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Friday, October 31, 2008

Chronic Fatigue and Stress

Chronic Fatigue with its debilitating constant tiredness, is a condition of our times, affecting teenagers, as well as men and women of all ages. But have you ever wondered what its real cause might be?

Part 1 and 2 of an article at examines the hidden causes of Chronic Fatigue. It might surprise some of you to learn stress is the culprit.

5 major stress categories are mentioned:

1. Physical survival or basic life needs:
enough food, shelter, clothing, money to get by. Very basic survival needs.

2. Biochemical stress:
sleep deprivation, hormone imbalances, malnutrition and malabsorption, drugs and too much caffeine or stimulants.

3. Mental:
work commitments, deadlines, constant work pressure, running away or avoiding work related confrontations, dealing with bosses and executives or study/exam pressure, over thinking, over analyzing. Many people experience this stress all the time.

4. Environmental stress:
noise pollution and chemical toxicity from environment or sudden chemical toxicity such as mercury leakage from amalgam fillings or inhaling paint fumes.

5. Emotional stress:
anything to do with any relationship, human connectedness, family, self worth etc., love and bonding.

Out of all the stress categories, the Mental and Emotional stresses create the most havoc in your mind/body system with debilitating symptoms particularly if the stress is prolonged.

Read the entire article.
Read Part 2 on Chronic Fatigue.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trans Fats And Colon Cancer

Increased intakes of trans fatty acids may increase the risk of colorectal tumours by about 86 per cent, suggests new research from the US.

The study followed almost 622 North Carolinians who underwent complete colon exams between 2001 and 2002 and found significant colorectal cancer risk increases for higher intakes of trans fatty acids.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, looks set to heap more pressure on the food industry to remove and reformulate products without trans fats, one of the industry’s bêtes noires. Read the entire article.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Recall On Halloween Candy

I see no reason to celebrate Halloween, but many people participate in this holiday that is focused on evil and death for pets and children being reported after each year's celebration.

Here's the information I just received on contaminated candy:

Sherwood brand Pirate's Gold Milk Chocolate Coins are being recalled due to the fact that they contain Melamine, the ingredient in milk product that has caused many infant (and dog) deaths in China.

These candies are sold at Costco, as well as many bulk and Dollar Stores. Please make sure to check your children's candy and DO NOT LET THEM EAT THE PIRATE COINS - the ones wrapped in the shiny gold foil.

Please let other parents know about this! Verified on

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Silver To Fight The Germ War

Antibiotics are becoming more potent and dangerous as their failure rate increases. They are also the cause of new strains of superbugs, like MRSA. Health care costs are rocketing out of control and bioterrorism is a real threat. We've stocked up on this item because of it's effective for many health ailments.

With a variety of viral flu outbreaks, e-coli contamination, and a host of other potential pandemics that create a strain on health in America, the new Silver Shield solution and gel offers a fighting chance in germ warfare.
"Silver has undergone rigorous testing and has been found to kill anthrax, bubonic plague, hospital staph and SARS. This product is EPA approved ... In short, we currently do not have anything with such a wide spectrum of efficacy in our inventory." General P.K. Carlton, M.D., Director of Integrative Center for Homeland Security
Silver provides a simpler and more economical solution for many health issues besides fighting any invaders that would challenge your immune system.

Silver products have been used safely as antimicrobial agents for many years. Silver is mentioned in the Egyptian writings. Greek and Romans used silver vessels for water purification. In the early plagues, the wealthy used silverware to protect themselves.

Doctors have used silver sutures in surgical wounds and to combat wound infections during WWI. Silver is used widely in hospitals and even commercial airlines use silver water filters.

Not all silver is alike, so it's important to know what to look for in colloidal silver. There is now technology that makes it safe and non-toxic. The product, Silver Shield, has EPA designation as non-toxic (EPA# K043106) and a US patent (#7,135,195) for safe technology. The fine particle-size colloids ensure maximum efficiency.

Silver Shield has a long shelf life and is a great item to include in your emergency preparedness supplies. With winter on our heels, it's time to get prepared for the first signs of colds and flu so you can ward off any real symptoms and lost work and living time. Get current information on colloidal silver.

Omega-3's Weight Loss and Improved Memory

Australian researchers say that daily doses of fish oil containing Omega-3 fatty acids, when combined with moderate exercise, helped obese people burn off excess weight.

The researchers at the University of South Australia say that the Omega-3 found in fish oil increases the body's fat-burning ability by improving the flow of blood to muscles during exercise.

Researcher Alison Hill says it was a surprise to find that those who took the fish oil doses and exercised lost an average of 2 kg (4.5 lb.) over the three months, especially since they were still eating whatever they wanted.

The groups that took sunflower oil, which does not contain Omega-3 fatty acids, and exercised did not lose any weight.

The two groups that did not exercise also lost no weight, the study found.

Meanwhile South African researchers say that primary school children who were given daily doses of fish oil rich in Omega-3, as part of a study, showed improved learning and memory.

Read the entire article.
Nature's Sunshine Omega-3 EPA Fish Oils.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Love Breeds Health

Adapted from Peace Is the Way (Harmony Books, 2005), from

The body at peace is stronger than the body at war. When you can free yourself of the random, uncontrollable stress that is always present, your body will start to be at peace.

Modern medicine has already discovered that love increases the human immune response. An experimenter who showed random subjects a movie of Mother Teresa found that their immune systems responded immediately. The rise of an immunoglobulin called IGA proved that exposure to love actually increased the body’s defenses. This happened regardless of whether the subjects approved of Mother Teresa or not.

People who feel loved live longer; have fewer colds, lower blood pressure, and lower cancer rates; and have fewer heart attacks. Widowers who lose a spouse and begin to feel unloved and lonely suffer higher rates of all these afflictions, as well as a shorter life span.

You cannot use stress, in the form of constant reminders about terror, to create peace in the body. The mechanisms simply aren’t there.

Don’t dwell on stressful events. Avoid becoming addicted to bad news. Put fear in perspective. Realize that positive outcomes are possible. Discuss how you feel with others; work together to change the stress. Be in control where you can. Don’t let chaos dominate. Stay centered, and whenever you are thrown off center, take time to return there. Find an outlet for your anger and anxiety.

California, Vote Yes On Prop. 2

This November 4, Californians should vote YES! on Prop 2 - a modest measure that stops cruel and inhumane treatment of animals, ending the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small the animals can't even turn around, lie down or extend their limbs.

Voting YES! on Prop 2 ...

• Prevents cruelty to animals.

• Improves health and food safety.

• Supports family farmers.

• Protects air and water and safeguards the environment.

Get more details here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bottled Water Contains Fertilizers and Medications

The bottled water industry promotes an image of purity, but comprehensive testing by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every bottled water brand analyzed.

Cancer-causing contaminants in bottled water purchased in 5 states (North Carolina, California, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland) and the District of Columbia substantially exceeded the voluntary standards established by the bottled water industry.

Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing that it conducts. With promotional campaigns saturated with images of mountain springs, and prices 1,900 times the price of tap water, consumers are clearly led to believe that they are buying a product that has been purified to a level beyond the water that comes out of the garden hose.

To the contrary, our tests strongly indicate that the purity of bottled water cannot be trusted. Given the industry's refusal to make available data to support their claims of superiority, consumer confidence in the purity of bottled water is simply not justified.

Laboratory tests conducted for EWG at one of the country’s leading water quality laboratories found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants altogether.

Four brands were also contaminated with bacteria. Two of 10 brands tested, Walmart's and Giant's store brands, bore the chemical signature of standard municipal water treatment — a cocktail of chlorine disinfection byproducts, and for Giant water, even fluoride. In other words, this bottled water was chemically indistinguishable from tap water. The only striking difference: the price tag.

In both brands levels of disinfection byproducts exceeded safety standards established by the state of California and the bottled water industry. Walmart’s Sam’s Choice bottled water was polluted with disinfection byproducts called trihalomethanes at levels that exceed the state’s legal limit for bottled water (CDPR 2008). These byproducts are linked to cancer and reproductive problems.

Read the entire article and see the charts.

You need to drink water, so please don't switch to sodas and other beverages. They contain contaminates also. Read The Importance of Water.

Purify your own water for much less money and a great peace of mind that you're drinking clean water. Consider Nature's Spring Reverse-Osmosis

MSG Making You Fat

New research from China says yes. In fact, of the study participants, those who ate the most MSG were three times more likely to be overweight than those who ate no MSG. The study was controlled for physical activity and total calorie intake, and still MSG proved to be an overwhelming culprit for extra weight.

Previous research had suggested MSG’s role in nerve damage, and some researchers claim it may worsen the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Exotic Pets Risky for Kids

Parents considering getting a "nontraditional" pet, such as an iguana, chick, or monkey, should weigh the risks those pets may pose to kids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the CDC issued that advice.

The AAP recommends that kids younger than 5 avoid contact with reptiles, amphibians, rodents, ferrets, chicks, and ducklings. And the CDC urges parents to talk to a veterinarian or pediatrician to ensure that kids have "safe and enjoyable" experiences with pets, either at home or at petting zoos.

Nontraditional pets are becoming increasingly popular, and they can carry health risks, including these noted in the AAP's journal, Pediatrics:

* Salmonella from reptiles and baby chicks. Salmonella are bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Life-threatening complications from salmonella infection are rare, but the risk is higher for kids, elders, and people with weak immune systems.

* Herpes B virus, which macaque monkeys can carry

* Bacteria in fish tank water

* E. coli bacteria from animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats at petting zoos. Like salmonella, E. coli bacteria can cause diarrhea and are particularly risky for kids, older adults, and people with weak immune systems.

Then there's the risk of getting bitten or injured, especially if an animal grows up to be bigger and more aggressive than the family expected.

"For example, iguanas sold shortly after birth measure less than 8 inches but grow to several feet in two to three years," states the AAP.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Foods Get Country Of Origin Labels

Country of origin labels (COOL) on food products are commonplace around the world. On September 30, meat, poultry, produce and peanuts sold in the U.S. will require labeling stating the product's origin. (Seafood origin labeling became mandatory in 2002.)

But, rather than celebrating this as a coup for consumers, the new COOL rules are being greeted as half-measures by some and as downright confusing by others.

The Consumers Union lists some things they say are "not cool" about COOL. Butcher shops and fish markets that don't meet a minimum amount in annual sales are exempt. But a more grievous exemption is allowed for processed food. Read the entire article.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Olive Leaf - Hypertension

A study shows olive leaf extract is effective in lowering blood pressure. The ancient Egyptians revered the leaves. Ancient Greeks used them to clean wounds. The olive leaf is even mentioned in the Bible for its purported healing properties.

So it's no wonder that scientists today are looking at ways to use olive leaf, specifically for one of modern society's biggest and sneakiest health problems -- high blood pressure.

Germany and Switzerland have looked at how sets of identical human twins with borderline hypertension responded to taking olive leaf extract. Identical twins were used to help keep the data consistent, because genetic differences can make people respond differently to the same treatments.

Read the entire article.
More health info on Olive Leaf Extract.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Health Benefits Of Probiotics

From Harvard Medical School

Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem — literally and figuratively — hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria.

Some digestive disease specialists are recommending them for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat many health issues.

Self-dosing with bacteria isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.

Although studies are limited and data are inconsistent, two large reviews, taken together, suggest that probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%, when compared with a placebo.

Probiotic therapy may also help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome and may also be of use in maintaining urogenital health. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.

Read the entire Harvard Medical School article.
Get more information about probiotics
Purchase quality probiotic products

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Being Grateful Promotes Health

Sometimes, or most of the time, this is true as man nowadays spend much of his time to satisfy himself, such as eating, going to the office or work, spending long hours in front of the TV or computer, and sleeping.

About 16 hours or more are spent daily for these mundane activities and grappling with life's challenges and problems. Counting the blessings received in a day? No time at all! Instead before going to bed, the things people will more likely remember are the common problems they have in life. Unknowingly, minding these things can develop stress, depression and anxiety.

This build-up of stress causes worry to people even with the simplest things. Oftentimes, depressed people carry heavy grudges on themselves and have greater tendencies to "freak out". Once they get anxious, they can never be satisfied. Eventually, they get sick. Unfortunately, most fatal ailments are those which stem from stress and depression. Western medicine and even alternative medicine cannot help if the problem is attitudinal in nature. How can this problem be intervened, with less effort, and at the least expense? Be Thou Grateful

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Invest In Your Health

Most of us spend a great deal of time and energy looking out for our financial well-being. We take out insurance policies to protect ourselves from accidents and unforeseen difficulties. We may save or invest for a “rainy day” or start a retirement account to provide for our old age. Unfortunately, many people fail to invest in their most important asset—their own health and well-being.

What good will it do to save and invest for retirement if you die of a heart attack at age 55? What good will it do to have a million dollar retirement account, but suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia at age 65?

Living longer doesn’t necessarily mean living better. Quality of life is more important than quantity of life, but investing in our health can improve both the quality and the quantity (length) of our lives. Read the entire article.

All products mentioned are available from The Herbs Place at wholesale prices.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

MS Linked To Vitamin D Deficiency

Children later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis had far lower levels of vitamin D than other youngsters, Canadian researchers reported on Friday in studies showing more links between the "sunshine" vitamin and disease.

These were the first studies to show the effects in children, although others have shown that adults who live in northern latitudes, who get less sun exposure, may have a higher risk of MS.

They also support a growing body of studies that link low vitamin D levels with disease, including breast and colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes and tuberculosis.

"Vitamin D acts as an immune modulator. On our immune cells there are what are known as receptors, a docking mechanism, for vitamin D," Dr. Brenda Banwell said. "In MS, there are many lines of evidence that immune cells are not regulated properly. One of the things that influences that balance is vitamin D."

Canadians have one of the highest rates of MS in the world, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. Six months of the year there the sun is not intense enough to benefit from Vitamin D. Read the entire article.

Note: I use Vitamin D for rheumatoid arthritis because of the research I've read linking it to autoimmune diseases and also for the many preventative benefits. Although I get some Vitamin D in my calcium and multivitamin, research is now showing a need of much more. Read Vitamin D Minimum To Be Increased. My choice for a quality supplement is Nature's Sunshine Vitamin D3.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Energy Drinks - Caffeine Intoxication

Caffeine intoxication is a recognized clinical syndrome. It is described as nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, tremors, rapid heartbeat, restlessness and pacing. In rare cases, caffeine intoxication can cause death.

The authors of the study have called for labeling on energy drinks to inform consumers of what they are getting. Advertising for energy drinks is aimed at teens and young adults and promotes the drinks as performance enhancers. Recently, however, some manufacturers have applied a harder edge to their marketing. One product is named Cocaine, and another product, a powdered energy drink sold in a vial, is named Blow. The makers of both products have received warning letters from the FDA about misleading advertising.

But occasional hand-slaps from the FDA are not enough. Besides caffeine intoxication, the use of energy drinks along with alcohol can be dangerous, the Johns Hopkins researchers say. A recent survey found that 27% of college students said they had mixed energy drinks and alcohol at least once a month. There is even some evidence that energy drinks may serve as a "gateway" product leading to more serious drug abuse. Read more.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hospital Death Rates Now Online - Compare

How well thousands of individual U.S. hospitals do on the ultimate test of hospital competence - whether very sick patients live or die - is now revealed on the Web for all to see, in hard numbers.

The Hospital Compare page maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this week began displaying actual hospital death rates for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia patients.

Until now, only relative performance had been shown—whether mortality for such patients at a particular hospital was about the same as the national average, better than average, or worse than average.

Hospitals with high death rates will be held more accountable than when they could hide behind "worse than average," which is simply too vague to carry much impact. Read the entire article.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ginkgo Biloba - Memory, FMS, Circulation, Depression

Ginkgo Biloba Extract (GBE) has been shown to have multiple benefits for memory and depression. These include:

• Decreasing the breast tenderness and mood shifts of PMS (Tamborini, A, et. al; Rev Fr Gynecol Obstet [France] 88-57; 1993).

• Helping to settle down dysequilibrium and vertigo (Haguenauer, J.P., et. al.; "Treatment Of Equilibrium Disturbances w/Ginkgo Biloba-A Multicenter, Placebo Controlled Study;" Presse Med 15:1569-72; 1986 and Smith, P.F., et al; "Can Vestibular Compensation be Enhanced by Drug Treatment: A Review of Recent Evidence;" J Vestib Res 4:169-179; 1994).

• Improving memory in healthy young volunteers and in the elderly. This has been shown in many placebo-controlled studies (e.g., Grassel, E.; "Effect of Ginkgo Biloba Extract on Mental Performance," Fortschr Med 110:73-6; 1992 and Hopfenmuller, W.; "Proof of the Therapeutic Effectiveness of a Ginkgo Biloba Extract - A Meta Analysis of 11 [Placebo Controlled] Trials in Aged Patients With Cerebral Insufficiency;" Arzneim-Forsch (Germany); 44:1005-1010; 1994 and Hindmarch, L.; "Activity of GBE on Short Term Memory," E.W. Fungfeld (ed) Op Cit; pp.321-326; 1988).

Many CFIDS/FMS patients also find that Ginkgo helps their memory. In 12 healthy males, 120-240mg GBE improved EEG alpha brain wave activity in a way supporting improved cognitive function (vs. placebo).

• In general, Ginkgo improves circulation in the brain and legs (in over 40 controlled studies). By improving circulation, Ginkgo may also decrease ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and headaches, as well as the finger artery spasm sometimes seen in SCIFDS (Raynaud's Syndrome). Ginkgo may also lower cholesterol and help angina.

• Treatment of asthma and bronchitis. In China, Ginkgo is made into a tea for this purpose.

• Helping depression (at 80mg 3 times a day). [Editor's Note: This European study was done with elderly patients.]

The Ginkgo you buy should be a 50:1 extract standardized to have 24% Glycosides (it will say this in the label). For most purposes, 40mg three times a day is the standard dose. Treating depression, however, requires 80mg, three times a day. It takes six weeks to see the effect of treatment. No serious side effects have been reported and there are no known drug interactions (side effects with Ginkgo were often actually less than the side effects seen with placebo).


Read about Ginkgo and Memory at their website. Keep in mind that Ginkgo decreases platelet aggregation (or acts as a natural blood thinner), so it should not be used by people taking blood-thinning drugs without the supervision of a doctor.

I personally use Ginkgo since one of the things associated with rheumatoid arthritis is poor memory and foggy thinking. I didn't realize how much it was going to help me with energy though. From the first day I used Ginkgo Biloba Time-Release I had extra energy in the afternoon. I'd been dragging from about 2 PM until bedtime. But what was really exciting was getting that 'sharp mind' feeling again. I noticed how much quicker I could process and how much clearer my thinking was.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Probiotics and Hay Fever

If you are one of the more than 35.9 million hay fever (allergic rhinitis) sufferers in the United States, you know that the runny nose, sneezing, congestion and sinus pressure do not end with winter (1). These symptoms may be just beginning in the spring and summer months.

Fortunately, a variety of natural products help deal with allergic reactions to a variety of airborne substances. In addition to the great seasonal allergy remedies available, a new pilot study might have you reaching for one of your favorite winter products: probiotics.

During a hay fever attack, the immune system reacts upon exposure to certain airborne substances that it thinks are harmful. Pollens, fungal spores, dust mites and dander are all common culprits. In the body’s initial exposure to these substances, the immune system produces specific antibodies to fight them. In subsequent exposures, these antibodies will recognize the substances and signal immune cells to release histamine and other chemicals that help deal with the symptoms associated with hay fever.

For the first time ever, scientists from the Institute of Food Research reported that a specific strain of probiotic may help reduce hay fever symptoms in humans (2).

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 10 hay fever sufferers were given a milk drink with added Lactobacillus casei (L. casei); while 10 others were given a milk drink without the added probiotic as a placebo for a five-month period. The researchers collected blood samples before, at the peak, and at the end of grass pollen season to determine levels of the plasma antibodies and cytokines specific to grass pollens. Levels of both were significantly decreased for the group that took the probiotic milk drink compared to those who did not.

These results suggest that supplementation of L. casei and possibly other probiotic strains may reduce the symptoms of hay fever.

Because the effects of probiotics on hay fever constitutes a new area of research, it may work best to consume a broad range of probiotics for the time-being. These microorganisms perform essential functions in the body like crowding out unfriendly microorganisms, altering pH in the colon, neutralizing free radicals, and helping with a variety of gastrointestinal issues.

It is important to select probiotics that are manufactured in capsules with a special coating that ensures the bacteria will survive the rigors of digestion and be able to colonize the colon.

In addition to probiotics, supplements commonly recommended for hay fever and seasonal allergies include combinations of stinging nettle, quercetin, bromelain and immature orange peel. (HistaBlock)

These ingredients act by providing antioxidant strength to maintain stable mast cells and support the body’s efforts to maintain normal mucous membranes and keep nasal passages clear.

Another valuable combination to provide immune system support during seasonal changes includes andographis with other immune-supporting herbs such as bitter orange fruit, thyme, oregano and eleuthero root. (Seasonal Defense)

Works Cited
1. Natahn, R.A., Meltzer, E.O., Selner, J.C., Storms, W. "Prevalence of Allergic Rhinitis in the United States." Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (1997) 99:S808-14.
2. Ivory K, Chambers SJ, Pin C, Prieto E, Arqués JL, Nicoletti C. “Oral delivery of Lactobacillus casei Shirota modifies allergen-induced immune responses in allergic rhinitis.” Clin Exp Allergy. 2008 May 28.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Quit Smoking Benefits

When smokers quit, within twenty minutes of smoking that last cigarette the body begins a series of changes.

At 20 minutes after quitting:
* blood pressure decreases
* pulse rate drops
* body temperature of hands and feet increases

At 8 hours:
* carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
* oxygen level in blood increases to normal

At 24 hours:
* chance of a heart attack decreases

At 48 hours:
* nerve endings start regrowing
* ability to smell and taste is enhanced

The first year after quitting:

At 2 weeks to 3 months:
* circulation improves
* walking becomes easier
* lung function increases

1 to 9 months:
* coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decreases

1 year:
* excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker

Long-term Benefits of Quitting

At 5 years:
* from 5 to 15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who have never smoked.

At 10 years:
* risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers
* risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases
* risk of ulcer decreases

At 15 years:
* risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked
* risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked

Source: American Lung Association

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Music Replaces Hormone Therapy

Music, the universal language of mood, emotion and desire, connects with us through a wide variety of neural systems. Researchers have discovered evidence that music stimulates specific regions of the brain responsible for memory, language and motor control. They have located specific areas of mental activity linked to the emotional responses elicited by music. Now new research conclusions have identified how the affect of music could replicate the effects of hormone replacement therapy in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Music affects levels of such steroids as cortisone, testosterone and estrogen, and it is believed that music also affects the receptor genes related to these substances and related proteins. Unlike supplementing the brain through hormone replacement therapy which can have side effects, music is natural, and its existence is universal and mundane. If music can be used in medical care, the application of such a safe and inexpensive therapeutic option is limitless.

Studies as far back as 1990 found that the brain responds to harmony. Using a PET scanner to monitor changes in neural activity, neuroscientists at McGill University discovered that the part of the brain activated by music is dependent on whether or not the music is pleasant or dissonant.

This new research is beginning to help those involved in cognitive rehabilitation. Music is now used with patients with stroke, schizophrenia, Huntington's, Alzheimer's and traumatic brain injury among others. Read the entire article.