Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Vermont passes GMO labeling law

Posted by Anonymous on May 4, 2014

http://cdn2.collective-evolution.com/assets/uploads/2014/04/gmo-300x199.jpegSenator David Zuckerman and Representative Carolyn Partridge describe the amazing efforts, which spanned more than a decade, resulting in this unprecedented, game-changing new law…. Here’s the quick facts:

1. Starting July 1, 2016, products sold in Vermont that contain more than 0.9% GMO content contamination will require a statement on the label indicating that genetic engineering was used.
2. Products that contain GMOs and are labeled can NOT also label their products as “natural.”
3. The bill does not apply to labels for milk, eggs, and meat from animals fed GMOs.
4. Unlike the bills passed in Connecticut and Maine, Vermont’s bill does not require other states to pass similar legislation before it is enacted.
5. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Great start. What happens next?

How Vermont plans to defend the nation’s first GMO law

Efforts to label GMO foods, 2013. (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Issue Paper 54)Expect two things to happen now that Vermont’s legislature has passed H.112.

Any day now, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) is expected to make history by signing that bill into law as he has suggested, making his the first state to require genetically modified food to be labeled as such. Then, maybe not too long after that, expect the state to be sued over it.

There’s no guarantee of legal action, but legislators, officials and advocates are preparing for it. Earlier this month, state Attorney General Bill Sorrell told Vermont Public Radio that he would be “very surprised” if the state isn’t sued over the law. And officials were so sure of a challenge that the measure itself creates a $1.5 million legal defense fund, to be paid for with settlements won by the state. They think it’s coming, but they also say they’re ready.

“The threat of a lawsuit worked for a while, but now it doesn’t work anymore,” says Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, whose organization has for years worked with activists and lawmakers in Vermont on the issue. “I think they may go ahead and sue and do it rather quickly in the hopes that it may gather momentum,” he added, referring to biotech industry groups.

Other states have pursued similar measures, but Vermont’s law will be the first of its kind. Connecticut and Maine passed labeling requirements, but with trigger clauses requiring multiple other states to pass labeling requirements before their own go into effect. At least 25 states have considered such legislation, according to a Monday report on labeling requirements from the nonprofit Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. And advocates are hopeful they will get a measure on the Oregon ballot this year.
via WashPost

Despite widespread use of the weed killer glyphosate, and the prevalent myth that it is harmless, this pesticide is tied to acute human health effects and linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is found in two Monsanto products, available over the counter, RoundupTM and RodeoTM, making glyphosate one of the most widely used and well-known herbicides on the market.

via BeyondPesticides

For those still catching up, there are many types of genetically modified organisms in our stored today. Industry influence has allowed this without legitimate safety testing. Private labs indicate serious potential health risks including cancer.

Most commonly GMO plants are designed to survive high applications of pesticide/herbicide. The most common, glyphosate, kills beneficial organisms and damages the soil. It traps minerals so they can’t be used by plants, which is why you get LESS crop yield after the first year when you go GMO as a farmer.  What you get when you eat GMO foods are those pesticides which then kill or damage beneficial microbes in your gut, organisms we need to extract nutrients from food and which are part of a normal healthy human immune system. You get sick, or you get allergies and you spend money on allergy medicines. You’d be less miserable if you just spend the money up front on non-GMO foods. This is the main way that GMO foods weaken you.

Glyphosate is believed to operate by disrupting the shikimate (pronounced shə kih mut) pathway in plants, a process for manufacturing a group of amino acids called aromatic (though the term has nothing to do with odor). These include phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. Aromatic amino acids are required for a plant’s survival.

It’s been assumed that glyphosate is harmless in humans because the shikimate pathway does not exist in any animal. However, the shikimate pathway does exist in bacteria, including those in the mammalian gut. Until fairly recently, the importance of gut biota in health has largely been ignored. However, it’s now understood to be key in many aspects of the body’s function.

Gut bacteria are in a symbiotic relationship with the body. They digest food, synthesize vitamins, detoxify foreign substances, and are key in immune system function and gut permeability. Thus, anything that interferes with the shikimate pathway has the potential of causing severe harm. – link

Another GMO product came with a different danger.

The biotech industry is fond of bragging about their genetically modified (GM) crops that “resist pests.” This conjures up images of insects staying away from GM fields.

But resisting pests is a euphemism for contains its own pesticide. When bugs take a bite of the GM plant, the toxin from the plant splits open their stomach and kills them.

The idea that we consume that same toxic pesticide in every bite is hardly appetizing. But the biotech companies insist that the pesticide, called Bt-toxin, has a history of safe use.

Organic farmers, for example, have used solutions containing the natural form of Bt-toxin—produced from Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria—as a method of natural insect control.

Genetic engineers simply remove the gene that produces the Bt in bacteria and insert it into the DNA of corn and cotton plants. Moreover, they claim that Bt-toxin is quickly destroyed in our stomach; and even if it survived, it won’t cause reactions in humans or mammals.

Studies show otherwise.

If GMO genes that make a pesticide get incorporated into organisms in your gut through horizontal gene transfer, you end up with pesticide factories in your body. We do know that DNA transfer between different species happens in gut bacteria:

The modern science of genome analysis provides abundant evidence that movement of genes and gene-fragments between species are universal features of life on earth. – link to industry disinformation site, which nevertheless agrees about gene transfer between species

also see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1364539/

Horizontal gene transfer is the primary reason for bacterial antibiotic resistance,[2][3][4][5][6] and plays an important role in the evolution of bacteria that can degrade novel compounds such as human-created pesticides[7] and in the evolution, maintenance, and transmission of virulence.[8] This horizontal gene transfer often involves temperate bacteriophages and plasmids.[9][10] Genes that are responsible for antibiotic resistance in one species of bacteria can be transferred to another species of bacteria through various mechanisms (e.g., via F-pilus), subsequently arming the antibiotic resistant genes’ recipient against antibiotics, which is becoming a medical challenge to deal with. This is the most critical reason that antibiotics must not be consumed and administered to patients without appropriate prescription from a medical physician.[11] Most thinking in genetics has focused upon vertical transfer, but there is a growing awareness that horizontal gene transfer is a highly significant phenomenon and among single-celled organisms perhaps the dominant form of genetic transfer.[12][13]

via wikipedia

Can transgenes from gut bacteria then get incorporated into our own human DNA? This study says there is evidence that this could happen:

There are 10× more bacterial cells in our bodies from the microbiome than human cells. Viral DNA is known to integrate in the human genome, but the integration of bacterial DNA has not been described. Using publicly available sequence data from the human genome project, the 1000 Genomes Project, and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we examined bacterial DNA integration into the human somatic genome. Here we present evidence that bacterial DNA integrates into the human somatic genome through an RNA intermediate, and that such integrations are detected more frequently in (a) tumors than normal samples, (b) RNA than DNA samples, and (c) the mitochondrial genome than the nuclear genome. Hundreds of thousands of paired reads support random integration of Acinetobacter-like DNA in the human mitochondrial genome in acute myeloid leukemia samples. Numerous read pairs across multiple stomach adenocarcinoma samples support specific integration of Pseudomonas-like DNA in the 5′-UTR and 3′-UTR of four proto-oncogenes that are up-regulated in their transcription, consistent with conversion to an oncogene. These data support our hypothesis that bacterial integrations occur in the human somatic genome and may play a role in carcinogenesis. We anticipate that the application of our approach to additional cancer genome projects will lead to the more frequent detection of bacterial DNA integrations in tumors that are in close proximity to the human microbiome.

via PlosOne

I have dry eyes and have tested positive for Sjogrens-B Anti-Nuclear Antibody. I would not be surprised if Monsanto is to blame. Perhaps I should get my genes sequenced. I’ve been waiting for the price to come down and I’d also like my data to remain private. My view is that we each own the rights our own DNA.

Posted in Biology, Health | Leave a Comment »

A Toxin By Any Other Name: Aspartame’s Name Changed to AminoSweet

Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014

Used as a sugar substitute and often marketed as Nutrasweet and Equal, aspartame is an excitotoxin that destroys the brain and body. Its use has been a controversial subject since the 1980s when the CEO of Searle, Donald Rumsfeld, pushed for it’s approval to be sold on the market. Now, its name is being changed, with FDA approval, to try to dupe millions into purchasing and consuming this toxin once again.

Aspartame, even renamed Amino Sweet, is not safe. This substance is made using genetically modified bacteria in the US, but according to a Monsanto source, the UK market does not have to eat genetically modified bacteria excrement. Many ‘low-calorie’ foods contain GMO aspartame, however, even overseas. Aspartame may cause blindness, cancer, and brain tumors.

Just as a reminder of who is pushing this excrement – quite literally – on the consumers of the United states, it was Mr. Rumsfeld who went on to become George W. Bush’s secretary of Defense, and crony-Capitalist agenda-pusher. This one substance has continually been shown to cause harm to human health, so why is the FDA renaming it instead of banning it completely from the food supply? There is considerable evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, including aspartame specifically – so why not name it something more appropriate at least? ‘Sickeningly Sweet’ might be more appropriate.

Even saccharin eventually had to be made with a label, mandated by Congress, that says, “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals”. The FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer and that it violated the Delaney Amendment.

via » Aspartame’s Name Changed to Amino Sweet: A Toxin By Another Name is Still a Toxin Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

Slowly poisoning someone is totally legal in the USA … as long as you make money from doing it. ;-)

Posted in Biology, Food, Health | Leave a Comment »

Guinea: Ebola death toll reaches 70

Posted by Anonymous on March 31, 2014


At least 70 people are reported to have died from Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Guinea, according to a statement from the West African nation’s health ministry.Officials say there are at least 111 suspected cases of the viral disease, which spreads in the blood and shuts down the immune system, causing high fever, headache and muscle pain. The virus is transmitted by contact with the fluids of infected people or animals.Medecins Sans Frontieres MSF describes Ebola as “one of the world’s most deadly diseases.” It is rare, but it creates panic, because there is no cure and it’s fatal in most cases, according to MSF.”The priority is to isolate suspected cases,” said MSF, which has set up two isolation facilities in the most affected districts, Gueckedou and Macenta, both in southern Guinea.Four of the fatalities from the disease are in Conakry, the capital city, which is on the coast.Genetic analysis of the virus shows that it is closely related to Zaire Ebola virus, which was reported in 2009 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo formerly Zaire, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Senegal’s Interior Ministry decided to close its border with Guinea until further notice to prevent the spread of the disease, according to Senegal’s state news agency.The World Health Organization says that, to date, no confirmed cases of Ebola have been found outside of Guinea, but at least 12 suspected cases are under investigation in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

via Guinea: Ebola death toll reaches 70 – CNN.com.

“Up to 90 percent of those who are infected may die,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. “That’s why every outbreak is serious.” Outbreaks tend to be localized because victims of the virus are generally too ill to travel, so the risk of exposure in the United States is extremely unlikely, Jasarevic said. Reaching epidemic levels in northeastern Congo, the Ebola virus has stricken people in the towns of Isiro and Viadana in Orientale province, which borders southern Sudan and northern Uganda.

Its incubation – the time between infection and appearance of symptoms – lasts between two and 21 days. Death can occur within a few days. “The incubation period can be long,” Jasarevic said. “But once you start showing symptoms, it goes very fast.”

Onset of illness may manifest in the form of fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat and weakness. Other early symptoms, such as red eyes and a skin rash, are nonspecific to the virus and can be present in diseases that occur much more commonly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness progresses quickly to diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, impairment of kidney and liver function, and internal and external bleeding, which is why it is also called “hemorrhagic fever.” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/09/13/ebola-death-toll-climbs-in-congo/

Posted in Health, Strange | Leave a Comment »

“Major Fire” at Wilbur Hotsprings Hotel (March 29th, 2014)

Posted by Anonymous on March 30, 2014

UPDATE:

… Just before 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 29th, 2014, the Williams Fire Department along with several other area agencies were dispatched to the Wilbur Hot Springs Lodge for a possible structure fire.

Wilbur Hot Springs owner Dr. Richard Miller, his wife Jolee and daughter Sarana Miller, and friend Bruce Blake were eating breakfast in the dining hall at around 9:45 a.m. when a guest approached them to say he smelled smoke upstairs. All four rushed to the scene, accompanied by a few others, and found one of the west-side rooms on fire. They attempted to battle the blaze with fire extinguishers but the smoke and flames spread rapidly. Within minutes, the entire upstairs was engulfed in flames.

Wilbur Hot Springs main lodge building the day following the devastating fire. (Source: Facebook-Wilbur Hot Springs)
“I was in the building the morning of the fire,” said Shelia Shrum a visitor to the lodge, “I brought an extinguisher to the men on the second floor who were attempting to fight the blaze.”

Following training procedures, staff evacuated the hotel and guided guests to safety a quarter mile from the blaze. Dr. Miller and some staff used fire hoses to try to continue to fight the fire.

One man is believed to have escaped the blaze on the second floor by exiting a window onto a nearby tree.

Approximately 60 guests were at the resort at the time of the fire, everyone evacuated unharmed.

Dr. Miller was determined to save his beloved hotel and was forcibly pulled from the scene by his daughter Sarana, who witnesses said saved his life.

By the time firefighters arrived, the hotel was beyond saving and began to mitigate the damage and secure the buildings surrounding the hotel.

Due to the resorts severe remote location and the difficulty moving fire equipment along muddy, slippery dirt roads, it took fire crews nearly 30 minutes to arrive on scene.

The fire is believed to have started in a bedroom on the second floor, by a malfunctioning gas heater.

“Though that is a theory; however, the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation,” said a Williams Fire Department representative.

When fire crews extinguished the blaze, and the smoke settled, what remained was the charred ground floor and original cement structure of the lodge.

Photo of the Wilbur Springs Lodge after its completion in 1915. (Courtesy Photo)
The concrete hotel structure was built after the fire of 1915 by then-owner J.W. Cuthbert. This was the first known poured concrete building in California.

The property changed hands several times and was purchased in disrepair in 1972 by Dr. Miller, a psychologist who was seeking a place to create a therapeutic environment for people to heal themselves through exposure to nature and soaking in the sulfur and lithium-rich hot springs waters.

Fire agencies that responded and provided mutual aid included: Williams, Maxwell, Sacramento River Fire (Colusa), Capay Valley Fire, and North Shore Fire Departments.

The hotel was a complete loss and was not insured.

There has been an outpouring of community support worldwide in response to the fire. Community members may make contributions to a fund for rebuilding and staffing. There will also be ways for people to volunteer for the clean-up and rebuilding effort. …

http://williamspioneer.com/2014wilburhotspringsdistroyedbyfire/

UPDATE: 3/31/2014

hotelfire628x471 A fire raged through the historic lodge at Wilbur Hot Springs on Saturday, destroying much of the funky retreat in rugged Colusa County that’s provided solace for legions of harried and achy Bay Area residents.

The fire, reported around 10 a.m., ravaged the two-story lodge, a rustic wooden structure built in 1863 and remodeled in the 1970s. The fire apparently started in the kitchen and quickly engulfed the second floor.

“It’s still standing, but there’s definitely some work to be done,” said Kent Boes, a firefighter with the Williams Fire Protection Authority, a volunteer crew that helped douse the flames.

The facility’s owners could not be reached for comment, but the website says the retreat is closed, staff is not taking reservations and the phones are down.

Firefighters evacuated about 60 people from the retreat. No one was injured, Boes said.

Fans of Wilbur’s quiet isolation and age-old healing baths were devastated by the news.

“It had an intangible peacefulness about it,” said Ray Yokoi, a yoga instructor from Oakland who frequented Wilbur. “People were very respectful, and the staff was attentive. It had a Zen-like feel, but without a bunch of Buddha statues.”

For centuries, American Indians attributed healing powers to the bubbling, scalding springs along Sulphur Creek.

In the mid-1800s, settlers built a hotel and resort at Wilbur, capitalizing on the hot-springs rage that captivated wealthy pleasure-seekers in San Francisco and beyond.

But local residents, as well, loved Wilbur.

Billijean Durst, secretary of the Colusa County Historical Society, remembers picnics and overnights there as a kid.

“My parents went there, too. And their parents before them,” she said. “People said if you took the hot baths, it’d be good for arthritis. … Plus it was nice to get away from the valley sometimes.”

Wilbur Hot Springs is about 2 1/2 hours north of San Francisco, 22 miles west of Williams, in the oak-filled foothills of the Coast Range. The retreat includes a bevy of clothing-optional hot baths, cool springs and saunas, flanked by decks offering mountain views.

Richard Miller, a San Francisco psychologist, bought Wilbur in the 1970s and transformed it into a therapeutic retreat for those interested in Gestalt and other consciousness- raising techniques.

The lodge included a wraparound porch, about 20 guest rooms, several shared bathrooms and a communal kitchen. The dining room was filled with simple wooden furniture and old black-and-white photos, creating a cozy feel, Yokoi said.

“You’d end up sharing food and conversations with people,” he said. “It was a comfortable setting, but also very natural.”

The property also includes a 1,560-acre nature preserve, as well as numerous outbuildings, all of which were spared in the fire, Boes said.

Wilbur had a fire scare in August 2012 when the Walker Fire roared through the Coast Range, narrowly missing the retreat, thanks to firefighters’ efforts.

Several of the Williams volunteer firefighting crew spent Saturday night at Wilbur to make sure the flames did not reignite.

“We saw a few glows and got them out,” Boes said. “The staff were so appreciative. They invited us back to use the hot springs some day. I plan on it.”

The new message says, “We are not currently taking reservations; the hotel is temporarily closed and the phones are down.”

Written 3/29/2014:

I don’t have any information beyond this, but the hotel let a few people know that they will not be open to guests in the near future. The main hotel phone number doesn’t have anything about any problems. The web site says, “We are not currently taking reservations; the hotel is temporarily closed.”

I hope all the staff and guests are safe. The nature preserve surrounding Wilbur Hot Springs is a truly beautiful place to hike.

Post a comment if you have any info.

Updated comment 3/31:

Very glad no one was hurt! What a horrible loss. That picture really makes my hear sink.

The last time I was there was the day some new gas heaters were put in. A wall behind the newest heater in the entryway near the kitchen was hot and I made a big deal about fire potential to the staff at the time. I went to the front desk and told them I wanted my concern put in writing.

Posted in Health, History | 2 Comments »

GMO Science Credibility Falls with Two Retracted Studies

Posted by Anonymous on March 11, 2014

The pesticide producers are one of the most powerful industries on the planet, the influence they possess is enormous. You have probably heard that an Elsevier journal has retracted the Seralini study which showed evidence of harm to rats fed a GMO diet, despite admitting they found no fraud or errors in the study.

This journal had also just recently appointed an ex-Monsanto employee as an editor – one could only guess the value of this strategy for the pesticide industry. Expect Seralini to sue as this story develops, as it appears he has a very strong case.

Alas, the scientific ground on which the genetic engineering of plants is built may now be shakier than ever, thanks to GMO promoting scientists like Dr. Pamela Ronald. A recent article in Independent Science News1 questions whether she’ll be able to salvage her career, as two of her scientific papers (published in 2009 and 2011 respectively) were recently retracted.

With the loss of her credibility, and the domino effect these retractions are likely to cause within the scientific field, the entire chemical technology industry stands to suffer a great blow to its scientific integrity.

“Her media persona… is to take no prisoners,” Jonathan Latham, PhD writes.2 “After New York Times chief food writer Mark Bittman advocated GMO labeling, she called him ‘a scourge on science’ who ‘couches his nutty views in reasonable-sounding verbiage.’ His opinions were “almost fact- and science-free” continued Ronald.

In 2011 she claimed in an interview with the US Ambassador to New Zealand: ‘After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of two billion acres planted, GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment.'”

She may have to turn down her criticism a notch, considering the fact that not one but two of her own studies were found to contain sizeable scientific errors, rendering her findings null and void. Questions have also been raised about a third study published in 2011, according to the featured article.

Public Face of GMOs Loses Scientific Credibility

Ronald’s research group claimed to have identified a molecule used by rice plants to detect pathogenic rice blight, as well as a quorum sensing molecule (meaning a molecule that can coordinate gene expression according to the density of the local population).

These two studies, both of which are now retracted,3, 4 formed the basis of her research program at the University of California in Davis, which is investigating how rice plants detect certain pathogenic bacteria.

Ronald blamed the erroneous work by long gone lab members from Korea and Thailand, referring to the errors as a “mix-up.” She didn’t name her bungling colleagues, however. And while media coverage applauded Ronald for “doing the right thing” by retracting the studies, the featured article5 questions whether she really deserves such accolades:

“[S]cientific doubts had been raised about Ronald-authored publications at least as far back as August 2012… German researchers had been unable to repeat Ronald’s discoveries… and they suggested as a likely reason that her samples were contaminated.

Furthermore, the German paper also asserted that, for a theoretical reason, her group’s claims were inherently unlikely. In conclusion, the German group wrote: ‘While inadvertent contamination is a possible explanation, we cannot finally explain the obvious discrepancies to the results…’

Pamela Ronald, however, did not concede any of the points raised by the German researchers and did not retract the Danna et al 2011 paper. Instead, she published a rebuttal.

The subsequent retractions, beginning in January 2013, however, confirm that in fact very sizable scientific errors were being made in the Ronald laboratory. But more importantly for the ‘Kudos to Pam’ story, it was not Pamela Ronald who initiated public discussion of the credibility of her research.

… Ronald’s footnotes [in the explanation that accompanied the retraction of her second article6 admit two mislabelings, along with failures to establish and use replicable experimental conditions, and also minimally two failed complementation tests. Each mistake appears to have been compounded by a systemic failure to use basic experimental controls.

Thus, leading up to the retractions were an assortment of practical errors, specific departures from standard scientific best practice, and lapses of judgment in failing to adequately question her labs’ unusual (and therefore newsworthy) results.”

The Snowball Effect of Retracted Studies

According to data from Thomson Reuters,7 the numbers of scientific retractions have climbed more than 15-fold since 2001. What many don’t realize is that even a small number of retracted studies can wreak absolute havoc with the science-based paradigm. Other scientists who have based their research on the results from studies that, for whatever reason, end up being retracted, are now perpetuating flawed science as well. In one example, two retracted medical studies led to the retraction of another 17.

In this case, the first of Dr. Ronald’s retracted studies has been cited eight times.8 The second? 113 times.9 That sounds like an awfully large cleanup job in a field that’s already heavily criticized for its preponderance of “lousy science,” to use the words of award-winning geneticist Dr. David Suzuki.

The Problem with GMO Plant Science

It’s important to realize that genetically engineered plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance). This is in stark contrast to vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction. Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.

Horizontal gene transfer, on the other hand, involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of genetically engineered crops assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, but according to Dr. David Suzuki, this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is “just lousy science.”

Genes don’t function in a vacuum — they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome. It’s a dangerous mistake to assume a gene’s traits are expressed properly, regardless of where they’re inserted. The safety of genetically modified food is based only on a hypothesis, and this hypothesis is already being proven wrong.

The kind of horizontal gene transfer that is currently used to create new crop seeds tends to produce highly inflammatory foreign proteins. As one would expect, were there a connection, inflammation-based chronic diseases have indeed increased right alongside with the proliferation of GMO foods in the US. Clearly, Dr. Ronald never bothered to look at such data, and her declaration that “GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment”10 is as lacking in scientific support as her retracted research.

Posted in Biology, Food, Health, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Wello: iPhone case heart and blood pressure monitor, thermometer and pulse O2

Posted by Anonymous on March 8, 2014

Sounds great. Medical grade accuracy? I’d like to do some comparisons. I wish they had an ear clip that would measure blood sugar as well. ECG without placing the electrodes on your chest? Blood pressure without a cuff? How can that work?

Posted in Health, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Obamacare Surcharge Appearing on Restaurant Bills Across the Country

Posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2014

20140307-002324.jpgThe small business mandate doesn’t go into effect until 2015, but restaurants across the country are already passing the extra costs associated with having to offer healthcare to their employees on to consumers.

Double D’s Sourdough Pizza in Denver recently started adding a five percent charge to customer’s bills in order “to pay for half of the health care costs of all employees, both full- and part-time,” according to CBS Denver.

Double D’s owner Ted Dorr says he isn’t trying to make a political statement by subjecting patrons to the extra charge. He just wanted to be able to offer health care to his employees.

A restaurant chain in Florida also recently began adding a one percent surcharge to its customer’s bills.

According to CNN:

The Gator Group’s full-time hourly employees won’t actually receive health insurance until December. But the company said it implemented the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it’s facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate kicking in in 2015…

http://www.infowars.com/obamacare-surcharge-appearing-on-restaurant-bills-across-the-country/

Obama care sounds like a great idea, but who is going to pay for it?

“It is already paid for.”

Apparently not.

Posted in Health, Money, Politics, Survival | Leave a Comment »

‘Shoe rubber’ chemical removed from subway bread found in nearly 500 common foods

Posted by Anonymous on February 28, 2014

20140227-230519.jpg
Footlong fans breathed a sigh of relief at the beginning of February, when sandwich chain Subway announced that it was removing azodicarbonamide — a chemical used in shoe rubber and yoga mats — from its bread.

Though the World Health Organization has said that the chemical is safe for human consumption, some studies have suggested it could be linked with asthma and skin and respiratory problems. And when the chemical is baked, it forms another chemical that has been linked to cancer in animal studies, CBS News pointed out. A series of popular petitions circulated by blogger Vana Hari, who runs the website FoodBabe.com, have also argued the case that its efficacy as a “bleaching agent” in bread just isn’t worth the potential health hazards.

It’s been well-established at this point that azodicarbonamide is a relatively common ingredient in processed foods. But a newly released study by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, suggests that azodicarbonamide is far more common than we may have realized. EWG pored through the ingredient lists of more than 80,000 common grocery foods in an attempt to figure out which products contained the chemical. And they found it in nearly 500 items sold under 120 different brand names. …

http://www.infowars.com/shoe-rubber-chemical-removed-from-subway-bread-found-in-nearly-500-common-foods/

From Wikipedia:

As a food additive, azodicarbonamide is used as a flour bleaching agent and an improving agent. It reacts with moist flour as an oxidizing agent. The main reaction product is biurea, a derivative of urea, which is stable during baking. Secondary reaction products include semicarbazide and ethyl carbamate. The United States and Canada permit the use of azodicarbonamide at levels up to 45 ppm. In Australia and Europe the use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned.

Posted in Food, Health | Leave a Comment »

Longevity Foods: The Amazing Azuki Bean

Posted by Anonymous on February 24, 2014

Jiroemon Kimura the man who lived longer than any other man in recorded history attributed his robust health to waking early in the day, watching his food portion sizes (a regular breakfast of rice porridge and miso soup), reading the newspapers and watching parliamentary debates on TV.

There may be something special about those red beans with rice.  “For his last birthday, he dined on grilled fish, steamed rice and red beans, a Japanese tradition on special occasions.” – (link)

I think Mr. Kimura was eating Sekihan (Japanese Azuki Beans & Rice). Was he growing his own food? He retired in 1962 at age 65 after 40 years as a postman and was then a farmer until age 90.

Azuki beans are a good source for a variety of minerals. They are rich in soluble fiber which lowers bad LDL cholesterol, low in calories and fat, they have healing properties for kidney, bladder and reproductive functions. The bean has diuretic effect to strengthen kidneys and may act an effective cure for urinary dysfunction and bladder infections. The presence of plant estrogens in these beans has been credited in breast cancer prevention by reducing body estrogen levels. The beans are high in protein (~25%) and easy to digest.

Azuki beans, 1 cup (230g) (cooked, boiled)
Calories: 294
Protein: 17.3g
Carbohydrate: 57g
Total Fat: 0.23g
Fiber: 16.8g
4.6 mg of Iron (~25% RDI)
119.6 mg of magnesium (~30% RDI)
1.223 g of potassium (~25 % AI)
4.0 mg of zinc (~25% RDI)
278 µg of folic acid (~70% RDI).

I’m going to try to grow some here in California. I was glad to hear that they are somewhat drought resistant.

Climatic requirements. Seeds do well during frost-free periods, with cool nights. The plant is reported to be somewhat drought resistant. Adzuki beans have similar requirements to soybeans or drybeans.

Propagation and care. Adzuki is a short-day plant that does not grow well in waterlogged soil. Information from the University of Minnesota recommends treating the seeds for fungi, insects and bacteria before planting. Adzuki beans emerge more slowly when the soil is 50 to 55�F. In Minnesota, the best planting time is between May and June. A good plant population is 105,000 plants per acre (25-35 pounds of seed). Plant seeds in rich, loamy soil, to 1 inch deep. Plants should stand 2 to 3 inches apart. Recommended row spacing varies from 12 to 18 inches, or 18 to 30 inches. Neutral to alkaline soil is required for maximum N fixation, and a medium to high soil test level of P and K should ensure adequate fertility levels and the best crop yield. Fertilize seedlings when they are 4 to 5 inches high and again when the flowers start to form pods. Moisture should be ample and at a consistent level. Uneven ripening is characteristic of adzuki beans. Expect mature pods, brownish in color, with slightly yellow and completely green pods on the same plant. Adzuki beans will fix nitrogen but require innoculation with a Rhizobium strain specific to this crop.

White mold, bacterial stem rot, and other bean diseases may affect adzuki beans. A good rotation program, furrow rather than overhead irrigation, use of disease-free seed and a spray program can help prevent these diseases. Most adzuki varieties are susceptible to a number of aphid borne viruses that attack legumes, including curly top virus.

Harvest and postharvest practices. To harvest as green beans, pick the adzuki pods when the beans are faintly outlined in the pod. Picking every 5 to 6 days is usually sufficient. In California Adzuki beans will mature in less thatn 120 days for use as dry beans.

Growers can cut and windrow adzukis in the morning to allow drydown and combine later in the day, or direct combine the beans with a grain header or row crop headers. Pods shatter very easily, especially if the harvest is delayed until late in the season or the day. To decrease losses, use slower speeds, open the concaves, and harvest only during appropriate hours. The entire plant, including dry pods, can be harvested and stacked in a dry, well-ventilated place for drying. Complete drying occurs a week or two after harvesting. After drying, shell the beans and store in refrigerated, air-tight containers.

Pest and weed problems. Adzuki beans compete poorly against weeds. Seed quality is critical to early vigor. Choose a location with light weed pressure and rotary hoe 7 to 10 days after planting. Cultivate the beans when the primary leaves are fully developed, and if necessary, 10 to 20 days later. …

https://www.rain.org/greennet/docs/exoticveggies/html/adzukibean.htm

Another important tip seems to be this: eat less!

So what does the world’s oldest man eat? The answer is not much, at least not too much. Walter Breuning, who turned 113 on Monday, eats just two meals a day and has done so for the past 35 years. “I think you should push back from the table when you’re still hungry,” Breuning said. At 5 foot 8, (“I shrunk a little,” he admitted) and 125 pounds, Breuning limits himself to a big breakfast and lunch every day and no supper. “I have weighed the same for about 35 years,” Breuning said. “Well, that’s the way it should be.”  “You get in the habit of not eating at night, and you realize how good you feel. If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much.” – link

I love food too much. Would you rather eat all you want and be happy and comfortable … and die 20 years earlier? There is no solid evidence yet in primates that reducing calories will make you live longer, but there are hints.  Azuki beans, which are low in calories, make it easier to accomplish calorie restriction with adequate nutrition (CRAN) because they give healthy levels of protein, vitamins and minerals. Do they taste good?

Posted in Food, Health, Survival | Leave a Comment »

Beijing smog: industry getting away with mass murder

Posted by Anonymous on February 23, 2014

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Beijing faced some of its worst smog levels ever starting Friday, when the government raised the city’s four-tiered smog alert to “orange,” the second-highest level on the Chinese government’s air pollution urgency system. The alert prompted schools to cancel outside sports and health officials to issue advisories suggesting children and the elderly stay indoors.

The orange level alert was raised on Friday as heavy smog rolled into China’s capital, blanketing the city in a thick, gray haze that is expected to last for the next three days. According to the Associated Press, government officials were reluctant to raise the urgency level to orange because it would be difficult to enforce certain measures – like taking half of the city’s cars off the road – meant to alleviate high levels of pollution, but public outcry on the Internet and in the media pressured the government to issue the warning.

“When the alert is at a low level, the measures are not effective, but those for the high-level alert are not feasible,” Ma Jun, of the non-governmental Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing, told the Associated Press. “The government is reluctant to raise the alert level.”

Beijing’s tiered air pollution alert system was introduced last October. Despite periods of heavy and dangerous smog, the plan’s stricter measures have never been implemented.

The orange alert also led to bans on barbeques, fireworks and even halted demolition work in the city. Reuters reports that if the pollution urgency alert is raised to “red” – the highest level – the government would be forced to close schools and yank half the city’s vehicles off the road, based on the last number on their license plates.

According to Reuters, city officials sent inspectors to several factories around the capital and warned them that any emissions violations they found would be met with fines.

If the current level of air pollution in Beijing lasts for more than three days, the government will have to raise the urgency level to red.

In January, Beijing officials recorded dangerous levels of poisonous smog. Density readings that measure the amount of particulate matter in the air exceeded 500 micrograms per cubic meter – about 20 times as high as what the World Health Organization considers safe.

Over the past several decades, as China has rapidly developed, tons of pollutants have been spewed into the air. Health officials estimate that China’s air pollution is killing hundreds of thousands of people every year. Between 2002 and 2011, lung cancer cases in Beijing nearly doubled. …

http://www.ibtimes.com/beijing-air-pollution-alert-raised-orange-first-time-after-smog-levels-become-hazardous-1557352

This situation is disgusting and shameful, a great example of lies and collectively broken priorities. Auto pollution is only 4% of the problem. Everyone there must wake up, understand the most significant contributors and then care enough to change and stop fouling the air. There is no doubt that the air pollution is killing people. Is that what you get in Beijing for murder, a fine?

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Emissions from coal plants in China were responsible for a quarter of a million premature deaths in 2011 and are damaging the health of hundreds of thousands of Chinese children, according to a new study.

The study by a US air pollution expert, commissioned by Greenpeace, comes as many areas in northern and eastern China have been experiencing hazardous levels of air pollution in recent weeks.

In some eastern cities including Shanghai, levels were off the index that tracks dangerous pollution, with schools closing and flights being cancelled or diverted. Sales of air purifiers and face masks have soared with many retailers selling out of stock as residents try to protect themselves from the poisonous smog. In Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces visibility was reduced to less than 50 metres earlier this week and in the city of Nanjing a red alert for pollution was maintained for five consecutive days.

The analysis traced the chemicals which are made airborne from burning coal and found a number of health damages were caused as a result. It estimates that coal burning in China was responsible for reducing the lives of 260,000 people in 2011. It also found that in the same year it led to 320,000 children and 61,000 adults suffering from asthma, 36,000 babies being born with low weight and was responsible for 340,000 hospital visits and 141 million days of sick leave.

“This study provides an unprecedentedly detailed picture of the health fallout from China’s coal burning,” said Dr Andrew Gray, a US-based expert on air pollution, who conducted the research. Using computer simulations, Gray said he was able to “draw a clear map tracing the trail of health damages left by the coal fumes released by every power plant in China, untangling the contribution of individual companies, provinces and power stations to the air pollution crisis gripping the country.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/12/china-coal-emissions-smog-deaths

Posted in Earth, Health, Survival | Leave a Comment »

 
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