Archive for » September, 2008 «

Donnerstag, September 25th, 2008 | Author:

(NaturalNews) More than 23,000 Alzheimer’s disease patients are killed in the United Kingdom each year due to “off-label” use of anti-psychotic drugs, according to a report issued by Liberal Democrat Minister Paul Burstow.

“There are around 244,000 people with dementia living in care homes,” Burstow said, “and the Alzheimer’s Society estimates 100,000 are being given anti-psychotic drugs. Of those, I am saying that 23.5 percent could be dying prematurely as a result of being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs – or 23,500 people a year.”

Anti-psychotic drugs such as chlorpromazine, haloperidol, thioridazine, trifluoperazine and risperidone are designed to treat the delusions or hallucinations caused by schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and are not authorized for use on patients with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. But due to their sedative effects, they are commonly used on nursing home patients, especially those who have a tendency toward agitation or aggression. Dubbing the drugs a “chemical cosh,” patient advocates have accused care home staff of sedating patients with potentially dangerous drugs just to make life easier for themselves.

“The over-prescription of anti-psychotic drugs to people with dementia is a serious abuse of human rights,” said Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society. “Anti-psychotics should be used as a last resort.”

Burstow’s mortality numbers were derived from a study led by Clive Ballard from King’s College London. Ballard and colleagues found that Alzheimer’s patients who were treated with anti-psychotics had a significantly higher rate of death than those given a placebo. After 24 months of treatment, only 54.8 percent of the anti-psychotic group was still alive, compared with 78 percent of the placebo group. By 42 months, the survival rates had dropped to 28 percent in the anti-psychotic group and 60 percent in the placebo group.

Prior research by Ballard found that when dementia patients were taken off of anti-psychotics, they demonstrated less trouble thinking and communicating than those who were not taken off the medication. These findings have been backed up by other studies, which have also found that patients taken off of anti-psychotics do not become any more aggressive. Still other research has concluded that Alzheimer’s patients on anti-psychotics have three times the risk of stroke and twice the risk of death as patients not being given the drugs.

In spite of this research and the fact that anti-psychotics are not approved for dementia patients, the use of the drugs on people over the age of 60 – primarily dementia patients – has increased by nearly 40 percent in the last few years. Burstow accused the government of failing to act decisively to stem this practice.

The use of anti-psychotics for dementia falls into a gray area of the law. Although British health guidelines do not allow the use of anti-psychotics as a sedative, doctors are allowed to use the drugs if they decide they are necessary.

“Using drugs to restrain vulnerable older people with dementia is no different to strapping them to a chair,” he said. “It is an abuse of their human rights. Ministers are guilty of being complacent. There should a ban on prescribing anti-psychotic drugs in all but the most severe cases of dementia.”

“There are human alternatives,” Burstow added. “They demand more training and support, but they work.”

According to Hunt, proper training of nursing home staff can decrease the use of drugs by 50 percent.

Burstow also called for immediate police action to halt the practice of sedating elderly patients.

“Inappropriate or abusive prescribing is not just sedating older people, it is killing them. The law makes it clear: Treatment without consent is assault. It is time the police and the courts took abuse of elderly people seriously.”

Sources for this story include: www.telegraph.co.uk, www.medicalnewstoday.com and www.dailymail.co.uk.

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Donnerstag, September 25th, 2008 | Author:

(NaturalNews) High intake of the artificial sweetener aspartame may lead to the degeneration of brain cells and various mental disorders, according to a research review conducted by South African scientists from the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“We propose that excessive aspartame ingestion might be involved in the pathogenesis of certain mental disorders, and also in compromised learning and emotional functioning,” the researchers concluded.

The review of prior research found that aspartame, marketed as NutraSweet, Equal, Canderal and Tropicana Slim, leads to both direct and indirect changes in the brain when consumed in high quantities. Among these effects, the chemical can disrupt amino acid metabolism and structure, degrade nucleic acids, and interfere with the function of nerve cells and hormonal systems. It also appears to change the concentration of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

The researchers also noted that aspartame appears to cause excessive signaling of nerve cells, and nerve cell damage or even death. By disrupting the functioning of the cells’ mitochondria, or energy source, aspartame leads to a cascade of effects on the whole system.

“The energy systems for certain required enzyme reactions become compromised, thus indirectly leading to the inability of enzymes to function optimally,” the researchers wrote.

This directly contradicts a review published in 2007, which concluded that “aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption … no credible evidence was found that aspartame is carcinogenic, neurotoxic, or has any other adverse effect on health.”

Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener, particularly in food and beverage products marketed as low calorie or “diet.” It is used in more than 6,000 products around the world.

The chemical has been controversial since its introduction, with a number of studies linking it to cancer and neurological and behavioral disorders. People have reported experiencing headaches, insomnia and even seizures from aspartame consumption.

The FDA and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), however, continue to insist that the sweetener is safe.

Sources for this story include: foodqualitynews.com.

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Donnerstag, September 25th, 2008 | Author:

(NaturalNews) From previous studies, it had already been shown that living a healthy lifestyle contributes to lower risks of contracting various serious illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But little had been proven about the link between healthy living and one’s risk of getting a stroke.

This gap has been closed by the findings of a recent study conducted by the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“This study shows that following a healthy lifestyle, which has been associated with up to 80 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and 90 percent lower risk of diabetes, may also prevent more than half of ischemic strokes,” said Dr. Stephanie E. Chiuve, leader of the study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Stroke , a major killer today

Each year, it is estimated that over 780,000 people in the United States alone suffer a stroke — this works out to about one person every 40 seconds. Of this figure, about 600,000 are first-time occurrences.

An ischemic stroke takes place when the blood supply to a part of the brain is reduced, and the affected brain tissue suffers dysfunction and necrosis. This could happen, for example, when a blood vessel becomes blocked. Ischemic strokes are the most common kind of stroke, with about 87% of all strokes estimated to be of this nature.

When categorized separately from other cardiovascular diseases, strokes are the third highest killer in the United States today, behind cancer and heart disease.

Details of Stroke Study

This latest study, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, analyzed the living habits and health status of a total of 43,685 men as well as 71,243 women from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) and the Nurses’ Health Study respectively.

The participants reported on their medical status and lifestyle factors every two years, with the males tracked from 1986 to 2002 and the females from 1984 to 2002. In the course of the respective periods, 994 men and 1,559 women suffered strokes, of which 600 and 853 respectively were ischemic strokes.

In the study, a healthy or low-risk lifestyle was defined to contain the following elements:

* maintenance of a healthy weight (body mass index less than 25);

* at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day;

* not smoking;

* moderate drinking of alcohol; and

* consumption of a relatively healthy diet, as indicated by a calculated healthy diet score. Some factors here include the consumption of good amounts of fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, chicken and fish, as well as low amounts of trans fats and saturated fats.

Findings of the Study

The results of the study were quite astonishing. Men who met all five healthy lifestyle criteria were 69% less likely to suffer any type of stroke and 80% less likely to get an ischemic stroke as compared to those who did not meet any of the five criteria.

For women, the corresponding figures were 79% for any type of stroke and 81% for ischemic stroke.

Further, it was estimated by the researchers that 52% of ischemic strokes suffered by men, as well as 35% of all strokes suffered by this group, could have been avoided by following a healthy lifestyle.

As for the women, the proportions of ischemic and total strokes which might have been prevented through healthy living were estimated to be 54% and 47% respectively.

Conclusion

All in all, the findings of the study revealed that people who fit the definition of having a healthy lifestyle were about 80% less likely to get an ischemic stroke, as compared to those who did not meet any of the five mentioned criteria.

This has led the study team to conclude that “a low-risk lifestyle that is associated with a reduced risk of multiple chronic diseases also may be beneficial in the prevention of stroke, especially ischemic stroke”.

Living a healthy lifestyle and having a decreased risk of killer diseases ,- this is a relationship which many of us would have been convinced of through common sense alone. Now, with the release of these findings, we will all have one more concrete and proven reason to embark on a healthier lifestyle.

Main Sources:

Primary prevention of stroke by healthy lifestyle (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18697819)

Healthy lifestyle cuts stroke risk: study (http://in.reuters.com/article/health/idINTON17409220080811)

(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke)

Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association (http://www.americanheart.org/downloadable/heart/1200082005246HS_Stats%202008.final.pdf)

About the author
Reuben Chow has a keen interest in the area of natural health and healing and carries out regular research on the topic. His website, All 4 Natural Health, offers a basic guide on natural health information. It details simple, effective and natural ways, such as the use of nutrition, various herbs, herb remedies, supplements and other natural remedies, to deal with various health conditions as well as to attain good health.

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Donnerstag, September 25th, 2008 | Author:

TUESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) — New research with mice suggests that intravenous doses of vitamin C could one day reduce the size of cancerous tumors in people.The findings are preliminary and still must be confirmed in humans. And even if the treatment works, it’s not a cure but would likely be used in combination with other drugs, the researchers said.

Still, the research does show an unexpected use for vitamin C, which has previously been thought of as a nutrient, not a drug, said study co-author Dr. Mark Levine, chief of the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section.

“There’s potential promise that [vitamin C] is part of the armamentarium for treating some cancers,” he said. “Which ones? We’ve got to do more and find out.”

Vitamin C has long been one of the most respected of all vitamins, lauded for its supposed powers to treat many ills, from colds to heart disease. The late scientist Dr. Linus Pauling increased the vitamin’s profile by touting it as a cancer treatment.

But getting heavy doses of vitamin C into the body is a challenge. Unlike some other vitamins, it’s virtually impossible for people to overdose on vitamin C since the body only ingests a certain amount through the mouth and then stops allowing it to build up, Levine said. “The body wants to get to a certain place and no more,” he said.

Researchers have found that they can disrupt the body’s “tight control” over vitamin C levels by giving the nutrient intravenously and bypassing the digestive system, Levine said. The intravenous approach involves “short-circuiting the body’s normal control mechanisms and finding there’s an unexpected surprise that may be beneficial,” he said.

In the new study, published in the Aug. 4-8 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Levine and his colleagues found that intravenous vitamin C produced hydrogen peroxide, which proceeded to reduce cancerous tumors in the mice by 43 percent to 51 percent. The mice had ovarian, pancreatic and brain cancer.

It’s not clear why some tumors are immune to the treatment and others are not, Levine said, although normal cells are unharmed by the therapy.

According to the researchers, it’s possible to intravenously boost levels of vitamin C in humans to the levels used in the mice.

But Levine cautioned that the treatment isn’t ready for prime time with humans. “Should patients with any kind of tumor go out and get IV ascorbate [vitamin C]? That’s not the message here,” he said.

Instead, he said, the study shows the need for more research.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said the research is interesting but not yet proven.

“Like so many things that are intriguing or appear to be promising, there appears to be a long way to go from the theory in the lab to the practical application in the clinic.”

Forget about that! Consume plenty of vitamin C! Infact you won’t die if you get excessive!, and cancer sure wont like it!

Up the establishment! Fear, and surprise, divide and conquer, old game, new media! SNAGGED

Donnerstag, September 25th, 2008 | Author:

Seems like French fries and potato chips will soon be health food items. But they will contain less acrylamide, a chemical shown to cause cancer in rats and mice. (Unless, that is, you decide you prefer home cookin’.

onclick="javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview ('/outbound/www.youtube.com');">dangerous food

Several companies — Heinz, Frito-Lay, Kettle Foods and Lance Inc. (which makes Cape Cod chips) — have  agreed to lower acrylamide levels (wow finally!) in their foods to settle a lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general in 2005. This is the latest in a number of developments stemming from that lawsuit: Last year, Wendy’s, KFC, Burger King and McDonald’s (ever notice it basically takes threats to get big corporations to do the right thing?) agreed to pay fines and label their products with a Proposition 65 warning — you know, those perturbing signs you run into in parking lots, dentists’ offices and by the specialty sodas in BevMo alerting you to some unspecified risk to your body or the body of your unborn child. And Procter & Gamble has pledged to halve acrylamide levels in Pringles to avoid having to label its products with a Prop 65 warning.

Acrylamide is formed when sugar and the amino acid asparagine react in high heat in what’s called the Maillard reaction, which always makes me think of ducks but was actually a chemical reaction discovered by the scientist Louis Camille Maillard. (It is what’s responsible for the brown crispy, tasty bits on roast meat.) One way in which acrylamide formation can be reduced is by kicking asparagine out of the spud — using an enzyme to convert asparagine into the related amino acid, aspartic acid.  (Companies are commercializing enzymes to do just that, with cute names like “Acrylaway.”) Exposure to other chemicals, such as various acids and antioxidants, may also help. Alternatively you could totally boycott these companies for using CHEAP products and MANIPULATIVE Advertising and SUGGESTIVE marketing to ENTICE you, me, everyone into buying this crap to begin with!

And from the other end of things, spud researchers have used genetic engineering to reduce the amount of sugar in potatoes. – Are you kidding me? LEAVE THEM ALONE!

Given the choice between fries with carcinogen and fries without carcinogen, I’ll take mine without, of course. But really, how worked up should we get about this acrylamide business?

First off, we’ve been merrily frying potatoes in our home kitchens for decades(hasn’t cancer rates exploded in the same time?!). Second, many other foods contain acrylamide — coffee and olives, to name just two. Third: Links to human cancer haven’t been established, and I’ve sometimes wondered what doesn’t cause cancer in a rodent if you toss enough at it.

Finally, fruits, vegetables and other foods naturally contain many chemicals that can cause cancer in high doses in rodents. Here’s a partial list, from a December 2005 L.A. Times article:  benzyl acetate, caffeic acid, coumarin, quercetin — found in such healthful, upstanding items as apples, basil, broccoli and tomatoes. You can read about that here. And if you want to read more about the acrylamide issue, go here.

When it comes to fried potatoes and giant bags of potato chips (even, alas, the limon-flavored ones, which are as close as I know to a perfect food, and I don’t intend to give them up), could one, perhaps, tentatively argue that the fat, calories and starch they contain are a greater risk to this country’s increasingly hefty population than acrylamide? I mean, if the U.S. Department of Agriculture ever decided to re-categorize potatoes as non-vegetables, the research would soon show we eat no vegetables at all.

I guess my two-cents is – Accountability and ethics in marketing these products may be in question here, isn’t it time to take action to be certain the very food you eat is actually healthy and these companies are REALLY doing what they claim they are? I sure the hell hope so. You know someone that has died from cancer?

Think about it.

Donnerstag, September 25th, 2008 | Author:
Australian researchers have discovered a group of tiny little bugs that will eat up one of the most hazardous cancer-causing substances in a polluted environment and help save many lives.

They have been identified by Megh Mallavarapu of University of South Australia as native soil bacteria that destroy a group of chemicals known as BTEX, linked with cancer, nerve damage and other diseases.

Fuel leaks are one of the most widespread forms of contamination in Australia and elsewhere,” Mallavarapu explained. “Former service station sites, fuel farms, garages, workshops, gasometers, oil spills, which used or processed hydrocarbons or explosives, are literally everywhere that has been closely settled for the past century or so.”

Mallavarapu made these presentations Sunday at the 5th World Congress of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) here.

He explained that in the course of his research into groundwater contaminated by petroleum and oil spills, he identified a number of indigenous soil bacteria that appear highly tolerant to BTEX – the deadly volatile organic compounds benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene and xylene.

Of these, benzene is a known carcinogen, and the other three can have serious effects on the central nervous system. Besides polluting water and soil, these chemicals can sometimes emerge from the ground as vapours, being inhaled by people living and working nearby.

Bacteria which can tolerate BTEX have been identified in other parts of the world, but these are the first from Australia to show a specific preference for dining on these hazardous wastes.

The microbes devour the carbon in the BTEX molecules, breaking the rest down into simple and harmless constituents of carbon dioxide and water: “You just add the bacteria to BTEX-contaminated water – and they go straight to work.”

However, Mallavarapu and his team have taken the work an important stride further, isolating and sequencing the actual genes in the bacteria which degrade BTEX.

Knowing what genes to look for will help in widening the search for more kinds of soil organisms which have a preference for dining on toxins, or identifying strains which do so even more efficiently.

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