It’s Time for the Latest & Greatest Wellness News Summary For November 2014!

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We are now officially in the holiday season! It’s my favorite time of year.
Still, with all the extra gatherings, gift giving, and food prep, I know for some it can create more stress than holiday cheer!

For this reason, last week I provided you some tips and tools to help you transition through this time with more joy, calmness, and peace.

With all the “extra to-dos”, it’s hard to keep up with the latest research in wellness, nutrition, nutrigenomics, naturopathic and functional medicine, and other health topics.

No worries, I’m providing you with your one-stop-skim-through-blog-shop of all the important headlines from November 2014. If you have more time to kill while standing in line for your purchases, you can check out the full source references.

Either way, you decide how much time you want to spend on the details so you can make more time for fun and holiday celebration. You don’t want to miss out on those coffee dates or tea breaks with fellow wellness enthusiasts and nutritional geniuses which spark your passion. I know my meeting with the “Sassy Dietician” this week definitely got me pumped for a healthy holiday, and it also got me thinking about starting my own podcast! Hmmm…

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Here are the topics of this month’s top reads:

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  • Ketogenic Diet Studied for Epilepsy
  • Vitamin D Updates (Screening recommendations, safety assessment, and condition associations)
  • The Power of the Microbiome Continues to Unveil Itself
  • What’s in the Genes for Longevity?
  • Milk Does (Not) Do a Body Good? & Soda Doesn’t Either
  • It’s All About the Flavonoids and Polyphenols! Ovarian Cancer and Flavonoids, Cocoa Flavonol and Cognition, & Green Tea and Blood Pressure
  • The Rising Star of Our Gut Bugs-Introducing the Virome!
  • GMOs Update- Should They Be On Your Holiday Plate?
  • Antibiotics Everywhere!
    • There’s Antibiotics in… Your Fish!
    • There’s Antibiotics in Your Fruit Too!
    • Speaking of Antibiotics, Here’s a Spice That May Help with Antibiotic Resistance
  • Ginger or Ecstasy?
  • Medicinal Mushrooms and HPV
  • AHCC and HPC
  • Dietary Guidelines Updated For Kidney Stones


PageLines- forms-icon.pngHEALTH UPDATES:

  • Stress May Be Hazardous to Your Workout
  • Society for Integrative Oncology Publishes Clinical Practice Guidelines
  • The Chemical World- More New Toxins Found In a Population Sample
  • EWGs List of 12 Artificial Flavorings to Avoid
  • After Work Emails Not Great For Health (Shocking!)
  • Bad Relationships May Be Bad For Your Brain
  • Of Anxiety and Alzheimer’s
  • Ebola, Selenium, Indemnity, and the Fast Track
  • Hypoallergenic or Hyper Lies
  • Implicit Positive Messages Strengthen the Body
  • Mice Have Less Appetite with Better Glycogen Reserve
  • Cell Phone Study Confirms Link to Brain Cancer
  • 2nd Hand Smoke Linked to Weight Gain
  • How Fish Odor Could Save Your Life
  • Obesity Ages Your Liver
  • Sugar on the Brain
  • Osteoporosis Screening Guidelines Miss the Mark According to Studies
  • Over diagnosis Likely To Blame for Rise in Thyroid Cancer in S Korea
  • Development of Uniform Standards for Dietary Supplements, Cosmetics, OTC Drugs, and Medical Devices
  • Baby Born from Transplanted Uterus


PageLines- forms-icon.pngDRUG UPDATES:

  • An Overlooked Problem with Pills
  • Can a Lab Test Guide Antidepressant Therapy?
  • Increase In Generic Drug Pricing
  • Drugs That Increase Risk for Heart Problems
  • Low Dose Aspirin Fails in Primary Prevention Study
  • Statins and a 20 Year Risk Study
  • New Hydrocodone ER Approved
  • Anxiety Drugs for Teens May Lead to Non-Medical Abuse





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Ketogenic Diet Studied for Epilepsy

An individualized review of studies reported on the efficacy of the ketogenic diet (KD) and modified Atkins diet (MAD) in refractory epilepsy in adults. The researchers reported that the available data show modest efficacy:

In summary, KD and MAD treatment show modest efficacy, although in some patients the effect is remarkable. The diets are well-tolerated, but often discontinued because of their restrictiveness. In patients willing to try dietary treatment, the effect is seen quickly, giving patients the option whether to continue the treatment.

Dietary treatment in adults with refractory epilepsy. Neurology. October 29, 2014, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001004

Low-carb, high-fat diets may reduce epilepsy seizures. Medical News Today. October 30, 2014.


Vitamin D News

Despite the Proposed Benefits, USPSTF Says No Evidence for Screening Vitamin D

Medscape reports the following:

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued its first-ever guidance on the routine screening of asymptomatic patients for vitamin D deficiency. The recommendation is now final following the issue of draft guidance in June.

A review of the safety data of vitamin D in 24 clinical trials (n=5000 of vitamin D deficient patients aged 31-85) with doses of 400 to 7000 IU/day or 8400 to 54000 IU/week for 6 weeks to one year was reported as follows:

The review found no significant differences in adverse events, including serious adverse events — for example, hypercalcemia, kidney stones, or gastrointestinal symptoms were no higher in the vitamin D treatment groups compared with placebo or no treatment.

Melville, N. USPSTF: No Evidence for Routine Vitamin D Screening. Medscape Medical News.


Rise in Deficiency In Children

The number of children with vitamin D deficiency has soared by more than 200 per cent in five years because parents are unaware how important it is for health, a study has revealed.

It also exposed a ‘worrying’ lack of knowledge by GPs and health workers about the Government’s guidelines on the vitamin.

Now the public health awareness campaign which commissioned the study is warning parents must give their children supplements and fortified foods to avoid a return to ‘Victorian’ levels of vitamin D deficiency, when the bone-softening disease rickets was common.

Taylor, R. Number of children lacking Vitamin D soars by more than 200% in five years: Parents told to give youngsters supplements. Daily Mail. October 30, 2014.








Vitamin D and Condition Associations

1. Neuromuscular Disease

A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) adds more credence to a growing awareness of the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in neuromuscular disease.

“Previous work has shown vitamin D deficiency to be quite common in other neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, and Parkinson’s disease.

High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Across the Board in Neuromuscular Disease: Study may prompt physicians to consider checking vitamin D levels in patients with neurologic conditions.

Newsroom from Newswise: American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM). October 30, 2014.

Moore, C. Vitamin D Deficiency Found Highly Prevalent of Across the Board in MS, Neuromuscular Disease. Multiple Sclerosis News Today. November 3, 2014.


2. Brain Recovery After Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of poor brain function after sudden cardiac arrest by seven-fold, according to research presented at Acute Cardiovascular Care 2014 by Dr Jin Wi from Korea. Vitamin D deficiency also led to a higher chance of dying after sudden cardiac arrest….

Dr Wi said: “In patients resuscitated after sudden cardiac arrest, recovery of neurological function is very important, as well as survival. Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be related to the risk of having various cardiovascular diseases, including sudden cardiac arrest. We investigated the association of vitamin D deficiency with neurologic outcome after sudden cardiac arrest, a topic on which there is no information so far.”

Vitamin D deficiency increases poor brain function after cardiac arrest by sevenfold. November 3, 2014. Pro Health.


3. Autoimmune Thyroid Disease and Vitamin D

Low vitamin D levels may be associated with the occurrence of autoimmune thyroid disease in patients in China, according to research at the American Thyroid Association Annual Meeting.

Helio. Autoimmune thyroid disease occurrence linked to vitamin D insufficiency. Endocrine Today. October 30, 2014.


4. Vitamin D and Rat Obesity

We showed that the VD3 supplementation limited weight gain induced by high-fat diet, which paralleled with an improvement of glucose homeostasis. The limitation of weight gain could further be explained by an increased lipid oxidation, possibly due to an up-regulation of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial metabolism, leading to increased energy expenditure. Altogether, these data show that VD3 regulates energy expenditure and suggest that VD3 supplementation may represent a strategy of preventive nutrition to fight the onset of obesity and associated metabolic disorders.

Marcotorchino, J, Tourniaire, F, Astier, J, Karkeni, E, Canault M. Vitamin D protects against diet-induced obesity by enhancing fatty acid oxidation. J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Oct;25(10):1077-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2014.05.010. Epub 2014 Jun 21.


Of Bugs and Fish Oil











Omega-3 Fats May Reduce Risk of Gastrointestinal Diseases via Our Gut Bugs

Studies done on mice showed that diets high in fatty acids EPA and DHA increased anti-inflammatory microbes, protecting the critters from the damage of colitis. Those fed high omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids had higher intestinal damage and production of more harmful bacteria. However the mice with too much inflammation-trumping power also suffered whole body inflammation due to severe infection. This may indicate that the balance of our microbiome determines the benefits of fish oil. It may also indicate that the critters little bellies may not be fit for fatty acids or that they needed additional balance of saturated fats to get the full effects off of rodent chow:

“Curiously, when a saturated fat-rich diet was supplemented with fish oil, the mice did not suffer from sepsis,” adds Gibson. “These intriguing findings suggest that omega-3 PUFA supplementation with a diet high in saturated fat may be more protective to the GI tract than a diet rich in omega-6 PUFAs.”

Jing X. Kang, M.D., Ph.D., professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, USA, reported a mouse study showing a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 PUFAs alters gut microbiota and reduces the production of harmful bacteria while increasing colonies of beneficial bacteria. These changes led to less inflammation.

Hauck, G. Omega-3 Fats May Reduce Risk of Gastrointestinal Disease. July 2, 2014. 11th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL).

Wetherby, C. Omega-3s May Deter Gut Diseases-Studies suggest that diets high in omega-3 and saturated fats are best. Vital Choice Newsletter. November 6, 2014.

Li J, Li FR, Wei D, Jia W, Kang JX, Stefanovic-Racic M, Dai Y, Zhao AZ. Endogenous ?-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid production confers resistance to obesity, dyslipidemia, and diabetes in mice. Mol Endocrinol. 2014 Aug;28(8):1316-28. doi: 10.1210/me.2014-1011. Epub 2014 Jun 30.


The Importance of the Microbiome & Juvenile Arthritis

Exposure to antibiotics during childhood significantly increases the risk for juvenile idiopathic arthritis in a dose-dependent manner, say investigators reporting at the American College of Rheumatology 2014 Annual Meeting in Boston.

They suggest that alterations in the human microbiome might be implicated in the development of the disease.

Harrison, P. Antibiotics in Children Increase Risk for Juvenile Arthritis.Medscape Medical News > Conference News. November 18, 2014


There Is No Santa Clause (NOT TRUE!) or Healthy Microbiome (MAYBE)?

One man’s extreme journey (through a fecal transplant) to prove that a major diversity in microbiome balance exists and that “healthy” and “unhealthy” gut bug population may be relative according to the individual and state of wellness:

But Mr. Leach did not have C. difficile. He experimented on himself because he views the Western microbiome as “a hot microbial mess,” he wrote on his blog. Poor diets, antibiotics and overly sanitized environments have gentrified the Western gut, he wrote, “potentially dragging us closer to ill health.” The Hadza, with their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle, carry diverse microbial communities that are presumably closer to a healthier and disappearing ideal. Hence the stunt with the turkey baster. Mr. Leach billed it as “(re)becoming human.”

This reasoning is faulty. It romanticizes our relationships with our microbes, painting them as happy partnerships that were better off in the good old days. It also invokes an increasingly common trope: that there is a “normal” or “healthy” microbiome that one should aim for. There is not. The microbiome is complex, varied, ever changing and context-dependent — qualities that are the enemies of easy categorization.

“Healthy” microbes can easily turn rogue. Those in our guts are undoubtedly helpful, but if they cross the lining of the intestine and enter our bloodstream, they can trigger a debilitating immune response. The same microbes can be beneficial allies or dangerous threats, all for the difference of a few millimeters.

Continue reading the main story

Yong, E. There Is No ‘Healthy’ Microbiome. The New York Times. November. 1, 2014.


What’s in the Genes for Longevity?

Turns out that there is no significant evidence of a single gene variant for longevity in super-centenarians. (Genes and environment maybe key?):

Supercentenarians (110 years or older) are the world’s oldest people. Seventy four are alive worldwide, with twenty two in the United States. We performed whole-genome sequencing on 17 supercentenarians to explore the genetic basis underlying extreme human longevity. We found no significant evidence of enrichment for a single rare protein-altering variant or for a gene harboring different rare protein altering variants in supercentenarian compared to control genomes. We followed up on the gene most enriched for rare protein-altering variants in our cohort of supercentenarians, TSHZ3, by sequencing it in a second cohort of 99 long-lived individuals but did not find a significant enrichment. The genome of one supercentenarian had a pathogenic mutation in DSC2, known to predispose to arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, which is recommended to be reported to this individual as an incidental finding according to a recent position statement by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Even with this pathogenic mutation, the proband lived to over 110 years. The entire list of rare protein-altering variants and DNA sequence of all 17 supercentenarian genomes is available as a resource to assist the discovery of the genetic basis of extreme longevity in future studies.

Gierman HJ, Fortney K, Roach JC, Coles NS, Li H, et al. (2014) Whole-Genome Sequencing of the World’s Oldest People. PLoS ONE 9(11): e112430. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112430


Milk Does (Not) Do a Body Good?

Almost twins

Participants Two large Swedish cohorts, one with 61?433 women (39-74 years at baseline 1987-90) and one with 45?339 men (45-79 years at baseline 1997), were administered food frequency questionnaires. The women responded to a second food frequency questionnaire in 1997.

Conclusions High milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women. Given the observational study designs with the inherent possibility of residual confounding and reverse causation phenomena, a cautious interpretation of the results is recommended.

Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 28 October 2014)


Soda Doesn’t Either

The link between soda and telomere length:

Nobody would mistake sugary soda for a health food, but a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health just found that a daily soda habit can age your immune cells almost two years.

Epel and her team analyzed data from 5,309 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from about 14 years ago. They found that people who drank more sugary soda tended to have shorter telomeres. Drinking an 8-ounce daily serving of soda corresponded to 1.9 years of additional aging, and drinking a daily 20-ounce serving was linked to 4.6 more years of aging. The latter, the authors point out, is exactly the same association found between telomere length and smoking.

Oaklander, M. Soda May Age You as Much as Smoking, Study Says. Time. October 17,2014.


Cocoa Flavonol and Cognition

Cocoa was shown to enhance a region in the brain associated with memory.

We addressed this issue by first using a high-resolution variant of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map the precise site of age-related DG dysfunction and to develop a cognitive task whose function localized to this anatomical site. Then, in a controlled randomized trial, we applied these tools to study healthy 50–69-year-old subjects who consumed either a high or low cocoa–containing diet for 3 months. A high-flavanol intervention was found to enhance DG function, as measured by fMRI and by cognitive testing. Our findings establish that DG dysfunction is a driver of age-related cognitive decline and suggest non-pharmacological means for its amelioration.

Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dietary flavanols improves cognition in older adults. Nature Neuroscience (2014). doi:10.1038/nn.3850


Flavonoids May Be Linked to Lower Rates of Ovarian Cancer

Design: We followed 171,940 Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II participants to examine associations between intakes of total flavonoids and their subclasses (flavanones, flavonols, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavones, and polymeric flavonoids) and risk of ovarian cancer by using Cox proportional hazards models. Intake was calculated from validated food-frequency questionnaires collected every 4 y.

Conclusions: Higher intakes of flavonols and flavanones as well as black tea consumption may be associated with lower risk of ovarian cancer. Additional prospective studies are required to confirm these findings.

Intake of dietary flavonoids and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. October 2014. doi: 10.3945/?ajcn.114.088708


Green Tea and Blood Pressure

In a 25 study review of 1476 subjects:

The present findings suggest that long-term ( ? 12 weeks) ingestion of tea could result in a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic BP.

Lui, G, Mi, X-N, Zheng, X-X, Xu, Y-L, et al. British Journal of Nutrition. October 2014; 112(7). 1043-1054. DOI:


Move Over Bacteria-Introducing the Virome!

A new study supported the role of a virus injected in mice to restore their gut and modulate immune function and signaling. The researchers also showed that the virus offset, “the deleterious effect of treatment with antibiotics in models of intestinal injury and pathogenic bacterial infection. These data indicate that eukaryotic viruses have the capacity to support intestinal homeostasis and shape mucosal immunity, similarly to commensal bacteria.”

An enteric virus can replace the beneficial function of commensal bacteria. Nature. (2014). doi:10.1038/nature13960

NYU Langone Medical Center. (2014, November 19). Natural gut viruses join bacterial cousins in maintaining health and fighting infections. Science Daily. November 20, 2014.


Sushi (2)There’s Antibiotics in Your Fish

  • 5 out of 47 antibiotics were detected in shrimp, salmon, tilapia and trout.
  • Oxytetracycline is the most commonly detected antibiotic compound.
  • Publications reporting antibiotic resistance in aquaculture have increased 8-fold over 3 decades.
  • We report a low risk of drug exposure from consumption of U.S. seafoods.
  • We recommend vigilance toward stemming microbial risks.

Done, H, Halden, R. Reconnaissance of 47 antibiotics and associated microbial risks in seafood sold in the United States. Journal of Hazardous Materials. October 5, 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2014.08.075

Oaklander, M. There Are Antibiotics In Your Fish. There’s a veritable fish pharmacy in your freezer. Time. October 22, 2014.


There’s Antibiotics in Your Fruit Too!

Some fruits, like blueberries, use antibiotics as a pesticide to combat the growth of bacteria, fungi, and algae. In addition to contributing to antibiotic resistance these residues on fruit can cause allergic reactions.

A case study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, reported on a 10 year-old girl who had an anaphylactic reaction after eating blueberry pie. Doctors determined that blueberries in the pie were contaminated with streptomycin.[1]

Other fruits, especially apples and pears, are vulnerable to a bacterial infection called “fire blight.” It spreads quickly and can even wipe out whole orchards. For decades, some growers have sprayed fruit blossoms with streptomycin and oxytetracycline to control the disease.

How do you avoid these drugs on your apples and pears? Up until just last month (October 2014), buying organics did NOT protect you. Growers had an exemption allowing them to use antibiotics on apples and pears and still sell their fruits with an organic label. That exemption has now expired so buying organic is one way to protect yourself and your family.

King, M. Are Your Apples Full of Antibiotic Drugs? Green Med Info. November 9, 2014.


Speaking of Antibiotics, Here’s a Spice That May Help with Antibiotic Resistance

Curcumin, a natural polyphenolic flavonoid extracted from the rhizome of Curcuma longa L., was shown to possess superior potency to resensitize methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to antibiotics. Previous studies have shown the synergistic activity of curcumin with ?-lactam and quinolone antibiotics. Further, to understand the anti-MRSA mechanism of curcumin, we investigated the potentiated effect of curcumin by its interaction in diverse conditions. …. These data indicate a remarkable antibacterial effect of curcumin, with membrane permeability enhancers and ATPase inhibitors, and curcumin did not directly bind to PGN on the cell wall. Further, the antimicrobial action of curcumin involved in the PBP2a-mediated resistance mechanism was investigated.

Mun S-H, Kim S-B, Kong R, Choi J-G, Kim Y-C, Shin D-W, Kang O-H, Kwon D-Y. Curcumin Reverse Methicillin Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus. Molecules. 2014; 19(11):18283-18295.


Ginger or Ecstasy?

The new study published in the journal Basic Clinical Neuroscience titled “Ecstasy-induced caspase expression alters following ginger treatment,” used an animal model administering to the body cavities (intraperitoneally) of 15 male rats 0, 10 mg/kg MDMA, or MDMA along with 100mg/kg ginger, for 7 days.  When their brains were analyzed for markers of neurological injury and inflammation (caspases 3,8 and 9), the ginger + MDMA group was found to have significantly reduced  MDMA-induced cell death (apoptosis) in the hippocampus (an important brain structure substantially involved in learning and memory) of the male rats, leading the researchers to conclude: 

“Therefore, ginger appears to be a useful medicinal herb as a potential treatment for the MDMA- associated adverse effects.”

Ji, S. If You Do Ecstasy (MDMA) Consider Ginger. GreenMedInfo. November 4, 2014.


Medicinal Mushrooms and HPV

Research from France’s Medicine Information Formation conducted a study of 472 gingivitis patients who were swabbed and screened for HPV. They found that 61 of the patients were positive for either HPV16 or HPV18.

The researchers then randomized the HPV-positive patients and for two months the researchers treated 20 patients with the medicinal mushroom species Laetiporus sulphureus. The other 41 patients were treated with a combination of Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum.

After the two months, the researchers found that 88% of the 41 patients treated with Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum tested negative for HPV. In the other group, 5% tested negative for HPV.

Adams, C. Medicinal Mushrooms Proving to Eradicate Human October 31, 2014.

Donatini B. Control of Oral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) byMedicinal Mushrooms, Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum: A PreliminaryClinical Trial. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2014;16(5):497-8.



A Japanese mushroom extract, active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), appears to be effective in eradicating persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, according to results of a small pilot study.

Nelson, R. Japanese Mushroom Extract Could Help Treat HPV Infections. Medscape Medical News > Oncology. October 31, 2014.

J.A. Smith et al. Evaluation of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) for the eradication of HPV infections in women with HPV positive Pap smears. International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology, Houston, October 28, 2014.


Dietary Guidelines Updated For Kidney Stones

Changes in diet and fluid intake were recommended by the American College of Physicians and had less side effects of pharmacologic therapies in decreasing kidney stone recurrence:

Increased fluid intake was shown to decrease stone recurrence by at least half with no reported side effects. Decreasing soft drink intake in men with a high baseline intake of soft drinks acidified by phosphoric acid also decreased stone recurrence. Other dietary interventions, including low-protein diets and multicomponent interventions, showed mixed results. Pharmacologic therapies plus increased fluid intake was effective, and thiazide, citrate, and allopurinol treatment resulted in a statistically significant decrease in stone recurrence. No trials were identified that directly compared these treatments with each other. Clinical outcomes and adverse events were sparsely reported, but they were more common for pharmacologic than nonpharmacologic therapies. Evidence was insufficient to determine the effect of dietary or pharmacologic therapy based on stone composition or blood and urine chemistries. Most studies included only patients with calcium stones, and no trials assessed treatment in patients with uric acid or cystine stones. See the Figure for a summary of the recommendations and clinical considerations

Dietary and Pharmacologic Management to Prevent Recurrent Nephrolithiasis in Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(9):659-667. doi:10.7326/M13-2908













Stress May Be Hazardous to Your Workout

A study investigated the effect of cognitive fatigue on physical performance in a paced running task in 20 experienced runners. There was no significant difference in heart rate, blood lactate levels, or ratings of perceived exertion; however, there was a change in overall performance:

Specifically, cognitive fatigue increased the perception of exertion, leading to lesser performance on the running task.

Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.2014; 36(4):375-381.DOI: 10.1123/jsep.2013-0249

Mercola, J. 10 Ways Stress Can Mess with Your Workout. November 7, 2014.


Society for Integrative Oncology Publishes Clinical Practice Guidelines

The Society for Integrative Oncology has published a first-of-its kind breast cancer clinical practice guidelines in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs coinciding with the 11th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology held this week in Houston, Texas.

With over 80% of breast cancer patients using some form of integrative cancer therapy following diagnose, these timely guidelines will bring much needed clarity and support to women undergoing active cancer treatment.

Sabin, G. Integrative Oncology Breast Cancer Clinical Practice Guidelines Published in JNCI Monographs. FON Therapeutics. 2014.

Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Integrative Therapies as Supportive Care in Patients Treated for Breast Cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr (2014) 2014 (50): 346-358. doi: 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgu041


The Chemical World- More New Toxins Found In Population Sample

A recent study demonstrated that metabolites of various flame retardants were found in a population sample in urine collected from 21 US mother-toddler pairs, with higher amounts found in children. These new chemicals were the result of using alternative flame retardants related to the ban of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) in the mid-2000s.

Metabolites of Organophosphate Flame Retardants and 2-Ethylhexyl Tetrabromobenzoate in Urine from Paired Mothers and Toddlers. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2014, 48 (17), pp 10432–10438. DOI: 10.1021/es5025299








EWGs List of 12 Artificial Flavorings to Avoid

EWG’s “Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives” helps you figure it all out by highlighting some of the worst failures of the regulatory system. The guide covers ingredients associated with serious health concerns, additives banned or restricted in other countries and other substances that shouldn’t be in food.  And it underscores the need for better government oversight of our food system.

Here’s a list of 12 additives that EWG calls the “Dirty Dozen.” We’ll tell you why, which foods contain them and what you can do to avoid them. (A good place to start is by looking up your food in EWG’s Food Scores database).

Environmental Working Group. EWG’s Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives. November 12, 2014.


After Work Emails May Be Bad For Your Health

Organizations rely heavily on asynchronous message-based technologies (e.g., e-mail) for the purposes of work-related communications. These technologies are primary means of knowledge transfer and building social networks. As a by-product, workers might feel varying levels of preoccupations with and urges for responding quickly to messages from clients, coworkers, or supervisors-an experience we label as workplace telepressure. This experience can lead to fast response times and thus faster decisions and other outcomes initially. However, research from the stress and recovery literature suggests that the defining features of workplace telepressure interfere with needed work recovery time and stress-related outcomes. The present set of studies defined and validated a new scale to measure telepressure. Study 1 tested an initial pool of items and found some support for a single-factor structure after problematic items were removed. As expected, public self-consciousness, techno-overload, and response expectations were moderately associated with telepressure in Study 1. Study 2 demonstrated that workplace telepressure was distinct from other personal (job involvement, affective commitment) and work environment (general and ICT work demands) factors and also predicted burnout (physical and cognitive), absenteeism, sleep quality, and e-mail responding beyond those factors. Implications for future research and workplace practices are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Barber LK, Santuzzi AM. Please Respond ASAP: Workplace Telepressure and Employee Recovery. J Occup Health Psychol. November 3, 2014.PMID: 25365629


Bad Relationships May Be Bad For Your Brain

Participants in the Whitehall II Study (n = 5,873; ages 45–69 years at first cognitive assessment) underwent executive function and memory tests 3 times over a period of 10 years (1997–1999 to 2007–2009)….

Negative aspects of close relationships, but not positive aspects, were associated with accelerated cognitive aging. Participants in the top third of reported negative aspects of close relationships experienced a faster 10-year change in executive function (?0.04 standard deviation, 95% confidence interval: ?0.08, ?0.01) than those in the bottom third, which was comparable with 1 extra year of cognitive decline for participants aged 60 years after adjustment for sociodemographic and health status.

Negative Aspects of Close Relationships as Risk Factors for Cognitive Aging.Am. J. Epidemiol. (2014) doi: 10.1093/aje/kwu236


Of Anxiety and Alzheimer’s

stress or relax

Anxiety may accelerate the decline into Alzheimer’s disease in older patients with mild memory problems, a finding researchers say should serve as a wake-up call for younger Canadians, too.

Barton, A. Anxiety may accelerate slide into Alzheimer’s. The Globe and Mail. November 13, 2014.


Ebola, Selenium, Indemnity, and Fast Tracked

  • As efficacy trials are getting underway, vaccine makers demand indemnity against lawsuits that may arise from the use of a fast-tracked Ebola vaccine
  • There may not be enough Ebola victims to justify pandemic classification in the US; so far, only one patient in the US has died from the disease
  • A number of studies suggest vaccination may actually increase the future risk of infection; the 2008-2009 flu vaccine actually made people more prone to pandemic swine flu the following year
  • Fast-tracked pandemic vaccines are very attractive in the eyes of vaccine makers; there’s lots of money to be made, and zero risk as pandemic vaccines are indemnified

Mercola, J. Drug Makers Push for Indemnity for Fast-Tracked Ebola Vaccines. November 4, 2014.

Hirschler, B & Nebehay, S. Drugmakers may need indemnity for fast-tracked Ebola vaccines. Reuters. October 23, 2014.

Katrenakes, J. Millions of candidate Ebola vaccine doses should be ready in 2015, WHO says. The Verge. October 24, 2014.


Hypoallergenic or Hyper Lies

For the new study, researchers tested 187 cosmetic products found in six different stores in California, to see if they contained any of the 80 most common known allergens, as defined by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group.

All of the products were specifically marketed as being safe for use in children, and all were labeled as “hypoallergenic,” “dermatologist recommended/tested,” “fragrance-free,” or “paraben free.”

Overall, 89 percent of the products contained at least one allergen, 63 percent contained two or more, and 11 percent contained five or more. The average number of allergens per product was 2.4, the researchers reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Kennedy, M. Hypoallergenic Labels May Not Be Accurate.


Implicit Positive Messages Strengthen the Body

Subliminal positive messages assisted with physical function of older individuals in this study:

Negative age stereotypes that older individuals assimilate from their culture predict detrimental outcomes, including worse physical function. We examined, for the first time, whether positive age stereotypes, presented subliminally across multiple sessions in the community, would lead to improved outcomes. Each of 100 older individuals (age = 61–99 years, M = 81) was randomly assigned to an implicit-positive-age-stereotype-intervention group, an explicit-positive-age-stereotype-intervention group, a combined implicit- and explicit-positive-age-stereotype-intervention group, or a control group. Interventions occurred at four 1-week intervals. The implicit intervention strengthened positive age stereotypes, which strengthened positive self-perceptions of aging, which, in turn, improved physical function. The improvement in these outcomes continued for 3 weeks after the last intervention session. Further, negative age stereotypes and negative self-perceptions of aging were weakened. For all outcomes, the implicit intervention’s impact was greater than the explicit intervention’s impact. The physical-function effect of the implicit intervention surpassed a previous study’s 6-month-exercise-intervention’s effect with participants of similar ages. The current study’s findings demonstrate the potential of directing implicit processes toward physical-function enhancement over time.

Levy, et al. Subliminal Strengthening-Improving Older Individuals’ Physical Function Over Time With an Implicit-Age-Stereotype Intervention. Psychological Science. October 17, 2014, doi: 10.1177/0956797614551970

Span, P. A Workout for the Mind. Time. October 30, 2014.


Mice Have Less Appetite with More Liver Glycogen

Here’s the long version of the mechanism:

We generated mice that overexpress protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) in the liver (PTGOE), which results in an increase in liver glycogen. When fed a high-fat diet (HFD), these animals reduced their food intake. The resulting effect was a lower body weight, decreased fat mass and reduced leptin levels. Furthermore, PTG overexpression reversed the glucose intolerance and hyperinsulinemia caused by the HFD and protected against HFD-induced hepatic steatosis. Remarkably, when fed a HFD, PTGOE mice did not show the decrease in hepatic ATP content observed in control animals and had lower expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and higher expression of propiomelanocortin (POMC) in the hypothalamus. Additionally, after an overnight fast, PTGOE animals presented high liver glycogen content, lower liver triacylglycerol content, and lower serum concentrations of fatty acids and ?-hydroxybutyrate compared to control mice, regardless whether they received a HFD or a standard diet (SD). In conclusion, liver glycogen accumulation caused a reduced food intake, protected against the deleterious effects of a HFD and diminished the metabolic impact of fasting. Therefore, we propose that hepatic glycogen content be considered a potential target for the pharmacological manipulation of diabetes and obesity.

Lopez-Soldado, D. Zafra, J. Duran, A. Adrover, J. Calbo, J. J. Guinovart. Liver glycogen reduces food intake and attenuates obesity in a high-fat diet-fed mouse model. Diabetes, 2014; DOI: 10.2337/db14-0728

Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. Liver, brain communicate in order to regulate appetite. ScienceDaily. November 13, 2014.


Cell Phone Study Confirms Link to Brain Cancer

A pooled analysis of two case-control studies on malignant brain tumors that compared 1498 diagnosed patients to 3530 controls during 1997-2003 and 2007-2009 was performed. Mobile phone use and cordless phones increased the risk of glioma significantly.

Hardell, L & Carlberg, M. Mobile phone and cordless phone use and the risk for glioma – Analysis of pooled case-control studies in Sweden, 1997–2003 and 2007–2009. Pathophysiology. October 28, 2014.   doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2014.10.001

Anderson, P. Long-Term Cell Phone Use Linked to Brain Tumor Risk. Medscape Medical News > Neurology. November 13, 2014.


2nd Hand Smoke Linked to Weight Gain

The mechanism may be related to a change in our mitochondria function effecting insulin response.

New research is challenging the decades-old belief that smoking cigarettes helps keep you slim. A study finds that exposure to cigarette smoke can actually cause weight gain. But here’s the kicker: Secondhand smoke is the biggest culprit…

Brigham Young University. Secondhand smoke can cause weight gain. Science Daily. November 4, 2014.

O. Thatcher, T. S. Tippetts, M. B. Nelson, A. C. Swensen, D. R. Winden, M. E. Hansen, M. C. Anderson, I. E. Johnson, J. P. Porter, J. T. Prince, P. R. Reynolds, B. T. Bikman. Ceramides mediate cigarette smoke-induced metabolic disruption in mice. AJP: Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2014; DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.


How Fish Odor Could Save Your Life

Researchers tested if aversive smells during sleep would alter cigarette-smoking behavior during wakefulness. The researchers found that in the 66 subjects tested these nasty smells inhaled during stage 2 and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep decreased smoking and was greater than if the odor was used during wakefulness:

To conclude, a single night of olfactory aversive conditioning during sleep significantly reduced cigarette-smoking behavior in a sleep stage-dependent manner, and this effect persisted for several days.

Arzi, Y. Holtzman, P. Samnon, N. Eshel, E. Harel, N. Sobel. Olfactory Aversive Conditioning during Sleep Reduces Cigarette-Smoking Behavior. Journal of Neuroscience, 2014; 34 (46): 15382 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2291-14.2014

Weizmann Institute of Science. (2014, November 12). Behavioral changes seen after sleep learning: Rotten egg smell blended with cigarette smell helps smokers’ quit. ScienceDaily.


Obesity Ages Your Liver

Researchers were able to measure how obesity effected DNA methylation (an epigenetic marker) age in tissues (blood, liver, muscle, and fat). A significant association was found between BMI (body mass index) and epigenetic age acceleration in the liver. Basically, fat can have an effect on the 279 “liver aging genes.”

Horvath, S, Erhart, W, Brosch, M, Ammerpohl, O, et al.Obesity accelerates epigenetic aging of human liver. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Oct 13. pii: 201412759. [Epub ahead of print]

Mercola, J. Obesity May Speed the Age of the Liver. October 29, 2014.


Sugar on the Brain – Insulin Resistance in Brain Linked to Alzheimer’s in Small Study

According to small comparison study, levels of  insulin resistance in the brain is higher for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) then patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) or frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This measurement also predicts development of AD:

Insulin resistance causes diminished glucose uptake in similar regions of the brain in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2).

…Insulin resistance reflected in R values from this blood test is higher for patients with AD, DM2, and FTD than case control subjects; higher for patients with AD than patients with DM2 or FTD; and accurately predicts development of AD up to 10 yr prior to clinical onset.

Kapogiannis, D., Boxer, A., Schwartz, J. B., Abner, E. L., Biragyn, A., Masharani, U., Frassetto, L., Petersen, R. C., Miller, B. L., Goetzl, E. J. Dysfunctionally phosphorylated type 1 insulin receptor substrate in neural-derived blood exosomes of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. FASEB J. 2014 Oct 23. pii: fj.14-262048. [Epub ahead of print]


Osteoporosis Screening Guidelines Miss the Mark According to Studies

Osteoporosis screening guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) miss three-quarters of women 50 to 64 years of age with osteoporosis, and are only “slightly better than chance alone” at discriminating between women with and without the condition, a new study has found.

The results, from one of three top-scoring abstracts here at the North American Menopause Society 2014 Annual Meeting, were presented by Xuezhi (Daniel) Jiang, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

“Routine osteoporosis screening is not recommended for young postmenopausal women. The question is when to start. A dozen medical societies have published guidelines, with more than 30 risk factors. It’s not easy for a clinician to follow,” Dr Jiang explained during his presentation.

Tucker, M. USPSTF Guidelines Miss Most Women With Osteoporosis. Medscape Medical News > Conference News. October 29, 2014.


Over diagnosis Likely To Blame for Rise in Thyroid Cancer in S Korea

To the shock of many cancer experts, the most common cancer in South Korea is not lung or breast or colon or prostate. It is now thyroid cancer, whose incidence has increased fifteenfold in the past two decades. “A tsunami of thyroid cancer,” as one researcher puts it.

Similar upward trends for thyroid cancer are found in the United States and Europe, although not to the same degree. The thyroid cancer rate in the United States has more than doubled since 1994.

Cancer experts agree that the reason for the situation in South Korea and elsewhere is not a real increase in the disease. Instead, it is down to screening, which is finding tiny and harmless tumors that are better left undisturbed, but that are being treated aggressively.

South Koreans embraced screening about 15 years ago when the government started a national program for a variety of cancers — breast, cervix, colon, stomach and liver. Doctors and hospitals often included ultrasound scans for thyroid cancer for an additional fee of $30 to $50.

Kolatanov, G. Study Points to Overdiagnosis of Thyroid Cancer. New York Times. November 5, 2014.


Regulators to Develop Uniform Standards for Dietary Supplements, Cosmetics, OTC Drugs and Medical Devices

Global public health organization NSF International and leaders from major retailers and manufacturers created the Global Retailer and Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA) earlier this year to develop consensus-based standards for dietary supplements, cosmetics/personal care products, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medical devices. Combining retailer and regulatory requirements into a single standard and auditing program for each product category will help reduce audits and costs while strengthening safety, quality and trust throughout the supply chain. The first retailer standard is anticipated to be for dietary supplements and available in early 2015.

Modern Health Care Practitioner. NSF International Partners with Retailers, Manufacturers and Regulators to Develop Uniform Standards for Dietary Supplements, Cosmetics, OTC Drugs and Medical Devices. November 6, 2014.


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Baby Born from Transplanted Uterus

Some fascinating news recently broke in the field of reproductive technology. It got a little bit lost amid all the headlines concerning Ebola, but a team in Sweden announced the first baby born from the transplant of a uterus. That is a fascinating approach to helping people who are either born without a uterus or perhaps have had it surgically removed. People wondered whether it would be possible to conceive and carry to term a baby in a transplanted uterus. So far, one child has been born, and at this time, two more pregnancies in women with uterine transplants have occurred but births have not yet been announced.

Caplan, A. Baby Born From Transplanted Uterus: Should We Be Doing This? Medscape Business of Medicine > Ethics: Today’s Hot Topics. November 4, 2014.

Livebirth after Uterine Transplantation.The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 6 October 2014. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61728-1












Can You Get A Virus From Someone Who Was Vaccinated From It?

  • Live attenuated viral vaccines fool your immune system into believing you’ve come into contact with a real virus to stimulate an antibody response
  • When you get a live attenuated viral vaccine, you shed live vaccine strain virus in your body fluids—just like when you get a viral infection and shed virus in your body fluids
  • After getting a live virus vaccine, you can shed and transmit vaccine strain virus to other people
  • Live attenuated viral vaccines have the potential to affect the evolution of viruses, which are constantly recombining with each other, because vaccine strain live viruses are released into the environment where further mutations can occur
  • A healthy immune system is the most powerful way to resist infectious diseases or heal after infection and the efficient functioning of your immune system is dependent on healthy gut flora

Mercola, J. Can People Receiving Live Virus Vaccines Transmit Vaccine Strain Virus to Others? 9, 2014.


An Overlooked Problem with Pills

  • About 40 percent of Americans have trouble swallowing pills
  • The pop-bottle method and the lean-forward technique made pill-swallowing easier for nearly 60 percent and 90 percent of those who tried them, respectively
  • Try EFT to overcome fear of gagging and other emotional barriers to swallowing pills

Mercola, J. Do You Have Problems Swallowing Vitamins? November 29, 2014.

Two Techniques to Make Swallowing Pills Easier. Ann Fam Med November/December 2014 vol. 12 no. 6 550-552. doi: 10.1370/afm.1693


Can a Lab Test Guide Antidepressant Therapy?

Depression is one of the world’s most common chronic illnesses, and it remains undertreated despite large-scale efforts to change physicians’ practices. Part of the difficulty in treating depression is due to confusion over which antidepressant to prescribe to an individual patient.

A new study[1] finds differential treatment effects of two antidepressants, based on patients’ baseline serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). This important finding may pave the way for the use of biomarkers in the management of depression. However, that time has not yet come. For now, the clinician needs to balance adverse events and small differential effects in terms of therapeutic efficacy in making a choice between different antidepressants.

Baseline CRP level was positively correlated with age and body mass index, but not depression severity. However, higher CRP levels were associated with a worse response to treatment with both escitalopram and nortriptyline.

Vega, C. Treating Depression in Primary Care: Are Biomarkers the Key? Medscape. November 6, 2014.


Increase In Generic Drug Pricing

Prices for generic drugs not protected by patents are escalating, according to a report published in the November 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jonathan Alpern, MD, from the Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and the Department of Medicine, Regions Hospital, St. Paul, Minnesota, and colleagues offer the example of albendazole, a broad-spectrum antiparasitic drug. It was first marketed by a predecessor to GlaxoSmithKline outside the United States in 1982 and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996.

Its patents expired, but no manufacturer sought FDA approval for a generic version. Its price went from $5.92 per daily dose in the United States in 2010 to $119.58 per daily dose in 2013.

Marcia Frellick. Prices Soar for Off-Patent Drugs as Competition Thins. Medscape Medical News. November 14, 2014


Drugs That Increase Risk for Heart Problems

If you’ve got asthma severe enough to need daily controller medication, you may be at a higher risk of having a heart attack, according to new findings presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting.

For nine years, researchers followed nearly 7,000 adults, including 156 asthma patients who used daily controller meds and 511 who were asthmatic but not on controller meds. Compared to non-asthmatics, asthmatics who took controller meds were 60% more likely to suffer from a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke, even after accounting for other heart disease risk factors like age, smoking, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

Taylor, M. The Meds That Up Your Heart Attack Risk By 60%. Prevention. November 4, 2014.


Low Dose Aspirin Fails in Primary Prevention Study

A new trial shows no benefit of low-dose, once-daily aspirin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with multiple risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia.

No benefit was seen for the composite endpoint of nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), nonfatal stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes. There were significant reductions in MI and in transient ischemic attack (TIA), but a significant increase in serious extracranial hemorrhage meant the net benefit was questionable.

The overall rate of events was much lower than anticipated in this study, and it did not reach statistical significance, said study coauthor Kazuyuki Shimada, MD, Department of Cardiology, Shin-Oyama City Hospital, Tochigi, Japan. “Therefore, the possibility that aspirin does have a beneficial effect in this population cannot be excluded.”

Jeffrey, S. Low-Dose Aspirin Fails in Primary Prevention. Medscape Medical News > Conference News. November 18, 2014

Low-Dose Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Japanese Patients 60 Years or Older With Atherosclerotic Risk Factors-A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. Published online November 17, 2014. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15690


Statins and 20 Year Risk Study

Twenty-year follow-up of the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS) has shown that treatment with a statin for 5 years provides a “persistent reduction in cardiovascular disease outcomes” over the course of 2 decades[1].

Michael O’Riordan. WOSCOPS at 20 Years: Study Shows Lifetime Benefit With 5 Years of Statin Therapy. Heartwire > Conference News. November 20, 2014


New Hydrocodone ER Approved

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the extended-release (ER) single-entity opioid analgesic hydrocodone bitartrate (Hysingla ER, Purdue Pharma) with abuse-deterrent properties in line with the FDA’s 2013 draft guidance to industry, the agency announced today.

Brooks, M. FDA Clears Hydrocodone With Abuse-Deterrent Properties. FDA Approvals. Medscape Medical News. November 20, 2014


Anxiety Drugs for Teens May Lead to Non-Medical Abuse

Compared with adolescents never prescribed anxiolytic or sleep medication, adolescents prescribed these medicines during the study period were 10 times more likely to engage in nonmedical use for reasons such as “to get high” or “to experiment” (adjusted odds ratio [ORadj.] = 10.15; 95% CI [3.97–25.91]), and 3 times more likely to engage in nonmedical use to self-treat anxiety or to sleep (ORadj. = 3.24; 95% CI [1.67–6.29]). Adolescents prescribed anxiolytics during their lifetime but not during the 3-year study were 12 times more likely to use another’s anxiolytic medication, compared with adolescents never prescribed anxiolytics (ORadj. = 12.17; 95% CI [3.98–37.18]). These risk factors have significant implications for later substance use problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)

Carol J. Boyd, Elizabeth Austic, Quyen Epstein-Ngo, Philip T. Veliz and Sean Esteban McCabe. A Prospective Study of Adolescents’ Nonmedical Use of Anxiolytic and Sleep Medication. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Nov. 24, 2014 DOI: 10.1037/adb0000026

University of Michigan. (2014, November 24). Teens prescribed anxiety, sleep medications likelier to illegally abuse them later. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from

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