It was barely six weeks ago on March 1st, that the CDC claimed that only 15 Americans were sick with the coronavirus. Clearly this was an illusion and the virus was already everywhere. Some estimates say that there were already 10,000 Americans that had been infected. Now here in mid-April and we just passed 600,000 cases of infection and close to 24,000 deaths here in the U.S. In these confusing times important questions about testing and statistical analysis should be paramount in understanding what is going on. New York seems to be the epicenter for infections in the U.S., but New York has also tested 13x more people on a per capita basis than any other state. California, with its large population base has completed fewer tests per capita than the country’s next five largest states. We can’t be getting clear data if smaller states such as Massachusetts and Washington are showing high outbreaks due to wider testing, and more populous states such as Texas and California show less of an outbreak with less testing. Clearly, testing is the heart of the problem regarding an analysis of what exactly our country has been dealing with and how we can move forward without fear.
The standard recommended testing utilizes a long nasal turbinate swab test to the nasopharyngeal area (the back of the nasal cavity) which is then tested for the virus’s RNA by a method called PCR (polymerase chain reaction) that can pick up genetic material of the virus. In most circumstances results come back within 8-24 hours. Abbott labs has a device that has a much quicker turnaround time. In as little as 5 minutes a positive can be determined and within 13 minutes a negative. No test is 100% accurate, the nasal turbinate test even when performed correctly by a medical professional has an accuracy rate like the Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests (RIDTs) which run about 50%-70% accurate. More than 70 companies have signed up to sell serology tests or “at home antibody tests” which typically use a finger-prick of blood on a test strip to identify people who either have the virus or have developed immunity to it. Rutgers University just got FDA approval for a simple saliva test they developed that can be done to see if you are infected or over your infection.
On March 11th, the World Health Organization declared that Covid-19 as a pandemic. In the three months since the newest Corona virus infection SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 (the name of the condition) appeared in Wuhan China about 120,000 people have been diagnosed with it and about 3,500 people have died. SARS stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome. As of this date, (March 12th, 2020), there have been about 1200 cases of Covid-19 with thirty-six people having died from Covid-19 in the U.S. There is growing concern about the pathogenicity of the virus, what risks this virus will have on our health, what implications it would have on our economy and on our way of life if it were to continue to infect mass amounts of people here within our borders.
As with any pandemic, these concerns are justified. Digesting the latest data on infection rates will help us understand the situation and give ourselves, and our society the opportunity to protect ourselves adequately. (click the headline to see the rest - cause and cure)
It’s been five years since the FDA banned the sale of baby bottles containing BPA, a chemical that mimics estrogen, and hence populate a category of toxins broadly called endocrine disruptors. Since then, bottles, food containers and products labeled BPA free have been popping up all over store shelves. However, new research is revealing that the compound which replaced BPA could be just as dangerous.
What is BPA?
BPA (bisphenol-A) is a carbon-based synthetic hardening agent that is added to many commercial products including:
Clear polycarbonate plastics
Carbonless credit card paper receipts
Computer and cell phone casings
Cell phone covers
Water and beverage bottles, plastic dinnerware
Epoxy resins inside cans
PVC water lines
What the research says
Studies from Japan found that women with recurrent miscarriages had about three times as much BPA in their blood as women with successful pregnancies. Another study from Vincent Memorial Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital found that women undergoing fertility treatments who had higher concentrations of BPA in their urine, produced fewer eggs and reduced a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant. In men, it lowers production of testosterone. In 2003 to 2004 the CDC (Center for Disease Control) measured BPA in the urine of 2,517 participants...
We all have heard of the benefits of eating fish and taking fish oil capsules. It’s high
source of omega 3 fats, and DHA are good for our brain health, for problems such as
anxiety and depression, and help in controlling inflammation by controlling harmful
eicosanoids and cytokines. Fish oil can also help ADHD, reduce triglycerides, help
blood pressure and eye health. Seaweed unlike land plants has omega 3 fats and DHA
just like fish. They also contain a broad amino acid profile, antioxidants, are a good source of the mineral iodine. Iodine and the amino acid tyrosine are two components to help form thyroid hormone. Although seaweed also contains carbohydrates such as carrageenan, fucan, and galactose which are difficult for our bodies to digest, these carbohydrates are food for beneficial bacteria in our digestive system. Additionally, Asian countries who have a long history of regular consumption of seaweed have a lower rate of certain cancers such as breast cancer.
Fucoidan, Fucoxanthin, and Phlorotannins
It is believed one of the reasons for lowered risk of cancer is different species of brown seaweed such as kelp, wakame and bladderwrack, contain Fucoidan which is a sulfated polysaccharide. Research is ongoing, but a few studies show that Fucoidan can induce cell apoptosis (removal of old cells and cell parts), to modulate the immune
system, and to inhibit the formation of new vessels where tumor cells would receive
oxygen and nutrients. It also appears to activate sirtuin 6 and other sirtuins. Sirtuins
have been looked as antiaging compounds by slowing oxidative stress and diabetes. Fucoxanthin, a carotenoid like what is found in carrots and other vegetables appears to be a promising non-stimulatory fat loss agent that usually sees results in 5-16 weeks. It also reduces blood pressure. Phlorotannins are like tannins found in other plants and they have antimicrobial properties.
According to the World Health Organization, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the sixth most frequent cause of death among males worldwide. Prostate cancer affects mostly patients above 50 years of age and most commonly targets the prostate’s peripheral zone. The mortality rate is relatively low, especially if it is diagnosed early. Statistically, fifteen percent of men have prostate cancer during their life, but only 3% die from it. Another prostate problem that is common in men is BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia.
BPH is not a precursor to prostate cancer but every man should be aware of symptoms related to prostate problems, which would include:
-needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night
A generic drug is a version of a brand name drug that has gone off patent, so it’s no longer legally protected, or if the generic company has successfully challenged the brand name in court and the FDA gives them permission to make a generic. It isn’t identical, but the central molecule which has already been tested for safety and efficacy is present. Additionally, the generic company must show the FDA that their testing has the same bio equivalency as that of the brand name drug with a small allowable variance from the original molecule. What the generic doesn’t have to show is whether their processes to reverse engineer and replicate the central molecule results in carcinogenic chemicals or other impurities that can show up in the final product.
Katherine Eban is a noted investigative reporter who has been researching the generic pharmaceutical industry since 2008. Repeated reports of the failure of generics to work as well as brand name drugs led her to write Bottle of Lies, which details some of the historical changes in the generic drug industry for the past 35 years and how a lack of oversight of generic drug companies mainly outside the U.S. are threatening our health.
Lard is pork fat, tallow is beef fat and schmaltz is chicken or duck fat and If you were to go to the supermarket and pick up a ready-made product and see one of these fats in it, or wanted to try a recipe which called for one of these fats, chances are you would cringe. We have been conditioned to think that animal fat consumption is a quick way to an early death by clogging our arteries and the opposite is true with the consumption of vegetable oils such as canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed oil, and soy, as a substitute for animal fats. However, don’t be fooled by the stereotypical profiles of each and especially the wholesomeness of the above mentioned “vegetable oils” because the truth is more complex than that. These oils typically seen in many products at the supermarket are hardly vegetables. Some fall under the umbrella of industrial oils, have had their genetics modified, and have been tampered with in other ways in the past few decades that make me question their healthfulness over a long exposure time.
You may be aware that squeezing lemon or lime juice on a salad or fruit salad will keep it from oxidizing or turning brown. In a sense, the lemon or lime juice is like an antioxidant to prevent your body from oxidizing or turning brown. Antioxidants are the anti agers of the nutrient world working to protect your body from oxidative stress. It is estimated that every cell in our body takes 10,000 oxidative hits to its DNA daily! These hits can come from chemicals in our environment, breathing, or from sunlight. It is antioxidants that work to counteract that damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants and antiradicals are found mostly in fruits and vegetables such as berries, broccoli, spinach, and green tea. These antioxidants protect plants and consequently us, when we consume them.
Antiradicals are molecules that neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are highly reactive and short-lived uncharged molecules that have an unpaired electron. Since electrons like to be in pairs, these unpaired varieties seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. When they pair up with electrons in our bodies it causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA, by stealing an electron. This process has been linked to various human diseases including cancer, atherosclerosis, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and premature aging. Although very similar and broadly referred to under the umbrella of antioxidants, essentially antiradicals are substances that can either act as an electron donor or an electron grabberwhereas antioxidants are substances that can inhibit the process of oxidation. What is not similar is how each antioxidant and antiradical perform in different analytical assays or measurement testing. (click the title for the entire article)
If you have never heard of the pesticide chlorpyrifos (pronounced klor-peer-a-foss), sold under the name Lorsban, Dursban and others, you might want to learn more about what foods it gets sprayed on so that you can avoid exposure to it. It appears that despite the gallant efforts of many to remove this toxic pesticide from use, it will continue to be used for the foreseeable future on approximately 50 crops thanks to a series of events that display the worst side of the political and agribusiness friendships that occur in Washington D.C.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide like ones developed by the Nazi’s during WW II. Patented by Dow Chemical company in 1963. Organophosphates interact with cholinesterase, an enzyme that aids in the production of an important neurotransmitter in animals. In other words, it’s a nerve agent that paralyzes insects and for a half a century, staple foods in the U.S., such as corn, wheat, apples, peaches, lettuce potatoes, almonds, and citrus, have been sprayed with chlorpyrifos. Consequently, because it affects the nervous system, chlorpyrifos has been shown to cause harm to the brain and cause neurodevelopmental problems in children.
If you have been to the airport or any public place since 9/11, we see dogs standing next to security people at the ready because of their ability to smell explosives. Police dogs have also been used for missing persons or finding the remains of a deceased person. Did you know that dogs can smell diseases and sense seizures before they happen? Dogs possess about fifty times more olfactory receptors in their noses compared to humans and the part of the dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than humans. Dogs also have a vomeronasal organ which enables them to detect pheromones, which are chemicals that transfer information to another member of either the same or another species.
There are humans that are also capable of smelling disease, they are called super smellers. Joy Milne a “super smeller” who is capable of detecting scents too subtle for most people to perceive and is also a retired nurse living in Perth, Scotland. Joy first noticed a “sort of woody, musky odor” from her husband about 12 years before his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Tilo Kunath, an Edinburgh University neurobiologist became aware of Milne’s observations of smell during a lecture he gave in 2012. Milne’s husband Les had since passed away, but Kunath tested Milne by having her smell 12 shirts worn by a mixture of healthy volunteers and patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Milne correctly picked out the six shirts worn by those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She also picked another shirt that was initially thought to be a normal volunteer, but eight months later it was later learned that the shirt the person belonged to was diagnosed with Parkinson’s!