Gary's links to articles talked about on show
Gary's links to articles talked about on show
The Infrastructure and Mission of Facebook's and Big Tech's Bias and Censorship
Ryan Hartwig is one of the early whistleblowers to come forward to reveal Facebook operations to censor voices contrary to centrist, liberal Democrat narratives and the company's culture of systemic bias. His revelations were first made public by Project Veritas last year. Since then he is the founder of The Harwig Foundation for Free Speech and has recently published a book, co-authored with Kent Heckenlively, "Behind the Mask of Facebook: A Whistleblower's Shocking Story of Big Tech Bias and Censorship," which recounts his time with the international digital solutions firm Cognizant, where he worked as a content moderator on behalf of Facebook to moderate and censor content on its social media. His efforts have led to a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for Mark Zuckerberg and aided an FEC complaint against Facebook in the John James vs Gary Peters US senate race in Michigan. Ryan holds a degree in Spanish Linguistics from Arizona State University and continues his activism to keep the internet free of censorship. His website is RyanHartwig.org
Popular antioxidant linked to pain relief
University of Naples (Italy), November 22, 2021
People with pain of unknown causes who took alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) experienced less pain than a placebo group, a double-blind study in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy revealed.1 This most recent trial enrolled 210 nondiabetic men and women with mild or moderate joint pain, neuropathic pain or muscle pain of unknown cause. Participants received 800 mg or 400 mg ALA per day or a daily placebo. The results? People who received ALA had a significant improvement in their pain after two months of intake, while the placebo group didn’t report a difference. ALA was similarly effective for all sources of pain considered. It was also shown to be safe and well-tolerated.
Mental Qigong can be just as rewarding as its physical cousin
In recent decades modern scientific techniques have fully documented the health benefits of the ancient meditation technique of Qigong. One example of physical Qigong is the technique Wu Qin Xi (five animals play), in which participants sequentially move through poses that represent the form of different animals, holding each pose for several minutes. During each phase individuals seek to regulate their breathing and still their minds. Although this is a challenging endeavor the benefits are significant. Effective Qigong practice can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, decrease blood pressure and increase feelings of relaxation and attention.
This raises the question: do the effects of these two types of Qigong manifest themselves the same in the brain, or differently? This is what the University of Mainz, wanted to find out.
Study links stress to Crohn's disease flare-ups
McMaster University (Ontario), November 20, 2021
A possible link between psychological stress and Crohn's disease flare-ups has been identified by a McMaster University-led study. Researchers using mouse models found that stress hormones suppressed the innate immune system that normally protects the gut from invasive Enterobacteriaceae, a group of bacteria including E. coli which has been linked to Crohn's disease.
Meta-analysis finds benefits for dietary supplements among breast cancer patients
Hallym University (South Korea), November 19 2021
A meta-analysis published in Cancers found associations between improved breast cancer prognosis and the intake of multivitamins and other nutrients.
The meta-analysis included 63 studies that evaluated the association between dietary factors and breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer mortality and/or mortality from any cause during the studies’ follow- up periods among a total of 120,167 breast cancer patients.
Physical activity may improve Alzheimer’s disease outcomes by lowering brain inflammation
University of California at San Francisco, November 22, 2021
No one will disagree that an active lifestyle is good for you, but it remains unclear how physical activity improves brain health, particularly in Alzheimer’s disease. The benefits may come about through decreased immune cell activation, according to new research published in JNeurosci.
Aspirin is linked with increased risk of heart failure
University of Freiburg (Germany), November 23, 2021
Aspirin use is associated with a 26% raised risk of heart failure in people with at least one predisposing factor for the condition. That's the finding of a study published today in a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). This is the first study to report that among individuals with at least one risk factor for heart failure, those taking aspirin were more likely to subsequently develop the condition than those not using the medication.
(OTHER NEWS NEXT)
Plant-derived antiviral drug is effective in blocking highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, say scientists
University of Nottingham, November 22, 2021 A plant-based antiviral treatment for Covid-19, recently discovered by scientists at the University of Nottingham, has been found to be just as effective at treating all variants of the virus SARS-CoV-2, even the highly infectious Delta variant. The study showed that a novel natural antiviral drug called thapsigargin (TG), recently discovered by the same group of scientists to block other viruses, including the original SARS-CoV-2, was just as effective at treating all of the newer SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the Delta variant. In their previous studies* the team showed that the plant-derived antiviral, at small doses, triggers a highly effective broad-spectrum host-centred antiviral innate immune response against three major types of human respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. “Together, these results point to the antiviral potential of TG as a post-exposure prophylactic and an active therapeutic agent.”
In Memory of JFK: The First U.S. President to be Declared a Terrorist and Threat to National Security (entire article is here)
By Cynthia Chung, The Saker Blog, November 22, 2021 In April 1954, Kennedy stood up on the Senate floor to challenge the Eisenhower Administration’s support for the doomed French imperial war in Vietnam, foreseeing that this would not be a short-lived war. In July 1957, Kennedy once more took a strong stand against French colonialism, this time France’s bloody war against Algeria’s independence movement, which again found the Eisenhower Administration on the wrong side of history. Rising on the Senate floor, two days before America’s own Independence Day, Kennedy declared: “The most powerful single force in the world today is neither communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile – it is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent. The great enemy of that tremendous force of freedom is called, for want of a more precise term, imperialism – and today that means Soviet imperialism and, whether we like it or not, and though they are not to be equated, Western imperialism. Thus, the single most important test of American foreign policy today is how we meet the challenge of imperialism, what we do to further man’s desire to be free. On this test more than any other, this nation shall be critically judged by the uncommitted millions in Asia and Africa, and anxiously watched by the still hopeful lovers of freedom behind the Iron Curtain. If we fail to meet the challenge of either Soviet or Western imperialism, then no amount of foreign aid, no aggrandizement of armaments, no new pacts or doctrines or high-level conferences can prevent further setbacks to our course and to our security.” In September 1960, the annual United Nations General Assembly was held in New York. Fidel Castro and a fifty-member delegation were among the attendees and had made a splash in the headlines when he decided to stay at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem after the midtown Shelburne Hotel demanded a $20,000 security deposit. He made an even bigger splash in the headlines when he made a speech at this hotel, discussing the issue of equality in the United States while in Harlem, one of the poorest boroughs in the country. Kennedy would visit this very same hotel a short while later, and also made a speech: “Behind the fact of Castro coming to this hotel, [and] Khrushchev…there is another great traveler in the world, and that is the travel of a world revolution, a world in turmoil…We should be glad [that Castro and Khrushchev] came to the United States. We should not fear the twentieth century, for the worldwide revolution which we see all around us is part of the original American Revolution.” What did Kennedy mean by this? The American Revolution was fought for freedom, freedom from the rule of monarchy and imperialism in favour of national sovereignty. What Kennedy was stating, was that this was the very oppression that the rest of the world wished to shake the yoke off, and that the United States had an opportunity to be a leader in the cause for the independence of all nations. On June 30th, 1960, marking the independence of the Republic of Congo from the colonial rule of Belgium, Patrice Lumumba, the first Congolese Prime Minister gave a speech that has become famous for its outspoken criticism of colonialism. Lumumba spoke of his people’s struggle against “the humiliating bondage that was forced upon us… [years that were] filled with tears, fire and blood,” and concluded vowing “We shall show the world what the black man can do when working in liberty, and we shall make the Congo the pride of Africa.” Shortly after, Lumumba also made clear, “We want no part of the Cold War… We want Africa to remain African with a policy of neutralism.” As a result, Lumumba was labeled a communist for his refusal to be a Cold War satellite for the western sphere. Rather, Lumumba was part of the Pan-African movement that was led by Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah(who later Kennedy would also work with), which sought national sovereignty and an end to colonialism in Africa. Lumumba “would remain a grave danger,” Dulles said at an NSC meeting on September 21, 1960, “as long as he was not yet disposed of.” Three days later, Dulles made it clear that he wanted Lumumba permanently removed, cabling the CIA’s Leopoldville station, “We wish give [sic] every possible support in eliminating Lumumba from any possibility resuming governmental position.” Lumumba was assassinated on Jan. 17th, 1961, just three days before Kennedy’s inauguration, during the fog of the transition period between presidents, when the CIA is most free to tie its loose ends, confident that they will not be reprimanded by a new administration that wants to avoid scandal on its first days in office. Kennedy, who clearly meant to put a stop to the Murder Inc. that Dulles had created and was running, would declare to the world in his inaugural address on Jan. 20th, 1961, “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.” La Resistance Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, Kennedy was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA. The Bay of Pigs set-up would occur three months later. Prouty compares the Bay of Pigs incident to that of the Crusade for Peace; the Bay of Pigs being orchestrated by the CIA, and the Crusade for Peace sabotaged by the CIA, in both cases to ruin the U.S. president’s (Eisenhower and Kennedy) ability to form a peaceful dialogue with Khrushchev and decrease Cold War tensions. Both presidents’ took onus for the events respectively, despite the responsibility resting with the CIA. However, Eisenhower and Kennedy understood, if they did not take onus, it would be a public declaration that they did not have any control over their government agencies and military. Further, the Bay of Pigs operation was in fact meant to fail. It was meant to stir up a public outcry for a direct military invasion of Cuba. On public record is a meeting (or more aptly described as an intervention) with CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard Bissell, Joint Chiefs Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, and Navy Chief Admiral Burke basically trying to strong-arm President Kennedy into approving a direct military attack on Cuba. Admiral Burke had already taken the liberty of positioning two battalions of Marines on Navy destroyers off the coast of Cuba “anticipating that U.S. forces might be ordered into Cuba to salvage a botched invasion.” (This incident is what inspired the Frankenheimer movie “Seven Days in May.”) Kennedy stood his ground. “They were sure I’d give in to them,” Kennedy later told Special Assistant to the President Dave Powers. “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well they had me figured all wrong.” Incredibly, not only did the young president stand his ground against the Washington war hawks just three months into his presidential term, but he also launched the Cuba Study Group which found the CIA to be responsible for the fiasco, leading to the humiliating forced resignation of Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell and Charles Cabell. (For more on this refer to my report.) Unfortunately, it would not be that easy to dethrone Dulles, who continued to act as head of the CIA, and key members of the intelligence community such as Helms and Angleton regularly bypassed McCone (the new CIA Director) and briefed Dulles directly. But Kennedy was also serious about seeing it through all the way, and vowed to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” * * * There is another rather significant incident that had occurred just days after the Bay of Pigs, and which has largely been overshadowed by the Cuban fiasco in the United States. From April 21-26th, 1961, the Algiers putsch or Generals’ putsch, was a failed coup d’état intended to force President de Gaulle (1959-1969) not to abandon the colonial French Algeria. The organisers of the putsch were opposed to the secret negotiations that French Prime Minister Michel Debré had started with the anti-colonial National Liberation Front (FLN). On January 26th, 1961, just three months before the attempted coup d’état, Dulles sent a report to Kennedy on the French situation that seemed to be hinting that de Gaulle would no longer be around, “A pre-revolutionary atmosphere reigns in France… The Army and the Air Force are staunchly opposed to de Gaulle…At least 80 percent of the officers are violently against him. They haven’t forgotten that in 1958, he had given his word of honor that he would never abandon Algeria. He is now reneging on his promise, and they hate him for that. de Gaulle surely won’t last if he tries to let go of Algeria. Everything will probably be over for him by the end of the year—he will be either deposed or assassinated.” The attempted coup was led by Maurice Challe, whom de Gaulle had reason to conclude was working with the support of U.S. intelligence, and Élysée officials began spreading this word to the press, which reported the CIA as a “reactionary state-within-a-state” that operated outside of Kennedy’s control. Shortly before Challe’s resignation from the French military, he had served as NATO commander in chief and had developed close relations with a number of high-ranking U.S. officers stationed in the military alliance’s Fontainebleau headquarters. In August 1962 the OAS (Secret Army Organization) made an assassination attempt against de Gaulle, believing he had betrayed France by giving up Algeria to Algerian nationalists. This would be the most notorious assassination attempt on de Gaulle (who would remarkably survive over thirty assassination attempts while President of France) when a dozen OAS snipers opened fire on the president’s car, which managed to escape the ambush despite all four tires being shot out. After the failed coup d’état, de Gaulle launched a purge of his security forces and ousted General Paul Grossin, the chief of SDECE (the French secret service). Grossin was closely aligned with the CIA, and had told Frank Wisner over lunch that the return of de Gaulle to power was equivalent to the Communists taking over in Paris. In 1967, after a five-year enquête by the French Intelligence Bureau, it released its findings concerning the 1962 assassination attempt on de Gaulle. The report found that the 1962 assassination plot could be traced back to the NATO Brussels headquarters, and the remnants of the old Nazi intelligence apparatus. The report also found that Permindex had transferred $200,000 into an OAS bank account to finance the project. As a result of the de Gaulle exposé, Permindex was forced to shut down its public operations in Western Europe and relocated its headquarters from Bern, Switzerland to Johannesburg, South Africa, it also had/has a base in Montreal, Canada where its founder Maj. Gen. Louis M. Bloomfield (former OSS) proudly had his name amongst its board members until the damning de Gaulle report. The relevance of this to Kennedy will be discussed shortly. As a result of the SDECE’s ongoing investigation, de Gaulle made a vehement denunciation of the Anglo-American violation of the Atlantic Charter, followed by France’s withdrawal from the NATO military command in 1966. France would not return to NATO until April 2009 at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit. In addition to all of this, on Jan. 14th, 1963, de Gaulle declared at a press conference that he had vetoed British entry into the Common Market. This would be the first move towards France and West Germany’s formation of the European Monetary System, which excluded Great Britain, likely due to its imperialist tendencies and its infamous sin City of London. Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson telegrammed West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer directly, appealing to him to try to persuade de Gaulle to back track on the veto, stating “if anyone can affect Gen. de Gaulle’s decision, you are surely that person.” Little did Acheson know that Adenauer was just days away from signing the Franco-German Treaty of Jan 22nd, 1963 (also known as the ÉlyséeTreaty), which had enormous implications. Franco-German relations, which had long been dominated by centuries of rivalry, had now agreed that their fates were aligned. (This close relationship was continued to a climactic point in the late 1970s, with the formation of the European Monetary System, and France and West Germany’s willingness in 1977 to work with OPEC countries trading oil for nuclear technology, which was sabotaged by the U.S.-Britain alliance. The Élysée Treaty was a clear denunciation of the Anglo-American forceful overseeing that had overtaken Western Europe since the end of WWII. On June 28th, 1961, Kennedy wrote NSAM #55. This document changed the responsibility of defense during the Cold War from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and would have (if seen through) drastically changed the course of the war in Vietnam. It would also have effectively removed the CIA from Cold War military operations and limited the CIA to its sole lawful responsibility, the collecting and coordination of intelligence. By Oct 11th, 1963, NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy, was released and outlined a policy decision “to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963” and further stated that “It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by 1965.” The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY ’65. It would be the final nail in the coffin. Treason in America “Treason doth never prosper; what is the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” – Sir John Harrington By Germany supporting de Gaulle’s exposure of the international assassination ring, his adamant opposition to western imperialism and the role of NATO, and with a young Kennedy building his own resistance against the imperialist war of Vietnam, it was clear that the power elite were in big trouble. On November 22nd, 1963 President Kennedy was brutally murdered in the streets of Dallas, Texas in broad daylight. With the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, likely ordained by the CIA, on Nov. 2nd, 1963 and Kennedy just a few weeks later, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 on Nov. 26th, 1963 to begin the reversal of Kennedy’s policy under #263. And on March 17th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period. The Vietnam War would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy’s death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans, and 30 years if you count American covert action in Vietnam. Two days before Kennedy’s assassination, a hate-Kennedy handbill was circulated in Dallas accusing the president of treasonous activities including being a communist sympathizer. On November 29th, 1963 the Warren Commission was set up to investigate the murder of President Kennedy. The old Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana was a member of that Warren Commission. Boggs became increasingly disturbed by the lack of transparency and rigour exhibited by the Commission and became convinced that many of the documents used to incriminate Oswald were in fact forgeries. In 1965 Rep. Boggs told New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that Oswald could not have been the one who killed Kennedy. It was Boggs who encouraged Garrison to begin the only law enforcement prosecution of the President’s murder to this day. Nixon was inaugurated as President of the United States on Jan 20th, 1969. Hale Boggs soon after called on Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell to have the courage to fire J. Edgar Hoover. It wasn’t long thereafter that the private airplane carrying Hale Boggs disappeared without a trace. Jim Garrison was the District Attorney of New Orleans from 1962 to 1973 and was the only one to bring forth a trial concerning the assassination of President Kennedy. In Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins”, J. Edgar Hoover comes up several times impeding or shutting down investigations into JFK’s murder, in particular concerning the evidence collected by the Dallas Police Department, such as the nitrate test Oswald was given and which exonerated him, proving that he never shot a rifle the day of Nov 22nd, 1963. However, for reasons only known to the government and its investigators this fact was kept secret for 10 months.It was finally revealed in the Warren Commission report, which inexplicably didn’t change their opinion that Oswald had shot Kennedy. Another particularly damning incident was concerning the Zapruder film that was in the possession of the FBI and which they had sent a “copy” to the Warren Commission for their investigation. This film was one of the leading pieces of evidence used to support the “magic bullet theory” and showcase the direction of the headshot coming from behind, thus verifying that Oswald’s location was adequate for such a shot. During Garrison’s trial on the Kennedy assassination (1967-1969) he subpoenaed the Zapruder film that for some peculiar reason had been locked up in some vault owned by Life magazine (the reader should note that Henry Luce the owner of Life magazine was in a very close relationship with the CIA). This was the first time in more than five years that the Zapruder film was made public. It turns out the FBI’s copy that was sent to the Warren Commission had two critical frames reversed to create a false impression that the rifle shot was from behind. When Garrison got a hold of the original film it was discovered that the head shot had actually come from the front. In fact, what the whole film showed was that the President had been shot from multiple angles meaning there was more than one gunman. When the FBI was questioned about how these two critical frames could have been reversed, they answered self-satisfactorily that it must have been a technical glitch… There is also the matter of the original autopsy papers being destroyed by the chief autopsy physician, James Humes, to which he even testified to during the Warren Commission, apparently nobody bothered to ask why… This would explain why the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), reported in a July 1998 staff report their concern for the number of shortcomings in the original autopsy, that “One of the many tragedies of the assassination of President Kennedy has been the incompleteness of the autopsy record and the suspicion caused by the shroud of secrecy that has surrounded the records that do exist.” [emphasis added] The staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board contended that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy’s brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained. There is a lot of spurious effort to try to ridicule anyone who challenges the Warren Commission’s official report as nothing but fringe conspiracy theory. And that we should not find it highly suspect that Allen Dulles, of all people, was a member and pretty much leader of said commission. The reader should keep in mind that much of this frothing opposition stems from the very agency that perpetrated crime after crime on the American people, as well as abroad. When has the CIA ever admitted guilt, unless caught red-handed? Even after the Church committee hearings, when the CIA was found guilty of planning out foreign assassinations, they claimed that they had failed in every single plot or that someone had beaten them to the punch, including in the case of Lumumba. The American people need to realise that the CIA is not a respectable agency; we are not dealing with honorable men. It is a rogue force that believes that the ends justify the means, that they are the hands of the king so to speak, above government and above law. Those at the top such as Allen Dulles were just as adamant as Churchill about protecting the interests of the power elite, or as Churchill termed it, the “High Cabal.” Interestingly, on Dec. 22nd, 1963, just one month after Kennedy’s assassination, Harry Truman published a scathing critique of the CIA in The Washington Post, even going so far as to state “There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position [as a] free and open society, and I feel that we need to correct it.” The timing of such a scathing quote cannot be stressed enough. Dulles, of course, told the public not to be distressed, that Truman was just in entering his twilight years. In addition, Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney at the time, who was charging Clay Shaw as a member of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy, besides uncovering his ties to David Ferrie who was found dead in his apartment days before he was scheduled to testify, also made a case that the New Orleans International Trade Mart (to which Clay Shaw was director), the U.S. subsidiary of Permindex, was linked to Kennedy’s murder. Col. Clay Shaw was an OSS officer during WWII, which provides a direct link to his knowing Allen Dulles. Garrison did a remarkable job with the odds he was up against, and for the number of witnesses that turned up dead before the trial… This Permindex link would not look so damning if we did not have the French intelligence SDECE report, but we do. And recall, in that report Permindex was caught transferring $200,000 directly to the bankroll of the OAS which attempted the 1962 assassination on de Gaulle. Thus, Permindex’s implication in an international assassination ring is not up for debate. In addition, the CIA was found heavily involved in these assassination attempts against de Gaulle, thus we should not simply dismiss the possibility that Permindex was indeed a CIA front for an international hit crew. In fact, among the strange and murderous characters who converged on Dallas in Nov. 1963 was a notorious French OAS commando named Jean Souetre, who was connected to the plots against President de Gaulle. Souetre was arrested in Dallas after the Kennedy assassination and expelled to Mexico, not even kept for questioning. What Does the Future Hold? After returning from Kennedy’s Nov. 24th funeral in Washington, de Gaulle and his information minister Alain Peyrefitte had a candid discussion that was recorded in Peyrefitte’s memoire “C’était de Gaulle,” the great General was quoted saying: “What happened to Kennedy is what nearly happened to me… His story is the same as mine. … It looks like a cowboy story, but it’s only an OAS [Secret Army Organization] story. The security forces were in cahoots with the extremists. …Security forces are all the same when they do this kind of dirty work. As soon as they succeed in wiping out the false assassin, they declare the justice system no longer need be concerned, that no further public action was needed now that the guilty perpetrator was dead. Better to assassinate an innocent man than to let a civil war break out. Better an injustice than disorder. America is in danger of upheavals. But you’ll see. All of them together will observe the law of silence. They will close ranks. They’ll do everything to stifle any scandal. They will throw Noah’s cloak over these shameful deeds. In order to not lose face in front of the whole world. In order to not risk unleashing riots in the United States. In order to preserve the union and to avoid a new civil war. In order to not ask themselves questions. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to find out. They won’t allow themselves to find out.” The American people would do well to remember that it was first John F. Kennedy, acting as the President to the United States, who was to be declared a terrorist and threat to his country’s national security. Thus is it not natural that those who continue to defend the legacy of Kennedy should be regarded today as threat, not truly to the nation’s security, but a threat to the very same grouping responsible for Kennedy’s death and whom today have now declared open war on the American people. This will be the greatest test the American people have ever been confronted with, and it will only be through an understanding of how the country came to where it is today that there can be sufficient clarity as to what the solutions are, which are not to be found in another civil war. To not fall for the trapping of further chaos and division, the American people will only be able to rise above this if they choose to ask those questions, if they choose to want to know, to want to find out the truth of things they dared not look at in the past for fear of what it would reveal. “Whenever the government of the United States shall break up, it will probably be in consequence of a false direction having been given to public opinion. This is the weak point of our defenses, and the part to which the enemies of the system will direct all their attacks. Opinion can be so perverted as to cause the false to seem true; the enemy, a friend, and the friend, an enemy; the best interests of the nation to appear insignificant, and the trifles of moment; in a word, the right the wrong, the wrong the right. In a country where opinion has sway, to seize upon it, is to seize upon power. As it is a rule of humanity that the upright and well-intentioned are comparatively passive, while the designing, dishonest, and selfish are the most untiring in their efforts, the danger of public opinion’s getting a false direction is four-fold, since few men think for themselves.” -James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851( We must dare to be among the few who think for ourselves.
VAERS Data Reveals 50 X More Ectopic Pregnancies Following COVID Shots than Following ALL Vaccines for Past 30 Year
Health Impact News, November 22, 2021 While the latest data dump into the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) showed 2,620 fetal deaths, which are more fetal deaths than are reported following ALL vaccines for the past 30 years in VAERS, one “symptom” that is tracked in VAERS that it did not account for is an ectopic pregnancy which also results in a fetal death. Ectopic pregnancy, also called extrauterine pregnancy, is when a fertilized egg grows outside a woman’s uterus, somewhere else in their belly. It can cause life-threatening bleeding and needs medical care right away. I performed a search in VAERS for ectopic pregnancies following COVID-19 shots for the past 11 months, and there have been 52 cases where a woman received a COVID-19 shot and then was found to have an ectopic pregnancy. Next, I performed the exact same search but excluded COVID-19 “vaccines” and it returned a result of 30 cases where a woman received an FDA-approved vaccine and then reported an ectopic pregnancy following ALL vaccines for the past 30+ years, which is about 1 per year. That means that following COVID-19 injections into child-bearing women for the past 11 months has seen a 50 X increase in ectopic pregnancies compared to child-bearing women receiving vaccines for the past 30+ years.
Massive study reveals editorial bias and nepotism in biomedical journals
University of Rennes, November 23, 2021 Scientific journals are expected to consider research manuscripts dispassionately and without favor. But a study published in the journal PLOS Biology reveals that a subset of journals may be exercising considerable bias and favoritism. To identify journals that are suspected of favoritism, the authors explored nearly 5 million articles published between 2015 and 2019 in a sample of 5,468 of biomedical journals indexed in the National Library of Medicine. Their results reveal that in most journals, publications are distributed across a large number of authors, as one might hope. However, the authors identify a subset of biomedical journals where a few authors, often members of that journal’s editorial board, were responsible for a disproportionate number of publications. In addition, the articles authored by these “hyper-prolific” individuals were more likely to be accepted for publication within 3 weeks of their submission, suggesting favoritism in journals’ editorial procedures. Why would this matter? Such “nepotistic journals,” suspected of biased editorial decision-making, could be deployed to game productivity-based metrics, which could have a serious knock-on effect on decisions about promotion, tenure and research funding.
Hurricanes expected to linger over Northeast cities, causing greater damage
More storms like Hurricane Sandy could be in the East Coast’s future, potentially costing billions of dollars in damage and economic losses. Rowan University, November 22, 2021 By the late 21st century, northeastern U.S. cities will see worsening hurricane outcomes, with storms arriving more quickly but slowing down once they’ve made landfall. As storms linger longer over the East Coast, they will cause greater damage along the heavily populated corridor, according to a new study. The new study analyzed more than 35,000 computer-simulated storms. To assess likely storm outcomes in the future The researchers found that future East Coast hurricanes will likely cause greater damage than storms of the past. The research predicted that a greater number of future hurricanes will form near the East Coast, and those storms will reach the Northeast corridor more quickly. The simulated storms slow to a crawl as they approach the East Coast, allowing them to produce more wind, rain, floods, and related damage in the Northeast region. The longest-lived tropical storms are predicted to be twice as long as storms today.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
Tel Aviv University (Israel)
A new Tel Aviv University study reveals that hyperbaric oxygen treatments may ameliorate symptoms experienced by patients with Alzheimer's disease. "This revolutionary treatment for Alzheimer's disease uses a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which has been shown in the past to be extremely effective in treating wounds that were slow to heal," says Prof. Uri Ashery of TAU's Sagol School of Neuroscience and the Faculty of Life Sciences, who led the research for the study. "We have now shown for the first time that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can actually improve the pathology of Alzheimer's disease and correct behavioral deficits associated with the disease.
Scientists discover that CoQ10 can program cancer cells to self-destruct
A promising study shows that this nutrient causes cancer cells to self-destruct before they can multiply – giving rise to hopes that it can be utilized as an important integrative therapy for cancer patients. Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful scientific work.
CoQ10 “reminds” cancer cells to die
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – which supports many indispensable biochemical reactions – is also called “ubiquinone.” This is due to its ubiquitous nature – CoQ10 is found in nearly every human cell, with particularly high concentrations in the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. Researchers report that the out-of-control replication characteristic of cancer cells is a result of the cells’ lost capacity to respond to programmed cell death, or apoptosis.
Study suggests hot flashes could be precursor to diabetes
Analysis of Women's Health Initiative data demonstrates effect of severity and duration of hot flashes on risk of developing diabetes
The North American Menopause Society
Hot flashes, undoubtedly the most common symptom of menopause, are not just uncomfortable and inconvenient, but numerous studies demonstrate they may increase the risk of serious health problems, including heart disease. A new study suggests that hot flashes (especially when accompanied by night sweats) also may increase the risk of developing diabetes. Results are being published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). "This study showed that, after adjustment for obesity and race, women with more severe night sweats, with or without hot flashes, still had a higher risk of diabetes," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. "Menopause is a perfect time to encourage behavior changes that reduce menopause symptoms, as well as the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Suggestions include getting regular exercise and adequate sleep, avoiding excess alcohol, stopping smoking, and eating a heart- healthy diet. For symptomatic women, hormone therapy started near menopause improves menopause symptoms and reduces the risk of diabetes."
Garlic extract may help obese adults combat inflammation
University of Florida
Aged garlic extract may help obese people ward off painful inflammation and lower cholesterol levels, a new University of Florida study shows. In the UF/IFAS study, scientists divided 51 obese people who were otherwise healthy into two groups ? those who took the aged garlic extract for six weeks and those who took a placebo. Researchers encouraged participants to continue their regular diet and exercise routine during the experiment. Research showed the garlic extract helped regulate immune-cell distribution and reduced blood LDL ? or "bad" ? cholesterol in the obese adults. Aged garlic extract modified the secretion of inflammatory proteins from immune cells, Percival said.
Having children can make women's telomeres seem 11 years older
George Mason University
A recent study by George Mason University researchers in the Department of Global and Community Health found that women who have given birth have shorter telomeres compared to women who have not given birth. Telomeres are the end caps of DNA on our chromosomes, which help in DNA replication and get shorter over time. The length of telomeres has been associated with morbidity and mortality previously, but this is the first study to examine links with having children.
Scientists uncover why sauna bathing is good for your health
UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND
Over the past couple of years, scientists at the University of Eastern Finland have shown that sauna bathing is associated with a variety of health benefits. Using an experimental setting this time, the research group now investigated the physiological mechanisms through which the heat exposure of sauna may influence a person's health. Their latest study with 100 test subjects shows that taking a sauna bath of 30 minutes reduces blood pressure and increases vascular compliance, while also increasing heart rate similarly to medium-intensity exercise.
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Biden’s Bounty on Your Life: Hospitals’ Incentive Payments for COVID-19
By Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. and Ali Shultz, J.D. – ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS. November 17, 2021
Upon admission to a once-trusted hospital, American patients with COVID-19 become virtual prisoners, subjected to a rigid treatment protocol with roots in Ezekiel Emanuel’s “Complete Lives System” for rationing medical care in those over age 50. They have a shockingly high mortality rate. How and why is this happening, and what can be done about it? As exposed in audio recordings, hospital executives in Arizona admitted meeting several times a week to lower standards of care, with coordinated restrictions on visitation rights. Most COVID-19 patients’ families are deliberately kept in the dark about what is really being done to their loved ones. The combination that enables this tragic and avoidable loss of hundreds of thousands of lives includes (1) The CARES Act, which provides hospitals with bonus incentive payments for all things related to COVID-19 (testing, diagnosing, admitting to hospital, use of remdesivir and ventilators, reporting COVID-19 deaths, and vaccinations) and (2) waivers of customary and long-standing patient rights by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In 2020, the Texas Hospital Association submitted requests for waivers to CMS. According to Texas attorney Jerri Ward, “CMS has granted ‘waivers’ of federal law regarding patient rights. Specifically, CMS purports to allow hospitals to violate the rights of patients or their surrogates with regard to medical record access, to have patient visitation, and to be free from seclusion.” She notes that “rights do not come from the hospital or CMS and cannot be waived, as that is the antithesis of a ‘right.’ The purported waivers are meant to isolate and gain total control over the patient and to deny patient and patient’s decision-maker the ability to exercise informed consent.” Creating a “National Pandemic Emergency” provided justification for such sweeping actions that override individual physician medical decision-making and patients’ rights. The CARES Act provides incentives for hospitals to use treatments dictated solely by the federal government under the auspices of the NIH. These “bounties” must paid back if not “earned” by making the COVID-19 diagnosis and following the COVID-19 protocol. The hospital payments include: A “free” required PCR test in the Emergency Room or upon admission for every patient, with government-paid fee to hospital. Added bonus payment for each positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Another bonus for a COVID-19 admission to the hospital. A 20 percent “boost” bonus payment from Medicare on the entire hospital bill for use of remdesivir instead of medicines such as Ivermectin. Another and larger bonus payment to the hospital if a COVID-19 patient is mechanically ventilated. More money to the hospital if cause of death is listed as COVID-19, even if patient did not die directly of COVID-19. A COVID-19 diagnosis also provides extra payments to coroners.
Study: Sustainable eating is cheaper and healthier
Oxford University, November 11, 2021
Oxford University research has today revealed that, in countries such as the US, the UK, Australia and across Western Europe, adopting a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet could slash your food bill by up to one-third. The study, which compared the cost of seven sustainable diets to the current typical diet in 150 countries, using food prices from the World Bank's International Comparison Program, was published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
Meta-analysis concludes resveratrol beneficially modulates glycemic control in diabetics
Zagazig University and Suez Canal University (Egypt), October 29 2021.
Findings from a meta-analysis of clinical trials published in Medicina Clinica (Barcelona) revealed an association between supplementing with resveratrol and improvements in glycemic control. “This systematic review and meta-analysis is the first to consider resveratrol’s efficacy on glycemic and cardiometabolic parameters in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).”
Exercise linked to better mental health
Kaiser Permanente Research, November 11, 2021
Kaiser Permanente research published in Preventive Medicine showed people who exercised more during the initial lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced less anxiety and depression than those who didn’t exercise. It also showed that people who spent more time outdoors typically experienced lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who stayed inside.
Bedtime linked with heart health
University of Exeter (UK), November 9, 2021
Going to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease compared to earlier or later bedtimes, according to a study published today in European Heart Journal—Digital Health, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "While we cannot conclude causation from our study, the results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health."
Garlic compounds may boost cardio health indirectly via gut microbiota
National Taiwan University, November 6 2021
Allicin from garlic may prevent the metabolism of unabsorbed L-carnitine or choline into TMAO, a compound linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, says a new study. TMAO – or trimethylamine N-oxide – has been known to be generated from dietary carnitine through metabolism of gut microbiota, and was recently reported to be an “important gut microbiota-dependent metabolite to cause cardiovascular diseases.” New data indicated that carnitine-fed lab mice showed a “remarkable increase in plasma TMAO levels”, compared with lab mice fed a control (no carnitine). However, when allicin supplements were provided with the carnitine diet, TMAO levels were significantly reduced.
Drug used to prevent miscarriage increases risk of cancer in offspring
University of Texas Health Science Center, November 9, 2021
Exposure in utero to a drug used to prevent miscarriage can lead to an increased risk of developing cancer, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
The drug, 17α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17-OHPC), is a synthetic progestogen that was frequently used by women in the 1950s and 1960s, and is still prescribed to women today to help prevent preterm birth.
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2,433 Dead Babies in VAERS as Another Study Shows mRNA Shots Not Safe for Pregnant Women
by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News, November 7, 2021
There have now been 2,433 fetal deaths recorded in VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) from pregnant women who have been injected with one of the COVID-19 shots. The vast majority of these have been from the Pfizer shot (1,862 deaths) and the Moderna shot (656 deaths.) There have been more fetal deaths in the past 11 months following COVID-19 shots than there have been for the past 30+ years following ALL vaccines (2,198 – Source.) Last month (October, 2021) the New England Journal of Medicine admitted that the original study used to justify the CDC and the FDA in recommending the shots to pregnant women was flawed. (Source.) Since then, researchers in New Zealand have conducted a new study on the original data, and concluded: A re-analysis of these figures indicates a cumulative incidence of spontaneous abortion ranging from 82% (104/127) to 91% (104/114), 7–8 times higher than the original authors’ results. (Source.) And yet, the CDC and FDA still continue to recommend the shots for pregnant women, even though a correct analysis on the original data shows that 82% to 91% of pregnant women will suffer miscarriages if their unborn child is less than 20 weeks old. (Source.) VAERS is a passive system that is severely under reported. The CDC and FDA have never conducted a study to determine what this under-reported factor is, but independent scientists have, and we have previously published the analysis conducted by Dr. Jessica Rose, who has determined that a conservative under-reported factor would be X41. See: STUDY: Government’s Own Data Reveals that at Least 150,000 Probably DEAD in U.S. Following COVID-19 Vaccines This means that there have probably been at least 99,753 fetal deaths following COVID-19 injections so far. Here is a video report we made on this last month with some very unfortunate gruesome examples of what these shots are doing to unborn babies. 1,969 Fetal Deaths Recorded Following COVID-19 Shots but Criminal CDC Recommends Pregnant Women Get the Shot UPDATE – November 7, 2021 PM A couple of hours after publishing this article, a video that has been circulating on the Internet of an interview with a Funeral Director in the UK became known to me. He has been in practice for over 3 years and is identified as “Wesley,” and was interviewed by a group called “Resistance GB.” He claims that last fall was one the slowest periods of seeing deaths for all funeral directors, but when the COVID-19 shots were introduced, deaths started dramatically increasing. It started with the elderly, but then by April they were seeing large numbers of people in their 30s and 40s. Many of them were dying of myocarditis. Now, they are seeing unprecedented numbers of newborn babies, and they are piling up in hospital refrigerators. Some are full term, some are pre-term, he claims. The UK originally recommended that pregnant women and nursing mothers should NOT get the experimental COVID shots, but like the CDC in the U.S., they eventually changed their recommendation to encourage pregnant women to get the shots.
An ethical analysis of vaccinating children against COVID-19: benefits, risks, and issues of global health equity
Johns Hopkins University, Oxford-Johns Hopkins Global Infectious Disease Ethics Collaborative, Wageningen University - The Netherlands, University of Oxford, Abstract We argue that it is currently unclear whether routine COVID-19 vaccination of healthy children is ethically justified in most contexts, given the minimal direct benefit that COVID-19 vaccination provides to children, the potential for rare risks to outweigh these benefits and undermine vaccine confidence, and substantial evidence that COVID-19 vaccination confers adequate protection to risk groups, such as older adults, without the need to vaccinate children. We conclude that child COVID-19 vaccination in wealthy communities before adults in poor communities worldwide is ethically unacceptable and consider how policy deliberations might evolve in light of future developments.
What’s Driving Global Deforestation? Organized Crime, Beef, Soy, Palm Oil and Wood Products
Jennifer Devine, Counterpunch, November 17, 2021
Every year the world loses an estimated 25 million acres (10 million hectares) of forest, an area larger than the state of Indiana. Nearly all of it is in the tropics. From my research on social and environmental issues in Latin America, I know that four consumer goods are responsible for the majority of global deforestation: beef, soy, palm oil, and wood pulp and paper products. Together these commodities are responsible for the loss of nearly 12 million acres (5 million hectares) annually. There’s also a fifth, less publicized key driver: organized crime, including illegal drug trafficking. The dominant role of beef Among major products that promote deforestation, beef is in a class by itself. Beef production is now estimated to be the biggest driver of deforestation worldwide, accounting for 41% of global forest losses. In the Amazon alone, cattle ranching accounts for 80% of deforestation. From 2000 to 2011, beef production emitted nearly 200 times more greenhouse gases than soy, and 60 times more than oil palm in tropical countries with high deforestation rates. Soy and palm oil: Ubiquitous ingredients Together, soy and palm oil drive nearly 10% of deforestation annually – almost 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares). Clearing land for palm oil plantations fuels large-scale rainforest destruction in Indonesia and Malaysia, where most of the world’s palm oil is produced. Palm oil is the most commonly produced, consumed and traded vegetable oil. Some 60% of the 66 million tons produced globally every year is used to produce energy in the form of biofuel, power and heat. About 40% is used for food, animal feed and chemical products. Palm oil is an ingredient in half of all products found at the supermarket, including margarine, shampoos, frozen pizza and detergents. Soy production has doubled globally in the past 20 years. Nearly 80% of global soy is fed to cows, chickens, pigs and farmed fish. This demand reflects the tripling of global meat production over the past 50 years. Wood products Wood products are responsible for about 5% of annual global deforestation, or about 1.2 million acres (500,000 hectares) yearly. Wood is widely used for home construction and furniture, and also as a pulp source for paper and fabric. And in low-income nations and rural areas, it’s an important fuel source for heating and cooking. The three largest paper-producing countries are the U.S., Canada and China. Illegal deforestation and organized crime Another industry plays an important role, especially in tropical forests: organized crime. Large, lucrative industries offer opportunities to move and launder money; as a result, in many parts of the world, deforestation is driven by the drug trade. In South America and Central America, drug trafficking organizations are the vanguard of deforestation. Drug traffickers are illegally logging forests in the Amazon and hiding cocaine in timber shipments to Europe. In my research, I have analyzed how traffickers illegally log and raise cattle in protected areas in Central America to launder money and claim drug smuggling territory. Other scholars estimate that 30% to 60% of deforestation in the region is “narco-deforestation.” Forest Trends analysis, exports tied to illegal deforestation are worth US$61 billion annually and are responsible for 25% of total global tropical deforestation.
‘This Must Not Happen’: If Unhalted, Permian Basin Fracking Will Unleash 40 Billion Tons of CO2 by 2050
As activists at the COP26 summit continue to denounce the “massive” gap between wealthy governments’ lofty rhetoric and their woefully inadequate plans for addressing the climate emergency, a new analysis of projected extraction in the Permian Basin in the U.S. Southwest exposes the extent to which oil and gas executives’ refusal to keep fossil fuels in the ground puts humanity’s future in jeopardy. “While climate science tells us that we must consume 40% less oil in 2030, Permian producers plan to grow production more than 50%.” Released Tuesday by Oil Change International, Earthworks, and the Center for International Environmental Law, the second chapter of The Permian Basin Climate Bomb warns that if the drilling and fracking boom that has turned the Permian Basin into “the world’s single most prolific oil and gas field” over the past decade is allowed to persist unabated for the next three decades, it will generate nearly 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide by mid-century. “With global markets flush with Permian oil and gas, it can only be harder to steer the world’s economy toward clean energy.” “While climate science tells us that we must consume 40% less oil in 2030, Permian producers plan to grow production more than 50%” from 2021 to 2030, said Stockman. “This must not happen.” “If left unchecked,” the report notes, “the Permian could continue to produce huge amounts of oil, gas, and gas liquids for decades to come. With global markets flush with Permian oil and gas, it can only be harder to steer the world’s economy toward clean energy.”
Wall Street’s Takeover of Nature Advances with Launch of New Asset Class
By Whitney Webb
A project of the multilateral development banking system, the Rockefeller Foundation and the New York Stock Exchange recently created a new asset class that will put, not just the natural world, but the processes underpinning all life, up for sale under the guise of promoting “sustainability.” Last month, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced it had developed a new asset class and accompanying listing vehicle meant “to preserve and restore the natural assets that ultimately underpin the ability for there to be life on Earth.” Called a natural asset company, or NAC, the vehicle will allow for the formation of specialized corporations “that hold the rights to the ecosystem services produced on a given chunk of land, services like carbon sequestration or clean water.” These NACs will then maintain, manage and grow the natural assets they commodify, with the end of goal of maximizing the aspects of that natural asset that are deemed by the company to be profitable. Though described as acting like “any other entity” on the NYSE, it is alleged that NACs “will use the funds to help preserve a rain forest or undertake other conservation efforts, like changing a farm’s conventional agricultural production practices.” Yet, as explained towards the end of this article, even the creators of NACs admit that the ultimate goal is to extract near-infinite profits from the natural processes they seek to quantify and then monetize. NYSE COO Michael Blaugrund alluded to this when he said the following regarding the launch of NACs: “Our hope is that owning a natural asset company is going to be a way that an increasingly broad range of investors have the ability to invest in something that’s intrinsically valuable, but, up to this point, was really excluded from the financial markets.” Framed with the lofty talk of “sustainability” and “conservation”, media reports on the move in outlets like Fortune couldn’t avoid noting that NACs open the doors to “a new form of sustainable investment” which “has enthralled the likes of BlackRock CEO Larry Fink over the past several years even though there remain big, unanswered questions about it.” Fink, one of the world’s most powerful financial oligarchs, is and has long been a corporate raider, not an environmentalist, and his excitement about NACs should give even its most enthusiastic proponents pause if this endeavor was really about advancing conservation, as is being claimed. How to Create a NAC The creation and launch of NACs has been two years in the making and saw the NYSE team up with the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG), in which the NYSE itself holds a minority stake. IEG’s three investors are the Inter-American Development Bank, the Latin America-focused branch of the multilateral development banking system that imposes neoliberal and neo-colonalist agendas through debt entrapment; the Rockefeller Foundation, the foundation of the American oligarch dynasty whose activities have long been tightly enmeshed with Wall Street; and Aberdare Ventures, a venture capital firm chiefly focused on the digital healthcare space. Notably, the IADB and the Rockefeller Foundation are closely tied to the related pushes for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and biometric Digital IDs. The IEG’s mission focuses on “pioneering a new asset class based on natural assets and the mechanism to convert them to financial capital.” “These assets,” IEG states, make “life on Earth possible and enjoyable…They include biological systems that provide clean air, water, foods, medicines, a stable climate, human health and societal potential.” Put differently, NACs will not only allow ecosystems to become financial assets, but the rights to “ecosystem services”, or the benefits people receive from nature as well. These include food production, tourism, clean water, biodiversity, pollination, carbon sequestration and much more. IEG is currently partnering with Costa Rica’s government to pilot its NAC efforts within that country. Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza Murillo, has claimed that the pilot project with IEG “will deepen the economic analysis of giving nature its economic value, as well as to continue mobilizing financial flows to conservation.” With NACs, the NYSE and IEG are now putting the totality of nature up for sale. While they assert that doing so will “transform our economy to one that is more equitable, resilient and sustainable”, it’s clear that the coming “owners” of nature and natural processes will be the only real beneficiaries. Per the IEG, NACs first begin with the identification of a natural asset, such as a forest or lake, which is then quantified using specific protocols. Such protocols have already been developed by related groups like the Capitals Coalition, which is partnered with several of IEG’s partners as well as the World Economic Forum and various coalitions of multinational corporations. Then, a NAC is created and the structure of the company decides who has the rights to that natural asset’s productivity as well as the rights to decide how that natural asset is managed and governed. Lastly, a NAC is “converted” into financial capital by launching an initial public offering on a stock exchange, like the NYSE. This last stage “generates capital to manage the natural asset” and the fluctuation of its price on the stock exchange “signals the value of its natural capital.” However, the NAC and its employees, directors and owners are not necessarily the owners of the natural asset itself following this final step. Instead, as IEG notes, the NAC is merely the issuer while the potential buyers of the natural asset the NAC represents can include: institutional investors, private investors, individuals and institutions, corporations, sovereign wealth funds and multilateral development banks. Thus, asset management firms that essentially already own much of the world, like Blackrock, could thus become owners of soon-to-be monetized natural processes, natural resources and the very foundations of natural life itself. Both the NYSE and IEG have marketed this new investment vehicle as being aimed at generating funds that will go back to conservation or sustainability efforts. However, on the IEG’s website, it notes that the goal is really endless profit from natural processes and ecosystems that were previously deemed to be part of “the commons”, i.e. the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. Per the IEG, “as the natural asset prospers, providing a steady or increasing flow of ecosystem services, the company’s equity should appreciate accordingly providing investment returns. Shareholders and investors in the company through secondary offers, can take profit by selling shares. These sales can be gauged to reflect the increase in capital value of the stock, roughly in-line with its profitability, creating cashflow based on the health of the company and its assets.” Researcher and journalist Cory Morningstar has strongly disagreed with the approach being taken by NYSE/IEG and views NACs as a system that will only exacerbate the corporate predation of nature, despite claims to the contrary. Morningstar has described NACs as “Rockefeller et al. letting the markets dictate what in nature has value – and what does not. Yet, it’s not for capitalist institutions and global finance to decide what life has value. Ecosystems are not ‘assets.’ Biological communities exist for their own purposes, not ours.” A New Way to Loot The ultimate goal of NACs is not sustainability or conservation – it is the financialization of nature, i.e. turning nature into a commodity that can be used to keep the current, corrupt Wall Street economy booming under the guise of protecting the environment and preventing its further degradation. Indeed, IEG makes this clear when they note that “the opportunity” of NACs lies not in their potential to improve environmental well-being or sustainability, but in the size of this new asset class, which they term “Nature’s Economy.” Indeed, while the asset classes of the current economy are value at approximately $512 trillion, the asset classes unlocked by NACs are significantly larger at $4,000 trillion (i.e. $4 quadrillion). Thus, NACs open up a new feeding ground for predatory Wall Street banks and financial institutions that will allow them to not just dominate the human economy, but the entire natural world. In the world currently being constructed by these and related entities, where even freedom is being re-framed not as a right but “a service,” the natural processes on which life depends are similarly being re-framed as assets, which will have owners. Those “owners” will ultimately have the right, in this system, to dictate who gets access to clean water, to clean air, to nature itself and at what cost. According to Cory Morningstar, one of the other aims of creating “Nature’s Economy” and neatly packaging it for Wall Street via NACs is to drastically advance massive land grab efforts made by Wall Street and the oligarch class in recent years. This includes the recent land grabs made by Wall Street firms as well as billionaire “philanthropists” like Bill Gates during the COVID crisis. However, the land grabs facilitated through the development of NACs will largely target indigenous communities in the developing world. As Morningstar notes: “The public launch of NACs strategically preceded the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the biggest biodiversity conference in a decade. Under the pretext of turning 30% of the globe into “protected areas”, the largest global land grab in history is underway. Built on a foundation of white supremacy, this proposal will displace hundreds of millions, furthering the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples. The tragic irony is this: while Indigenous peoples represent less than 5% of the global population, they support approximately 80% of all biodiversity.“ IEG, in discussing NACs, tellingly notes that proceeds from a NAC’s IPO can be used for the acquisition of more land by its controlling entities or used to boost the budgets or funds of those who receive the capital from the IPO. This is a far cry from the NYSE/IEG sales pitch that NACs are “different” because their IPOs will be used to “preserve and protect” natural areas. The climate change panic that is now rising to the take the place of COVID-19 panic will surely be used to savvily market NACs and similar tactics as necessary to save the planet, but – rest assured – NACs are not a move to save the planet, but a move to enable the same interests responsible for the current environmental crises to usher in a new era where their predatory exploitation reaches new heights that were previously unimaginable.
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Oxford University, November 11, 2021
Oxford University research has today revealed that, in countries such as the US, the UK, Australia and across Western Europe, adopting a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet could slash your food bill by up to one-third.
The study, which compared the cost of seven sustainable diets to the current typical diet in 150 countries, using food prices from the World Bank’s International Comparison Program, was published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
It found that in high-income countries:
“We think the fact that vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets can save you a lot of money is going to surprise people,” says Dr. Marco Springmann, researcher on the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food.
“When scientists like me advocate for healthy and environmentally-friendly eating, it’s often said we’re sitting in our ivory towers promoting something financially out of reach for most people. This study shows it’s quite the opposite. These diets could be better for your bank balance as well as for your health and…the planet.”
Miguel Barclay, author of the bestselling “One Pound Meals” series of cookbooks, says, “I definitely agree that cutting down your meat, or cutting it out completely, will save you money. I’ve written seven budget cookbooks and have costed up hundreds of recipes, and without doubt vegan and vegetarian meals consistently come in at a much lower price than recipes with meat.”
The study focused on whole foods and did not include highly-processed meat replacements or eating at restaurants or takeaways.
The study also found that in lower income countries, such as on the Indian subcontinent and in sub-Saharan Africa, eating a healthy and sustainable diet would be up to a quarter cheaper than a typical Western diet, but at least a third more expensive than current diets.
To analyze what options could improve affordability and reduce diet costs, the study looked at several policy options. It found that making healthy and sustainable diets affordable everywhere is possible within the next 10 years when economic development, especially in lower income countries, is paired with reductions in food waste and a climate and health-friendly pricing of foods.
“Affording to eat a healthy and sustainable diet is possible everywhere, but requires political will,” according to Dr. Springmann. “Current low-income diets tend to contain large amounts of starchy foods and not enough of the foods we know are healthy. And the western-style diets, often seen as aspirational, are not only unhealthy, but also vastly unsustainable and unaffordable in low-income countries. Any of the healthy and sustainable dietary patterns we looked at are a better option for health, the environment, and financially, but development support and progressive food policies are needed to make them both affordable and desirable everywhere.”
The study, “The global and regional costs of healthy and sustainable dietary patterns: a modeling study,” is published in The Lancet Planetary Health on 10 November 2021. Country-level results are available here.
Green One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay is published on 30 December. It features planet-friendly recipes and includes tips and ideas for shopping smart and avoiding food waste.
Zagazig University and Suez Canal University (Egypt), October 29 2021.
Findings from a meta-analysis of clinical trials published on October 16, 2021 in Medicina Clinica (Barcelona) revealed an association between supplementing with resveratrol and improvements in glycemic control.
“Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a progressive meta-inflammatory disorder, which induces micro and macrovascular complications,” Ibrahim A. Abdelhaleem and colleagues wrote. “Resveratrol is a nutraceutical known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”
“This systematic review and meta-analysis is the first to consider resveratrol’s efficacy on glycemic and cardiometabolic parameters in patients with T2DM.”
Sixteen randomized trials that included a total of 871 diabetic men and women were selected for the meta-analysis. The trials compared resveratrol to a placebo with or without concurrent antidiabetic medications or other drug treatment.
Resveratrol doses of 500 milligrams or more were associated with lower fasting blood glucose, fasting serum insulin, insulin resistance, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure in comparison with a placebo. Resveratrol was associated with a greater reduction in hemoglobin A1c (a marker of long-term glucose control) compared to a placebo in trials of three months duration. When HDL cholesterol levels were analyzed, resveratrol was superior to a placebo in trials of less than two months duration. Resveratrol was also associated with a reduction in systolic blood pressure compared to measurements obtained in the placebo group. Furthermore, triglycerides were lower in association with resveratrol in trials that lasted six to twelve months.
“We concluded that resveratrol appropriately improved insulin sensitivity by decreasing insulin resistance, fasting blood glucose, fasting serum insulin, and hemoglobin A1c,” the authors concluded. “In addition, it improved other cardiometabolic parameters, including triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The most appropriate glycemic control effect was fulfilled when consumed for at least one month with doses of 500 mg or more.”
Kaiser Permanente Research, November 11, 2021
Kaiser Permanente research published on November 11 in Preventive Medicine showed people who exercised more during the initial lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced less anxiety and depression than those who didn’t exercise. It also showed that people who spent more time outdoors typically experienced lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who stayed inside.
More than 20,000 people participated in the survey-based study from 6 regions served by Kaiser Permanente across the United States, which included Hawaii, Colorado, Georgia, and the mid-Atlantic states, as well as Southern and Northern California.
“What these study findings tell us is that even during an active pandemic or other public health crisis, people should be encouraged to be physically active to help maintain their physical and mental health,” said the study’s lead author Deborah Rohm Young, PhD, the director of the Division of Behavioral Research for the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. “Parks and other nature areas should remain open during public health emergencies to encourage outdoor physical activity.”
In March 2020, COVID-19 developed into a worldwide pandemic. With no known treatment, public health officials attempted to reduce its spread by limiting human interactions through stay-at-home policies. Businesses temporarily closed or changed their practices to prevent the spread of the virus, affecting the economy and many people’s jobs. These stressful factors, along with fewer opportunities to socialize with friends and family, increased symptoms of depression and anxiety for many people.
Since it is known that physical activity and time spent in nature are associated with improved mental health, researchers at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California sought to determine how exercise and time outdoors was associated with people’s mental health during the height of the pandemic.
In April 2020, researchers sent a series of COVID-19 surveys to more than 250,000 participants in the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank — a collection of lifestyle surveys, electronic health record data, and biospecimens, which Kaiser Permanente members volunteered. People who reported COVID-19 symptoms were not included in this analysis, resulting in 20,012 respondents. They each completed at least 4 surveys between April and July 2020.
White women older than 50 accounted for a high proportion of the respondents. Most respondents said they were retired and generally adhered to the “safer-at-home” orders during the period of the survey. The study found that:
“What we learned from these findings is that during future emergencies it will be important to carefully weigh the decisions to close parks and outdoor areas against the negative impact those closures may have on people’s mental health,” said Dr. Young.
University of Exeter (UK), November 9, 2021
Going to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease compared to earlier or later bedtimes, according to a study published today in European Heart Journal—Digital Health, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
“The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning,” said study author Dr. David Plans of the University of Exeter, UK. “While we cannot conclude causation from our study, the results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health.”
While numerous analyses have investigated the link between sleep duration and cardiovascular disease, the relationship between sleep timing and heart disease is underexplored. This study examined the association between objectively measured, rather than self-reported, sleep onset in a large sample of adults.
The study included 88,026 individuals in the UK Biobank recruited between 2006 and 2010. The average age was 61 years (range 43 to 79 years) and 58% were women. Data on sleep onset and waking up time were collected over seven days using a wrist-worn accelerometer. Participants completed demographic, lifestyle, health and physical assessments and questionnaires. They were then followed up for a new diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, which was defined as a heart attack, heart failure, chronic ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and transient ischaemic attack.
During an average follow-up of 5.7 years, 3,172 participants (3.6%) developed cardiovascular disease. Incidence was highest in those with sleep times at midnight or later and lowest in those with sleep onset from 10:00 to 10:59 pm.
The researchers analyzed the association between sleep onset and cardiovascular events after adjusting for age, sex, sleep duration, sleep irregularity (defined as varied times of going to sleep and waking up), self-reported chronotype (early bird or night owl), smoking status, body mass index, diabetes, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and socioeconomic status.
Compared to sleep onset from 10:00 to 10:59 pm, there was a 25% higher risk of cardiovascular disease with a sleep onset at midnight or later, a 12% greater risk for 11:00 to 11:59 pm, and a 24% raised risk for falling asleep before 10:00 pm. In a further analysis by sex, the association with increased cardiovascular risk was stronger in women, with only sleep onset before 10:00 pm remaining significant for men.
Dr. Plans said: “Our study indicates that the optimum time to go to sleep is at a specific point in the body’s 24-hour cycle and deviations may be detrimental to health. The riskiest time was after midnight, potentially because it may reduce the likelihood of seeing morning light, which resets the body clock.”
Dr. Plans noted that the reasons for the observed stronger association between sleep onset and cardiovascular disease in women is unclear. He said: “It may be that there is a sex difference in how the endocrine system responds to a disruption in circadian rhythm. Alternatively, the older age of study participants could be a confounding factor since women’s cardiovascular risk increases post-menopause—meaning there may be no difference in the strength of the association between women and men.”
He concluded: “While the findings do not show causality, sleep timing has emerged as a potential cardiac risk factor—independent of other risk factors and sleep characteristics. If our findings are confirmed in other studies, sleep timing and basic sleep hygiene could be a low-cost public health target for lowering risk of heart disease.”
Garlic compounds may boost cardio health indirectly via gut microbiota
National Taiwan University, November 6 2021
Allicin from garlic may prevent the metabolism of unabsorbed L-carnitine or choline into TMAO, a compound linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, says a new study from the National Taiwan University.
TMAO – or trimethylamine N-oxide – has been known to be generated from dietary carnitine through metabolism of gut microbiota, and was recently reported to be an “important gut microbiota-dependent metabolite to cause cardiovascular diseases,” explained Taiwanese researchers in the Journal of Functional Foods .
While antibiotics have been found to inhibit TMAO production, concerns over side effects and resistance have limited their use. This has led researchers to examine the potential of natural alternatives.
New data indicated that carnitine-fed lab mice showed a “remarkable increase in plasma TMAO levels”, compared with lab mice fed a control (no carnitine). However, when allicin supplements were provided with the carnitine diet, TMAO levels were significantly reduced.
“Surprisingly, the plasma TMAO levels in the mice of ‘carnitine diet + allicin’ treatment group were as low as that of chow diet [control] group,” wrote the researchers. “This result indicated that the metabolic capacity of mice gut microbiota to produce TMAO was completely inhibited by allicin supplement even though provided with carnitine-rich environment in the gut.
“It means the functional alteration of gut microbiota induced by carnitine diet can be prevented by addition of another substance with antimicrobial potential derived from food, such as allicin.”
Garlic and heart health
The study adds to the body of scientific literature supporting the potential heart health benefits of garlic and the compounds it contains.
Consumer awareness of the health benefits of garlic, mostly in terms of cardiovascular and immune system health, has benefited the supplements industry, particularly since consumers seek the benefits of garlic without the odors that accompany the fresh bulb.
The benefits have been linked to the compound allicin, which is not found in fresh garlic: It is only formed when garlic is crushed, which breaks down a compound called diallyl sulphide.
“This may offer an opportunity to take advantage of plants’ delicately designed defense system against microorganisms, to protect ourselves by modulating gut microbiota to a healthier status,” wrote the researchers
The Taiwanese researchers divided male C57BL/6(B6) mice into four groups: One group received only the control chow diet; the second group received the carnitine diet (carnitine added to drinking water at a level of 0.02%); the third group received the carnitine diet with supplemental allicin; and the final group received the control diet plus the allicin supplement for six weeks.
Results showed that the second group (carnitine diet) had TMAO levels 4–22 times greater than those observed in the control group. However, these increases were attenuated in the carnitine + allicin group, said the researchers.
“Our study suggests that antimicrobial phytochemicals such as allicin effectively neutralize the metabolic ability of TMAO production of gut microbiota induced by daily intake of L-carnitine,” wrote the researchers. “It may offer an opportunity for us to take advantage of plants’ delicately designed defense system against microorganisms, to protect ourselves by modulating gut microbiota to a healthier status.
“Our research also suggested that allicin and dietary fresh garlic containing allicin might be used as functional foods for the prevention of atherosclerosis,” they concluded.
University of Texas Health Science Center, November 9, 2021
Exposure in utero to a drug used to prevent miscarriage can lead to an increased risk of developing cancer, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston).
The study was published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The drug, 17α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17-OHPC), is a synthetic progestogen that was frequently used by women in the 1950s and 1960s, and is still prescribed to women today to help prevent preterm birth. Progesterone helps the womb grow during pregnancy and prevents a woman from having early contractions that may lead to miscarriage.
“Children who were born to women who received the drug during pregnancy have double the rate of cancer across their lifetime compared to children born to women who did not take this drug,” said Caitlin C. Murphy, PhD, MPH, lead author on the study and associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston. “We have seen cancers like colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, and many others increasing in people born in and after the 1960s, and no one really knows why.”
Researchers reviewed data from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan on women who received prenatal care between June 1959 and June 1967, and the California Cancer Registry, which traced cancer in offspring through 2019.
Out of more than 18,751 live births, researchers discovered 1,008 cancer diagnoses were made in offspring ages 0 to 58 years. Additionally, a total of 234 offspring were exposed to 17-OHPC during pregnancy. Offspring exposed in the womb had cancer detected in adulthood more than twice as often as offspring not exposed to the drug – 65% of cancers occurred in adults younger than 50.
“Our findings suggest taking this drug during pregnancy can disrupt early development, which may increase risk of cancer decades later,” Murphy said “With this drug, we are seeing the effects of a synthetic hormone. Things that happened to us in the womb, or exposures in utero, are important risk factors for developing cancer many decades after we’re born.”
A new randomized trial shows there is no benefit of taking 17-OHPC, and that it does not reduce the risk of preterm birth, according to Murphy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed in October 2020 that this particular drug be withdrawn from the market.
Michael Kane is a New York City Special Education Teacher who is on unpaid leave for declining to inject the covid vaccine as a condition of employment. He applied for a religious exemption to vaccination but was denied by the city. Because of this, he is suing Mayor de Blasio and recently won an injunction in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the case KANE vs DE BLASIO.
University College London, November 15, 2021
A study comparing the impact of diet versus drugs on the inner workings of cells has found nutrition has a much stronger impact. The pre-clinical study by the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre suggests the makeup of our diet could be more powerful than drugs in keeping conditions like diabetes, stroke and heart disease at bay.
Conducted in mice, the research showed nutrition (including overall calories and macronutrient balance) had a greater impact on aging and metabolic health than three drugs commonly used to treat diabetes and slow down aging.
"Diet is a powerful medicine. However, presently drugs are administered without consideration of whether and how they might interact with our diet composition—even when these drugs are designed to act in the same way, and on the same nutrient-signaling pathways as diet," said Professor Simpson. "We discovered dietary composition had a far more powerful effect than drugs, which largely dampened responses to diet rather than reshaped them," said Professor Simpson.
The researchers found calorie intake and the balance of macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) in the diet had a strong impact on the liver.
Protein and total calorie intake had a particularly powerful effect not just on metabolic pathways, but also on fundamental processes that control the way our cells function.
owed how food can dramatically influence many of the processes operating in our cells. This gives us insights into how diet impacts on health and aging."
Kapodistrian University (Greece), November 10, 2021
A new study shows that people who consumed an anti-inflammatory diet that includes more fruits, vegetables, beans, and tea or coffee, had a lower risk of developing dementia later in life.
The study looked at 1,059 people in Greece with an average age of 73 who did not have dementia.
Each person answered a food frequency questionnaire that is commonly used to determine the inflammatory potential of a person's diet. The questionnaire sought information on the main food groups consumed during the previous month, including dairy products, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, legumes, which include beans, lentils and peas, added fats, alcoholic beverages, stimulants and sweets.
After adjusting for age, sex and education, researchers found that each one-point increase in dietary inflammatory score was associated with a 21% increase in dementia risk. Compared to the lowest third of participants who consumed the least inflammatory diet, those in the top third were three times more likely to develop dementia.
Mind over matter? Long Covid study sparks controversy
Hotel-Dieu Hospital Paris (France), November 15, 2021
A large-scale French study suggesting symptoms of so-called long COVID may be more due to psychological factors than to infection with the virus has sparked debate among patients and scientists. The report that appeared earlier this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association focused on nearly 27,000 participants across France who took antibody tests to screen for COVID infection.
After the subjects had received the antibody test results, researchers asked them whether they believed they had been infected with COVID and to report on symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness or impaired attention.
The vast majority of respondents—over 25,000 people—tested negative for COVID antibodies and believed they had never been sick. Researchers found that people who believed they had had COVID, whether or not they had had a positive test, were more likely to report long-term symptoms.
They concluded that persistent physical symptoms "may be associated more with the belief in having been infected with SARS-CoV-2 than with having laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection". But long COVID is itself very poorly defined—and that makes research on the subject hard to frame.
"The case definition is bad," said Perry Wilson of Yale University on the Medscape website. "We have zero diagnostic tests, and papers like this may be used to argue it isn't even a real problem."
Strong links between certain food groups, memory loss and comorbid heart disease or diabetes
University of Technology Sydney, November 6, 2021
UTS research studied data from 139,000 older Australians and found found high consumption of fruit and vegetables was linked to lowered odds of memory loss and its comorbid heart disease. High consumption of protein-rich foods was associated with a better memory.
Dr. Xu also found the link between food groups and memory status may vary among different older age groups. People aged 80 years and over with a low consumption of cereals are at the highest risk of memory loss and its comorbid heart disease, her research published in the International Journal of Public Health showed.
"Our present study implies that the healthy eating suggestions of cereals consumption in the prevention of memory loss and comorbid heart disease for older people may differ compared to other age groups," said Dr. Xu, who holds a Heart Foundation postdoctoral research fellowship.
Largest randomised, controlled, double-blind psilocybin therapy study ever completed shows rapid and sustained response for patients receiving a single dose of COMP360 psilocybin with psychological support
Columbia University and COMPASS Pathways plc, November 9, 2021
COMPASS Pathways plc (Nasdaq: CMPS) (“COMPASS”), a mental health care company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health, today announced that its groundbreaking phase IIb clinical trial of COMP360 psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression has achieved its primary endpoint for the highest dose, with a 25mg dose of COMP360 demonstrating a highly statistically significant and clinically relevant reduction in depressive symptom severity after three weeks, with a rapid and durable treatment response*.
In the randomised, controlled, double-blind trial, a single dose of investigational COMP360 psilocybin was given to 233 patients in conjunction with psychological support from specially trained therapists. All patients discontinued antidepressants prior to participation.
This randomised, controlled, multicentre, double-blind phase IIb trial is the largest psilocybin therapy clinical trial ever conducted, with 233 patients from 10 countries in North America and Europe. 94% of the patients had no prior experience with psilocybin. The objective of the trial was to find the appropriate dose for a larger, pivotal phase III programme, which COMPASS expects to begin in 2022.
David J Hellerstein MD, a Principal Investigator on the trial and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, said: “Treatment-resistant depression is a common and devastating condition, affecting tens of millions of people, with few effective treatments. This is the largest modern study of a psychedelic drug, combined with psychological support, enrolling over 200 people with TRD. In this groundbreaking study, a single dose of psilocybin, given in conjunction with psychological support, generated a rapid response that lasted up to 12 weeks. Remission rates appear to be higher than seen in traditional medication studies. We now have evidence from a large well-designed trial that psilocybin may be effective for people with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. These findings suggest that COMP360 psilocybin therapy could play a major role in psychiatric care, if approved.”
KyungPook University and Pukyong University (S. Korea), November 15, 2017
In South America, Yerba Mate has been grown and taken medicinally for centuries. Researchers have shown that use of the herb over an extended period had significant effects on body weight and weight gain and was associated with lower levels of blood lipids and insulin in obese mice fed a high-fat diet.
Some of the most important antioxidant enzymes in the body are induced by mate. It is rich in polyphenols and displays high antioxidant activity. It's also a cancer killer. Mate tea drinkers experience a significant increase in the activity of an enzyme that promotes HDL (good) cholesterol which prevents fats from oxidizing. Mate is traditionally steeped and served in a hollow calabash gourd (itself called a mate) and drunk through a metal straw called a bombilla. You can also make mate in a standard automatic coffee maker. Just put the mate where you would normally put the coffee grounds.
This new study supports the anti-obesity effect of long-term supplementation with yerba mate, and its beneficial effects on related metabolic disorders.
University of California at Los Angeles, November 11, 2021
A new clinical study published in the scientific journal Nutrients found that consuming grapes significantly increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut which is considered essential to good health overall. Additionally, consuming grapes significantly decreased cholesterol levels, as well as bile acids which play an integral role in cholesterol metabolism. The findings suggest a promising new role for grapes in gut health and reinforce the benefits of grapes on heart health.
In the intervention study], healthy subjects consumed the equivalent of 1.5 cups of grapes per day – for four weeks. The subjects consumed a low fiber/low polyphenol diet throughout the study. After four weeks of grape consumption there was an increase in microbial diversity as measured by the Shannon index, a commonly used tool for measuring diversity of species.
Among the beneficial bacteria that increased was Akkermansia, a bacteria of keen interest for its beneficial effect on glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as on the integrity of the intestinal lining. Additionally, a decrease in blood cholesterols was observed including total cholesterol by 6.1% and LDL cholesterol by 5.9%. Bile acids, which are linked to cholesterol metabolism, were decreased by 40.9%.
Kansas City VA Medical Center, November 8 2021.
The October 2021 issue of the Journal of the Endocrine Society published findings from a retrospective study of US veterans that uncovered an association between supplementing with vitamin D and a lower risk of heart attack and mortality from any cause during up to 14 years of follow-up.
The study included men and women treated at the Kansas City VA Medical Center from 1999-2018 who had low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 20 ng/mL or less. Among 11,119 patients who were not treated with vitamin D supplements, follow-up vitamin D levels remained at 20 ng/mL or lower. For those who received the vitamin, levels improved to 21-29 ng/mL among 5,623 patients and to at least 30 ng/mL among 3,277 patients at follow-up.
Men and women whose vitamin D levels improved to at least 30 ng/mL had a risk of heart attack that was 35% lower than patients whose levels improved to 21-29 ng/mL and 27% lower than the untreated group. The difference in risk between untreated individuals and those whose levels improved to 21-29 ng/mL was not determined to be significant. Patients whose vitamin D levels improved the most also experienced significantly greater heart attack-free survival during follow-up than the remainder of the patients.
When mortality from any cause during follow-up was examined, men and women whose vitamin D levels improved to 21-29 ng/mL had a 41% lower risk, and those whose levels improved to 30 ng/mL or more had a 39% lower risk than the untreated group.
“These results suggest that targeting 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL might improve prognosis in the primary prevention setting among individuals with vitamin D deficiency,” authors Prakash Acharya of the University of Kansas Medical Center and colleagues wrote.
Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation and Thomas Jefferson University, November 12, 2021
It is projected that up to 152 million people worldwide will be living with Alzheimer's disease (AD) by 2050. To date there are no drugs that have a substantial positive impact on either the prevention or reversal of cognitive decline. A growing body of evidence finds that targeting lifestyle and vascular risk factors have a beneficial effect on overall cognitive performance. A new review in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, published by IOS Press, examines research that finds spiritual fitness, a new concept in medicine that centers on psychological and spiritual wellbeing may reduce multiple risk factors for AD.
Research reveals that religious and spiritual involvement can preserve cognitive function as we age. Significantly, individuals who have a high score on a "purpose in life" (PIL) measure, a component of psychological wellbeing, were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of AD than individuals with low PIL. In another study, participants who reported higher levels of PIL exhibited better cognitive function, and further, PIL protected those with already existing pathological conditions, thus slowing their decline.
Rockefeller University, November 9, 2021
Decades after battling childhood cancer, survivors often face a new challenge: cardiometabolic disease. A spectrum of conditions that includes coronary heart disease and diabetes, cardiometabolic disease typically impacts people who are obese, elderly, or insulin resistant. For reasons yet unknown, young, seemingly healthy adults who survived childhood cancer are also at risk.
Radiation therapy may be to blame. A new study finds that childhood cancer patients who were treated with abdominal or total body irradiation grow up to display abnormalities in their adipose (fat) tissue, similar to those found in obese individuals with cardiometabolic disease.
"When physicians are planning radiation therapy, they are very conscious of toxicity to major organs. But fat is often not considered," says Rockefeller's Paul Cohen. "Our results imply that the early exposure of fat cells to radiation may cause long-term dysfunction in the adipose tissue that puts childhood cancer survivors at higher risk of cardiometabolic disease."
Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (Spain), November 10, 2021
The study, published in the journal Nature and part-funded by the UK charity Worldwide Cancer Research, uncovers how palmitic acid alters the cancer genome, increasing the likelihood the cancer will spread. The researchers have started developing therapies that interrupt this process and say a clinical trial could start in the next couple of years.
Newly published findings reveal that one such fatty acid commonly found in palm oil, called palmitic acid, promotes metastasis in oral carcinomas and melanoma skin cancer in mice. Other fatty acids called oleic acid and linoleic acid—omega-9 and omega-6 fats found in foods such as olive oil and flaxseeds—did not show the same effect. Neither of the fatty acids tested increased the risk of developing cancer in the first place.
The research found that when palmitic acid was supplemented into the diet of mice, it not only contributed to metastasis, but also exerts long-term effects on the genome. Cancer cells that had only been exposed to palmitic acid in the diet for a short period of time remained highly metastatic even when the palmitic acid had been removed from the diet. The researchers discovered that this "memory" is caused by epigenetic changes—changes to how our genes function. The epigenetic changes alter the function of metastatic cancer cells and allow them to form a neural network around the tumor to communicate with cells in their immediate environment and to spread more easily. By understanding the nature of this communication, the researchers uncovered a way to block it and are now in the process of planning a clinical trial to stop metastasis in different types of cancer.
Loma Linda University, November 15, 2021
A new study has found that eating nuts on a regular basis strengthens brainwave frequencies associated with cognition, healing, learning, memory and other key brain functions.
In the study titled "Nuts and brain: Effects of eating nuts on changing electroencephalograph brainwaves," researchers found that some nuts stimulated some brain frequencies more than others. Pistachios, for instance, produced the greatest gamma wave response, which is critical for enhancing cognitive processing, information retention, learning, perception and rapid eye movement during sleep. Peanuts, which are actually legumes, but were still part of the study, produced the highest delta response, which is associated with healthy immunity, natural healing, and deep sleep.
The study's principal investigator, Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, associate dean for research at the LLU School of Allied Health Professions, said that while researchers found variances between the six nut varieties tested (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts), all of them were high in beneficial antioxidants, with walnuts containing the highest antioxidant concentrations of all.
University of Hertfordshire (UK), November 11, 2021
While there are many reasons processed meats aren’t great for our health, one reason is because they contain chemicals called nitrates and nitrites. But processed meats aren’t the only foods that contain these chemicals. In fact, many vegetables also contain high amounts – mainly nitrates. And yet research suggests that eating vegetables lowers – not raises – cancer risk. So how can nitrates and nitrites be harmful when added to meat but healthy in vegetables? The answer lies in how nitrates and nitrites in food get converted into other molecules.
Nitrates and nitrites occur attached to sodium or potassium, and belong to a family of chemically related molecules that also includes the gas nitric oxide. Vegetables such as beetroot, spinach and cabbages are particularly good sources of nitrates.
When we eat something containing nitrates or nitrites, they may convert into a related molecular form. For example, nitrate in vegetables and in the pharmaceutical form nitroglycerine (which is used to treat angina), can convert in the body into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure.
It’s actually sodium nitrite – not nitrate – that’s linked to cancer. But if consuming nitrites alone directly caused cancer, then even eating vegetables would be harmful to us. Given this isn’t the case, it shows us that cancer risk likely comes from when the sodium nitrites react with other molecules in the body. So it isn’t necessarily the nitrates and nitrites themselves that cause health issues – including cancer. Rather, it’s what form they are converted into that can increase risk – and what these converted molecules interact with in our bodies.
The main concern is when sodium nitrite reacts with degraded bits of amino acids – protein fragments our body produces during the digestion of proteins – forming molecules called N-nitroso compounds (NOCs). These NOCs have been shown to cause cancer.
Texas Tech University, November 8, 2021
In a controlled-feeding study, the researchers found that seasoning foods with 6.5 grams, or about 1.3 teaspoons, of herbs and spices a day was linked with lower blood pressure after four weeks. The findings offer people a simple way to help improve their heart health.
For the study, the researchers recruited 71 people with risk factors for heart disease. Every participant consumed every spice diet—one low, one moderate, and one high in herbs and spices—in a random order for four weeks each, with a two-week break between each diet period. Blood samples were drawn from each participant at the beginning of the study as well as after each diet period.
The doses included a blend of 24 different herbs and spices, ranging from basil and thyme to cinnamon and turmeric, designed to simulate the way people use different herbs and spices throughout the day while cooking.
The researchers found that after consuming the diet including a high dose of herbs and spices, participants had lower systolic blood pressure than after the diet with the medium dose. Participants also had lower diastolic blood pressure after the diet with a high dose of herbs and spices than after the diet with a low dose.
University of Colorado Cancer Center, November 11, 2021
Bitter melon (Momordica charantia), also known as bitter gourd and balsam pear in other parts of the world, is one of those foods that meet more than your senses of sight and taste. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center demonstrated the vegetable’s ability to fight pancreatic cancer, one of the hardest cancers to treat.
It found that treating pancreatic cancer tumors in mice with 5 milligrams of freeze-dried bitter melon juice every day reduces the tumors’ size and makes them 64 percent smaller than those in untreated mice. What more, bitter melon proved more effective than a common chemotherapy drug used in a similar study, which reduced the tumor size by only 52 percent. The researchers noted that the dosage used in the study caused no adverse effects on the mice and may be adapted for human consumption.
In another study, bitter melon caused apoptosis – cellular death – in four pancreatic cancer cell lines, reducing the viability of two lines by 90 percent and the other two by an impressive 98 percent. It also halted the metastasis and re-growth of the cancer cells. Further research has shown the vegetable’s activity against other types of cancer as well, including blood, colon, liver, stomach, and breast cancers.
If you really don’t think you can take the vegetable’s flavor, you can take it in capsule form. Do note that some studies showing its benefits for blood sugar control used dosages as high as 2,000 mg a day. To ensure that bitter melon supplements are the best for your condition, it would be best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking them.
University of California at Riverside, November 7, 2021
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, are a class of fire-retardant chemicals that are ubiquitous. They are found on upholstery, carpets, curtains, electronics, and even infant products. Flame retardants migrate out of products into dust that humans contact and can ingest. Considered to be global environmental pollutants, they have been detected in water, soil, air, food products, animals, and human tissues. They are found, too, in breast milk of women all over the world.
A research team has found that when female mice exposed to PBDEs pass on these neuroendocrine-disrupting chemicals to their developing offspring, the female offspring show traits relevant to autism spectrum disorders, or ASD. Their short-term social-recognition ability and long-term social memory is reduced significantly and the offspring show exaggerated “marble burying” behavior — repetitive behavior reminiscent of human compulsive behavior, a core symptom of ASD.
“Humans mostly rely on faces to recognize people and most autistics show deficits in face-identity processing,” Curras-Collazo explained. “Mice, on the other hand, rely on smell for social recognition. The female offspring of mother mice exposed to PBDEs showed olfactory deficits that dampened their ability to recognize other mice. In effect, these offspring do not distinguish new mice from familiar ones. Humans with ASD also show abnormal olfactory ability.”
To the authors’ knowledge, their study is the first to show autistic-relevant behavior and brain changes in female offspring from maternal transfer of environmental pollutants. The behaviors were also tested in exposed mothers, but they were largely unaffected. ype and social neuropeptide alterations in female mice offspring induced by maternal transfer of PBDE congeners in the commercial mixture DE‑71.”
Harvard Medical School , November 8, 2021
Two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may help improve brain function in older adults who have a type of heart disease known to put people at risk for cognitive decline.
A new study found that DHA and EPA, given in a combined supplement at prescription levels, improved cognitive function in older adults with coronary artery disease, or CAD. It is a common type of heart disease that occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries and hinders proper blood flow. Studies have shown people with CAD have a 45% increased risk for cognitive decline.
The largest improvements in brain function were seen when higher levels of both types of omega-3 fatty acids were present in the bloodstream. When analyzed individually, DHA levels were a better predictor for cognitive improvement than EPA, suggesting the presence of one type of omega-3 fatty acid was more important than the other, the authors concluded.
"The study showed EPA adds additional benefit when DHA levels are already high," said study researcher Dr. Francine Welty, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "But EPA levels alone had no predictive ability for cognitive improvement."
University of Waterloo (Canada), November 8, 2021
Mindful awareness is about both accepting and engaging with life's challenges, and that's what popularized concepts of mindfulness tend to miss, new research has found.
Studying popular concepts of mindfulness, the researchers found most laypeople are confusing the practice with passive acceptance of problem—a misconception scientists say ignores the important work of engaging with them. Originating in Buddhist religious practice, much of the mindfulness movement's popularity grew from clinical research affirming its potential for reducing stress and related health disorders.
It is, in fact, the engagement with stressors that ultimately results in stress relief. More specifically, mindfulness includes two main dimensions: awareness and acceptance.
"While we found that people seem to conceptually understand that mindfulness involves engagement, the general public is not walking the talk. Our results suggest that laypeople may understand what awareness is, but the next step of acceptance may not be well understood—limiting potential for engaging with problems," said Ellen Choi, lead author on the paper.
Intermountain Medical Center (Utah), November 11, 2021
Heart complications in patients diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia are more serious than in patients diagnosed with viral pneumonia, according to new research.
In the study of nearly 5,000 patients, researchers found that patients diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia had a 60 percent greater risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death than patients who had been diagnosed with viral pneumonia.
"We've always known pneumonia was a risk factor for a major adverse cardiac event, like a heart attack, within the first 90 days of being diagnosed," said J. Brent Muhlestein, MD, a cardiovascular researcher with the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center. "What we didn't know was which type of pneumonia was more dangerous. The results of this study provided a clear answer, which will allow physicians to better monitor patients and focus on reducing their risk of a major adverse cardiac event."
Nearly 80 percent of the patients were diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia, and 34 percent (1,270 patients) of them had a major cardiovascular event within 90 days. At the same time, 21 percent of the patients were diagnosed with viral pneumonia, and 26 percent (258 patients) had a major adverse event within the 90-day window.
"The likely underlying cause is that bacterial pneumonia causes greater inflammation of the arteries compared to viral pneumonia," said Dr. Muhlestein.
Florida State University, November 11, 2021
Pollution from miniscule pieces of plastic, or microplastics, have been a growing concern for scientists, public health advocates and environmentalists as these nondegradable items have increasingly made their way into waterways and even the air we breathe.
Now, a team researchers found that exposure to microplastics for only a few days caused human lung cells to slow down their metabolism and growth, change shapes, and decluster so that gaps exist in what is typically a solid sheet of cells. The findings raise questions about the long-term effects of microplastics on human health, particularly for those who already have respiratory conditions.
The team exposed lung cells in a petri dish to small amounts of polystyrene at levels that are commonly found in the environment and found that though the plastic didn’t cause cell death, it caused some interesting changes. After only a few days, they found that the cell’s metabolic processes had slowed down, cell proliferation was inhibited, the shape of the cell morphed and the delustering had occurred. Additionally, the team found that the microplastic particles were uptaken by the cells and had formed a ring around the nucleus in the cell.
Subject: The Case Against Vaccine Mandates -- Response to Alan Dershowitz's Case in Favor of Mandates
Kent Heckenlively is an attorney with a jurist doctoral degree, a science teacher and a founding contributing editor of Age of Autism, a daily web newsletter about the autism epidemic that investigates autism as an environmentally induced and treatable illness. In the past he has worked for US Senator Pete Wilson from California and the US Attorney’s Office in San Francisco. His daughter Jacqueline has severe autism due to a vaccine injury. Kent is the author and co-author o nine books. His most recent is "The Case Against Vaccine Mandates" is a counter-response to Alan Dershowitz's recently published "The Case for Vaccine Mandates." Earlier Kent authored “Inoculated: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism,” which tells the story of how vaccines have become a 30 year disaster since the passage of Ronald Reagan’s 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act that gave vaccine makers immunity from vaccine injuries. Kent is also the co-author of two books by recent whistleblowers: "Google Leaks" with Zach Vorhies, and "Behind the Mask of Facebook" with Ryan Hartwig -- both who have been guests on past recent programs.
Celia Ingrid Farber is an American print journalist and author, best known for her part in the campaign which denies that AIDS is an infectious disease. She has also covered a range of topics for magazines including Spin, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Harper's, Interview, Salon, Gear, New York Press, Media Post, The New York Post, Sunday Herald, and was particularly noted for a report on OJ Simpson's post-trial life in 1998. Farber is the daughter of radio talk pioneer Barry Farber.
Sins Of Omission: The AZT Scandal
By Celia Farber
Spin Nov. 1989
On a cold January day in 1987, inside one of the brightly-lit meeting rooms of the monstrous FDA building, a panel of 11 top Aids doctors pondered a very difficult decision. They had been asked by the FDA to consider giving lightning-quick approval to a highly toxic drug about which there was very little information. Clinically called Zidovudine, but nicknamed AZT after its components, the drug was said to have shown a dramatic effect on the survival of Aids patients. The study that had brought the panel together had set the medical community abuzz. It was the first flicker of hope - people were dying much faster on the placebo than on the drug.
But there were tremendous concerns about the new drug. It had actually been developed a quarter of a century earlier as a cancer chemotherapy, but was shelved and forgotten because it was so toxic, very expensive to produce, and totally ineffective against cancer. Powerful, but unspecific, the drug was not selective in its cell destruction.
Drug companies around the world were sifting through hundreds of compounds in the race to find a cure, or at least a treatment, for Aids. Burroughs Wellcome, a subsidiary of Wellcome, a British drug company, emerged as the winner. By chance, they sent the failed cancer drug, then known as Compound S, to the National Cancer Institute along with many others to see if it could slay the Aids dragon, HIV. In the test tube at least, it did.
At the meeting, there was a lot of uncertainty and discomfort with AZT. The doctors who had been consulted knew that the study was flawed and that the long-range effects were completely unknown. But the public was almost literally baying at the door. Understandably, there was immense pressure on the FDA to approve AZT even more quickly than they had approved thalidomide in the mid-60s, which ended up causing drastic birth defects.
Everybody was worried about this one. To approve it, said Ellen Cooper, an FDA director, would represent a "significant and potentially dangerous departure from our normal toxicology requirements."
Just before approving the drug, one doctor on the panel, Calvin Kunin, summed up their dilemma. "On the one hand," he said, "to deny a drug which decreases mortality in a population such as this would be inappropriate. On the other hand, to use this drug widely, for areas where efficacy has not been demonstrated, with a potentially toxic agent, might be disastrous."
"We do not know what will happen a year from now," said panel chairman Dr. Itzhak Brook. "The data is just too premature, and the statistics are not really well done. The drug could actually be detrimental." A little later, he said he was also "struck by the facts that AZT does not stop deaths. Even those who were switched to AZT still kept dying."
"I agree with you," answered another panel member, "There are so many unknowns. Once a drug is approved there is no telling how it could be abused. There's no going back."
Burroughs Wellcome reassured the panel that they would provide detailed two-year follow-up data, and that they would not let the drug get out of its intended parameters: as a stopgap measure for very sick patients.
Dr. Brook was not won over by the promise. "If we approve it today, there will not be much data. There will be a promise of data," he predicted, "but then the production of data will be hampered." Brook's vote was the only one cast against approval.
'There was not enough data, not enough follow-up," Brook recalls. "Many of the questions we asked the company were answered by, 'We have not analyzed the data yet,' or 'We do not know.' I felt that there was some promising data, but I was very worried about the price being paid for it. The side effects were so very severe. It was chemotherapy. Patients were going to need blood transfusions. That's very serious.
"The committee was tending to agree with me," says Brook, "that we should wait a little bit, be more cautious. But once the FDA realized we were intending to reject it, they applied political pressure. At about 4 p.m., the head of the FDA's Center for Drugs and Biologics asked permission to speak, which is extremely unusual. Usually they leave us alone. But he said to us, 'Look, if you approve the drug, we can assure you that we will work together with Burroughs Wellcome and make sure the drug is given to the right people.' It was like saying 'please do it.'"
Brad Stone, FDA press officer, was at that meeting. He says he doesn't recall that particular speech, but that there is nothing 'unusual" about FDA officials making such speeches at advisory meetings. "The people in that meeting approved the drug because the data the company had produced proved it was prolonging life. Sure it was toxic, but they concluded that the benefits clearly outweighed the risks."
The meeting ended. AZT, which several members of the panel still felt uncomfortable with and feared could be a time bomb, was approved.
Flash forward: August 17, 1989. Newspapers across America banner-headlined that AZT had been "proven to be effective in HIV antibody-positive, asymptomatic and early ARC patients," even through one of the panel's main concerns was that the drug should only be used in a last-case scenario for critically-ill AIDS patients, due to the drug's extreme toxicity. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was now pushing to expand prescription.
The FDA's traditional concern had been thrown to the wind. Already the drug had spread to 60 countries and an estimated 20.000 people. Not only had no new evidence allayed the initial concerns of the panel, but the follow-up data, as Dr. Brook predicted, had fallen by the waysite. The beneficial effects of the drug had been proven to be temporary. The toxicity, however stayed the same.
The majority of those in the AIDS afflicted and medical communities held the drug up as the first breakthrough on AIDS. For better or worse, AZT had been approved faster than any drug in FDA history, and activists considered it a victory. The price paid for the victory, however, was that almost all government drug trials, from then on, focused on AZT - while over 100 other promising drugs were left uninvestigated.
Burroughs Wellcome stock went through the roof when the announcement was made. At a price of $8,000 per patient per year (not including blood work and transfusions), AZT is the most expensive drug ever marketed. Burroughs Wellcome's gross profits for next year are estimated at $230 million. Stock market analysts predict that Burroughs Wellcome may be selling as much as $2 billion worth of AZT, under the brand name Retrovir, each year by the mid-1990s - matching Burroughs Wellcome's total sales for all its products last year.
AZT is the only antiretroviral drug that has received FDA approval for treatment of AIDS since the epidemic began 10 years ago, and the decision to approve it was based on a single study that has long been declared invalid.
The study was intended to be a "double-blind placebo-controlled study," the only kind of study that can effectively prove whether or not a drug works. In such a study, neither patient nor doctor is supposed to know if the patient is getting the drug or a placebo. In the case of AZT, the study became unblinded on all sides, after just a few weeks.
Both sides of the contributed to the unblinding. It became obvious to doctors who was getting what because AZT causes such severe side effects that AIDS per se does not. Furthermore, a routine blood count known as CMV, which clearly shows who is on the drug and who is not, wasn't whited out in the reports. Both of these facts were accepted and confirmed by both the FDA and Burroughs Wellcome, who conducted the study.
Many of the patients who were in the trial admitted that they had analyzed their capsules to find out whether they were getting the drug. If they weren't, some bought the drug on the underground market. Also, the pills were supposed to be indistinguishable by taste, but they were not. Although this was corrected early on, the damage was already done. There were also reports that patients were pooling pills out solidarity to each other. The study was so severely flawed that its conclusions must be considered, by the most basic scientific standards, unproven.
The most serious problem with the original study, however, is that it was never completed. Seventeen weeks in the study, when more patients had died in the placebo group, the study was stopped short, and all subjects were put on AZT, no scientific study can ever be conducted to prove unequivocally whether AZT does prolong life.
Dr. Brook, who voted against approval, warned at the time that AZT, being the only drug available for doctors to prescribe to AIDS patients, would probably have a runaway effect. Approving it prematurely, he said, would be like "letting the genie out of the bottle."
Brook pointed out that since the drug is a form of chemotherapy, it should only be prescribed by doctors who have experience with chemotherapeutic drugs. Because of the most severe toxic effects of AZT - cell depletion of the bone marrow - patients would need frequent blood transfusions. As it happened, AZT was rampantly prescribed as soon as it was released, way beyond its purported parameters. The worst-case scenario had come true: Doctors interviewed by the New York Times later in 1987 revealed that they were already giving AZT to healthy people who had tested positive for antibodies to HIV.
The FDA's function is to weigh a drug's efficacy against its potential hazards. The equation is simple and obvious: A drug must unquestionably repair more than it damages, otherwise the drug itself may cause more harm than the disease it is supposed to fight. Exactly what many doctors and scientists fear is happening with AZT.
AZT was singled out among hundreds of compounds when Dr. Sam Broder, the head of the National Cancer Institutes (NCI), found that it "inhibited HIV viral replication in vitro." AIDS is considered a condition of immune suppression caused by the HIV virus replicating and eating its way into T-4 cells, which are essential to the immune system. HIV is a retrovirus which contains an enzyme called reverse transcriptase that converts viral RNA to DNA. AZT was thought to work by interrupting this DNA synthesis, thus stopping further replication of the virus.
While it was always known that the drug was exceedingly toxic, the first study concluded that 'the risk/benefits ratio was in favour of the patient."
In the study that won FDA approval for AZT, the one fact that swayed the panel of judges was that the AZT group outlived the placebo group by what appeared to be a landslide. The ace card of the study, the one that cancelled out the issue of the drug's enormous toxicity, was that 19 persons had died in the placebo group and only one in the AZT group. The AZT recipients were also showing a lower incidence of opportunistic infections.
While the data staggered the panel that approved the drug, other scientists insisted that it meant nothing - because it was so shabbily gathered, and because of the unblinding. Shortly after the study was stopped, the death rate accelerated in the AZT group. "There was no great difference after a while," says Dr. Brook, "between the treated and the untreated group."
"That study was so sloppily done that it really didn't mean much," says Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, a leading New York City AIDS doctor.
Dr. Harvey Bialy, scientific editor of the journal Biotechnology, is stunned by the low quality of science surrounding AIDS research. When asked if he had seen any evidence of the claims made for AZT, that it "prolongs life" in AIDS patients, Bialy said, "No. I have not seen a published study that is rigorously done, analyzed and objectively reported."
Bialy, who is also a molecular biologist, is horrified by the widespread use of AZT, not just because it is toxic, but because, he insists, the claims its widespread use are based upon are false. "I can't see how this drug could be doing anything other than making people very sick," he says.
The scientific facts about AZT and AIDS are indeed astonishing. Most ironically, the drug has been found to accelerate the very process it was said to prevent: the loss of T-4 cells.
"Undeniably, AZT kills T-4 cells [white blood cells vital to the immune system]" says Bialy. "No one can argue with that. AZT is a chain-terminating nucleotide, which means that it stops DNA replication. It seeks out any cell that is engaged in DNA replication and kills it. The place where most of this replication is taking place is the bone marrow. That's why the most common and severe side effect of the drug is bone marrow toxicity. That is why they [patients] need blood transfusions."
AZT has been aggressively and repeatedly marketed as a drug that prolongs survival in AIDS patients because it stops the HIV virus from replicating and spreading to healthy cells. But, says Bialy: "There is no good evidence that HIV actively replicates in a person with AIDS, and if there's isn't much HIV replication in a person with AIDS, and if there isn't much HIV replication to stop, it's mostly killing healthy cells."
University of California at Berkeley scientist Dr. Peter Duesberg drew the same conclusion in a paper published in the Proceedings, the journal of the National Academy of Sciences. Duesberg, whose paper addressed his contention that HIV is not a sufficient cause for AIDS, wrote: "Even if HIV were to cause AIDS, it would hardly be legitimate target for AZT therapy, because in 70 to 100 percent of antibody positive persons, proviral DNA is not detectable... and its biosynthesis has never been observed."
As a chemotherapeutic drug, explained Duesberg, explained Duesberg, AZT "kills dividing blood cells and other cells," and is thus "directly immunosuppressive."
"The cell is almost a million-fold bigger target than the virus, so the cell will be much, much more sensitive," says Duesberg. "Only very few cells, about one in 10,000 are actively making the virus containing DNA, so you must kill incredibly large numbers of cells to inhibit the virus. This kind of treatment could only theoretically help if you have a massive infection, which is not the case with AIDS. Meanwhile, they're giving this drug that ends up killing millions of lymphocytes [white blood cells]. It's beyond me how that could possibly be beneficial."
"It doesn't really kill them," Burroughs Wellcome scientists Sandra Lehrman argues. "You don't necessarily have to destroy the cell, you can just change the function of it. Furthermore, while the early data said that the only very few cells were infected, new data says that there may be more cells infected. We have more sensitive detection techniques now."
"Changes their function? From what - functioning to not functioning? Another example of mediocre science," says Bialy. "The 'sensitive detection technique' to which Dr. Lehrman refers, PCR, is a notoriously unreliable one upon which to base quantitative conclusions."
When specific questions about the alleged mechanisms of AZT are asked, the answers are long, contradictory, and riddled with unknowns. Every scientific point raised about the drug is eventually answered with the blanket response, "The drug is not perfect, but it's all we have right now." About the depletion of T-4 cells and other white cells, Lehrman says, "We don't know why T-4 cells go up at first, and then go down. That is one of the drug mechanisms that we are trying to understand."
When promoters of AZT are pressed on key scientific points, whether at the NIH, FDA, Burroughs Wellcome or an AIDS organization, they often become angry. The idea that the drug is "doing something," even though this is invariably followed with irritable admissions that there are "mechanisms about the drug and disease we don't understand," is desperately clung to. It is as if, in the eye of the AIDS storm, the official, government-agency sanctioned position is immunized against critique. Skepticism and challenge, so essential to scientific endeavour, is not welcome in the AZT debate, where it is arguably needed more than anywhere else.
The toxic effects of AZT, particularly bone marrow suppression and anemia, are so severe that up to 50 percent of all AIDS and ARC patients cannot tolerate it and have to be taken off it. In the approval letter that Burroughs Wellcome sent to the FDA, all of 50 additional side effects of AZT, aside from the most common ones, were listed. These included: loss of mental acuity, muscle spasms, rectal bleeding and tremors.
Anemia one of AZT's common side effects, is the depletion of red blood cells, and according to Duesberg, "Red blood cells are the one thing you cannot do without. Without red cells, you cannot pick up oxygen."
Fred, a person with AIDS, was put on AZT and suffered such severe anemia from the drug he had to be taken off it. In an interview in the AIDS handbook Surviving and Thriving With AIDS, he described what anemia feels like to the editor Michael Callen: "I live in a studio and my bathroom is a mere five-step walk from my be. I would just lie there for two hours; I couldn't get up to take those five steps. When I was taken to the hospital, I had to have someone come over to dress me. It's that kind of severe fatigue... The quality of my life was pitiful... I've never felt so bad... I stopped the AZT and the mental confusion, the headaches, the pains in the neck, the nausea, all disappeared within a 24-hour period."
"I feel very good at this point," Fred went on. "I feel like the quality of my life was a disaster two weeks ago. And it really was causing a great amount of fear in me, to the point where I was taking sleeping pills to calm down. I was so worried. I would totally lose track of what I was saying in the middle of a sentence. I would lose my directions on the street."
"Many AIDS patients are anemic even before they receive the drug." Says Burroughs Wellcome's Dr. Lehrman, "because HIV itself can infect the bone marrow and cause anemia."
This argument betrays a bizarre reasoning. If AIDS patients are already burdened with the problems such as immune suppression, bone marrow toxicity and anemia, is compounding these problems an improvement?
"Yes AZT is a form of chemotherapy." Says the man who invented the compound a quarter-century ago, Jerome Horowitz. "It is cytotoxic, and as such, it causes bone marrow toxicity and anemia. There are problems with the drug. It's not perfect. But I don't think anybody would agree that AZT is of no use. People can holler from now until doomsday that it is toxic, but you have to go with the results."
The results, finally and ironically, are what damns AZT. Several studies on the clinical effects of AZT - including the one that Burroughs Wellcome's approval was based on - have drawn the same conclusion: that AZT is effective for a few months, but that its effect drops of sharply after that. Even the original AZT study showed that T-4 cells went up for a while and then plummeted. HIV levels went down, and then came back up. This fact was well-known when the advisory panel voted for approval. As panel member Dr. Stanley Lemon said in the meeting, "I am left with the nagging thought after seeing several of these slides, that after 16 to 24 weeks - 12 to 16 weeks, I guess - the effect seems to be declining."
A follow-up meeting, two years after the original Burroughs Wellcome study, was scheduled to discuss the long range effects of AZT, and the survival statistics. As one doctor present at that meeting in May 1988 recall, "They hadn't followed up the study. Anything that looked beneficial was gone within half a year. All they had were some survival statistics averaging 44 weeks. The p24 didn't pan out and there was no persistent improvement in the T-4 cells."
HIV levels in the blood are measured by an antigen called p24. Burroughs Wellcome made the claim that AZT lowered this level, that is, lowered the amount of HIV in the blood. At the first FDA meeting, Burroughs Wellcome emphasized how the drug had "lowered" the p24 levels; at the follow-up meeting, they didn't mention it.
As that meeting was winding down, Dr. Michael Lange, head of the AIDS program at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, spoke up about this. "The claim of AZT is made on the fact that it is supposed to have an antiviral effect," he said to Burroughs Wellcome, "and on this we have seen no data at all... Since there is a report in the Lancet [a leading British medical journal] that after 20 weeks or so, in many patients p24 came back, do you have any data on that?"
"What counts is the bottom line," one of the scientists representing Burroughs Wellcome summed up, "the survival, the neurologic function, the absence of progression and the quality of life, all of which are better. Whether you call it better because of some antiviral effect, or some other antibacterial effect, they are still better."
Dr. Lange suggested that the drug may be effective the same way a simple anti-inflammatory, such as aspirin, is effective. An inexpensive, nontoxic drug called Indomecithin, he pointed out, might serve the same function, without the devastating side effects.
One leading AIDS researcher, who was part of the FDA approval process, says today: "Does AZT do anything? Yes, it does. But the evidence that it does something against HIV is really not there."
"There have always been drugs that we use without knowing exactly how they work," says Nobel Prize winner Walter Gilbert. "The really important thing to look at is the clinical effect. Is the drug helping or isn't it?"
"I'm living proof that AZT works," says one person with ARC on AZT. "I've been on it for two years now, and I'm certainly healthier than I was two years ago. It's not a cure-all, it's not a perfect drug, but it is effective. It's slowing down the progression of the disease."
"Sometimes I feel like swallowing Drano," says another. "I mean, sometimes I have problems swallowing. I just don't like the idea of taking something that foreign to my body. But every six hours, I've got to swallow it. Until something better comes along, this is what is available to me."
"I am absolutely convinced that people enjoy a better quality of life and survive longer who do not take AZT," says Gene Fedorko, President of Health Education AIDS Liaison (HEAL). "I think it's horrible the way people are bullied by their doctors to take the drug. We get people coming to us shaking and crying because their doctors said they'll die if they don't take AZT. That is an absolute lie." Fedorko has drawn his conclusion from years of listening to the stories of people struggling to survive AIDS at HEAL's weekly support group.
"I wouldn't take AZT if you paid me," says Michael Callen, cofounder of New York City's PWA coalition, Community Research Initiative, and editor of several AIDS journals. Callen has survived AIDS for over seven years without the help of AZT. "I've gotten the shit kicked out me for saying this, but I think using AZT is like aiming a thermonuclear warhead at a mosquito. The overwhelming majority of long-term survivors I've known have chosen not to take AZT."
The last surviving patient from the original AZT trial, according to Burroughs Wellcome, died recently. When he died, he had been on AZT for three and one-half years. He was the longest surviving AZT recipient. The longest surviving AIDS patient overall, not on AZT, has lived for eight and one-half years.
An informal study of long-term survivors of AIDS followed 24 long-term survivors, all of whom had survived AIDS more than six years. Only one of them had recently begun taking AZT.
In the early days, AZT was said to extend lives. In actual fact, there is simply no solid evidence that AZT prolongs life.
"I think AZT does prolong life in most people," says Dr. Bruce Montgomery of the State University of New York City at Stony Brook, who is completing a study on AZT. "There are not very many long-tern survivors, and we really don't know why they survive. It could be luck. But most people are not so lucky."
"AZT does seem to help many patients," says Dr. Bernard Bahari, a New York City AIDS physician and researcher, "but it's very hard to determine whether it actually prolongs life."
"Many of the patients I see choose not to take AZT," says Dr. Don Abrams of San Francisco General Hospital. "I've been impressed that survival and lifespan are increasing for all people with AIDS. I think it has a lot to do with aerosolized Pentamidine [a drug that treats pneumocystis carinii pneumonia]. There's also the so-called plague effect, the fact that people get stronger and stronger when a disease hits a population. The patients I see today are not as fragile as the early patients were."
"Whether you live or die with AIDS is a function of how well your doctor treats you, not of AZT," says Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, one of New York's City's first and most reputable AIDS doctor, whose patients include many long-term survivors, although he has never prescribed AZT. Sonnabend was one of the first to make the simple observation that AIDS patients should be treated for their diseases, not just for their HIV infection.
Several studies have concluded that AZT has no effect on the two most common opportunistic AIDS infections, Pneumocystic Carinii Pneumonia (PCP) and Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS). The overwhelming majority of AIDS patients die of PCP, for which there has been an effective treatment for decades. This year, the FDA finally approved aerosolized Pentamidine for AIDS. A recent Memorial Sloan Kettering study concluded the following: By 15 months, 80% of people on AZT not receiving Pentamidine had a recurring episode. "All those deaths in the AZT study were treatable," Sonnabend says. "They weren't deaths from AIDS, they were deaths from treatable conditions. They didn't even do autopsies for that study. What kind of faith can one have in these people?"
"If there's any resistance to AZT in the general public at all, it's within the gay community of New York," says the doctor close to the FDA approval, who asked to remain anonymous. "The rest of the country has been brainwashed into thinking this drug really does that much. The data has all been manipulated by people who have a lot vested in AZT."
"If AIDS were not the popular disease that it is - the money-making and career-making machine - these people could not get away with that kind of shoddy science," says Bialy. "In all of my years in science I have never seen anything this atrocious." When asked if he thought it was at all possible that people have been killed as a result of AZT poisoning rather then AIDS he answered: "It's more than possible."
August 17, 1989: The government has announced that 1.4 million healthy, HIV antibody-positive Americans could "benefit" from taking AZT, even though they show no symptoms of disease. New studies have "proven" that AZT is effective in stopping the progression of AIDS in asymptomatic and early ARC cases. Dr. Fauci, the head of NIH, proudly announced that a trial that has been going on for "two years" had "clearly shown" that early intervention will keep AIDS at bay. Anyone who has antibodies to HIV and less than 500 T-4 cells should start taking AZT at once, he said. That is approximately 650,000 people. 1.4 million Americans are assumed HIV antibody-positive, and eventually all of them may need to take AZT so they don't get sick, Fauci contended.
The leading newspapers didn't seem to think it unusual that there was no existing copy of the study, but rather a breezy two-pages press release from the NIH. When SPIN called the NIH asking for a copy of the study, we were told that it was "still being written." We asked a few questions about the numbers. According to the press release, 3,200 early AARC and asymptomatic patients were devided into two groups, one AZT and one placebo, and followed for two years. The two groups were distinguished by T-4 cell counts; one group had less than 500, the other more than 500. These two were then divided into three groups each: high-dose AZT, low-dose AZT, and placebo. In the group with more than 500 T-4 cells, AZT had no effect. In the other group, it was concluded that low-dose AZT was the most effective, followed by high-dose. All in all, 36 out of 900 developed AIDS in the two AZT groups combined, and 38 out of 450 in the placebo group. "HIV-positive patients are twice as likely to get AIDS if they don't take AZT," the press declared.
However, the figures are vastly misleading. When we asked how many patients were actually enrolled for a full two years, the NIH said they did not know, but that the average time of participation was one year, not two.
"It's terribly dishonest the way they portrayed those numbers," says Dr. Sonnabend. "If there were 60 people in the trial those numbers would mean something, but if you calculate what the percentage is out of 3,200, the difference becomes minute between the two groups. It's nothing. It's hit or miss, and they make it look like it's terribly significant."
The study boasted that AZT is much more effective and less toxic at one-third the dosage than has been used for three years. That's the good news. The bad news is that thousands have already been walloped with 1,500 milligrams of AZT and possibly even died of toxic poisoning - and now we're hearing that one third of the dose would have done?
With all that remains so uncertain about the effects of AZT, it seems criminal to advocate expanding its usage to healthy people, particularly since only a minuscule percentage of the HIV-infected population have actually developed ARC or AIDS.
Burroughs Wellcome has already launched testing of AZT in asymptomatic hospital workers, pregnant women, and in children, who are getting liquid AZT. The liquid is left over from an aborted trial, and given to the children because they can mix it with water - children don't like to swallow pills. It has also been proposed that AZT be given to people who do not yet even test positive for HIV antibodies, but are "at risk."
"I'm convinced that if you gave AZT to a perfectly healthy athlete," says Fedorko, "he would be dead in five years."
In December 1988, the Lancet published a study that Burroughs Wellcome and the NIH do not include in their press kits. It was more expansive than the original AZT study and followed patients longer. It was not conducted in the United States, but in France, at the Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris, and concluded the same thing about AZT that Burroughs Wellcome's study did, except Burroughs Wellcome called their results "overwhelmingly positive," and the French doctors called theirs "disappointing." The French study found, once again, that AZT was too toxic for most to tolerate, had no lasting effect on HIV blood levels, and left the patients with fewer T-4 cells than they started with. Although they noticed a clinical improvement at first, they concluded that "by six months, these values had returned to their pretreatment levels and several opportunistic infections, malignancies and deaths occurred."
"Thus the benefits of AZT are limited to a few months for ARC and AIDS patients," the Fench team concluded. After a few months, the study found, AZT was completely ineffective.
The news that AZT will soon be prescribed to asymptomatic people has left many leading AIDS doctors dumbfounded and furious. Every doctor and scientist I asked felt that it was highly unprofessional and reckless to announce a study with no data to look at, making recommendations with such drastic public health implications. "This simply does not happen," says Bialy. "The government is reporting scientific facts before they've been reviewed? It's unheard of."
"It's beyond belief," says Dr. Sonnabend in a voice tinged with desperation. "I don't know what to do. I have to go in and face an office full of patients asking for AZT. I'm terrified. I don't know what to do as a responsible physician. The first study was ridiculous. Margaret Fishl, who has done both of these studies, obviously doesn't know the first thing about clinical trials. I don't trust her. Or the others. They're simply not good enough. We're being held hostage by second-rate scientists. We let them get away with the first disaster; now they're doing it again."
"It's a momentous decision to say to people, 'if you're HIV-positive and your T4-cells are below 500 start taking AZT,'" says the doctor who wished to remain anonymous. "I know dozens of people that I've seen personally every few months for several years now who have been in that state for more than five years, and have not progressed to any disease."
"I'm ashamed of my colleagues," Sonnabend laments. "I'm embarrassed. This is such shoddy science it's hard to believe nobody is protesting. Damned cowards. The name of the game is protect your grants, don't open your mouth. It's all about money... it's grounds for just following the party line and not being critical, when there are obviously financial and political forces that are driving this."
When Duesberg heard the latest announcement, he was particularly stunned over the reaction of Gay Men's Health Crisis President Richard Dunne, who said that GMHC now urged "everybody to get tested," and of course those who test positive to go on AZT. "These people are running into the gas chambers," says Duesberg. "Himmler would have been so happy if only the Jews were this cooperative."
A zinc supplement might help stave off the symptoms of respiratory tract infections, such as coughing, congestion, and sore throat, and cut illness duration, suggests a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published in the open access journal BMJ Open.
But the quality of the evidence on which these findings are based is variable, and it's not clear what an optimal formulation or dose of this nutrient might be, caution the researchers.
Respiratory tract infections include colds, flu, sinusitis, pneumonia and COVID-19. Most infections clear up by themselves, but not all. And they often prove costly in terms of their impact on health services and time taken in sick leave.
Zinc has a key role in immunity, inflammation, tissue injury, blood pressure and in tissue responses to lack of oxygen.
As a result, it has generated considerable interest during the current pandemic for the possible prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection.
In response to calls for rapid evidence appraisals to inform self-care and clinical practice, the researchers evaluated zinc for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, and other viral respiratory tract infections.
When that review was published, the results of several relevant clinical trials weren't yet available, so this current review brings the available evidence up to date.
The review includes 28 clinical trials involving 5446 adults, published in 17 English and Chinese research databases up to August 2020. None of the trials specifically looked at the use of zinc for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
The most common zinc formulations used were lozenges followed by nasal spraysand gels containing either zinc acetate or gluconate salts. Doses varied substantially, depending on the formulation and whether zinc was used for prevention or treatment.
Pooled analysis of the results of 25 trials showed that compared with dummy treatment (placebo), zinc lozenges or nasal spray prevented 5 respiratory tract infections in 100 people a month.
These effects were strongest for curbing the risk of developing more severe symptoms, such as fever and influenza-like illnesses. But this is based on only three studies.
On average, symptoms cleared up 2 days earlier with the use of either a zinc spray or liquid formulation taken under the tongue (sublingual) than when a placebo was used.
During the first week of illness, participants who used sublingual or nasal spray zinc were nearly twice as likely to recover as those who used placebo: 19 more adults out of 100 were likely to still have symptoms a week later if they didn't use zinc supplements.
While zinc wasn't associated with an easing in average daily symptom severity, it was associated with a clinically significant reduction in symptom severity on day 3.
Side effects, including nausea and mouth/nose irritation, were around 40% more likely among those using zinc, but no serious side effects were reported in the 25 trials that monitored them.
However, compared with placebo, sublingual zinc didn't reduce the risk of developing an infection or cold symptoms after inoculation with human rhinovirus, nor were there any differences in illness duration between those who used zinc supplements and those who didn't.
Nor was the comparative effectiveness of different zinc formulations and doses clear. And the quality, size, and design of the included studies varied considerably.
"The marginal benefits, strain specificity, drug resistance and potential risks of other over-the-counter and prescription medications makes zinc a viable 'natural' alternative for the self-management of non-specific [respiratory tract infections], the researchers write.
"[Zinc] also provides clinicians with a management option for patients who are desperate for faster recovery times and might be seeking an unnecessary antibiotic prescription," they add.
"However, clinicians and consumers need to be aware that considerable uncertainty remains regarding the clinical efficacy of different zinc formulations, doses and administration routes, and the extent to which efficacy might be influenced by the ever changing epidemiology of the viruses that cause [respiratory tract infections]," they caution.
And how exactly zinc might exert its therapeutic effects on respiratory infections, including COVID-19, warrants further research, they conclude.
Previous studies have suggested that people who abstain from alcohol have a higher mortality rate than those who drink low to moderate amounts of alcohol. In the new study, researchers used data on a random sample of 4,028 German adults who had participated in a standardized interview conducted between 1996 and 1997, when participants were 18 to 64 years old. Baseline data were available on alcohol drinking in the 12 months prior to the interview, as well as other information on health, alcohol and drug use. Mortality data were available from follow-up 20 years later.
Among the study participants, 447 (11.10%) had not drunk any alcohol in the 12 months prior to the baseline interview. Of these abstainers, 405 (90.60%) were former alcohol consumers and 322 (72.04%) had one or more other risk factor for higher mortality rates, including a former alcohol-use disorder or risky alcohol consumption (35.40%), daily smoking (50.00%), or fair to poor self-rated health (10.51%). The 125 alcohol abstinent persons without these risk factors did not show a statistically significantly difference in total, cardiovascular or cancer mortality compared to low to moderate alcohol consumers, and those who had stayed alcohol abstinent throughout their life had a hazard ratio of 1.64 (95% CI 0.72-3.77) compared to low to moderate alcohol consumers after adjustment for age, sex and tobacco smoking.
"The results support the view that people in the general population who currently are abstinent from alcohol do not necessarily have a shorter survival time than the population with low to moderate alcohol consumption," the authors say. "The findings speak against recommendations to drink alcohol for health reasons."
John adds, "It has long been assumed that low to moderate alcohol consumption might have positive effects on health based on the finding that alcohol abstainers seemed to die earlier than low to moderate drinkers. We found that the majority of the abstainers had alcohol or drug problems, risky alcohol consumption, daily tobacco smoking or fair to poor health in their history, i.e., factors that predict early death."
Univ. of Hawaii and Univ. of Southern California, November 1, 2021
Quercetin, which is found naturally in apples and onions, has been identified as one of the most beneficial flavonols in preventing and reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Although the overall risk was reduced among the study participants, smokers who consumed foods rich in flavonols had a significantly greater risk reduction.
This study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, is the first of its kind to evaluate the effect of flavonols – compounds found specifically in plants – on developing pancreatic cancer. According to the research paper, “only a few prospective studies have investigated flavonols as risk factors for cancer, none of which has included pancreatic cancer. “
Researchers from Germany, the Univ. of Hawaii and Univ. of Southern California tracked food intake and health outcomes of 183,518 participants in the Multiethnic Cohort Study for eight years. The study evaluated the participants' food consumption and calculated the intake of the three flavonols quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin. The analyses determined that flavonol intake does have an impact on the risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
The most significant finding was among smokers. Smokers with the lowest intake of flavonols presented with the most pancreatic cancer. Smoking is an established risk factor for the often fatal pancreatic cancer, notes the research.
Among the other findings were that women had the highest intake of total flavonols and seventy percent of the flavonol intake came from quercetin, linked to apple and onion consumption.
It is believed that these compounds may have anticancer effects due to their ability to reduce oxidative stress and alter other cellular functions related to cancer development.
“Unlike many of the dietary components, flavonols are concentrated in specific foods rather than in broader food groups, for example, in apples rather than in all fruit,” notes the research study. Previously, the most consistent inverse association was found between flavonols, especially quercetin in apples and lung cancer, as pointed out in this study. No other epidemiological flavonol studies have included evaluation of pancreatic cancer.
While found in many plants, flavonols are found in high concentrations in apples, onions, tea, berries, kale, and broccoli. Quercetin is most plentiful in apples and onions.
University of California at Los Angeles, November 2, 2021
Successful aging can be the norm, says UCLA psychology professor Alan Castel in his new book, "Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging" (Oxford University Press). Castel sees many inspiring role models of aging. French Impressionist Claude Monet, he notes, began his beloved water lily paintings at age 73.
Castel cites hundreds of research studies, including his own, combined with personal accounts from older Americans, including Maya Angelou, Warren Buffett, John Wooden, Bob Newhart, Frank Gehry, David Letterman, Jack LaLanne, Jared Diamond, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Glenn and Vin Scully.
Castel notes that architect Gehry designed conventional buildings and shopping malls early in his career, and decades later designed the creative buildings he would only dream about when he was younger. Others who did much of their best work when they were older include Mark Twain, Paul Cezanne, Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Frost and Virginia Woolf, he writes.
"There are a lot of myths about aging, and people often have negative stereotypes of what it means to get old," Castel said. "I have studied aging for two decades, and have seen many impressive role models of aging, as well as people who struggle in older age. This book provides both science behind what we can to do age well and role models of successful aging. While some books focus on how to try to prevent or delay aging, 'Better with Age' shows how we can age successfully and enjoy the benefits of old age. I have combined the lessons the psychology of aging teaches us with insights from some of the people who have succeeded in aging well."
Castel cites a 1979 study by Harvard University social psychologist Ellen Langer in which men in their 70s and 80s went to a week-long retreat at a motel that was re-designed to reflect the décor and music from 1959. The men, who were all dependent on family members for their care, were more independent by the end of the week, and had significant improvements in their hearing, memory, strength and scores on intelligence tests. Some played catch with a football. One group of the men, who were told to behave like they were 20 years younger, showed greater flexibility, and even looked younger, according to observers who saw photos of them at the start and end of the week.
In another study, researchers analyzed Catholic nuns' diary entries made in the 1930s and 1940s, when the nuns were in their 20s, and determined their level of happiness from these diaries. More than 50 years later, 75 percent of the most cheerful nuns survived to age 80, while only 40 percent of the least happy nuns survived to 80. The happiest nuns lived 10 years longer than the least happy nuns.
Happiness increases our lives by four to 10 years, a recent research review suggested. "As an added bonus," Castel writes, "those additional years are likely to be happy ones."
Successful aging involves being productive, mentally fit, and, most importantly, leading a meaningful life, Castel writes.
What are the ingredients of staying sharp and aging successfully, a process which Castel says can start at any age? He has several recommendations.
Tips for longevity
Walking or other physical exercise is likely the best method to ensure brain and body health, Castel writes.
In a large 2011 study, older adults were randomly assigned to a group that walked for 40 minutes three times a week or a stretching group for the same amount of time. After six months and again after one year, the walking group outperformed the stretching group on memory and cognitive functioning tests. Too much running, on the other hand, can lead to joint pain and injuries.
In addition, after one year, those who walked 40 minutes a day three times a week showed a 2 percent increase in the volume of the hippocampus—an important brain region involved in memory. Typically, Castel notes, the hippocampus declines about 1 percent a year after age 50. "Walking actually appears to reverse the effects of aging," Castel says in the book.
Balance exercises are proven to prevent falls, can keep us walking and may be the most essential training activity for older adults, Castel writes. Each year, more than two million older Americans go to the emergency room because of fall-related injuries. A 2014 British study found that people who could get up from a chair and sit back down more than 30 times in a minute were less likely to develop dementia and more likely to live longer than those who could not. A good balance exercise is standing on one leg with your eyes open for 60 seconds or more, and then on the other leg. Those who did poorly on this were found in a study to be at greater risk for stroke and dementia.
Like walking, sleep is valuable free medicine. Studies have shown a connection between insomnia and the onset of dementia.
People who speak more than one language are at reduced risk for developing dementia, research has shown; there is some evidence being bilingual or multilingual can offset dementia by five years, Castel writes.
One study found that among people between 75 and 85, those who engaged in reading, playing board games, playing musical instruments and dancing had less dementia than those who did none of those activities. "Lifelong reading, especially in older age, may be one of the secrets to preserving mental ability," Castel writes.
Set specific goals. Telling yourself to "eat healthy" is not very likely to cause a change; setting a goal of "eating fewer cookies after 7 p.m." is better. Similarly, "walk four days a week with a friend" is a more useful goal than "get more exercise" and "call a friend or family member every Friday morning" is better than "maintain friendships."
How can we improve our memory? When Douglas Hegdahl was a 20-year-old prisoner of war in North Vietnam, he wanted to learn the names of other American prisoners. He memorized their names, capture dates, methods of capture and personal information of more than 250 prisoners to the tune of the nursey rhyme, "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." Today, more than four decades later, he can still recall all of their names, Castel writes.
Social connections are also important. Rates of loneliness among older adults are increasing and chronic loneliness "poses as large a risk to long-term health and longevity as smoking cigarettes and may be twice as harmful for retirees as obesity," Castel writes. The number of Americans who say they have no close friends has roughly tripled in the last few decades. There is evidence that people with more social support tend to live longer than those who are more isolated, and that older adults who lead active social lives with others are less likely to develop dementia and have stronger immune systems to fight off diseases. "Staying sharp," Castel writes, "involves staying connected—and not to the Internet."
A 2016 study focused on "super-agers"—people in their 70s whose memories are like those of people 40 years younger. Many of them said they worked hard at their jobs and their hobbies. The hard work was challenging, and not always pleasurable, leaving people sometimes feeling tired and frustrated. Some researchers believe this discomfort and frustration means you are challenging yourself in ways that will pay off in future brain and other health benefits.
Research has shown that simply telling older adults they are taking a "wisdom test" rather than a "memory test" or "dementia screening" actually leads to better results on the identical memory test, Castel writes.
If you are concerned about your memory, or that of a loved one, it may be wise to see a neurologist, Castel advises.
Castel, 42, said he is struck by how many older adults vividly recall what is most important to them.
As Castel quotes the Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero: "No old man forgets where he has hidden his treasure."
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, October 29, 2021
A team of researchers from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, the Southwest Research Institute and the Chan School of Public Health, has found phthalates in a wide variety of fast foods. In their paper published in Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, the group describes how they collected samples of fast food from several restaurants and tested them for phthalates and other chemicals meant to replace them—and what they found.
Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid and are commonly used to make plastic substances more flexible. Prior research has shown that they can also increase durability and longevity making them popular for plastics makers. Researchers have found that consumption of phthalates can disrupt the endocrine system and by extension levels of hormones in the body. Research has also shown that they can lead to asthma in children and increased obesity.
In this new effort, the researchers built on prior work they conducted looking at urine samples of volunteers where they found that those who ate more fast food, tended to have more phthalates in their system. To learn more about the link between fast food and phthalate levels, the researchers visited six fast food restaurants in and around San Antonio, Texas, and collected 64 food items to be used as test samples. They also asked for a pair of the plastic gloves that were used by food preparers at the same establishments and obtained three of them.
In studying the food samples, the researchers found DnBP in 81% of the samples and DEHP in 70% of them. They also noted that the foods with the highest concentrations of phthalates were meat-based, such as cheeseburgers or burritos. The team also found DINCH, DEHT and DEHA, chemicals that have begun replacing phthalates in many of the samples they collected. They note that it is not known if such replacements are harmful to humans if ingested.
The researchers did not attempt to find out how the phthalates were making their way into the fast foods but suspect it is likely from residue on rubber gloves used by cooks who prepare them. It is also possible, they note, that they are coming from plastic packaging.
Penn State University, November 2, 2021
Removing electronic media from the bedroom and encouraging a calming bedtime routine are among recommendations Penn State researchers outline in a recent manuscript on digital media and sleep in childhood and adolescence.
The manuscript appears in the first-ever special supplement on this topic in Pediatricsa nd is based on previous studies that suggest the use of digital devices before bedtime leads to insufficient sleep.
The recommendations, for clinicians and parents, are:
1. Make sleep a priority by talking with family members about the importance of sleep and healthy sleep expectations;
2. Encourage a bedtime routine that includes calming activities and avoids electronic media use;
3. Encourage families to remove all electronic devices from their child or teen's bedroom, including TVs, video games, computers, tablets and cell phones;
4. Talk with family members about the negative consequences of bright light in the evening on sleep; and
5. If a child or adolescent is exhibiting mood or behavioral problems, consider insufficient sleep as a contributing factor.
"Recent reviews of scientific literature reveal that the vast majority of studies find evidence for an adverse association between screen-based media consumption and sleep health, primarily delayed bedtimes and reduced total sleep duration," said Orfeu Buxton, associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State and an author on the manuscript.
The reasons behind this adverse association likely include time spent on screens replacing time spent sleeping; mental stimulation from media content; and the effects of light interrupting sleep cycles, according to the researchers.
Buxton and other researchers are further exploring this topic. They are working to understand if media use affects the timing and duration of sleep among children and adolescents; the role of parenting and family practices; the links between screen time and sleep quality and tiredness; and the influence of light on circadian physiology and sleep health among children and adolescents.
Supplementation with vitamins C and E associated with decreased risk of cognitive impairment, dementia
CHU de Québec Research Center, November 1, 2021.
An article that appeared in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy reports an association between the intake of vitamin C and E supplements and a lower risk of developing cognitive decline among men and women aged 65 years and older.
The current investigation included 5,269 men and women who were free of dementia upon enrollment in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging from 1991 to 1992. Follow-up examinations conducted during 1996-1997 and 2001-2002 provided post-enrollment diagnoses of dementia or cognitive impairment without dementia. Information concerning current use of prescription drugs and vitamins was ascertained from interview or questionnaire responses at the beginning of the study.
Approximately 10% of the subjects reported using vitamin C or E. Over up to 11 years of follow up, 821 cases of all-cause dementia (including 560 Alzheimer’s disease cases) were diagnosed and 882 cases of cognitive impairment without dementia developed. In comparison with those who did not report supplementing with either vitamin, the use of vitamin C and/or vitamin E was associated with a 38% lower adjusted risk of all-cause dementia and a 40% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. For cognitive impairment without dementia, the risk was 23% lower among those who used either or both vitamins. Evaluation of the effects of using either vitamin alone resulted in associations with similar risk reductions.
“This study supports a protective role of vitamin E and C supplements in the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and all-cause dementia,” authors Luta L. Basambombo, MSc, of CHU de Québec Research Center and colleagues conclude. “In addition, these supplements may contribute to a reduced risk of CIND [cognitive impairment, not dementia]. Overall, these findings indicate additional support for the use of antioxidants as a preventive strategy against cognitive decline.”
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, October 22 2021.
Findings reported in Nature revealed that restricting the intake of calories, including fats, rather than adopting a regimen of restricted carbohydrates and increased fats as characterized by a ketogenic diet, was associated with slower tumor growth in mice.
Evan Lien, PhD, and associates evaluated the effects of calorie restricted, ketogenic or normal diets in mice with pancreatic tumors. While both glucose and plasma and tumor lipid levels declined in calorie-restricted animals, ketogenic diet-fed mice had lower glucose levels, but an increase in lipids.
In comparison with mice given ketogenic diets, slower tumor growth occurred in the calorie-restricted mice. The finding can be explained by the animals’ reduced levels of lipids, which are needed by cancer cells for membrane production. Diet-induced lipid depletion decreases cellular levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids because they can’t be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from food. When these lipids aren’t available, cells make their own in a process that requires the enzyme SCD, which converts saturated fatty acids into unsaturated fatty acids. Since both diets lowered SCD activity, mice that received calorie restricted diets couldn’t obtain enough fatty acids from their diet or produce their own, whereas animals on the ketogenic diet had abundant lipids. “Not only does caloric restriction starve tumors of lipids, it also impairs the process that allows them to adapt to it,” Dr Lien explained. “That combination is really contributing to the inhibition of tumor growth.”
“The purpose of these studies isn’t necessarily to recommend a diet, but it’s to really understand the underlying biology,” Dr Lien stated. “They provide some sense of the mechanisms of how these diets work, and that can lead to rational ideas on how we might mimic those situations for cancer therapy.”
New York University, November 1, 2021
An increasing number of studies suggest a link between a neighborhood's built environment and the likelihood that its residents will develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes (T2D) and certain types of cancers. A new nationwide study led by researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine published online today in JAMA Network Open suggests that living in neighborhoods with higher availability of fast-food outlets across all regions of the United States is associated with higher subsequent risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Findings also indicated that the availability of more supermarkets could be protective against developing T2D, particularly in suburban and rural neighborhoods.
The study—notable for its large geographic breadth—uses data from a cohort of more than 4 million veterans living in 98 percent of U.S. census tracts across the country. It counted fast-food restaurants and supermarkets relative to other food outlets, and is the first, according to the researchers, to examine this relationship in four distinct types of neighborhoods (high-density urban, low-density urban, suburban, and rural) at the hyperlocal level nationwide.
"Most studies that examine the built food environment and its relationship to chronic diseases have been much smaller or conducted in localized areas," said Rania Kanchi, MPH, a researcher in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone and lead author of the study. "Our study design is national in scope and allowed us to identify the types of communities that people are living in, characterize their food environment, and observe what happens to them over time. The size of our cohort allows for geographic generalizability in a way that other studies do not."
How the study was conducted
The research team used data from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (the largest single-payer healthcare system in the country) that captures more than 9 million veterans seen at more than 1,200 health facilities around the country. Using this data, the researchers then constructed a national cohort of more than 4 million veterans without diabetes from the VA electronic health records (EHR) between 2008 and 2016. Each veteran's health status was followed through 2018 or until the individual either developed diabetes, died, or had no appointments for more than two years.
Within each of four distinct neighborhood types, the proportion of restaurants that were fast food, and the proportion of food outlets that were supermarkets were tabulated within a one-mile walk in high- density urban neighborhoods, a two-mile drive in low-density urban neighborhoods, a six-mile drive in suburban communities, and a 10-mile drive in rural communities.
Veterans were followed for a median of five and a half years. During that time, 13.2 percent of the cohort were newly diagnosed with T2D. Males developed T2D more frequently than females (13.6 versus 8.2 percent). Non-Hispanic Black adults had the highest incidence (16.9 percent), compared to non-Hispanic Whites (12.9 percent), non-White Asian and Hispanics (12.8 percent), Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (15 percent), and Native American and Alaskan Indians (14.2 percent).
When stratifying by community types, 14.3 percent of veterans living in high density urban communities developed T2D, while the lowest incidence was among those living in suburban and small town communities (12.6 percent).
Overall, the team concluded that the effect of the food environment on T2D incidence varied by how urban the community was, but did not vary further by region of the country.
"The more we learn about the relationship between the food environment and chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, the more policymakers can act by improving the mix of healthy food options sold in restaurants and food outlets, or by creating better zoning laws that promote optimal food options for residents," said Lorna Thorpe, Ph.D., MPH, professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone and senior author of the study.
One limitation of the study, according to the authors, is that the study may not be fully generalizable to non-veteran populations, as U.S. veterans tend to be predominantly male and have substantially greater health burdens and financial instability than the civilian population. They are also at greater risk of disability, obesity, and other chronic conditions.
The next phase of the research, say Thorpe and Kanchi, will be to better understand the impacts of the built environment on diabetes risk by subgroups. They plan to examine whether or not the relationships between fast-food restaurants, supermarkets and community types vary by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Harvard Medical School, October November 1, 2021
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese technique that has been used for millennia to treat chronic pain and other health problems associated with inflammation, yet the scientific basis of the technique remains poorly understood.
Now, a team of researchers led by neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School has elucidated the underlying neuroanatomy of acupuncture that activates a specific signaling pathway.
In a study conducted in mice and published Oct. 13 in Nature, the team identified a subset of neurons that must be present for acupuncture to trigger an anti-inflammatory response via this signaling pathway.
The scientists determined that these neurons occur only in a specific area of the hindlimb region—thus explaining why acupuncture in the hindlimb works, while acupuncture in the abdomen does not.
"This study touches on one of the most fundamental questions in the acupuncture field: What is the neuroanatomical basis for body region, or acupoint, selectivity?" said lead investigator Qiufu Ma, HMS professor of neurobiology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
One area of particular interest to the research team is the so-called cytokine storm—the rapid release of large quantities of cytokines that frequently drives severe, systemic inflammation, and can be triggered by many things, including COVID-19, cancer treatment, or sepsis.
"This exuberant immune response is a major medical problem with a very high fatality rate of 15 percent to 30 percent," Ma said. Even so, drugs to treat cytokine storm are lacking.
Adapting an ancient technique to treat aberrant inflammation
In recent decades, acupuncture has been increasingly embraced in Western medicine as a potential treatment for inflammation.
In this technique, acupoints on the body's surface are mechanically stimulated, triggering nerve signaling that affects the function of other parts of the body, including organs.
In a 2014 study, researchers reported that electroacupuncture, a modern version of traditional acupuncture that uses electrical stimulation, could reduce cytokine storm in mice by activating the vagal-adrenal axis—a pathway wherein the vagus nervesignals the adrenal glands to release dopamine.
In a study published in 2020, Ma and his team discovered that this electroacupuncture effect was region-specific: It was effective when given in the hindlimb region, but did not have an effect when administered in the abdominal region. The team hypothesized that there may be sensory neurons unique to the hindlimb region responsible for this difference in response.
In their new study, the researchers conducted a series of experiments in mice to investigate this hypothesis. First, they identified a small subset of sensory neurons marked by expression of the PROKR2Cre receptor. They determined that these neurons were three to four times more numerous in the deep fascia tissue of the hindlimb than in the fascia of the abdomen.
Then the team created mice that were missing these sensory neurons. They found that electroacupuncture in the hindlimb did not activate the vagal-adrenal axis in these mice. In another experiment, the team used light-based stimulation to directly target these sensory neurons in the deep fascia of the hindlimb.
This stimulation activated the vagal-adrenal axis in a manner similar to electroacupuncture. "Basically, the activation of these neurons is both necessary and sufficient to activate this vagal-adrenal axis," Ma said.
In a final experiment, the scientists explored the distribution of the neurons in the hindlimb. They discovered that there are considerably more neurons in the anterior muscles of the hindlimb than in the posterior muscles, resulting in a stronger response to electroacupuncture in the anterior region.
"Based on this nerve fiber distribution, we can almost precisely predict where electrical stimulation will be effective and where it will not be effective," Ma explained.
Together, these results provide "the first concrete, neuroanatomic explanation for acupoint selectivity and specificity," Ma added. "They tell us the acupuncture parameters, so where to go, how deep to go, how strong the intensity should be."
However, an important next step will be clinical testing of electroacupuncture in humans with inflammation caused by real-world infections such as COVID-19. Ma is also interested in exploring other signaling pathways that could be stimulated by acupuncture to treat conditions that cause excessive inflammation.
"We have a lot of tough chronic diseases that still need better treatments," he said, such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and arthritis. Another area of need, he added, is excessive immune reactions that can be a side effect of cancer immunotherapy.
Ma hopes that his research will ultimately advance scientific understanding of acupuncture and provide practical information that can be used to improve and refine the technique.
Michigan State University, November 5, 2018
People who have fond memories of childhood, specifically their relationships with their parents, tend to have better health, less depression and fewer chronic illnesses as older adults, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
"We know that memory plays a huge part in how we make sense of the world—how we organize our past experiences and how we judge how we should act in the future. As a result, there are a lot of different ways that our memories of the past can guide us," said William J. Chopik, Ph.D., from Michigan State University and lead author of the study. "We found that good memories seem to have a positive effect on health and well-being, possibly through the ways that they reduce stress or help us maintain healthy choices in life."
The findings were published in the journal Health Psychology.
Previous research has shown a positive relationship between good memories and good health in young adults, including higher quality of work and personal relationships, lower substance use, lower depression and fewer health problems, according to Chopik. He and his co-author, Robin Edelstein, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, wanted to see how this would apply to older adults.
Also, much of the existing research focused on mothers and rarely examined the role of fathers in child development. Chopik and Edelstein sought to expand on the existing studies to include participants' reflections of their relationships with both parents.
The researchers used data from two nationally representative samples, the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States and the Health and Retirement Study, with a total of more than 22,000 participants. The first study followed adults in their mid-40s for 18 years and the second followed adults 50 and over for six years. The surveys included questions about perceptions of parental affection, overall health, chronic conditions and depressive symptoms.
Participants in both groups who reported remembering higher levels of affection from their mothers in early childhood experienced better physical health and fewer depressive symptoms later in life. Those who reported memories with more support from their fathers also experienced fewer depressive symptoms, according to Chopik.
"The most surprising finding was that we thought the effects would fade over time because participants were trying to recall things that happened sometimes over 50 years ago. One might expect childhood memories to matter less and less over time, but these memories still predicted better physical and mental health when people were in middle age and older adulthood," said Chopik.
There was a stronger association in people who reported a more loving relationship with their mothers, noted Chopik, but that might change.
"These results may reflect the broader cultural circumstances of the time when the participants were raised because mothers were most likely the primary caregivers," said Edelstein. "With shifting cultural norms about the role of fathers in caregiving, it is possible that results from future studies of people born in more recent years will focus more on relationships with their fathers."
Chopik and Edelstein found that participants with positive childhood memories also had fewer chronic conditions in the first study of 7,100 people, but not in the second study of 15,200, making the results less straightforward
Emory University, October 28, 2021
In a paper published recently in Pharmacological Reviews, Emory University School of Medicine researchers outlined the impact of inflammation on motivation as it relates to depression.
The researchers propose that low grade inflammation affects brain chemicals and brain circuits that regulate motivation, ultimately leading to motivational deficits and a loss of interest or willingness to engage in usually pleasurable activities including work and play. These motivational deficits are reflected as anhedonia, a core and likely the most disabling symptom of depression, as well as other psychiatric disorders.
The paper also outlines how these effects of inflammation on the brain are an adaptation to the energy demands of inflammation that require conservation of energy resources, and thus the shutting down of behavior. Low grade inflammation can be caused by lifestyle changes such as poor diet and sedentary behavior.
"A vicious cycle can occur where poor lifestyle habits lead to increased inflammation that in turn reduce the wherewithal or motivation to change those habits. Such a vicious cycle may be especially relevant during pandemic life when even greater energy resources are required to sustain healthy eating and physical activity," says Andrew H. Miller, MD, William P. Timmie Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine. Miller co-authored the paper, along with his colleagues in the Department of Psychology and the Emory Behavioral Immunology Program, where he serves as director.
Miller says novel treatment strategies to break this vicious cycle are currently under development. He and his colleagues raise the possibility of developing treatments specifically for the motivational deficits caused by inflammation, thus moving to a much more targeted approach to therapeutic development in psychiatry, as now seen in the oncology field, versus the current use of outdated and non-specific diagnostic categories of psychiatric disease such as "depression."
"We believe more therapies targeted to specific pathophysiologic pathways and symptoms will lead to better outcomes and more precision care. Non-specific therapies as represented by conventional antidepressants, which are still embraced by regulatory agencies, do not instill the confidence that a more personalized approach does. There is widespread interest in moving in this direction internationally," says Miller.
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Peter McCullough speaks at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeon.