Myths About E-Cigarettes

Myths About E-Cigarettes

Myths About E-Cigarettes

I personally think E-cigs are great but advocates tout that e-cigarette are a clean alternative to old-fashioned tobacco, one that can even help people quit smoking. But although the companies making these largely unregulated products promote e-cigarettes as safe and pure, the reality is a little more complicated. Here are four common misconceptions about e-cigarettes, and the scientific evidence against them.

Myth 1: Vapor from e-cigs is pure.

The liquid “vaped” in an e-cigarette contains nicotine, water and a solvent (usually glycerine or propylene glycol). It may also contain flavoring agents, such as oil of wintergreen. Although this mixture may sound pure enough, neither the liquid (called the e-liquid) nor the device’s delivery system are regulated; this means e-cigarettes could produce harmful chemicals.

In fact, recent studies have identified impurities ranging from formaldehyde to heavy metals in e-cig vapor. And vaporized propylene glycol is a known eye and respiratory irritant.

One recent study found formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acetone in the vapor of several different e-cigarette models and liquid nicotine products found formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acetone. “We found nicotine, of course, but we also found some potentially dangerous compounds,” said study researcher Maciej Goniewicz, an assistant professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York.

What’s more, users can amp up the voltage of an e-cig delivery device, resulting in a denser, more nicotine-rich vapor. Goniewicz and his team found that at a higher voltage and hotter temperature, levels of harmful chemicals increased, too.

The vapor had a lower chemical content than tobacco smoke, but there was “huge variability” among the products tested, Goniewicz told Live Science. “It doesn’t mean that each product will expose users to high levels of formaldehyde, but there is a risk for sure,” he said.

Myth 2: E-cigs are safe.

In addition to potential toxicity from chemical byproducts, which could harm users over the long term, e-cigs carry another safety risk. Liquid nicotine is extremely toxic when swallowed, and in some case reports, infants and children have accidentally ingested the substance.

The chances of this happening may increase with flavored liquid nicotine, which may come in enticing-looking packages and can smell tempting, according to new research.

“It mistakenly has this reputation for being safe because it’s purchased over the counter, but it easily can be fatal if it’s taken in high doses,” said Dr. Robert A. Bassett, a medical toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Bassett and his colleagues reported a case of liquid nicotine poisoning in a 10-month-old infant in the May 7 issue of JAMA.

The boy recovered within a few hours, but nicotine poisoning could easily be fatal, Bassett said. A teaspoon of standard liquid nicotine would be enough to kill a person who weighs 200 pounds (90 kilograms), Bassett and his colleagues noted in their report.

Myth 3: E-cigs can help you quit smoking.

The few studies looking at whether or not using e-cigs helps people kick the habit have had mixed results. Some studies have found people who tried e-cigs wound up smoking fewer regular cigarettes, but they were no more likely to give up smoking entirely.

Overall, the authors of a recent scientific review conclude, “studies that reflect real-world e-cigarette use found that e-cigarette use is not associated with successful quitting … Taken together, the studies suggest that e-cigarettes are not associated with successful quitting in general population-based samples of smokers.”

And there is even some evidence that e-cigs may get non-smokers hooked on nicotine. Studies have found as many as one-third of young e-cigarette users have never tried conventional cigarettes.

Myth 4: E-cigs don’t produce harmful second-hand smoke.

A main selling point of e-cigs is that they can be used anywhere, because they don’t produce toxic smoke that puts others at risk. But breathing in second-hand vapor,  also known as “passive vaping,” may not be harmless. In fact, experts say although The level of toxic chemicals in second-hand vapor is smaller than that in second-hand smoke. But experts say e-cig smoke contains a similar amount of tiny particles of heavy metals and other substances that can damage the lungs.

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a rule that would permit the agency to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products. If the proposal becomes final, the agency said, it will be able to use regulatory tools, such as age restrictions and rigorous scientific review of new tobacco products and claims to reduce tobacco-related disease and death.

 

Source:  livescience.com

Women lie for Profit Recognized as Medical Condition

Women liar

Women liar

Apparently unaware or dismissive of the consequences, there is an epidemic of sorts of people faking serious illness and advertising it on the internet. The Guardian reviews the case of wannabe cancer victim Belle Gibson and beyond:

How would you fake cancer? Shave your head? Pluck your eyebrows? Install a chemo port into your neck? These days you don’t need to. Belle Gibson’s story is a masterclass on faking cancer in the modern age. She fooled Apple, Cosmopolitan, Elle and Penguin. She fooled the hundreds of thousands who bought her app, read her blog and believed that her story could be their story.

Diagnosed with a brain tumour aged 20, Gibson had four months to live. She blogged her journey of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, treatments she shunned after eight weeks. Instead, she cut gluten and dairy and turned to oxygen therapy, craniosacral treatments and colonic irrigation. Against all odds, she made it. Her followers were inspired. If Belle could make it, maybe they could too.

Gibson launched The Whole Pantry app in 2013, filled with healthy living tips and recipes. She promised a third of proceeds from the 300,000 downloads ($3.79 per download) to charity. Elle named her “The Most Inspiring Woman You’ve Met This Year”, Cosmopolitan awarded her a “Fun, Fearless Female award” and Penguin published her cookbook. Apple pre-installed her app on Apple Watch and flew her to its Silicon Valley launch.

Then cancer re-emerged, and Gibson announced on Instagram: “It hurts me to find space tonight to let you all know with love and strength that I’ve been diagnosed with a third and forth [sic] cancer. One is secondary and the other is primary. I have cancer in my blood, spleen, brain, uterus, and liver. I am hurting.”

Last week, Gibson admitted it was all a lie. “No. None of it’s true. I am still jumping between what I think I know and what is reality. I have lived it and I’m not really there yet.”

She is now being investigated over the disappearance of $300,000 of promised charity donations. Months earlier, she spoke of her four-year-old son and the short time they had left together: “[Oliver] sees me on days that I can’t get out of bed. The only thing that breaks me is [the idea of] not being able to see Oli grow. He’s so incredible I just want to squish him all day forever. I don’t want those moments to end. I’m just going to miss him.”

The diagnosis of Münchausen syndrome has dominated analysis of Gibson’s case. It comes under the rubric of a wider term, factitious disorder: the intentional production (feigning) of disease in order to assume the role of a sick person…

 

Source:  disinfo.com

Protein Treatment Staves Off Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms

Protein Treats Alzheimer’s Disease

Protein Treats Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with over 1,200 individuals developing the disease every day. A new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience from lead author Dena Dubal of the University of California, San Francisco describes how manipulating levels of a protein associated with memory can stave off Alzheimer’s symptoms, even in the presence of the disease-causing toxins.

Klotho is a transmembrane protein associated with longevity. The body makes less of this protein over time, and low levels of klotho is connected to a number of diseases including osteoporosis, heart disease, increased risk of stroke, and decreased cognitive function. These factors lead to diminished quality of life and even early death.

Previous research has shown that increasing klotho levels in healthy mice leads to increased cognitive function. This current paper from Dubal’s team builds on that research by increasing klotho in mice who are also expressing large amounts of amyloid-beta and tau, proteins that are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Remarkably, even with high levels of these toxic, disease-causing proteins, the mice with elevated klotho levels were able to retain their cognitive function.

“It’s remarkable that we can improve cognition in a diseased brain despite the fact that it’s riddled with toxins,” Dubal said in a press release. “In addition to making healthy mice smarter, we can make the brain resistant to Alzheimer-related toxicity. Without having to target the complex disease itself, we can provide greater resilience and boost brain functions.”

The mechanism behind this cognitive preservation appears to be klotho interacting with a glutamate receptor called NMDA, which is critically important to synaptic transmission, thus influencing learning, memory, and executive function. Alzheimer’s disease typically damages these receptors, but the mice with elevated klotho were able to retain both NMDA function and cognition. Part of the success also appears to be due to the preservation of the NMDA subunit GluN2B, which existed in significantly larger numbers than the control mice. The mechanism and the results of this study will need to be investigated further before developing it into a possible treatment for humans in the future.

“The next step will be to identify and test drugs that can elevate klotho or mimic its effects on the brain,” added senior author Lennart Mucke from Gladstone Institutes. “We are encouraged in this regard by the strong similarities we found between klotho’s effects in humans and mice in our earlier study. We think this provides good support for pursuing klotho as a potential drug target to treat cognitive disorders in humans, including Alzheimer’s disease.”

 

Source:  iflscience.com

FDA-APPROVED ASPARTAME DISEASE

ASPARTAME DISEASE: AN FDA-APPROVED EPIDEMIC

ASPARTAME DISEASE:
AN FDA-APPROVED EPIDEMIC

“Diet” products containing the chemical sweetener aspartame can have multiple neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic, fetal and carcinogenic effects. My database of 1,200 aspartame reactors–based on logical diagnostic criteria, including predictable recurrence on rechallenge–is reviewed.

The existence of aspartame disease continues to be denied by the FDA and powerful corporate entities. Its magnitude, however, warrants removal of this chemical as an “imminent public health threat.” The use of aspartame products by over two-thirds of the population, and inadequate evaluation by corporate-partial investigators underscore this opinion.

About Aspartame

The FDA approved aspartame as a low-nutritive sweetener for use in solid form during 1981, and in soft drinks during 1983. It is a synthetic chemical consisting of two amino acids, phenylalanine (50 percent) and aspartic acid (40 percent), and a methyl ester (10 percent) that promptly becomes free methyl alcohol (methanol; wood alcohol). The latter is universally considered a severe poison.

Senior FDA scientists and consultants vigorously protested approving the release of aspartame products. Their objections related to disturbing findings in animal studies (especially the frequency of brain tumors), seemingly flawed experimental data, and the absence of extensive pre-marketing trials on humans using real-world products over prolonged periods.

Aspartame reactions may be caused by the compound itself, its three components, stereoisomers of the amino acids, toxic breakdown products (including formaldehyde), or combinations thereof. They often occur in conjunction with severe caloric restriction and excessive exercise to lose weight.

Various metabolic and physiologic disturbances explain the clinical complications. Only a few are listed:

  • Damage to the retina or optic nerves is largely due to methyl alcohol exposure. Unlike most animals, humans cannot efficiently metabolize it.
  • High concentrations of phenylalanine and aspartic acid occur in the brain after aspartame intake, unlike the modest levels of amino acids following conventional protein consumption.
  • Aspartame alters the function of major amino acid-derived neurotransmitters, especially in obese persons and after carbohydrate intake.
  • Phenylalanine stimulates the release of insulin and growth hormone.
  • The ambiguous signals to the satiety center following aspartame intake may result either in increased food consumption or severe anorexia.
  • Large amounts of the radioactive-carbon label from oral aspartame intake have been detected in DNA.

The current “acceptable daily intake” (ADI) of 50 mg aspartame/kg body weight makes no sense. It represents the projection of animal studies based on lifetime intake! This was clearly stated by previous FDA Commissioner Dr. Frank Young during a U.S. Senate hearing on November 3, 1987. Furthermore, it disregards the usual 100-fold safety factor used by the FDA as a guideline for regulated food additives. The maximum daily intake tolerated by most reactors in my series, based on the predictable recurrence of induced symptoms and signs, ranged from 10 to 18.3 mg/kg.

“We had better be sure that the questions that have been raised about the safety of this product are answered. I must say at the outset, this product was approved by the FDA in circumstances that can only be described as troubling.”

I have devoted more than two decades to analyzing aspartame disease, a widespread but largely ignored disorder. Its existence continues to be reflexively denied by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and many public health/ regulatory organizations.

The medical profession and consumers have been assured by the Council on Scientific Affairs of the AMA2 and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that aspartame is “completely safe.” Moreover, the impression is left that reports of serious reactions are a “health rumor” fabrication … notwithstanding the CDC report in 1984 of 649 aspartame reactors with many attributed disorders3.

Aspartame Intake

Many reactors consumed prodigious amounts of aspartame, especially during hot weather. Conversely, some experienced convulsions, headache, or other severe symptoms after exposure to small amounts (e.g., chewing aspartame gum; placing an aspartame strip on the tongue; babies while breast-feeding as the mother drank an aspartame beverage).

Interval Between Cessation and Improvement

Nearly two-thirds of aspartame reactors experienced symptomatic improvement within two days after avoiding aspartame. With continued abstinence, their complaints generally disappeared.

Causation

The causative role of aspartame products has been repeatedly shown by (a) the prompt improvement of symptoms (grand mal seizures, headache, itching, rashes, severe gastrointestinal reactions) after stopping aspartame products, and (b) their recurrence within minutes or hours after resuming them. The latter included self-testing on numerous occasions, inadvertent ingestion, and formal rechallenge.

Some aspartame reactors with convulsions purposefully rechallenged themselves on one or several occasions “to be absolutely certain.” This was unique among six pilots who had lost their licenses for unexplained seizures while consuming aspartame products. (All had been in otherwise excellent health.) They sought to have their licenses reinstated by such objective confirmation on rechallenge.

High-Risk Individuals

These groups include pregnant and lactating women, young children, older persons, those at risk for phenylketonuria (PKU), the relatives of aspartame reactors (see above), and patients with liver disease, iron-deficiency anemia, kidney impairment, migraine, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and hypothyroidism.

 

Source: wnho.net  By H. J. Roberts

Disease picked up through interbreeding with Neanderthals

Disease in people today were picked up through interbreeding with Neanderthals:

 

Disease in people today were picked up through interbreeding with Neanderthals

Disease in people today were picked up through interbreeding with Neanderthals

Genome studies reveal that our species (Homo sapiens) mated with Neanderthals after leaving Africa.

But what was clear before this Neanderthal DNA did and if there was any impact on human health .

When Neanderthals and modern humans met and mixed , they were on the very edge of being compatible biological ”

Harvard Medical School Prof David Reich

Between 2% and 4% of the genetic fingerprint of non-Africans today came from Neanderthals.

By screening the genomes of 1,004 modern humans, Sriram Sankararaman and colleagues identified the regions that carry different versions of Neanderthal genes.

Genetic variant associated with a difficulty in quitting should be found to have a Neanderthal origin is a surprise.

There is no suggestion of our evolutionary cousins ​​were smoking in their caves.

Instead, the researchers argue , this mutation may have more than one function , so the modern effect of this marker in smoking behavior may be one of the impacts it has among many.

The researchers found that the DNA Neanderthal not evenly distributed throughout the human genome , rather than being commonly found in the regions that affect the skin and hair .

This suggests some variants of the gene provided a quick way to modern to suit the new cooler environments they encountered as they moved in Eurasia humans. When populations were found , Neanderthals had already been adapted to these conditions for several hundred thousand years.

Chubby Chasers once covered the gamut from Britain to Siberia, but became extinct about 30,000 years ago, as Homo sapiens was spreading from an African country.

Neanderthal ancestry was found in regions of the genome associated with the regulation of skin pigmentation .

I think what we’re seeing in many ways they are the dying remains of this extinct genome as slowly purged human populations ”

Joshua Akey University of Washington

“We found evidence that genes of skin Neanderthals did Europeans and East Asians more evolutionarily fit,” said Benjamin Vernot , University of Washington, co -author of a separate study in Science magazine .

The genes of keratin filaments , a fibrous protein that lends itself to the hardness of the skin, hair and nails, also enriched with Neanderthal DNA . This may have helped provide newcomers with thicker insulation against the cold, the scientists suggest .

“It is tempting to think that Neanderthals already adapted to the environment does not always lead African and genetics ( modern) humans,” said Professor David Reich of Harvard Medical School , co-author of the Nature paper .

But other gene variants influence human diseases , such as type 2 diabetes, long-term depression , lupus, biliary cirrhosis – an autoimmune liver disease – Crohn ‘s disease and . For Crohn ‘s disease , Neanderthals passed on markers that increase and decrease the risk of disease .

Asked whether our ancient relatives actually suffering from these diseases as well, or whether mutations in question only affected the risk of disease when transplanted to a modern human gene pool , Mr. Sankararaman said : “We have a fine knowledge of genetics the Neanderthals to answer this , “but added that further study of their genomes may she light on this issue.

Joshua Akey , University of Washington, one of the authors of the journal Science , added: “Mixture happened relatively recently in evolutionary terms , so you can not expect the entire Neanderthal DNA have been swept away by this point.

“I think what we’re seeing in many ways they are the dying remains of this extinct genome as slowly purged of the human population .

However, some regions of the genome were found to be devoid of Neanderthal DNA , suggesting that certain genes had such adverse effects in the offspring of matings by modern Neanderthal that indeed have been emptied and actively quickly through natural selection .

“We found that there are large regions of the genome where most modern humans have little or no Neanderthal ancestry. ”

“This reduction of Neanderthal ancestry was probably due to selection against genes that were wrong – harmful – . For us ”

Neanderthal deficient regions include genes that are specifically expressed in the testes and in the X ( female ) chromosome .

This suggests that some human hybrids – modern Neanderthals had reduced fertility and in some cases were sterile.

” We are told that when Neanderthals and modern humans met and mixed , they were on the verge of being biologically compatible” said Professor Reich.

Another region of the genome includes genes neanderthales lacked a gene called FOXP2 , which is believed to play an important role in human speech .

Joshua Akey said his team’s findings were consistent with that there have been multiple pulses cross between modern humans and Neanderthals .

 

Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology:

A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology

A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, and with the ever-increasing size of this population, cases of Alzheimer’s disease are expected to triple over the next 50 years. Consequently, the development of treatments that slow or halt the disease progression have become imperative to both improve the quality of life for patients as well as reduce the health care costs attributable to Alzheimer’s disease.

Since the characterization of the Cannabis sativa-produced cannabinoid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in the 1960’s, this natural product has been widely explored as an anti-emetic, anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic.

The active component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation, the key pathological marker of Alzheimer’s disease. Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis.

In these contexts, efficacy results from THC binding to the family of cannabinoid receptors found primarily on central and peripheral neurons (CB1) or immune cells (CB2). More recently, a link between the endocannabinoid system and Alzheimer’s disease has been discoveredwhich has provided a new therapeutic target for the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. New targets for this debilitating disease are critical as Alzheimer’s disease afflicts over 20 million people worldwide, with the number of diagnosed cases continuing to rise at an exponential rate. These studies have demonstrated the ability of cannabinoids to provide neuroprotection against β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) toxicity.Yet, it is important to note that in these reports, cannabinoids serve as signaling molecules which regulate downstream events implicated in Alzheimer’s disease pathology and are not directly implicated as effecting Aβ at a molecular level.

Computational modeling of the THC-AChE interaction revealed that THC binds in the peripheral anionic site of AChE, the critical region involved in amyloidgenesis. Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.

Job Insecurity is killing all of us

Job Insecurity is the Disease of the 21st Century,and It’s Killing Us:

Job Insecurity: It's the Disease of the 21st Century And It's Killing Us

Job Insecurity: It’s the Disease of the 21st Century And It’s Killing Us

 

The 21st century started not with a bang, but with a bust. Two, in fact. First, the Internet collapse and then, after a brief and illusory reprieve in which the employment rate never returned to its previous level, the financial crash. The economy remains stubbornly stuck in second gear. Job insecurity is nothing new for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Since the ’70s and ’80s, a shifting labor market and anti-worker policies have been fraying the ties between employers and employees, fueling the perception that a job is a temporary affair. Globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, and recession have conspired to make confidence in a stable, long-term job a privilege that few can enjoy. But the global recession has blown the numbers experiencing persistent job insecurity through the roof. In the U.S., the stress of three years of unemployment over 8 percent – the longest stretch at that level since the Great Depression – has rocketed our anxieties to new heights, even among traditionally secure workers. In Europe, where employees have enjoyed more protections, workers are feeling increasingly stressed, often trapped in low-wage and temporary employment with few benefits. Even in Germany, this trend of part-time “mini-jobs”  is wiping away the old image of Europe as a worker-friendly land of happy, full-time employment. Compared to other western nations, Americans have few buffers when things go badly. New Deal policies meant to protect us from brutal economic downturns have been systematically shredded. At a time of high unemployment and union disintegration, employers have less incentive to provide health care and fair contracts. The vulture capitalism of profiteering firms like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, which make a quick buck by bankrupting companies and laying off employees, has created a global image of America as a place where working people are so many carcasses to be picked over by financiers. Better-educated workers are still more secure than others, but a diploma is no longer the magic ticket for holding on to a job. That’s why the U.S. graduates of 2012 are more concerned with job security than any other aspect of employment, including salary and benefits, one study found. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Our capitalist endeavor was supposed to make us safe from the vagaries of weather conditions and arbitrary events that harassed our ancestors. But somehow we’ve ended up more worried than ever. Anxiety disorders now plague 18 percent of the U.S. adult population –- a whopping 40 million people. Only half that number is affected by mood disorders. The drug alprazolam — familiar by its brand name, Xanax — was prescribed 46.3 million times in 2010, making it that year’s bestselling psychiatric drug. Prozac, the happiness-and-optimism pill, has been pushed aside by a medication meant to just help you get through the day without collapsing in a puddle of anxiety. It’s easy to see the appeal of popping a Xanax. A recent survey by the American Psychological Association paints a picture of workers on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

  • Sixty-two percent say work has a significant impact on their stress levels.
  • Almost 50 percent indicate their stress levels have increased between 2007 and 2008.
  • Forty-five percent of workers say job insecurity has a significant impact on stress levels.

Today even bankers are doing time in the prison of job insecurity. Recent layoffs sent a shudder down the gold-plated halls of Goldman Sachs, which has slashed 8.5 percent of its workforce over the last year over worries about the European debt crisis and other negative indicators. A recent study in Michigan found that insecure workers were significantly more likely to meet criteria for major or minor depression and to report a recent anxiety attack, even after taking into consideration factors like race, education, poorer prior health, and higher likelihood of recent unemployment. Conclusion: Many of those who have managed to hang onto their jobs during the Great Recession are getting mentally and physically wrecked – often more so than those who have lost their jobs. The study found that chronic job insecurity was a stronger predictor of poor health than either smoking or hypertension. Months, even years, are shaved off of life expectancy. Suicide rates are known to increase during economic downturns, and middle-age workers are especially vulnerable. Last year, suicide rates were at an all-time high in Connecticut, fueled by a sharp increase in rates among middle-age men. Middle-aged workers may still have plenty to offer, but employers often consider them used goods. In an economy with sky-high youth joblessness, employers know that there are young, inexperienced people that can be paid little and exploited at will. The jobs of older workers may be “restructured,” the pace sped up, the pay reduced. Why don’t the media spend more time investigating job insecurity? Maybe we avoid it because it hits too close to home.