Coconut oil is not healthy according to the American Heart Association

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Do you love coconut oil? Well, beware, perhaps this alleged "superfood" may not be so beneficial to your health after all. In fact, many supposed superfoods may not be as miraculous as you think.

Professor at Harvard's TH Chan School of Public Health, Karin Michels, held a nearly one hour conference on YouTube about the dangers of coconut oil.

The video titled, "Coconut oil and other nutritional errors," has more than 800 thousand views on YouTube. At the conference, Michels clearly states that coconut oil is not really healthy at all and I add that no scientific study has proven its supposed beneficial effects on the health of individuals. Her statements are in accordance with the updated guidelines of the American Heart Association (AHA). In mid-2017, the AHA revised its stance on coconut oil and advised consumers to stay away from fatty acids it contains, which are mostly saturated fatty acids.

The American Heart Association reviewed existing data on saturated fats, showing that coconut oil increased LDL ("bad") cholesterol in seven of seven controlled trials. Researchers did not see a difference between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fats, such as butter, cow fat and palm oil. In fact, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is composed of saturated fatty acids, which represents a much higher value than in the case of butter (63%), cow fat (50%), and lard (39%).

Saturated fatty acids are those fats that only have simple bonds in their chemical structure. Saturated fatty acids usually represent 30-40% of the total fat in animal tissue. Palmitic and stearic acid are universally found in natural fats, while lauric acid is especially abundant in coconut oil and palm oil.

Observational studies have shown that high intake of saturated fatty acids (more than 15% of daily energy intake) is directly associated with an increase in blood cholesterol levels and mortality from cerebrovascular disease (CVD).

It has been observed that saturated fatty acids with 12-16 carbons tend to increase plasma levels of total cholesterol, and LDL, however, stearic acid (18 carbons) does not have these effects. Within the saturated fatty acids that increase cholesterol, myristic acid (14 carbons) appears as the most potent, followed by lauric acid (abundant in coconut oil) and palmitic acid (16 carbons).

While the AHA did not say that the coconut is one of the worst foods in the world, Michels did. She stated that "coconut oil is pure poison." She went on to explain that "it is one of the worst foods you can eat." This revelation is worrying considering the large number of people who consume this oil believing that it will help them to alleviate a great variety of diseases and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Coconut oil is even considered a worse option than lard due to the greater amount of saturated fatty acids it contains.  As for other superfoods, the Harvard speaker said that they might not be dangerous, but the health claims surrounding food such as acai, chia or matcha seeds may be exaggerated.

The new guidelines outlined in the AHA report "The Skinny on Fats" advises consumers to limit the consumption of saturated and trans fats. The researchers recommend opting for the natural form of non-hydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil. As you may notice, coconut oil is not included in the list of healthiest fats.

The American Heart Association recommends those people who need to lower their cholesterol levels, reduce their intake of saturated fats to no more than 5% of total daily calories. For someone who eats 2,000 calories a day, this represents approximately 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat.

As with most things, the typical recommendation is to enjoy something like coconut oil in moderation. But, with people putting it in their coffee and using it for everything, it seems that moderation may have gone out the window with this so-called superfood. Coconut oil may not be a poison; however, its exaggerated use can cause severe problems in the health of the individual.

 

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Science May Be On The Verge Of Curing AIDS!

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“London Patient in Remission” Second HIV patient in remission, after being treated with stem cell therapy offering hope that this miraculous treatment may lead to a permanent cure to AIDS.

It’s both a miracle and the result of accelerating technologies, Physicians referring to a “London Patient” a man with HIV has become the second person in the world who has been cured of the virus since the global AIDS epidemic began decades ago.

A new approach of transplanting stem cells from a donor with a specific profile that is believed to make them immune to getting HIV to those with the HIV infection appears to have made history. The “London Patient” has been declared HIV free three years after receiving bone marrow stem cells from an HIV-resistant donor and about a year and a half after coming off antiretroviral drugs.

This fantastic accomplishment according to researchers from around the world could mean that humanity is on the verge of developing a cure for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

During a Reuter’s interview with Ravindra Gupta, an HIV biologist who helped treat the man insisted that the patient is “in remission” but cautioned that it’s…

“Too early to say he’s cured.”

The “London Patient” is choosing to remain anonymous for now. The reference to his location is similar to the first known case of a cured HIV-positive patient Timothy Brown, an American man, who was known as “The Berlin Patient.”  The first person ever to get a stem cell bone marrow transplant for leukemia treatment in Germany more than a dozen years ago. That transplant to date has also appeared to wipe out any trace to his HIV infection.

The Brown case lead to many tests in which scientists tried for 12 years to copy the result with other HIV-positive cancer patients but were unsuccessful. The “London patient,” who had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is the first adult to be cleared of HIV since Brown.

HIV remains a serious epidemic in the United States and around the world. It’s estimated that there are about 39,000 new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2017 and that approximately 37 million people worldwide who are currently living with HIV. An estimated 35 million had died of AIDS since early 1980 were when the disease became an epidemic.

Scientists who have studied the London patient will be publishing a full report this week in the journal Nature. A presentation is also planned in Seattle at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, taking place this week.

Bone marrow, stem cell base transplants, as an HIV therapy, can have some harsh side effects but scientists believe it may be possible to treat patients with similar HIV-resistant immune cells; making the treatment easier on patients as well as more cost-effective. Dr. Annemarie Wensing, a virologist at University Medical Center Utrecht during an interview with the New York Times, said….

“This will inspire people that cure is not a dream. It’s reachable.”


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Nightmarish Drug-Resistant Fungal Infections Threaten To Become Pandemic

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As many as 41% of those infected with this deadly fungal infection in one recent outbreak in a Spanish hospital died within 30 days of being diagnosed. People who contract these drug-resistant diseases typically die soon after contracting them because of their untreatable nature.

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs – germs that evolve so quickly that existing treatment protocols can’t keep up and an estimated 23,000 Americans die from them every year. The danger of one of these superbugs becoming so resistant to antibiotics, so contagious and lethal that the danger of them of their becoming a worldwide pandemic that’s capable of killing millions, tens of millions, even as many as a hundred million people grows every day.

If that wasn’t enough of a potential nightmare, medical experts are now warning a similar nightmare is starting to grow with deadly drug-resistant fungal infections. Right now a deadly, drug-resistant fungus called Candida auris is spreading around the globe and is so dangerous it's being described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it’s being called an "urgent threat."

This drug-resistant fungus called Candida auris was first discovered in 2009 and was found in the ear discharge of a patient. The fungus is now spreading around the world and has been reported in the US, Colombia, India, South Korea and now threatens to become a pandemic according to the CDC.

The first reported cases of Candida auris in the United States was reported by the CDC in August 2016. By May 2017, a total of 77 cases were reported in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma. After looking at people in contact with those first 77 cases, the CDC determined that the quick-spreading fungus had infected 45 more.

Now the deadly fungus is reaching a point where it could become an epidemic. The CDC reported in February 2019; there are 587 confirmed cases of Candida auris in the United States alone.

As is the case with this kind of antibiotic-resistant illness, people who have weakened immune systems are especially at risk for infection!

People who contract who are in the hospital already are suffering from a severe illness, according to the CDC. C. auris outbreaks are now one of the biggest health risks for hospitals and healthcare centers worldwide.

In the UK, an intensive care unit was forced to shut down after the hospital discovered 72 people there were infected with C. auris.

In Spain, a hospital found that 372 patients had the fungus. 41% of those infected Spanish hospital patients affected died within 30 days of being diagnosed.

The implications and risk with C. auris have healthcare experts alarmed and warning the numbers of those infected could grow geometrically because the fungal infection as of yet, can't be contained with existing drug treatments.

The danger of C. auris is best illustrated by the fact the fungus can survive on surfaces like walls and furniture for literally weeks, even more than a month, according to the CDC.

People are infected by drug-resistant diseases typically die soon after contracting them because of their untreatable nature. While it’s true that most fungal and bacterial infections can be stopped using drugs, it’s also true that drug-resistant fungi and bacteria have a genetic ability to evolve so quickly that the treatment that works for one patient, may not work for another. While at the same time this ability to change rapidly so also helps it survive and spread at an alarming rate.

Making the danger even greater, these drug-resistant diseases and fungus are extremely difficult for physicians to diagnosis. Often carriers infect others even before they know they’re infected!

The CDC is now saying 1 in 10 people the agency screened for superbugs carried a drug-resistant disease without even knowing it.

People who have C. auris rarely realize they are infected until they are very sick. The CDC reports people that are infected usually report…

Fever and chills that don't go away following over the counter and physician-prescribed drug treatment and until the symptoms of the fungus get so bad sufferers don’t usually get diagnosed until they are hospitalized and are tested for fungus through a lab test.

Some experts believe pesticides, and over the use of antibiotic drugs are creating these superbugs and sooner or later will cause the worst pandemic in human history, capable of killing millions of people.

Physicians and researchers insist they don’t know what is causing the rapid rise of these drug-resistant illnesses. One of the scariest aspects of this drug-resistant fungus is that there are different strains of C. auris in different parts of the world, which means this fungus didn't come from a single origin. They are being created around the globe at the same time.

Many physicians and researchers suspect heavy use of pesticides and other antifungal treatments caused C. auris to pop up in a variety of locations around the same time….

Researchers in 2013 reported another drug-resistant fungus called Aspergillus and noted that the fungus existed in places where a pesticide that had been used to target and kill that specific fungus was used.

As pesticides, antifungals, and antibiotics continue to be heavily used on crops and in livestock, it's possible that the fungi and bacteria they're targeting adapt and evolve in spite of the treatments to kill them.

The CDC is urging people to use soap and hand sanitizer before and after touching any patients, and reporting cases to public health departments immediately when they are detected.

 

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Treating Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases by Manipulating Immune Cells

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Scientists have discovered a new drug that modulates the cell's defenses of the body and can stop the autoimmunity and stimulate the body to kill cancer cells.

New research has shown that T cells play a fundamental role in the fight against cancer. T cells are part of the defense cells of the body that are responsible for destroying potentially harmful agents for our bodies, such as bacteria, viruses, and even malignant cells.

 A new study reveals that a molecule called tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) regulates the growth of T cells in the immune system.

The study was led by researchers from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA) in Vienna and by scientists at Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts. The results of this research were recently published by the journal Nature.

"A fascinating feature of our discovery is that a system that was previously known only for its importance in neurobiology can also play a key role in T cell biology," says co-senior author Josef M. Penninger, the scientific and founding director of IMBA.

Cancer and autoimmunity

These findings can lead to a wide variety of therapeutic applications such as the control of autoimmune diseases (asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, allergies, etc.) and even trigger an immune response against cancer.

Harnessing the body's own healing mechanisms to fight disease is a rapidly growing field in medical research.

Recently, two scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for 2018 after developing an approach to cancer therapy that stimulates the inherent ability of the immune system to destroy tumor cells.

These discoveries have revolutionized anticancer therapy, as it allows us to take advantage of the activity of our immune system to selectively destroy neoplastic cells and avoid the use of drugs that destroy both healthy cells and cancer cells.

Cancer is a disease that affects millions of people around the world and has a significant impact on society. The National Cancer Institute estimates that by 2018, doctors will diagnose more than 1,735,350 new cases of cancer and that 609,640 people will die of the disease in the United States.

Many diseases can originate due to the inadequate activity of the immune system. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases which arise due to an overactive immune system that causes the body's defense cells to attack healthy tissues.

Among the most frequent autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, type I diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative rectocolitis).

A report from the National Institute of Health (NIH) published in 2005 estimated that up to 23.5 million people in the US suffer from an autoimmune disease. However, the NIH figures only take into account 24 autoimmune diseases. Therefore there is an underreporting of these diseases.

BH4 Blockers

In this new study, it was evidenced that the reduction of BH4 severely limits the proliferation of T cells in humans. Apparently, T cells require BH4 to regulate iron intracellular concentrations and energy production. These findings are consistent with previous research linking iron deficiency with alterations of the immune system.

The research team found that the increase in BH4 in mice with cancer caused the proliferation of T cells and the reduction of tumors. Apparently, BH4 exerts this effect by suppressing the activity of a molecule called kynurenine that inhibits the action of T cells on malignant tumors.

The researchers used some blockers of BH4 mice with autoimmune diseases. These drugs stopped the autoaggressive activity of the T cells, stopped the allergic inflammation and prevented the T cells from causing autoimmune attacks in the intestine and the brain.

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What Causes Glaucoma? Scientists May Have Finally Figured It Out

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Glaucoma affects 70 million people worldwide, making it the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease and one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness. The disease is characterized by the progressive degeneration of the cells of the retina and the optic nerve.

Although glaucoma is a very common disease throughout the world, little is known about what causes it. Previously, it was thought that the only factor involved in the development of glaucoma was the increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). Although intraocular pressure is the main risk factor, several studies have been conducted in recent years in which it was observed that some patients with normal intraocular pressure developed a glaucomatous degeneration of the retina. Also, patients whose IOP is effectively controlled by medical treatment often continue to suffer progressive loss of vision, suggesting that additional mechanisms of damage exist.

A new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts Eye and Ear has discovered that an autoimmune mechanism may be involved in the development of this disease. In a study of mice, the researchers showed that the body's own T cells, which are part of the immune system, are responsible for the progressive retinal degeneration seen in glaucoma.

This research allows us to conclude that it would be possible to implement new therapeutic measures by blocking this autoimmune activity. "This allows us to establish a new approach for the treatment and prevention of glaucoma," said Jianzhu Chen, a professor of biology at MIT, and one of the study's lead authors.

T cells and bacteria

The increase in intraocular pressure occurs as people age, due to a blockage of the ducts that allow the flow of fluid contained in the eye. The disease generally is not detected at the beginning; patients may not realize they suffer from it until half of their ganglion cells in the retina have been lost.

Most current treatments for glaucoma are aimed at decreasing intraocular pressure; however, in many patients, the disease continues to progress even after the intraocular pressure returns to normal. The studies carried out showed that this situation also occurs in mice.

"That led us to the thought that this increase in intraocular pressure should trigger progressive changes in the retinal tissue, and the first explanation that occurred to me is that they have to be involved an autoimmune response," says Dong Feng Chen, associate professor of ophthalmology at the Harvard Medical School.

To test this hypothesis, the researchers looked for the presence of T cells in the retina of these mice and found that, in fact, there were immune cells inside the retina, something unusual due to the action of a retinal cell barrier that suppresses inflammation of the eye.

The researchers found that, with increased intraocular pressure, the T cells manage to cross this barrier and reach the retina. During the study, the researchers generated an increase in intraocular pressure in mice lacking T cells and found that while increased intraocular pressure causes damage to the retina, once the IOP returns to normal values, the progression of the disease stops.

Previous studies revealed that T cells linked to glaucoma act against proteins called heat shock proteins, which help cells respond to stress or injury. Normally, T cells should not attack the proteins produced by the host, but the researchers suspected that previous exposure to bacterial heat shock proteins could induce this action.

Human applications

After these findings in mice, researchers turned to humans with glaucoma and found that these patients had five times the normal level of T cells specific for heat shock proteins, which suggests that this phenomenon may also contribute to the disease in humans.

So far, the researchers' studies suggest that the effect is not specific to a particular species of bacteria, but that exposure to a combination of bacteria can generate T cells that act against heat shock proteins.

One question that the researchers plan to clarify is whether there are other components of the immune system that are involved in the development of glaucoma. They are also investigating the possibility that this phenomenon may be the basis of other neurodegenerative disorders and ways to treat such disorders by blocking the autoimmune response.


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Steam treatment reduces enlarged prostate

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The prostate is an exclusive gland of the male genitourinary apparatus, formed by muscle and glandular tissue and weighing approximately 20 grams. It is located in front of the rectum, surrounds the bladder and urethra, and participates in the production of the seminal fluid, along with the periurethral glands and the seminal vesicles.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an entity characterized by an increase in glandular size and by the presence of an obstructive and irritative component that causes lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and alterations in the quality of life of patients. It mainly affects men over 50 years of age. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a very common entity worldwide, is the main reason for urological consultation in men. BPH is one of the most frequent benign tumors in direct relationship with age. In the US, the prevalence is 8% between 31 and 40 years and over 80% in those over 80 years. The prevalence in Europe presents a range of 14% in subjects of 40 years of age to 30-40% from 60 years.

The consultation for symptoms secondary to BPH is very frequent in outpatient practice. Obstructive symptoms include difficulty in initiating urination, decreased strength and caliber of the voiding stream, post-void dribbling, and incomplete voiding. Irritative symptoms include urgency, urinary frequency, and nocturia. It is worth noting that dysuria or burning during urination is also considered an irritative symptom, but patients with BPH rarely complain of dysuria, except when they have an overactive urinary tract infection.

The treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia is aimed at reducing urinary symptoms and improving the quality of life of the patient. Will come conditioned by the clinic, comorbidities and the patient's expectations. The three available therapeutic options are watchful waiting, medical treatment, and surgical treatment, and the therapeutic decision will be conditioned, in addition to the above aspects, by the effectiveness and safety of the treatment, by the best cost-effectiveness ratio, and by the patient’s preferences.

Surgical treatment is the method that offers a better response for symptoms but carries a higher risk of complications. Transurethral resection of the prostate was until recently the most effective therapeutic option for those patients who do not respond favorably, or who do not accept pharmacological therapy.

Current procedures used to reduce the size of the prostate, while effective, can lead to highly feared side effects such as loss of sexual function, bleeding, and incontinence, and patients must stay in the hospital for days after the surgery.

If you are one of the millions of men who are not satisfied with your current treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) (such as medication or surgery), water vapor therapy, called Rezūm, is a new, safe and effective option designed to transform your experience regarding the treatment of BPH.

A study conducted in British patients showed that this procedure reduced the size of the prostate by 36%, these results are similar to those obtained with other treatments, but the detestable side effects mentioned above are avoided.

Rezūm uses the natural energy stored in the water vapor. It is a safe and effective procedure, available for the treatment of symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia. During each treatment, the sterile water vapor is released into the enlarged prostate tissue. When the steam turns into water, all the stored energy is released, which causes the death of the cells. Over time, your body's immune system removes the dead cells, reducing the size of the prostate. With the removal of the prostatic tissue, the urethra is unclogged, reducing the symptoms of BPH. Most patients begin to experience relief of symptoms in only two weeks, and maximum benefits are reached within three months.

Before the procedure, your doctor may ask you to stop using anticoagulants a few days or a week before the procedure. The procedure is completed in just a few minutes; however, keep in mind that the total duration of the consultation with your doctor will be approximately 2 hours. After the procedure, your doctor will prescribe analgesics and antibiotics orally for 3 to 5 days. The doctor may recommend the use of a urethral catheter for a few days to facilitate urination during the recovery process.


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What can I do to prevent kidney stones?

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Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders worldwide, approximately 10% of the population has suffered at least one occasion of kidney stones at some time in their lives. Men suffer from kidney stones more often than women. Children can also develop kidney stones; this may be due to genetic factors, low birth weight, intravenous feeding, and deformities or abnormal anatomy of the urinary tract. However, children are also at risk of developing kidney stones if they do not drink enough fluids or eat foods with high salt content.

Kidney stones are crystallized masses that form in the kidney. The development of the stones depends on the chemicals found in the urine. Certain substances can accelerate the formation of stones, while others prevent the formation of these.

Most stones are composed of calcium oxalate, but others can be made up of uric acid, phosphate, and other chemicals. These start being small and get bigger over time. The stones can remain in the kidney or can move through the ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder). Stones can also form in the bladder or urethra (the tube that carries urine to the outside of the body).

Risk factors for developing kidney stones

        Family history of kidney stones

        Having previously undergone a kidney stone

        Obesity (a BMI greater than 30)

        Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative rectocolitis)

        Patients undergoing bariatric surgery, since the body absorbs less calcium after gastric bypass procedures

Below are some recommendations to prevent the formation of kidney stones:

Drink enough fluids throughout the day: Insufficient fluid intake contributes to the formation of stones. If you do not drink enough water, the urine will have less fluid and a higher concentration of chemicals that form the stones. That's why drinking more water may help prevent the combination of those chemicals that make up the stones. This recommendation is especially important during the summer when kidney stones are more likely to develop due to dehydration.

It is recommended that adults consume one ounce of liquid daily for every two pounds of body weight. For example, a 200-pound man should drink 100 ounces of fluid per day. We must bear in mind that not all liquids are beneficial, coffee, iced tea, and many soft drinks contain caffeine, which can cause dehydration if consumed in excess. The soda contributes to the accumulation of calcium oxalate, so it is better to avoid consuming it. The reduction of intake of sugary soft drinks significantly decreases the risk of suffering a lithiasis recurrence. Particularly in the reduction of those drinks acidified with phosphoric acid. The consumption of alcoholic beverages also increases the risk of kidney stones.

Decrease your salt intake: High salt intake negatively affects the composition of urine as it increases the excretion of calcium and decreases urinary citrate, favoring the formation of sodium urate crystals. Adults with hypertension or a history of kidney stones should limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day.

Avoid foods rich in oxalate: The union of oxalate with calcium in the urine is one of the most important stages in the formation of kidney stones, therefore by decreasing the intake of oxalate-rich foods reduces the formation of kidney stones.  Among the foods with the highest oxalate content are spinach, rhubarb, sweet potato, beet, chocolate, kale, and peanuts.

In addition, excessive consumption of animal proteins such as beef, cheese, eggs, pork contributes to the crystallization of uric acid. Establishing a vegetarian diet at least twice a week allows replacing part of the animal protein with beans, dried peas, and lentils, which are high protein and low oxalate foods.

Monitor added sugars: Added sugars, especially in the form of corn syrup with high fructose content, contribute to the crystallization of uric acid. The natural sugars in fruits are perfectly fine for daily consumption.

Avoid vitamin C supplements: The consumption of more than 500 mg per day of vitamin C predisposes to the formation of greater amounts of oxalate.

Do not be afraid of calcium: contrary to what many people believe, the restriction in calcium intake may increase the risk of stone formation. Calcium binds to oxalate in the intestine; its deficiency causes it to increase oxalate absorption and with it an increase in urinary excretion, thus favoring the formation of kidney stones. Therefore, it is recommended to ingest approximately 1000 to 1200mg of calcium per day.


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Baking Soda Could be a Solution for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Stop Autoimmune Responses!

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An inexpensive, household product found in most kitchens can promote an anti-inflammatory environment that could be a treatment to a life-changing autoimmune disease.

Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) has become a very popular product due to its multiple uses, ranging from household cleaning to dental care and more. Also, the usefulness of bicarbonate in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was recently demonstrated.

Maintaining a balanced pH is essential for the proper functioning of the organism; an excessively alkaline or excessively acidic environment leads to a wide range of physical disorders.

Sodium bicarbonate allows alkalizing an acidic environment in the organism. Several types of scientific research corroborate that our organism works in a better way in a slightly alkaline environment. However, it is important to take into account that any of the extremes (acid-alkaline) can be harmful to health.

In September of this year, the Journal of Immunology published a study, which concluded that drinking water mixed with sodium bicarbonate reduces the chances of developing diseases such as RA and lupus.

During this study, the researchers orally administered a mixture of bicarbonate and water to two populations in the study that included healthy men and rats. After 15 days of treatment, the scientists showed that the cells of the immune system (macrophages) began to play an anti-inflammatory function.

Researchers concluded that sodium bicarbonate acted as a natural stimulant of the anti-inflammatory response of macrophages. Many diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from these anti-inflammatory properties.

How sodium bicarbonate works

Baking soda stops the autoimmune response, in which the body's defense cells attack their own tissues.

After the administration of sodium bicarbonate, the researchers noticed a decrease in autoimmune activity and an increase in anti-inflammatory activity in the stomach, spleen, kidneys and peripheral blood.

This effect is partly due to a change in the regulation of T cells and increased activity of cytokines and anti-inflammatory cells.

This combination of processes reduces the immune response and could help prevent the immune system from attacking its own tissues.

Cheap solution

Sodium bicarbonate could be an economical, safe, and effective way to relieve the symptoms associated with RA and other autoimmune diseases, but it is essential that you consult with your doctor before starting any therapeutic regimen.

It is important to mention that people at risk of alkalosis (ph <7.35) do not benefit from the intake of sodium bicarbonate, even their consumption can be harmful.

"Baking soda is a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease," said Paul O'Connor, director of the physiology graduate program at Augusta University in Georgia, and lead author of the study.

That's not all that has been shown to do, either.

Sodium bicarbonate has also been used to treat acid reflux. Some research even recommends the intake of sodium bicarbonate as a method to prevent certain forms of cancer.

Michelle Neilly, a health coach at Integrative Nutrition in Pennsylvania, said: "While there is no miracle cure-all fix out there, some home remedies like baking soda could help patients with RA."


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Inflammation Can Ensure a Long and Healthy Life

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For several years inflammation has been considered a harmful process involved in the development of a large number of pathologies that compromise the quality of life of people such as arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, asthma, and even Alzheimer's disease. However, inflammation is a natural process of the body that is put on the skin to protect the body; therefore there is much confusion around the idea of whether the inflammation is good or bad. Below we will clarify certain aspects regarding inflammation, what it is, how it manifests itself and how it is affecting you.

What is inflammation?

The immune system is the defense system of the body, which is made up of a set of organs and cells responsible for defending the body from any potentially harmful situation. The immune system is also able to eliminate cells that no longer work or function poorly. If a tumor cell is detected, the immune system induces its apoptosis (programmed cell death).

Inflammation is a process triggered by the immune system to protect and repair tissues from any injury caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins, etc. When there is a tissue injury, for example, a wound, the immune system activates a set of mechanisms that lead to inflammation and subsequent healing of the injured tissue.

When does it happen?

When the organism identifies damage or a foreign agent, the inflammatory process is initiated, which begins with the migration of white blood cells to the affected area, these cells are responsible for destroying microorganisms and limiting tissue damage. Subsequently, the synthesis of collagen and other proteins necessary for the repair of injured tissues occurs, this process is carried out by connective tissue cells called fibroblasts. Inflammation is a necessary process, without it we would be defenseless against viruses and bacteria and could never be cured.

When is it not good?

Although inflammation is an important part of the body's defense mechanisms, when there is an imbalance in its regulation, it can cause great damage to the organism. Like everything in life, it is necessary that there is a balance between the proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory elements.

What causes harmful inflammation?

The reality is that many of the habits of modern life are capable of triggering a chronic and uncontrolled inflammatory process that compromises the health of the individual. Stress, poor diet, smoking, and not getting enough sleep are the main factors that lead to this situation.

How can I avoid 'bad' inflammation?

Several studies have shown that trans fats increase oxidative stress and the production of free radicals, which promotes an inflammatory environment in the body. In addition, the excess in the consumption of simple carbohydrates and processed sugars considerably raise the levels of pro-inflammatory hormones such as insulin. The additives and preservatives present in some foods are capable of altering the intestinal microbiome, which profoundly influences the immune system. If you want to avoid inflammation, we recommend you stay away from this type of food and start a healthy diet.

What foods fight inflammation?

It is recommended to maintain a diet with high fiber content as it displaces unwanted foods and allows the elimination of toxins. The healthy fats present in olive oil, avocado, and nuts are a great ally. Also, it is also recommended to incorporate more protein of vegetable origin into the diet and increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.

What else can I do?

Sleeping well not only reduces inflammation, but it also improves your cardiovascular health, decreases depression, and balances your immune system.

Eliminate stress is essential to combat inflammation; we recommend doing yoga, meditation or take aromatic baths three times a week.

Exercise is another powerful anti-inflammatory, especially when practiced regularly. It has been proven that aerobic exercise can reduce insulin and cholesterol levels, which reduces inflammation and increases blood flow to the tissues.

 

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Human evolution is still happening – possibly faster than ever

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Evolution is a continuous process of changes in the phenotypic and genetic characters of biological populations through generations. This process can happen by natural selection, which consists of a series of phenotypic changes resulting from genetic mutations that allow an organism to survive and reproduce. Gradually these mutations and their associated traits are transmitted to the following generations becoming increasingly common.

Several studies of human DNA have shown that natural selection continues to make changes in our genetic material. Individuals who survive various infectious diseases transmit their genetic resistance to their offspring, which drives the mechanism of natural selection. Scientific research shows that our DNA has developed mechanisms of resistance to deadly diseases such as Lassa fever and malaria. The process of natural selection around malaria is still in process in the regions where this disease is endemic.

It is clear that the human being adapts to their environment, the mutations that allow humans to live at great heights are increasingly common in the population of Ethiopia, the Andes, and Tibet. The genetic mutation propagated in the population of Tibet is the fastest evolutionary process that has occurred in humans in the last 3000 years. This mutation allows the inhabitants of this geographic area to transport a greater amount of oxygen in the blood, which gives a survival advantage in these high-altitude areas, where the ambient oxygen is very low.

Diet is another source of adaptations. The evolutionary consequences of inhabiting a challenging environment can be seen within the genomes of the Inuit of Greenland. Several researchers have found genetic variants in the metabolism of fats, not only to promote brown fat cells that produce heat but also to deal with the large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in their diet.

Other studies show that natural selection has caused genetic changes that favor the production of lactase (the enzyme responsible for metabolizing carbohydrates in milk) in adults, this is the reason why some individuals can digest milk easily. More than 80% of Europeans produce lactase, however, in Asia, where milk consumption is low, the inability to digest lactose is very frequent.

A genetic study conducted in the USA During the twentieth century demonstrated that there are genetic changes that reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

However, natural selection only affects approximately 8% of our genome. According to the theory of neutral evolution, if natural selection weakens, the mutations that would normally be purged are not eliminated so efficiently, which could increase their frequency and, therefore, increase the rate of evolution.

A scientific study conducted in the USA evaluated the speed of genetic evolution comparing human DNA with that of other species, which also allowed us to identify the genes that evolve faster in humans.

The gene HAR1 (human accelerated region 1) involved in the development of the brain, is a gene of rapid evolution. The human genetic material is 98% similar to the chimpanzee's DNA, but the HAR1 gene is evolving so rapidly that there is only an 85% similarity to the chimpanzee DNA.

Although scientists can see that these changes in the human genome are occurring very rapidly, there is still no explanation as to why some genes evolve faster than others. Previously it was thought that this process was the exclusive result of natural selection. However, this is not entirely true.

Currently, research has focused on the process of biased gene conversion, which occurs when DNA is transmitted to the offspring through the sexual cells that form the zygote (ovum and sperm). This process involves the breakdown of DNA molecules, recombination of the genetic material, and then repair of the rupture. These repairs occur in a biased manner.

DNA molecules are formed by four types of nucleotides known as cytosine (C), guanine (G), adenine (A) and thiamine (T). The process of genetic repair tends to make arrangements using the bases of cytosine and guanine instead of adenine or thiamine.

The increase of guanine and cytosine in DNA repair sites cause an accelerated evolution of the human genome; this process can be confused with natural selection since they cause a rapid change of DNA in highly specific sites. 20% of the rapidly evolving genes, including the HAR1, are affected by this process.

Thanks to these investigations, we have been able to know that evolution does not occur only by natural selection. Therefore it is probable that this process never stops. Releasing our genomes from the pressures of natural selection only opens them to other evolutionary processes, which makes it even more difficult to predict what future humans will be like.

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Biogen Kills Late-Stage Trial Of Its Alzheimer’s Drug

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Biotech giant Biogen (
BIIB) took a nose-dive last month after the company announced that it would be pulling the plug on the late-stage trial of its Alzheimer’s drug, Aducanumab.

Biogen was in partnership with a Japanese pharmaceutical company, Eisai, on its Alzheimer’s drug candidate, Aducanumab, but both companies agreed to discontinue the phase 3 trial after an independent data-monitoring committee concluded that the drug would NOT “meet their primary endpoint.”

This is a catastrophic blow for Biogen who was hoping this Alzheimer’s drug, Aducanumab, would become the blockbuster profit center of its drug pipeline. Wall Street analysts had bet big on Biogen’s progress in its attempt to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

The hunt for drug treatment for Alzheimer’s has become one of the holy grails of bioscience. Finding a reliable drug to target the beta-amyloid protein, the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer patients, has the potential of being a multi-billion a year product. Biogen is only one of many major pharmaceuticals to have tried and failed in attempting to tackle this human health scourge.

Jefferies Financial Group Inc. (JEF) said in its latest note to clients…

 

“This was a clear part of the potential downside risk and consistent with our HOLD rating thesis. We think the base business is worth $225-$250 w/o any pipeline. However, on a trading basis, we think the stock could trade down as low as $200-$230 with the removal of the program from the valuation,”

“They will have to now be overly-aggressive on M&A due to desperation.”

Meanwhile, Citi bank analysts released an update warning this Biogen failure will be a setback that will have adverse ripple effects across the bigger biotech space

 “With Aducanumab removed as the major pipeline catalysts, large-cap biotech’s ability to grow will remain in question.”


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Ugly Toenails Can Be Fixed

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When the dog’s toenails are prettier than yours, it’s time for action. Though you see them wherever bare feet and sandals occur, thick toenails are not just a benign side effect of getting older. They are a problem.

A good pedicure can do a lot to restore your feet to something you can expose in sandals without embarrassment, and you should treat yourself. But that’s not the whole answer because you also need to control whatever it is that causes your toenails to thicken to double, triple, and quadruple their normal size.

The most likely cause is a fungus—onychomycosis. It’s a condition that affects an estimated 20% of adults. Usually, it isn’t very noticeable at first. So when it seems that toenails are getting thicker with age, they are actually getting thicker the longer the fungus is present. Plus, this condition often begins on just one or two toes and it may take a while for it to spread to a whole foot and become obvious.

Onychomycosis is more visible on the feet of older people for another reason, too. The challenge of bending over.

Except for people who are naturally limber or who have worked at it with regular yoga or stretching, the average 60-year old has a lot more trouble reaching his or her toes than the average 18-year old.

At this point, I can almost hear you say, “I don’t have a fungus. It’s just this one nail that gets fat.”

You probably have a fungus.

Really. Onychomycosis can exist for a long time before it causes dire problems like foul odors, burning, itching, discoloration, or severely maimed looking brittle and crumbling nails. But that’s why you can treat it at home in most cases. If you stop it early, you won’t need prescription medicines.

There are other reasons for thick toenails as well. So if these apply to you, you will need a different answer.  One is psoriasis. If you have it elsewhere, you may have it on your feet. And just as the disease causes thickening of the skin, it causes thickening of nails. This requires help from your doctor.

You should also see a doctor if you have poor circulation or diabetes.

You can also cause your nails to thicken by wearing shoes that rub, pinch, or push against the toenails. Dropping a hammer on your toes will do the trick as well. These cases are simple. Change shoes.

Also, change socks if you have sweaty feet. Sweat encourages fungus. Wicking materials that are sold for camping and hiking are good choices. So are pure wool socks.

But if fungus is the problem, then these simple home remedies may do the trick…

First, there’s Vick’s Vapo Rub. Put a dab on the top of your nail and rub it around the cuticle and edges of the nail every night. Vicks contains camphor and eucalyptus oil which can kill the fungus in some cases.

Another home cure that may work is snakeroot extract. This needs to be applied every third day for a month, every second day the next month, and once a week in the third month. It’s slow, but as long as you have no pain or itching, that doesn’t matter.

These gentle remedies are not a fast process. It takes a year or longer for a toenail to completely grow out, but they are easy and safe.

Finally, if you are not going out for a professional pedicure, you need to trim your nails carefully and keep them in shape. Soak your feet at least 10 minutes to soften the nail. Then use toenail “nippers,” which you can find in your local drugstore. Clip a little at a time until you can get the whole nail under control. File the edge of your nail gently to smooth it out.

And just in case you are feeling terrifically ambitious, a word of warning. Do not take a Dremel to the top of the nail to grind it down to normal thickness! That’s inviting fungus trouble ahead. Also, be careful about pushing back cuticles because you can easily cause a tear or break in the skin that gives fungus a new entry point.

The good news is that once your fungus is cleared up and your nails are in shape, they will probably stay that way with regular care.

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Sweet Fix, How Much Sugar Is OK?

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The signs of an addictive substance include bingeing, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, cross-sensitization, cross-tolerance, cross-dependence, reward and opioid effects.

And that’s why a recent article in the British Journal of Medicine concluded that sugar is addictive.

If you have a sweet tooth, this probably is not news. But it has been a contested topic in food and medical science for some time. No one gets the D.T.’s if they skip a candy bar. But they may get a headache, feel tired, or suffer distractive urges to run out and get their fix.

They may even hide their stash.

Lately, sugar “purges” are a celebrity trend. Do we need to copy that? Is craving sugar really an addiction that will wreck your health?

Time to take it easy… For people who are not diabetic or pre-diabetic, a little sugar is harmless. We evolved to seek out sweet tastes because it goes along with fruits and vegetables that are ripe and therefore at peak nutrition.

Wanting something sweet is not the real issue. The problem is that we no longer get a little sugar each day. We eat a lot of it. The average American devours 94 grams of sugar a day. That is the equivalent of 23.5 teaspoons of sugar. 

It’s so far beyond our basic needs that coming into line may seem like punishment to sugar lovers.

The American Heart Association recommends an added sugar intake of 6 tsp or less per day for women, 9 tsp for men. That’s 24 grams for women, 36 grams for men.

Or to put that another way, a  teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams, so the AHA recommendation comes to 1 1/2 tsp for women and 2 ¼ for men. You probably had that much before noon.

Even if you never put sugar in your coffee, eat Count Chocula for breakfast, or grab a donut on the way to the office,  you are probably busting the AHA limit every day.

Some sources are obvious. If that fruit-enriched yogurt includes jam on the bottom to stir in, it’s a sugar bomb. One serving of Dannon strawberry yogurt contains 15 grams of sugar, almost four teaspoonfuls. This is fairly mild among flavored yogurts.  Yoplait’s chocolate almond contains 22 grams of sugar. Fage split cup honey has 29 grams of added sugar.

Even if you stick to the AHA guidance, sugar intake is a tricky subject. Tracking only your added sugar can be misleading if you gravitate to naturally sweet foods. Bananas and grapes pack a wallop, but they also contain fiber, which ameliorates potential sugar spikes. In addition, the sugar in fruit is primarily fructose, which does not stimulate insulin production as glucose does.

But fruit juices are a special problem. Apple juice is nearly as sweet as a cola drink. Grape juice is sweeter than a Coke.

If you want to keep your added sugar under control, you can spot these culprits easily. It shouldn’t be a surprise that most granola is not health food, it is healthy food with sugar added, usually honey.  Blueberry muffins and Pop Tarts don’t really fool anyone. But some foods do.

A few of the most common sugar culprits may surprise you.

Ketchup with those fries will cost you. One ounce of ketchup is worth 1 ½ tsp of sugar.

A bowl of corn flakes is worth a teaspoon of sugar… before you sprinkle any on top.

At lunch, a Big Mac will give you 8 grams, or 2 teaspoons of sugar.  Or maybe you could choose a half-cup of pulled pork on a potato roll—we’re talking a small sandwich. Count that for 26 grams of added sugar, almost 6 teaspoons.  If you’re eating that pulled pork in a restaurant, though, it’s probably going to come in at twice that much.

Added sugar appears everywhere—peanut butter, barbecue sauce, pasta sauce, any drink that is not labeled 0-calorie, canned fruit, bread, canned soup, frozen dinners, chocolate sauce, lunch meats, and baked beans, to name a few.

Cooking everything for yourself would solve a lot of this issue, but we don’t always have time to do that. We can take small steps, though.

For example, if you have a thing for “sweet tea” as they say in the south, make your own.  You can even reduce the sugar slowly over time. It will certainly be better than a big, 16-ounce, glass of Arizona tea with 48 grams of sugar!

Anything you bake from scratch can be trimmed, too. Most cakes, quick bread, and muffins taste perfectly fine, maybe even better, with the sugar reduced by 1/3 to 1/2.

And just for the record, if you are tracking your sugar, it all counts. Despite its golden aura, honey is sugar. So are agave, corn syrup, maple syrup, and molasses.

Before you eat prepared food, read the label. Then keep track. You can also compare brands thanks to nutrition labels. For instance, most commercial bread contains far more sugar than necessary to make the yeast rise, but some brands are lower than others. Typically, rye bread has much less sugar, so if you enjoy it, that’s a great choice.

Bottom line: if it’s prepared food, read the label, even if you think it’s not a sweet. You might be surprised how much sugar is lurking.

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