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Roundup: HealthNews RoundUp - 5th Week of January, 2020



Your Tap Water’s Poisoning You



PFAS, polyfluoroalkyl substances, the forever chemicals used to make Teflon cookware, cosmetics, and other consumer products, contaminates your drinking water.  These chemicals are unregulated and have been linked to thyroid disease, cardiovascular problems, infertility, obesity, and cancer.  


The Environmental Working Group, EWG, compiled data on tap water from 44 locations in 31 states.  The definition of a safe level keeps dropping.  Fifteen years ago when the Dupont West Virginia poisoning dramatized in the movie Dark Waters  came to light, the EPA said 500 ppt but WVA went with 150,000.  Now the EPA says 70, VT says 20, but NJ wants 14.  The EWG says 1.  Many far northern and southern states never dropped their limits. 


The most polluted water was from NC, IA, NJ, Phillie, Louisville, New Orleans, Charleston, Decatur, and DC.  The safest came from Meridian, Tuscaloosa, Seattle, Memphis, LittleRock, CO, and here in New York City.  Look for the summary charts in my YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TicToc, and LinkedIn videos.


When the EPA last tested in 2013-2015, they reported that 36/43 water systems had no detectable PFAS, but they tested for only 6 compounds rather than the the 30 that EWG tested.  Even 30 is just the tip of the iceberg as there are 600 actively used by industry.


There are ways to purify the water, but they require expensive reverse osmosis and the newer ion exchange.  Granulated charcoal filters are used in Iowa with obviously poor results.


What can you do? First, find out the PFAS levels in your tap water.  If they are high, buy safe bottled water but beware since not all of it IS safe.  The FDA sets no PFAS limits for bottled water.  


The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) requires its members to test for 14 PFAS compounds and sets a limit of 10.  The first results showed that all samples were below 70, faint praise, and 97.3% were below 2, much better.  There are no published results for individual bottled water manufacturers but Nestles and FreshPure are said to be safe.


If you want to have safe tap water for your family at home, you can buy a 5 stage reverse osmosis system on Amazon for $200-300.  One last water warning: pregnant women and babies should avoid higher PFAS water like the plague.  It triggers preeclampsia and interferes with glucose and lipid metabolism or worse.

But wait, there’s more.  These chemicals are in carpets, clothing, cookware, microwave popcorn bags, fast food wrappers, as well as waterproof and stain-resistant clothing.  Check out the excellent EWG fact sheet and learn how to avoid these poisons.


Cordner A, De La Rosa VY, Schaider LA, Rudel RA, Richter L, Brown P. Guideline levels for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water: the role of scientific uncertainty, risk assessment decisions, and social factors [published correction appears in J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2019 Mar 29;:]. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2019;29(2):157–171.


#tapwater #pfas #teflon #foreverchemicals #reverseosmosis

tapwater, pfas, teflon, foreverchemicals, reverseosmosis




High Protein Diets Poison Your Arteries



High protein diets like the Adkins, Stillman, and Scarsdale drive weight loss but could also trigger life loss.  Washington University-St. Louis researchers now show why high protein diets foster atherosclerotic heart attacks and strokes.


The researchers found in mice that increasing daily protein intake from a normal 15% to 46% of calories blocked normal macrophage arterial plaque cleansing activity.  Free to accumulate, the plaques tend to break off and plug vital downstream coronary and cerebral arteries.


We’ve known that high protein diets poison arteries, but now we know why.  Lose weight with a meal plan such as Turbocharged that shuns calorie counting and is easily continued for life, a long life.


Xiangyu Zhang, Ismail Sergin, Trent D. Evans, etal. High-protein diets increase cardiovascular risk by activating macrophage mTOR to suppress mitophagy. Nature Metabolism, 2020; 2 (1): 110 DOI: 10.1038/s42255-019-0162-4



#proteindiets #arteriosclerosis #heartattack #stroke #adkins #stillman #Scarsdale #turbochargeddiet

proteindiets, arteriosclerosis, heartattack, stroke, adkins, stillman, Scarsdale, turbochargeddiet



Blood Test Pinpoints Menopause



A new, more sensitive anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) blood test can accurate predict a woman’s last cycle.  Reproductive biologists at the University of Colorado and Harvard studied 1537 women from 42 to 63 years.


The new AMH testing doubled the investigators’ accuracy in pinpointing a woman’s last menstrual cycle compared with the conventional methods using bleeding patterns or less sensitive tests.


An accurate menopause determination tells women when they may stop birth control and permits better timing for uterine fibroid surgery.  The more sensitive AMH determination also fine-tunes the estimate of remaining eggs allowing women, postponing motherhood, a measure of freedom from that ticking clock in their minds.


Joel S Finkelstein, Hang Lee, Arun Karlamangla, etal. Anti-Mullerian Hormone and Impending Menopause in Late Reproductive Age: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2020; DOI: 10.1210/clinem/dgz283


#menopause #amh #antimüllerianhormone #ovarianreserve #birthcontrol #gynecology #womensmedicine

menopause, amh, antimüllerianhormone, ovarianreserve, birthcontrol, gynecology womensmedicine




The Excitement of Horror Movies



More than 70% of us watch at least one horror movie every 6 months and we love exercising our brain’s fight or flight centers as well as its emotional regions.  This from a Finnish analysis of some 216 subjects watching a collection of the 100 highest-rated horror movies.


The overwhelming sensation triggered was excitement followed by fright, anxiety, nervousness, and disgust. Nearly 35% derived pleasure!  The movies that evoked the strongest responses depicted psychological horror followed by real disaster, supernatural phenomena, menacing criminals, torture, and gore.


MRI analysis of the viewer showed that slowly escalating threats trigger sensory centers, visual and auditory.  Sudden horror triggers executive evaluation and rapid decision-making.


Matthew Hudson, Kerttu Seppälä, Vesa Putkinen, Lihua Sun, Enrico Glerean, Tomi Karjalainen, Henry K. Karlsson, Jussi Hirvonen, Lauri Nummenmaa. Dissociable neural systems for unconditioned acute and sustained fear. NeuroImage, 2020; 116522 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116522


#movies #horror #fight #fightorflight #neuroscience

movies, horror, fight, fightorflight, neuroscience



Children of Pregnant Smokers Risk Psoriasis



Kids of regular smokers who continued puffing while pregnant were at least 40% more likely to develop scaly, psoriatic skin by age 11.  Children of smokers using nicotine replacement instead of cigarettes still had a 36% higher risk.


Public health researchers at the University of Copenhagen tabulated data on about 26,000 children.  The risk of psoriasis was related to the numbers of cigarettes smoked rising to nearly 300% for women smoking 16 or more each day.


The investigators feel that nicotine as well as other chemicals in smokes may trigger that autoimmune process that leads to those thickened, itchy patches on children’s heads and extremities.  Ladies considering motherhood: stop now!


Groot, Jonathan et al.  Prenatal, infantile, and childhood tobacco exposure and risk of pediatric psoriasis in the Danish National Birth Cohort offspring.  Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 0, Issue 0. DOI:


#smoking #psoriasis #pregnancy

smoking, psoriasis, pregnancy



The Fonts You Read Manipulate You



Different type fonts and styles appeal to different generations and philosophies.  You say:  “what the hxxx is he talking bout.  A Virginia tech study of political yard signs, logos, and websites concludes that a candidate’s chosen fonts and use of bold, italic, or regular type can help target a message with greater precision.


Analyzing 987 subjects, 37 years on average, the researchers report that elaborate fonts likes Times New Roman appeal to older and more conservative minds while younger and progressive individuals like streamlined san serif fonts such as Century Gothic.  In type styles italic is the most liberal followed by regular and finally a more conservative bold.


This has application beyond politics.


Katherine Haenschen, Daniel J. Tamul. What’s in a Font?: Ideological Perceptions of Typography. Communication Studies, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1080/10510974.2019.1692884


#typography #fonts #bold #italic #conservative #liberal

typography, fonts, bold, italic, conservative, liberal




Aged Urine Makes Great Plant Fertilizer



Now that green is good, University of Michigan environmental engineers report that year-old urine contains nutrients growing plants require but is free of environmentally dangerous micro-organisms and genetic material.


They studied the urine of more than 100 men and women after 12-16 months of aging in sealed containers.  During that time, the rising ammonia levels lower urine acidity, kill any bacteria, and destroy any extracellular DNA.  This aged urine is safe and contains levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that effectively nourish plants.


Aged urine will be an excellent alternative to industrial fertilizers that often stimulate algae blooms.  Green is good; yellow may be better.


Heather E. Goetsch, Nancy G. Love, Krista R. Wigginton. Fate of Extracellular DNA in the Production of Fertilizers from Source-Separated Urine. Environmental Science & Technology, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b04263


#urine #fertilizer #plants

urine, fertilizer, plants



Putting The Coronavirus Pandemic Into Perspective



Yes, we have a coronavirus pandemic.  And yes, the counts of those stricken is rising exponentially with deaths sadly climbing as well.  Currently there are nearly 4600 cases with 106 deaths worldwide.


But wait, we already have a serious pandemic, and we have it every year.  Influenza infects one BILLION around the world every year, and it kills as many as half a million.  For the US this season, the CDC estimates 140,000 hospitalizations and 8200 deaths.  We control influenza only somewhat with vaccines and antivirals.


Like influenza, coronavirus is most dangerous for the young, old, frail, or immunocompromised.  It’s estimated mortality rate is 4%.  That for influenza is 6%.  Relax.


#coronavirus #influenza #pandemic

coronavirus, influenza, pandemic



Hanging At Truck Stops Can Bring On Pneumonia



Breathing in diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) can increase your chances of pneumococcal pneumonia.  A study from Britain’s University of Liverpool shows that DEPs engorge and inactivate respiratory macrophages, the scavengers that protect our bodies from germs.


The researchers report that animals and tissue cultured cells are more susceptible to pneumococcal infection in the presence of DEP macrophages.  Germs that normally live peacefully in the nasal passages become emboldened once the macrophage police are sidelined.


About 37% of the world’s population is exposed to excessive air pollution, and DEPs including carbon, ash, metallic particles, and sand are major contributors to the pollution.  Protect yourself by avoiding these nasty diesels.


Rebecca K. Shears, Laura C. Jacques, Georgia Naylor, Lisa Miyashita, Shadia Khandaker, Filipa Lebre, Ed C. Lavelle, Jonathan Grigg, Neil French, Daniel R. Neill, Aras Kadioglu. Exposure to diesel exhaust particles increases susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2019.11.039


#diesels #dieselexhaustparticles #deps #pneumonia #pneumococci #macrophages

diesels, dieselexhaustparticles, deps, pneumonia, pneumococci, macrophages





Consuming Fiber Without Feeling Bloated



The trick to avoiding bloat when eating a high fiber diet is to reduce protein in favor of carbs in the form of whole grains and other healthy carbs.  This the conclusion of a Johns Hopkins study of some 164 subjects consuming high fiber, heart-healthy diets.


Their data reveals 40% less bloating when a high-fiber diet is carb-rich versus protein-rich.  Sources for those carbs include whole grain oats, bananas, sweet potatoes, and blueberries.  Most of these foods also provide extra anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals.


Bloating impacts at least 20% of Americans, and it deters many from adhering to healthy diets.  Don’t let that happen to you.


Mingyu Zhang, Stephen P. Juraschek, Lawrence J. Appel, Pankaj Jay Pasricha, Edgar R. Miller, Noel T. Mueller. Effects of High-Fiber Diets and Macronutrient Substitution on Bloating. Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, 2020; 1 DOI: 10.14309/ctg.0000000000000122


#fiber #carbohydrates #protain #bloating 

fiber, carbohydrates, protain, bloating



Chronic Fatigue Disorder Underdiagnosed in Children



Only 5% of children and teens with chronic fatigue syndrome, technically known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, ever receive a proper diagnosis.  Investigators from DePaul University and the Lurie Chicago Children’s Hospital studied a random group of over 10,100 kids 5 to 17 years.


The reasons affected children aren’t identified includes poor healthcare access but also provider misconception that this disease is not a genuine condition.  With an estimated 51 million children and teens in the US this year, 3.8 million have this disorder but 3.6 million go undiagnosed.


A child with sleep problems and lightheadedness when standing for 6 months or more should be evaluated.


Leonard A. Jason, Ben Z. Katz, Madison Sunnquist, Chelsea Torres, Joseph Cotler, Shaun Bhatia. The Prevalence of Pediatric Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in a Community-Based Sample. Child & Youth Care Forum, 2020; DOI: 10.1007/s10566-019-09543-3


#chronicfatiguesyndrome #pediatrics #underdiagnosis #myalgicencephalitis

chronicfatiguesyndrome, pediatrics, underdiagnosis, myalgicencephalitis




Hot Flashes Diminish Verbal Performance


Fluctuating and diminishing hormones in association with menopause trigger word-finding challenges.  A preliminary multisite study directed by neuroscientists and gynecologists at the University of Illinois studied 14 menopausal women with verbal memory tests, symptom diaries, and functional MRIs.


The data confirm previous observations that menopausal women with hot flashes demonstrate verbal memory reduction.   The MRI findings of altered hippocampal and prefrontal cortical function during reported hot flash symptoms now demonstrate the causes of these verbal inadequacies.


Word-retrieval brain fades occur for us all, but increase with age.  Coping strategies include:

  • Continue expressing your thought without the specific word.

  • Use humor to defuse your anxiety.

  • Consult a thesaurus. 



Maki PM1,2,3, Wu M4, Rubin LH5, Fornelli D6, Drogos LL2,7, Geller S3, Shulman LP8,9, Banuvar S8, Little DM10, Conant RJ11.  Hot flashes are associated with altered brain function during a memory task. Menopause. 2020 Jan 6. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001467. [Epub ahead of print]



#hotflashes #wordfinding #anomia #menopause

hotflashes, wordfinding, anomia, menopause

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