Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
What’s up, Apples? All kinds of great health news for you today. Here’s the latest you’ll want to click:
1) Fine…But It’s Still a Frankenfat
So, we don’t really have a comment on this. What goes on with this line of reasoning? Who thinks this stuff up? “Take bad fake fat. Fake it some more so it has some good in it. But it’s still bad fat. Sort of.” Huh? Here’s an idea: stop playing God with food! Oh yeah. Sorry. We promised no comment. People may never stop eating potato chips; should scientists just try to make them slightly less terrible for you? We just don’t believe this is the best humans are capable of. We’re only bees, of course…
2) Never Too Late to Feel Great with Folate
After it became common knowledge that women needs lots of folate to prevent birth defects, things started to improve. For a while. The government has conducted two back-to-back long-term studies to see if women are getting enough folate.
Surprisingly, levels are way back down again despite all the folic flapping. The researchers think it’s a combination of obesity rates increasing and supplementation rates decreasing. The moral? Stay lean, eat greens, and take a multivitamin, for goodness’ sake. (If for no other reason than to make us quit with the folate rhymes!)
3) We Knew It!
This just in: soap and water are just as good at removing germs as all those fancy-schmancy hand sanitizers. Repeat: soap and water are just as good. Hand sanitizers are the bottled water of the germ-conscious set.
Here are the facts for all you beloved germophobes:
- Alcohol-based sanitizers do a good job of killing bacteria IF you use a lot of the goop. Most people only use a little squirt and that’s not really enough. Also, these hand sanitizers kill good bacteria along with the bad. We would die without good bacteria, so it’s something to think about. Besides, remember that most of the really nasty stuff is viral, not bacterial (flu, colds, HIV, meningitis, tuberculosis, etc.).
- Which brings us to the next fact: while sanitizers will not always kill viruses, hand-washing will. That’s because soap isn’t a killer – soap is just a slimeball (literally). Soap helps bacteria and viruses slide right off your hands, which is why you need to “soap up” for at least 10 rigorous seconds before rinsing. Soap doesn’t kill, it just gives germs the slip.
More clickativity from around the web:
Bad Days Continue for Big Pharma: 8,000 people aren’t wrong.
Here is a razor-sharp example of excellent, detailed, honest medical research reporting. Unfortunately, with words like ergot and agonist, it’s also as relentlessly boring as a Del Monte fruit cup without the little pink “cherries”. No wonder people are confused about the latest medical findings! Where are the resources to interpret this jargon?
Oh yeah, here, that’s where! Whew.
And here. (An anonymous MD’s personal take on medical practice. Often quite interesting.)
And here. (Ok, so this one’s a little dry, but you can scope where we review studies.)
Anyway, this example in particular found that certain types of Parkinson’s drugs may cause major heart problems in certain types of patients. The good news is that a more effective Parkinson’s drug appears to be near completion thanks to the KDI breakthrough from last year (KDI is a protein that appears to play a role in preventing certain neurological problems). KDI treatment may even help prevent ALS and strokes.
There’s another huge issue surrounding Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases that I want to draw particular attention to, because it’s infuriating. According to this article, scientists are having a hard time effectively researching potential causes and cures because industry lawsuits – from chemical companies to welding groups – jump all over medical studies that link environmental causes to these diseases. This is something you can personally help to change with this clickativity. It will take about 45 seconds. I think it’s more than worth it.
BUT NOT NEARLY AS EFFECTIVELY AS HEARTBURN PILLS
A large-scale study out of Britain has reported that taking popular heartburn medications like Tagamet and Pepcid AC can seriously increase your risk of bone fractures, because the drugs block calcium absorption.
Check out the article – here’s the clickativity.
Of course, the
pill pushers contrarians say that a simple calcium pill can offset the damaging effects of heartburn medications. That’s classic – needing a second pill to address problems caused by the first pill, which is unnecessary in the first place.
An easy fix for heartburn is avoiding foods that cause it. Getting daily exercise, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol are also good ways to avoid heartburn.
Each year, about 300,000 older Americans break a bone, and 60,000 of them will die from the injury.
Heartburn medications are a $10 billion-a year cash cow.
And surprise, surprise: Ole’ Denmark did a heartburn study last year but reported that heartburn medications are, wouldn’t you know, perfectly safe. I keep trying to give the motherland the benefit of the doubt, so I would like to cast doubt on this new British study, but seeing as how it was funded by the U.S. government and GlaxoSmithKline, I have to say, something is rotten in Denmark.
A doctor weighs in on the HRT-cancer connection. The controversy isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
I recommend reading the whole interview if this is an area of interest for you. What caught my attention is the subtle pro-drug stance the interview appears to take, while simultaneously bringing out revealing facts like the following:
Q. Was it a surprise to learn that estrogen and progestins can cause breast cancer?
A. We’ve known there is a cause and effect with hormones and breast cancer since 1896.
On the plus side, the article effectively details the pathology of breast cancer, explaining the difference between estrogen and progesterine’s effects in lay terms. If you’ve found the issue confusing, give this article 10 minutes of your time. The article also fairly points out that the “entire epidemiology” of breast cancer shifted when HRT was introduced and again when it was found to be dangerous.
My concerns regarding current HRT therapies, however, remain:
1) The cancer-hormone connection has long been known.
2) The body was not designed to handle artificial hormone interference with the natural regulatory processes that come with aging. That’s not my opinion; that’s fact. Start tinkering with the body and all kinds of things can happen. Of course, I recommend other, natural therapies to combat aging-related issues (including menopause): exercise, sensible supplementation, and sound dietary choices. We’ll get into those in detail soon.
3) The entire tone of the interview is what I find so offensive about the medical industry: if one drug doesn’t work, hey, take another! Subtle though it is – again, the article does promote plenty of helpful information – it’s clear that mainstream medical practitioners are loathe to “call out” even the most pressing health scandals, evidently preferring to tread lightly lest they offend the pharmaceutical suits. Of course, five or ten years from now, everyone will be talking about the dangers of HRT without hesitation, but for now, it’s a politically-correct parade.
The icing on the cake: after discussing the various issues surrounding HRT, the interview brings up the issue of osteoporosis (since many women took HRT to address this health condition) and suggests alternative drugs as the solution. It’s par for the course for Big Pharma.
The world of drug development is complicated, fascinating and sometimes, just plain wacky. Here are two new potential drugs-in-the-making which may have some excellent therapeutic benefits (hey, not all drugs are bad):
Call it accidental scientific discovery, but I suspect at least one of these researchers has a rebellious teen in the family.
A boy who felt no pain may help scientists develop better analgesics.
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