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.

June 30, 2021  
Some new information about William Thompson whistleblower confrontation with the CDC -- and a new study comparing adverse health conditions between vaccinated and unvaccinated children
 

Dr. Brian Hooker is an Associate Professor of Biology at Simpson University in California, and a senior consultant for ARES Corporation, specializing in environmental restoration design. His analysis of the CDCs data about the Measle-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism was published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.  For years he has been investigating the scientific evidence for a vaccine-autism connection and the flaws in vaccine safety. Brian also has a  son with autism and has been active in autism community for increasing public awareness about this epidemic. Over the years Brian has filed many FOIAs with federal health agencies and was in receipt of 1000s of pages of documents from a CDC informant, Dr. William Thompson questioning the efficacy and safety of vaccination.  He has been a point independent researcher in the recent whistleblower case with Dr. Thompson from the CDC regarding vaccine dangers. For more information, go to ChildrensHealthDefense.org

June 29, 2021  

Dandelion leaf extract blocks spike proteins from binding to the ACE2 cell surface receptor

University of Freiburg (Germany), June 28, 2021

 

The engineered spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2 can be STOPPED by a common “weed” that is exterminated from lawns every year. A German university study found that the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinalecan block spike proteins from binding to the ACE2 cell surface receptors in human lung and kidney cells. The water-based dandelion extract, taken from the plant’s dried leaves, was effective against spike protein D614 and a host of mutant strains, including D614G, N501Y, K417N and E484K.

Dandelion extract blocks SARS CoV-2 spike proteins and their variants

The researchers used high molecular weight compounds taken from a water-based dandelion extract and put them to the test in human HEK293-hACE2 kidney and A549-hACE2-TMPRSS2 lung cells. The dandelion blocked the protein-to-protein interactions between the S1 sub unit of the spike protein and the human ACE2 cell surface receptor. This effect was also true against the spike protein mutations from the predominant variants in circulation, including the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), South African (B.1.351) and Brazilian (P.1) variant.

The dandelion extract stopped SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotyped lentivirus particles from attaching to lung cells and stopped an inflammatory process called interleukin-6 secretion. Because the study was conducted in vitro, further clinical studies are needed to understand how the dandelion extract is absorbed and utilized in biological systems of the human body.

As vaccines weaken herd immunity, natural herbs promise true prevention, more substantial immunity

Even though tens of billions of public funds have been poured into experimental vaccine development and propaganda campaigns, the world continues to struggle with new respiratory infections, as SARS-CoV-2 is pressured to mutate into different variants. There is no evidence to suggest that coronaviruses can be eradicated from the Earth, so human adaptation will be essential going forward. Dandelion extract is one of many herbs that will assist in a healthy immune response. Better yet, dandelion extract could prove to prevent infections altogether, by blocking the precise channel by which the spike proteins attach and cause viral replication.

Other natural compounds have been investigated using molecular docking studies. Nobiletin is a flavonoid isolated from citrus peels. Neohesperidin, a derivative of hesperetin, is a flavanone glycoside also found in citrus fruits. Glycyrrhizin is a molecular compound extracted from licorice root. All three of these natural substances also block spike proteins from binding to ACE2 receptors. Hydroalcoholic pomegranate peel extract blocks the spike protein at the ACE2 receptor with 74 percent efficacy. When its principal constituents were tested separately, punicalagin was 64 percent effective, and ellagic acid was 36% percent effective.

These natural compounds (along with dandelion extract) can be readily mass produced, combined and deployed as preventative medicine for all future spike protein variants. These herbs are generally recognized as safe, and there are no known cases of overdose with dandelion leaf extract. According to the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy, the recommended dosage of dandelion leaf is 4–10 grams steeped in hot water, up to three times per day.

The study authors warn that reliance on vaccines is risky and dangerous, not just for individual health but also for herd immunity. Vaccine reliance only focuses on antibody augmentation and is proving to be a high-risk intervention with short term results. Vaccine injuries are frequently reported. Re-infections post vaccination are also common, as the vaccine puts pressure on the original engineered spike protein to mutate.

The authors conclude: “Thus, factors such as low toxicity in humans and effective binding inhibition of five relevant spike mutations to the human ACE2 receptor, as reported here in vitro, encourage for more in-depth analysis of T. officinales’ effectiveness in SARS-CoV-2 prevention and now requires further confirmatory clinical evidence.”

 

 

 
Starting the day off with chocolate could have unexpected benefits

Brigham and Women's Hospital, June 23, 2021

Eating milk chocolate every day may sound like a recipe for weight gain, but a new study of postmenopausal women has found that eating a concentrated amount of chocolate during a narrow window of time in the morning may help the body burn fat and decrease blood sugar levels. 

To find out about the effects of eating milk chocolate at different times of day, researchers from the Brigham collaborated with investigators at the University of Murcia in Spain. Together, they conducted a randomized, controlled, cross-over trial of 19 postmenopausal women who consumed either 100g of chocolate in the morning (within one hour after waking time) or at night (within one hour before bedtime). They compared weight gain and many other measures to no chocolate intake.

Researchers report that among the women studied:

 

  • Morning or nighttime chocolate intake did not lead to weight gain;
  • Eating chocolate in the morning or in the evening can influence hunger and appetite, microbiota composition, sleep and more;
  • A high intake of chocolate during the morning hours could help to burn fat and reduce blood glucose levels. 
  • Evening/night chocolate altered next-morning resting and exercise metabolism.

 

"Our findings highlight that not only 'what' but also 'when' we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight," said Scheer. 

"Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake. Our results show that chocolate reduced ad libitum energy intake, consistent with the observed reduction in hunger, appetite and the desire for sweets shown in previous studies," said Garaulet.

 

Researchers find health benefits of connecticut-grown sugar kelp

 

University of Connecticut, June 24, 2021

When most Americans think of seaweed, they probably conjure images of a slimy plant they encounter at the beach. But seaweed can be a nutritious food too. A pair of UConn researchers recently discovered Connecticut-grown sugar kelp may help prevent weight gain and the onset of conditions associated with obesity.

In a paper published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry by College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources faculty Young-Ki Park, assistant research professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, and Ji-Young Lee, professor and head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, the researchers reported significant findings supporting the nutritional benefits of Connecticut-grown sugar kelp. They found brown sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) inhibits hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in a mouse model of diet-induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a fatty liver disease.

They studied the differences between three groups of mouse models. They placed two on high-fat diets but incorporated sugar kelp, a kind of seaweed, into the diet of one. The third group was on a low-fat diet as a healthy control. The group that ate sugar kelp had lower body weight and less adipose tissue inflammation - a key factor in a host of obesity-related diseases - than the other high-fat group.

Consuming sugar kelp also helped prevent the development of steatosis, the accumulation of fat in the liver. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a condition often associated with obesity that can cause inflammation and reduced functionality in the liver.

The mice on the sugar kelp diet also had healthier gut microbiomes. The microbiome is a collection of bacteria and other microorganisms in and on our bodies. The diversity and composition of the microbiome are key to maintaining a host of health functions.

"I wasn't surprised to see the data, as we know seaweeds are healthy," Lee says. "But it's still pretty amazing data as this is the first scientific evidence for health benefits of the Connecticut-grown sugar kelp."

This study is the first time researchers have looked at the link between the US-grown sugar kelp and obesity.

"There hadn't been a study about this kind of aspect before," Park says.

Park and Lee saw an opportunity to conduct research on the nutritional science of seaweed, a growing agricultural industry in the United States. They hoped that, by gathering concrete data on the health benefits of sugar kelp, it could encourage people to consume seaweed.

"Consumers these days are getting smarter and smarter," Lee says. "The nutritional aspect is really important for the growth of the seaweed industry in Connecticut."

The researchers specifically used Connecticut-grown sugar kelp, as Connecticut regulates the safety of seaweeds. This is important for monitoring heavy metals that seaweed may absorb from the water.

Most of the seaweed consumed in the US is imported. Park and Lee hope more research on the benefits of locally grown seaweed will prompt consumers to support the industry stateside.

"It's really an ever-growing industry in the world," Lee says.

After completing this pre-clinical study, the researchers now hope to move into clinical studies to investigate the benefits sugar kelp may have for other health concerns. They also want to work on reaching out to people to teach them how to incorporate sugar kelp into their diet.

This work represents a fruitful collaboration between researchers, farmers, and the state.

"Farmers need to know what we're doing is a good thing to help boost their sales," Park says. "We can be a partner."

In collaboration with Anoushka Concepcion, an extension educator with the Connecticut Sea Grant and UConn Extension Program, Park and Lee hope to build stronger partnerships with seaweed growers in Connecticut.

 

 

Serving larger portions of veggies may increase young kids' veggie consumption

Penn State University, June 24, 2021

It can be difficult to get young kids to eat enough vegetables, but a new Penn State study found that simply adding more veggies to their plates resulted in children consuming more vegetables at the meal.

The researchers found that when they doubled the amount of corn and broccoli served at a meal -- from 60 to 120 grams -- the children ate 68% more of the veggies, or an additional 21 grams. Seasoning the vegetables with butter and salt, however, did not affect consumption.

The daily recommended amount of vegetables for kids is about 1.5 cups a day, according to the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans as set by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.

"The increase we observed is equal to about one third of a serving or 12% of the daily recommended intake for young children," said Hanim Diktas, graduate student in nutritional sciences. "Using this strategy may be useful to parents, caregivers and teachers who are trying to encourage kids to eat the recommended amount of vegetables throughout the day."

Barbara Rolls, Helen A. Guthrie Chair and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State, said the findings -- recently published in the journal Appetite-- support the MyPlate guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which recommends meals high in fruits and vegetables.

"It's important to serve your kids a lot of vegetables, but it's also important to serve them ones they like because they have to compete with the other foods on the plate," Rolls said. "Parents can ease into this by gradually exposing kids to new vegetables, cooking them in a way their child enjoys, and experimenting with different flavors and seasonings as you familiarize them."

According to the researchers, the majority of children in the U.S. don't eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, which could possibly be explained by children having a low preference for them. And while serving larger portions has been found to increase the amount of food children eat -- called the "portion size effect" -- kids tend to eat smaller amounts of vegetables in response to bigger portions compared to other foods.

For this study, the researchers were curious if increasing just the amount of vegetables while keeping the portions of other foods the same would help increase veggie consumption in kids. They also wanted to experiment with whether adding light butter and salt to the vegetables would increase their palatability and also affect consumption.

For the study, the researchers recruited 67 children between the ages of three and five. Once a week for four weeks, the participants were served lunch with one of four different preparations of vegetables: a regular-sized serving of plain corn and broccoli, a regular-sized serving with added butter and salt, a doubled serving of plain corn and broccoli, and a doubled serving with added butter and salt. 

During each meal, the vegetables were served alongside fish sticks, rice, applesauce and milk. Foods were weighed before and after the meal to measure consumption.

"We chose foods that were generally well-liked but also not the kids' favorite foods," Rolls said. "If you offer vegetables alongside, say, chicken nuggets you might be disappointed. Food pairings are something you need to be conscious of, because how palpable the vegetables are compared to the other foods on the plate is going to affect the response to portion size. You need to make sure your vegetables taste pretty good compared to the other foods."

After analyzing the results, the researchers found that while the larger portions of vegetables were associated with greater intake, the addition of butter and salt was not. The children also reported liking both versions -- seasoned and unseasoned -- about the same. About 76% of kids rated the vegetables as "yummy" or "just ok."

"We were surprised that the butter and salt weren't needed to improve intake, but the vegetables we served were corn and broccoli, which may have been already familiar to and well-liked by the kids," Diktas said. "So for less familiar vegetables, it's possible some extra flavoring might help to increase intake."

Diktas said that while serving larger portions may increase vegetable consumption, it also has the potential to increase waste if kids don't eat all of the food that is served.

"We're working on additional research that looks into substituting vegetables for other food instead of just adding more vegetables," Diktas said. "In the future, we may be able to give recommendations about portion size and substituting vegetables for other foods, so we can both limit waste and promote veggie intake in children."

 

 

Potato and rice protein shakes may be a viable vegan alternative to whey protein shakes

University of Westminster (UK), June 24, 2021

A study from the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster found that plant-based protein shakes may be potential viable alternatives to milk-based whey protein shakes, particularly in people with need of careful monitoring of glucose levels.

The study, published in the journal Nutrients, is the first to show potato and rice proteins can be just as effective at managing your appetite and can help better manage blood glucose levels and reduce spikes in insulin compared to whey protein.

During the study the blood metabolic response of participants was measured after drinking potato, rice and whey protein shakes. Appetite was also monitored in the following three hours to understand how these drinks may affect the participants' hunger and their desire to eat. 

The research observed that vegan protein shakes led to a lower rise in blood insulin compared to whey, while potato protein prevented any rise in insulin. This may explain the better blood glucose control following consumption of the plant-based protein and poses the question of whether vegan protein shakes are more suitable for individuals who need to need control their blood glucose levels such as diabetic and obese individuals. 

Interestingly, release of the key appetite regulating hormone GLP-1 was greater after drinking the whey protein shake. However, the greater GLP-1 response did not translate to an increased feeling of fullness as there were no differences observed in appetite perception between the three different protein shakes. 

Consumer trends in protein intake are on the rise with milk protein derivatives such as whey extensively used in consumer products such as protein shakes, fortified food and beverage products. 

There are alternative protein products available for vegetarians and vegans such as soy, rice, wheat and pea proteins but there is a relative lack of evidence on their health benefits in comparison to milk proteins. Potato protein is a novel plant-based protein product that is obtained from the waste material from potato starch production and is a sustainable economic protein source. This study provides the first evidence to suggest that it may be an alternative to whey protein sources. 

Professor M Gulrez Zariwala, corresponding author and Director of the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster, said: "Global concerns on sustainability have led to consumer shifts towards ethical eating and a change in dietary habits with increased adoption of vegetarian and vegan diets.

"However, research in this area is still lacking and it would be interesting to clarify whether proteins from plant sources can provide identical metabolic health benefits as those with traditional sources such as milk.

"Our results shed new light in this area and improves our understanding of how plant source proteins can be a more sustainable yet nutritionally beneficial food source. We plan to conduct follow-up studies further research this exciting area."

 

 

Stress really can make young adults feel older

North Carolina State University, June 28, 2021 

Psychology researchers have found that stress can play a significant role in how old emerging adults feel, with every stressful event above the daily norm making many young people feel at least one year older.

"Emerging adults are at an age where they are no longer kids, but they haven't settled into their adulthood yet," says Shevaun Neupert, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper on the work. "We wanted to know if stress affected their subjective age – how old they felt – and we found that it could make a big difference."

For the study, researchers tracked 53 men and 53 women between the ages of 18 and 22 years old. Every day for eight days study participants filled out a survey that tracked stressful events and asked questions regarding their subjective age. Participants also completed a questionnaire designed to capture the extent to which they felt they were still in the process of determining who they would be as adults – which is often viewed as a defining characteristic of emerging adulthood.

The researchers found that 58 percent of study participants reported fluctuating senses of age, reporting that they felt at least two of the three options (older, younger, or their real age) at different points during the study.

"Stress was the determining factor," Neupert says. "It could be stress related to school, work or social circumstances, but stressful days led to study participants feeling older."

And there was an additive effect.

"The more stressors someone experienced, over and above their average day, the older they felt. We calculated that each additional stressor made people feel an average of at least one year older. There was also an effect of being generally 'stressed out' such that young adults who were generally more stressed felt an additional five years older."

The response to stress was particularly pronounced for study participants who were "identity explorers," meaning those who were embracing their emerging adulthood as an opportunity to explore who they wanted to be. Participants at the opposite end of the spectrum – those with a fixed identity – reported little or no impact on subjective age in response to stress.

Identity explorers who experienced five additional stressors on a given day reported feeling 11 years older, whereas those with a fixed identity displayed no change at all.

"We know that children often report feeling older than they actually are," Neupert says. "And that adults often report feeling younger. This work helps us understand the role that emerging adulthood plays as a crossover period from one to the other – as well as the importance of stress in influencing fluctuations during that transition."

The paper, "Daily Subjective Age in Emerging Adults: 'Now We're Stressed Out,'" was published June 27 in the journal Emerging Adulthood. Lead author of the paper is Jennifer Bellingtier, a former Ph.D. student at NC State who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

June 28, 2021  

The Woke Culture: A Pathology of Post-Modern Tribalism

The Woke Culture: A Pathology of Post-Modern Tribalism

Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD

Progressive Radio Network, June 28, 2021

 

In a recent article, “Critical Race Theory [CRT] is Worse than Marxism, the social thinker and author, Prof. Paul Gottfried, breaks ranks from his Alt-Right compatriots to argue that CRT “has nothing to do with traditional Marxism.”  “The swear words “Marxist” and “revolutionary,” Gottfried writes, “are thrown around by conservatives, such as those at Heritage, the New York Post and Fox News, with the same abandon with which the left speaks about “human rights”…” Rather than being truly revolutionary, based upon the history of past revolutionary movements, CRT “is an instrument of repression brandished by those in power against those whom it is feared might resist them.”  Yet most important, to label CRT as Marxist desecrates good ol’ Marx’s tomb. 

In fact, at the time Critical Theory emerged from the German Frankfurt School in the 1930s, its most adamant opponents were the traditional card-carrying Marxists and Communists. The School’s intention was to actually re-write classical Marxism and to prolong the internal fallacies launched during the Enlightenment era. Perhaps its most redeeming value is its efforts to define and explain the phenomenology of social power and aggression. Its primary early proponents, such as Max Horkheimer, were also harsh critics of the rise of metaphysical realism and scientific dogmatism that today has turned modern science, especially the biological sciences and medicine, into a fundamentalist ideology or religion. But this is where Critical Theory’s contributions end. Critical theory has more in common with Freudian sexual repression and psychoanalysis than Marx. One of the 20th century’s great philosophers Karl Popper criticized the Frankfurt School for offering no viable and realistic pathway to improve society.  Unlike Marx, who reasonably condemned capitalist society’s unfairness, he did offer a vision for a better future. On the other hand, Critical Theory for Popper, was “vacuous and irresponsible” for omitting a promised future altogether. Remarkably, modern Critical Theory’s leading spokespersons, such as Robin DiAngelo, are exemplars of the very manifestation of dysfunctional biases that Critical Theory rebukes. This may be a reason why those who embrace tribal wokeness are simply angry, maladjusted adolescents in adult bodies. 

The 21st century woke generations appear to have entered a coma.  Its characteristic qualia of ADHD would likely prevent them from getting through 20 pages of Das Capital let alone making any sense from it. The most recent incarnation of wokeness is not an awakening of either conscientiousness or a higher conscious awareness that directly experiences the sacredness of all life, other humans, and the animal and plant kingdoms. It veered from its origins within the Black community in the 20th century when it was used to refer to a social and political awareness for racial and social injustices. In fact its first modern expression might be traced back to a 1962 New York Times article by the Black author William Melvin Kelly in referring to being “well informed, up to date.”  To be authentically woke requires critical thought and discernment, and also an intuitive knowing to distinguish the cobra from the rope when groping in the dark. Now the term has been adopted by two entire generations, regardless of race, and politically weaponized with almost an ontological unease to conquer and divide. Hence to be woke is anti-woke. 

Througout human history there have been those who have held hierarchical power to control those who are subject and dependent upon that power, such as the rule of kings, emperors and authoritarian tyrants. And for having our daily needs met and securing financial ease there are the landowners, merchants and bankers. In all of these power relationships, equity is always on the side of those who hold power. At this moment our nation has reached an impasse where only a tiny group of individuals control and govern the dictates of the lives of the many. 

The Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote, “In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message.”  What McLuhan was suggesting is that the masses have the tendency to focus on what is most obvious and consequently miss or ignore the deeper and more subtle changes happening over a period of time.  In other words, what may seem to be correct and just on the surface eventually brings forth deleterious or “unintended” consequences. McLuhan was writing long before the internet. Now, presidential campaigns and federal laws, public health policies, the mainstream media and the films and music are the conduits for how we define ourselves and establish the options of dogmatic beliefs that we ultimately identify with. But all of these narratives are controlled by a handful of power players, including the social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia. Succumbing to the siren’s call of this illusion is being woke with closed eyes.

There is a saying that if you do not know the product being advertised you are the product; and this is certainly true for how millions of Americans are persuaded to purchase junk they have no need for, including the honor of wearing a “woke” badge. Our personal realities thereby are reduced to millions of bits of algorithmic data that know more about us than we know about ourselves.  We are sold on the promises of 5G technology despite the media never mentioning its serious dangers to human health and the environment. The risks of genetically modified foods and the lack vaccine science to prove their safety and efficacy are censored from public discourse. Federal agencies that started small and were believed to be temporary, such as Homeland Security, became permanent and unstoppable leviathans that encroach into every corner of our lives. 

At this moment, we are being lectured like children to get vaccinated against the SARS-2 virus so life can return to normal. In principle, this sounds reasonable. However, to accomplish this there lurks under this message’s surface the hidden intention to bypass or trash essential regulatory protective measures to assure the safety of these products.  If you get vaccinated, you are now “woke.” If you remain cautious or hesitant because nobody has even a vague idea about the Covid-19 vaccine’s long-term adverse effects, you should be hermetically sealed away from the society, branded, canceled and censored. 

Conventional medical voices who refuse to be misled by Biden’s, Anthony Fauci’s and Bill Gate’ Ministry of Truth are also being canceled and censored from society by Silicon Valley and social media. So too are professors who have spoken out against student demands for personal entitlement and the anti-woke White Fragility diatribe that condemns genetic whiteness as racist. Students would prefer college to be sanitized of critical thought, a pleasant, non-intrusive and safe environment filled with teddy bears and psychologists next door to drug their episodes of existential angst and purposelessness in life. 

As the pandemic hijacks our attention, global warming increases. But federal experts tell us we have time. Biden tells us the economy is recovering and flourishing and a herd of lemmings believe this message despite 20 percent of Americans who will go to sleep hungry tonight. Those with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia are told to just hang on a bit longer; a big pharmaceutical cure is just around the corner.  But for decades, this carrot has been dangled before us and has yet to come to fruition. 

Everything today is its opposite. The blue and red pills have been pulverized together. Only a purple pill laced with the strychnine of lies and half-truths is offered by an unduly legislative system run by technocrats and their private financial handlers. Woke and anti-woke are indistinguishable since both are born from similarly delusional worldviews isolated from reality. Neither is capable of observing the preciousness and fragility of human life. What should be a condemnation of the class and economic struggle against the elites’ persecution of everyone else has degenerated into hate-filled identity war, both on the Left and the Right. It is only the rare authentic progressive who has transcended this divide and can observe wisely the battlefields orchestrated by politically motivated ideologues, aristocrats and the media. 

As the US spins further into a controlled dystopia, it is difficult to imagine that the trajectory towards social decay can be easily reversed. Arthur Miller said, “an era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted.”  Therefore, we still have a long way to go and it may require a full system-failure at all economic and social levels before a viable and realistic effort can restore what has been lost from the ethical wasteland left in its wake. It took Rome several centuries to collapse but we are on course to accomplish this feat within a decade. To remain optimistic, therefore, requires a rejection of the dominant Social Darwinism and the specter of what Thomas Huxley called the Church Scientific that now informs both parties and that has shackled us into a fatalist purgatory or worse Dante’s hedonic hells of lust, gluttony and greed. The evangelical Christian Right, as science’s counterrevolutionary reactive response, is equally a major contributor to the dumbing down of the nation’s sanity with fairy tales and superstition. 

Our indoctrination into scientific materialism, our surrendering our autonomy and divine freedoms to political and corporate regimes, and the clashes over political correctness, that disempower us from believing we can change our conditions, has resulted in a sense of hopelessness in life and growing existential despair. It is contributing to the unbridled frenzy of anger in the streets, again from both the Left and Right.  Ideological beliefs become dogmas founded upon our mental afflictions, which in turn hold rule over our emotions, fears and hatreds and reactions. No wonder that pessimism is on the rise and optimism is in decline. 

Only a personal encounter with a deeper purpose and meaning in life, which cuts through the tyranny of our false sense of the self or ego, can ultimately guide us to rise above the turmoil and crises facing us. This does not imply a detached disinterest, an ascetic renunciation, from the plights of our neighbors and humanity. In fact, only by discovering authentic kindness and compassion through a personal introspective inquiry into ourselves and our connection with the others can an authentic sense of well-being and genuine happiness emerge.  It is a commitment to finding our interconnection, in fact our interdependence, with others in the spirit of selflessness and service. 

Yet to be left alone with only your own mind to keep you company terrifies the vast majority of people, including those who might be characterized as “normal.” This was observed in literally “shocking” experiments. In a University of Virginia study, hundreds of student participants would sit alone in an empty lab room for 15 minutes. No mobile phones, books, paper or anything was permitted. Just themselves and the cacophony of static in their own minds. However, there was a button they could push if they felt so inclined that would give a moderately painful electric shock. The results? Sixty-seven percent of men and 25 percent of women chose to find amusement to occupy their minds by shocking themselves rather than sit quietly and have peaceful time for self-reflection. This was despite all of the participants stating prior to the experiment that they would pay money to avoid being shocked with electricity. 

So if modern American society relies solely upon mental and emotional distraction to survive, clearly there is no hope for constructive solutions to emerge to confront climate change, racism, identity politics, inequality, etc. Nor will society evolve beyond that of primates if we can only function from our reptilian and limbic brains. Obviously not everyone will discover the same purpose to his or her life’s meaning. It is an individual quest that is largely entwined with each of our unique gifts, skills, passions and talents that we have brought into this incarnation. Those who disagree that one can discover meaning in life are the dogmatists of materialism and should be shunned as deranged scientific fanatics. Logic and reason alone will not satisfy this discovery, although developing skills in critical thought and discernment is more often than not necessary. It is only the rare person who has immediate intuitive knowledge about herself and the world around her. 

For the remainder of us, we need to reeducate ourselves to create a roadmap, develop a discerning eye, and engage in deep introspection into ourselves to find a genuine well-being that transcends power player’s board game to manufacture social strife, division and hatred. It is an individual journey that begins deep within ourselves and ends by embracing others in community despite all differences. However this is not an exercise in reason, but a direct experience within the depths of ourselves. When we touch on that space that can only be reached by subjective introspection new horizons of opportunities and possibilities open up. Then we can understand the words of the great jazz artist John Coltrane, “I know that there are bad forces, forces that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the opposite force. I want to be the force which is truly for good.” In that honoring of our inherent goodness, genuine well-being and happiness is found and only then can our illusions and dogmatic beliefs be broken down. 

June 25, 2021  

AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
Of Gross Irregularities and Medical Incompetence in the Early Clinical Trials of AZT

By Lynn Gannett

2000

Please keep in mind that these two write-ups represent only the "tip of the iceberg," and for everything that is recorded here, there are literally dozens of other examples that I could give.

My information is NOT included in John Lauritsen's book on AZT, simply because neither of us had heard of each other at that time (although I wish we had!). His book documents information related to the Phase II studies of AZT, whereas I was involved with the Phase III studies (ACTG 019). But it was all the same kinds of shocking nonsense, incompetence and fraud.

In addition to ACTG 019 (which was the major study at that time), I also worked on other studies of AZT and ddI (ACTG 002, 016, 020, 081, 116, 117 and 118). Some of these studies included other drugs, such as pentamidine.

I was somewhat young (and naive) at the time, and didn't quite know what to make of what I was witnessing, or what to do with the information that I had documented, having NEVER witnessed anything even remotely similar. In fact, at that point in my life, I didn't even realize that human beings were even CAPABLE of this kind of corrupt, insane, self-motivated behavior. If I had known then what I know now, I would have been much more persistent in my attempts to report this information to the NIH. I don't even have a single letter – my communication with them was done entirely over the phone. Which means they could simply deny that these phone conversations ever took place. All I have to offer as evidence that I DID REPORT THIS TO THE NIH AND THEY DELIBERATELY IGNORED MY INFORMATION is my personal testimony, and some handwritten notes that I took at the time (this was in the Spring of 1990). I may be able to locate at least one witness who could corroborate my story (the NIH site monitor for Syracuse).

But the way that I look at this is that it's never too late to report this to the NIH, AGAIN. And the important thing is that I still have ALL of my original documents (an entire box full of material) which I tried to share with them in 1990. I have precise names, patient numbers, dates, lab values, memos, etc. I KNOW that my information is accurate, because I was so thorough and meticulous (not to mention HONEST) in my record-keeping. That's why they hired me – I'm an extremely detail-oriented, "numbers" person. Thus, all of my information could, in theory, be verified by referring to the original research forms and NIH documents from that time period, which must still exist and (theoretically) could be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Ideally, my second attempts to report this could lead to a Congressional Investigation. That is certainly what I will be calling for. The seriousness of my allegations certainly warrants such an investigation. For the NIH to knowingly ignore serious and credible DOCUMENTED reports of gross scientific misconduct coming from someone working on the INSIDE of these trials – if that doesn't constitute scientific "fraud," I don't know what does. Especially when we look at the real-life gruesome outcome of this deliberate refusal to even INVESTIGATE my allegations to see if there was any merit to them (along with all of the other glaringly obvious, telltale signs and warnings coming from around the globe, which were also ignored at that time) – all of this intentional "blindness" on the part of the NIH, the FDA, Burroughs Wellcome, etc., led to the unnecessary and unimaginable suffering of countless individuals (of both "HIV+" people and their loved ones), and the unnecessary deaths of (in my view) tens of thousands of people. This dreadful holocaust continues to this day. Parks Mankahlana, couldn't have summed it up better when he said "...the profit takers who are benefiting from the scourge of HIV/AIDS will disappear to the affluent beaches of the world to enjoy wealth accumulated from humankind ravaged by a dreaded disease."

Knowing what I know "first hand" about AZT, and knowing how it should NEVER have received FDA approval under ANY circumstances, this is one of many reasons why I am especially grateful to the members of the Perth group, Peter Duesberg, John Lauritsen, Celia Farber, Anthony Brink and many others for the outstanding work that they have done in documenting the case against AZT.

***

I was an eyewitness (and later a whistle-blower) to gross negligence and fraud in the Phase III clinical trials of AZT (1987 to 1990). I've been saying to people for years that AZT was NEVER proven to be safe or effective. From the particular studies in which I was involved, it would have been impossible to prove anything. The data was such a mess! I now realize that AZT is a deadly poison. All "AIDS drug" trials since that time have been based on the same flawed model. The big difference is that now there is even LESS meaningful oversight, and even MORE of an economic incentive for physicians to enroll patients. And recent drug trials have also been characterized by an absurdly brief follow-up period (24 or 36 weeks, for example), and effectiveness is often said to be determined by "surrogate markers" which have never been proven to relate to actual clinical health and/or increased survival. But, the early AZT studies were like the big "granddaddy" of all of this ensuing insanity!

I did not know John Lauritsen at the time that he wrote his book, AZT: Poison by Prescription (1990), but I later told him that, if I had known him at that time, I could have given him several additional chapters for his book! In this book he meticulously documents serious fraud which took place at other participating hospitals (I was in Syracuse, NY), particularly at a hospital in Boston. When I first read John's book, it was like reading my own autobiography! Talk about deja vu!

In spite of what I witnessed, I was not aware, however, of the deeper problems within "AIDS science" until many years later. It was in 1997 that I first heard about the views of the "AIDS dissidents." After educating myself regarding the many unexplained and nonscientific paradoxes and absurdities of the orthodox "HIV/AIDS" model, and after studying the alternative views proposed by the various "AIDS dissidents," I started doing public speaking on this topic. I especially want to share my story with as many people as possible about the fraud which I witnessed firsthand in the early AZT trials. I always tell people that if the general public knew what I knew about AZT, this so-called "drug" would be banned immediately.

***

My name is Lynn Gannett. As the Data Manager for the first two years and seven months of the NIH-sponsored AIDS clinical trials conducted at the Syracuse, New York, clinic (September 1987 to March 1990), my belief is that the data which came from the Syracuse site is ABSOLUTELY WORTHLESS! I would NEVER trust my health or my life to the results of this so-called "research" or in the hands of these so-called "medical professionals." I can only speculate that if these things occurred at this site, that similar things may have and in all likelihood did occur at the other participating sites. The things that I witnessed at this clinic would HORRIFY any reasonable observer. The level of medical incompetence, unprofessionalism, unethical, dishonest, corrupt, illegal and immoral behavior was shocking and inexcusable. The data was so inaccurate and so full of holes that I often compare it to Swiss cheese. I felt like I was trapped in the middle of an awful movie about "mad scientists." If there was a "rule" that could be broken - they broke it! The following examples outline some of the most egregious examples of what I witnessed:

* The Principal Investigator, an MD, and the Study Coordinator, an RN, showed a huge interest in enrolling as many patients as possible on studies (which would entitle them to more money and perceived prestige) and showed little interest in the research itself - specifically in the integrity, accuracy and completeness of the data.

* The Study Coordinator (and other medical staff responsible for study patients) often displayed a significant lack of understanding and unfamiliarity with the study protocols and important memos concerning their implementation - as though she had not even read them, or had totally misunderstood and misinterpreted them, even in instances pertaining to terminology and procedures FUNDAMENTAL to the protocol itself, often months after the study had been underway.

e.g. In what I consider to have been the most serious, disturbing and grossly incompetent situation that I witnessed, which came dangerously close to resulting in death, and unquestionably resulted in extreme unnecessary suffering, PID #110434, a black, obese, diabetic, HIV+ female with a history of serious heart problems, experienced severe hematologic toxicity from the 081 study drug (AZT), which had progressed to a GRADE IV toxicity by week 24 and resulted in her coming into the emergency room with "severe shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness," and required her to be hospitalized for a total of five days. BECAUSE NO ONE, DOCTOR OR NURSE, SHOWED ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR, KNOWLEDGE OF, INTEREST IN OR RECOGNITION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EXPLICITLY-DEFINED TOXICITY (ADVERSE REACTION) AND DOSE MANAGEMENT STEPS AND PROCEDURES OUTLINED IN THE PROTOCOL, instead of being taken OFF the AZT due to the Grade IV toxicity, her dose was reduced from 1000 mg/day to 500 mg/day, in complete violation of protocol requirements which explicitly require DISCONTINUATION of study drug. Additionally, early Grade I and Grade II toxicities should have indicated the need for interim lab monitoring of Hemoglobin, especially with this patient's complicated medical history, but instead this patient had NO lab work performed between week 20 (13DEC89) and week 24 (10JAN90), even though she was in for a pentamidine treatment on 20DEC89 and could have easily had a blood sample drawn. At some point during this time interval, her original medical chart was "lost," never to be found again, requiring a new chart to be made up, which subsequently obviously lacked significant information concerning her medical history. I was shocked, outraged and horrified when this whole situation occurred, and documented this gross medical incompetence and blatant violation of protocol requirements as carefully as I could because I wanted everything to be ON RECORD so that no one could later deny it or cover it up. (See attached memo dated 01FEB90 and lab flow chart showing toxicity progression.)

* Patients were ROUTINELY enrolled who failed to meet eligibility requirements, especially when it came to specific required lab values and test ranges (i.e., within the required number of days prior to enrollment). There are many, many examples. Below are a few (also see attached 05OCT89 list of 081 screening lab eligibility failures):

e.g. In the most blatant example, PID #110264C, a female partner of an HIV+ male, was enrolled on study 019 and took study drug for THREE weeks before it was discovered that she was actually HIV NEGATIVE! (The Elisa came back as a false positive but the Western Blot came back negative.) The test results date predated her enrollment on study date. She was also on oral contraceptives at the time, another eligibility violation.

E.g. You might think that this would be the last time a patient would be enrolled without an HIV+ test result "in hand" - not so. PID #110316's HIV+ test results are dated 06JAN89, ONE MONTH AFTER his enrollment date (05DEC88)!

e.g. Other patients had been routinely enrolled without HIV+ test results documentation available, often based simply on referrals from other physicians. An example is PID #110153H, a referral patient from Binghamton who, to my knowledge, has no HIV+ test results in his chart TO THIS DAY! After a year or two of my repeated requests to the Study Coordinator for this information, she finally obtained a LETTER ONLY from the referring physician "verifying" his HIV+ status, who also apparently had no supporting documentation.

* There were COUNTLESS unreported (meaning unreported on the research forms) diagnoses, opportunistic infections, symptoms, concomitant medications, and adverse reactions. Except for "symptoms" (which were asked for at every visit), these significant things (which each REQUIRE reporting) should have been reported on one of several "as needed" or optional case report forms used to track this information - an extra step which was rarely taken. I often observed, as did the RTI (Research Triangle Institute) site monitors, this unreported information recorded or mentioned in the patient's regular medical chart.

E.g. From the 22JUN89 site monitor's report: "Of the six protocol 002 charts which were reviewed for the first critical event verification, four reported death as the first event even though at least one OI [opportunistic infection] has preceded the death. These OI's were not reported. In another instance, it was impossible to determine what had happened to the patient between the time of randomization and death because the records were missing."

* Incorrect lab tests were ROUTINELY ordered (either required labs omitted or unrequired labs ordered by mistake), and the wrong prescriptions were ROUTINELY written (for example, 1200 mg/day instead of 1000 mg/day). When I questioned these and other similar mistakes, I would be chastised by the Principal Investigator and/or Study Coordinator for being too "nit picky" or for inappropriately questioning someone's medical "expertise" since I did not have (nor did my position require) a medical degree.

* Medical lab results were ROUTINELY transcribed incorrectly onto the research forms by the Study Coordinator (who I suspect may have dyslexia - at the very least, she does not have the "detail-oriented" type of mind necessary for this type of research position).

* Syracuse had an unusually high and excessive rate of "no shows" (often meaning "not even scheduled to begin with") and "not dones" compared to the other clinics.

* On a regular basis, I would have to REPEATEDLY request data from the Study Coordinator, and we routinely missed deadlines.

E.g. There was one group of approximately 90 (!) forms which were "missing" for over a year and a half. When these forms were eventually "found," mostly blank, the Study Coordinator filled in much of the information with, in most cases, no supporting documentation or progress notes in the charts. I have always believed that this data was just "fudged" or made up, because there would have been no other written record of these things (such as vital signs).

* Informed consent forms were ROUTINELY backdated, sometimes weeks or even months after enrollment.

E.g. In at least one instance, a patient was asked to sign (and did sign, along with the Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator) an informed consent form for the WRONG study (PID #110076A signed an informed consent for study 116 but was being enrolled on study 117).

* The Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator displayed such open hostility and contempt toward the site monitors that there was a high turnover (4 different site monitors in a 3-year period). These site monitors could have easily uncovered this corruption if they had done their jobs carefully (which the first 3, at least, did NOT do) and over an extended period of time.

* On March 21, 1990, after attempting unsuccessfully for over one year to address and resolve these SERIOUS issues with the Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator, and after watching in horror as the situation worsened severely with the implementation of the DDI studies (see attached memo dated 19MAR90), and after being retaliated against in many vicious and mean-spirited ways by both the Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator merely for repeatedly raising these issues and insisting on some type of corrective action, I felt compelled, in good conscience, to resign my position as Data Manager and immediately report this critical situation to the RTI site monitor.

E.g. After reporting this to the site monitor, she checked with her boss, who in turn checked with her boss, and the decision was made to launch a "special audit and investigation" of the Syracuse site by the program office. I was asked to mail copies of all of my documentation supporting my claims to the site monitor. In a 27MAR90, 1:40 PM, phone call, the site monitor told me that her boss "never heard of anything of this magnitude," and referred to the situation as "uncharted waters."

E.g. In a 27MAR90, 4:00 PM (later that same afternoon), phone call with Carolyn Fassi, who called me from NIH on behalf of Dr. Kantz, she thanked me for bringing these issues to their attention and said it would be unnecessary for me to forward copies of my documentation to the site monitor or to NIH. She also stated that they "can't act directly" based on my claims or supporting documentation, that they would "keep a close eye" on the Syracuse site, that they "won't use my information against the site or me," and ended by saying that he (Dr. Kantz) "may not even need to call me, except to clarify something." In other words, "don't call us, we'll call you." I never received a call from their office or anyone else associated with these studies again.

June 24, 2021  

Public Service -- If you are a New York resident and 18 years and older -- Religious vaccine exemptions still apply

 

Michael (Mike) Kane has worked as a New York City public school teacher for over 13 years and is a steering committee member of NY TEACHERS FOR CHOICE, a grassroots union caucus of educators and parents that is 100% opposed to all medical mandates to maintain employment. Recently TEACHERS FOR CHOICE sued the NYC Department of Education with their attorney Michael Sussman and won a court-ordered stipulation pertaining to in-school COVID testing and privacy rights. Kane has been a proud union member and active supporter of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) for his entire career. He is a former union delegate, served on union consultation committees, lobbied in Albany on behalf of the union on multiple occasions, and protested with rank-&-file union members against the Bloomberg administration. His website is www.nyteachersforchoice.org

June 23, 2021  

Propolis for Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Could bees provide a solution to a prevalent and costly problem?

University of Naples (Italy), June 2, 2021

 

Study Objective

To evaluate the effects of a standardized oral spray of poplar-type propolis extract (M.E.D. Propolis) on the symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs)

Design

A monocentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial performed in an outpatient setting

Participants

This study involved 122 subjects (58 in the propolis group and 64 in the placebo group). The age range was from 18 to 77 years; 54 subjects were male, and 68 were female. All subjects had signs and/or symptoms of a URTI. Subjects were examined by a physician and were eligible for inclusion in the study if they suffered from 1 or more of the following common URTI symptoms: sore throat, muffled dysphonia, and swelling and redness of the throat that began on the same day as the baseline visit (t=0).

Intervention

The subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a propolis oral spray or a placebo spray from t1 to t3 (5 days). Dose was 2 to 4 sprays 3 times daily. Researchers evaluated each participant at 4 time points: baseline=t0, after 3 days=t1, after 5 days=t2, and at 15 days=t3.

The propolis spray was standardized to contain 15 mg/mL of polyphenols. The spray had a reproducible composition of the 6 major flavonoids found in this type of propolis (ie, galangin, chrysin, pinocembrin, apigenin, pinobanksin, quercetin). Each participant used 2 to 4 sprays 3 times daily for 5 days. The placebo spray had an identical appearance and flavor to the propolis spray.

Study Parameters Assessed

Apart from the primary outcome measure, the researchers evaluated the persistence of positive bacterial throat cultures at t3. They performed throat swabs on all subjects at t0 and then again at t2 and t3 on those subjects who had an initially positive throat culture. At t0, 8 people in the treatment group and 7 people in the placebo group were positive for a bacterial URTI. At t3, none of the subjects in either the treatment or placebo group were found to have a positive bacterial throat culture.

Primary Outcome Measures

The primary outcome measure was the resolution of URTI symptoms. Researchers assessed these symptoms at baseline (t0), 3 days (t1), after 5 days (t2), and at the final timepoint (t3) of the study, 15 days.

At t1, 17% of the participants in the treatment group still had 1 symptom of an URTI. In contrast, about 72% of people in the placebo group still displayed 1 symptom (RR: 2.93, CI: 1.95–4.42).

The results of a univariate analysis showed that only treatment with oral propolis spray was related to the disappearance of symptoms (resolution of all symptoms in the treatment group vs the placebo group: X2=35.57, df=1, P<0.001; resolution from sore throat in the propolis vs placebo group: X2=28.38, df=1, P<0.001; resolution of muffled dysphonia in the propolis vs placebo group: X2=4.38, df=1, P=0.036; and resolution of swelling and redness of the throat in the propolis vs placebo group: X2=16.85, df=1, P<0.001).

There was no relationship noted between the resolution of symptoms after 3 days and the type of infection (bacterial or viral) or the age or gender of the subjects.

Key Findings

The disappearance of all URTI symptoms occurred 2 days earlier in the propolis group vs the placebo group. Symptoms were gone within 5 days in the placebo group and within 3 days for the treatment group. This finding held true for both viral and bacterial URTIs. Since there were so few bacterial URTIs noted in this study, the authors were not able to make any conclusions related to the effects of propolis on antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

 

 

Yoga And Meditation Could Potentially Reverse The Genetic Effects Of Stress

Coventry University (UK), Antwerp University (Belgium), Radboud University (Netherlands), June 21, 2021

Mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi don't simply relax us; they can 'reverse' the molecular reactions in our DNA which cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by the universities of Coventry and Radboud.

The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, reviews over a decade of studies analysing how the behaviour of our genes is affected by different MBIs including mindfulness and yoga.

Experts from the universities conclude that, when examined together, the 18 studies -- featuring 846 participants over 11 years -- reveal a pattern in the molecular changes which happen to the body as a result of MBIs, and how those changes benefit our mental and physical health.

The researchers focus on how gene expression is affected; in other words the way that genes activate to produce proteins which influence the biological make-up of the body, the brain and the immune system.

When a person is exposed to a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system (SNS) -- the system responsible for the 'fight-or-flight' response -- is triggered, in turn increasing production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) which regulates how our genes are expressed.

NF-kB translates stress by activating genes to produce proteins called cytokines that cause inflammation at cellular level -- a reaction that is useful as a short-lived fight-or-flight reaction, but if persistent leads to a higher risk of cancer, accelerated aging and psychiatric disorders like depression.

According to the study, however, people who practise MBIs exhibit the opposite effect -- namely a decrease in production of NF-kB and cytokines, leading to a reversal of the pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern and a reduction in the risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.

The study's authors say the inflammatory effect of the fight-or-flight response -- which also serves to temporarily bolster the immune system -- would have played an important role in humankind's hunter-gatherer prehistory, when there was a higher risk of infection from wounds.

In today's society, however, where stress is increasingly psychological and often longer-term, pro-inflammatory gene expression can be persistent and therefore more likely to cause psychiatric and medical problems.

Lead investigator Ivana Buric from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University's Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement said:

"Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.

"These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.

"More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition. But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities." 

 

 

 

The Role of Plant-Based Protein Functional Food in Preventing Acute Respiratory Disease: A Case Study

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Russia), June 14, 2021

Abstract

The Kaliningrad region is known for its specific climate, which can negatively affect the adaptive potential of the body. This manifests in an increased incidence of respiratory diseases and skin conditions. To prevent high morbidity, a plant protein product was included in the diet of first-year university students. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of this food intervention in preventing the most common diseases among Kaliningrad students. Two groups of university students took part in the food trial. In the control group, catabolic processes prevailed in nutrient metabolism. Disadaptation manifested itself in the metabolism of proteins, vitamins, minerals, hematopoiesis and humoral immunity. Inflammation was indicated by α1- and α2-globulins, a weak immune response, and IgM and IgG. High oxidative stress and low antioxidative ability of blood serum were observed. The plant-based protein product (FP) helped preserve testosterone level and prevent an increase in catabolic reactions. Moreover, it had a positive effect on both red blood cell hematopoiesis (a smaller increase in the average volume of erythrocytes, the same average concentration and content of hemoglobin, an increased relative red cell distribution width (RDW) and white blood cell hematopoiesis (a beneficial effect for the immune system: lymphocytes, the relative content of neutrophils, monocytes, basophils and eosinophils). The stimulation of humoral immunity was evidenced by beta- and gamma-globulins, an active immune response, the level of IgM and IgG, antioxidant protection, reduction of peroxides and an increase in antioxidant activity of blood serum. The 34-week observation showed a 1.7-fold decrease in the incidence of respiratory illnesses and a 5.7-fold decrease in skin and subcutaneous tissue diseases. Acute respiratory infections were reduced 1.8-fold. There were no cases of community-acquired pneumonia in the treatment group, compared with 55.1‰ in the control group. The incidence of respiratory diseases was 3.3–10.6 times lower in the treatment group than in the control group in weeks 6–19. The findings testify to the prophylactic effect of functional food during social adaptation and acclimatization of students. 
 
 

Exposure to pollutants, increased free-radical damage speeds up aging

 

West Virginia University, June 22, 2021

Every day, our bodies face a bombardment of UV rays, ozone, cigarette smoke, industrial chemicals and other hazards.

This exposure can lead to free-radical production in our bodies, which damages our DNA and tissues. A new study from West Virginia University researcher Eric E. Kelley--in collaboration with the University of Minnesota--suggests that unrepaired DNA damage can increase the speed of aging. 

The study appears in the journal Nature.

Kelley and his team created genetically-modified mice with a crucial DNA-repair protein missing from their hematopoietic stem cells, immature immune cells that develop into white blood cells. Without this repair protein, the mice were unable to fix damaged DNA accrued in their immune cells.

"By the time the genetically-modified mouse is 5 months old, it's like a 2-year-old mouse," said Kelley, associate professor and associate chair of research in the School of Medicine's Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. "It has all the symptoms and physical characteristics. It has hearing loss, osteoporosis, renal dysfunction, visual impairment, hypertension, as well as other age-related issues. It's prematurely aged just because it has lost its ability to repair its DNA."

According to Kelley, a normal 2-year-old mouse is about equivalent in age to a human in their late 70s to early 80s.

Kelley and his colleagues found that markers for cell aging, or senescence, as well as for cell damage and oxidation were significantly greater in the immune cells of genetically-modified mice compared to normal, wild-type mice. But the damage was not limited to the immune system; the modified mice also demonstrated aged, damaged cells in organs such as the liver and kidney.

These results suggest that unrepaired DNA damage may cause the entire body to age prematurely.

When we are exposed to a pollutant, such as radiation for cancer treatment, energy is transferred to the water in our body, breaking the water apart. This creates highly reactive molecules--free radicals--that will quickly interact with another molecule in order to gain electrons. When these free radicals interact with important biomolecules, such as a protein or DNA, it causes damage that can keep that biomolecule from working properly.

Some exposure to pollutants is unavoidable, but there are several lifestyle choices that increase exposure to pollution and thus increase free radicals in the body. Smoking, drinking and exposure to pesticides and other chemicals through occupational hazards all significantly increase free radicals.

"A cigarette has over 10 to the 16th free radicals per puff, just from combusted carbon materials," Kelley said.

In addition to free radicals produced by pollutant exposure, the human body is constantly producing free radicals during a process used to turn food into energy, called oxidative phosphorylation.

"We have mechanisms in the mitochondria that mop free radicals up for us, but if they become overwhelmed--if we have over-nutrition, if we eat too much junk, if we smoke--the defense mechanism absolutely cannot keep up," Kelley said.

As bodies age, the amount of damage caused by free-radical formation becomes greater than the antioxidant defenses. Eventually, the balance between the two tips over to the oxidant side, and damage starts to win out over repair. If we are exposed to a greater amount of pollutants and accumulate more free radicals, this balance will be disrupted even sooner, causing premature aging.

The issue of premature aging due to free-radical damage is especially important in West Virginia. The state has the greatest percentage of obese citizens in the nation and a high rate of smokers and workers in high-pollution-exposure occupations.

"I come from an Appalachian background," Kelley said. "And, you know, I'd go to funerals that were in some old house--an in-the-living-room-with-a-casket kind of deal--and I'd look at people in there, and they'd be 39 or 42 and look like they were 80 because of their occupation and their nutrition."

Many West Virginians also have comorbidities, such as diabetes, enhanced cardiovascular disease, stroke and renal issues, that complicate the situation further.

Although there are drugs, called senolytics, that help to slow the aging process, Kelley believes it is best to prevent premature aging through lifestyle change. He says that focusing on slowing the aging process through preventive measures can improve the outcome for each comorbidity and add more healthy years to people's lives.

"The impact is less on lifespan and more on healthspan," he said. "If you could get people better access to healthcare, better education, easier ways for them to participate in healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle, then you could improve the overall economic burden on the population of West Virginia and have a much better outcome all the way around."

 

Vitamin B6 status among vegetarians: findings from a population-based survey

University of Heidelberg (Germany), June 21, 2021

According to news reporting out of Heidelberg, Germany, by NewsRx editors, research stated, “Vitamin B6 from plant foods may have lower bioavailability than vitamin B6 from animal foods, but studies on objectively measured vitamin B6 status among vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians are lacking.”

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from University of Heidelberg: “Thus, the vitamin B6 status among vegetarians, but also pescatarians, and flexitarians, compared to meat-eaters was assessed in the population-based NHANES study (cycles 2007-2008 and 2009-2010). Data on serum pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (PLP) and 4-pyridoxic acid (4-PA) measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as well as dietary intakes from 24-h recalls were available for 8968 adults aged 20-80 years. Geometric mean (±standard error) PLP concentrations were 58.2 ± 6.0, 52.1 ± 3.7, 49.2 ± 4.6 and 51.0 ± 1.1 nmol/L among vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians, and meat-eaters. The 4-PA concentrations were 32.7 ± 4.0, 29.0 ± 2.5, 34.8 ± 5.6 and 33.0 ± 0.7, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in PLP, 4-PA, and their ratio across the groups in multivariable linear regression models. Overall, the use of vitamin B6 supplements was the strongest predictor of the vitamin B6 status, followed by the dietary vitamin B6 intake.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Interestingly, several other covariates were significantly associated with vitamin B6 biomarker levels, particularly serum albumin, creatinine and alkaline phosphatase, and should be considered when assessing the vitamin B6 status. In summary, our findings suggest that a vegetarian diet does not pose a risk for vitamin B6 deficiency.”

 
 

Compound made inside human body stops viruses from replicating

Penn State University & Albert Einstein College of Medicine, June 20, 2021


The newest antiviral drugs could take advantage of a compound made not by humans, but inside them. A team of researchers has identified the mode of action of viperin, a naturally occurring enzyme in humans and other mammals that is known to have antiviral effects on a wide variety of viruses, including West Nile, hepatitis C, rabies, and HIV.

The enzyme facilitates a reaction that produces the molecule ddhCTP, which prevents viruses from copying their genetic material and thus from multiplying. This discovery could allow researchers to develop a drug that induces the human body to produce this molecule and could act as a broad-spectrum therapy for a range of viruses. A paper describing the study appears online in the journal Nature.

"We knew viperin had broad antiviral effects through some sort of enzymatic activity, but other antivirals use a different method to stop viruses," said Craig Cameron, professor and holder of the Eberly Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State and an author of the study. "Our collaborators at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, led by senior authors Tyler Grove and Steven Almo, revealed that viperin catalyzes an important reaction that results in the creation of a molecule called ddhCTP. Our team at Penn State then showed the effects of ddhCTP on a virus's ability to replicate its genetic material. Surprisingly, the molecule acts in a similar manner to drugs that were developed to treat viruses like HIV and hepatitis C. With a better understanding of how viperin prevents viruses from replicating, we hope to be able to design better antivirals."

A virus typically co-opts the host's genetic building blocks to copy its own genetic material, incorporating molecules called nucleotides into new strands of RNA. The molecule ddhCTP mimics these nucleotide building blocks and becomes incorporated into the virus's genome. Once incorporated into a new strand of the virus's RNA, these "nucleotide analogs" prevent an enzyme called RNA polymerase from adding more nucleotides to the strand, thus preventing the virus from making new copies of its genetic material.

"Long ago, the paradigm was that in order to kill a virus, you had to kill the infected cell," said Cameron. "Such a paradigm is of no use when the virus infects an essential cell type with limited capacity for replenishment. The development of nucleotide analogs that function without actually killing the infected cell changed everything."

Most nucleotide analogs on the market are manmade, but there are often complications with using these synthetic drugs. Because nucleotides are used by many proteins and enzymes of the cell, numerous opportunities exist for analogs to interfere with normal cellular function.

"The major obstacle to developing therapeutically useful antiviral nucleotides is unintended targets," said Jamie Arnold, associate research professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State and an author of the paper. "For example, a few years ago we discovered that a nucleotide analog under development for treatment of hepatitis C could interfere with the production of RNA in mitochondria, subcellular organelles important for energy production in the patient's own cells. That meant people with mitochondrial dysfunction are predisposed to any negative effects of this unintended interference."

The molecule ddhCTP, however, does not appear to have any unintended targets. The research team suspects that the natural origin of the compound within the human body necessitates that it be nontoxic.

"Unlike many of our current drugs, ddhCTP is encoded by the cells of humans and other mammals," said Cameron. "We have been synthesizing nucleotide analogs for years, but here we see that nature beat us to the punch and created a nucleotide analog that can deal with a virus in living cells and does not exhibit any toxicity to date. If there's something out there that's going to work, nature has probably thought of it first. We just have to find it."

To verify the effectiveness of ddhCTP, the research team showed that the molecule inhibited the RNA polymerases of dengue virus, West Nile virus and Zika virus, which are all in a group of viruses called flaviviruses. Then they investigated whether the molecule halted replication of Zika virus in living cells.

"The molecule directly inhibited replication of three different strains of Zika virus," said Joyce Jose, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State and an author of the paper. "It was equally effective against the original strain from 1947 as it was against two strains from the recent 2016 outbreak. This is particularly exciting because there are no known treatments for Zika. This study highlights a new avenue of research into natural compounds like ddhCTP that could be used in future treatments."

Together, these results demonstrate promising antiviral effects of ddhCTP on a variety of flaviviruses. However, the RNA polymerases of human rhinovirus and poliovirus, which are in a group called picornaviruses, were not sensitive to the molecule. The researchers plan to investigate the polymerase structures of these viruses to better understand why flaviviruses are sensitive to ddhCTP while the picornaviruses tested in this study are not. This investigation may also offer insights into how flaviviruses might develop resistance to the molecule.

"Development of resistance to an antiviral agent is always an issue," said Cameron, "Having some idea of how resistance happens, or being able to prevent it from happening, will be critical if this is to be used as a broad-spectrum therapy."

June 22, 2021  

Clinical Significance of Micronutrient Supplementation in Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients with Severe ARDS

 University Hospital Wuerzburg (Germany), June 12, 2021

Abstract

The interplay between inflammation and oxidative stress is a vicious circle, potentially resulting in organ damage. Essential micronutrients such as selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) support anti-oxidative defense systems and are commonly depleted in severe disease. This single-center retrospective study investigated micronutrient levels under Se and Zn supplementation in critically ill patients with COVID-19 induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and explored potential relationships with immunological and clinical parameters. According to intensive care unit (ICU) standard operating procedures, patients received 1.0 mg of intravenous Se daily on top of artificial nutrition, which contained various amounts of Se and Zn. Micronutrients, inflammatory cytokines, lymphocyte subsets and clinical data were extracted from the patient data management system on admission and after 10 to 14 days of treatment. Forty-six patients were screened for eligibility and 22 patients were included in the study. Twenty-one patients (95%) suffered from severe ARDS and 14 patients (64%) survived to ICU discharge. On admission, the majority of patients had low Se status biomarkers and Zn levels, along with elevated inflammatory parameters. Se supplementation significantly elevated Se (p = 0.027) and selenoprotein P levels (SELENOP; p = 0.016) to normal range. Accordingly, glutathione peroxidase 3 (GPx3) activity increased over time (p = 0.021). Se biomarkers, most notably SELENOP, were inversely correlated with CRP (rs = −0.495), PCT (rs = −0.413), IL-6 (rs = −0.429), IL-1β (rs = −0.440) and IL-10 (rs = −0.461). Positive associations were found for CD8+ T cells (rs = 0.636), NK cells (rs = 0.772), total IgG (rs = 0.493) and PaO2/FiO2ratios (rs = 0.504). In addition, survivors tended to have higher Se levels after 10 to 14 days compared to non-survivors (p = 0.075). Sufficient Se and Zn levels may potentially be of clinical significance for an adequate immune response in critically ill patients with severe COVID-19 ARDS.

 

 

 

Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms

Louisiana State University, June 20, 2021

Insomnia is common in the elderly and is associated with chronic disease, but use of hypnotics increases the incidence of falls. Montmorency tart cherry juice has improved insomnia by self-report questionnaire.

Study Question: 

Is insomnia confirmed by polysomnography and is tryptophan availability a potential mechanism for treating insomnia?

Study Design: 

A placebo-controlled balanced crossover study with subjects older than 50 years and insomnia were randomized to placebo (2 weeks) or cherry juice (2 weeks) (240 mL 2 times/d) separated by a 2-week washout.

Measures and Outcomes: 

Sleep was evaluated by polysomnography and 5 validated questionnaires. Serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), the kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio, and prostaglandin E2 were measured. In vitro, Caco-2 cells were stimulated with interferon-gamma, and the ability of cherry juice procyanidin to inhibit IDO which degrades tryptophan and stimulates inflammation was measured. The content of procyanidin B-2 and other major anthocyanins in cherry juice were determined.

Results: 

Eleven subjects were randomized; 3 with sleep apnea were excluded and referred. The 8 completers with insomnia increased sleep time by 84 minutes on polysomnography (P = 0.0182) and sleep efficiency increased on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (P = 0.03). Other questionnaires showed no significant differences. The serum kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio decreased, as did the level of prostaglandin E2 (both P < 0.05). In vitro, cherry juice procyanidin B-2 dose-dependently inhibited IDO.

Conclusions: 

Cherry juice increased sleep time and sleep efficiency. Cherry juice procyanidin B-2 inhibited IDO, increased tryptophan availability, reduced inflammation, and may be partially responsible for improvement in insomnia.

 

 

 

 

Many with migraines have vitamin deficiencies, says study

 

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, June 10, 2021 

 

A high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10—a vitamin-like substance found in every cell of the body that is used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance.

 

These deficiencies may be involved in patients who experience migraines, but that is unclear based on existing studies.

 

"Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation," says Suzanne Hagler, MD, a Headache Medicine fellow in the division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.

 

Dr. Hagler and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's conducted the study among patients at the Cincinnati Children's Headache Center. She will present her findings at 9:55 am Pacific time Friday, June 10, 2016 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego.

 

Dr. Hagler's study drew from a database that included patients with migraines who, according to Headache Center practice, had baseline blood levels checked for vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate, all of which were implicated in migraines, to some degree, by previous and sometimes conflicting studies. Many were put on preventive migraine medications and received vitamin supplementation, if levels were low. Because few received vitamins alone, the researchers were unable to determine vitamin effectiveness in preventing migraines.

 

She found that girls and young woman were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency. It was unclear whether there were folate deficiencies. Patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiencies than those with episodic migraines.

 

Previous studies have indicated that certain vitamins and vitamin deficiencies may be important in the migraine process. Studies using vitamins to prevent migraines, however, have had conflicting success.

 

 

Research suggests mask-wearing can increase struggles with social anxiety

University of Waterloo (Canada), June 21, 2021

People who struggle with social anxiety might experience increased distress related to mask-wearing during and even after the COVID-19 pandemic.

A paper authored by researchers from the University of Waterloo's Department of Psychology and Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment also has implications for those who haven't necessarily suffered from social anxiety in the past.

"The adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health outcomes, including anxiety and depression, have been well-documented," said David Moscovitch, professor of clinical psychology and co-author of the paper. "However, little is known about effects of increased mask-wearing on social interactions, social anxiety, or overall mental health.

"It is also possible that many people who didn't struggle with social anxiety before the pandemic may find themselves feeling more anxious than usual as we emerge out of the pandemic and into a more uncertain future -- especially within social situations where our social skills are rusty and the new rules for social engagement are yet to be written."

Social anxiety is characterized by negative self-perception and fear that one's appearance or behaviour will fail to conform with social expectations and norms. Social anxiety disorder is an extreme manifestation that affects up to 13 per cent of the population. 

The researchers reviewed existing literature addressing three factors that they hypothesized might contribute to social anxiety associated with mask-wearing: hypersensitivity to social norms, bias in the detection of social and emotional facial cues, and propensity for self-concealment as a form of safety behaviour.

"We found that mask-wearing by people with social anxiety is likely to be influenced by their perception of social norms and expectations, which may or may not be consistent with public-health guidelines and can vary widely by region and context," said Sidney Saint, an undergraduate psychology student at Waterloo and lead author of the paper.

The paper also highlights that people with social anxiety have difficulty detecting ambiguous social cues and are likely to interpret them negatively. These individuals also tend to worry about sounding incomprehensible or awkward. "We believe that both issues are likely to be magnified during interactions with masks," Saint said.

Another highlighted impact is that masks can function as a type of self-concealment strategy that enables people with social anxiety to hide their self-perceived flaws. Therefore, the desire for self-concealment may motivate their use of masks over and above their desire to protect themselves from contagion. "Due to their self-concealing function, masks may be difficult for some people to discard even when mask-wearing is no longer required by public health mandates," Saint said. 

In addition to contributing insights to guide clinicians toward effective assessment and treatment, the paper shows that people with social anxiety may be particularly vulnerable to periods of norm transitions where expectations for mask-wearing are in flux or become a matter of personal choice.

 

 

 

Going with your gut can result in better decision-making than using detailed data methods, study shows

City University London, June 21, 2021

Managers who use their gut instinct together with simple decision-making strategies may make equally good, but faster, decisions as those who use data to reach an outcome, a new study has found.

The report, co-authored by academics at the Business School (formerly Cass), King's Business School, and the University of Malta, finds that the reliance on data analysis in decision-making might be counterproductive as this reduces decision-making speed without ensuring more accuracy.

The research, based on information from 122 advertising, digital, publishing, and software companies, finds that using data to inform decision making under high uncertainty is often not optimal. This may explain why 12 different publishers initially rejected the opportunity to publish "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' – because it had no data to inform its potential.

recent survey revealed that 92 percent of Fortune 1000 companies were reporting increased investment in data initiatives, although it appears this may not always be necessary.

The authors asked managers how they made decisions on their most recent innovation project, including the extent to which they used data, instinct, and other simple heuristics (mental strategies). The findings outlined that among those decision-making methods were:

  1. Majority—choosing what the most people wanted
  2. Tallying—picking the choice with the greatest quantity of positive points
  3. Experience—selecting the option that the most experienced individual on the team wanted.

Managers were asked whether they think they made the right decision and how fast they were in reaching that decision. Results showed that managers relied on their own instinct as much as data, using 'tallying' more than any other metric.

Dr. Oguz A. Acar, Reader in Marketing at the Business School and co-author of the report, said: "This research shows that data-driven decision-making is not the panacea in all situations and may not result in increased accuracy when facing uncertainty.

"Under extreme uncertainty, managers, particularly those with more experience, should trust the expertise and instincts that have propelled them to such a position. The nous developed over years as a leader can be a more effective than an analytical tool which, in situations of extreme uncertainty, could act as a hindrance rather than a driver of success."

"Choosing among alternative new product development projects: The role of heuristics" is published in Psychology and Marketing.

 

Pretreatment by rosemary extract or cell transplantation improves memory deficits of Parkinson disease

Damghan University (Iran) June 21 2021

According to news originating from Damghan, Iran, research stated, “The therapeutic effect of adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs) or RE on hippocampal neurogenesis and memory in Parkinsonian rats were investigated. Male rats were lesioned by bilateral intra-nigral injections of 6-OHDA and divided into six groups: 1. Lesion 2 and 3: RE and water groups were lesioned rats pretreated with RE or water, from 2weeks before neurotoxin injection and treated once a day for 8weeks post lesion. 4&5: Cell and alpha-MEM (alpha-minimal essential medium) received intravenous injection of BrdU-labeled ADSCs or medium, respectively from 10days post lesion until 8weeks later. 6: Sham was injected by saline instead of neurotoxin.”

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Damghan University, “Memory was assessed using Morris water Maze (MWM), one week before and at 1, 4 and 8weeks post 6-OHDA lesion. After the last probe, the animals were sacrificed and brain tissue obtained. Paraffin sections were stained using cresyl violet, anti-BrdU (Bromodeoxyuridine / 5-bromo-2’-deoxyuridine), anti-GFAP (Glial fibrillary acidic protein) and anti-TH antibodies. There was a significant difference of time spent in the target quadrant between groups during probe trial at 4 and 8 weeks’ post-lesion. Cell and RE groups spent a significantly longer period in the target quadrant and had lower latency as compared with lesion. Treated groups have a significantly higher neuronal density in hippocampus compared to water, alpha-MEM and lesion groups. BrdU positive cells were presented in lesioned sites. The GFAP (Glial fibrillary acidic protein) positive cells were reduced in treated and sham groups compared to the water, alpha-MEM and lesion groups.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Oral administration of RE (Rosemary extract) or ADSCs injection could improve memory deficit in the Parkinsonian rat by neuroprotection.”

 

 

Inadequate vitamin D levels associated with interstitial lung disease

Johns Hopkins University, June 20 2021. 

 

An article appearing in the Journal of Nutrition documents a link between decreased vitamin D levels and a greater risk of early signs of interstitial lung disease (ILD), a group of disorders characterized by inflammation and scarring that can lead to lung damage. Although ILD can be caused by environmental and other factors, some cases have unknown causes.

The investigation included 6,302 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis who had information available concerning their initial serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and computed tomography (CT) imaging that included partial views of the lungs. Ten years after enrollment, 2,668 participants had full lung CT scans that were evaluated for presence of scar tissue and other abnormalities.

Subjects who had deficient vitamin D levels of less than 20 ng/mL had more spots on their lungs that were suggestive of damage in comparison with subjects whose vitamin D was adequate. Among those who had full lung CT scans, deficient or intermediate (between 20-30 ng/mL) vitamin D levels were associated with a 50-60% greater risk of abnormalities suggestive of ILD.

"We knew that the activated vitamin D hormone has anti-inflammatory properties and helps regulate the immune system, which goes awry in ILD," commented senior author Erin Michos, MD, MHS. “There was also evidence in the literature that vitamin D plays a role in obstructive lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, and we now found that the association exists with this scarring form of lung disease too."

"Our study suggests that adequate levels of vitamin D may be important for lung health,” she concluded. “We might now consider adding vitamin D deficiency to the list of factors involved in disease processes, along with the known ILD risk factors such as environmental toxins and smoking.”

June 21, 2021  

VIDEOS

 

 
 
 
 
 
Krystal Ball and Sagaar Enjeti are political commentators and hosts of the YouTube show and podcast "Breaking Points".
 

CoQ10 supplementation associated with lower pro-inflammatory factors in randomized trial

Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences (Iran), June 8 2021 

 

A double-blind trial reported in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research found a reduction in markers ofinflammation in mildly hypertensive patients given coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for twelve weeks. Participants who received CoQ10 also experienced an increase in adiponectin: a protein secreted by adipose tissue that has an anti-inflammatory effect and which has been found to be reduced in high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

 

"Considering that coenzyme Q10 has attracted noticeable attention in recent years for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension in regard to its effect on inflammatory factors such as cytokines, it is therefore hypothesized that supplementation with coenzyme Q10 reduces the proinflammatory factors," write Nasim Bagheri Nesami of Iran's Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and colleagues. "This study was conducted in order to determine the effects of coenzyme Q10 on proinflammatory factors as well as on adiponectin in patients with mild hypertension."

Sixty men and women were randomized to receive 100 milligrams CoQ10 or a placebo for a twelve week period. Plasma adiponectin, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP, a marker of inflammation) and the cytokines interleukin 2, interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were measured before and after treatment.

At the end of the study, participants who received CoQ10 had significant declines in interleukin-6 and hs-CRP compared with levels measured upon enrollment. They also experienced an increase in adiponectin, while levels in the placebo group slightly declined.

The authors suggest that CoQ10 could be prescribed as a supplement along with antihypertensive medication for patients with mildly elevated blood pressure, and recommend that further research be conducted to validate the current findings.

 

 

Exposure to nature during COVID-19 lockdown was beneficial for mental health

A study by the ICTA-UAB and the University of Porto analyses the effects of exposure to green spaces during the first months of the COVID19 pandemic in Spain and Portugal

Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona (Spain), June 18, 2021

A study carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) and the Instituto de Saúde Pública of the University of Porto (ISPUP), concludes that exposure to natural spaces during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 was beneficial for the mental health of Spanish and Portuguese citizens.

The research shows that, in Portugal, during the first confinement, people who maintained or increased contact with natural public spaces, such as parks and coastal areas, or who could contemplate these spaces from their homes, presented lower levels of stress, psychological distress and psychosomatic symptoms.

In Spain, those who maintained or increased contact with private natural spaces, such as indoor plants or community green areas, presented lower levels of stress and psychosomatic symptoms. This could be due to the fact that Spain adopted more restrictive measures for foreign circulation during the period analysed.

The research Exposure to nature and mental health outcomes during COVID-19 lockdown. A comparison between Portugal and Spain, published in the journal Environment International, was conducted between March and May 2020.

Dr Ana Isabel Ribeiro, researcher at the ISPUP and first author of the work together with Margarita Triguero-Mas from the ICTA-UAB says that "we decided to study whether natural, public and private spaces had a beneficial effect on the mental health of Portuguese and Spanish citizens, helping them to better cope with the negative effects of lockdown". For her part, Margarita Triguero-Mas adds that "people around us and ourselves talked about how we missed the park we crossed when we went to the office or the walk on the beach with our dogs, so we wanted to check to what extent contact with natural spaces was an important factor during confinement".

Several previous articles have also shown the positive impact of exposure to natural spaces on mental health, that is, in reducing stress, anxiety and improving psychological well-being as a whole. "Taking into account what is described in the literature, we wanted to evaluate whether people who enjoyed greater exposure to natural spaces during the first COVID-19 lockdown had better mental health indicators than those who had no contact with natural areas", explains Dr Ribeiro. At the same time, they wanted to investigate whether exposure to private natural spaces, such as gardens, orchards or plants, was more beneficial among Spanish citizens than among Portuguese, given that Spain applied stricter measures to restrict mobility than Portugal.

To carry out the research, the authors applied an online questionnaire, between March 27 and May 6, 2020, aimed at all citizens aged 18 years old or older, residing in Spain or Portugal. The survey covered aspects related to the frequency and type of exposure people had to natural spaces (public and private), before and during the first confinement; mental health questions to assess levels of stress, mental disorders and somatization symptoms, and sociodemographic issues. Of the more than 3,000 citizens (n = 3,157) who answered the questionnaire, 1,638 were Portuguese and 1,519 Spanish.

In both countries, during the confinement, there was a significant reduction in the use of public natural spaces, such as beaches, parks and gardens, and an increase in contact with private natural spaces, such as community gardens, urban gardens and plants, especially in Spain. People living in single-family houses (detached house) and flats located in cities were the ones who least maintained or increased their exposure to public natural spaces in both countries.

In Spain, where the measures during the period analysed were much more restrictive and it was forbidden to leave the house and public outdoor spaces were closed, the benefits of exposure to public natural spaces were not as relevant as in Portugal, but it was clear the importance of private natural elements. Among the Spanish citizens who participated in the study, 66% decreased the frequency of exposure to public natural spaces (compared to 54% in Portugal).

In Spain, people who had the opportunity to continue dedicating or increasing the time dedicated to caring for their plants had lower stress levels, while those who were able to continue enjoying or increasing the time of use of community green spaces had lower rates of somatization. 

In Spain, it is remarkable that the people who least maintained or increased the care of indoor plants were people over 65 years of age, those who lived with several people at home or those who were in a second residence during confinement. In contrast, the people who maintained or increased the care of indoor plants the most were those with children, but without dependent adults.

In Portugal, those who were confined the longest and those who commuted to work were those who least maintained or increased their contact with the natural public spaces. In turn, those who practiced physical exercise indicated greater exposure to these places. Portuguese citizens who managed to maintain or increase their exposure to natural public spaces showed lower levels of stress compared to those who did not. Likewise, those who contemplated natural spaces from their homes obtained improvements in all the mental health outcomes analysed: stress, mental disorders and somatization.

"This study clearly demonstrates the benefit of natural spaces for the mental health of the population in a context of public health crisis," says Ana Isabel Ribeiro. "Public authorities and decision-makers could implement measures that facilitate access to natural public spaces, in a safe and controlled manner, in the context of a pandemic. This is particularly important for the most socially and economically vulnerable population groups, and for those who have little access to these spaces in their private context", she emphasizes.

In addition, Dr Triguero-Mas adds that "our study is especially important for cities like Barcelona, where new buildings rarely have balconies or community spaces with vegetation. It is important to revalue how building remodelling or new homes can be healthier spaces that promote and prevent deterioration in the health of the people who inhabit them".

Flame retardants and pesticides overtake heavy metals as biggest contributors to IQ loss

New York University, June 2, 2021

 

Adverse outcomes from childhood exposures to lead and mercury are on the decline in the United States, likely due to decades of restrictions on the use of heavy metals, a new study finds.

Despite decreasing levels, exposure to these and other toxic chemicals, especially flame retardants and pesticides, still resulted in more than a million cases of intellectual disability in the United States between 2001 and 2016. Furthermore, as the target of significantly fewer restrictions, experts say, flame retardants and pesticides now represent the bulk of that cognitive loss.

NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers found that IQ loss from the toxic chemicals analyzed in their study dropped from 27 million IQ points in 2001 and 2002 to 9 million IQ points in 2015 and 2016.

While this overall decline is promising, the researchers say, their findings also identify a concerning shift in which chemicals represent the greatest risk. Among toxin-exposed children, the researchers found that the proportion of cognitive loss that results from exposure to chemicals used in flame retardants, called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs), and organophosphate pesticides increased from 67 percent to 81 percent during the same study period.

"Our findings suggest that our efforts to reduce exposure to heavy metals are paying off, but that toxic exposures in general continue to represent a formidable risk to Americans' physical, mental, and economic health," says lead study investigator Abigail Gaylord, MPH, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone. "Unfortunately, the minimal policies in place to eliminate pesticides and flame retardants are clearly not enough."

The substances analyzed are found in household products from furniture upholstery to tuna fish, and can build up in the body to damage organs, researchers say. Heavy metals, lead and mercury in particular, are known to disrupt brain and kidney function. In addition, they, along with flame retardants and pesticides, can interfere with the thyroid, which secretes brain-developing hormones. Experts say exposure at a young age to any of these toxins can cause learning disabilities, autism, and behavioral issues.

In their investigation, the researchers found that everyday contact with these substances during the 16-year study period resulted in roughly 1,190,230 children affected with some form of intellectual disability. Overall childhood exposures cost the nation $7.5 trillion in lost economic productivity and other societal costs.

"Although people argue against costly regulations, unrestricted use of these chemicals is far more expensive in the long run, with American children bearing the largest burden," says senior study author Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, the Jim G. Hendrick, MD Professor at NYU Langone Health.

Publishing online Jan. 14 in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, the new study is the only long-term neurological and economic investigation of its kind, the authors say. The investigators analyzed PBDE, organophosphate, lead, and methylmercury exposures in blood samples from women of childbearing age and 5-year-olds. Data on women and children was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers used results from several previous environmental health studies to estimate the annual number of IQ points lost per unit of exposure to each of the four main chemicals in the study. Then, they estimated the lost productivity and medical costs over the course of the children's lives linked to long-term intellectual disability using a second algorithm, which valued each lost IQ point at $22,268 and each case of intellectual disability at $1,272,470.

While exposure to these chemicals persists despite tightened regulations, experts say Americans can help limit some of the effects by avoiding the use of household products or foods that contain them.

"Frequently opening windows to let persistent chemicals found in furniture, electronics, and carpeting escape, and eating certified organic produce can reduce exposure to these toxins," says Trasande, who also serves as chief of environmental pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone.

Trasande notes that the impact of these chemicals may be worse than their study can capture since there are far more hazards that affect brain development than the four highlighted in the investigation, and other potential consequences beyond IQ loss. "All the more reason we need closer federal monitoring of these substances," she says.

The study authors say they plan to explore the cost of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in other countries.

Red meat consumption may promote DNA damage-assoc. mutation in colorectal cancer patients

Study provides mechanistic link between red meat consumption and colorectal cancer development

Harvard Medical School, June 17, 2021

Bottom Line: Genetic mutations indicative of DNA damage were associated with high red meat consumption and increased cancer-related mortality in patients with colorectal cancer.

Journal in Which the Study was Published: Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research

Author: Marios Giannakis, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Background: "We have known for some time that consumption of processed meat and red meat is a risk factor for colorectal cancer," said Giannakis. The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that processed meat was carcinogenic and that red meat was probably carcinogenic to humans in 2015. 

Experiments in preclinical models have suggested that red meat consumption may promote the formation of carcinogenic compounds in the colon, but a direct molecular link to colorectal cancer development in patients has not been shown, Giannakis explained. "What is missing is a demonstration that colorectal cancers from patients have a specific pattern of mutations that can be attributed to red meat," he said. "Identifying these molecular changes in colon cells that can cause cancer would not only support the role of red meat in colorectal cancer development but would also provide novel avenues for cancer prevention and treatment."

How the Study was Conducted: To identify genetic changes associated with red meat intake, Giannakis and colleagues sequenced DNA from matched normal and colorectal tumor tissues from 900 patients with colorectal cancer who had participated in one of three nationwide prospective cohort studies, namely the Nurses' Health Studies and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. All patients had previously provided information on their diets, lifestyles, and other factors over the course of several years prior to their colorectal cancer diagnoses. 

Results: Analysis of DNA sequencing data revealed the presence of several mutational signatures in normal and cancerous colon tissue, including a signature indicative of alkylation, a form of DNA damage. The alkylating signature was significantly associated with pre-diagnosis intake of processed or unprocessed red meat, but not with pre-diagnosis intake of poultry or fish or with other lifestyle factors. Red meat consumption was not associated with any of the other mutational signatures identified in this study. In line with prior studies linking red meat consumption with cancer incidence in the distal colon, Giannakis and colleagues found that normal and cancerous tissue from the distal colon had significantly higher alkylating damage than tissue from the proximal colon. 

Using a predictive model, the researchers identified the KRAS and PIK3CA genes as potential targets of alkylation-induced mutation. Consistent with this prediction, they found that colorectal tumors harboring KRAS G12D, KRAS G13D, or PIK3CA E545K driver mutations, which are commonly observed in colorectal cancer, had greater enrichment of the alkylating signature compared to tumors without these mutations. The alkylating signature was also associated with patient survival: Patients whose tumors had the highest levels of alkylating damage had a 47 percent greater risk of colorectal cancer-specific death compared to patients with lower levels of damage.

Author's Comments: "Our study identified for the first time an alkylating mutational signature in colon cells and linked it to red meat consumption and cancer driver mutations," said Giannakis. "These findings suggest that red meat consumption may cause alkylating damage that leads to cancer-causing mutations in KRAS and PIK3CA, thereby promoting colorectal cancer development. Our data further support red meat intake as a risk factor for colorectal cancer and also provide opportunities to prevent, detect, and treat this disease." 

Giannakis explained that if physicians could identify individuals who are genetically predisposed to accumulating alkylating damage, these individuals could be counseled to limit red meat intake as a form of precision prevention. In addition, the alkylating mutational signature could be used as a biomarker to identify patients at greater risk of developing colorectal cancer or to detect cancer at an early stage. Because of its association with patient survival, the alkylating signature may also have potential as a prognostic biomarker. However, future studies are needed to explore these possibilities, Giannakis noted.

Study Limitations: A limitation of the study is the potential selection bias of study participants, as tissue specimens could not be retrieved from all incident colorectal cancer cases in the cohort studies. Current studies from Giannakis and his colleagues are exploring the potential role of red meat intake and alkylating damage in diverse groups of patients.

Funding & Disclosures: The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Stand Up To Cancer Colorectal Cancer Dream Team Translational Research Grant (co-administered by the AACR), the Project P Fund, the Cancer Research UK Grand Challenge Award, the Nodal Award from the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center, the Friends of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Bennett Family Fund, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation through the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and Stand Up To Cancer. 

Giannakis has received research funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Servier, and Janssen unrelated to this study.

Association of higher average daily polyphenol intake with Mediterranean diet adherence and decreased waist to hip circumference

University of the Aegean (Greece), June 14, 2021

According to news reporting originating from the University of the Aegean research stated, “Research data indicate the possible effect of both polyphenols consumption and Mediterranean diet adherence on metabolic diseases’ prevalence. The present retrospective study investigated the possible association of polyphenols mean daily intake with Mediterranean diet adherence and anthropometric indices in a sample of the Greek population.”

Our news reporters obtained a quote from the research from University of the Aegean: “A total of 250 healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 65 years, were randomly recruited from central and northern Greece. Total daily polyphenols intake was estimated using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) based on the NHANES study, while Med Diet Score was used for the degree of Mediterranean diet adoption. Daily polyphenols intake was identified by the Phenol Explorer database, and anthropometric measurements (BMI, waist-to-hip circumference, and body composition) were performed. The mean daily polyphenols intake was determined to be 1905 mg, while most of the participants had moderate or high mean consumption last year (67.5% of the sample were consuming more than 1000 mg/d). Moderate adherence to the Mediterranean diet (higher Med Diet Score) was associated with increased mean daily polyphenols intake (* * p* * = 0.016). Increased polyphenols intake and higher Med Diet Score were associated with decreased waist-to-hip circumference (* * p* * = 0.027, 0.004, respectively).”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Specific functional foods rich in polyphenols, such as sour cherry, tomatoes, black tea, and cocoa were associated with improved body composition indices. Larger epidemiological studies need to be performed for safer conclusions about whole population polyphenols intake and its association with metabolic disease biomarkers.”

Whole, natural fiber works best to protect gut mucosal layer, researcher says

University of Michigan, June 12, 2021

Dietary fiber plays an important role in protecting the gut’s mucosal layer, according to research presented at the recent Probiota Americas event.

It has long been known that the gut stays healthier and performs better with adequate fiber. But why? This is one of the questions that informed the research conducted by Dr Eric Martens, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan. Martens presented his research at the  IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas event, which was hosted by William Reed in Chicago last week. The event brought together 280 regulators, probiotics and prebiotics researchers and product developers. 

Protecting the mucosal layer

Martens said that his research showed that without adequate fiber in the gut, some organisms that might be nourished by that food source will look to alternative sources, one of which is the gut’s mucosal layer. That layer is a critical component of the gut wall, and when it is eroded or absent harmful bacteria have an opportunity to latch onto the cells of the wall itself.

“The core of our research is we are interested in the physiology of the many bacteria that live in the gut and defining at the functional and mechanistic level how they work with goal of understanding how the community works,” Martens said.

The study he presented used 14 different bacteria with defined characteristics in a mouse model. The study had three groups, a group fed a fiber free diet, one with a whole grain diet rich in natural fibers, and a third that had fiber added back in in the form of purified, prebiotic fibers.  His research found that the whole grain, natural fibers fostered a microbial community in which the muscosa-eroding organisms were suppressed the best. He postulated that this could be because the large, whole food particles typical of the natural fiber diet were best able to reach the distal regions of the gut and affect the microbial community makeup there, whereas the purified fibers may have been mostly digested by that point.

What Is the Liver Powerhouse Silymarin?

GreenMedInfo  June 17th 2021
 

Here's what science has found most beneficial about silymarin, extracted from milk thistle and known to be a friend of your liver mainly through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

When it comes to treating liver and gallbladder disorders, there is one name that stands out: silymarin. As a group of flavonolignans extracted from milk thistle, silymarin has been traditionally used for various protective benefits, from reinvigorating liver function to promoting breast milk production.

The milk thistle plant, scientifically known as Silybum marianum, is a prickly plant with purple flowers and milky white veins present on the leaves, thus its name. Silymarin is the group of plant compounds that act as its active ingredient.[i]

Silymarin is the main bioactive component of this medicinal plant. It is a mix of various flavonolignans, includings silybinin A and B, isosilybinin A and B, silychristin and silydianin.[ii] Milk thistle extract has a high silymarin content of approximately 65% to 80%.

Silymarin is famed for its antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory components,[iii] as well as its traditional use or treating the liver and restoring its health. In addition, milk thistle itself is generally considered safe to take. Side effects are rare, and in an oral form standardized to contain 70% to 80% silymarin, it appears to be safe for up to 41 months of use.[iv]

Silymarin's Liver-Protective Effects

  • Fights liver inflammation and liver damage. Mounting evidence shows improvements in liver function among people with liver diseases who have taken a milk thistle supplement.[v] This suggests protection against flavanone silibinin liver inflammation and liver damage through use of the natural -- silymarin's primary active component -- which was combined with phosphatidylcholine in a specific study to enhance its solubility and bioavailability.
  • Protects from toxins such as amatoxin, produced by Amanita mushroom, which can cause death if ingested. Two cases in the U.S. were treated with N-acetylcysteine, high-dose penicillin, cimetidine and silibinin.[vi]

Uncontrolled trials and case reports cited successful treatment with intravenous silibinin, a flavonolignan isolated from milk thistle extracts, in nearly 1,500 cases.[vii] Overall mortality in those treated with the formula was less than 10%, compared to more than 20%when using penicillin, or a mix of silibinin and penicillin.

  • Reduces liver fibrosis. In a randomized trial of 99 patients, the team administered silymarin in 700-milligram (mg) doses, or a placebo, given three times daily for 48 weeks.[viii] Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) activity score was reduced by 32.7% in the silymarin group compared to 26% in the placebo group.

Among the secondary outcomes were reductions in inflammation and fibrosis score in the silymarin group, leading the researchers to conclude that silymarin may decrease liver fibrosis, to be confirmed in larger trials. Fibrosis is the formation of abnormally large amounts of scar tissue in the liver.

  • Helps prevent liver cancer. Studies have concluded that the long-term use of silymarin significantly increases survival time among patients with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis, a risk factor for liver cancer. Silymarin can also significantly reduce tumor cell proliferation, angiogenesis or new blood vessel formation, as well as insulin resistance.[ix]

The chemopreventive effects "have been established in several studies using in vitro and in vivo methods," according to the researchers, and combine well with anti-inflammatory and inhibitory effects on the metastasis or spread of cancer.

  • Contributes to liver regeneration. An animal study suggested that silymarin played a crucial role in accelerating liver regeneration after liver resection, a kind of surgery designed to remove cancerous tumors from the liver.[x] Liver regeneration is thought to evolve to protect animals from loss of liver due to toxins or tissue injury.

Silymarin for Breastfeeding, Neurological Support

Not to be ignored is silymarin's formidable list of other health benefits, such as boosting milk production in lactating mothers. A randomized trial found that mothers taking 420 mg of silymarin for 63 days produced more breast milk than subjects who took a placebo.[xi] Silymarin combined with phosphatidylserine and galega also increased milk production in moms of preterm infants, without any significant side effects.[xii]

Milk thistle is also a traditional remedy for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer'sand Parkinson's diseases. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action mean it may be neuroprotective and help prevent the brain decline experienced with aging.

June 18, 2021  
June 17, 2021  

Dr. Elizabeth Mumper is pediatrician, and the president and CEO of Rimland Center in Virginia that mentors medical practitioners and clinicians working with children with neurodevelopmental problems. She also runs a general pediatric practice -- Advocates for Children, and her Advocates for Families practice is devoted to caring for autistic children and those with learning disabilities.  Liz has received many awards for her work with children including a public service award from the National Press Club and being named Woman of the Year by the YWCA.  Earlier she was the medical director of the Autism research Center. Dr Mumper received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia and did her residency at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Virginia. Later she served as chief resident of pediatrics at the University of Virginia. She has traveled worldwide lecturing on children with autism and mentoring physicians internationally. Her website is RimlandCenter.com

 

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