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Medical News Reports

Sex Addiction May Function Like Drug Addiction In The Brain
A new study suggests that sex addiction may work a lot like drug addiction in the brain. There’s been a long debate about whether compulsive sexual behavior – including frequent thoughts about sex, having sex, or watching
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Hypertension and treatment outcomes in Palestine refugees in United Nations Relief and Works Agency primary health care clinics in Jordan
Original Article A. Khader1, L. Farajallah1, Y. Shahin1, M. Hababeh1, I. Abu-Zayed2, R. Zachariah3, A. Kochi4, A. Kapur5, A. D. Harries6,7,*, I. Shaikh1 and A. Seita1 Article first published online: 12 JUL
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The Problem with Perfectionism — How to Truly Succeed!
  Follow me on Twitter!   Are you a perfectionist? Many perfectionists are very hard on themselves when it comes to perceived imperfections, faults, and shortcomings. You may think that you’re not good enough in some
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NPR Listeners Show A Keen Ear For Temperature 06 July 2014, 22.30 Medical
NPR Listeners Show A Keen Ear For Temperature
1 min 20 secDownload NPR conducted an online poll asking listeners if they could hear the difference between cold and hot water simply by listening to the sound of the water being poured. Most listeners were
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Pediatric Pit Crew CPR 29 June 2014, 15.19 Medical
Pediatric Pit Crew CPR
A reader asks, “Does your Pit Crew CPR process work for pediatrics?”See also: Pit Crew CPR – The Explicit Details The answer is, “Yes!” with some minor modifications. We are developing a class for Pediatric Pit Crew
Read More 95 Hits 0 Ratings
ASD, ADHD, mental health conditions and psychopharmacology in neurogenetic syndromes: parent survey
Original Article C. Reilly1,2,*, J. Senior2 and L. Murtalgh2 Article first published online: 25 JUN 2014 DOI: 10.1111/jir.12147 © 2014 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and
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Depressed? It May Be Celiac Disease 27 June 2014, 16.43 Medical
Depressed? It May Be Celiac Disease
Melanie had been feeling out of sorts for years. No matter how well she slept, she was often fatigued. She had frequent headaches. She had diarrhea so often, she figured it was just how her body worked. She wryly said that she
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Survey: Nurses Harsh on Overweight Patients 27 June 2014, 16.43 Medical
Survey: Nurses Harsh on Overweight Patients
Meeting Coverage Published: Jun 21, 2014 By Ed Susman , Contributing Writer, MedPage Today NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Nurse practitioners responding to a survey indicated a critical attitude when dealing with overweight
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Consensus Guidelines -- Hepatitis C ManagementConsensus Guidelines -- Hepatitis C Management
Koff RS. Review article: the efficacy and safety of sofosbuvir, a novel, oral nucleotide NS5B polymerase inhibitor, in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2014; 39:
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Prenatal and perinatal factors in eating disorders: A descriptive review
Review Anu Raevuori MD, PhD1,2,3,4,*, Milla S. Linna MD1 and Anna Keski-Rahkonen MD, PhD, MPH1 Article first published online: 19 JUN 2014 DOI: 10.1002/eat.22323 Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals,
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Psychological Distress Affects Tobacco Use Differently for Men and Women
Follow us on Facebook A new study in the American Journal of Health Behavior finds that women are more likely than men to use tobacco products after experiencing severe psychological distress. The researchers, led by Mary
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Dr. Oz scolded at Senate hearing on diet scams
Popular TV talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz is defending his claims of "miracle" weight-loss supplements amid criticism from members of Congress. Oz testified at a Senate hearing Tuesday on deceptive advertising for
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Fear of aging moderates post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms among older adults exposed to hurricane sandy.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Authors: Palgi Y, Shrira A, Goodwin R, Hamama-Raz Y, Ben-Ezra M PMID: 24927879 [PubMed - in process] (Source: The American Journal of Geriatric
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Expression of SSEA-4 in GBM [Biochemistry] 15 June 2014, 20.23 Medical
Expression of SSEA-4 in GBM [Biochemistry]
Yi-Wei Loua,b, Pao-Yuan Wangb,c, Shih-Chi Yehb,d, Po-Kai Chuangb,e, Shiou-Ting Lib, Chung-Yi Wub, Kay-Hooi Khoof, Michael Hsiaob, Tsui-Ling Hsub, and Chi-Huey Wongb,1 aInstitute of Biochemical Sciences, National Taiwan
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Light Therapy Improves Sleep, Behavior in Alzheimer's PatientsLight Therapy Improves Sleep, Behavior in Alzheimer's Patients
MINNEAPOLIS — Light therapy tailored to increase circadian stimulation during the day has benefits for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias living in long-term care facilities, a new study
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Practicing Mind-Body Exercises to Prevent or Control Smoking
At the national level, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), estimates that 42.1 million people, or 18.1% of all adults (aged 18 years or older) in the United States smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is more
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Coke ad: It takes 23 minutes to burn off a soda
NEW YORK - Coca-Cola (KO) is taking on obesity, this time with an online video showing how fun it could be to burn off the 140 calories in a can of its soda. In the ad, the world's biggest beverage maker asks what would happen
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Victoza Accused of Causing Pancreatitis 08 June 2014, 22.37 Medical
Victoza Accused of Causing Pancreatitis
Endocrinology Published: Jun 6, 2014 The watchdog group Public Citizen has conducted its own analysis of FDA adverse event reports and concluded that the type 2 diabetes drug liraglutide (Victoza) likely causes
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"Godfather of ecstasy" dies at 88 05 June 2014, 15.48 Medical
"Godfather of ecstasy" dies at 88
Alexander ("Sasha") Shulgin, known as the "Godfather of ecstasy," died on Monday. The 88-year-old, who passed away after a long battle with liver cancer, is credited with inventing a number of psychedelic drugs. He is most
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Houttuynia cordata Attenuates Lipid Accumulation via Activation of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Signaling Pathway in HepG2 Cells.
Houttuynia cordata (H. cordata) from the family Saururaceae is a perennial herb native to Southeast Asia. It possesses a range of medicinal properties to treat several disease symptoms including allergic inflammation and
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Acute Lipotoxicity Regulates Severity of Biliary Acute Pancreatitis without Affecting Its Initiation.
Obese patients have worse outcomes during acute pancreatitis (AP). Previous animal models of AP have found worse outcomes in obese rodents who may have a baseline proinflammatory state. Our aim was to study the role of acute
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Committee opinion no. 600: ethical issues in the care of the obese woman.
: Rates of obesity in the United States have increased rapidly over the past several decades, and physicians should be prepared to care for obese patients in a nonjudgmental manner, being cognizant of the medical, social, and
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We're more stressed at home than we are at work: Juggling household chores means a day at the office seems easier in comparison
Preparing meals and getting children ready for school is key stress culprit Levels of stress hormone cortisol in saliva soared in home environmentWomen are more affected by stress in the home than menThis is because they often
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Thousands of dogs, and 3 people, sickened by jerky pet treats
Rewarding your favorite canine with a tasty treat may pose health risks. The Food and Drug Administration released updated information on Friday about an ongoing investigation into illnesses and deaths caused by jerky pet
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Antioxidants 18 May 2014, 19.02 Medical
Antioxidants
May 12, 2014 Eating an antioxidant found in red wine, dark chocolate and berries does not help people live longer new research reveals. An Italian study of over 780 people has found eating a diet rich in the antioxidant
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The guide to perfect sleep - top experts share their best slumber tips and tricks
Getting a good night's sleep is crucial for your cognitive and physical health[GETTY - Pic Posed by Models] AVOID STIMULANTS AND KEEP YOUR ROOM DARK Paul Tierney is an ear, nose and throat consultant at the Spire Hospital
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CAC Scores Predict Aspirin Benefit in Primary PreventionCAC Scores Predict Aspirin Benefit in Primary Prevention
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Predicted benefit from daily aspirin therapy for primary prevention exceeds risk when coronary artery calcium (CAC) imaging scores reach or exceed 100, whereas the risks surpass benefits at a CAC score of 0,
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WITHDRAWN: Low back pain across the lifecourse
[unable to retrieve full-text content](Source: Best Practice and Research. Clinical
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Energy requirements, protein-energy metabolism and balance, and carbohydrates in preterm infants.
Energy is necessary for all vital functions of the body at molecular, cellular, organ, and systemic levels. Preterm infants have minimum energy requirements for basal metabolism and growth, but also have requirements for unique
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I lost 4lb by joining the cult of kale says MARIANNE POWER
Marianne Power spent a week eating kale in different waysShe tried the vegetable in a smoothie, salad, facemask and even ice creamMarianne believes she feels healthier and has continued eating kaleBy Marianne Power
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Woman's wisdom teeth operation left her in agony for SIX YEARS
Without proper scans of teeth, there is a danger of permanent nerve damage Carol Russell, 46, from Birmingham, can't even kiss her children Her wisdom tooth was removed in 2008 but several operations couldn't stop the
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athenahealth Announces 2013 Meaningful Use Attestation Rate and Early Stage 2 Performance Data
WATERTOWN, Mass., April 22, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- athenahealth, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHN), a leading provider of cloud-based services for electronic health record (EHR), practice management, and care coordination, today announced
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Can you afford to eat healthily? 26 April 2014, 22.11 Medical
Can you afford to eat healthily?
April 23, 2014 We’ve found out over a third of the UK are struggling to eat healthily. Our survey revealed two thirds of people in the UK wish they could eat more healthily, but 42% said they can't because it’s too
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Risk of completed suicide after bariatric surgery: a systematic review - Peterhänsel C, Petroff D, Klinitzke G, Kersting A, Wagner B.
Affiliation Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Leipzig University Medical Center, Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) AdiposityDiseases Germany,
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Embryos with Genetic Disease Destroyed for Their Stem Cells, Cell Lines Added to NIH Registry
King's College in London is proud that they have provided 16 new embryonic stem cell lines to the United States' National Institutes of Health (NIH) registry of stem cell lines eligible for federal funding. On the King's
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TEMPORARY REMOVAL: Successful bipolar catheter ablation of ventricular premature complex from the posterior papillary muscle
[unable to retrieve full-text content](Source: Heart
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Major Drop in MI, Stroke, Amputation in Diabetes Since 1990Major Drop in MI, Stroke, Amputation in Diabetes Since 1990
Over the past 2 decades, the incidence of diabetes-related complications among Americans with diabetes has fallen substantially, a new study shows. Rates of MI and death from hyperglycemic crisis have each plummeted by
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Edwards Favored Over Medtronic In Recent Artificial Heart Valve Trials
By Ryan Brinks After back-to-back days of research announcements from makers of competing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) devices, the Edwards Lifesciences Sapien XT recently gained an edge over the Medtronic
Read More 218 Hits 0 Ratings
Many New Parents Unaware of Safety Guidelines 14 April 2014, 18.58 Medical
Many New Parents Unaware of Safety Guidelines
A new parent’s health literacy, defined as their ability to obtain, interpret and understand basic health information, can affect their ability to follow recommendations to protect infants from injury, finds a new study in
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Weight Loss Efforts Start Well, But Lapse Over Time
Learning you have an obesity-related disease motivates many to start a weight loss program, but troubling health news is often not enough to sustain weight loss efforts, finds new research in the American Journal of Preventive
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The silent and apparent neurological injury in transcatheter aortic valve implantation study (SANITY): concept, design and rationale
Study protocol Jonathon P Fanning, Allan J Wesley, Michael Seco, Eamonn M Eeles, Oystein Tronstad, David G Platts, Darren L Walters, Wendy Strugnell, Adrian G Barnett, Andrew J Clarke, Judith Bellapart, Michael P Vallely,
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Obesity, traumatic brain injury, childhood abuse, and suicide attempts in females at risk - Brewer-Smyth K.
Abstract PURPOSE: This study tested the hypothesis that obesity is related to history of traumatic brain injury (TBI), severity and frequency of childhood physical (CPA) and sexual abuse (CSA), and suicide attempts, adjusting
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Selfless schoolteacher saves pupil's life by giving her a kidney
Alya owes her life to her hero teacher Ray (R)[ARCHANT] When generous Ray Coe, 53, heard how Alya Ahmed Ali was seriously ill, he was keen to hear if he could help her. The 13-year-old, from Stratford, east London, suffers from
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The man against meaningful use 03 April 2014, 21.18 Medical
The man against meaningful use
Seeing as healthcare generally lags at least 10 years behind other industries in the realm of adopting technology, it takes a lot to say a health company is doing groundbreaking work. But NantHealth executives believe they've
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Peripheral neuromodulation: a review. 03 April 2014, 21.18 Medical
Peripheral neuromodulation: a review.
Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is likely the most diverse and rapidly expanding area of neuromodulation. Its expansion has become possible due to both technological and clinical advances in pain medicine. The first
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‘Bio-Bot’ That Swims Like Sperm Is An 'Exciting Advance’ In Self-Propelled Biological Robots
  The “bio-bot,” a microscopic biological machine, could be used to explore viscous environments.     Engineers are pioneering a new way to explore the viscous fluids of biological environments, like the inside
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Cardio Notes: Diet, Heart Rate Link Unclear 30 December 2013, 23.30 Medical
Cardio Notes: Diet, Heart Rate Link Unclear
Cardiovascular Published: Dec 29, 2013 By Todd Neale, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today The relationship between the Mediterranean diet and heart rate was murky in a randomized trial, and poor sleep spelled trouble
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8,000 people get tummy tucks on NHS 30 December 2013, 23.30 Medical
8,000 people get tummy tucks on NHS
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Baseline obesity status modifies effectiveness of adapted diabetes prevention program lifestyle interventions for weight management in primary care.
Objective. To examine whether baseline obesity severity modifies the effects of two different, primary care-based, technology-enhanced lifestyle interventions among overweight or obese adults with prediabetes and/or metabolic
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China investigates after vaccine suspected in seven deaths
(Reuters) - Chinese health authorities are investigating after seven infants died following inoculation with a hepatitis B vaccine, state media reported on Monday. China has been beset by a series of product safety scandals
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Combination of Umeclidinium Bromide and Vilanterol in COPDCombination of Umeclidinium Bromide and Vilanterol in COPD
Anzueto, A., Decramer, M., Kaelin, T., Richard, N., Taberrer, M., Harris, S. et al. (2013) The efficacy and safety of umeclidinium/vilanterol compared with tiotropium in COPD. In: American Thoracic SocietyCongress,
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Is disordered eating behavior more prevalent in adolescents with early‐onset type 1 diabetes than in their representative peers?
Empirical Article Christina Baechle M.Sc1,*, Katty Castillo Ph.D1, Klaus Straßburger Ph.D1, Anna Stahl-Pehe Ph.D1, Thomas Meissner M.D2, Reinhard W. Holl M.D3, Guido Giani Ph.D1, Joachim Rosenbauer M.D1, In Cooperation with
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Small Vessel Vasculitis and Mononeuropathies in DiabetesSmall Vessel Vasculitis and Mononeuropathies in Diabetes
A Case Report Sahar F Zafar, Jerry Clay Goodman, Eroboghene E Ubogu Disclosures J Med Case Reports. 2013;7(229)  Abstract and Introduction Abstract Introduction We report a rare case of fulminant vasculitic
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13-year-old brain dead after tonsil surgery 23 December 2013, 01.19 Medical
13-year-old brain dead after tonsil surgery
A routine tonsillectomy may have left a 13-year-old girl brain dead, according to her family members who are hoping for a miracle. Jahi McMath went to Children’s Hospital Oakland to get her tonsils removed last week,
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The Consumer: Should We Toss Our Vitamin Pills? 23 December 2013, 01.19 Medical
The Consumer: Should We Toss Our Vitamin Pills?
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press Demand for vitamin and mineral supplements has risen, with 2011 sales of $30 billion.One in two adults takes a daily vitamin pill, and Americans spend tens of billions of
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Cancer rates worldwide on the rise, fueled by breast cancer
GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Worldwide, 14 million people developed cancer last year up from 12.7 million cases in 2008, the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Switzerland said. David Forman, bead of the
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Marker for inflammatory bowel disease linked to bipolar disorder
medwireNews: Researchers have found evidence that the gastrointestinal (GI) tract plays a role in the inflammatory pathology of bipolar disorder, suggesting the need to consider dietary modification and anti-inflammatory
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The Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing 19 December 2013, 22.57 Medical
The Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing
Notorious murderer Charles Manson is reportedly engaged. What? Yep, you heard right. The next obvious question is . . . to who? According to a story carried by the Huffington Post in November—would you believe—to a
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Weight Loss Surgery for Severely Obese Teens 14 December 2013, 20.33 Medical
Weight Loss Surgery for Severely Obese Teens
By Rita Rubin WebMD Health News Dec. 10, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) -- Fifteen-year-old Jacob Miller’s body mass index, or BMI, was off the charts. More than 6 feet tall, Jacob weighed 702 pounds at his heaviest. An online
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The relationship of plasma neuropeptide Y levels with coronary collateral development
JavaScript Error JavaScript has been disabled on your browser. You must enable it to continue. Here's how to enable JavaScript in the following browsers:Internet Explorer From the Tools menu, select Options Click the Content
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Alternative approach devised for cancer patients referred to palliative treatment
The Care Oncology Clinic's new approach uses everyday drugs to treat cancer [REX] EVERY year 150,000 cancer patients in the UK are told that they have reached the end of the conventional treatment line. For these patients and
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NHS to test genes of patients for heart defects 13 December 2013, 20.42 Medical
NHS to test genes of patients for heart defects
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Editorial Board 06 December 2013, 19.23 Medical
Editorial Board
European Online Customer ServiceThe BoulevardLangford Lane, KidlingtonOxford. OX5 1GBUKHours: Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm (Greenwich Mean Time/British Summer Time)Tel: +44 (0) 1865-843177 (Within Europe)Fax: +44 (0)
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The link between stress and heart disease 02 December 2013, 23.14 Medical
The link between stress and heart disease
Ongoing stress, whether it's from a traffic-choked daily commute, unhappy marriage, or overbearing boss, has been linked to a wide range of harmful health effects. But can stress cause heart disease? The December 2013 issue of
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Africa: Malaria Net Suppliers Suspended Over Kickbacks
[unable to retrieve full-text content][GFO]Two suppliers responsible for nearly 50% of all long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) purchased by the Global Fund on behalf of malaria projects worldwide have been suspended
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Stockport woman survived malaria: Every organ in my body packed up apart from my heart
BITEN: Last year 1,378 Britions returned to the UK having contracted malaria [GETTY ] VICTORIA, 36, is a nurse from Stockport. She is married to hospital driver Jay, 40, and they have a nine-year-old daughter, Maddison. She
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Occupational differences, cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyle habits in South Eastern rural Australia
Research article Nathalie Davis-Lameloise, Benjamin Philpot, Edward D Janus, Vincent L Versace, Tiina Laatikainen, Erkki A Vartiainen and James A Dunbar BMC Public Health 2013, 13:1090 
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[Comment] Antibiotic resistance in Ghana 29 November 2013, 17.08 Medical
[Comment] Antibiotic resistance in Ghana
The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Volume 13, Issue 12, Pages 1006 - 1007, December 2013 Previous Article|Next Article> doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70196-8Cite or Link Using DOI Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd All rights
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Spiritual Life Reports

When you are paralyzed into in-action 20 November 2012, 18.02 Spiritual
When you are paralyzed into in-action
How to put the dynamic of hope into action. You have the same DNA as Gandhi, Václav Havel and Goenawan Mohamad DAVID RICKEY — Hope is a great four-letter word, but it gets lost in the shuffle of our lives if it
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To die for 09 August 2012, 15.37 Spiritual
To die for
Will Baby Boomers choose to expire in hospitals and nursing homes? Or will they take matters into their own hands? BY DAVID RICKEY —  Would you prefer to die on purpose — or with purpose? Late, great writers like Arthur
Read More 5372 Hits 1 Rating
Meditation lite 23 May 2012, 18.50 Spiritual
Meditation lite
They say that meditation is sitting on a cushion and emptying your mind. But I do mine while I’m thinking BY DAVID RICKEY  — I know it doesn’t come as a surprise to say that meditation is important for spiritual growth.
Read More 5519 Hits 0 Ratings
Can an ‘Easter moment’ cure loneliness and fear?
How would you survive the loss if your best friend, mentor or shrink were crucified? You’d have to awaken your own inner guru. DAVID RICKEY — His career was short and ended with his crucifixion. It looked like failure. What
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Decoding codependence 20 March 2012, 01.46 Spiritual
Decoding codependence
If we are all co-dependents now, what is America’s turn-around? * BY DAVID RICKEY — Marriages, mortgages, and just-missed connections. In the annals of clinical psychology, the term “Co-Dependence” describes a
Read More 7321 Hits 0 Ratings
Haiti, consciousness and charity 20 March 2012, 01.46 Spiritual
Haiti, consciousness and charity
A psychotherapist and Episcopal priest makes healing in Haiti a life – and spiritual – mission BY DAVID RICKEY – Haiti is a fascinating place in its own right, but for me it serves as a kind of microcosm of issues that
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What is codependence? 10 March 2012, 17.32 Spiritual
What is codependence?
If we are all co-dependents now, what is America’s turn-around? * BY DAVID RICKEY — Marriages, mortgages, and just-missed connections. In the annals of clinical psychology, the term “Co-Dependence” describes a
Read More 6128 Hits 0 Ratings
Are we All codependents now? * 07 March 2012, 16.12 Spiritual
Are we All codependents now? *
If America is the most codependent culture on the planet, what is the turn-around? BY DAVID RICKEY — Marriages, mortgages, and just-missed connections. In the annals of clinical psychology, the term “Co-Dependence”
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We are All codependents now * 03 March 2012, 23.44 Spiritual
We are All codependents now *
If America is the most codependent culture on the planet, what is the turn-around? BY DAVID RICKEY — Marriages, mortgages, and just-missed connections. In the annals of clinical psychology, the term “Co-Dependence”
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On Ash Wednesday: Is your life filled by Ego, or Grace?
Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down. Ashes on your forehead can begin a reorientation of your heart. BY DAVID RICKEY — In the Judeo-Christian tradition, ashes are a symbol of penitence and mortality. In the Old
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Doctors Lack Tools to Discuss Toxic Exposures with Pregnant Patients: Survey PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

If you're a pregnant woman, avoiding exposure to environmental toxins is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your developing baby. In fact, avoiding toxic exposures while pregnant is equally as important to your baby's health as your healthy diet, stress management, safe exercise, and sound sleep.

Unfortunately, few obstetricians routinely warn expectant mothers about the risks of environmental toxins, often because they feel they lack the medical training to do so.

Many Doctors Are Unprepared to Discuss Toxic Exposures with Pregnant Women

In a survey of more than 2,500 US obstetricians on the topic of prenatal environmental exposures, the majority (78 percent) agreed that they could reduce women's exposure to environmental health hazards by counseling their patients.1

However, 50 percent said they rarely take an environmental health history and less than 20 percent said they routinely ask about environmental exposures common to pregnant women.

Worse still, only one in 15 obstetricians reported receiving any training on the topic. In short, while most obstetricians acknowledge the importance of talking to pregnant women about exposure to environmental toxins, few actually do in practice because they feel unprepared to do so. The surveyed obstetricians reported the following barriers to environmental counseling:

  • A lack of knowledge of and uncertainty about the evidence
  • Concerns that patients lack the capacity to reduce harmful exposures
  • Fear of causing anxiety among patients

The study's lead author, Naomi Stotland, a professor of obstetrics at the University of California, San Francisco, explained:2

"Providers were saying, 'If I bring this up with patients... it's going to raise anxiety and questions that I don't know how to deal with… There's a sense that, yes, these things may be harmful, but I don't know how to tell her how to reduce her risk.'"

Developing Babies Are Especially Vulnerable to Environmental Toxins

Obstetricians' reluctance to discuss environmental toxins with pregnant women is unfortunate – and that is a profound understatement. The nine months of development that take place in the womb are the most rapid and most vulnerable period of your baby's life.

And while no one knows exactly what happens when a developing fetus is exposed to hundreds of chemicals in utero, we'll likely be finding out whether we like it or not, as this is occurring daily.

What is known, however, is that children experience greater exposure to chemicals pound-for-pound than adults, and though the blood-brain barrier is fully formed at birth,3 its function may be immature, which may allow greater chemical exposures to reach their developing brains.

Children also have lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which allows more of a chemical to reach their organs, while systems that detoxify and excrete chemicals in adults are not fully developed.4

These factors, coupled with the fact that a child will be around for 80 years or more, allowing more than enough time for chemicals to do their damage, signals a major challenge for kids born today. Experts believe rising rates of birth defects, asthma, neurodevelopmental disorders, and other serious diseases in US children are a result of these early chemical exposures.

Environmental Chemicals Induce Multiple Harms with Effects Seen in Childhood and Adulthood

There are approximately 75,000 chemicals regularly manufactured and imported by US industries, and, disturbingly, most of them have never been adequately tested for safety for adults, let alone their impacts on the most vulnerable among us, our children.

It's becoming hard to deny that early life exposure to a slew of chemicals is changing the health of humankind and is likely instrumental in the rising rates of chronic diseases we're seeing among developed countries. How might these toxins be harming your unborn child? A landmark 2005 study by EWG found that blood samples from newborns contained an average of 287 toxins.

Of these, 180 are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to your brain and nervous system, and 208 have been found to cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.5 Taken together, the chemical cocktail that bathes most babies in the womb can exert harm in multiple ways. EWG explained:6

"Some chemicals are directly toxic to an exposed child — lead and mercury, for example, which harm a developing brain — while other chemicals induce a chain of events that may culminate in a diagnosed health problem later in life.

Hormone-mimicking chemicals like dioxins and furans, for example, could induce delayed cancers in hormone-sensitive tissues like the breast, testicle, or prostate gland. Chemicals like PCBs or DDT can reduce growth rates in the womb, initiating in low birth weight babies lasting, internal survival mechanisms that cascade into cardiovascular disease or diabetes later in life.

The fact is, a child can bear a lifelong imprint of risks from the countless molecules of industrial pollutants that find their way through the placenta, down the umbilical cord, and into the baby's body.

The consequences — health disorders, subtle or serious — can surface not only in childhood but also in adulthood. Studies now support origins in early life exposures for a startling array of adult diseases, including Alzheimer's, mental disorders, heart disease, and diabetes."

High Blood Pressure and Autism Are Risks of Chemical Exposure During Pregnancy

It's difficult to quantify the damage potential of environmental chemicals, especially in utero. However, the studies that have tried have yielded some disturbing results. For instance, earlier this year a study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology7 found that every 1-percent increase in genital malformations in newborn males within a particular county was associated with a 283 percent increased rate in autism.

According to the researchers, genital malformations such as micropenis, undescended testicles, and hypospadias (when the urethra forms on the underside of the penis) are signs of exposure to harmful toxins.

And the correlation between genital malformation and autism in turn offer strong support for the notion that autism may be at least partially the result of parental overexposure to environmental toxins. According to one of the authors, Andrey Rzhetsky, Ph.D., professor of genetic medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago:8

"Autism appears to be strongly correlated with rate of congenital malformations of the genitals in males across the country. This gives an indicator of environmental load and the effect is surprisingly strong... We interpret the results of this study as a strong environmental signal."

Other recent research has revealed that exposure while in the womb to DDT, a pesticide banned in 1972 after close to 30 years of use, increases women's risk of high blood pressure decades later. Like many environmental toxins, DDT passes freely through the placenta during pregnancy, where it gains direct access to the developing fetus. Past studies have linked DDT to high blood pressure, decreased fertility, premature delivery, and diabetes in adults, but this is the first study to reveal its health risks when exposure occurs prenatally.

The research revealed that women exposed to the most DDT before birth were 2.5 to 3.6 times more likely to develop high blood pressure before the age of 50 than those with the lowest prenatal exposure.9 This means health problems you're experiencing now could potentially be the result of chemical exposures before you were even born.

Damage from Chemical Exposure in Utero May Persist for Many Generations

What is perhaps even more shocking is that toxins you're exposed to while in your mother's womb can end up impacting the health of your great-grandchildren through inherited epigenetic changes. So not only are environmental chemicals potentially jeopardizing the health of your children, they're jeopardizing the health of multiple future generations. EWG noted:10

"…Early life [chemical] exposures can lead to health problems not only in adulthood, but also down through subsequent generations. For instance, adult diseases linked to newborns' low birth weight… cause adverse effects not only in those babies born small, but also in their children of any birth size, through heritable changes in gene expression that result in a phenomenon known as 'epigenetic inheritance.' Very different from genetic mutations, which are physical changes in gene structure, epigenetic inheritance is instead characterized by certain genes being turned on or off, but near permanently in ways that can be inherited.

If a genetic mutation is like changing a light fixture, the comparable epigenetic change would involve taping the light switch on or off. Since genes are responsible for making the chemicals that build and repair the body, this unnatural forcing to a permanent on or off position can have far-reaching consequences. In humans, both kinds of genetic changes, mutations as well as epigenetic changes in gene expression, can be passed down to a baby in the womb."

Even 'Safe' OTC Meds Like Tylenol May Be Harmful

It may be obvious to avoid exposures to toxins like lead, mercury, and pesticides. But if you're pregnant, it is generally best to avoid taking any medications as well, including over-the-counter (OTC) varieties, unless absolutely necessary. This includes while you're trying to conceive, as you could become pregnant and not know it. Most medications have never been tested on pregnant women and their effects on a developing baby are completely unknown. Even the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges that very little is known about the impacts of most medications on unborn babies:11

"We do not have enough information about the effects of many medications when they are taken by pregnant women… All prescription and over-the-counter medications are tested to see if they are safe and effective before they become available to the public. Pregnant women usually are not included in these tests because of the possible risks to the unborn baby. As a result, little information is available about the safety of most medications during pregnancy—including those available over the counter—when they first become available."

Even acetaminophen (Tylenol), which has long been considered the "safest" pain reliever for pregnant women, was recently found to be risky as it may raise the risk of behavior problems in your child later on. The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, noted that "research data suggest that acetaminophen is a hormone disruptor, and abnormal hormonal exposures in pregnancy may influence fetal brain development."12 The study included data from more than 64,000 mothers and children in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Over 50 percent of the women reported taking acetaminophen while pregnant, which was found to be linked to:

  • A 30 percent increased risk for ADHD in the child during the first seven years of life
  • 37 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder (HKD), a severe form of ADHD

Behavioral effects appeared to be dose dependent. The more frequent the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy, the higher the offspring's chances of being diagnosed with ADHD-related problems. Children of women who used the drug for 20 or more weeks during pregnancy had nearly double the risk of getting an HKD diagnosis. They also had a 50 percent greater chance of being prescribed an ADHD medication. As reported by Forbes:13

"Acetaminophen can cross the placenta, making its way to the fetus and its delicate developing nervous system. The drug is a known endocrine (hormone) disrupter, and has previously been linked to undescended testes in male infants. Since the maternal hormone environment plays a critical role in the development of the fetus, the authors say that it's 'possible that acetaminophen may interrupt brain development by interfering with maternal hormones or via neurotoxicity such as the induction of oxidative stress that can cause neuronal death.'"

Infographic: Top Toxins to Avoid if You're Pregnant

If you're pregnant or trying to conceive, trying to wade through the information pertaining to toxicant exposures can be overwhelming. The infographic below can help to take some of your anxiety away, as it offers a concise list of some of the most damaging toxins that pregnant women should avoid. Ideally, it's important to reduce your chemical exposures and encourage detoxification before you become pregnant in order to protect your future children from your body's toxic load. With that in mind, here are the top toxins to avoid if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant, including where you're most likely to find them.

Leading a Healthy Lifestyle Will Minimize Your Chemical Exposures Naturally

Since it's unlikely that your obstetrician will advise you on how to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins, you'll need to take matters into your own hands. As an aside, you may want to consider switching to a pregnancy health care provider that will be more in tune with such risks, including how to avoid them, such as a midwife. You'll want to begin with what are likely your largest avenues of chemical exposures: your diet and your home, starting by paying careful attention to what you eat.

Eating organically grown, biodynamic whole foods are a primary strategy and, as an added bonus, when you eat properly, you're also optimizing your body's natural detoxification system, which can help eliminate toxins your body encounters from other sources. From there, simply leading a healthy lifestyle will help you to have as minimal a chemical exposure as possible. This includes the following:

  1. As much as possible, purchase organic produce and free-range, organic foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides, growth hormones, GMOs, and synthetic fertilizers.
  2. Rather than using conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality purified krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity.
  3. Eat mostly raw, fresh foods, steering clear of processed, prepackaged foods of all kinds. This way you automatically avoid artificial food additives, including dangerous artificial sweeteners, food coloring, and MSG. Freshly grown sprouts are particularly nutritious, especially watercress, sunflower, and pea sprouts.
  4. Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap and canned foods (which are often lined with BPA- and BPS-containing liners).
  5. Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath).
  6. Only use natural cleaning products in your home.
  7. Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group has a useful database to help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.14 I also offer one of the highest quality organic skin care lines, shampoo, and conditioner, and body butter that are completely natural and safe.
  8. Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, or other synthetic fragrances.
  9. Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
  10. When redoing your home, look for "green," chemical-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings.
  11. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric, or install a glass shower door. Most flexible plastics, like shower curtains, contain dangerous plasticizers like phthalates.
  12. Limit your use of drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) as much as possible. Drugs are chemicals too, and they will leave residues and accumulate in your body over time.
  13. Avoid spraying pesticides around your home or insect repellants that contain DEET on your body. There are safe, effective, and natural alternatives out there.
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  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Health  |  
 
Almost 20% of Fully Vaccinated Children with Persistent Cough "Have Whooping Cough" PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

In the US, from January 1 to June 16, 2014, there have been nearly 10,000 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is a 24 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2013.1 The CDC maintains that the best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated, but this deserves a closer look.

CDC data shows 84 percent of children under the age of 3 have received at least FOUR DTaP shots and yet, despite this high vaccination rate, whooping cough still keeps circulating among both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The vaccine is clearly ineffective, and it's not just failing to prevent whooping cough in the US. In the UK, researchers similarly revealed that nearly 20 percent of fully vaccinated children still contracted whooping cough.

Nearly One-Fifth of Vaccinated Children Develop Whooping Cough

Researchers from the University of Oxford followed 279 children, aged 5 to 15 years, who visited their doctors due to a persistent cough lasting two to eight weeks. Twenty percent of the children were diagnosed with whooping cough, including 18 percent who were fully vaccinated against it.2 The researchers concluded:

"Pertussis can still be found in a fifth of school age children who present in primary care with persistent cough and can cause clinically significant cough in fully vaccinated children."

In the US, pertussis outbreaks have been occurring around the country, with the most highly publicized among them occurring in California. In 2010, the largest outbreak of whooping cough in over 50 years was reported in the state.

Again in June 2014, the director of the California Department of Public Health declared a pertussis outbreak, with 3,458 cases so far this year.3 The media often blames unvaccinated children as the cause of the outbreaks, but even the CDC acknowledges this is not the case:4

"Even though children who haven't received DTaP vaccines are at least 8 times more likely to get pertussis than children who received all 5 recommended doses of DTaP, they are not the driving force behind the large scale outbreaks or epidemics."

81 Percent of Pertussis Patients Fully Vaccinated

The University of Oxford study is only the latest to show that fully vaccinated individuals may still develop pertussis, at high rates. In a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers reviewed data on every patient who tested positive for pertussis between March and October 2010 at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, California.5 Out of these 132 patients:

  • 81 percent were fully up to date on the whooping cough vaccine
  • 8 percent had never been vaccinated
  • 11 percent had received at least one shot, but not the entire recommended series

It's clear that children and adults who have received all the government-recommended pertussis vaccine containing shots can still get the disease -- and this study even suggests they may in fact be more likely to get the diseases than unvaccinated populations. Researchers noted the vaccine's effectiveness was only 41 percent among 2- to 7-year-olds and a dismal 24 percent among those aged 8-12.

With this shockingly low rate of DTaP vaccine effectiveness, the questionable solution that public health officials have come up with is to declare that everybody has to get three primary shots and three follow-up booster shots just to get the vaccine to give long-lasting protection—if any protection is provided at all.6  

Researchers noted:

"Despite widespread childhood vaccination against Bordetella pertussis, disease remains prevalent. It has been suggested that acellular vaccine may be less effective than previously believed. Our data suggests that the current schedule of acellular pertussis vaccine doses is insufficient to prevent outbreaks of pertussis."

Four Reasons Why Pertussis Epidemics Persist

With high vaccination rates, many people would assume (and the government would lead you to believe) that disease outbreaks would be prevented. This clearly is not the case with pertussis, and Peggy O'Mara, the former editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine, recently shared four reasons why:

1. Pertussis Is Cyclical by Nature

Whooping cough is a cyclical disease and natural increases tend to occur every 4-5 years no matter how high the vaccination rates are in a population. According to the CDC:7

"Since the early 1980s, there has been an overall trend of an increase in reported pertussis cases. Pertussis is naturally cyclic in nature, with peaks in disease every 3-5 years. But for the past 20-30 years, we've seen the peaks getting higher and overall case counts going up.

There are several reasons that help explain why we're seeing more cases as of late. These include: increased awareness, improved diagnostic tests, better reporting, more circulation of the bacteria, and waning immunity."

2. Pertussis Vaccine Immunity Wanes Over Time

Pertussis vaccine loses much of its effectiveness after just three years. This is much faster than previously believed, and could also help explain the recent whooping cough outbreaks in the US. The CDC acknowledges that waning immunity is common with the DTaP vaccine:8

3. Vaccinated Individuals May Still Spread Pertussis

The pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. The Tdap vaccine is recommended for children aged 7 years and older, as well as adults, parents, and close family members of babies under age 2 months, who are too young to receive a pertussis-containing vaccine themselves.

Known as "cocooning," this controversial practice is being promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and government health officials as a way of protecting babies from whooping cough by vaccinating their parents and other adult caregivers.

However, there is little evidence to show that this works! In fact, research shows that vaccinated individuals may still transmit the disease. In an animal study, while whole cell DPT and acellular-pertussis-vaccinated baboons did not develop serious clinical disease symptoms—such as loss of appetite and cough—when they were exposed to the B. pertussis bacteria, they still colonized B. pertussis in their throats and were capable of transmitting the infection to other baboons.9

The study's lead author Tod Merkel also explained that when exposed to B. pertussis after recently getting vaccinated, you could be an asymptomatic carrier and infect others, saying:10

"When you're newly vaccinated, you are an asymptomatic carrier, which is good for you, but not for the population."

A Canadian study also investigated how many parents would need to be vaccinated in order to prevent infant hospitalizations and deaths from pertussis using the cocoon strategy, and the results were dismal. They found the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) for parental immunization was at least 1 million to prevent 1 infant death, approximately 100,000 for ICU admission, and >10,000 for hospitalization.11

4. Tdap Booster Is Only Moderately Effective

With the short-lived immunity of pertussis vaccine apparent, the Tdap booster shot is recommended for older children and adults. But research has shown that the booster shot is only 53 percent to 64 percent effective, which the researchers described as "moderate."12 There is also concern that the mass use of pertussis vaccines has already led to vaccine-resistant strains (so-called "escape mutants") that are evolving more rapidly and may become more virulent due to the overuse of the same vaccine strains.

The new mutation, which some researchers are calling "P3," is a strain that produces more pertussis toxin (PT).13 Another reason why whooping cough cannot be entirely eradicated is the fact that there's another Bordetella organism – parapertussis – that can also cause whooping cough. The symptoms of B. parapertussis, while often milder, can look exactly like B. pertussis, but doctors rarely recognize or test for parapertussis. And, there is NO vaccine for it.

What Are the Risks of the Pertussis Vaccine?

Whooping cough can be serious, especially for newborns and babies, whose tiny airways can become clogged with the sticky mucus produced by the toxins in B. pertussis bacteria. These babies can suffer life-threatening breathing problems that require hospitalization and use of suctioning and re-hydration therapies. However, the vast majority of children and adults get through a bout with whooping cough without complications and it is important for them to get proper nutrition, hydration, and rest to support the healing process.

Similarly, while some children and adults get pertussis-containing vaccines and experience no complications, others do suffer serious reactions, injuries, or have died after getting vaccinated. Most of the adverse effects are believed to occur from the effects of the pertussis toxin itself, which is one of the most lethal toxins in nature. It's a well-known neurotoxin that is so reliable for inducing brain inflammation and brain damage that it's used to deliberately induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in lab animals.

In the video profile of pertussis vaccine injury below, Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) interviews a Houston family with a history of vaccine reactions that spans three generations. Now, a 12-year-old child in the family has become permanently disabled from a reaction to the DTaP vaccine that was given to her, along with 6 other vaccines, at age 15 months.

Either way, getting whooping cough or getting a pertussis vaccination entails a risk. But, remember, the vaccine carries with it two risks: the risk of a serious side effect AND the risk that the vaccine won't work at all or will only work for a short period of time. What happened to this family is a potent reminder of just how important it is to make well-informed decisions about vaccinations.

15 Natural Remedies for Whooping Cough

If you think you have whooping cough, you should seek medical attention right away, especially if it occurs in a young child. However, there are some natural treatments that may help (and certainly won't hurt). Peggy O'Mara suggested the following options:14

Avoid mucus-forming foods, such as milk, flour, and eggs, as well as sugar Eat light foods such as vegetables, soups with garlic, and herbal teas Homeopathic remedies for pertussis include Coccus cacti and the nosode, Pertussin. Drosera is recommended for coughing fits followed by gagging, retching, or vomiting. Cuprum may be indicated for coughing fits followed by gasping for air, difficulty breathing, or that end in exhaustion
Wild cherry bark lozenges may soothe your throat Keep well hydrated Try up to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily for seven days
Keep your room and home well-ventilated and free of smoke Use a warm air humidifier with essential oils (try basil, cyprus, marjoram, thyme, wintergreen, tea tree, camphor, lavender, chamomile, peppermint, or eucalyptus) Massage essential oils with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) into the patient's chest or back
Acupuncture may be beneficial (and its effects for whooping cough are recognized by the World Health Organization) Rest and avoid exertion Arrange pillows so the patient can be more upright while sleeping
Boil fresh ginger root in water for 20 minutes, then add the water to a foot bath to soak feet for up to 20 minutes Heat a pan of water to just boiling, then add a few drops of oil of thyme. Have the patient breathe in the steam from the pan (cover his or her head with a towel, being careful to avoid getting burned) Keep skin hydrated by massaging in coconut oil daily

Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions

With growing uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it's critical to protect your right to make independent health choices and exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccination. It is urgent that everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educating the leaders in your community.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.

National vaccine policy recommendations are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make voluntary vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.

Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choice rights and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips… So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know

If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don't share information and experiences with one another, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story. I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down.

Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it. We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn't be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), at www.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries, and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.

Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care

If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination. However, there is hope. At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents.

It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines. So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.

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Pesticides Put Global Food Production at Grave Risk, International Task Force Warns PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

In recent years, it has become increasingly obvious that large-scale, chemical-based agriculture is posing an outright threat to the world’s food supply. Its dangers now far outpace any benefits that might be had in terms of efficiency.

As recently reported by The Guardian,1 an international team of scientists has concluded that pesticide regulations have “failed to prevent poisoning of almost all habitats,” thereby putting global food production at great risk.

Indeed, the insanity is such that you more or less have to be a sociopath to insist on business as usual in light of the ravaging harm agricultural chemicals are causing.

It’s a completely unsustainable model for food production, as a toxic environment is not going to permit us to grow anything but toxic food; and that’s if anything will grow at all! As noted in the featured article:

“[C]reatures essential to global food production – from bees to earthworms – are likely to be suffering grave harm and the chemicals must be phased out.”

Task Force on Systemic Pesticides Issues Stern Warning

The four-year long assessment,2 performed by 29 international researchers, focused on the environmental effects of a class of systemic insecticides known as neonicotinoids.

Each year, farmers spend $2.6 billion (£1.53 billion) on the routine application of these insecticides. This despite “a striking lack of evidence” that these chemicals actually increase crop yields. According to Jean-Marc Bonmatin of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS):3

“The evidence is very clear. We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT.

Far from protecting food production, the use of neonicotinoid insecticides is threatening the very infrastructure which enables it.”

The infrastructure he’s referring to are the pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, without which three-quarters of our food crops cannot grow. Worms and microorganisms in the soil are equally important for food production, and pesticides are taking a heavy toll on them, too.

Besides harming the infrastructure that makes food production possible, neonicotinoids also poison every single creature, large or small, that feeds on the directly treated or indirectly contaminated plant. The toxic fallout created by agricultural chemicals also affects the human population.

The Pesticide-Autism Link

Organophosphate pesticides are known for their hazards to human health. Prenatal exposure, for example, has already been linked to delayed brain development, reduced IQ, and attention deficits. 

I’ve also pointed out the compelling links between agricultural chemicals and autism, and new research (known as the CHARGE study4, 5) shows that living within a mile of pesticide-treated crops increases your chances of bearing children with autism. As reported by Scientific American:6

“The study of 970 children, born in farm-rich areas of Northern California, is part of the largest project to date that is exploring links between autism and environmental exposures. [It is] the third project to link prenatal pesticide exposures to autism and related disorders.

‘The weight of evidence is beginning to suggest that mothers’ exposures during pregnancy may play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders,’ said Kim Harley, an environmental health researcher at the University of California, Berkeley who was not involved in the new study...

[C]hildren with mothers who lived less than one mile from fields treated with organophosphate pesticides during pregnancy were about 60 percent more likely to have autism than children whose mothers did not live close to treated fields.” [Emphasis mine]

Is There Such a Thing as a Safe Toxin?

The CHARGE study linked different pesticides to different rates of risks, but across the board, the risk of autism was significantly increased by close proximity to pesticide-treated fields.

  • Proximity to fields treated with chlorpyrifos during the second trimester resulted in a 3.3 times greater risk of having an autistic child. (Chlorpyrifos is the most commonly applied organophosphate pesticide. It’s banned for home garden use, due to health risks, but is still permitted in farming)
  • Exposure to pyrethroids shortly prior to conception increased a woman’s risk of having an autistic child by 82 percent
  • Exposure to pyrethroids during the third trimester increased the risk by 87 percent
  • Carbamate pesticides were associated with developmental delay but not autism

The results for exposure to pyrethroids are particularly noteworthy, as they’ve been promoted as a safer alternative to older organophosphates. These findings clearly question such claims! Previous animal studies have also suggested pyrethroids can cause neurological, immune, and reproductive damage.

Other recent research has linked the pesticide carbamate to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, so the full impact of these chemicals go far beyond just one potential health risk...

Other noteworthy research is the recently published CHAMACOS Study, which followed hundreds of pregnant women living in the agricultural mecca of Salinas Valley, California. Here, mothers' exposure to organophosphates during pregnancy was associated with:

  • Shorter duration of pregnancy
  • Poorer neonatal reflexes
  • Lower IQ and poorer cognitive functioning in children
  • Increased risk of attention problems in children

Retracted GMO-Feeding Study Is Republished, Reigniting the Controversy

While pesticides are mainstays of conventional farming in general, genetically engineered (GE) crops receive far greater amounts, and therefore pose an even greater risk to your health. One of the most famous studies demonstrating the hazards of eating GE foods is the 2012 lifetime feeding study by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini. It showed that Roundup Ready corn (NK603) caused shocking health effects, including massive tumors and early death. Rats given the herbicide glyphosate in their drinking water also developed large tumors.

Seralini’s study was retracted by the publisher in December 2013, just over a year after its publication. According to the publisher, Reed Elsevier, the study “did not meet scientific standards.” While no errors or misrepresentation of data were found, the study had too small a sample size to make any definite conclusion about health effects, they said. In short, it was retracted because its findings were “inconclusive.”

This was a first, and Elsevier’s actions were widely criticized. After all, tons of studies have inconclusive findings—and none of them have ever been retracted for that reason alone. Inconclusive findings are in fact NOT a valid ground for retraction. This in and of itself speaks volumes about the length to which the chemical technology industry will go to in order to suppress evidence of harm.

Now, the study has been republished, thereby reigniting the controversy over its findings. This time, it was published in the far lesser-known journal Environmental Sciences Europe.7, 8 It also includes more extensive data, compared to its first publication. Not surprisingly, the study has again come under attack, and for the same reasons as before.9 While the media war will undoubtedly continue on over the veracity and dependability of Seralini’s study, let’s not forget that there are many other studies that support the notion that GE foods pose a hazard to your health—both due to the genetic alteration of the plant, and due to the elevated contamination with pesticides.

Who Do You Trust with Your Health and Your Children’s Future?

When you take a broad view of the landscape that is genetically engineered foods, it becomes quite clear that the chemical technology industry—which is responsible for the development of these chemical-hungry seeds—is doing everything in its power to maintain control over the market. This includes skewering research that pokes holes in their safety claims, and throwing tens of millions of dollars into fighting GE labeling.

Remember, just last year they were caught red-handed in a money laundering scheme designed to hide the identities of the companies contributing funds to the anti-labeling campaign in Washington State. Since when does illegal activity equate to trustworthiness? Consider that, dear reader, the next time you read a venomous pro-industry article attacking the latest evidence of GMO harm.

Washington State Is Moving Ahead to Keep Industry Lobby Accountable for Its Crimes

With regards to the illegal activities that took place during the Washington State I-522 GMO labeling campaign, the proverbial chickens are now coming home to roost... Sure, the industry narrowly eeked out a win through their illegal scheme, but they were caught, and millions of Americans now know which companies are willing to cross the lines of morality and integrity into deceit and outright illegality. Now, they may be forced to pay Washington State $30 million in fines for breaking the state’s campaign financing laws. As reported by the Cornucopia Institute:10

“A Thurston County judge... rejected efforts by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to squelch a lawsuit in which state Attorney General (AG) Bob Ferguson accuses the Washington, D.C.-based lobby of laundering millions of dollars in last fall’s campaign...

The case has produced a fascinating trail of documents from within the big food-industry lobby. Agribusiness and food manufacturers spent more than $47 million in 2012 to narrowly defeat a California ballot proposition to require labeling of genetically modified foods. Anticipating additional battles, specifically in Washington, the association set out to, in its words, ‘scope out a funding mechanism while better shielding individual companies from attack for providing funding’ to defeat ballot measures...

Judge Christine Schaller rejected the association’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit... Five corporations donated $14 million-plus to defeat the [Washington] measure: The agribusiness giant Monsanto spent $5.4 million; Dupont put in $3.9 million; Pepsico donated $2.5 million; and Nestle and Coca-Cola put up $1.5 million apiece.

As is typically the case, the industry campaign set up a front group. A woman was put in place as titular spokesperson. The real work was done by a consulting firm that has been running corporate campaigns against initiatives for nearly 40 years, Winner & Mandabach, based in Beverly Hills, California. It blanketed the airwaves with TV spots featuring Washington citizens...”

Ironically, and most tellingly, of the more than $20 million collected for the anti-labeling campaign, only a measly $600 dollars, yes, six hundred, no extra zeroes, came from residents within Washington State! The state’s campaign laws actually require that a political committee filing with the Public Disclosure Commission must show that at least 10 Washington citizens donated a minimum of $10 each... They couldn’t even satisfy that legal requirement, and it was the only provision in the state’s law that Judge Schaller ended up throwing out.
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Tunes Could Bring Back Memories Lost to Alzheimer's PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common form of dementia. Currently, someone in the US develops Alzheimer's every 67 seconds, but this is expected to increase to every 33 seconds by mid-century.1

By 2050, it's estimated that the number of people with Alzheimer's may nearly triple, reaching 13.8 million. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but there are plenty of strategies for prevention.

And as for treatment, Alzheimer's drugs are often of little to no benefit at all, which underscores the importance of prevention throughout your lifetime.

That being said, researchers from Lille University in France recently uncovered a simple tool that may significantly help to improve memory in people struggling with the disease: music.

Music May Help Alzheimer's Patients Recall and Share Memories

When Alzheimer's patients sat in rooms filled with music and were asked to tell a story about their life, their stories contained more meaningful words, were more grammatically complex, and conveyed more information (per number of words) than stories told in a silent room.2, 3

The findings suggest that exposure to music may help people with Alzheimer's disease to overcome neurolinguistic limitations. This makes sense, as the study's co-author noted, because "music and language processing share a common neural basis."4

It's long been theorized that listening to music may boost your brainpower; you've probably heard of this with the "Mozart Effect," which suggests listening to classical music can help make you smarter.

Indeed, research has shown that listening to music while exercising boosted cognitive levels and verbal fluency skills in people diagnosed with coronary artery disease (coronary artery disease has been linked to a decline in cognitive abilities). In this study, signs of improvement in the verbal fluency areas more than doubled after listening to music compared to that of the non-music session.5

It's clear that when you listen to music, much more is happening in your body than simple auditory processing. Music triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a part of your brain that releases one of the primary feel-good neurochemicals dopamine and which is involved in forming expectations.

At the same time, the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotion, and the prefrontal cortex, which makes possible abstract decision-making, are also activated, according to research published in the journal Science.6 If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's, playing music that they enjoy is a simple way to potentially boost their quality of life and possibly their memory as well.

Mental Stimulation Throughout Life Protects Against Dementia

One of the best ways to protect your brain as you get older is to engage in mentally stimulating activities you enjoy. Recent research published in JAMA Neurology found that intellectual enrichment was protective against cognitive impairment, and doing cognitive activities at least three times a week was described as "highly protective."7

The best effects came to those who had received mental stimulation throughout life. Those in the 75th percentile of "lifetime intellectual enrichment" delayed onset of cognitive impairment by more than eight years compared to those in the 25 percentile.8 According to researchers:

"Lifetime intellectual enrichment might delay the onset of cognitive impairment and be used as a successful preventive intervention to reduce the impending dementia epidemic."

Even if you weren't intellectually active as a young adult, don't despair. Even mid- and late-life mental activity was linked with a lower risk of cognitive impairment, especially among those with lower education levels. Overall, those with higher education levels also had a lower risk of dementia.

Challenge Your Mind in a Way That Matters to You

The JAMA Neurology study involved cognitive activities like crafts, reading, socializing, working on computers, and playing music. There is no one activity that fits all, and what mental activities are best for you is something only you can answer.

Engaging in "purposeful and meaningful activities" stimulates your neurological system, counters the effects of stress-related diseases, reduces the risk of dementia, and enhances health and well-being.9

However, a key factor necessary for improving your brain function or reversing functional decline is the seriousness of purpose with which you engage in a task. In other words, the task must not be performed mindlessly but should be meaningful or interesting to you — it must hold your attention.

For instance, one study revealed that craft activities such as quilting and knitting were associated with decreased odds of having mild cognitive impairment.10 Another study, published earlier this year, found that taking part in "cognitively demanding" activities like learning to quilt or take digital photography enhanced memory function in older adults.11

The key is to find an activity that is mentally stimulating for you. Ideally, this should be something that requires your undivided attention and gives you great satisfaction… it should be an activity that you look forward to doing, such as playing a musical instrument, gardening, building model ships, crafting, or many others.

You Can Try Brain Games, Too

There are an endless number of ways to stay mentally active throughout your life – classes, volunteering, hobbies, traveling, and even surfing the Web,12 just to name several. Another way to challenge your brain is via "brain games," which you can play online via Web sites like Lumosity.com.

Dr. Michael Merzenich, professor emeritus at the University of California, who I interviewed two years ago, has pioneered research in brain plasticity (also called neuroplasticity) for more than 30 years, has also developed a computer-based brain-training program that can help you sharpen a range of skills, from reading and comprehension to improved memorization and more.

The program is called Brain HQ, and the website has many different exercises designed to improve brain function and it also allows you to track and monitor your progress over time. While there are many similar sites on the Web, Brain HQ is one of the oldest and most widely used.

If you decide to try brain games, ideally, it would be wise to invest at least 20 minutes a day, but no more than five to seven minutes is to be spent on a specific task. When you spend longer amounts of time on a task, the benefits weaken.

According to Dr. Merzenich, the primary benefits occur in the first five or six minutes of the task. The only downside to brain games is that it may become just another "task" you need to fit into an already busy day, so you may prefer engaging in hobbies instead.

Cynical Distrust Also Increases Your Dementia Risk

Your cognitive abilities are also significantly impacted by your emotional health. Negative emotions are particularly damaging, of course, and these run the gamut from depression and anxiety to pessimism and, according to the latest research, cynicism.

If you have a deep mistrust of others, such that you often suspect others of cheating, taking unfair advantages, lying, or simply being untrustworthy, you might be at an increased risk of dementia. Older people with high levels of cynical distrust had a more than 2.5 times greater risk of developing dementia than those with low levels.13

Cynical distrust is described as believing that most people are self-interested and out for themselves as opposed to looking out for the community and others. Your emotions can actually trigger your genes to either express health or disease… and if you're chronically cynical, angry, or prone to uncontrolled outbursts you could be inadvertently sabotaging your health. This is why I highly recommend you work on overcoming your emotional barriers using energy psychology techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to help clear negative emotions.

B Vitamins Show Promise for Alzheimer's Prevention

It's now widely known that our modern lifestyle plays a significant role in contributing to cognitive decline, which is why exposure to toxins, chemicals, poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, and much more can actually hinder the functioning of your brain. The flipside is also true in that a healthy lifestyle can support your brain health, and one important aspect is your diet, including the intake of B vitamins. Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid (please note that I recommend the natural form known as folate, which is found abundantly in green plant foods, i.e. "foliage") may help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. In one study, 156 study participants, all of whom were over the age of 70, were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, a known risk factor for Alzheimer's.

One group of participants received a placebo while the other received high-dose B-vitamin treatment consisting of 0.8 mg folic acid, 20 mg vitamin B6, and 0.5 mg vitamin B12. The treatment effectively slowed shrinkage of the whole brain volume over the course of two years. It also reduced, by as much as seven-fold, the cerebral atrophy in certain brain regions that are particularly vulnerable to damage associated with Alzheimer's disease.14 This is a telling example of how important a healthy diet filled with abundant nutrients is in protecting your brain health.

A Comprehensive Plan to Protect Your Brain Health Naturally

Dementia, including Alzheimer's, is a preventable disease, predicated on your lifestyle choices. This is good news, as it puts the power into your hands. Diet is paramount, and the beauty of following my optimized nutrition plan is that it helps prevent and treat virtually all chronic degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. People who experience very little decline in their cognitive function up until their deaths have been found (post-mortem) to be free of brain lesions, showing that it's entirely possible to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place… and one of the best ways to do this is by leading a healthy lifestyle. The following guidelines will help you protect your brain health well into old age:

  • Avoid sugar and refined fructose. Ideally, you'll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin resistance or any related disorders like obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes. The brain's metabolic needs are optimized with a higher fat diet, especially saturated fats containing medium chain triglycerides (i.e. coconut oil) whose metabolites include ketone bodies, which provides the brain an alternative fuel source to sugar.
  • Avoid gluten (primarily wheat). Research shows that your blood-brain barrier, the barrier that keeps toxins and chemical toxicants out of your brain where they don't belong, is negatively affected by gluten and the lectin found in what's known as wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins and gut contents (such as inflammatory bacteria components) to get into your bloodstream, where they don't belong. This inflammatory cascade can damage and confuse the immune system promoting autoimmunity, which can play a role in the development of Alzheimer's.
  • Optimize your gut flora by regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high-potency and high-quality probiotic supplement.
  • Increase consumption of healthy fats, including animal-based omega-3. Beneficial health-promoting fats that your brain needs for optimal function include organic grass-fed raw butter, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, and avocado. Contrary to popular belief, the ideal fuel for your brain is not glucose but ketones. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil are a great source of ketone bodies, because coconut oil is about 66 percent MCTs.
  • In fact, ketones appear to be the preferred source of brain food in patients affected by diabetes or Alzheimer's. Also make sure you're getting enough animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. (I recommend avoiding most fish because, although fish is naturally high in omega-3, most fish are now severely contaminated with mercury.) High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA help by preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer's disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder.

  • Reduce your overall calorie consumption, and/or intermittently fast. As mentioned above, ketones are mobilized when you replace carbs with coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats. A one-day fast can help your body to "reset" itself, and start to burn fat instead of sugar. As part of a healthy lifestyle, I prefer an intermittent fasting schedule that simply calls for limiting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. By restricting your eating to a 6-8 hour window, you effectively fast 16-18 hours each day. If you don't have insulin resistance, this is not that crucial but about 90% of people have it.
  • Improve your magnesium levels. There is some exciting preliminary research strongly suggesting a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increased levels of magnesium in the brain. Unfortunately, most magnesium supplements do not pass the blood-brain barrier, but a new one, magnesium threonate, appears to and holds some promise for the future for treating this condition and may be superior to other forms.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure. Strong links between low levels of vitamin D in Alzheimer's patients and poor outcomes on cognitive tests have been revealed. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.
  • Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on Alzheimer's through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer's.

  • Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3. This is indirectly related to fructose, as it will clearly lead to insulin resistance. However, other sugars (sucrose is 50 percent fructose by weight), grains, and lack of exercise are also important factors. Lowering insulin will also help lower leptin levels, which is another key factor for Alzheimer's.
  • Eat a nutritious diet rich in folate, such as the one described in my nutrition plan. Vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day.
  • Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However, you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a qualified biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.
  • Avoid aluminum, such as antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc.
  • Exercise regularly. It's been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,15 thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer's. Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has also shown that people with Alzheimer's have less PGC-1alpha in their brains16 and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer's. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness High-Intensity Interval Training Technique for my specific recommendations.
  • Avoid flu vaccinations as most contain mercury, a well-known neurotoxic and immunotoxic agent.
  • Eat blueberries. Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content, are known to guard against Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases. Like any fruit, though, avoid excesses here.
  • Challenge your mind daily. As mentioned, mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers. Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol (a primary building block of brain tissue), deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.

4 Additional Natural Treatments to Ward Off Dementia

Finally, there are a few other nutritional recommendations worth noting for their specific benefits in preventing and treating dementia. So, although your fundamental strategy for preventing dementia should involve a comprehensive lifestyle approach, you may want to consider adding a few of these natural dietary agents to your anti-Alzheimer's arsenal. These four natural foods/supplements have good science behind them, in terms of preventing age-related cognitive changes.

  1. Astaxanthin is a natural pigment with unique properties and many clinical benefits, including some of the most potent antioxidant activity currently known. As a fat-soluble nutrient, astaxanthin readily crosses your blood-brain barrier. One study found it may help prevent neurodegeneration associated with oxidative stress, as well as make a potent natural "brain food."17
  2. Ginkgo biloba: Many scientific studies have found that Ginkgo biloba has positive effects for dementia. Ginkgo, which is derived from a tree native to Asia, has long been used medicinally in China and other countries. A 1997 study from JAMA showed clear evidence that Ginkgo improves cognitive performance and social functioning for those suffering from dementia. Research since then has been equally promising. One study in 2006 found Ginkgo as effective as the dementia drug Aricept (donepezil) for treating mild to moderate Alzheimer's type dementia. A 2010 meta-analysis found Ginkgo biloba to be effective for a variety of types of dementia.
  3. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): ALA can stabilize cognitive functions among Alzheimer's patients and may slow the progression of the disease.
  4. Vitamin B12: A small Finnish study published in the journal Neurology found that people who consume foods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer's in their later years.18 For each unit increase in the marker of vitamin B12, the risk of developing Alzheimer's was reduced by 2 percent. It is important to note that vitamin B12 comes in many forms and it is typically injected because it is not absorbed well by most people, especially in the elderly who need it most. This is due to it being one of the largest vitamins known. The most common form is cyanocobalamin, which contains cyanide, so I recommend the cyanide-free form known as methylcobalamin and which has the additional benefit of having a methyl group, essential for reducing brain and artery damaging homocysteine levels and for optimizing the epigenetic expression of your genes. A better alternative to B12 injections would also be sublingual sprays, which are absorbed very similarly to the injections.
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Stress—Yes, It Really Can Trigger a Heart Attack PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

About one in every three deaths in the US is attributed to heart disease. The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to a heart attack.

Interestingly, more heart attacks and other cardiovascular events occur on Mondays than any other day of the week.1 This “Monday cardiac phenomenon” has been recognized for some time, and has long been believed to be related to work stress.

Many do not realize that the most common symptom of heart disease is sudden death from a heart attack. Oftentimes, there are no prior indications of a problem; signs like chest pain or shortness of breath, for example.

The good news is that heart disease, just like type 2 diabetes, is one of the easiest diseases to prevent and avoid, but you must be proactive! Below I’ll discuss several important prevention strategies. Checking your susceptibility is also a good idea.

In a nutshell, in preventing cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, it is important to address chronic inflammation in your body. Proper diet, exercise, sun exposure, and grounding to the earth are cornerstones of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Effective stress management is another important factor for keeping a heart attack at bay.

Links Between Stress and Heart Attack Revealed

Two recent studies shed light on the persistent link between stress and sudden heart attacks. In one, a group of German researchers found that as your stress level rises, so do your levels of disease-promoting white blood cells.2, 3, 4 Co-author Dr. Matthias Nahrendorf explains:

“High levels of white blood cells may lead to progression of atherosclerosis, plaque rupture and myocardial infarction. The latter implies that a part of the heart muscle, which pumps the blood with every beat, dies off.

This may cause heart failure, either right away if the infarct is large, or later on through maladaptive processes. The heart tries to compensate for the loss of contractile muscle tissue but over time this compensation leads to a larger heart, which is weaker.”

The other study, published in the online open-access journal mBio5, 6 found yet another way for sudden stress, emotional shock, or overexertion, to trigger a heart attack.

During moments of high stress, your body releases hormones such as norepinephrine, which the researchers claim can cause the dispersal of bacterial biofilms from the walls of your arteries. This dispersal can allow plaque deposits to suddenly break loose, thereby triggering a heart attack.


Stress contributes to heart disease in other ways as well. Besides norepinephrine, your body also releases other stress hormones that prepare your body to either fight or flee. One such stress hormone is cortisol.

When stress becomes chronic, your immune system becomes increasingly desensitized to cortisol, and since inflammation is partly regulated by this hormone, this decreased sensitivity heightens the inflammatory response and allows inflammation to get out of control.7

As mentioned earlier, chronic inflammation is a hallmark of heart disease. So, both chronic and acute stress can contribute to a sudden heart attack—depending on your underlying susceptibility... This makes having effective tools to address your stress levels a very important part of a heart healthy lifestyle.

How Susceptible Are You to Developing a Heart Disease and/or Suffering a Heart Attack?

When it comes to ascertaining your individual heart disease risk, the following three tests or ratio calculations will give you an idea of where you stand:

  • HDL to total cholesterol ratio. HDL percentage is a potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. This ratio should ideally be above 24 percent.
  • Triglyceride to HDL ratio. High triglycerides are a potent risk factor for heart disease. In combination, high triglycerides and low HDL levels are an even bigger risk; this ratio is far more important to your heart health than the standard good vs. bad cholesterol ratio.
  • In fact, one study found that people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio of triglycerides to HDL.

    Calculate your triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio by dividing your triglyceride level by your HDL level. This ratio should ideally be below 2. So while you strive to keep your HDL cholesterol levels up, you’ll want to decrease your triglycerides.

    You can increase your HDL levels by exercising and getting plenty of omega-3 fats like those from krill oil. Triglycerides are easily decreased by exercising and avoiding grains and sugars in your diet.

  • Iron levels: Iron is nature’s rusting agent. If you have excessive levels in your body, you are at risk of major oxidation, or premature aging. Excess iron will also increase your risk of heart disease. If you are a man, or a woman in menopause, you should get your iron levels tested and, if they’re too high, take steps to reduce them.

Lower Your Heart Attack Risk by Addressing Your Stress

Stress is so widespread as to be “pandemic” in today’s modern world, but suffering ill effects from stress is not an inevitable fact. A lot depends on how you respond to these day-to-day stresses. And as you learn how to effectively decrease your stress level, your heart attack risk will be reduced as well.

There are many different stress reduction techniques. The key is to find out what works best for you, and stick to a daily stress-reduction program. One key strategy is to make sure you get adequate sleep, as sleep deprivation dramatically impairs your body’s ability to handle stress and is yet another risk factor for heart attack. Besides that, other stress management approaches include:

Regular physical activity Meditation: Taking even 10 minutes to sit quietly, such as during work breaks, can help decrease your feelings of stress and anxiety
Mindfulness training and breath work Yoga: Health benefits from regular yoga practice have been shown to decrease stress, improve sleep, and immune function, and reduce food cravings, among other things
Social connectedness Laughter and levity
Spend time in nature Music
Have more fun EFT: Emotional Freedom Technique

 

My favorite tool for stress management is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It’s an energy psychology tool that can help reprogram your body’s reactions to everyday stress, thereby reducing your chances of developing adverse health effects. For a demonstration, please see the following video featuring EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman, in which she discusses EFT for stress relief. For serious or deep-seated emotional problems, I strongly recommend seeing an experienced EFT therapist, as there is a significant art to the process that requires a high level of sophistication if serious problems are to be successfully treated.

Cut Out Sugar to Protect Your Heart

As initially postulated by Dr. Yudkin in the 1960s, SUGAR is a primary dietary culprit in the development of heart disease, as it is profoundly inflammatory. To protect your heart health you need to take proactive steps to address your insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains. So, to safely and effectively reverse insulin and leptin resistance, thereby reducing inflammation and lowering your heart disease risk, you need to:

  1. Avoid processed foods, sugar, processed fructose, and grains if you are insulin/leptin resistant. As a standard recommendation, I advise keeping your total fructose consumption below 15 grams per day until your insulin/leptin sensitivity and other heart disease risk factors (above) have normalized
  2. Eat a healthy diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the carbohydrates (sugars/grains) with:
    • Large amounts of vegetables
    • Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (think organically raised, pastured animals)
    • As much high-quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources). Most people actually need upwards of 50-85 percent fats in their diet for optimal health—a far cry from the 10 percent currently recommended. Sources of healthful fats to add to your diet include: avocados; butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk; raw dairy; organic pastured egg yolks; coconuts and coconut oil; unheated organic nut oils; raw nuts and seeds; and grass-fed and finished meats

Another fat that is crucially important for heart health is animal-based omega-3. Omega-3 fats such as that found in krill oil help protect against heart disease and stroke by preventing the build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries. For more information about omega-3s and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article.

Your Heart Needs Vitamin D

Being vitamin D deficient can massively increase your heart disease risk. Vitamin D is the only known substrate for a potent, pleiotropic (meaning it produces multiple effects), repair and maintenance seco-steroid hormone that serves multiple gene-regulatory functions in your body. This is why vitamin D functions in so many different tissues—one of which is your heart.

One 2009 study8 found that people with the lowest average vitamin D levels had a 124 percent greater risk of dying from all causes and a 378 percent greater risk of dying from a heart problem. Researchers from Finland also showed that when compared with the participants with the highest vitamin D, those with the lowest levels had a 25 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease or stroke. Arterial stiffness, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, is also associated with vitamin D deficiency. There are a number of physiological mechanisms triggered by vitamin D production through sunlight exposure that act to fight heart disease, including:

  • An increase in your body's natural anti-inflammatory cytokines
  • The suppression of vascular calcification
  • The inhibition of vascular smooth muscle growth

Fortunately, vitamin D deficiency is incredibly easy to fix. Ideally, you'll want to maintain a vitamin D level of at least 50 ng/ml year-round. For active treatment of heart disease, a level between 70-100 ng/ml may be warranted. For more information about how to safely and effectively optimize your vitamin D level, please see my previous article: “How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help You Optimize Your Health.”

Exercise Is as Effective as Drugs Against Heart Disease

Exercise is one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent and treat heart disease. This common sense advice was again confirmed in a recently published meta-review conducted by researchers at Harvard and Stanford,9 which found “no statistically detectable differences” between physical activity and medications for heart disease. The only time drugs beat exercise was for the recovery from heart failure, in which case diuretic medicines produced a better outcome.

Previous research has shown that exercise alone can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by a factor of three.10 However, be aware that endurance-type exercise, such as marathon running or any other endurance aerobic activity, can actually damage your heart and increase your cardiovascular risk... Research11 by Dr. Arthur Siegel found that long-distance running leads to high levels of inflammation that can trigger cardiac events, and another 2006 study12 found that non-elite marathon runners experienced decreased right ventricular systolic function, again caused by an increase in inflammation and a decrease in blood flow.

That said, other research has clearly demonstrated that short bursts of intense activity (high intensity interval training or HIIT) is safer and more effective than conventional cardio—for your heart, general health, weight loss, and overall fitness. So, the key is to exercise correctly and appropriately, making certain you also have adequate recovery between sessions. HIIT mimics the movements of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, which included short bursts of high-intensity activities, but not long-distance running.

Basically, by exercising in short bursts followed by periods of recovery, you recreate exactly what your body needs for optimum health. This type of exercise will also naturally increase your body's production of human growth hormone (HGH)—a synergistic, foundational biochemical underpinning that promotes muscle and effectively burns excessive fat. It also plays an important part in promoting overall health and longevity.

Earthing—A Potent Way to Reduce Inflammation

Regularly walking barefoot, to ground with the earth, can have a profound impact on reducing inflammation in your body and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. When you do, free electrons are transferred from the earth into your body. This grounding effect is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of, and helps alleviate inflammation throughout your body.

Grounding also helps thin your blood by improving its zeta potential, which means it improves the negative electrical charge between your red blood cells thus repelling them and keeping your blood less likely to clot. In fact, grounding's effect on blood thinning is so profound if you are taking blood thinners you must work with your health care provider to lower your dose otherwise you may overdose on the medication. Research has demonstrated it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your blood stream and transform your blood.

Take Proactive Steps to Protect Your Heart

The take-home message can be summarized as follows: if you want to prevent heart disease and its lethal companions—heart attack and stroke—you need to take some proactive steps to quell inflammation in your body, and address your stress. Tools such as EFT, which can help you rein in your day-to-day stress levels, can also help you respond to acute emotional upheaval and stress in a healthier way. As for eliminating chronic inflammation, key tools include:

  • A heart-healthy diet (avoiding processed foods, sugar/fructose and grains, making sure to replace these lost carbs with healthy saturated fats)
  • Exercise
  • Sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D
  • Grounding to the earth
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What the Latest Anthrax Blunder Can Teach Us PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

At some point between June 6 and June 13, an estimated 751-842 scientists and staff members at a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) biolab were exposed to live anthrax.

The live pathogen had been sent from another, higher-security facility, which failed to follow biosafety protocols. According to one report:3

"The exposure incident is unprecedented in the history of American research on bioweapons and other deadly pathogens, prompting alarm among researchers who have already warned about the consequences of lax laboratory oversight globally.

Scientists in and out of the CDC say the process of handling such bacteria and viruses must be improved."

While unprecedented in terms of the number of people exposed, this isn't the first time this kind of potentially lethal blunder has occurred with live anthrax in the US. Also, it's not unprecedented in global terms.

In the 1979 Sverdlovsk incident, 94 Russians were exposed to anthrax through an accidental release, and 64 of them died. Incidents such as these really raise questions about mankind's ability to contain the lethal microorganisms being studied (and created) in labs around the world.

In this case, the anthrax sample was supposed to have been inactivated prior to transfer, but for a variety of reasons it wasn't dead on arrival.

The director of the CDC's Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory, Michael Farrell, has since been reassigned,4 and two Congressional committees are monitoring the situation to determine whether public hearings are warranted.

Natural Pandemics versus Accidental Releases of Bioweapons

All affected personnel are being treated with potent antibiotics and some have also taken an anthrax vaccine to fend off the lethal infection. But as noted by Scientific American,5 the issues here go beyond figuring out why safety procedures weren't followed in this particular incident.

"[W]hich is the more likely threat to public safety—a series of accidental releases of deadly organisms from the high-level biodefense labs that have proliferated in the wake of the anthrax attacks of 2001 or a single, but much bigger, intentional release by an actual terrorist network?" Scientific American asks.

Indeed, while the fear of a mutated virus turning into a pandemic is flouted virtually every year to some degree, a far greater concern appears to be the potential for an engineered bioweapon somehow escaping the confines of our top level bioterror labs.6, 7

The latest failure to follow safety procedures again highlights the fact that seemingly unbelievable errors can and do occur, despite all promises to the contrary. Part of the problem appears to be that most of the safety protocols center around technology and equipment, while the human factor is overlooked.

Smallpox Found in Unapproved Lab​

More recently, an even more disconcerting event took place that really raises questions about what pathogens we have, and exactly where they're being kept.

It's nice to think that all the vials of deadly microorganisms are all accounted for and safely locked away in high security labs, but we keep learning that reality does not conform to such cozy notions.

On July 8, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that vials containing the smallpox virus had been discovered in a Maryland lab—a lab that was neither approved nor equipped to handle live pathogens. As reported by Gizmodo8

"Only two labs in the entire world are legally permitted to handle the stuff: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Atlanta headquarters and the VECTOR Institute in Russia. In other words, not the NIH's Bethesda, Maryland campus.

While it's currently unclear how long these deadly smallpox vials (which violate at 35-year-old international agreement) have been hiding out, according to CDC spokesman Tom Skinner, the boxes holding them may date back to the 1950s."

Maximum Level Safety Appears Increasingly Difficult to Maintain

During an October 2007 congressional hearing, Keith Rhodes, the chief technologist at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated that we're at greater risk of an infectious disease epidemic today than ever before, because of increases in the number of biolabs around the world, combined with a lack of oversight.

A 2008 Scientific American article9 also quotes Rutgers University microbiologist Richard Ebright as saying there's been a "20- to 30-fold increase in the number of institutions and individuals with access to live, virulent bioweapons agents" after the 2001 incident where letters containing anthrax killed five Americans.

At that point, in 2008, an estimated 15,000 people at 400 institutions had access to live, lethal agents! In response to the latest anthrax exposure, Ebright stated10 that: "The lapse is not an isolated incident, but instead is part of a continuing pattern of biosafety and biosecurity problems at the CDC." As noted in the featured article,11 intentional and/or unintentional releases of deadly agents from high security laboratories have proven far more deadly, not to mention far more frequent, than any organized terrorist attack using bioweapons...

History Shows Biolabs Pose Great Risks to Public Safety

The following is a listing of a few of these deadly biolab mistakes that have occurred over the years. Even more accidental releases are listed on Kenneth Ring's website Germs Gone Wild.12 A 2008 article in The Observer13 also raises questions about the logic of the locations of some of these labs. For example, a high containment biolab in Galveston, Texas is located in a hurricane flood zone, making the risk of accidental release a more or less annual concern!

In 1971, a former Soviet biological weapons testing facility released a deadly strain of hemorrhagic smallpox—allegedly during an open-air test. Hundreds were quarantined, 50,000 people were vaccinated, and three people died.14
In 1978, a University of Birmingham laboratory inadvertently released the smallpox virus, which ended up killing a British medical photographer.15
In 1979 there was an "accidental atmospheric release" of anthrax in Sverdlovsk, Russia,16 which killed 64 of the 94 infected individuals.17
During the mid-1980s, Bayer sold millions of dollars worth of an injectable blood-clotting medicine to Asian, Latin American, and some European countries, knowing it was tainted with the AIDS virus. This is yet another example of how deadly pathogens can make their way out of the lab, and into the human population. .
In 2001, US Army biodefense scientist Bruce Ivins allegedly mailed letters containing a live research strain of anthrax from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Shortly thereafter, he committed suicide. Five people died from the exposure. It was the Army's most virulent (Ames) strain.
In 2004, a lab in Maryland accidentally sent live anthrax to a California children's hospital. The CDC investigated the incident and created recommendations designed to make sure something like this would never happen again, yet the near-identical chain of mistakes and protocol failures just occurred at their own facility.18
In 2009, Baxter accidentally sent vaccines contaminated with live and deadly avian (bird) flu to a research facility in Europe. The mistake originated in a Baxter plant operating under Bio Safety Level 3 (BSL3) status -- meaning that high-level precautions are supposed to be in place to make sure an accident like this never happens. The company blamed the incident on human error, again demonstrating that, apparently, it takes just one absent-minded dingbat to circumvent the highest level biosafety system currently in existence.
In 2012, it was discovered that the bioterror germ lab at the CDC in Atlanta (the same building where the latest anthrax safety breach occurred) has had repeated problems with airflow systems designed to help prevent the release of infectious agents such as anthrax, dangerous strains of influenza, the SARS coronavirus, and monkeypox.

Air from a research lab in one of the Biosafety Level 3 buildings was being vented into a so-called "clean" area, where visitors are not required to wear protective gear. While no one was infected, the problems were major violations of laboratory operating standards.19, 20
Also in 2012, a vaccine researcher at the Northern California Institute for Research died shortly after being infected with the Neisseria meningitides bacteria at work. He was working on a vaccine against the pathogen, and according to the site chief was following required precautions for working with the deadly pathogens.21

Multiple Protocol Breaches Found at US Federal Bioterror Labs

According to a recent report by Reuters,22 the latest anthrax release was the result of multiple protocol breaches. First of all, the anthrax researchers waited only half the time required to ensure the pathogen had been inactivated before sending it out. Protocols call for samples to be incubated for 48 hours to be sure anthrax spores are entirely inactivated, but the batch was checked after only 24 hours of incubation.

Moreover, the exact same mistake occurred in the 2004 anthrax release, when live pathogen was sent to a California children's hospital. At the time, the CDC recommended that labs wait several days to confirm that the pathogen is in fact dead, before shipping it out to lower-security facilities. It also recommended that the receiving lab should treat samples as live until confirmed dead. When asked why the CDC didn't follow its own recommendations, thereby allowing for a second, virtually identical anthrax release, CDC biosafety officer, Dr Paul Meechan, said it was "a great question," to which he doesn't have a good answer...

Another safety breach relates to the way the pathogen was inactivated. The researchers used a newer method involving chemicals rather than radiation. This method, it turns out, may not have been properly tested and validated as an effective method of inactivation.

Two investigations are currently underway to determine exactly what happened, and how to tighten safety protocols at labs working with highly infectious and lethal pathogens. The CDC is conducting its own internal investigation, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is also looking into the breach. A 2012 USDA audit23 had already raised red flags. Even earlier reports have been equally critical. As reported by Reuters:24

"The Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, CDC's parent agency, in reports released in 2008 and 2010, documented a long list of issues. CDC labs working with the most dangerous agents did not always ensure the physical security of the pathogens or restrict access to them, and did not always ensure that personnel received required training."

Changes Are Sorely Needed

These biosafety problems, and their inherently devastating risks to public health, have been noted worldwide. At present, 24 European countries have embraced a new set of biorisk management standards, which are also backed by the World Health Organization (WHO). These biorisk management standards will likely be adopted by the International Organization for Standardization, which could lessen the risks associated with these research facilities. But can management standards ever completely eradicate the risks posed by research into biological weapons?

As I mentioned at the outset, each year we're warned of potential new pandemics—mutated viruses and bacteria that might kill off large portions of the population. Vaccines are the standard answer, and many of the most deadly pathogens in biolabs around the world are kept for vaccine development.

The conundrum here is that vaccine development itself is a potential source of a deadly outbreak. The industry would like you to believe that drugs and vaccines are created under pristine conditions and that nothing can go wrong. But they certainly do go wrong from time to time, and sometimes companies don't even bother to correct their mistakes, for fear it might eat up their profits! Crazy as it may sound, Bayer's selling of AIDS tainted blood-clotting medicine is just one of several examples of potentially lethal contaminations.

In general, I believe we need to consider the financial motives behind the promotion of pandemics and the vaccines that go along with them. From a personal perspective, it's vital for you to carefully research ALL sides of any vaccine issue and not merely trust federal public health authorities, most physicians, and the media, as they are largely influenced by massive conflicts of interest and collusion. Seek independent and objective views like those at NVIC25 before you make any important decisions about deciding to vaccinate.

That said, the latest anthrax exposure clearly suggests that blindly accepting safety assurances is a foolhardy proposition. "Trust and verify" would be a far better approach. In the case of bioterror lab safety, the question is who is actually doing the verifying?

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What Leonardo Taught Us About the Heart PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

Leonardo da Vinci is known as one of the world’s greatest artists, counting such famous paintings as the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” among his many accomplishments. But Leonardo was much more than a painter.

By day, he was an artist, an architect, and an engineer, but his hobby was science. Throughout his life, Leonardo filled extensive notebooks with scientific theories, inventions, and drawings of the human skull, skeleton, muscles, and organs. More than 4,000 pages have been discovered so far.

With little formal education, and a “day job” as an artist, Leonardo’s drawings were never published and stayed largely undiscovered until more than 250 years after his death.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Francis Wells has spent years studying Leonardo’s extensive anatomical drawings, especially of the human heart, and even published a book on the topic titled The Heart of Leonardo.

According to Dr. Wells, Leonardo’s insights are “quite astonishing” and describe inner workings of the heart that even modern-day cardiologists often get wrong.1

Leonardo da Vinci’s Early Insights Into the Human Heart

While many of Leonardo’s drawings are based on animal hearts, he did carry out dissections on human hearts as well, including one in which he described the “first known description of coronary artery disease.” Many of his drawings and writings on the heart turned out to be spot on, and he is credited with:2

Accurate descriptions of how the arterial valves close and open (a topic that is now researched using MRI technology) Recognizing that currents in blood flow, created in the aorta artery, help heart valves close
Suggesting that arteries create a health risk if they “fur up” Realizing that the blood is in a circulation system (which may have influenced William Harvey’s 1616 discovery that the heart pumps blood around the body)
Showing that the heart is a muscle that does not warm the blood Being the first anatomist to correctly note the number and root structure of human teeth

It’s thought that, had Leonardo’s insights been recognized earlier, it may have changed early treatment for heart disease (and many other health conditions). To this day, much of the heart’s workings remain a mystery, which only adds to the wonderment of Leonardo’s early drawings (another interesting tidbit: Leonardo wrote backwards, from right to left).

Perhaps most of all, what we can learn from Leonardo da Vinci – a man with an insatiable curiosity and love of learning -- is to continue questioning, exploring, and discovering, even among topics that are assumed to be well established. BBC News reported:3

According to Mr. Wells, Leonardo's legacy is that we should follow the Renaissance Man's example and continue to challenge, question and enquire rather than listen to accepted wisdom.”

Top Heart Myths That Might Surprise You

In keeping with Leonardo’s example, I want to share some information about heart health that may surprise you…

Saturated Fat Does Not Promote Heart Disease

As of 2010, recommendations from the US Department of Agriculture4 (USDA) call for reducing your saturated fat intake to a mere 10 percent of your total calories or less. It's virtually impossible to estimate how many people have been prematurely killed by the persistent promulgation of this myth that lowering naturally occurring saturated fat intake is good for your heart.

Grown from a flawed study published over half a century ago that has since been soundly debunked by many decades of research, it’s now known that the avoidance of saturated fat actually promotes poor health in a number of ways.

Recently an editorial in the British Medical Journal titled "From the Heart, Saturated Fat is Not the Major Issue," firmly busted this pervasive myth.5 As stated by the author, Aseem Malhotra, an interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London:

"The mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades. Yet scientific evidence shows that this advice has, paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risks...

The aspect of dietary saturated fat that is believed to have the greatest influence on cardiovascular risk is elevated concentrations of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Yet the reduction in LDL cholesterol from reducing saturated fat intake seems to be specific to large, buoyant (type A) LDL particles, when in fact it is the small, dense (type B) particles (responsive to carbohydrate intake) that are implicated in cardiovascular disease.

Indeed, recent prospective cohort studies have not supported any significant association between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular risk. Instead, saturated fat has been found to be protective." [Emphasis mine]

Natural Salt Is Essential for Your Health

Salt is another oft-vilified food for the heart, and it’s true that overindulgence in the typically used commercially processed table salt can lead to fluid retention, high blood pressure, swelling of your limbs, and shortness of breath. In the long term, it is thought to contribute to high blood pressure, kidney and heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.

However, salt provides two elements – sodium and chloride – that are essential for life. Your body cannot make these elements on its own, so you must get them from your diet.

Compelling evidence suggests that while processed salt can indeed cause fluid retention and related health problems, numerous studies have, overall, refuted the salt-heart disease connection.

For example, a 2011 meta-analysis of seven studies involving more than 6,000 people found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes, or death.6 In fact, salt restriction actually increased the risk of death in those with heart failure.

Similarly, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that same year revealed that the less sodium excreted in your urine (a marker of salt consumption), the greater the risk of dying from heart disease.7

That said, it’s clear that many are consuming far too much processed table salt and not enough natural salt. Natural salt contains 84 percent sodium chloride, and 16 percent naturally occurring trace minerals, including silicon, phosphorus, and vanadium.

Processed (table) salt, on the other hand, contains 97.5 percent sodium chloride and the rest is man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents and flow agents. If you’re interested in the role of salt in your heart health, consider, too, that potassium deficiency may be more responsible for hypertension than excess sodium, and too much sodium along with too little potassium has been found to more than double your risk of death from a heart attack, compared to eating about equal amounts of both nutrients.8

Shunning the Sun May Harm Your Heart

Do you avoid regular sun exposure, or slather on sunscreen every time you go outdoors? These behaviors are linked with vitamin D deficiency, which is detrimental to your heart. Even if you're considered generally "healthy," if you're deficient in vitamin D, your arteries are likely stiffer than they should be, and your blood pressure may run higher than recommended due to your blood vessels being unable to relax.

Recent research also confirmed that postmenopausal women with higher vitamin D levels had higher HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.9 Further, cholesterol, sulfur, and vitamin D from sun exposure are all interrelated, and the status of each promotes or prevents the disease process known as cardiovascular disease.

Too Much Exercise Can Backfire for Your Heart Health

Several recent scientific studies indicate that endurance exercises, such as marathon and triathlon training, pose significant risks to your heart, some of which may be irreversible and life threatening. Long-distance running, for instance, can lead to acute volume overload, inflammation, thickening and stiffening of the heart muscle and arteries, coronary artery calcification, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac arrest. A safer and more effective exercise is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which consists of short bursts of intense exertion. HIIT maximizes the benefits for your heart, while optimizing your human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin levels.

Heart Disease Is One of the Leading Causes of Death in the US

About 800,000 people die of heart disease in the US each year. At one in every three deaths, this makes heart disease ostensibly the leading cause of death for both men and women.10 In addition, 720,000 Americans have a heart attack every year, the majority of which (515,000) are a first heart attack.11 Bear in mind that, contrary to the conventional ideology, your total cholesterol level—which includes HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and Lp(a)—is just about worthless in determining your risk for heart disease, unless it is above 300.

However, many have argued that the flawed medical paradigm is actually the leader, killing far more including many of those that die from heart disease. Still, high total cholesterol can in some instances indicate a problem, provided it's your LDL and triglycerides that are elevated and you have a low HDL. I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who actually were at low heart disease risk due to their high HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 that were at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests:

  • HDL/Cholesterol ratio. This is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That ratio should ideally be above 24 percent
  • Triglyceride/HDL ratio. Here, you divide your triglyceride level by your HDL. This ratio should ideally be below 2

That said, these are still simply guidelines, and there's a lot more that goes into your risk of heart disease than any one of these numbers. In fact, it was only after word got out that total cholesterol is a poor predictor of heart disease that HDL and LDL cholesterol were brought into the picture. They give you a closer idea of what's going on, but they still do not show you everything. Additional risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Your fasting insulin level: Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbs promotes fat accumulation and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight. Excess fat, particularly around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease, while elevated insulin levels can also lead to insulin resistance, a major risk factor for heart disease
  • Your fasting blood sugar level: Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl had a nearly 300 percent increase higher risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl
  • Your iron level: Iron can be a very potent cause of oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levels you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should monitor your ferritin levels and make sure they are not much above 80 ng/ml. The simplest way to lower them if they are elevated is to donate your blood. If that is not possible, you can have a therapeutic phlebotomy and that will effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body

Heart Disease Can Be Prevented with Healthy Lifestyle

A quarter of the 800,000 annual heart disease deaths in the US—or about 200,000—could be prevented through simple lifestyle changes, and more than half (6 out of 10) of the preventable heart disease and stroke deaths happen to people under age 65, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).12 In my mind the conventional medical system is largely responsible for many of these deaths, as their dietary recommendations for the prevention of heart disease are diametrically opposed to what you actually need for optimal heart health. For over 60 years, saturated fats have been blamed for heart disease, resulting in the promulgation of a dangerous low-fat, high-sugar diet.

In reality, a diet that promotes health is high in healthy fats and very, very low in sugar and non-vegetable carbohydrates... Research coming out of some of America's most respected institutions now confirms that sugar is actually a primary dietary factor driving chronic disease development. If you’re wondering what a "proper diet" is for heart health, I suggest reviewing my Nutrition Plan, which is designed to guide you through the dietary changes in a step-by-step fashion, moving from beginner to intermediary to advanced. When properly applied, it can improve just about anyone's health, including your heart health. Following is a summary of the basic recommendations:

Limit or eliminate all processed foods
Eliminate all gluten and highly allergenic foods from your diet
Eat organic foods whenever possible to avoid exposure to harmful agricultural chemicals such as glyphosate
Eat at least one-third of your food uncooked (raw), or as much as you can manage
Increase the amount of fresh vegetables in your diet
Avoid artificial sweeteners of all kinds
Swap all synthetic trans fats (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, etc.) for healthy fats like avocado, raw butter, and coconut oil
To rebalance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, take a high-quality omega-3 supplement, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of processed omega-6 fats from vegetable oils
Drink plenty of pure water
Optimize your vitamin D levels, either through appropriate sun exposure, a safe tanning bed, or as last resort, an oral vitamin D3 supplement
Limit fructose to less than 25 grams per day, from all sources, including whole fruits. If you have insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, you'd be well advised to keep your fructose below 15 grams per day

Four More Lifestyle Habits for Heart Health

In addition to avoiding the dietary hazards just mentioned—particularly sugar/fructose, grains, and processed foods of all kinds—here are a few more recommendations that can have a profound impact on reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.

  1. Optimize your insulin and leptin levels. If your fasting insulin level is above three, consider limiting (max 15 grams of fructose per day) or eliminating your intake of grains and sugars until you optimize your insulin level. Following my nutrition plan will automatically limit your intake of foods that raise insulin levels.
  2. Exercise regularly. One of the primary benefits of exercise is that it helps normalize and maintain a healthy insulin level. A 2011 study published in the Lancet, which included several hundred thousand people, found that a mere 15 minutes of exercise a day can increase your lifespan by three years—even if you have cardiovascular disease risks.13
  3. Regularly walk barefoot to ground with the earth. When you do, free electrons are transferred from the earth into your body, and this grounding effect is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of, and helps alleviate inflammation throughout your body.
  4. Grounding helps thin your blood by improving its zeta potential, which means it improves the negative electrical charge between your red blood cells thus repelling them and keeping your blood less likely to clot.

    In fact, grounding's effect on blood thinning is so profound that if you are taking blood thinners, you must work with your health care provider to lower your dose -- otherwise you may overdose on the medication. Research has demonstrated it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your bloodstream and transform your blood.

  5. Avoid drugs that promote heart disease. Statin drugs and antidepressants are two commonly prescribed types of medications that have been shown to promote heart disease.
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The Importance of Sleep, and the Hazards of “Dream Deprivation” PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

Dr. Rubin Naiman, author of Hush: A Book of Bedtime Contemplations, is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine directed by Dr. Andrew Weil. As a sleep and dream expert, his focus is how sleeping and dreaming affects your health.

Four years ago, I interviewed Dr. Naiman on the most common causes for insomnia. Here, the discussion revolves around some of the more basic fundamentals of sleeping, and the importance of dreaming.

Early on in his career as a psychologist, Dr. Naiman recognized that it was difficult for people to move forward or to address and heal emotional issues if they were tired or sleepy. He also had an innate fascination with the world of dreams.

Eventually, he shifted his career focus entirely into sleep and dreams, and how it ties into your mental and physical—even spiritual—health.

Sleep Basics

In basic terms, there are four stages of sleep but the two that are highly restorative are:

  1. Deep sleep, which you can think of as "true sleep"
  2. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is dream sleep

According to Dr. Naiman, one of the best ways of understanding those two types of sleep is to think of them as different kinds of nourishment. "Sleep and dreams are a bit like water and food to the psyche, to the soul, to the mind," he says. For optimal health, you need both.

Data suggests that the average American sleeps a little under seven hours a night, which actually isn't enough. Dr. Naiman explains:

"We have to keep in mind that sleep debt accumulates. If somebody is losing, say, an hour of sleep every night, and if they're sleeping an average of seven hours, at the end of seven days and nights, they will have lost the equivalent of a full night's sleep.

Millions of us do this. Even though they might not notice an obvious change in their functioning, the reality is they will function as if they've been up the entire night. There's a danger in that, of course, in terms of accidents, performance, and so on. We all need to get the right amount of sleep."

The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person, and even season to season. Health conditions, pregnancy, and other factors can also influence your need for more sleep.

Dr. Naiman recommends looking at the quality of your waking day to determine whether you're getting enough sleep. If your energy is steady and rhythmic through the day, you're probably getting good-quantity and good-quality sleep.

Why Dreaming Matters

Because most of your REM or dream sleep occurs in the latter third of the night, sleep loss at that time results in what Dr. Naiman refers to as "dream deprivation." Another factor that contributes to dream deprivation is the routine use of an alarm clock. When it goes off, it will oftentimes wake you out of the tail end of a dream.

"This is like having a really good novel, but tearing off the last few pages. It'd be very, very frustrating," Dr. Naiman says.

"Dreaming is essential. In recent years, there's been a lot of research underscoring the fact that dreaming has functions very different from sleep.

I think of the dream as being a digestive and assimilating process for information... In a sense, during REM sleep and dreaming your brain becomes a second gut.

If we think about all of the information that we're exposed to in the course of a single day – the conversations, the things we read, the things we see, hear, and think about, and all the things we just experience through our senses – all that information can be understood as something we consumed.

What happens in REM sleep is all of this information we've metaphorically swallowed is digested and assimilated. It's sifted through. Again, in its wisdom – and depending on lots of factors -- the brain decides what it's going to keep and what it's going to let go of.

I think after this information is digested, the process of assimilation shows up metaphorically in the dream, in the images of the dream. The bottom line here is that if you don't dream well, it has a profoundly negative impact on your memory. In a deeper sense, it's as if you stopped growing psychologically. You stopped adding to who you are." 

How to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

To optimize your sleeping and dreaming, one of the most important issues is to make sure you're going to bed early enough, because if you have to get up at 6:30am, you're just not going to get enough sleep if you go to bed after midnight.

Dr. Naiman also notes that one common characteristic of really healthy sleepers is that they tend to love sleep—they cherish it and enjoy it. For them, sleep is a source of pleasure.

"I talk to people about falling back in love with sleep," Dr. Naiman says. "If you love sleep, if you want to have a good relationship with sleep, start dating it. Start courting it. Acknowledge your love of sleep before you get into bed with it. This is the first step, and it's a critical attitudinal shift. Because we can do all of the right things, but if our heart is not in the right place around sleep, it really won't help as much."

More practical factors include making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. It also needs to be free of electromagnetic fields. If you keep electronic gadgets in your room, such as a TV, cell phones, and electric alarm clocks, your body may, at an imperceptible level, pick up that your bedroom is actually buzzing with energy. This needs to be addressed by removing as many electromagnetic sources as possible. Make your bedroom an electronic-free zone and make certain all the electronics in your bedroom are turned off before you go to sleep.

This includes making sure your electrical wiring is enclosed in conduits, as this will cancel out potentially dangerous electromagnetic radiation. If you're really sensitive, it may be wise for you to flip the circuit breaker to your bedroom before going to bed.  There are actually newer devices that allow you to do this remotely.

"In terms of alarms, if you have to use an alarm, I think it's better to opt for some of these newer, gentle alarms that will not blast you out of bed. You can get these for smartphones, or you can get them built into regular alarms. You can also use a dawn simulator that gradually brightens a light to simulate sunrise.

One of the things I strongly recommend, in addition to having sort of a soft, graded alarm system, is to modulate the light that comes out of these digital alarms or digital clocks. Many of them put out pretty intense white or blue light, which is the worst thing for sleep... If you're going to have light, you want to have a low-blue light, more along the amber or red spectrum of light, that doesn't suppress melatonin... It's critical to dial down our lights at night."

The Importance of Melatonin

If you're exposed to light at night, even an hour or two before bed, you will suppress your melatonin production. This can have long-term health ramifications that go far beyond insomnia, as besides making you sleepy, melatonin also has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. When you're exposed to the blue wavelength of light, your brain receives the signal that it's daytime, and it responds by suppressing melatonin. Television screens, computer screens, iPad screens, or smartphone screens—all of these emit blue light.

There's a free program called f.lux that you can download onto your computer that will automatically change the wavelength of the light during evening hours. This can ameliorate some of the adverse effects on your melatonin production, but ideally, you'd want to turn them all off at least an hour or so before bed, and dim any lights around you.

Normally, melatonin levels are very low during the day. They rise up very gradually at night. Melatonin peaks during the last two or three hours of sleep, which is typically when you're dreaming. Interestingly, melatonin is also a vasodilator—it opens up your peripheral blood vessels, allowing your body to dissipate energy as heat during the night. Our remaining energy is diverted toward cleansing and maintenance as well as immune system functioning.

The best way to optimize your melatonin production is to get exposure to sun light in the morning, safe levels of natural light throughout the day, and  then gradually reducing the amount of light as the evening wears on. However, a melatonin supplement can sometimes be helpful. In terms of selecting a high quality product, and when and how to take it, Dr. Naiman offers the following suggestions:

 "Most melatonin products are instant-release. Because melatonin has a short half-life of about 45 minutes, you get a spike if you swallow it around bedtime. You get a spike that will come down pretty quickly. It almost is the opposite curve you see in nature. I tend to recommend a sublingual variety (under the tongue), so it's absorbed quickly but avoids the first liver pass, and also a sustained-release or continued-release variety. This mimics the natural pattern of melatonin release more closely."

Learning to Slow Down and Rest Is Crucial for Optimal Sleep

According to Dr. Naiman, sleep problems don't typically occur because of a lack of sleepiness or inadequate sleepiness; they occur as a result of excessive wakefulness. In short, you're running too hard, too fast. Oftentimes, insomniacs will have cortisol dysrhythmia, where their cortisol levels become elevated at night instead of in the morning. Basically, insomnia can be a side effect of being too hyped up; too frenetic, and not allowing yourself to simmer down and relax.

"Given the context of the velocity of our lives, we tend not to notice how fast we're going, and we really need to notice that. We need to yield, slow down, and even stop sometimes. When would benefit by installing speed bumps in our daily lives.

The bridge that takes us from waking to sleep is the bridge of rest – true rest. We live in a world that is hyper-aroused. And we've forgotten what true rest is. People often confuse rest with recreation. They'll go to a movie or go on a hike or  bowling to 'rest.'. But these are recreational activities, not true rest.

True rest involves the practice of something that allows us to be receptive, to really slow down. I think the reason a lot of people resist this is because when we start to slow, we start to experience what I've called personal turbulence... We descend through a layer of unresolved emotions, thoughts and feelings. Typically when we hit this turbulence, we pull back up into activity.

What I suggest is a way of learning to descend through personal turbulence and touching the ground, the ground of some peace, some quiet, and some inner serenity. That kind of practice is so helpful in getting to sleep... A lot of people who can't fall asleep complain that they can't stop the mind. Well, they haven't given it enough time. If they're flying really high and fast, that's fine. But they need more time to descend and a longer landing strip."

Meditation or yoga can be very useful for this. There are also technologically assisted ways of resting, such as biofeedback and heart rate variability approaches. Ther are various smartphone apps can be helpful in monitoring and assessing your sleep quality. In the end though, it comes down to making a decision as to which has greater value: productivity or rest. Many of us do not realize that productivity cannot be achieved at the expense of rest. Sleep is actually essential for optimal wakefulness, attention, and productivity!

Addressing Sleep Apnea

Another challenge that can rob you of sleep is sleep apnea, which is typically, but not always, related to a mechanical airway obstruction due to being overweight. Sleep apnea deprives your body and brain of oxygen, which can cause very severe health problems over time.

"People who have severe or even moderate to severe sleep apnea I believe need an immediate intervention," Dr. Naiman says. "In cases like that, I think CPAP could be a lifesaver. There's no question about it. In all the epidemiologic studies, we found there were very few people over the age of 65 with severe sleep apnea. The researchers realized it's because they passed away! You can't live with this for a long time."

However, CPAP doesn't necessarily have to be a lifelong treatment strategy. Lifestyle strategies such as exercise and diet can go a long way toward ultimately resolving the issue. Psychological factors may also need to be addressed.

"There's some evidence that some apnea is associated with upper airway hypertension. The term hypertension here is not related to blood pressure; it's a literal tension in the voice box or the throat. From an energy medicine standpoint, it's associated constriction in the throat chakra –  people not feeling free to fully express who they are. If you hold excessive tension in that area through the day, it can over-relax or prolapse when you go to sleep."

Interestingly, one alternative medicine approach for sleep apnea is learning to play the didgeridoo—an aboriginal wind instrument that requires you to learn circular breathing. According to Dr. Naiman, a small number of studies have shown that this appears to be curative for mild apnea. Another is oral myofunctional therapy. The interview I did with Joy Moeller can be really helpful for many with this condition. This technique is based on the neuromuscular re-education or re-patterning of the oral and facial muscles, and includes facial exercises and behavior modification techniques to promote proper tongue position, improved breathing, chewing and swallowing.

Does Daytime Napping Help or Hinder Good Sleep?

Many sleep experts tend to recommend against napping, on the basis that it may interfere with your ability to sleep well during the night. Dr. Naiman, however, disagrees.

"I think if somebody has insomnia, we want to maintain their sleepiness or sleep load. We don't want them to remain sufficiently sleepy at night. Often if they do nap, they'll end up napping for an hour or two, which is not good. But the other side of this is using the nap as a way of practicing sleep. If you don't fall asleep when you're practicing during the nap, it's not going to impact the next day. I have various CDs available that offer guidance in practicing sleep.

For people who sleep well, I think the nap is great. It's a way of descending, of touching down, and of reconnecting with rest during the day. Again, a nap is a nap; it's not substitution for good night's sleep. We generally recommend positioning the nap somewhere around the middle of the waking day, about eight hours into it and running for approximately 20 minutes or so. It's very refreshing. It's great for memory. It reduces blood pressure. It enhances mood. It's just all around a good thing to do."

More Information

Dr. Naiman's new book, Hush: A Book of Bedtime Contemplations, written to be read before bedtime,encourages you to get back in touch with your own inner wisdom about sleep. It's based on an integration of sleep science, sleep spirituality, and sleep psychology, and includes what Dr. Naiman calls 100 Spiritual Prescriptions for Sleep.

"I think of these as bedtime snacks for the soul," he says. "You read one or two at night. It doesn't really provoke a lot of contemplation; it's meant to invoke sleep to get people to transition from sort of normal patterns of thinking into a way of using thinking to let go of thinking, and of course, to allow the default of sleep to come to the surface."

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The Truth About Exercise—The Case for High Intensity Workouts PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

Over the last several years, researchers have slowly but surely reached the consensus that high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is characterized by relatively short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest, far outperforms conventional aerobic endurance type exercises.

Not only does it beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH), aka the "fitness hormone."

Perhaps best of all, HIIT requires only minutes, compared to hours, each week. In the featured video, Dr. Michael Mosley, author of Fast Exercise: The Simple Secret of High-Intensity Training, shares his own experiences with HIIT.

The Truth About Exercise

As Dr. Mosley reports in the featured BBC special, groundbreaking research suggests that as little as three minutes of high intensity training per week can produce significant health benefits.

Dr. Mosley was able to improve his insulin sensitivity by 24 percent by putting in a mere 12 minutes of intense exercise per week, for four weeks. Such an effect is truly amazing, and indeed important, as improving and maintaining good insulin sensitivity is perhaps one of the most important aspects of optimal health.

He performed the exercises on a stationary bike. After warming up, he cycled “all-out” for 20 seconds, rested for a couple of minutes, and then gave it his all for another 20 seconds.

The HIIT approach I personally prefer and recommend is the Peak Fitness method of a 50% longer exercise time of 30 seconds of maximum effort followed by less recovery of only 90 seconds for a total of eight repetitions.

When you're first starting out, depending on your level of fitness, you may only be able to do two or three repetitions, which is perfectly alright. As you get fitter, just keep adding repetitions until you’re doing eight.

About a year ago, I personally modified the number of repetitions I do from eight to six, as it was sometimes just too strenuous for me to do all eight. By listening to my body and cutting it back to six reps, I can now easily tolerate the workout and go full out. Plus, I no longer dread doing it.

I also do alternatives to elliptical now where I will do six sets with a barbell and ten pounds on it and do deadlifts, bent over rows, upright rows, squats, clean and jerks and bicep curls all in rapid succession with no breaks. It is not quite as intense but goes for about 60 seconds and really pushes me metabolically. I also rest for a few minutes until I recover. I think the variety is good.

Another tweak I made is to incorporate Buteyko breathing, which means I do most of the workout breathing only through my nose. This raises the challenge to another level.

There are very compelling reasons for trading your hour-long walk on the treadmill for a 20-minute high intensity routine, and research shows that in this case, less time can indeed lead to a greater payout, if done correctly. As Dr. Mosley writes in his book, Fast Exercise:

“I believe that we have now produced sufficient data to be able to recommend short bursts of high-intensity exercise as a safe and effective alternative to conventional workouts, removing the ‘time barrier’ as an excuse for not exercising.

This will hopefully boost compliance and help people take up an approach that will lead to a healthier way of life. The great thing about HIIT is that it can be done in the workplace or at home without preplanning or missing an episode of your favorite TV show.”

Even Brief Intense Exercise Produces Genetic Changes That Promote Fat Loss

A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism1 in 2012, showed that when healthy but inactive people exercise intensely, even if the exercise is brief, it produces an immediate change in their DNA. While the underlying genetic code in the muscle remains unchanged, exercise causes important structural and chemical changes to the DNA molecules within the muscles.

This contraction-induced gene activation appears to be early events leading to the genetic reprogramming of muscle for strength, and to the structural and metabolic benefits of exercise. Several of the genes affected by an acute bout of exercise are genes involved in fat metabolism. Specifically, the study suggests that when you exercise, your body almost immediately experiences genetic activation that increases the production of fat-busting proteins! Besides lowered body fat, other benefits associated with high intensity interval training include:

  • Improved muscle tone
  • Firmer skin and fewer wrinkles
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved athletic speed and performance
  • Boosted sex drive

Intermittent Movement—Another Crucial Piece of the Puzzle

In the video, Dr. Mosley also meets with Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic obesity expert whose research suggests that the best way to lose weight is to increase your non-exercise activity thermogenesis, also referred to as NEAT. This is the calories you expend during your day-to-day living, through body movement that have nothing to do with traditional exercise.

Similar research has been conducted by Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals.

Mounting research clearly shows that undisrupted sitting for long periods of time is an independent risk factor for chronic disease and early death—even if you exercise vigorously each week. More and more, we’re starting to realize the importance of keeping your body in perpetual motion—bending, stretching,  reaching, standing up...

Using so-called “fidget pants,” Dr. Levine measures how much Dr. Mosley and other volunteers move during any given day, and how that non-exercise movement translates into calories burned. As it turns out, even slight increases in daily motion can result in several hundreds of calories burned.

When asked which might be more important for health: intermittent bursts of high intensity exercise a few times a week, or more or less non-stop non-exercise movement throughout the day, Dr. Levine notes that those who exercise regularly will clearly continue to do so because they love it.

But a large section of the population gets no exercise whatsoever and think nothing of it. For those people, paying careful attention to their intermittent movements—the movement inherent in their daily living—becomes incredibly relevant and important for their health. In a nutshell, the key to optimal health is to “keep off your bottom as much as possible.” It’s just that simple. That in no way detracts from the importance or benefits you can reap from a regular fitness regimen though.

According to Dr. Levine, “there should never be an hour where you’re sitting down.” One solution, provided your job can accommodate it, is to do your work standing up. Another solution, suggested by Dr. Vernikos, is to make sure you stand up at least once every 15 minutes or so. In a previous article, I collected a list of 30 videos demonstrating quick and simple exercises you can do when you stand up.

What Makes High Intensity Exercise So Effective

Getting back to high intensity exercise, part of the key that makes HIIT so effective is that it engages far more of your muscle tissue than conventional aerobic cardio exercise. You have three different types of muscle fibers: slow, fast, and super-fast. Only ONE of these muscles, the super-fast fibers, will impact your production of human growth hormone (HGH), which is KEY for strength, health, and longevity. The vast majority of people, including many athletes such as marathon runners, only train using their slow muscle fibers. In fact, neither traditionally performed aerobic cardio nor strength training will work anything but your slow muscles. These are the red muscles, which are filled with capillaries and mitochondria, and hence a lot of oxygen.

The fast type of fiber, which is also red muscle that oxygenates quickly, is five times faster than the slow fibers. Power training, or plyometric burst-type exercises, will engage these fast muscles. The super-fast ones are the white muscle fibers. They contain far less blood and less densely packed mitochondria. These muscle fibers are what you use when you do anaerobic, short burst exercises. High intensity burst-type exercises are the ones that will engage these super-fast fibers. They're 10 times faster than slow fibers, and activating them is the key to producing growth hormone! To further maximize your growth hormone release, you’ll want to:

  • Get a good night's sleep
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels
  • Avoid sugar, especially fructose. (If you consume sugar or fructose, especially within two hours post-exercise, you will virtually obliterate the production of growth hormone!)

Tips for Building a High-Quality Fitness Regimen

Ideally, intense exercise should be balanced with strength training, proper stretching, core strengthening, stress reduction, restorative sleep, and good nutrition. You'll find much more information about HIIT and other types of exercise in the fitness section of my website. When putting together your exercise routine, I recommend incorporating the following:

  1. Stand Up Every 15 Minutes. Compelling research now tells us that prolonged sitting can have a tremendously detrimental impact on your health, even if you exercise regularly. Your body needs to interact with gravity in order to function properly, and this has to be ongoing, throughout your day. Whenever you have a chance to move your body, do so! I invite you to look at our list of 30 videos for ideas about what you can do when you stand up.
  2. Interval Peak Fitness (Anaerobic) Training: Interval training involves alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods, and are central to my Peak Fitness routine.
  3. Strength Training: Rounding out your exercise program with a one-set strength training routine will ensure that you're really optimizing the health benefits of your fitness program. You can also "up" the intensity by slowing it down. For more information about using super slow weight training as a form of high intensity interval exercise, please see my interview above with Dr. Doug McGuff, and my video about super slow workouts at the top of this section.
  4. Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen, and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout your body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury, and improve your balance and stability. Foundation Training, created by Dr. Eric Goodman, is an integral first step of a larger program he calls "Modern Moveology," which consists of a catalog of exercises.
  5. Stretching: My favorite type of stretching is Active Isolated Stretching (AIS). With AIS, you hold each stretch for only two seconds, which works with your body's natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints. This technique allows your body to repair itself and prepare for daily activity. You can also use devices like the Power Plate to help you stretch.
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Premier Government Body of Science and Medicine Turning Into Yet Another Agency for Corporate Science PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

I’ve written quite a bit about growing conflicts of interest over the past few years—conflicts that, in the end, affect your health by impacting the practice of medicine. Yet despite growing awareness of this problem, matters keep getting worse.

Now it’s becoming apparent that the Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of our premier government bodies of science and medicine, has been turned into yet another agency promulgating corporate greed-driven science...

In a recent article,1 Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses conflicts of interests that may have coaxed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve a new narcotic painkiller, Zohydro ER (Zogenix).

The drug, which is the first drug containing pure hydrocodone (synthetic heroin), was approved at the same time that the FDA was also recommending tighter controls on narcotic painkillers, in light of alarming addiction rates and deaths linked to accidental overdoses.  

All other hydrocodone-containing painkillers on the market are mixed with other non-addictive ingredients. Zohydro ER was approved for patients who need around-the-clock pain relief, and contains an opioid dose that is five to 10 times greater than anything else on the market.

As noted by Dr. Gupta, when FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg was criticized for the agency’s approval of Zohydro, she countered saying that “100 million Americans” suffer from severe chronic pain warranting use of the drug. This figure amounts to about 40 percent of the US adult population!

Misleading Statistics Used to Push Stronger Narcotics Onto the Market?

Prescription painkillers have been identified as one of the primary causes of lethal overdoses, not to mention widespread drug addiction. If 40 percent of American adults are in chronic pain and in need of a potent narcotic that will place them at very high risk of addiction or lethal overdose, surely something must be seriously wrong!

The question is, what is the root of the problem? What’s causing all this chronic pain? Or, is the problem rooted in the statistic itself? As it turns out, it appears to be the latter...

The 100 million figure has become a staple in the ongoing debate over the use of narcotic painkillers,” Dr. Gupta writes.2 “It is cited in news stories, by medical organizations and by drug companies seeking approval for new opioid therapies...

But that number is exaggerated and misleading, according to pain specialists familiar with how it was derived. The number originated with the Institute of Medicine report,3Relieving Pain in America, A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research.’

A Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today investigation found that nine of the 19 experts on the IOM panel that produced that report had connections to companies that manufacture narcotic painkillers at the time or in the three years prior to their work on the report.”

The IOM did not disclose any of these financial conflicts of interest when the report was published. One must wonder why, as the IOM itself has claimed that disclosing conflicts of interest is “essential.”

Drug Companies Are NOT Concerned by Rising Addiction and Death Rates

With nearly half of the IOM’s pain panel having financial conflicts of interest, it is not surprising that the report warns against restricting the use of opioid drugs. As Dr. Gupta notes:

“Past Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today investigations4 found that the boom in narcotic painkillers has been fueled in part by an aggressive push from drug companies that funded nonprofit groups which advocated for greater use of opioids.

Indeed, six of the IOM panel members have been officers or board members of advocacy groups that were named in a 2012 U.S. Senate Committee on Finance investigation into the links.

A seventh panel member co-founded another organization that is the subject of a separate investigation5 launched in February by two US senators.”

In the latter case, pharmaceutical companies, including the maker of Zohydro, paid up to $35,000 to attend private meetings with FDA and National Institutes of Health (NIH) staff, in which discussions revolved around the development of new pain treatments. This prompted two US Senators to launch an investigation into what appears to be a classic “pay to play” scheme. According to a previous MedPageToday report:6

“[T]he meetings also involved discussions of ‘enriched enrollment’ for pain trials, which enables drug companies to weed out nonresponders or patients who have adverse reactions to the drug from enrollment in clinical trials -- which critics say stacks the deck in favor of the drug...

Zohydro clinical trials used the enriched enrollment methodology. During its FDA advisory committee hearing, several experts expressed concerns about what would happen once the drug moved from trials into the real world because of that methodology.”

The Problem with the 100 Million Chronic Pain Figure...

So, are 100 million Americans really plagued by chronic debilitating pain? Is there really a vast need for a product such as Zohydro, in light of our current drug abuse epidemic? This is highly unlikely. According to Allan Basbaum, PhD and Michael Von Korff, ScD, the 100 million figure constitutes anyone who has reported chronic pain lasting three to six months, including those with manageable pain, and those recovering from surgery.

“Their comments came at a meeting of pain experts held at the National Institutes of Health,” Dr. Gupta writes.7 “In a video of the meeting, Allan Basbaum, PhD, who reviewed the Institute of Medicine pain report, said he was stunned when he saw the 100 million figure. ‘If we are concerned about the message we are sending, we shouldn't exaggerate the message because the eyeballs start to roll,’ said Basbaum, a pain expert and professor of anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco.

‘The message will be more powerful if people can believe it.’ A moment later, pain expert Michael Von Korff, ScD, said the 100 million figure was derived from a research paper that he co-authored. ‘Nobody asked me about it before they used it,’ said Von Korff, senior investigator with Group Health Research Institute in Seattle... While the 100 million represents about 40 percent of the adult population… Von Korff said only about 20 percent to 25 percent are substantially impaired by chronic pain and a smaller number -- about 10 percent to 15 percent -- have substantial work disability because of chronic pain.”

Conflicts of Interest Abound

The conflicts of interest now running, and ruining, the IOM are many. For starters, the chairman of the IOM’s pain panel that created the “Relieving Pain in America” report, Phillip Pizzo, MD, was formerly the dean of Stanford Medical School. Less than a year before the pain panel convened, Stanford received a $3 million medical education grant from Pfizer.

According to Stanford, there were no conditions attached to the grant. However, Pfizer does create a number of painkillers. Other drug companies selling pain relievers have also contributed funds to the school. Although the panel members claim that these conflicts in no way affected their evaluations or recommendations, numerous studies have shown that financial conflicts of interest does exert undue influence. And even a modest amount of psychological insight will tell you that this is the case. One typically does not bite the hand that feeds...

Another pain panel member, Dennis Turk, PhD, is the co-founder of a group called IMMPACT. This is one of the two groups that received up to $35,000 per drug company attendee at private FDA/NIH meetings to discuss pain treatment. He’s also served as a consultant and received research grants from drug companies that make various painkillers.

“Daniel Carlat, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Pew Charitable Trusts' Prescription Project, which seeks to increase transparency in healthcare, said doctors and the public need to know if financial incentives influence the institute's recommendations,” Dr. Gupta writes.8 ‘It's hard to rationalize why they would not simply disclose all the potential conflicts on that panel,’ Carlat said.”

IOM President Has Fiduciary Responsibility to PepsiCo and Its Shareholders...

Speaking in more general terms, the IOM appears to have been taken over by corporate interests in general. For example, the IOM’s new President, Victor Dzau,9, 10 is on the board of directors of no less than four companies: Genzyme, Medtronic, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, and PepsiCo, thereby extending the IOM’s conflicts of interest far and wide between both drugs and the primary purveyors of chronic disease, the junk food industry. As noted by Forbes Magazine:

“As a prominent and influential health care leader, how could Dzau treat a tax on soda, or a ban on vending machines in schools, or any of a multitude of other health policy issues relating to the obesity and diabetes epidemic? In addition, might Dzau’s involvement with PepsiCo (and the other companies) produce a chilling effect on the free speech and activities of Duke faculty and affiliated doctors?”

Dzau is also the chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and the CEO of the Duke University Health System. He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of three companies: CV Therapeutics, Atherogenics Inc., and United Therapeutics. Interestingly enough, Duke University never disclosed this myriad of conflicts of interest either, even though being on the board of directors of a company means he has a fiduciary duty to each of these companies, and its stockholders.

In a 2010 Lancet paper,11 Dzau says his vision for global "health science" is driven by a "public-private financial partnership" between academic institutions and governments. Unfortunately, large US universities – who have long maintained close ties with Big Pharma – are now increasingly creating very lucrative "public-private partnerships" with government, which creates a major conflict of interest. How can a person with such extensive corporate board memberships realistically uphold the IOM promise of providing unbiased health information?

Dr. Paul Offit Was Elected to the IOM in 2011

Dr. Paul Offit, who became an IOM member in 2011, also has similarly concerning conflicts of interest. Dr. Offit reportedly received a $350,000 grant from Merck to develop a rotavirus vaccine, and has served on the scientific advisory board for Merck. He received another estimated $6 million when Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) sold the patent for the RotaTeq vaccine he developed. He was also on the CDC advisory board that approved the addition of a rotavirus vaccine to the US National Immunization Program (NIP) in 1998—a decision that paid off handsomely.

The original rotavirus vaccine added to the NIP, which was made by a competitor, was pulled from the market due to adverse effects. The RotaTeq vaccine replaced it, and Dr. Offit continues to receive royalty payments from the sale of RotaTeq to this day. (According to Wired Magazine,12 Merck's revenue from RotaTeq was $665 million in 2008 alone, of which Offit and his RotaTeq co-creators are said to receive a percentage.)

In 2005, Merck, CHOP, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine announced the creation of the Maurice R. Hilleman Chair in Vaccinology. The chair, paid for by Merck, went to Dr. Offit, who still holds it to this day. In addition to his faculty salary at CHOP, he gets another $90,000 a year from this Merck-endowed chair. Offit has been severely criticized for his blatant conflicts of interest in the past and is also notorious for his claim that infants can tolerate 10,000 vaccines at once. Last year, he was also a primary figurehead behind a flurry of media reports that told readers to beware, if not outright be afraid, of taking supplements.

Take Control of Your Health, and Beware of Who You Trust

The revolving doors between academia, government, and industry have effectively led to a situation where it's now extremely difficult, if not impossible, to trust conventional health advice from the federal government. This includes recommendations supported by non-profits like IOM, which is supposed to be independent. Clearly, when the president of a scientific organization has fiduciary responsibility to four for-profit corporations, it is hardly in a position to produce truly independent recommendations anymore.

It’s unfortunate, but when it comes to your health, you simply cannot accept claims at face value... You've got to dig below the surface and use all the resources available to you, including your own common sense and reason, true independent experts' advice, and other's experiences, to determine what medical treatment or advice will be best for you in any given situation. Ultimately, you must come to the realization that YOU are responsible for your and your family's health -- not me, not your physician, and certainly not any researchers or government health agencies on a drug or vaccine manufacturer's payroll.

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Most Evil Company Loses Court Battle in Money-Laundering Scheme PDF Print E-mail

By Dr. Mercola

During last year's I-522 ballot campaign to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Washington State, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) came up with a devious, and illegal, money-laundering scheme to protect the identity of members who donated funds to the opposing campaign.

You might remember that several major food companies experienced major backlash from consumers when their contributions to the 2012 anti-labeling campaign in California (Prop. 37) came to light, and those donating to the Washington campaign certainly wanted to avoid the same fate.

Unfortunately, this illegal move helped the GMA defeat I-522 (by a mere one percent margin), but they did get their just deserts… the GMA was sued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson in 2013, who accused them of intentional money laundering and violating state campaign disclosure laws.

Several developments have happened since then, including the GMA trying to sue a state (twice) – a motion that was recently rejected. More on that shortly; first let's take a look at some of GMA's sordid history.

GMA's Plot to Defeat I-522 Began in 2012

On October 16, 2013, Attorney General Ferguson filed suit against the GMA on behalf of the State of Washington, alleging the association had violated the state's campaign disclosure laws. According to the press release:1

"Ferguson alleges the GMA illegally collected and spent more than $7 million while shielding the identity of its contributors. The funds were spent to express opposition to Initiative 522...

'When Washington state voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 276 in 1972, they voiced their desire for transparency and openness in elections,' Ferguson said. 'Truly fair elections demand all sides follow the rules by disclosing who their donors are and how much they are spending to advocate their views.'

...The AGO [Attorney general's office] is preparing to seek a temporary restraining order asking the court to order the GMA to immediately comply with state disclosure laws. The AGO is also requesting civil penalties and costs of investigation and trial, including reasonable attorney's fees, injunctive relief and any other relief the court deems appropriate."

According to the filed complaint, the GMA began plotting and planning how to best defeat Initiative 522 back in December of 2012, placing particular emphasis on the establishment of a separate GMA fund to "combat current threats and better shield individual companies from attack."

A previous Politico report revealed that a key aspect of the GMA's plan for combating GMO labeling efforts across the US included the pursuit of statutory federal preemption—a law that prevents a labeling requirement.2

This is but one part of a detailed, five-pronged strategic plan to keep its members from having to reveal what their foods are made of. The documents released through the Attorney General also revealed quite a bit about the GMA's strategic plan by what they hide.3 Large sections of the documents are redacted, including:

  • A portion under the heading "Industry Image Efforts," which appears to be related to the GMA's plan for addressing "attackers," i.e. people and organizations working toward letting you know what's in your food
  • Under the subhead "Industry Image Campaign," it is revealed that a PR firm, the name of which is redacted, "has been retained to help develop a comprehensive program for execution in 2014." The details relating to this plan are redacted
  • A section redacted in its entirety is titled, "Examining Options for Conveying Information to Consumers"
  • Also redacted is the name of an entity that "understands the need for continued opposition to efforts at the state level to impose mandatory labels and has directed GMA staff to continue to oppose such efforts."
  • I for one am curious as to who this mysterious entity is that has "directed" the GMA to oppose labeling in the face of public demand for disclosure and transparency...

  • Also redacted are several pages-worth relating to the Association's long-term plans to quench GMO transparency issues

The GMA was actually forced to reveal the donors to their aggressive anti-labeling campaign, but they're continuing to insist that they should be allowed to hide their donors in order to "speak with one voice" for the interests of the food industry.

Since then, GMA has again removed its online membership list. Clearly, there's a concerted effort to hide who is behind this radical front group. You can still find the cached members list on web.archive.org, however.4

GMA Tried to Get the 'Natural' Label to Include GMOs

On December 5, 2013, the GMA sent a letter to Elizabeth Dickinson, Chief Counsel of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), informing her that "GMA will be filing a Citizen Petition early in 2014 that asks FDA to issue a regulation authorizing foods containing ingredients derived from biotechnology to be labeled "natural."5

According to the letter, 26 state legislatures are currently considering whether GMOs should be permitted in products bearing a "natural" label, and some 65 class-action lawsuits have been filed against food manufacturers who use GMO ingredients in their "natural" products.

The GMA essentially wants the FDA to settle the dispute and close the door on future lawsuits – even though genetically modified (GM) foods are clearly far from natural.

GMA Fires Back, Countersues the State of Washington and Threatens to Sue Vermont

To add even more drama to this saga, on January 13, 2014 the Washington State Office of the Attorney General announced that the GMA has countersued the state, challenging its campaign finance laws.6

Essentially, the GMA is suing for the right to hide corporate campaign funds—a move that threatens the transparency of the state's election process on every issue.

What's more, the GMA has also filed a civil rights complaint against the Attorney General himself, claiming that he acted unconstitutionally when he enforced the state's laws. This is bullying at its finest, but fortunately Attorney General Ferguson is no wuss, boldly declaring:

"After breaking our state's campaign finance disclosure laws, the GMA now seeks to have them declared unconstitutional. I look forward to defending transparency in Washington elections."

A GMA document also lays out a clear-cut strategy for addressing any state that successfully implements a GMO labeling law, stating that, "The first state to implement a GMO labeling law will be sued on the constitutional grounds seen in IDFA v. Amestoy."

On April 16, the Vermont Senate passed the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling bill (H.112) by an overwhelming margin. Like clockwork, on May 9 the GMA confirmed it will indeed sue Vermont in federal court, in an effort to overturn H.112. This is the second time in mere months that the GMA is suing a state for the right to pull the wool over your eyes!

Superior Court Judge Rejects GMA's Motion for Dismissal

In its countersuit, the GMA requested that the case against them be dismissed, but Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller has ruled against them. As reported by Nation of Change:7

"…the states' case against the (GMA) will move forward, rejecting the GMA's motion to dismiss the case completely based on constitutional grounds…Schaller ruled that the state's campaign laws require the formation of a political committee, and disclosures were constitutionally applied…

Hopefully as the trial proceeds, the 300 food and beverage manufacturers who illegally contributed to the GMA's slush fund will learn their lesson. These companies include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Frito Lay, General Mills, and more."

Attorney General Ferguson appeared heartened by the ruling, stating it was time to hold the GMA accountable:8 "Today's ruling is an important step in our work to hold the Grocery Manufacturers Association accountable for the largest campaign finance concealment case in Washington history… We intend to send a strong message to all: If you want to engage in political campaigns in Washington, you have to play by the rules."

For those who are new to this issue, I recently named the GMA "the most evil corporation on the planet," considering the fact that it consists primarily of pesticide producers and junk food manufacturers who are going to great lengths to violate some of your most basic rights—just to ensure that subsidized, genetically engineered and chemical-dependent, highly processed junk food remains the status quo. The primary GM crops grown in the US are corn, soy, and sugar beets, and the primary ingredients in processed food are high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats), and refined sugar.

Add in all the pesticides and hazardous fertilizers used in this chemical agriculture system, and you have the perfect formula for environmental destruction, disease, and premature death. Worse still, without GMO labeling, it can be difficult to determine exactly what it is that you're eating. This is the business model the GMA is protecting, and labeling GM foods will surely severely cripple it. This is why the GMA is willing to resort to everything, from illegal money-laundering schemes to irrational and wholly ludicrous lawsuits arguing for "the right" to violate disclosure laws. Their profits depend on keeping you in the dark about GM food.

The Great Boycott Is Here

The insanity has gone far enough. It's time to unite and fight back, which is why I join Ronnie Cummins in his encouragement to vote with your wallet and boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. You can start by using the list in the table below. The victories in Vermont and Oregon clearly show that you have the power to incite great change. In this case, you can help change the food system by taking decisive action with your food dollars.

"We flood their Facebook pages, tarnish their brand names. We pressure financial institutions, pension funds and mutual funds to divest from Monsanto and the other GMA companies. Our motto for Monsanto and GMA products must become: Don't buy them. Don't sell them. Don't grow them. And don't let your financial institution, university, church, labor union or pension fund invest in them," Cummins writes.9

"As soon as the GMA files a lawsuit against Vermont, the Organic Consumers Association, joined by a growing coalition of public interest groups, will launch a boycott and divestment campaign directed against all of the 300 GMA companies and their thousands of brand name products—including foods, beverages, seeds, home and garden supplies, pet food, herbicides and pesticides."

So far, between 2012 and 2014, Monsanto and the GMA have successfully blocked GMO labeling legislation in over 30 states, at a price tag of more than $100 million! These funds were received from the 300+ members of the GMA, which include chemical/pesticide, GE seed, and processed food industries. Together, these industries are working in a symbiotic fashion to grow, subsidize, and manufacture foods that have been clearly linked to growing obesity and chronic disease epidemics. As noted by Ronnie Cummins:

"Until now the GMA colossus has ruled, not only in Washington DC, but in all 50 states. But now that Vermont has passed a trigger-free GMO labeling law, and Oregon is poised to do the same in November, the balance of power has shifted. Monsanto, the GMA and their allies are in panic mode. Because they know that when companies are forced to label or remove GMOs, and also are forced to drop the fraudulent practice of labeling GE-tainted foods as 'natural' or 'all natural,' in one state, they will have to do it in every state. Just as they've been forced to do in Europe, where mandatory GMO labeling has been in effect since 1997."

Are You Supporting Those Who Have Repeatedly Taken a Stand Against Your Health and Right to Know?

To defeat the GMA lawsuit against Vermont, money must be raised for legal assistance to the state. We must also intensify any and all efforts to educate others and put pressure on the marketplace to quell the GMA's radical power grabs. To this end, please make a donation to the Organic Consumers Fund today.

Donate Today!

Another way you can help is by refusing to invest in GMA member companies—even if indirectly through retirement and mutual funds. With enough pressure, we can pressure institutional investors like Fidelity, Vanguard, and State Street to dump the stocks they have in these companies. Moreover, we need to boycott ALL of the 300 companies who are still members of the GMA. Combined, they produce more than 6,000 brand name products, and all of these products are on the boycott list. This includes:

Foods BeveragesSeeds
Home and garden suppliesPet foodsHerbicides and pesticides for home and professional use

 

This may seem as a monstrously difficult task... but if we work together and individually make an effort, collectively we can do it. There are 400 million Americans, and each person makes multiple purchasing and investment decisions each and every day of the year. Every action you take from here on counts. Pro-organic consumer groups will also launch programs placing emphasis on boycotting "Traitor Brands," meaning natural and organic brands that are actually owned by members of the pro-GMO GMA. As noted by Cummins:

"Health-conscious and green-minded consumers often inadvertently support the GMA when they buy brands like Honest Tea, Kashi, Odwalla and others whose parent companies, all members of the GMA, have donated millions to defeat GMO labeling initiatives in California (Prop 37) and Washington State (I-522)."

As a sign of solidarity, please sign the Boycott Pledge now.

Donate Today!

Traitor Brands

While I cannot list all of them here, some of the 50 "natural" and/or organic Traitor Brands targeted by this boycott include those listed below. The reason for not focusing the boycott on the conventional parent companies is because pro-organic health-conscious consumers rarely buy Coca-Cola, Diet Pepsi, or sugary breakfast cereals to begin with. The only way to really put pressure on these parent companies is by avoiding the brands they market to organic consumers; the brands you actually typically buy.

"Let's be clear. Junk Food and beverage companies who are members of the GMA are gobbling up organic and 'natural' brands because they recognize the huge profit potential in the fast-growing organic and natural markets. They want our business. If we stop buying their brands, they know there's a good chance we'll find alternative brands. And we might never look back," Cummins writes.

Natural/Organic Traitor BrandOwned By/Parent Company
IZZE PepsiCo
Naked Juice PepsiCo
Simply Frito-Lay PepsiCo
Starbucks Frappuccino PepsiCo
Honest Tea Coca-Cola
Odwalla Coca-Cola
Gerber Organic Nestle
Sweet Leaf tea Nestle
Boca Burgers Kraft/Mondelez
Green and Black's Kraft/Mondelez
Cascadian Farm General Mills
Larabar General Mills
Muir Glen General Mills
Alexia ConAgra
Pam organic cooking sprays ConAgra
Bear Naked Kelloggs
Gardenburger Kelloggs
Kashi Kelloggs
Morningstar Farms Kelloggs
Plum Organics Campbells
Wolfgang Puck organic soups Campbells
RW Knudsen Smuckers
Santa Cruz Organic Smuckers
Smuckers Organic Smuckers
Dagoba Hersheys
Earthgrain bread Bimbo Bakeries
Simply Asia McCormick
Thai Kitchen McCormick

Nine Additional Ways to Take Your Power Back

In addition to not buying Traitor Brand foods or beverages (even if they're certified organic), here are nine ways you can take power back from the corporate bullies that make up the Grocery Manufacturers Association:

  1. Stop buying all non-organic processed foods. Instead, build your diet around whole, unprocessed foods, especially raw fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from coconut oil, avocadoes, organic pastured meat, dairy, and eggs, and raw nuts
  2. Buy most of your foods from your local farmer's market and/or organic farm
  3. Cook most or all your meals at home using whole, organic ingredients
  4. Frequent restaurants that serve organic, cooked-from-scratch, local food. Many restaurants, especially chain restaurants (Chipotlé is a rare exception), use processed foods made by GMA members for their meals
  5. Buy only heirloom, open-pollinated, and/or organic seeds for your garden. This includes both decorative plants and edibles
  6. Boycott all lawn and garden chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) unless they are "OMRI Approved," which means they are allowed in organic production. If you use a lawn service, make sure they're using OMRI Approved products as well
  7. Become an avid label reader. If a GMA member company owns the product, no matter what it is, don't buy it
  8. Download the Buycott app for your smartphone, which allows you to scan products to find out if they're part of the boycott before you buy them
  9. Join the Organic Consumers Association's new campaign, "Buy Organic Brands That Support Your Right to Know"

The insanity has gone far enough. It's time to unite and fight back, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. To learn more about this boycott, and the traitor brands that are included, please visit TheBoycottList.org. I also encourage you to donate to the Organic Consumers Fund. Your donation will help fight the GMA lawsuit in Vermont, and also help win the GMO labeling ballot initiative in Oregon in November.

Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference. By boycotting GMA member Traitor Brands, you can help level the playing field, and help take back control of our food supply. And as always, continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and share what you've learned with family and friends.

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