“Loosening the bond of coke addiction”

A new cocaine vaccine is being tested in clinical trials. It block dopamine-transport receptors and the “high” it causes. “high.”
The vaccine consists of molecules of cocaine covalently bonded to a large carrier protein, a recombinant cholera toxin B subunit. The cholera subunit is harmless without the other part of the normal virulent cholera A subunit.
This carrier was chosen because that a cholera subunit vaccine has been administered to millions of people without any adverse effects,

Since Americans are rarely exposed to or even vaccinated against cholera, their immune defense system will probably launch a strong defense against this foreignthis protein and the attached cocaine molecule.

The carrier choice was dictated by the knowledge that a cholera vaccine made from this subunit has been administered to millions of people without any adverse effects, and by the fact that Americans are rarely exposed to or vaccinated against cholera, so most would likely mount a new and robust immune response to this protein and the attached cocaine molecule.

After intramuscular injection, the vaccine enters the bloodstream and triggers plasma cells to produce antibodies to the cocaine molecule as a component of the immunogenic cholera protein. This creates an army of antibodies that can latch onto free cocaine molecules in the bloodstream and, because they are too bulky to fit through tight junctions in blood vessels, prevent the drug from leaving the circulatory system and entering tissues and organs.

Since tiny cocaine molecules that are now bound to big antibodies can no longer cross the blood-brain barrier into the brain, where they would ordinarily block dopamine-transport receptors and cause the buildup of dopamine that users perceive as a “high.” Cocaine that is kept from reaching its “target” in the brain is prevented from triggering reward sensations. With continued, regular booster vaccinations, necessary because the antibody titer declines steeply about 3 months after reaching peak levels, the bonds of addiction may be loosened, giving addicts a stab at kicking their habit altogether.

Resources
Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/iP62jc

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/lQAu3w

“Pesticides and Parkinson’s disease”

Researchers at UCLA announced they had discovered a linked Parkinson’s disease to two chemicals commonly sprayed on crops to fight pests.
For farmers who constantly work with pesticides and for people living near where farm fields the risk for Parkinson’s disease increased by 75 percent. The three culprits are fungicide maneb, the herbicide paraquat and pesticide, ziram.

Further study indicated that individuals working in building near the fields like in school teachers, fire fighters, office workers or clerks risk from secondary (ambient) exposure is 80 per cent.
There is strong evidence in humans that the combination of the three chemicals confers a greater risk of Parkinson’s than exposure to the individual chemicals alone. Because these pesticides affect different mechanisms leading to cell death, they may act together to increase the risk of developing the disorder: Those exposed to all three experienced the greatest increase in risk.

Scientists knew that in animal models and cell cultures, such pesticides trigger a neurodegenerative process that leads to Parkinson’s, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs motor skills, speech and other functions and for which there is no cure.
The disease has been reported to occur at high rates among farmers and in rural populations, contributing to the hypothesis that agricultural pesticides may be partially responsible.

Exposure to these toxic chemicals may have occurred years before the onset of motor symptoms, when a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is made.

Avoid pesticide use.

Ziram synuclein accumulated in dopamine neurons, selectively killing them. When it was given systemically to rodents, it reproduced many of the features of Parkinson’s disease.
Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/jdN63I

“Afraid of big bad wolf -diet soda?”

Research results reported at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles

People who drank diet soda daily had a 61 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who drank no soda, even when accounting for smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and calories consumed per day.”This study suggests that diet soda is not an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages, and may be associated with a greater risk of stroke,” Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami and her colleagues reported at the conference.

The risk persisted after controlling for metabolic syndrome, peripheral vascular disease, and cardiac disease history.

The researchers looked at more than 2500 people from the multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study. Participants were asked to report how much and what kind of soda they drank.

During an average follow-up of 9.3 years, 559 vascular events occurred, including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

The researchers also observed a marginally significant increased risk for vascular events among those who consumed diet soda daily and regular soda once or more a month (adjusted relative risk, 1.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.96 – 3.16).

As reported by Medscape Medical News, previous studies have suggested a link between diet soda consumption and the risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

This is the first time diet drinks have been associated with vascular events.

 

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/ljqG1n

Excerpts courtesy of  http://abcn.ws/k8GXzK

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/lcNTYU

 


 

“Death by worms”

The hookworm, the whipworm and the spiral threadworm cause mortality and death  to one billionpeople across the globe

New parasitic worm discovery could help 1 billion people worldwide.
Scientists have discovered why some people may be protected from harmful parasitic worms naturally while others cannot in what could lead to new therapies for up to one billion people worldwide.
The University of Manchester researchers have, for the first time, identified

Mucin-5AC as a protein that in humans is encoded by the MUC5AC gene to be the key component of the mucus found in the guts of humans and animals is toxic to worms.

Dr Sumaira Hasnain, the lead researcher said “For the first time, we have discovered that a single component of the mucus barrier, the Muc5ac mucin, is essential for worm expulsion.
Learning who is and isn’t susceptible to parasitic worms can lead to new treatments for people with chronic worm infections.

How does Muc5ac mucin effect cells?

  • The abnormal expression of gastric M1/MUC5AC mucin in precancerous lesions and colon cancer.
  • Cigarette smoke when it enters lung tissue induces MUC5AC mucin overproduction via tumor necrosis factor-α-converting enzyme in human airway epithelial (NCI-H292) cells.
  • During inflammation Nitric oxide (NO) is generally increased in airway diseases. This causes NO to increase the secretion of mucin from the goblet cell and submucosal glands.

“These parasitic worms live in the gut, which is protected by a thick layer of mucus,” explained Dr David Thornton, from the University’s Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Matrix Research. “The mucus barrier is not just slime, but a complex mixture of salts, water and large ‘sugar-coated’ proteins called mucins that give mucus its gel-like properties.

By creating more mucous study mice were able to expel this whipworm from the gut. Importantly, the mucus from these mice contained the mucin, Muc5ac. This mucin is rarely present in the gut, but when it is, it alters the physical properties of the mucus gel.
Mice unable to genetically produce Muc5ac were unable to expel the worms, despite having a strong immune response against these parasites. This resulted in long-term infections.

Muc5ac is also essential for the efficient expulsion from the gut like hookworm, and the spiral threadworm. Together, these worms cause mortality and morbidity in up to one billion people across the globe.
Excerpts and Image 2. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kj9cXm
Image 1. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kuLDE5

“A recipe for a quality life”

It is about Quality in
buying food, preparation, companions,work and service = quality life

75 per cent of Americans are focused on eating more whole grains

What is a whole grain?
A whole grain is a grain unprocessed and straight from Mother Nature.
They include: amaranth, barley, brown rice, bulgar wheat, couscous, millet, oatmeal, popcorn (seed), quinoa, sorghum and triticale (a hybrid of rye and wheat whole oats, whole rye, wild rice (a blend of seeds) and whole wheat.

To be a whole grain it must still contain the bran and germ, when it is processed the brain and germ are removed, leaving behind the white endosperm. This causes many nutrients to be left behind.
To try to make up for the bleeding of nutrients through processing, companies will throw in a sprinkle of vitamins and call their product “enriched”. There is nothing enriching about this scam. 25% of their original protein content and 17 other essential nutrients are usually lost.

Whole grain breads pack more protein, fiber, vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin E), and minerals (magnesium and iron), as well as some antioxidants not found in junk foods.

The U.S. government recommends that half of your daily grains servings should be whole grains. That’s at least three servings of whole grains per day.

Even desserts can be made more nutritious using whole grains and a natural sugar.

Help Finding whole grain products

Until recently, finding whole grain products was difficult. Is this product whole grain, or simply refined flour with caramel coloring? Does 100% wheat mean it’s whole grain? What does multigrain really mean?
Help from the whole grains council
The Whole Grains Council is helping consumers to find and eat more whole grains
Look for the Whole Grain Stamp, a special packaging symbol now on hundreds and hundreds of popular products. Check out the list of “Stamped Products” here on our website.
At Restaurants, using our list of food outlets that offer at least one whole grain choice at every meal.
For Foodservice, using our new foodservice list. If you run a restaurant or cafeteria, you need to know where you can buy bulk containers of whole grains – not the usual consumer-size products. We can help.

It is about Quality in
buying food, preparation, companions,work and service = quality life

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kc3eEY

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kwtfW6

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/lbiS1e

“Dementia linked to overweight”

Being overweight or obese in midlife and beyond increases the risk for dementia even if there is no history of diabetes and vascular disease.

With 1.6 billion adults around the world being overweight, controlling body weight can help prevent dementia in seniors, the researchers say.

Recent research has shown a link “between midlife obesity and dementia, but for overweight, the association has been controversial,” said lead author Weili L. Xu, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. “But from this twin study, we demonstrated that both overweight and obesity increases the risk of dementia in later life.”

The study was published in the May 3 issue of Neurology.

The research study used data from the nationwide Swedish Twin Registry between the years 1998 and 2001. The twins in this registry were age 65 years and older. 13,723 twins completed cognitive screening tests and 8534 were included in this study.

The protocol included a neuropsychological assessment, including the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Researchers calculated body mass index (BMI) at midlife (mean age, 43.4 years) using self-reported weight in kilograms divided by self-reported height in meters squared and categorized BMI into 4 groups: underweight (BMI < 20), normal weight (20-25), overweight (26-30), and obese (>30).

Dementia was diagnosed in 350 of the 8534 participants (4.1%), including 232 with Alzheimer’s disease and 74 with vascular dementia; 114 (1.3%) had what was considered questionable dementia.

Compared with those without dementia, twins with confirmed or questionable dementia were older; had lower levels of education and current BMI; and were more likely to have diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

The study showed a strong link between dementia and midlife BMI. In the model adjusted for age, sex, education, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease, both overweight and obesity at midlife were associated with increased dementia risk compared with normal BMI.

In this study, 29.8% (2541) of the twins were overweight or obese at midlife, a percentage much lower than the over 50% who are currently considered overweight or obese in the United States and Europe. This, said Dr. Xu, is because the data are from 30 years ago, before the global obesity epidemic.

Dementia-Discordant Twins

In a matched case-control analysis of 137 dementia-discordant twin pairs a high BMI equaled a higher rate of dementia.

Because twins share the same genes and early life environment, these 2 factors might help explain the link between body weight and dementia, said Dr. Xu.

In the case of only 1 twin developing dementia, that sibling might have been exposed to a trigger in early life that turned on a gene that increased the risk for obesity or dementia, she added. Dr. Xu and her colleagues have shown that the FTO gene, for example, is associated with both obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to the contribution of genes, the link between body fat and dementia could involve a vascular pathway, said Dr. Xu. “High body fat is associated with diabetes and vascular disease, which in turn are related to dementia risk.” However, this study controlled for lifespan vascular disease, suggesting that the pathway may be nonvascular.

If that’s the case, the pathway may involve metabolism. High adiposity is associated with an altered metabolic status, including hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and high blood pressure. This can contribute to the metabolic syndrome, which other studies have linked to cognitive decline, said Dr. Xu.

Or, the association could also involve a hormonal pathway or inflammation, said Dr. Xu. “Adipose tissue is the largest endocrine organ and it secretes inflammatory cytokines and growth hormones such as interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein, and also leptin, which is associated with obesity.”

Whatever the mechanism, the important message is that overweight and obese people need to lose weight. Dr. Xu emphasized that even though the study looked at midlife body weight, “it’s never too late” to shed excess pounds.

She added that physical activity can reverse the risk for dementia due to obesity. “This is part of our ongoing study, but preliminary results already show that if you do more physical activity, you can reduce your risk of dementia.”

John Hart, MD, professor of neurology, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, and member of the American Academy of Neurology, emphasized that the study shows correlation between obesity and dementia and does not prove cause and effect.

As for the contribution of environmental factors, Dr. Hart agreed that twins share genes, but they don’t necessarily share the same experiences that might trigger a genetic reaction. For example, one twin may have had a severe infection or a head injury that the other twin didn’t.

This is just one more wake up call to stay fit and eat right.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://bit.ly/jMOFVc

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/jwm4lE

“Tai Chi for heart health n office relaxation”

This gentle, graceful movement form packs serious health benefits for all ages that practice Tai chi daily. It has recently been in the news for its help at improving heart heart and for stress reduction.

Many of these exercises can be done sitting at your office desk as well or in a straight back chair at home.

Take 5 minutes  to watch and relax with Tai Chi

“Tai Chi appears to be a safe alternative to low-to-moderate intensity conventional exercise training,” for people with Chronic Heart Failure (CHD)  said Gloria Yeh of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center head of the study team . CHD is a debilitating and progressive disease that limits a person’s ability to breathe and move.

People with chronic heart failure may be able to boost their quality of life by doing Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese exercise regimen that teaches each person control of their body, mind and emotional energy through gentle deliberate quiet motions.

Take 5 minutes  to watch and relax with Tai Chi
Archives of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association reported that the study was divided into two group sessions of one hour each per week were enough to show significant improvements in mood and confidence.
50 US heart patients were enrolled in Tai Chi program study led by an instructor who guided the class in a series of fluid motions and 50 others who took classroom study in heart education.

Physical responses were similar in both groups, but those who did tai chi showed “significant” improvements in their emotional state response questionaire. The Tai Chi group also reported better “exercise self-efficacy (confidence to perform certain exercise-related activities), with increased daily activity, and related feelings of well-being compared with the education group,” said the study.
“Tai Chi seems to be a safe alternative to low-to-moderate intensity conventional exercise training, It has a good rate of adherence and may provide value in improving daily exercise, quality of life, self-efficacy and mood in frail, deconditioned patients with systolic heart failure,” said Yeh.

Previous studies have suggested Tai Chi, which involves slow, circular movements and balance-shifting exercises, may be helpful to people who suffer from high blood pressure, fibromyalgia and stress. All ages and ability levels can benefit by daily Tai Chi practice.

Take 5 minutes  to watch and relax with Tai Chi
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/ibFtcb

Video courtesy of  http://bit.ly/i1f4Cs

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/jqkjjZ

 

“2010 most prescribed and purchased drugs”

The 10 most prescribed drugs in the U.S. aren’t the drugs on which we spend the most, according to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
The institute is the public face of IMS, a pharmaceutical market intelligence firm. Its latest report provides a wealth of data on U.S. prescription drug use.
Continuing a major trend, IMS finds that 78% of the nearly 4 billion U.S. prescriptions written in 2010 were for generic drugs (both unbranded and those still sold under a brand name). In order of number of prescriptions written in 2010, the 10 most-prescribed drugs in the U.S. are:

  • Hydrocodone (combined with acetaminophen) — 131.2 million prescriptions
  • Generic Zocor (simvastatin), a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — 94.1 million prescriptions
  • Lisinopril (brand names include Prinivil and Zestril), a blood pressure drug — 87.4 million prescriptions
  • Generic Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium), synthetic thyroid hormone — 70.5 million prescriptions
  • Generic Norvasc (amlodipine besylate), an angina/blood pressure drug — 57.2 million prescriptions
  • Generic Prilosec (omeprazole), an antacid drug — 53.4 million prescriptions (does not include over-the-counter sales)
  • Azithromycin (brand names include Z-Pak and Zithromax), an antibiotic — 52.6 million prescriptions
  • Amoxicillin (various brand names), an antibiotic — 52.3 million prescriptions
  • Generic Glucophage (metformin), a diabetes drug — 48.3 million prescriptions
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (various brand names), a water pill used to lower blood pressure — 47.8 million prescriptions.
The 10 Best-Selling Drugs
However, these generic drugs are not create the hugh dollars for pharmaceutical companies. The drugs that are still protected by patent create the fortunes companies grow on.
The IMS reports that Americans spent $307 billion on prescription drugs in 2010.
The 10 drugs on which we spent the most were:
  1. Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — $7.2 billion
  2. Nexium, an antacid drug — $6.3 billion
  3. Plavix, a blood thinner — $6.1 billion
  4. Advair Diskus, an asthma inhaler — $4.7 billion
  5. Abilify, an antipsychotic drug — $4.6 billion
  6. Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug — $4.4 billion
  7. Singulair, an oral asthma drug — $4.1 billion
  8. Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — $3.8 billion
  9. Actos, a diabetes drug — $3.5 billion
  10. Epogen, an injectable anemia drug — $3.3 billion
Who’s paying for all these drugs?
Commercial insurance helped pay for 63% of prescriptions, down from 66% five years ago. Federal government spending through Medicare Part D covered 22% of prescriptions.
For Americans covered by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, the average co-payment for a prescription was $10.73 — down a bit from 2009 due to increased use of generic drugs. The average co-payment for branded drugs for which generic alternatives were available jumped 6% to $22.73.
In 2010
Doctor visits were down 4.2% since 2009.
Patients filled more than half of their prescriptions — 54% — at chain drugstores, possibly because of discounts on generic drugs.
Brands that lost their protection from generic competition led to $12.6 billion less spending in 2010 than in 2009.
The price increase for drugs without generic competition led to $16.6 billion more spending in 2010 than in 2009.
Drug companies offered $4.5 billion in rebates to assist patients with the high cost of brand name drugs for which there was no generic alternative.
SOURCE:
A courtesy of WebMD  Health News   http://bit.ly/ljqG1n 

 


“No satisfaction-I want it now!”

Instant gratification (“junkification”) – I want it now!!
We have been programmed or brainwashed  in our society to need to have what we want no matter the price we pay physically or emotionally this instant. Oral gratification is driven by our may unspoken needs for pleasure, love, avoidance and boredom.
As a whole, our capitalist system is designed to get us to take actions and spend money now – and those businesses that are more successful in that do better and prosper (at least in the short term).

Filling those impulses tests our ability to resist temptation and exercise self-control. What’s the benefit of that?
Can the exercise of self control be an important force in our lives?
Several decades ago, Walter Mischel started investigating the determinants of delayed gratification in children. He found that the degree of self-control independently exerted by preschoolers who were tempted with small rewards (but told they could receive larger rewards if they resisted) is predictive of grades and social competence in adolescence.
Delayed gratification is a predictor of success in school and life

Researchers at Duke University have shown that the role of self control creates a better mental and social outcomes in adolescence and into adulthood.
A 1,000 children were followed for 30 years, examining the effect of early self-control on health, wealth and public safety. Controlling for socioeconomic status and IQ, they show that individuals with lower self-control experienced negative outcomes in all three areas, with greater rates of health issues like sexually transmitted infections, substance dependence, financial problems including poor credit and lack of savings, single-parent child-rearing, and even crime. These results show that self-control can have a deep influence on a wide range of activities.  And there is some good news: if we can find a way to improve self-control, maybe we could do better.
Where does the skill of self –control come from?
So when we consider these individual differences in the ability to exert self-control, the real question is where they originate – are they differences in pure, unadulterated ability (i.e., one is simply born with greater self-control) or are these differences a result of sophistication (a greater ability to learn and create strategies that help overcome temptation)?
In other words, are the kids who are better at self control able to control, and actively reduce, how tempted they are by the immediate rewards in their environment, or are they just better at coming up with ways to distract themselves and this way avoid acting on their temptation?
It may very well be the latter.

Ability to resist temptation is environmental, culturally, innately  and cultivated. Some children sat on their hands, physically restraining themselves, while others tried to redirect their attention by singing, talking or looking away.
Mischel found that all children were better at delaying rewards when distracting thoughts were suggested to them.

You can see a modern recreation of the original Mischel experiment by clicking on the video link below.(This experiment should be named Marshmellow Torture-editor’s note)  Who are you most like in the video?
Remember there are many natural medicine strategies to help build self control and overcome addictive compulsive tendencies. Email us if you would like more information.

Editor Mary Wolken, PhD
Resources

Video courtesy of  http://bit.ly/idElXK
Excerpts courtesy of http://bit.ly/e5UQGc

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/hkCroh

“Protect thyroid from radiation”

Women Caution:  Protect your thyroid from radiation                                               

Mammograms and dental X-rays are useful tools for diagnosis, but as Dr. OZ pointed out in a recent show you must speak up to protect your thyroid from excess radiation.

Dr. Oz had a show on the fastest growing cancer in women, thyroid cancer.  He demonstrated that on the apron the dentist puts on you for your dental x-rays there is a little flap that can be lifted up and wrapped around your neck.  Many dentists don’t bother to use it.

There is something called a “thyroid guard” for use specifically during mammograms.   yearly mammogram yesterday. I felt a little silly, but I asked about the guard and sure enough,

Technicians usually have one in a drawer, but do not even ask if you want to use it.You have to take the lead and ask for this added protection.

Approximately 65 percent of the U. S. population is overweight; 30 percent is clinically obese. Research is pointing to the fact that an under active thyroid might be the number one cause of weight problems, especially among women, in the US today.

Protecting and improving thyroid function may be helped by

  1. Eat an extra fruit and an extra vegetable every day.
  2. Drink more nutrient-packed beverages. Many people sip coffee, soda pop or fruit-flavored drinks throughout the day-yet none of these beverages offer much nutritionally. Drink more bioactive water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices,
  3. Eat whole grains Regularly eating whole grains as part of a healthful diet could reduce heart disease risk by as much as 26 percent. Forty studies that looked at 20 different types of cancer deemed whole grains a winner too. Regularly eating whole-grain foods as part of a low-fat diet reduced the risk of many diseases. Experts believe three servings of whole-grain foods a day can make an impact.

 

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/dHzJLH