Courtesy of NPR:
Checking into a hospital can boost your chances of infection. That’s a disturbing paradox of modern medical care.
And it doesn’t matter where in the world you’re hospitalized. From the finest to the most rudimentary medical facilities, patients are vulnerable to new infections that have nothing to do with their original medical problem. These are referred to as healthcare-acquired infections, healthcare-associated infections or hospital-acquired infections. Many of them, like pneumonia or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can be deadly.
The World Health Organization estimates that “each year, hundreds of millions of patients around the world are affected” by healthcare-acquired infections. In the United States, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the Health and Human Services Department estimates that 1 in 25 inpatients has a hospital-related infection. In developing countries, estimates run higher.
Hospitals Struggle To Beat Back Serious Infections Oct. 22, 2014
Hospital bed safety railings are a major source of these infections. That’s what Constanza Correa, 33, and her colleagues have found in their research in Santiago, Chile. They’ve taken on the problem by replacing them, since 2013, with railings made of copper, an anti-microbial element.
Copper definitely wipes out microbes. “Bacteria, yeasts and viruses are rapidly killed on metallic copper surfaces, and the term “contact killing” has been coined for this process,” wrote the authors of an article on copper in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. That knowledge has been around a very long time. The journal article cites an Egyptian medical text, written around 2600-2000 B.C., that cites the use of copper to sterilize chest wounds and drinking water. Continue reading
Courtesy of Makia Freeman @ The Sleuth Journal:
Sounds like a big claim and a sweeping generalization, but when you take a closer look at it, you will be staggered to discover just how ubiquitous the humble fungus is, and how much ill health it can cause. Let’s start at the beginning. Nature has a way of eliminating old, decaying matter, whether plant or animal: the fungus. While bacteria are also decomposers, fungi are largely unrecognized for the role they can play in disease, and breaking down the human body prematurely.
Not all every kind of fungus is “bad” or harmful to your health. For example, many of the Chinese and Japanese medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi, shiitake and maitake, are among the greatest stimulators of the immune system and are superb natural remedies. Other mushrooms like the common button mushroom are also good for your health and high in certain nutrients like vitamin D, which is hard to get from food sources. However, I am focusing here not on the more rare beneficial types of fungus, but on the more common and widespread deleterious types of fungus, including yeast (candida), strains of mold and mycotoxins.
The Humble Fungus is Everywhere
Fungi are everywhere in nature. They are tiny and practically invisible. They fly in the air. They survive the cold and dry conditions for years, dormant, just waiting to get activated by a hot, moist and dark environment, or an aerobic environment (one with sugar). They tend to attack or develop only in plants or animals that have an impaired immune system. If the plant or animal is healthy and strong, it will fight off the fungus and prevent it from taking root. However, once the plant or animal becomes weak, the fungus sets in, and slowly takes it over, killing it. The process may takes days, weeks or years. (The video clip above shows the cordyceps fungus, some types of which are actually a medicinal mushroom for humans, killing ants through the spread of its spores). Continue reading
Previous studies have suggested turmeric may have cancer-fighting properties
Courtesy of Smitha Mundasad @ BBC:
A spice commonly found in curries may boost the brain’s ability to heal itself, according to a report in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy.
The German study suggests a compound found in turmeric could encourage the growth of nerve cells thought to be part of the brain’s repair kit.
Scientists say this work, based in rats, may pave the way for future drugs for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.
But they say more trials are needed to see whether this applies to humans.
Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany, studied the effects of aromatic-turmerone – a compound found naturally in turmeric.
Rats were injected with the compound and their brains were then scanned.
Particular parts of the brain, known to be involved in nerve cell growth, were seen to be more active after the aromatic-turmerone infusion.
Scientists say the compound may encourage a proliferation of brain cells.
In a separate part of the trial, researchers bathed rodent neural stem cells (NSCs) in different concentrations of aromatic-tumerone extract.
NSCs have the ability to transform into any type of brain cell and scientists suggest they could have a role in repair after damage or disease.
Dr Maria Adele Rueger, who was part of the research team, said: “In humans and higher developed animals their abilities do not seem to be sufficient to repair the brain but in fish and smaller animals they seem to work well.” Continue reading
Fracking has invigorated the US oil and gas industry, but locals communities have concerns over the chemicals used. Credit: Joshua Doubek via Wikimedia Commons
A US survey of almost 250 chemicals used in fracking has identified potentially harmful compounds and exposed a lack of information about them that is hampering efforts to understand fracking’s environmental impact.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, involves pumping high-pressure water into shale formations kilometres beneath the ground to break the formations apart, releasing the gas and oil they contain. In the US, fracking operations have regenerated the domestic oil and gas industry, boosting production and driving down energy prices. The US chemical industry has also benefited from cheaper feedstocks, such as ethene, giving it a competitive edge over other regions.
Governments and chemical companies in other countries are hopeful that fracking might be similarly fruitful outside the US. However, the potential environmental costs of fracking have also brought criticism and resistance from campaign groups and the public. In particular, the effects of chemical additives used as part of the fracking process have raised concerns – formulations whose precise ingredients are often protected as proprietary information.
‘Right now, public knowledge is limited,’ says William Stringfellow from Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, speaking at the 248th ACS National Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco, US. ‘So we want to resolve exactly what chemicals are being used in fracking fluids. And then to examine their hazards and risks.’
Stringfellow examined a list of fracking chemicals drawn largely from information provided by fracking companies to the voluntary registry Fracfocus, and information requested by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Assessing the chemicals based on available toxicity data, ‘we found that a relatively small number of the compounds can be characterised as being a known hazard in terms of mammalian or aquatic toxicology – about 10%’, says Stringfellow. These include biocides, used to prevent bacterial growth, and corrosion inhibitors. ‘They also use a lot of surfactants, which can be harmful to the aquatic environment,’ he adds.
Information deficit Continue reading
Courtesy of NRS:
In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.
While trees’ pollution removal equated to an average air quality improvement of less than 1 percent, the impacts of that improvement are substantial. Researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year in a study published recently in the journal Environmental Pollution.
The study by Dave Nowak and Eric Greenfield of the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and Satoshi Hirabayashi and Allison Bodine of the Davey Institute is unique in that it directly links the removal of air pollution with improved human health effects and associated health values. The scientists found that pollution removal is substantially higher in rural areas than urban areas, however the effects on human health are substantially greater in urban areas than rural areas.
“With more than 80 percent of Americans living in urban area, this research underscores how truly essential urban forests are to people across the nation,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. “Information and tools developed by Forest Service research are contributing to communities valuing and managing the 138 million acres of trees and forests that grace the nation’s cities, towns and communities.” Continue reading
Courtesy of Nutritional Anarchy:
As reported before, aspartame has been shown time and again in studies (the ones not commissioned by the industry) to be bad for you.
Now yet another new study, this one published in the journal Redox Biology, has concluded what lots of other research over the past decades has repeatedly shown — aspartame, the popular sweetener in over 6,000 grocery store items, including everything from soup mixes to carbonated beverages to chewing gum — can essentially program your brain cells to kill themselves.
Key study findings include:
- Aspartame administration alters the functional activity in the brain by elevating the antioxidant levels.
- Chronic aspartame consumption altered the neuronal function and neurodegeneration in brain.
- Observed changes may be due to the methanol or its metabolite.
- Long-term FDA approved daily acceptable intake (40 mg/kg bwt) aspartame administration distorted the brain function and generated apoptosis in brain regions.
Apoptosis is defined as, “the process of programmed cell death in multicellular organisms. Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes and death.”
So even at the FDA acceptable levels, consuming this chemical is just not good for you, no matter what the mega food corporations and their lobbies say.
Aspartame (otherwise known by its brand names NutraSweet and Equal) is one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners in foods today. It breaks down into three components: 50 percent phenylalanine, 40 percent aspartic acid, and 10 percent methanol (yummy). It comes from genetically modified (GM) E. coli bacteria, and by “comes from”, I mean aspartame is GM bacteria poop (super yummy). Aspartic acid is an excitotoxin, methanol is the wood alcohol used in antifreeze, and too much of the amino acid phenylalanine in the brain can decrease serotonin levels over time, leading to chemical imbalances that can actually induce mood disorders and depression. Continue reading