Black cumin’s anti-inflammatory potential may have airways/asthma benefits: RCT
University College London, January 27, 2022
Supplements containing oil from black cumin (Nigella sativa) may improve asthma control and lung function, says a new study. The new study, published in Phytotherapy Research , found that one gram per day of the oil for four weeks led to significant improvements in scores of asthma control and a “remarkable reduction of peripheral blood eosinophil count,” wrote the authors “Eosinophil cell plays a major role in asthma inflammation, and blood eosinophil count is considered to be a vital biomarker in asthma trials. To our knowledge, this is the first [randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial] that showed a significant reduction of blood eosinophilia by [Nigella sativa oil (NSO)] among asthmatic patients.”
Meat, multiple sclerosis and the microbiome
University of Connecticut, January 27, 2022
Eating more meat, having less of certain bacteria in the gut, and more of certain immune cells in the blood, all link with multiple sclerosis, reports a team of researchers led by UConn Health and Washington University School of Medicine. The work, published in the 27 January issue of EBioMedicine, teased out subtle connections that could lead to a better understanding of the causes of the disease. But teasing out the exact relationships between diet, immune response and MS has been difficult. MS is most obviously an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the insulation surrounding its nerves. When the insulation is damaged enough, the nerves begin to misfire and malfunction like wires with frayed insulation. But what triggers the body to attack the insulation in the nervous system in the first place is unknown.
Flavonoids may reduce mortality risk for people with Parkinson's disease
Pennsylvania State University, January 27, 2022
People with Parkinson's disease who eat more flavonoids—compounds found in richly colored foods like berries, cocoa and red wine—may have a lower mortality risk than those who don't, according to a new study. Specifically, the researchers found that when people who had already been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) ate more flavonoids, they had a lower chance of dying during the 34-year study period than those who did not consume as many flavonoids. Additionally, they found that eating more flavonoids before being diagnosed with PD was associated with a lower risk of dying in men, but not in women.
Team Links Social Media Use to Worse Physical Health
University of Buffalo, January 26, 2022
A new study finds a link between social media use and biological and psychological indicators associated with poor physical health among college students The researchers found participants who used social media excessively had higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a biological marker of chronic inflammation that predicts serious illnesses, such as diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
Can A Lack of Sleep Make You Feel Older?
University of Exeter (UK), January 28, 2022
A study from the University of Exeter in the UK suggests that you are more likely to perceive yourself to be older than your biological age if you don't get enough sleep. Researchers looked at the aging and sleep patterns of nearly 4,500 adults aged 50 years and higher, asking them about sleep quality and sleep duration and giving them cognitive performance tests and lifestyle questionnaires. The participants were given the same questionnaire twice—once at baseline and again a year later. The result? Overall, those who reported sleeping poorly also had a higher awareness of negative age-related changes, while those who slept better tended to feel younger. "Our research suggests that poor sleepers feel older and have a more negative perception of aging," noted Serena Sabatini, the lead author of the study. One interesting finding of the study: middle-aged adults with healthy sleep habits tended to feel younger than their biological age, but those who had trouble sleeping felt every year of their actual age…or, more troubling, they felt older than they were. Why does this matter? If you feel like you are older than your actual age, it can have a lasting impact on your physical, mental and cognitive health.
The Pressure Campaign on Spotify to Remove Joe Rogan Reveals the Religion of Liberals: Censorship
Glenn Greenwald, January 29, 2022
American liberals are obsessed with finding ways to silence and censor their adversaries. Every week, if not every day, they have new targets they want de-platformed, banned, silenced, and otherwise prevented from speaking or being heard (by "liberals,” I mean the term of self-description used by the dominant wing of the Democratic Party). For years, their preferred censorship tactic was to expand and distort the concept of "hate speech” to mean "views that make us uncomfortable,” and then demand that such “hateful” views be prohibited on that basis. For that reason, it is now common to hear Democrats assert, falsely, that the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech does not protect “hate speech." Their political culture has long inculcated them to believe that they can comfortably silence whatever views they arbitrarily place into this category without being guilty of censorship. Constitutional illiteracy to the side, the “hate speech” framework for justifying censorship is now insufficient because liberals are eager to silence a much broader range of voices than those they can credibly accuse of being hateful. That is why the newest, and now most popular, censorship framework is to claim that their targets are guilty of spreading “misinformation” or “disinformation.” These terms, by design, have no clear or concise meaning. Like the term “terrorism,” it is their elasticity that makes them so useful. When liberals’ favorite media outlets, from CNN and NBC to The New York Times and The Atlantic, spend four years disseminating one fabricated Russia story after the next — from the Kremlin hacking into Vermont's heating system and Putin's sexual blackmail over Trump to bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, the Biden email archive being "Russian disinformation,” and a magical mystery weapon that injures American brains with cricket noises — none of that is "disinformation” that requires banishment. Nor are false claims that COVID's origin has proven to be zoonotic rather than a lab leak, the vastly overstated claim that vaccines prevent transmission of COVID, or that Julian Assange stole classified documents and caused people to die. Corporate outlets beloved by liberals are free to spout serious falsehoods without being deemed guilty of disinformation, and, because of that, do so routinely. This "disinformation" term is reserved for those who question liberal pieties, not for those devoted to affirming them. That is the real functional definition of “disinformation” and of its little cousin, “misinformation.” It is not possible to disagree with liberals or see the world differently than they see it. The only two choices are unthinking submission to their dogma or acting as an agent of "disinformation.” Dissent does not exist to them; any deviation from their worldview is inherently dangerous — to the point that it cannot be heard. The data proving a deeply radical authoritarian strain in Trump-era Democratic Party politics is ample and have been extensively reported here. Democrats overwhelmingly trust and love the FBI and CIA. Polls show they overwhelmingly favor censorship of the internet not only by Big Tech oligarchs but also by the state. Leading Democratic Party politicians have repeatedly subpoenaed social media executives and explicitly threatened them with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more aggressively — a likely violation of the First Amendment given decades of case law ruling that state officials are barred from coercing private actors to censor for them, in ways the Constitution prohibits them from doing directly. Democratic officials have used the pretexts of COVID, “the insurrection," and Russia to justify their censorship demands. Both Joe Biden and his Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, have "urged” Silicon Valley to censor more when asked about Joe Rogan and others who air what they call “disinformation” about COVID. They cheered the use of pro-prosecutor tactics against Michael Flynn and other Russiagate targets; made a hero out of the Capitol Hill Police officer who shot and killed the unarmed Ashli Babbitt; voted for an additional $2 billion to expand the functions of the Capitol Police; have demanded and obtained lengthy prison sentences and solitary confinement even for non-violent 1/6 defendants; and even seek to import the War on Terror onto domestic soil. Given the climate prevailing in the American liberal faction, this authoritarianism is anything but surprising. For those who convince themselves that they are not battling mere political opponents with a different ideology but a fascist movement led by a Hitler-like figure bent on imposing totalitarianism — a core, defining belief of modern-day Democratic Party politics — it is virtually inevitable that they will embrace authoritarianism. When a political movement is subsumed by fear — the Orange Hitler will put you in camps and end democracy if he wins again — then it is not only expected but even rational to embrace authoritarian tactics including censorship to stave off this existential threat. Fear always breeds authoritarianism, which is why manipulating and stimulating that human instinct is the favorite tactic of political demagogues. And when it comes to authoritarian tactics, censorship has become the liberals’ North Star. Every week brings news of a newly banished heretic. Liberals cheered the news last week that Google's YouTube permanently banned the extremely popular video channel of conservative commentator Dan Bongino. His permanent ban was imposed for the crime of announcing that, moving forward, he would post all of his videos exclusively on the free speech video platform Rumble after he received a seven-day suspension from Google's overlords for spreading supposed COVID “disinformation.” What was Bongino's prohibited view that prompted that suspension? He claimed cloth masks do not work to stop the spread of COVID, a view shared by numerous experts and, at least in part, by the CDC. When Bongino disobeyed the seven-day suspension by using an alternative YouTube channel to announce his move to Rumble, liberals cheered Google's permanent ban because the only thing liberals hate more than platforms that allow diverse views are people failing to obey rules imposed by corporate authorities. It is not hyperbole to observe that there is now a concerted war on any platforms devoted to free discourse and which refuse to capitulate to the demands of Democratic politicians and liberal activists to censor. The spear of the attack are corporate media outlets, who demonize and try to render radioactive any platforms that allow free speech to flourish. When Rumble announced that a group of free speech advocates — including myself, former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, comedian Bridget Phetasy, former Sanders campaign videographer Matt Orfalea and journalist Zaid Jilani — would produce video content for Rumble, The Washington Post immediately published a hit piece, relying exclusively on a Google-and-Facebook-aligned so-called "disinformation expert” to malign Rumble as "one of the main platforms for conspiracy communities and far-right communities in the U.S. and around the world” and a place “where conspiracies thrive," all caused by Rumble's "allowing such videos to remain on the site unmoderated.” (The narrative about Rumble is particularly bizarre since its Canadian founder and still-CEO, Chris Pavlovski created Rumble in 2013 with apolitical goals — to allow small content creators abandoned by YouTube to monetize their content — and is very far from an adherent to right-wing ideology). The same attack was launched, and is still underway, against Substack, also for the crime of refusing to ban writers deemed by liberal corporate outlets and activists to be hateful and/or fonts of disinformation. After the first wave of liberal attacks on Substack failed — that script was that it is a place for anti-trans animus and harassment — The Post returned this week for round two, with a paint-by-numbers hit piece virtually identical to the one it published last year about Rumble. “Newsletter company Substack is making millions off anti-vaccine content, according to estimates,” blared the sub-headline. “Prominent figures known for spreading misinformation, such as [Joseph] Mercola, have flocked to Substack, podcasting platforms and a growing number of right-wing social media networks over the past year after getting kicked off or restricted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,” warned the Post. It is, evidently, extremely dangerous to society for voices to still be heard once Google decrees they should not be. This Post attack on Substack predictably provoked expressions of Serious Concern from good and responsible liberals. That included Chelsea Clinton, who lamented that Substack is profiting off a “grift.” Apparently, this political heiress — who is one of the world's richest individuals by virtue of winning the birth lottery of being born to rich and powerful parents, who in turn enriched themselves by cashing in on their political influence in exchange for $750,000 paychecks from Goldman Sachs for 45-minute speeches, and who herself somehow was showered with a $600,000 annual contract from NBC News despite no qualifications — believes she is in a position to accuse others of "grifting.” This Post-manufactured narrative about Substack instantly metastasized throughout the liberal sect of media. “Anti-vaxxers making ‘at least $2.5m’ a year from publishing on Substack,” read the headline of The Guardian, the paper that in 2018 published the outright lie that Julian Assange met twice with Paul Manafort inside the Ecuadorian Embassy and refuses to this day to retract it (i.e., “disinformation"). Like The Post, the British paper cited one of the seemingly endless number of shady pro-censorship groups — this one calling itself the “Center for Countering Digital Hate” — to argue for greater censorship by Substack. “They could just say no,” said the group's director, who has apparently convinced himself he should be able to dictate what views should and should not be aired: “This isn’t about freedom; this is about profiting from lies. . . . Substack should immediately stop profiting from medical misinformation that can seriously harm readers.” The emerging campaign to pressure Spotify to remove Joe Rogan from its platform is perhaps the most illustrative episode yet of both the dynamics at play and the desperation of liberals to ban anyone off-key. It was only a matter of time before this effort really galvanized in earnest. Rogan has simply become too influential, with too large of an audience of young people, for the liberal establishment to tolerate his continuing to act up. Prior efforts to coerce, cajole, or manipulate Rogan to fall into line were abject failures. On Tuesday, musician Neil Young demanded that Spotify either remove Rogan from its platform or cease featuring Young's music, claiming Rogan spreads COVID disinformation. Spotify predictably sided with Rogan, their most popular podcaster in whose show they invested $100 million, by removing Young's music and keeping Rogan. The pressure on Spotify mildly intensified on Friday when singer Joni Mitchell issued a similar demand. All sorts of censorship-mad liberals celebrated this effort to remove Rogan, then vowed to cancel their Spotify subscription in protest of Spotify's refusal to capitulate for now; a hashtag urging the deletion of Spotify's app trended for days. Many bizarrely urged that everyone buy music from Apple instead; apparently, handing over your cash to one of history's largest and richest corporations, repeatedly linked to the use of slave labor, is the liberal version of subversive social justice. Democrats are not only the dominant political faction in Washington, controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, but liberals in particular are clearly the hegemonic culture force in key institutions: media, academia and Hollywood. That is why it is a mistake to assume that we are near the end of their orgy of censorship and de-platforming victories. It is far more likely that we are much closer to the beginning than the end. The power to silence others is intoxicating. Once one gets a taste of its power, they rarely stop on their own. Indeed, it was once assumed that Silicon Valley giants steeped in the libertarian ethos of a free internet would be immune to demands to engage in political censorship ("content moderation” is the more palatable euphemism which liberal corporate media outlets prefer). But when the still-formidable megaphones of The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, CNN and the rest of the liberal media axis unite to accuse Big Tech executives of having blood on their hands and being responsible for the destruction of American democracy, that is still an effective enforcement mechanism. Billionaires are, like all humans, social and political animals and instinctively avoid ostracization and societal scorn. Beyond the personal interest in avoiding vilification, corporate executives can be made to censor against their will and in violation of their political ideology out of self-interest. The corporate media still has the ability to render a company toxic, and the Democratic Party more now than ever has the power to abuse their lawmaking and regulatory powers to impose real punishment for disobedience, as it has repeatedly threatened to do. If Facebook or Spotify are deemed to be so toxic that no Good Liberals can use them without being attacked as complicit in fascism, white supremacy or anti-vax fanaticism, then that will severely limit, if not entirely sabotage, a company's future viability.