ensure that all mothers have the facts and resources they need to successfully breastfeed.

Could you imagine if US First Lady Michelle Obama tried to implement something like that in America? She had enough troubles merely promoting the idea of breastfeeding. So many US blogs I read often talk about breastfeeding, but always with the caveat that “breastfeeding is the best choice for me and my family.”

But in Germany I have learned that breast milk cures more than just baby hunger. Six months in, I wouldn’t be surprised if I were told my chest contained the proverbial fountain of youth.

As Luisa went through her first growth spurt, she went through her first gas pains. Not to worry, my midwife said, and told me to offer her the breast. As the milk goes through her system, it would literally push the gas out the other end. Breastfeeding also relieves me of worrying about Luisa’s, ahem, “output”. As long as she was solely breastfed, anything was normal and I wasn’t to worry about it.

At four weeks, Luisa came down with a case of baby acne. I wasn’t about to swab her face with Clearasil, but I was concerned about this pile of bumps appearing on her smooth cheeks. What does my midwife recommend? Simply use Muttermilch as a cream and dab it on the worst spots as often as I liked. I’m not actually sure if it was the breast milk, but the acne cleared up within a week.

Breast milk also has healing properties. “Toe-curling pain,” was what one friend warned me to expect during the first 10 days of baby latching on to very sensitive spots to nurse. And as my nipples cracked, my toes curled.

But as we left the hospital, a doctor had reminded me that breast milk was an excellent nipple cream and “it’s safe for baby too,” she said with a smile.

Canadian Sara Read even discovered that breast milk could help with a stubborn umbilical chord. “My midwife told me to apply breast milk to Annika’s umbilical chord stub to help it come off,” she said, adding that she was sceptical at first.

“I only did it half-heartedly and when it wasn’t gone after a couple weeks, my midwife grabbed my boob, squeezed out some milk onto a q-tip, applied it to the umbilical stub and — pop! — within a matter of seconds she had worked it off with the milk-soaked swab.”

English mum Rachel Fox was told breast milk would help clear up her eldest child’s gooey eye.

“He had a sticky eye infection and [the midwife] had us squirting breast milk directly into his poorly eye," she told me. "I was quite shocked initially, but it did the trick. A few days later the infection was gone. Not a chemist in sight!”

Not just eyes, but ear infections can also be cured with a good squirt of the white stuff. In fact, breast milk is a great substitute for antibiotic ointment. Cuts and scrapes heal much faster with a little bit of Muttermilch applied to them. And when a baby’s sensitive bum goes red, there is no need to reach for creams with all sorts of chemicals; just rub on some breast milk, allow to air dry and carry on.

Adults with scrapes, cuts, burns, dry skin, acne and cold sores can also benefit from the application of breast milk. Allegedly warts, insect bites, chicken pox and eczema too.

But back to Luisa’s runny nose. I’ve used my Muttermilch many times to clear up her little nose. While it’s effective, there is one problem: The application. I’ll leave you to think about the mechanics.

http://www.thelocal.de/lifestyle/20110708-36147.html

Low Testosterone Associated With Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome Contributes to Sexual Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Men With Type

  1. Christina Wang, MD1⇓,
  2. Graham Jackson, MD2,
  3. T. Hugh Jones, MD3,
  4. Alvin M. Matsumoto, MD4,
  5. Ajay Nehra, MD5,
  6. Michael A. Perelman, PHD6,
  7. Ronald S. Swerdloff, MD1,
  8. Abdul Traish, PHD7,
  9. Michael Zitzmann, MD8 and
  10. Glenn Cunningham, MD9

+ Author Affiliations

  1. 1Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Torrance, California
  2. 2London Bridge Hospital, London, U.K.
  3. 3Robert Hague Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Barnsley Hospital, and the Department of Metabolism, University of Sheffield Medical School, Sheffield, U.K.
  4. 4Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, V.A. Puget Sound Health Care System, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
  5. 5Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  6. 6Departments of Psychiatry, Reproductive Medicine, and Urology, NY Weill Cornell College of Medicine, New York, New York
  7. 7Department of Urology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  8. 8Clinical Andrology/Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Andrology, University Clinics of Muenster, Muenster, Germany
  9. 9Departments of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, St. Luke’s–Baylor Diabetes Program, Houston, Texas
  1. Corresponding author: Christina Wang, wang@labiomed.org.

Men with obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes have low total and free testosterone and low sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG). Conversely, the presence of low testosterone and/or SHBG predicts the development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Visceral adiposity present in men with low testosterone, the metabolic syndrome, and/or type 2 diabetes acts through proinflammatory factors. These inflammatory markers contribute to vascular endothelial dysfunction with adverse sequelae such as increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and erectile dysfunction. This review focuses on the multidirectional impact of low testosterone associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome and its effects on erectile dysfunction and CVD risk in men with type 2 diabetes. Whenever possible in this review, we will cite recent reports (after 2005) and meta-analyses.

Epidemiological studies of low testosterone, obesity, metabolic status, and erectile dysfunction

Epidemiological studies support a bidirectional relationship between serum testosterone and obesity as well as between testosterone and the metabolic syndrome. Low serum total testosterone predicts the development of central obesity and accumulation of intra-abdominal fat ( 1 3). Also, low total and free testosterone and SHBG levels are associated with an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, independent of age and obesity ( 1 3). Lowering serum T levels in older men with prostate cancer treated with androgen deprivation therapy increases body fat mass ( 4). Conversely, high BMI, central adiposity, and the metabolic syndrome are associated with and predict low serum total and to a lesser extent free testosterone and SHBG levels ( 1 3, 5). Because obesity suppresses SHBG and as a result total testosterone concentrations, alterations in SHBG confound the relationship between testosterone and obesity.

Low total testosterone or SHBG levels are associated with type 2 diabetes, independent of age, race, obesity, and criteria for diagnosis of diabetes ( 6, 7). In longitudinal studies, low serum total and free testosterone …

Calorie Signs Not Improving Diners' Habits

Are calorie counts posted at your favorite eatery making you think twice about ordering an especially high-calorie dish?

If not, you apparently are not alone. Research conducted in areas of the United States where menu labeling has become law is showing that the calorie postings are not influencing healthier dining-out decisions by consumers, according to the Washington Post.


Read more: Calorie Signs Not Improving Diners' Habits
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Diabetes rate 'doubles' - Imperial College and Harvard research suggests

The number of adults with diabetes in the world has more than doubled since 1980, a study in the Lancet says.

Researchers from Imperial College London and Harvard University in the US analysed data from 2.7m people across the world, using statistical techniques to project a worldwide figure.

The total number of people with all forms of the disease - which can be fatal - has risen from 153m to 347m.

MORE>>