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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Do Pesticides Increase Birth Defects

New research shows that babies conceived in the spring and early summer have a higher risk for a wide range of birth defects, including Down syndrome, cleft palate, and spina bifida.

The reported increase in birth defects was modest, but it coincided with a similar spike in groundwater pesticide levels during the spring-early summer planting season.

These findings suggest that pesticide exposure may influence birth outcomes nationwide, researchers say.

“There appears to be a season of conception in which the risk of having a child with a birth defect is higher,” Indiana University School of Medicine neonatology professor Paul D. Winchester, MD, tells WebMD.

“This study does not prove that pesticides cause birth defects, but we set out to show that they did not and we were not reassured.”

In earlier studies, researchers have reported increases in birth defects, pregnancy complications, and miscarriages in babies born to farm workers with high levels of exposure to agricultural pesticides.

But the study is one of the first to suggest that indirect exposure to agricultural chemical may influence birth outcomes.

Winchester and colleagues compared data on pesticide levels in surface water between 1996 and 2002 to data on birth defects at the national level during the same period.

The researchers used the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA), which includes samples from 186 streams across the United States, representing 50% of the drinking water consumed in the country.

Statistics on birth defects were reported to the CDC by individual states.

The NAWQA analysis confirmed that concentrations of widely used pesticides in ground water were highest in the months of April through July during the period examined. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sports Drinks May Damage Teeth

Sports drinks may boost your energy, but they can also weaken your teeth, a new study shows.

The popular energy drinks sipped by many athletes to increase stamina contain levels of acid that can cause tooth erosion, hypersensitivity, and staining, according to the findings of New York University dental researchers.

The beverages also can cause excessive tooth wear and may damage underlying bone-like material, causing teeth to soften and weaken, the researchers say. The drinks may also possibly trigger conditions leading to severe tooth damage and loss.

The findings are being presented at the International Association for Dental Research in Miami.

"This is the first time that the citric acid in sports drinks has been linked to erosive tooth wear," says Mark Wolff, DDS, professor and chairman of the department of cardiology and comprehensive care at New York University College of Dentistry.

He says people who use sports energy drinks for energy should not brush their teeth immediately after drinking the beverages. Softened enamel, he says, is highly susceptible to the abrasive properties of toothpaste.

To prevent tooth erosion, Wolff says:

* Drink sports drinks in moderation.
* Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to allow softened enamel to reharden.
* If you drink a lot of sports drinks, ask your dentist if you should use an acid-neutralizing remineralizing toothpaste to help reharden soft enamel.

Read the entire article.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seasonal Allergies

I've had allergies since I was born and when I was in school I used the OTC antihistamine products that put me to sleep on the desk. So, it was being sent to the principle's office for sleeping, or carry a wad of tissues around. I'm so used to the sniffles that it seems normal ... but in Spring it's bad enough that it gets my attention and I take my herbal antihistamine that doesn't make me drowsy: HistaBlock

Respiratory allergies are a major health problem for many people worldwide. Epidemiologic data indicate that the incidence of allergies is continuing to rise.1 Experts estimate that allergic rhinitis affects 20% of all adults and 40 % of children in the U.S.2 Allergic rhinitis is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed work/school due to chronic illness.2 Approximately 16.7 million physician office visits per year are attributed to allergic rhinitis.2,3

Allergies are due to an overreaction of the immune system to environmental substances. Respiratory allergies can be caused by almost any airborne particle, but the most common triggers are animal dander, feathers, fabrics, dust, molds and pollen.4 Allergic rhinitis caused by a reaction to plant pollen is also known as hay fever.4

When an allergen enters the respiratory system of susceptible individuals, it triggers an allergic response. Cells called mast cells (a type of white blood cell) release histamine, which sets off a series of events that cause swelling and inflammation.5 In allergic rhinitis, the resulting symptoms include mucus production, sneezing, congestion, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.

Allergic rhinitis can affect individuals throughout the year but is particularly prevalent during the spring season (from late May to the end of June) and is referred to as seasonal allergic rhinitis. Respiratory allergies can occur in conjunction with, and contribute to the development of, other conditions. These include asthma and sinusitis.

Nature’s Sunshine offers HistaBlock and a variety of other products that are commonly recommended to support the respiratory system as it battles seasonal allergies.

References:
1. The UCB Institute of Allergy. Epidemiology. 2009.
http://www.theucbinstituteofallergy.com/patientspublic/knowbetteryourallergy/epidemiology/index.asp
2. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Statistics. 1996-2009.
http://www.aaaai.org/media/resources/media_kit/allergy_statistics.stm
3. CDC. National Center for Health Statistics: Fast Stats A-Z, Vital and Health Statistics, Series 10, no. 13. 1999. Web: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm
4. National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus: Allergic Rhinitis. 1997-2009.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000813.htm
5. The Internet Encyclopedia of Science. Histamine. 2009.
http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/H/histamine.html

Green Home Makeover Is Healthy

How about a trained and certified Eco-Consultant who will IMPLEMENT proven “green” solutions in your home NOW. Lead your family to a healthier, safer, more sustainable lifestyle and save money too by reducing your use of energy.

Would you spend a few hundred dollars to save a few thousand dollars while making the healthiest possible home for your family AND having a positive impact on the environment? Even in tough times, most people answer YES to this question!

GreenIrene.com offers a Green Home Makeover that generally takes from 60-90 minutes. When your local Green Irene Eco-Consultant walks through your home with our Green Home Makeover Checklist, he or she will point out immediate changes you can make at no cost while customizing a set of recommendations on how you can save energy and water, reduce your use of harmful chemicals in your home and yard, improve indoor air quality and reduce your waste.

The $133 Water Conservation Kit (for a 2-bathroom home) can save you over $4,200 in the next seven years while reducing your family's Carbon Footprint. Get more info on the makeover and Find a local consultant.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Understanding Medical Words

Would you like to understand more of what you read when researching information on a medical issue? We're never too old to learn and adding new words to your vocabulary is said to keep Alzheimer's at bay.

Check out the new Understanding Medical Words tutorial from the National Library of Medicine. This tutorial teaches you about medical words. You'll learn about how to put together parts of medical words. You'll also find quizzes to see what you've learned. Visit now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

House Bill Gives FDA Power Over Tobacco

The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the advertising and sale of tobacco products in the United States.

The bill would give the FDA the authority to require the posting of larger warning labels on tobacco products.

The measure passed by a vote of 298-112. Only eight Democrats voted against the bill; a majority of Republicans opposed it.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which now moves to the Senate for further consideration, would allow the FDA to restrict the marketing of tobacco and ban candy-flavored cigarettes. It would also allow the agency to regulate nicotine and other ingredient levels, as well as force greater disclosure of the contents of tobacco products.

Among other things, it would give the FDA the authority to require the posting of larger warning labels on cigarette cartons and other tobacco products. Tobacco companies could be barred from running ads implying, critics say, that "mild" or "low-tar" cigarettes are less harmful.

"This legislation is a major victory for those of us who prize the health of this nation over the profits of tobacco companies," J. Randall Curtis, the incoming head of the American Thoracic Society, said in a written statement. Read the entire article.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Follow The Quest For Longevity

Does a tiny island in the Aegean Sea hold new clues for a longer, happier, and healthier life?

The island is the next destination for a Blue Zones™ Longevity Quest — the international search to identify areas of the world, dubbed "Blue Zones," which have the highest concentration of healthy centenarians.

The Quest, sponsored by AARP, includes a nine-person team of demographers, medical experts, writers, and videographers. And they’re taking you along, at least virtually.

From April 20 through May 1, you’ll help direct the team members. Your daily vote will determine where they go, what they do, and whom they meet. Each night they’ll report back with written accounts, photographs, and videos.

Find out about other Blue Zones around the world.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Depression and Anger Linked to Heart Disease

The Scriptures surely have plenty to say about anger and depression is sometimes defined as anger turned inward. Consider these words:

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath - Psalm 37:8

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense - Proverbs 19:11

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice - Ephesians 4:26

Surely God knows these human bodies cannot take the toll of anger extended or held within. This isn't news to those who understand the link between mind, body and spirit, but medical research is now seeing it also. There have been two studies published in March 2009 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Here's an excerpt from an online article:

Highlights from the studies include:

* Depression and heart disease: Sudden cardiac death may be more than twice as common among women with symptoms of major depression than women who aren't depressed. This finding comes from a study of more than 63,000 U.S. female nurses followed from 1992 to 2004. The nurses had no history of heart disease when the study started. The study also linked sudden cardiac death to antidepressant use, but it's not clear if that's related to the drugs or the depression.

* Anger/hostility and heart disease: Chronically angry or hostile adults with no history of heart disease may be 19% more likely than their peers to develop heart disease. And angry or hostile heart disease patients may be 24% more likely than other heart disease patients to have a poor prognosis. These findings came from reviewers who pooled data from 44 studies conducted in America, Europe, Asia, and Australia between 1983 and 2006.

The reports don't prove that depression, anger, or hostility caused heart disease. But the findings held regardless of other heart disease risk factors, suggesting a stubborn link among those traits.

It's a connection that doctors and patients need to take seriously and talk about, heart experts tell WebMD.

"There is clearly a link between depression, anger, anxiety, stress, and outcomes in heart disease," says Philip Binkley, Wilson professor of medicine at The Ohio State University's division of cardiovascular medicine.

Read the entire article at WebMD.com:
www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20090309/heart-disease-tied-to-depression-anger

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hot Tea Linked to Throat Cancer

People who drink their tea piping hot run a higher risk of throat cancer than counterparts who prefer a cooler cuppa, according to an investigation published Friday by the British Medical Journal.

Cancer of the oesophagus is linked especially to smoking and alcohol abuse but hot beverages have also been considered a risk factor, possibly because of damage to throat tissue.

Interested in finding out more, Iranian researchers went to Golestan province, which has one of the highest rates of oesophageal cancer in the world.

Inhabitants there sip large quantities of hot black tea -- typically drinking more than a liter (1.8 pints) per day per person -- but also have a low incidence of tobacco and alcohol use.

A team led by Reza Malekzadeh of the Digestive Disease Research Center at Tehran University of Medical Sciences looked at 300 people who had been diagnosed with a throat tumor and a matched group of 571 healthy people who lived in the same area. Read the entire article.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Headache Pain Alternatives

When a headache hits you want instant relief, but before you grab the over-the-counter pain reliever, remember these drugs can do much more harm than a headache. Frequent use of NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can result in gastrointestinal upset, peptic ulcers, and intestinal bleeding.

Look for safer natural relief. First, find out what triggers the pain.

Stress and lack of sleep can bring on a tension headache. Allergies and sudden weather changes can cause screaming sinus issues. Migraines can come from some suspect foods, alcohol, or hormonal changes.

Along with avoiding your triggers, consider the following five (5) supplements to ease your aching head.

More info on these supplements:
Co-Q10
Feverfew
Fish Oil
Magnesium
5-HTP

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Do You Know A Clutterer?

There are no quick fixes to stop cluttering, but this website below has decluttering programs to help chronically disorganized clutterers. The basis is to change emotional behavior before organizing techniques can help you get decluttered and stay uncluttered. That is why traditional organizing methods don't work.

Clutterless Recovery Groups are not professional organizers or psychiatric professionals. Their philosophy complements the work of counselors and organizers. The focus is to teach clutterers how to declutter their emotions. There's a spiritual aspect to it also.

Are you a clutterer? What's the basis of your cluttering lifestyle. Find out more and take the quiz.

EPA Moving Away From Animal Testing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reducing its reliance on animal testing to assess human risk of chemical toxicity and will instead focus more heavily on the tools made possible by advances in molecular biology, genomics and computational modeling.

The move is part of the EPA's effort to find better, cheaper and faster ways to screen thousands of chemicals for human risk, including the ways in which toxicity occurs, the impact of long-term exposure to various chemicals, and how chemicals effect genetic variations of the population.

"Right now, there isn't enough capacity to test all the chemicals we want information on," Robert Kavlock, director of EPA's computational toxicology program, told GreenBiz.com Wednesday.

The agency asked its various departments about high-priority chemicals for which they'd most want information. After compiling the list of nearly 10,000 chemicals and consulting the public literature, the EPA discovered it didn't know whether two-thirds of the chemicals on this list caused cancer in animals; for 90 percent of the chemicals, it didn't know their effects on reproduction.

The "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Strategic Plan for Evaluating the Toxicity of Chemicals," (PDF) released today, will also enable the agency to study how toxicity impacts children. Read the entire article.

Monday, April 13, 2009

All About Diabetes

A Common Sense Approach to Strengthening the Pancreas
by James D. Jenks, H.M.D.


The Medical Sciences are trying so hard to understand diabetes. The simple fact is diabetes is unknown in countries where people can't afford to overeat. Solutions to the human health may best be investigated in our kitchen and not in labs with rats as this does seem to be with whom the scientific mind prefers to work.

Diabetic symptoms are simple and everyday. Classic symptoms are excessive thirst and urination, excessive hunger but weight loss despite increased food consumption. General weakness, skin disorders, including boils and vaginal infections, blurred vision, tingling, leg cramps, impotence and dry mouth are frequent complaints.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition where the excess sugar in the urine also dehydrates the body causing acids to build up in the body. Ketoacidosis can be life threatening if allowed to progress to a coma state. Other chronic complications are coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness.

Our medical sciences have been pumping animal insulin into all diabetics for some time. In 1980, the ADA said about 40% of known diabetics were misdiagnosed. With the new 'fat' understanding of Type II, we can see that in five of the six diabetics or as high as ten of eleven, the lack of insulin is not the problem. The side effects of insulin are serious and the possible iatrogenic disease fatalities here are staggering.

A National Health Magazine, written by M.D's, recently reported on several diabetics who decreased their insulin requirements with diet and exercise. Now, even the M.D.'s have the door open. So, let's step into a program, which helps the body renew itself and regenerate the organs.

There are four major considerations for the person with diabetic tendencies or symptoms. Read the entire article.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stress Solving Secrets

Strategies to Help You Prosper in Difficult Times
by Steven H. Horne, RH (AHG)

Stress! We all experience it from time to time in our life. Perhaps you, like many others in this country, are feeling some stress because of the economy. If you are, I’d say you’re pretty normal. Just listening to news reports of lost jobs, home foreclosures and reduced sales is enough to cause feelings of anxiety in just about anyone, including me. But, stressful events aren’t the real problem. It’s how we react to stressful events that determines whether we will grow from them or develop chronic worry, anxiety, fear and the physical illness that accompanies it.

Learning how to handle stress is typically called stress “management.” The implication is that we can never avoid stressful experiences. However, we can learn tools that help us to deal with (or “manage”) them.

I’ve learned stress management skills because I need them to help me through my own “tough times,” which have included three divorces, the deaths of both of my parents and two of my children, and a bankruptcy. Many people going through these types of stressful experiences become bitter, angry, withdrawn, depressed and hardened. They also typically develop serious chronic illness because of this stress. In contrast, I’ve been able to remain a generally optimistic, happy and healthy person.

Read the entire article. If you read about any products of interest to you, find wholesale prices at The Herbs Place.

Friday, April 10, 2009

New U.S. Health Report

The Associated Press reported last week that America spends much more on health care than the healthiest countries do, yet lags 23% behind other leading nations like Canada, Japan, Germany, the U.K. and France, and as much as 46% behind emerging powers like China, Brazil and India.

These conclusions were drawn by the Business Roundtable, a forum of CEOs of major corporations who sponsored the study to analyze the cost-benefit disparity on health care delivery worldwide. By their observations, the $2.4 trillion dollars a year and the almost $2,000 spent per capita on health care in the United States in 2006 was more than twice the rate of any other major country.

The research project examined each nation’s health care costs and statistics on life expectancy, mortality and morbidity, and physiological findings like cholesterol levels and blood pressure readings. “What’s important is that we measure and compare actual value – not just how much we spend on health care, but the performance we get back in return,” said H. Edward Hanway, CEO of CIGNA. “That’s what this study does, and the results are quite eye-opening." Read the entire article.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Animal Engineering

Move over, common sense. Here comes FDA with their latest display of bad judgment.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a final guidance on regulating genetically engineered (GE) animals – which pretty much gives producers the go-ahead to make them a reality. The process is already being laid out – companies will have to apply to FDA as if GE animals were new animal drugs before being allowed to put the livestock on the market.

So where’s the nonsensical part? There’s the fact that the long-term health effects for both the animals themselves and the humans who consume them are still largely unknown. And that the agency is considering approving transgenic animals without requiring them to be labeled. But it goes even further, believe it or not. Read the entire article.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Near-sighted - Not Enough Outdoor Time

You could have poor eyesight because you didn't spend enough time outdoors as a child. That's the conclusion of a series of studies on myopia.

Myopia is the technical name for short-sightedness – a defect in vision that comes about when your eyes can't focus light from distant objects correctly onto the back of your retina, the light-sensitive part of the back of the eye. You can focus on close objects clearly, but distant objects are blurred.

Fifty years ago the condition was unusual. But it's increasingly common; around the world there are 1.6 billion people with myopia and this is expected to rise to 2.5 billion by 2020.

The global jump in myopia cases is thought to be result of more and more children growing up in environments where they don't see objects far away, and the eye doesn't learn to focus on distant objects as it develops.

It's most common in apartment-dwelling societies where children watch TV and play computer games rather than playing outdoors. In Asian cities like Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, between 30 and 50 per cent of 12-year-old children have some degree of short-sightedness. In the USA, 20 per cent of kids this age are myopic.

Read the entire article.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting A Healthy Bowel

Few people understand what healthy elimination is supposed to be like, so they don’t realize that they’re actually constipated. Most people think that going once a day and passing hard, round stools is normal. Well, it may be common, but it isn’t healthy.

So, people need to be educated about healthy stools, and as the saying goes, “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.” So get ready to be educated.

This article by Steven Horne includes these topics:

What Does a Healthy Stool Like?

Cleansing Tool #1: Water — It Washes You Inside, too.

Cleansing Tool #2: Fiber — It Keeps Your Intestines Running Smoothly

Cleansing Tool #3: Enzymes — Breaking Down Both Food and Toxins

Cleansing Tool #4: Cleansing Herbs — The “Soap” That Washes Your Insides Clean

Cleansing Tool #5: Herbal Laxatives — When You Need That Little Extra “Push”

Read the entire article.

Products mentioned in the article are available at wholesale prices at The Herbs Place. Related Article: Stools Can Reveal A Lot About Your Health .

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Why Flu Hits Hard In Winter

Why the flu strikes hard during the winter but nearly vanishes in the summer has baffled epidemiologists for decades.

Now a new study may have the answer: Influenza germs last longer and pass from person to person more effectively in lower absolute humidity — i.e., when it's cold outside and the air is dryer.

Absolute humidity is a measurement of the total amount of water vapor in the air at a given temperature. Relative humidity, a percentage, is the ratio between the water vapor present and the air's saturation point, a figure that changes with the temperature. Read the entire article.

My favorite product for avoiding the flu or knocking it out is Silver Shield.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Filtering Allergens Out Of The Home

For allergy and asthma sufferers, springtime allergens are a particular nuisance, and many fear that these particles may infiltrate their indoor air via air ducts, requiring that they buy pricey air purifiers or employ air-duct-cleaning services, which can cost up to $1,000.

Fortunately, there are other, less expensive and more effective ways to remove allergens. Here's a few links to help you decide:

Ventilating, Vacuuming and Filtering Out Allergens
Types of Air Cleaners and Filters
How To Evaluate Allergy Filters

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Human Anatomy Website

My neighbor, Ken Bushell, sent me a link to this anatomy website that is very cool. It needs a software download (PC and MAC available), but if you are interested in cool graphics and real medical information, it's worth a try. It's 3D human anatomy. You can rotate and examine all parts of the body at will and Ken's son, Ian, who is a doctor, says it looks and smells much better than the real thing, wishing he had it while in medical school.

Here's some info from the website about it:

The Visible Body Features

* Complete, fully interactive, 3D human anatomy model
* Detailed models of all body systems
* Dynamic search capability
* Easy-to-use, 3D controls
* Seamless compatibility with all the most popular web browsers

Argosy's Visible Body is the most comprehensive human anatomy visualization tool available today. This entirely Web-delivered application offers an unparalleled understanding of human anatomy. The Visible Body includes 3D models of over 1,700
anatomical structures, including all major organs and systems of the human body. Visit Visible Body.