The Gary Null Show Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

October 28, 2020  

The Flawed Blind Spots in Calculating Covid-19 Deaths 

 

Gary Null PhD and Richard Gale

 

In our new coronavirus world, there still remain signs for hope. Although infection rates are rising in rural America and in some European nations, deaths have declined substantially, especially in the US.  This is the good news.

However, the international emphasis is now single-minded towards developing a vaccine as soon as possible under the assumption that it will protect its recipients from acquiring symptoms of illness. There remain many controversies over whether or not such a vaccine will be effective. Dr. Peter Doshi, Associate Editor for the British Medical Journal, recently published an article stating an observation that will surely upset vaccine advocates.  “None of the trials currently underway,” Doshi writes, “are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospitalizations, intensive care use, deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.”  Please allow his statement to sink in for a moment. In other words, based upon the trials underway, whether these vaccines will protect you or others is completely unknown.

In the meantime, the New York TimesWashington Post and major networks continue to fuel our national panic by reminding us that a second wave is forthcoming and we must constantly be aware of Covd-19’s lethality.  Thus we must constantly be diligent to protect ourselves by wearing masks, respect social distancing, hygiene and other measures.

But something remains very puzzling.  Does the average person truly understand or know how to decipher the statistics that health officials and the media feed us daily?

For example, we hear repeatedly that more and more people are being diagnosed with Covid. However, actual deaths have leveled off substantially despite rising case numbers. Deaths are in no way similar to the large March and April spikes when far fewer people were being tested. There is also a growing number of scientists and physicians challenging these statistics and questioning the methods by which they are being tabulated. The standard PCR test, the most relied upon diagnostic tool, is non-specific for detecting the Covid-19 strain. Other tests are terribly inaccurate. You may have had a small cold from any one of many coronavirus strains months ago and still test PCR-positive and be ruled as having contracted Covid-19. Of course the more tests performed will result in an increase in positive outcomes, especially among those who are asymptomatic, mildly so, or may have contracted it in the past but are no longer infected. If everyone were tested for the herpes virus, for example, we would have a herpes pandemic that would dwarf Covid-19 by the mere policy of widespread testing. But PCR was never intended for clinical use or diagnostics. The figures being broadcasted, therefore, do not represent reliable data to conclude there is a real present danger. But for people, if they test positive, even with a grossly inaccurate test, they will believe they are infected and could develop full-blown symptoms and die. Indeed, for a much smaller segment of people this is true, just as it is for the flu and other infectious respiratory illnesses.

We decided to investigate the disparate and contradictory figures being touted and try to determine what people are actually dying from. Is it Covid, other respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, or pre-existing comorbidities along with the virus?

During the first six months of the pandemic, overall deaths were being almost exclusively attributed to Covid-19 and did not indicate other possible or even more likely causes.  Now that death certificates are being reexamined and reevaluated, it raises an alarming question. The CDC has stated that, “For 6% of the deaths, Covid-19 was the only cause mentioned.” If a person, therefore, has end-stage congested heart disease and/or diabetes, for example, but tested Covid-positive, does that mean the virus is the primary cause? Or is it secondary or even tertiary?

Now that the CDC, as well as other nations such as Italy, have officially stated that Covid-19 alone is responsible for far less deaths than previously reported, the entire pandemic scenario and wisdom behind lockdowns needs to be reevaluated. Stanford University’s Dr. Johann Ioannidis recent study in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization reviewed the available scientific studies and concluded that there was no huge spike in deaths that can be attributed exclusively to Covid-19.  One project estimated that about a half a billion people have been infected, which is far greater than the 29 million documented by laboratory testing. Using these figures, the actual fatality rate is less than 0.2 percent and, Ioannidis adds, “may be brought even lower.” Ioannidis’ analysis debunks recent headlines that 300,000 Americans have died from Covid. Consequently, the pandemic is only based upon numerical calculations that have little relevancy to real biological cause.

There is a rising concern among federal health officials about the soaring rates in drug overdoses and suicides, which can be largely credited to the pandemic response and its socio-economic fallout:  loss of jobs, foreclosures, family strife, depression, loss of health insurance and welfare benefits, and being confined indoors.  Although there are no national statistics for drug overdose and suicide deaths this year, 40 states have reported opioid and other drug fatalities higher than 2019 rates. In July, the CDC roughly estimated a 13 percent increase. Based on official 2019 rates, this would account for 9,000 to 12,000 additional deaths this year. Fresno is reporting a 70 percent overdose increase since the start of the pandemic. Suicides among teens is skyrocketing. For every single teen suicide there are now 200 attempts. In 2018, the rate was one successful suicide for every 30 attempts. We have never faced such a crisis in our history. But nobody is speaking about this scourge in the context of the draconian government efforts in the war against corona.

Other protective measures to counter the virus, noticeably quarantines and isolation, are contributing to an increase in the severity of pre-existing illness and preventable deaths. Under normal circumstances, patients with cancer and other autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory illness, etc, would be visiting their physicians or going to the hospital when needed for proper standard care treatment. Those avenues have largely been shut down for millions of sick Americans. Instead those with compromised immune systems are terrified to leave their homes in fear of contracting the virus. This is a very real and underreported crisis. In June, the New York Times published an article “There Has Been an Increase in Other Causes of Deaths, Not Just Coronavirus.” The story reported a 10 percent increase in all causes of death, including a 15 percent rise in heart disease and diabetes; 5 percent increase in influenza and respiratory deaths, and a 1 percent increase in Alzheimer’s deaths. Therefore, unlike previous years, more patients now are dying from the lack of medical attention. And we might add a Kaiser report states that 45 percent of all Covid-19 deaths are patients in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and hospice. Yet, this demographic makes up only 8 percent of total Covid cases. Why is there this glaring discrepancy? Clearly, we are miscalculating the causes of the death horribly.

Aside from pre-existing diseases that make these individuals more vulnerable to symptomatic infection, we must also acknowledge that efforts to halt the virus’ spread and the Trump administration’s dreadful economic response, has tossed millions of Americans into even worse health conditions.  More Americans are malnourished or under nourished due to the lack of food security than at any other time in modern history. Mental depression and anxiety is rising, stress is endemic, and these are all contributing factors for lower immunity and higher death rates, with or without Covid-19.  A first of its kind global study conducted by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge found that the lockdowns “dramatically altered our personal habits, largely for the worse.” The study noted an increase in greatly reduced exercise and physical movement, a decline in mental health, and poor sleep quality. How much of these are contributing to higher susceptibility to infections and worsening of symptoms? The federal response, by both parties, to curb these adverse effects from lockdowns and to protect those that are most vulnerable is abysmal.

It is now widely acknowledged that between last February and June, many of the actual deaths were not caused by Covid-19 but from pre-existing comorbidities or inappropriate medical interventions and therapies, such as the inappropriate use of ventilators and drugs, and a lack of preparedness in general primary care.  Consequently many errors in judgment were made.  But in our opinion, the most egregious blunder was to base official health policy to tackle the pandemic on flawed mathematical modeling to determine the virus’ virulence, circulation and lethality. Sadly, seemingly no lessons have been learned from these far-reaching errors.

As of October 22nd, the CDC website tracking Covid-19 statistics was reporting 208,600 deaths that in “some way” involved the virus. But the number of pneumonia deaths, with or without Covid-19, stands at around 213,800. And 94,800 deaths are being reported due to Covid but with pneumonia. Seventy-nine % of deaths assigned to Covid-19 are individuals aged 65 and older. If we compare the total number of deaths from all causes during the past six years with the present trend today, since two more months remain before the year’s end, we are on pace to be only very slightly higher.  But this is no more than a very bad flu season.

So after we take a bird’s eye view of our corona landscape, reflect on the official numbers and statistics, we must question the justification for the draconian efforts being undertaken to isolate the nation until a vaccine arrives. And, as we have reported earlier, there is no certainty that a vaccine will have much effect in reducing infection rates.

An equally large problem is that the mainstream media, with all its talent and fact checking capabilities, should be able to recognize this terrain of statistical inconsistencies and report on it. Yet it has failed to do so. It raises the question whether any of our news outlets are there to educate the public or are simply a wing of the CDC’s and NIAID’s public relations.

In the meantime, more and more medical professionals are stepping forward and making efforts to challenge and refute the decisions being implemented by official policy makers. And this trend will only increase during the coming months, especially if there is no second wave and lockdowns and threats against citizens to comply with their rules become stricter and crueler. In our estimation, yes, Covid-19 can be deadly for some, but this is by no means a pandemic. If Dr. Ioannidis’ analysis of available studies is accurate, and half a billion people have now been exposed or contracted the virus, and the actual number of deaths is 0.2 percent, then this not a pandemic and none of the government’s oppressive policies warrant the complete disruption of human life that threatens all of our future well-being.

October 27, 2020  
Use of Vitamin C and other nutraceuticals for treatment of sepsis and covid-19
 
Dr. Paul Marik is a Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. He received his medical degree at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Dr. Marik holds fellowships in the Canadian Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the American College of Physicians and the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists. He has authored over 400 peer reviewed journal papers, 50 book chapters and four books on critical care. Based upon his expertise in nutritional medicine, Dr. Marik developed a cure for the life threatening infection associated with sepsis, which is responsible for approximately 250,000 deaths annually in the US alone.  The treatment is based upon Vitamin C therapy combined with select steroids. More recently his Covid-19 treatment protocol also requires natraceutical basis of Vitamin C and D, B-complex, magnesium and quercetin. 

 

October 26, 2020  

 

 

The Flawed Blind Spots in Calculating Covid-19 Deaths 

 

Gary Null PhD and Richard Gale

Progressive Radio Network, October 26, 2020

  

 

In our new coronavirus world, there still remain signs for hope. Although infection rates are rising in rural America and in some European nations, deaths have declined substantially, especially in the US.  This is the good news. 

 

However, the international emphasis is now single-minded towards developing a vaccine as soon as possible under the assumption that it will protect its recipients from acquiring symptoms of illness. There remain many controversies over whether or not such a vaccine will be effective. Dr. Peter Doshi, Associate Editor for the British Medical Journal, recently published an article stating an observation that will surely upset vaccine advocates.  “None of the trials currently underway,” Doshi writes, “are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospitalizations, intensive care use, deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.”  Please allow his statement to sink in for a moment. In other words, based upon the trials underway, whether these vaccines will protect you or others is completely unknown. 

 

In the meantime, the New York TimesWashington Post and major networks continue to fuel our national panic by reminding us that a second wave is forthcoming and we must constantly be aware of Covd-19’s lethality.  Thus we must constantly be diligent to protect ourselves by wearing masks, respect social distancing, hygiene and other measures. 

 

But something remains very puzzling.  Does the average person truly understand or know how to decipher the statistics that health officials and the media feed us daily?

 

For example, we hear repeatedly that more and more people are being diagnosed with Covid. However, actual deaths have leveled off substantially despite rising case numbers. Deaths are in no way similar to the large March and April spikes when far fewer people were being tested. There is also a growing number of scientists and physicians challenging these statistics and questioning the methods by which they are being tabulated. The standard PCR test, the most relied upon diagnostic tool, is non-specific for detecting the Covid-19 strain. Other tests are terribly inaccurate. You may have had a small cold from any one of many coronavirus strains months ago and still test PCR-positive and be ruled as having contracted Covid-19. Of course the more tests performed will result in an increase in positive outcomes, especially among those who are asymptomatic, mildly so, or may have contracted it in the past but are no longer infected. If everyone were tested for the herpes virus, for example, we would have a herpes pandemic that would dwarf Covid-19 by the mere policy of widespread testing. But PCR was never intended for clinical use or diagnostics. The figures being broadcasted, therefore, do not represent reliable data to conclude there is a real present danger. But for people, if they test positive, even with a grossly inaccurate test, they will believe they are infected and could develop full-blown symptoms and die. Indeed, for a much smaller segment of people this is true, just as it is for the flu and other infectious respiratory illnesses. 

 

We decided to investigate the disparate and contradictory figures being touted and try to determine what people are actually dying from. Is it Covid, other respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, or pre-existing comorbidities along with the virus?

 

During the first six months of the pandemic, overall deaths were being almost exclusively attributed to Covid-19 and did not indicate other possible or even more likely causes.  Now that death certificates are being reexamined and reevaluated, it raises an alarming question. The CDC has stated that, “For 6% of the deaths, Covid-19 was the only cause mentioned.” If a person, therefore, has end-stage congested heart disease and/or diabetes, for example, but tested Covid-positive, does that mean the virus is the primary cause? Or is it secondary or even tertiary? 

 

Now that the CDC, as well as other nations such as Italy, have officially stated that Covid-19 alone is responsible for far less deaths than previously reported, the entire pandemic scenario and wisdom behind lockdowns needs to be reevaluated. Stanford University’s Dr. Johann Ioannidis recent study in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization reviewed the available scientific studies and concluded that there was no huge spike in deaths that can be attributed exclusively to Covid-19.  One project estimated that about a half a billion people have been infected, which is far greater than the 29 million documented by laboratory testing. Using these figures, the actual fatality rate is less than 0.2 percent and, Ioannidis adds, “may be brought even lower.” Ioannidis’ analysis debunks recent headlines that 300,000 Americans have died from Covid. Consequently, the pandemic is only based upon numerical calculations that have little relevancy to real biological cause. 

 

Indeed the fatality rate may be much lower. Geneticist Dr. James Lyons-Weiler has stated that “Numerous media reports attribute deaths from COVID-19 to “Underlying Conditions”, with one report claiming that 88% of deaths involving COVID-19 deaths were not caused by COVID-19, and another claiming that 99% of COVID-19 deaths are not caused by the virus.”

 

There is a rising concern among federal health officials about the soaring rates in drug overdoses and suicides, which can be largely credited to the pandemic response and its socio-economic fallout:  loss of jobs, foreclosures, family strife, depression, loss of health insurance and welfare benefits, and being confined indoors.  Although there are no national statistics for drug overdose and suicide deaths this year, 40 states have reported opioid and other drug fatalities higher than 2019 rates. In July, the CDC roughly estimated a 13 percent increase. Based on official 2019 rates, this would account for 9,000 to 12,000 additional deaths this year. Fresno is reporting a 70 percent overdose increase since the start of the pandemic. Suicides among teens is skyrocketing. For every single teen suicide there are now 200 attempts. In 2018, the rate was one successful suicide for every 30 attempts. We have never faced such a crisis in our history. But nobody is speaking about this scourge in the context of the draconian government efforts in the war against corona.

 

Other protective measures to counter the virus, noticeably quarantines and isolation, are contributing to an increase in the severity of pre-existing illness and preventable deaths. Under normal circumstances, patients with cancer and other autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory illness, etc, would be visiting their physicians or going to the hospital when needed for proper standard care treatment. Those avenues have largely been shut down for millions of sick Americans. Instead those with compromised immune systems are terrified to leave their homes in fear of contracting the virus. This is a very real and underreported crisis. In June, the New York Times published an article “There Has Been an Increase in Other Causes of Deaths, Not Just Coronavirus.” The story reported a 10 percent increase in all causes of death, including a 15 percent rise in heart disease and diabetes; 5 percent increase in influenza and respiratory deaths, and a 1 percent increase in Alzheimer’s deaths. Therefore, unlike previous years, more patients now are dying from the lack of medical attention. And we might add a Kaiser report states that 45 percent of all Covid-19 deaths are patients in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and hospice. Yet, this demographic makes up only 8 percent of total Covid cases. Why is there this glaring discrepancy? Clearly, we are miscalculating the causes of the death horribly.

 

Aside from pre-existing diseases that make these individuals more vulnerable to symptomatic infection, we must also acknowledge that efforts to halt the virus’ spread and the Trump administration’s dreadful economic response, has tossed millions of Americans into even worse health conditions.  More Americans are malnourished or under nourished due to the lack of food security than at any other time in modern history. Mental depression and anxiety is rising, stress is endemic, and these are all contributing factors for lower immunity and higher death rates, with or without Covid-19.  A first of its kind global study conducted by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge found that the lockdowns “dramatically altered our personal habits, largely for the worse.” The study noted an increase in greatly reduced exercise and physical movement, a decline in mental health, and poor sleep quality. How much of these are contributing to higher susceptibility to infections and worsening of symptoms? The federal response, by both parties, to curb these adverse effects from lockdowns and to protect those that are most vulnerable is abysmal. 

 

It is now widely acknowledged that between last February and June, many of the actual deaths were not caused by Covid-19 but from pre-existing comorbidities or inappropriate medical interventions and therapies, such as the inappropriate use of ventilators and drugs, and a lack of preparedness in general primary care.  Consequently many errors in judgment were made.  But in our opinion, the most egregious blunder was to base official health policy to tackle the pandemic on flawed mathematical modeling to determine the virus’ virulence, circulation and lethality. Sadly, seemingly no lessons have been learned from these far-reaching errors. 

 

As of October 22nd, the CDC website tracking Covid-19 statistics was reporting 208,600 deaths that in “some way” involved the virus. But the number of pneumonia deaths, with or without Covid-19, stands at around 213,800. And 94,800 deaths are being reported due to Covid but with pneumonia. Seventy-nine % of deaths assigned to Covid-19 are individuals aged 65 and older. If we compare the total number of deaths from all causes during the past six years with the present trend today, since two more months remain before the year’s end, we are on pace to be only very slightly higher.  But this is no more than a very bad flu season. 

 

Another anomalous statistic that is worrisome and has yet to be properly addressed is the conflation of actual flu and/or pneumonia associated deaths with those being reported as Covid-19.  Dr. Lyons-Weiler has documented that as both confirmed and assumed cases of COVID-19 climb, influenza cases are falling. To add to the confusion, just as the CDC continues to tally COVID-19 deaths, it again converging influenza and pneumonia deaths with Covid. “…only 8.1% of Flu+Pneumonia cases,” he notes, “were bona fide flu cases.”  This same trend is now being observed with Covid.

 

The CDC claims approximately 34,000 people die from flu infections annually. However, no distinction is made between influenza and pneumonia deaths; they are grouped together. It is an excellent propaganda strategy for keeping people nervous when flu season arrives in order to get rid of and distribute the 160 million-plus vaccine doses our tax dollars purchase every year. 

Now we discover the CDC re-categorizing influenza and pneumonia cases as COVID-19. Dr. Wodarg notes that it is "the well known fact that in every 'flu wave' 7-15% of acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) are coming along with coronaviruses." He further warns that "we are currently not measuring the incidence of coronavirus diseases but the activity of the specialists searching for them." We still do not know COVID-19's pathogenetic role and impact compared to the common seasonal flu.

So after we take a bird’s eye view of our corona landscape, reflect on the official numbers and statistics, we must question the justification for the draconian efforts being undertaken to isolate the nation until a vaccine arrives. And, as we have reported earlier, there is no certainty that a vaccine will have much effect in reducing infection rates. 

 

An equally large problem is that the mainstream media, with all its talent and fact checking capabilities, should be able to recognize this terrain of statistical inconsistencies and report on it. Yet it has failed to do so. It raises the question whether any of our news outlets are there to educate the public or are simply a wing of the CDC’s and NIAID’s public relations. 

 

In the meantime, more and more medical professionals are stepping forward and making efforts to challenge and refute the decisions being implemented by official policy makers. And this trend will only increase during the coming months, especially if there is no second wave and lockdowns and threats against citizens to comply with their rules become stricter and crueler. In our estimation, yes, Covid-19 can be deadly for some, but this is by no means a pandemic. If Dr. Ioannidis’ analysis of available studies is accurate, and half a billion people have now been exposed or contracted the virus, and the actual number of deaths is 0.2 percent, then this not a pandemic and none of the government’s oppressive policies warrant the complete disruption of human life that threatens all of our future well-being. 

October 23, 2020  

AMERICA'S FRONTLINE DOCTORS SPEAK OUT ON MISINFORMATION SURROUNDING THE CORONAVIRUS

Vitamin A boosts fat burning in cold conditions

The conversion of white into brown adipose tissue is a promising target for obesity treatment

Medical University of Vienna, 21 October 2020

 

 A recent study conducted by a research team led by Florian Kiefer from MedUni Vienna's Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that cold ambient temperatures increase vitamin A levels in humans and mice. This helps convert "bad" white adipose tissue into "good" brown adipose tissue which stimulates fat burning and heat generation. This "fat transformation" is usually accompanied by enhanced energy consumption and is therefore considered a promising approach for the development of novel obesity therapeutics. The study has now been published in the leading journal Molecular Metabolism.

In humans and mammals, at least two types of fatty depots can be discerned, white and brown adipose tissue. During obesity development, excess calories are mainly stored in white fat. In contrast, brown fat burns energy and thereby generates heat. More than 90% of the body fat depots in humans are white which are typically located at the abdomen, bottom, and upper thighs. Converting white into brown fat could be a new therapeutic option to combat weight gain and obesity. 

A research group led by Florian Kiefer from the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine III at MedUni Vienna demonstrated now that moderate application of cold increases the levels of vitamin A and its blood transporter, retinol-binding protein, in humans and mice. Most of the vitamin A reserves are stored in the liver and cold exposure seems to stimulate the redistribution of vitamin A towards the adipose tissue. The cold-induced increase in vitamin A led to a conversion of white fat into brown fat ("browning"), with a higher rate of fat burning. 

When Kiefer and his team blocked the vitamin A transporter "retinol-binding protein" in mice by genetic manipulation, both the cold-mediated rise in vitamin A and the "browning" of the white fat were blunted: "As a consequence, fat oxidation and heat production were perturbed so that the mice were no longer able to protect themselves against the cold," explains Kiefer. In contrast, the addition of vitamin A to human white fat cells led to the expression of brown fat cell characteristics, with increased metabolic activity and energy consumption. 

"Our results show that vitamin A plays an important role in the function of adipose tissue and affects global energy metabolism. However, this is not an argument for consuming large amounts of vitamin A supplements if not prescribed, because it is critical that vitamin A is transported to the right cells at the right time," explains the MedUni Vienna researcher. "We have discovered a new mechanism by which vitamin A regulates lipid combustion and heat generation in cold conditions. This could help us to develop new therapeutic interventions that exploit this specific mechanism."

 

High flavanol diet may lead to lower blood pressure

First study to use objective measure to look at 25,000 people's diet

University of Reading (UK), October 21, 2020

 

People who consume a diet including flavanol-rich foods and drinks, including tea, apples and berries, could lead to lower blood pressure, according to the first study using objective measures of thousands of UK residents' diet. 

The findings, published in Scientific Reports, studied the diet of more than 25,000 people in Norfolk, UK and compared what they ate with their blood pressure. In contrast to most other studies investigating links between nutrition and health, the researchers did not rely on study participants reporting their diet, but instead measured flavanol intake objectively using nutritional biomarkers - indicators of dietary intake, metabolism or nutritional status that are present in our blood.

The difference in blood pressure between those with the lowest 10% of flavanol intake and those with the highest 10% of intake was between 2 and 4 mmHg. This is comparable to meaningful changes in blood pressure observed in those following a Mediterranean diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Notably, the effect was more pronounced in participants with hypertension.

Professor Gunter Kuhnle, a nutritionist at the University of Reading who led the study said: 

"Previous studies of large populations have always relied on self-reported data to draw conclusions, but this is the first epidemiological study of this scale to objectively investigate the association between a specific bioactive compound and health. We are delighted to see that in our study, there was also a meaningful and significant association between flavanol consumption and lower blood pressure. 

"What this study gives us is an objective finding about the association between flavanols - found in tea and some fruits - and blood pressure. This research confirms the results from previous dietary intervention studies and shows that the same results can be achieved with a habitual diet rich in flavanols. In the British diet, the main sources are tea, cocoa, apples and berries. 

"The methodology of the study is of equal importance. This is one of the largest ever studies to use nutritional biomarkers to investigate bioactive compounds. Using nutritional biomarkers to estimate intake of bioactive food compounds has long been seen as the gold standard for research, as it allows intake to be measured objectively. The development, validation and application of the biomarker was only possible because of the long-term commitment of all collaborators. In contrast to self-reported dietary data, nutritional biomarkers can address the huge variability in food composition. We can therefore confidently attribute the associations we observed to flavanol intake."

An international team from the University of Reading, Cambridge University, the University of California Davis, and Mars, Incorporated studied 25,618 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk study and found that the biggest difference was observed in participants with the highest blood pressure. This suggests if the general public increased its flavanol intake, there could be an overall reduction in cardiovascular disease incidence.

Hagen Schroeter, Chief Science Officer at Mars Edge, said: 

"This study adds key insights to a growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of dietary flavanols in health and nutrition. But, perhaps even more exciting was the opportunity to apply objective biomarkers of flavanol intake at a large scale. This enabled the team to avoid the significant limitations that come with past approaches which rely on estimating intake based on self-reported food consumption data and the shortcomings of current food composition databases."

 

Researchers discover molecular link between diet and risk of cancer

Tel Aviv University, October 22, 2020

 

An international team of researchers has identified a direct molecular link between meat and dairy diets and the development of antibodies in the blood that increase the chances of developing cancer. This connection may explain the high incidence of cancer among those who consume large amounts of dairy products and red meat, similar to the link between high cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease.

The study was led by Dr. Vered Padler-Karavani of the Department of Cell Research and Immunology at the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at Tel Aviv University's George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences. The results of the research were published on September 23, 2020, in BMC Medicine.

Neu5Gc is a sugar molecule found in the tissues of mammals but not in poultry or fish. Humans develop antibodies to Neu5Gc in infancy, when they are first exposed to dairy and meat products. While it is known that these antibodies increase the risk of cancer, especially colorectal cancer, no direct link had been found between the antibodies and meat and dairy consumption.

For the study, the researchers used samples from NutriNet-Santé, an extensive national nutritional survey conducted in France. Salam Bashir, a PhD student in Dr. Padler-Karavani's lab, together with other team members measured the amount of Neu5Gc sugar in a variety of dairy and meat foods common in the French diet and calculated the daily Neu5Gc intake of 19,621 adults aged 18 and over, who reported all of their food intake online over a period of several days.

The research team then took a representative sample of 120 participants and tested the levels of the anti-Neu5Gc antibodies in their blood.

Based on these findings and the quantification of Neu5Gc sugar in various food products from France, Dr. Padler-Karavani and her team created an index called the Gcemic index. This index ranks foods whose excessive consumption can lead to an increase in the antibodies - and possibly to an increase in the risk of cancer.

"We found a significant correlation between high consumption of Neu5Gc from red meat and cheeses and increased development of those antibodies that heighten the risk of cancer," Dr. Padler-Karavani says. "For years there have been efforts to find such a connection, but no one did. Here, for the first time, we were able to find a molecular link thanks to the accuracy of the methods used to measure the antibodies in the blood and the detailed data from the French diet questionnaires."

Dr. Padler-Karavani adds that this combination of methods allowed the researchers to predict that those who eat a lot of red meat and cheese will develop high levels and a different variety of the antibodies, and therefore may be at higher risk for cancer - especially colorectal cancer, but other cancers as well.

 

 

Study finds association between lignan and stilbene intake and improvements in cognitive function

Navarra Institute for Health Research (Spain), October 20, 2020

 

According to news reporting from Pamplona, Spain, research stated, “The global growing rates of cognitive decline and dementia, together with the absence of curative therapies for these conditions, support the interest in researching potential primary prevention interventions, with particular focus on dietary habits. The aim was to assess the association between the intake of polyphenols, lignans and stilbene (primarily found in grapes and berries) and 6-year change in cognitive function in the ‘Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra’ (SUN) Project, a Spanish prospective cohort study.”

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Navarra Institute for Health Research, “Changes (final -initial) in cognitive function were evaluated in a subsample of 806 participants (mean age 66 years (SD 5), 69.7% male) of the SUN Project using the validated Spanish Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status-modified (STICS-m) score. Polyphenol intake was derived from a validated semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire and matching food composition data from the Phenol Explorer database. Multivariable linear regression models were used to evaluate the association between total polyphenol intake, polyphenol subclasses and cognitive changes. No significant association between total polyphenol intake and changes in cognitive function was found. However, a higher intake of lignans (bQuintile (Q) 5 vs. Q1 0.81; 95% CI 0.12, 1.51; p trend=0.020) and stilbenes (bQ5 vs. Q1 0.82; 95% CI 0.15, 1.49; p trend 0.028) was associated with more favorable changes in cognitive function over time, particularly with respect to immediate memory and language domains. Olive oil and nuts were the major sources of variability in lignan intake; and wine  in stilbene  intake.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “The results suggest that lignan and stilbene intake was associated with improvements in cognitive function.”

This research has been peer-reviewed.

 

 

Bacterial metabolism of dietary soy may lower risk factor for dementia

University of Pittsburgh, Oct. 22, 2020

 

A metabolite produced following consumption of dietary soy may decrease a key risk factor for dementia--with the help of the right bacteria, according to a new discovery led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Their study, published today in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, reports that elderly Japanese men and women who produce equol--a metabolite of dietary soy created by certain types of gut bacteria--display lower levels of white matter lesions within the brain.

"White matter lesions are significant risk factors for cognitive decline, dementia and all-cause mortality," said lead author Akira Sekikawa, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. "We found 50% more white matter lesions in people who cannot produce equol compared to people who can produce it, which is a surprisingly huge effect."

To obtain this result, Sekikawa's research team measured equol levels within the blood of 91 elderly Japanese participants with normal cognition. Participants were sorted by their equol production status, and then six to nine years later underwent brain imaging to detect levels of white matter lesions and deposits of amyloid-beta, which is the suspected molecular cause of Alzheimer's disease. 

The researchers found that while equol production did not appear to impact levels of amyloid-beta deposited within the brain, it was associated with reduced white matter lesion volumes. Sekikawa's team also discovered that high levels of isoflavones--soy nutrients that are metabolized into equol--had no effect on levels of white matter lesions or amyloid-beta when equol wasn't produced.

According to Sekikawa, the ability to produce equol from soy isoflavones may be the key to unlocking protective health benefits from a soy-rich diet, and his team has previously shown that equol production is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. As heart disease is strongly associated with cognitive decline and dementia, equol production could help protect the aging brain as well as the heart.

Epidemiological studies in Japan, where soy is regularly consumed, have shown that dietary intake of soy isoflavones has been linked to a lower risk for heart disease and dementia. However, most clinical trials in America have failed to show this.

Sekikawa believes that this discrepancy may be due to the microbiome--40-70% of Japanese harbor gut bacteria that can convert dietary isoflavones into equol compared to only 20-30% of Americans.

Sekikawa said that equol supplements could one day be combined with existing diet-based prevention strategies that appear to lower the risk of dementia, particularly the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean diets.

Though Sekikawa hopes to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of equol supplements in a future randomized clinical trial, in the meantime, he urges caution to anyone who might be tempted to purchase equol supplements to stave off dementia.

"This type of study always catches people's attention, but we cannot prove that equol protects against dementia until we get a randomized clinical trial with sufficient evidence," he said.

 

 

Serum creatinine-to-cystatin C ratio predicts mortality

Yonsei University (South Korea), October 21, 2020

In patients initiating continuous renal replacement therapy for acute kidney injury, higher serum creatinine-to-cystatin C ratios were associated with lower mortality.

Identifying risk factors for mortality in patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) receiving intensive care and continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) is useful for improving assessment of prognosis. In this study of 1,588 patients who underwent CRRT in a single tertiary center intensive care unit, the 30- and 90-day mortality risks were significantly lower in patients with higher creatinine:cystatin C ratio at the time CRRT was begun. This association remained after adjustment for confounding factors. These findings suggest that creatinine:cystatin C ratio may be a simple, useful tool for mortality risk assessment in critically ill patients who develop AKI.

 
 

Glutathione precursor GlyNAC reverses premature aging in people with HIV

Baylor College of Medicine, October 16, 2020

Premature aging in people with HIV is now recognized as a new, significant public health challenge. Accumulating evidence shows that people with HIV who are between 45 to 60 years old develop characteristics typically observed in people without HIV that are more than 70 years of age. For instance, declining gait speed, physical function and cognition, mitochondrial aging, elevated inflammation, immune dysfunction, frailty and other health conditions are significantly higher in people with HIV when compared to age- and sex-matched uninfected people.

At Baylor College of Medicine, endocrinologist Dr. Rajagopal Sekhar, associate professor of medicine-endocrinology, and his team have found themselves in the right place at the right time to study premature aging in people with HIV. For the last 20 years, they have been studying natural aging in older humans and aged mice in the Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism of the Department of Medicine. Also, for the last 17 years, Sekhar has been active in HIV research, and has been providing clinical care for patients at the HIV clinic at Thomas Street Health Center, a part of Houston's Harris Health System, where he runs the sole endocrinology and metabolism clinic.

Sekhar's years-long expertise, knowledge and interest in metabolic disorders affecting HIV patients and a parallel track investigating non-HIV people have resulted in the publication of significant discoveries regarding the metabolic complications in aging, HIV and diabetes, and has guided numerous clinical trials that together provide a better understanding of why we age. 

"The work presented here, published in the journal Biomedicines, builds a bridge between laboratory bench and bedside by showing proof-of-concept that supplementing people with HIV specifically with a combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine, which we call GlyNAC, as precursors of glutathione, a major antioxidant produced by the body, improves multiple deficits associated with premature aging," said Sekhar.

Why we age?

For several decades, experimental evidence has supported two theories for aging. The free radical theory and the mitochondrial theory propose that elevated free radicals (oxidative stress) and mitochondrial dysfunction, respectively, are at the core of geriatric aging. Both, elevated oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, are present in people with HIV.

Free radicals, such as reactive oxygen species, and the mitochondria are physiologically connected. The mitochondria are like the batteries of the cell, they produce the energy needed for conducting cellular functions. The body transforms the food we eat into sugar and fat, which the mitochondria burns as fuel to produce energy.

However, one of the waste products of cellular energy generation is free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells, membranes, lipids, proteins and DNA. Cells depend on antioxidants, such as glutathione, to neutralize these toxic free radicals. When cells fail to neutralize free radicals, there is an imbalance between the radicals and the antioxidant responses, leading to harmful and damaging oxidative stress.

"The free radicals produced during fuel burning in the mitochondria can be compared to some of the waste products produced by a car's combustion engine, some of which are removed by the oil filter," Sekhar said. "If we don't change the oil filter periodically, the car's engine will diminish its performance and give less mileage."

Similarly, if the balance between free radical production and antioxidant response in cells consistently favors the former, in time cellular function could be disrupted. Glutathione helps cells keep oxidative stress in balance, it keeps the oil filter clean. GlyNAC helps the cell make glutathione.

Sekhar and his colleagues have been studying mitochondrial function and glutathione for more than 20 years. Their findings, and those of other researchers, have shown that glutathione is the ultimate natural antioxidant. 

Interestingly, compared to those in younger people, glutathione levels in older people are much lower, and the levels of oxidative stress are much higher. Glutathione levels also are lower and oxidative stress is higher in conditions associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, including ageing, HIV infection, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disorders, neurometabolic diseases, cancer, obesity and other conditions. 

"When the mitochondrial batteries are running low on power, as a medical and scientific community, we do not know how to recharge these batteries," Sekhar said. "Which raised the question, if the levels of glutathione were restored in cells, would the mitochondria be recharged and able to provide power to the cell? Would restoring mitochondrial functioning improve conditions associated with mitochondrial dysfunction?"

Restoring glutathione

Restoring glutathione in cells was not straightforward because glutathione cannot work if taken orally for the same reasons that diabetic patients cannot eat insulin. It would be digested before it reached the cells. Also, providing glutathione in the blood cannot correct glutathione deficiency because every cell makes its own.

"Glutathione is a small protein made of three building blocks: amino acids cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid. We found that people with glutathione deficiency also were deficient in cysteine and glycine, but not glutamic acid," Sekhar said. "We then tested whether restoring deficient glutathione precursors would help cells replenish their glutathione. But there's another catch, because cysteine cannot be given as such, we had to supplement it in another form called N-acetylcysteine."

In past studies, Sekhar and his colleagues determined that supplementing GlyNAC, a combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine, corrected glutathione deficiency inside the cells of naturally aged mice to the levels found in younger mice. Interestingly, the levels of glutathione and mitochondrial function, which were lower in older mice before taking GlyNAC, and oxidative stress, which was higher before GlyNAC, also were comparable to those found in younger mice after taking GlyNAC for six weeks. 

The same results were observed in a small study in older humans who had high oxidative stress and glutathione deficiency inside cells. In this case, taking GlyNAC by mouth for 2-weeks corrected the glutathione deficiency and lowered both oxidative stress and insulin resistance (a pre-diabetic risk factor).

In past clinical trials, Sekhar provided GlyNAC to small groups of people to correct a nutritional deficiency, and produced encouraging evidence supporting further studies of the value of this approach to restoring mitochondrial function in clinical trials.

Improving premature aging in people with HIV

In the current study, Sekhar and his colleagues conducted an open-label clinical trial that included six men and two women with HIV, and eight age-, gender- and body mass index-matched uninfected controls, all between 45 and 60 years old. The people with HIV were on stable antiretroviral therapy and had not been hospitalized for six months prior to the study.

Before taking GlyNAC, the group with HIV, compared with the controls, was deficient in glutathione and had multiple conditions associated with premature aging, including higher oxidative stress; mitochondrial dysfunction; higher inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance; more damage to genes; lower muscle strength; increased belly fat and impaired cognition and memory.

The results are encouraging. GlyNAC supplementation for 12 weeks improved all the deficiencies indicated above. Some of the improvements declined eight weeks after stopping GlyNAC.

"It was exciting to see so many new beneficial effects of GlyNAC that have never been described before. Some of the most encouraging findings included reversal of some measures of cognitive decline, a significant condition in people with HIV, and also improved physical strength and other hallmark defects," Sekhar said.

"It was encouraging to see that GlyNAC can reverse many of these hallmark defects in people with HIV as there is no current treatment known to reverse these abnormalities. Our findings could have implications beyond HIV and need further investigation," Sekhar said.

Overall, these findings in HIV patients provide proof-of-concept that dietary supplementation of GlyNAC improves multiple hallmarks of aging and that glutathione deficiency and oxidative stress could contribute to them. 

Encouraged by these results, Sekhar has continued his investigations by testing the value of GlyNAC supplementation for improving the health of the growing older population, and has completed an open label trial, and another NIH-funded, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in older adults. 

"The results from these recently completed trials support the findings of the HIV study," said Sekhar, who is currently the Principal Investigator of two NIH-funded randomized clinical trials studying the effect of GlyNAC in older humans with mild cognitive impairment, and with Alzheimer's disease.

 

 

Greater adherence to aspects of Mediterranean diet associated with lower mortality risk among men during seven-year follow-up

IRCCS Foundation National Cancer Institute (Italy), October 22, 2020

 

According to news originating from Milan, Italy, research stated, “The present study analyzes the relation between diet and all-cause mortality in a cohort of Italian men residing in different regions of Italy. The cohort was established using the members of the Associazione Nazionale Alpini, a voluntary organization that enlists individuals who have served in the Alpine troup; a mountain warfare infantry corps of the Italian Army.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from IRCCS Foundation National Cancer Institute, “For the purpose of these analyses a total of 5049 participants were followed for an average of seven years. At baseline information was collected regarding age, education, life style habits, with special emphasis on diet (with the use of a validated dietary questionnaire), smoking and alcohol use. A total of 190 deaths were ascertained. In multivariate analyses the consumption of a Mediterranean type diet was inversely associated with mortality. Additional findings of relevance include: an inverse association between mortality and intake of vegetable fats and proteins, monounsaturated (MUFA) fats of vegetable origins, starch and folic acid. Positive association were evident between mortality and intake of animal fats, MUFA of animal origins and sugar. This study, focusing on a homogenous cohort characterized by a varied intake and high intake of monounsaturated fats, confirms the inverse association between a Mediterranean type diet and mortality and points out that the nature of the MUFA may be relevant for their effects on health.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “In addition, the study confirms that fats of animal origins and dietary sugar are associated with an overall deleterious effect on mortality.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
October 22, 2020  

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

 

Black ginseng found to protect against lung injury caused by particulate matter

Korea Institute of Bioscience, October 20, 2020
 

In a recent study, South Korean researchers investigated the effects of an extract derived from black ginseng against the lung damage caused by exposure to particulate matter. Particulate matter (PM) is a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles of varying size and composition that can be found suspended in the air. These particles may range from harmless liquid droplets to dangerous smoke, dust, pollen or soot.

The researchers reported their findings in an article published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

Black ginseng can protect the lungs from hazardous air pollution

Particulate matter can be made up of coarse particles and fine particles. Coarse particles refer to the large particles that usually contain earth crust materials and fugitive dust from roads and industries. Fine particles, on the other hand, are usually about 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM 2.5) or smaller and contain combustion particles, secondary aerosols and recondensed organic and metal vapors.

Due to their composition, fine particles pose considerable health risks. They are said to be responsible for most of the acidity and mutagenic activities of particulate matter. The small size of fine particles also allows them to travel deeply into the respiratory tract and reach the lungs, causing throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to high levels of PM 2.5 can also affect lung function and worsen conditions like asthma, lung cancer and heart disease.

Inhalation of PM 2.5 has been linked to lung injury caused by the loss of vascular barrier integrity. The vascular barrier, which is made up of endothelial cells, serves as the wall that separates the blood — along with any harmful substances that may have potentially entered into the bloodstream — from the surrounding tissue of the body. This barrier only becomes permeable to fluids and cells under pathological conditions, such as inflammation.

According to previous studies, black ginseng exhibits a variety of pharmacological properties, which include antibacterial, antihyperglycemic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities. Black ginseng has also been found to have anti-cancer, antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties, which can all be attributed to the transformed ginsenosides it contains. Ginsenosides are the major active compounds present in ginseng. 

To investigate the effects of black ginseng on lung endothelial cell barrier disruption and lung inflammation caused by particulate matter exposure, the researchers exposed endothelial cell cultures and mice to PM 2.5 and treated them with black ginseng extract. They then examined permeability, white blood cell migration, activation of proinflammatory proteins, generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and histology in these two setups.

The researchers found that the black ginseng extract significantly scavenged PM2.5-induced ROS and inhibited ROS-induced activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), an enzyme involved in inflammatory responses and cell death, while concurrently activating the pro-survival enzyme Akt, which helped maintain endothelial integrity. The extract also reduced vascular protein leakage, immune cell infiltration and proinflammatory signaling protein release in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid taken from PM-exposed lung tissues.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that black ginseng protects against PM-induced inflammatory lung injury and vascular hyperpermeability.

 

Study shows active older adults have better physical and mental health

American Cancer Society, October 20, 2020

Older adults with higher physical activity and lower sitting time have better overall physical and mental health, according to a new study from the American Cancer Society (ACS). The study, appearing in the journal, CANCER, suggests that higher amounts of regular moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) and lower duration of sedentary time is associated with higher global mental and physical health for older cancer survivors and older adults, in general. 

With a rapidly aging population and nearly 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States today, there is a need to identify strategies associated with healthy aging and improving quality of life for aging cancer survivors. Being physically active is related to several health benefits, and in this study, ACS investigators led by Dr. Erika Rees-Punia analyzed self-reported aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activities, sitting time, and mental and physical health among nearly 78,000 participants in the ACS's Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Participants (average age 78 years) included older cancer survivors up to 10 years post-diagnosis, and cancer-free adults. 

The investigators found that regardless of cancer history, the differences in global mental and physical health between the most and least active, and the least and most sedentary, were clinically meaningful. These findings provide evidence for the importance of engaging in regular MVPA and decreasing sitting time as a reasonable non-pharmacologic strategy to improve quality of life in older men and women, with or without a prior cancer diagnosis. In fact, the recently published ACS physical activity guidelines recommend that adults get 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity through the week, and to limit sedentary behaviors such as screen-based entertainment. 

"The findings reinforce the importance of moving more and sitting less for both physical and mental health, no matter your age or history of cancer," said Rees-Punia. "This is especially relevant now as so many of us, particularly cancer survivors, may be staying home to avoid COVID-19 exposure, and may be feeling a little isolated or down. A simple walk or other physical activity that you enjoy may be good for your mind and body."

 

Green Tea, Coffee, and Mortality Risk in T2DM

Japanese study reported effects were strongest in those who drank both

Kyushu University (Japan), October 21, 2020

 

Drinking green tea and coffee was associated with reduced all-cause mortality in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes, especially those who drank both, researchers reported.

In a cohort study that followed nearly 5,000 patients for approximately 5 years, Masanori Iwase, MD, PhD, of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, and colleagues found a dose-response relationship for both beverages. Drinking one cup of green tea every day was associated with a 15% lower mortality risk compared with those who drank no green tea, having two to three cups daily was associated with a 27% reduction, and drinking four or more cups was associated with a 40% drop in risk (P=0.001 for trend).

Similarly, as shown in the study online in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, among coffee drinkers, one cup a day was associated with a 12% lower mortality risk, and two or more cups with a 41% reduction compared with those who drank no coffee (P=0.001 for trend).

Furthermore, risk of death was even lower for those who drank both beverages daily: 51% lower for two to three cups of green tea plus two or more cups of coffee; 58% lower for four or more cups of green tea plus one cup of coffee every day; and 63% lower for a combination of four or more cups of green tea and two or more cups of coffee daily (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.18-0.77, P for trend not given).

"To date, no study has investigated the combined effect of green tea and coffee consumption on all-cause mortality," the researchers wrote. "The present study determined that combined higher green tea and coffee consumption markedly reduced mortality. Further, this cohort study included potential confounders, such as sleep duration, diabetic complications, lifestyle, physical activity, laboratory data, and medications."

Previous studies in the general population have suggested that both green tea and coffee have health benefits, including preventing chronic diseases and reducing mortality, the team noted, adding that few studies, however, have been conducted in patients with diabetes.

Still not fully understood are the mechanisms involved, the researchers said. Green tea contains substances that may have health benefits, including phenolic compounds, theanine, and caffeine, and epigallocatechin gallate, the most prevalent phenolic compound, has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-mutagenic properties.

Coffee also contains phenolic compounds and caffeine, as well as other bioactive components that may have favorable health effects, Iwase and co-authors explained. Phenolic compounds found in coffee, such as chlorogenic acid, have been reported to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Of course, coffee has also been associated with harmful effects, including increasing blood pressure and heart attack risk.

For the new study, Iwase's group analyzed data on 4,923 patients (2,790 men; 2,133 women) with type 2 diabetes from the Fukuoka Diabetes Registry, a multicenter prospective study designed to investigate the effect of modern treatments and lifestyles on patients with diabetes. The mean age of patients was 66, and they were followed for a median of 5.3 years.

Consumption of green tea and coffee was assessed by a self-administered dietary questionnaire. The main study outcome was all-cause mortality. In the analysis, the researchers adjusted for potential risk or protective factors for mortality including age, sex, body mass index, diabetes duration, smoking, alcohol intake, sleep duration, glycated hemoglobin, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, history of cardiovascular disease, and cancer. In addition, when examining the effects of green tea, the researchers also adjusted for coffee consumption, and vice versa.

During the follow-up period, 309 individuals died. The main causes of death were cancer (114 patients) and cardiovascular disease (76). When the researchers examined the associations of green tea with these cause-specific mortalities, they found no significant association with cancer (HR 0.65, 95% CI 0.35-1.19, P=0.11) and a non-significant trend with cardiovascular mortality (HR 0.65, 95% CI 0.33-1.29, P=0.08). The results were similar for coffee when the team assessed cancer (HR 0.77, 95% CI 0.45-1.33, P=0.39) and cardiovascular mortality (HR 0.53, 95% CI 0.27-1.04, P=0.06).

One limitation of the study, the researchers noted, was that it did not include information on education level and socioeconomic status, both of which are known to affect mortality. In addition, there was no determination of whether the coffee consumed was caffeinated or decaffeinated (decaf coffee is uncommon in Japan, however, the team pointed out).

"In conclusion, this prospective cohort study demonstrated that greater consumption of green tea and coffee was significantly associated with reduced all-cause mortality: the effects may be additive," the study authors wrote. "Our results suggest that consuming green tea and coffee may have beneficial effects on the longevity of Japanese people with type 2 diabetes."

 
 
 

Compound in honey bee venom found to destroy cancer cells within 60 minutes

University of Western Australia, October 20, 2020
 

n a new study published in npj Precision Oncology, Australian and American researchers reported that honey bees are also a great source of anti-cancer agents.

Honey bee venom is a colorless acidic liquid honey bees excrete through their stingers when they are threatened. It contains numerous compounds with different biological activities. The researchers found that honey bee venom and its major component, melittin, can effectively kill cancer cells, even those that belong to one of the most aggressive types of cancer.

Honey bee venom: a venom that could save lives

Apitherapy is the ancient medicinal practice of using bee products, namely, honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom, for disease prevention and treatment purposes. Its roots can be traced back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Apitherapy is also a feature of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ancient records describe honey as a remedy for various ailments, including cough, stomach pains, dry throat, dry skin and constipation.

Today, apitherapy is a popular complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). In particular, bee venom therapy is recognized for its potential in alleviating the symptoms of painful inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Other modern uses for apitherapy include treating multiple sclerosis and infections, and as a natural remedy for burns, wounds and tendonitis. (Related: Dermal injection of purified honey bee venom found to reduce knee osteoarthritis pain.)

According to earlier studies, bee venom is rich in both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory compounds, as well as peptides with pain-relieving properties. Bee venom also contains an abundance of active enzymes, sugars, minerals and amino acids, some of which have been linked to immunoprotective effects.

Melittin, a small protein made up of 26 amino acids, comprises about 50 percent of the dry weight of bee venom and is considered one of its major components. Previous studies have linked the antimicrobial and anti-cancer effects of bee venom to melittin, although the mechanisms behind these activities are poorly understood.

For their study, the American-Australian team investigated the anti-cancer properties of honey bee venom and melittin by testing both on normal breast cells, as well as different breast cancer cells. They found that honey bee venom and melittin significantly and rapidly reduced the viability of even the most aggressive subtypes, namely, triple-negative breast cancer and HER2-enriched breast cancer cells.

The researchers also reported that melittin exerted its anti-cancer effects using two mechanisms. First, it suppressed the activation of signaling pathways involved in cancer cell growth and proliferation. Secondly, it induced cell death by poking holes in the plasma membranes of cancer cells. The researchers observed this effect within an hour of exposure to melittin.

Despite the toxic effects of honey bee venom and melittin on breast cancer cells, neither caused any damage to healthy cells. The researchers said that both are promising anti-cancer agents that can be used in combination with chemotherapy. Melittin showed that it could enhance the effect of docetaxel, a chemotherapeutic drug used to suppress the growth of breast tumors, in mice.

“Honeybee venom is available globally and offers cost-effective and easily accessible treatment options in remote or less-developed regions. Further research will be required to assess whether the venom of some genotypes of bees has more potent or specific anticancer activities, which could then be exploited.”

“Overall, our results could be leveraged to aid the development of new therapeutic modalities for many cancer types associated with frequent drug resistance and poor prognosis,” the researchers concluded in their report.

 

Improved mental and physical condition is directly linked to nutrition, study shows

New research demonstrates that the right nutrition is directly linked to physical and cognitive performance in active duty men and women in US Air Force

University of Illinois, Abbott Labs, US Air Force Research Lab, October 19, 2020 

 

Researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Abbott and, the U.S. Air Force Research Lab announced today the results of a new study that found a direct link between physical fitness, cognitive performance, and optimal nutrition. The scientists revealed that getting the right nutrition not only fuels our bodies and improves fitness, but gives us an edge mentally, too. 

The double-blind study, published this week in the journal Scientific Reports, examined the effectiveness of optimal nutrition and exercise to enhance fitness and cognitive performance among a population of active-duty men and women in the U.S. Air Force. Researchers divided the 148 study participants into two groups for 12 weeks.  

The double-blind trial included 148 men and women who engaged in a 12-week regimen consisting of aerobics and resistance training five days per week. Seventy participants also received a nutritional drink twice per day that contained protein, carbohydrates and fat, as well as calcium beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), choline, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), folic acid, lutein, magnesium, phospholipids, zinc and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D and E. The remainder of the participants received a placebo drink that contained protein, carbohydrates and fat. Both groups performed the same training program, which included a balanced exercise program comprised of aerobic and resistance training performed five days per week. In addition to the training program, one group was given a prototype nutritional drink, the other group received a placebo.

 

  • Improved working memory by 11% (i.e., information processing and problem-solving), which predicts multitasking and is often impaired under stress 
  • Improved reaction time by 6% - participants became faster and more accurate 
  • Increased muscle mass by more than two pounds
  • Lowered resting heart rate by 8% - a sign of increased cardiovascular fitness. Resting heart rate improved from 71 beats per minute to 65 beats per minute

 

"The physical and mental health benefits of exercise are well known, but this study demonstrates how optimal nutrition can help boost brain function as well," said lead study author, Chris Zwilling, Ph.D, a postdoctoral researcher working with the study's principal investigator Aron Barbey, Ph.D. at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois. "We are excited by the results because they provide critical insights into how simple dietary changes can make a big difference in helping people be as efficient and productive as possible in today's world. "

FUELING BODY AND BRAIN

"Abbott has been researching the impact of nutrition on brain function for more than a decade," said Matthew Kuchan, Ph.D., a research fellow and brain health scientist at Abbott and co-author of the study. "These results confirm that by combining the right nutrition and exercise, people who are facing high-pressure situations can stay sharp physically and mentally when they need it most."

Abbott Research Fellow, Tapas Das, Ph.D., led the design of the innovative liquid nutritional drink used in the study. It contained DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, lutein, a carotenoid, as well as phospholipids and micronutrients to support mental performance. The nutrition formulation also included protein, vitamin D, and HMB to support muscle health. Abbott will leverage these results and ingredients to design future nutritional products to allow individuals to live their lives to the fullest. 

"It is clear that nutrition is a critical component for developing and maintaining the physical and cognitive performance of the men and women in the U.S. Air Force," said Adam Strang, Ph.D., and lead investigator with the Air Force Research Laboratory. "This research confirms that a nutritional supplement with the right nutrients can support and facilitate those improvements when paired with balanced exercise training. We hope to use this knowledge now and, in the future, to better prepare them for the complex and diverse mission sets they are facing."

 

 

Study of chess player performance over many years suggests brain peaks at age 35

Institut Polytechnique Paris, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat München, and Erasmus University, October 20, 2020

A trio of researchers from Institut Polytechnique Paris, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat München, and Erasmus University has found evidence suggesting that cognitive abilities in humans peak at age 35 and begin to decline after age 45. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Anthony Strittmatter, Uwe Sunde and Dainis Zegners describe their study of chess player skill over a span of 125 years and what they found.

Prior research has shown that cognitive skillsfor most people begin to decline sometime during mid-life and continue to deteriorate for the rest of a person's life. In this new effort, the researchers have found a novel way to show such decline—by measuring the skills of professional chess players.

The work involved analyzing player performance over approximately 24,000 professional chess matches from the years 1890 to 2014. In all, they studied the moves of 4,294 players, 20 of whom were world champions—the other 4,274 were their opponents. The researchers' goal was to follow the skill level of each player over many years of their life to gage their skill level over time. They did this by comparing chess moves made by each player against optimal moves suggested by a computerized chess engine over the course of their career.

They found that performance for most players increased rapidly until they reached the age of 20—after that, their performance improvements slowed until reaching a peak at approximately age 35. Most of the players were able to maintain their peak playing abilities for approximately 10 years—after age 45, skills began to deteriorate. The researchers describe the data for a given individual as representing a "hump-shaped curve."

The researchers also found that player performance across the board has increased over the past 125 years, particularly among young people. They noted that performance rose sharply in the 1990s as chess enthusiasts gained access to computerized chess games, providing them with more accomplished opponents. They found that experience levels for most players rose, as well—in the modern age, professional chess players play a lot more matches than did those a century ago.

 

Significant link found between air pollution and neurological disorders

Harvard University, Emory University, Columbia University, October 19, 2020

Air pollution was significantly associated with an increased risk of hospital admissions for several neurological disorders, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other dementias, in a long-term study of more than 63 million older U.S. adults, led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, conducted with colleagues at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, is the first nationwide analysis of the link between fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution and neurodegenerative diseases in the U.S. The researchers leveraged an unparalleled amount of data compared to any previous study of air pollution and neurological disorders.

The study will be published online October 19, 2020 in The Lancet Planetary Health.

"The 2020 report of the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention, and care has added air pollution as one of the modifiable risk factors for these outcomes," said Xiao Wu, doctoral student in biostatistics at Harvard Chan School and co-lead author of the study. "Our study builds on the small but emerging evidence base indicating that long-term PM2.5 exposures are linked to an increased risk of neurological health deterioration, even at PM2.5 concentrations well below the current national standards."

Researchers looked at 17 years' worth (2000-2016) of hospital admissions data from 63,038,019 Medicare recipients in the U.S. and linked these with estimated PM2.5 concentrations by zip code. Taking into account potential confounding factors like socioeconomic status, they found that, for each 5 microgram per cubic meter of air (μg/m3) increase in annual PM2.5 concentrations, there was a 13% increased risk for first-time hospital admissions both for Parkinson's disease and for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. This risk remained elevated even below supposedly safe levels of PM2.5 exposure, which, according to current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, is an annual average of 12 μg/m3 or less.

Women, white people, and urban populations were particularly susceptible, the study found. The highest risk for first-time Parkinson's disease hospital admissions was among older adults in the northeastern U.S. For first-time Alzheimer's disease and related dementias hospital admissions, older adults in the Midwest faced the highest risk.

"Our U.S.-wide study shows that the current standards are not protecting the aging American population enough, highlighting the need for stricter standards and policies that help further reduce PM2.5 concentrations and improve air quality overall," said Antonella Zanobetti, principal research scientist in Harvard Chan School's Department of Environmental Health and co-senior author of the study.

October 21, 2020  

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

Wagging The Dog Pt 1 The Story Behind The Story Of Covid19

 

EGCG sensitizes chemotherapeutic-induced cytotoxicity  in multiple cancer cell lines

University of California at Davis, October 18, 2020

According to news reporting originating in Davis, California, research stated, “Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a major polyphenol component of green tea, presents anticancer efficacy. However, its exact mechanism of action is not known.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from the University of California Davis, “In this study, we evaluated the effect of EGCG alone or in combination with current chemotherapeutics [gemcitabine, 5-flourouracil (5-FU), and doxorubicin] on pancreatic, colon, and lung cancer cell growth, as well as the mechanisms involved in the combined action. EGCG reduced pancreatic, colon, and lung cancer cell growth in a concentration and time-dependent manner. EGCG strongly induced apoptosis and blocked cell cycle progression. Moreover, EGCG enhanced the growth inhibitory effect of 5-FU and doxorubicin. Of note, EGCG enhanced 5-FU’s and doxorubicin’s effect on apoptosis, but not on cell cycle. Mechanistically, EGCG reduced ERK phosphorylation concentration-dependently, and sensitized gemcitabine, 5-FU, and doxorubicin to further suppress ERK phosphorylation in multiple cancer cell lines.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “EGCG presents a strong anticancer effect in pancreatic, colon, and lung cancer cells and is a robust combination partner for multiple chemotherapeutics as evidenced by reducing cancer cell growth, in part, by inhibiting the ERK pathway.”

 

Exercise and nutrition regimen benefits physical, cognitive health

University of Illinois, October 19, 2020

Researchers studied the effects of a 12-week exercise regimen on 148 active-duty Air Force airmen, half of whom also received a twice-daily nutrient beverage that included protein; the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA; lutein; phospholipids; vitamin D; B vitamins and other micronutrients; along with a muscle-promoting compound known as HMB. Both groups improved in physical and cognitive function, with added gains among those who regularly consumed the nutritional beverage, the team reports. 

The findings appear in the journal Scientific Reports.

Participants were randomly assigned to the two groups. The exercise regimen combined strength training and high-intensity interval aerobic fitness challenges. One group received the nutritional beverage and the other consumed a placebo beverage that lacked the added nutrients. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew who received the nutrient-enriched beverage or placebo.

"The exercise intervention alone improved strength and endurance, mobility and stability, and participants also saw increases in several measures of cognitive function. They had better episodic memory and processed information more efficiently at the end of the 12 weeks. And they did better on tests that required them to solve problems they had never encountered before, an aptitude called fluid intelligence," said Aron Barbey, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who led the study with postdoctoral researcher Christopher Zwilling

"Those who also consumed the nutritional supplement saw all of these improvements and more. For example, they were better able to retain new information in their working memory and had quicker responses on tests of fluid intelligence than those taking the placebo," Barbey said.

Physical power increased in both groups as a result of the physical training, Zwilling said.

"Power is a measure of physical fitness that is based on several factors, such as how fast a participant can pull a heavy sled over a set distance, how far they can toss a weighted ball, and how many pushups, pullups or situps they can perform in a set time period," he said. 

The physical training reduced participants' body fat percentage and increased their oxygen-uptake efficiency, or VO2 max. The airmen also performed better than they had initially on several measures of cognitive function. The most notable of these was an increase in the accuracy of their responses to problems designed to measure fluid intelligence. 

"But we also wanted to know whether taking the supplement conferred an advantage above and beyond the effect of exercise," Zwilling said. "We saw that it did, for example in relationship to resting heart rate, which went down more in those who took the supplement than in those who didn't."

Participants who consumed the nutritional beverage also saw greater improvements in their ability to retain and process information. And their reaction time on tests of fluid intelligence improved more than their peers who took the placebo, the researchers found. 

"Our work motivates the design of novel multimodal interventions that incorporate both aerobic fitness training and nutritional supplementation, and illustrates that their benefits extend beyond improvements in physical fitness to enhance multiple measures of cognitive function," Barbey said.

The U. of I. team conducted the intervention with study co-author Adam Strang, a scientist in the Applied Neuroscience Branch of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, along with his colleagues in the Air Force Research Laboratory. The U. of I. team also worked with research fellow and study co-author Tapas Das and his colleagues at Abbott Nutrition, who led the design of the nutritional beverage, which is a mixture of nutrients targeting both muscle and brain. The specially designed beverage provided ingredients that previous studies have shown are associated with improved physical cognitive function.

 

Cannabis reduces OCD symptoms by half in the short-term

Washington State University, October 20, 2020

 

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, report that the severity of their symptoms was reduced by about half within four hours of smoking cannabis, according to a Washington State University study. 

The researchers analyzed data inputted into the Strainprint app by people who self-identified as having OCD, a condition characterized by intrusive, persistent thoughts and repetitive behaviors such as compulsively checking if a door is locked. After smoking cannabis, users with OCD reported it reduced their compulsions by 60%, intrusions, or unwanted thoughts, by 49% and anxiety by 52%.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, also found that higher doses and cannabis with higher concentrations of CBD, or cannabidiol, were associated with larger reductions in compulsions.

"The results overall indicate that cannabis may have some beneficial short-term but not really long-term effects on obsessive-compulsive disorder," said Carrie Cuttler, the study's corresponding author and WSU assistant professor of psychology. "To me, the CBD findings are really promising because it is not intoxicating. This is an area of research that would really benefit from clinical trials looking at changes in compulsions, intrusions and anxiety with pure CBD."

The WSU study drew from data of more than 1,800 cannabis sessions that 87 individuals logged into the Strainprint app over 31 months. The long time period allowed the researchers to assess whether users developed tolerance to cannabis, but those effects were mixed. As people continued to use cannabis, the associated reductions in intrusions became slightly smaller suggesting they were building tolerance, but the relationship between cannabis and reductions in compulsions and anxiety remained fairly constant.

Traditional treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder include exposure and response prevention therapy where people's irrational thoughts around their behaviors are directly challenged, and prescribing antidepressants called serotonin reuptake inhibitors to reduce symptoms. While these treatments have positive effects for many patients, they do not cure the disorder nor do they work well for every person with OCD. 

"We're trying to build knowledge about the relationship of cannabis use and OCD because it's an area that is really understudied," said Dakota Mauzay, a doctoral student in Cuttler's lab and first author on the paper.

Aside from their own research, the researchers found only one other human study on the topic: a small clinical trial with 12 participants that revealed that there were reductions in OCD symptoms after cannabis use, but these were not much larger than the reductions associated with the placebo. 

The WSU researchers noted that one of the limitations of their study was the inability to use a placebo control and an "expectancy effect" may play a role in the results, meaning when people expect to feel better from something they generally do. The data was also from a self-selected sample of cannabis users, and there was variability in the results which means that not everyone experienced the same reductions in symptoms after using cannabis.

However, Cuttler said this analysis of user-provided information via the Strainprint app was especially valuable because it provides a large data set and the participants were using market cannabis in their home environment, as opposed to federally grown cannabis in a lab which may affect their responses. Strainprint's app is intended to help users determine which types of cannabis work the best for them, but the company provided the WSU researchers free access to users' anonymized data for research purposes. 

Cuttler said this study points out that further research, particularly clinical trials on the cannabis constituent CBD, may reveal a therapeutic potential for people with OCD.

This is the fourth study Cuttler and her colleagues have conducted examining the effects of cannabis on various mental health conditions using the data provided by the app created by the Canadian company Strainprint. Others include studies on how cannabis impacts PTSD symptoms, reduces headache pain, and affects emotional well-being.

 
 

Vitamin K levels lower in stroke patients

University of Maryland, October 16 2020

 

A study of chronic stroke patients reported on October 6, 2020 in the journal Nutrients revealed that the majority consumed an amount of vitamin K that was below recommended intake levels.

The study included 60 men and women between the ages of 54 to 68 years who experienced more than six months of residual deficits after the onset of ischemic stroke. Dietary records were analyzed for the intake of vitamin K and other factors. The subjects were divided into groups according to whether their vitamin K consumption met or was below the recommended intake of 120 micrograms (mcg) per day for adult men and 90 mcg for adult women. 

Eighty-two percent of the study subjects reported an inadequate daily intake of vitamin K. An equal percentage of subjects did not report using a multivitamin supplement, most of whom did not meet the recommendation for vitamin K. Subjects who did not supplement their diets with vitamin D and calcium also failed to attain the recommended adequate intake levels of these nutrients. Those whose diet met the adequate intake of vitamin K were likelier to have a greater intake of vegetables, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin E in comparison with those whose intake was lower. 

Authors Chad Wessinger of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and colleagues remarked that vitamin K has a role in the prevention of vascular calcification and noted that “The potential relationship between vitamin K intake and cardiometabolic disease introduces vitamin K intake as a conceivable additional measure when assessing chronic stroke survivors’ risk of recurrence.” 

“Due to vitamin K’s potential therapeutic interactions with various diseases, controlled supplementation may be indicated for individuals struggling to consume adequate amounts,” they wrote. “Vitamin K supplementation should be considered as a potential adjuvant therapy to address atherosclerosis.”

 

Regular social engagement linked to healthier brain microstructure in older adults

University of Pittsburgh, October 19, 2020

 

Older people who report greater levels of social engagement have more robust gray matter in regions of the brain relevant in dementia, according to new research led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. It is the first to use a particularly sensitive type of brain imaging to conduct such an evaluation.

The findings, reported today in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, suggest that "prescribing" socialization could benefit older adults in warding off dementia, much the way prescribing physical activity can help to prevent diabetes or heart disease. 

"Our data were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic, but I believe our findings are particularly important right now, since a one-size-fits-all social isolation of all older adults may place them at risk for conditions such as dementia," said lead author Cynthia Felix, M.D., M.P.H., a geriatrician and a post-doctoral associate in Pitt Public Health's Department of Epidemiology. "Older adults should know it is important for their brain health that they still seek out social engagement in safe and balanced ways during the pandemic."

Felix and her colleagues used information about social engagement from 293 community-dwelling participants from the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) study. These participants, who averaged 83 years old, also received a sensitive brain scan called Diffusion Tensor Imaging MRI that measured the cellular integrity of brain cells used for social engagement. 

These participants provided detailed information about their social engagement and were scored using a tool Felix developed. High scores were awarded to people who did things like play board games; go to movies; travel long distance; attend classes, lectures or adult education events; participate in church or other community activities; get together with children, friends, relatives or neighbors at least once a week; volunteer or work; be married and live with others. 

Felix and colleagues found that greater social engagement is related to better microstructural integrity of brain gray matter in these older adults. Maintaining brain health is of critical importance. Once brain cells die, dementia typically follows. 

Social engagement with at least one other relative or friend activates specific brain regions needed to recognize familiar faces and emotions, make decisions and feel rewarded. The good news is that even moderate "doses" seem to be beneficial. 

"We need to do more research on the details, but that's the beauty of this--social engagement costs hardly anything, and we do not have to worry about side-effects," Felix said. "There is no cure for dementia, which has tremendous costs in terms of treatment and caregiving. Preventing dementia, therefore, has to be the focus. It's the 'use it or lose it' philosophy when it comes to the brain."

Felix notes that cause-and-effect still need to be disentangled: Does greater social engagement keep these brain regions healthy? Or is it that having a healthy brain results in better social engagement? 

Similar to how large public health studies assess the best programs to encourage physical activity to prevent chronic disease in older people, Felix believes her team's findings, coupled with previous research, provides justification for randomized control trials to assess the impact of specific types and amounts of social activities on brain health. 

Enriched by her prior public health training at Johns Hopkins University, Felix recognizes the critical role of public health in applying this finding on a large scale. 

"It would be good if we develop programs across the U.S. through which structured social activities can be prescribed for community-dwelling older adults, aimed at reducing rates of dementia and the resulting health care costs," Felix said. "Existing platforms providing group physical activities can be a good starting point."

 

White noise as sleep aid may do more harm than good, say scientists

Review finds quality of evidence is poor and noise may lead to more disrupted sleep

University Pennsylvania School of Medicine, October 18, 2020

Whether it is nature sounds, the whine of a hairdryer or the incessant hum of a ceiling fan, white noise apps have been downloaded by millions of people around the world in the hope of getting a better night’s sleep. However, research suggests there is no good evidence that they work, and may even be making things worse.

True white noise is the hissy fizzing sound of all the frequencies that humans can hear being fired off randomly and at the same intensity. In recent years, numerous apps and devices have been developed that use it – or other “relaxing” sounds such as the hum of a fan or crashing waves – to help people fall asleep.

They have been hugely successful – the Bedtime Fan app, available on Apple devices, has had more than 3m downloads, while the Android White Noise Generator has more than 1m. One theory is that they help to drown out other bothersome sounds such as street noise; another is that listening to the same sound each night may trigger a kind of Pavlovian response, where people learn to associate it with falling asleep. But does it actually work?

Mathias Basner, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues systematically reviewed the scientific literature and identified 38 studies that have investigated noise as a sleep aid. Although there was some evidence that continuous noise reduced the amount of time it took individuals to fall asleep, the quality of the evidence was extremely poor, and at least one study suggested the noise may lead to more disrupted sleep.

“If these apps or devices could only do good things, I wouldn’t really care. But because there may be negative consequences, I would just be careful,” said Basner, whose research has been published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews. “I wouldn’t broadly recommend them, because there is no evidence that they are actually working.”

He is also concerned about the potential ill-effects of not allowing the auditory system to switch off overnight, although this also has not yet been tested. “Whenever we’re exposed to sounds and noise, the inner ear is translating that into nerve signals that are then interpreted by the brain,” he said. “It is an active process, which generates metabolites, some of which have been shown to be harmful to the inner ear. You probably want to have a period where the auditory system can wind down, regenerate and prepare for the next wake period.”

Whether it is nature sounds, the whine of a hairdryer or the incessant hum of a ceiling fan, white noise apps have been downloaded by millions of people around the world in the hope of getting a better night’s sleep. However, research suggests there is no good evidence that they work, and may even be making things worse.

True white noise is the hissy fizzing sound of all the frequencies that humans can hear being fired off randomly and at the same intensity. In recent years, numerous apps and devices have been developed that use it – or other “relaxing” sounds such as the hum of a fan or crashing waves – to help people fall asleep.

They have been hugely successful – the Bedtime Fan app, available on Apple devices, has had more than 3m downloads, while the Android White Noise Generator has more than 1m. One theory is that they help to drown out other bothersome sounds such as street noise; another is that listening to the same sound each night may trigger a kind of Pavlovian response, where people learn to associate it with falling asleep. But does it actually work?

Colin Espie, a professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford, agrees the research quality of studies on continuous noise and sleep is poor. “Even the idea is a very limited one conceptually,” he said. “The main concern to overcome in poor sleep is the busy or racing mind. People can’t switch off mentally. White noise is just like any other monotonous stimulation, which has been tried many times in many ways over decades, and the evidence [for it working] is poor.”

Prof Christian Cajochen, who heads the Centre for Chronobiology at the University of Basel in Switzerland, said: “I think the better [forms of] continuous white noise mask highly intermittent background noise, which is why it is recommended for nightshift workers who often need to sleep during the day in a ‘noisy’ environment. There I can see a benefit, but not when sleeping in a relatively quiet environment. Any acoustic stimulus being continuous or not has the potential to interrupt the sleep process.”

He added: “I would rather recommend mindfulness apps like Sleepio, since they are based on good evidence coming from research in sleep medicine, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia.”

 

The association between dietary amino acid intake and cognitive decline 8 years later in Japanese older adults

National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (Japan), October 18, 2020

According to news reporting out of Aichi, Japan, research stated, “Previous studies have reported a relationship between low protein intake and cognitive decline and have suggested that this association may be related to specific amino acid intake. However, the effects of amino acid intake on the maintenance of cognitive function have yet to be clarified.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, “We examined the longitudinal association between dietary amino acid intake (lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, and alanineand cognitive function in community-dwelling older adults. Longitudinal epidemiological study. Community-based setting. This study comprised 427 study participants aged 60-82 years with no cognitive decline, defined as a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of >27 at baseline, who also participated in a follow-up. The average and standard deviation of the follow-up period was 8.2 +/- 0.3 years. Dietary intake was assessed using three-day dietary records at baseline. Participants were classified into quartiles (Q1-Q4) based on the intake of 19 amino acids for males and females. Next, we classified participants into Q1 and Q2-Q4 groups. Cognitive function was assessed using the MMSE both at baseline and at follow-up. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations between the Q1 group and cognitive decline (MMSE <=;27), using the Q2-Q4 group as a reference group. Covariates were age, sex, body mass index, years of education, severity of depressive symptoms, history of lifestyle diseases (hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, stroke, and ischemic heart disease), energy intake (kcal/d), protein intake (g/d), and MMSE score at baseline. Cognitive decline was present in 133 (31.1%) participants. After adjustment for covariates, including total protein intake, the ORs (95% CIs) for cognitive decline were 2.40 (1.21-4.75) for lysine, 2.05 (1.02-4.09) for phenylalanine, 2.18 (1.09-4.34) for threonine, and 2.10 (1.06-4.15) for alanine.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “The results suggest that lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, and alanine intake is important for the maintenance of cognitive function in older people, independent of total protein intake.”

October 20, 2020  

The Barbarians at the Pandemic’s Gates

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, October 20, 2020

 

As we approach the the end of 2020, it is apropos to stop, turn around and carefully and objectively examine how we got fixed into this destructive quagmire of Covid-19 half truths, full lies and manufactured medical science. Historically we are a nation that more often than not has sided with the judgments of our public health officials. We have imbued them with a reverence bordering on sanctimonious adulation. The average person has a difficult time challenging the authorities that run our medical system. Consequently we assume they are more correct than wrong. 

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic and our response has been transformed into a great betrayal. The large majority of the US population has had their lives adversely affected, some to the point of chronic despair leading to suicide. Trump’s “greatest economy ever” is in fact a wasteland of over 122 million Americans closing in on poverty and tens of millions of Americans facing abject poverty. Sixty-six million are food insecure, meaning that they go to bed hungry and are therefore suffering from malnutrition. How much of this economic catastrophe is contributing to the virus’ spread and actual deaths? Stimulus packages are only temporary band aids on what has now become a massive gouging laceration. 

If anyone believes that the US is economically stable and competent enough to tackle these problems without a catastrophic blowback, they are delusional. Fiscal conservatives are angered that the US National Debt has reached $24.5 trillion while at the same time adamantly ignoring that the US Total Debt hovers above $82 trillion, $9 trillion more from a year ago under Trump’s administration. Unfunded government liabilities are at an astronomical $155 trillion.  Neither party shows concern about Americans' increasing personal debt (Mortgage debt: $15.8 trillion; Student loan debt: $1.7 trillion; Credit card debt: $994 billion), nor the rise in corporate debt ($9.9 trillion), state debt ($1.2 trillion) and local debt ($2.1 trillion). When we take into consideration $144.6 trillion in US Unfunded Liabilities, $20.4 trillion in Social Security Liability, and $31.6 trillion in Medicare liability, the nation lingers on the precipice of a total collapse. This is a financial tsunami that can only be curbed by keeping the dollar’s printing machines rolling 24-7 until doomsday. 

But not everyone is suffering equally, especially the nation’s 700 billionaires who average 65 years in age. To the contrary, some are profiting happily during the pandemic. It is in their best economic interests to assure that corporate lobbyists and captive legislators at the federal and state levels act on their behalf. Quite simply, with billions and potentially trillions of dollars being spent on the development and later distribution of drugs and vaccines in the corona war, it would be foolish and naïve to except a higher moral principle to motivate our ship captains’ judgments. Hence, our suffering is their profit. 

To gain a greater appreciation of the dire scenario that we all face, we must pull back and open a curtain to expose something rarely if ever discussed. This is the Pandora box of debt that has become so vast that it will never be repaid.  We have been spending money at the federal, state, local, corporate and personal levels at an astronomical rate while intentionally ignoring to realize we are in no position to repay it. 

For all of the uncertainties the pandemic poses to the world, especially in the US, one thing should now be evident.  Our neoliberal capitalist civilization has proven itself to be unprepared for unexpected crises and catastrophes. For decades, the US has been falling behind other developed nations in healthcare, quality of life, life expectancy, wages, class equality, etc. Not only has the American medical system and our federal health agencies been exposed to be naked, we are also discovering we cannot rely on their epistemological statistics, mathematical computer modeling, the FDA’s latest approved drug and vaccine, and surely not our decrepit healthcare system to account for our flawed health policies. 

Aside from the pandemic's toll on people's lives, there is also its impact upon the national and global economies at large that is rarely discussed. Rather, hopes and wishes are directed towards life returning to past normalcy.  We are expected to believe that our addiction to unconscionable consumerism will be restored, that employment will rise and the American dream can again be mentally photo-shopped into the national psyche. In short, we are persuaded that the comfort of our illusions and the denial of harsh realities will return. These hopes are highly unlikely if not impossible. At the height of the pandemic last spring, former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen warned that the 30% GDP decline is leading us towards Depression. McKinsey predicted 40% of GDP would be necessary to tackle the economic loss. 

In desperation the federal government has already spent $6.5 trillion dollars to frantically keep the economy afloat as a depression far worse than 1932 looms overhead. Some economists believe that this massive bailout is insufficient and upwards to $10-15 trillion may be necessary.  In 2008, with one broad stroke the Obama administration rescued Wall Street. What was believed to be just the TARP bailout of $700 billion was in fact over $4 trillion worth of outlays, including other FED and Treasury expenditures.  The Levy Institute at Bard College calculated the outlays may have been as high as $29 trillion, a number the Sanders' campaign had quoted. 

Before the pandemic, Trump boasted an unemployment level as low as 3.6 percent. But in the US, there are different ways to calculate unemployment. There is the official figure (U-3) that Wall Street and presidential administrations rely upon and then a more realistic statistic or U-6 that includes those underemployed and those only marginally attached to the work force or not at all.  Before the pandemic the "real" or U-6 employment was 8 percent.  Now, unemployment is skyrocketing.  The shadow statistic includes the millions of Americans who have dropped out of the work force because their benefits ceased or because they are homeless or unaccounted for by the Labor Bureau.  When those adjustments are made, the actual unemployment is likely around 27 percent. According to the Commonwealth Fund about 7.7 million works with Employer Sponsored Insurance have lost jobs during the crisis, which totals 14.6 million after including their health insurance to cover dependents. Many of these job losses are permanent. 

The dark side of American employment has been decades of outrageous layoffs, workers being replaced by automation, downsizing, corporate consolidation due to equity partnerships, mergers and off shoring of manufacturing. In addition, tens of thousands of foreign professionals have received work visas and are eager to take the place of middle seniority positions in firms for lower salaries and without full benefits.  The system is so corrupt that the millions of people who work full time for less than a living wage are completely ignored. Hence most Americans are deep in debt and frequently live paycheck to paycheck. The fact of the matter is that there is no security whatsoever for millions of people who may not find work for a very long time if at all.

Even if the lockdown were to end tomorrow, the lights would not immediately switch back on. Throughout the financial news, we are reading headlines of companies eyeing bankruptcy as credit ratings are being rapidly downgraded.  Retail stores are being especially hit badly.According to Global Data Retail, over 190,000 retail stores have closed, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the nation's retail square footage. Forbes has listed Dillards, JC Penny, Kohl's, Levi Strauss, Macy's, Nordstrom, and Signet to likely go under.  Others include Pier 1 Imports, Rite Aid, J Crew that is loaded up with private equity debt, Fairway supermarkets, and niche organic grocer Lucky's. Macy's capital alone dropped from $6 billion to $1.5 billion since February. This trend had already been rising since Trump came to office with large chain companies increasingly closing outlets including Walgreens, Gap, GNC, H&M and Victoria's Secret. For sure, when and if the pandemic ends, there will be far less retail stores. The New York Times predicts very few are likely to survive. And we are not even looking at the hundreds of their vendors that are also being affected.

With 60 percent of Americans eating regularly outside the home, the restaurant industry has also been hit fiercely. Restaurants employ more minority managers than any other industry -- approximately 60% -- and employs almost 16 million people. Between 2010 and 2018, it represented the largest number of low middle class jobs ($45,000 to $75,000), 300 percent more than the overall economy. Now a restaurant apocalypse is underway, with an estimated 20 percent of restaurant operations going under. Larger chains are far better equipped. They are simply closing down dining room facilities and only offering carryout, pickup, delivery or drive-thru. Smaller independent restaurants are at the greatest risk.

Then there are the farms, the concentrated agriculture feeding organizations (CAFOs) and food chain suppliers. In the past it was very rare to enter a large grocery store and find empty shelves. Now it is a common sight because the food supply chain has been upended. Pork and other meat suppliers such as Smithfield Foods, Tyson and Cargill have been forced to close plants. Due to Trump's draconian position on immigration of foreign workers, farm produce will not be harvested. Niv Ellis at The Hill reports that "some $5 billion of fresh fruit and vegetables have already gone to waste."  The pandemic, therefore, is contributing to rising food insecurity throughout the nation. Before the pandemic, Ellis notes, 37 million Americans were already food insecure. Finally, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization expects that the frantic efforts underway by countries to import basic staple foods may launch global food inflation.

Also we might consider the future of 15 million Americans who work in the tourism industry, including hotels, entertainment, parks, museums, etc. It is estimated that 96 percent of global tourism has vanished in the blink of an eye. 

State and local city governments are "staring at budget shortfalls that will substantially exceed what they faced during the great recession." States are reporting significant gaps in their capacity to remain fiscally afloat and are now staring into a deep abyss.

Americans who will either return to a job or seek work when the pandemic slows will be further imprisoned by an economy buried in greater debt.

  • Downsizing will accelerate along with borrowed money to continue operations while the White House refuses to pass a rent holiday, forgive student loans and other debts, cease payday loans, reduce interest rates on credit nor provide free healthcare for those infected with COVID-19;
  • The average person without a steady paycheck is living off savings and credit cards. Therefore, when the economy reopens, large numbers of people will be unable to return to the marketplace to circulate dollars;
  • As corporate debt mounts, the most insidious truth is that the vultures of capitalism are ready profit. These are the great white sharks in the finance industry that smell blood. For the trillions of dollars Trump is dishing out to the 1 percent, these are the first to get the lion's share of the quarry. 

Nobody in the mainstream media has properly criticized the huge monetary allocations being made for the pandemic. The FED is buying corporate debt in order for companies to off load their mistakes and receive fresh, new money. But the average small business receives the left over pennies.  The virus is teaching us the harsh reality about Washington’s pervasive culture of corruption. Neither party has any empathic regard for average citizens and small business owners.  Even the money from Trump's and Mnuchin's stimulus package given to citizens can be confiscated by debt collectors. 

Imagine if you are an average citizen, not an insider, at the conference table with executives from Facebook, Google, the major banks and mega-corporate industries. You have no income or savings and no health insurance. If you are hungry, where do you get money for food? Where do you get money if you are sick or gas for your car?  The unintended consequences of Trump's and the Congress' irresponsible and inhumane policies are literally bankrupting the nation. 

By extension the millennial and iGen generations are the victimized recipients of this debt bequeathed to them by older generations. They are further compromised with the inability to secure jobs equal to their educational level nor secure a satisfying living wage. They are burdened with high interest student loans. They also are far more aware of the impact climate change will have on their futures. Therefore, millions of young adults are rapidly losing faith in America's neoliberal capitalist system and our self-centered culture of predation. 

Similar to waking up the day following September 11, 2001, we are emerging into a new world. The pandemic is not solely a health crisis; it is also an existential crisis, an impasse in the global civilization that is forcing us to realize that our over dependence and perverse reliance upon natural resources, such as fuel, energy, food and corrupt banking and healthcare services, is fragile. We are learning that at every level there are numerous cracks in our structures of governance and our economic and social bases.  Yet the virus did not break the nation; it has been broken for a long time. Only now more people are waking up from their sleep. Furthermore, few people, including the mainstream media, now believe there will ever be a return to the normalcy of life that ended after Wuhan had its first patient infected with the virus. It is time for every individual to reassess her or his priorities. A life full of well-being is more possible today if we realize the virus has also been our teacher. But it is living a life that is founded upon simplicity, insight and wisdom, and community rather than consumption and competitive power. 

Now over 40,000 international medical professionals and almost half a million citizens have signed the Great Barrington Declaration to demand the reopening of national economies and to bring lockdowns to an end. Rather than trying to protect society, first we must break down the restrictions and burdens to free movement. This is part of a larger movement to demand that honest science, objective media coverage and collective compassion can begin to rebuild broken lives and forgive debt. The elite and their political ideologues claim it cannot be done. To the contrary Bush and Obama found it within their means to bail out corporate America, and Trump later followed suit. The scandal that should outrage every citizen is that these are the same privileged elite, their mega-firms and banking institutions who brought the Recession upon us by their own irresponsible debt and foolish decisions; ergo, the Federal Reserve and your tax dollars made them whole again. But sadly no small or personal business benefited from the bailout’s payback bribes.  History is about to repeat itself. It is time we declare we have had enough of our kakistocracy – a government run by the worst, least qualified and most incompetent citizens of the nation – and to sincerely mean it. 

 

October 19, 2020  

The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment. Protective effects of blueberry anthocyanin extracts on hippocampal neuron damage induced by extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field. Looking for new ways to fuel athletic performance? Try a potato! Research finds that blue-light glasses improve sleep and workday productivity. The therapeutic effects of ginseng against Alzheimer’s disease. Meditation can counter mental stress on college campuses, experts say. 

October 16, 2020  

A Scientific Look at Botanical Plants and Supplements Against Coronavirus

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, March 10, 2020

 

In recent weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has dominated the news at the expense of everything else that is critical and urgent in our lives. As panic increases and more cases are reported daily, health-minded people are eager or even desperate to know whether there are ways to strengthen the body's immune system to offer some protection from this specific upper respiratory infection. 

There are six known strains of coronavirus, four which are associated with the common cold or moderate respiratory infections. Everyone has likely had a coronavirus infection at some time in their lives. However, two strains -- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) -- are more severe. Between the years 2002-2004 and 2014-2018 these strains respectively were observed to be lethal. However, during these periods, total deaths were under one thousand. SARS has the ability to infect the lower respiratory system as well. The current strain being called Covid19 is a new mutation that is being recognized as a novel SARS. As of this writing, the current coronvirus has been attributed to over 4,000 deaths, the large majority among the elderly. In a recent press conference the Surgeon General remarked that the average age of death was 80.

Compared to other viral infections that target the respiratory tract, especially influenza, there has been far less research either to understand the pathway of infection and the drugs or natural substances to battle the virus. It remains uncertain how long immunity lasts, if any, after infection. Seemingly, immunity wanes quickly. Consequently, since coronavirus is most often responsible for a flu-like common cold, recommended prevention and treatment protocols are largely similar to the flu. 

During a recent coronavirus task force meeting, Trump asked whether the flu vaccine would protect against the coronavirus. The flu vaccine is not only influenza-specific, it is also flu strain specific. It offers absolutely no protection to any other viruses. Nevertheless we are going to likely witness a sharp rise in propaganda recommending flu vaccines to fight the coronavirus scare. The belief is that increasing national flu vaccination compliance will not only reduce the risks of flu infection but will also help divert money away from flu infections to better deal with the rising coronavirus cases. 

But there is a caveat. A very serious caveat.

Sometimes the universe has an unusual way of providing warnings that we have an opportunity to either heed or disregard to our benefit or detriment. On December 31, 2019 in order to usher in the New Year, China reported the first case of an "unusual pneumonia" in its port city of Wuhan. A week later on January 7th, the pathogen was identified as a novel strain of coronavirus.  That same month, the prestigious journal Vaccinepublished a study conducted by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Researchers investigated viral interference due to receiving the flu shot; in other words, does the flu vaccine make a recipient more susceptible to other non-influenza respiratory viral infections? The study's conclusions state "Vaccine derived virus interference was significantly associated with coronavirus and human metapneumovirus." 

This is not the first time that viral interference from the flu vaccine has been associated with an increase in non-influenza respiratory infections. A much more thorough study, an actual clinical trial, was conducted by the University of Hong Kong in 2012. The double blind randomized controlled trial followed a group of flu-vaccinated versus placebo-vaccinated children between 6 and 15 years of age over the course of nine months to determine infection rates from 19 other respiratory viruses. The study found "no statistically significant difference in the risk of confirmed seasonal influence influenza infection between recipients of the [influenza vaccine] or placebo." However, it was the dramatic number of incidences of non-influenza infections found in the flu-vaccinated group (105 cases), which included coronavirus, as opposed to 54 cases among those who received a placebo. In other words, the results suggest that receiving the flu shot may increase one's risk of contracting another infectious virus by almost 100 percent.

A recent analysis out of China reviewing rates of infection, targeted populations and mortality reported that the worst hit group is older people, particularly those who have immune-compromised conditions: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory illnesses, etc. Taking this statistic into account, we may note that the majority of American adults have some type of chronic condition. It is estimated that 60% of American adults have at least one underlying health condition and 40% have two or more. For example, 33 million have diabetes and an estimated 84 million are pre-diabetic; heart disease affects 121 million and there are approximately 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses annually. All of these people, therefore, have either a mild to severe compromised immune system. 

Swiss study noted that the SARS coronavirus and influenza share two of the same proteases in targeted cells -- TMPRSS2 and HAT. These are responsible for activating the spread of the virus at the point of infection and contribute to their pathogenesis in an infected cell. Therefore it may be partially conjecture on our part to suggest that natural supplements and botanical remedies that have been shown in the scientific literature to be effective against influenza may more or less be effective against coronavirus as well. In fact, last month a study was released by Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University in the Journal of Medical Virology recommending that patients' nutritional status should be evaluated before any conventional treatment.  The hospital recommended a regimen that included Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, Omega-3, Selenium, Zinc, gammaglobulin A administered intravenously and Chinese traditional medicine

Therefore we have scoured the peer-reviewed literature on the National Institutes of Health's Library of Medicine database to identify compelling studies that may warrant vitamin, antioxidant, and botanical supplementation as a means to protect ourselves from coronavirus and other viral infections. These have been shown to either have strong antiviral properties in general or have known biomolecular effects to strengthen the immune system against microbial infection. We are not offering prescriptions. This is just a summary of some important scientific information for you to make better informed decisions for protecting yourself while the coronavirus wends its course. 

 

BOTANICALS

Astragulus

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), coronaviral infections belong to a specific epidemic disease category. Astragulus is not only a very popular plant used in TCM, but it is also one of the most researched and promising botanical plants shown to have antiviral properties. In both TCM and Ayruveda medicinal formulas astrugulus has been prescribed for centuries because of its effectiveness against infections and over-stressed respiratory conditions. Compounds, notably saponins, found in astragulus have been well researched and found to hinder influenza proliferation. The US Department of Agriculture's Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory found it inhibits avian flu viruses.

Jinlin Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China conducted a study published in the journal Microbiological Pathology that concluded 

"Astragulus exhibits antiviral properties that can treat infectious bronchitis caused by [avian] coronavirus"

In China, which has a large poultry industry, avian coronaviruses are a serious threat to chicken farmers. Chinese farmers will often include astragulus in feed to protect the birds from infection as well as pig feed to ward off porcine circovirus.

Two weeks ago, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine completed an analysis of previous research looking at the benefits of Chinese herbal formulas against the SARS coronavirus and H1N1 flu (swine flu). In 3 studies, among participants who took formulas against SARS, none contracted the illness. Nor did any contract H1N1 influenza in four additional studies. A primary ingredient in these formulas' was astragulus.

Earlier in February, researchers at Beijing Children's Hospital at the Capital Medical University provided a thorough overview of recommended diagnostic procedures and treatments for specific symptoms witnessed in the current Covid19 infections that included both allopathic and traditional Chinese medicine.  In cases where there are signs of severe weakness and stress observed in the lungs and spleen, a formula called Liu Jun Zi is being prescribed, which includes astragulus and ginseng as two primary botanicals. 

Last week, the prestigious journal Science published a review out of Yun-nan Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China that investigated the great disparities in infection and mortality rates between different provinces - Wuhan being the most severe.  In the provinces with the lowest infection rates, there was between an 84% to 98% use of TCM formulas.  Again, two of the main ingredients were Astragulus and Ginseng.

 

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhizin Acid) 

In traditional medicine licorice root has been used to relieve and treat ulcers, sore throats, bronchitis, coughs, adrenal insufficiencies and allergic diseases. Ancient manuscripts from China, India and Greece all include licorice for treating respiratory tract infections and hepatitis.  Licorice's main antiviral compounds are known as glycyrrhizins (GL). For 20 years Japan has used glycyrrhizins intravenously to treat chronic hepatitis B and C infections with very rare side effects. It has also been shown to induce apoptosis in lymphoma cells and Karposi sarcoma related to herpesvirus. Therefore it was an unexpected surprise to discover that there is notable research on glycyrrihizin's effectiveness against coronavirus and in particular SARS.

Japan's National Institute of Infectious Disease reported GL's effectiveness against coronavirus and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as well as Epstein Barr virus and human cytomegalovirus. After the deadly SARS outbreak in 2012, virologists at Frankfurt University Medical School investigated several antiviral compounds to treat patients admitted with SARS coronavirus infections. Of all the compounds tested, licorice's GL was the most effective. The scientists concluded that "Our findings suggest that glycyrrhizin should be assessed for treatment of SARS."

The above research was later replicated at Sun Yat Sen University in China and published in the Chinese journal Bing Du Xue Bao. The researchers identified several derivatives of glycyrrhizin as primary molecules with antiviral properties. In addition to being effective against the SARS coronavirus, they also found it may be effective against herpes, HIV, hepatitis and influenza. 

Earlier in 2005, a team of scientists from Goethe University in Germany and the Russian Academy of Sciences had already identified the antiviral activity of GL against SARS coronavirus. The molecule showed a ten-fold increase in anti-SARS activity compared to other potential treatments tested. One conjugate of GL had a 70-fold increase. That study was published in the Journal of Medical ChemistryDuring that same year, the Chinese Academy of Sciences screened over 200 botanical plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to find those with the strong potency SARS coronavirus. Four botanicals stood out. One of the four was licorice's glycyrrhizin

Extract of licorice root is the most effective and glycyrrhizin is also available as a separate botanical supplement. 

 

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberry has become a popular supplement for relieving symptoms of the common cold and flu infections. It is found worldwide and is part of many of the world's indigenous pharmacopias. There are many species of elderberry; the species Sambucus nigra seemingly has been shown to have the most medicinal qualities. When purchasing Elderberry or Sambucus, it is recommended to note it is Sambucus nigra. It is better to use a prepared formula rather than try to make it on your own from fresh berries and flowers. Elderberries contain cyangenic glycosides that can be poisonous and cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and weakness. 

Most research has focused on elderberry's therapeutic value against influenza.

Hadassah University Hospital in Israel found that elderberry was effective in vitro against 10 different influenza strains. Cytokine activity for IL-1, TNF-a, IL-6 and IL-8 all significantly increased thereby confirming its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.

Another Israeli study by Hebrew University in Jerusalem and published in the Journal of Internal Medical Research found that participants enrolled with existing flu like symptoms who took 15 ml of elderberry syrup 4 times a day recovered four days earlier than those on medications or a placebo.

Finally, a more recent 2019 study by the University of Sydney observed that certain compounds in elderberry inhibit the flu virus's entry and replication in human cells. 

However, there is also research showing elderberry's positive impact on coronavirus infections. 

In 2014, researchers at Emory University noted that elderberry extract inhibited coronavirus virility at the point of infection.  The scientists hypothesized that elderberry rendered the virus non infectious. 

One of the better studies came out of National Sun Yat Sen University and the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan in 2019. The researchers used an ethanol extract of Sambucus stem (not the berry) and observed its potential against coronavirus strain NL63

It is important to remember that deaths being attributed to the coronavirus are more often than not complicated by secondary infections that are usually bacterial such as pneumonia. In addition to its antiviral properties, elderberry is also effective against pathogenic bacteria. Under laboratory conditions at Justus Liebig University in Germany, elderberry was shown to be very effective against several bacteria that are responsible for pneumonia during flu-like infections, and against Influenza A and B viruses in particular

 

Echinacea

A systematic review of the existing research before 2011 by the University of British Columbia and published in the journal Pharmaceuticals, concluded:

"all strains of human and avian influenza viruses tested (including a Tamiflu-resistant strain), as well as herpes simplex virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and rhinoviruses, were very sensitive to a standardized Echinacea purpurea preparation"

There are different species of Echinacea. The species Echinacea purpurea has been shown to be most effective and targets the most infectious pathogens. When purchasing echinacea, be certain it is the purpurea strain.

Echinicea does present limitations depending upon the severity of an infection. Once a cold caused by any one of the various cold viruses, including coronavirus, more deeply infects the bronchia and the lower lung, echinacea does not appear to be helpful. It is more effective with upper respiratory tract infections.

One of the largest placebo double blind studies on echinacea was conducted by Cardifff University in the UK. The study followed participants for four months and confirmed the safety of long term echinacea supplementation. It also observed a statistically significant decrease in cold episodes in the echinacea group.

There are no strong studies showing echinacea's effectiveness against coronavirus. Up until 2014, only one study looked at its bioactivities against coronavirus and that was a mouse model which required high doses of the plant extract. 

In 2012, Griffith University in Australia undertook one notable double blind study to determine whether echinacea provided protection to air travelers. The study concluded:

"Supplementation with standardized Echinacea tablets, if taken before and during travel, may have preventive effects against the development of respiratory symptoms during travel involving long-haul flights."

As a piece of consumer advice, a Cornell University study looked at the medicinal properties throughout different parts of the echinicea plant: leaves, stems, bark, roots, etc. The scientists noted that only echinacea extracts that contain the root showed significant antiviral properties. Echinacea appears to modify the clinical course of flu-like respiratory infection by acting upon IL-8, IL-10 and IFN cytokine activity beneficially.

 

Olive Leaf

Oleuropein (OLE) is the most important biomolecule in the olive tree that contributes to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, anti-cancer, antimicrobial and antiviral activities and effects. One advantage of olive leaf is that it is highly bioavailable to the body's cells. 

There are almost 10,000 studies in the National Institutes of Health literature database referring to OLE, olive leaf, and olive oil, most with respect to its strong antioxidant and anticancer properties. According to analysis conducted by the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome of the oleuropein content in different parts of the olive plant, extracts made from buds and flowers showed the greatest strength and potency.

Olive leaf has not been shown to be particularly effective against viral upper respiratory infections; however there is considerable evidence to support olive leaf's ability to strengthen the immune system against infectious viral diseases in addition to possessing many anti-inflammatory qualities. 

There are only a few studies showing olive leaf's effectiveness against respiratory viruses. One randomized trial performed by the University of Auckland in New Zealand suggests olive leaf can contribute to treating respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus. A 2001 study out of the University of Hong Kong identified 6 separate antiviral agents in olive that were effective against parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Olive leaf is also effective against bacterial pathogens. Most bacterial pneumonias are gram-positive. According to a joint study by Arab American University and the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, OLE worked best against gram-positive pathogens but gram-negative organisms appeared to be resistant to OLE (eg, E coli, Salmonellas, etc.).

But OLE does possess notable anti-viral properties. The current Covid19 pandemic appears to utilize the host cell's ACE2 receptor. This same receptor is also activated in HIV infections. This is one reason why patients infected with this new coronavirus strain are being prescribed HIV drugs. Therefore might olive leaf extract contribute to the treatment for this new coronavirus strain?  

New York University biochemists identified olive leaf extract's anti-HIV activity to modulate the host cell gene expression due to HIV infection. In fact, olive leaf extracts reversed HIV-1 infections. This was published in Journal of Biochemical and Biophysical Research. The conclusions state, "Treatment with OLE reverses many of these HIV-1 infection-associated changes."  Another joint study by NYU and Harvard Medical School concluded that OLE from olive leaf is "a unique class of HIV-1 inhibitors" and is "effective against viral fusion and integration."

 

Oregano Oil

Oregano possesses a compound called carvacrol that has been shown to be antiviral. Although it has been tested on several influenza and flu-like respiratory viruses, it does not appear to have been tested against coronavirus.

Soochow University in China and the University of Oklahoma published a study in the BMC Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine focusing on oregano's antiviral properties against influenza viruses. Although oregano did not kill the virus it nevertheless inhibited the virus' ability to translate proteins responsible for the viral binding to cells.

University of Putra Malaysia meta-analysis of existing research of different plant essential oils reported oregano was strongest against the flu-like viruses adenovirus and coxsackie virus.

2010 randomized double blind study study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested oregano was beneficial as a throat spray and showed significant and immediate improvement of upper respiratory infectious ailments.

University of Arizona published a paper in the Journal of Applied Microbiology investigating oregano's antiviral properties when used as a sanitizer. The study focused on one flu-like virus, novovirus. If sprayed on surfaces, carvacrol will kill the virus within 15 minutes of exposure. The most recent research into Covid19's surface life -- living outside of an animal host -- is 9 days.

 

Other Botanicals

Saikosaponins is an important family of compounds found in the Bupleurum plant, which has been shown to have possible anti-coronavirus properties. 

Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan examined many of the derivatives of saikosaponins and observed it has very potent anti-coronaviral activity that interferes with the early stage of the virus' replication. Several companies offer Bupleurum online 

University College Dublin and Sichuan Agricultural University conducted a systematic meta-review of the existing medical literature on Chinese herbs that may prevent and treat viral respiratory infections. Among the most promising herbs against SARS coronavirus were panax ginseng, glycyrrhizin from licorice, and Isatis tinctoria, commonly known as woad or Asp of Jerusalem. Isatis is also available online. 

Houttuynia cordata also known as fish mint, rainbow plant, fish wort, bishop's weed is indigenous to Southeast Asia. This botanical directly inhibits coronavirus' protease and blocks the viral RNA polymerase activity. A study out of Tsinghua University in Beijing found it significantly reduces fevers, sore throat and coughs due to the SARS virus. Tinctures of this plant are available online.

 

SUPPLEMENTS

Vitamin C

Unlike the US, most of the world, especially in Asia and continental Europe, recognizes Vitamin C as an important anti-viral agent. It is also a remarkable antioxidant shown to ward off infections. At this moment, China is conducting several clinical trials with intravenous Vitamin C to treat patients infected with the Covid19 strain. The city government of Shanghai is now actively treating patients with intravenous Vitamin C. A trial at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan is using 24,000 mg per day intravenously. The Wuhan study can be viewed on the US National Library of Medicine's website here: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04264533

Until recently, Vitamin C has not been tested against coronavirus. There was  one study performed to see whether the vitamin protected chick embryo organs from infection by avian coronavirus -- a very common infection in fowl. That study showed the vitamin positively increased embryo resistance against the virus. Otherwise, Vitamin C has only been well studied against other viral infections, especially influenza.

Seoul National University College of Medicine concluded that Vitamin C is an essential factor for anti-viral immune responses at the early stage of Influenza A infection.

In 2017 the University of Helsinki reviewed 148 studies that indicated Vitamin C may alleviate or prevent infections caused by bacteria and viruses. The most extensive indication studied was the common cold. Among people who are physically active, Vitamin C was most beneficial. However, many studies relied on very low Vitamin C doses, which likely contributed to the minor benefits observed. Some of these were as low as 100 mg daily. In addition, the studies showed that colds' duration was frequently shorter and less severe among people with sufficient Vitamin C levels.

An early randomized double blind trial to investigate Vitamin C's ability to protect elderly hospitalized patients from acute respiratory infections was conducted at Hudderfield University in the UK. The study relied on a very low dose of 200 mg per day. Nevertheless, those who received the vitamin fared significantly better than those taking placebo. 

Finally, there was another controlled placebo study involving 715 students between the ages 18-32 taking 1000 mg four times daily. The test group had an 85% decrease in flu and cold symptoms compared to the control. 

 

Vitamin D

Barely a week goes by without another study appearing in the peer-reviewed literature that looks at either Vitamin D's therapeutic characteristics or the risks of Vitamin D deficiency. A high number of otherwise healthy adults have been reported to have low levels of vitamin D, mostly at the end of the Winter season. Deficiency rates vary between 42% for the entire population to 82% for Black Americans and 63% for Latinos. People who are housebound, institutionalized and those who work night shifts are most likely to be vitamin D deficient. This includes many elderly people who receive limited exposure to sunlight.

It has been shown that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increase risk in autoimmunity illnesses and greater susceptibility to infection. It also boosts up the body's mucosal defenses which are critical for protecting ourselves from infectious respiratory viruses

Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital in conjunction with a global collaborative study to follow up on a Cochrane analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials involving 11,000 participants confirmed that vitamin D. taken daily or weekly significantly cut the risk of respiratory infections in half

Jikei University School of Medicine in Japan conducted a randomized double blind placebo trial to measure the rate that Vitamin D reduced seasonal influenza A. Almost twice as many participants in the placebo group came down with the flu compared to the Vitamin D group. The Japanese scientists also observed that people with a history of asthma were best protected. 

For children, a Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia meta review identified 13 of 18 studies confirming that Vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased incidences of acute lower respiratory infection. 

 

N-Acetyl Cysteine

Oxidative stress is a well known pathway for microbial infections such as viruses and bacterial pneumonia, especially in the lungs. 

When the lungs are subject to serious oxidative stress, there is an increase in inflammatory cytokines, especially IL-1, IL-8 and Tumor necrosis factor or TNF. Each of these cytokines have been shown repeatedly in clinical research to play a role in different respiratory infections including influenza, coronavirus, echovirus, adenovirus, coxsackie virus and others. Therefore, certain antioxidants can alleviate lung damage due to oxidative stress. 

N-acetyl cysteine is one of these extremely important antioxidants. It exhibits both direct and indirect antioxidant properties. The indirect benefit is that it increases the concentration of another important antioxidant, glutathione, in the lung cells.

There is no confirmatory evidence that NAC directly targets flu or flu-like viral infections; however it has been shown to significantly reduce the rate of clinical symptoms. 

Johann Goethe University Department of Virology observed that NAC inhibits the replication of seasonal human influenza A viruses by decreasing several these pro-inflammatory molecules. The scientists recommend that NAC should be included as an additional treatment option in the case of an influenza A pandemic.

An Italian randomized placebo study conducted at the University of Genoa found that subjects who were already suspected of having contact with the H1N1 flu virus who were placed under NAC treatment had a 25% rate of experiencing symptoms compared to 79% in the placebo group.

Certain cytokines, especially tumor necrosis factor and IL-6, have been associated with the pathogenesis of influenza and can increase the risk of mortality. In a mouse study, Italian researchers at Zambon Research Center gave NAC to flu-infected mice with a significant decrease in mortality. 

 

Colloidal Silver

Nanoparticle or colloidal silver has been studied extensively for its anti-bacterial properties but less so for infectious viruses. Most studies for silver's antiviral activities have focused on HIV-1, Hepatitis B, herpesvirus and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. 

In a 2005 issue of the Journal of Nanotechnology, the University of Texas and Mexico University observed that silver nanoparticles could kill HIV-1 within 3 hours, and they suspected that this may be true for many other viruses as well. However, this conclusion may be too premature and more research is necessary. 

There are studies showing silver's efficacy against respiratory viruses. One large study by Japan's National Defense Medical College Research Institute, published in the Journal of Molecular Sciences, recommended that Japanese healthcare workers take nanosilver to protect them from viruses including coronavirus.

In 2010, the University of Naples measured silver nanoparticles' capabilities to reduce and prevent infection from the parainfluenza type 3 virus. The scientists hypothesized that the silver may block the virus' interaction with the cell. Then a joint study by Deakin University in Australia and Osaka University in Japan found that colloidal silver significantly protected cells from H3N2 flu infection and prevented viral growth in the lungs

Finally, colliodal or nanoparticle gold has also been shown to inhibit the flu virus' binding capaticity to a cell's plasma membrane. That research was carried out by Freie University in Germany. 

 

Conclusion

Yes, we should be concerned about the coronavirus' high infectious rate. At the moment, the primary solutions being sought to handle the crisis is to spend billions of dollars to develop an effective vaccine and an accurate diagnostic kit. Additionally, according to a study out of Johns Hopkins University's School of Public Health, the incubation period is estimated at 5.1 days for being infected and capable of infecting others without displaying symptoms. But there is no mention in the medical community nor the mainstream media about what we can do to strengthen our immune system. 

Yes, a high quality 99% barrier mask is important, especially if worn in a crowded environment. Repeated washing of our hands for a full minute with soap water. Rub surfaces with alcohol at home and work and allow it to sit for 30 seconds. Likewise, wipe down door handles and telephone receivers. Quarantining people who have been exposed is important until they test negative. Closing schools is prudent. And if a vaccine is eventually developed and shown to be safe and effective that is another recourse. However none of the above protects the immune system in the event of coming into contact with the virus. We believe that the recommended natural solutions shared above, since it is supported in the peer reviewed scientific literature, is something everyone can do. Besides, it is safe and not expensive. Therefore these natural solutions too should be considered as a viable and effective recourse to lessen this pandemic's fatal effects. 

October 15, 2020  

Playing Russian Roulette with a Covid-19 Vaccine

 

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, October 15, 2020

America, we need to have a conversation. It is a very serious and dire conversation that has been intentionally ignored and swept under the rug for far too long.  It concerns a dialogue that our entire mainstream media, in its conventional blindness, refuses to acknowledge.  Yet its consequences are potentially severe and perhaps deadly. It may not eventually have an impact upon you personally nor your health, but it will surely have a profound adverse effect upon someone you know or perhaps even a loved one.

Read More

- Older Posts »

Play this podcast on Podbean App