Glyphosate Drives Breast Cancer Proliferation, Study Warns, as Urine Tests Show Europeans have this Weed Killer in Their Bodies.


Story at-a-glance

  • Tests show that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies. Of the urine samples tested, an average of 44 percent was found to contain glyphosate; 70 percent of Germans, Britons, and Polish tested positive
  • Researchers have determined the mechanism by which glyphosate residues in food disrupt normal body functions and induce disease; the pathway glyphosate uses to kill plants also exists in human and mammals’ gut bacteria
  • Glyphosate has estrogenic properties and promotes breast cancer in the parts-per-trillion range. Meanwhile, the EPA proposes raising allowable residue levels in certain vegetables from 0.2 to as high as 6 parts-per-million
  • The phytoestrogen genistein, naturally found in soybeans, has been found to heighten the estrogenic effects of glyphosate, prompting the warning that genetically engineered soybeans may therefore pose a breast cancer risk
  • A new EU-US free trade agreement has again cracked the door open for genetically engineered (GE) crops and foods into Europe
  • glyphosate

Disturbing discoveries relating to glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup—keep emerging. No less than two shocking discoveries recently went public on the same day…

Earlier this month, groundbreaking research was published detailing a newfoundmechanism of harm of the chemical.

Now, testing shows that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies1, while yet another study reveals that the chemical has estrogenic properties and drive breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range2. As reported by GreenMedinfo.com:

“Does this help explain the massive mammary tumors that the only long term animal feeding study on Roundup and GM corn ever performed recently found?”

Meanwhile, a new EU-US free trade agreement3,4 known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), has again cracked the door open for genetically engineered (GE) crops and foods into Europe.

This may effectively negate the hard work Europeans have done to limit the proliferation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their food supply, and with genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” crops and the food made from it come increased glyphosate exposure…

People Across Europe Test Positive for Glyphosate

A 2011 study detected glyphosate in 60-100 percent of all US air and rain samples, and last year another study revealed widespread glyphosate contamination in groundwater. When groundwater is used as a drinking water source, this contamination poses a risk to animals, plants and humans alike.

Now, the first-ever test for weed killer contamination in human bodies was commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe5. Volunteers from 18 different countries provided urine samples.

Of the 182 urine samples tested, an average of 44 percent was found to contain glyphosate, although the proportion of contamination varied from country to country. All volunteers were city dwellers who had not handled or used glyphosate, and only one person per household was tested.

Macedonia and Bulgaria had the least number of positive tests (10 percent), while 90 percent of samples in Malta tested positive. Seventy percent of volunteers in Germany, UK and Poland had the weed killer in their bodies.

Can you even imagine what the results might be if similar testing was conducted in the US, considering the fact that Americans eat their own weight or more in genetically engineered foods6 each and every year—in large part because the US does not require GE foods to be labeled, so many are still completely in the dark about such stealth ingredients.

The fact that close to half of all people are testing positive for glyphosate (including countries that don’t even use it) is profoundly disturbing in light of the recent findings that this commonly used weed killer may be among the most important factors in the development of modern diseases, as the pathway by which glyphosate kills plants is the identical pathway found in animal and human gut bacteria.

According to Friends of the Earth Europe’s spokesperson Adrian Bebb7:

“Most people will be worried to discover they may have weed killer in their bodies. We tested people living in cities in 18 countries and found traces in every country. These results suggest we are being exposed to glyphosate in our everyday lives, yet we don’t know where it is coming from, how widespread it is in the environment, or what it is doing to our health.

Our testing highlights a serious lack of action by public authorities across Europe and indicates that this weed killer is being widely overused. Governments need to step-up their monitoring and bring in urgent measures to reduce its use. This includes rejecting any genetically modified crops that would increase the use of glyphosate.”

Glyphosate Found to Be Carcinogenic in Infinitesimal Amounts

The second study pertains to the carcinogenic nature of this popular weed killer. Contrary to Monsanto’s claims that Roundup is “minimally toxic” to animal and humans, along with claims of it being environmentally friendly and biodegradable—claims found to be false in the highest court of law—Roundup is quite the disaster… As reported by GreenMedinfo.com8:

“The study, titled, ‘Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors,’ compared the effect of glyphosate on hormone-dependent and hormone-independent breast cancer cell lines, finding that glyphosate stimulates hormone-dependent cancer cell lines in what the study authors describe as ‘low and environmentally relevant concentrations.'”

The researchers concluded that glyphosate is a xenoestrogen that is functionally similar to estradiol, the most potent human estrogen, and concentrations in the parts-per-trillion range had carcinogenic effects. Adding insult to injury—in light of the fact that more than 90 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered (GE)—they also found that the phytoestrogen genistein, naturally found in soybeans, heightened the estrogenic effects when combined with glyphosate. According to the authors:

This study implied that the additive effect of glyphosate and genistein in postmenopausal women may induce cancer cell growth. In this present in vitro study, we showed an estrogenicity of pure glyphosate… Furthermore, this study demonstrated the additive estrogenic effects of glyphosate and genistein which implied that the use ofglyphosate-contaminated soybean products as dietary supplements may pose a risk of breast cancer because of their potential additive estrogenicity.” [Emphasis mine]

Glyphosate Implicated as Driver of Modern Diseases

Another groundbreaking report, published earlier this month in the journal Entropy9, argues that glyphosate residues, found in most commonly consumed foods in the US, “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.” As explained by the authors, Dr. Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel:

“Glyphosate’s claimed mechanism of action in plants is the disruption of the shikimate pathway… The currently accepted dogma is that glyphosate is not harmful to humans or to any mammals because the shikimate pathway is absent in all animals.

However, this pathway is present in gut bacteria, which play an important and heretofore largely overlooked role in human physiology through an integrated biosemiotic relationship with the human host. In addition to aiding digestion, the gut microbiota synthesize vitamins, detoxify xenobiotics, and participitate in immune system homeostasis and gastrointestinal tract permeability. Furthermore, dietary factors modulate the microbial composition of the gut.”

Remember, the bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to 1. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate! It causes extreme disruption of the microbe’s function and lifecycle; worse yet, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow. At that point, your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once the chronic inflammation sets in, you’re well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease. In a nutshell, Dr. Seneff has summarized the two key problems caused by glyphosate in the diet as:

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Systemic toxicity

She believes glyphosate is possibly the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies, including but not limited to:

Autism Gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, colitis and Crohn’s disease Obesity
Allergies Cardiovascular disease Depression
Cancer Infertility Alzheimer’s disease
Parkinson’s disease Multiple sclerosis ALS

Meanwhile, the EPA Raises Allowable Glyphosate Limits…

Just as more independent reports are emerging confirming the multivariate health hazards of glyphosate, the Environmental Protection Agency10 (EPA) is proposing to RAISE the allowed residue limits of glyphosate in food and feed crops11. The new allowable level of glyphosate in teff animal feed will be 100 parts per million (ppm). Allowed levels in some fruits and vegetables eaten by humans will also rise. Root and tuber vegetables, with the exception of sugar, will get one of the largest boosts, with allowable residue limits being raised from 0.2 ppm to 6.0 ppm. The new level for sweet potatoes will be 3 ppm.

This is unconscionable, considering the finding that glyphosate is carcinogenic in parts-per-TRILLION concentrations. Previous research by Professor Andres Carrasco documented malformations in frog and chicken embryos at just over 2 ppm glyphosate12.

Not surprisingly, Monsanto has petitioned and received approvals for increases in glyphosate residue levels for several crops. Clearly, they need allowable levels to be raised because farmers are increasingly forced to use more glyphosate due to glyphosate-resistant weed growth. The question is, how many of its citizens will the US government sacrifice in order for Monsanto to continue making money from its failing products?

Help Spread the Word, as Most Consumers Are Still Unaware of Risks from GMOs

The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, is increasing their propaganda efforts to sway opinion against the need to label genetically engineered foods. Many consumers are still in the dark about the very real risks that GE crops pose, both to the environment and human health. This is precisely what the biotech industry wants, even as increasing research demonstrates the many dangers associated with GE foods.

For example, one recent study found that rats fed a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the US food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems. This was at dietary amounts of about 10 percent. Does 10 percent or more of your diet consist of genetically engineered ingredients? Or are you like the average American who eats his or her own weight in genetically engineered foods each year?

If processed foods form the basis of your diet, then you’re likely in the latter category. Unfortunately, you can’t know for sure which items might contain GMOs since the US does not require genetically engineered foods to be labeled. With the latest revelations discussed above, the need for labeling couldn’t possibly be greater.

Last but not least, I would also encourage you to educate yourself a bit more on the topic of food sovereignty, and the critical nature of biodiversity for food sustainability and security. Because aside from the human health hazards associated with GE foods, seed patenting endangers the very future of life on Earth, as it destroys biodiversity and effectively prevents agricultural methods from flourishing that call for less, or no, agricultural chemicals.

An excellent resource is the free e-book, The Law of the Seed13; the result of a working group meeting of leading lawyers, scientists, and members of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, including the tireless environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva14.

Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people’s initiative 522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients.

Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn’t have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let’s not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can.

  • No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
  • Sign up to learn more about how you can get involved by visiting Yeson522.com!
  • For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
  • Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.

Source: mercola.com

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Plants Perform Molecular Mathematics.


Arithmetic division guides plants’ use of energy at night.

plants-perform-molecular-mathematics_1

As if making food from light were not impressive enough, it may be time to add another advanced skill to the botanical repertoire: the ability to perform — at least at the molecular level — arithmetic division.

Computer-generated models published in the journal eLife illustrate how plants might use molecular mathematics to regulate the rate at which they devour starch reserves to provide energy throughout the night, when energy from the Sun is off the menu. If so, the authors say, it would be the first example of arithmetic division in biology.

But it may not be the only one: manyanimals go through periods of fasting — during hibernations or migrations, for example — and must carefully ration internal energy stores in order to survive. Understanding how arithmetic division could occur at the molecular level might also be useful for the young field of synthetic biology, in which genetic engineers seek standardized methods of tinkering with molecular pathways to create new biological devices.

“This is a new framework for understanding the control of metabolic processes,” says Rodrigo Gutiérrez, a plant-systems biologist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, who was not involved in the work. “I can immediately think of applying it to other problems.”

Divide and survive
Plants make the starch reserves they produce during the day last almost precisely until dawn. Researchers once thought that plants break down starch at a fixed rate during the night. But then they observed that the diminutive weed Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant favored for laboratory work, could recalculate that rate on the fly when subjected to an unusually early or late night.

To Alison Smith and Martin Howard of the John Innes Center in Norwich, UK, and their colleagues, this suggested that a more sophisticated molecular calculation was at work. The team hypothesized the existence of two molecules: one, S, that tells the plant how much starch remains, and another, T, that informs it about the time left until dawn.

The researchers built mathematical models to show that, in principle, the interactions of such molecules could indeed drive the rate of starch breakdown such that it reflected a continuous computation of the division of the amount of remaining starch by the amount of time until dawn.

For example, the models predicted that plants would adjust the rate of starch breakdown if the night were interrupted by a period of light. During that period of light, the plants could again produce starch. When the lights went out again, the rate of starch breakdown should adjust to that increase in stored starch, the models predicted — a result that the researchers confirmed in Arabidopsis plants.

The team then trawled the literature looking for Arabidopsis mutants with known handicaps at different steps along the starch-degradation pathway. These showed that the models were compatible with the behavior of these mutants, which result in a higher than usual amount of starch remaining at the end of the night.

Simple principles
To find proteins that might be interacting directly with their hypothesized S/T computation system, the researchers also subjected these mutants to an unexpectedly early night — a situation that would normally cause plants to slow starch degradation. They found one mutant that could not alter the rate at which it consumed starch in response to this situation. That suggests that the mutated gene, called PWD, normally regulates this response, and may be an important player in the plant’s molecular calculations.

Gutiérrez says that the concept of biological arithmetic division provides a simple modeling principle that can stimulate new ways of looking at metabolism, although he is not yet convinced that plants execute division in the way suggested by the model. “Whether the plant is really doing that, I’m not sure,” he says. “But it’s a fascinating approach.”

The series of reactions underlying such processes are not that unusual, notes Howard, and one could readily imagine other scenarios in which chemical reactions help cells perform simpler maths, such as addition, subtraction or multiplication. But making the conceptual leap to thinking of these reactions as carrying out arithmetic functions was an important step in his model-making, says Howard, and helped the team home in on testable predictions.

“We’re dealing with a fundamental biological process in cells that’s doing a sophisticated arithmetic calculation,” says Howard. “No one has really thought about doing it this way before.”

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com

Using Money to Buy Happiness.


Two scholars offer scientific advice on getting the most happiness for your dollar.

using-money-to-buy-happiness_1

We live in America with two bits of contradictory received wisdom — that you’d be a lot better off if you made more money, and that money can’t buy you happiness. Now two scholars suggest another way of thinking about the relationship between cash and joy: To a large degree, how you spend is just as important as how much you spend.Michael Norton, an associate professor at Harvard Business School and coauthor – with Elizabeth Dunn – of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, answered questions from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.

Gareth Cook: What is the biggest misconception people have about the relationship between money and happiness?

Michael Norton: One of the things that my coauthor Liz Dunn and I hear again and again when we ask people about money and happiness is a simple phrase: more is better. In general, we all believe that having more money is going to make us happier. And, while it’s true that having more money doesn’t usually make us less happy, it’s also true that simply having more money doesn’t guarantee happiness. After all, most of us have a friend, family member, or coworker who is relatively wealthy who certainly doesn’t strike us as particularly happy.

We suggest that people should stop thinking exclusively about how to get more money, and instead focus more on whether they are getting the most happiness out of the money they already have.

Cook: You write that people should “buy experiences.” Why do you say that?

Norton: When we ask people to list all of their expenses in a given month, and then categorize them, it is always striking how much of their budget goes toward buying what we call—using the scientific term—stuff. Gadgets, music, books, lattes, and so on. As it turns out, buying stuff is not bad for our happiness—buying coffees and cars and even houses don’t make us unhappy—but stuff also doesn’t make us any happier.

Buying experiences, in comparison, does seem to create more happiness for every dollar spent. Why? Consider the difference between buying a TV and buying a vacation. TV is great, sure, but the experience of watching TV pales in comparison to the experience of going to a special meal once a week with a partner or friend. A $4,000 high-end TV may seem like a great purchase, but taking that chunk of cash and devoting it to buying experiences (say, 40 wonderful meals that cost $100 each) creates much more happiness. And what’s more, we watch TV alone, but we eat dinner with others. The increase in social interaction—a key predictor of people’s happiness—means that experiences generally offer greater happiness bang for the buck than material goods.

Cook: What advice do you have for people planning a summer vacation? What can they do to get the most happiness out of it for the money?

Norton: There’s a funny thing about vacations: we often experience one of the biggest increases in happiness in the weeks before the vacation begins. This seems odd—after all, the purpose of a vacation is to go away and be happy—but it speaks to the power of anticipation. Yes, it can be hard to wait for things (think of children in the days leading up to Christmas) but research shows that anticipation is a huge and often untapped source of happiness. Vacations are great, but looking forward to that sunny beach while trapped in an office cubicle can be nearly as exciting and interesting as the beach itself.

Given this, how do we maximize the happiness we get from our vacations? While we’re often tempted to put the trip on a credit card and pay it off months after the trip, we suggest a new strategy: pay now, and consume later. Imagine a vacation where you had to pay for every single bite of food you took, with a man standing next to you and making you fork over a dollar each bite. Not. Much. Fun. But when we pay for things up front, by the time they come around they actually feel free—because thepain of paying is so far in the past, we can truly enjoy the moment. And of course, paying up front also increases the likelihood that we will spend the time before the vacation daydreaming about it. Our employers might not be pleased, but that anticipation increases our happiness.

Cook: There are many people who earn a lot of money, but then have no time to enjoy it. How do you think about the trade-off between time and money, and what advice do you have for people as they plan the broad contours of their life?

Norton: One of the biggest mistakes we all make with our money is that we fail to use it in ways that maximize the amount of time we spend engaged in activities that make us happy. Instead, we often accidentally use money in ways that seem like they will make us happy, but instead doom us to unhappy time.

Take buying a nice house in the suburbs. It seems like a great idea. In fact most Americans see owning a house as a key part of living the American dream. And when you buy a house in the ‘burbs, you’re thinking of all the family barbecues you’ll have on the lawn. But what you’re not thinking enough about is the fact that you’ve just doomed yourself to a two-hour commute—in heavy traffic—every day for the rest of your life. Would having a large house be enough to make you happy at the end of a long day when you’d spent two hours in standstill traffic? Our guess is, not so much. And so in general, thinking about how every purchase you make is going to affect your time allows us to spend money in ways that buy us happier time.

Cook: OK, talk to me about Sarah Silverman.

Norton: Sarah Silverman is a personal hero of ours, not just because she’s talented and hilarious, but because her philosophy of comedy contains nuggets of wisdom that we all can apply to our own happiness.

Silverman loves, loves, loves one kind of joke over all others: fart jokes. As a result, rather than get sick and tired of the thing she loves, she demands that her writers use fart jokes sparingly. This way, when one comes up, it feels like a treat instead of like a routine.

Aside from fart jokes, a large body of research suggests the value of what we call “Make it a Treat.” By limiting our access to certain products, we enhance our consumption greatly once we encounter those products again. In one experiment of ours, some people were assigned to eat chocolate every day for a week; others were asked to abstain from chocolate. When they came back a week later, we gave them more chocolate to eat. Nobody hated the chocolate—it was chocolate, after all—but those who had given it up for the week enjoyed the chocolate much more than those who’d been allowed to eat chocolate the whole time.

Cook: What can you tell us about giving gifts to others?

Norton: We often think about giving gifts to others as increasing the happiness of the recipient. Again, think of kids opening their gifts on Christmas morning… Ourresearch, however, shows that gift giving offers benefits to an unexpected group: the givers themselves. In experiments we’ve conducted in countries ranging from the United States to South Africa, from Canada to Uganda, we consistently find that spending money on other people—whether buying gifts for friends or donating to charity—provides people with much more happiness than spending that money on themselves.

The next time you’re in line at Starbucks, think about buying someone else a coffee instead of snagging one for yourself. Or, if you can’t bear to go coffee-less, at least consider buying a gift coffee for a friend in addition to the one you’ll gulp down.

Cook: Are there any lessons you’ve applied from this research to your own life?

Norton: Behavioral scientists have studied how people fail to consider what are called “opportunity costs.” Simply put, anything we buy means we are giving up something else. But we don’t often think of our spending this way. When we are deciding between a stereo that costs $1,000 and one that costs $1,100, we focus almost exclusively on which stereo we like better. We don’t naturally frame the decision as a choice between the $1,100 stereo or the $1,000 stereo plus $100 worth of new music. Put this way, the $1,000 stereo seems amazingly attractive.

It’s a bit the same with money and happiness. We get stuck in thinking that we need to have a house, a car, a flat-screen television to be happy, and so we spend nearly all of our money on these possessions. I try to ask myself before I make any purchase: What else could I be doing with this money? Am I really using this in the best way to maximize my happiness? If not, and this happens with alarming frequency, I put my wallet away.

Are you a scientist who specializes in neuroscience, cognitive science, or psychology? And have you read a recent peer-reviewed paper that you would like to write about? Please send suggestions to Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and regular contributor to NewYorker.com. He can be reached at garethideas AT gmail.com or Twitter @garethideas.

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com

 

 

 

10 Signs You Have A Thyroid Problem.


It’s estimated that as many as 25 million Americans have a thyroid problem, and half of them have no idea that they do.Hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid, accounts for 90% of all thyroid imbalances.

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the center of your neck, is the master gland of metabolism. How well your thyroid is functioning is inter-related with every system in your body. If your thyroid is not running optimally, then neither are you.

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Here are 10 signs that you could have an underactive thyroid:

1. Fatigue after sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night or needing to take a nap daily.

 

2. Weight gain or the inability to lose weight.

 

3. Mood issues such as mood swings, anxiety or depression.

 

4. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, irregular periods, infertility and low sex drive.

 

5. Muscle pain, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendonitis.

 

6. Cold hands and feet, feeling cold when others are not, or having a body temperature consistently below 98.5.

 

7. Dry or cracking skin, brittle nails and excessive hair loss.

 

8. Constipation.

 

9. Mind issues such as brain fog, poor concentration or poor memory.

 

10. Neck swelling, snoring or hoarse voice.

How does you thyroid gland work?

Thyroid hormone production is regulated by a feedback loop between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the thyroid gland. Hypothalamic thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulates pituitary thyrotropin (TSH) synthesis and secretion.

In turn, TSH stimulates production and release of T4 and T3 from the thyroid gland. When enough T4 is produced, it signals to TRH and TSH that there is enough thyroid hormone in circulation and not to produce more.

About 85% of the hormone produced by our thyroid gland is T4, which is an inactive form of the hormone. After T4 is made, a small amount of it is converted into T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone.

The role of Reverse T3 is not well known, however, I do see it elevated in persons under extreme stress…

To complicate matters, T3 also gets converted into either Free T3 (FT3) or Reverse T3 (RT3). It’s the Free T3 that really matters in all of this, since it’s the only hormone that can attach to a receptor and cause your metabolism to rise, keep you warm, keep your bowels moving, mind working, and other hormones in check. The role of Reverse T3 is not well known, however, I do see it elevated in persons under extreme stress and those who have mercury toxicity.

And finally, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, is the most common form of hypothyroidism and its numbers are rising annually. An autoimmune disease is one in which your body turns on itself and begins to attack a certain organ or tissue believing its foreign.

I routinely screen all of my patients for autoimmune thyroid disease by ordering Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb).

Why is hypothyroidism so under diagnosed in the USA?

Many symptoms of thyroid imbalance are vague and most doctors spend only a few minutes talking with patients to sort out the cause of their complaint.

Most conventional doctors use only one or two tests

Most conventional doctors use only one or two tests (TSH and T4) to screen for problems. They are not checking FT3, RT3 or thyroid antibodies.

Most conventional doctors use the ‘normal’ lab reference range as their guide only. Rather than listening to their patients symptoms, they use ‘optimal’ lab values and temperature as their guide.

Which lab tests are best to determine if you have a thyroid problem?

I check the below panel on each of my patients. Make sure your doctor does the same for you.

  • TSH
  • Free T4
  • Free T3
  • Reverse T3
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)

What are the ‘optimal’ lab values for thyroid tests?

In my practice, I have found that the below are the ranges in which my patients (and myself) thrive.  I listen to my patients as well and take how they are feeling into account.

  • TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Armour or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
  • FT4  >1.1 NG/DL
  • FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML
  • RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
  • TPO –
  • TgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative

What are 10 things you can do to improve your thyroid function?

1. Make sure you are taking a high quality multivitamin with Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Vitamin D and B vitamins.

 

2. Take a tyrosine and iodine supplement to help with the FT4 to FT3 conversion.

 

3. Go gluten-free! If you have Hashimoto’s, try going completely grain and legume free.

 

4. Deal with your stress and support your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands and thyroid work hand and hand. I recommend restorative yoga and adaptogenic herbs, which support the adrenal glands in coping with stress.

 

5. Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.

 

6. Have a biological dentist safely remove any amalgam fillings you may have.

 

7. Watch your intake of cruciferous vegetables. There is a bit of a debate surrounding this.

 

8. Get fluoride, bromide and chlorine out of your diet and environment.

 

9. Heal your gut. A properly functioning digestive system (gut) is critical to good health. To learn more, click here.

 

10. Find a functional medicine doctor in your area and have them run the above laboratory test and work with you to find our root cause of the thyroid imbalance.

Source: http://eatlocalgrown.com

How to Heal Your Gut and Heal Yourself.


A properly functioning digestive system (gut) is critical to good health. In fact, 60 -80% of our immune system is located in our gut, and 90% of our neurotransmitters (chemicals responsible for regulating mood) such as serotonin are made in our gut. Problems in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract can cause more than just stomach pain, gas, bloating or diarrhea; they can be the root cause of many chronic health problems. Gut imbalances have been linked to hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and hashimotos thyroiditis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema and rosacea… just to name a few.

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So, how does one heal their gut and heal themselves?

 

In functional Medicine we use a simple approach that we call the 4R program – remove, replace, reinoculate, and repair.

 

1. Remove     

 

Remove the bad. The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract such as inflammatory foods, infections and gastric irritants like alcohol, caffeine or drugs. Inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs and sugar can lead to food sensitivities. I recommend an Elimination Diet and IgG food sensitivity testing to determine if any foods are a problem for you. Infections can be from parasites, yeast or bacteria. A comprehensive stool analysis is key to determining the levels of good bacteria as well as any infections that may be present. Removing the infections may require treatment with herbs, anti-parasite medication, anti-fungal medication or even antibiotics.

 

2. Replace

 

Replace the good. Add back in the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption that may have been depleted by diet, drugs (such as antacid medications), diseases or aging. This includes digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids that are required for proper digestion.

 

3. Reinoculate

 

Restoring beneficial bacteria to reestablish a healthy balance of good bacteria is critical. This may be accomplished by taking a probiotic supplement that contains beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species. I recommend anywhere from 25 -100 billion units a day. Also, taking a prebiotic (food for the good bacteria) supplement or consuming foods high in soluble fiber is important.

 

4.  Repair

 

Providing the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself is essential. One of my favorite supplements is L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the gut wall lining. Other key nutrients include zinc, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin A, C, E as well as herbs such as slippery elm and aloe vera.

 

No matter what your health issue is, the 4R program is sure to help you and your gut heal. I have witnessed dramatic reversals of chronic and inflammatory illnesses in a very short period of time by utilizing this simple approach.

 

Source: http://www.mindbodygreen.com

 

 

 

 

 

A New Cyber Concern: Hack Attacks on Medical Devices.


The FDA issues guidelines to manufacturers to protect their products.

Computer viruses do not discriminate. Malware prowling the cybersphere for bank information and passwords does not distinguish between a home computer or a hospital machine delivering therapy to a patient. Even if a radiation therapy machine, say, is infiltrated unintentionally, malware could theoretically cause radiation doses to spike.

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Medical device-makers need to protect their products from cyber attack, according to recent draft guidance the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA calls for medical device manufacturers to consider the vulnerabilities that crop up when medical devices are designed to be more thoroughly integrated into networks and connected to the Internet. It asks manufacturers to draw up security plans to protect systems from malware before submitting plans for market approval. The agency also prodded hospitals to step up future reporting of any cyber attacks.

In a recent alert the U.S. Department of Homeland Security highlighted one weakness affecting approximately 300 medical devices, including drug infusion pumps, ventilators and external defibrillators. It warns that hard-coded passwords that normally allow service technicians to gain access to myriad machines could be used to make nefarious changes if they fall into the wrong hands. “We are aware of hundreds of devices involving dozens of manufacturers that have been affected by cyber security vulnerabilities or incidents,” says William Maisel, senior official at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. In none of these cases were specific devices or hospitals targeted nor did cyber attacks result in patient harm, at least that the FDA is aware of. A range of medical devices run on standard software such as Windows XP and are vulnerable to common viruses that plague home and office computers. Because the number of events is on the rise, Maisel says, the FDA decided it was time to issue formal guidance about the need to act.

Connecting hospital systems and devices to the Internet allows doctors to remotely study a patient’s scans and computers to quickly share patient information. But it also creates new entry points where computer viruses can prey on electronic systems.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been tracking medical device infections since 2009. As The Wall Street Journal first reported, there have been 327 such incidents. Those events did not result in patient harm, says Christian Houterman, manager of Clinical Informatics and Medical Technology in the Veterans Health AdministrationThe incidents, however, did sometimes create headaches for patients and hefty bills for the hospital, he says.

One such incident occurred in 2010 when the Conficker computer worm infected an entire sleep lab at a VA hospital in New Jersey. All the patients had to be rescheduled, which was a challenge because many of them relied on family members to drive them to the lab. Meanwhile, to halt the infection and ensure the devices were Conficker-free, the manufacture had to reformat all the devices—at a cost to the hospital of about $40,000, says Lynette Sherrill, deputy director for health information security at the VA. With a virus like Conficker, she says, it’s not just a matter of stopping the virus from doing further damage after it may lock out users. Computer memory also has to be wiped clean of code that the virus downloads from the Internet and saves in each computer’s memory—something virus scans cannot eliminate. Conficker, a particularly pernicious virus, can also expose patient data and passwords. Attacks from malware including Conficker have occurred on medical equipment including imaging devices, eye-exam scanners and electrocardiograph stress analyzers, according to the VA records.

Because many of these machines do not have specific patient information, however, the risk of patient credit card or health information being stolen is slight. Malware such as botnets—viruses that attempt to control functions on a cadre of computers and then have them all work together to perform some illicit task—can drain energy, slow systems down and mess with their functionality. Malware can also render a device unavailable to give care. “I view it as we are in an entire village of houses with no locked doors,” says Kevin Fu, a computer scientist that focused on medical devices and cyber security at the University of Michigan. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to think we should have some risk mitigation strategies in place, because usually the bad guys are a couple steps ahead of the good guys.”

The presence of malware is sometimes only discovered when someone notices that the system is lethargic or there is some issue with device performance. With this new guidance the FDA is trying to kick-start the process so cyber security concerns are integrated into the planning stages of production and systems are in place to check for and respond to cyber threats. “We don’t want to wait for that point where a device is performing inappropriately,” Maisel says. “We want device-makers and hospitals to be proactive.”

Being proactive, however, can be a tall order. Just as a home computer can run into issues when downloading the latest updates, hooking hospital systems up to the latest security patches—a step named in the guidance—comes with the risk of temporarily harming the system while kinks get worked out. In the past some companies advised against getting updates to the system for just that reason. “If you break an important medical scanner because you rolled out a patch, that’s just as bad as having malware since the device is now unavailable,” says Bryan Gulachenski, interim executive director at StopBadware, a nonprofit anti-malware organization. Cyber security experts agree that a large part of this process will be manufacturers and hospitals educating themselves.

As manufacturers strive to incorporate traditional cyber-security protection techniques into medical devices including pacemakers, medical scanners and life-sustaining machinery, another balancing act needs to be struck: how to adequately protect emergency care devices while creating situations where caregivers can quickly bypass the need for pass codes to provide immediate care. “That is a very real concern. When I log into my e-mail account on a Web site, if I type my password wrong three times, it locks me out. That’s okay. That’s not okay for a medical device,” Fu says. Companies looking at this issue will need to build in flexibility for these realities, he adds.

Some companies have already been strategizing about how to create these safeguards, says Mike Ahmadi, a consultant medical device security expert. Medical device companies remain hesitant to market their products as being secure, because they do not want to invite attacks on their systems from hackers who like a challenge, he says. “I know a couple pacemakers who are doing a more than adequate job, but none are going to come forward and say we have a secure device and you should buy it for that reason.” Advertising about security, he says, can also be a matter of liability if the system is compromised.

For now, it’s a matter of managing risk. “There’s always going to be malware. It’s just like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control doesn’t try to eliminate every disease—it tries to control them. It’s the same with malware—the cat’s out of the bag and it’s out there,” Fu says. “At this point there are no meaningful controls for malware and for the most part we rely on hope; the problem is there are too many entry points to enumerate.”

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com

Purpose Fairy’s Quick Guide to Meditation.


I used to think that meditation was simply a tool to help you quiet your mind and be more at peace with yourself. Later on I discovered that there is more to meditation than just that.

Meditation is listening to the Divine within. ~ Edgar Cayce

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If you are serious about getting started and if you are willing to make meditation part of your daily life, here is what you can do.

1. Set your intention and make the commitment

It’s that simple. Set your intention. Commit. Achieve

2. Make it a habit – it only takes 21 days

Research shows that it takes 21 days to develop a habit, that’s 21 days of doing something new. By giving yourself permission to practice for 21 days, not only will you benefit from spending time in silence and quieting your mind, but you will also become more disciplined and focus on building other new positive habits in different areas of their lives.  If you tell your mind you want to try something for 21 days, it will most likely be willing to co-operate. 21 days doesn’t feel like a very long time.

After you have completed your 21 days, your conscious mind will have the choice of stopping or carrying on with the meditation practice…or at least that’s what it thinks. Your neural pathways have formed already and chances are that you will continue with the new healthy habit. You have seen the benefits along the way and your unconscious mind will want to continue if it has been beneficial.

3. Keep it short and sweet

For the first 21 days, if you are just getting started with meditation, make your routine short and sweet. 5 to 10 minutes per day is a great way to start. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed and give up before starting. You can meditate for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before you go to bed. Start fresh and end fresh.

Once you have finished the 21 day challenge, set another target. Go from 5/10 minutes to 15/20 minutes and later on you can move to guided meditation, again for 21 days

4. Assume the proper meditation position

You can choose to sit in the lotus position, burmese position, seiza position, sitting on a chair or lying down on the floor. (watch the video bellow on Meditation Postures and how to sit during meditation).

Choose a position that feels the most comfortable for you. If you aren’t comfortable you will not be able to meditate

5. Be patient

Know that you will probably experience some resistance in the beginning but if you keep on going and if you keep on practicing, the resistance will dissolve.

Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal Bliss and supreme joy in the end. ~ Swami Sivananda

6. Focus on your breathing

When you are in the meditative state, your mind might start to make a lot of noise. If/when that happens, it helps to focus on your breathing. By doing so, you bring your mind back into the present moment and you are able to enjoy your meditation practice.

7. Start with the end in mind

One of the most beautiful lessons I have learned from life is to always focus on the desired outcome. To keep your eyes on the things you want to attract in your life and to act as if they are already with you.

8. Learn to feel

What is the desired outcome? A peaceful and tranquil mind, more love for self and for others? Whatever the desired outcome may be, assuming the feeling of your wish fulfilled will help a lot.

Why Do I Think Better after I Exercise?


Why is it that I seem to think better when I walk or exercise?

—Emily Lenneville, Baltimore

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Justin Rhodesan associate professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, responds:

After being cooped up inside all day, your afternoon stroll may leave you feeling clearheaded. This sensation is not just in your mind. A growing body of evidence suggests we think and learn better when we walk or do another form of exercise. The reason for this phenomenon, however, is not completely understood.

Part of the reason exercise enhances cognition has to do with blood flow. Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.

Another explanation for why working up a sweat enhances our mental capacity is that the hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for learning and memory, is highly active during exercise. When the neurons in this structure rev up, research shows that our cognitive function improves. For instance, studies in mice have revealed that running enhances spatial learning. Other recent work indicates that aerobic exercise can actually reverse hippocampal shrinkage, which occurs naturally with age, and consequently boost memory in older adults. Yet another study found that students who exercise perform better on tests than their less athletic peers.

The big question of why we evolved to get a mental boost from a trip to the gym, however, remains unanswered. When our ancestors worked up a sweat, they were probably fleeing a predator or chasing their next meal. During such emergencies, extra blood flow to the brain could have helped them react quickly and cleverly to an impending threat or kill prey that was critical to their survival.

So if you are having a mental block, go for a jog or hike. The exercise might help pull you out of your funk.

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com

New Moms May Experience OCD Symptoms.


We all experience the occasional life-changing event—a new baby, a cross-country move, a serious injury. In rare cases, such events can precipitate a mental disorder. The problem is compounded because people often assume their suffering is par for the course after such upheaval. In reality, relief is probably a short treatment away, via therapy or medication.

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For a new mother, dealing with a newborn is fraught with anxieties. Did I fasten the car seat properly? Is the baby still breathing? In more than one in 10 new mothers, these normal worries can escalate into more serious obsessions that can interfere with her ability to care for herself and her baby.

Most of the research on postpartum psychiatric problems has focused ondepression and psychosis. Obstetricians such as Emily Miller of Northwestern University, however, were also noticing a range of anxiety-related disorders, including intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. “It’s good to check that your baby is strapped into the car seat,” Miller notes. “But these women aren’t just doing it once. They’re doing it over and over, and it’s interfering with their lives.”

With her colleagues, Miller followed 461 women after they gave birth. Eleven percent said they had obsessions and compulsions two weeks after delivery that the researchers found to be the equivalent of mild to moderate obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)—a sharp increase over the 2 to 3 percent rate of OCD in the general population. Half of these women’s symptoms continued six months’ postpartum, and an additional 5.4 percent developed new OCD symptoms in that time. The afflicted women indicated that their symptoms were distressing, taking up a significant amount of time and otherwise interfering with their daily life.

Nearly three quarters of the women with OCD also showed signs of postpartum depression. As with depression, therapy would probably help new moms cope with OCD, according to Miller. “If OCD symptoms are mild and resolve by six weeks’ postpartum, they may be normal,” Miller says. “But if they interfere with a patient’s daily functioning and persist, she should talk to her doctor.”


More Unusual Causes of Mental Symptoms

Common life events occasionally lead to mental distress. If you think any of these scenarios might describe you or a loved one, tell a doctor: treatments today are more effective than ever.

Reading or hearing about a traumatic event may lead to a specific phobia, the persistent fear of a certain situation or object. Targeted exposure therapy has been shown to diminish, and perhaps erase, such phobias in a few sessions.

Bacterial infections, such as strep throat, may cause symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder in kids. Only a small subset of all OCD cases, which affect 3 percent of children, are thought to be caused by infections. Treatment with antibiotics cures most infected kids.

Eating more processed foods may be linked to experiencing greater levels of anxiety and depression. Avoiding grocery items with trans fats (hydrogenated oils) may help lift your mood.

Moving to a new house or school may trigger anorexia or bulimia in teens. Treatments such as talk therapy usually reverse the eating disorder.

 

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com

Mindfulness: How I Got Started with Meditation.


Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. ~Buddha

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In 2010 I decided to give meditation a try. It felt so hard. It felt like an impossible thing to do. I wasn’t able to sit quiet not even for one single minute. My mind was my bully.

Today, after almost 3 years, I am happy to say that I meditate every single day (3 times a day for a total of 90 minutes) and I love every minute of it…

When I first decided to give meditation a try, I didn’t even know what to expect nor what was required from my part. Looking back, I really can’t believe how much I used to struggle with it.

I didn’t have anyone around me who was meditating. I didn’t have anyone to ask what to do, how to do it and whether what I was doing was right or wrong.

Not having other people to share my questions and concerns with, made the whole experience a bit more challenging and it took me a bit longer to get good at it.

Back home, a lot of people think meditation is only practiced by weird people and I had moments when I thought that maybe they are right. Maybe meditation is weird, maybe I am weird (there are still plenty of people who think I am weird but I am having so much fun being “weird” that I really don’t mind them talking about me) and maybe I should just give up.

Happy I didn’t. I kept insisting and I kept practicing it.

I remember how badly I used to struggle with making it happen and it was mostly because off all the noise that my mind was making.

Come on! You’re not going to do it.

Just give up. It’s impossible.

And why do you want to meditate in the first place?

You’re too busy to meditate.

Get up and get busy. Don’t waste time…

Meditation is for lazy people, people who are too scared to face reality. people who live in lala land.

Do you want people to make fun of you, to call you weird?

Give up and go do something productive with your time.

Like I said, my mind wouldn’t shut up

I don’t remember exactly WHY I wanted to start meditating, but I think it was because I wanted to silent my mind a bit.

When there is no peace in the mind, you feel helpless and exhausted. All that noise is making you feel so tired.

Anyway, even though I felt a lot of resistance and even though it felt like I wasn’t really advancing with my meditation practice at all, I kept trying and trying.

In the beginning I tried doing it on my own, no guidance, no background music, no nothing. Just me, myself and I.

As I kept practicing, I started getting better and better at it.

Quieting my mind for 5 minutes felt like a miracle to me. As time went by, I managed to go from 5 minutes to 10 minutes and from 10 minutes to 15 and eventually I got to 30 minutes of silence.

Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there – buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.~Deepak Chopra

Depending on how loud your mind is and depending on how much noise it makes, it will take you less or more time to advance with your meditation practice.

Later on I started doing guided meditation and I have to confess that I really, really love it.

I came to Malaysia at the end of August 2011 (I am working for this amazing company called Mindvalley as a Product Development Creative Lead) and I have to admit that here is where I took my meditation practice to a whole new level.

Not necessary because I did something different, but because I was surrounded by other people who were meditating. It felt like home

For me, meditation is one of the best things ever. It is a tool you can use to nurture your mind, body and soul and to also attract amazing things in your life.

At the moment I am in love with Kelly Howell’s meditations. I love this woman and I love how powerful, deep and beautiful her meditations are.

In the morning I am doing Retrieve Your Destiny Meditation and before going to bed, The Secret Universal Mind Meditation. The meditation I do in the afternoon changes every time (Wayne Dyer – Getting in the Gap, Vishen Lakhiani – 6 Phase Meditation (you can find it on omvana app), Doreen Virtue, etc.

I love to meditate and I love all the wonderful feelings that come from meditating. Also, the amazing things, people and experiences I keep attracting in my life because of it. I want you to benefit from it as much as I do, and together we will make sure to make this happen

Source: Purpose Fairy