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Dairy Consumption Increases Risk of Cancer

Health and Nutrition News – May 12, 2022

Dairy consumption increases the risk for cancer, according to a study published in BMC Medicine. Researchers compared dairy consumption and cancer risk for over half a million participants in China for 11 years. For every 50 grams (less than a 1/4 cup) of milk and other dairy products consumed per day, overall, liver, and female breast cancer risk increased by 7%, 12%, and 17%, respectively. As more people in China drink milk regularly, intake of saturated fat and hormones associated with cancer development also increase.

Read the full BMC Medicine Journal article.

Can Cancer Blood Tests Live Up to Promise of Saving Lives?

Associate Press – By Carla K. Johnson – April 15, 2022

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Joyce Ares of Canby, Ore. She had volunteered to take a blood test that is being billed as a new frontier in cancer screening for healthy people. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)

Joyce Ares had just turned 74 and was feeling fine when she agreed to give a blood sample for research. So, she was surprised when the screening test came back positive for signs of cancer.

After a repeat blood test, a PET scan and a needle biopsy, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.

“I cried,” the retired real estate broker said. “Just a couple of tears and thought, ‘OK, now what do we do?’”

The Canby, Oregon, resident had volunteered to take a blood test that is being billed as a new frontier in cancer screening for healthy people. It looks for cancer by checking for DNA fragments shed by tumor cells.

Such blood tests, called liquid biopsies, are already used in patients with cancer to tailor their treatment and check to see if tumors come back.

Now, one company is promoting its blood test to people with no signs of cancer as a way to detect tumors in the pancreas, ovaries and other sites that have no recommended screening method.

It’s an open question whether such cancer blood tests — if added to routine care — could improve Americans’ health or help meet the White House’s goal of cutting the cancer death rate in half over the next 25 years.

With advances in DNA sequencing and data science making the blood tests possible, California-based Grail and other companies are racing to commercialize them.

And U.S. government researchers are planning a large experiment — with 200,000 participants and possibly lasting seven years — to see if the blood tests can live up to the promise of catching more cancers earlier and saving lives.

“They sound wonderful, but we don’t have enough information,” said Dr. Lori Minasian of the National Cancer Institute, who is involved in planning the research. “We don’t have definitive data that shows that they will reduce the risk of dying from cancer.”

Grail is far ahead of other companies with 2,000 doctors willing to prescribe the $949 test. Most insurance plans don’t cover the cost. The tests are being marketed without endorsements from medical groups or a recommendation from U.S. health authorities.

FDA authorization, clearance or approval of such tests is required by law, but the agency historically has not enforced most regulatory requirements for ones – like Grail’s – that are designed, manufactured and used within a single laboratory. The agency is working with Congress on legislation to update the regulatory framework, which would include active oversight for such tests, said FDA spokesman Jim McKinney.

“For a drug, the FDA demands that there is a substantial high likelihood that the benefits not only are proven, but they outweigh the harms. That’s not the case for devices like blood tests,” said Dr. Barry Kramer of the Lisa Schwartz Foundation for Truth in Medicine.

Grail plans to seek approval from the FDA but is marketing its test as it submits data to the agency.

The history of cancer screening has taught caution. In 2004, Japan halted mass screening of infants for a childhood cancer after studies found it didn’t save lives. Last year, a 16-year study in 200,000 women in the United Kingdom found regular screening for ovarian cancer didn’t make any difference in deaths.

Cases like these have uncovered some surprises: Screening finds some cancers that don’t need to be cured. The flip side? Many dangerous cancers grow so fast they elude screening and prove deadly anyway.

And screening can do more harm than good. Anxiety from false positives. Unnecessary costs. And serious side effects from cancer care: PSA tests for men can lead to treatment complications such as incontinence or impotence, even when some slow-growing prostate cancers would never have caused trouble.

The evidence is strongest for screening tests for cancers of the breast, cervix and colon. For some smokers, lung cancer screening is recommended.

The recommended tests — mammography, PAP tests, colonoscopy — look for one cancer at a time. The new blood tests look for many cancers at once. That’s an advantage, according to Grail executive Dr. Joshua Ofman.

“We screen for four or five cancers in this country, but (many) cancer deaths are coming from cancers that we’re not looking for at all,” Ofman said.

Dr. Tomasz Beer of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland led the company-sponsored study that Joyce Ares joined in 2020. After a miserable winter of chemotherapy and radiation, doctors told her the treatment was a success.

Her case isn’t an outlier, “but it is the sort of hoped-for ideal outcome, and not everyone is going to have that,” Beer said.

While there were other early cancers detected among study participants, some had less clear-cut experiences. For some, blood tests led to scans that never located a cancer, which could mean the result was a false positive, or it could mean there’s a mystery cancer that will show up later. For others, blood tests detected cancer that turned out to be advanced and aggressive, Beer said. One older participant with a bad case declined treatment.

Grail continues to update its test as it learns from these studies, and is sponsoring a trial with Britain’s National Health Service in 140,000 people to see if the blood test can reduce the number of cancers caught in late stages.

Although Ares feels lucky, it’s impossible to know whether her test added healthy years to her life or made no real difference, said Kramer, former director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Prevention.

“I sincerely hope that Joyce benefited from having this test,” Kramer said when told of her experience. “But unfortunately, we can’t know, at the individual Joyce level, whether that’s the case.”

Cancer treatments can have long-term side effects, he said, “and we don’t know how fast the tumor would have grown.” Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is so effective that delaying therapy until she felt symptoms might have achieved the same happy outcome.

For now, health experts stress the Grail blood test is not a cancer diagnosis; a positive result triggers further scans and biopsies.

“This is a path in diagnostic testing that has never been tried before,” Kramer said. “Our ultimate destination is a test that has a clear net benefit. If we don’t do it carefully, we’ll go way off the path.”

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

This story was first published on April 11, 2022. It was updated on April 14, 2022, to make clear that FDA approval of some tests is required by law but the agency historically has not enforced regulatory requirements on certain tests.

Deprived of Sleep, Many Turn to Melatonin Despite Risks

Medscape – WebMD – by Laura Lillie

April 19, 2022

A previous study of melatonin products, for instance, flagged problems with inconsistent doses, which make it hard for people to know exactly how much they are getting and prompted calls for more FDA oversight.

Imprecise Doses

While melatonin doses typically range from 1 to 5 milligrams, bottles examined have been off target with much more or less hormone in the product than listed on the label.

Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, tested 30 commercially available formulas and found the melatonin content varied from the ingredients labeled on the bottles by more than 10%.

In addition to melatonin, the researchers found other substances in the bottles too: In about a quarter of the products, they also identified another chemical messenger called serotonin.

Impurities

While melatonin plays a role in setting the body’s biological clock and the sleep and wake cycle, serotonin is also at work. Occurring naturally in our bodies, serotonin is involved in mood and helps with deep REM sleep. But adding serotonin in unknown amounts could be unhealthy.

Muhammad Adeel Rishi, MD, vice chair, Public Safety Committee, American Academy of Sleep Medicine says, it can be dangerous to use a product as a medication when doses can be so off and there are unknown byproducts in it.

Serotonin can influence the heart, blood vessels, and brain, so it’s not something Rishi wants to see people taking without paying attention. People taking medication for mood disorders could be especially affected by the serotonin in their sleep aid, he warns.

For anyone taking melatonin, Rishi recommends they check the bottle to see whether they are using a product with a USP verified check mark, which indicates that the product meets the standards of the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention.

The risk of impurities is a good reason for kids to not be given the hormone, but another worry is whether melatonin interferes with puberty in children – which is also a question researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, Canada, are asking.

Disrupting Puberty

While short-term melatonin use is considered safe, the researchers report, concerns that long-term use might delay children’s sexual maturation require more study. One theory is that nightly melatonin use might interrupt the decline of natural hormone levels and interfere with the start of puberty.

Researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit also reported an uptick in accidental ingestion of melatonin in children. Kids got their hands on melatonin and swallowed too many capsules more often than other pill-related mishaps during the pandemic, they reported in the journal Pediatrics.

Rishi says more research is needed to assess the safe use of melatonin in children. He points out that the hormone can treat circadian rhythm disorders in adults.

While specialists weigh the benefits and risks of melatonin use and where it is safest to try, Rishi says the hormone does have a role in medicine.

Melatonin will probably need to be regulated by the FDA as a medication – especially for children – Rishi points out. And what place, if any, it will have for managing chronic insomnia is “a big question mark.”

Results of the investigation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine will be published on its sleepeducation.org website in a few months.

Sources

The Journal of the American Medical Association: “Trends in Use of Melatonin Supplements Among US Adults, 1999-2018.”

Muhammad Adeel Rishi, MD, vice chair, Public Safety Committee, American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: “Melatonin Natural Health Products and Supplements: Presence of Serotonin and Significant Variability of Melatonin Content.”

Nature and Science of Sleep: “Could long-term administration of melatonin to prepubertal children affect timing of puberty? A clinician’s perspective.”

Pediatrics: “COVID-19 and Pediatric Ingestions.”

The High Risk of Toothpaste

Have you seen the “Warnings” on toothpaste boxes?

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Investigation into Lucky Charms after more than 100 customer complaints of sickness

ABC News – April 19, 2022by Kelly McCarthy

The cereal marketed as “magically delicious” is under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration after more than 100 customers claimed the cereal made them sick.

On Saturday, as first reported by The Associated Press, the agency said it had received over 100 complaints related to Lucky Charms so far this year.

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Boxes of General Mills Lucky Charms cereal are displayed at a grocery store. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The FDA confirmed the investigation to ABC News and said it’s “aware of consumer complaints regarding illnesses associated with Lucky Charms cereal.”

“The FDA takes seriously any reports of possible adulteration of a food that may also cause illnesses or injury. Complaints of a less serious nature or those that appear to be isolated incidents are monitored and the information may be used during a future inspection of a company to help the FDA identify problem areas in a production plant,” an FDA official told ABC News. “The complaints are also discussed with company management during these inspections.”

Questions about a possible link between the cases of reported illness and the cereal after hundreds of consumers posted on a food safety website called, iwaspoisoned, with complaints of nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. According to the platform, over 3,000 posted complaints as of Monday.

General Mills Inc., the Minneapolis-based company that makes Lucky Charms and other cereals, said its own investigation has not found any evidence of consumer illness linked to Lucky Charms.

“We encourage consumers to please share any concerns directly with General Mills,” a spokeswoman said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A hundred complaints were initially found on the FDA’s reporting site, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Adverse Event Reporting System (CFSAN). The database contains information on adverse event and product complaint reports submitted by consumers and others to FDA for foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. As of time of publication the program had received over 100 reports related to Lucky Charms in 2022, all being reviewed and investigated.

ABC News has reached out to General Mills, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the company told the WSJ on Sunday that it’s working with the FDA.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Calcium Supplementation

Dove Press JournalClinical Interventions in Aging – 2018

A Review of Calcium Intake on Human Health

Calcium is an important integrative component of the human body and critical for human health. It has been well established that calcium intake is helpful in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, which has become one of the most serious public health problems across the world.

However, community-dwelling adults with and without osteoporosis are rarely concerned or even not aware of the potential side effects of high or inappropriate doses of calcium intake. Some recent studies have revealed that excessive calcium intake might increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

The purpose of this article was to review the health benefits, costs, and consequences of calcium supplementation on osteoporosis/osteoporotic fractures, cardiovascular events, kidney stones, gastrointestinal diseases, and other important diseases. In the end, we suggest that calcium supplementation should be prescribed and taken cautiously, accounting for individual patients’ risks and benefits.

Clearly, further studies are needed to examine the health effects of calcium supplementation to make any solid recommendations for people of different genders, ages, and ethnicities.

Read full article.

Vitamin C, Doxycycline and Cancer Stem Cells

Sagecancercare.com – Alex Speers ND, MS

Within a single tumor, there are a variety of different cell types. One type, called cancer stem cells, or CSCs, are unique because when they divide, they can produce a variety of different cell types in addition to producing more stem cells. This is important because it means that if CSCs are present within a tumor, that tumor has a potential source for any cell type it needs to sustain itself and grow.

Now consider what happens when we try to kill a growing tumor. Even if a treatment successfully kills a significant number of cancer cells, that tumor may still be able to regrow if CSCs remain alive. Think of cancer like a weed, growing wildly inside the body. CSCs are the root, and as any good gardener knows, if you don’t kill the root, there’s a good chance that weed will eventually grow back.

Some researchers have theorized that this small subgroup of cancer cells are the primary culprits behind cancer growth, cancer metastasis (spread of cancer throughout the body), cancer recurrence after treatment, and the development of treatment resistance, whereby a tumor no longer responds to treatment. Clearly, CSCs are a significant obstacle in the fight against cancer and as a result, targeting these cells has become a focus in the development of new cancer therapies.

Recently, researchers found that CSCs could be identified and distinguished from other cancer cells by their high mitochondrial mass. Mitrochondria are found within every cell in our body (except red blood cells) and are responsible for producing the energy our cells need to function. Discovering this, these same researchers set out to investigate whether they could kill CSCs by targeting their mitochondria.

What they found was that CSCs could effectively be killed using an integrative approach. First, they treated cancer cells with the antibiotic doxycycline, which acts by disrupting normal mitochondrial function. Initially, the researchers found that they could kill CSCs from several cancer types (ovarian, prostate, lung, breast, pancreatic, melanoma, glioblastoma) using only doxycycline. With continued use of doxycycline however, the researchers noticed that some CSCs began to develop resistance to doxycycline, escaping its anti-cancer effects.

Next, the researchers treated doxycycline-resistant CSCs with ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C. What they found was that adding vitamin C resulted in the death of 90-100% of the doxycycline-resistant CSCs. Furthermore, the doxycycline-resistant CSCs were 4-10 times more susceptible to vitamin C compared to normal CSCs, suggesting a synergy between the two agents.

With any cell study, it’s important to remember that the results don’t always translate to humans because we’re talking about isolated cells in a laboratory, far removed from a living, breathing human being. It is worth noting, however, that this combination has been studied in humans before, albeit for a different condition. A previous study of women with chlamydial cervicitis infections found that combining vitamin C with doxycycline and TMP-sulfa (another antibiotic) resulted in a cure rate that was 5 times higher than using antibiotics alone. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence on the safe use of high-dose intravenous vitamin C in patients with cancer (which will be discussed in a future blog). The present cell study suggests a potential new integrative approach to target CSCs and future research is warranted to validate these findings.

De Francesco EM, Bonuccelli G, Maggiolini M, Sotgia F, and Lisanti MP. Vitamin c and doxycycline: a synthetic lethal combination therapy targeting metabolic flexibility in cancer stem cells (CSCs). Oncotarget. 2017;8(40):67269-67286.

DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.

Young Man and the Seal

SANTA BARBARA CHANNEL, Calif. (KABC) — February 15, 2022

Consistent with the classic novel, “The Old Man and the Sea”, it’s a modern-day true tale.

Lost at sea, with no land in sight, a Southern California boater fell into the ocean and thought he was spending his final moments on earth. “I thought to myself, great, this is how I’m going to die,” boater Scott Thompson said. “Today is the day I’m going to die.”

Thompson accidentally fell out of his boat and into the water last month. He wore only shorts and a T-shirt in the middle of the frigid Santa Barbara Channel at night, miles away from land.

Panic set in as he watched his boat motor on without him.

“That’s when I realized, like, okay, we got problems,” Thompson said. “And I just started swimming as hard as I could, towards the boat, and it really didn’t take too long to realize like, it’s getting farther, I’m not getting closer.”

Despite being an expert diver and experienced swimmer, Thompson felt the icy chill of the ocean and certain death creeping in.

“The panic set in it was like, wow, this is a pretty heavy situation,” he said.

Thomspon needed a miracle to survive against overwhelming odds. With no land in sight, he leaned on the love for his family to inspire the fight to live.

“Just keep swimming, you gotta get home to your family.” Thompson kept telling himself. “I was devastating myself, through my mind, just picturing my girls and my son growing up without me, and my wife, you know, not having a husband to support her…I wasn’t thinking about sharks or anything like that, until I hear this splash?”

To Thompson, that splash felt like an angel summoned to help him.

“It was a medium sized harbor seal,” Thompson said. “The seal would go underwater, and he came up and nudged me. like a dog comes up and nudges your leg.”

Thompson saw that as a divine sign that against all odds he could make it.

“Did it know, like hey, this human is in trouble, hey keep going dude?” he said.

After his interaction with the seal, Thompson felt determined to swim to the nearest oil platform, which was far but closer than land.

“You gotta make it to the platform because you have no choice,” Thompson said. Freezing and exhausted, he kept swimming some five hours — finally reaching the platform.

“It started getting brighter and I’m just like, I’m crying. And I’m like, shouting at the sky.” he said.

Crews aboard the oil platform rendered aid. The coast guard got him to a hospital where Thompson got treated for hypothermia, and more.

A tow boat crew that recovered the floating vessel and say they can’t believe Thompson survived.

“Even putting on a wet suit, being prepared, getting in that water, and swimming to the platform was horrendous,” Channel Watch Marine Paul Amaral said. “I can’t imagine being in the water with shorts and a T-shirt at night. There was no moon, I mean it was pitch black.”

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.

COVID Brain Fog a ‘True Neurological Condition’

Medscape – by Pauline Anderson – January 24, 2022

Impaired cognition associated with COVID-19 appears to have a biological vs psychological basis, early research suggests.

Investigators found abnormalities in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and other risk factors, including diabetes and hypertension, present in individuals with mild COVID-19 experiencing persistent cognitive problems, often referred to as “brain fog.”

“We’re seeing changes to the [CSF] in the brain of most people who report cognitive changes,” Joanna Hellmuth, MD, assistant professor of neurology, Memory and Aging Center, University of California, San Francisco, told Medscape Medical News.

“We’re just in the beginning stages, but I hope this study will provide some legitimacy to this being a true neurologic condition.” The study was published online January 18 in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

There is currently no guidance on how to identify patients with COVID-related cognitive changes, said Hellmuth. “The term ‘brain fog’ is not based in science or medicine, but that’s the most common term we use to describe this.”

The analysis included adults with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection not requiring hospitalization who were enrolled in the Long-term Impact of Infection with Novel Coronavirus (LIINC) study.

Participants underwent a structured interview that covered COVID-19 illness, past medical history, preexisting cognitive risk factors, medications, and cognitive symptoms following onset of COVID-19. They also completed an in-person battery of cognitive tests.

The analysis included 22 participants with at least one new cognitive symptom who had cognitive post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). Ten cognitive controls reported no new cognitive symptoms after acute infection.

Participants had a median age of 41 years old, a median of 16 years of education, and were assessed a median of 10.1 months from their first COVID-19 symptom. There were no group differences in terms of age, gender, years of education, or distribution of race/ethnicity (all P > .05).

Among those with cognitive PASC, 43% reported cognitive symptoms starting 1 or more months after the first COVID symptom. About 29% reported cognitive changes started 2 or more months after their first COVID symptom.

“The immune system could be altered in some way after the infection, and perhaps that’s what’s contributing to these delayed onset cognitive changes,” said Hellmuth.

Compared to controls, participants with cognitive PASC had more preexisting cognitive risk factors (a median of 2.5 vs 0; P = .03). These included hypertension and diabetes, which increase the risk of stroke, mild cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, traumatic brain injury (TBI), learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, stimulant use, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which may make the brain more vulnerable to executive functioning problems.

Hellmuth noted the study wasn’t powered to determine whether any individual risk factor was associated with risk of cognitive changes.

As there are no published neuropsychological testing criteria for cognitive PASC, researchers applied the equivalent criteria for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND), a similar, virally associated cognitive disorder.

Only 59% of those with cognitive PASC met equivalent HAND criteria for objective cognitive impairment, vs 70% of cognitive controls. This, the investigators note, highlights “the challenges and incongruities of using subjective, versus objective cognitive assessments for diagnosis.”

Is Self-report Enough?

While there is currently “nothing objective doctors can hang their hats on to say, ‘you do’ or ‘you don’t’ have cognitive changes related to COVID,” using the HAND criteria is “not particularly helpful,” said Hellmuth.

“Comparing an individual to a population-based norm in this case is really nuanced, and we shouldn’t rely on this solely to determine whether they do, or don’t, have cognitive changes.”

Perhaps self-reports in this case are “enough” said Hellmuth. “People know their brains better than anyone else, better than any doctor will.”

Thirteen in the cognitive PASC group and four in the control group consented to a lumbar puncture. Cognitive PASC participants were older than controls (median of 47 vs 28 years, = .03) with no other between-group differences.

Overall, 77% of participants with cognitive PASC had a CSF abnormality compared with 0% of cognitive controls (P = .01).

CSF abnormalities included elevated protein levels with no other explainable cause in 2 of the 13 subjects with PASC, which Hellmuth said is typically a marker of inflammation.

Researchers also noted abnormal oligoclonal banding, a collection of antibodies, in the blood or brain fluid. These were identified in 69% of participants with cognitive PASC compared to 0% of cognitive controls (P = .03).

“When we find this pattern in both blood and brain, it suggests a systemic inflammatory disorder,” although “we have no idea what these antibodies are targeting,” said Hellmuth.

The study represents “the very beginning stages” of PASC becoming a medical diagnosis “where doctors know what to call it, how to treat it, and how to do blood and cerebrospinal fluid tests to diagnose it,” said Hellmuth.

She hopes PASC will receive medical legitimacy just as TBI has. In years past, a player was hit on the head or had their “bell rung,” simply returned to the field. “Now that we understand the science, we call it a mild TBI or concussion, and we have a very different medical approach to it.”

A limitation of the study was the small sample size, which may hinder the results’ validity. In addition, the study demographics may not reflect the broader population of those impacted by PASC.

“A First Substantial Step”

Commenting on the research for Medscape Medical News, William Schaffner, MD, professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, said the new results represent “a first substantial step on the road to trying to find out what’s going on” with COVID patients dealing with cognitive issues.

Schaffner noted elevated protein levels, identified in some study subjects, “is usually a consequence of previous inflammation” and is “a very interesting” finding.

“In people who are otherwise normal, if you do a lumbar puncture, you don’t find elevated proteins.”

However, he noted the “diversity of results” from CSF examinations. “A single pattern does not leap out.”

What the researchers are observing “is not just a phenomenon of the mind or just something psychological,” said Schaffner. “Something physical is going on here.”

The study was funded by grants from NIMH and NINDS. Hellmuth received grant support from the National Institutes of Health/NIMH supporting this work and personal fees for medical-legal consultation outside of the submitted work. Schaffner has disclosed not relevant financial relationships.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. Published online January 18, 2022. Abstract.

Man Dies of Hypothermia in an Unplugged Freezer

Claim: A man locked in an unplugged freezer imagined himself freezing to death and died as a result.

by David Mikkelson – Snopes

A man finds himself locked in a walk-in freezer. He is convinced he will die and begins writing letters. His letters end with a final passage where he is saying he cannot write anymore because his fingers are beginning to freeze. When they find him dead, not only do they find the letters, but they discover that the freezer’s temperature never dropped below 50 degrees. Thus, the man pretty much psyched himself to death.

[Van Ekeren, 1988] – The expression “worried to death” has more truth to it than you might think.

There is a story about Nick Sitzman, a strong, young bull-of-a-man, who worked on a train crew. It seemed Nick had everything: a strong healthy body, ambition, a wife and two children, and many friends. However, Nick had one fault. He was a notorious worrier. He worried about everything and usually feared the worst.

One midsummer day, the train crew were informed that they could quit an hour early in honor of the foreman’s birthday. Accidentally, Nick was locked in a refrigerator boxcar, and the rest of the workmen left the site. Nice panicked.

He banged and shouted until his fists were bloody and his voice was hoarse. No one heard him. “If I can’t get out, I’ll freeze to death in here,” he thought. Wanting to let his wife and family know exactly what had happened to him, Nick found a knife and began to etch words on the wooden floor. He wrote, “It’s so cold, my body is getting numb. If I could just go to sleep. These may be my last words.”

The next morning the crew slid open the heavy doors of the boxcar and found Nick dead. An autopsy revealed that every physical sign of his body indicated he had frozen to death. And yet the refrigeration unit of the car was inoperative, and the temperature inside indicated fifty-five degrees. Nick had killed himself by the power of worry.

Origins:   Can someone really think himself to death? That is the point of this legend: the mind is a powerful thing; so powerful that it can kill. This story has often been passed along by motivational speakers as an example of the power of one’s mind.

We’ve been hearing versions of this story for years, tales in which the details change but the theme remains that of an unfortunate man who dies after he is trapped in a situation which he presumes to be dangerous but is later revealed not to have posed any real threat to his well-being: The air-tight room he’s locked in turns out to have a vent to the outside which brings a steady supply of fresh air but the man suffocates because he believes he’s used up all the oxygen; the cooling unit on the refrigerated boxcar he’s trapped in isn’t turned on, but the man stuck inside the car slowly succumbs to hypothermia nonetheless.

Because this type of story involves a death caused by something contradictory to the physical evidence, a search of the deceased’s pockets or a quick glance at the floor or walls will inevitably turn up a note detailing the final hours of his life. The note is a necessary plot element in this sort of tale, as the victim’s thoughts just prior to his death are key to the story, and those are details we couldn’t know without his conveniently having left a written record of what he’d been thinking.

The theme of a physically unharmed victim who passes away only because he believes himself to be dying underpins another urban legend. In “Lethal Indirection,” a fellow who believes himself to have been executed dies of a heart attack.

Could someone really think himself to death? The jury may still be out on that concept, but we’ve yet to find any documentation for the claim that someone once died because his power of thought turned him into a corpsicle.

Woman Wakes Up From Covid-19 Coma on Her Last Day on Life Support

New York Post – by Yaron Steinbuch

November 19, 2021 

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Bettina Lerman suffered no organ failure and is seemingly mentally sharp after waking up, according to her son. Courtesy Andrew Lerman

A comatose Florida woman on a ventilator with COVID-19 stunned her family when she suddenly woke up more than a month later — on the day she was expected to be taken off life support.

Florida resident Bettina Lerman, 69, who was not vaccinated, was visiting Maine with her son Andrew Lerman to help care for his cancer-stricken father, who also contracted COVID-19 but has recovered, CNN reported.

After getting infected with the deadly bug, Lerman was hospitalized at Maine Medical Center in Portland on Sept. 12 and was placed on a ventilator nine days later, according to the network.

Doctors told the family they didn’t expect her to make it as her condition worsened.

“We had a family meeting with the hospital because my mother wasn’t waking up. No matter what they (did), they couldn’t get her to wake up,” Andrew told CNN. “They said that her lungs are completely destroyed. There’s irreversible damage — that it’s just not going to happen.”

Bettina, who had planned to get the jab when she became ill, has multiple underlying medical conditions, including diabetes. She had also suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery two years ago, her son said.

The family picked out her casket and headstone as they prepared to say goodbye, he said, adding that he and his siblings flew down to Tavares, Florida, to cancel their mom’s lease and donate many of her possessions, the Washington Post reported.

“It was the end of the line,” Andrew told the paper.

But on Oct. 29, the day they planned to remove her from life support, one of her doctors called.

“He’s like, ‘Well, I need you to come here right away.’ I was like, ‘OK, what’s wrong?’” Andrew told CNN. “He goes, ‘Well, there’s nothing wrong. Your mother woke up.’”

He told the Washington Post he was “completely beside myself,” adding: “I dropped the phone because I was going to be terminating life support that day.”

A hospital spokeswoman told CNN that Bettina remains in serious condition but she could not release any additional information due to privacy laws.

Andrew said she didn’t suffer any organ failure and that no one really understands how she’s doing so well.

“My mother is very religious and so are a lot of her friends, and church, and everything else and they’ve all been praying for her,” he told CNN. “So they can’t explain it on the medical side. Maybe it’s on the religious side. I’m not that religious, but I’m starting to believe that there’s something that helped her. I don’t know.”

Andrew said his mother can breathe on her own for a few hours at a time with some oxygen support, instead of a ventilator.

“She knows where she is, who she is — she’s as sharp as a tack,” he said. “Usually, when somebody comes out of a coma like that, they say that the patients have delirium where they’re very confused. From day one, she hasn’t experienced any of that.”

More than 768,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the US since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Andrew told WMTW that his mom plans to get vaccinated after her recovery.

I think the right thing to do is to get vaccinated, so if one of our family members gets it again, it won’t be that bad,” he told the outlet. “We give her words of encouragement every day. We tell her to keep on fighting.”

FDA Drugs Approved on Fraudulent Research Stay on Market

In 2010, the FDA uncovered violations it later called “egregious” and “pervasive” at a major pharmaceutical testing lab. But even though the agency no longer knew for sure that drugs tested at the lab were safe, it allowed them to remain on pharmacy shelves with no new testing — in some cases until now. And the FDA won’t name the drugs.

by ProPublica – April 15, 2013

Key Points

  • In 2011, the FDA announced years’ worth of studies from a major drug research lab were potentially worthless.
  • About 100 drugs were on the U.S. market based in part on these tests.
  • The FDA let the drugs stay on pharmacy shelves with no new testing (in some cases until now).
  • As the FDA investigated and ordered re-tests, its European equivalent pulled seven drugs from the market.
  • The FDA says it has no evidence that any of the drugs were unsafe or that any patient has been harmed.

The FDA has never named the drugs, saying to do so would reveal trade secrets. On the morning of May 3, 2010, three agents of the Food and Drug Administration descended upon the Houston office of Cetero Research, a firm that conducted research for drug companies worldwide.

Lead agent Patrick Stone, now retired from the FDA, had visited the Houston lab many times over the previous decade for routine inspections. This time was different. His team was there to investigate a former employee’s allegation that the company had tampered with records and manipulated test data.

When Stone explained the gravity of the inquiry to Chinna Pamidi, the testing facility’s president, the Cetero executive made a brief phone call. Moments later, employees rolled in eight flatbed carts, each double-stacked with file boxes. The documents represented five years of data from some 1,400 drug trials.

Pamidi bluntly acknowledged that much of the lab’s work was fraudulent, Stone said. “You got us,” Stone recalled him saying.

Based partly on records in the file boxes, the FDA eventually concluded that the lab’s violations were so “egregious” and pervasive that studies conducted there between April 2005 and August 2009 might be worthless.

The health threat was potentially serious: About 100 drugs, including sophisticated chemotherapy compounds and addictive prescription painkillers, had been approved for sale in the United States at least in part on the strength of Cetero Houston’s tainted tests. The vast majority, 81, were generic versions of brand-name drugs on which Cetero scientists had often run critical tests to determine whether the copies did, in fact, act the same in the body as the originals. For example, one of these generic drugs was ibuprofen, sold as gelatin capsules by one of the nation’s largest grocery-store chains for months before the FDA received assurance they were safe.

The rest were new medications that required so much research to win approval that the FDA says Cetero’s tests were rarely crucial.

Stone said he expected the FDA to move swiftly to compel new testing and to publicly warn patients and doctors.

Instead, the agency decided to handle the matter quietly, evaluating the medicines with virtually no public disclosure of what it had discovered. It pulled none of the drugs from the market, even temporarily, letting consumers take the ibuprofen and other medicines it no longer knew for sure were safe and effective. To this day, some drugs remain on the market despite the FDA having no additional scientific evidence to back up the safety and efficacy of these drugs.

Nasal Spray Company Pushes CDC, FDA to Accept Its Claims to Help Treat COVID

September 10, 2021

Newsweek – Bill PowellWith his job approval rating plunging and the Delta variant of Covid19 still raging, President Biden this evening laid out new directives—including vaccine mandates for companies with 100 or more employees—to try to get the virus under control.

For a group of companies and medical researchers scattered around the world, the speech was yet another disappointment in what has been a year full of them. To them, Biden’s speech represented a missed opportunity to promote a simple, inexpensive and widely available tool for dealing with the virus: nasal sprays.

How can nasal sprays help combat COVID 19? The virus and its variants infect patients primarily by adhering to the nasal membrane as the original source of infection, explains Nathan Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Xlear, the American Fork, Utah-based maker of nasal sprays as well as an array of dental care products.

Researchers who have studied the matter say that any spray that works by blocking adhesion of the virus to the nasal membrane, and by physically washing the virus from the nose, will likely be equally effective with the Delta variant. Sanotize, a Vancouver, Canada-based biotech firm, began phase three trials across several countries of its spray to gauge its effectiveness against Delta. Preliminary trials have been promising, the company says, and it has already received interim approval for sale from public health agencies in Israel and

As Biden’s speech Thursday evening illustrated, the U.S. approach to COVID has been vaccine-centric. That has been immensely frustrating to a company such as Xlear, which has been in a year-long dialogue with the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, seeking emergency use authorization for its nasal spray as a COVID treatment. (In order to make antiviral claims in its advertising and marketing, a company needs an EUA from the FDA.) It has also tried to prod the Centers for Disease Control to issue guidance on the use of nasal sprays to blunt the coronavirus’s impact.

So far both the FDA and the CDC have resisted those entreaties. In a lengthy letter to the company sent this summer and seen by Newsweek, Sandra Cashman, executive secretary in the office of the Chief of Staff at the CDC, dismisses one of the independent studies on nasal spray’s effectiveness as “small,” says it discusses nasal spray’s efficacy only in terms of treating symptoms, and “presents no hard evidence …in terms of viral load reduction.”

The company submitted multiple studies that it says demonstrate that its spray does help “destroy the virus,” as Jones puts it. Other researchers point to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine which shows that the viral load is concentrated in the nose and upper airways, something, Jones says, ”we have known since February of 2020, and we still are not talking about it.”

But for the CDC, it hasn’t been enough. “If further data is released [on viral load reduction] CDC will consider this additional scientific evidence to…determine updates to our recommendations,” Cashman wrote. A CDC staffer, not authorized to speak on the record, says this sort of give and take is fairly standard, and that ”if the agency doesn’t feel it has seen enough hard data, it won’t update its guidance. But when it does, it will.”

Despite the brush off from the CDC, Xlear’s dialogue with the FDA continued throughout the summer, leading to some optimism that an EUA might come at some point. A recent letter laid out some steps the company needed to take in order to move toward an EUA, and stressed that it was always open to dialogue. “So that at least was a positive,” says an attorney for Xlear working on the matter.

But that’s about all that was positive. The FDA made requests that seemed outlandish to some people associated with Xlear. For example, the spray Xlear produces is made from grapefruit seed extract. The FDA wanted to know the origin of the grapefruits the company uses, the sources said—down to the fields they were grown in and the day they were harvested. But the company buys from a supplier, who in turn buys the grapefruits from another company. Establishing where and when specific grapefruits were harvested is going to be a nightmare.

The FDA also asked for a safety trial. But over-the-counter nasal sprays have been on the market for years with almost no serious safety concerns. “It just makes no sense,” says a source familiar with the company’s communications with the agency. ”They want mountains from us and a molehill from the drug makers.”

Jones gave voice to the frustration. ”We aren’t a fringe group of people just looking at simple solutions via a nasal spray. We know we’re not a magic bullet. But we can be a weapon in this fight,” he says—and a cost-effective one at that: ”nasal spray solutions are $6 a month or even less.”

Six months ago, hoping to understand the agency’s internal deliberations about nasal sprays and their potential to combat COVID, Xlear filed a freedom of information request to the CDC. It got the results earlier this month. The CDC turned over 558 pages, three of which were redacted. “There is literally nothing there,” says an attorney familiar with the case. “We had asked them to look at the use of nasal sprays, but there was no research, no studies discussed. No one was even assigned anyone to it.”

CDC says it was responsive and will remain so, and that it awaits the FDA’s response on the EUA before issuing any guidance.

Visit Xlear.com for products and information.

12 Foods That Are Ruining Your Smile

Healthfully – written by Maressa Brown

When it comes to caring for your well-being, dental health may not rank as high as other concerns, like cardiovascular and digestive health. Yet, when something goes wrong with your chompers — think bleeding gums or a cavity — figuring out how to improve your dental hygiene quickly becomes top of mind.

Besides keeping up with regular visits to your dentist, brushing and flossing, one of the best ways to maintain dental health is by steering clear of certain foods and drinks that can chip away at your mouth’s wellness.

“Certain ingredients may not only be damaging to your waistline but to your teeth as well,” says Sarah Jebreil, D.D.S. **, a dentist in Newport Beach, Calif. Here are seven foods that dentists are quick to sideline for the sake of dental health. **

  1. Red Wine

Red wine may be delicious and full of wonderful flavonoids, well-known antioxidants that can help with inflammation and protect cell structure, but when it comes to your teeth you might want to be careful.

The good news is you don’t have to drink your cab or pinot noir out of a straw to keep your smile bright and shiny — simply rinse your mouth with water after drinking it. Phew!

  1. Lemons

Lemons may be low in calories, packed with fiber and high in vitamin C, but don’t ever think about sucking on a whole lemon or drinking undiluted lemon juice. “Lemons erode your enamel due to acidity,” says Dr. Apa, who advises against letting your teeth come into contact with any sort of lemon concentrate. Luckily you don’t have to avoid the tart citrus altogether. Adding lemon juice to your favorite foods is totally fine, as is drinking water with as much lemon squeezed into it as you please.

  1. Sticky Candies

Candies that aren’t only sweet but also sticky — think Sour Patch Kids or Laffy Taffy — may serve as a throwback to childhood and offer a pleasant sugar rush, but they’re bad news for your teeth, says Maricelle Abayon, D.M.D. , dentist and faculty member with Eastman Institute for Oral Health, part of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“Gummy candy and taffy stick to the tooth surface and can be difficult to clean off,” Dr. Abayon says. The risk? When residual sugar is left on the surface of the tooth, it can up your risk of developing cavities.

  1. Fruit Juice

Whether you love grabbing a glass of orange juice with your breakfast, a green juice on the way home from the gym or lemonade on a hot summer day, overdoing consumption of fruit juice — especially apple and orange juice — is a no-no if you want to keep your teeth healthy.

“It breaks down into acids that demineralize the tooth surface, also increasing the risk for developing cavities,” says Dr. Abayon. Tooth erosion — loss of tooth enamel from acidic foods and beverages — is a potential issue, as well.

A 2015 study published in PLoS One compared various beverages for their effect on tooth erosion and found that apple juice and orange juice were about five times more erosive than light cola, and lemon juice was significantly erosive, as well.

  1. Coffee

You already know that ordering a frothy, sugar-packed coffee drink is the fast track to consuming empty calories.

“While these drinks are so tasty and comforting, the acid from coffee combined with the sugar can really be damaging to the enamel and cause tooth decay,” she says.

“In addition, coffee is a diuretic, causing the mouth to become dry after consumption.” A dry mouth lays the groundwork for buildup of plaque and harmful bacteria.

“If you slip and do consume any of these offenders, don’t stress, just be sure to drink plenty of water and swish it around your mouth to remove and residual film from these ingredients,” she says. “Of course, if you can, brushing your teeth would be best.”

  1. Soda

Much like juice, frequent guzzling of soda is frowned upon by dental health care providers, given its propensity to promote cavities and tooth erosion.

“Besides being sugary, soda is acidic,” says Steven Freeman, D.D.S. , owner of Elite Smiles, a dental office located in St. Augustine, Fl.

“Enamel begins to dissolve at a pH of 5.5 and under,” says Dr. Freeman. And most sodas come in well below that — under the 3.0 mark — meaning they’re highly acidic and erosive.

If you must drink soda, Dr. Freeman advises drinking versus sipping.

“Sipping causes the pH in your mouth to stay lower longer,” he says. “And do not brush immediately after drinking from a can, this can damage the already softened enamel further.”

  1. Dried Fruit

When you’re suffering from a sweet tooth, you might think it’s OK to gravitate to nature’s candy — a.k.a. fruit — instead of candy. But you’ll do well to reach for fresh fruit over dried options, like highly-acidic prunes, apricots, and raisins.

“Dried fruits can act like a sticky caramel in your mouth,” says Mark Burhenne, D.D.S. , founder of AskTheDentist.com. “The gumminess clings to teeth just like candy and traps cavity-causing bacteria and sugars on the teeth.”

That said, a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition notes that dried fruit does have significantly more nutritional benefits than candy (duh! ), including being high in fiber, low in fat and containing useful levels of micronutrients. So if your choices are between candy and dried fruit, go for the fruit.

  1. Pistachios

Snapping pistachio shells in your mouth is even kinda fun, right?

Unfortunately, by using your teeth to crack them you may be chipping them and not even know it. Instead of opting for the shell-on version, Dr. Apa suggests buying your nuts shelled — unless you want to end up in his office.

  1. Turmeric

Prized for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric — a plant related to ginger that’s grown throughout India and other parts of Asia and Central America — has been popping up in supplements, juices and sauces galore. But it’s important not to overdo it on this healthy spice if you’re concerned about maintaining your pearly whites.

“While the health benefits are astounding, so is the stain that it leaves,” says Dr. Jebreil. That said, the concern may be more for people who have had certain cosmetic work done on their teeth.

“Do not consume turmeric if you have bonding or temporaries or are wearing clear aligners,” she says. “Turmeric stains everything a nice golden brown, including your tongue.”

  1. Green Juice

Green juice is pretty much the holy grail of health, as it is typically made with a bevy of raw fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals. But the greenish hue isn’t quite kosher for your cuspids.

According to Dr. Apa, the green pigmentation can stain them. However, you shouldn’t quit consuming your daily greens — just don’t chug them straight from the bottle if you want to keep your teeth white instead of tinted to match your paper folding money. “Sip your green juice through a straw,” he suggests.

  1. Beets

Beets are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals and are low in calories, fat and sodium. Whether you prefer adding them to salads or juicing them to drink, they can sweeten your day without using up too much of your daily recommended amount of sugar.

But Dr. Apa warns that their gorgeous reddish hue can cling to your canines and tint them that beautiful shade of beet red. Not so pretty, right? Whether sipping them in a smoothie or chomping them on their own, just make sure to brush your teeth after eating.

  1. Saltine Crackers

Sugary foods and drinks tend to get the worst rap when it comes to damaging your teeth, but some salty snacks aren’t that great either. Refined carbohydrates — like the ones in saltine crackers, Goldfish crackers, even gluten-free crackers — are fermentable and highly-processed starches, Dr. Burnhenne says.

The sugars in these types of high-glycemic snacks mix with naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth, fermenting and creating lactic acid, which is linked to erosion of tooth enamel. What’s more, many processed carbohydrates contain genetically engineered ingredients, which make the food more cariogenic, or cavity-causing, says Dr. Burhenne.

Are Fruit Juices Just as Unhealthy as Sugar-Sweetened Beverages?

JAMA Network Open

In the past few years, the health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) have been a matter of scientific and public interest. Sugar-sweetened beverages include any beverage with added sugar or other sweetener, such as carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks, fruit punch, fruit juice concentrates, powdered drink mixes, and energy drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages typically contain 140 to 150 kcal and 35 to 37.5 g of sugar per 12-oz serving, and they are the largest source of added sugars in the US diet.1 Substantial efforts have been devoted to discourage the consumption of SSBs, including policies for taxation and restrictions on marketing to children.

Fruit juices are still widely perceived as a healthier option than SSBs. However, they often contain as much sugar and as many calories as SSBs. Although the sugar in 100% fruit juices is naturally occurring rather than added, once metabolized, the biological response is essentially the same.

It is widely accepted that SSBs are implicated in weight gain and adverse cardiometabolic health, but the evidence regarding fruit juices is less abundant. Using findings from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, Collin et al2 evaluated the associations of SSBs and 100% fruit juices with coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality and all-cause mortality.2 Among a cohort of 13 440 US adults (4174 black adults and 9266 white adults), 168 died of CHD and 1000 died of any cause after 6 years of follow-up. Compared with participants who consumed less than 5% of their daily calories as sugary beverages (ie, SSBs and fruit juices), participants who consumed 10% or more of their daily calories as sugary beverages had a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.44 (95% CI, 0.97-2.15) for CHD mortality and 1.14 (95% CI, 0.97-1.33) for all-cause mortality after adjusting the models for cardiovascular risk factors. With each additional 12 oz of sugary beverages or of fruit juice alone, risk-adjusted all-cause mortality HRs were 1.11 (95% CI, 1.03-1.19) and 1.24 (95% CI, 1.09-1.42), respectively. Collin et al2 concluded that fruit juice consumption contributed to the association of increased risk of all-cause mortality with sugary beverage consumption in the study population and suggested that well-powered and longer-term studies are needed to evaluate the associations of fruit juice consumption with CHD mortality risk. In addition to the small number of CHD-related deaths, another limitation of this study was that the analyses used self-reported intake only at baseline, which did not reflect long-term dietary intakes.

This is one of the first studies examining the associations of SSBs and 100% fruit juices with mortality outcomes in a multiethnic cohort, to our knowledge. Although the evidence from the REGARDS study is only suggestive, the study by Collins et al2 brings attention to potential adverse effects of SSB vs fruit juice consumption on health. There is compelling evidence that higher intakes of SSBs are associated with a wide range of health consequences, including tooth decay, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease. In a 2014 prospective analysis using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,3 higher intake of added sugar and SSBs was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular mortality among US adults after a median 14.6 years of follow-up. These findings were consistent with a 2019 study4 that included 36 436 deaths. Comparing extreme categories of SSBs intake, the relative risk of cardiovascular mortality was 31% (95% CI, 15%-49%) higher in participants who consumed more than 2 servings of SSBs per day after adjusting for major diet and lifestyle factors.4

The evidence for an association of intake of fruit juices with health outcomes is much less abundant and consistent. Results from a 2013 prospective cohort study5 that included 187 382 participants who were observed for up to 24 years (dietary intake information was updated every 4 years) showed that greater whole-fruit consumption was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater consumption of fruit juices was associated with a higher type 2 diabetes risk.5 In a 2015 meta-analysis of 17 prospective cohort studies,6 each additional daily serving of SSBs was associated with 13% (95% CI, 6%-21%) greater risk of diabetes, while each additional daily serving of fruit juices was associated with 7% (95% CI, 1%-14%) greater risk.

There is some evidence that moderate consumption of fruit juices is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, especially stroke, and cognitive decline.7,8 Findings from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands study7 showed that moderate consumption of 100% fruit juice (≤7 five-oz glasses per week) was associated with 17% (95% CI, 5%-27%) lower risk of cardiovascular disease and 24% (95% CI, 6%-39%) lower risk of stroke. In a 2019 study,8 compared with less than 1 serving per month, daily consumption of orange juice was associated with substantially lower odds of poor subjective cognitive function among men middle-aged and older (odds ratio, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.43-0.67). The potential underlying mechanisms for the observed inverse associations may be related to the high antioxidant and bioactive substance (including vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols) content in some 100% fruit juices. These nutrients are hypothesized to reduce oxidative stress and improve inflammatory markers, endothelial function, and cognitive performance.7,8 However, the question is whether polyphenols and other phytochemicals in fruit juices can counteract the effects of sugars on weight and type 2 diabetes. The same polyphenols can also be obtained from whole fruits, which have higher amounts of dietary fiber and more satiating effects; thus, consumption of whole fruit is preferable because the evidence for their health benefits is strong.5 In addition, other beverages, such as coffee and tea, that are high in antioxidants and may have cardiometabolic benefits should be considered as healthier options.9 Finally, the amount of polyphenols and sugars differs greatly depending on the type of fruit juice, eg, apple juice vs orange juice, and their effects on health outcomes may also vary. Clearly, more research is needed to examine the association of consumption of fruit juices with risk of cardiovascular disease and with cognitive function.

What are the practical recommendations for fruit juice consumption? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommendations for children aged 1 to 6 years are to limit fruit juice consumption to a maximum of 4 to 6 oz per day, and for children 7 years and older, adolescents, and adults to limit fruit juice consumption to 8 oz per day. If juices are consumed, they should be 100% fruit juices, not other fruit drinks with added sugar (eg, fruit punch or juice cocktail). Other popular beverages such as fruit-based smoothies are commonly perceived as healthier options; however, their ingredients can vary substantially, and there is limited research on their health effects. Unless made with blended whole fruit, they are lower than whole fruits in dietary fiber and can contribute extra calories and sugars when consumed in excess.

In summary, the deleterious effects of SSBs are well established, and individual efforts and policy solutions are needed to reduce consumption levels. Although fruit juices may not be as deleterious as SSBs, their consumption should be moderated in children and adults, especially for individuals who wish to control their body weight. Further research is needed to examine the health risks and potential benefits of specific fruit juices.

Marta Guasch-Ferré1,2; Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD1,2

Author Affiliations Article Information

JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(5):e193109. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3109

References

1. World Health Organization.  Guideline: sugars intake for adults and children. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/149782/1/9789241549028_eng.pdf?ua=1. Accessed March 12, 2019.

2. Collin  LJ, Judd  S, Safford  M, Vaccarino  V, Welsh  JA.  Association of sugary beverage consumption with mortality risk in US adults: a secondary analysis of data from the REGARDS study.  JAMA Netw Open. 2016;2(5):e193121. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3121
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3. Yang  Q, Zhang  Z, Gregg  EW, Flanders  WD, Merritt  R, Hu  FB.  Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults.  JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):516-524. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563
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4. Malik  VS, Li  Y, Pan  A,  et al.  Long-term consumption of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages and risk of mortality in US adults  [published online March 18, 2019].  Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.037401PubMedGoogle Scholar

5. Muraki  I, Imamura  F, Manson  JE,  et al.  Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.  BMJ. 2013;347:f5001. doi:10.1136/bmj.f5001PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref

6. Imamura  F, O’Connor  L, Ye  Z,  et al.  Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction.  BMJ. 2015;351:h3576. doi:10.1136/bmj.h3576PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref

7. Scheffers  FR, Boer  JMA, Verschuren  WMM,  et al.  Pure fruit juice and fruit consumption and the risk of CVD: the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands (EPIC-NL) study.  Br J Nutr. 2019;121(3):351-359. doi:10.1017/S0007114518003380PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref

8. Yuan  C, Fondell  E, Bhushan  A,  et al.  Long-term intake of vegetables and fruits and subjective cognitive function in US men.  Neurology. 2019;92(1):e63-e75. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000006684PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref

9. Ding  M, Bhupathiraju  SN, Satija  A, van Dam  RM, Hu  FB.  Long-term coffee consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.  Circulation. 2014;129(6):643-659. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.005925PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref

Don’t buy the hysteria: the Delta variant is actually less dangerous

New York Post by the Post Editorial Board – On Wednesday, the Delta variant became America’s dominant COVID strain. Yet it’s no cause for panic: The numbers — especially in Britain, which Delta hit hard — show it causes far fewer hospitalizations and deaths, while vaccines remain highly effective against it.

Most media hype the fear: “Americans should be more concerned about the Delta variant,” a Forbes piece declares. “Scientists have good reasons to sound the alarm,” New York magazine insists. “It’s hard to understand how worried to be,” a CNN analysis claims.

No, actually, the numbers are clear. Yes, Delta, first found in India, does appear more contagious than the Alpha variant first found in Britain — about 50 percent more transmissible, which is why it’s outpaced Alpha there.

Rising cases even prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay the end of restrictions. But the huge case spike didn’t lead to similar hospitalization or death spikes, so Britain’s back on track to lift regulations July 19.

The seven-day average of new UK cases is above 25,000, the highest since late January, when the weekly average had just dropped from a peak of 50,000. But only 2,000 COVID cases are hospitalized, vs. nearly 40,000 in January. Daily deaths average under 20, vs. more than 1,000 in January.

Similarly: Israel, despite a spike in Delta cases, is seeing deaths in the single digits over the last month.

In other words, Delta looks to be less lethal than previous variants, despite media scare stories.

This makes sound scientific sense: Evolution favors variants that are more contagious — but also ones that are less deadly because killing the host reduces the chances for spread.

And the vaccines still work well. Public Health England found Pfizer’s vax was 96 percent effective at preventing hospitalization from the Delta variant. An Israeli study found it was 94 percent effective at preventing severe illness.

Yes, Australia extended a two-week lockdown into three in the face of its Delta spike. But its vaccination rate isn’t even 10 percent. While America didn’t meet President Biden’s goal of 70 percent of adults with at least one shot by July 4, we’ll be there any day now.

US cases are rising mainly in areas lax with the vax. States with below-average jab rates have triple the number of new cases compared with above-average states. Arkansas has five times the national average of new cases — because not even 35 percent of its residents are fully vaccinated, vs. nearly 60 percent nationwide.

And while Delta caused a 10 percent rise in daily US cases late last month, COVID hospital admissions actually dropped.

Overcautious health bureaucrats miss the forest for the trees: Dr. Anthony Fauci is now urging even the vaccinated to still mask in areas of high transmission. Los Angeles County wants everyone to mask up again indoors, following the World Health Organization’s recommendation. Worse, education officials across the country are questioning school reopening plans as Delta cases rise.

Wrong: The only rational response is to work harder to get the holdouts jabbed. Biden announced Tuesday he’ll send “COVID-19 Surge Response teams” to get more shots to primary-care doctors and pediatricians, expand mobile clinics and even go door to door. That’s the smart way to keep the country on the road to normalcy, even as the fearmongers try to hold us back.

Half of Health Care Workers Refuse the Covid Vaccine

UndercurrentsWhat do frontline health care workers and first responders know about COVID-19 vaccines that politicians and their public health advisers don’t?

According to a January analysis by Gallup, 51 percent of health care workers and first responders polled in December were unconvinced of the merits of getting vaccinated, even if the vaccine “was free, available, FDA approved and 90% effective.”

Gallup found these results especially concerning since those at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 were the likeliest to refuse vaccination (34 percent).

In California, over half of Tehama County’s hospital workers at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital, an estimated 50 percent of frontline workers in Riverside County, and 20 percent to 40 percent in L.A. County refused the vaccine, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

In Georgia, according to an estimate in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, only 30 percent of health care workers have been inoculated. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine reported that 60 percent of nursing-home workers refused the vaccine. In Texas, the Texas Tribune reported in February that home-health and assisted-living agencies may not be able to service their clients because so many caregivers are refusing to be vaccinated. A CDC survey of skilled-nursing facilities published in early February found that fewer than 40 percent of staff took at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Outside the United States, frontline workers are likewise skeptical. On March 2, Reuters reported that at most half of the nursing staff in Switzerland’s medical sector, only 30 percent of the staff at Germany’s BeneVit Group care-home operator, and about half of the health workers in French care homes were willing to be vaccinated.

PBS on the same day reported that since “India started administering the second vaccine dose two weeks ago, half of the frontline workers and nearly 40 percent of health care workers have not shown up.” In Canada, CTV provided an anecdotal report that many long-term-care workers in Montreal are “flat-out refusing” to be inoculated.

For health care workers around the world, their dilemma is who to believe. Their government employers and the pharmaceutical companies, who insist the vaccines’ benefits far outweigh the risks? Or their own eyes?

Many frontline workers see first-hand those who fall sick or die after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and in the absence of independent analyses judge for themselves whether the vaccine is implicated. They noted 23 nursing-home deaths in Norway and hundreds of hospitalizations in Israelfollowing vaccination.

Frontline workers also suffer from vaccinations themselves. As Reuters reported in February in an article entitled “AstraZeneca Vaccine Faces Resistance in Europe After Health Workers Suffer Side-Effects,” the adverse effects hitting health care workers have unexpectedly left large numbers unable to work, forcing hospitals to scramble to maintain services.

In France, the safety agency advised hospitals to stagger the inoculation of team members, to avoid disabling team functions.

In Sweden, two of the country’s 21 health care regions paused vaccinatingtheir staff after 25 percent of the vaccinated suffered fever or flu-like symptoms.

In Austria, inoculations with a batch of vaccines were suspended after one vaccinated nurses died and another required hospitalization.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, to avoid getting vaccinated, half of the health professionals scheduled in the German state of Saarland failed to show up for their appointment.

In response to the many concerns raised by frontline workers, the vaccine manufacturers, care-home operators, and the public-health authorities in all these countries offer bland reassurances, such as AstraZeneca’s statementthat “the reactions reported are as we would expect” and the German Health Minister’s claim that “I would be vaccinated with it immediately.”

They also plan a plethora of public education campaigns. Partnership for Medicaid Home-Based Care, an industry advocacy group, launched a “Be Wise, Immunize” campaign to educate its workforce.

And all urge media and social media to be more vigilant in policing negative vaccination news. In offering pointers on how to debunk critics, the Columbia Journalism Review on March 5, told media companies that “The first rule of reporting on mis/disinformation [is] don’t talk about the mis/disinformation” and suggested they “consider the practice of ‘pre-bunking’—that is, actively debunking or anticipating public questions and concerns rather than only reacting once false narratives have been popularized.”

Although studies show that such assurances and public-education campaigns—also known as propaganda—can reduce vaccine hesitancy, Gallup finds their effect is marginal: “The limited COVID-19 vaccine acceptance rates among all occupation groups show little movement since November 2020.”

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis agrees, and concludes that barriers to “staff member vaccination need to be overcome with continued development and implementation of focused communication and outreach strategies.”

Yet the CDC doesn’t explain why continued focused communication and outreach—i.e., more of the same—would overcome worker hesitancy, when workers don’t fully trust the data, or those who deliver the data. To overcome that trust barrier and win over the frontline workers—people who have every incentive to protect themselves—the media would need to lift the censorship, industry would need to subject its studies to independent scrutiny, and all would need to engage in reasoned debate rather than “trust-us” assurances.

Lawrence Solomon is a columnist, author, and executive director of the Toronto-based Consumer Policy Institute. @LSolomonTweets LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com

Confirmed: Diet Influences Colorectal Cancer Risk

Medscape Medical NewsIt’s now confirmed: What you eat does affect your risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC).

An umbrella review of studies and meta-analyses found “convincing evidence of an association between a lower CRC risk and higher intakes of dietary fiber, dietary calcium, and yogurt and lower intakes of alcohol and red meat.”

However, more research is needed to address the link between CRC and other foods, including dairy products, whole grains, processed meat, and specific dietary patterns, the authors conclude.

“We can say that the existing recommendations for diet in the primary prevention of colorectal cancer is confirmed,” commented lead author Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, PharmD, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It makes sense to encourage healthy diet, including those rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and low-fat dairy, and reducing red meat and alcohol intake,” he told Medscape Medical News. “However, some of them may not yet have convincing evidence to fully support the claim.”

Other lifestyle factors, including excess weight and physical inactivity, also play a role in cancer risk. Chaiyakunapruk pointed out that their review was focused only on diet and that they had set out to confirm factors for which there was strong and convincing evidence.

The review was published online in JAMA Network Open.

The umbrella review of 45 meta-analyses found 109 associations. Overall, 35 of these 109 associations (32.1%) were nominally statistically significant, as determined on the basis of random-effects meta-analysis models, the researchers explain.

Convincing evidence was found for an increase in the risk for CRC with higher vs lower red meat consumption and with heavy alcohol intake (defined as more than four drinks per day, compared with no drinks per day or occasional drinks).

In addition, convincing evidence was found for three inverse associations: a decrease in the risk for CRC was associated with higher vs lower intake of total dietary fiber, calcium, and yogurt.

The researchers note that, although not completely convincing, there was highly suggestive evidence for another association: a link between diet and CRC incidence. A higher intake of total dairy products (eg, milk, cheese, and yogurt) was associated with significant risk reduction, in comparison with lower intake. A moderate intake of alcohol (from one to three drinks but not more than four per day) was associated with an increase in incidence in comparison with no drinks or an occasional drink.

Evidence suggested a reduced risk in association with several lifestyle behaviors, including adherence to a Mediterranean diet, a healthy diet, a pesco-vegetarian or semivegetarian diet, and the intake of whole grains, nonfermented milk, and supplemental calcium.

The evidence suggested that adherence to a Western diet and intake of processed meat were associated with an increased risk for CRC.

There was weak or no evidence for the remaining associations.

Existing Cancer Prevention Guidelines

The findings support the existing cancer prevention dietary guidance and recommendations from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), commented the institute’s director of nutrition programs, Sheena Swanner Patel, MS, RDN. The study confirms that dietary factors play a strong role in lowering CRC risk, she added.

“AICR’s report found strong evidence for whole grains, foods containing dietary fiber, dairy products, and calcium supplements decreasing risk for colorectal cancer,” she said. “Specifically, eating 90 g or three servings of whole grains per day is associated with a 17% decrease in colorectal cancer risk.”

Patel added that the AICR’s report also indicated that there was strong evidence that eating large amounts of red and processed meat, drinking alcohol excessively, and carrying extra body weight increased the risk for CRC.

Many previous studies have suggested a link between diet and CRC risk. One recent study suggested that among all cancers, CRC has the highest proportion of diet-related cases (38.3%). The next highest were cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx, for which almost 26% of cases were linked to diet, followed by endometrial cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, and cancers of the kidney, stomach, liver, pancreas, and esophagus.

Roxanne Nelson, RN, BSN

March 04, 2021

Chaiyakunapruk and co-authors and Patel have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

JAMA Netw Open. Published online February 16, 2021. Full text

Just a one week binge of junk food is enough to damage your brain AND more

By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter for MAILONLINE and Colin Fernandez Science Reporter for THE DAILY MAIL

• Study participants ate an abundance of fast food and milkshakes for a week
• They performed worse on brain tests suggesting the hippocampus was impaired
• The hippocampus normally stops us from gorging on more food when full
• When it’s not working properly, we feel unable to resist food, researchers say

Eating a diet of junk food for just one week was enough to damage part of the brain that stops us eating more when we are already full, research suggests.

Study participants who ate an abundance of fast food and high-fat milkshakes had increased cravings for more after seven days.

They performed worse on cognitive tests, with results suggesting an area of the brain called the hippocampus was impaired.

The hippocampus normally stops us from gorging on more food when we are full by suppressing memories of how tasty it is.

When it’s not working properly, the memories are more powerful and we are left unable to resist more cake, chocolates and crisps in front of us, the researchers believe.

The discovery sheds light on why people reach for the biscuit tin out of habit – rather than due to being hungry – and why it’s so hard to get out a cycle of bad eating.

Experiments on animals have shown poor diets rapidly mar the hippocampus – an area of grey matter that regulates memory and appetite.

Now the phenomenon has been demonstrated for the first time in humans.

Lead author Professor Richard Stevenson, of Macquarie University in Australia, said: ‘When we see cake, chocolate or crisps, for example, we remember how nice they are to eat.

‘When we are full the hippocampus normally suppresses these memories, reducing our desire to eat.

‘We found lean healthy young people exposed to one week of a junk food diet developed impaired hippocampal function and relatively greater desire to eat junk food when full.’

He explained: ‘Junk food may then act to undermine self-control by increasing desire.’

In the study 110 male and female undergraduates from the campus were split into two groups – half of whom were randomly selected to gorge on a western style diet for seven days.

They began by receiving a laboratory breakfast of a toasted sandwich and a milk shake, high in saturated fat and added sugar.

Their daily diet then included waffles and a main meal, dessert and drink from a popular fast food restaurant amounting to an intake of more than 4,000 calories. They were handed cash to pay for it.

The others acted as a control, beginning with a breakfast of a toasted sandwich and a milk shake, low in saturated fat and added sugar. They continued on their normal diet.

Before and afterwards, the participants rated their liking and wanting of tasty sugary cereals such as Coco pops and Frosties in milk and snack foods like Vegemite and Nutella on toast.

Rankings went up among those who had been eating the junk food – even when presented with the images having been sated.

They also performed worse in memory and learning tests targeted to the hippocampus.

Interestingly, when these were repeated three weeks later after they returned to their regular eating pattern these abilities returned to normal – suggesting the damage can be reversed.

Because the damaged part of the brain is also involved in memory, researchers say it adds to evidence that an unhealthy diet raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Stevenson, a food psychologist, said a number of studies have found the hippocampus is especially vulnerable to environmental risks – such as unhealthy diets.

He said: ‘It may be for this reason that a Western style diet – along with other factors – are known correlates of Alzheimer’s disease.

‘In conclusion, a large animal literature demonstrates a Western style diet adversely affects the hippocampus.

‘The current study suggests something similar occurs in humans, in that one week’s exposure causes a reduction in memory and learning performance, in addition to alterations in appetitive control, as measured by the wanting and liking test.’

The study, published in the Royal Society’s journal Open Science, follows research that found rats fed a diet containing 25 per cent sugar were thrown into a state of anxiety when it was removed.

Their symptoms included chattering teeth and the shakes – similar to those seen in people withdrawing from nicotine or morphine, said the US team.

Other studies in rodents have shown sweet foods stimulate opioids or ‘pleasure chemicals’ in the brain – suggesting people can become overly dependent on them.

This is the maximum age humans can physically reach, scientists say

By Hannah Frishberg 

Researchers believe they have identified the upper limit of human mortality: 150 years old.

This would top the current record for oldest human — Jeanne Calment, who passed away in 1997 at 122 years — but it sure does put a damper on efforts to live forever.

Using an iPhone app and a huge amount of medical data from volunteers in the UK and US, scientists think they’ve confirmed the maximum age people can anticipate ever living to, the researchers wrote in a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

Artificial intelligence analyzed the health- and fitness-related information, and researchers determined that the human lifespan is most significantly based on two data points: biological age (associated with stress, lifestyle and chronic diseases) and resilience (how quickly the person returns to normal after responding to a stressor).

Using these findings and related trends, researchers reckoned that, at around 120 to 150 years old, the human body shows “a complete loss” of resilience, resulting in an inability to recover, according to a press release.

“As we age, more and more time is required to recover after a perturbation, and on average we spend less and less time close to the optimal physiological state,” study author Timothy V. Pyrkov said.

Professor Andrei Gudkov — who works at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, which collaborated on the study — further commented that the finding is “a conceptual breakthrough, because it determines and separates the roles of fundamental factors in human longevity … It explains why even most effective prevention and treatment of age-related diseases could only improve the average, but not the maximal, lifespan, unless true anti-aging therapies have been developed.”

This comes amid a rising trend of biohacking, or using trendy, age-defying practices to lengthen a lifespan. Biohackers have tried everything from fasting to injecting themselves with untested herpes medication.

Last week, real estate tycoon Ari Rastegar, 39, claimed his routine use of things like stem cell therapy and meditation inside a hyperbaric chamber have resulted in him having the biological age of a 5-year-old.

Antibiotics Aimed at Covid-19 are Escalating Another Threat

Marcia FrellickIn the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a twin threat looms, affecting someone in the United States every 11 seconds and leading to a death every 15 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise, although they pale in comparison to COVID-19 deaths, which have now hit 535,000 in the United States. But the fear is that what has, in some cases, been overtreatment of COVID-19 might make the problem of antibiotic resistance even worse.

Public awareness of the urgency of the antibiotic-resistance threat is low, says Paul Auwaerter, MD, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Although a large number of Americans have experienced a COVID-19 death in their circle of family and friends or have seen reports of suffering in the media, few have witnessed a death that happened because there was no drug to treat someone’s infection.

“What we most fear is that routine things that we take for granted now — giving chemotherapy to cancer patients, replacing knee joints, having a cesarean section, and not having that complicated by infection — will become much harder or perhaps impossible to manage,” Auwaerter says.

Worldwide, superbugs could kill 10 million people annually by 2050 if better treatments aren’t developed, according to a United Nations report. The World Health Organization has declared antimicrobial resistance to be among the 10 top threats facing humanity.

The pandemic came on top of an already troubling trend. Even before case counts started to rise, one in three antibiotic prescriptions was found to be unnecessary, according to the CDC.

And then COVID-19 created the “perfect storm” for antibiotic-resistant infections in healthcare settings, another CDC report shows, with prolonged hospital stays, increased antibiotic use, crowding, and severe sickness.

In the early days of the pandemic, amid symptom confusion and desperation with mounting deaths, clinicians were prescribing broad-spectrum antibiotics at unnecessarily high rates, according to Christine Kubin, PharmD, clinical pharmacy manager and lead for infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and her colleagues.

When cases surged in New York City in late March and early April last year, about 1700 people were hospitalized each day and approximately 70% of patients with COVID-19 received an antibiotic, the team writes in their recent report, published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy

Chinese rocket to tumble back to Earth in uncontrolled re-entry

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© Ju Zhenhua/Xinhua/AP – A large segment of China’s Long March-5B rocket, pictured here during launch on April 29, is expected to make an uncontrolled reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Phys.orgA large segment of a Chinese rocket is expected to make an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on the weekend, but Beijing has downplayed fears and said there is a very low risk of any damage.

A Long March-5B rocket launched the first module of China’s new space station into Earth’s orbit on April 29. Its 18-tonne main segment is now in freefall and experts have said it is difficult to say precisely where and when it will re-enter the atmosphere.

Re-entry is expected to be around 2300 GMT on Saturday, according to the Pentagon, with a window of nine hours either side.

Chinese authorities have said most of the rocket components would likely be destroyed on re-entry.

“The probability of causing harm… on the ground is extremely low,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Friday.

Although there has been fevered speculation over exactly where the rocket—or parts of it—will land, there is a good chance any debris that does not burn up will just splash down into the ocean, given that the planet is 70 percent water.

“We’re hopeful that it will land in a place where it won’t harm anyone,” said Pentagon spokesman Mike Howard.

Howard said the United States was tracking the rocket segment but “its exact entry point into the Earth’s atmosphere cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its re-entry”.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin earlier said that the US military had no plans to shoot it down, and suggested that China had been negligent in letting it fall out of orbit.

“Given the size of the object, there will necessarily be big pieces left over,” said Florent Delefie, an astronomer at the Paris-PSL Observatory.

“The chances of debris landing on an inhabited zone are tiny, probably one in a million.”
In 2020, debris from another Long March rocket fell on villages in the Ivory Coast, causing structural damage but no injuries or deaths.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said that although there was no need to worry “too much”, the rocket’s design needed a re-think to stop such a scenario happening again.

“There is a real chance of damage to whatever it hits and the outside chance of a casualty,” he said.

“Having a ton of metal shards flying into the Earth at hundreds of kilometres per hour is not good practice, and China should redesign the Long-March 5B missions to avoid this.”

Report: Pregnant Women Show Strong Immune Response to Covid-19 Vaccines

By Lynn Allison

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Dreamstime

NewsMax Health – A new report discovered pregnant and breastfeeding women enjoy a robust immune response to COVID-19 vaccines. Researchers found the mothers’ antibodies were present in their umbilical cord blood and breast milk, suggesting that immunity is passed on from moms to their offspring.

According to NBC News, the study, which was published Thursday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is of utmost clinical importance since pregnant women were excluded from the trials of vaccines now available and there is little data on their efficacy in this population.

Dr. Andrea Edlow, one of the study authors, and a maternal-fetal specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, says that her study found evidence of maternal antibodies in breast milk and in the umbilical cord.

“So all the information that we have so far suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine, similar to other vaccines, can help protect babies by passing into breast milk and passing into the umbilical cord as well,” she said, according to an interview that aired on CBS News.

“This study is one of the pieces of the puzzle that’s essential to try and give pregnant and lactating women evidence-based counseling around the vaccine,” said Edlow, adding that her research proved that the babies do receive protection from vaccinated moms, although she does not know how long that immunity will last.

Recently, a frontline healthcare worker who received her first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine 3 weeks before she gave birth delivered a baby that had antibodies against the virus.

According to The Hill, doctors detected the antibodies from the vaccine in the newborn’s cord blood. It is the first known case of its kind and was reported in a preprint publication posted in February by 2 doctors in Boca Raton, Florida.

“A vigorous, healthy, full-term female was born to a COVID-19 naïve mother who had received a single dose of mRNA vaccine three weeks prior to delivery,” wrote the pediatricians. “Cord blood antibodies were detected to the S-protein of SARS-CoV-2 at time of delivery.”

Dr. Chad Rudnick, one of the doctors involved, said: “This is one small case in what will be thousands and thousands of babies born to mothers who have been vaccinated over the next several months,” according to The Hill.

According to NBC News, Dr. Iffath Hoskins, president-elect of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said the findings are “very reassuring.” The expert noted  a woman’s immune response is suppressed during pregnancy so that she does not reject her baby; consequently, there has been some debate about what effect a vaccine would have on the neonate.

“What this study shows us is that the mother does mount a robust response,” said Hoskins.

Another reason that pregnant women should get the COVID-19 vaccine is that they are at an increased risk of severe disease and complications during pregnancy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an update on the increased risk of pregnant women with symptomatic, confirmed cases of COVID-19. Two studies found that pregnant women with the virus are significantly more likely than non-pregnant women to be admitted into intensive care units and require oxygen. They are also more likely to die from the disease.

According to The National Interest, researchers said that pregnant women were three times more apt to need invasive ventilation to help with breathing. While pregnant women were found to be slightly more at risk of dying than women who are not pregnant, certain ethnic groups such as pregnant Hispanic women had more than twice the odds of dying from the virus.

According to The New York Times, British researchers reported a “high rate of preterm birth and Caesarean delivery in women with SARS-CoV-2 infection.” They also found an increase in stillborn and preterm delivery rates during the pandemic, according to JAMA.

Edlow cautioned that her study did not address the safety issues regarding pregnant women and the COVID-19 vaccine. Experts believe, based on animal model research, they are safe, and should be offered to pregnant women, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Both Edlow and Hoskins recommend any COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant women when they become eligible to receive them and urge them to make their own decisions, according to NBC News.

“We can tell them with complete surety that getting COVID-19 in pregnancy is potentially very dangerous,” Edlow said.

© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved

In US, Lockdowns Added Two Pounds Per Month

By Carolyn Crist

Medscape.comAmericans gained nearly 2 pounds per month under COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders in 2020, according to a new study published Monday in JAMA Network Open.

Those who kept the same lockdown habits could have gained 20 pounds during the past year, the study authors said.

“We know that weight gain is a public health problem in the U.S. already, so anything making it worse is definitely concerning, and shelter-in-place orders are so ubiquitous that the sheer number of people affected by this makes it extremely relevant,” Gregory Marcus, MD, the senior author and a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times.

Marcus and colleagues analyzed more than 7,000 weight measurements from 269 people in 37 states who used Bluetooth-connected scales from Feb. 1 through June 1, 2020. Among the participants, about 52% were women, 77% were white, and they had an average age of 52.

The research team found that participants had a steady weight gain of more than half a pound every 10 days. That equals about 1.5 to 2 pounds per month.

Many of the participants were losing weight before the shelter-in-place orders went into effect, Marcus told The Times. The lockdown effects could be even greater for those who weren’t losing weight before.

“It’s reasonable to assume these individuals are more engaged with their health in general, and more disciplined and on top of things,” he said. “That suggests we could be underestimating — that this is the tip of the iceberg.”

The small study doesn’t represent all of the nation and can’t be generalized to the U.S. population, the study authors noted, but it’s an indicator of what happened during the pandemic. The participants’ weight increased regardless of their location and chronic medical conditions.

Overall, people don’t move around as much during lockdowns, the UCSF researchers reported in another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in November 2020. According to smartphone data, daily step counts decreased by 27% in March 2020. The step counts increased again throughout the summer but still remained lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The detrimental health outcomes suggested by these data demonstrate a need to identify concurrent strategies to mitigate weight gain,” the authors wrote in the latest JAMA Network Open study, “such as encouraging healthy diets and exploring ways to enhance physical activity, as local governments consider new constraints in response to SARS-CoV-2 and potential future pandemics.”

WebMD Health News © 2021 

Disease is Predacious

By Dr. David Kolbaba

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MAASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE, KENYA – 
PHOTOGRAPH BY Laurent Renaud and Dominique Haution

Interesting that throughout my natural healthcare practice as well as my radio career, I have continued to preach on some very basic principles, with this one I’d like to share with you now: I believe that all diseases/conditions and infections are all predacious, picking on the young, old, weak and slow, with the “old and weak” playing a large part of this current coronavirus outbreak.

It’s also my strong belief that every one of us, as individuals must be more motivated to get ourselves healthy… and stay healthy.

Vaccines Are Not Vaccines but are “Synthetic-Pathogens”

by Brian Shilhavy

The World We Live In – Recently Sasha Stone hosted a 2 hour live stream event called “Focus on Fauci.” Participating in the event were Dr. Rocco Galati, Dr. David Martin, Dr. Judy Mikovits, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

 

Dr. Martin has made tidal waves in the Alternative Media since this event, by explaining that the experimental mRNA COVID vaccines are not even vaccines, and legally cannot be called “vaccines,” because they are really medical devices.

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Dr. David Martine

Dr. David Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Judy Mikovits

Dr. Judy Mikovits 

Year of COVID: Everything We Thought We Knew Was Wrong

By Brenda Goodman, MA

Medscape Medical News – One of the things that makes influenza so tough to stop is that people begin to shed virus before they show symptoms (sound familiar?). When you don’t know you’re sick, it’s hard to stay away from other people.

In the past, diseases caused by coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, while severe, proved to be manageable. They could be controlled.

“What we saw with these other coronavirus infections, people are not really highly infectious until day 5 or 6 of their illness, and you can identify them, isolate them, and you could really shut down ongoing coronavirus transmission of either SARS or MERS,” says Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. Read Full Article

Daylight saving time bill reintroduced in push to end ‘antiquated practice’

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Photo credit: Elise Amendola/AP A group of senators want to make changing the clocks biannually a practice of the past.

By Jesse O’Neill

New York PostA group of bipartisan senators has reintroduced a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent, as most of the country prepares to spring ahead Saturday.

The Sunshine Protection Act, introduced Tuesday, would make it unnecessary for Americans to switch their clocks twice a year.

Both Florida senators were joined by four Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the South, Midwest and New England to expand a 2018 Sunshine State measure that does away with Standard Time, which is observed from November to March. The bill was passed in Tallahassee, but requires federal approval before it can be enacted.

Fifteen other states have passed similar initiatives, according to the legislative sponsors.

“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said.

“Extra sunshine in the evenings not only puts a spring in our step and offers the perfect reason to get outside, but it also positively impacts consumer spending and shifts energy consumption,” Sen. Ed Markey said.

“Studies have found year-round Daylight Saving Time would improve public health, public safety, and mental health — especially important during this cold and dark COVID winter,” the Massachusetts Democrat added.

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VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images – A “Get Your Hoe Ready!” government poster from 1918 shows Uncle Sam turning the clock to daylight saving time, back when the practice was introduced.

Daylight saving time was introduced during World War I. Critics say the policy is now obsolete, and claim increased daylight in the winter evening hours would reduce traffic accidents and robberies, while promoting wellness and economic growth.

A 2019 study in JAMA Neurology found evidence that people are at higher risk of heart attack, stroke and other harmful effects of sleep deprivation around the time of the biannual clock shifts.

In 2005, the US extended daylight saving time by four weeks, a move that actually saved about 0.5 percent in electricity use, according to the Department of Energy.A poster from circa 1917 touting the positives of daylight saving time.

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Photo credit – David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images – A poster from circa 1917 touting the positives of daylight saving time.

Arizona, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have opted out of participating in daylight saving time, meaning they see darker evenings all year round than the rest of the country.

“Americans’ lifestyles are very different than they were when Daylight Saving Time began more than a century ago,” Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said.

“Making Daylight Saving Time permanent will end the biannual disruptions to daily life and give families more daylight hours to enjoy after work and school.”

I’m outraged by United Airlines’ COVID policy after a jam-packed flight

By Paul McPolin

New York PostI knew going on vacation during a pandemic wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I risked coming into close contact with strangers on TSA lines and baggage carousels. I understood Florida restaurants could be overcrowded and under-regulated, the golf courses lawless, the pools too populated, the casinos virtual coronavirus petri dishes.

What I didn’t realize was how a greedy airline would exponentially increase my risk of dying from COVID-19, with the full blessing of my government.

I had originally booked a vacation to a Caribbean beach and golf resort. The Bahamian government seemed to be effectively mitigating risk by having all travelers produce a negative COVID test result before flying there and get tested again upon arrival at the resort. But the CDC still listed the country as a Level 3 risk — nonessential travel not recommended — so I canceled.

There was always Florida, just left of the Bahamas and with fewer conch fritters.

The CDC and FAA had little to say about air travel to the Sunshine State; no negative test results or even temperature-taking were required. Just sign an easy form on your phone saying you don’t have symptoms, promise to social distance and to quarantine once you’re back, yadda yadda. The complete lack of urgency was almost comforting.

But clues that the skies would not be so friendly began arriving in text messages from the airline saying it expected a “fuller flight” and that I could change to “other flight options” at no extra charge.

The airline text didn’t actually point to, or give data on, these less-crowded flights. And I would have to cancel my weekend flights to presumably book a midweek nighttime route. I’m sure people back at the hedge fund wouldn’t mind me taking a few extra days with no notice. If I worked at a hedge fund.

So onward I marched through Newark-Liberty’s Terminal C.

The waiting area was my first warning to turn back. No chairs were roped off for social distancing and my friend was immediately asked by an older woman if she could sit next to him. Nice that she was polite, but couldn’t Typhoid Mary see the row of empty seats across the way?

Common sense eroded further once we boarded the Embraer aircraft, with its 24 rows of four seats, two on each side of a center aisle.

Every seat was filled. 

Apparently, six feet of social distancing is a foreign concept in the deadly skies. You had people sitting, at most, two feet in front of you, two feet in back of you and one person inches to the side of you. You would have had more room on a rush-hour rickshaw in downtown Mumbai.

In New York City right now, you can’t stand at a bar, and restaurants must operate at only 35 percent of capacity. Madison Square Garden, with its 150-foot-high rafters, can fill only 10 percent of its seats — and every fan must have proof of a negative COVID test. Even cavernous outdoor stadiums are being held to a 10-percent (or less) limit right now.

But in this flying aluminum beer can, where non-screened passengers would be breathing the same communal air for three hours, seemingly not a thought was given to cutting capacity. With a plane half full, they could have alternated rows of empty seats and doubled the space between passengers.

Maybe I’ve been living in Cuomo-land too long, but I was stunned to learn the government allows this. It’s every airline for themselves. A few have limited capacity. But many, like United, fully book flights. I understand the airlines are bleeding money and need customers. I also know they are about to get another $14 billion in taxpayer cash in the latest COVID bill, their third bailout in a year. They can afford to fly with fewer fannies in the seats for a little while longer.

United says blocking off seats is only a “public relations strategy — not a safety strategy,” and it is instead focused on enforcing mask-wearing and disinfecting planes with “hospital-grade” cleaners.

That didn’t improve passengers’ peace of mind. We sat in our casket-like seats, afraid to move about the cabin, scared to cough, terrified to hear a sneeze, and eyeing each other suspiciously. Is that girl’s mask slipping under her nostrils? The guy with the goatee doesn’t seem to have a proper seal. You could practically hear the Xanax bottles popping.

The good news is that most commercial jets have pretty good air filtering and circulation systems. Powerful fans and high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters “are 99.9 percent effective” in removing particulate contaminants such as COVID-19, experts say.

The bad news: That filter won’t do much when Mike from Massapequa sneezes, his sagging Metallica mask failing to catch all of the 30,000 droplets — potentially carrying 200 million virus particles, traveling at 200 mph — from his nose to your neck.

Demi Lovato has “three strokes” and a heart attack after overdose

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(YouTube Photo) Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil,” directed by Michael D. Ratner.

New York Post – “I had three strokes. I had a heart attack. My doctors said that I had five to 10 more minutes [to live].”

Demi Lovato reveals that her near-fatal drug overdose was much more serious than fans ever knew in a trailer for her upcoming four-part YouTube docuseries, “Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil,” directed by Michael D. Ratner.

The 28-year-old pop star said she hopes to “set the record straight” about what really happened when she was hospitalized for a heroin overdose in 2018.

“For the past couple years, I’ve heard a lot of stories about my life and what people think has happened, and I wanted to set the record straight,” Lovato says in the teaser. “If it can help you, I hope that it can. That was ultimately my purpose to putting this out: To help people on this path.”

Recalling her overdose on July 24, 2018, Lovato says she “snapped” despite her skyrocketing success at the time — with two songs topping the charts and having just been nominated for a Grammy.

“Demi’s good at making you believe that she’s OK,” says her stepdad, Eddie De La Garza. “Demi is very good at hiding what she needs to hide,” her sister Madison De La Garza joins in.

“She should be dead,” adds a friend.

The trailer, which shares a snippet of her forthcoming song “Dancing With the Devil,” debuted Wednesday at the Television Critics Association’s winter 2021 press tour. The series will apparently leave no stone unturned, as Lovato even discusses her now-failed engagement to Max Ehrich — flashing her diamond ring before the next scene shows her scowling and ringless.

“I don’t even know why I’m sober anymore,” she declares at one point, later in the trailer adding that she’s “really struggling” while in recovery.

(YouTube Video) Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil,” directed by Michael D. Ratner.

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Viral Trial….A Message from Dr. David Kolbaba

Dr. Kolbaba shares his “take” on the latest Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) turned pandemic. (video link).

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