Confirmed swine flu cases leapConfirmed swine flu cases leap

May 1, 2009

Confirmed swine flu cases leap

GENEVA, Switzerland (CNN) — Confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide increased to 257 on Thursday, up significantly from the previous day’s total of 147, the World Health Organization reported.
Mask-wearing people buy coffee and doughnuts Thursday morning in Mexico City, Mexico.

Mask-wearing people buy coffee and doughnuts Thursday morning in Mexico City, Mexico.
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In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has confirmed 109 cases of swine flu, or 2009 H1N1, in 11 states, an increase of 18 from its previous total.

The death toll climbed again Thursday, with Mexican officials announcing that the number of confirmed deaths from the virus in that country had increased to 12. There has been one death in the United States.

More than 150 deaths in Mexico are suspected to have been caused by swine flu and are being investigated, officials there said.

Mexico, with 97 confirmed infections, showed the biggest increase in the world, WHO said. There were 26 confirmed cases there a day earlier.

The higher totals do not necessarily mean that incidence of the disease is increasing, but rather that health investigators are getting through their backlog of specimens, said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of WHO.

The latest tally was announced one day after WHO raised the pandemic threat level to 5 on a six-step scale. WHO did not change the threat level Thursday.

“There is nothing epidemiologically that points to us today that we should be moving toward Phase 6,” Fukuda said. Video Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta demystify pandemics »

The level 5 designation means infection from the outbreak that originated in Mexico has been jumping from person-to-person with relative ease.
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“It really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director-general. “We do not have all the answers right now, but we will get them.” Photo View images of responses in U.S. and worldwide »

In addition to Mexico and the United States, WHO said, the following countries have confirmed non-lethal cases: Austria (1), Canada (19), Germany (3), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (3), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8).

An additional 230 cases are being investigated in the United Kingdom, and Spain has 84 suspected cases. See where cases have been confirmed »

On Thursday, Japan reported its first suspected case, which has not been verified by WHO.

In the United States, New York has the most confirmed cases, with 50, followed by Texas, with 26. California has 14 cases.

The CDC on Thursday added an 11th state, South Carolina, with 10 cases.

“There are many more states that have suspect cases, and we will be getting additional results over time,” said Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

By Monday, he said, all states will have additional antiviral drugs from the Strategic National Stockpile that can be given to people at high risk for flu. There hasn’t been a decision on whether to attempt making a vaccine specifically for H1N1, he said.

Swine flu is a contagious respiratory disease that affects pigs and can jump to humans. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Learn about swine flu »

But the 2009 H1N1 virus is a hybrid of swine, avian and human strains, and no vaccine has been developed for it.

The U.S. government has stockpiled 50 million courses of antiviral medication to treat swine flu, Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano said Thursday. The states have another 23 million and the Department of Defense has millions more, she said.

Napolitano said some of those treatments, along with gloves, masks and other medical equipment, were being shipped to affected states on Thursday.

“More [will] continue to get distributed every day until we’re complete,” she said.

Nearly 300 U.S. schools with confirmed or possible H1N1 cases were closed Thursday, affecting about 169,000 students, the U.S. Department of Education reported. No colleges or universities were known to be closed, the agency said.

Napolitano said parents of children whose schools closed should keep them at home instead of taking them out in public.

“The entire purpose is to limit exposure,” she said. “If a school is closed, the guidance is and the request is to keep your young ones home.”

Reacting to comments earlier in the day by Vice President Joe Biden, who said he has advised his family to avoid “confined spaces” such as airplanes and subways, Besser said, “If you have a fever and flu-like symptoms, you should not be getting on an airplane. That is part of being a responsible part of our community. You don’t want to put people at risk.

“I think flying is safe, going on the subway is safe. People should go out and live their lives,” he said, but added, “There is shared responsibility when it comes to preventing infectious diseases, shared responsibility when it comes to fighting a new infection for which we have incomplete information.”Video Go behind the scenes at the CDC »

One death from swine flu was confirmed in the United States this week. A toddler from Mexico died at a Houston, Texas, hospital Monday.

Nowhere in the world is the crisis more severe than in Mexico, where the first cases were detected. All schools in the nation have been closed, and about 35,000 public venues in Mexico City were shut down or told to serve only take-out meals.

The Mexican government will close all nonessential government offices and businesses starting Friday. Video Watch how Mexican authorities are dealing with the outbreak »

Mexican President Felipe Calderon took to television late Wednesday night, saying the country has enough medicine to cure the sick.

“In times of difficulty, we’ve always come together,” he said. “Together we will overcome this disease.”

In the United States, President Obama called on schools with confirmed or possible swine flu cases to consider closing temporarily.

WHO Revises Pandemic Alert Scale: Swine Flu Now Qualifies for Phase 5

April 29, 2009

WHO Revises Pandemic Alert Scale: Swine Flu Now Qualifies for Phase 5

The World Health Organization has revised its pandemic alert scale this week, right in the midst of a swine flu outbreak. Under the new criteria, a Phase 4 rating indicates human-to-human spread of a virus, a Phase 5 rating indicates human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one region, and a Phase 6 rating indicates a global pandemic with widespread outbreaks.

Interestingly, the WHO is quite aware that swine flu has now spread to Mexico, the United States and Canada, as is evidenced by this statement on their website: The Committee considered available data on confirmed outbreaks of A/H1N1 swine influenza in the United States of America, Mexico, and Canada. The Committee also considered reports of possible spread to additional countries… (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news…)

… and yet, amazingly, the WHO has not yet raised the swine flu alert level to the phase for which it clearly qualifies (Phase 5). After all, hasn’t this swine flu virus already achieved “human-to-human spread into at least two countries in one region?” (Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, by my counting, would qualify as three countries in one region.)

So why is the WHO not following its own well-defined guidelines for categorizing viral outbreaks?

Downplaying the infections
It seems that the decision makers at the WHO, along with Mexico’s health authorities, are working hard to make swine flu appear less dangerous than it really is. Infections are spreading by the day, with new countries found to be infected on a daily basis. The death toll in Mexico City is rising quickly, and the virus is cropping of simultaneously in cities and nations around the globe (a highly unusual spread pattern, historically speaking). Is this not enough to warrant a Phase 5 declaration?

Interestingly, at the same time, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland security has done essentially nothing to restrict air travel from Mexico or to screen arriving passengers for swine flu infections. Sure, they claim to be running a “passive screening” program now, but that only amounts to “DHS personnel on the lookout for sniffles.” It’s hardly a robust screening program like the ones set up in the airports of Asian nations.

Given the behavior of Swine Flu so far, the response of world health authorities to this outbreak seems suspiciously apathetic. I’ve studied all the major pandemic outbreaks since 1918, and I’ve never read about a new, highly-contagious influenza virus appearing almost overnight in eight different countries. That fact alone should be alarming to anyone familiar with infectious disease agents.

Sure, the fatality rate in the U.S. may seem low right now, but it was probably low in Mexico City early on, too. The deaths might start to kick in a week or two later than the original carrier infections. So the fact that the U.S. has so far escaped any swine flu deaths (officially, anyway) may only be a matter of timing, not a measure of actual danger posed by the virus.

With infection numbers rising fast — over 100 students in a single New York City school are now confirmed with the infection — the U.S. is bound to start seeing more severe swine flu cases emerge.

Swine Flu Q&A

April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Q&A

What you need to know and how to protect yourself from infection.
By the Editors of MSN Health

Swine flu in the U.S.? If you’re worried about the flurry of news on pandemics, epidemics, and public health emergencies, here are some key facts provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Conrol and Prevention to help you understand how swine flu is spread and what you can do to prevent infection. Current updates on the spread of swine flu are available at the CDC’s Swine Flu web site.

What is swine flu?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease normally found in pigs and caused by type A influenza viruses. While outbreaks of this type of flu are common in pigs, human cases of swine flu do happen. In the past, reports of human swine flu have been rare—approximately one infection every one to two years in the U.S. From December 2005 through February 2009, only 12 cases of human infection were documented.

How is it spread?

Humans with direct exposure to pigs are those most commonly infected with swine flu. Yet, human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses have been documented, however it’s not known how easily the spread occurs. Just as the common flu is passed along, swine flu is thought to be spread by coughing, sneezing, or touching something with the viruses on it.

If infected, a person may be able to infect another person one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick. Thus, a person is able to pass the flu on before they know they are sick. Those with swine flu should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are demonstrating symptoms and up to seven days longer from the onset of their illness. Children might be contagious for longer periods of time.

Can I catch swine flu from eating pork?

No. The CDC says that swine flu viruses are not transmitted by food. Properly cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills all bacteria and viruses.

What are the symptoms of swine flu?

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of a regular flu: fever and chills, sore throat, cough, headache, body aches, and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting can also be present. Without a specific lab test, it is impossible to know whether you may be suffering from swine flu or another flu strain.

What precautionary measures should I take?

The same everyday precautions that you take to prevent other contagious viruses should be used to protect yourself against swine flu. “The best current advice is for individuals to practice good hand hygiene. Periodic hand washing with soap and water, or the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible, is a good preventive measure. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as germs can more easily gain entrance into your body through those areas,” suggests Dr. Rob Danoff. Covering your mouth with a disposable tissue when you cough and sneeze is also a good practice.

The CDC recommends avoiding contact with sick people and keeping your own good health in check with adequate sleep, exercise, and a nutritious diet.

What should you do if you think you are sick with swine flu?

Contact your health care professional, inform them of your symptoms, and ask whether you should be tested for swine flu. Be prepared to give details on how long you’ve been feeling ill and about any recent travels. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed. If you feel sick, but are not sure what illness you may have, stay home until you have been diagnosed properly to avoid spreading any infection.

Watch for these symptoms in children. Seek emergency medical care if your child experiences any of the following warning signs:

* Fever with a rash
* Dehydration
* Fast breathing
* Bluish skin coloration
* Slow to wake or sluggish interaction
* Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return and cough worsens
* Severe irritability

For adults, emergency medical care is needed if you experience these warning signs:

* Difficulty breathing
* Dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Pain/pressure in the chest or stomach

Remember that the symptoms for swine flu are almost identical to those you might experience with the regular flu. Only your doctor can give you the correct diagnosis.

Are there medicines effective in treating swine flu in humans?

The swine flu responds to the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for those infected. For treatment, these antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

What We Give Up: 4 Top Recession Sacrifices

April 26, 2009

What We Give Up: 4 Top Recession Sacrifices

No Matter Your Age, Gender or Financial Status, You’re Probably Giving Up Something
By LAUREN SHERMAN
Forbes.com
April 26, 2009

Newlywed Samantha Slaven-Bick, 38, a Los Angeles publicist, and her husband Stewart Bick, 46, decided to forgo their honeymoon. Marketing executive Saretta Holler, 33, and her fiancé Judson Brown, 32, fired their cleaning lady. Allen Chen, 30, a communications assistant at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, N.Y., gave up his season tickets to the Mets.
No matter your age, gender or financial status, nearly everyone is giving something up in an effort to cope with the deepening recession.
Consumers haven’t stopped spending altogether, but they’ve certainly cut back. U.S. retail sales for March 2009 were $344.4 billion, a 1.1% decrease from February 2009, and a 9.4% decrease from March 2008, according to the Commerce Department.

A recently released survey by New York marketing firm GfK Custom Research asked 2,000 American adults, representative of the total U.S. population, what they were willing to give up during the recession. (The survey was conducted during October, November and December 2008.)

While some purchases–including mortgage payments, children’s clothing and educational expenses–were considered necessities by Americans, other everyday costs were not.

For instance, an overwhelming 82% said that dining out would be easy to abandon. While the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C., forecasts that Americans will spend $566 billion eating out in 2009, a 2.5% increase over 2008, discounted menus at mid- to high-end restaurants suggest otherwise.

Mid-market national chain P.F. Chang’s recently started promoting a discounted prix fixe dinner menu that costs just $25 per person. And Manhattan restaurant Alto has dropped its corkage fees so guests can save money by drinking their own bottles of wine.

Even fast food joints seem to be struggling. Burger King’s sales for its most recent quarter, which ended March 31, were $600 million, up just 1% from $594 million last year. Analysts estimate that competitor McDonald’s will report a 6.8% decrease in sales, to $5.24 billion, for its current quarter.

Continue reading…

Swine Flu Outbreak Beyond Containment; Deaths Mount in Mexico, California, Texas

April 25, 2009

Swine Flu Outbreak Beyond Containment; Deaths Mount in Mexico, California, Texas
A virulent new strain combining elements of swine flu, human flu and avian flu has leapfrogged past containment measures and is now circulating “in the wild” in Mexico, California and Texas. Up to 60 deaths may have already occurred from the new viral strain called H1N1. Over 1,000 people may have been infected. The CDC does not really know how many are infected, as it’s still very early in the spread of the viral strain and reliable data isn’t yet available.

Importantly, just as I warned NaturalNews readers many times over the last several years, there is no vaccine for this swine flu. Vaccines are virtually useless in any pandemic outbreak because in-the-wild viral strains mutate and become immune to vaccines very quickly. Subscribers who listened to my preparedness audio course released in late 2008 are already prepared with herbal anti-viral medicines, well ahead of the rush: http://www.truthpublishing.com/Heal…

Is this viral outbreak the “big one” that will become a global pandemic? No one knows for sure, but important clues are found in the geographic locations of the current infections: Mexico City, San Diego and San Antonio, Texas. This indicates the virus is already beyond containment and is likely to spread even further. “There are things that we see that suggest that containment is not very likely,” said Dr. Richard Besser from the CDC, in a Reuters report (source below).

The World Health Organization, meanwhile, issued a statement saying “Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern.”

The WHO admits the new virus is already resistant to amantadine and rimantadine (two popular anti-viral drugs), but appears to be sensitive to Tamiflu (at least for the moment). Health care workers in Mexico have already been infected by the H1N1 virus, reports the CBC (Canada).

“We have determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human,” says the CDC on their web site (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/invest…). But they don’t know exactly how contagious the disease really is, or what the fatality rate might be. U.S. residents who were infected have recovered, while many infected people in Mexico have died. It is not yet clear why there is a difference in the survival rate across these two countries.

Notably, the CDC website does NOT report infections unless they are confirmed by CDC laboratories. Thus, the infection numbers on their website (currently showing only 8 cases in the U.S. and 7 in Mexico) are extremely low and do not accurately reflect the real number of infections occurring on the streets. (See link below.)

Symptoms of H1N1 infection include fever, sore throat, muscle pain, coughing and shortness of breath. This can escalate into serious respiratory illness with difficulty breathing and, ultimately, death.

None of the people infected have had contact with swine or birds, according to news reports. This is a clear indication that the disease is being transmitted from human to human.

Food shortages?

April 24, 2009

Time to hit the gardens!

Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?
The biggest threat to global stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapseKey Concepts

* Food scarcity and the resulting higher food prices are pushing poor countries into chaos.
* Such “failed states” can export disease, terrorism, illicit drugs, weapons and refugees.
* Water shortages, soil losses and rising temperatures from global warming are placing severe limits on food production.
* Without massive and rapid intervention to address these three environmental factors, the author argues, a series of government collapses could threaten the world order.

More from the Magazine

* coverMay
2009 Issue
* Updates Updates: Whatever Happened to the Universal Flu Vaccine?
* News Scan Quiet Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance
* News Scan Free Radical Shift: Antioxidants may not increase life span
* Buy the Digital Edition

One of the toughest things for people to do is to anticipate sudden change. Typically we project the future by extrapolating from trends in the past. Much of the time this approach works well. But sometimes it fails spectacularly, and people are simply blindsided by events such as today’s economic crisis.

For most of us, the idea that civilization itself could disintegrate probably seems preposterous. Who would not find it hard to think seriously about such a complete departure from what we expect of ordinary life? What evidence could make us heed a warning so dire—and how would we go about responding to it? We are so inured to a long list of highly unlikely catastrophes that we are virtually programmed to dismiss them all with a wave of the hand: Sure, our civilization might devolve into chaos—and Earth might collide with an asteroid, too!

For many years I have studied global agricultural, population, environmental and economic trends and their interactions. The combined effects of those trends and the political tensions they generate point to the breakdown of governments and societies. Yet I, too, have resisted the idea that food shortages could bring down not only individual governments but also our global civilization.

I can no longer ignore that risk. Our continuing failure to deal with the environmental declines that are undermining the world food economy—most important, falling water tables, eroding soils and rising temperatures—forces me to conclude that such a collapse is possible.

The Problem of Failed States
Even a cursory look at the vital signs of our current world order lends unwelcome support to my conclusion. And those of us in the environmental field are well into our third de­­cade of charting trends of environmental decline without seeing any significant effort to reverse a single one.

In six of the past nine years world grain production has fallen short of consumption, forcing a steady drawdown in stocks. When the 2008 harvest began, world carryover stocks of grain (the amount in the bin when the new harvest begins) were at 62 days of consumption, a near record low. In response, world grain prices in the spring and summer of last year climbed to the highest level ever.

As demand for food rises faster than supplies are growing, the resulting food-price inflation puts severe stress on the governments of countries already teetering on the edge of chaos. Unable to buy grain or grow their own, hungry people take to the streets. Indeed, even before the steep climb in grain prices in 2008, the number of failing states was expanding [Purchase the digital edition to see related sidebar]. Many of their problems stem from a failure to slow the growth of their populations. But if the food situation continues to deteriorate, entire nations will break down at an ever increasing rate. We have entered a new era in geopolitics. In the 20th century the main threat to international security was superpower conflict; today it is failing states. It is not the concentration of power but its absence that puts us at risk.

States fail when national governments can no longer provide personal security, food security and basic social services such as education and health care. They often lose control of part or all of their territory. When governments lose their monopoly on power, law and order begin to disintegrate. After a point, countries can become so dangerous that food relief workers are no longer safe and their programs are halted; in Somalia and Afghanistan, deteriorating conditions have already put such programs in jeopardy.

Failing states are of international concern because they are a source of terrorists, drugs, weapons and refugees, threatening political stability everywhere. Somalia, number one on the 2008 list of failing states, has become a base for piracy. Iraq, number five, is a hotbed for terrorist training. Afghanistan, number seven, is the world’s leading supplier of heroin. Following the massive genocide of 1994 in Rwanda, refugees from that troubled state, thousands of armed soldiers among them, helped to destabilize neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (number six).Continue reading..

Confront Salt Confusion

April 23, 2009

Confront Salt Confusion

alt is currently considered a leading culprit for high blood pressure and other health problems. This is based on the premise that a high sodium intake creates high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks, arterial, and kidney problems. Salt is high in sodium. But sodium is essential for proper absorption of other major nutrients and functioning of nerves and muscles, as well as being necessary for balancing water and minerals in the body.

Lately there have been studies that strongly question the research on sodium hazards, as well as the recommended maximum sodium intakes from that research. There has been a survey in New York, conducted over several years on hypertension prone locals, which showed that those with high sodium intakes had proportionately less heart attacks than those who were put on low sodium diets! And now there are even MD`s who claim that the right type of salt, unrefined, has more health benefits than health hazards.

A major confusion is that only refined commercial and household salt is known as salt to most of medical science and consumers. It is the most prevalent, by far. Refined salt, stripped of its natural mineral structure, is virtually all sodium. As a matter of fact, it is 97% to 99% sodium! That`s why it is called Sodium Chloride. Processed foods are laced with Sodium Chloride refined salt as well as with other types of sodium, such as sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, and the notorious monosodium glutamate (MSG). So if you are concerned about your sodium levels, then cut out processed foods!

Part of the process for refined salt, or commercial table salt, involves the use of aluminum, ferro cyanide and bleach. These are all toxic materials that your body takes in with refined, commercial salt. And because of that process, almost all the vital minerals that real, unrefined salt can offer are removed! One or two servings of refined salt won`t send you to the grave. But continued almost daily use will avail you to the perils of aluminum toxicity. Ferro cyanide is listed by the EPA as a toxic material for human consumption. You are probably aware of the hazards to human health of chlorine, which is used to bleach the salt.

There’s more on aluminum toxicity here: http://www.hbci.com/~wenonah/hydro/al.htm

According to Dr. David Brownstein, author of Salt Your Way to Health, unrefined salt is an excellent detoxification aid, as well as a provider of mineral nutrients in a naturally bio-available balance. There are usually around 80 minerals and essential trace elements in unrefined, organic salt. Soil grown food is lacking in many of these because the soil has been depleted of trace elements and minerals. Some of the major minerals included with unrefined salt are: Magnesium (a very essential metabolic agent), calcium, potassium, and sulfate. Obviously, sodium is present also, but it comprises only 50% of the total mineral content rather than the 99% sodium in refined table salt.

Regular consumer table salt, refined, sometimes has iodine added in order to promote thyroid health. Dr. Brownstien has devoted a good deal of his practice and research on thyroid and glandular health. He says there is less iodized salt now than before, and the amount of iodine in iodized salt is insufficient for optimum thyroid health anyway. Iodine is an important agent for glandular health, and it is also scarcely present in our food anymore. Unless you eat a lot of seafood and roll the dice with mercury!

Dr. Brownstein strongly advocates the use of unrefined, organic salt with iodine supplements, preferably a combination of potassium iodide and iodine. He maintains that these two dietary items contribute largely toward optimum endocrine health, which is vital for a strong immune system.

Unrefined salt has a distinctively different look from refined salt. It is usually too course to be used in salt shaker. You may want to invest in a salt grinder. And it is usually not very white. Off white is more common, even pink or gray for unrefined pure salt. The extreme white of common household or commercial salt is a result of bleaching. But buyer beware, some so called sea salts offered on line and especially in health food stores are at least partially processed. Avoid sea salt that is too white and too fine as a rule of thumb.

If you are very concerned about getting the purest available product, and you don`t have anyone`s advice you can trust, look for “organic certification”. Since salt is mined or taken from salt water beds, organic has different implications than produce and animal product organic requirements. But the standards are there and they are strict. The two groups that certify salt as organic are BIO-GRO of New Zealand, and Nature & Progresre of France.

You may come across an analysis of organic salt minerals, or a commentary on such, that mentions fluoride as a constituent. But there are two types of fluoride. One, Calcium Fluoride, is an element that occurs as a natural process over time within the earth`s soil, rock, and water areas. This is the fluoride that originally was claimed as a deterrent against tooth decay. Wikipedia notes that while all other fluorides are dangerous for human consumption, calcium fluoride is not. And it`s Calcium Fluoride that would be in any unrefined salt analysis.

The other fluoride, Sodium Fluoride, is a synthetic, poisonous fluoride. It has been used as rat poison. It`s a waste by-product of the aluminum industry, fertilizer industry, and nuclear industry. It`s their way of picking up a lot of easy bucks by selling it to municipalities for their water supplies instead of suffering the expense of getting rid of it. That`s the stuff that`s been going into our water supplies, causing health problems, and assisting in the dumbing down of America. Either the dentists didn`t distinguish between those two, or perhaps they didn`t even know there were two types of fluoride.

It appears that organically produced, unrefined salt should be a healthy addition to our diets. It offers bio-available, balanced minerals that aren`t naturally present in our food chain. It does not contain the poisons of industry that are a part of refined salt. Yes, too much of a good thing can be bad. But again, the sodium of refined salt and other food additives is curbed best by eliminating processed foods, which contain several toxic sodium sources as well as unrefined salt, from the diet. Dr. Brownstein`s advice, using organic, unrefined salt with a little bit of iodine supplementation, seems like a natural and economical way to boost one`s immune system.

Sources:

Crusader Health News, January 18, 2009 – Interview of Dr. David Brownstein
Salt Institute, www.saltinstitute.org
Rutgers (New Brunswick) Health Education Newsletter, 2002
Wikipedia

Use Herbal Remedies for ADHD

April 21, 2009

Use Herbal Remedies for ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become increasingly prevalent among children. A recent report by the CDC based on phone interviews with parents shows that about 4.4 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD at one time. Out of these children, about 2.5 million of them were on medication. Pharmacological treatment of ADHD can have troubling side effects which is why more and more parents are turning towards herbal treatments instead of medication for their children.

ADHD is typically treated with the medications methylphenidate or amphetamine, which are stimulant drugs. While they have been proven to be effective they also have a high risk for abuse and have many side effects such as weight changes, appetite changes, insomnia, and nervous tics. The numbers of children on these drugs is alarming – the production of methylphenidate and amphetamine has increased by 500% and 2000%, respectively, since 1991. More than 50% of prescriptions for these drugs are from pediatricians.

Due to the troubling side effects of these medications many parents are looking into alternative options for dealing with ADHD. Research on herbal treatments have shown promising benefits, most without side-effects.

Caffeine has been studied as a potential herbal remedy because of its stimulant properties. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine is beneficial to children with ADHD when given in high doses, however the benefits from caffeine have not been shown to reach those seen with pharmacological treatments and there are numerous side effects from caffeine.

Other herbal remedies that have shown promise without side effects are ginkgo biloba, brahmi, Siberian ginseng, gotu kola, and green oats. All of these herbs enhance alertness without the use of caffeine.

Ginkgo leaves increase blood flow to the brain and act as an antioxidant to nervous tissue. It also improves glucose metabolism in the brain. Brahmi also acts as an antioxidant and has been shown to increase learning and cognition. Siberian ginseng increases brain activity and work output. Gotu kola reduces chemicals in the blood that are released during stress. Green oats is known as a nerve tonic and demonstrates a stimulating effect over time.

Chinese herbs also show positive effects on ADHD symptoms. A study comparing a Chinese herbal formula versus Ritalin showed the same benefits with fewer side effects.

Use of herbal remedies for ADHD shows beneficial results without the risk of abuse found in pharmacological medications and usually with significantly less side effects. Herbalists may recommend other supplementation and dietary changes in addition to herbs in the treatment of ADHD.

Sources:

ADHD: Treatments, Herbal Medicine and Treatments (http://www.healing-arts.org/childre…)

National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publ…)

New Numbers on ADHD in U.S. Kids (http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/news/…)

Hot Peppers Make Prostate Cancer Cells Die and Taste Buds Come to Life

April 20, 2009

Hot Peppers Make Prostate Cancer Cells Die and Taste Buds Come to Life

Hot peppers are great for spicing up food. They may be even better for keeping the human body feeling in the spice of life. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in hot peppers and the one that turns up the heat. It is a compound useful in nature for preventing pepper plants from being eaten by insects and animals. When capsaicin is consumed by humans in the form of hot sauce, chili peppers or cayenne pepper, it offers a wealth of health benefits. One that has received much recent attention is the ability of capsaicin to make prostate cancer cells commit suicide.

Moderate dose of capsaicin makes 80 percent of prostate cancer cells die

In 2006, a team of researchers from the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, found that capsaicin induced 80 percent of human prostate cancer cells growing in mice to follow pathways leading to certain death. They also found that prostate cancer tumors in mice fed with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of tumors in non-treated mice. Additionally, capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on cultured human cancer cells according to a scientist at the UCLA School of Medicine. It dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumors formed by cells from the same lines as those grown for the mouse models.

The scientists estimated that the dose of pepper extract fed to the mice was equivalent to giving 400 milligrams of capsaicin three times a week to a 200 pound man. This would be about the amount found in three to eight fresh habanero peppers, depending on how hot the peppers were. The hotter the pepper, the greater the capsaicin content. Habanero peppers, which are native to the Yucatan, have the highest amount of capsaicin. On the Scoville Heat Index, habaneros score 300,000 heat units. Jalapeno peppers, popular in the U.S., score between 2,500 and 3,000 heat units.

In 2008, these results were corroborated by researchers in Madrid, Spain who identified ten genes that were down-regulated and five genes that were up-regulated upon capsaicin treatment in human prostate cancer cells. They found that blocking the action of one of the up-regulated genes significantly reduced capsaicin-induced cell death. From these findings they concluded that the mechanism by which capsaicin causes prostate cancer cells to die had been identified.

In those prostate cancer cells that depended on the predominant male sex hormone, testosterone, for their growth, capsaicin reduced cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. Prostate cancer cells that were not dependent on testosterone for their growth responded to capsaicin in a similar manner.

Capsaicin reduced cancer cell production of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein that is a marker for the presence of prostate cancer. Production of PSA is regulated by male sex hormones.

Capsaicin is effective against other types of cancer

Research from India recently investigated the effect of capsaicin on fat metabolism during induced lung cancer in mice showing abnormal changes in tissue and serum lipids, lipoproteins, and lipid metabolizing enzymes. Treatment of 10 mg per kg of body weight showed an ability to reduce all of these alterations and restore normality that they described as “remarkable”. (Archives of Pharmacal Research, February).

In another study investigating how oxidative stress mediated lung cancer, lysomal damage was found to be an indispensable event in the development of some lung cancers. Capsaicin was able to completely prevent lysomal damage, and was effective against induced lung cancer. (Fundamental Clinical Pharmacology, February).

Scientists investing the effects of capsaicin against human breast cancer noted that the compound has been shown to exert powerful biological activity including anticarginogenic, antimutagenic and chemoprotective effects against many cancer cell lines. When they tested it against a highly malignant breast cell line, they found that treatment with capsaicin for 24 hours resulted in dose-dependent death of the cancerous cells. (Oncology Report, March).

A recent study investigating capsaicin on highly metastatic melanoma cells found its anti-mutagenic activity inhibited the migration of melanoma cells at low doses without showing obvious cytotoxicity. The scientists concluded that capsaicin administration should be considered an effective approach for the suppression of invasion and metastasis in malignant melanoma. (Experimental and Molecular Medicine, October, 2008).

In an earlier study at M.D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, researchers tested capsaicin on human skin cancer cells to analyze how the cells would react. They found that the majority of skin cancer cells exposed to the substance died. Capsaicin seemed to kill cancerous cells by damaging their membranes and limiting the amount of oxygen that could reach them. Drug companies have long searched for a drug that could do just that. Any compound that could limit oxygen in targeted cells would be highly effective against many forms of cancer.

High intake of capsaicin correlates with lower death rates from cancer

In countries where high intake of capsaicin is the dietary norm, cancer death rates for men and women are significantly lower than they are in countries with less chili pepper consumption according to statistics from the World Health Organization. Experiments have shown that capsaicin seems to be able to detoxify a wide range of chemical carcinogens which, if left to roam the body, could create mutations leading to full blown cancers.

Lose weight by eating chili peppers and hot sauce

Researchers have found that adding capsaicin in some form to breakfast foods or appetizers at lunch causes people to eat less during meals and for hours afterwards. Thirteen women, who ate breakfast foods spiced with red pepper ate less than normal at breakfast and during the day. Ten men who ate appetizers laced with red pepper consumed fewer calories at lunch and during a mid-day snack hours later. In addition to acting as an appetite suppressant, red pepper seems to increase the number of calories burned, particularly after high-fat meals. This is because capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, meaning it increases metabolic activity that results in calories and fat being burned. Several popular fat-burners on the market contain capsaicin.

Capsaicin soothes digestive tract stress

Contrary to popular belief, a study has found that ulcer sufferers are helped by eating hot spicy foods. Capsaicin increases blood flow in the stomach’s mucous lining, helping to heal stomach tissue. It is effective against H. pylori bacteria, and stimulates circulation sequentially, from the internal organs to the skin surface, and on throughout the entire body. A Duke University study has found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease. Eating chili peppers has also been shown to protect against the effects to the stomach of aspirin.

Capsaicin helps relieve congestion and prevent sinusitis

Potent antibacterial properties of capsaicin fight chronic sinus infections. Because it is so hot, capsaicin helps stimulate secretions that clear mucus from the nose, relieving nasal congestion. It may also be helpful for sinus related allergy problems.

Protect your heart with capsaicin

Capsaicin reduces cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It has shown evidence of being able to dissolve fibrin, which is necessary for blood clots to form. Tumors often develop a fibrin based protective coating. Dissolving this coating leaves the tumors highly vulnerable. Cultures around the world that engage in the liberal use of hot peppers have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than cultures that do not.

Red pepper makes food taste fabulous

Red pepper is widely available in capsule form, usually as cayenne. But eating it in pepper form or as hot sauce is so much more fun. Red pepper is a great addition to almost any dish and can add another taste dimension when used alone or with black pepper. Hot pepper sauce is a staple on many kitchen tables where it is sprinkled liberally on meat, fish, side dishes, and snacks. It is a natural to accompany Mexican foods.

Chili may be one the best foods for men trying to avoid prostate cancer. When it is made with fresh tomatoes as well as hot peppers, it offers the two major players against this form of cancer, lycopene and capsaicin. Spaghetti sauce can be spiced up with hot pepper sauce. Baked potatoes doused with hot sauce and a clove of smashed organic garlic added in just can’t be beat. And hot sauce is the best friend of fish. Bake wild-caught cod or other whitefish, slice fresh sweet raw onions and get out the hot sauce.

The glories of fresh salsa defy description. Salsa is another way to blend lycopene rich tomatoes with capsaicin from peppers. Adding salsa to boring beans makes them get up and dance. Make a warm weather lunch of mashed avocados with lime juice, salsa and organic blue corn chips.

For more information see:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_relea…

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?…

http://www.pyropepper.com/hotsaucef…

http://www.chile-pepper-sauces.com
/

Chiropractic Care Naturally Treats Colic

April 19, 2009

Chiropractic Care Naturally Treats Colic
Colic is defined as inconsolable crying in an infant for as least three hours a day, at least three days a week, for at least three weeks. A colicky baby typically presents with a loud piercing cry, flexed legs, tensed abdominal muscles, and clenched fingers. It typically starts around three weeks of age and lasts until around three months but sometimes lasts for as long as six months. Approximately 10-20% of babies are affected by colic. Doctors diagnose colic based on the previously mentioned “Rule of 3” and after ruling out diseases that may make a baby cry uncontrollably. Parents of infants with colic report significantly higher stress levels than parents whose babies don’t have colic. The stress and frustration of trying to soothe a colicky baby may interfere with mother-baby bonding and can increase the risk of postpartum depression. In addition, colicky babies are more likely to be victims of child abuse and shaken baby syndrome. Despite the research done on colic there is no known cause, which can make treatment difficult. Chiropractic care has shown some of the best results, with 94% of colicky babies demonstrating improvement with chiropractic adjustments.

Research on chiropractic care and colic has shown significant benefits over other treatments such as dietary changes, medication, and infant positioning. A randomized clinical trial published in 1999 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that “Spinal manipulation is effective in relieving infantile colic”. For this study the researchers randomly assigned infants diagnosed with colic into two groups. One group received chiropractic care for two weeks and the other group was given the anti-gas medication dimethicone for two weeks. The babies in the chiropractic group showed a 67% decrease in crying while the babies on medication showed a 38% decrease in crying.

Another study with 316 children also showed significant improvement in colic in response to chiropractic care. This prospective study used diaries from mothers of colicky babies to track the amount of crying. The three month long study showed a “satisfactory result of spinal manipulative therapy in 94% of the cases”. The improvements occurred after an average of only three adjustments within two weeks.

Chiropractic care is a conservative, gentle, and very successful option for treating infants with colic. Chiropractic adjustments for infants are specific, gentle, and safe. The International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association has a database of chiropractors who work with babies and children. To locate a chiropractor visit http://www.icpa4kids.org/locator.

Sources:

4 Healthy Kids, Infant Colic Treatment (http://www.4healthykids.com/infant-…)

Infantile Colic Treated by Chiropractors: A Prospective Study of 316 Cases http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTR…)

The Short-Term Effect of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial with a Blinded Observer J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999 (Oct); 22 (8): 517-522