The Gary Null Show
The Gary Null Show - 08.31.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.31.20

August 31, 2020

Nicotinamide riboside increases aerobic performance

State University of Campinas (Brazil), August 19, 2020


According to news originating from Limeira, Brazil, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Nicotinamide riboside (NR) acts as a potent NAD precursor and improves mitochondrial oxidative capacity and mitochondrial biogenesis in several organisms. However, the effects of NR supplementation on aerobic performance remain unclear.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), “Here, we evaluated the effects of NR supplementation on the muscle metabolism and aerobic capacity of sedentary and trained mice. Male C57BL/6 J mice were supplemented with NR (400 mg/Kg/day) over 5 and 10 weeks. The training protocol consisted of 5 weeks of treadmill aerobic exercise, for 60 min a day, 5 days a week. Bioinformatic and physiological assays were combined with biochemical and molecular assays to evaluate the experimental groups. NR supplementation by itself did not change the aerobic performance, even though 5 weeks of NR supplementation increased NAD levels in the skeletal muscle. However, combining NR supplementation and aerobic training increased the aerobic performance compared to the trained group. This was accompanied by an increased protein content of NMNAT3, the rate-limiting enzyme for NAD + biosynthesis and mitochondrial proteins, including MTCO1 and ATP5a. Interestingly, the transcriptomic analysis using a large panel of isogenic strains of BXD mice confirmed that the Nmnat3 gene in the skeletal muscle is correlated with several mitochondrial markers and with different phenotypes related to physical exercise. Finally, NR supplementation during aerobic training markedly increased the amount of type I fibers in the skeletal muscle.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Taken together, our results indicate that NR may be an interesting strategy to improve mitochondrial metabolism and aerobic capacity.”



Long naps may be bad for health

Guangzhou Medical University (China), August 26, 2020


Many believe that lying down for a snooze is a harmless activity. But today, scientists show that drifting off for more than one hour could be risky. The study is presented at ESC Congress 2020.1 

"Daytime napping is common all over the world and is generally considered a healthy habit," said study author Dr. Zhe Pan of Guangzhou Medical University, China. "A common view is that napping improves performance and counteracts the negative consequences of 'sleep debt'. Our study challenges these widely held opinions."

Previous research on the link between daytime naps and death or cardiovascular disease has produced conflicting results. In addition, it did not account for the duration of night-time sleep.

This study summarised the available evidence to assess the relationship between napping and the risks of all-cause death and cardiovascular disease. A total of 313,651 participants from more than 20 studies were included in the analysis. Some 39% of participants took naps.

The analysis found that long naps (more than 60 mins) were associated with a 30% greater risk of all-cause death and 34% higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease compared to no napping. When night-time sleep was taken into account, long naps were linked with an elevated risk of death only in those who slept more than six hours per night.

Overall, naps of any length were linked with a 19% elevated risk of death. The connection was more pronounced in women, who had a 22% greater likelihood of death with napping compared to no napping, and older participants, whose risk rose by 17% with naps.

Short naps (less than 60 minutes) were not risky for developing cardiovascular disease. Dr. Pan said: "The results suggest that shorter naps (especially those less than 30 to 45 minutes) might improve heart health in people who sleep insufficiently at night."

The reasons why napping affects the body are still uncertain, said Dr. Pan, but some studies have suggested that long snoozes are linked with higher levels of inflammation, which is risky for heart health and longevity. Other research has connected napping with high blood pressure, diabetes, and poor overall physical health.

He concluded: "If you want to take a siesta, our study indicates it's safest to keep it under an hour. For those of us not in the habit of a daytime slumber, there is no convincing evidence to start."


Study suggests deficiency of vitamin D or selenium may decrease immune defenses against COVID-19

Seoul Clinical Laboratories (South Korea), August 28, 2020


According to news reporting from Yongin, South Korea, research stated, “The relationship between immunity and nutrition is well known and its role in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is also being paid greater attention. However, the nutritional status of COVID-19 patients is unknown.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Seoul Clinical Laboratories, “Vitamins B1, B6, B12, D (25-hydroxyvitamin D), folate, selenium, and zinc levels were measured in 50 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. A total of 76% of the patients were vitamin D deficient and 42% were selenium deficient. No significant increase in the incidence of deficiency was found for vitamins B1, B6, and B12. folate, and zinc in patients with COVID-19. The COVID-19 group showed significantly lower vitamin D values than the healthy control group (150 people, age/sex matching). Severe vitamin D deficiency (based on 10 ng/dL) was found in 24% of the patients in the COVID-19 group and 7.3% of the control group. Among 12 patients with respiratory distress, 11 (91.7%) were deficient in at least one nutrient. However, patients without respiratory distress showed deficiency in 30/38 people (78.9%, P-value 0.425).”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “These results suggest that a deficiency of vitamin D or selenium may decrease the immune defenses against COVID-19 and cause progression to severe disease; however, more precise and large-scale studies are needed.”



Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation associated with less inflammation among diabetics with history of heart attack

Bogomolets National Medical University (Ukraine), July 28, 2020


The January-March 2020 issue of the Journal of Medicine and Life published the findings of a study that revealed a reduction in markers of inflammation among type 2 diabetics with prior myocardial infarction (heart attack) who received supplements containing alpha-lipoic acid.

The study included 67 men and 45 women with type 2 diabetes and a history of non-Q-myocardial infarction who were being treated with oral antidiabetic therapies and basic cardiovascular medications. The group was matched for age and sex with 40 subjects who were free of chronic diseases. The diabetics were divided into two groups: one with 59 people, who received 600 milligrams orally administered alpha-lipoic acid per day for four months in addition to their prescription drug regimen, while the other 53 received only their prescription drugs. Blood samples were analyzed for serum markers of inflammation that included C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) before and after the treatment period.

Upon enrollment, diabetics who received alpha-lipoic acid had serum CRP levels that averaged 2.7 times higher, IL-6 levels that averaged 4.4 times higher and TNF-a levels that averaged 3.1 times higher than the healthy control group. Similar levels were measured among the diabetic participants who did not receive lipoic acid. At the end of four months, participants who received alpha-lipoic acid experienced a 30.9% decline in CRP, a 29.7% decrease in IL-6 and a 22.7% reduction in TNF-a, while the unsupplemented diabetic group experienced nonsignificant changes in these markers.

Authors Natalia A. Altunina and colleagues observed that alpha-lipoic acid’s anti-inflammatory effect is considered to be independent of its better-known antioxidant activity, and that clinical evaluation of this effect has been limited to a few studies. They explained that alpha-lipoic acid inhibits nuclear factor-kappa beta (NF-kB), which is associated with inflammation and other processes.

The authors concluded that alpha-lipoic acid “can be used to reduce the activity of systemic inflammation as a predictor of diabetes and coronary heart disease progression.”



How vitamin C could help over 50s retain muscle mass


University of East Anglia (UK), August 28, 2020

Vitamin C could be the key to better muscles in later life—according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

A study published today shows that older people who eat plenty of vitamin C—commonly found in citrus fruits, berries and vegetables—have the best skeletal musclemass.

This is important because people tend to lose skeletal muscle mass as they get older—leading to sarcopenia (a condition characterised by loss of skeletal muscle mass and function), frailty and reduced quality of life.

Lead researcher Prof Ailsa Welch, from UEA's Norwich Medical School said: "As people age, they lose skeletal muscle mass and strength.

"People over 50 lose up to one percent of their skeletal muscle mass each year, and this loss is thought to affect more than 50 million people worldwide."

"It's a big problem, because it can lead to frailty and other poor outcomes such as sarcopenia, physical disability, type-2 diabetes, reduced quality of life and death."

"We know that Vitamin C consumption is linked with skeletal muscle mass. It helps defend the cells and tissues that make up the body from potentially harmful free radical substances. Unopposed these free radicals can contribute to the destruction of muscle, thus speeding up age-related decline."

"But until now, few studies have investigated the importance of Vitamin C intake for older people. We wanted to find out whether people eating more Vitamin C had more muscle mass than other people."

The research team studied data from more than 13,000 people aged between 42-82 years, who are taking part in the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) Norfolk Study.

They calculated their skeletal muscle mass and analysed their vitamin C intakes from a seven-day food diary. They also examined the amount of vitamin C in their blood.

Dr. Richard Hayhoe, also from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "We studied a large sample of older Norfolk residents and found that people with the highest amounts of vitamin C in their diet or blood had the greatest estimated skeletal muscle mass, compared to those with the lowest amounts.

"We are very excited by our findings as they suggest that dietary vitamin C is important for muscle health in older men and women and may be useful for preventing age-related muscle loss.

"This is particularly significant as Vitamin C is readily available in fruits and vegetables, or supplements, so improving intake of this vitamin is relatively straightforward.

"We found that nearly 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women participants were not consuming as much Vitamin C as they should, according to the European Food Safety Agency recommendations.

"We're not talking about people needing mega-doses. Eating a citrus fruit, such as an orange, each day and having a vegetable side to a meal will be sufficient for most people."



Vitamin E supplementation shows promise as treatment option for NAFLD

Aristotle University (Greece), August 26 2020. 


Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis reported on August 18, 2020 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology indicate a benefit for supplementing with vitamin E for individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD). The disease is defined as an elevated percentage of liver cell fat in the absence of excessive alcohol consumption. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is estimated to affect up to a third of the world’s population.

For their review, Andreas Vadarlis and colleagues at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece selected seven randomized clinical trials that compared the effects of vitamin E to a placebo. Four trials evaluated the effects of the vitamin in a total of 368 participants with NAFLD and three trials included 400 participants with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH, an advanced state of NAFLD). 

Among the studies that examined the effects of vitamin E on the transaminase liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase and (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), which are elevated in patients with liver diseases, ALT was lowered by an average of 7.37 international units per liter (IU/L) and AST by an average of 5.71 IU/L compared to a placebo. 

Fibrosis score, considered to be the most important prognostic factor of NAFLD progression, significantly improved among those who received vitamin E. Histology parameters, including steatosis, lobular inflammation and hepatocellular ballooning, also improved in vitamin E-treated participants compared to a placebo.

Among the subjects evaluated for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a significant reduction occurred in those treated with vitamin E. Additionally, fasting blood glucose levels and leptin were lower in comparison with the placebo group among those who received vitamin E. 

“Vitamin E could be considered as a treatment option in patients with NAFLD/NASH improving both liver enzymes and histological parameters,” the authors concluded.



Meta-analysis affirms benefit for omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in cardiovascular outcomes

University of Milan (Italy), August 11, 2020


Findings from an updated meta-analysis published in the October 2020 issue of Pharmacological Research support a protective effect for supplementing with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) against heart disease mortality, major adverse cardiovascular events and myocardial infarction (heart attack).

For their analysis, researchers selected 16 randomized, controlled trials that examined the effects of omega 3 fatty acid supplementation among a total of 81,073 participants. Trials were limited to those that included subjects at high cardiovascular risk and/or who had previous cardiovascular events. “The objective of our study was to perform a meta-analysis of all the available randomized controlled trials on cardiovascular secondary prevention and patients at high (and very high) cardiovascular risk to investigate the cardiovascular preventive effect of omega 3 fatty acid administration through supplements (no dietary counselling), with a focus on the role of dose and type of omega 3 PUFA administered, as well as its effects in populations with different cardiovascular risk at baseline,” authors Manuela Casula of the University of Milan and colleagues explained.

During the trials’ follow-up periods, which ranged from one to seven years, the intake of more than one gram per day of omega 3 was associated with a 35% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular causes, a 24% lower risk of experiencing major adverse cardiovascular events and a 33% lower risk of myocardial infarction. Further analysis revealed that a reduction in the risk of cardiac death or myocardial infarction occurred only among trials that included participants who had already experienced major adverse cardiovascular events. Interestingly, a combination of the omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was more effective than the use of EPA alone to reduce the risk of dying from cardiac conditions; however, EPA alone, which was evaluated in three trials, appeared to have a greater association with the reduction in the occurrence of major cardiovascular events. 

The authors of the report remark that the intake of one to two meals containing oily fish per week for general health as recommended by world health authorities provides only 250 to 500 milligrams per day of EPA plus DHA, and that an intake of omega 3 fatty acids well above this amount has been associated with a reduction in cardiac mortality among healthy individuals, as well as those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. 

“Stratified analyses based on levels of omega 3 PUFA above and below one gram per day highlight a relevant clinical benefit of the supplementation of omega 3 on coronary heart disease outcomes only when administered at high doses,” they observed. “Only the administration of more than one gram per day of omega 3 PUFA seems to be effective in reducing the risk of cardiac death, major adverse cardiac events and myocardial infarction.”



Higher serum magnesium concentration associated with lower risk of incident cognitive impairment

Columbia University, August 28, 2020


According to news reporting out of New York City, New York, research stated, “To examine the prospective association between serum Mg level and the incidence of cognitive impairment. A random sub-cohort (n = 2063) from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort was included in this study.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Columbia University, “Baseline serum Mg concentration was measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. According to the current reference interval of serum magnesium (0.75-0.95 mmol/L), we classified participants below the interval as Level 1 and used it as the referent. The rest of the study population were equally divided into three groups, named Level 2 to 4. Incident cognitive impairment was identified using the Six-Item Screener. Multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using logistic regression models. After adjustment for potential confounders, an inverse threshold association between serum Mg level and incident cognitive impairment was observed. Compared to those with hypomagnesemia (Level 1: < 0.75 mmol/L), the relative odds of incident cognitive impairment was reduced by 41% in the second level [OR (95% CI) = 0.59 (0.37, 0.94)]; higher serum Mg level did not provide further benefits [Level 3 and 4 versus Level 1: OR (95% CI) = 0.54 (0.34, 0.88) and 0.59 (0.36, 0.96), P for linear trend = 0.08].”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Findings from this prospective study suggest that sufficient Mg status within the normal range may be beneficial to cognitive health in the US general population.”

The Gary Null Show - 08.28.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.28.20

August 28, 2020

Dr. Meryl Nass is an internal medicine physician in Maine, researcher and activist who specializes Gulf War syndrome, adverse reactions from the anthrax vaccine and vaccine safety and efficacy in general.   She was the first person in the world to study the characteristics of an epidemic and proved it was not a natural occurrence but due to biological warfare -- that was the Zimbabwe anthrax epidemic during its civil war four decades ago.  In the past she has testified on six separate occasions before Congress on behalf of veterans suffering from the causes of Gulf War syndrome. Meryl is also active in opposing vaccine mandates and critiquing the false claims and fear mongering about infectious disease epidemics and corruption within the medical industrial military complex.  She serves on the Board of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a non profit organization run by Vera Sharav that advances medical ethics that uphold human rights and protect humans from wrongful medical interventions. Her work is cited in many professional articles and publications. She holds degrees from MIT and her medical degree from the Mississippi School of Medicine.  Dr Nass' website where she blogs is


The Gary Null Show - 08.27.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.27.20

August 27, 2020

Desperate Times for Pandemic Lead to... Ozone?

Case study in three patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia

MedPage Today August 24, 2020

Three patients present to a hospital emergency department in Ibiza, Spain, with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and respiratory failure and are given an unproven -- and possibly dangerous -- treatment: oxygen-ozone (O2-O3) therapy -- also called ozonated autohemotherapy, which has been used to treat gout and involves intravenous infusion of ozonated autologous whole blood.

The FDA has called ozone "a toxic gas with no known useful medical application."Furthermore, in April 2020a federal court entered a permanent injunction halting a purported "ozone therapy" center in Dallas from offering unproven treatments for COVID-19, after the company claimed that the treatments were able to "eradicate" the virus and were 95% effective in preventing the illness even for individuals who had tested positive.

As described in this case report, published on Aug. 17, 2020, of three patients in Spain, the clinicians drew 200 mL of autologous whole blood from the antecubital vein into a standard plastic disposable blood collection bag (certified SANO3 bag) with 35 mL of anticoagulant citrate dextrose solution. The team enriched the blood with 200 mL of gas mixture O2-Owith an ozone concentration of 40 μg/mL obtained using an ozone generator with CE0120 certificate type IIb. This was followed by reinfusion of the ozonized blood using the same vein over approximately 10 minutes.

Patient 1

Patient 1, a 49-year-old man, body mass index (BMI) of 31, reported having 1 week of ongoing abdominal pain, and that over the course of the previous day he had increasing shortness of breath. Examination finds a soft abdomen with no distension.

Upon auscultation of his chest, clinicians noted bilateral crackles with reduced air entry and ordered a computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest and abdomen, which identified lung infiltrates in both lungs, compatible with COVID-19 pneumonia. Laboratory tests show elevated levels of:

  • Ferritin (1,609 ng/mL)
  • D-dimer (1,900 ng/dL)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP, 17.3 mg/dL)
  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH, 536 IU/L)

Clinicians took a nasopharyngeal swab; real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis identified the sample as positive for viral RNA, and the man is admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Over the following 24 hours, his condition improves and he is transferred to the general ward.

However, during the following day, the patient's oxygen levels declined, followed by respiratory distress, with a PaO2/FiO2 [partial pressure of arterial oxygen/percentage of inspired oxygen] ratio of 235. Clinicians put the patient on a non-rebreather face mask with oxygen on FiO2 of 0.8, and noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is not required. An x-ray revealed diffuse bilateral infiltrates.

For the next 3 days, the patient received two sessions of ozone autohemotherapy daily q 12 hours. He had a rapid clinical response, as evidenced by a marked improvement in respiratory rate and an increased PaO2/FiO2 ratio, with decreased FiO2 to 0.31% (3 L) after 1 day. After 2 sessions of ozone therapy, the patient's ferritin levels dropped from over 2,000 to 246 ng/mL, and his D-dimer levels dropped from 1,900 to 323 ng/mL.

On day 4, the patient was discharged home.



Patient 2 

The second patient, a 61-year-old man, BMI of 29, presented a week after developing a persistent fever of over 39°C. He reported having long-standing hypertension and becoming progressively short of breath over the previous 2 days. Chest auscultation showed crackles with reduced air entry over the right hemithorax. CT of the chest–abdomen revealed right upper infiltrates suggestive of COVID-19 pneumonia. Baseline PaO2/FiO2 was 253.

Laboratory tests showed high levels of:

  • Ferritin (2,200 ng/mL)
  • D-dimer (3,660 ng/mL)
  • CRP (10 mg/dL)
  • LDH (816 IU/L)

The patient remained in the general ward, where he received oxygen at an FiO2 of 0.6 via face mask, and he did not require NIV.

For the following 2 days, he received two sessions of ozone autohemotherapy over a period of 24 hours. On day 3, clinicians noted a decline in the FiO2 of 0.31% (3 L) with improved PaO2 to 90 mmHg, and decreased levels of laboratory markers.

The patient was discharged home on day 3 after a total of four sessions of O2-O3therapy. Post-discharge, clinicians reported that the patient's LDH levels dropped from 816 U/L at baseline to 469 U/L by day 6 after the start of ozone therapy. Likewise, his CRP levels began falling progressively after initiation of ozone therapy, from 10 mg/dL at the time of presentation to approximately 4 mg/dL on day 3 and about 0 mg/dL on day 21.


Eat local foods to regulate blood pressure and reduce diabetes risk

University of Turin (Italy), August 26, 2020


In a recent pilot trial, researchers from the University of Turin in Italy and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva found that the increased consumption of foods purchased from local producers led to reductions in major risk factors linked to non-communicable diseases (NCD) after just six months.

Their findings had been published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolism.

Neither fat nor sugar

In their article, the researchers noted that the consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) has been studied for its influence on the risk of NCDs like diabetes and heart disease.

UPFs include food products like packaged bread, biscuits and pre-prepared pasta dishes. Compared to their fresh or homemade counterparts, these foods tend to contain higher amounts of fat, sugar and sodium.

But as the researchers pointed out, scientists often fail to look into the additives that are added to these food products as part of industrial food production norms. Plus, studies on nutrition and disease risk often focus on the impact of single nutrients like fats or sugars on health, not on additives in UPFs.

The researchers speculated that these additives may be influencing disease risk, not just nutrients like fat and sugar. 

Local producers are safer sources of food

To test their hypothesis, the researchers gathered 159 healthy participants in Italy. Rather than asking them to cut back on processed foods, such as cheese, sausage, pasta, pastries, biscuits and chocolate, the researchers asked half of the participants to source these foods from local producers. The other half were asked to purchase them from supermarkets.

The team brought in a food production expert to ensure that those in the local food group ate foods that had no additives at all and that the production of the foods themselves had been local. The team also asked both groups to adopt a Mediterranean diet and to log their food intake.

Prior to and after the trial, the team collected anthropometric data, including blood pressure and abdominal fat. The team also used a questionnaire to assess for depression, a mood disorder that is often linked to NCDs.

Furthermore, the researchers collected the participants’ blood samples to assess markers of diabetes, like fasting blood glucose, insulin and C-peptide and calculated their homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) scores. Getting a high score on this index indicates that cells are resistant to insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose.

Six months later, the team found that participants in the local food group had more significant reductions in their HOMA scores and fasting blood glucose than those in the supermarket food group.

Those in the local food group also had greater reductions in their abdominal fat and systolic blood pressure than participants in the supermarket food group. The same could be said for the depression scores of both groups.

On the other hand, those in the supermarket food group exhibited significant increases in their fasting blood glucose, diastolic blood pressure and C-peptide levels. Taken together, these factors indicate insulin resistance and a greater risk of both diabetes and heart disease.

These findings support the idea that artificial ingredients in UPFs influence their impact on health and disease risk. Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that the short-term consumption of foods sourced from local producers can lead to significant improvements in major risk factors for NCDs.

The researchers recommend that the trial be conducted again in the future to involve a larger cohort and a double-blind trial to validate the results.




Zinc therapy in early Alzheimer disease: safety and potential efficacy

Molecular Markers Laboratory (Italy), August 20, 2020


According to news originating from Brescia, Italy, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Zinc therapy is normally utilized for treatment of Wilson disease (WD), an inherited condition that is characterized by increased levels of non-ceruloplasmin bound (‘free’) copper in serum and urine.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Molecular Markers Laboratory: “A subset of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or its prodromal form, known as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), fail to maintain a normal copper metabolic balance and exhibit higher than normal values of non-ceruloplasmin copper. Zinc’s action mechanism involves the induction of intestinal cell metallothionein, which blocks copper absorption from the intestinal tract, thus restoring physiological levels of non-ceruloplasmin copper in the body. On this basis, it is employed in WD. Zinc therapy has shown potential beneficial effects in preliminary AD clinical trials, even though the studies have missed their primary endpoints, since they have study design and other important weaknesses. Nevertheless, in the studied AD patients, zinc effectively decreased non-ceruloplasmin copper levels and showed potential for improved cognitive performances with no major side effects.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “This review discusses zinc therapy safety and the potential therapeutic effects that might be expected on a subset of individuals showing both cognitive complaints and signs of copper imbalance.”



Magnetic stimulation dramatically improves fecal incontinence

Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, August 26, 2020


Painless magnetic stimulation of nerves that regulate muscles in the anus and rectum appears to improve their function and dramatically reduce episodes of fecal incontinence, a debilitating problem affecting about 10% of the population, investigators report. 

They have early evidence that TNT, or translumbosacral neuromodulation therapy, is a promising, novel, safe, low-cost treatment for strengthening key nerves and reducing or even eliminating episodes of stool leakage, Medical College of Georgia investigators report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

"We have identified that nerve damage is an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of stool leakage, and we have identified a noninvasive and targeted treatment to correct the nerve damage and address this pervasive problem," says Dr. Satish S.C. Rao, director of neurogastroenterology/motility and the Digestive Health Clinical Research Center at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. 

"We found there was significant improvement in fecal incontinence across the board," says Rao, after six sessions of weekly TNT treatment to key nerves, "which told us something is happening with this treatment. There is an effect on nerve function which, in turn, is leading to improvement of symptoms." 

The rectum is the connector between the colon and the anus, where stool exits, and the muscles directly involved in moving feces along then holding it in place until we are ready to go to the bathroom, have been a focal point for treating fecal incontinence. However current strategies are largely unsatisfactory for at least half of patients because they do not directly address the causes, including nerve dysfunction in the anus and rectum, the investigators say. 

Rao and his team decided to take a step back and look at the function of the nerves controlling those muscles. He developed a relatively benign test, called TAMS, or translumbosacral anorectal magnetic stimulation, to look at nerve activity by placing a probe in the rectum and a coil on the back to deliver magnetic stimulation to nerves in the anus and rectum and watch the response. When they found that nerve function was an issue in 80-90% of patients they assessed, they began exploring a similar approach using external, repetitive magnetic stimulation to help heal those nerves.

This first study was in 33 participants, including 23 women, who tend to have more problems with fecal incontinence, and, who were an average of about 60 years old. Age also is a risk factor. They used the same four sites on the upper and lower back they used to test the function of the relevant lumbar and sacral nerves, which are about two inches below the skin, after some surface mapping to find an exact location in each individual. 

Patients lie comfortably face down and the machine makes a steady 'tock, tock' sound. Treatment lasts 15 minutes to an hour depending on the frequency. The 15-minute version meant, for example, 15 stimulations per second, or 15 hertz, clearly the quickest but, surprisingly, not the most effective frequency for this purpose.

Rather, while all participants derived some benefit, it was those receiving the lowest frequency, one hertz, over an hour who benefited most. 

The investigators defined responders as those with at least a 50% reduction in the number of episodes of stool leakage per week. The one-hertz group experienced about a 90% reduction in weekly episodes as well as significantly improved ability to sense a need to defecate and in their ability to hold more stool. Those in the one hertz and midrange five-hertz group also reported the most improvement in quality of life issues.

"We measured several parameters including their leakage events, we measured their nerve and muscle function, quality of life, all of those were measured," Rao says. Participants also kept stool diaries, with some reporting zero incontinence episodes following TNT. 

"It's still in the early stage, but it's quite remarkable what we are seeing," he says. 

Like the patients he sees in his practice, study participants had a variety of issues that likely contributed to their lack of fecal control including diabetes, back injuries, hysterectomies and bladder and hemorrhoid surgeries. Childbirth is a common cause of both fecal and urinary incontinence. One of the females in the study had never had a baby, 18 others had vaginal deliveries and three of those also had a C-section, and four others only had a C-section. Eleven of the women with a vaginal delivery had vaginal tears and six had a forceps-assisted delivery.

While they didn't selectively pick people with nerve damage for the study, the investigators again found that whatever the cause, those with significant stool leakage had problems with delayed and weakened nerve conduction compared to healthy controls. 

TNT dramatically shortened the time it takes those nerves to activate the muscle by several important milliseconds, particularly in the one-hertz group, where the response time consistently returned to normal. 

"We have always tended to blame the anal muscle as the problem," Rao says of key controls needed to keep stool contained until we are in the bathroom. But they also know from women who experience muscle tears during childbirth, which is common, that repairing the muscle does not guarantee the woman will not have problems with leakage, he says. Sometimes muscle repair works temporarily, but when you follow up five years later, about half are incontinent, and nearly 90% are incontinent in 10 years, he says. "Ideally you want to treat all the mechanisms that are not working. We have not really approached it like that," Rao says. 

His team suspected their repeated stimulation of the nerves would induce their innate ability to adapt in response to a variety of stimulations, called neuroplasticity, a skill that exists in nerves throughout the brain and body that enables both learning as well as recovery from injury or disease. They had preliminary evidence of this including studies indicating that magnetic stimulation improves neuropathy and pain in a condition called levator ani syndrome, in which patients experience burning pain in the rectal or perianal region. 

They suspected high frequency stimulation, like 15 hertz, already used in the brain to treat problems like depression and stroke recovery, would work best, which is why they were surprised to find that the relevant nerves in this case were most responsive to longer periods of low frequency 1 hertz. Rao surmises one reason may be that the nerves that help control defecation are not as active as typical brain cells, although laboratory studies are needed to confirm that theory, he says. He also wants to learn more about underlying mechanisms for how the nerve changes occur with magnetic stimulation and, along with colleague Dr. Amol Sharma, MCG gastroenterologist and a study coauthor, look at its potential in other gastrointestinal motility problems caused by conditions like Parkinson's disease and the stomach-paralyzing problem gastroparesis. 

How long benefits of TNT hold, and how often follow-up sessions may be needed are already being pursued in a larger study of 132 participants now underway at MCG and AU Health System and Harvard University's Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, on which Rao is also the project director and principal investigator. 

Participants for the published study were recruited from MCG's adult teaching hospital, AU Medical Center, and from the University of Manchester's Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre in the United Kingdom, under the supervision of Dr. Shaheen Hamdy, professor of neurogastroenterology, although all participants were ultimately enrolled at the Augusta facility. 

They went through extensive screening to ensure there weren't other medical problems, like severe diarrhea or inflammatory bowel disease, that could contribute to their incontinence, as well as a host of other serious medical conditions. To qualify, individuals had to have a history of recurrent fecal incontinence for six months that did not respond to approaches like diet modifications and diarrhea medication, and a two-week diary that reported at least one episode of fecal incontinence per week. As part of the study, investigators performed several tests to assess nerve and muscle function, including Rao's TAMS test, at the start and finish of the trial. They also used TAMS to ensure the participant's nerves were responding to the stimulation. 

The only reported side effect of TNT was some temporary tingling in the treatment area, probably prompted by rejuvenating nerves, Rao says. He notes penetrability of the magnetic stimulations can be problematic with obesity or in patients with significant scarring from problems like back injury and/or surgeries. He also notes poor nerve conduction likely is a factor in some patients with constipation.



Rosmarinic acid interferes with interaction between amyloid beta and copper, suggesting its use against Alzheimer disease

University of Siena (Italy), August 22, 2020


According to news originating from Siena, Italy, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Alzheimer’s disease is a severe disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a very debilitating disease with no cure at the moment.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the University of Siena, “The necessity of finding an effective treatment is very demanding, and the entire scientific community is putting in a lot of effort to address this issue. The major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is the presence of toxic aggregated species in the brain, impaired metal homeostasis, and high levels of oxidative stress. Rosmarinic acid is a well-known potent antioxidant molecule, the efficacy of which has been proved both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we investigated the possible role played by rosmarinic acid as a mediator of the copper(II)-induced neurotoxicity. Several spectroscopic techniques and biological assays were applied to characterize the metal complexes and to evaluate the cytotoxicity and the mutagenicity of rosmarinic acid and its Cu(II) complex.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Our data indicate that rosmarinic acid is able to interfere with the interaction between amyloid beta and Cu(II) by forming an original ternary association.”



Seven Reasons Why Skipping Rope Is So Good For You


University of Hertfordshire (UK), August 25, 2020


While many of us may remember skipping as something we did as children, the pastime has regained popularity during the pandemic as a way of keeping fit.

Not only is jumping rope a fun, affordable and portable form of exercise, it also has many benefits for our health and fitness. Here are just a few reasons why jumping rope is such a good form of exercise:

1. It improves cardiovascular fitness

Jumping rope has long been used by boxers as a form of training to help improve their footwork and general conditioning.

Jumping rope will cause an increase in heart rate and breathing similar to if you went jogging. If you were to do ten minutes of jump rope everyday, you would create adaptations to your body that are beneficial to cardiovascular health, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing resting heart rate.

Jumping rope will also increase your cardiorespiratory fitness which essentially means your body becomes more efficient at taking up and using oxygen.

Research has shown that cardiorespiratory fitness is linked to improved health and longevity. Improved cardiorespriatory fitness has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation in the body and lower chances of developing diabetes and many other chronic disease.

2. It’s a full body workout

Skipping is a full body workout which uses your abdominal muscles to stabilise the body, your legs for jumping, and your shoulders and arms for turning the rope. It therefore provides an all over workout rather than just isolating one portion of the body.

Full body workouts increase muscle tone, which will help with all daily activities, and increase our resting metabolism, which helps us burn calories even while resting.

3. It improves coordination and motor skills

Skipping involves coordination to time your jump with the rope. Research has shown that it improves coordination, balance and basic movement skills in children. These are important fitness components for later in life as they reduce our chances of trips and falls.

There are so many different exercises you can do with the rope and each one requires different coordination to complete the exercise. This may help exercise your brain as well.

4. It increases bone mineral density

Jumping rope involves making impact with the ground with every jump. These impacts cause our bones to remodel themselves to become stronger, thus increasing bone density. Bone density can be a benefit later on in life, when it naturally begins to decrease.

Research has shown that jumping rope increases bone mineral density. Higher bone mineral density makes you less likely to break a bone or develop osteoporosis as you get older. Hip fractures are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in older people, leading to loss of independence and a huge economic burden. Improving bone density and balance throughout your life reduces the chances of trips and falls later on.

5. It increases speed

Because jumping rope requires fast movement of the feet and arms, it’s considered a plyometric exercise. This is where the muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power.

Plyometric exercise is used in the sporting world to increase an athlete’s speed. A lot of exercises, such as jogging, only improve cardiovascular health – whereas jumping rope has the added benefit of improving speed as well. Daily jump rope practice may help you run quicker than before.

6. Time efficient

Jumping rope offers many health benefits that may be achieved in a short period of time. Because it’s a full body exercise that requires speed and coordination, you could argue that it’s a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT).

HIIT exercise is where you have short bouts of high intensity efforts followed by a short rest intervals. This is repeated several times. HIIT has been shown to produce higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness in comparison to traditional endurance training.

It’s also more time efficient, as you can perform exercise over a shorter period. This is why HIIT training has become the most popular workout worldwide.

Jumping rope is easily adaptable, and can be a high-intensity workout depending on the effort and power a person puts into their training.

7. Enjoyable

One of the most important points we need to consider to help us change our exercise habits is that what we do needs to be enjoyable to us. One of the biggest barriers for people when it comes to sticking with exercise is enjoyment. And research shows enjoying exercise is critical for helping us change our exercise habitsand continue exercising.

The great thing about skipping is that there are so many different ways you can jump, and hop over the rope. You can create a varied workout which helps maintain your enjoyment.

However, it’s worth noting that skipping can put a lot of force on our lower limbs when we land. Though this improves our bone mineral density, it can lead to lower-body injury, especially if we’re not used to this force. But different jumping styles can be used to help ease force and reduce chance of injury. As with all types of exercise, it’s good to build up duration gradually. This will help minimise injury.

Overall, jumping rope could be a very beneficial form of exercise. Not only does it improve many important aspects of our health – including cardiovascular health, and improving bone density – but it’s also affordable, portable and doesn’t require much space.The Conversation


Depressed or anxious teens risk heart attacks in middle age

Orebro University (Sweden), August 26, 2020


: Depression or anxiety in adolescence is linked with a 20% greater likelihood of having a heart attack mid-life, according to research released today at ESC Congress 2020.1 

In a warning to parents, study author Dr. Cecilia Bergh of Örebro University in Sweden, said: "Be vigilant and look for signs of stress, depression or anxiety that is beyond the normal teenage angst: seek help if there seems to be a persistent problem (telephone helplines may be particularly helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic). If a healthy lifestyle is encouraged as early as possible in childhood and adolescence it is more likely to persist into adulthood and improve long-term health." 

There are indications that mental well-being is declining in young people. This study investigated whether conditions like depression in adolescence (age 18 or 19) are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. The researchers also examined the possible role of stress resilience (ability to cope with stress in everyday life) in helping to explain any associations. 

The study included 238,013 men born between 1952 and 1956 who underwent extensive examinations in late adolescence (as part of their assessment for compulsory military service) and were then followed into middle age (up to the age of 58 years). The assessments at the age of 18 or 19 years included medical, psychiatric, and physical examinations by physicians and psychologists.

Stress resilience was measured by an interview with a psychologist and a questionnaire, and based on familial, medical, social, behavioural and personality characteristics.

A total of 34,503 men were diagnosed with a non-psychotic mental disorder (such as depression or anxiety) at conscription. Follow-up for cardiovascular disease was through hospital medical records.

The study found that a mental disorder in adolescence was associated with the risk of having a myocardial infarction (heart attack) by middle age. Compared to men without a mental illness in adolescence, the risk of myocardial infarction was 20% higher among men with a diagnosis - even after taking into account other characteristics in adolescence such as blood pressure, body mass index, general health, and parental socioeconomic status.

The association between mental illness and heart attack was partly - but not completely - explained by poorer stress resilience and lower physical ?tness in teenagers with a mental illness. "We already knew that men who were physically fit in adolescence seem less likely to maintain fitness in later years if they have low stress resilience," said Dr. Bergh. "Our previous research has also shown that low stress resilience is also coupled with a greater tendency towards addictive behaviour, signalled by higher risks of smoking, alcohol consumption and other drug use." 

Dr. Bergh said: "Better fitness in adolescence is likely to help protect against later heart disease, particularly if people stay fit as they age. Physical activity may also alleviate some of the negative consequences of stress. This is relevant to all adolescents, but those with poorer wellbeing could benefit from additional support to encourage exercise and to develop strategies to deal with stress."



Frequent soft drink consumption may make adolescents more aggressive

University of Alabama, August 26, 2020

A study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham has shown that frequent soft drink consumption by adolescents may contribute to aggressive behavior over time.

Previous studies have shown associations between soft drink consumption and mental health problems in adolescents. The UAB study, led by Sylvie Mrug, Ph.D., professor and chair of the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Psychology, identified soft drink consumption as a likely predictor of aggressive behavior. It was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"Despite public health policies designed to reduce children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda taxes and school soda bans, the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by youth in the United States remains a significant public health problem," Mrug said. 

Reciprocal relationships were analyzed showing soft drink consumption predicted an increase in aggressive behavior over time.

Soft drink consumption at ages 11 and 13 predicted more aggressive behavior at the next time point, the study showed. Aggressive behavior at age 13 also predicted more soft drink consumption at age 16. Soft drink consumption at age 13 predicted fewer depressive symptoms, but depressive symptoms did not predict soft drink consumption. Findings from this study suggest that reducing adolescents' intake of soft drinks may reduce aggressive behavior, but not depressive symptoms.

Interviews with 5,147 children and their caregivers were conducted from three sites, at child ages 11, 13 and 16. At each time, the children reported on their frequency of consuming soft drinks, aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms.

Soft drinks comprise more than 10 percent of adolescents' total caloric intake and are consumed daily by more than 20 percent of high school students, according to recent reports. High rates of soda consumption among U.S. youth have led to concerns about its impact on pediatric obesity and related health conditions. Besides obesity, concerns have been raised about the potential impact of soft drink consumption on pediatric mental health, particularly for adolescents who consume more soft drinks and experience more emotional and behavioral problems than younger children.

"Paralleling the historical trends of increasing soft drink consumption, emotional problems in adolescents have risen between 1980s and early 2000s," Mrug said. "For example, several studies reported 70 percent to 350 percent increases in emotional problems among adolescent boys and girls in developed countries during this time period."

A number of studies have linked the consumption of soft drinks to adolescents' mental health problems. Specifically, more frequent consumption of soft drinks has been associated with more aggression, other behavior problems such as hyperactivity and oppositional behavior, and depression and suicidal behavior in adolescents from the United States, Norway, Slovakia, Iran and China. Another recent cross-national study found a consistent association between adolescents' high sugar consumption (from soft drinks and sweets) and fighting, bullying and substance use in 24 of the studied 26 countries.

All of these studies have included statistical adjustments for a variety of potential confounders such as child age, gender, BMI, physical activity, diet, substance use and family factors; but the key limitation remains the cross-sectional design. 

Although the results are typically interpreted in terms of soft drinks' contributing to emotional and behavioral problems, it is equally likely that mental health problemsmay be driving the consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, Mrug says. Experimental studies show that some individuals consume more sugary foods in response to stress and negative emotions.

The Gary Null Show -08.26.20

The Gary Null Show -08.26.20

August 26, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.

Protest goes viral dublin


Potential effects of probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids on chronic low-grade inflammation

University of Orebro (Sweden), August 24, 2020


According to news reporting originating from Orebro, Sweden, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Chronic low-grade inflammation negatively impacts health and is associated with aging and obesity, among other health outcomes.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from University of Orebro: “A large number of immune mediators are present in the digestive tract and interact with gut bacteria to impact immune function. The gut microbiota itself is also an important initiator of inflammation, for example by releasing compounds such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) that may influence cytokine production and immune cell function. Certain nutrients (e.g., probiotics, o-3 fatty acids [FA]) may increase gut microbiota diversity and reduce inflammation. * * Lactobacilli* * and * * Bifidobacteria* * , among others, prevent gut hyperpermeability and lower LPS-dependent chronic low-grade inflammation. Furthermore, o-3 FA generate positive effects on inflammation-related conditions (e.g., hypertriglyceridemia, diabetes) by interacting with immune, metabolic, and inflammatory pathways. O-3 FA also increase LPS-suppressing bacteria (i.e., * * Bifidobacteria* * ) and decrease LPS-producing bacteria (i.e., * * Enterobacteria* * ).”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Additionally, o-3 FA appear to promote short-chain FA production. Therefore, combining probiotics with o-3 FA presents a promising strategy to promote beneficial immune regulation via the gut microbiota, with potential beneficial effects on conditions of inflammatory origin, as commonly experienced by aged and obese individuals, as well as improvements in gut-brain-axis communication.”



Researchers argue health care systems should use 'food as medicine' interventions

University of North Carolina, August 25, 2020

An analysis recently published in the British Medical Journal argues for increased implementation of "food is medicine" interventions in the health care system. The article was co-authored by Seth A. Berkowitz, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, who mostly recently argued in the New England Journal of Medicine that food insecurity is known to be a health equity issue that disproportionately affects racial/ethnic minorities and those with lower incomes and rural communities. Thus, food insecurity is now playing a big role in the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health outcomes.

Berkowitz has conducted a number of studies on health-related social needs and their effect on health outcomes, published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Sarah Downer, JD, from the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School is the first author of the BMJ study, along with Timothy Harlan, MD, at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dana Lee Olstad, Ph.D., at the Cumming School of Medicine at University of Calgary, and Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, MPH, DrPH, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

The world is facing an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases with one in five deaths attributed to a suboptimal diet, more than any other risk factor including tobacco, according to the authors. An emerging body of research suggests that nutrition interventions delivered in the health care system may be associated with improved outcomes.

"Food is medicine" is an initiative around integrating specific food and nutrition interventions in, or closely coordinated with, the health care system. These interventions include medically tailored meals, medically tailored groceries, and produce prescriptions. According to the authors, clinicians should be knowledgeable enough to recognize a patient's nutritional needs and understand the impact of available services. However, this is not the case in many countries, including the United States.

"Nutrition training delivered across disciplines holds the promise of more effective patient nutrition education and treatment," the authors write. "Clinicians should have familiarity with validated nutrition assessment tools, the range of availability food is medicine interventions, and the systems and incentive structures that enable and encourage their use in clinical practice."

The benefits of the approach include offering patients greater ability to follow dietary recommendations and alleviating budget constraints that might prevent them from affording medications or paying bills. They also suggest that with these interventions, clinicians might see better disease management and fewer hospital admissions.

"As health care systems continue to evolve to tackle the global crisis of nutrition related diseases, food is medicine interventions should be held to rigorous standards when decisions about implementation, coverage, and care are made," the authors write. "Food as medicine can no longer be excluded as outside or ancillary to health care delivery."



Meta-analysis adds evidence to chromium supplementation’s glucose control benefits in diabetics

Lorestan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), August 25, 2020


A systematic review and meta-analysis published on July 27, 2020 in Pharmacological Research found reductions in fasting plasma glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c, a marker of long term glucose control) and insulin resistance in men and women with type 2 diabetes who supplemented with the mineral chromium. 

For their analysis, Omid Asbaghi of Lorestan University of Medical Sciences and colleagues selected 23 randomized, controlled trials that evaluated the effects of supplementing with chromium on various glycemic control indexes. Doses used in the studies ranged between 50 micrograms (mcg) and 1,000 mcg per day consumed from four to 25 weeks. Eleven of the trials evaluated a chromium dosage within a 400 to 600 mcg range. 

Analysis of 22 trials that reported fasting plasma glucose levels concluded that chromium supplementation was associated with an average reduction of 19.0 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in comparison with the placebo. Trials of at least 12 weeks duration were associated with a far greater average decrease of 58.74 mg/dL in association with chromium. 

Of the 14 trials that reported insulin levels, levels declined by an average of 1.7784 µIU/mL among subjects who received chromium compared to the placebo, with trials that lasted 12 weeks or longer associated with a decrease of 3.47 µIU/mL. 

For the 22 trials that reported HbA1c, supplementation with chromium was associated with an average decrease of 0.71%, which improved to a significant 1.70% reduction when trials of 12 weeks duration or more were examined. Homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) also decreased significantly among participants who received chromium. 

The authors observed that chromium plays a role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and may enhance insulin sensitivity. Other nutrients that have been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes include vitamins A, C, D and E, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

“Present systematic review and meta-analysis of all available published randomized trials up to 2020 found a significant reduction in all glycemic control indices such as fasting plasma glucose, insulin, HbA1c and HOMA-IR levels after chromium supplementation,” they wrote. “Furthermore, long term intervention contributed to greater reduction of all mentioned indices.”

“The results of the current meta‐analysis study might support the use of chromium supplementation for the improvement of glycemic control indices in T2DM patients,” they concluded.



Children raised in greener areas have higher IQ, study finds

Research also found lower levels of difficult behavior in rich and poor neighborhoods

Hasselt University (Belgium), August 25, 2020


Growing up in a greener urban environment boosts children’s intelligence and lowers levels of difficult behaviour, a study has found.

The analysis of more than 600 children aged 10-15 showed a 3% increase in the greenness of their neighbourhood raised their IQ score by an average of 2.6 points. The effect was seen in both richer and poorer areas.

There is already significant evidence that green spaces improve various aspects of children’s cognitive development but this is the first research to examine IQ. The cause is uncertain but may be linked to lower stress levels, more play and social contact or a quieter environment.

The increase in IQ points was particularly significant for those children at the lower end of the spectrum, where small increases could make a big difference, the researchers said.

“There is more and more evidence that green surroundings are associated with our cognitive function, such as memory skills and attention,” said Tim Nawrot, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Hasselt University in Belgium, where the study was conducted.

“What this study adds with IQ is a harder, well-established clinical measure. I think city builders or urban planners should prioritise investment in green spaces because it is really of value to create an optimal environment for children to develop their full potential.”

he study, published in the journal Plos Medicine, used satellite images to measure the level of greenness in neighbourhoods, including parks, gardens, street trees and all other vegetation.

The average IQ score was 105 but the scientists found 4% of children in areas with low levels of greenery scored below 80, while no children scored below 80 in areas with more greenery.

The benefits of more greenery that were recorded in urban areas were not replicated in suburban or rural areas. Nawrot suggested this may be because those places had enough greenness for all children living there to benefit.

Behavioural difficulties such as poor attention and aggressiveness were also measured in the children using a standard rating scale, and the average score was 46. In this case, a 3% rise in greenery resulted in a two-point reduction in behavioural problems, in line with previous studies.

The researchers took into account the wealth and education levels of the children’s parents, largely ruling out the idea that families who are better placed to support children simply have more access to green space.

Higher levels of air pollution are known to impair intelligence and childhood development but this factor was also ruled out as an explanation.

Instead, the scientists suggested lower noise levels, lower stress – as found in other research on green space benefits – and greater opportunities for physical and social activities may explain the higher IQ scores.

Dr Mathew White, an environmental psychologist at Exeter University in the UK, who was not part of the study team, praised the quality of the research.

“I’m always wary of the term intelligence as it has a problematic history and unfortunate associations,” he said. “But, if anything, this study might help us move away from seeing intelligence as innate – it could be influenced by environment, and I think that is much more healthy.”

White said it was reasonable to suggest more exercise and less stress as reasons for the higher IQ scores. “But I’m not sure why general intelligence should be improved by these things,” he said. “My guess is the intelligence measures are really picking up a child’s ability to concentrate and stick at a task, which has been shown in green space studies before.”

A study of children living in Barcelona, published in 2015, showed more green space was associated with better working memory and attention.

The researchers in the new study were able to account for many of the factors likely to affect IQ but data on the type of green space was not available. Previous work has shown this can be important, with trees giving more benefit to child development than farmland or scrubland, for example.

The team also did not have information on where the pupils attended school but most Belgian children go to nearby schools.

Five more ways to boost brainpower

1. Exercise

The link between physical activity, endorphins, and improved mental healthhas been well documented. But now, exercise has been proven to increase brainpower, with researchers at the University of Texas earlier this year finding that aerobic exercise improves blood flow to regions in the brain associated with memory.

2. Foods

Certain foods, especially oily fish, nuts and even chocolate, have been linked to improved brain performance. Oily fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, while nuts are a great source of vitamin E, and dark chocolate is rich with antioxidants.

3. Power naps

A good excuse for a midday nap can be that it is justified as an effective method of transforming brainpower for the better. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that in a study of 16 participants, those who had taken a 90-minute nap before performing a set of tasks had improved responses and improvement in processing information.

4. Meditation

Yoga, meditation and other types of mindful activity have become increasingly popular over recent years. Regardless of the trend, meditation in particular has been found to have a variety of neurological benefits. For instance, researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles found that long-term meditation can help the brain combat the effects of ageing.

5. Positive thinking

Positive thoughts, affirmations, and even “manifesting” have been hailed as a way to change life for the better, with the latter even gaining the endorsement of both Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey. But such activities also have a positive effect on the brain, with research suggesting that positive and happy thoughts can stimulate the growth of nerve connections and even increase attentiveness. 

D-ribose supplementation associated with reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness induced by exercise

Beijing Sport University (China), August 24, 2020


According to news reporting out of Beijing, People’s Republic of China, by NewsRx editors, research stated, “Previous investigations suggest that appropriate nutritional interventions may reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This study examined the effect of D-ribose supplementation on DOMS induced by plyometric exercise.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Beijing Sport University, “For the purpose of inducing DOMS, 21 untrained male college students performed a lower-limb plyometric exercise session that involved 7 sets of 20 consecutive frog hops with 90-s of rest between each set. Muscle soreness was measured with a visual analogue scale 1-h before, 24-h after, and 48-h after exercise. Subjects were then randomly placed into the D-ribose group (DRIB, n=11) and the placebo group (PLAC, n=10) to assure equivalent BMI and muscle soreness. After a 14-d washout/recovery period, subjects performed the same exercise session, with DRIB ingesting a 200 ml solution containing 15 g D-ribose 1-h before, 1-h, 12-h, 24-h, and 36-h after exercise, and PLAC ingesting a calorically equivalent placebo of the same volume and taste containing sorbitol and b-cyclodextrin. Muscle soreness and isokinetic muscle strength were measured, and venous blood was assessed for markers of muscle damage and oxidative stress 1-h before, 24-h and 48-h after exercise. In DRIB, muscle soreness after 24-h and 48-h in the second exercise session were significantly lower (p <0.01) than was experienced in the first exercise session. In the second exercise, blood-related markers of muscle soreness, including creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), myoglobin and malondialdehyde (MDA) in DRIB after 24-h were lower in DRIB after 24-h than in PLAC (MDA, p<0.05; rest outcomes, p<0.01). In addition, LDH and MDA in DRIB were significantly lower (p <0.01) after 24-h in DRIB than in PLAC. No difference was found in isokinetic muscle strength and oxidative stress markers, including superoxide dismutase and total antioxidant capacity, between DRIB and PLAC after 24-h and 48-h. D-ribose supplementation reduces muscle soreness, improves recovery of muscle damage, and inhibits the formation of lipid peroxides. Young adult males performing plyometric exercise are likely to realize a DOMS reduction through consumption of D-ribose in 15 g/doses both before (1-h) and after (1-h, 12-h, 24-h, 36-h) exercise.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “These results suggest that appropriately timed consumption of D-ribose may induce a similar alleviation of exercise-induced DOMS in the general public.”


Desperate Times for Pandemic Lead to... Ozone?

Case study in three patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia

MedPage Today August 24, 2020

Three patients present to a hospital emergency department in Ibiza, Spain, with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and respiratory failure and are given an unproven -- and possibly dangerous -- treatment: oxygen-ozone (O2-O3) therapy -- also called ozonated autohemotherapy, which has been used to treat gout and involves intravenous infusion of ozonated autologous whole blood.

The FDA has called ozone "a toxic gas with no known useful medical application."Furthermore, in April 2020a federal court entered a permanent injunction halting a purported "ozone therapy" center in Dallas from offering unproven treatments for COVID-19, after the company claimed that the treatments were able to "eradicate" the virus and were 95% effective in preventing the illness even for individuals who had tested positive.

As described in this case report, published on Aug. 17, 2020, of three patients in Spain, the clinicians drew 200 mL of autologous whole blood from the antecubital vein into a standard plastic disposable blood collection bag (certified SANO3 bag) with 35 mL of anticoagulant citrate dextrose solution. The team enriched the blood with 200 mL of gas mixture O2-Owith an ozone concentration of 40 μg/mL obtained using an ozone generator with CE0120 certificate type IIb. This was followed by reinfusion of the ozonized blood using the same vein over approximately 10 minutes.

Patient 1

Patient 1, a 49-year-old man, body mass index (BMI) of 31, reported having 1 week of ongoing abdominal pain, and that over the course of the previous day he had increasing shortness of breath. Examination finds a soft abdomen with no distension.

Upon auscultation of his chest, clinicians noted bilateral crackles with reduced air entry and ordered a computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest and abdomen, which identified lung infiltrates in both lungs, compatible with COVID-19 pneumonia. Laboratory tests show elevated levels of:

  • Ferritin (1,609 ng/mL)
  • D-dimer (1,900 ng/dL)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP, 17.3 mg/dL)
  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH, 536 IU/L)

Clinicians took a nasopharyngeal swab; real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis identified the sample as positive for viral RNA, and the man is admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Over the following 24 hours, his condition improves and he is transferred to the general ward.

However, during the following day, the patient's oxygen levels declined, followed by respiratory distress, with a PaO2/FiO2 [partial pressure of arterial oxygen/percentage of inspired oxygen] ratio of 235. Clinicians put the patient on a non-rebreather face mask with oxygen on FiO2 of 0.8, and noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is not required. An x-ray revealed diffuse bilateral infiltrates.

For the next 3 days, the patient received two sessions of ozone autohemotherapy daily q 12 hours. He had a rapid clinical response, as evidenced by a marked improvement in respiratory rate and an increased PaO2/FiO2 ratio, with decreased FiO2 to 0.31% (3 L) after 1 day. After 2 sessions of ozone therapy, the patient's ferritin levels dropped from over 2,000 to 246 ng/mL, and his D-dimer levels dropped from 1,900 to 323 ng/mL.

On day 4, the patient was discharged home.



Patient 2 

The second patient, a 61-year-old man, BMI of 29, presented a week after developing a persistent fever of over 39°C. He reported having long-standing hypertension and becoming progressively short of breath over the previous 2 days. Chest auscultation showed crackles with reduced air entry over the right hemithorax. CT of the chest–abdomen revealed right upper infiltrates suggestive of COVID-19 pneumonia. Baseline PaO2/FiO2 was 253.

Laboratory tests showed high levels of:

  • Ferritin (2,200 ng/mL)
  • D-dimer (3,660 ng/mL)
  • CRP (10 mg/dL)
  • LDH (816 IU/L)

The patient remained in the general ward, where he received oxygen at an FiO2 of 0.6 via face mask, and he did not require NIV.

For the following 2 days, he received two sessions of ozone autohemotherapy over a period of 24 hours. On day 3, clinicians noted a decline in the FiO2 of 0.31% (3 L) with improved PaO2 to 90 mmHg, and decreased levels of laboratory markers.

The patient was discharged home on day 3 after a total of four sessions of O2-O3therapy. Post-discharge, clinicians reported that the patient's LDH levels dropped from 816 U/L at baseline to 469 U/L by day 6 after the start of ozone therapy. Likewise, his CRP levels began falling progressively after initiation of ozone therapy, from 10 mg/dL at the time of presentation to approximately 4 mg/dL on day 3 and about 0 mg/dL on day 21.



Nicotinamide riboside increases aerobic performance in mice

State University of Campinas (Brazil), August 19, 2020


According to news originating from Limeira, Brazil, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Nicotinamide riboside (NR) acts as a potent NAD precursor and improves mitochondrial oxidative capacity and mitochondrial biogenesis in several organisms. However, the effects of NR supplementation on aerobic performance remain unclear.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), “Here, we evaluated the effects of NR supplementation on the muscle metabolism and aerobic capacity of sedentary and trained mice. Male C57BL/6 J mice were supplemented with NR (400 mg/Kg/day) over 5 and 10 weeks. The training protocol consisted of 5 weeks of treadmill aerobic exercise, for 60 min a day, 5 days a week. Bioinformatic and physiological assays were combined with biochemical and molecular assays to evaluate the experimental groups. NR supplementation by itself did not change the aerobic performance, even though 5 weeks of NR supplementation increased NAD levels in the skeletal muscle. However, combining NR supplementation and aerobic training increased the aerobic performance compared to the trained group. This was accompanied by an increased protein content of NMNAT3, the rate-limiting enzyme for NAD + biosynthesis and mitochondrial proteins, including MTCO1 and ATP5a. Interestingly, the transcriptomic analysis using a large panel of isogenic strains of BXD mice confirmed that the Nmnat3 gene in the skeletal muscle is correlated with several mitochondrial markers and with different phenotypes related to physical exercise. Finally, NR supplementation during aerobic training markedly increased the amount of type I fibers in the skeletal muscle.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Taken together, our results indicate that NR may be an interesting strategy to improve mitochondrial metabolism and aerobic capacity.”



The warning signs of a magnesium deficiency

NaturalHealth360, August 22, 2020

As a macronutrient crucial to good health, magnesium is no slouch. This powerful mineral takes part in about 300 enzyme activities going on in your body, impacting everything from protein synthesis to blood pressure regulation.

Magnesium is also vital to a number of energy-related functions, earning it the reputation as the body’s ‘energizer’. Surprising, to most people, magnesium is responsible for:

  • Bone development
  • Synthesis of DNA, RNA and the antioxidant glutathione
  • Plus, the active transport of potassium and calcium ions across cellular membranes, which is critical to such bodily functions as muscle contraction, nerve impulse conduction, and proper heart rhythm.

What are the warning signs of magnesium deficiency?

When your body is short of magnesium for an extended period of time, it takes a toll on your health. Signs of a magnesium deficiency include anxiety, irritability, weakness and fatigue, as well as a general feeling of energy depletion.

Many health experts warn that if you experience:

  • Ringing in the ears or hearing loss
  • Unexplained muscle cramps or tremors
  • Depression
  • Abnormal heart function
  • Or, kidney stones

You may be magnesium deficient. While these symptoms may seem vague, they shouldn’t be ignored and when other health concerns are ruled out, magnesium deficiency should be suspect.

While fatigue may be the prevailing symptom, a magnesium deficiency can wreak havoc inside your body. Research has shown that lowered levels of magnesium can cause red blood cells to become fragile, meaning fewer available to deliver much-needed oxygen to the body’s tissues.

In addition to red blood cell issues depleting the body of energy, lowered magnesium levels can decrease your body’s efficiency at using stored energy and optimizing calorie burn.  In addition, those with lower magnesium levels often experience a greater need for oxygen and an increased heart rate when exercising.

Because of its role in maintaining bone structure, magnesium deficiency has also been linked to brittle bones and osteoporosis, while its role in glycolysis can promote further insulin resistance among those suffering from diabetes and related metabolic disorders when insufficient levels are available.

Energize yourself by increasing your magnesium levels

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium in adults over 30 is 420 mg/day for men and 320 mg/day for women. Young adults should get about 400 mg/day for men and 310 mg/day for women.

And, while magnesium is widely available in leafy green vegetables, cereals and fruits, it’s estimated that between 68 and 75 percent of adults in the United States are magnesium deficient.

A diet rich in magnesium is the best way to ensure enough magnesium for optimal health, allowing for vital metabolic function, and promoting healthy bone structure and cardiovascular health.

Try to get five servings daily of magnesium rich foods, such as organic pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, Swiss chard and kale.  Getting adequate magnesium through the foods you eat provides a more steady supply of this vital macronutrient.

This is important since your body is frequently using its stores of magnesium – especially people with an active lifestyle.

Due to modern farming techniques, mineral-deprived soil quality and the consumption of processed foods – most people are getting only around 200 mg. of magnesium per day from their meals.  Dr. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD – an American neurosurgeon and a pioneer in pain medicine – says, “every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency.”

The Gary Null Show - 08.25.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.25.20

August 25, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.


Extract Reishi mushroom exerts suppressive effect on cervical cancer cell malignancy

Shandong University (China), August 21 2020


According to news reporting originating in Shandong, People’s Republic of China, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, “We aimed to explore whether ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide (GLP) from Reishi mushroons exhibits antitumor effect on cervical cancer cells. Different concentration of GLP was used to treat cervical cell.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from the Department of Pharmacy, “The data from cell counting kit-8 assay proved that the optimal working concentration and time of GLP were 200 mu g/mL and treated for 48 h. The transwell assay demonstrated that GLP could attenuate the invasion and migration abilities of cervical cancer cells. Moreover, flow cytometry illustrated that GLP could promote the apoptosis of cervical cancer cells and limit the cycle of cervical cancer cells. Western blot assay discovered that the expression of proapoptosis proteins including Bax, Cleaved Caspases 3 and 9 increased and the antiapoptosis protein Bcl-2 decreased after treated with GLP. Moreover, we found that the expression of E-cadherin was increased, and N-cadherin, Vimentin, and Slug were decreased. Meanwhile, the expression of phosphorylated-JAK and phosphorylated-STAT5 was also decreased in cervical cancer cells treated by GLP, suggesting the inhibitory effect on JAK/STAT5 pathways.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “All of these data illustrated that GLP could alleviate the activity and aggressiveness, block the cell cycle, and promote the apoptosis of cervical cancer cells, which were possible via inhibiting epithelial-mesenchymal and JAK/STAT5 pathways.”



Low vitamin D and K levels associated with increased risk of mortality during 14.2-year median

Amsterdam University (Netherlands), August 24 2020. 


A study published on August 18, 2020 in the European Journal of Nutrition revealed a greater risk of premature mortality among men and women with decreased levels of vitamins D and K. 

“Nutritional deficiencies have been recognized as important contributors to disease and increased mortality,” wrote Adriana J. van Ballegooijen of Amsterdam University and her colleagues. “Previous analyses of our cohort indicated that sufficient vitamin D or K alone are associated with survival benefits and reduced cardiovascular disease.”

The study included 4,742 participants in the Prevention of REnal and Vascular ENd-Stage Disease (PREVEND) Study who provided plasma samples between 2001 and 2003 that were used to determine levels of vitamins D and K. Vitamin D insufficiency was defined as levels lower than 20 nanograms per milliliter and low vitamin K was defined as having a dephosphorylated uncarboxylated matrix Gla protein (dp-ucMGP) level of less than 361 picomoles per liter. Mortality data was collected through the end of 2016.

During a median follow-up period of 14.2 years, there were 620 deaths, among which 142 were caused by cardiovascular disease. Among the 970 participants with low levels of vitamins D and K there was a 46% greater risk of dying during follow-up in comparison with participants who had higher levels of both vitamins. An increased risk of cardiovascular events and mortality was also observed for the low vitamin D and K group, although the researchers did not determine the increase to be significant.

“Combined low vitamin D and K status are associated with increased all-cause mortality risk and possibly with cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular events compared with adequate vitamin D and K status,” they concluded. “Future studies should investigate the effect of combined vitamin D and K supplementation on clinical outcomes.”



Gallic acid improves recognition memory and decreases oxidative-inflammatory damage in hippocampi of rats with metabolic syndrome

Benemerita Autonomous University of Puebla (Mexico), August 24, 2020


According to news reporting originating from Puebla, Mexico, correspondents, research stated, “Metabolic syndrome (MS) results from excessive consumption of high-calorie foods and sedentary lifestyles. Clinically, insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension are observed.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the Benemerita Autonomous University of Puebla, “MS has been considered a risk factor in the development of dementia. In the brain, a metabolically impaired environment generates oxidative stress and excessive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines that deteriorate the morphology and neuronal function in the hippocampus, leading to cognitive impairment. Therapeutic alternatives suggest that phenolic compounds can be part of the treatment for neuropathies and metabolic diseases. In recent years, the use of Gallic Acid (GA) has demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that contribute to neuroprotection and memory improvement in animal models. GA is a type of phenolic acid found in gallnutssumacwitch hazeltea leaves, oak bark, and other plants.  However, the effect of GA on hippocampal neurodegeneration and memory impairment under MS conditions is still unclear. In this work, we administered GA (20mg/kg) for 60 days to rats with MS. The results show that GA treatment improved zoometric and biochemical parameters, as well as the recognition memory, in animals with MS. Additionally, GA administration increased hippocampal dendritic spines and decreased oxidative stress and inflammation. Our results show that GA treatment improves metabolism: reducing the oxidative and inflammatory environment that facilitates the recovery of the neuronal morphology in the hippocampus of rats with MS.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Consequently, the recognition of objects by these animals, suggesting that GA could be used therapeutically in metabolic disorders that cause dementia.”



Melatonin linked to improved brain function in child concussion

University of Queensland (Australia), August 19, 2020

Melatonin could improve brain functions related to sleep quality in children recovering from concussion, according to a University of Queensland study.

Using the latest brain mapping techniques, researchers examined Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans from 62 children before and after taking melatonin or a placebo in a randomized clinical trial.

Child Health Research Center's Dr. Kartik Iyer said the study revealed that concussed children who received 3mg or 10mg of melatonin over a four-week period experienced significant improvement in whole-brain function and gray matter—brain regions which are essential for sleep control and cognition.

Dr. Iyer said the MRI scans enabled the team to rapidly assess millions of neural connections to help guide treatment response.

"We identified a specific 'network' of brain connections that positively responded to melatonin treatment, compared with placebo," Dr. Iyer said.

"The results suggest melatonin, when taken by children with concussion, compensated for normal brain functions that may have been interrupted due to injury."

One of the most common complaints after childhood concussion is sleep disturbance and fatigue, which can persist for years.

Dr. Iyer said this could have a detrimental effect on brain function and anatomy and potentially hinder progress to normal development.

"A good night's sleep is essential for children as it allows them to consolidate what they've learned throughout the day and restore energy for the day ahead," he said.

"Our study shows that melatonin, when taken orally over several weeks, may reduce sleep disturbances and improve sleep quality."

However the team found solving sleep problems may only be part of the answer in aiding recovery.

"A surprising aspect of the study was that not all children made a full recovery from concussion just by taking melatonin," Dr. Iyer said.

"Even though increases in brain functions and gray matter corresponded with decreases in sleep disturbance and fatigue, the supplement didn't resolve other common concussion symptoms such as memory problems, anxiety and depression."

Parents are advised to consult their doctor or neurologist if their child is having sustained sleeping problems following a concussion to assess their suitability for short-term use of melatonin.

This paper was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.


Yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation bring specific benefits for veterans

Medical Care supplement presents progress report on efforts to implement complementary and integrative health therapies at the VA

Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital and Brown University, August 24, 2020 


 Three popular complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapies - yoga, tai chi, and meditation - lead to significant improvements in key outcomes perceived by Veterans receiving care in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) system, suggests a study in a special September supplement to Medical Care. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

"[O]ur study showed that meditation, tai chi, and yoga appear to improve overall physical and mental health and reduced perceived stress," according to the new research, led by Dr. A. Rani Elwy of the VA Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass, and an Associate Professor in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. 

Published today, the special issue of Medical Care documents progress toward implementing CIH therapies throughout the VA system - part of efforts to promote a "Whole Health" approach in VA care. As required by the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), the VA has expanded research and education on CIH programs, focusing on the impact on pain, mental health, and chronic illness.

Improvements in Patient-Reported Outcomes with CIH Therapies Dr. Elwy and colleagues performed a 12-month survey study to examine the impact on CIH therapies on 119 veteran's self-reported health and well-being. These Veterans completed 401 surveys over five different time point during the study. The surveys focused on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) - an important target for efforts to improve healthcare, focusing on the most important problems and outcomes identified by patients themselves. 

Overall, Veterans in the study reported using 14 different CIH therapies. Yoga was the most popular, with nearly half of Veterans participating. This was followed by meditation, acupuncture, and tai chi. Three CIH therapies were associated with significant improvements in PROs:

  • Yoga was related to decreases in perceived stress.
  • Tai chi was linked to improvements in overall physical and mental health functioning, anxiety levels, and ability to participate in social role activities.
  • Meditation was also associated with improvements in physical functioning.

None of the CIH therapies resulted in improvement in Veterans' pain intensity or level of engagement in their health care. Larger studies with longer follow-up times may be needed to show significant effects on these outcomes, according to Dr. Elwy and coauthors. They conclude: "It is time to focus on health and well-being, as defined by Veterans, and reaching these goals must include participation in CIH treatment approaches."

More Progress in CIH Implementation and Research at the VA Titled The Implementation of Complementary and Integrative Health Therapies in the Veterans Health Administration, the new supplement presents 11 original research papers and commentaries on the VA's progress in implementing and evaluating the impact of CIH therapies on Veterans' health outcomes. Dr. Elwy and Dr. Stephanie L. Taylor of the HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation, and Policy, Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center are the supplement Guest Editors.

The special issue papers address strategies to build support for and implement CIH programs, to evaluate their effectiveness, and to promote their long-term sustainability. "We already know that CIH therapies are effective for the treatment of Veterans' chronic pain, posttraumatic stress, depression, and other chronic conditions," Drs. Elwy and Taylor write. "Now we need to develop, test, and use effective strategies to increase CIH use and sustainment."

In a commentary, Alison Whitehead and Dr. Benjamin Kligler of the VA Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation state: "As the VA continues to develop new and better ways of making CIH approaches available to all Veterans, and to collect data on the outcomes of this expanded access for Veterans and employees, we hope to demonstrate to the rest of the U.S. healthcare system how an emphasis on whole person care and self-management skills should become the new standard across the industry."


Excessive fructose consumption may cause a leaky gut, leading to fatty liver disease

University of California at San Diego, August 24, 2020


Excessive consumption of fructose -- a sweetener ubiquitous in the American diet -- can result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is comparably abundant in the United States. But contrary to previous understanding, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that fructose only adversely affects the liver after it reaches the intestines, where the sugar disrupts the epithelial barrier protecting internal organs from bacterial toxins in the gut.

Developing treatments that prevent intestinal barrier disruption, the authors conclude in a study published August 24, 2020 in Nature Metabolism, could protect the liver from NAFLD, a condition that affects one in three Americans.

"NAFLD is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the world. It can progress to more serious conditions, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and death," said senior author Michael Karin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "These findings point to an approach that could prevent liver damage from occurring in the first place."

Fructose consumption in the U.S. has skyrocketed since the 1970s and the introduction of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a cheaper sugar substitute that is broadly used in processed and packaged foods, from cereals and baked goods to soft drinks. Multiple studies in animals and humans have linked increased HFCS consumption with the nation's obesity epidemic and numerous inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, currently regulates it similar to other sweeteners, such as sucrose or honey, and advises only moderation of intake.

The new study, however, defines a specific role and risk for HFCS in the development of fatty liver disease. "The ability of fructose, which is plentiful in dried figs and dates, to induce fatty liver was known to the ancient Egyptians, who fed ducks and geese dried fruit to make their version of foie gras," said Karin.

"With the advent of modern biochemistry and metabolic analysis, it became obvious that fructose is two to three times more potent than glucose in increasing liver fat, a condition that triggers NAFLD. And the increased consumption of soft drinks containing HFCS corresponds with the explosive growth in NAFLD incidence."

Fructose is broken down in the human digestive tract by an enzyme called fructokinase, which is produced both by the liver and the gut. Using mouse models, researchers found that excessive fructose metabolism in intestinal cells reduces production of proteins that maintain the gut barrier -- a layer of tightly packed epithelial cells covered with mucus that prevent bacteria and microbial products, such as endotoxins, from leaking out of the intestines and into the blood.

"Thus, by deteriorating the barrier and increasing its permeability, excessive fructose consumption can result in a chronic inflammatory condition called endotoxemia, which has been documented in both experimental animals and pediatric NAFLD patients," said the study's first author Jelena Todoric, MD, PhD, a visiting scholar in Karin's lab.

In their study, Karin, Todoric and colleagues from universities and institutions around the world, found that leaked endotoxins reaching the liver provoked increased production of inflammatory cytokines and stimulated the conversion of fructose and glucose into fatty acid deposits. 

"It is very clear that fructose does its dirty work in the intestine," said Karin, "and if intestinal barrier deterioration is prevented, the fructose does little harm to the liver."

The scientists noted that feeding mice with high amounts of fructose and fat results in particularly severe adverse health effects. "That's a condition that mimics the 95th percentile of relative fructose intake by American adolescents, who get up to 21.5 percent of their daily calories from fructose, often in combination with calorie-dense foods like hamburgers and French fries," Karin said. 

Interestingly, the research team found that when fructose intake was reduced below a certain threshold, no adverse effects were observed in mice, suggesting only excessive and long-term fructose consumption represents a health risk. Moderate fructose intake through normal consumption of fruits is well-tolerated. 

"Unfortunately, many processed foods contain HFCS and most people cannot estimate how much fructose they actually consume," said Karin. "Although education and increased awareness are the best solutions to this problem, for those individuals who had progressed to the severe form of NAFLD known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, these findings offer some hope of a future therapy based on gut barrier restoration."


What are the health risks of low glutathione levels

Natural Health 365,  August 18, 2020


Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, chronic disease continues to exert a lethal toll in the United States. Close to 650,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, while the CDC reports that cancer is expected to claim over 600,000 lives in 2020 alone. In addition, 5.7 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, the number one form of dementia among older adults (and the sixth leading cause of death). Now, peer-reviewed research reveals a common thread connecting these illnesses – virtually all people suffering from these health issues exhibit low levels of glutathione.

Clearly, glutathione – famously referred to as, the “master antioxidant” – plays an important role in health and longevity.  Today, we’ll focus on how to renew and replenish stores of this wonderful substance.

Warning: Glutathione shortfalls linked with virtually all chronic health issues

Scientists credit glutathione with the ability to attack viruses and bacteria, neutralize harmful free radicals, boost the immune system, fight inflammation, arrest the growth of cancer cells and combat heart disease.

Unsurprisingly, having low glutathione can have serious health consequences.

In fact, there are many integrative healthcare providers that warn the public about the health dangers associated with low glutathione levels.  Simply put, if you’re dealing with blood sugar imbalances, autoimmune disorders or poor brain function, being low in glutathione could be the reason for your health challenges.

In a study published in The Lancet, researchers reported that elderly people demonstrated lower glutathione levels than younger individuals.  And, levels declined with age and state of health.In people who were both ill and elderly, levels were even lower – and were at the lowest in the hospitalized elderly.

Warning: Glutathione deficiency is a massive threat to cellular health

In a 2013 review published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists concluded that Alzheimer’s disease may be triggered by oxidative stress in the brain resulting from decreased levels of glutathione.

Research has also shown that low levels of glutathione can set the stage for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

A review published in PLOS One reported that diabetic patients had lower levels of glutathione when compared to a control group. And, abnormal glutathione metabolism was more pronounced in patients with microvascular complications from diabetes.

As with the Alzheimer’s disease study, the scientists concluded that glutathione plays a key role in preventing health issues and reducing oxidative stress.

Significantly, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology found that elderly subjects with diagnoses of arthritis, diabetes or heart disease had significantly lower glutathione levels than subjects who were healthy.

Natural ways to build up your glutathione levels

Obviously, deficiencies should be avoided at all costs.  But, a wide variety of factors can drain stores of precious glutathione, leaving us at risk for health problems.

Glutathione-robbing culprits include poor nutrition, exposure to environmental toxins, alcohol use, smoking, infections, sedentary lifestyle and chronic stress.

In addition, common pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs – including acetaminophen and antibiotics – can contribute to low glutathione.

What can we do to restore levels?

The subject of oral glutathione supplementation is somewhat controversial, as some scientists maintain that the compound is broken down too quickly in the digestive tract to be of real benefit. If you do choose to supplement with glutathione, a liposomal formulation is probably your best bet.

Natural health experts typically recommend glutathione dosages of 500 to 1,000 mg a day. As always, check with your integrative doctor before supplementing, especially if you’re not feeling well.

You can boost glutathione levels by consuming foods that are high in cysteine, one of glutathione’s “building blocks.”  These include cruciferous vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, as well as allium vegetables such as garlic, onions and leeks.

Other foods that can raise glutathione include asparagus, avocados and bioactive whey protein made from non-denatured proteins.  In addition, in terms of helping to replish glutathione levels, you may want to consider taking milk thistle, N-acetyl cysteine, alpha lipoic acid and vitamin C.

Remember: in these challenging times, it’s important to keep antioxidant levels “fully charged.”  There is no better way to accomplish this than by optimizing your glutathione levels.


No safe level of caffeine consumption for pregnant women and would-be mothers

Reykjavik University (Iceland), August 24, 2020

Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should be advised to avoid caffeine because the evidence suggests that maternal caffeine consumption is associated with negative pregnancy outcomes and that there is no safe level of consumption, finds an analysis of observational studies published in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine.

Caffeine is probably the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in history, and many people, including pregnant women consume it on a daily basis.

Pregnant women have been advised that consuming a small amount of caffeine daily will not harm their baby. The UK NHS, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) set this level at 200 mg caffeine, which approximates to roughly two cups of moderate-strength coffee per day.

This study undertook a review of current evidence on caffeine-related pregnancy outcomes, to determine whether the recommended safe level of consumption for pregnant women is soundly based.

Through database searches, Professor Jack James, of Reykjavik University, Iceland, identified 1,261 English language peer-reviewed articles linking caffeine and caffeinated beverages to pregnancy outcomes.

These were whittled down to 48 original observational studies and meta-analyses published in the past two decades reporting results for one or more of six major negative pregnancy outcomes: miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and/or small for gestational age, preterm birth, childhood acute leukaemia, and childhood overweight and obesity.

A total of 42 separate findings were reported in 37 observational studies; of these 32 found that caffeine significantly increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and 10 found no or inconclusive associations. Caffeine-related risk was reported with moderate to high levels of consistency for all pregnancy outcomes except preterm birth.

Eleven studies reported on the findings of 17 meta-analyses, and in 14 of these maternal caffeine consumption was associated with increased risk for four adverse outcomes: miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and/or small for gestational age, and childhood acute leukaemia. The three remaining meta-analyses did not find an association between maternal caffeine consumption and preterm birth.

No meta-analyses looked at the association between maternal caffeine consumption and childhood overweight and obesity, but four of five observational studies reported significant associations.

This is an observational study, so can't establish causation, and the author points out that the results could be impacted by other confounding factors, such as recall of caffeine consumption, maternal cigarette smoking and most importantly pregnancy symptoms. Pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy are predictive of a healthy pregnancy and women who experience them are likely to reduce their caffeine intake.

But he adds that the dose-responsive nature of the associations between caffeine and adverse pregnancy outcomes, and the fact some studies found no threshold below which negative outcomes were absent, supports likely causation rather than mere association.

Professor James concludes that there is "substantial cumulative evidence" of an association between maternal caffeine consumption and diverse negative pregnancy outcomes, specifically miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and/or small for gestational age, childhood acute leukaemia and childhood overweight and obesity, but not preterm birth.

As a result, he adds, current health recommendations concerning caffeine consumption during pregnancy are in need of "radical revision."

"Specifically, the cumulative scientific evidence supports pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy being advised to avoid caffeine," he says.


The Gary Null Show - 08.24.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.24.20

August 24, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.

Pea protein-derived tripeptide shows bone-building potential

University of Alberta, August 21, 2020


According to news originating from Edmonton, Canada, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Osteoporosis is a bone disease affecting more than 2 million people comprising 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in Canada. One possible approach to prevent this disease is to stimulate the activity of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) using food protein-derived bioactive peptides.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the University of Alberta, “In our previous study, an ACE inhibitory tripeptide LRW (Leu-Arg-Trp) was identified from pea protein. This work aims to investigate the effect of tripeptide LRW on promoting osteoblastic activity. The tripeptide LRW treatment (50 mM) in MC3T3-E1 cells increased cell proliferation (4-fold increase) as indicated by BrdU incorporation assay. Moreover, we found that tripeptide LRW stimulated osteoblastic differentiation by increasing the levels of type 1 collagen (COL1A2; 3-fold increase), alkaline phosphatase (ALP; 4-fold increase), and runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2; 2-fold increase) and the activation of the protein kinase B (Akt) signaling pathway. Furthermore, tripeptide LRW increased matrix mineralization as evidenced by Alizarin-S red staining and nodule formation, osteoprotegerin levels (OPG; 2-fold increase), and wound healing based on cell migration assay.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Overall, pea protein-derived bioactive peptide LRW can positively modulate the activity of osteoblasts probably via the Akt/Runx2 pathway, indicating its potential use for the prevention of osteoporosis.”


Yoga linked with improved symptoms in heart patients

SMS Hospital (India), August 24, 2020


Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder. One in four middle-aged adults in Europe and the US will develop the condition, which causes 20-30% of all strokes and increases the risk of death by 1.5-fold in men and 2-fold in women. Reduced quality of life is common, and 10-40% of patients are hospitalised each year.2 

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include palpitations, racing or irregular pulse, shortness of breath, tiredness, chest pain and dizziness.

"The symptoms of atrial fibrillation can be distressing. They come and go, causing many patients to feel anxious and limiting their ability to live a normal life," said study author Dr. Naresh Sen of HG SMS Hospital, Jaipur, India.

This study investigated whether yoga could ease symptoms in patients with atrial fibrillation. The study enrolled 538 patients in 2012 to 2017. Patients served as their own controls. For 12 weeks they did no yoga, then for 16 weeks patients attended 30-minute yoga sessions every other day which included postures and breathing. During the yoga period, patients were also encouraged to practice the movements and breathing at home on a daily basis.

During both study periods, symptoms and episodes of atrial fibrillation were recorded in a diary. Some patients also wore a heart monitor to verify atrial fibrillation episodes. Patients completed an anxiety and depression survey3 and a questionnaire4 assessing their ability to do daily activities and socialise, energy levels and mood. Heart rate and blood pressure were also measured. The researchers then compared outcomes between the yoga and non-yoga periods.

During the 16-week yoga period, patients experienced significant improvements in all areas compared to the 12-week non-yoga period. For example, during the non-yoga period, patients experienced an average of 15 symptomatic episodes of atrial fibrillation compared to eight episodes during the yoga period. Average blood pressure was 11/6 mmHg lower after yoga training.

Dr. Sen said: "Our study suggests that yoga has wide-ranging physical and mental health benefits for patients with atrial fibrillation and could be added on top of usual therapies."



Supplementing with fish oil can boost the benefits of resistance training for patients with sarcopenia

New Mexico State University, August 21, 2020


A study published in the journal Sports found that taking fish oil supplements can enhance the effects of resistance training among people with sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss.

Researchers found that resistance training can help with muscle loss. But when coupled with fish oil supplementation, blood pressure also dropped, boosting the benefits of the exercise.

These findings could help medical professionals develop intervention programs for adults with sarcopenia, as well as those with hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions.

“Overall, our findings would provide meaningful implications for future clinical research to develop effective intervention programs for enhancing functional independence as well as cardiovascular health in older populations,” the researchers wrote.

Fish oil supplements lower blood pressure levels

Muscle loss leads to reduced strength. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2011–2012 estimated that about five percent of adults aged 60 and over had weak muscle strength. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention links muscle weakness to impaired mobility and mortality in older adults. Thus, it is important to prevent or slow down muscle loss.

In the study, the researchers examined the effects of daily fish oil supplementation during 12 weeks of programmed resistance training on physical function and blood pressure.

They sampled 28 healthy older adults with aged 66 years and above. Eighteen of the participants were female, while the rest were male. They were randomly assigned to either a group that had resistance training and fish oilsupplementation, a group that had resistance training and placebo capsules, or a group that had placebo capsules but no training.

The team conducted tests at baseline and 12 weeks later, which measured hand-grip strength, physical function, timed up and go, six-minute walk and blood pressure.

Results show that the two experimental groups displayed improvements in physical function while the control group performed poorer in time up and go and decreased their hand-grip strength. Meanwhile, only the group that had both resistance training and fish oil supplementation lowered their blood pressure levels, suggesting that the fish oil capsules have positive effects on blood pressure.

Given these findings, the researchers concluded that resistance training and fish oil could be used as a therapeutic intervention for boosting muscular and vascular health, respectively.

Harry Rice, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs for the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s, said that the benefits of exercise on health have been known for years.

But he added, “What’s really exciting about the results from the current research is that they suggest the addition of fish oil can boost those benefits.” Rice was not part of the study.



A healthy lifestyle for cardiovascular health also promotes good eye health

Texas Tech University Health Sciences, August 20, 2020 


In a new study, investigators found that ideal cardiovascular health, which is indicative of a healthy lifestyle, was associated with lower odds for ocular diseases especially diabetic retinopathy. These findings appearing in the American Journal of Medicine, published by Elsevier, suggest that interventions to prevent cardiovascular diseases may also hold promise in preventing ocular diseases. 

Globally, about 2.2 billion people suffer from ocular diseases leading to vision impairment or blindness. Approximately half of these cases could have been prevented. The leading causes of vision impairment or blindness are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma. 

"Earlier studies have observed associations between eye diseases and individual lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, or hypertension," explained lead investigator Duke Appiah, PhD, MPH, Department of Public Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, USA. "It is known that these metrics of ideal cardiovascular health do not work alone and may interact additively to result in diseases. However, prior to our research, no other studies have comprehensively evaluated the association of all of the metrics of ideal cardiovascular health with ocular diseases."

Most ocular diseases show few symptoms at early stages and many people may not seek medical care despite readily available treatments. A recent online nationwide survey consisting of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States conducted by the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine showed that 88 percent of the 2,044 respondents considered good vision to be vital to overall health with 47 percent of them rating losing their vision as the worst disease that could ever happen to them. Alarmingly, 25 percent did not have any knowledge about ocular diseases and their risk factors.

This research shows that following healthy lifestyle and behavior habits can all contribute to good cardiovascular health as assessed by adherence to the American Heart Association's prescription for health metric known as Life's Simple Seven (LS7). LS7 is based on the status of seven cardiovascular disease risk factors: not smoking, regular physical activity, healthy diet, maintaining normal weight, and controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. 

Practicing these healthy lifestyles together was found to be associated with lower odds for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma. Individuals with optimal cardiovascular health had 97 percent lower odds for diabetic retinopathy compared to individuals with inadequate cardiovascular health. 

Investigators evaluated data from 6,118 adults aged 40 or more years old who took part in the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The average age of participants was 57 years old, 53 percent of whom were women. A one unit increase in LS7 scores was associated with reduced odds for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. 

"Overall, we believe that primary prevention and early detection approaches of ocular diseases are important, considering that over half of all deaths from ocular diseases and cardiovascular diseases are known to be preventable," commented co-investigators Noah De La Cruz, MPH, and Obadeh Shabaneh, MPH, both from the Department of Public Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, USA.

Since there is a significant overlap of the risk factors for ocular diseases and cardiovascular disease, the investigators recommended that screening for ocular diseases be incorporated into existing clinical and population-based screenings for cardiovascular diseases.

"We hope that our study findings will encourage adherence to healthy lifestyles in order to prevent these age-related diseases while also leading to increased collaborations between cardiologists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists in order to better prevent cardiovascular and ocular diseases," noted Dr. Appiah.




Influence of vitamin D supplementation on a baby's gut microbiome

Vitamin D supplementation is associated with compositional changes in a baby's microbiome at three months of age

University of Alberta, August 20, 2020


New research from the CHILD Cohort Study has shed light on the influence of vitamin D supplementation on a baby's developing gut microbiome. 

The study, published in the journal Gut Microbes, found that vitamin D supplementation is associated with compositional changes in a baby's microbiome--notably a lower abundance of the bacteria Megamonas--at three months of age.

"Vitamin D plays an important role in early life, supporting bone metabolism and the healthy development of a baby's immune system," said senior author Anita Kozyrskyj, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and a CHILD Cohort Study investigator. "Most infants in North America receive vitamin D, either as a supplement to breastfeeding or as an ingredient in commercial infant formulas, so we wanted to understand the association between vitamin D and the presence or abundance of key bacteria within a baby's intestinal tract."

The researchers examined fecal samples taken during home visits from 1,157 infants who are part of the CHILD Cohort Study--a national study that is following nearly 3,500 Canadian children from before birth to adolescence with the primary goal of discovering the root causes of allergies, asthma, obesity and other chronic diseases.

They found that direct vitamin D supplementation of infants with vitamin D drops was associated with a lower abundance of Megamonas, regardless of how a baby was fed (breastfed or formula fed). "While little is known about Megamonas in infancy, our previous research suggests there may be a link between this bacterium and asthma or respiratory viral infections, so vitamin D may offer additional benefits for childhood health that should be studied further," added Kozyrskyj, also a member of the Women and Children's Health Research Institute. 

The researchers also assessed the association between infant and maternal vitamin D supplementation and the presence of Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) in a baby's gut. "Some infants carry the diarrhea-causing bacterium C. difficile in their guts without any symptoms. However, when the levels of gut bacteria become imbalanced, this particular bacterium can multiply, causing illness and increasing the susceptibility to chronic disease later in childhood," commented first author Kelsea Drall, an MSc graduate from the U of A and an AllerGen trainee.

The study found that nearly 30 per cent of the infants carried C. difficile, but there was a lower incidence of the bacterium among exclusively breastfed infants. However, neither infant supplementation with vitamin D drops nor maternal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy or after delivery was associated with C. difficile colonization. "Interestingly, maternal consumption of vitamin D-fortified milk was the only factor that reduced the likelihood of C. difficile colonization in infants," added Drall. 

According to Kozyrskyj, an infant's gut microbiota undergoes rapid change in early life. Therefore, it is critical to understand the factors associated with microbial communities populating the infant gut during this key developmental period.

"Low vitamin D levels have been associated with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)--a common lung infection among infants--and more recently, susceptibility to COVID-19 disease," she pointed out. "In the CHILD Cohort Study, we have a unique opportunity to follow our study children as they get older to understand how microbial changes observed as a result of dietary interventions may be associated with later health outcomes such as asthma and viral infections."



Ashwagandha linked to better quality sleep and less anxiety

Prakruti Hospital (India), August 19, 2020

Ashwagandha, a prominent herb in traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda, continues to gain support from the medical community as studies find how beneficial the herb is for overall wellbeing and health. Previous studies have found the herb helps reduce cortisol levels and boosts testosterone levels in humans, and now researchers have found evidence the herb is linked to better quality sleep and reduced anxiety.

One new trial, published in the journal Cureus, discovered that among aging women and men, taking Ashwagandha improved sleep, mental alertness and overall quality of life. For centuries, the herb has been used to promote longevity, health, and rejuvenation, and this new research backs up its traditional use.

Older adults enjoyed improved sleep, mental alertness, and overall quality of life

The trial involved aging adults between age 65 and 80, and half were give ashwagandha root extract twice a day and the rest were given a placebo. The trial lasted for 12 weeks, and sleep quality, mental alertness, daytime sleepiness, and quality of life were all evaluated before the trial, at four weeks, at eight weeks, and at the end of the 12-week period.

Aging adults that were taking the ashwagandha root extra saw significant improvements in physical, social, quality of life, psychological, and environmental aspects of their lives compared to the placebo group. Mental alertness and sleep quality improved in those taking the supplement, too. Those taking ashwagandha tolerated it well, and it was considered beneficial and safe.

According to researchers, the study showed improved sleep and a significant improvement in quality of life for elderly individuals taking the extract. They believe taking ashwagandha root extract could be an excellent supplement for aging adults to boost general well-being and improve age-related health problems



Study concludes that treatment of children with asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis should include vitamin D3

Bogomolets National Medical University (Ukraine), August 21, 2020


According to news reporting out of Kyiv, Ukraine, research stated, “The aim:Tostudythedynamicsof thelevelof 25(ON)D, IL-4, IL-10, and IgG in the bloodserum of children with allergicdiseasesandtostudytheclinicaleffectof vitamin D3 administration n different dosage in this category of patients. Materials andmethods: 153 children aged 3-16 with such allergicdiseasesasbronchialasthma, atopicdermatitisandallergicrhinitis havebeen examined.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Bogomolets National Medical University, “The level of 25(ON) D was determined using the electrochemiluminescence method, while the levels of IL-4, IL-10 and IgG were assessed using enzyme-linked immunoassay. In the contrasting of the initial level of 25(ON)D in the blood serum of patients after administration of 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 over 2 months, after summer and after treatment with cholecalciferol in higherdoses (4,000-5,000 IU) over 2 months, significant difference wasestablishedbetween the indicators by the Friedman criterion (l2=41.211; p<0.05). In thesimilar contrasting of IL-4 indicators, a significant difference between them was traced (p <0.05) in the period of acute disease as well as the downward tendency in the period of remission. In the similar contrasting of IL-10 indicators, a significant difference between them was traced (p <0.05) in the acute period and in the period of disease remission. In the similar contrasting of IgG indicators, adownward tendency was tracedin theperiodof acutedisease and significantdecrease (p <0.05) -in the period of disease remission. In thecontrasting of 25(ON)D and IL-4, IL-10 figuresastrongreversecorrelation relationship was traced. The therapeutic effect of the administration of vitamin D3 medication in different doses in children with allergic diseases was traced.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The data obtained shows that in the treatment of children with bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis the complex therapy should include vitamin D3 medications in different doses within a long-term course of treatment.”


Cancer and its treatment may accelerate the aging process in young patients

University of North Carolina, August 24, 2020


A new study examines the effects of cancer and its treatment on the aging process. Investigators found that expression of a gene associated with aging is higher in young patients with cancer after treatment with chemotherapy and in young cancer survivors who are frail. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society (ACS). 

Previous research has shown that a protein called p16INK4a, which slows cell division, is produced at higher levels by cells as a person ages. Using expression of the gene that codes for p16INK4a as a marker of age, Andrew Smitherman, MD, MSc, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and his colleagues examined immune cells circulating in the blood of young adult survivors of childhood cancers and of children and adolescents newly diagnosed with cancer. 

The team first analyzed cells from 60 survivors and compared them with cells from 29 age-matched individuals without a history of cancer. Expression of the gene that codes for p16INK4a was higher in survivors than in controls, representing a 25-year age acceleration. Nine survivors were frail, and they had a higher level of expression compared with survivors who were not frail, representing a 35-year age acceleration.

The researchers also found that in the nine children and adolescents in the study who had a new diagnosis of cancer, expression was higher after treatment with chemotherapy than before treatment.

"Higher expression of p16INK4a in peripheral blood lymphocytes has been described in older adults following chemotherapy, but prior to this study, not in young adult survivors," said Dr. Smitherman. "This study is important as we try to understand the biological mechanisms underlying the manifestations of early aging in this population."

Dr. Smitherman noted that elevated p16INK4a expression as a marker of aging may help identify cancer survivors at risk for developing frailty and functional disability. "Additionally, expression of p16INK4a may prove useful as a measure to study treatments aimed at mitigating the early aging effects of cancer treatment," he said.

The Gary Null Show - 08.21.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.21.20

August 21, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.


The Gary Null Show - 08.20.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.20.20

August 20, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.

Intense light may boost heart health

A novel use of intense light therapy may help decrease the tissue damage experienced during heart attacks, reveals new research in mice. 

University of Colorado, August 19, 2020

The study, out of the University of Colorado and appearing in the journal Cell Reports, shows that exposing lab mice to intense light for a week improved their outcomes after heart attacks.

The research also suggests that this procedure could benefit humans, and the researchers outline the reason why.

“We already knew that intense light can protect against heart attacks, but now we have found the mechanism behind it,” says the study’s senior author Dr. Tobias Eckle, professor of anesthesiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.

Boosting specific gene protects heart

In the study, the researchers discovered that intense light influences the functions of the PER2gene, which is expressed by a part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms.

By boosting this gene through intense light therapy, the researchers discovered that the mice’s heart tissue received extra protection when it experienced issues with oxygen, such as during a heart attack.

Additionally, this intense light also heightened cardiac adenosine, which is a specialized chemical that helps with blood flow regulation. In concert, both benefits helped protect heart health.

Also, when they studied the mice, the researchers found that being able to physically perceive light was vital, as blind mice experienced no benefits from the intense light.

Humans had similar benefits

The next step was to see if humans could benefit from light therapy. The researchers worked with healthy human volunteers and exposed them to 30 minutes of intense light.

On five consecutive mornings, the researchers exposed the participants to 10,000 lumens of light and drew blood several times.

The researchers found that PER2 levels increased in response to light therapy in the human participants as it did in the mice. They also reported that the human volunteers saw a decreased level of plasma triglycerides and improved metabolism. 

Dr. Eckle explained that light plays an essential part in human health, not only in regulating the circadian rhythm but in cardiovascular health as well.

He adds that according to prior studies, more people throughout the U.S. experience heart attacks during the darker months of winter, even in states that traditionally get more sunshine, such as Hawaii and Arizona.


Study: Supplementation with curcumin offers benefits for patients with metabolic syndrome

Coventry University (UK) and Tehran University of Medical Sciences (Iran), August 19, 2020


A study published in the journal Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research and Review found that curcumin supplementation can help increase adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is said to help reduce the risk of cardiometabolic disease.

According to researchers from the United Kingdom and Iran, people with metabolic syndrome and metabolic disorders can benefit from taking curcumin supplements regularly. Curcumin is the main active component of turmeric, an herb that offers plenty of health benefits.

Increased levels of adiponectin through curcumin supplementation

Adiponectin is a hormone produced exclusively by adipocytes, or fat cells. It plays a role in insulin response and has anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, low blood levels of adiponectin are linked to cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance, obesity and dyslipidemia — a condition characterized by abnormal levels of lipids in the blood.

In the study, the researchers examined the effect of curcumin on blood adiponectin levels. They reviewed six randomized clinical trials on curcumin, in which 652 participants were included.

Data analysis revealed that, compared with a placebo, curcumin supplementation significantly raised adiponectin levels. In trials that lasted longer, the researchers observed greater effects on adiponectin.

“We were able to confirm the veracity of a number of independent studies, highlighting that curcumin supplementation, particularly when consumed for less than 10 weeks, may significantly increase adiponectin levels, even when controlling for numerous biological and sociological variables,” wrote the researchers.

People with metabolic syndrome, in particular, will find curcumin supplementation useful. Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity. 



Study finds physical activity is beneficial for health, and more intense activity is better

Cambridge University, August 18, 2020

Physical activity of any intensity is beneficial for health, but more intense activity has greater benefits, according to a new study published today in Nature Medicine. In the largest study to date of accelerometer-measured physical activity, a team led by researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge analyzed data from more than 96,000 UK Biobank participants.

Current physical activity guidelines from the UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that adults should aim to be active every day, and also that adults should undertake 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity (equivalent to a brisk walk) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running) every week. Previous research has shown that moderate and vigorous intensity activity confers greater health benefits than light intensity activity, but it has not been clear if this is because it makes a greater contribution to the total amount of physical activity, or if it has additional health benefits beyond this.

A challenge facing researchers has been that the low intensity, incidental movement that accumulates in the course of everyday activities is very hard to recall accurately, and consequently difficult to measure using questionnaires. Wearable devices have enabled better detection of this type of movement that makes up the majority of our daily physical activity, but until now have not been used on a large enough scale to determine if more intense activity makes a contribution to health, distinct from increasing total volume. 

The researchers used data from 96,476 middle-aged adults in Great Britain to investigate whether activity of moderate intensity or above contributed to a lower risk of death over and above its contribution to total volume of activity. These individuals wore a research-grade activity tracker on their dominant wrist for a week as part of their participation in the UK Biobank study. The researchers used the data on the duration and intensity of movement collected to calculate the total volume of activity, expressed as physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE). The researchers also determined the percentage of that volume that was achieved through moderate and vigorous intensity activity.

The UK Biobank participants had an average PAEE of 40 kJ/kg/day, a third of which was from activity of at least moderate intensity, again on average. Owing to the large scale of the study, there was much variation in the underlying intensity contributions to similar volume levels.

The researchers examined if physical activity levels were associated with the risk of death in the follow-up period of on average 3.1 years. During this time 732 of the 96, 476 participants died, though the researchers excluded those who died within the first year from their analysis, and took existing conditions such diabetes, heart disease, and cancer into account as these might reduce physical activity.

Expending more energy of any intensity was strongly associated with a lower risk of death over the following three years. Participants who accumulated 20 kJ/kg/day through physical activity were a third less likely to die compared to those who accumulated 15 kJ/kg/day, when the proportion from at least moderate intensity activity was 10% in both cases. The additional activity is the equivalent to a 35-minute stroll, with an extra two minutes at a brisker pace.

Those who accumulated 30 kJ/kg/day were about half as likely to die in the follow-up period compared to those who accumulated 15 kJ/kg/day, when the proportion from at least moderate intensity activity was 10% in both cases. However, if this volume of 30 kJ/kg/day included 30% from at least moderate intensity activity, then they were only about a quarter as likely to die. The difference between this scenario and the reference of 15 kJ/kg/day and 10% is equivalent to an hour's stroll plus 35 minutes at a brisker pace.

Dr. Tessa Strain of the MRC Epidemiology Unit, and lead author on the paper, said:

"Our results show that doing more activity of any intensity is beneficial, but that expending those calories in more intense activity is better still. By gradually building up the intensity of physical activity we do each day we can improve our future health."

Dr. Søren Brage, also at the MRC Epidemiology Unit and senior author on the paper, added:

"Our research shows how the use of wearable devices capable of measuring physical activity in large cohorts can help disentangle the roles of volume and intensity of activity in influencing future health. The availability of data from nearly 100,000 participants in UK Biobank, backed up by a series of validation studies, allowed us to compare the impact of activity intensity in groups with similar overall volumes of physical activity, and demonstrate that more intense physical activity has health benefits beyond just contributing to total activity volume. Our results also show that activity volumes accumulated almost exclusively through light activity could still halve the mortality risk. Taken together, this means that there are several different pathways to maintain good health and people can choose the path that works best for them."


High blood pressure during pregnancy may mean worse hot flashes during menopause

Mayo Clinic, August 19, 2020


Women with a history of high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy are more likely to experience bothersome menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, according to a study published Wednesday, Aug. 19, in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

"We already know that women with high blood pressure during pregnancy or those who experience menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats have a higher risk of developing heart disease. Our research discovered that women who experienced high blood pressure during pregnancy were much more likely to experience bothersome menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats during menopause," says Stephanie Faubion, M.D., the study's lead author. Dr. Faubion is the Penny and Bill George Director for Mayo Clinic's Center for Women's Health.

Researchers analyzed the medical records of 2,684 women ages 40 to 65 who were seen for specialty menopause or sexual health consultations at women's health clinics at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, between May 2015 and September 2019. All study participants completed a questionnaire in which they self-reported their menopause symptoms and effects of these symptoms on their quality of life. Study participants also completed questionnaires that documented whether they experienced high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.

Researchers discovered a significant association between women with a history of high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy who reported more bothersome menopausal symptoms. Women with this high blood pressure history using hormone therapy also reported more menopausal symptoms, compared to women with no history of high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy.

Dr. Faubion says more research is needed to understand why there is a link between high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy and more severe menopausal symptoms. But one thing is clear: Physicians need to do a better job monitoring women who experience high blood pressuring during pregnancy after they give birth.

"We know medical providers have historically done a lousy job identifying and following women with histories of high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy, despite knowing that they have a higher heart disease risk," says Dr. Faubion. "This study is another reminder that these women are different. It is important that they not only receive education with regard to what they may experience during menopause, but also that they undergo routine screenings and counseling on how they can reduce their risk for heart disease."


Oxidative stress a significant contributor to COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Justus-Liebig University (Germany), August 17, 2020


According to news reporting originating from Giessen, Germany, research stated, “Healthy ageing of the lung involves structural changes but also numerous cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic alterations. Among them are the age-related decline in central cellular quality control mechanisms such as redox and protein homeostasis.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, “In this review, we would like to provide a conceptual framework of how impaired stress responses in the ageing lung, as exemplified by dysfunctional redox and protein homeostasis, may contribute to onset and progression of COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). We propose that age-related imbalanced redox and protein homeostasis acts, amongst others (e.g. cellular senescence), as a ‘first hit’ that challenges the adaptive stress-response pathways of the cell, increases the level of oxidative stress and renders the lung susceptible to subsequent injury and disease. In both COPD and IPF, additional environmental insults such as smoking, air pollution and/or infections then serve as ‘second hits’ which contribute to persistently elevated oxidative stress that overwhelms the already weakened adaptive defence and repair pathways in the elderly towards non-adaptive, irremediable stress thereby promoting development and progression of respiratory diseases.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “COPD and IPF are thus distinct horns of the same devil, ‘lung ageing.”



Citrus fruits could help prevent obesity-related heart disease, liver disease, diabetes

Universidade Estadual Paulista  (Brazil), August 11, 2020 


Oranges and other citrus fruits are good for you—they contain plenty of vitamins and substances, such as antioxidants, that can help keep you healthy. Now a group of researchers reports that these fruits also help prevent harmful effects of obesity in mice fed a Western-style, high-fat diet.


The researchers are presenting their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world's largest scientific society, is holding the meeting here through Thursday. It features more than 9,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics.


"Our results indicate that in the future we can use citrus flavanones, a class of antioxidants, to prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity in humans," says Paula S. Ferreira, a graduate student with the research team.


More than one-third of all adults in the U.S. are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being obese increases the risk of developing heart disease, liver disease and diabetes, most likely because of oxidative stress and inflammation, Ferreira says. When humans consume a high-fat diet, they accumulate fat in their bodies. Fat cells produce excessive reactive oxygen species, which can damage cells in a process called oxidative stress. The body can usually fight off the molecules with antioxidants. But obese patients have very enlarged fat cells, which can lead to even higher levels of reactive oxygen species that overwhelm the body's ability to counteract them.


Citrus fruits contain large amounts of antioxidants, a class of which are called flavanones. Previous studies linked citrus flavanones to lowering oxidative stress in vitro and in animal models. These researchers wanted to observe the effects of citrus flavanones for the first time on mice with no genetic modifications and that were fed a high-fat diet.


The team, at Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in Brazil, conducted an experiment with 50 mice, treating them with flavanones found in oranges, limes and lemons. The flavanones they focused on were hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol. For one month, researchers gave groups either a standard diet, a high-fat diet, a high-fat diet plus hesperidin, a high-fat diet plus eriocitrin or a high-fat diet plus eriodictyol.


The high-fat diet without the flavanones increased the levels of cell-damage markers called thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) by 80 percent in the blood and 57 percent in the liver compared to mice on a standard diet. But hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol decreased the TBARS levels in the liver by 50 percent, 57 percent and 64 percent, respectively, compared with mice fed a high-fat diet but not given flavanones. Eriocitrin and eriodictyol also reduced TBARS levels in the blood by 48 percent and 47 percent, respectively, in these mice. In addition, mice treated with hesperidin and eriodictyol had reduced fat accumulation and damage in the liver.


"Our studies did not show any weight loss due to the citrus flavanones," says Thais B. Cesar, Ph.D., who leads the team. "However, even without helping the mice lose weight, they made them healthier with lower oxidative stress, less liver damage, lower blood lipids and lower blood glucose."

Ferreira adds, "This study also suggests that consuming citrus fruits probably could have beneficial effects for people who are not obese, but have diets rich in fats, putting them at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and abdominal obesity."


Next, the team will explore how best to administer these flavanones, whether in citrus juice, by consuming the fruit or developing a pill with these antioxidants. In addition, the team plans to conduct studies involving humans, Cesar says.



Researchers find link between gut microbiome and cancer treatment outcomes

Study highlights positive impact of microbial diversity on immunotherapy response and suggests that cancer patients should eat a high-fiber diet with fruits, vegetables and grains with resistant starches.

City of Hope Hospital, August 19, 2020


Physicians at City of Hope, working in collaboration with scientists at Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), have found that greater gut microbial diversity in patients with metastatic kidney cancer is associated with better treatment outcomes on Food and Drug Administration-approved immunotherapy regimens. Their findings are outlined in a study published today in the journal European Urology.

"We also reported the changes over time in the gut microbiome that occur during the course of therapy -- the cumulative findings from our report open the door to therapies directed at the microbiome," said Sumanta Pal, M.D., one of the study's senior authors and co-director of the Kidney Cancer Program at City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

The gut microbiome is composed of microbes like bacteria and viruses that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. In recent years, an increase in knowledge about the microbiome in relation to general health has led to deeper explorations of its role in disease states, as well as how the organisms may interact with treatments. 

"Previous studies have suggested a relationship between the gut microbiome and response to immunotherapy in solid tumors, including metastatic kidney cancer," said Nicholas Salgia, B.Sc., a clinical research assistant at City of Hope and the paper's lead author. "The results from our study build on earlier findings and reaffirm that the diversity and composition of patients' microbiomes are associated with clinical responses to anti-cancer therapies." 

The study, which collected data from 31 people with metastatic kidney cancer, features the first reports of comparing microbiome sequencing at different time points in cancer patients. Participants were asked to provide up to three stool samples: at baseline, four weeks into therapy and 12 weeks into therapy. 

Using the clinical trial results, the team was able to identify changes in the microbiome over time in kidney cancer patients receiving immunotherapy. The findings found that a greater variety of organisms was associated with a benefit to the patients, and also suggested that modulating the gut microbiome during the course of treatment may impact responses to therapy. 

"The patients with the highest benefit from cancer treatment were those with more microbial diversity, but also those with a higher abundance of a specific bacterium known as Akkermansia muciniphila," said Sarah Highlander, Ph.D., a research professor in TGen's Pathogen and Microbiome Division and one of the study's senior authors. "This organism has been associated with benefit in other immunotherapy studies." 

Highlander says one potential takeaway is that oncologists might encourage patients to pay attention to their gut microbiome by eating a high-fiber diet, including fruits and vegetables high in fructo-oligosaccharides such as bananas, dried fruit, onions, leeks, garlic, asparagus and artichokes, as well as grains with resistant starches such as barley or uncooked potato starch, for example.

Highlander says that next steps should include expanding the relatively small study to a much larger group of patients that are followed over a longer time period. At City of Hope, researchers have already embarked on a clinical trial to further explore the idea that modulating the microbiome during therapy could have an impact on clinical outcomes. 

"We have randomized patients with metastatic kidney cancer to receive a probiotic supplement in addition to an FDA-approved immunotherapy regimen or the immunotherapy alone," explained Salgia. "This work provided a strong framework for such a study." 

The collaborations between clinical experts at City of Hope and basic science colleagues at TGen have contributed to advancements in the understanding of not just the microbiome, but also in cancer biology and clinical outcomes at large. 

"Our strong relationship with the microbiome team at TGen has fruitfully produced novel insights into the clinical implications of the microbiome in kidney cancer, among other cancer types," said Pal, who is an internationally recognized leader in the area of genitourinary cancers. 

Just last month, City of Hope and TGen launched a project to use one of the world's most comprehensive genomic analysis tools to map out personalized treatment plans for metastatic kidney cancer patients.

"This current study is a further testament to the collaborative research structure we've developed between the affiliate institutions," said Pal. "Through these collaborations we can implement both a bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench research model that will lead to better patient care at City of Hope through access to clinical trials and precision medicine approaches."



Antiapoptotic effects of carotenoids in neurodegeneration

University of Alabama, August 17, 2020

According to news reporting out of the University of Alabama research stated, “Apoptosis, programmed cell death type I, is a critical part of neurodegeneration in cerebral ischemia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from University of Alabama: “Apoptosis begins with activation of pro-death proteins Bax and Bak, release of cytochrome c and activation of caspases, loss of membrane integrity of intracellular organelles, and ultimately cell death. Approaches that block apoptotic pathways may prevent or delay neurodegenerative processes. Carotenoids are a group of pigments found in fruits, vegetables, and seaweeds that possess antioxidant properties. Over the last several decades, an increasing number of studies have demonstrated a protective role of carotenoids in neurodegenerative disease. In this review, we describe functions of commonly consumed carotenoids including lycopene, b-carotene, lutein, astaxanthin, and fucoxanthin and their roles in neurodegenerative disease models.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “We also discuss the underlying cellular mechanisms of carotenoid-mediated neuroprotection, including their antioxidant properties, role as signaling molecules, and as gene regulators that alleviate apoptosis-associated brain cell death.”

The Gary Null Show - 08.19.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.19.20

August 19, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.

Multivitamin, mineral supplement linked to less-severe, shorter-lasting illness symptoms

Oregon State University, August 18, 2020


Older adults who took a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement with zinc and high amounts of vitamin C in a 12-week study experienced sickness for shorter periods and with less severe symptoms than counterparts in a control group receiving a placebo.

The findings by Oregon State University researchers were published in the journal Nutrients.

The research by scientists at OSU's Linus Pauling Institute involved 42 healthy people ages 55 to 75 and was designed to measure the supplement's effects on certain immune system indicators. It also looked at bloodstream levels of zinc and vitamins C and D while taking the supplement, as these micronutrients are important for proper immune function.

The immune indicators, including white blood cells' ability to kill incoming pathogens, were unaltered in the group receiving the supplement. 

The multivitamin group showedimproved vitamin C and zinc status in the blood. Most intriguingly, illness symptoms reported by this group were less severe and went away faster than those experienced by the placebo group. 

The same percentage of participants in each group reported symptoms, but days of sickness in the supplement group averaged fewer than three compared to more than six for the placebo group. 

"The observed illness differences were striking," said corresponding author Adrian Gombart, professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the OSU College of Science and a principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute. "While the study was limited to self-reported illness data and we did not design the study to answer this question, the observed differences suggest that additional larger studies designed for these outcomes are warranted - and, frankly, overdue."

As people get older, the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that contribute to age-related immune system deficiencies rises. Across the United States, Canada and Europe, research suggests more than one-third of older adults are deficient in at least one micronutrient, often more than one.

"That likely contributes to a decline in the immune system, most often characterized by increased levels of inflammation, reduced innate immune function and reduced T-cell function," Gombart said. "Since multiple nutrients support immune function, older adults often benefit from multivitamin and mineral supplements. These are readily available, inexpensive and generally regarded as safe."

The multivitamin supplement used in the study focused on vitamins and minerals typically thought to help immunity. It contained 700 micrograms of vitamin A; 400 international units of vitamin D; 45 milligrams of vitamin E; 6.6 milligrams of vitamin B6; 400 micrograms of folate; 9.6 micrograms of vitamin B12; 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C; 5 milligrams of iron; 0.9 milligrams of copper; 10 milligrams of zinc; and 110 micrograms of selenium.

"Supplementation was associated with significantly increased circulating levels of zinc and vitamin C, and with illness symptoms that were less severe and shorter lasting," Gombart said. "This supports findings that stretch back decades, even to the days of Linus Pauling's work with vitamin C. Our results suggest more and better designed research studies are needed to explore the positive role multivitamin and mineral supplementation might play in bolstering the immune system of older adults."



Honey found to be a better treatment for upper respiratory tract infections than traditional remedies

Oxford University, August 19, 2020

A trio of researchers at Oxford University has found that honey is a better treatment for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) than traditional remedies. In their paper published in BMJ Evidence-based Medicine, Hibatullah Abuelgasim, Charlotte Albury, and Joseph Lee describe their study of the results of multiple clinical trials that involved testing of treatments for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and what they learned from the data.

Over the past several years, the medical community has grown alarmed as bacteria have developed resistance to antibacterial agents. Some studies have found that over-prescription of such remedies is hastening the pace. Of particular concern are antibacterial prescriptions written for maladies that they are not likely to help, simply due to demands from patients. One such case is often URTIs, the vast majority of which are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Because of such cases, scientists have been looking for other remedies for these infections, and one therapy in particular has begun to stand out: honey.

Anecdotal evidence has suggested that honey can be used to treat colds in general and coughs in particular—people have been using it as a therapy for thousands of years. In this new effort, the researchers looked at the results of multiple clinical trials testing the effectiveness of therapies against URTIs. In all, the team looked at data from 14 clinical trials involving 1,761 patients.

In analyzing the data from all of the trials combined, the researchers found that the trials had included studies of virtually all of the traditional remedies such as over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines as well as antibiotics—and honey. They found that honey proved to be the best therapy among all of those tested. In addition to proving more effective in treating coughing (36 percent better at reducing the amount of coughing and 44 percent better at reducing coughing severity), it also led to a reduction in average duration of infection by two days.

The researchers note that the reason honey works as a treatment for URTIs is because it contains hydrogen peroxide—a known bacteria killer—which also makes it useful as a topical treatment for cuts and scrapes. Honey is also of the right consistency—its thickness works to coat the mouth and throat, soothing irritation.


High intensity physical activity in early life could lead to stronger bones in adulthood

University of Bristol (UK), August 17 2020


The research, which analysed data from 2,569 participants of the Children of the 90s health study, found that more time spent doing moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) from age 12 years was associated with stronger hips at age 25 years, whereas time spent in light intensity activity was less clearly associated with adult hip strength.

Peak bone mass occurs in young adulthood and is considered to be a marker of the risk of fracture and osteoporosis in later life. Hip fractures make up a large proportion of the osteoporosis disease burden. 

Researchers looked at data from healthy individuals who had physical activity measured up to 4 times using accelerometers worn as part of clinical assessments at age 12, 14, 16 and 25 years. This is a device that measures a person's movement for the whole time they wear it.

Researchers also found evidence to suggest that adolescent MVPA was more important than MVPA in adulthood, and that MVPA in early adolescence may be more important than in later adolescence. There was also some evidence that higher impact activity (consistent with jumping; assessed once in a subsample in late adolescence using custom accelerometer) was related to stronger hips at age 25.

Dr Ahmed Elhakeem, lead author and Senior Research Associate in Epidemiology, said: "The unique availability of repeated accelerometer assessments over many years beginning at age 12 within the Children of the 90s cohort, allowed us to describe the trajectory of time spent in different physical activity intensities through early life and to examine how this might relate to adult hip strength. The results highlight adolescence as a potentially important period for bone development through high intensity exercise, which could benefit future bone health and prevent osteoporosis in later life. We have also confirmed other studies showing that levels of MVPA decline through adolescence. Our findings show it is really important to support young people to remain active at this age" 

Francesca Thompson, Clinical and Operations Director at the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS), said: "The ROS is working closely at the moment with Public Health England to review the importance of exercise for bone health in children. The findings from this study are welcome as they provide further evidence that children need to be doing moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity during their early adolescence to maximise bone strength in later life and reduce the risk of painful fractures. Supporting and encouraging young people to be more physically active needs to be a priority for bone as well as general health."


Magnesium supplementation associated with improved vitamin D status in postmenopausal women

University of Granada (Spain), August 17, 2020


According to news originating from Granada, Spain,  the research stated, “Menopause is a stage of hormonal imbalance in women which, in addition to other physiopathological consequences, poses a risk of deficiency of key micronutrients such as magnesium and vitamin D.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from University of Granada: “A study was made of the influence of a magnesium intervention upon vitamin D status in a postmenopausal population from the province of Granada (Spain). Fifty-two healthy postmenopausal women between 44-76 years of age were included. Two randomized groups-placebo and magnesium (500 mg/day)-were treated during eight weeks. Nutrient intake was assessed using questionnaires based on 72-h recall. Vitamin D was analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Baseline vitamin D proved deficient in over 80% of the subjects.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The administration of magnesium resulted in significantly increased vitamin D levels in the intervention group versus the controls (* * p* * < 0.05). Magnesium supplementation improved vitamin D status in the studied postmenopausal women.”



High fructose diet in pregnancy impacts metabolism of offspring, study finds

University of Otago (New Zealand), August 18, 2020


An increased level of fructose intake during pregnancy can cause significant changes in maternal metabolic function and milk composition and alter the metabolism of their offspring, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.

The research, which was led by Dr Clint Gray, a Research Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, found increasing the fructose in the diets of female guinea pigs led to highly significant and consistent changes in the free fatty acids circulating in the blood of their offspring. This was despite the offspring consuming no fructose themselves. 

The research is published in the international journal Frontiers in Endocrinology

First author, PhD student Erin Smith, says "previous research has shown poor quality nutrition during pregnancy can predispose offspring to long-term consequences, including the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life". 

"However, there has been a lack of data examining the impact of increased fructose intake before and during pregnancy and subsequent adverse effects on lactation, foetal development and offspring metabolic function."

The two experimental groups were fed either a control diet or a fructose diet prior to and during pregnancy. The fructose group was given supplementary fructose water to replicate increased sugar-sweetened beverage intake 60 days prior to mating and until the delivery of their offspring. Fructose made up 16.5 per cent of their diets, closely resembling the average human consumption of fructose/sugar in Western countries, which is estimated at about 14 per cent of average daily caloric intake. 

"We found fructose had a significant impact on a pregnant females' metabolic status and the free fatty acid content of their milk. We also provide the first evidence that offspring born from fructose-fed mothers display a very specific pattern of increased free fatty acids and altered lipid metabolism that persists throughout early life."

Ms Smith says it is well known that increased levels of circulating free fatty acids increases the risk of obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease - with increased fatty acid synthesis shown to occur following fructose consumption.

She says the evidence suggests suboptimal maternal diets, such as diets high in fructose and refined sugars, may be contributing to the rise in metabolic diseases in humans observed during the past 40 to 50 years.

"Our study emphasises the importance of limiting added refined fructose, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, and striving for a more nutritionally balanced diet in women prior to and during pregnancy and lactation."




Sleep makes relearning faster and longer-lasting

University of Lyon (France). August 14, 2020


Getting some sleep in between study sessions may make it easier to recall what you studied and relearn what you've forgotten, even 6 months later, according to new findings from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


"Our results suggest that interleaving sleep between practice sessions leads to a twofold advantage, reducing the time spent relearning and ensuring a much better long-term retention than practice alone," explains psychological scientist Stephanie Mazza of the University of Lyon. "Previous research suggested that sleeping after learning is definitely a good strategy, but now we show that sleeping between two learning sessions greatly improves such a strategy."


While studies have shown that both repeated practice and sleep can help improve memory, there is little research investigating how repetition and sleep influence memory when they are combined. Mazza and colleagues hypothesized that sleeping in between study sessions might make the relearning process more efficient, reducing the effort needed to commit information to memory.


A total of 40 French adults were randomly assigned to either a "sleep" group or a "wake" group. At the first session, all participants were presented with 16 French-Swahili word pairs in random order. After studying a pair for 7 seconds, the Swahili word appeared and participants were prompted to type the French translation. The correct word pair was then shown for 4 seconds. Any words that were not correctly translated were presented again, until each word pair had been correctly translated.


Twelve hours after the initial session, the participants completed the recall task again, practicing the whole list of words until all 16 words were correctly translated.


Importantly, some participants completed the first session in the morning and the second session in the evening of the same day ("wake" group); others completed the first session in the evening, slept, and completed the second session the following morning ("sleep" group).


In the first session, the two groups showed no difference in how many words they could initially recall or in the number of trials they needed to be able to remember all 16 word pairs.


But after 12 hours, the data told another story: Participants who had slept between sessions recalled about 10 of the 16 words, on average, while those who hadn't slept recalled only about 7.5 words. And when it came to relearning, those who had slept needed only about 3 trials to be able to recall all 16 words, while those who had stayed awake needed about 6 trials.


Ultimately, both groups were able to learn all 16 word pairs, but sleeping in between sessions seemed to allow participants to do so in less time and with less effort.


"Memories that were not explicitly accessible at the beginning of relearning appeared to have been transformed by sleep in some way," says Mazza. "Such transformation allowed subjects to re-encode information faster and to save time during the relearning session."


The memory boost that participants got from sleeping between sessions seemed to last over time. Follow-up data showed that participants in the sleep group outperformed their peers on the recall test 1 week later. The sleep group showed very little forgetting, recalling about 15 word pairs, compared to the wake group, who were able to recall about 11 word pairs. This benefit was still noticeable 6 months later.


The benefits of sleep could not be ascribed to participants' sleep quality or sleepiness, or to their short-term or long-term memory capacity, as the two groups showed no differences on these measures.


The results suggest that alternating study sessions with sleep might be an easy and effective way to remember information over longer periods of time with less study, Mazza and colleagues conclude.




Meta-analysis adds evidence to chromium supplementation’s glucose control benefits in diabetics

Lorestan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), August 15, 2020


A systematic review and meta-analysis published on July 27, 2020 in Pharmacological Research found reductions in fasting plasma glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c, a marker of long term glucose control) and insulin resistance in men and women with type 2 diabetes who supplemented with the mineral chromium. 

For their analysis, Omid Asbaghi of Lorestan University of Medical Sciences and colleagues selected 23 randomized, controlled trials that evaluated the effects of supplementing with chromium on various glycemic control indexes. Doses used in the studies ranged between 50 micrograms (mcg) and 1,000 mcg per day consumed from four to 25 weeks. Eleven of the trials evaluated a chromium dosage within a 400 to 600 mcg range. 

Analysis of 22 trials that reported fasting plasma glucose levels concluded that chromium supplementation was associated with an average reduction of 19.0 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in comparison with the placebo. Trials of at least 12 weeks duration were associated with a far greater average decrease of 58.74 mg/dL in association with chromium. 

Of the 14 trials that reported insulin levels, levels declined by an average of 1.7784 µIU/mL among subjects who received chromium compared to the placebo, with trials that lasted 12 weeks or longer associated with a decrease of 3.47 µIU/mL. 

For the 22 trials that reported HbA1c, supplementation with chromium was associated with an average decrease of 0.71%, which improved to a significant 1.70% reduction when trials of 12 weeks duration or more were examined. Homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) also decreased significantly among participants who received chromium. 

The authors observed that chromium plays a role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and may enhance insulin sensitivity. Other nutrients that have been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes include vitamins A, C, D and E, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

“Present systematic review and meta-analysis of all available published randomized trials up to 2020 found a significant reduction in all glycemic control indices such as fasting plasma glucose, insulin, HbA1c and HOMA-IR levels after chromium supplementation,” they wrote. “Furthermore, long term intervention contributed to greater reduction of all mentioned indices.”

“The results of the current meta‐analysis study might support the use of chromium supplementation for the improvement of glycemic control indices in T2DM patients,” they concluded.




Mangiferin: The Health-Boosting Antioxidant in Mangos

GreenMedInfo, August 12th 2020 


Mangiferin, a polyphenol found in mango fruit and plant extracts, possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Mangiferin has been shown to have beneficial effects on gastrointestinal health, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular health, and may have anticancer properties

Mango, a type of juicy stone fruit native to eastern Asia and India, is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, micronutrients and minerals, and a unique polyphenol called mangiferin.[i] While mango itself has long been touted for its health benefits, researchers are becoming increasingly interested in mangiferin, which can be found in the leaves, fruit, stone, kernel and stems of the mango plant.[ii]

Studies show that mangiferin extracts may have beneficial effects on lifestyle-related disorders and degenerative diseases, and researchers are eager to understand and utilize this potent polyphenol.

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Potential of Mangiferin

Mangiferin is a powerful antioxidant that modulates glucose metabolism and shows enhanced antioxidant capabilities in both inflammatory and pro-inflammatory conditions.[iii] Mangiferin antioxidants have also been shown to protect against liver damage and lower peroxidation in human peripheral blood lymphocytes, and mangiferin may have radioprotective properties thanks to its ability to suppress free radicals in cells.[iv],[v]

Additionally, mangiferin's anti-inflammatory benefits have been demonstrated in both the liver and heart, and researchers have discovered that mangiferin can protect against lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress by up-regulating the expression of Nrf2, a transcription factor responsible for the regulation of protective antioxidants and detoxification responses.[vi],[vii]

Mangiferin's anti-inflammatory effects have also been demonstrated in the lungs, where it can improve acute lung injury by reducing systemic and pulmonary inflammationresponses.[viii]

Overall, mangiferin's anti-inflammatory properties have been demonstrated to reduce both macro and microscopic damage in various organs and tissues, making it a potential preventative therapy for a variety of disorders.[ix] Many of the benefits of mangiferin come from these strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researched benefits of mangiferin include:

  • Mangiferin Extract May Protect Against Diabetes

More than 80% of all diabetes cases are Type 2, which is associated with a lowered ability to increase glucose utilization in skeletal muscle tissue and adipose tissue.[x] This decrease in glucose metabolism and increased insulin increases the risk for disorders like cardiovascular diseasefatty liver and renal diseases.[xi]

In one study, researchers demonstrated that mangiferin extract significantly reduced kidney weight while enhancing enzymatic activity and protein expression after just nine weeks.[xii] Other studies have shown that mangiferin extract can also reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and improve oral-glucose tolerance after just 28 days.[xiii]

  • Mangiferin Boosts Gastrointestinal Health

Mangiferin has gastroprotective effects, leading researchers to believe it could be a useful therapeutic measure against gastric complications including diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss and anemia associated with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.[xiv]

These effects are likely due to mangiferin's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which both contribute to the development of gastrointestinal disorders.[xv] In other studies, researchers have found that mangiferin improves postoperative ileus, a short-term disturbance of gastrointestinal motility after surgery.[xvi]

Mangiferin improves intestinal transit by reducing the intestinal inflammatory response and decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in the plasma, improving gastrointestinal transit in both normal and constipated subjects.[xvii],[xviii]

  • Mangiferin Has Anticancer Properties

Researchers believe that one root cause of carcinogenesis is oxidative stress and have long searched for natural, polyphenolic antioxidant compounds that could mediate oxidative damage in the body. One study found that mangiferin's antioxidant capabilities may stall the progression of carcinogenesis and induce apoptosis (cell death) on cancer cells.[xix]

Mangiferin is demonstrated to have protective effects against several cancers, including breast, colon, neural, skin and cervical cancers, by lowering oxidative stress and suppressing DNA damage in cells in various studies.[xx]

  • Mangiferin Has Immunomodulatory Properties

Mangiferin's strong immunomodulatory characteristics come from its ability to both reduce oxidative stress in lymphocytes, neutrophils and macrophages, and also enhance the number and activity of immune cells in your body.[xxi],[xxii]

Additionally, mangiferin inhibits lipid peroxidation, which researchers believe may account for the reduction of radiation-induced DNA damage to immune cells and explain mangiferin's strong immune-stimulating and anticancer effects.[xxiii]

  • Mangiferin Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease

Mangiferin may play a significant cardiovascular-protective role by decreasing fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides and decreasing the inflammatory process in heart tissue.[xxiv]

Mangiferin treatment is also shown to increase enzymatic activity and reduce the formation of lipid peroxides, which researchers use as a marker for cardiovascular disease risk and vascular cognitive impairment disorders.[xxv]

Given that mangiferin exhibits little to no toxicity and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, there is strong evidence that mangiferin can be used as an alternative or preventive therapy against a variety of illnesses.[xxvi] However, it has a low water solubility and oral bioavailability and researchers must find an effective dosage and enhance its absorption rate before it can effectively be used in clinical settings.


The Gary Null Show - 08.18.20
The Gary Null Show - Walking Away From Wikipedia - 08.17.20

The Gary Null Show - Walking Away From Wikipedia - 08.17.20

August 17, 2020

We are launching a campaign to reach out to the Foundation’s major benefactors and donors and to gratefully request that they discontinue their donations, grants and support to the WikiMedia Foundation. Our motive for taking this course of action has been a last resort because all other efforts and strategies to correct the falsities, inaccuracies and vengeful narrative about our professions have either failed or been ignored. The Foundation has refused to assume responsibility and to be held accountable for the abuse being perpetrated by individuals and groups promoting antagonistic ideologies against complementary and alternative medical therapies and its leading proponents. The consequence has been that the scientific reputations and efficacy of these therapies, and the careers of those practicing them are being seriously undermined and damaged. Based upon the evidence tt is our contention that this is intentional. While countless people around the world have benefitted from the breadth and scope of knowledge the encyclopedia provides, over the years it has come under growing criticism for its bias and lack of objectivity on many subjects that have a direct impact on people's health and well-being. In addition, the culture of harassment that occurs on Wikipedia editing pages, or Talk Pages, has become uncontrollable. In May, the Foundation finally addressed this systemic problem and announced it would begin to ban editors who are charged with abusive behavior towards other editors. Unfortunately this new ruling, as admirable as it is, ignores the volumes of misinformation and libelous language already found on the encyclopedia's pages. Starting around 2006, a group of volunteer Wikipedia editors and organizations that identify themselves as "Skeptics" recognized that the encyclopedia's "open source" and anonymity policies offered an enormous opportunity for them to propagandize their message of radical scientific materialism and could serve as a platform to discredit all forms of non-conventional therapies. This includes Chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy and botanical medicine, energy medicine and energy psychology, nutritional therapies, traditional Chinese medicine, India Ayurvedic medicine, quantum medicine, various modalities of massage and physical therapy, non-drug based supplements, etc. During the passage of years, the presence of and influence of Skeptic editors has increased exponentially. Distinct Skeptic groups, such as Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia and Quackwatch, now dominate and control a large swathe of Wikipedia entries that deal directly with CAM and the biographies of respectable, qualified practitioners and advocates of these natural medical disciplines. Categorically, these entries display extreme bias and a flagrant lack of objectivity that violates Wikipedia’s stated editorial standards such as neutrality. Renowned doctors who espouse a complementary approach to medicine and healing are commonly called "quacks" or "charlatans." CAM therapies are described as “pseudoscience” and/or “quackery”. Such derogatory terms are not permitted on creditable encyclopedias. Despite the volumes of peer-reviewed studies and articles cataloged in the National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine confirming the efficacy of these non-conventional therapies, Skeptic editors rely solely upon those studies that may be used for censure and defamation. Since Skeptics now control and monitor these heath subjects there is no opportunity for transparency and honest debate to correct gross errors. Skepticism’s assault against CAM therapies is contrary to contemporary trends in medicine. In 2019, the World Health Organization reported that “traditional and complementary medicine is an important and often underestimated health resource with many applications, especially for the prevention and management of lifestyle-related chronic diseases and in meeting the health needs of ageing populations.” Most prestigious American medical schools have a department for complementary and alternative medicine or include these subjects in their curriculum. A government survey estimates that 62 percent of US adults use some form of alternative medicine annually. On the other hand, Skeptic organizations have been publicly hostile to this trend and have made their animosity known on Wikipedia. Unlike other legitimate encyclopedias, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Columbia Encyclopedia, there is no oversight or accountability for who can write content and edit on Wikipedia pages. Most Wikipedia editors are anonymous. Their identities and expertise on the subjects they edit are unknown. In the majority of the cases for alternative medicine's entries, senior and administrative editors have no medical-related background whatsoever. Over the years, voluminous complaints have been communicated and/or filed to the Foundation, including lawsuits, about the gross violations in Wikipedia’s editorial policies, misinformation and inflammatory and potentially libelous language. Sadly, such requests in almost all cases go unheeded. A conclusion may be drawn that the Foundation may support Skeptics’ ideological beliefs. There is some evidence that the Foundation, and/or some of its Board members, endorse Skeptics’ tenets and activities, including providing protection and privileges for them to carry out their agenda.

The Gary Null Show- Google Lies -08.14.20

The Gary Null Show- Google Lies -08.14.20

August 14, 2020

Avoiding Risky Health Behaviors Can Increase Lifespan by 7 Years

Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and University of Michigan, August 12, 2020 

Study shows that those who do not smoke, are not obese, and consume alcohol moderately can live 7 years longer than the general population - spending most of these extra years in good health.

A new study shows those who avoid risky health behaviors tend to live a long life. Perhaps more importantly, those extra years are characterized by good health. Examples of such “risky health behaviors” include smoking, consuming an excess of alcohol and eating to the point of reaching obesity. The study's results show avoiding such behaviors leads to an increased lifespan of seven years. The study's details were recently published in Health Affairs. Mikko Myrskyla, the Director of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, and Neil Mehta, a University of Michigan professor, spearheaded the study.

The study examined data for over 14,000 individuals living in the United States. It determined those who never smoked and did not become obese lived between four and five years longer than the rest of the population. These additional years were not plagued by disabilities. It was also determined those who consumed alcohol in moderation enjoyed an extended lifespan of seven disability-free years. In fact, these individuals enjoyed a life expectancy beyond that of those living in Japan, a nation that is commonly considered to be the best example of how healthy living leads to an extended life.

Most people think advancements in medical technology are a primary determinant of lifespan and health. However, this study shows a healthy lifestyle can extend lifespan and improve health. The bottom line is those who avoid smoking and obesity while limiting alcohol consumption will enjoy considerable health and lifespan benefits.

This study is a trailblazer of sorts as it is the first to study the aggregate impact of numerous health behaviors on total life expectancy as well as one's odds for being afflicted by disabilities. Prior studies examined single health behaviors. Myrskyla and Mehta studied an array of behaviors to determine lifespan and level of health for those who avoided the most common behavioral risk factors.

The pair of researchers found smoking, obesity and consuming an excess of alcohol were tied to reduced life expectancy as well as an earlier occurrence of numerous disabilities. It was determined that smoking was tied to an early death yet not with an increase in the number of years in which people were plagued with disabilities. Obesity is tied to an extensive period of time in which people are plagued with disabilities. Excessive consumption of alcohol is tied to a reduced lifespan and a reduction in the number of years spent in good health.

The most surprising finding was the massive difference in the average lifespan between the groups that were most at risk and least at risk. Men who avoided obesity, did not smoke and only drank at moderation lived 11 years longer than those who smoked, drank in excess and were overweight. For women, the difference between these groups was 12 years. People will be happy to know the number of years in which one lives with physical limitations does not increase as he gains more years with a healthy way of life. Rather, a healthy way of life is linked to a solid increase in physically fit years. This means the years one gains through a healthy lifestyle are years characterized by good health.

This study's results show just how important it is for people to key in on prevention. Avoid the risky health behaviors noted above and the odds of a long and healthy life dramatically increase. Furthermore, policy interventions to target health behaviors might help significant portions of the population to enjoy the health benefits noted in the study.


UCalgary researchers discover the microbiome's role in attacking cancerous tumours

Findings show how our gut bacteria can enhance immunotherapy to battle different forms of cancer



Researchers with the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have discovered which gut bacteria help our immune system battle cancerous tumours and how they do it. The discovery may provide a new understanding of why immunotherapy, a treatment for cancer that helps amplify the body's immune response, works in some cases, but not others. The findings, published in Science, show combining immunotherapy with specific microbial therapy boosts the ability of the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells in some melanoma, bladder and colorectal cancers. 

Dr. Kathy McCoy, PhD, is a leading expert on the body's relationship with the microbiome. She and her team are focused on harnessing the power of the microbiome to improve health and treat diseases. McCoy says to harness and direct that power scientists need to better understand the role bacteria play in regulating the immune system.

"Recent studies have provided strong evidence that gut microbiota can positively affect anti-tumour immunity and improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy in treating certain cancers, yet, how the bacteria were able to do this remained elusive, " says McCoy, director of the International Microbiome Centre at the University of Calgary and principal investigator on the study. "We've been able to build on that work by showing how certain bacteria enhance the ability of T-cells, the body's immunity soldiers that attack and destroy cancerous cells."

First, the researchers identified bacterial species that were associated with colorectal cancer tumours when treated with immunotherapy. Working with germ-free mice, they then introduced these specific bacteria along with immune checkpoint blockade, a type of cancer immunotherapy. Research revealed that specific bacteria were essential to the immunotherapy working. The tumours shrank, drastically. For those subjects that did not receive the beneficial bacteria, the immunotherapy had no effect.

"We found that these bacteria produce a small molecule, called inosine," says Dr. Lukas Mager, MD, PhD, senior postdoctoral researcher in the McCoy lab and first author on the study. "Inosine interacts directly with T-cells and together with immunotherapy, it improves the effectiveness of that treatment, in some cases destroying all the colorectal cancer cells."

The researchers then validated the findings in both bladder cancer and melanoma. The next step in this work will be to study the finding in humans. The three beneficial bacteria associated with the tumours in mice have also been found in cancers in humans. 

"Identifying how microbes improve immunotherapy is crucial to designing therapies with anti-cancer properties, which may include microbials," says McCoy. "The microbiome is an amazing collection of billions of bacteria that live within and around us everyday. We are in the early stage of fully understanding how we can use this new knowledge to improve efficacy and safety of anti-cancer therapy and improve cancer patient survival and well-being."


Yoga shown to improve anxiety, study shows

New York University School of Medicine, August 13, 2020


Yoga improves symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, a condition with chronic nervousness and worry, suggesting the popular practice may be helpful in treating anxiety in some people.

Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, a new study found that yoga was significantly more effective for generalized anxiety disorder than standard education on stress management, but not effective as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the gold standard form of structured talk therapy that helps patients identify negative thinking for better responses to challenges. 

"Generalized anxiety disorder is a very common condition, yet many are not willing or able to access evidence-based treatments," says lead study author Naomi M. Simon, MD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. "Our findings demonstrate that yoga, which is safe and widely available, can improve symptoms for some people with this disorder and could be a valuable tool in an overall treatment plan."

For the study, publishing online Aug. 12 in JAMA Psychiatry, 226 men and women with generalized anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to three groups - either CBT, Kundalini yoga, or stress-management education, a standardized control technique. 

After three months, both CBT and yoga were found to be significantly more effective for anxiety than stress management. Specifically, 54 percent of those who practiced yoga met response criteria for meaningfully improved symptoms compared to 33 percent in the stress-education group. Of those treated with CBT, 71 percent met these symptom improvement criteria. 

However, after six months of follow-up, the CBT response remained significantly better than stress education (the control therapy), while yoga was no longer significantly better, suggesting CBT may have more robust, longer-lasting anxiety-reducing effects.

Study Details

The study involved an evidence-based protocol for CBT treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, including psychoeducation, cognitive interventions (focused on identifying and adapting maladaptive thoughts and worrying), and muscle relaxation techniques. 

Kundalini yoga included physical postures, breathing techniques, relaxation exercises, yoga theory, and meditation/mindfulness practice. 

The stress-management education control group received lectures about the physiological, psychological and medical effects of stress, as well as the antianxiety effects of lifestyle behaviors, such as reducing alcohol and smoking, and the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. Homework consisted of listening to educational material about stress, nutrition, and lifestyle.

Each treatment was administered in groups of three to six participants, over weekly two-hour sessions for 12 weeks with 20 minutes of daily homework assigned.

Can Yoga Help Treat Anxiety?

According to researchers, generalized anxiety disorder is a common, impairing, and undertreated condition, currently affecting an estimated 6.8 million Americans. While most people feel anxious from time to time, it is considered a disorder when worrying becomes excessive and interferes with day-to-day life. CBT is considered the gold standard first-line treatment. Medications, including antidepressants and sometimes benzodiazepines, may also be used. Yet, not everyone is willing to take medication which can have adverse side effects and there are challenges with accessing CBT for many, including lack of access to trained therapists and long waitlists.

"Many people already seek complementary and alternative interventions, including yoga, to treat anxiety," says Dr. Simon. "This study suggests that at least short-term there is significant value for people with generalized anxiety disorder to give yoga a try to see if it works for them. Yoga is well-tolerated, easily accessible, and has a number of health benefits."

According to Dr. Simon, future research should aim to understand who is most likely to benefit from yoga for generalized anxiety disorder to help providers better personalize treatment recommendations.

"We need more options to treat anxiety because different people will respond to different interventions, and having more options can help overcome barriers to care," she says. "Having a range of effective treatments can increase the likelihood people with anxiety will be willing to engage in evidence-based care."


High omega 3 fatty acid intake associated with decreased risk of depressive symptoms in middle-aged women

Gachon University (S Korea), August 12, 2020


According to news originating from Gyeonggi Do, South Korea, the research stated, “Omega-3 fatty acid n-3FA intake is known to have a preventive effect on depressive symptoms in a general population.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Gachon University: “This study assessed the effects of n-3 FA intake on depressive symptoms and brain function in middle-aged women. Depressive symptoms were screened using the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D) assessment questionnaires, and n-3 FA intakes were assessed using semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. We found that * * n* * -3 FA intakes were negatively associated with depressive symptoms in middle-aged women. Psychiatrists diagnosed the presence of depressive disorders using the 5th edition of the Mental Disorder Diagnosis and Statistics Manual (DSM-5). Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) was performed to investigate the association between n-3 FA intake and brain functional connectivity. Functional connectivity of the right middle frontal cortex (default mode network) and the right middle temporal pole (frontoparietal network) was positively associated with depressive symptom scores and negatively associated with n-3 FA intakes.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “In conclusion, high Omega-3 n-3 FA intake decreases the risk of depressive symptoms and modifies the brain functional connectivity in middle-aged women.”


Study: Medical marijuana associated with fewer hospitalizations for individuals with SCD

Obtaining medical marijuana also associated with an increase in use of edible cannabis products

Yale School of Medicine, August 13, 2020


Individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) who receive medical marijuana to treat pain may require fewer visits to the hospital, according to a new study in Blood Advances. Adults with SCD who requested and obtained medical marijuana were admitted to the hospital less frequently than those who did not obtain it.

SCD is the most common inherited red blood cell disorder in the United States, affecting an estimated 100,000 people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SCD affects one out of every 365 Black or African American births and one out of every 16,300 Hispanic American births. SCD is characterized by abnormal, sickle-shaped red blood cells that can adhere to and block blood vessels, preventing oxygen from reaching the tissues. When this occurs, individuals living with SCD experience severe pain events which may drive them to seek emergency care. It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 SCD-related hospital stays in the United States each year.

There is a need for other options for management of pain so that individuals with SCD do not have to go through the time, hardship, and expense of hospitalization and can manage their symptoms at home. Previous studies have shown that cannabis and cannabinoid products can effectively treat chronic pain associated other conditions such as cancer. More controlled studies of marijuana for the treatment of pain in SCD are still needed.

"When we offered medical marijuana as an option to our patients with sickle cell disease, we found the majority of people who were interested were already using illicit marijuana to treat pain," said the study's lead author Susanna Curtis, MD, of the Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center. "Illicit marijuana is not regulated, so its quality and contents are not standardized. And particularly for people with sickle cell disease, many of whom identify as Black, we know that while Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates, Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for possession. We didn't want our patients using unsafe products or being arrested for trying to control the pain of their condition."

Dr. Curtis and her team examined data from 50 individuals with SCD at the Adult Sickle Cell Program at Yale New Haven Hospital who were certified for medical marijuana use. Of those certified, 29 obtained medical marijuana and 21 did not. Those who obtained medical marijuana visited the hospital less frequently on average over the following six months. Several patients even reduced their hospital admission rates by three, four, or five visits. Receiving medical marijuana was not associated with a change in emergency room or infusion center visits, total health care utilization, or opioid use. Researchers did not observe any change to hospitalization rates in individuals who did not obtain medical marijuana.

Dr. Curtis suggested a possible reason for the reduced hospitalization rates could be that medical marijuana helps individuals better tolerate their pain at home.

The researchers also sought to understand why many patients were unable to access medical marijuana, and why some continued to occasionally use illicit cannabis despite obtaining medical marijuana. In a survey, individuals who obtained medical marijuana reported that they felt it was safer than illicit marijuana and they felt it was effective at controlling their pain; however, they did also report barriers such as greater expense and difficulty of access.

Race and socioeconomic status may also be barriers for patients with SCD. "About 80% of our clinic population identifies as Black, and another 15% as Latinx, and unfortunately people of color who visit the hospital with pain are often not believed or accused of being drug-seeking. Medical marijuana is associated with significant stigma, and stigma is already a big part of the life of a person with sickle cell," said Dr. Curtis.

Cannabis and cannabinoid products also present legal and medical challenges. While 33 states have medical marijuana laws, only five of those states list SCD as a qualifying condition. Medical marijuana products vary greatly in their chemical content and forms of administration. In the study, patients who obtained medical marijuana were more likely to use edible products as opposed to inhaled products. Previous research suggests the pain-relieving effect of edible products has a slower onset but a longer duration than that of inhaled products. This variability between different products can cause difficulty for patients trying to manage their symptoms.

Dr. Curtis highlighted the need for further research to understand the efficacy, side effects, and drug interactions of various cannabis products on SCD treatment. "My patients are living with a very difficult disease that causes them a lot of pain. We need controlled trials to look at each product, and the effects of how it is taken, so that we can offer regulated, pharmaceutical-grade treatment options."


Recalling memories from a third-person perspective changes how our brain processes them

Remembering your past as an observer affects your memories, according to new study

University of Alberta, August 13, 2020


Adopting a third-person, observer point of view when recalling your past activates different parts of your brain than recalling a memory seen through your own eyes, according to a new paper.

"Our perspective when we remember changes which brain regions support memory and how these brain regions interact together," explained Peggy St Jacques, assistant professor in the Faculty of Science'sDepartment of Psychology and co-author on the paper. 

Specifically, the results show that recalling memories from an observer-like perspective, instead of through your own eyes, leads to greater interaction between the anterior hippocampus and the posterior medial network.

"These findings contribute to a growing body of research that show that retrieving memories is an active process that can bias and even distort our memories," added St Jacques.

"Adopting an observer-like perspective involves viewing the past in a novel way, which requires greater interaction among brain regions that support our ability to recall the details of a memory and to recreate mental images in our mind's eye."

Adopting an observer-like perspective may also serve a therapeutic purpose, explained St Jacques. "This may be an effective way of dealing with troubling memories by viewing the past from a distance and reducing the intensity of the emotions we feel." 

This work builds on St Jacques' previous research on visual perspective in memory, which found that the perspective from which we recall a memory can influence how we remember them over time.



Calcium-rich fermented foods preferred in improving bone and heart health, study says

Nattopharma (Norway), August 9, 2020

Calcium should come from healthy sources like fermented dairy products and leafy greens as a review outlines an approach to receiving an adequate intake while supporting bone and heart health.

The review paper, published in the latest edition of the Open Heart journal, stated that the majority of the US population did not consume the current recommended dietary allowance for calcium. This finding has also been echoed in Europe with studies identifying dietary calcium intake as low - 300 and 600 mg/day in women, and 350 and 700 mg/day in men. The review also found milk and dairy products the most readily available dietary sources of calcium that were preferred by the general population.

However, concerns as to these food’s long-term health effects were mentioned as milk, in particular was singled out as a promoter of inflammation and oxidation in adult humans. Despite this, the review detailed a series of steps that could help in building strong bones while maintaining soft and supple arteries.  These included obtaining calcium from dietary sources rather and ensuring that adequate animal protein intake is coupled with calcium intake of 1000 mg/day. Other measures included maintaining vitamin D levels in the normal range, and increasing intake of fruits and vegetables to alkalinise the system and promote bone health.

Other research has shown that calcium supplementation can play an important role in boosting levels, especially in areas where healthy diets are less common.

  • The average calcium requirement for young adults (18–24 years) is 860 mg/day as defined by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
  • EFSA also define the safe upper limit for calcium intake in adults, including pregnant and lactating women, at 2,500 mg/day.

The findings that suggest milk as a less-than-ideal source of calcium will come as a surprise to many.

Indeed, the review acknowledged that "cow's milk, though rich in many nutrients, including calcium, has issues that render it less than ideal as a dietary staple for many adults."  These issues include milk’s d-galactose content, which has been linked to a high mortality rate and high fracture incidence.

Along with calcium’s direct benefits the paper also recognised its role in facilitating vitamin K-dependent pathways. Increased vitamin K2 intake has been associated with decreased arterial calcium deposition and the ability to reverse vascular calcification in animal models . The vitamin is most abundant in meat, especially liver, chicken and beef along with dairy products. The primary vegetarian source is Nattō, a Japanese soybean food fermented with the bacterial species Bacillus subtilis var. natto. 

“The only food that contains enough Vitamin K2 is the Japanese dish Natto,” explained Dr Hogne Vik, chief medical officer with Norwegian vitamin K2 supplier, NattoPharma, whose firm has responded to rising demand for vitamin K2-fortified supplements and foods in recent years.


Berry eaters may be at lower risk of diabetes: Meta-analysis

Zhejiang University (China), August 12, 2020

Data from almost 400,000 people suggests that consuming berries and the anthocyanins they contain may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus by 15-18%.

Scientists from Zhejiang University in China reported that the potential benefits could be linked to the antioxidant properties of anthocyanins in berries and their regulation of inflammatory responses, as well as via pathways to reduce blood glucose and insulin resistance.

“T2DM [type 2 diabetes mellitus] and its associated complications cause serious medical and socioeconomic burdens. The findings from the present meta-analysis provide sufficient evidence that dietary intakes of anthocyanins and berries are associated with a lower risk of T2DM, respectively,” wrote the researchers in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition .

Booming berries

Consumer interest and demand for berries has grown rapidly in the US, driven by several factors, including the potential health benefits, improved quality and year-round availability,according to a 2012 article by Roberta Cook from UC Davis .

“The berry category recently became the number-one dollar category in fresh produce departments, with national supermarket sales (excluding club stores, supercenters, and some other formats) projected to surpass $5.3 billion annually by June 2011,” wrote Cook.

Many companies are also offering concentrated extracts from the products as dietary supplements, with brands such as Life Extension, Puritan’s Pride, and Swanson offering products.

Study details

An example of one of the many berry extract dietary supplement products commercially available to US consumers

The new study, said to be the first to “evaluate the association of dietary consumption of anthocyanins and berries with T2DM risk”, assessed data from three cohort studies looking at dietary anthocyanin intakes and diabetes risk (200,894 participants and 12,611 cases of diabetes documented) and five cohort studies looking at berry intake and diabetes risk (194,019 participants and 13,013 cases of diabetes).

Crunching the numbers indicated that dietary anthocyanin consumption was associated with a 15% reduction in the risk of T2DM, while berry intake was associated with an 18% reduction in risk.

For every 7.5 mg/day increment of dietary anthocyanin or 17 g/day increment in berry intake the risk of T2DM decreased by 5%, added the researchers.

Interestingly, there were some gender differences observed with the benefits from berry consumption observed for women and not men.

“More prospective studies in other regions and ethnic groups are warranted to further explore the associations of dietary anthocyanins and berries with T2DM risk,” wrote the researchers.



Scientists sound the alarm: Lockdowns may escalate the obesity epidemic

University of Copenhagen Health and Medical Sciences, August 13, 2020


Scientists sound the alarm: Lockdowns may escalate the obesity epidemic Emotional stress, economic anxiety, physical inactivity and social distance - locking down society to combat COVID-19 creates psychosocial insecurity that leads to obesity, warn three Danish researchers. Counter measures are needed if we are to keep the public both metabolically healthy and safe from the coronavirus

Rates of obesity may explode because of strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19, warn a trio of researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University. Investment in obesity research will help inform counter strategies that people eating healthily, feeling happy and staying active, while also combatting COVID-19.

"We are concerned that policy makers do not fully understand how strategies such as lockdowns and business closures could fuel the rise of obesity - a chronic disease with severe health implications, but with few reliable treatment options," says Associate Professor Christoffer Clemmensen, from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR), at the University of Copenhagen.

Alone, inactive and hungry

In a letter published in the scientific journal Nature Reviews Endocrinology, Clemmensen and two co-authors outlined how COVID-19 containment strategies could increase rates of obesity.

Firstly, it is well documented that people with limited economic resources are more likely eat highly-processed and energy-rich food. These foods have been shown to stimulate people's appetites, so that they end up eating more calories than they need.

"It is likely that more people will turn to these forms of food, as more people lose their jobs and experience economic hardship," says co-author Professor Michael Bang Petersen, from the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University.

Secondly, physical distancing increases anxiety by limiting our ability to socially interact. Feelings of loneliness and isolation, combined with confinement within a home setting, can impact our food behavior and lead us to overeat. This effect is compounded by lower levels of physical activity, as people are urged to work from home and venture out as little as possible.

Stopping the virus and protecting metabolic health

Co-author Professor Thorkild I.A. Sørensen from CBMR at the University of Copenhagen, stresses that we still do not exactly understand how a person's mental health and economic status end up increasing a person's risk of developing obesity.

"We know that there are links between obesity and a person's class and mental health, but we don't exactly understand how they make an impact," says Sørensen.

More research is needed to uncover the cause and effect, but the three co-authors say the scientific expectations are clear: physical distancing and rising rates of unemployment should lead us to expect increased rates of obesity. 

Together they urge governments and decision makers to consider what impact COVID-19 containment strategies, such as lockdowns, will have on the public's metabolic health. With this in mind, counter strategies should be considered to ensure that the public remains healthy, happy and active - and also safe from the coronavirus.

The Gary Null Show - 08.13.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.13.20

August 13, 2020

Lipoic acid supplements help some obese but otherwise healthy people lose weight

Oregon State University, August 12, 2020


A compound given as a dietary supplement to overweight but otherwise healthy people in a clinical trial caused many of the patients to slim down, research by Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University showed. 

The research, published in the Journal of Nutrition, analyzed the effects of 24 weeks of daily, 600-milligram doses of lipoic acid supplements on 31 people, with a similarly sized control group receiving a placebo.

"The data clearly showed a loss in body weight and body fat in people taking lipoic acid supplements," said Balz Frei, director emeritus of OSU's Linus Pauling Institute and one of the scientists on the study. "Particularly in women and in the heaviest participants."

Produced by both plants and animals, lipoic acid sets up shop in cells' mitochondria, where it's normally attached to proteins involved in energy and amino acid metabolism. A specialized, medium-chain fatty acid, it's unique in having two sulfur atoms at one end of the chain, allowing for the transfer of electrons from other sources.

The body generally produces enough lipoic acid to supply the enzymes whose proper function requires it. When taken as a dietary supplement, lipoic acid displays additional properties that might be unrelated to the function in the mitochondria. They include the stimulation of glucose metabolism, antioxidant defenses and anti-inflammatory responses - making it a possible complementary treatment for people with diabetes, heart disease and age-related cognitive decline.

"Scientists have been researching the potential health benefits of lipoic acid supplements for decades, including how it might enhance healthy aging and mitigate cardiovascular disease," said Alexander Michels, another Linus Pauling Institute scientist involved with the study. "In both rodent models and small-scale human clinical trials, researchers at the LPI have demonstrated the beneficial effects of lipoic acid on oxidative stress, lipid metabolism and circadian rhythm."

The OSU/OHSU project addressed two issues commonly ignored by previous human trials, said Tory Hagen, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the OSU College of Science and the study's corresponding author.

"Many existing clinical studies using lipoic acid have focused on volunteers with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, making it difficult to determine if lipoic acid supplements simply act as a disease treatment or have other beneficial health effects," said Hagen, principal investigator and Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Healthy Aging Research at the institute. "Another issue is the formulation of the supplement. Many previous studies have used the S form of lipoic acid, which is a product of industrial synthesis and not found in nature. We only used the R form of lipoic acid - the form found in the body naturally."

Contrary to what was expected by the researchers, decreased levels of triglycerides - a type of fat, or lipid, found in the blood - were not seen in all the participants taking lipoic acid. 

"The effect of lipoic acid supplements on blood lipids was limited," said Gerd Bobe, another LPI scientist who collaborated on the study. "But people who lost weight on lipoic acid also reduced their blood triglyceride levels - that effect was clear." 

Other effects of the lipoic acid supplements were measurable as well.

"By the end of the study, some markers of inflammation declined," Hagen said. "The findings also suggest that lipoic acid supplementation provides a mild reduction in oxidative stress. It is not a perfect panacea, but our results show that lipoic acid supplements can be beneficial."

Identifying which patients will benefit the most from lipoic acid supplementation, and how much they need, is important for both clinical and economic reasons, he added.

"Lipoic acid supplements are often quite expensive," he said. "So understanding how we can maximize benefits with smaller amounts of the supplement is something we are interested in pursuing."


Meditation-relaxation therapy may offer escape from the terror of sleep paralysis

Cambridge University, August 12, 2020


Sleep paralysis - a condition thought to explain a number of mysterious experiences including alleged cases of alien abduction and demonic night-time visits - could be treated using a technique of meditation-relaxation, suggests a pilot study published today.

Sleep paralysis is a state involving paralysis of the skeletal muscles that occurs at the onset of sleep or just before waking. While temporarily immobilised, the individual is acutely aware of their surroundings. People who experience the phenomenon often report being terrorised by dangerous bedroom intruders, often reaching for supernatural explanations such as ghosts, demons and even alien abduction. Unsurprisingly, it can be a terrifying experience.

As many as one in five people experiences sleep paralysis, which may be triggered by sleep deprivation, and is more frequent in psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also common in narcolepsy, a sleep disorder involving excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden loss of muscle control. 

Despite the condition being known about for some time, to date there are no empirically-based treatments or published clinical trials for the condition. 

Today, in the journal Frontiers in Neurology, a team of researchers report a pilot study of meditation-relaxation therapy involving 10 patients with narcolepsy, all of whom experience sleep paralysis.

The therapy was originally developed by Dr Baland Jalal from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge. The current study was led by Dr Jalal and conducted in collaboration with Dr Giuseppe Plazzi's group at the Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna/IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Italy.

The therapy teaches patients to follow four steps during an episode:


1. Reappraisal of the meaning of the attack - reminding themselves that the experience is common, benign, and temporary, and that the hallucinations are a typical by-product of dreaming

2. Psychological and emotional distancing - reminding themselves that there is no reason to be afraid or worried and that fear and worry will only make the episode worse 

3. Inward focused-attention meditation - focusing their attention inward on an emotionally-involving, positive object (such as a memory of a loved one or event, a hymn/prayer, God)

4. Muscle relaxation - relaxing their muscles, avoiding controlling their breathing and under no circumstances attempting to move


Participants were instructed to keep a daily journal for four weeks to assess sleep paralysis occurrence, duration and emotions. Overall, among the 10 patients, two-thirds of cases (66%) reported hallucinations, often upon awakening from sleep (51%), and less frequently upon falling asleep (14%) as rated during the first four weeks.

After the four weeks, six participants completed mood/anxiety questionnaires and were taught the therapy techniques and instructed to rehearse these during ordinary wakefulness, twice a week for 15 min. The treatment lasted eight weeks. 

In the first four weeks of the study, participants in the meditation-relaxation group experienced sleep paralysis on average 14 times over 11 days. The reported disturbance caused by their sleep paralysis hallucinations was 7.3 (rated on a ten-point scale with higher scores indicating greater severity). 

In the final month of the therapy, the number of days with sleep paralysis fell to 5.5 (down 50%) and the total number of episodes fell to 6.5 (down 54%). There was also a notable tendency towards reductions in the disturbance caused by hallucinations with ratings dropping from 7.3 to 4.8.

A control group of four participants followed the same procedure, except participants engaged in deep breathing instead of the therapy - taking slow deep breaths, while repeatedly counting from one to ten. 

In the control group, the number of days with sleep paralysis (4.3 per month at the start) was unchanged, as well as their total number of episodes (4.5 per month initially). The disturbance caused by hallucinations was likewise unchanged (rated 4 during the first four weeks).

"Although our study only involved a small number of patients, we can be cautiously optimistic of its success," said Dr Jalal. "Meditation-relaxation therapy led to a dramatic fall in the number of times patients experienced sleep paralysis, and when they did, they tended to find the notoriously terrorising hallucinations less disturbing. Experiencing less of something as disturbing as sleep paralysis is a step in the right direction."

If the researchers are able to replicate their findings in a larger number of people - including those from the general population, not affected by narcolepsy - then this could offer a relatively simple treatment that could be delivered online or via a smartphone to help patients cope with the condition.

"I know first-hand how terrifying sleep paralysis can be, having experienced it many times myself," said Dr Jalal. "But for some people, the fear that it can instil in them can be extremely unpleasant, and going to bed, which should be a relaxing experience, can become fraught with terror. This is what motivated me to devise this intervention."


Why walking to work may be better for you than a casual stroll

Study finds people walk faster, report being healthier, when they walk with a purpose

Ohio State University, August 12, 2020


Walking with a purpose - especially walking to get to work - makes people walk faster and consider themselves to be healthier, a new study has found. 

The study, published online earlier this month in the Journal of Transport and Health, found that walking for different reasons yielded different levels of self-rated health. People who walked primarily to places like work and the grocery store from their homes, for example, reported better health than people who walked mostly for leisure.

"We found that walking for utilitarian purposes significantly improves your health, and that those types of walking trips are easier to bring into your daily routine," said Gulsah Akar, an associate professor of city and regional planning in The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture.

"So, basically, both as city planners and as people, we should try to take the advantage of this as much as possible."

The study used data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey, a U.S. dataset collected from April 2016 to May 2017. 

The researchers analyzed self-reported health assessments from 125,885 adults between the ages of 18 and 64. Those adults reported the number of minutes they spent walking for different purposes - from home to work, from home to shopping, from home to recreation activities and walking trips that did not start at their homes. 

And, the survey respondents ranked how healthy they were on a scale of 1 to 5. The dataset the researchers analyzed included more than 500,000 trips.

The researchers - Akar and Ohio State doctoral student Gilsu Pae - found that walking for any duration, for any purpose, increased how healthy a person felt. 

But they also found that an additional 10 minutes of walking per trip from home for work-based trips - say, from a person's house to the bus stop 10 minutes away - increased that person's odds of having a higher health score by 6 percent compared with people who walk for other reasons. People who walked from home for reasons not connected to work, shopping or recreation were 3 percent more likely to have a higher health score.

And, the researchers found, people who walked for work walked faster - on average, about 2.7 miles per hour - than people who walked for other reasons. People who walked for recreational purposes - say, an after-dinner stroll - walked, on average, about 2.55 miles per hour. 

The researchers also found that walking trips that begin at home are generally longer than walking trips that begin somewhere else. The team found that 64 percent of home-based walking trips last at least 10 minutes, while 50 percent of trips that begin elsewhere are at least that long.

Akar has studied the ways people travel for years, and said she was surprised to see that walking for different purposes led to a difference in how healthy people believed they were.

"I was thinking the differences would not be that significant, that walking is walking, and all forms of walking are helpful," she said. "And that is true, but walking for some purposes has significantly greater effect on our health than others."

Akar said the findings suggest that building activity into parts of a day that are otherwise sedentary - commuting by foot instead of by car, for example - can make a person feel healthier.

"That means going to a gym or a recreation center aren't the only ways to exercise," Akar said. "It's an opportunity to put active minutes into our daily schedules in an easy way."


Eating raw organic fruits and veggies helps boost your gut health

Graz University of Technology (Austria), August 12, 2020


 A study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology found that consuming organic produce promotes gut microbiome diversity.

Birgit Wassermann, the first author of the study and a researcher at the Graz University of Technology in Austria, explained that consuming raw fruits and vegetables is key to maintaining a diverse microbial community, which is essential for a healthy gut microbiome and a strong immune system.

But these foods don’t need to just be raw, they should also be organically produced. In their study, Wassermann and her colleagues found that while the production method didn’t affect the abundance of microbes found in the different tissues of apples, the microbes present in organically produced apples were more diverse than those harbored by conventionally produced ones.

Wassermann and her team chose to study apples because they are popular worldwide. In 2018 alone, about 83 million apples were grown, and production continues to grow today.

Organic vs conventional

Using genetic analysis and fluorescence microscopy, the researchers found that both conventional apples and organic apples had roughly the same amount of total bacteria (about 100 million per apple). While different parts of the fruit contained distinct microbial communities, apple pulp and seeds had the largest bacterial colonies. Apple peels were surprisingly less colonized.

The researchers also found that organic apples had a more diverse bacterial population than conventionally grown apples. Additionally, organic apples contained beneficial bacteria, such as the common probiotic, Lactobacillus.

On the other hand, conventional apples had a greater chance of containing potentially pathogenic bacteria like Escherichia and Shigella, both of which are linked to food poisoning symptoms like cramps and diarrhea.

According to Wassermann, the very diverse microbiome of organically grown apples can help fight human pathogens by outcompeting them. She explained that the microbial pool that organic apple trees are exposed to tends to be more diverse and more balanced, and this helps promote their health by bolstering their resistance to pathogens. (Related: Exploring the ”gut-heart” connection: Can heart failure be treated by boosting gut microbiota health?)

The difference between “organic” and “conventional” fruits

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic is a label for foods that are grown in accordance with certain federal guidelines. These guidelines include factors like soil additives, pesticide use and how animals are raised.

On the other hand, conventional refers to modern, industrial agriculture that uses chemical fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Research suggests that organic produce has a similar nutritional profile to conventional produce, but the former helps reduce your exposure to pesticides and harmful bacteria.

When buying produce, consider other health factors like chronic conditions or pregnancy. To narrow down your search, start by learning about the fruits and vegetables that are more likely to be exposed to different kinds of pesticides.



Smiling can trick your mind into being more positive, study finds

University of South Australia, August 11, 2020


From Sinatra to Katy Perry, celebrities have long sung about the power of a smile—how it picks you up, changes your outlook, and generally makes you feel better. But is it all smoke and mirrors, or is there a scientific backing to the claim?

Groundbreaking research from the University of South Australia confirms that the act of smiling can trick your mind into being more positive, simply by moving your facial muscles.

With the world in crisis amid COVID-19, and alarming rises of anxiety and depression in Australia and around the world, the findings could not be more timely.

The study, published in Experimental Psychology, evaluated the impact of a covert smile on perception of face and body expressions. In both scenarios, a smile was induced by participants holding a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate the movement of a smile.

The research found that facial muscular activity not only alters the recognition of facial expressions but also body expressions, with both generating more positive emotions.

Lead researcher and human and artificial cognition expert, UniSA's Dr. Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos says the finding has important insights for mental health.

"When your muscles say you're happy, you're more likely to see the world around you in a positive way," Dr. Marmolejo-Ramos says.

"In our research we found that when you forcefully practice smiling, it stimulates the amygdala—the emotional center of the brain—which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state. For mental health, this has interesting implications. If we can trick the brain into perceiving stimuli as 'happy', then we can potentially use this mechanism to help boost mental health."

The study replicated findings from the "covert" smile experiment by evaluating how people interpret a range of facial expressions (spanning frowns to smiles) using the pen-in-teeth mechanism; it then extended this using point-light motion images (spanning sad walking videos to happy walking videos) as the visual stimuli.

Dr. Marmolejo-Ramos says there is a strong link between action and perception.

"In a nutshell, perceptual and motor systems are intertwined when we emotionally process stimuli," Dr. Marmolejo-Ramos says.

"A 'fake it 'til you make it' approach could have more credit than we expect."


Coriander is a potent weapon against antibiotic resistant bacteria

University of Beira Interior (Portugal) August 10, 2020





The problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria has been deemed a public health crisis, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that invasive MRSA – or methicillin-resistant S. aureus – infections affect 80,000 people globally a year, and claim over 11,000 lives. But, what the CDC will never tell you is how coriander can potentially save lives.

Researchers in Portugal now say that that the oil from coriander – a common kitchen spice – is quite toxic to a wide range of harmful bacteria, leading to hopes that it may be enlisted in the fight against MRSA and other pathogens.

Researchers at University of Beira Interior used flow cytometry to study the effects of coriander oil on 12 different disease-causing types of bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, B. cereus and MRSA. In the study, published in Journal of Medical Microbiology, the oil significantly inhibited bacterial growth – especially that of MRSA and E. coli.

Researchers found that the coriander oil worked by damaging the membrane around the bacterial cell, interfering with vital functions such as respiration and eventually causing cell death.

Linalool, a terpenoid responsible for coriander’s pleasant scent, is the main constituent, but the coriander oil outperformed linalool alone – showing that interactions between the components in coriander oil made it even more bactericidal.

Finally, the team found that coriander tended to perform better on Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella – as it could more easily disrupt their cell membranes.

Lead researcher Dr. Fernanda Domingues noted that using coriander in foods could help prevent bacterial spoilage and food-borne illnesses, and possibly function as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical antibiotics. The team called for further study to explore practical applications and delivery systems.

Coriander, scientifically known as Coriandrum sativum L. and also called cilantro and Chinese parsley, is an herb used in Mediterranean, Asian, Indian and Mexican cuisine, where it lends its spicy, bracing flavor to chutneys, pickles, sauces and salads.

A staple of folk and herbal medicine, coriander has pain-relieving, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. The seeds have even been used for their mild relaxant, anxiety-easing and mood-elevating properties, and the diluted essential oil has been used to treat topical skin infections.

For this study, researchers used essential oil of coriander, but other research on coriander’s antimicrobial qualities has used other forms, such as freeze-dried powder. Coriander essential oil is one of the most widely-used in the world, and is already in use as a food additive.

The need to develop safe, non-chemical preservatives – and the need to find natural solutions for antibiotic resistant bacteria – mean that studies on natural, herbal substances such as coriander are a “research hotspot.”

Coriander has impressed researchers with its antimicrobial properties, and additional studies attest to that fact.

In a study published in International Journal of Food Nutrition and Safety, researchers found that a water extract of coriander had a very strong inhibitory effect on E. coli and B.subtilis. Many serotypes of E.coli can cause illness, and B. subtilis, while not a disease-causing pathogen, can contaminate food, and cause potatoes to rot.

Researchers found that the coriander extract worked best to inhibit bacteria when it was prepared in a concentration of 10 percent, with a pH of 6 and a salt concentration of 2 percent.

And, a 2015 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition showed that coriander seed oil exhibited antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria – along with some yeasts and fungi. Researchers expressed their belief in the successful development of a food preservation strategy featuring coriander oil.

MRSA continues to threaten lives, while food-borne illnesses affect up to 30 percent of the population of developed countries – yearly. The CDC reports that a type of infection called STEC – Shiga toxin-producing E. coli – strikes a whopping 265,000 people every year in the United States alone, causing symptoms of severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.

And, finally, coriander seed oil – non-toxic, non-chemical, and packed with beneficial flavonoids – may very well be the food preservative and antibacterial agent of the future.



Exercise can improve mental health

McGill University (Quebec), August 10, ,2020
One in four men in the world suffer from mental health issues. More men than women die from mental health issues. Dr. Farhan Khawajawho holds a Ph.D in Neuroscience from Mcgill University has said that regular fitness routines can help reduce the number of people whosuffer from long term mental health issues and can save lives.

Dr. Farhan Khawaja has launched a campaign to make men aware of how important regular fitness is to their mental health and well-being. The fitness experts have said regular exercise can help deal with stress and reduce mental health problems.

According to a recent report, more than 450 million people in the world suffer from mental health issues. In the UK more than 16 million people suffer from stress and mental health problems, in the USA that figure stands at 46.6 million. The World Health Organization has said that one in four men suffer from mental health problems and men are more likely than women to lose their life to this rising killer disease. Dr. Farah Khawaja who has called for more to be done to help men who suffer from stress and depression, and mental health problems want more men to turn to exercise to beat this rising problem.

"Exercise and going to the gym and running in the park is not just about losing weight, it can also help with people's well-being. Regular fitness can be a very highly effective way of dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. It is the perfect way to help a person to fight the negative feelings they have," explained Dr. Farhan Khawaja.

In 2019, 6507 deaths were recorded due to suicide, in the USA 129 people take their own life due to mental health problems. Those figures show the importance of why more needs to be done according to Dr. Farhan Khawaja.

It is not just Dr. Farhan Khawaja who has said that regular exercise can help fight depression, stress, and anxiety, scientists have also written many reports on the subject. They have said they have found through studies that exercise can reduce the levels of tension a person may feel and can help elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep patterns, and improve a person's self-esteem. According to one scientist report, even five minutes of aerobic exercise can have a positive impact on someone suffering from anxiety and stress.

"We want to see more people exercise. They don't have to join an expensive gym; they can do exercise in the home or at the park. Through regular exercise it can help boost a person's overall mood and well-being," explained Dr. Farhan Khawaja.

Dr. Farhan Khawajabelieves that if more people spent just ten minutes a day exercising, it could help reduce the number of people who suffer from stress.



Study shows how food preservatives may disrupt human hormones and promote obesity

Cedars-Sinai  Medicine Institute, August 9, 2020 


Can chemicals that are added to breakfast cereals and other everyday products make you obese? Growing evidence from animal experiments suggests the answer may be "yes." But confirming these findings in humans has faced formidable obstacles - until now.

A new study published today in Nature Communications details how Cedars-Sinai investigators developed a novel platform and protocol for testing the effects of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors on humans.

The three chemicals tested in this study are abundant in modern life. Butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) is an antioxidant commonly added to breakfast cereals and other foods to protect nutrients and keep fats from turning rancid; perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a polymer found in some cookware, carpeting and other products; and tributyltin (TBT) is a compound in paints that can make its way into water and accumulate in seafood.

The investigators used hormone-producing tissues grown from human stem cells to demonstrate how chronic exposure to these chemicals can interfere with signals sent from the digestive system to the brain that let people know when they are "full" during meals. When this signaling system breaks down, people often may continue eating, causing them to gain weight.

"We discovered that each of these chemicals damaged hormones that communicate between the gut and the brain," said Dhruv Sareen, PhD, assistant professor of Biomedical Sciences and director of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Core Facility at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute. "When we tested the three together, the combined stress was more robust."

Of the three chemicals tested, BHT produced some of the strongest detrimental effects, Sareen said.

While other scientists have shown these compounds can disrupt hormone systems in laboratory animals, the new study is the first to use human pluripotent stem cells and tissues to document how the compounds may disrupt hormones that are critical to gut-to-brain signaling and preventing obesity in people, Sareen said.

"This is a landmark study that substantially improves our understanding of how endocrine disruptors may damage human hormonal systems and contribute to the obesity epidemic in the U.S.," said Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the institute and the Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Regenerative Medicine. More than one-third of U.S. adults are considered to be obese, according to federal statistics.

The new testing system developed for the study has the potential to provide a much-needed, safe and cost-effective method that can be used to evaluate the health effects of thousands of existing and new chemicals in the environment, the investigators say.

For their experiments, Sareen and his team first obtained blood samples from adults, and then, by introducing reprogramming genes, converted the cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. Then, using these stem cells, the investigators grew human epithelium tissue, which lines the gut, and neuronal tissues of the brain's hypothalamus region, which regulates appetite and metabolism.

The investigators then exposed the tissues to BHT, PFOA and TBT, one by one and also in combination, and observed what happened inside the cells. They found that the chemicals disrupted networks that prepare signaling hormones to maintain their structure and be transported out of the cells, thus making them ineffective. The chemicals also damaged mitochondria - cellular structures that convert food and oxygen into energy and drive the body's metabolism.

Because the chemical damage occurred in early-stage "young" cells, the findings suggest that a defective hormone system potentially could impact a pregnant mother as well as her fetus in the womb, Sareen said. While other scientists have found, in animal studies, that effects of endocrine disruptors can be passed down to future generations, this process has not been proved to occur in humans, he explained.

More than 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in the U.S. in everyday items such as foods, personal care products, household cleaners and lawn-care products, according to the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While the program states on its website that relatively few chemicals are thought to pose a significant risk to human health, it also states: "We do not know the effects of many of these chemicals on our health."

Cost and ethical issues, including the health risk of exposing human subjects to possibly harmful substances, are among the barriers to testing the safety of many chemicals. As a result, numerous widely used compounds remain unevaluated in humans for their health effects, especially to the hormone system.

"By testing these chemicals on actual human tissues in the lab, we potentially could make these evaluations easier to conduct and more cost-effective," Sareen said.

The Gary Null Show - 08.12.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.12.20

August 12, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. In this episode Gary Null goes over Biden's announcement of running mate Kamala Harris

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The Gary Null Show - The Moral Panic of the Woke Generation - 08.11.20

The Gary Null Show - The Moral Panic of the Woke Generation - 08.11.20

August 11, 2020

t is one thing to show a man that he is in error and another to put him intouch with truth… No man’s knowledge can go beyond his experience” – John Locke (Essays Concerning Human Understanding)


Locke was not alone in questioning what we believe to be true knowledge, and pointing out the consequences of failing to discern falsehoods from reality. In fact Locke was in excellent company.  Due to the scientific revolution that inspired several generations of deep thinkers, naturalists and philosophers, including Rousseau, Kant, Spinoza, Darwin, Bacon and Voltaire, the Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason dominated the intellectual world of ideas for nearly two centuries. 


Locke’s statements are important because today there is a new generation that has been indoctrinated by the shortcomings of scientific materialism originally launched during the Age of Reason. It was intended to bring forth a new purity, an idyllic perfectionism of thought and beliefs founded alone upon objective inquiry. Now, we are observing a juvenile revolution in the ideas of identity politics, wokeness and a passionate micro-aggression that derives hedonist pleasure in ridicule and insult. One of its more lofty goals is to end free speech as we know it – except for those who are woke.. Other goals are to institute a faux collectivism and to abolish meritocracy or social rewards earned through effort and achievement. 


Important voices of critical thought – Noam Chomsky, Henry Giroux, Jordan Peterson, to name a few, have been warning us for a decade that this day was rapidly approaching. However, since there are no dynamic leaders in the youth’s woke moment of Maoist-style cleansing and purging wrong-views, wrong attitudes and wrong beliefs, most of us in the older generations wrongly assume it would be a passing phase. But it wasn’t.  


In fact, the consequences of this unleashed furor, evidence by an absence of self-reflection or critical thought, has been channeled into a mob rule of dissent and abuse.  In the street gatherings of protest, and across the social media, it is virtually unstoppable at this moment. No one is challenging them, neither the mainstream media nor the majority of academia. Rather, corporate leaders and persuasive forces in the democratic institutions are coming to their aid. Therefore, it proceeds under the cover of a silent political power to sustain its energy.

On the other hand, today’s youth have every reason to feel disenchanted and to suffer rampant existential angst, the emptiness of not feeling a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in the world at large.  American neoliberal culture’s and our educational system’s singled-minded attention on science and technology -- which in themselves are amoral disciplines -- and rote memorization and testing has resulted in two decades of youth becoming essentially illiterate in the humanities, critical evaluation and reflective inquiry.  It is also the most irreligious generation in American history. Without the skills of introspective thought to develop a sense of genuine well-being and true happiness, or what Plato called eudomonia as opposed to hedonia, (the pursuit of temporary or transient pleasures), our nation has tossed our youth to the rabid dogs of the social Darwinian rat race for survival. 


Therefore, it is not surprising that suicides among today’s teens and twenty-somethings have risen 47 percent during the past two decades.  Sadly the casualty rate is actually higher when we consider there are 36 percent more people living in their 20s today than there were at the turn of the century. Thirty-two percent of youth through their 20s have clinical anxiety disorders, 1 in 9 suffer from depression and almost 14 percent have ADHD.  Although the medical community would like us to believe these are either inherited or biological conditions attributable to brain chemical inbalance, there is absolutely no scientific consensusproving there is a causal relationship between brain function and mental states.  Certainly there are correlate relationships; but correlation is not causation.  The latter is solely a belief, an assumption, without any conclusive and confirming data. The causes are therefore elsewhere and likely to found in our dysfunctional society and the complete breakdown of traditional ethical structures and universal values.


In 1972, South African sociologist Stanley Cohen proposed the Moral Panic Theory, an irrational widespread fear that threatens one’s sense of values, safety and cohesion to one’s “tribal” identity.  This moral panic, Cohen observes, is bolstered by the injustices of the ruling elite and its mouthpieces in the media. It also centers around those who society marginalizes and based upon “ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality and religion.” Ashley Grossman, writing for ThoughtCo, makes the point that ultimately, those in power will most benefit from moral panics “since they lead to increased control of the population and the reinforcement of the authority of those in charge.” The panic aroused in the leaders of Black Lives Matter and their allies, provides the government or state “to enact legislation and laws that would seem illegitimate without the perceived threat at the center of the moral panic.” 


Unfortunately, our entire country, not just the demonstrators of Black Lives Matter and Antifa has entered a Moral Panic phase: the vitriolic propaganda in both parties, the greed and opportunism of the oligarchic and corporate elite, QAnon and the Alt-Right, the Woke-Left and of course the mainstream media. And the pandemic is only adding to this corrosive environment of social breakdown. 

Repeatedly woke students are demanding their schools and colleges assure they are safe from ideas and philosophies that challenge their fragile comfort zones. Teachers and professors who students feel are challenging their illusions to knowledge and self-identity, either real or imagined, are being ostracized with calls for administrative dismissal. How many academicians are forced to remain silent to avoid the consequences of the new woke Inquisition? Such student actions are indicative of their frail sense of self-worth and existential angst; yet we must look at modern parental upbringing and our culture’s leading elders, as noted by Jonathan Haidt, to diagnose the causal factors for this psychological catastrophe of two entire generations.  


Consequently, when collective panic has reached a threshold, Cohen’s theory might explain the sudden eruption of irrational behavior entangled in the Black Lives Matter and Antifa demonstrations, the burning of police facilities, toppling and destroying statues, public shaming and humiliation and widespread looting, violence and roguery. And it is equally endemic to the reactionary maleficence of white supremacists and militias. Occupying several blocks in Seattle, with armed militias, extorting store owners and engaging in a frenzy of bullying does not portend a peaceful transition to a more virtuous society. 


So when a new book emerges, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and becomes the holy grail of woke truths, we are lectured that what will not be tolerated is any deviation or heresy from the new norm it espouses. The author’s central theme is that if you have the misfortune of being born with the wrong genes into the wrong family, with the wrong skin color, you are a racist and will be such for the remainder of your days.  Hence every White person is condemned with a defective moniker blazed across their forehead. And since meritocracy likewise is damned, all achievements are accounted for as having the privilege of being Caucasian.  Your attempt to defend yourself and profess your free speech is a testament of your heresy. No apology or act of humility can save you. It is a life sentence without parole for good behavior. 


White Fragility will now be taught in many schools, with the full cooperation of teacher unions and school administrators. Resistance will be a subversive act and an admission of your racism. It is critical to observe this may be heading towards a new paradigm of Orwellian social control. 


Yet there is barely a shred of credible scientific evidence to support DiAngelo’s hypothesis that can be readily deconstructed and debunked.  It is a flawed opinion, and a dangerous one at that.  Worse, its long-reaching conclusions could advocate for a repressive regime of scientism that Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell warned about.  Russell warned that “collective passions” have a penchant to inflame “hatred and rivalry directed towards other groups.” He was acutely aware that “science is no substitute for virtue; the heart is as necessary for the good life as the head.” And DiAnglo’s screed falls into the dark abysmal waters of genetic determinism that gave rise to racist fascism. Russell further warned that this distorted over-reliance on faux science could be “a curse to mankind.”  


Perhaps, during its Icarus moment, wokeness will self-destruct under its own rashness and the internal fire of its undiscerning ardor.  What carnage it leaves in its wake remains to be seen. 


Yet there is nothing new or original in the cultural rebellion we are witnessing. This game has been played out before in previous acts striving for an adolescent and unreachable social perfection.  It will have its blowback.  In his Principia Mathematica, Isaac Newton observed that for every action there is an equally opposing reaction. However, we have yet to witness how it will boomerang. But we will.  In the meantime, a new class of wannabe priests is emerging within the woke movement, a priesthood David Hume warned about in his Essays, Moral, Political and Literary, which will in turn be an adversary to liberty.


Consider the backlash after Harpers magazine published a Letter on Justice and Open Debate that warned of “a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity.”  Signed by over 160 brilliant minds, academicians and authors – liberal and conservative -- including Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Haidt, Susannah Heschel, Steven Pinker, Gloria Steinem, etc, the letter gives a stark warning of the unwelcomed consequences of the new culture of censorship that the demonstration’s leaders are ushering into the nation at large. The woke now demand retribution against its signers, in effect shutting down the nation’s 200-plus years of free speech, the right to disagree and public discourse.


Have those rebelling in the streets and casting out of society those who disagree with them considered earlier precedents for their actions? It was the Spanish Inquisition.  In principle, how many today are in effect labeled heretics and “witches” because they have spoken publicly in favor of free speech and to oppose censorship? May not the woke movement in turn become the harbinger of a new Inquisition, a new platform of economic and social persecution by the powerful and wealthy waiting in the corridors after the cult of woke fizzles out?  


The causal problems to our terrified culture is of course far deeper and has been identified and analyzed repeatedly in the writings of Chris Hedges and Henry Giroux.  Our nation thrives on victimizing others, best exemplified by Trump’s example.  Now the once victims of the woke generation, erupting from the simmering of their silent angst and meaninglessness are determined to be the new victimizers. 


What is the end game when a populist uprising demands by disillusioned and psychologically traumatized youth at the mercy of capitalism’s parasitical march to claim more victims gets the upper hand. The movement has now evolved beyond its original demands for racial justice for the Black community who have been discriminated against by our institutions, particularly law enforcement and the private prison system. Now it is rapidly morphing into a massive autonomous cult of divisiveness and self-righteousness without a moral backbone that recognizes the essential values of forgiveness, reconciliation, and cooperative engagement for preserving a sane and productive culture that benefits all. 


It is highly unlikely the demonstrations and revolt will slow down. More probable, it will be permitted to increase in order to further destabilize society to enable more repressive and draconian laws to criminalize thought-crimes and actions. Eventually, American democracy will be in name only. The plutocrats want it that way. Only then will the populace wake up and realize that the forces of power metastasized throughout the nation while the media kept us distracted and entertained.

The Gary Null Show - 08.10.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.10.20

August 10, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. 

If you would like to sign up for the new PRN Newsletter provide your email to


Brendan O'Neill: The danger of the 'chattering class'

Link confirmed between healthy diet and prostate cancer prevention

University of Calgary, August 6, 2020


The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that more than 23,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020. Among other risk factors, more and more studies point to diet as a major factor in the development of prostate cancer, as it is for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Using data from a study conducted in Montreal between 2005 and 2012, a research team led by Professor Marie-Elise Parent of Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) has shown a link between diet and prostate cancer in the article “Dietary Patterns Are Associated with Risk of Prostate Cancer in a Population-Based Case-Control Study in Montreal, Canada”, published in Nutrients in June.

Three main dietary profiles analyzed

INRS PhD student Karine Trudeau, the lead author of the study, based her analysis on three main dietary profiles: healthy diet, salty Western diet including alcohol, and sugar-rich Western diet with beverages. The first profile leans heavily towards fruits, vegetables, and plant proteins like tofu and nuts. The salty Western diet with alcohol includes more meat and beverages such as beer and wine. The third profile is rich in pasta, pizza, desserts, and sugary carbonated drinks. The study took age, ethnicity, education, family history, and date of last prostate cancer screening into account.

Marie-Elise Parent and Karine Trudeau found a link between a healthy diet and a lower risk of prostate cancer. Conversely, a Western diet with sweets and beverages was associated with a higher risk and seemed to be a factor in more aggressive forms of cancer. The study did not show any clear link between a Western diet with salt and alcohol and the risk of developing the disease.

Moving away from the typical approach used in epidemiological studies, which involves looking at one nutrient or food group at a time, the researchers collected data from a broader dietary profile. “It’s not easy to isolate the effect of a single nutrient,” explained Ms. Trudeau. “For example, foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, promote iron absorption. Calcium is often found in dairy products, which also contain vitamin D. Our more targeted approach takes this synergy into account to produce more meaningful results that public health authorities can use to formulate recommendations. Rather than counting on one miracle food, people should look at their overall diet.”

“For a long time we’ve suspected that diet might play a role in the development of prostate cancer, but it was very hard to pinpoint the specific factors at play,” said Professor Parent. “This study is significant because it looks at dietary habits as a whole. We’ve uncovered evidence that, we hope, can be used to develop prevention strategies for prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men in Canadaand many other countries.”


Compounds in 'monster' radish could help tame cardiovascular disease

American Chemical Society, August 9, 2020

Step aside carrots, onions and broccoli. The newest heart-healthy vegetable could be a gigantic, record-setting radish. In a study appearing in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report that compounds found in the Sakurajima Daikon, or "monster," radish could help protect coronary blood vessels and potentially prevent heart disease and stroke. The finding could lead to the discovery of similar substances in other vegetables and perhaps lead to new drug treatments.

Grown for centuries in Japan, the Sakurajima Daikon is one of the Earth's most massive vegetables. In 2003, the Guinness Book of World Records certified a Sakurajima weighing nearly 69 pounds as the world's heaviest radish. Radishes are good sources of antioxidants and reportedly can reduce high blood pressure and the threat of clots, a pair of risk factors for heart attack and stroke. But to date, no studies have directly compared the heart-health benefits of the Sakurajima Daikon to other radishes. To address this knowledge gap, Katsuko Kajiya and colleagues sought to find out what effects this radish would have on nitric oxide production, a key regulator of coronary blood vessel function, and to determine its underlying mechanisms.

The researchers exposed human and pig vascular endothelial cells to extracts from Sakurajima Daikon and smaller radishes. Using fluorescence microscopy and other analytical techniques, the research team found the Sakurajima Daikon radish induced more nitric oxide production in these vascular cells than a smaller Japanese radish. They also identified trigonelline, a plant hormone, as the active component in Sakurajima Daikon that appears to promote a cascade of changes in coronary blood vessels resulting improved nitric oxide production.


Placebos prove powerful even when people know they're taking one

Michigan State University, August 7, 2020


How much of a treatment is mind over matter? It is well documented that people often feel better after taking a treatment without active ingredients simply because they believe it's real -- known as the placebo effect.

A team of researchers from Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Dartmouth College is the first to demonstrate that placebos reduce brain markers of emotional distress even when people know they are taking one.

Now, evidence shows that even if people are aware that their treatment is not "real" -- known as nondeceptive placebos -- believing that it can heal can lead to changes in how the brain reacts to emotional information.

"Just think: What if someone took a side-effect free sugar pill twice a day after going through a short convincing video on the power of placebos and experienced reduced stress as a result?", said Darwin Guevarra, MSU postdoctoral fellow and the study's lead author. "These results raise that possibility."

The new findings, published in the most recent edition of the journal Nature Communications, tested how effective nondeceptive placebos -- or, when a person knows they are receiving a placebo -- are for reducing emotional brain activity. 

"Placebos are all about 'mind over matter," said Jason Moser, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at MSU. "Nondeceptive placebos were born so that you could possibly use them in routine practice. So rather than prescribing a host of medications to help a patient, you could give them a placebo, tell them it can help them and chances are -- if they believe it can, then it will."

To test nondeceptive placebos, the researchers showed two separate groups of people a series of emotional images across two experiments. The nondeceptive placebo group members read about placebo effects and were asked to inhale a saline solution nasal spray. They were told that the nasal spray was a placebo that contained no active ingredients but would help reduce their negative feelings if they believed it would. The comparison control group members also inhaled the same saline solution spray, but were told that the spray improved the clarity of the physiological readings the researchers were recording.

The first experiment found that the nondeceptive placebos reduced participants' self-reported emotional distress. Importantly, the second study showed that nondeceptive placebos reduced electrical brain activity reflecting how much distress someone feels to emotional events, and the reduction in emotional brain activity occurred within just a couple of seconds.

"These findings provide initial support that nondeceptive placebos are not merely a product of response bias - telling the experimenter what they want to hear -- but represent genuine psychobiological effects," said Ethan Kross, co-author of the study and a professor of psychology and management at the University of Michigan.



Greater coffee intake associated with decreased depressive symptoms among older Japanese women

Nakamura Gakuen University (Japan), August 5, 2020


According to news reporting originating from Fukuoka, Japan, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Depression in elderly people is a major global concern around the world. Epidemiological evidence of the association of beverages with depressive symptoms has received research attention; however, epidemiological studies on the association of coffee and green tea consumption with depressive symptoms among the elderly population are limited.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Nakamura Gakuen University, “The objective of this study is to cross-sectionally examine the association of depressive symptoms with the intake of coffee, green tea, and caffeine and to verify the antidepressant effect of caffeine. The subjects were 1,992 women aged 65-94 years. Intakes of coffee, green tea, and caffeine, as well as depressive symptoms, were assessed with a validated brief dietary history questionnaire (BDHQ) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), respectively. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (as) for depressive symptoms with adjustments for potential confounders. Coffee intake was associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms, the ORs of which for the 4th versus the 1st quartiles of intake was 0.64 (95% CI, 0.46-0.88, P for trend = 0.01) in a fully adjusted model. Caffeine intake was marginally associated with depressive symptoms, but the association was not statistically significant (OR 0.75; 95% CL 0,55-1,02. P for trend = 0.058). The result suggests that the inverse association of coffee intake with depressive symptoms might be associated with not only caffeine intake but also some other substances in coffee or factors related to coffee intake.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Because of the cross-sectional design of the present study, longitudinal studies are required to confirm the present finding.”



Sugary drinks and disease: Chugging 2 sodas per day increases your risk of premature death

University College Dublin (Ireland), August 8, 2020

On top of raising blood sugar and contributing to abdominal fat, European researchers found that soda can also lead to an earlier death.

Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study demonstrates that daily consumption of two or more sodas – diet or not – and other sweetened drinks corresponds to a 17 percent increase in the risk of premature death from all causes.

The “bitter truth” of soda consumption: premature death

To examine the relationship between soda consumption and the risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality, the researchers studied 451,743 individuals living in 10 European countries, including Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The participants were from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EIPC) study, one of the largest ongoing cohort studies on diet and its relation to cancer and other chronic diseases. None of the participants have any chronic conditions.

The team studied their soda consumption for an average of 16 years. During that period, a total of 41,693 participants died from all causes, eleven percent of whom reported drinking at least two sodas daily, while nine percent reported drinking not more than one per month.

The participants who drank two or more glasses of soda also had a higher risk of death from heart conditions. Meanwhile, those who reported consuming other beverages sweetened with either sugar or artificial sweeteners had a greater risk of death from digestive diseases.

Participants who drank diet soda weren’t off the hook either. The team reported that those who drank diet sodas also had a greater risk of earlier death from cardiovascular disease(CVD).

Taken together, these findings indicate that the consumption of soda, diet soda and other sweetened beverages is linked to premature death from all causes, including CVD and digestive diseases.

The researchers noted that their study supports public health campaigns aimed at limiting the consumption of sodas and other sugar-laden drinks.


Fisetin derivative shows promise against Alzheimer disease in mice

Salk Institute, August 5 2020. 


he September 2020 issue of Redox Biology published the finding of Salk Institute researchers of an ability for a compound derived from fisetin, a flavonoid occurring in many plants, to reverse memory loss in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease. The compound, known as CMS121, which was synthesized by Pamela Maher and colleagues, was recently demonstrated to slow brain cell aging.

"This was a more rigorous test of how well this compound would work in a therapeutic setting than our previous studies on it," commented Dr Maher. "Based on the success of this study, we're now beginning to pursue clinical trials."

In the current research, normal mice and mice that were genetically modified to develop Alzheimer disease were given CMS121 starting at nine months of age. Untreated Alzheimer mice and normal mice served as controls. At 12 months, memory and behavior tests revealed that treated Alzheimer mice performed as well as control mice and that Alzheimer mice that did not receive CMS121 performed worse. 

An increase in lipid peroxidation was observed in brains cells of untreated Alzheimer mice in comparison with Alzheimer mice that received CMS121. "That not only confirmed that lipid peroxidation is altered in Alzheimer's, but that this drug is actually normalizing those changes," remarked first author Gamze Ates. 

It was further determined that CMS121 lowered levels of the lipid-producing molecule fatty acid synthetase (FASN). Brain samples from human Alzheimer patients revealed that greater amounts of FASN were present in comparison with cognitively healthy patients, suggesting that FASN could be a drug target for Alzheimer disease. 

"There has been a big struggle in the field right now to find targets to go after," Dr Maher stated. "So, identifying a new target in an unbiased way like this is really exciting and opens lots of doors."



REM sleep tunes eating behavior

University of Bern (Germany),  August 7, 2020


Despite our broad understanding of the different brain regions activated during rapid-eye-movement sleep, little is known about what this activity serves for. Researchers at the University of Bern and the Inselspital have now discovered that the activation of neurons in the hypothalamus during REM sleep regulates eating behaviour: suppressing this activity in mice decreases appetite.

While we are asleep, we transition between different phases of sleep each of which may contribute differently to us feeling rested. During (rapid eye movement) REM sleep, a peculiar sleep stage also called paradoxical sleep during which most dreaming occurs, specific brain circuits show very high electrical activity, yet the function of this sleep-specific activity remains unclear. 

Among the brain regions that show strong activation during REM sleep are areas that regulate memory functions or emotion, for instance. The lateral hypothalamus, a tiny, evolutionarily well conserved brain structure in all mammals also shows high activity during REM sleep. In the awake animals, neurons from this brain region orchestrate appetite and the consumption of food and they are involved in the regulation of motivated behaviours and addiction.

In a new study, researchers headed by Prof. Dr. Antoine Adamantidis at the University of Bern set out to investigate the function of the activity of hypothalamic neurons in mice during REM sleep. They aimed at better understanding how neural activation during REM sleep influences our day-to-day behaviour. They discovered that suppressing the activity of these neurons decreases the amount of food the mice consume. "This suggests that REM sleep is necessary to stabilize food intake", says Adamantidis. The results of this study have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Long-lasting effect on neuronal activity and feeding behavior

The researcher discovered that specific activity patterns of neurons in the lateral hypothalamus that usually signal eating in the awake mouse are also present when the animals were in the stage of REM sleep. To assess the importance of these activity patterns during REM sleep the research group used a technique called optogenetics, with which they used light pulses to precisely shut down the activity of hypothalamic neurons during REM sleep. As a result, the researchers found that the activity patterns for eating were modified and that the animals consumed less food.

"We were surprised how strongly and persistently our intervention affected the neural activity in the lateral hypothalamus and the behaviour of the mice", says Lukas Oesch, the first author of the study. He adds: "The modification in the activity patterns was still measurable after four days of regular sleep." These findings suggest that electrical activity in hypothalamic circuits during REM sleep are highly plastic and essential to maintain a stable feeding behaviour in mammals. 

It is a question of quality

These findings point out that sleep quantity alone is not solely required for our well-being, but that sleep quality plays a major role in particular to maintain appropriate eating behaviour. "This is of particular relevance in our society where not only sleep quantity decreases but where sleep quality is dramatically affected by shift work, late night screen exposure or social jet-lag in adolescents", explains Adamantidis.

The discovered link between the activity of the neurons during REM sleep and eating behaviour may help developing new therapeutical approaches to treat eating disorders. It might also be relevant for motivation and addiction. "However, this relationship might depend on the precise circuitry, the sleep stage and other factors yet to be uncovered", adds Adamantidis.


The key role of zinc in elderly immunity

Federal University of Juiz de Fora (Brazil), August 7, 2020


According to news reporting originating from Juiz de Fora, Brazil, by NewsRx editors, the research stated, “The COVID-19 infection can lead to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), mainly affecting patients aged 60 and older. Preliminary data suggest that the nutritional status can change the course of the infection, and on the matter, zinc is crucial for growth, development, and the maintenance of immune function.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, “In the absence of treatment for this virus, there is an urgent need to find alternative methods that can contribute to control of disease. The aim of this paper is to establish the relation between zinc and COVID-19. From the prior scientific knowledge, we have performed a review of the literature and examine the role of zinc in immune function in the infection by COVID-19. Our findings are that the zinc as an anti-inflammatory agent may help to optimize immune function and reduce the risk of infection.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Zinc supplementation can be a useful strategy to reduce the global burden of infection in the elderly, there is a need the increased reporting to improve our understanding of COVID-19 and the care of affected patients.”



The Gary Null Show - Welcome to the Woke Culture and its Nihilistic Agenda

The Gary Null Show - Welcome to the Woke Culture and its Nihilistic Agenda

August 7, 2020

Welcome to the Woke Culture and its Nihilistic Agenda

Gary Null and Richard Gale

Progressive Radio Network, August 7, 2020

As we witness the increasing populist persecution of politically correct language through the emerging cancel culture, we must pause for a moment.  What went wrong that in a blink of an eye so much hatred, disdain and condemnation has unfurled in the streets, the social media and on college campuses. Demanding that tenured professors should be limited in what they say and how it is stated is counterproductive to understanding that our institutions of higher learning have historically been forums to challenge and rebut ideas and preassumptions in order to inspire open dialogue and debate.  This is how critical thinking develops. Epigenetically ingrained beliefs and feelings are thereby examined outside the bubbles of culture, class, race and ethnicity, because the real world frankly doesn’t care about self-centered emotions nor supercilious appeals for focused attention.

Previous generations had their moments in the public arena to exhibit their tantrums and hurl vindictive vitriol at their real or imagined enemies. Again we are witnessing a new generation of youth stamping their feet, beating their chests with self-righteous indignation and screaming for justice.  “We are inclusive,” so they yell, “and you are the racist, bigot, misogynist and deplorable trash.”

But the euphoric high in the current rebellion will be short-lived. Populist rebellions and protests are usually coopted by more powerful entities eventually. And rarely do revolutions bring about the changes that its participants have idolized. Some scholars have observed a similarity between the current demonstrations of Black Lives Matter and Antifa with the French Revolution. But that too quickly splintered after heralding momentary success into the various factions of Robespierre’s Jacobins, Jacques Hebert and George Danton. And where did the revolution’s achievements end after Napoleon arrived?  Indeed successful widespread demonstrations can change the course of history and do trigger systemic change frequently. However there is no Rosetta stone that guarantees the desired outcome will be reached.

The belief that we are a systemically racist nation is fundamentally flawed otherwise there would have been no achievements from earlier mass protests such the civil rights movement, the early abolitionists, suffragettes, and the Vietnam War protests. The very idea that the best selling book White Fragility should be the new  bible is a travesty to critical thinking. Yes, it is proper to condemn slavery; any reasonable person would.  But the premise that being born White is an irreversible and unredeemable trait of racism, coded in our DNA as a biological sin, is not only juvenile and ill-founded but also intrinsically dangerous. How is it that an author can condemn all Whites as racist while denying this in and of itself is a racist argument?

Even if a person can provide the evidence that their family heritage had many abolitionists who fought for freeing slaves, it makes no difference. Any statement, any gesture or word uttered by a 10 year old or an elderly person in their later years can be used to cancel one’s life, including all the goodness that person may have done as a conscious and moral human being.

One criticism often heard against today’s younger generations is that they are historically illiterate. How can anyone say with moral and historical authority that the civil rights movement meant nothing and in a swoop of amnesia wipe away 70 years of accomplishments for liberating people of color.

In no small measure these past populist movements proceeded forward in the spirit of unity where the color of one’s skin did not limit anyone as a human being. Tens of millions of Americans joyfully embraced each other in cooperation at every level of society.  Now today’s protests are negating this legacy as if it never existed. Yet when Clinton, Bush, Obama-Biden, and now Trump, Democrats and Republicans alike, at the behest of the neo-con and military industrial complex decided it was in their financial and ideological interests to invade country after country, most of these populations were of color. Why isn’t the populist rebellion now calling out our nation’s addiction to military adventurism for its systemic racism and the destruction of foreign cultures? When China carries out its persecution and incarceration of its minorities, including Tibetans and Muslim Uygurs, why do our youth blissfully continue to purchase the latest mobile phones and computers manufactured in the Mainland? Instead, China is given a pass as fomenters of human suffering to have the luxury of the newest gadget to show our friends.

And how is it not racist when thousands of small businesses are destroyed in riots when the majority of the proprietors and owners are Black, Latino, Asian and Native American?  Is any effort being made by the demonstrations’ organizers to restore their lives? In the meantime, the media covers these crimes by saying there are no riots. Jerry Nadler tells us that Antifa riots are a myth; however, tell that to the people whose life savings and means of livelihood have disappeared and who don’t have a penny left.

On a more pragmatic level, when a group of liberals and intellectuals principally sign a petition, including Noam Chomsky, to ask that we show respect for freedom of speech, they are attacked and ridiculed with the intent to destroy their reputations and to silence their freedom of speech.  The disturbing question is whether those participating in the woke movement have contributed any understanding to the nation’s crises of income inequality and militarism at the level of a Noam Chomsky? What exactly have any of the most vocal protestors created in their lives that have made society a better place from their efforts?

The best we can do is learn the historical lessons of how racial injustice arises, and it is not based solely on color or biology. Rather it is a question of power, the control of a privileged elite for the sake of greater wealth and socio-political influence. That is the basis for how a society becomes corrupted, and it is a battle essential for transforming the destructive trajectory of our country that is not being addressed. When the central issues of woke culture rely solely upon how you feel or what you believe is right then the society becomes divided between insiders and outsiders because not everyone will share your personal sentiments and illusions. Wokeness avoids being held accountable for the consequences that our words and actions inflict on others of a dissimilar mind.  In the meantime the clock is ticking away the seconds as the planet furls into being unsustainable for supporting its 7.8 billion citizens.

If the woke left believes it has the power to bring Joe Biden and the powers behind him to the White House, it is probably correct. But what happens once they are in power?  Life worsens as it has done for each succeeding president in recent history.  Will the legions of wokeness take credit for that?  Certainly not.

Undoubtedly, the woke culture perceives itself as being wise. But wisdom doesn’t arise from being afflicted with ADHD, being self-righteous, and finding one’s worth in how audaciously confrontational one can be towards an enemy. Our wise women and men today are those who have seen many struggles and have incorporated their knowledge into making society more equitable, to bring jobs back, to erect means of protecting those who are disenfranchised by corporate and political greed and exploitation.  Nevertheless these are the reputations the woke want to destroy, individuals who have the insight to analyze and discern the faulty thinking and self-cherishing delusions behind cancelling the lives of others, such as Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, Chris Hedges, etc.  It is an immoral mindset to believe that one has the right to destroy another’s accomplishments regardless of whether one agrees or not.

The current protests erupting throughout the nation is like Sherman’s March to the Sea, destroy everything and everyone in its wake, then take pride in your carnage. Unfortunately, Black Lives Matter, despite the truth and integrity of its stated mission, is run by the wrong leaders – juveniles acting like belligerent teenagers who stamp their feet before locking themselves in their bedrooms.

During the past decade, and particularly in the last three years, there has been a full throttle acceleration by the major social media firms – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia – to cancel voices and platforms that represent honest journalism. These are the voices of free speech that challenge the political weaponization of education represented in White Fragility, medicine and class struggle. Many sites such as Globalresearch, GreenMedInfo, Truthout, Blacklisted News, and Anti-Media have been censored. Also cancelled, shamed and pillared are people with impeccable integrity for their criticisms against power, including Abby Martin and Chris Hedges. These are the people with the strength of character and wisdom to expose all levels of power engaged in hegemonic control, unmitigated greed and the corruption throughout our two party duopoly. Neither the political Right or Left have done anything to challenge these breaches of public trust.  And Biden will certainly continue this trend.

So now we face a wave of nihilists in the streets and the internet spreading their apathy, frustration, hopelessness and hostility against racism and a system that correctly needs to be criticized and dismantled. But its lack of wisdom is displaying a mob rule that goes far beyond the threshold of honoring free speech, individual rights, and the kind of empathy and compassion that is so much needed at this time in mass populist movement.  Out of the collective ignorance that plagues the current uprising is the vulnerability to become unwilling tools of the powerful who are far smarter and wiser on knowing how to manipulate and direct trends that otherwise are not in their best interests.  We are already witnessing this happening as hundreds of millions of dollars are dumped into Black Lives Matter by donors and organizations that should rather be targets of protest.  This is the cost of nihilism and being deluded by wokeness: those who believe they are in power and control have been puppets all along.

The Gary Null Show - 08.06.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.06.20

August 6, 2020

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Cancel Culture doxxed me (as an ex-Google tech lead)

Millennials, Generation Zs trying to foster a workplace 'culture of victimhood'


Turmeric could have antiviral properties

Wuhan Institute of Bioengineering, August 5, 2020

Curcumin, a natural compound found in the spice turmeric, could help eliminate certain viruses, research has found. 

A study published in the Journal of General Virology showed that curcumin can prevent Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) - an alpha-group coronavirus that infects pigs - from infecting cells. At higher doses, the compound was also found to kill virus particles. 

Infection with TGEV causes a disease called transmissible gastroenteritis in piglets, which is characterised by diarrhoea, severe dehydration and death. TGEV is highly infectious and is invariably fatal in piglets younger than two weeks, thus posing a major threat to the global swine industry. There are currently no approved treatments for alpha-coronaviruses and although there is a vaccine for TGEV, it is not effective in preventing the spread of the virus. 

To determine the potential antiviral properties of curcumin, the research team treated experimental cells with various concentrations of the compound, before attempting to infect them with TGEV. They found that higher concentrations of curcumin reduced the number of virus particles in the cell culture.

The research suggests that curcumin affects TGEV in a number of ways: by directly killing the virus before it is able to infect the cell, by integrating with the viral envelope to 'inactivate' the virus, and by altering the metabolism of cells to prevent viral entry. "Curcumin has a significant inhibitory effect on TGEV adsorption step and a certain direct inactivation effect, suggesting that curcumin has great potential in the prevention of TGEV infection," said Dr Lilan Xie, lead author of the study and researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Bioengineering.

Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the replication of some types of virus, including dengue virus, hepatitis B and Zika virus. The compound has also been found to have a number of significant biological effects, including antitumor, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities. Curcumin was chosen for this research due to having low side effects according to Dr Xie. They said: "There are great difficulties in the prevention and control of viral diseases, especially when there are no effective vaccines. Traditional Chinese medicine and its active ingredients, are ideal screening libraries for antiviral drugs because of their advantages, such as convenient acquisition and low side effects."

The researchers now hope to continue their research in vivo, using an animal model to assess whether the inhibiting properties of curcumin would be seen in a more complex system. "Further studies will be required, to evaluate the inhibitory effect in vivo and explore the potential mechanisms of curcumin against TGEV, which will lay a foundation for the comprehensive understanding of the antiviral mechanisms and application of curcumin" said Dr Xie.


A quarter of arthritis cases linked to excess weight

Weight loss from young adulthood to midlife was associated with substantially reduced risk of developing arthritis

Boston University, August 4, 2020


A new Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) study shows that weight loss between early adulthood and midlife lowers arthritis risk, and found no evidence of any persistent risk of arthritis for people who were heavier earlier in life and then lost weight.

The study, published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, also estimates that nearly a quarter of arthritis cases in the U.S., corresponding to 2.7 million people, are attributable to excess weight.

"Policies that address the social and structural factors that promote weight gain are urgently needed. Our findings suggest that such measures could have a significant impact on reducing the incidence of arthritis, a leading cause of disability and chronic pain in the US," says study corresponding author Dr. Andrew Stokes, assistant professor of global health at BUSPH.

"Although weight loss could represent a viable way to reduce arthritis risk at the individual level, we found that the best solution at the population level would be to prevent weight gain," says study lead author and BUSPH alumna Kaitlyn Berry, who was a research fellow at BUSPH while working on the study and is now at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. 

The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) on adults 40-69 years old, to categorize individuals based on the changes in their body mass indices (BMI) from early adulthood to mid-life, and analyzed the association between these BMI trajectories and the risk of developing an arthritis condition within 10 years.

Of the 13,669 people in the study, 3,603 developed an arthritis condition. Compared with those who had a BMI in the "normal" range in both early adulthood and middle age, those who went from the "normal" range to the "overweight" or "obese" ranges, those who went from the "overweight" range to the "obese" range, and those whose BMIs were in the "obese" range at both points were all significantly more likely to develop arthritis conditions. 

On the other hand, those whose BMIs went from the "obese" down to the "overweight" range had a significantly lower risk of developing arthritis compared to those whose BMI remained in the "obese" range. Additionally, those who lost weight had the same likelihood of developing arthritis as those whose BMIs stayed in the "overweight" range. 

"These findings highlight the need for lifelong public health measures to prevent obesity at younger ages as an important step to curb later life musculoskeletal and joint health problems such as osteoarthritis. This is particularly important as musculoskeletal pain is a leading cause of disability globally," says study co-author Dr. Tuhina Neogi, professor of epidemiology at BUSPH, professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, and chief of rheumatology at Boston Medical Center.


Consumption of a blueberry enriched diet by women for six weeks alters determinants of human muscle progenitor cell function

Cornell University, August 5, 2020 

A new research study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, investigated how serum from subjects consuming a diet enriched with blueberries would affect the cells responsible for muscle growth and repair. The emerging study, "Consumption of a blueberry enriched diet by women for six weeks alters determinants of human muscle progenitor cell function," was conducted at Cornell University.

The study was conducted over six weeks with 22 women, 12 aged 25-40 and 10 aged 60-75. For the blueberry-enriched diet, participants consumed the equivalent of 1.75 cups of fresh blueberries/day, given as freeze-dried blueberries (19 g in the morning and 19 g in the evening), along with their regular diet. Participants were also asked to avoid other foods rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins. Serum was obtained from the participants 1.5 hours after consuming the morning dose of blueberries. The researchers then investigated how the serum would affect muscle progenitor cell function through proliferation or cell number, capacity to manage oxidative stress and oxygen consumption rate or metabolism.

The results showed the six-week blueberry-enriched serum obtained from the women aged 25-40 increased human muscle progenitor cell numbers in culture. There was also a trend toward a lower percentage of dead human muscle progenitor cells, suggesting a resistance to oxidative stress, as well as increased oxygen consumption of the cells. There were no beneficial effects seen in the muscle progenitor cells treated with serum from participants aged 60-75 who consumed the blueberry enriched diet.

"The consequences associated with the deterioration of skeletal muscle are a loss of mobility, decreased quality of life, and ultimately, loss of independence. Currently, research on dietary interventions to support skeletal muscle regeneration in humans is limited. This preliminary study of muscle progenitor cell function paves the way for future studies to develop clinical interventions," said Anna Thalacker-Mercer, Ph.D., the study's lead investigator. "While the results cannot be generalized to all populations, this study is an important step in translating findings from cell culture and rodent studies to a potential dietary therapy for improving muscle regeneration after injury and during the aging process."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), muscles lose strength, flexibility, and endurance over time. Muscle mass decreases three to five percent every decade after 30 years of age, and that rate increases over age 60. Therefore, strategies to improve muscle progenitor cell proliferation and lower oxidative stress may also benefit muscle regeneration during the aging process.

Research on the role that blueberries may play in promoting good health is ongoing across multiple areas, including cardiovascular health, diabetes management, brain health, exercise and the gut microbiome.



From mitochondria to healthy aging: role of branched-chain amino acid treatment

University of Turin (Italy), August 3, 2020


According to news originating from Turin, Italy, research stated, “Malnutrition often affects elderly patients and significantly contributes to the reduction in healthy life expectancy, causing high morbidity and mortality. In particular, protein malnutrition is one of the determinants of frailty and sarcopenia in elderly people.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the University of Turin, “To investigate the role of amino acid supplementation in senior patients we performed an open-label randomized trial and administered a particular branched-chain amino acid enriched mixture (BCAAem) or provided diet advice in 155 elderly malnourished patients. They were followed for 2 months, assessing cognitive performance by Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), muscle mass measured by anthropometry, strength measure by hand grip and performance measured by the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, the 30 s Chair Sit to Stand (30-s CST) test and the 4 m gait speed test. Moreover we measured oxidative stress in plasma and mitochondrial production of ATP and electron flux in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Both groups improved in nutritional status, general health and muscle mass, strength and performance; treatment with BCAAem supplementation was more effective than simple diet advice in increasing MMSE (1.2 increase versus 0.2, p = 0.0171), ATP production (0.43 increase versus -0.1, p = 0.0001), electron flux (0.50 increase versus 0.01, p< 0.0001) and in maintaining low oxidative stress. The amelioration of clinical parameters as MMSE, balance, four meter walking test were associated to increased mitochondrial function.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Overall, our findings show that sustaining nutritional support might be clinically relevant in increasing physical performance in elderly malnourished patients and that the use of specific BCAAem might ameliorate also cognitive performance thanks to an amelioration of mitochondria bioenergetics.”



20-year sedentary lifestyle linked to twice the risk of premature death: Being physically active is key to a longer life

Norweign University of Science and Technology, August 4, 202

It’s easy to fall into the habit of skipping exercise because you’re busy with work or chores. Yet according to a study, having a sedentary lifestyle for at least 20 years is linked to twice the risk of premature death, especially compared to those who exercise regularly.

Results from the Trøndelag Health Study (the HUNT study) was presented at ESC Congress 2019 and the World Congress of Cardiology.

The HUNT study was conducted to determine how changes in physical activity within two decades were linked to “subsequent death from all causes and from cardiovascular disease.”

Other studies on the association between physical activity and longevity only ask volunteers about their level of physical activity once and followed them for several years. However, physical activity is a behavior that constantly changes, highlighting the importance of looking into how these changes over time are linked to the risk of death later in life.

Physical activity levels linked to premature death risk

Researchers asked residents of Norway aged 20 and older to participate during three points: 1984 to 1986, 1995 to 1997 and 2006 to 2008.

For all three time points, the volunteers reported their frequency and duration of leisure time physical activity. The researchers then examined data from the first and third surveys.

Data for the analysis was obtained from 23,146 male and female volunteers. Physical activity was classified as:

  • Inactive
  • Moderate (Less than two hours a week.)
  • High (Two or more hours per week.)

The volunteers were divided into groups based on their activity levels for each survey. The physical activity data were linked to information on deaths until the end of 2013 via the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry.

The risk of death in the two physical activity groups was compared to the reference group, which included participants who reported a high level of exercise during both surveys.

Analyses were also adjusted for factors that influence prognosis:

  • Age
  • Blood pressure
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Education level
  • Sex
  • Smoking

Unlike volunteers in the reference group, participants who were inactive in both 1984-1986 and 2006-2008 had twice the risk of premature death and a 2.7-fold greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Compared to the reference group, participants with moderate activity at both time points had a 60 percent and 90 percent greater risk of all-cause and cardiovascular deaths, respectively.

Exercising consistently is key

Dr. Trine Moholdt, a study author from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology at Trondheim, Norway, explained that to reap the maximum health benefits of physical activity and prevent premature all-cause and cardiovascular death, people must be physically active consistently.

Moholdt noted that even if you had a sedentary lifestyle, you can still reduce your risk by exercising later in life. Adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week to effectively boost their overall well-being.

But these numbers aren’t set in stone, said Moholdt. She added that even exercise below the recommended levels will offer some benefits.

Instead of focusing on how much you’re exercising, Moholdt suggests setting goals to be more physically fit. Consult a trusted physician for activities that suit your health condition.

Even smaller amounts of activity can help you be more physically fit, as long as your workout “makes you breathe heavily.” (Related: If you have an 8-hour desk job, exercise for 30 minutes daily to significantly improve your health.)

Set aside some time to go to the gym, or sneak in mini-workouts throughout a regular day. Moholdt recommends any exercise that you might enjoy, such as:

  1. Using the stairs at work instead of the elevator.
  2. Walking instead of driving to your destination.
  3. Getting off the bus one stop early and walking the rest of the way.
  4. Exercise during work breaks. Break out a sweat in the office break room by doing jumping jacks or squats.
  5. Going for a long walk with your dog.
  6. Enjoying a walk around the neighborhood with your family.
  7. Following online workout videos if you can’t leave the house.

Some participants changed categories between surveys and those who went from inactive to highly active had a mortality risk “between those who were continually active or continually sedentary.” On the other hand, volunteers who went from highly active to inactive had a similar risk of dying like those who were inactive at both surveys.

Moholdt said that it’s never too late to start exercising even if you’ve been sedentary for most of your life. Starting exercise sooner ensures that you also see positive results sooner.

Moholdt concluded that you should start and maintain good exercise habits as early as you can. Being physically active doesn’t just help prevent premature death, it also helps improve your mental and physical health. Exercising regularly is key to having a longer and healthier life.


Researchers say where you live could add years to your life

People who live in blue states are living longer, and the gap is widening

Syracuse University, August 4 2020


Could where you live dictate how long you live? New research at Syracuse University's Maxwell School, published today in the Milbank Quarterly, shows Americans who live in so called blue states tend to live longer than those in red states, primarily due to state policies. Among the findings:

U.S. state policies since the 1980s have cut short American lives, particularly for women. U.S. life expectancy gains since 2010 would be 25% greater for women and 13% greater for men if states policies had not changed in the way they did, with many becoming more conservative.

Enacting more liberal state policies could raise U.S. life expectancy by over 2 years, whereas enacting more conservative state policies could reduce it by 2 years.

In the greatest gap between states, residents in Connecticut outlive their counterparts in Oklahoma by as many as seven years.

The study examined how state policy environments contributed to U.S. life expectancy trends from 1970 to 2014. It used information on 18 policy domains such as abortion and guns, each measured on a liberal-to-conservative scale, for every state and calendar year. The analysis then predicted U.S. life expectancy trends from all policy domains, controlling for characteristics of states and their residents.

"Americans die younger than people in other high-income countries," said Jennifer Karas Montez, sociology professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School and lead author of the study. "This gap in life expectancy between the U.S. and other countries emerged in the 1980s and has grown ever since. Since that time, gaps in life expectancy between U.S. states also expanded. The difference between the highest and lowest life expectancy states has grown to 7.0 years--the largest ever recorded. These two trends are related: the dismal life expectancy trends of some states have been an anchor on overall U.S. life expectancy."' 

For instance, between 1980 and 2017, life expectancy rose by just 2.2 years in Oklahoma (73.6 to 75.8 years) but 5.8 years in Connecticut (74.9 to 80.7 years). Life expectancy in Oklahoma now falls between that of Serbia and Brazil, while Connecticut falls between Denmark and Costa Rica. 

The study found that Oklahoma and Connecticut differ in other ways. While these two states were diverging in life expectancy, they were also diverging in their policy orientation. Oklahoma made one of the largest transitions toward a conservative state policy environment among all 50 states. Conversely, Connecticut made one of the largest transitions toward a liberal state policy environment. This polarization in state policy environments has occurred across the U.S. and helps to explain the growing gap in life expectancy between states and the troubling trends in U.S. life expectancy since the 1980s. 

Among the 18 policy domains studied, 10 strongly predict life expectancy. More liberal versions of those policies generally predict longer lives and more conservative versions generally predict shorter lives. This is especially the case for policies on tobacco, immigration, civil rights, labor (e.g., Right to Work laws, minimum wage), and the environment. For instance, by changing its labor laws from the most conservative to the most liberal orientation, a state could experience a large 1-year increase in life expectancy. State policies have particularly important consequences for women's life expectancy. This finding reflects the reality that state policies such as minimum wage, EITC, abortion laws, and Medicaid are more relevant for women's than men's lives.

According to Montez, "During the 1980s and after 2010, overall changes in state policies had a negative impact on U.S. life expectancy. After 2010, the small gains in U.S. life expectancy would have been 13% steeper among men and 25% steeper among women if state policies had not changed in the way that they did, with many becoming more conservative."

If all 50 states enacted either liberal or conservative policies, what would happen to U.S. life expectancy? "If all states enacted liberal policies across the 18 domains, our study estimated that U.S. life expectancy would increase by 2.8 years for women and 2.1 years for men," said Montez. "However, if all states enacted conservative policies, U.S. life expectancy would decline by 2.0 years for women and 1.9 years for men. If all states followed current national policy trends, there would continue to be little improvement in life expectancy. This is partly due to countervailing forces: gains in U.S. life expectancy associated with some national policy trends (e.g., toward liberal policies on the environment and civil rights) would be offset by losses associated with other trends (e.g., toward conservative policies on abortion and guns)."

Montez said that trends in state policies since the 1980s have cut short many lives. "Improving U.S. health and longevity requires changing many of those policies," said Montez. "In particular, it is essential to enact policies that protect the environment, regulate tobacco and firearms, and ensure labor, reproductive, and civil rights." But Montez believes e nacting these changes in state policies will not be easy. "On the contrary: policymakers in many states have put the interests of corporations and their lobbyists--particularly the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)--and wealthy donors over the interests and health of their constituents."

To drive home her point, Montez points out Oklahoma, for example, is one of the most active states in terms of enacting the corporate-friendly and politically-conservative policies promoted by ALEC, while Connecticut is among the least active states.

"Policymakers and the public must recognize," she said, "that putting profits over people cuts lives short."


Gut microbes shape our antibodies before we are infected by pathogens

University of Bern (Germany), August 5, 2020


B cells are white blood cells that develop to produce antibodies. These antibodies, or immunoglobulins, can bind to harmful foreign particles (such as viruses or disease-causing bacteria) to stop them invading and infecting the body's cells. Each B cell carries an individual B cell receptor (BCR) which determines which particles it can bind, rather like each lock accepts a different key. There are many millions of B cells with different receptors in the body. This immense diversity comes from rearranging the genes that code these receptors, so the receptor is slightly different in every B cell resulting in billions of possibilities of different harmful molecules that could be recognized. Intestinal microbes trigger expansion of these B cell populations and antibody production, but until now it was unknown whether this was a random process, or whether the molecules of the intestinal microbes themselves influence the outcome. 

In a research article published in the journal Nature, Dr. Hai Li, Dr. Julien Limenitakis, Prof. Stephanie Ganal-Vonarburg and Prof. Andrew Macpherson of the Department for BioMedical Research, University of Bern, and Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, have analyzed the billions of genes that code the antibodies in a system that allows the responses to individual benign intestinal microbes to be understood. 

The range of available antibodies depends on where beneficial microbes are in the body

The number of benign microbes living in our intestines is about the same as the number of cells in our body. Mostly these bacteria stay within the intestinal tube rather than penetrate the body tissues. Unfortunately, some penetration is unavoidable, because the intestine only has a single layer of cells that separate the inside of the tube from blood vessels that we need to absorb our food. 

Dr. Limenitakis used specially designed computer programs to process millions of genetic sequences that compare the antibody repertoire from B cells, depending on whether the microbes stay in the intestine, or whether they reach the bloodstream. In both cases the antibody repertoire is altered, but in rather different ways depending on how the exposure occurs. 

"Interestingly, this is rather predictable depending on the microbe concerned and where it is in the body, indicating that the intestinal microbes direct the development of our antibodies before we get a serious infection and this process is certainly not random", explains Ganal-Vonarburg.

There are different sorts of antibodies in the lining of the intestine (IgA) compared with the bloodstream (IgM and IgG). Using the powerful genetic analysis, the researchers showed that the range of different antibodies produced in the intestine was far less that those produced in central body tissues. This means that once microbes get into the body, the immune system has many more possibilities to neutralize and eliminate them, whereas antibodies in the intestine mainly just bind the bacterial molecules that they can see at any one time.

How the antibodies change when the body is exposed to different microbes

Over their life-span mammals face a huge variety of different microbial challenges. It was therefore important to know how once the antibody repertoire could change once had been shaped by a particular microbe when something else came along. The research team answered this question by testing what happened with the same microbe at different sites or with two different microbes on after another. 

Although intestinal microbes do not directly produce an especially wide range of different antibodies, they sensitize the central immune tissues to produce antibodies if the microbe gets into the bloodstream. When a second microbes comes along, the rather limited intestinal antibody response changes to accommodate this microbe (rather like changing the lock in one's door). This is different from what happens when microbes get into the blood stream to reach the central body tissues when a second set of antibodies is made without compromising the first response to the original microbes (like installing another lock, so the door can be opened with different keys). This shows that central body tissues have the capacity to remember a range of different microbial species and to avoid the dangers of sepsis. It also shows that different B cell immune strategies in different body compartments are important for maintenance of our peaceful existence with our microbial passengers. 

Dr. Li comments that "Our data show for the first time that not only the composition of our intestinal microbiota, but also the timing and sequence of exposure to certain members of the commensal microbiota, happening predominantly during the first waves of colonisations during early life, have an outcome on the resulting B cell receptor repertoire and subsequent immunity to pathogens."


Meta-analysis finds higher circulating vitamin D levels associated with lower risk of gestational diabetes

Ahvaz Jundishapur University (Iran), August 5, 2020


According to news reporting out of Ahvaz, Iran, by NewsRx editors, research stated, “Several meta-analyses of observational studies revealed a modest increase in the risk of gestational diabetes (GDM) among pregnant women with low levels of serum vitamin D. However, no study examined a dose-response meta-analysis as well as a high versus low analysis in this regard.”

Financial support for this research came from Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences.

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, “We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, ISI Web of Science, and Scopus up to August 2019 to find prospective observational studies investigating the association of serum 25(OH)D with the risk of developing GDM. Using a random-effects model, the reported risk estimates were pooled. Nine cohort studies and six nested case-control studies were included in the final analysis (40,788 participants and 1848 cases). Considering linear analysis, each 10 nmol/L increase in circulating 25(OH)D was associated with a 2% lower risk of GDM (effect size (ES): 0.98; 95% CI: 0.98, 0.99; I=85.0%, p<0.001). highest compared with the lowest category of circulating 25(OH)D was associated with a 29% lower risk of GDM, with low evidence of heterogeneity (I=45.0%, p=0.079). In conclusion, lower levels of serum 25(OH)D were associated with a higher chance of GDM.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Differential results existed between the overall and subgroup analysis, either based on vitamin D detection methods or based on maternal age, although these subgroups partially lowered the heterogeneity.”


The Gary Null Show - 08.05.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.05.20

August 5, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. 




Curb your anxiety by drinking a cup of matcha green tea

Kumamoto University (Japan), July 31, 2020 



Matcha can reduce anxiety by activating dopamine and serotonin receptors that are linked to anxious behavior, according to researchers from Kumamoto University in Japan.

Matcha, which literally means “powdered tea,” refers to the powder made from finely ground leaves of shade-grown tea tree (Camellia sinensis). Matcha has been used medicinally since ancient times. In Japan, in particular, it is used to help people relax, prevent obesity and treat certain skin conditions.


In a recent study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, Japanese researchers find evidence of the mental health benefits offered by matcha.


“The results of our study show that matcha, which has been used as a medicinal agent for many years, may be quite beneficial to the human body,” said Yuki Kurauchi, one of the study authors.


For their study, the researchers looked at the effects of matcha tea powder on mice using an anxiety test for rodents called the elevated plus maze test. This test features an elevated, plus-shaped, narrow platform with two walled arms that provide safety for the test animals. The idea behind the test is that animals experiencing high levels of anxiety will spend more time in the safer, walled-off areas.


Aside from matcha powder, the team also evaluated the effects of different matcha extracts and fractions.


The researchers found that the mice that consumed either matcha powder or matcha extract displayed reduced anxious behavior. They also found that the ethanol extract exhibited a stronger anxiolytic effect than the hot water extract. This meant that matcha contains two anxiety-reducing components, and that the water-insoluble component exerts stronger anxiolytic effects than the water-soluble component.


After conducting behavioral pharmacological analysis, the researchers found that matcha reduces anxiety by activating dopamine D1 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors. According to studies, these receptors play a significant role in mediating anxiety.

The team concluded that while more study is needed, their findings emphasize matcha’s beneficial effects on mental health.




The effect of reiki and guided imagery intervention on pain and fatigue in oncology patients

Siirt University (Turkey),  31 July 2020.



This study was conducted to investigate the effects of Reiki and guided imagery on pain and fatigue in oncology patients. This quasi-experimental study with a pretest and posttest design was conducted with 180 oncology patients at the oncology clinic of Dicle University Hospital in Turkey, between July 2017 and February 2018. The patients were divided into three groups: Reiki, guided imagery and control, with 60 patients in each group. The Reiki and guided imagery group patients underwent their respective interventions for three consecutive days separately (25-30 min; mean: 15.53 min). The interventions of Reiki and guided imagery reduced pain and fatigue in the oncology patients. It is recommended that oncology nurses use Reiki and guided imagery in patient care.




Decreased concentrations of vitamin B12 associated with increased risk of high-grade cervical lesions

Federal University Ouro Preto (Brazil), July 31, 2020


According to news reporting originating in Minas Gerais, Brazil, research stated, “Diet and lifestyle play an important role in etiology of various tumors. Serum concentration of folate and vitamin B12may be associated with carcinogenesis since they are involved in DNA methylation and nucleotide synthesis.”


The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Federal University Ouro Preto, “However, the role of these micronutrients on development of cervical cancer is still controversial. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the association of lower status of folate and vitamin B12 with the risk of pre-neoplastic cervical lesions. Our sample group was divided in Control group (n=120) -women with normal cytology, and Case groups (n=57) -women presenting Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance (ASC-US, n=21), Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (LSIL; n=16), and High-Grade lesions (n=20). We obtained cervical samples for cytology analysis and HPV detection, and blood samples for evaluation of serum concentration of folate and vitamin B12. No difference of serum folate was observed among Cases and Control groups. On the other hand, women with High-Grade lesions presented significant lower median concentration of vitamin B12 if compared to another groups. Then, we observed increased risk of High-Grade lesions among participants with low vitamin B12 levels was observed in relation to women that presented high levels of the micronutrient and from Control group [OR (95% CI): 2.09 (0.65-6.76), p=0.216], ASC-US [OR (95% CI): 3.15 (0.82-12.08), p=0.095], and LSIL [OR (95% CI): 3.10 (0.76-12.70), p=0.116]. Low concentration of vitamin B12 was associated with an increased risk of High-Grade cervical lesions.”


According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Besides, we did not observe any difference of serum folate among women with normal cytology and women with pre-neoplastic cervical lesions.”





Why is cilantro so good for the brain? Science explains

University of California at Irvine, July 30, 2020


A study published in the FASEB Journal found that cilantro activates certain potassium channels in the brain which helps prevent seizures.


Also known as coriander, cilantro is an herb that is commonly used in traditional medicine. It has anticonvulsant, anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory properties that make it suitable for treating a host of medical conditions, including epileptic seizures.


But while its health benefits have been extensively studied, the precise mechanism behind cilantro’s powerful effects on the body remains obscure. The present study provides a molecular basis for the therapeutic actions of cilantro.


Cilantro activates neuronal potassium channels to alleviate seizures


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 3.4 million Americans are living with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal brain activity that causes seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and loss of awareness.


In the study, researchers at the University of California, Irvine looked at cilantro leaf metabolites to find the source of its antiepileptic activity. Metabolites are the intermediate products of cellular metabolism.


The researchers found that one particular metabolite, the long-chain fatty aldehyde (E)-2-dodecenal, activates several potassium channels in the brain. These channels are part of the voltage-gated potassium channel subfamily Q (KCNQ), which can be found in neurons. According to previous studies, KCNQ dysfunction can lead to severe, treatment-resistant epileptic seizures.


The researchers also found that (E)-2-dodecenal could delay chemically-induced seizures, suggesting its involvement in cilantro’s anti-convulsant activity. Geoffrey Abbott, one of the study authors, explained that by binding to a specific part of the potassium channels to open them, (E)-2-dodecenal was able to reduce cellular excitability.


Given these findings, the researchers are optimistic that more effective strategies involving cilantro can be developed for the treatment of epilepsy.




Cannabinoids may affect activity of other pharmaceuticals

Penn State University, August 3, 2020


Cannabinoid-containing products may alter the effects of some prescription drugs, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. They published information that could help medical professionals make safe prescribing choices for their patients who use prescription, over-the-counter or illicit cannabinoid products.


Kent Vrana, professor and chair of pharmacology at the College of Medicine, and Paul Kocis, a pharmacist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, compiled a list of 57 medications that may not function as intended when used with medical cannabinoids, CBD oil (hemp oil) and medical or recreational marijuana. The list was published in the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids.


The medications on the list have a narrow therapeutic index, meaning they are prescribed at specific doses - enough to be effective, but not enough to cause harm. Vrana says it's important for medical professionals to consider the list when prescribing medical cannabinoids and how it may affect other medications a patient is taking.


To develop the list, the researchers looked at the prescribing information for four prescription cannabinoid medications. This information included a list of enzymes in the body that process the active ingredients in those medications, which can include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). They compared this information against prescribing information from common medications using information available from regulatory agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify where there may be overlap, called a drug-drug interaction.

The list contains a variety of drugs from heart medications to antibiotics and antifungals. As one example, researchers identified warfarin, a common anticoagulant that prevents harmful blood clots from forming, as having a potential drug-drug interaction with cannabinoid products. Often prescribed for patients with atrial fibrillation or following cardiac valve replacement, the drug has a narrow therapeutic index, and Vrana cautions that medical professionals consider this potential drug-drug interaction both when prescribing warfarin to patients on prescription cannabinoids or prescribing cannabinoids to a patient taking warfarin.


The researchers say that medical professionals should also consider patient use of CBD oil products and medical and recreational marijuana when using or prescribing drugs on the identified list. Most of those products lack government regulation and there is little to no prescribing or drug-drug interaction information for those products.


"Unregulated products often contain the same active ingredients as medical cannabinoids, though they may be present in different concentrations," Vrana said. "The drug-drug interaction information from medical cannabinoids may be useful as medical professionals consider the potential impact of over-the-counter or illicit cannabinoid products."


Vrana advises that patients be honest with their health care providers about their use of cannabinoid products - from over-the-counter products to recreational marijuana. He says that doing so can help ensure the safe and effective use of prescribed medications.


In addition to the identified list of 57 prescription medications with a narrow therapeutic index that is potentially impacted by concomitant cannabinoid use, a comprehensive list of 139 medications that could have a potential drug-drug interaction with a cannabinoid is available online. Vrana and Kocis plan to routinely update this drug-drug interaction list as newer medications are approved and real-world evidence accumulates.


Kent Vrana received a sponsored research agreement from PA Options for Wellness, a medical cannabis provider and clinical registrant in Pennsylvania, and this research was supported in part by the agreement. The College of Medicine and PA Options for Wellness have a 10-year research agreement designed to help physicians and patients make better informed clinical decisions related to cannabinoids.




Perinatal DHA supplementation improves cognition and alters brain functional organization in experimental research

University of Georgia, July 31, 2020


According to news reporting out of the University of Georgia, research stated, “Epidemiologic studies associate maternal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)/DHA-containing seafood intake with enhanced cognitive development; although, it should be noted that interventional trials show inconsistent findings.”


The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from University of Georgia: “We examined perinatal DHA supplementation on cognitive performance, brain anatomical and functional organization, and the brain monoamine neurotransmitter status of offspring using a piglet model. Sows were fed a control (CON) or a diet containing DHA (DHA) from late gestation throughout lactation. Piglets underwent an open field test (OFT), an object recognition test (ORT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to acquire anatomical, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) at weaning. Piglets from DHA-fed sows spent 95% more time sniffing the walls than CON in OFT and exhibited an elevated interest in the novel object in ORT, while CON piglets demonstrated no preference. Maternal DHA supplementation increased fiber length and tended to increase fractional anisotropy in the hippocampus of offspring than CON. DHA piglets exhibited increased functional connectivity in the cerebellar, visual, and default mode network and decreased activity in executive control and sensorimotor network compared to CON.”


According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “The brain monoamine neurotransmitter levels did not differ in healthy offspring. Perinatal DHA supplementation may increase exploratory behaviors, improve recognition memory, enhance fiber tract integrity, and alter brain functional organization in offspring at weaning.”




Chlamydia: Greedy for glutamine

University of Wurzburg (Germany), August 3, 2020


Chlamydia are bacteria that cause venereal diseases. In humans, they can only survive if they enter the cells. This is the only place where they find the necessary metabolites for their reproduction. And this happens in a relatively simple way: the bacteria create a small bubble in the cell and divide in it over several generations.


What is the decisive step that initiates the reproduction of the bacteria? It has not been known so far. Researchers from Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany, have now discovered it. This is important because the first step in the reproduction of the pathogens is likely to be a good target for drugs.


Glutamine import into the host cell increases


In the case of Chlamydia, the first step is to reprogram the metabolism of their human host cells. The cells then increasingly import the amino acid glutamine from their environment. If this does not work, for example because the glutamine import system is out of order, the bacterial pathogens are no longer able to proliferate. This was reported by a JMU team led by Dr. Karthika Rajeeve, who has meanwhile been awarded a professorship at the Aarhus University in Denmark, and Professor Thomas Rudel in the journal Nature Microbiology.


"Chlamydiae need a lot of glutamine to synthesize the ring-shaped molecule peptidoglycan," explains Professor Rudel, who heads the Chair of Microbiology at the JMU Biocenter. In bacteria, this ring molecule is generally a building material of the cell wall. Chlamydiae use it for the construction of a new wall that is drawn into the bacterial cell during division.


Next, the JMU team hopes to clarify the importance of the glutamine metabolism in chronic chlamydiae infections. This might provide information that might help to better understand the development of severe diseases as a result of the infection.


Chlamydiae cause most venereal diseases in Germany. The bacteria are sexually transmitted and can cause inflammation in the urethra, vagina or anal area. If an infection is detected in time, it can be treated well with antibiotics.


Around 130 million people worldwide are infected with Chlamydia. The biggest problem is that the infection usually proceeds without noticeable symptoms. This makes it easier for the pathogen to spread, this leads to severe or chronic diseases such as cervical and ovarian cancer.




Baby boomers show concerning decline in cognitive functioning

Trend reverses progress over several generations, study finds

Ohio State University, August 3, 2020


In a reversal of trends, American baby boomers scored lower on a test of cognitive functioning than did members of previous generations, according to a new nationwide study.


Findings showed that average cognition scores of adults aged 50 and older increased from generation to generation, beginning with the greatest generation (born 1890-1923) and peaking among war babies (born 1942-1947).


Scores began to decline in the early baby boomers (born 1948-1953) and decreased further in the mid baby boomers (born 1954-1959).


While the prevalence of dementia has declined recently in the United States, these results suggest those trends may reverse in the coming decades, according to study author Hui Zheng, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.


"It is shocking to see this decline in cognitive functioning among baby boomers after generations of increases in test scores," Zheng said.


"But what was most surprising to me is that this decline is seen in all groups: men and women, across all races and ethnicities and across all education, income and wealth levels."

Results showed lower cognitive functioning in baby boomers was linked to less wealth, along with higher levels of loneliness, depression, inactivity and obesity, and less likelihood of being married.


The study was published online recently in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences.


Zheng analyzed data on 30,191 Americans who participated in the 1996 to 2014 Health and Retirement Survey, conducted by the University of Michigan. People over 51 years old were surveyed every two years.


As part of the study, participants completed a cognitive test in which they had to recall words they had heard earlier, count down from 100 by 7s, name objects they were shown and perform other tasks.


Other research has shown that overall rates of mortality and illness have increased in baby boomers, but generally found that the highly educated and wealthiest were mostly spared.


"That's why it was so surprising to me to see cognitive declines in all groups in this study," Zheng said. "The declines were only slightly lower among the wealthiest and most highly educated."


Zheng also compared cognition scores within each age group across generations so that scores are not skewed by older people who tend to have poorer cognition. Even in this analysis, the baby boomers came out on bottom.


"Baby boomers already start having lower cognition scores than earlier generations at age 50 to 54," he said.


The question, then, is what has happened to baby boomers? Zheng looked for clues across the lifetimes of those in the study.


Increasing cognition scores in previous generations could be tied to beneficial childhood conditions - conditions that were similar for baby boomers, Zheng said.


Baby boomers' childhood health was as good as or better than previous generations and they came from families that had higher socioeconomic status. They also had higher levels of education and better occupations.


"The decline in cognitive functioning that we're seeing does not come from poorer childhood conditions," Zheng said.


The biggest factors linked to lower cognition scores among baby boomers in the study were lower wealth, higher levels of self-reported loneliness and depression, lack of physical activity and obesity.


Living without a spouse, being married more than once in their lives, having psychiatric problems and cardiovascular risk factors including strokes, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes were also associated with lower cognitive functioning among people in this generation.


"If it weren't for their better childhood health, move favorable family background, more years of education and higher likelihood of having a white-collar occupation, baby boomers would have even worse cognitive functioning," Zheng said.


There were not enough late baby boomers (born in 1960 or later) to include in this study, but Zheng said he believes they will fare no better. The same might be true for following generations unless we find a solution for the problems found here, he said.


While many of the problems linked to lower cognitive functioning are symptoms of modern life, like less connection with friends and family and growing economic inequality, other problems found in this study are unique to the United States, Zheng said. One example would be the lack of universal access and high cost of health care.


"Part of the story here are the problems of modern life, but it is also about life in the U.S.," he said.


One of the biggest concerns is that cognitive functioning when people are in their 50s and 60s is related to their likelihood of having dementia when they are older.

"With the aging population in the United States, we were already likely to see an increase in the number of people with dementia," Zheng said.


"But this study suggests it may be worse than we expected for decades to come."




Study: Experiencing childhood trauma makes body and brain age faster

Findings could help explain why children who suffer trauma often face poor health later in life

Harvard University, August 2, 2020


Children who suffer trauma from abuse or violence early in life show biological signs of aging faster than children who have never experienced adversity, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. The study examined three different signs of biological aging--early puberty, cellular aging and changes in brain structure--and found that trauma exposure was associated with all three.


"Exposure to adversity in childhood is a powerful predictor of health outcomes later in life--not only mental health outcomes like depression and anxiety, but also physical health outcomes like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer," said Katie McLaughlin, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Harvard University and senior author of the study published in the journal Psychological Bulletin. "Our study suggests that experiencing violence can make the body age more quickly at a biological level, which may help to explain that connection."


Previous research found mixed evidence on whether childhood adversity is always linked to accelerated aging. However, those studies looked at many different types of adversity--abuse, neglect, poverty and more--and at several different measures of biological aging. To disentangle the results, McLaughlin and her colleagues decided to look separately at two categories of adversity: threat-related adversity, such as abuse and violence, and deprivation-related adversity, such as physical or emotional neglect or poverty.


The researchers performed a meta-analysis of almost 80 studies, with more than 116,000 total participants. They found that children who suffered threat-related trauma such as violence or abuse were more likely to enter puberty early and also showed signs of accelerated aging on a cellular level-including shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of our strands of DNA that wear down as we age. However, children who experienced poverty or neglect did not show either of those signs of early aging.


In a second analysis, McLaughlin and her colleagues systematically reviewed 25 studies with more than 3,253 participants that examined how early-life adversity affects brain development. They found that adversity was associated with reduced cortical thickness - a sign of aging because the cortex thins as people age. However, different types of adversity were associated with cortical thinning in different parts of the brain. Trauma and violence were associated with thinning in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in social and emotional processing, while deprivation was more often associated with thinning in the frontoparietal, default mode and visual networks, which are involved in sensory and cognitive processing.


These types of accelerated aging might originally have descended from useful evolutionary adaptations, according to McLaughlin. In a violent and threat-filled environment, for example, reaching puberty earlier could make people more likely to be able to reproduce before they die. And faster development of brain regions that play a role in emotion processing could help children identify and respond to threats, keeping them safer in dangerous environments. But these once-useful adaptations may have grave health and mental health consequences in adulthood.


The new research underscores the need for early interventions to help avoid those consequences. All of the studies looked at accelerated aging in children and adolescents under age 18. "The fact that we see such consistent evidence for faster aging at such a young age suggests that the biological mechanisms that contribute to health disparities are set in motion very early in life. This means that efforts to prevent these health disparities must also begin during childhood," McLaughlin said.


There are numerous evidence-based treatments that can improve mental health in children who have experienced trauma, McLaughlin said. "A critical next step is determining whether these psychosocial interventions might also be able to slow down this pattern of accelerated biological aging. If this is possible, we may be able to prevent many of the long-term health consequences of early-life adversity," she says.

Gary Null - 08.04.20

Gary Null - 08.04.20

August 5, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. 


Our Great Awokening and France’s Great Terror

samuel gregg

As efforts intensify to purge anyone and anything from Western culture that offends the illiberal left’s sensitivities, the fanaticism which drives the Great Awokening has become abundantly evident. To question the 1619 project’s factual veracity, for example, is seen as evidence of implicit racism. Any confidence that the American Founding has something to teach the world is considered an instance of what Marxists call “false consciousness.” References to reason, evidence, rule of law, or the West’s Jewish and Christian heritages are viewed as the language of someone hopelessly in thrall to “Eurocentric” outlooks.

What impresses me, however, is less the historically-illiterate justifications offered for the decapitation of statutes of Christopher Columbus, than the righteous fury visible in the eyes of those shouting slogans like “Rhodes Must Fall!” Prudence, circumspection, and subtly are out. Raw emotion and ideological purity are in. You are either with us or against us. And if you don’t endorse everything that we—the woke—think, say and do, be prepared to face the consequences.

The problem is that once that particular tiger gets out of its cage, putting it back in is extremely difficult. There are always plenty on the left willing to be more radical than thou, and who will interpret any reticence to affirm wholeheartedly their positions as prima facie evidence of backsliding or outright treachery. That’s a dynamic which we’re seen before with people like Che Guevara and Lenin. But the standard-setter for such behavior was the French Revolution’s most violent stage, commonly known as la Terreur.

From Hope and Anticipation, to Fear and Trembling

Few events have been more thoroughly parsed, praised, and castigated as the French Revolution. That owes something to the sense that the Revolution was one of those rare occasions that represented a decisive break with the past. Contemporary witnesses describe the millenarian-like hopes that permeated French society in the immediate aftermath of 1789. But fascination with the French Revolution also has much to do with another factor: the penchant for frenzied violence which raised its head right from the beginning.

Every Revolution has its casualties. Loyalists were among those of the American Revolution. Many of them were subject to anti-Tory laws which ranged from being disenfranchised to large fines. Compared, however, to other revolutions, the Loyalists got off lightly. The Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917 was followed by the targeting of anyone officially designated by the new regime as “former people.” Arbitrary imprisonment, confiscation of property, and terror were used ruthlessly against groups like the nobility, but gradually extended to categories who had hardly been friends of the Czarist regime: classical liberals, constitutionalists, businessmen, etc.

It was, however, the French Revolution which established the modern benchmark for systematic violence against anyone insufficiently in sync with the political views of whoever is in charge at any given moment. Many of the Revolution’s early leaders—people like the American Revolutionary hero, the Marquis de Lafayette—quickly became persona non grata as the revolutionary tumult escalated through successive thresholds of rage. Those revolutionaries who managed to transition through each stage were few in number. Many eventually found themselves strapped to a guillotine. Others eked out miserable existences in exile alongside the royalists who preceded them.

Over the past two centuries, many explanations have been offered for the frantic character of the Revolution’s violence. They include pent-up resentment against the old regime, fears of fifth columnists who might help invading foreign armies, concerns about counter-revolutionary plots, and the outbreak of full-scale popular uprisings in 1793 against the Paris government in provinces ranging from the Vendée to Brittany and cities like Marseille and Lyon. Virtually all historians of the Revolution underscore the widespread paranoia that occupied the minds of Revolutionary leaders but also many ordinary citizens, particularly those living in cities and for whom politics had become the be-all and end-all of life.

There was, however, something else at work which became apparent after Louis XVI’s execution on January 21, 1793, and the subsequent acceleration of tensions between the two groups which then dominated Revolutionary politics: the Girondins and the Jacobins. While the former were considered more moderate than the latter, both groups were firmly on the left of the revolutionary scale. That, however, didn’t save the Girondins from being destroyed by the logic that came to direct French political life and which resulted in thousands being executed before the Terror ended with the guillotining of the man most associated with it on July 28, 1794.

One Single Will

Given his public reputation as the Terror’s chief architect, many are surprised to learn that Maximilian Robespierre wasn’t the most extreme Jacobin. As a group, those associated with the Jacobin Club were divided into factions constantly at odds with each other. Some like Jacques Hébert, leader of the Hébertistes and editor of the radical newspaper Le Père Duchesne, were far to Robespierre’s left. Neither the Hébertistes’ inclination to militant atheism nor their desire for direct state control of much of the economy were to Robespierre’s taste. Others, such as Georges Danton, eventually gravitated to Robespierre’s right. Danton had played a major role in the Monarchy’s overthrow in August 1792 and did nothing to stop the September Massacres which followed. By late-1793, however, Danton had become convinced of the folly of persecuting the Church and was calling for an end to extreme revolutionary violence.

In a way, however, the details of these policy differences were unimportant to Robespierre and close allies like Louis Antoine de Saint-Just. What really mattered to Robespierre was that there could be no differences. According to Robespierre, France needed what he famously called une volonté une (one single will). In this ideal, he believed, was to be found the Revolution’s ultimate security and salvation from its enemies, foreign and domestic.

As a scholarship boy at one of France’s most prestigious schools, the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Robespierre had been influenced by two sets of writings which featured significantly during the late-French Enlightenment. The first were classical texts which extolled the virtues of the Roman Republic and its leaders. The second were the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, especially his 1762 book Du contrat social(The Social Contract), and his popularization of what was called la volonté générale.

For Rousseau, the “general will” didn’t necessarily mean what an actual majority of people in a given political society wanted. Rather, it was the basis for the legitimacy of any government that acted for the well-being of all the people rather than sectional interests. Robespierre took this concept of the general will, but conflated the government and the people at the expense of the latter. “The Government,” he once proclaimed, “has to defend itself against all the factions which attack it; the punishment of the people’s enemies is death.” To criticize the government was thus to be against the people. Ergo, the government could claim that any strike which it launched against its opponents was a strike against “the people’s enemies.”

As Robespierre saw it, Revolutionary France was riddled with factions (including those which split the Jacobins) and threatened by those who wished to overthrow the government. Consequently, it was the responsibility of the virtuous to strike ruthlessly, in a manner akin to Marcus Junius Brutus’ slaying of Gaius Julius Caesar, against those who stood in the way of the “one single will.” For Robespierre, such enemies of the Republic included those Girondins who had compromised their revolutionary credentials by working with Louis XVI before August 1792, promotors of faction like Danton and Hébert, and those simply incapable of attaining republican virtue (nobles, old regime officials, clergy loyal to Rome, etc.). Expelling these disparate groups from the body politic was how you ensured the general will prevailed and finally realized a united, indivisible and virtuous Republic—that is, one single will.

Naturally, there was a raw power-play dimension to all this. Robespierre saw people like Hébert and Danton as threating his dominance of the government. But it is impossible to underestimate the effects of the depth of Robespierre’s commitment to his ideology: one which led to the inexorable conclusion that being a virtuous citizen of the Republic (like Brutus) meant being willing to use extreme violence (like Brutus) against its foes. Robespierre spelt this out in a speech in February 1794 when the Terror was at its height:

If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country.

Such thinking is what resulted in about 17,000 people being officially “kissed by Madame Guillotine,” as the saying went, in the name of virtue.

Beware the Coming of the Reign of Wokedom

Two things eventually brought Robespierre undone. The first was the economic crisis which engulfed France in the form of food-shortages and rampant inflation throughout 1794. Given his preeminence in the revolutionary regime, Robespierre become increasingly unpopular among Paris’s hyper-politicized population.

More importantly, enough Revolutionary leaders recognized that the logical conclusion of Robespierre’s outlook was the destruction of anyone who did not fully adopt his positions, and therefore a series of continuous purges with no apparent endpoint. On July 26, 1794, Robespierre effectively confirmed such trepidations when he gave a speech to the National Convention and then to the Jacobin Club arguing that the time had come to “Punish the traitors, purge the bureau of the Committee of General Security, purge the Committee itself, and subordinate it to the Committee of Public Safety, purge the Committee of Public Safety itself and create a unified government under the supreme authority of the Convention!”

This call for the elimination of anyone not 100 percent behind Robespierre led enough Convention members to summon up the courage to purge the master-purger himself. After a short and violent political struggle, Robespierre and 21 of his supporters were guillotined on July 28 at the Place de la Révolution. The Terror was over. But it seared France’s political culture for decades afterward.

The parallels between the France of 1793-1794 and our present Great Awokening are not exact. The historical circumstances are very different. We are not living in the shadow of an old regime. The woke have not seized the levers of political power in the way that Robespierre and his followers did.

The primary similarity between revolutionaries like Robespierre and twenty-first century wokedom is a yearning for ever-increasing ideological purity, something which lends itself to identifying more and more categories of people and ideas as unacceptable. That generates chronic instability as people can never quite know if they and their ideas remain among the elect. Indeed, cancel culture cannot help but actively seek out opponents whose existence is seen as obstructing the creation of a new world purified of error. For without new enemies, it loses its raison d’être.

In this light, those contemporary Girondins who dominate larger municipal governments throughout America and who rule the universities throughout Western countries, would be foolish to imagine that the illiberal left can somehow be placated by letting them riot, loot small businesses, and destroy public monuments. Words like “compromise,” “tolerance,” and “moderation” do not form part of the lexicon of wokery. After all, once “one single will” has been established, such habits become superfluous.

Perhaps at some point, the woke will turn on themselves as they try to outdo each other in showing whose consciousness has been raised the most. Unless or until that happens, however, anyone who sits on the vast spectrum from the liberal-minded left through to conservative traditionalists should have no illusions that the woke—like Robespierre—will be satisfied with anything less than complete submission. And that would represent the end of liberty in any meaningful sense as well as the civilization which gave rise to it. 

The Gary Null Show - 08.03.20

The Gary Null Show - 08.03.20

August 3, 2020

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. 


IMAGINE THIS! "Forced to FAKE SCIENCE?" (Very few know about this) RFK 

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