Is This a Mosquito?

It can be remotely controlled and is equipped with a camera and a microphone. It can land on you, and it may have the potential to take a DNA sample or leave RFID tracking nanotechnology inside your skin. It can fly through an open window, or it can attach to your clothing until you take it to your car or home.



Mortality risk increased 1 year after type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Within a year, patients with type 2 diabetes who were obese or of normal weight demonstrated an increased risk for all-cause mortality compared with patients whose BMI was in the overweight range, according to researchers from Scotland.

Records for 106,640 patients from the Scottish Care Information Diabetes Collaboration (SCI-DC) database were used in the study. Jennifer Logue, MD, of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues sought to examine the link between BMI within a year after the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and all-cause, cardiovascular, cancer and respiratory mortality. The mean follow-up was to the end of 2007 (4.7 years) or death.

“Previous studies have demonstrated convincingly that all-cause mortality does not increase monotonically with greater BMI but instead follows a U-shaped pattern,” the researchers wrote.

According to data, 9,631 deaths occurred from 2001 to 2007. The risk for mortality was greater in men whose BMI was 20 kg/m2 to <25 kg/m2 (HR=1.22; 95% CI, 1.13-1.32) and women (HR=1.32; 95% CI, 1.22-1.44) compared with the reference group.

Furthermore, risk for mortality increased as BMI increased. Regarding cause-specific mortality, the risk for vascular mortality increased by 23% for each 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI from 30 kg/m2 to <50 kg/m2 in women (95% CI, 1.14-1.32) and 24% for men (95% CI, 1.15-1.35), the researchers wrote.

After accounting for adjustments in HbA1c, year of diagnosis, lipids, blood pressure and socioeconomic status, the researchers concluded that results were similar.

Logue and colleagues suggest further research to determine the mechanisms of obesity-related mortality risk, increased risk for mortality at lower BMI, and the effect of weight-loss interventions in this patient population.

Source: Endocrine Today

Low vitamin D levels raised risk for type 1 diabetes.

Data from a 6-year study suggest that those with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ≥60 nmol/L have a 3.5-fold lower risk for developing type 1 diabetes vs. those with lower levels.

“Previous studies proposed the existence of an association between vitamin D deficiency and risk of type 1 diabetes, but this is the first time that the theory has been tested in a way that provides the dose-response relationship,” Cedric Garland, DrPH, FACE, professor in the department of family and preventive medicine at the University of California at San Diego, said in a press release.

Using blood samples from military service members collected through the Department of Defense Serum Registry for disease surveillance, Garland and colleagues analyzed 1,000 samples from healthy members who later developed type 1 diabetes. Each case was individually matched with a healthy control based on blood draw date, age, length of service and sex. The median elapsed time between serum collection and first diagnosis of diabetes was 1 year, according to the abstract.

Researchers compared serum levels of 25-(OH)D to determine the optimal level needed to lower the risk for type 1 diabetes.

According to data, the ORs for insulin-requiring diabetes by quintile of serum 25-(OH)D were 3.5 (95% CI, 2.0-6.0); 2.5 (95% CI, 1.5-4.2); 0.8 (95% CI, 0.4-1.4); 1.1 (95% CI, 0.6-2.8); and 1.0 (reference; P<.001).

Based on serum 25-(OH)D, the quintiles were <43 nmol/L (median 28 nmol/L); 43 nmol/L to 59 nmol/L (median 52 nmol/L); 60 nmol/L to 77 nmol/L (median 70 nmol/L); 78 nmol/L to 99 nmol/L (median 88 nmol/L) and ≥100 nmol/L (median 128 nmol/L).

According to the press release, Garland estimates that the level of 25-(OH)D needed to prevent half of the cases of type 1 diabetes is 50 ng/mL, based on these and other data.

“While there are a few conditions that influence vitamin D metabolism, for most people, 4,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 will be needed to achieve the effective levels,” Garland said. “This beneficial effect is present at these intakes only for vitamin D3. Reliance should not be placed on different forms of vitamin D and mega doses should be avoided, as most of the benefits for prevention of disease are for doses less than 10,000 IU per day.”

Disclosure: The study was supported by a congressional allocation to the Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami through the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.

Source: Endocrine Today.



Fasting for routine lipid screening deemed largely unnecessary.

Fasting for at least 8 hours before lipid level measurement is recommended to decrease variability and improve consistency at the time of the test. However, new data published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggest that fasting for routine lipid levels is unnecessary.

“The results presented herein, combined with those of other recent studies, suggest that nonfasting determination of lipid subclasses is a reasonable alternative to fasting determinations,” the researchers wrote. “In individuals with an initial triglyceride level higher than 400 mg/dL, follow-up assessment of fasting lipid levels and/or direct measurement of LDL cholesterol levels should be considered.”

Davinder Sidhu, MD, LLB, and Christopher Naugler, MSc, MD, CCFP, FCFP, FRCPC, of the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a community-based cohort during a 6-month period at Calgary Laboratory Services in 2011.

The fasting time was split into hourly intervals from 1 to 16, and fasting times of more than 16 hours were included in the 16-hour group. Additionally, patients who fasted less than 1 hour were included in the 1-hour group. The patients were analyzed according to sex in linear regression models, researchers wrote.

Of 209,180 patients (111,048 females) included in the study, the mean cholesterol subclass levels varied by less than 2% for total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol, less than 10% for calculated LDL cholesterol, and less than 20% for triglycerides, Sidhu and Naugler wrote.

In an accompanying editorial, J. Michael Gaziano, MD, MPH, of the department of medicine at VA Boston Healthcare System, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, wrote that optional fasting could provide a convenience to patients and practitioners without adverse effects on clinical decision making.

“While there are some circumstances in which a fasting level may be useful, most of the time it is probably not necessary,” Gaziano wrote.

Additional commentary by Amit V. Khera, MD, and Samia Mora, MD, MHS, of the divisions of internal medicine, preventive medicine and cardiovascular disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, support Sidhu and Naugler’s suggestion due to small differences unlikely to affect cardiovascular risk scores.

“However, given the current lack of evidence for the superiority of fasting lipid testing, it is reasonable to consider nonfasting lipid testing in most individuals who present for a routine clinic visit, with the possible exceptions of individuals with triglyceride levels greater than 400 mg/dL,” they wrote.

They recommend further studies before a nonfasting lipid testing strategy is enforced.

For more information:

Gaziano JM. Arch Intern Med. 2012;doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1771.

Khera AV. Arch Intern Med. 2012;doi:10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.263.

Sidhu D. Arch Intern Med. 2012;doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3708.

Source: Endocrine Today.


Meta-analysis suggests patients taking statins less likely to develop HCC.

Patients taking statins may be at a reduced risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma compared with nonusers, according to data presented at The Liver Meeting.

Researchers performed a systematic review of 10 studies including 4,298 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) out of 1.459 million people. All incorporated studies were collected from Medline, Embase and Web of Science and dated through May 2012. They assessed patients’ statin exposure and HCC incidence rates and either calculated ORs or RRs for the association between the two, or included sufficient data for estimation.

Across the studies, patients taking statins were at reduced risk for HCC (adjusted OR=0.63; 95% CI, 0.52-0.76 compared with nonusers). Four studies evaluated an Asian population while six encompassed a Western population, and the association between statin use and HCC risk was found to be more pronounced among the Asians (adjusted OR=0.52; 95% CI, 0.42-0.64 among Asian studies; aOR=0.67; 95% CI, 0.53-0.85 for Western studies).

Seven of the studies were observational (aOR=0.60; 95% CI, 0.49-0.73) and three were clinical trials (aOR=0.95; 95% CI, 0.62-1.45). Investigators noted significant heterogeneity among the studies (I2=59%; P=.01), and cited study location and design as possible explanations. No publication bias was observed.

“It’s clearly known that statins do not necessarily worsen liver function; multiple studies have shown that statins are not bad for the liver,” researcher Siddharth Singh, MBBS, a gastroenterology and hepatology fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told “Patients with cirrhosis, [nonalcoholic steatohepatitis] or chronic HBV, if they’re on statins for other indications … prevention of heart disease or improving cholesterol levels, then we should not stop it. It may actually be preventing the development of liver cancer in those patients.”

The investigators concluded that further study was warranted, in the form of randomized clinical trials among high-risk populations.

For more information:

Singh S. P522: Statins are Associated with Reduced Risk of Hepatocellular Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Presented at: The Liver Meeting 2012; Nov. 9-13, Boston.

Source: Endocrine Today


Association between low vitamin D, clinical outcomes varied.

Previous studies have suggested that low 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration could be a modifiable risk factor associated with chronic disease. However, recent data derived from four cohort studies now suggest genetic variants might modify the association between low 25-hydroxyvitamin D and adverse health outcomes such as hip fractures, incident myocardial infarction, incident cancer or death from any cause.

Gregory P. Levin, PhD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined 141 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from a discovery cohort of 1,514 patients from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). From 1992 to 1993, 2,312 patients underwent serum 25-(OH)D measurements and were followed for 11 years.

Besides the CHS, researchers used replication meta-analyses in the US Health, Aging, and Body Composition study (Health ABC; n=922) with follow-up in 1998-1999 through 2005. They also used the Italian Invecchiare in Chianti study (InCHIANTI; n=835) with follow-up in 1998-2000 through 2006; and the Swedish Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men (ULSAM; n=970) with follow-up in 1991-1995 through 2008.

Levin and colleagues found that interactions between 5 SNPs and low 25-(OH)D were identified in the CHS discovery cohort and one SNP associated with a variant in the VDR gene replicated from the Health ABC study.

Of the patients examined from the CHS, researchers discovered that low 25-(OH)D was linked to hip fractures, incident MI, incident cancer or death from any cause (composite outcomes) in patients with one minor allele at rs7968585 (HR=1.40; 95% CI, 1.12-1.74) and in patients with two minor alleles at rs7968585 (HR=1.82; 95% CI, 1.31-2.54). However, researchers wrote there was no evidence of an association in patients with no minor alleles (HR=0.93; 95% CI, 0.70-1.24).

“These results suggest that individuals with specific 25-(OH)D metabolism genotypes may be particularly susceptible to, or protected from, the potential adverse health effects of low vitamin D,” the researchers wrote.

Source: Endocrine Today.

ATA issues guidelines for anaplastic thyroid cancer management.

The American Thyroid Association has released the first set of comprehensive guidelines for the management of anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare but lethal form of thyroid cancer.

Members of the American Thyroid Association (ATA) task force compiled a list of 65 recommendations based on relevant literature.


Bryan R. Haugen

“The American Thyroid Association Guidelines for Management of Patients with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer is a remarkable and comprehensive document that distills the literature and task force expertise into a useful guide for providers of patients with this aggressive cancer. The focused therapeutic approaches, as well as the inclusion of palliative care and ethical issues into this document, is a real advance for our field,” ATA president and professor of medicine and pathology; head of the division of endocrinology, metabolism and diabetes at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Bryan R. Haugen, MD, said in a press release.

According to the guidelines published in Thyroid, the ATA task force sought to address the following: diagnosis, initial evaluation, establishment of treatment goals, approaches to locoregional disease (i.e., surgery, radiotherapy, systemic therapy, and supportive care during active therapy), approaches to advanced/metastatic disease, palliative care options, surveillance and long-term monitoring, and ethical issues regarding end-of-life.

For more information:

Smallridge RC. Thyroid. 2012; doi: 10.1089/thy.2012.0302.



Richard T. Kloos

  • ATC is a rare, rapidly growing and [usually] fatal disease. Few physicians have personal expertise, and the published literature tends to be of low quality. Thus, when a patient presents at their doorstep, unfamiliar physicians are ill equipped to manage the disease.

The ATA brought together experts from a range of disciplines that synthesize the published literature and combine it with their clinical experience to thoughtfully guide physicians through the complexities of an ATC diagnosis, evaluation, staging and the establishment of treatment goals. This latest endeavor includes disclosing the patient’s status in a realistic way, including a discussion of treatment risks and benefits, the discussion of patient values and preferences, and the eventual making of an informed decision.

Unfortunately, physicians see patients in their best condition at the time of the first appointment, as most patients with ATC progressively decline in health and die from the disease in less than 6 months. Therefore, important decisions are needed quickly to address the remainder of their life. The document includes important sections of surrogate decision making, truth telling, advanced directives, airway management, maintenance of nutrition and palliative care/hospice.

This is the first set of comprehensive guidelines on this topic, and Dr. Smallridge and the ATA Task Force are to be congratulated for creating such a thoughtful and extensive document. Readers should quickly appreciate that to treat these patients they need to have an awaiting comprehensive multidisciplinary treatment team on-site to receive such patients, in addition to a group that can review this document to discuss their institutional approach moving forward. Conversely, physicians need to know how and where to rapidly transfer patients into the care of such a team.

Historically, guidelines have improved patient care in the short term by educating physicians and guiding patient care. In the long term, guidelines improve patient care by driving research. Gaps in the medical literature are identified and disagreements over strategies can be appropriately studied to strengthen the evidence base and to change patient care. We all hope that this is the case for ATC, and this document sets the benchmark for optimal care in 2012.

Source: Endocrine Today.

5 Of The World’s Most Famous Hackers & What Happened To Them.

There are two types of hackers. First, you’ve got the kind that is so often portrayed by Hollywood as an anti-social nerd with a chip on his shoulder out to dominate the cyberworld by breaking into secure networks and messing things up. Second, you’ve got the kind of people who just enjoy fiddling around with software source code and hardware gigs.

That’s right. The term “hacker” originally referred to the second type, which held absolutely no malevolent connotations. Only recently has the term been used to refer primarily to criminal masterminds. There are good hackers and bad hackers! Nowadays, benevolent hackers are often called “white hats” while the more sinister are called “black hats.”

In this article, I’ll be talking specifically about famous hackers that don hats of black. Here are five of the most widely known black hatters and what happened to them for their recklessness.

Jonathan James

Jonathan James was known as “c0mrade” on the Internet. What is his ticket to fame? He was convicted and sent to prison for hacking in the United States–all while he was still a minor. At only fifteen years of age, he managed to hack into a number of networks, including those belonging to Bell South, Miami-Dade, the U.S. Department of Defense, and NASA.

Yes, James hacked into NASA’s network and downloaded enough source code to learn how the International Space Station worked. The total value of the downloaded assets equaled $1.7 million. To add insult to injury, NASA had to shut down their network for three whole weeks while they investigated the breach, which cost them $41,000.

The story of James has a tragic ending, however. In 2007, a number of high profile companies fell victim to a massive wave of malicious network attacks. Even though James denied any involvement, he was suspected and investigated. In 2008, James committed suicide, believing he would be convicted of crimes that he did not commit.

Kevin Mitnick

Kevin Mitnick’s journey as a computer hacker has been so interesting and compelling that the U.S. Department of Justice called him the “most wanted computer criminal in U.S. history.” His story is so wild that it was the basis for two featured films.

What did he do? After serving a year in prison for hacking into the Digital Equipment Corporation’s network, he was let out for 3 years of supervised release. Near the end of that period, however, he fled and went on a 2.5-year hacking spree that involved breaching the national defense warning system and stealing corporate secrets.

Mitnick was eventually caught and convicted, ending with a 5-year prison sentence. After serving those years fully, he became a consultant and public speaker for computer security. He now runs Mitnick Security Consulting, LLC.

Albert Gonzalez

Albert Gonzalez paved his way to Internet fame when he collected over 170 million credit card and ATM card numbers over a period of 2 years. Yep. That’s equal to a little over halfthe population of the United States.

Gonzalez started off as the leader of a hacker group known as ShadowCrew. This group would go on to steal 1.5 million credit card numbers and sell them online for profit. ShadowCrew also fabricated fraudulent passports, health insurance cards, and birth certificates for identity theft crimes totaling $4.3 million stolen.

The big bucks wouldn’t come until later, when Gonzalez hacked into the databases of TJX Companies and Heartland Payment Systems for their stored credit card numbers. In 2010, Gonzalez was sentenced to prison for 20 years (2 sentences of 20 years to be served out simultaneously).

Kevin Poulsen

Kevin Poulsen, also known as “Dark Dante,” gained his fifteen minutes of fame by utilizing his intricate knowledge of telephone systems. At one point, he hacked a radio station’s phone lines and fixed himself as the winning caller, earning him a brand new Porsche. According to media, he was called the “Hannibal Lecter of computer crime.”

He then earned his way onto the FBI’s wanted list when he hacked into federal systems and stole wiretap information. Funny enough, he was later captured in a supermarket and sentenced to 51 months in prison, as well paying $56,000 in restitution.

Like Kevin Mitnick, Poulsen changed his ways after being released from prison. He began working as a journalist and is now a senior editor for Wired News. At one point, he even helped law enforcement to identify 744 sex offenders on MySpace.

Gary McKinnon

Gary McKinnon was known by his Internet handle, “Solo.” Using that name, he coordinated what would become the largest military computer hack of all time. The allegations are that he, over a 13-month period from February 2001 to March 2002, illegally gained access to 97 computers belonging to the U.S. Armed Forces and NASA.

McKinnon claimed that he was only searching for information related to free energy suppression and UFO activity cover-ups. But according to U.S. authorities, he deleted a number of critical files, rendering over 300 computers inoperable and resulting in over $700,000 in damages.

Being of Scottish descent and operating out of the United Kingdom, McKinnon was able to dodge the American government for a time. As of today, he continues to fight against extradition to the United States.

Now, do you know any famous hackers who should be in this hall of infamy? Put his (or her) name down in the comments.


Gene Predicts Time of Death.

A common gene variant separates early birds from night owls, and can even predict someone’s hour of death.

The findings—published in the November issue of the journal Annals of Neurology—could help people schedule anything from work to medical treatments, while offering clues to the conditions of vulnerable patients.

Andrew Lim, M.D., now an assistant professor in the division of neurology at the University of Toronto, noted in a statement that previous work in twins and families had suggested that people may inherit the lateness or earliness of their body clocks, while animal experiments suggested that specific genes affected the lateness or earliness of the biological clock.

Dr. Lim—then a postdoctoral fellow working in the lab of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Chief of Neurology Clifford Saper, M.D., Ph.D.—and lab colleagues were studying why older people have trouble sleeping. He joined a research project based at Rush University in Chicago involving 1,200 people who signed on as healthy 65-year-olds and would receive annual neurological and psychiatric examinations.

The study’s original goal was to identify any precursors to the development of Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Subjects were undergoing sleep-wake analyses, and had agreed to donate their brains after they died to provide scientists with information on sleep-wake patterns within a year of death.

But when Dr. Lim learned that the same subjects had also had their DNA genotyped, he joined his colleagues and investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in comparing the sleep-wake behavior of the patients with their genotypes.

The study findings—later verified in a volunteer group—uncovered a single nucleotide near a gene called “Period 1” that varied between two groups that differed in their wake-sleep behavior. At this site in the genome, 60% of individuals have the nucleotide base termed adenine (A) while the other 40% have the nucleotide base termed guanine (G). Since people have two sets of chromosomes, in any given individual there’s about a 36% chance of having two As, a 16% chance of having two Gs, and a 48% chance of having a mixture of A and G.

“People who have the A-A genotype wake up about an hour earlier than the people who have the G-G genotype, and the A-Gs wake up almost exactly in the middle,” Dr. Saper, who is also the James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, said in the statement. He added that expression of the Period 1 gene was lower in the brains and white blood cells of people with the G-G genotype than in people with the A-A, but only in the daytime when the gene is normally expressed.

When investigators re-examined patients who died, they found that this same genotype predicted six hours of the variation in the time of death: those with the A-A or A-G genotype died just before 11 a.m., the average time, while those with the G-G on average died at just before 6 p.m.

Dr. Lim said future studies will look to determine the mechanisms by which this and other gene variants influence the body’s biological clock. The research, he said, could help people optimize their schedules, and yield new therapies against disturbances of this clock such as jet lag or shift work.

The study was supported by grants from NIH as well the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Bisby Fellowship, an American Academy of Neurology Clinical Research Training Fellowship, and a Dana Foundation Clinical Neuroscience Grant.



Top 10 Reasons Not to Eat Turkeys.

Pardon me, pilgrim!

This Thanksgiving, how about ditching the dead bird? These beautiful, inquisitive, intelligent birds endure lives of suffering and painful deaths. Here are 10 good reasons to carve out a new tradition by flocking to vegetarian entrées, along with some scrumptious holiday cooking tips and recipes—thankfully, none of them require stuffing food up anyone’s behind.

1. They’re Begging Your Pardon
Turkeys are “smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings,” Oregon State University poultry scientist Tom Savage says. Turkeys are social, playful birds who enjoy the company of others. They relish having their feathers stroked and like to chirp, cluck, and gobble along to their favorite tunes. Anyone who spends time with them at farm sanctuaries quickly learns that turkeys are as varied in personality as dogs and cats. The president “pardons” a turkey every year—can’t you pardon one too? Learn more about turkeys.

2. Get Rid of Your Wattle
Turkey flesh is brimming with fat. Just one homemade patty of ground, cooked turkey meat contains a whopping 244 mg of cholesterol, and half of its calories come from fat. Research has shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters. Plus, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans are. Learn more about animal products and your health.

3. Can You Spell ‘Pandemic’?
Experts are warning that a virulent new strain of bird flu could spread to human beings and kill millions of Americans. Current factory-farm conditions, in which turkeys are drugged up and bred to grow so quickly they can barely walk, are a prescription for disease outbreaks. Eating a turkey carcass contaminated with bird flu could kill you, and currently available drugs might not work. Cooking should kill the virus, but it could be left behind on cutting boards and utensils and spread through something else you’re eating. Learn more about bird flu.

4. Recall Process Doesn’t Fly
The U.S. government is the only government in the Western world that does not have the power to recall contaminated animal products. Instead, American consumers must trust the profit-hungry meat, dairy, and egg industries to decide when recalls are necessary. Dan Glickman, secretary of agriculture under President Bill Clinton, explained that this limit on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) power to protect consumers from tainted animal products is “one of the biggest loopholes out there.” There are all sorts of killer bacteria found in turkey flesh, including salmonella and campylobacter. The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that 28 percent of fresh turkeys were contaminated with bacteria, primarily with campylobacter, for which the USDA does not even require testing. Learn more about meat contamination.

5. Let the Turkeys Give Thanks!
Let’s face it: If you’re eating a turkey, that’s a corpse you’ve got there on the table, and if you don’t eat it quickly enough, it will decompose. Is that really what we want as the centerpiece of a holiday meal: an animal’s dead and decaying carcass? Thanksgiving is a time to take stock of our lives and give thanks for all that we have, so why not let the turkeys give thanks too? Learn more about what happens to turkeys on factory farms.

6. Want Stuffing With Your Supergerms?
Dosing turkeys with antibiotics to stimulate their growth and to keep them alive in filthy, disease-ridden conditions that would otherwise kill them poses even more risks for people who eat them. Leading health organizations—including the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association—have warned that by giving powerful drugs (via animal products) to humans who are not sick, the farmed-animal industry is creating possible long-term risks to human health and will spread antibiotic-resistant supergerms. That’s why the use of drugs to promote growth in animals used for food has been banned for many years in Europe.

7. Without a Wing and a Prayer
On factory farms, turkeys live for months in sheds where they are packed so tightly that flapping a wing or stretching a leg is nearly impossible. They stand in waste, and urine and ammonia fumes burn their eyes and lungs. At the slaughterhouse, turkeys have their throats slit while they are still conscious. Those who miss the automated knife are scalded to death in the defeathering tank. Learn more about the cruelty endured by turkeys.

8. Foul Farming
Anyone who has driven by a farm has probably smelled it first from a mile away. Turkeys and other animals raised for food produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire U.S. human population—all without the benefit of waste treatment systems. There are no federal guidelines to regulate how factory farms treat, store, and dispose of the trillions of pounds of concentrated, untreated animal excrement that they produce each year. Learn more about how factory farming damages the environment.

9. Blood, Sweat, and Fear
Killing animals is inherently dangerous work, but the fast line speeds, the dirty, slippery killing floors, and the lack of training make animal-processing plants some of the most dangerous places to work in America today. The industry has refused to slow down the lines or buy appropriate safety gear because these changes could cut into companies’ bottom lines. In its 185-page exposé on worker exploitation by the farmed-animal industry, “Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants,” Human Rights Watch explains, ‘These are not occasional lapses by employers paying insufficient attention to modern human resources management policies. These are systematic human rights violations embedded in meat and poultry industry employment.”

10. A Cornucopia of Turkey Alternatives
Give up the giblets and carve out a new tradition this Thanksgiving—Tofurky Roast, a savory soy- and wheat-based roasts with stuffing and gravy or oven-roasted, peppered, hickory-smoked, or cranberry- and stuffing-flavored Tofurky Deli Slices. Give animals and yourself something to be really thankful for this year: Order a free vegetarian starter kit full of tasty recipes and celebrity features today!