Fizzy Drinks Can Cause Premature Aging

Need another reason to kick the cola habit? The phosphates in colas and other soft drinks that give them their tangy bite can cause premature aging. Researchers at Harvard University found that phosphates accelerate aging by causing skin and muscles to shrivel, and also damage the heart and kidneys.

"Humans need a healthy diet, and keeping the balance of phosphate in the diet may be important for a healthy life and longevity," M. Shawkat Razzaque, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Medicine, Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, said in a statement.

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Crushed lungs, strained joints and a swollen heart - the extraordinary scans that reveal what being fat does to you

Carrying extra pounds may not look attractive from the outside, but it's been difficult to understand precisely the havoc it wreaks on your insides - until now.

Here, in a pair of astonishing pictures, we can see exactly what being overweight does to the organs, bones and muscles. These images of two women were taken by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRIRI) scanner and reveal in horrifying detail the obesity effect.

The woman on the left weighs just over 17 ½st, the one on the right just under 8 ½st. Their muscles (shown in red), bones (white), organs (black) and fat (yellow) are all clearly defined.

body scan
body scan

Spot the difference: The obese woman on the left has fat around her organs (shown by the yellow areas) and an enlarged heart which can have dire consequences on her health

As well as the fat sitting just under the skin (the fat you can pinch), these images reveal the fat inside the body wrapped around the organs.

To explain the impact of those extra pounds, we talked to Professor Jimmy Bell from Imperial College, London (the man who developed MRIRI to show body fat), and orthopaedic surgeon Mike Hayton and consultant radiologist Waqar Bhatti, both of Alexandra Hospital, Cheadle, Manchester.

Their comments make for alarming reading - for men as well as women. But the good news, says Professor Bell, is that you can change this picture through diet and exercise. These images provide a compelling incentive.


Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes

Drinking green tea may protect your eyes from glaucoma. HealthDay reports that tissues in the eye absorb protective antioxidants called catechins from green tea. Catachins are powerful natural compounds that include vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

"Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress," researcher Chi Pui Pang said in a statement. Until now, researchers didn't know if the catechins could get from the digestive system to the eyes.

Pang's study found that the effects of a cup of tea last for up to 20 hours.

To read the HealthDay story Go Here Now.

Vaccines made with fetal cells causing autism?

EPA researchers publishing a study in the Feb. 16 issue of Environmental Science & Technology were "surprise[ed]" to find a worldwide jump in the incidence of autism beginning in 1988.

Thus, the study concluded, "Although the debate about the nature of increasing autism continues, the potential for this increase to be real and involve exogenous environmental stressors exists."

According to the Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, 1988 was the year the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices added a second dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to its list of recommendations.

SCPI actually found three "change points" in autism trends – 1981, 1988 and 1995. Here is what correlated to those years:

All three of those vaccines contained and contain aborted human fetal cells.

I'd always read it was mercury in vaccines that was implicated in autism. But according to SCPI:

Interestingly, the vaccines that can be associated with the autism trend change points never contained mercury, and some animal produced vaccines used universally in the U.S. before 1979 contained levels of mercury as high, if not higher, than current levels.

The EPA study relied on previous studies to deny a link between autism and vaccines whatsoever. But there is a new wrinkle. reported April 12:

One of the central figures in the Center for Disease Control's claims about vaccine safety is reported to be under investigation by Danish police after almost $2 million turned up missing that was supposed to have been spent on research.

Dr. Poul Thorsen, one of the researchers involved in two highly publicized autism reports published in the influential New England Journal of Medicine, was accused of fraud last month. …

Thorsen's Danish studies from 2002 and 2003 are widely referred to by groups that dispute the vaccine connection to autism and nervous system disorders. …

Thorsen … is a psychiatrist and not a research scientist or toxicologist. ... In all, CDC is reported to have paid Thorsen's center $14.6 million since 2002. …

In addition, Thorsen's partner Kreesten Madsen recently came under fire after damning e-mails surfaced showing Madsen working with CDC officials intent on fraudulently cherry picking facts to prove vaccine safety.

While the CDC and co-authors of those studies insist on their veracity, liberals, who believe there is a link between autism and mercury in vaccines, called for an investigation:

"Questions about Thorsen's scientific integrity may finally force CDC to rethink the vaccine protocols since most of the other key pro-vaccine studies cited by CDC rely on the findings of Thorsen's research group," Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote on the Huffington Post. "The validity of all these studies is now in question."

It would be ironic if the liberal demand for additional research helped lead to a confirmed link between autism and vaccines containing aborted fetal cells.

Meanwhile, in light of the EPA's findings, SCPI is calling for a Fair Labeling and Informed Consent Act so parents can make an educated decision whether to allow their children to receive vaccinations containing aborted human fetal cells.

SCPI is also calling for more studies. SCPI President Theresa Deisher told me by phone, "The research thus far is too compelling and too closely associated across decades and across continents. The rise in autism is real. People can no longer brush it off. And vaccines containing fetal cells are a very plausible environmental trigger that must be investigated."

Pro-aborts lambasted a blog post I wrote on the questionable link between autism and vaccines containing fetal cells. Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon wrote:

[A]nti-choicers are running with a bull---t story that vaccines are made with aborted fetuses, and that's what causes autism. This article and the one it banks off of from Jill Stanek are both amazing examples of what can be produced when a person has no respect for their audience's intelligence or the truth.

Marcotte began by disputing that the aforementioned vaccines are made from aborted fetal cells:

The claim that vaccines are made from aborted fetuses is farcical on its face. But it shouldn't be surprising. I think your rank and file anti-choicers probably believe that stem cells are cultivated from aborted fetuses (they're actually take from embryos created for IVF that were going to be thrown away if not used in research), and that they're already being used in standard medical care like vaccines (they're not). …

The assertion that vaccines are made from aborted fetuses is such a weird idea that I don't imagine the EPA even examined that assertion in the first place.

So let's clear up that they are.

All vaccines in question – rubella, MMR and chicken pox – among others, are derived from either the MRC-5 or WI-38 cell lines.

According to the National Network for Immunization Information, among numerous sources (Google "WI-38 aborted" or "MRC-5 aborted" for more validations, such as this Salon article, or footnote 1 on this Merck label or even Wikipedia), "WI-38 came from lung cells from a female fetus of three-months gestation and MRC-5 was developed from lung cells from a 14-week-old male fetus. Both fetuses were intentionally aborted."

Marcotte was right that the EPA hasn't investigated the potential connection. Dr. Deisher told me Thorsen and his research team "never accounted for the co-variants containing residual produced using human fetal cells. This wasn't even on their radar."

Dr. Deisher has had a different experience when discussing this issue with abortion proponents. "One can be pro-abortion and want safe vaccines for their children and all children. One can be pro-abortion and object to the cannibalization of aborted children. Philosophically, they are sickened by the thought of injecting their child with the DNA of an aborted fetus."

Marcotte, childless, is in no position to argue in favor of recommending another's child as a human science experiment. Apparently it is no great leap for hardcore pro-death ideologues to advance from endorsing human embryo research to endorsing human child research.

Nor, I noted, did Marcotte suggest another reason for the spike in autism beginning in 1988.

But concerned parents can find alternatives to aborted fetal vaccines at this Michigan Right to Life link.

Brazil recommends sex to prevent hypertension

BRASILIA - Brazilian Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao Monday recommended that Brazilians have sex up to five times a week as a way to prevent chronic health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular trouble.

“Dance, have sex, keep a stable weight, do physical exercise, and above all measure your blood pressure,” Gomes Temporao said in Brasilia, as he launched a hypertension prevention campaign.

According to Brazilian authorities, the problem of high blood pressure is growing among Brazilians. A study by the Health Ministry that conducted telephone interviews of 54,000 people, showed the proportion of Brazilians who say their blood pressure is 140/90 or above rose from 21.5 percent in 2006 to 24.4 percent now.

At a press conference, Gomes Temporao called upon Brazilians to eat more fruit, vegetables and legumes and to get exercise, including sex.

“It’s not a joke, I’m serious. Getting physical exercise regularly also means having sex, obviously protected sex,” the minister said, while safeguarding the ministry’s insistence on safe sex to prevent the spread of HIV.

Bad habits can age you by 12 years, study suggests

Four common bad habits combined — smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet — can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests.

The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29 percent. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8 percent. MORE>>>>>>>>

Nation's heart disease risk? 50/50

Nearly half of all adult Americans have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, all conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

One in eight Americans has at least two of the conditions and one in 33 has all three, sharply increasing their risk. Of those with at least one condition, 15 percent have not been diagnosed, according to the report released online.

"The number that really surprises me is the penetration of these conditions into the U.S. population," said Dr. Clyde Yancy of Baylor University Medical Center, president of the American Heart Association. "When that number is nearly 50 percent, that's a huge wake-up call."

It means there are a large number of people "who think they are healthy ... but are working under a terrible misconception," he said.


Over-indulging in chocolate could be a marker for depression.

Researchers at University of California, San Diego and Davis, examined dietary intake patterns among 931 men and women who were not using antidepressants. The participants were also given a depression screening test. Those who screened positive for possible depression consumed an average of 8.4 servings of chocolate -- defined as 1 ounce of chocolate candy -- per month. That compared with 5.4 servings per month among people who were not depressed.

Those who scored highest on the mood tests, indicating probably major depression, consumed an average of 11.8 servings per month.

It's not clear how the two are linked, the authors wrote. It could be that depression stimulates chocolate cravings as a form of self-treatment. Chocolate prompts the release of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, that produce feelings of pleasure and reward.

Another theory is that chocolate consumption contributes to depression or that some physiological mechanism, such as stress, drives both depression and chocolate craving.


The Problem with Factory Farms

If you eat meat, the odds are high that you've enjoyed a meal made from an animal raised on a factory farm (also known as a CAFO). According to the USDA, 2% of U.S. livestock facilities raise an estimated 40% of all farm animals. This means that pigs, chickens and cows are concentrated in a small number of very large farms. But even if you're a vegetarian, the health and environmental repercussions of these facilities may affect you. In his book Animal Factory, journalist David Kirby explores the problems of factory farms, from untreated animal waste to polluted waterways. Kirby talks to TIME about large-scale industrial farming, the lack of government oversight and the terrible fate of a North Carolina river.

What exactly is a factory farm?
The industrial model for animal food production first started with the poultry industry. In the 1930s and '40s, large companies got into the farming business. The companies hire farmers to grow the animals for them. The farmers typically don't own the animals — the companies do. It's almost like a sharecropping system. The company tells them exactly how to build the farm, what to grow and what to feed. They manage everything right down to what temperature the barn should be and what day the animals are going to be picked up for slaughter. The farmer can't even eat his or her own animals. People who grow chickens for Perdue in Maryland have to go down to the market and buy Perdue at the store.

We collectively refer to these facilities as factory farms, but that's not an official name. The government designation is CAFO, which stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Basically, it's any farm that has 1,000 animal units or more. A beef cow is an animal unit. These animals are kept in pens their entire lives. They're never outside. They never breathe fresh air. They never see the sun.

What are the health and environmental hazards of CAFOs?
For one, you're often no longer feeding animals what they're genetically designed to eat. CAFO cows eat a diet of milled grains, corn and soybeans, when they are supposed to eat grass. The food isn't natural because they very often put growth hormones and antibiotics in it. That becomes a problem when you put that manure on the ground.

And the fact that there are thousands of animals packed into one farm is also a problem.
Oh, definitely. There are simply too many animals in too small of a place. In a traditional farm, a sustainable farm, you grow both crops and animals. There is a pasture, and you have a certain number of animals per acre. But when you have 2,000 cows per acre instead of two, you have a problem. You can't fit them in a pasture — you fit them in a building. You can't grow enough crops to feed them — you have to ship in their feed. You don't have enough land to absorb their waste. It has nowhere to go.

So what happens to it?
The manure is liquefied. It gets flushed out into an open lagoon, where it is stored until farmers can use it on what few crops they do grow. There's just so much of it, though. I've seen it sprayed into waterways and creeks. These lagoons filled with waste have been known to seep, leak, rupture and overtop. This stuff is untreated, by the way. We would never allow big, open cesspools of untreated human waste to just sit out on the ground near people's homes and schools. And yet because it's agriculture, the rules are different.

You write at length about North Carolina's Neuse River. What happened there?
Hundreds of massive pig farms came into North Carolina in the 1990s. In Animal Factory, I tell the story of Rick Dove, a former Marine who retired and bought a fishing boat. One day he noticed the fish were dying in really weird ways. First there were the algae blooms. Algae creates oxygen during the day through photosynthesis and expels carbon dioxide at night. When that happens, there's literally no oxygen in the water. Everything comes crawling up to the shore in the shallowest part of the river, trying to pump water through their gills. By the morning, they're all dead. Everything — shrimp, crab, little fish called menhaden, eels, bass. People call it a "fish jubilee," 'cause they can just wade into the river and pick up free food.

Soon after this started happening, Rick Dove noticed the menhaden fish were developing round red circles on their flanks. They'd go into what was called a "death spiral." They just start swimming into little circles and just die. Nobody knew what was causing this. Pretty soon after that, the fishermen, including Rick and his son, noticed they were getting round red sores on their skin in the parts that touched the water. Then they'd get very disoriented. Fishermen would forget where they lived or where they'd docked their boats. Rick started to do some research. One day he read in a science magazine about pfiesteria, this very odd plankton that emits toxins that stun a fish so it can suck the fish's blood. That's what the lesions were. But the toxin also gets in the air, and that's why fishermen were getting disoriented.

Rick wanted to know the source of this problem, so he went up in an airplane. That's how I open Animal Factory, with him looking down at these massive pig farms. Sometimes you can even see the waste runoff going directly going into the water. Other times they're out there spraying night and day because nobody is watching them. You can't see this from the road. There are very few inspectors, and they're not going to go out there and monitor everyone.

People probably assume this kind of stuff is regulated, but it's not. Or at least not enough. What should the government be doing?
A lot of the laws are on the state and county level, so it depends on the political will and political culture of the individual state. That doesn't mean Democrat or Republican. That means agriculture state vs. a state with not a lot of agriculture. What kind of laws have agriculture-friendly states passed? Some states say that if a company spills its manure, it doesn't have to pay to clean it up. The taxpayers pay. If you try to pass pollution standards, the industry complains that they're already too heavily regulated. They claim that if you force them to reduce how much they pollute, they're not going to be able to operate. They're essentially saying they can only make money by polluting and breaking the law. That should be unacceptable to everybody.

You spent three years reporting this story. What stands out?
One time I visited a pig farm, a regular farm — not a factory farm — in Illinois. Right across the street was a hog CAFO. The owner didn't live there, of course. There's no farm house on a factory farm, just business offices. At night, all the workers would leave, and all I'd hear as I was trying to fall asleep was the sound of the pigs fighting each other, biting each other, squealing, screeching all night long. It was like nothing I've ever heard before in my life, and it just didn't stop. It sounded like kids being tortured over there. I'll never forget that sound. It was very sad.

See TIME's Pictures of the Week.

See the Cartoons of the Week.

Suppressed Anger Triples Heart Risk

People with heart disease might want to take a careful look at how they handle their feelings of anger. A new study found that heart disease patients who suppressed their anger had nearly triple the risk of having a heart attack or dying over the next 5 to 10 years. MORE>>>>>>>>

Sex wonder pill Priligy released for sale in the UK

THE first pill to prevent premature ejaculation launches in the U.K. tomorrow.

The Sun reported the drug, taken one to three hours before sex, is shown to make men last three times as long.

It works by altering levels of a chemical in the brain called serotonin, which helps a man to have more control over his moment of climax.

But it is costly - at $126 for a pack of three Priligy 30mg tablets.

Premature ejaculation affects 30 percent of British men, but half of sufferers wrongly believe they can't be helped.

Local anesthetic sprays and creams are on the market to help delay the moment and other methods to control the problem include stop-start and squeeze techniques, condom use to reduce sensitivity and counseling. However, all have been shown to have only limited success.

Priligy, which is available for men aged 18 to 64, is already on sale in some European countries.

It will be sold exclusively online, for private prescriptions only, and should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol.

Walking Staves Off Stroke

Walking may be an important weapon for women in the fight against stroke, a new study hints.

The study found that women who walked for two or more hours a week had a lower risk of stroke than those who walked for less than two hours a week.

It's well known that physical activity is good for heart health, including reducing the risk of stroke. "More active people generally demonstrate a 25 to 30 percent lower risk of stroke," Jacob Sattelmair, the study's lead researcher and a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health. MORE>>>>>>>>>

6 Foods That Fight Heart Disease

Chocolate. One study found that heart attack survivors who ate chocolate two or more times a week slashed their risk of dying from heart disease by threefold. German researchers found that eating only one square of dark chocolate a week lowered the risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent. Other studies have also found that chocolate lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow. The high levels of antioxidants in chocolate seem to be the most likely candidates for chocolate's heart-healthy benefits.

Alcohol. Evidence is mounting that moderate drinking helps reduce the risk of heart disease. (Moderate drinking is defined as three to seven drinks each week for women and three to 14 drinks weekly for men.) A recent study found that moderate drinking lowered the risk of cardiovascular death by 38 percent. Light drinkers (men or women who had three or fewer drinks a week) lowered their risk by 31 percent.

Fish. Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats. They also lower blood pressure, decrease triglyceride levels, and slow the growth of atherosclerotic plaque. A recent study from the University of Athens in Greece found that eating fish once or twice a week helps preserve heart function in those patients who suffer from heart failure. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fatty fish each week.

Tea. A British study found that drinking one cup of tea each day could cut the risk of heart attack almost in half. In addition, a Greek study found that green tea dilated arteries in the heart and allowed blood to flow more freely, which may help protect from blood clots. But skip the milk: A German study found that although tea without milk prevents cardiovascular disease, adding milk counteracts the heart-healthy benefits.

Nuts. Many studies have shown that nuts lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, reduce the risk of developing blood clots, and improve the lining of arteries. Almost every type of nut is healthy, says the Mayo Clinic, but walnuts have been studied many times and have been found to contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. A daily handful of almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts are also healthy.

Cranberries. Researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that drinking three glasses of cranberry juice daily for a month significantly raised HDL ("good") cholesterol by 10 percent and lowered the risk of heart disease by 40 percent. Cranberries may even help those with genes for high cholesterol. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine found that cranberry powder lowered the cholesterol levels of pigs born with a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol. Within six months, their cholesterol levels were less than other pigs born with the genetic defect but not given cranberry powder, as well as the levels of pigs born with normal cholesterol levels that weren't given cranberry.

Depressed Adults Smoke More

Adults who suffer from depression are twice as likely to smoke and also to smoke more heavily than adults who are not depressed, a study shows.

Forty-three percent of all adults aged 20 and older who suffer from depression smoked cigarettes, compared with 22 percent of adults who were not depressed, according to data compiled by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MORE>>>>>>>>>>

King Tut Wore Orthopedic Sandals

The first detailed analysis of sandals buried with the boy king suggest the sometimes elaborate footwear was made to accommodate his club foot.

By Rossella Lorenzi | Wed Apr 7, 2010 04:54 AM ET
king tut sandals

At least three pairs of shoes found in King Tut's tomb display a horizontal strap just below the toes, as shown in this illustration. (Click on the photo to find out more about the amazing sandals.)
Andre Veldmeijer/Drawing by M.H. Kriek

King Tutankhamun might have worn some sort of orthopedic shoes specially designed to cope with his club foot condition, an investigation into the pharaoh's footwear has suggested.

Published in the book, "Tutankhamun's Footwear: Studies of Ancient Egyptian Footwear," the research is the first detailed analysis of the 3,300-year-old footwear since King Tut's mummy and treasure-packed tomb were discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.

See a slide show of sandals worn during King Tut's time here.

Even though the mummy had been X-rayed several times, it was only recently, during a major genetic investigation into King Tut's family, that researchers found a series of malformations in the pharaoh's feet.

Apart from a foot bone disorder known as Kohler disease II, King Tut might have had seriously deformed feet which left him hobbling around with the use of a cane.

Indeed, the second toe in King Tut's right foot lacked the middle bone, making it shorter, while the left foot was clubbed, rotating internally at the ankle.

The foot condition might have required appropriate shoes with a tight strap in order to avoid them being dragged over the floor.

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Indeed three pairs of shoes found in King Tut's tomb have horizontal straps just below the toes. One of the pairs also features semi-circular panels at the shoe's sides.

"These features are not known in any other footwear, sandal or shoe alike," book author Andre Veldmeijer, a Dutch archaeologist who specializes in ancient Egyptian leatherwork, footwear and cordage, told Discovery News in an exclusive interview.


Over 80 pieces of footwear of different sizes were buried with the boy king. Some are much deteriorated, with just fragments or isolated straps remaining. Others, however, have survived in decent condition.

Veldmeijer studied 81 specimens, including simple sewn sandals as well as other elaborately decorated, gold ornamented, brightly colored open shoes.

"They were very colorful, shiny shoes. Some are really unique as they combine shape, special materials and new manufacturing techniques," Veldmeijer said.

Veldmeijer believes it is unlikely that the most elaborate shoes, complete with gemstone inlays and gold sheets, ever touched the ground.

"King Tut might have been carried around wearing them. Some shoes, such as the elaborate marquetry veneer sandals, might have been carried by a servant," Veldmeijer said.

On the contrary, the seemingly simple sewn sandals, made of palm leaf, grass and papyrus, were the most important items.

"They were a status symbol, only used by those elite who were rewarded by the king and royalty. These sandals were so important that they were even imitated in gold," Veldmeijer said.

According to the archaeologist, the group of smallest size footwear might have fit King Tut when he was 10, the approximate age when he became king in 1333 B.C, while the largest could have been worn just before his death at age 19.

"This suggest that only the shoes he wore as a king were buried with him. Indeed, many sandals show wear, including the print of King Tut's foot on the sole," Veldmeijer said.

Two pair of open shoes were made to be extra comfortable, with the middle part of the sole stuffed to be more soft on the plantar.

Together with a German specialist in reproduction of ancient footwear, Veldmeijer is now testing the "orthopedic" shoe hypothesis by remaking King Tut's leather open shoes.

"We are collaborating with a professor in anatomy to see how deformed the foot was and how the shoes would have helped," Veldmeijer said.

According to Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, the speculation is interesting.

"It is entirely feasible that tighter straps on Tut's shoes were due to a possible club foot, as these would hold them in place and enable easy maneuvering," Ikram told Discovery News.


Lights keep vegies full of vitamins

Supermarket lights help keep spinach fresh and producing new vitamins, according to US government researchers.

The surprising findings should apply to other fresh vegetables and may offer insights into how to keep produce fresher longer, the researchers reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

They may also suggest ways to boost nutrients in fresh foods, says Gene Lester of the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. He says the idea for the experiment came to him when he was shopping.

Supermarkets often display fresh spinach in clear plastic containers at around 4°C under fluorescent light 24 hours a day. Lester wondered if this was good or bad for the leaves.

"It is about time we asked some of these questions and do some of the science," says Lester.

Stay fresh

His team kept fresh spinach leaves under continuous light or darkness for three to nine days.

Spinach kept under lights for as little as three days had significantly higher levels of vitamins C, K, E and folate, as well as more the colourful and healthful carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, they report.

Leaves stored in the dark lost nutrients, says Lester. On reflection, he says, the findings should not be surprising.

"These vitamins are basically in the plant for photosynthesis and we humans, being the biggest predator of plants, have evolved over time to utilise them as opposed to we having to manufacture them," he says.

Even when picked, leafy greens continue to photosynthesis, says Lester. "As long as there is moisture in the leaves and as long as there is gas exchange and light, it is good to go whether they are picked or not."

His team chose fresh spinach as it is "arguably one of the most nutritionally complete vegetables commonly consumed." A serving of spinach provides 20% or more of the recommended dietary intake of vitamins C, A, B9, K and E.


10 Power Food Combos

10 Power Food Combos

Research shows certain foods suddenly become healthier when eaten in combination. From spinach and beets to red wine and apples, here are 10 pairings that boost each other’s benefits.

Why does orange juice taste so good with oatmeal? And what is it about olive oil that enhances the flavor of tomatoes? The answers to these questions, it turns out, are buried deep within our instincts. New evidence suggests that certain foods that taste great together also interact with one another in nutritionally positive ways. In other words, two particular foods consumed in combination can actually deliver more benefits than either one would on its own. Epidemiologist David R. Jacobs refers to this phenomenon as “food synergy.” He believes that it might explain why we are inherently crave certain foods together, as well as how they join forces to protect and nourish our bodies. Here are 10 food combos that maximize absorption of the good elements while keeping the bad ones out of your system.

1. Spinach & Beets

Popeye has been selling us on the power of spinach for 80 years, but he should skip the canned variety and, if he really wants to do himself some good, throw in some beets. According to dietitian Joanne Larsen, dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are best eaten in combination with another veggie high in Vitamin C like beets, because “iron absorption in your intestines is improved by Vitamin C.” Tomatoes and bell peppers are also great sources of the immuno-boosting vitamin, for those who don’t like having pink-stained hands.

2. Tomatoes & Olive Oil

Greeks consume more of these two ingredients per capita than anyone else, and they have higher life expectancies than Americans. Tomatoes are rich in an antioxidant called lycopene, which has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. But lycopene is also fat-soluble, which means combining it with a healthy, monounsaturated fat like olive oil helps boost absorption even more. Technique: Sautéed tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper make a great fresh pasta sauce; but you can also whip up a quick Caprese salad by adding some mozzarella and basil to sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil.

3. Beef & Carrots

When you’re in the mood for a hearty meal, try this mix that will boost your immune function. The Vitamin A in the carrots is best absorbed when bound to a protein. Plus, the beef delivers an extra dose of zinc, which protects against weakening of the immune system.

4. Green Tea & Lemon

Green tea is a true liquid miracle worker—it’s packed with antioxidants, revs up metabolism, and keeps you hydrated. When drunk with lemon, its benefits become turbocharged—your body absorbs 13 times as many more antioxidants than when consumed on its own.

5. Garlic & Fish

These two flavors were made for each other, and when combined, the cholesterol-reducing fish oils and heart-healthy garlic can act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

6. Red Meats & Rosemary

While red meats shouldn’t generally be seen as health foods, we’re all going to order the steak once in a while. But you can mitigate the damage in a way that only adds to the taste. The antioxidants rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid, both found in rosemary, can soak up and neutralize the meat’s free radicals, which are one of the key causes of signs of aging.

7. Orange Juice & Oatmeal

This is the real breakfast of champions. The combination of these morning basics has actually been shown to prevent heart attacks and clean arteries twice as effectively as ingesting either one on its own. The organic compounds known as phenols (found in both) stabilize cholesterol levels when consumed together. Tip: Instant oatmeal is often processed with added sugars, salt, and colorings, so go for old-fashioned rolled oats.

8. Apples & Red Wine

With all the recent studies proclaiming the health benefits of red wine, you might be tempted to swap your apple a day for a glass of Pinot—now you have an excuse to enjoy both. Apples contain an anti-inflammatory flavonoid called quercetin, while red wine contains the flavonoid catechin. Together, they work to prevent blood clots and improve cardiovascular functioning.

9. Blueberries & Grapes

Both of these antioxidant-packed fruits are great for on-the-go snacking or for adding to yogurt. But it’s also been proven that fruits mixed together actually have a greater antioxidant response than one fruit eaten on its own. Trick: Buy blueberries and grapes when they’re in season, freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then store them in bags for year-round use.

10. Nuts & Seeds & Dried Fruit

Trail mix, anyone? Nutritionist Lauren Talbot says that nuts and seeds are high in protein and contain little water (as do dried fruits), and that eating these dense foods together makes for easier digestion.

But every coin has a flip side. You should also know about the retroactive combinations that can cause health problems. Here are five common combos to avoid.

1. Coffee & Eggs

This deadly combination is found at every diner in America, and yet the potent polyphenols found in coffee actually reduce iron absorption from the eggs and decrease calcium in your bones. Tip: If you can’t get through the morning without a caffeine fix, try switching to chai tea, which contains caffeine but has spices that can improve circulation and mental clarity.

2. Milk & Anything

Since milk is a complete food, it requires digestion in its most concentrated form—by itself. Trick: If you’re craving a glass of milk, drink it with a spoonful of honey since the two can take on antimicrobial properties when consumed together.

3. Meat & Potatoes

Although this classic union makes for a hearty meal, starches are digested in the small intestine while proteins are digested in the stomach, so eating these together can result in digestive problems and a slowed metabolism.

4. Fruit & Anything

Fruits are great sources of vitamins and antioxidants, but they also contain acids that cause them to ferment in the stomach and slow the digestion of other foods. Tip: Beans aren’t the only “magical” fruit—eat fruits by themselves on an empty stomach to avoid digestion problems and potential gas.

5. Non-Starchy Greens & Dairy
Creamed spinach makes for a filling side. Unfortunately, studies show that the chemicals in non-starchy veggies (spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.) can block the

Breast-feeding would save lives, money

CHICAGO – The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says.

Those startling results, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are only an estimate. But several experts who reviewed the analysis said the methods and conclusions seem sound.

"The health care system has got to be aware that breast-feeding makes a profound difference," said Dr. Ruth Lawrence, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' breast-feeding section.


Sebelius: FDA Will Require Health Labels on Front of Food Packages

By Edwin Mora

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
( -- Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius said today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is developing a new regulation that would require food manufacturers to display nutritional information on the front of packages.

This would mean that the front of a Wheaties box, for example, would display not only the smiling face of a famous athlete but also declare how many calories from fat are in each serving.

“Busy shoppers will be able to go into grocery stores and have some easy to understand information on the front of packages giving them quick data on what is a healthier choice,” said Sebelius at the U.S. Capitol.

“The Food and Drug Administration right now is working with food manufacturers to not only update the nutritional labeling on the back of packages, which right now is written in small bar codes and pretty indecipherable and hasn’t been updated in 20 years, but to move to a front-of-package labeling strategy,” said Sebelius.


How carbon dioxide in the blood could be responsible for near-death experiences

Some experience an out-of-body floating sensation, others an intense feeling of joy and peace.

Now scientists believe they have explained what causes the near death experiences reported by thousands of people on the operating table.

A study of heart attack victims has found a link between out of body experiences and high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.

Towards the light: People who have out-of-body experiences on the  operating table may have high levels of carbon dioxide in their blood

Towards the light: People who have out-of-body experiences on the operating table may have high levels of carbon dioxide in their blood

Researchers who made the discovery believe carbon dioxide may alter the chemical balance of the brain - and "trick" it into seeing lights, tunnels or dead people.

Around a fifth of people whose heart stops during a cardiac arrest claim to have had some kind of near death experience.

They include the sensation of someone's life flashing before their eyes, intense feelings of calm, travelling down tunnels towards bright lights and encounters with dead people.

The new study in Slovenia, looked at the experiences of 52 patients treated for heart attacks in hospital. All the patients were "flatliners" - people who were resuscitated after their breath and heart stopped.

Drug Companies Paid Docs Millions

Pfizer Inc. said it paid $35 million to some 4,500 doctors and researchers from July through December 2009 for a variety of services, including speaking fees, expert advice, and work on clinical trials of its medicines.

The world's largest drugmaker last year agreed to pay a record $2.3 billion fine and plead guilty to a criminal charge related to improper promotions of 13 of its medicines, but said the new disclosures were already in the works before that widely publicized settlement.


Abortion's cancer link reaffirmed

Another study shows a link between abortion and breast cancer.

A study of research conducted over several decades shows a direct connection between abortion and breast cancer, especially with a first pregnancy. Even so, many organizations refuse to recognize it.

Karen  Malec (Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer)Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, tells OneNewsNow about additional confirmation.

"This is a study that came out of Northeast China, and they examined reproductive factors that were associated with different subtypes of breast cancer," Malec explains. "And they found that women who have abortions increase their risk of developing breast cancer later on in life by a statistically significant 17 percent."

Last year, a Turkish study reported a statistically significant 66 percent increased risk for women who had an abortion. The Coalition president reports that both studies involve honest research conducted outside the control of the U.S. National Cancer Institute and other Western groups that insist on refuting or ignoring the research.

Malec argues that the studies are even more relevant, considering healthcare reform which will finance abortions, irrespective of President Obama's executive order which bans use of federal tax dollars for abortion. More abortions, she explains, could equate to increased breast cancer cases in the future.

Viagra Improves Sex for Some Women

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News

Jan. 7, 2004 -- Viagra can do wonders for men. But a new study shows it also improves sex for some postmenopausal women.

The findings come from a research team led by sexual-function gurus Jennifer R. Berman, MD, and Laura A. Berman, PhD. The placebo-controlled study, funded by Viagra maker Pfizer Inc., evaluated 202 postmenopausal women diagnosed with female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD). This disorder is defined as distress from an inability to attain or maintain sexual excitement.

Half the women were treated with Viagra; the other half got inactive placebo pills. Many of the women who got the placebo reported improved genital sensation. Some even reported more sexual satisfaction. But both of these improvements were much more common among women who took Viagra.

The little blue pill didn't work for women who, in addition to FSAD, also had something called hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD. While many women with FSAD have difficulties with genital blood flow -- suggesting a physical problem that Viagra can help -- women with HSDD may be more likely to have an underlying emotional or relationship problem leading to lack of sexual desire.

"Unresolved emotional or relational issues should be addressed before beginning medical therapies," Berman and colleagues stress. Their report appears in the December 2003 issue of The Journal of Urology.

Viagra, Genital Sensation, and Sexual Satisfaction

Women were included in the study if they were postmenopausal or if they had a hysterectomy. Their ages ranged from 30 to 71 with an average age of about 51.

The Berman team focused on the women's answers to two questions after taking Viagra or placebo:

  • After taking the study medication, the sensation/feeling in my genital (vagina, labia, clitoris) area during intercourse or stimulation seemed to be: (a) more than before, (b) less than before, or (c) unchanged.
  • After taking the study medication, intercourse and/or foreplay was (a) pleasant and satisfying; better than before taking the study medication; (b) unpleasant; worse than before the study medication; (c) unchanged; no difference; or (d) pleasant but still not like it used to be or I would like it to be.

Among placebo recipients, 44% reported improvement in the first question and 28% reported improvement in the second question.

Among all Viagra recipients, 57% reported improvement in the first question and 42% reported improvement in the second question.

But among Viagra recipients with sexual arousal disorder who did not have HSDD, the results were more striking: 69% reported improvement in the first question. This group was eight times more likely to report improvement than women without HSDD who got placebo.

Similarly, among Viagra recipients with sexual arousal disorder who did not have HSDD 50% reported improvement in the second question. This group was 11 times more likely to report improvement than non-HSDD women who got placebo.

The authors note that women who respond to Viagra may need to have normal levels of estrogen and testosterone. For many postmenopausal women, that may mean menopausal replacement therapy. In the present study, the women had normal hormone levels or were receiving menopausal replacement therapy.

SOURCE: Berman, J.R. The Journal of Urology, December 2003; vol 170: pp 2333-2338.