Addiction Sameness

Alcohol, Opiates, Fat and Sugar are all Addictive Substances: this blog is about that "addiction sameness".

Friday, September 28, 2012

Is Alzheimer's Type 3 Diabetes? -

 Isn't this a shocker?

Just in case you need another reason to cut back on junk food, it now turns out that Alzheimer’s could well be a form of diet-induced diabetes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts, processed meats and fries could allow you to keep your mind intact until your body fails you.

We used to think there were two types of diabetes: the type you’re born with (Type 1) and the type you “get.” That’s called Type 2, and was called “adult onset” until it started ravaging kids. Type 2 is brought about by a combination of factors, including overeating, American-style.

The idea that Alzheimer’s might be Type 3 diabetes has been around since 2005, but the connection between poor diet and Alzheimer’s is becoming more convincing, as summarized in a cover story in New Scientist entitled “Food for Thought: What You Eat May Be Killing Your Brain.” (The graphic — a chocolate brain with a huge piece missing — is creepy. But for the record: chocolate is not the enemy.)

The studies [1] are increasingly persuasive, and unsurprising when you understand the role of insulin in the body. So, a brief lesson.

We all need insulin: in non-diabetics, it’s released to help cells take in the blood sugar (glucose) they need for energy. But the cells can hold only so much; excess sugar is first stored as glycogen, and — when there’s enough of that — as fat. (Blood sugar doesn’t come only from sugar, but from carbohydrates of all kinds; easily digested carbohydrates flood the bloodstream with sugar.) Insulin not only keeps the blood vessels that supply the brain healthy, it also encourages the brain’s neurons to absorb glucose, and allows those neurons to change and become stronger. Low insulin levels in the brain mean reduced brain function.

Type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, accounts for about 10 percent of all cases. Type 2 diabetes is chronic or environmental, and it’s especially prevalent in populations that overconsume hyperprocessed foods, like ours. It’s tragically, increasingly common — about a third of Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes — and treatable but incurable. It causes your cells to fail to retrieve glucose from the blood, either because your pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin or the body’s cells ignore that insulin. (That’s “insulin resistance”; stand by.)

Put as simply as possible (in case your eyes glaze over as quickly as mine when it comes to high school biology), insulin “calls” your cells, asking them to take glucose from the bloodstream: “Yoo-hoo. Pick this stuff up!”
When the insulin calls altogether too often — as it does when you drink sugar-sweetened beverages and repeatedly eat junk food — the cells are overwhelmed, and say, “Leave me alone.” They become resistant. This makes the insulin even more insistent and, to make matters worse, all those elevated insulin levels are bad for your blood vessels.

Diabetes causes complications too numerous to mention, but they include heart disease, which remains our No. 1 killer. And when the cells in your brain become insulin-resistant, you start to lose memory and become disoriented. You even might lose aspects of your personality.

In short, it appears, you develop Alzheimer’s.

A neuropathologist named Alois Alzheimer noticed, over a century ago, that an odd form of protein was taking the place of normal brain cells. How those beta amyloid plaques (as they’re called) get there has been a mystery. What’s becoming clear, however, is that a lack of insulin — or insulin resistance — not only impairs cognition but seems to be implicated in the formation of those plaques.

Suzanne de la Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University, has been working on these phenomena in humans and rats. When she blocked the path of insulin to rats’ brains, their neurons deteriorated, they became physically disoriented and their brains showed all the signs of Alzheimer’s. The fact that Alzheimer’s can be associated with low levels of insulin in the brain is the reason why increasing numbers of researchers have taken to calling it Type 3 diabetes, or diabetes of the brain.[2]

Let’s connect the dots: We know that the American diet is a fast track not only to obesity but to Type 2 diabetes and other preventable, non-communicable diseases, which now account for more deaths worldwide than all other causes combined.
We also already know that people with diabetes are at least twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and that obesity alone increases the risk of impaired brain function.

What’s new is the thought that while diabetes doesn’t “cause” Alzheimer’s, they have the same root: an over consumption of those “foods” that mess with insulin’s many roles. (Genetics have an effect on susceptibility, as they appear to with all environmental diseases.) “Sugar is clearly implicated,” says Dr. de la Monte, “but there could be other factors as well, including nitrates in food.”

If the rate of Alzheimer’s rises in lockstep with Type 2 diabetes, which has nearly tripled in the United States in the last 40 years, we will shortly see a devastatingly high percentage of our population with not only failing bodies but brains. Even for the lucky ones this is terrible news, because 5.4 million Americans (nearly 2 percent, for those keeping score at home) have the disease, the care for which — along with other dementias — will cost around $200 billion this year.

Gee. That’s more than the $150 billion we’ve been saying we spend annually on obesity-related illnesses. So the financial cost of the obesity pandemic just more than doubled. More than 115 million new cases of Alzheimer’s are projected around the world in the next 40 years, and the cost is expected to rise to more than a trillion of today’s dollars. (Why bother to count? $350 billion is bad enough.)

The link between diet and dementia negates our notion of Alzheimer’s as a condition that befalls us by chance. Adopting a sane diet, a diet contrary to the standard American diet (which I like to refer to as SAD), would appear to give you a far better shot at avoiding diabetes in all of its forms, along with its dreaded complications. There are, as usual, arguments to be made for enlisting government help in that struggle, but for now, put down that soda!

1. NIH: Relative Intake of Macronutrients Impacts Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia and The Whitehall II Cohort Study; Rhode Island Hospital: A Link Between Brain Insulin Resistance and Neuronal Stress in Worsening Alzheimer’s Disease

2. Here is a fantastic and detailed summary by Dr. de la Monte: Alzheimer’s: Diabetes of the Brain? 

Source Link:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

David Katz, M.D.: Living (and Dying) on a Diet of Unintended Consequences


Living (and Dying) on a Diet of Unintended Consequences

The notion that Ancel Keys was wrong -- profoundly wrong -- when he was among the first to advocate forcefully for low-fat eating to prevent heart disease is evolving into New Age gospel.

The developing convictions are that Keys misrepresented or misunderstood the data he reviewed in his analysis of heart disease rates around the world. And his mistake about the importance and value of reducing dietary fat was propagated by many high-profile disciples, from Dr. William Castelli of the Framingham study, to names long since associated with low-fat dietary approaches: Pritikin, Esselstyn, Campbell, and Ornish, to name a few.

But here's the news flash. While it's true we now know that dietary fats are not all created equal -- even dietary saturated fats are not all created equal -- and that a "just cut fat" approach to diet risks tossing out both baby and bathwater, we don't really know that Keys or those who took up that same mantle were ever wrong. All we really know is that there are unintended consequences of badly bungling what we did with the dietary advice we were given.

We never -- repeat, NEVER -- did anything remotely like what Keys recommended, which was to shift our diets away from the higher-fat foods that predominated -- including such items as hamburgers and hotdogs, butter and ice cream -- to naturally low-fat foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils and such.

What happens when this approach IS taken? Many have addressed the question, but perhaps none more compellingly than my friend Dean Ornish. Dr. Ornish first showed, in dramatic fashion, that such a diet can shrink the plaque in coronary arteries. He went on to show it prevents heart attacks as effectively as the Mediterranean diet (although, I hasten to add, not more effectively). And he and colleagues have even shown recently that such a diet can modify gene expression in a manner associated with reduced risk of cancer occurrence, recurrence, or progression.

Keys was never really wrong. His message was certainly imperfect. Walnuts, almonds, wild salmon, and avocado are all high in dietary fat -- and we now know these as "super foods."

But if we had followed the actual advice being espoused -- eat foods naturally lower in fat -- our health as a nation would almost certainly have improved. Our weight as a nation would have declined.

So what went wrong? Unintended consequences. The food industry saw opportunity in the low-fat message, and reinvented the interpretation of the message to suit its profit-driven motives. The era of highly-processed, starchy, sugary, salty, low-fat foods was born.

But let's be clear: Dean Ornish NEVER said "Eat more Snackwell cookies to get healthy." Keys never once mentioned low-fat mayonnaise in any of his publications. I do not recall ever hearing "low-fat peanut butter rocks!" from Caldwell Esselstyn.

The message, though flawed, was reasonable -- and an improvement over the prevailing diet at the time. The execution of the message was the debacle -- for all but the big food companies, which wound up counting money hand over fist.

Well, folks -- this is a "fool me once, shame on you" scenario. But welcome to the age of fool me again, and again, again. And so -- shame on us.

I never liked the Atkins diet, and still don't. There actually are very low-fat diets in the real world, associated with excellent overall health and longevity. There are no such "low-carb" diets. People often invoke the Inuit, whose diet is low in carbohydrate and very high in fat -- much of it omega-3. But the Inuit are not known for long lives, or especially good health. The Okinawans, on their low-fat native diet, are. The Seventh-Day Adventists, on their low-fat native diet, are.

Sometimes the Paleo diet is invoked to justify low-carb eating. But the Paleo diet was not low-carb, even if it was moderately high in protein. It was made up of foods direct from nature -- and Atkins was never clear if when he said to eat more meat, he meant mammoth.

Everything from lentils to lollipops are "carbohydrate," so cutting carbs always seemed dietary hucksterism to me. But to give Atkins and other advocates their due, they NEVER said: "Eat more low-carb brownies, made principally from partially-hydrogenated oil." But that's just the sort of thing we did when the low-carb craze really got going, thanks in part to a New York Times Magazine cover story by Gary Taubes.

I never knew Robert Atkins personally, but I do know Gary Taubes. He's a smart guy, and I am quite convinced his intentions are good. If he erred in embracing the low-carb diet, it wasn't because he was pointing out the harms associated with an excess of starch and sugar.

He was quite right about that. Rather, the mistake was in failing to learn from the follies of low-fat history.

The food industry fooled us once by turning "reduce dietary fat" into an entire inventory of Frankenfoods unimagined by Keys. Low-carb proponents had this history lesson, and so should have seen it coming. We wound up with a whole new inventory of highly processed, high-calorie, nutritionally moribund "low-carb" foods we may reliably believe Atkins never anticipated. Déjà vu, all over again.

If this were just about history, there might be no need to care. It would be artificially sweetened, vitamin-fortified, New Age water under the bridge. But it's not just about history. A diet of unintended consequences remains a clear and present danger.

Dr. Robert Lustig is arguing forcefully for the harmful -- indeed, poisonous -- effects of fructose in our food. I have not heard him say "eat more artificially sweetened muffins," but you can bet that's just what the Muffin Man is hearing.

Dr. David Jenkins has pointed out the hazards of foods with a high glycemic index. I don't ever recall him suggesting we should eat more pastrami and fewer carrots -- but some diets based on the "GI" have pretty much done exactly that.

More recently, Dr. Jenkins and colleagues suggested that eggs were as bad for heart health as tobacco. Leaving aside the very profound limitations of that study, and my disagreement with the authors about its implications and the health effects of dietary cholesterol, we can all agree the study did NOT say: "Stop eating eggs, but keep the bacon and add donuts." Since America runs on Dunkin', that response may be anticipated. Unless Dr. Lustig's advice is incorporated, in which case the donuts will be fructose-free.

We have abundant evidence that the "go organic" message can be corrupted; it never meant more nutritious. We know that the good intentions of the "locavore" movement can run off the rails. A locally-grown tomato in Minnesota in February could have a larger carbon footprint than one sent there from Japan!

Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle advocate, and rightly so, for a diet of foods direct from nature -- but if the message ends there, it makes perfect the enemy of good. Only 1.5 percent -- yes, 1.5 percent! -- of Americans are getting the recommended daily intake of both vegetables and fruits. Advice that does not extend to improving the actual choices people are making among products in bags, boxes, bottles, jars, and cans may be perfect in principle -- but an enemy to real-world good.

What is the solution? It's time to see the forest through the trees, the elephant in the room, the indelible follies of history. It's time to stop getting fooled, again.

We need dietary guidance that is explicit about foods people should and shouldn't eat.

Guidance that says once and for all, "If it glows in the dark -- whether it's low in fructose or not, low in fat or not, low in sodium or not -- step away from the box, and nobody will get hurt!" We need to focus on overall nutritional quality. We need to be more pragmatic, and less dogmatic. And we need guidance that extends to the full range of food choices people actually make every day.

In attempting to improve the American diet and health, I am in excellent company. My intentions and intelligence are not better than those of my colleagues. But I do seem more inclined to focus on the big picture -- or maybe I'm just more cynical. I believe, given the least opportunity to do so, our society will certainly replicate the profitable follies of our nutritional history.

I may seem in this rant to be quite critical of the food industry. But actually, that's not so. The business of business is business. And if devising dietary concoctions that address the concern du jour keeps the customer satisfied and boosts profit, it's rather hard to see why companies in a capitalist society would do otherwise. The fault lies not with the rising stars of Wall Street, but with ourselves -- for serving up such one-nutrient-at-a-time invitations to dietary debacles in the first place.

Our collective problem is not want of intelligence, nor good intentions -- nor even good messages. It is our failure to learn from the follies of history, and anticipate the enthusiasm with which industry elements will replicate them. I can't help but think that in boardrooms around the country, hands are being rubbed together in glee each time we come out with the next "one" thing wrong with our food supply. Because each is another gift-wrapped opportunity for a marketing bonanza, and mountains of cash.

It's past time to learn how our good intentions can be corrupted. It's past time for us to digest the follies of our recent nutritional history. And it's past time for us to chew on the law of unintended consequences -- and design our strategies with those consequences already in mind.

We have been living -- and dying -- for decades on a diet of unintended consequences. We seem disinclined to digest the lessons of history and avoid perpetuating this pattern. It will be a real shame if it goes on like this -- because people will get sick, and die, unnecessarily as a result. And since we have already been fooled more than once, this time around, the shame will be ours.


Dr. David L. Katz;

Related columns:

For more by David Katz, M.D., click here.
For more on diet and nutrition, click here.

Follow David Katz, M.D. on Twitter:

David Katz, M.D.: Living (and Dying) on a Diet of Unintended Consequences


The 10 most prescribed drugs in Canada

What does this mean?  ?are these drugs like chicken soup and unlikely to do any harm?

The 10 most prescribed drugs in Canada

According to the website on May 25, 2012, the 10 most prescribed medications in Canada were:

1. Synthroid (thyroid);
2.Crestor (lowers cholesterol);
3.Apo-Atorvastatin (lowers cholesterol);
4. Asaphen (coated aspirin);
5. Apo-Furosemide (water pill to treat high blood pressure);
6. Plavix (blood thinner);
 7. Nexium (controls stomach acid, heartburn and difficulty swallowing);
8 Teva-Amoxicillin (common penicillin type antibiotic often used in children for ear infections);
 9. Apo-hydro (water pill used in high blood pressure) and
10. Coversyl (ACE inhibitor for controlling blood pressure).

I would like to suggest naturopathic strategies in helping you keep this polypharmacy out of your kitchen cupboards.
  • Synthroid: Underactive thyroid is certainly something I encounter every day in my practice. One nutrient that can often help optimize the health of the under active thyroid gland is naturally occurring iodine eaten in the form of seaweed or kelp. When some people eat it daily they notice their body temperature improves and they are less chilly, which is a common symptom. Their energy improves also. There are kelp chips snacks available now as well as nori seaweed wraps that can be put into soups.
  • Crestor and Apo-Atorvastatin are the same class of statin drug used to lower LDL cholesterol. It is particularly recommended for those who have had a heart attack but there is much controversy about their efficacy at preventing heart attacks. Nutrients that lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL, the so called good cholesterol, include: fish oil containing EPA and DHA in several thousands of milligrams, high fiber (psillium or flax); low sugar and carbohydrate diet, the Dean Ornish vegetarian diet; exercise and weight loss. Did you know that statin drugs deplete the nutrient CoEnzyme Q10 which is a critical antioxidant for the heart and the brain?
  • Asaphen: It is prescribed to prevent strokes and heart attacks due to its anti-inflammatory effect. This coated version of aspirin protects against the incidence of bleeding from the stomach. Fish oil thins the blood and makes the platelets less sticky. The Mediterranean diet of high fish and coloured vegetables also lowers CRP (C Reactive Protein) one of the inflammatory markers that you want to keep less than one. Exercise and vitamin D also lower inflammation. Serrapeptase and or nattokinase are other natural anti-inflammatory agents that also thin the blood.
  • Apo- furosemide and Apo-hydro are diuretics used in the treatment of blood pressure. There are natural diuretics including celery, vitamin B6 and herbs such as dandelion that can have a similar effect. Lowering blood pressure often happens naturally when people correct deficiencies in calcium and  magnesium, vitamin D and essential fatty acids. Coverysl, an ACE inhibitor, can be used first line or if a water pill is not adequate to lower blood pressure. Naturopathic medicine does provide effective herbal remedies for high blood pressure and with monitoring some of the milder cases are able to reduce and or get off their medication. Water pills are particularly bad at depleting many nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, zinc and potassium to name a few and the ACE inhibitors deplete zinc as well. Some beta blockers also deplete CoQ10.
  • Plavix is a blood thinner often used after someone has had a heart attack. This drug is expensive and does a similar job to the Asaphen so often patients are switched to Asaphen after a few months. See the above recommendations for thinning your blood.
  • Nexium helps with heartburn, acid reflux and troubles with swallowing. Naturopathic medicine looks at the underlying cause which is usually foods which are also eaten in the wrong combinations as well as a yeast overgrowth in the intestinal tract. Treating the cause and then encouraging improved food combining makes a huge difference. It is common in my practice to be able to get people off Nexium. The only ones who should be on it are those with Barrett’s esophagus. Don’t forget these drugs deplete B12 and possibly increase the risk of H. pylori and C. difficile overgrowth in the gut.
  • Teva-amoxicillin is a common penicillin antibiotic used for ear infections in children. The most common cause of ear infection is an allergy to dairy products. Once alternates are found the child no longer has adenoid problems and ear infections.

North Island Midweek - The 10 most prescribed drugs in Canada


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

'Toxic effects' of ephedrine cited in Niagara officer's death - Canada - CBC News

BC News

Related Stories Steroid allegations within Niagara police go back yearsNiagara police probe steroid, drug allegations within ranks
Policing the police2:43

High levels of a performance enhancing substance killed a 41-year-old Niagara regional police officer in 2005 during a rigorous fitness tryout for the force’s emergency tactical unit, CBC News has learned.

The death prompted a coroner to call for tougher drug screening of police officers, including the potential for laboratory drug testing.

Dr. David Eden, a regional supervising coroner for operations with the Ontario coroner's office, called for action after a coroner's report found Const. Daniel Rathonyi died on Sept. 15, 2005, from sudden cardiac death “in association with the toxic effects of ephedrine and caffeine” during an intense tryout at Notre Dame College in Welland, Ont., according to his report obtained by CBC News.

Const. Daniel Rathonyi died from sudden cardiac death "in association with the toxic effects of ephedrine and caffeine" during an intense tryout at Notre Dame College in Welland, Ont., according to his coroner's report. (Niagara Regional Police Services)

The recommendation made in 2006 came at the very time Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) supervisors were confronted with evidence suggesting some members of the emergency tactical unit (ETU) were buying, trafficking and using anabolic steroids — risking health and criminal sanction — to maintain peak strength to keep their spots on the elite unit.

The NRPS is currently conducting an internal probe after one of their constables was arrested this spring in the United States and charged with conspiracy to smuggle more than half a million dollars worth of steroids and other drugs from the U.S. into Canada.
Officer’s widow decries physical demands of ETU

Months after Rathnoyi’s death, the coroner recommended the NRPS hire a medical expert to beef up risk assessment and screening of officers to prevent future deaths, possibly including drug testing.

The officer’s widow, Agnes Rathonyi, says her late husband told her he was taking ephedrine in diet pills for a short time to keep his weight down and to “give him a boost” for his ETU tryout.

She shared the coroner’s report and recommendations with CBC News after reading previous stories about steroid allegations involving Niagara regional police’s ETU. She says she wanted to make them public – including the coroner’s recommendation letter addressed to NRPS Insp. Lorne Lillico – in the hope that some good can come out of her husband’s death so many years later.

“I can’t believe he didn’t come home,” said Rathonyi, adding she is haunted by her “beautiful” husband’s death. She also questions the culture of hyperfitness in the ETU and the tryout requirements, which she says were “extreme.”

Earlier this month, CBC News revealed allegations that some members of the ETU in 2005 and 2006 were taking, buying and sharing steroids. Rathonyi does not believe her husband was on steroids, but she said he was zealous in his workouts in his bid to become as fit as the members of that unit.

The coroner concluded the combination of caffeine, ephedrine and extreme exercise caused Daniel Rathonyi’s death. Ephedrine is not illegal, but it is a controlled substance. Health Canada has warned of the potentially fatal risk of taking it in combination with extreme exercise and caffeine, which enhance its effects.

Dr. Eden recommended in his letter that the NRPS “should consult with a person with appropriate medical expertise to review policy for risk assessment (for example by medical history, physical examination and or appropriate laboratory tests) of candidates for positions in which prolonged peak exercise is a job requirement.”

The NRPS refused to reveal the ETU fitness tryout requirements to the CBC. But the police service says following the coroner’s recommendation it hired a cardiologist and adopted a written pretest screening questionnaire for officers to sign before intense training. To date, NRPS does no drug screening.

In an interview with CBC News, Dr. Eden says examining Rathonyi ’s death was important because the officer appeared to be in top physical condition. He says he did not ask the NRPS for a formal response to his recommendation and says he was never consulted further.
Police unions across Canada fight drug testing of officers

Drug testing of any kind – be it for illicit narcotics or performance enhancing drugs – is controversial in policing. In 2003, the late Justice George Ferguson delivered an anti-corruption report into a scandal involving Toronto drug squad officers. He recommended drug testing “for anyone seeking promotion into high risk units such as drug squads, emergency tactical units, major crime units or internal affairs.”

Toronto Police Association head Mike McCormack said those recommendations were never heeded. He says there was no need to adopt “invasive” urine or blood testing of officers because Toronto enhanced its supervision of officers to look out for signs of addiction or corruption.

Niagara regional police union president Paul DiSimoni says the officers he represents, like most across the country, have written into their collective agreements explicit prohibitions on any drug testing. The NRPS contract states “the parties agree to defer the issue of drug testing of members until the legality of the matter is finally determined in the Province of Ontario,” and if it is, they’ll take it up in the next bargaining session.

A spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety says the province does not have any legislation, regulation or policy that specifically deals with drug testing of police officers, and leaves it up to individual forces.

In Canada, jobs that require some form of drug testing include the Canadian military, some bus and truck drivers (especially those who travel to the U.S.), railway workers, oil patch employees, construction workers in B.C., and those in the pulp and paper industry.

In March, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear a case that challenges the right of the pulp and paper industry to demand alcohol testing. The hearing, which is expected to examine issues around employee screening regimes, should begin this fall.

Critics say there are three main reasons for drug testing of police officers: protection of their health, screening of corruption or criminality should they indulge in illegal drugs, and for public safety to ensure officers are not under the influence or on steroids and potentially prone to ‘roid rage, especially when they carry guns, Tasers and are authorized to use force.

Eugene Oscapella, an Ottawa lawyer, criminology professor and a founding member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, says in general he is opposed to employee drug testing.

But he says it may be appropriate in policing for drug squads, where there are examples from around the world of cases where criminals have corrupted officers who routinely are undercover and dealing with narcotics. He notes the rare case of the police union in New South Wales, Australia, which has spoken out in favour of drug testing of its members as an effort to enhance public confidence.

But Oscapella says for other employers the practice of widespread drug testing has run amok, particularly in the United States where he says a multi-billion dollar drug testing industry has developed with mixed results in terms of detection and efficacy.

Oscapella says 250 Canadian soldiers were prevented from serving in Afghanistan in 2006 because they tested positive for drugs. On the other hand, Britain went to the bother of testing 13,000 or so officers over the last two years, and only 25 tested positive.

In Canada, he says it would be interesting to test police officers anonymously, “to determine if it’s a problem we need to address.”

'Toxic effects' of ephedrine cited in Niagara officer's death - Canada - CBC News


BPA and child obesity investigated

Children and teens with higher levels of BPA, a chemical used in canned foods, are more likely to be overweight and obese but whether the chemical caused the weight gain can’t be answered.

The issue of obesity is addressed in Tuesday's online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In one U.S. study, researchers wanted to test the idea that hormone-like chemicals like bisphenol A, also called BPA, could be contributing to childhood obesity by disrupting kids' metabolism.

BPA is used to make hard plastics for food and beverage containers. It also found in the lining of many metal cans.

BPA and child obesity investigated - Health - CBC News


Friday, September 7, 2012

'Food addiction' may be fuelling obesity crisis as scientists believe one in 200 people could be suffering from the condition | Mail Online

Experts compare the disorder to individuals who compulsively gamble or steal

Food addiction could be responsible for the rising number of people suffering from obesity and eating disorders, scientists believe.

Scientists believe around one in 200 people could be suffering from the condition and are investigating the possibility that in many cases over-eating is caused by behavioural addiction.

Changes in the way psychiatrists view addiction could in future see food abuse become a diagnosable condition.

A small proportion of people with binge-eating disorders - maybe 0.5 per cent of the general population - fit most of the criteria for addiction, it is believed.

Many experts think they suffer from a similar problem as individuals who compulsively gamble or steal.

Currently such patterns of behaviour are categorised as 'impulse control disorders' rather than addictions.

But this is set to change with publication of the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM), which lays out diagnosis rules for psychiatrists.

Experts are now discussing whether compulsive eating can be classified as a behavioural addiction.

A £5 million EU research project called NeuroFAST has been set up to examine the evidence, bringing together scientists from seven European countries.

One of those involved, Professor Julian Mercer, from the University of Aberdeen, said: 'If we can reach a consensus on how over-eating should be classified, this could lead to major changes in clinical treatment and public policy surrounding obesity.

'It would help firstly to clarify if food addiction is a route to binge-eating or obesity. Recognition of different routes to overweight and obesity could lead to more targeted treatments for defined groups, giving individuals clinical help which is specific and pertinent to their situation.

Experts are now discussing whether compulsive eating can be
classified as a behavioural addiction

'In future, over-eating could be recognised as the consequence of food addiction in a small group of individuals, and the treatment they are offered may have convergence with that which is offered to drug/alcohol abusers.'

Recognised signs of addiction include tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, persistent desire, an inability to stop despite physical and psychological consequences, risky behaviour, and devoting a lot of time to appeasing cravings.

Many of these are displayed by certain people who eat uncontrollably.

Dr Ozgur Albayrak, another NeuroFAST scientist from the University of Essen in Germany, said: 'Food addiction possibly does not refer to a majority of over eaters but only a small sub group with disordered eating behaviours. There may be a prevalence of half a per cent.'

The issue of food addiction was discussed at the British Science Festival, taking place at the University of Aberdeen.

Yesterday a workshop was held where people were asked about their views on the subject.

Prof Mercer said about half the audience believed they were food addicts, or claimed to know someone who was one.

'The public out there are getting lots of messages saying food is just as addictive as some substances of abuse, so it’s a confusing picture,' he said.

'It might make more sense for eating behaviours to be classified into a kind of behavioural addiction rather than a chemical addiction.

'Most likely where this would fit in would be at the extreme end of people with binge-eating disorder where there appears to be a spectrum of behaviours that do mimic some of the behaviours that would be used to classify other, chemical, addictions.'

Dr Albayrak stressed that addictive binge-eating had nothing to do with bulimia, an eating disorder caused by an obsessive desire to lose weight.

People with bulimia refuse food and then gave in to an uncontrollable urge to eat, after which they often make themselves sick.

In many cases, binge-eaters also had an alcohol problem, Dr Albayrak added.

Read more:


'Food addiction' may be fuelling obesity crisis as scientists believe one in 200 people could be suffering from the condition | Mail Online

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tea Is (Healthy and) Awesome

Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) and phytochemicals. Though most studies have focused on the better-known green and black teas, white and oolong also bring benefits to the table. Read on to find out why coffee’s little cousin rocks your health.
  1. Tea can boost exercise endurance. Scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
  2. Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack. Tea might also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
  3. The antioxidants in tea might help protect against a boatload of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers. But don’t rely solely on tea to keep a healthy body — tea is not a miracle cure, after all. While more studies than not suggest that tea has cancer-fighting benefits, the current research is mixed.
  4. Tea helps fight free radicals. Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (“ORAC” to its friends), which is a fancy way of saying that it helps destroy free radicals (which can damage DNA) in the body. While our bodies are designed to fight free radicals on their own, they’re not 100 percent effective — and since damage from these radical oxygen ninjas has been linked to cancer, heart disease and neurological degeneration, we’ll take all the help we can get.
  5. Tea is hydrating to the body (even despite the caffeine!).
  6. Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. When considered with other factors like smoking, physical activity, age and body mass index, regular tea drinking was associated with a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
  7. Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays. We know it’s important to limit exposure to UV rays, and we all know what it’s like to feel the burn. The good news is that green tea may act as a back-up sunscreen.
  8. Tea could keep waist circumference in check. In one study, participants who regularly consumed hot tea had lower waist circumference and lower BMI than non-consuming participants. Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome (which increases the risk of diabetes, artery disease and stroke), although it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
  9. Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer (good news, obviously, but not a justification for cigs).
  10. Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
  11. Tea can help the body recover from radiation. One study found that tea helped protect against cellular degeneration upon exposure to radiation, while another found that tea can help skin bounce back postexposure.
  12. Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
  13. Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases (think Alzheimer’s). While many factors influence brain health, polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.
Though most research on tea is highly positive, it’s not all definitive — so keep these caveats in mind before stocking up on gallons of the stuff:
  1. Keep it cool. Repeatedly drinking hot beverages may boost the risk of esophageal cancer. Give tea several minutes to cool off before sipping.
  2. The studies seem convincing, but a rat does not a human make. Chemicals in tea may react differently in the lab than they do in the human body. Tannins (and the other good stuff in green tea) may not be bioavailable for humans, meaning tea might not always benefit human health to the same degree as in lab studies suggest.
  3. All tea drinks are not created equal. The body’s access to the good stuff in tea might be determined by the tea variety, canning and processing, and the way it was brewed.
The takeaway: at the very least, tea should be safe to consume — just not in excessive amounts. So brew up a batch of the good stuff — hot or cold — and enjoy.
Do you drink tea regularly? Have you noticed any health benefits? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more:

Related Topics: antioxidants, black tea, green tea, oolong tea, tea, white tea, Diet & Fitness, Food & Drink

13 Reasons Tea Is (Healthy and) Awesome: | Healthland |


Steroids: Bigger Stronger Faster steroid documentary

Apr 27, 2012 by
Bigger Stronger Faster steroid documentary

Bigger Stronger Faster steroid documentary - YouTube

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hard Luck and Trouble

Never Sold a Painting in his Lifetime

Vincent van Gogh:

 "I'd like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart"

How a genius feels:

 "I'm a nonentity, an eccentric, an unpleasant person"

March 30th is the birthday of Vincent van Gogh, born in Holland in 1853, a famous painter and also great letter-writer.

His letters were lively, engaging, and passionate; they also frequently reflect his struggles with bipolar disorder.

He wrote:  

"What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart."

He wrote thousands of letters to his brother Theo over the course of his life. 

Theo's widow published the van Gogh's letters to her husband in 1913.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

            - Plato Greek author and  philosopher in Athens (427 BC - 347 BC)  

Image source: Vincent van Gogh's 1890 painting At Eternity's Gate. Wikipedia, public domain.