Addiction Sameness

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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nicotine Withdrawal


A specific group of neurons in the brain can be targeted to help people quit smoking, new research suggests. Known as the 'interpeduncular nucleus', the region fires up when someone is desperate for a cigarette.

Read more: via SBS

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How Hippos Nearly Invaded American Cuisine


The Hunger Game Meat: How Hippos Nearly Invaded American Cuisine

Don’t have a cow but, at one point in history, it could have been that Americans weren’t having cows at all. Had the country’s cuisine gone on a different trajectory, Americans may have all been eating hippo meat instead. In American Hippopotamus, author Jon Mooallem recounts this fascinating and altogether quirky time in history.
The idea of hippo meat came about at the beginning of the twentieth century. At the time, a combination of high rates of immigration, increased populations within cities, overgrazed rangeland, and escalating meat prices led to a demand for meat that couldn’t be met. It became known in newspapers as the Meat Question, and two colorful characters, Frederick Russell Burnham and Fritz Duquesne, proposed hippopotamus as the Meat Answer.
Burnham and Duquesne had a few things in common. Along with a common vision of introducing hippopotamus meat to the United States, both were spies. The two also spent time in Africa. And each man had a penchant for posing with animals they slaughtered.

That may have been the extent of their similarities, though. Frederick Russell Burnham was the inspiration for both Indiana Jones and the Boy Scouts. Fritz Duquesne definitely wasn’t either of those things; more of a con man with many aliases, his career highlights included gaining notoriety for creating the Duquesne Spy Ring and faking his own death (only to later change his mind and return).
Some might ask, Why hippopotamus meat? to which Burnham might have replied, Why not? He reasoned that Europeans had imported cows, sheep, poultry and pigs to the United States and also noted that animals such as the ostriches in California and African camels in the southwest had also successfully adapted to their new American surroundings. Burnham’s rationale attracted some notable names, including as William Newton Irwin, a USDA researcher who believed the sole reason Americans didn’t dine on hippopotamus was “because nobody ever told them it was the proper thing to do.”
The introduction of hippo meat also gained the attention of Louisiana Congressman Robert Broussard. Broussard’s interest was the result of a curious problem within his district. In 1884, a visiting Japanese delegation had brought water hyacinths to New Orleans as a gift. After their introduction, the flowers quickly took over the surrounding rivers, killing many of the fish that inhabited them. Broussard’s solution to the hyacinth problem was to have Hyacinth Hippo come over and perform the Dance of the Hour in a tutu import hippos from Africa and introduce them into the waters of Louisiana.
For Broussard, the benefits were twofold; not only would the hippos provide a solution to the meat scarcity by living in areas like bayous that cattle couldn’t inhabit, since they were known to enjoy a meal of hyacinth, they would also alleviate the river congestion by eating the plants–sort of a way of having one foreign species come in to get rid of another foreign species.
Together, Broussard, Duquesne, and Burnham started the New Food Supply Society, to explore and promote their idea. Congressman Broussard introduced H.R. 23261, also known as the Hippo Bill, which sought the appropriation of $250,000 to import useful animals (such as hippos) into the United States. Citizens wrote letters in praise of his proposition, its taste was touted in an editorial in the New York Times as “lake cow bacon” and The Washington Post announced that hippopotamus would be readily available within the United States in a matter of years.
As we all know, America went down a different meat sourcing path. Although Mooallem doesn’t necessarily think the United States would have been better off with hippo meat, he notes “…there is something beautiful about the America that considered importing them—an America so intent on facing down its problems, and solving them, that even an idea like this could get a fair hearing; where the political system and the culture felt so alive with possibility, and so confident in its own virtue and ingenuity, that elected officials could sit around and contemplate the merits of hippo ranching without worrying too much about how it sounded; where people felt free and bold enough to imagine putting hippopotamuses in places where there were no hippopotamuses.”
Head over to the Atavist to read the entire story.
Image Credits: Unknown Artist, Charles F. Holder (Frederick Russell Burnham papers, Yale University) Fritz Joubert Duquesne (Published in Field and Stream) all via Wikimedia Commons.

Layla Eplett About the Author: Layla Eplett writes about the anthropology of food. She has a Masters in Social Anthropology of Development from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies and loves getting a taste of all kinds of culture--gastronomic, traditional, and sometimes accidentally, bacterial. 
Find her at Fare Trade. Follow on Twitter @LaylaEplett.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Danger: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes

The liquid stimulant used in e-cigarettes, when ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting, seizures or death.
Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes


"E-liquids" used to refill e-cigarettes are potent, unregulated neurotoxins. Evidence of the potential dangers is already emerging.
For more top news, go to »


"It's not a matter of if a child will be seriously poisoned or killed. It's a matter of when."
LEE CANTRELL, director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System, on the dangers of liquid nicotine, a key ingredient in e-cigarettes.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Medical marijuana: No Advertisng Billboards


Medical marijuana: Don’t expect to see clever ads

Licensees are only allowed to lobby doctors and other health practitioners and forbidden to market to the general public.

Proponents of Canada’s new medical marijuana program promise patients will eventually have an abundance of choices. Even now, with just 11 commercial entities licensed so far, there’s pot worth bragging about.

Toronto’s Bedrocan Canada is bringing in strains of marijuana its Netherlands affiliate has spent nearly a decade perfecting. And Markham’s MedReleaf Corp.’s offerings will originate with a respected Israeli producer.

Meanwhile, Vancouver Island’s ThunderBird Biomedical Inc. is proud to offer a homegrown solution. “It’s called BC Bud worldwide because we know what to do,” said a representative by email. “Why on Earth would we import it? Do the French import Australian Champagne? ... We have Grand Cru here.”
Under Canada’s new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which roll out completely on April 1, the government appoints and oversees producers. The old guidelines allowed users to grow their own medical marijuana or purchase it from the government.
But don’t expect to see any clever ads for their product.
Licensees are only allowed to lobby doctors and other health practitioners, since Health Canada prohibits the promotion of marijuana, defining it as a narcotic, along the lines of OxyContin.

The Narcotic Control Regulations stipulate: “No person shall…publish or cause to be published or furnish any advertisement to the general public respecting a narcotic”

“You are not allowed to advertise in any way which could be perceived as generating demand for the product,” said Bruce Linton, chairman of Smith Falls-based Tweed Inc. “But being credible and visible is different than advertising. We can educate doctors as group, or at their offices. We have our websites; and we can build our brand through media relations.”

However, with Health Canada forecasting a $1.3-billion medical marijuana industry by 2024, competition for patients is bound to be fierce. Some licensees have gone further than others to get their name out in front of the public.

Since the ratio of Cannabidiol (CBD, the plant’s major non-psychoactive component) to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the ingredient that makes users ‘high’) seems to determine marijuana’s therapeutic potential, there’s good reason for suppliers to make their wares known.

One strain may be more suited to glaucoma, for example, while another might work best for inflammation. Patients might pester their physicians for certain brands.

The Star Googled “medical marijuana Canada” over several days this week and found the top paid ad was for Toronto’s Mettrum Ltd. The company did not respond to requests for comments by press time.

The Star also received a scan of a letter which Saskatoon’s Prairie Plant Systems Inc. sent to a user encouraging them to transfer their prescriptions to Prairie’s “distribution affiliate” CanniMed Ltd.

Prairie, which provided medical cannabis to patients under the outgoing system on behalf of Health Canada, is now operating as the manufacturing arm of CanniMed, which is “basically the online pharmacy that interacts with the patients under the new regulations,” said CEO Brent Zettl.

“The form letter that we sent was only for individuals who had been in contact with PPS over the last period of time. We know that we can’t advertise. We know that we can’t solicit.
“Patients who are dependent on a product of a specific Cannabidiol profile, nobody’s been informing them of where they can get their very specific medicine under the new program.

Health Canada hasn’t offered that because they’re afraid of promoting one LP over another, or whatever their reason would be,” said Zettl.
Health Canada spokeswoman Sara Lauer would not address the Star’s specific questions about Mettrum and Prairie activities but said in an email “licensed producers who disregard the requirements of the Narcotic Control Regulations may be subject to compliance and enforcement action by Health Canada which could include revocation of their licence.”

“The regulations surrounding the marketing of this product at this time we’re finding to be a little bit ambiguous or vague”, said MedReleaf CEO Neil Closner whose company is focused on overcoming reluctant “I don’t know how to prescribe a plant” doctors.
Bedrocan Canada CEO Marc Wayne, who like Closner will offer one of the high-CBD, low-THC marijuana combinations that has been mentioned often in connection with the treatment of childhood epilepsy, is also bent on winning over the healthcare sector.

“The way you differentiate yourself in this field is with high level thought leadership projects that are outside of the scope of advertising yet kind of develop a name for ourselves in the industry; for example, put out scientific papers that speak to the science and the research of medicinal cannabis, not necessarily your product,” he said.

“The last thing you want is billboards advertising cannabis and marijuana all over the city. In my opinion, it’s appropriate that it shouldn’t be advertised and it shouldn’t be promoted, but rather just money invested in educating stakeholders, physicians, along with the responsible community programs that also speak to the dangers and the safety issues of the drug.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Anti-Inflammatory Food - Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid

It's how Dr. Weil eats! Achieve and maintain optimum health while enjoying delicious foods. A lifetime of optimum nutrition is just a click away!

What Does An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Do?
The anti-inflammatory diet is a blueprint for a lifetime of optimum nutrition. Simple changes in how you eat can help counteract chronic inflammation, a root cause of many serious diseases, including:
  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases
  • Age-related disorders, including many cancers
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Food Pyramid Header
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
How much: Sparingly
Healthy choices: Unsweetened dried fruit, dark chocolate, fruit sorbet
Why: Dark chocolate provides polyphenols with antioxidant activity. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent pure cocoa and have an ounce a few times a week. Fruit sorbet is a better option than other frozen desserts.
How much: Optional, no more than 1-2 glasses per day
Healthy choices: Organic red wine
Why: Red wine has beneficial antioxidant activity. Limit intake to no more than 1-2 servings per day. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start.
How much: Daily
Healthy choices: High quality multivitamin/multimineral that includes key antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, mixed carotenoids, and selenium); co-enzyme Q10; 2-3 grams of a molecularly distilled fish oil; 2,000 IU of vitamin D3
Why: Supplements help fill any gaps in your diet when you are unable to get your daily requirement of micronutrients. 

Click here to learn more about supplements and get your free recommendation.

How much: 2-4 cups per day
Healthy choices: White, green, oolong teas
Why: Tea is rich in catechins, antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation. Purchase high-quality tea and learn how to correctly brew it for maximum taste and health benefits.
How much: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: Turmeric, curry powder (which contains turmeric), ginger and garlic (dried and fresh), chili peppers, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme
Why: Use these herbs and spices generously to season foods. Turmeric and ginger are powerful, natural anti-inflammatory agents.
How much
: 1-2 servings a week (one portion is equal to 1 ounce of cheese, 1 eight-ounce serving of dairy, 1 egg, 3 ounces cooked poultry or skinless meat)
Healthy choices: High quality natural cheese and yogurt, omega-3 enriched eggs, skinless poultry, grass-fed lean meats
Why: In general, try to reduce consumption of animal foods. If you eat chicken, choose organic, cage-free chicken and remove the skin and associated fat. Use organic dairy products moderately, especially yogurt and natural cheeses such as Emmental (Swiss), Jarlsberg and true Parmesan. If you eat eggs, choose omega-3 enriched eggs (made by feeding hens a fl ax-meal-enriched diet), or organic eggs from free-range chickens.
How much: Unlimited amounts
Healthy choices: Shiitake, enokidake, maitake, oyster mushrooms (and wild mushrooms if available)
Why: These mushrooms contain compounds that enhance immune function. Never eat mushrooms raw, and minimize consumption of common commercial button mushrooms (including crimini and portobello).
How much: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup tofu or tempeh, 1 cup soymilk, ½ cup cooked edamame, 1 ounce of soynuts)
Healthy choices: Tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy nuts, soymilk
Why: Soy foods contain isoflavones that have antioxidant activity and are protective against cancer.  Choose whole soy foods over fractionated foods like isolated soy protein powders and imitation meats made with soy isolate. 
How much:  2-6 servings per week (one serving is equal to 4 ounces of fish or seafood)
Healthy choices: Wild Alaskan salmon (especially sockeye), herring, sardines, and black cod (sablefish)
Why: These fish are rich in omega-3 fats, which are strongly anti-inflammatory. If you choose not to eat fish, take a molecularly distilled fish oil supplement that provides both EPA and DHA in a dose of 2-3 grams per day.
How much:  5-7 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of oil, 2 walnuts, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed, 1 ounce of avocado)
Healthy choices: For cooking, use extra virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed organic canola oil. Other sources of healthy fats include nuts (especially walnuts), avocados, and seeds - including hemp seeds and freshly ground flaxseed. Omega-3 fats are also found in cold water fish, omega-3 enriched eggs, and whole soy foods. Organic, expeller pressed, high-oleic sunflower or safflower oils may also be used, as well as walnut and hazelnut oils in salads and dark roasted sesame oil as a flavoring for soups and stir-fries
Why: Healthy fats are those rich in either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats.  Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols with antioxidant activity and canola oil contains a small fraction of omega-3 fatty acids. 
How much: 
3-5 servings a day (one serving is equal to about ½ cup cooked grains)
Healthy choices
: Brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, buckwheat, groats, barley, quinoa, steel-cut oats
Why: Whole grains digest slowly, reducing frequency of spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation. "Whole grains" means grains that are intact or in a few large pieces, not whole wheat bread or other products made from flour.
PASTA (al dente)
How much
: 2-3 servings per week (one serving is equal to about ½ cup cooked pasta)
Healthy choices: Organic pasta, rice noodles, bean thread noodles, and part whole wheat and buckwheat noodles like Japanese udon and soba
Why: Pasta cooked al dente (when it has "tooth" to it) has a lower glycemic index than fully-cooked pasta. Low-glycemic-load carbohydrates should be the bulk of your carbohydrate intake to help minimize spikes in blood glucose levels.
How much: 1-2 servings per day (one serving is equal to ½ cup cooked beans or legumes)
Healthy choices: Beans like Anasazi, adzuki and black, as well as chickpeas, black-eyed peas and lentils
Why: Beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fiber.  They are a low-glycemic-load food.  Eat them well-cooked either whole or pureed into spreads like hummus.
How much: 4-5 servings per day minimum (one serving is equal to 2 cups salad greens, ½ cup vegetables cooked, raw or juiced)
Healthy Choices: Lightly cooked dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy and cauliflower), carrots, beets, onions, peas, squashes, sea vegetables and washed raw salad greens
Why: Vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, eat them both raw and cooked, and choose organic when possible.
How much:  3-4 servings per day (one serving is equal to 1 medium size piece of fruit, ½ cup chopped fruit, ¼ cup of dried fruit)
Healthy choices: Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, oranges, pink grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears - all lower in glycemic load than most tropical fruits
Why: Fruits are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, choose fruit that is fresh in season or frozen, and buy organic when possible.
Additional Item:
How much: Throughout the day
Healthy choices: Drink pure water, or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon) throughout the day.
Why: Water is vital for overall functioning of the body.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dangerous Behaviors


The Opinion Pages|Contributing Op-Ed Writer

Rethinking Our ‘Rights’ to Dangerous Behaviors

In the last few years, it’s become increasingly clear that food companies engineer hyper-processed foods in ways precisely geared to most appeal to our tastes. This technologically advanced engineering is done, of course, with the goal of maximizing profits, regardless of the effects of the resulting foods on consumer health, natural resources, the environment or anything else.

But the issues go way beyond food, as the City University of New York professor Nicholas Freudenberg discusses in his new book, “Lethal but Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health.” Freudenberg’s case is that the food industry is but one example of the threat to public health posed by what he calls “the corporate consumption complex,” an alliance of corporations, banks, marketers and others that essentially promote and benefit from unhealthy lifestyles.

It sounds creepy; it is creepy. But it’s also plain to see. Yes, it’s unlikely there’s a cabal that sits down and asks, “How can we kill more kids tomorrow?” But Freudenberg details how six industries — food and beverage, tobacco, alcohol, firearms, pharmaceutical and automotive — use pretty much the same playbook to defend the sales of health-threatening products. This playbook, largely developed by the tobacco industry, disregards human health and poses greater threats to our existence than any communicable disease you can name.

All of these industries work hard to defend our “right” — to smoke, feed our children junk, carry handguns and so on — as matters of choice, freedom and responsibility. Their unified line is that anything that restricts those “rights” is un-American.

Yet each industry, as it (mostly) legally can, designs products that are difficult to resist and sometimes addictive. This may be obvious, if only in retrospect: The food industry has created combinations that most appeal to our brains’ instinctual and learned responses, although we were eating those foods long before we realized that. It may be hidden (and borderline illegal), as when tobacco companies upped the nicotine quotient of tobacco.

Sometimes, as Freudenberg points out, the appeals may be subtle: Knowing full well that S.U.V.’s were less safe and more environmentally damaging than standard cars, manufacturers nevertheless marketed them as safer, appealing to our “unconscious ‘reptilian instincts’ for survival and reproduction and to advertise S.U.V.’s as both protection against crime and unsafe drivers and as a means to escape from civilization.”

The problems are clear, but grouping these industries gives us a better way to look at the struggle of consumers, of ordinary people, to regain the upper hand. The issues of auto and gun safety, of drug, alcohol and tobacco addiction, and of hyperconsumption of unhealthy food are not as distinct as we’ve long believed; really, they’re quite similar. For example, the argument for protecting people against marketers of junk food relies in part on the fact that antismoking regulations and seatbelt laws were initially attacked as robbing us of choice; now we know they’re lifesavers.

Redefining the argument may help us find strategies that can actually bring about change. The turning point in the tobacco wars was when the question changed from the industry’s — “Do people have the right to smoke?” — to that of public health: “Do people have the right to breathe clean air?” Note that both questions are legitimate, but if you address the first (to which the answer is of course “yes”) without asking the second (to which the answer is of course also “yes”) you miss an opportunity to convert the answer from one that leads to greater industry profits to one that has literally cut smoking rates in half.

Similarly, we need to be asking not “Do junk food companies have the right to market to children?” but “Do children have the right to a healthy diet?” (In Mexico, the second question has been answered positively. Shamefully, we have yet to take that step.) The question is not only, “Do we have a right to bear arms?” but also “Do we have the right to be safe in our streets and schools?” In short, says Freudenberg: “The right to be healthy trumps the right of corporations to promote choices that lead to premature death and preventable illnesses.

Protecting public health is a fundamental government responsibility; a decent society should not allow food companies to convince children to buy food that’s bad for them or to encourage a lifetime of unhealthy eating.”

Oddly, these are radical notions. But aren’t they less “un-American” than allowing a company to maximize its return on investment by looking to sell to children or healthy adults in ways that will cause premature mortality? As Freudenberg says, “Shouldn’t science and technology be used to improve human well-being, not to advance business goals that harm health?” Two other questions that can be answered “yes.”

Eat up!

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