In Other Science News:
Most Recent Science Links
Nothing is wrong with your sex drive
LAST week, Sprout Pharmaceuticals resubmitted its drug flibanserin to the Food and Drug Administration for approval. Flibanserin, in case you haven’t heard, is a drug intended to treat low sexual desire in women. Read More.
Worried when science plays God?
It was always going to be a controversial technique. Sure, conceiving babies this way could alleviate suffering, but as a Tory peer warned in the Lords debate, “without safeguards and serious study of safeguards, the new technique could imperil the dignity of the human race, threaten the welfare of children, and destroy the sanctity of family life.” Read More.
Skin Test for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's shows early promise
A small, early study hints that a skin test may someday be able to help diagnose people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Researchers found that skin biopsies can reveal elevated levels of abnormal proteins associated with the two disorders. Read More.
Why your body jerks before falling asleep
As we give up our bodies to sleep, sudden twitches escape our brains, causing our arms and legs to jerk. Some people are startled by them, others are embarrassed. Me, I am fascinated by these twitches, known as hypnic jerks. Read More.
Chemists find a way to unboil egg whites: Ability to quickly restore molecular proteins could slash biotechnology costs
Chemists have figured out how to unboil egg whites -- an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry, according to new findings. Read More.
Can This Treatment Help Me? There’s a Statistic for That
When 2,000 People Take a Daily Aspirin for Two Years: 1 Heart Attack is Prevented
People at risk for a first heart attack are often recommended to take aspirin daily to prevent it. Only a very few will actually see this benefit and there's no way to know in advance who. Read More.
Measles May Be in U.S. to Stay, 15 Years After It Left
Measles could once again become native in the U.S., disease experts worry, as an outbreak in California linked to Disneyland has put a spotlight on a growing failure to vaccinate that’s helping the disease to spread. Read More.
Beyond prevention: Sulforaphane may find possible use for cancer therapy
New research has identified one of the key cancer-fighting mechanisms for sulforaphane, and suggests that this much-studied phytochemical may be able to move beyond cancer prevention and toward therapeutic use for advanced prostate cancer. Read More.
Little or no benefit from nutrient additions to vitamin waters and energy drinks
A new study by researchers working at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University investigated the nutritional benefits of novel beverages (vitamin waters, energy drinks, and novel juices) sold in Canadian supermarkets by assessing their micronutrient compositions. The findings were published today in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. Read More.
Is coconut oil a “miracle” food?
Every month there seems to be a new “superfood” that is promoted heavily on the Internet and TV talk shows and endorsed by semi-celebrities. But rarely has a food gone through as dramatic a transformation from dietary villain to superhero as coconut oil and, indeed, all things coconut. Read More.
Why does food taste different on planes?
When your taste buds are way above the clouds, your normal sense of taste goes right out of the aeroplane’s window. Katia Moskvitch investigates why this happens, and how airlines are trying to find ways to get our appetites back on track. Read More.
Alcohol and Health: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
We’ve been getting a lot of mixed messages about alcohol.
On one hand, moderate amounts have been linked to health benefits. On the other hand, it is addictive and highly toxic when we drink too much of it. Read More.
FDA Approves Blood Test That Gauges Heart Attack Risk
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a new blood test that can help determine a person's future odds for heart attack and other heart troubles. Read More.
Do We Need Another Leafy Green “Superfood”? We Have One!
Sometimes, because I am a person who writes about food on the Internet, public relations representatives offer to send me samples of new products to taste and (they hope) review. Read More.
Product Review: Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements and Spices
Supplements containing turmeric and its key compound, curcumin, may be helpful in treating inflammatory diseases and other conditions such as diabetes. However, recent tests by ConsumerLab.com found significant problems with two out of nine turmeric and curcumin products selected for testing. Read More.
Are dangerous plastics in Cayuga Lake and Erie Canal?
Christian Shaw and Gordon Middleton have been sampling Cayuga Lake and the Erie Canal for tiny pieces of plastic that have been widely found in waters all over the globe. Read More.
Other Interesting Science Links
Sex with funny, rich men linked with more orgasms
“Women have stronger orgasms if their partner is funny – and rich”, says the Mail Online.
This headline is wrong. And the research it’s based on, while fascinating, is rather inconclusive.
Are pollution and attention problems related?
“Could ADHD be triggered by mothers being exposed to air pollution while pregnant?,” asks the Mail Online.
Pregnant women have enough to worry about, without going round in a gas mask or moving to the country. Fortunately, the study that this news relates to doesn’t find a connection between exposure to pollution while pregnant and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Read More.
Researchers suspect diet may play role in possible reduced risk
People who are lactose-intolerant may be less likely to develop certain types of cancer, a new study suggests.
And, the researchers suspect the reduced risk may be related to diet. Read More.
Fist bumps spread fewer germs than handshakes, study says
Ditching handshakes in favour of more informal fist bumps could help cut down on the spread of bacteria and illnesses, according to a study released on Monday. Read More.
Salmon has at times been touted as a cancer preventive. Many nutritionists praise the health benefits of blueberries, kale and cinnamon bark. How does a food get elevated from the grocery aisle to superfood status? One expert, Phil Hagen, a preventive-medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Program in Rochester, Minn., explains why there is more to food than a name. Read More.
Dr. Frank Arguello’s “atavistic oncology”: Another dubious cancer therapy to be avoided
Not infrequently, I’m asked why it is that I do what I do. Why do I spend so many hours of my free time, both here and at my not-so-super-secret other blog (NSSSOB), to write my detailed analyses of various forms of quackery, analyses of scientific studies, and expressions of my dismay at the infiltration of pseudoscience into medicine, particularly medical academia in a phenomenon I like to call “quackademic medicine”? Read More.
Video: Astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi on Fast Radio Bursts
Astrophysicist and McGill professor Victoria Kaspi Speaks on the discovery of Fast Radio Bust at her McGill office on on Monday July 14, 2014. Her team as replicated the findings of an Australian research team on these new beams of radio waves from the outskirts of the universe. Read More.
Could a Simple Smell Test Help Spot Alzheimer's Early?
New research suggests that a faltering sense of smell might signal the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and that an inexpensive, low-tech smell test could spot who needs more extensive screening for dementia. Read More.
Ayurvedic medicine: History, basics, treatments and caveats
If you're of a certain age in the U.S., Deepak Chopra may have been your introduction to Ayurvedic medicine. The author of "Perfect Health" and Ayurvedic practitioner to the stars was ubiquitous on talk shows and newsstands in the 1990s. Read More.
That Loving Feeling
After more than a decade of work on a drug to increase female libido, German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim threw in the towel. Since 1999 it had poured buckets of time and money into flibanserin, a once-daily pill that company executives hoped would become the first approved drug for treating female sexual dysfunction (FSD), a condition broadly defined to include low sexual desire, trouble reaching orgasm or pain during sex. Read More.
Microparticles could reduce heart attack damage
Biodegradable microparticles could dramatically reduce the inflammatory damage that occurs during a heart attack, potentially making the difference between life and death. Read More.
New Study: Autism Linked to Environment
California's sevenfold increase in autism cannot be explained by changes in doctors' diagnoses and most likely is due to environmental exposures, University of California scientists reported Thursday. Read More.
Health risks of e-cigarettes emerge
Electronic cigarettes, marketed as safer than regular cigarettes, deliver a cocktail of toxic chemicals including carcinogens into the lungs, new studies show. Using e-cigarettes may even make bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics, according to one study. Read More.
1 in 5 restaurant employees work with norovirus symptoms
Norovirus, the USA's leading cause of foodborne illness, has become known as the "cruise ship virus" for causing mass outbreaks of food poisoning – and misery – on the high seas. Yet only about 1% of all reported norovirus outbreaks occur on cruise ships. Read More.
New sweetener Advantame approved for use in EU
A new aspartame-derived sweetener has been approved for use in Europe by the European Commission (EC) and touted as a means for manufacturers to cut sugar content. Read More.
Scientists identify 'high-priority' chemicals that may cause breast cancer
An estimated 12.4% of women born in the US today will develop breast cancer at some point during their lives. Past research has indicated that exposure to some chemicals may increase the risk of breast cancer. Now, a new study has identified 17 "high-priority" chemicals women should avoid in order to reduce such risk and demonstrates how their presence can be detected. Read More.
Toothpaste, sunscreen chemicals 'interfere with sperm function'
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interrupt the processes of natural hormones and have been previously implicated in affecting human reproduction. Now, these chemicals - which can be found in household and personal care products - have been shown to affect sperm function, potentially impacting fertilization. Read More.
'Free Radical Theory Of Aging Incorrect': Scientists Say There Is A Link Between Cell Suicide And Longevity
What is the secret to anti-aging? It’s a question that people all over the world for thousands of years have been trying to figure out. To some, the culprit is free radicals, which are sometimes toxic molecules that our bodies produce. Not only can they incite aging, but they can also lead to heart attacks, stroke, and cancers — or so it was previously believed. Read More.
Antioxidant Found in Coffee Can Protect Eyesight
Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and many people cannot start their day without their first cup. However, there are more benefits to drinking coffee besides just the taste and the ritual. In a new study, coffee is found to have an antioxidant that will actually protect the degeneration of eyesight. Read More.
School Bans on Chocolate Milk May Backfire
Banning chocolate milk from schools may sound like a good move for kids' health, but efforts to do so haven't turned out that way, a small study found. Bans on chocolate milk in 11 Oregon elementary schools were linked to a big drop in the amount of healthy, fat-free white milk students drank, a team of Cornell University researchers reports. Read More.
Cervical Cancer Vaccine Program in England a Success, Researchers Report
A sharp drop in the number of young women infected with the two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) most likely to cause cervical cancer occurred in England after the 2008 launch of a national vaccination program there, a new study shows. Read More.
Gluten-free skin and beauty products: Extracting cash from the gullible
Even though yesterday was Easter, and, as unreligious as I am, I was still thinking of taking it easy, there was one target that popped up that I just couldn’t resist. My wife and I were sitting around yesterday reading the Sunday papers and perusing the Internet (as is frequently our wont on Sunday mornings), when I heard a contemptuous harrumph coming from her direction. She then pointed me to an article in our local newspaper entitled Gluten-free beauty products in demand among some customers. Read More.
We Worry About Trace Amounts Of BPA While Playing Russian Roulette With Dietary Supplements
Exactly forty years ago, in a seminal paper, the behavioral economists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky described cognitive errors and pitfalls that affect our ability to gauge the probability of even simple events. These pitfalls affect thinking in many areas, but they are perhaps nowhere more prominent than in thinking about things that may affect our health. Read More.
Earl Grey tea could combat heart disease
Scientists have revealed that Earl Grey tea has the ability to lower cholesterol and reduce the chances of heart disease. The drink contains extracts of a fruit called bergamot which scientists believe is a superfood for the heart. Research suggests that bergamot could even be as effective as statins, the controversial cholesterol-controlling drugs which can have side effects. Read More.
'Couch potato' lifestyle linked to bigger bums
"It's official: Sitting around really does give you a fat behind," the Mail Online reports. While this may seem logical, it should be pointed out that the study behind the headlines involved mice, not humans. Read More.
Organic food does not reduce women's risk of cancer
Women who mostly or always eat organic foods have the same overall chance of developing cancer as women who never eat it, according to a new study from the UK's University of Oxford and published in the British Journal of Cancer that followed over 600,000 middle-aged women for nearly a decade. Read More.
Study further illuminates heart-healthy benefits of Mediterranean diet
New research further illuminates the heart-healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet, tying the eating plan to lower levels of platelets and white blood cells, two markers of inflammation. Inflammation has an association with greater risk of heart attack and stroke. Study, results are published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Read More.
Scientists Probe Dark Chocolate's Health Secrets
It's said that dark chocolate can be good for your heart, and new research may have uncovered why. Louisiana State University researchers tested cocoa powders in a model of the digestive tract and found that certain bacteria in the stomach eat dark chocolate, ferment it and then release anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit the heart. Read More.
Could spinal fluid test give early Alzheimer’s warning?
“A new Alzheimer’s detection test, which can diagnose the presence of the disease decades before symptoms appear, could be available to patients in just three years,” reports the Daily Express. Read More.
Saturated fats and heart disease link 'unproven'
“No link found between saturated fat and heart disease,” The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers have looked at large amounts of data and say they have found no significant link between saturated fat and heart disease. Read More.
Medical cannabis provides dramatic relief for sufferers of chronic ailments, Israeli study finds
Though controversial, medical cannabis has been gaining ground as a valid therapy, offering relief to suffers of diseases such as cancer, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ALS and more. The substance is known to soothe severe pain, increase the appetite, and ease insomnia where other common medications fail. Read More.
Beautiful Relationships: Local Biz Sees the Upside of Dung
Dickson is the founder and manager of Cowpower, a renewable energy supplier that sells energy produced by local farmers to B.C. businesses, homes and events -- an operation made possible largely through the use of a single magic ingredient: manure. Read More.
Plastic waste ingested by worms threatens marine food chainsSmall fragments of plastic waste are damaging the health of lugworms, putting a key cog in marine ecosystems at risk. Published in Current Biology, a new study by scientists at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth shows the impact of microplastics on the marine worms' health and behavior. Read More.
The Chemicals That Stick Around in the Body
Most Americans do carry traces of dozens—possibly hundreds—of potentially toxic chemicals in their bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tests blood and urine samples in thousands of citizens as part of its continuing public-health surveys. Read More.
Woman Believed To Be Last Of Waterbury's Radium Girls Dies
Mae Keane did not care much for the job she had during the summer of 1924, painting radioactive radium onto watch dials to make them glow in the dark. The pay was 8 cents a dial and Keane, then 18, was not as fast as her supervisor wanted her to be. Read More.
Air pollution increases risk for hypertension in pregnant women
Breathing the air outside their homes may be just as toxic to pregnant women —if not more so — as breathing in cigarette smoke, increasing a mom-to-be’s risk of developing deadly complications such as preeclampsia, according to findings from a new University of Florida study. Read More.
Researchers find breast cancer drug in bodybuilding supplement
In a letter to The BMJ this week, they explain that, for more than 30 years, bodybuilders have taken tamoxifen to prevent and treat gynaecomastia (breast swelling) caused by use of anabolic steroids. Usually, tamoxifen is sourced from the illicit market, they say. However, bodybuilding discussion forums have speculated that a dietary supplement called Esto Suppress contains tamoxifen because the label listed one of its chemical names. Read More.
Vitamin C not proven to 'boost' chemo
"Vitamin C keeps cancer at bay, US research suggests," was the inaccurate headline on the BBC News website. The study it reports on did not find that high-dose vitamin C helped with cancer survival, although it did appear to show it reduced some chemotherapy-related side effects. Read More.
I Visited a Chickasaw Healer and All I Got Was an Elk Sinew and Buffalo Horn Bracelet
They are similar in that alchemy, astrology, bloodletting and (as we will see) Chickasaw healing are not based on reality. Bloodletting, as best I can determine, is not offered in the US, at least based on the notion of an imbalance of the 4 humors. Read More.
Another Win for the Mediterranean-Style Diet
Yet another study finds that eating a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, nuts, vegetables and fruits is good for your heart, your weight and your overall health. Read More.
Antioxidants including vitamin E can promote lung cancer: study
A decades-old medical mystery - why antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta carotene seemed to accelerate the growth of early lung tumors in high-risk populations such as smokers, rather than protect them from cancer, as theory suggests - may have been solved, according to research published on Wednesday. Read More.
Sugar intake linked to heart disease deaths
“Three fizzy drinks per day could triple chance of heart disease,” says The Daily Telegraph. Its headline is based on a major US study showing a link between high levels of sugar consumption and a higher relative risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Read More.
Do Diet Drinks Make You Eat More?
Overweight adults often turn to diet beverages to help them slim down, but this tactic might backfire, new research suggests. Compared to people who drink sweetened beverages, heavy people with a diet-soda habit actually consume more daily calories from food, the study finds. Read More.
Emory University Research Links Functional Thyroid Disease, PFOA Exposure
Excessive perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) exposure appears to be associated with thyroid disease, according to new research. A study by Kyle Steenland, environmental health professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, tracking the disease within a large high-exposure group concludes that the chemical “was associated with incident functional thyroid disease.” Read More.
Vitamin E for Alzheimer's
Recently you may have seen headlines like “Vitamin E slows decline in patients with mild Alzheimer’s” or “There’s still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but the latest hope for slowing its progression is already on drugstore shelves.” .Read More
Striking a Nerve: Bad Odor to This Fish Oil Study
A new analysis of fish oil and brain health "adds to the growing literature" connecting the two, its authors write -- but possibly less than any of the previous studies. Read More.
Ban on Chemicals Lowers Human Exposures, Study Finds
The banning of certain types of a common class of chemicals known as phthalates has reduced Americans' exposure to the chemicals' potential harms, a new study suggests. Read More.
Your Daily Coffee Just Might Jolt Your Memory
Swarms of morning commuters clutch cups of coffee to kick-start the workday. But a new study suggests caffeine might do more for the brain than boost alertness -- it may help memory too. Read More.
New compounds discovered that are hundreds of times more mutagenic
Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered novel compounds produced by certain types of chemical reactions - such as those found in vehicle exhaust or grilling meat - that are hundreds of times more mutagenic than their parent compounds which are known carcinogens. Read More.
Is sugar causing the obesity 'epidemic'?
Sugar hit the headlines last week when the Daily Mail and The Independent led with the quote “Sugar is the new tobacco”. Many news outlets focused on a reported link between high sugar consumption and the rise in obesity and diabetes. Read More.
Pesticide residue found on nearly half of organic produce
Nearly half the organic fresh fruits and vegetables tested across Canada in the past two years contained pesticide residue, according to a CBC News analysis of data supplied by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Read More.
Mediterranean diet linked to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children in the US have diabetes. The condition is much more common in individuals over the age of 50, but new research suggests that older people may reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by following a Mediterranean diet. Read More.
The impact of artificial sweeteners: the debate continues
New research from the University of Adelaide has added to the debate about how our bodies respond to artificial sweeteners and whether they are good, bad or have no effect on us.Read More.
Migraine Headaches and the Remarkable Power of Placebos
It’s one of our most powerful medical treatments, and certainly our most widely-effective. In recent years, it’s been found to help treat or reduce the symptoms of clinical depression, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, coughing, ADHD, restless leg syndrome and erectile dysfunction, among other conditions. Read More
Most clinical studies on vitamins flawed by poor methodology
Most large, clinical trials of vitamin supplements, including some that have concluded they are of no value or even harmful, have a flawed methodology that renders them largely useless in determining the real value of these micronutrients, a new analysis suggests. Read More.
The Detox Scam: How to spot it, and how to avoid it
New Year, New You, right? 2014 is the year you’re finally going to get serious about your health. You’re winding down from a week (or more) of celebrations and parties. You’re pretty much recovered from New Year’s Eve by now. It’s time to make some resolutions. Read More.
Intermittent fasting, or IF, gains ground as a dieting tool
It's a real heavyweight on the diet scene these days: intermittent fasting, a.k.a. IF (having ascended to heights where mere initials are enough). True, a fasting diet may not sound as appealing as, say, a cookie diet or a chocolate diet or a beer diet, but IF has been getting some jaw-droppingly good word of mouth from proponents who boast that it won't just make you thinner, it will make you healthier too. Read More.
Government might deregulate corn, soybean seeds
The federal government on Friday proposed eliminating restrictions on the use of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to resist a common weed killer, a move welcomed by many farmers but feared by scientists and environmentalists who worry it could invite growers to use more chemicals. Read More.
Milk studies compound debate over what type to drink
Raw, pasteurized, organic, whole, skim. Choosing what sort of milk to drink grows ever more complicated, with several recent studies to add to the debate. The American Academy of Pediatrics advised that pregnant women and children not drink raw milk because of the danger of bacterial illnesses, including salmonella, E. coli and listeriosis — food-borne diseases that can be fatal. Read More.
A tomato-rich diet may reduce breast cancer risk, study shows
It has long been known that postmenopausal women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. But now, new research suggests that adopting a diet rich in tomatoes may reduce this risk. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Read More.
What are the health benefits of chocolate?
Next time you eat a piece of chocolate, you should not have to feel overly guilty about it. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, there are a number of health benefits associated with this delicious treat. Read More.
Acupuncture No Better Than 'Sham' Version in Breast-Cancer Drug Study
When it comes to easing the side effects of certain breast cancer drugs, acupuncture may work no better than a "sham" version of the technique, a small trial suggests. Breast cancer drugs known as aromatase inhibitors often cause side effects such as muscle and joint pain, as well as hot flashes and other menopause-like symptoms. Read More.
Flu Vaccine Prevented 6.6 Million Illnesses Last Season: CDC
U.S. health officials would like every American aged 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine, and on Thursday they produced statistics they think should convince everyone to get vaccinated. "In the 2012-2013 flu season, vaccinations prevented at least 6.6 million cases of flu-associated illness. Read More.
Cancer deaths rise to 8.2 million, breast cancer sharply up
The global death toll from cancer rose to 8.2 million in 2012 with sharp rises in breast cancer as the disease tightened its grip in developing nations struggling to treat an illness driven by Western lifestyles. Read More.
Skip the Supplements
PARENTS whose children are admitted to our hospital occasionally bring along something extra to help with their care: dietary supplements, like St. John’s wort to ameliorate mild depression or probiotics for better health. Here’s the problem: The Joint Commission, which is responsible for hospital accreditation in the United States, requires that dietary supplements be treated like drugs. It makes sense: Vitamins, amino acids, herbs, minerals and other botanicals have pharmacological effects. So they are drugs. Read More.
Gut Bacteria Shift Quickly After Changes in Diet, Study Shows
If you were to switch from vegetarianism to meat-eating, or vice-versa, chances are the composition of your gut bacteria would also undergo a big change, a new study suggests. The research, published Dec. 11 in the journal Nature, showed that the number and kinds of bacteria -- and even the way the bacteria behaved -- changed within a day of switching from a normal diet to eating either animal- or plant-based foods exclusively. Read More.
Beyond the flu shot: A closer look at the "alternatives"
Once again, it’s influenza season. The vaccine clinics are open, and the hysterical posts about the vaccine’s danger are appearing in social media. There’s familiarity to all of this, but also a big new change – at least in Canada, where I am. Read More.
Look to mosquito smell neurons to find new repellents
Imagine a mosquito repellent that smells like caramel. Or fruit. It may be possible! And even more importantly, it might work. Read More.
Doubts Cast Over Benefits of Vitamin D Supplements
Lack of vitamin D has been linked to an array of medical conditions. But is this the consequence of ill-health or the cause? Read more
Girls who eat peanut butter may improve breast health later in life
Here’s some news worth spreading: Girls who eat more peanut butter could improve their breast health later in life. That’s according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard Medical School. The research shows that girls ages 9 to 15 who regularly ate peanut butter or nuts were 39 percent less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30. Read More.
Compression stockings viable as treatment for leg ulcers
New research from the UK has shown that compression stockings are just as effective at treating venous leg ulcers as four-layer traditional bandages, promising cost savings for the National Health Service. The research, published in The Lancet, shows that sufferers treated using compression stockings also reported less recurrence and needed fewer nurse visits, making their use more economically viable. Read More.
Omega-3s cross blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer's patients
The blood-brain barrier protects the brain from harmful chemicals in the blood, but it also blocks drugs from reaching it. However, researchers have suggested that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can cross this barrier in Alzheimer's patients, influencing markers for the disease and inflammation. Read More
Supplements 'beneficial' for vitamin D-deficient ballet dancers
It is widely known that a lack of sunlight can sometimes cause a deficiency in vitamin D. But how does a lack of this vitamin affect athletes who train indoors, especially during the winter months? To find out, researchers in the UK studied vitamin D-deficient ballet dancers and observed whether supplementation helped. Read More.
Scientists create 'tearless' onions that may help in the fight against cardiovascular disease, weight gain
Onions, a key ingredient in recipes around the globe, come in a tearless version that scientists are now reporting could pack health benefits like its close relative, garlic, which is renowned for protecting against heart disease. They published their laboratory analysis, which suggests a similar heart-friendly role for the tearless onions, as well as a possible role in managing weight gain, in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Read More.
Nuts and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Improve Cognition and Lower Risk of Stroke
Study seems to suggest Mediterranean diet with either extra virgin olive oil or nuts protects against cognitive decline.
The PREDIMED study was a randomized, parallel-group, cardiovascular primary prevention trial conducted in Spain that ran from May 2005 to December 2010. It compared 2 groups following a Mediterranean diet (supplemented with either extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts) versus a low-fat diet. Read More.
FDA to Ban Trans Fats in Foods
U.S. health officials announced Thursday a plan to phase out heart-harmful trans fats in processed foods and restaurant fare. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said the proposed restrictions on the use of trans fats could prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths. Read More.
New concerns about the safety and quality of herbal supplements
If there is one aspect of “alternative” medicine that both critics and fans should agree on, it’s that products should be manufactured to high standards. What’s on the label should accurately describe what’s in the bottle. Product quality standards are essential, whether you’re using herbs or drugs. And when it comes to ensuring the products we buy are of high quality, we’re all effectively reliant on regulation to protect us. As a pharmacist, I can’t personally verify that each tablet in your prescription contains the active ingredient on the label. Read More.
Chemical 'clock' tracks ageing more precisely than ever before
Greying hair and wrinkles are external signs of ageing, but they are not very precise. Now research shows that a code written into the body's epigenome — the chemical tags that modify DNA — can accurately tell the age of human tissues and cells. Read More.
The Effects of Soy Consumption on Breast Cancer Prognosis
Isoflavones from soy have both estrogenic and antiestrogenic action, and in vitro and animal studies have shown possible interference with hormone blockade agents used in breast cancer aftercare. Epidemiological data, however, suggests that soy consumption is not associated with increased risk in any population of women with a history of breast cancer. Read More.
Poultry markets in China 'are vast bird flu reservoir'
Closing live poultry markets in China dramatically curtailed the spread of a novel strain of bird flu this year, according to an analysis. The report, published in the Lancet, showed shutting the markets cut the number of new cases of H7N9 bird flu by 97%. Read More.
Kids face ‘cooking pot for asthma’ in California’s Central Valley
The students filing into Bret Harte Elementary School every morning barely notice the flags fluttering by the school’s main entrance. There is the American flag, the California state flag and the color-coded asthma flag – green when the air is clear, red when it is a respiratory nightmare, as it so often is here. Read More.
President Taft's obesity fought with low-carb diet and correspondence
As the only person to have served as both President and Chief Justice of the US, William Howard Taft's political contributions are well-documented. And now, correspondence with his physician provides a rare view into how obesity was tackled in the early 20th century. In an article published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, Deborah Levine, PhD, from Providence College, RI, analyzes how President Taft and English diet expert Dr. Nathaniel Yorke-Davies worked together long-distance to keep Taft's weight in check. Read More.
Aircraft noise linked with stroke and heart problems
“Living near an airport may increase your chances of dying from stroke, heart and circulatory disease,” The Daily Mail reports. Researchers have compared data on daytime and night-time aircraft noise with hospital admissions and death rates among 3.6 million people living near London's Heathrow airport. Read More
What are the health benefits of apples?
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"is an old Welsh proverb that most of us are familiar with, but what makes this fruit so special? What health benefits are associated with eating apples? As one of the most cultivated and consumed fruits in the world, apples are continuously being praised as a "miracle food". Read More.
Chiropractic Education for Primary Care
Chiropractors would like to reinvent themselves as family doctors. I’ve written about that before and Jann Bellamy has written about it here, here, here, and here. A new study inThe Journal of Chiropractic Education alleges that the National University of Health Sciences is nearing its institutional goal of training chiropractic students as primary care practitioners. Read More.
Acupuncture as good as counseling for depression: study
People with depression may benefit as much from acupuncture as they do from counseling, suggests a new study. Researchers found one in three patients was no longer depressed after three months of acupuncture or counseling, compared to one in five who received neither treatment. "For people who have depression, who have tried various medical options, who are still not getting the benefit they want, they should try acupuncture or counseling as options that are now known to be clinically effective," said Hugh MacPherson, the study's lead author from the University of York in the UK. Read More.
Breast health linked to eating peanut butter and nuts
Dr. Graham Colditz, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues found that girls aged 9 to 15 who ate peanut butter and nuts twice a week were 39% less likely to develop benign breast disease by the age of 30 than girls who did not. Benign breast disease includes lumps or tender spots that turn out to be fibrous tissue and/or cysts, as well as other conditions like hyperplasia, an overgrowth of the cells that line the ducts in the glandular breast tissue. Read More.
What are the health benefits of olive oil?
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are considered a healthy dietary fat, as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats. Olive oil is a fat obtained from the fruit of theOlea europaea (olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean region, where whole olives are pressed to produce olive oil. Read More.
Top Ten Cosmetic Urban Legends
Most people have no way of knowing whether something is true or not. This is especially true when it comes to cosmetics and the chemicals that are used in them. Fortunately, there are websites like Snopes and The Beauty Brains to bust the myths behind cosmetics. But I thought it would be amusing to list some of the top 10 myths about beauty products that I could find. Read More.
Shame on you, Sylvia Browne, for telling Amanda Berry’s mother her daughter was dead.
The story of Amanda Berry’s rescue in Cleveland – after ten years in captivity - is extraordinary. In 2004, popular psychic Sylvia Brown told Amanda’s mother that her little girl was dead. Here is a contemporaneous account of that show. Read More.
Mosquito repellents from skin secretions
Those plagued by mosquitoes may one day be able to ditch the DEET in favour of substances naturally produced by skin, according to researchers in the US. Ulrich Bernier, and colleagues, at the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, have identified compounds that scramble the senses of mosquitoes so they can’t detect people nearby. They say safer, more effective repellents based on these substances could help reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria. Read More.
Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque
Increasingly the potential harm from high cholesterol intake, and specifically from egg yolks, is considered insignificant. We therefore assessed total plaque area (TPA) in patients attending Canadian vascular prevention clinics to determine if the atherosclerosis burden, as a marker of arterial damage, was related to egg intake. To provide perspective on the magnitude of the effect, we also analysed the effect of smoking (pack-years). Read More.
Stop Trashing Eggs: Large Study Finds No Harm
No food has had more ups and downs over the last century or so than the common egg. Following a long period in which eggs were ubiquitous and highly regarded, eggs fell from favor with the rise of concerns over cholesterol. Currently the American Heart Association recommends that people restrict dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day, which effectively limits people to 1 egg per day at most. However, the relationship of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol is, at best, tenuous, and a significant number of experts now believe that egg consumption poses no risk to cardiovascular health. Read More.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Don't Be Misled
No, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has not been clinically proven to cure or be effective in the treatment of cancer, autism, or diabetes. But do a quick search on the Internet, and you'll see all kinds of claims for these and other diseases for which the device has not been cleared or approved by FDA. Read More.
New treatments better than standard ones just over half the time
USF Distinguished Professor Benjamin Djulbegovic, MD, PhD, has studied the ethics of randomized clinical trials and their effectiveness in evaluating the outcomes of new treatments for decades. Now, in a paper published Aug. 22 in the top journal Nature, Dr. Djulbegovic and colleagues report that on average new treatments work better than existing ones just over half the time. Read More.
Claims raspberries boost fertility 'misleading'
"Eating raspberries could increase your chances of becoming a father," the Mail Online website reports, with the Daily Express making similar claims. But these claims are not backed up by the evidence, as the stories seem to be based on the opinion of just one fertility nutritionist. Read More.
High coffee intake may help against prostate cancer
Consuming four or more cups of coffee a day could reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence and disease progression, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control.Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle analyzed 1,001 prostate cancer survivors from a population-based study, aged between 35 and 74 years of age. All survivors had been diagnosed with the disease between 2002 and 2005. Read More.
Healthy Eating Might Ward Off Pancreatic Cancer: Study
In a study of more than 500,000 Americans, those who ate a healthy diet reduced their risk for pancreatic cancer by 15 percent. The diet used in the study followed federal dietary guidelines from 2005 and recommended eating a variety of nutritional foods and limiting saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt and alcohol. Read More.
High BPA levels in children associated with higher risk of obesity and abnormal waist circumference
Children who have higher levels of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical previously used in many products for kids, like baby bottle and plastic toys, had a higher odds of obesity and adverse levels of body fat, according to a new study from University of Michigan researchers. Read More.
3-D images show flame retardants can mimic estrogens in NIH study
By determining the three-dimensional structure of proteins at the atomic level, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered how some commonly used flame retardants, called brominated flame retardants (BFRs), can mimic estrogen hormones and possibly disrupt the body's endocrine system. BFRs are chemicals added or applied to materials to slow or prevent the start or growth of fire. Read More.
Back to school anti-vaccination woo
We’re already seeing back-to-school shopping specials – even though it’s just the second day of August. And we’re already seeing some anti-vaccination campaigns getting in full gear as well, reflecting on regulations requiring parents to have kids’ vaccinations up to date prior to the start of school. Read More.
Scientists learn how soy foods protect against colon cancer
University of Illinois scientists have evidence that lifelong exposure to genistein, a bioactive component in soy foods, protects against colon cancer by repressing a signal that leads to accelerated growth of cells, polyps, and eventually malignant tumors. "In our study, we report a change in the expression of three genes that control an important signaling pathway," said Hong Chen, a U of I professor of food science and human nutrition. The cells in the lining of the human gut turn over and are completely replaced weekly, she noted. Read More.
Illinois scientists put cancer-fighting power back into frozen broccoli
There was bad news, then good news from University of Illinois broccoli researchers this month. In the first study, they learned that frozen broccoli lacks the ability to form sulforaphane, the cancer-fighting phytochemical in fresh broccoli. But a second study demonstrated how the food industry can act to restore the frozen vegetable’s health benefits. Read More.
New study: Magic Mushrooms Repair Brain Damage From Extreme Trauma
A new study by The University of South Florida has found that low doses of the active ingredient in magic mushrooms repairs brain damage caused by extreme trauma, offering renewed hope to millions of sufferers of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). The study confirms previous research by Imperial College London, that psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound present in "shrooms", stimulates new brain cell growth and erases frightening memories. Read More.
Homeopathy First Aid Kits
I don’t know how I missed them, but somehow homeopathic first aid kits had not registered on my radar. They’re readily available. Even Amazon.com sells them, for $54.99. They contain 18 vials of tiny sugar pills, all with potencies of 200C, guaranteed by Avogadro not to contain a single molecule of the active ingredient. (For those of you who may not know, Avogadro was the Italian scientist who discovered the Avogadro constant, the number of atoms needed such that the number of grams of a substance equals the atomic mass of the substance. Read More.
Channel Blockers for Blood Pressure Linked to Breast Cancer Risk, Study Finds
Postmenopausal women who use a type of blood pressure-lowering medication called a calcium channel blocker may have increased odds of developing breast cancer, new research suggests. Long-time users of these drugs have more than double the risk for getting breast cancer compared to women not using the medications, according to the study, published Aug. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read More.
How is coconut oil different from palm oil?
Coconut oil and palm oil are very closely related. Coconut oil comes from the coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera) while Palm oil comes from the oil palm tree (elaeis guineensis). Both types of trees belong to the general class known as “palm.” The oil expressed from the respective nuts of these trees (actually they’re considered to be fruits) are similar but with some important differences. Read More.
Toxicologists enter the fray on endocrine disruptors
A group of toxicologists has written to European commission chief scientific adviser Anne Glover urging her to rethink plans to regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The toxicologists are concerned that the commission, whose strategy on EDCs is due out later this year, have produced draft regulations without consulting the relevant scientific committees. Read More.
How far a person lives from a manufacturing plant that releases the chemical benzene into the environment may determine their risk of developing immune system cancer, a new study suggests. Read More.
Sleep patterns could be affected by the full moon
“Full Moon 'disturbs a good night's sleep'” reports BBC News. This story is based on an analysis of data the researchers decided to do “after a drink in a local bar one evening at full moon”. Read More.
Food to blame for more children choking
Researchers analyzed data on non-fatal food-related choking among US children aged 14 years or under between 2001 and 2009. The researchers are from the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and worked alongside colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read More.
Food is main source of BPA for consumers, thermal paper also potentially significant
EFSA's scientific experts have provisionally concluded that for all population groups diet is the major source of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and exposure is lower than previously estimated by EFSA. BPA is a chemical compound used in food contact materials such as packaging as well as in other consumer products. This is the Authority's first review of exposure to BPA since 2006 and the first to cover both dietary and non-dietary sources (including thermal paper and environmental sources such as air and dust). Read More.
Prenatal and childhood BPA exposure linked to anxiety, hyperactivity in boys
Boys exposed to higher BPA concentrations as a fetus or during early childhood were more likely to suffer from anxiety, aggression, depression and hyperactivity at age 7, according to a new study. No association was found for girls. The new research adds to a growing body of evidence linking BPA to behavioral problems in children. Read More.
Brazil's new generation of Thalidomide babies
A new scientific study seen exclusively by the BBC indicates that the drug Thalidomide is still causing birth defects in Brazil today. It's been given to people suffering from leprosy to ease some of their symptoms, and some women have taken it unaware of the risks they run when pregnant. Read More.
F.D.A. Closer to Decision About Menthol Cigarettes
Moving closer to a decision on whether to ban menthol in cigarettes, the Food and Drug Administration released a scientific review on Tuesday that found the mint flavoring made it easier to start smoking and harder to quit, and solicited public comment on “potential regulation” of menthol flavored cigarettes. Read More.
WHO had asked India to ban toxin that killed children
As early as 2009, the United Nations health agency urged India to consider a ban on the pesticide monocrotophos - the substance said by a magistrate investigating the deaths to be the cause of the poisoning.It had also warned that in India - against strong international health warnings - many pesticide containers are not thrown away after use but recycled and used for storing water, food and other consumables. Read More.
Can Natural Products Protect You From Mosquitoes With West Nile Virus?
Almost 40,000 people in the United States developed West Nile virus last year and 1,549 died because of it. Compare that to 1999, the first year the disease was seen in North America, when only 62 people were reported infected. Read More.
Researcher Finds Anti-Cancer Agent Is No Wonder Drug
A University of Guelph study has found that a prescription drug thought to have anti-cancer properties when used off-label may not only be less effective than claimed but may actually protect some kinds of cancers. Read More.
Recently researchers have begun working with a toxin found in a Moroccan cactuslike plant that may be able to deliver permanent, local pain relief with a single injection. Read More.
Nanomagnets Clean Blood
Nanoparticles that never have to enter the body can capture harmful components in blood, scientists in Switzerland have shown. Removing unwanted molecules from the blood is the most direct way to cure or prevent many illnesses. An example of this approach is dialysis where small molecules like urea are filtered out to treat patients with renal failure. Read More.
Indian cooks recall horror of kids' school lunch deaths
Soon after they served the daily free lunch they had prepared for dozens of children at a rural Indian school, the two cooks realized something was very wrong. The students started fainting. Within hours, they began dying. Read More.
Ask the (Science-Based) Pharmacist: What are the benefits of coffee enemas?
It might not occur to you, sipping your morning coffee, that you could derive tremendous health benefits by simply shooting that coffee directly into your rectum. Yet many people believe this. Suzy Cohen, who calls herself, “America’s Pharmacist™” and also “America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist®” is a proponent. Read More.
Epigenetics offers a glimmer of hope for anorexia treatment
Most people know that anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric illness associated with the maintenance of low weight and fear of weight gain. But we know very little about what causes this destructive disease, which is associated with the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness. Read more
Dad's Sperm Passes Obesity On
New research from the University of Adelaide shows that the sperm of obese fathers could increase the risk of both their children and their grandchildren to inherit obesity. In laboratory studies, researchers from the University's Robinson Institute have found that molecular signals in the sperm of obese fathers can lead to obesity and diabetes-like symptoms in two generations of offspring, even though the offspring are eating healthily. Read more
Ancient Crop to Protect Wheat
Using a crop popular in the Bronze Age but almost unknown today, University of Sydney scientists have helped pave the way to creating wheat resistant to the fungal disease stem rust. "Wheat crops worldwide are vulnerable to this fungal disease and it has ruined entire harvests in Africa and the Middle East. Read more
Choir Singers Synchronize Heartbeats
When members of a choir get together, they do more than harmonize their voices. Singing demands certain breathing patterns, and as breathing becomes coordinated, heart rates follow, according to research published Tuesday (July 9) in Frontiers in Psychology. It’s been known since the mid-1800s that respiration rate and variability in heart rate are linked. In general, pulse increases during inhalation and decreases during exhalation. Read more
Unexpected Cutlery Makes Food Taste Bad
Looking to lose weight? Don't buy low-fat products—just change your spoon. A new study reveals that the type of cutlery we use can have a dramatic impact on how food tastes. Researchers gave volunteers plain Greek yogurt and asked them to eat it with either a white plastic spoon, a darker colored plastic spoon, or a heavier plastic spoon that looked like the white one. Read more
Anti-Antiogenesis: Cutting Off Tumour Supply Lines
Cancer cells are commonly present in the body, but cannot grow into tumors without hooking up a blood supply. Angiogenesis inhibitors in plant foods may help prevent this from happening. Watch the video
Supercooled Water Transforms into New Form of Liquid
Researchers at the University of Arkansas have identified that water, when chilled to a very low temperature, transforms into a new form of liquid. Through a simulation performed in “supercooled” water, a research team led by chemist Feng “Seymour” Wang, confirmed a “liquid-liquid” phase transition at 207 Kelvins, or 87 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale. Read more
Brain Test to Diagnose ADHD is Approved
The Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that it had approved the first brain wave test to help diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.The test uses an electroencephalogram, or EEG, with sensors attached to a child’s head and hooked by wires to a computer to measure brain waves. Read more
Testes size correlates with men's involvement in toddler care
Men with smaller testes than others are more likely to be involved in hands-on care of their toddlers, finds a new study by anthropologists at Emory University. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published the results of the study on Sept. 9. Read More.
Omega-3s not tied to women's mental sharpness
Women who consume plenty of omega-3 fatty acids may not have better thinking and memory skills as a result, according to a new study. Some researchers have suggested that fatty acids found in fish and fish oil supplements might protect against memory loss. But studies trying to test that theory have been "all over the place," said Dr. Jennifer G. Robinson from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, senior author of the new report. Read More.