Lyme, tick-borne illnesses get even more terrifying...

Lyme disease
Lyme disease (Photo credit: monkeypuzzle)
Why do up to 25 percent of people treated for Lyme disease report lingering symptoms, lasting from days to years?

“This is a huge question,” said C. Ben Beard, chief of the Bacterial Diseases Branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We really need to understand what is going on.”
Many Lyme sufferers and activists, and some doctors are convinced that the bacteria that cause the disease can, especially if not caught early, evade antibiotics and the body’s immune system by burrowing into joints, the nervous system, and other tissue to wreak sustained havoc.

Most infectious disease specialists, however, say there is a lack of convincing evidence for this persistent infection and that a month or less of antibiotics usually knocks the disease from the body. They suggest other causes: another illness or reinfection through a second tick bite. Or patients may have a syndrome triggered by Lyme that causes long-term fatigue or pain.

Underlying the emotional impasse is this simple fact: Lyme bacteria have rarely been found in patients after a cycle of antibiotics. Lyme tests look not for the bacteria but for antibodies...... MORE>>>>>>>>>
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Cholesterol Drugs Linked to Cataracts

The risk of developing cloudy lenses in the eyes may be linked to the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, according to a new study.
While the researchers can't prove the drugs caused the eye condition, they found that people who took statins - such as Zocor and Lipitor - were about 27 percent more likely to develop cataracts, compared to people who didn't take the medication.

"The results were consistent that there was a higher risk of being diagnosed with cataracts among statin users," Dr. Ishak Mansi, the study's senior author from UT Southwestern Medical Center and the Dallas VA Medical Center in Texas, said.

Statins are popular drugs that block a substance the body needs to make cholesterol, which can get trapped in arteries and ultimately lead to heart attacks and strokes.

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Alert: What Is Your Risk for a Heart Attack? Find Out Now
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Study: Low Estrogen May Play a Role in ‘Male Menopause’

BETHESDA, Md. — TV ads tout testosterone treatments for “low T,” but surprising new research shows a different hormone may play a role in less sex drive and more fat as men age. Estrogen — the female hormone — is needed by men, too, and the study gives the first clear evidence that too little of it can cause certain “male menopause” symptoms.

“A lot of things we think are due to testosterone deficiency are actually related to the estrogen deficiency that accompanies it,” said Dr. Joel Finkelstein of Massachusetts General Hospital. He led the U.S.-government funded study, which appears in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

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How popping too many painkillers could make symptoms WORSE: Effects of codeine are particularly bad for headache patients

Increased pain sensitivity after taking codeine is a particular problem in headache patients, who seem more sensitive to the effect

Nasty Pesticide Broken Down by Probiotic Used In Culturing Food

English: A sign warning about pesticide exposure.
English: A sign warning about pesticide exposure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A new study published in Letters in Applied Microbiology shows that a commonly used food probiotic known as Lactobacillus plantarum is capable of degrading dangerous pesticide residues in wheat (pirimiphos-methyl), confirming the traditional fermentation-based food-processing technique known as culturing can significantly improve the safety of conventional food.
The researchers found that Lactobacillus plantarum enhanced the degradation of the pesticide from 15-34%, a close to 81% enhancement. The significance and impact of the study was described as follows:
Pesticide residues are an unavoidable part of the environment due to their extensive applications in agriculture. As wheat is a major cultivated cereal, the presence of pesticide residues in wheat is a real concern to human health. Reduction in pesticide residues during fermentation has been studied, but there is a lack of data regarding pesticide residues dissipation during cereal fermentation. Present work investigates the dissipation of pirimiphos-methyl during wheat fermentation by L. plantarum. Results are confirmation that food-processing techniques can significantly reduce the pesticide residues in food, offering a suitable means to tackle the current scenario of unsafe food.
Conventional wheat and other commonly consumed grains receive post-harvest pesticide treatment to prevent their infestation during storage.[1] Very little degradation occurs during storage, and milling does not significantly reduce the bulk of the chemicals, but in fact results in the distribution of their residues in various processed products.  This has raised particular concern in regard to the contamination of baby food products containing cereal ingredients,[2] especially since wheat bound pesticides such as pirimiphos-methyl have been found to have high bioavailability in animals.

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Yes, there is science behind taking supplements

Vitamin B12 Gummies.
Vitamin B12 Gummies. (Photo credit: icethim)

Physicians have been saying for years that “vitamins just make expensive urine.” That statement is cute, but simply not true.
Recently the news reported studies presumably showing a deleterious effect of fish oil. And almost like a Greek chorus the medical community was quoted saying there is no evidence that supplements are beneficial.

This is clear nonsense and contrary to what physicians do themselves. They know that Vitamin C supplements prevent or treat scurvy. They give Vitamin B12 shots to patients with pernicious anemia, and they advised the milk industry to add Vitamin D to prevent childhood rickets. This is “supplementation.” What they are really saying is: They don’t want you to make decisions to supplement your diet in the absence of their medical input.

But as I have pointed out previously, scientific advances are slow to percolate into the actual practice of medicine. So even if it were proven to be beneficial to significantly elevate blood levels of Vitamin D (as it has been), it would take decades for the medical establishment to be fully on board.
As a consequence of individual genetics, diminishing capacity to absorb nutrients as we age and eating a generally poor American diet, many people develop deficits of certain nutrients over a lifetime. These nutrients are involved as co-factors in chemical reactions that convert food to energy, detoxify, support cell growth and provide immunity. Our understanding of these processes over the last 30 years has expanded tremendously, and now we can test for very specific deficiencies of function. And then we can tailor supplements to the individual.

Let’s start with a quick review of biochemistry. We will use as an example, the process of methylation, which is important for many body processes. Vitamin B12 is a co-factor in methylation – meaning it works together with an enzyme to run the chemical reaction that adds a methyl group to a compound.

There are important genetic differences in people’s ability to methylate because of the activity of the enzyme. This activity is enhanced by elevating the level of the co-factor, Vitamin B12. A one-size-fits-all mentality is incorrect in medicine in general, but particularly when looking at levels of co-factors. I may be able to methylate with a little B12, and you may need five times as much. Therefore, measuring B12 levels is inadequate. We need to measure some aspect of the ongoing chemical reactions to check if they are proceeding as needed.

Fortunately for B12, there is a cheap test that does just that. A reaction that involves methylation is the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. By measuring the level of homocysteine (and there are others), we can determine whether methylation is occurring appropriately.

Today, there are a myriad of such processes we can measure. It is possible and not overly costly to test the effectiveness of the chemical processes that convert food to energy and then to correct for deficiencies. Organized medicine recognizes so-called “inborn errors of metabolism,” but only the most overt ones. They willfully ignore the possibility of less profound – but deleterious – individual genetic variation of everyday metabolism. And in spite of a plethora of studies showing benefits of various supplements, they continue to chant, “Supplements don’t work.”

Even without specific testing it is known that American’s generally are deficient in certain areas. Those supplements I recommend to everyone are chosen because they are needed to compensate for our unnatural dietary patterns. For example, fish oil is needed to compensate for the fact that the aboriginal human ate fish and grass-fed wild game, so naturally had a high intake of Omega 3 versus Omega 6 oils. Today’s grain-fed beef and farm-raised fish simply do not give us enough of this fat. We know this to be true by large population studies.

Similarly, everyone needs iodine supplementation because we do not eat like the Japanese, who ingest hundreds of times more because of their ingestion of seaweed. In my experience observing elderly people in the hospital and testing a number of people with these advanced tests, nearly everyone is deficient in zinc, and over a lifetime become deficient in magnesium. This is probably due again to our diet, which tends to be repetitive, and not as natural as it once was. Everyone is low on Vitamin D – even people who work and play outside. So, many supplements I just recommend, and do not waste patient’s time and money with testing everyone.

Without specific testing I recommend the following for everyone, understanding that if you have certain medical conditions such as renal failure you must consult a physician first:
  • Vitamin C 1000 mg a day minimum
  • Vitamin D, 5000 iu a day minimum (I take 10,000, and there has not been a case of overdose at that level)
  • Iodoral 12.5 mg a day (this is the dose of iodine the Japanese get through their diet)
  • Magnesium Citrate or Malate 800 mg a day
  • Fish oil 3 gm a day
  • Zinc 7mg a day either separately or through a multi-vitamin
  • Sublingual B12 for anyone over 50 or with a family history of deficiency
In short, there is a scientific basis for taking supplements. Life Extension Foundation at has a very extensive summary of literature supporting specific supplements, and their reviews of the science are easy to read and accessible to people without medical backgrounds. Other references are Dr. Blaylock’s newsletter, or the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine at

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Gut Bacteria From Thin Humans Can Slim Mice Down

The trillions of bacteria that live in the gut — helping digest foods, making some vitamins, making amino acids — may help determine if a person is fat or thin.
Dan Gill for The New York Times
Dr. Jeffrey I. Gordon, left, and Vanessa K. Ridaura are two members of a scientific team whose research shows a connection between human gut bacteria and obesity. 

The evidence is from a novel experiment involving mice and humans that is part of a growing fascination with gut bacteria and their role in health and diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. In this case, the focus was on obesity. Researchers found pairs of human twins in which one was obese and the other lean. They transferred gut bacteria from these twins into mice and watched what happened. The mice with bacteria from fat twins grew fat; those that got bacteria from lean twins stayed lean. 

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