12 Medical Procedures Even Doctors Claim Are Useless.

12 Medical Procedures Even Doctors Claim Are Useless.

Doctors are often criticized for prescribing unneeded tests and procedures that harm more than they help and add to medical costs that could otherwise be avoided. 12 medical tests and procedures now being questioned worldwide as unnecessary and potentially cause — sometimes harmful results to patients. Since a campaign was launched last year, more than 130 tests and procedures have been called into question by 25 medical specialty societies with more than 500,000 member doctors.

“Millions of Americans are increasingly realizing that when it comes to health care, more is not necessarily better,” said Dr. Christine Cassel, president of the ABIM Foundation. “Through these lists of tests and procedures, we hope to encourage conversations between physicians and patients about what care they truly need.”

United States specialty societies representing more than 500,000 physicians developed lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” in recognition of the importance of physician and patient conversations to improve care and eliminate unnecessary tests and procedures. See the full list

12 Commonly Prescribed Medical Tests/Procedures To Avoid:

1. Avoid Inducing Labor or C-Section Before 39 Weeks

Delivery prior to 39 weeks is associated with increased risk of learning disabilities, respiratory problems and other potential risks. While sometimes induction prior to 39 weeks is medically necessary, the recommendation is clear that simply having a mature fetal lung test, in the absence of appropriate clinical criteria, is not an indication for delivery. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Academy of Family Physicians)

2. Avoid Routine Annual Pap Tests

In average-risk women, routine annual Pap tests (cervical cytology screenings) offer no advantage. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

3. Avoid CT Scans To Evaluate Minor Head Injuries

Approximately 50 percent of children who visit hospital emergency departments with head injuries are given a CT scan. CT scanning is associated with radiation exposure that may escalate future cancer risk. CT technology exposes patients to approximately 100 times the radiation of a standard chest X-ray which itself increases the risk of cancer. The recommendation calls for clinical observation prior to making a decision about needing a CT. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

4. Avoid Stress Tests Using Echocardiographic Images

The recommendation states that there is very little information on the benefit of using stress echocardiography in asymptomatic individuals for the purposes of cardiovascular risk assessment, as a stand-alone test or in addition to conventional risk factors. (American Society of Echocardiography)

5. Avoid Prescribing Type 2 Diabetes Medication To Achieve Tight Glycemic Control

The recommendation states that there is no evidence that using medicine totightly control blood sugar in older diabetics is beneficial. In fact, using medications to strictly achieve low blood sugar levels is associated with harms, including higher mortality rates. (American Geriatrics Society)

6. Avoid EEGs (electroencephalography) on Patients With Recurrent Headaches.

Recurrent headache is the most common pain problem, affecting up to 20 percent of people. The recommendation states that EEG has no advantage over clinical evaluation in diagnosing headache, does not improve outcomes, and increases costs. (American Academy of Neurology)

7. Avoid Routinely Treating Acid Reflux

Anti-reflux therapy, which is commonly prescribed in adults, has no demonstrated effect in reducing thesymptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in infants, and there is emerging evidence that it may in fact be harmful in certain situations. (Society of Hospital Medicine).


8. Avoid Lipid Profile Tests

Lipid Profile test checks various parameters of blood, such as cholesterol (good or high density lipoprotein as well as bad or low density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels. Several scientific papers have proven that people with high so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol live the longest and there is now a large number of findings that contradict the lipid hypothesis that cholesterol has to be lowered at all.

9. Avoid Mammograms

Mammograms and breast screening have had no impact on breast cancer deaths and have actually been found to increase breast cancer mortality. With toxic radiation, mammogram testing compresses sensitive breast tissue causing pain and possible tissue damage. To make matters worse, the false negative and false positive rates of mammography are a troubling 30% and 89% respectively.

Another concern is that many breast cancers occur below the armpits; however, mammography completely misses this axiliary region, viewing only the breast tissue compressed between two plates of glass. Considering these drawbacks, breast thermography should be given closer consideration. Thermography is a non-invasive and non-toxic technique which can detect abnormalities before the onset of a malignancy, and as early as ten years before being recognized by mammography. This makes it much safer and potentially life-saving health test for women who are unknowingly developing abnormalities, as it can take several years for a cancerous tumor to develop and be detected by a mammogram.

10. Avoid PSA Testing

A PSA blood test looks for prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate gland. High levels are supposedly associated with prostate cancer. The problem is that the association isn’t always correct, and when it is, the prostate cancer isn’t necessarily deadly. Nearly 20 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which sounds scary, but only about 3 percent of all men die from it.

The PSA test usually leads to overdiagnosis — biopsies and treatment in which the side effects are impotence and incontinence. Moreover, there is some evidence which suggests that biopsies and treatment actually aggravate prostate cancer. During a needle biopsy, a tumor may need to be punctured several times to retrieve an amount of tissue that’s adequate enough to be screened. It is believed that this repeated penetration may spread cancer cells into the track formed by the needle, or by spilling cancerous cells directly into the bloodstream or lympathic system.

11. Avoid Routine Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer screening often results in unnecessary removal of benign polyps which are of no threat to patients and the risks of their treatment or removal far exceed any benefit. The evidence is insufficient to assess the benefits and harms of computed tomographic colonography and fecal DNA testing as screening modalities for colorectal cancer.

12. Avoid DEXA

Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA) in a technique developed in the 1980s that measures, among many things, bone mineral density. The scans can determine bone strength and signs of osteopenia, a possible precursor to osteoporosis. Limitations abound, though. Measurements vary from scan to scan of the same person, as well as from machine to machine. DEXA doesn’t capture the collagen-to-mineral ratio, which is more predictive of bone strength than just mineral density. And higher bone mineral density doesn’t necessarily mean stronger bones, for someone with more bone mass will have more minerals but could have weaker bones.

Meanwhile, the ABIM effort is gaining momentum and more financial support from key players. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced it has awarded $2.5 million to “fund medical specialty societies and regional health improvement collaboratives to work in specific communities to raise awareness of potential overuse of medical care.”

“Reducing the overuse of health care resources is a critical part of improving quality of health care in America,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s president and chief executive officer. “We want to see what can happen when this work is targeted in specific geographic regions and are pleased to help increase the tangible impact of the Choosing Wisely campaign.”

Obesity Tied to Half a Million Cancers Worldwide, Report Shows

Obesity is associated with close to 500,000 new cancer cases worldwide each year, and nearly two-thirds of obesity-related cancers occur in North America and Europe, a new report shows.

The analysis of data from 184 countries showed that excess weight was associated with 345,000 (5.4 percent) of new cancers in women in 2012, and 136,000 (1.9 percent) of new cancers in men in 2012.

Among women, postmenopausal breast, endometrial and colon cancers accounted for nearly three-quarters (250,000 cases) of obesity-related cancers, while colon and kidney cancers accounted for more than two-thirds (nearly 90,000 cases) of obesity-related cancers in men.

Use Chia Seeds With Caution, Researcher Warns

Excess weight was associated with about 8 percent of cancers in women and 3 percent of cancers in men in developed nations, compared with 1.5 percent of cancers in women and 0.3 percent of cancers in men in developing nations.

In 2012, the highest number of obesity-related cancers was in North America, with more than 110,000 (23 percent of the worldwide total), while the lowest number was in sub-Saharan Africa, with 7,300 cases (1.5 percent of the global total). In Europe, there were 66,000 obesity-related cancer cases.

Prevalence, Clinical Profile, Iron Status, and Subject-Specific Traits for Excessive Erythrocytosis in Andean Adults Living Permanently at 3,825 Meters Above Sea Level

BACKGROUND:  Excessive erythrocytosis (EE) is a prevalent condition in populations living at high altitudes (> 2,500 m above sea level). Few large population-based studies have explored the association between EE and multiple subject-specific traits including oxygen saturation, iron status indicators, and pulmonary function.

METHODS:  We enrolled a sex-stratified and age-stratified sample of 1,065 high-altitude residents aged ≥ 35 years from Puno, Peru (3,825 m above sea level) and conducted a standardized questionnaire and physical examination that included spirometry, pulse oximetry, and a blood sample for multiple clinical markers. Our primary objectives were to estimate the prevalence of EE, characterize the clinical profile and iron status indicators of subjects with EE, and describe subject-specific traits associated with EE.

RESULTS:  Overall prevalence of EE was 4.5% (95% CI, 3.3%-6.0%). Oxygen saturation was significantly lower among EE than non-EE group subjects (85.3% vs 90.1%, P < .001) but no difference was found in iron status indicators between both groups (P > .09 for all values). In multivariable logistic regression, we found that age ≥ 65 years (OR = 2.45, 95% CI, 1.16-5.09), male sex (3.86, 1.78-9.08), having metabolic syndrome (2.66, 1.27-5.75) or being overweight (5.20, 1.95-16.77), pulse oximetry < 85% (14.90, 6.43-34.90), and % predicted FVC < 80% (13.62, 4.40-41.80) were strongly associated with EE. Attributable fractions for EE were greatest for being overweight (26.7%), followed by male sex (21.5%), pulse oximetry < 85% (16.4%), having metabolic syndrome (14.4%), and % predicted FVC < 80% (9.3%).

CONCLUSIONS:  We found a lower prevalence of EE than in previous reports in the Peruvian Andes. Although the presence of hypoxemia and decreased vital capacity were strongly associated with excessive erythrocytosis, being overweight or having metabolic syndrome were associated with an important fraction of cases in our study population.

Laterality Defects Other Than Situs Inversus Totalis in Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia: Insights Into Situs Ambiguus and Heterotaxy

BACKGROUND:  Motile cilia dysfunction causes primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), situs inversus totalis (SI), and a spectrum of laterality defects, yet the prevalence of laterality defects other than SI in PCD has not been prospectively studied.

METHODS:  In this prospective study, participants with suspected PCD were referred to our multisite consortium. We measured nasal nitric oxide (nNO) level, examined cilia with electron microscopy, and analyzed PCD-causing gene mutations. Situs was classified as (1) situs solitus (SS), (2) SI, or (3) situs ambiguus (SA), including heterotaxy. Participants with hallmark electron microscopic defects, biallelic gene mutations, or both were considered to have classic PCD.

RESULTS:  Of 767 participants (median age, 8.1 years, range, 0.1-58 years), classic PCD was defined in 305, including 143 (46.9%), 125 (41.0%), and 37 (12.1%) with SS, SI, and SA, respectively. A spectrum of laterality defects was identified with classic PCD, including 2.6% and 2.3% with SA plus complex or simple cardiac defects, respectively; 4.6% with SA but no cardiac defect; and 2.6% with an isolated possible laterality defect. Participants with SA and classic PCD had a higher prevalence of PCD-associated respiratory symptoms vs SA control participants (year-round wet cough, P < .001; year-round nasal congestion, P = .015; neonatal respiratory distress, P= .009; digital clubbing, P = .021) and lower nNO levels (median, 12 nL/min vs 252 nL/min; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:  At least 12.1% of patients with classic PCD have SA and laterality defects ranging from classic heterotaxy to subtle laterality defects. Specific clinical features of PCD and low nNO levels help to identify PCD in patients with laterality defects.

Your Poop Is Unique: Gut Viruses Different in Every Person

Like a fingerprint, the virus communities in the human gut are unique to each individual, a new study on poop DNA suggests. Even identical twins have very different collections of viruses colonizing their lower intestines.
This is in contrast to bacterial communities, which are similar in related individuals, the researchers say. (While bacteria can live and reproduce on their own, viruses consist of genetic material packaged inside a capsule structure and can only reproduce inside a host.)
The study sheds light on the largely unexplored world of viruses living in the lower intestine. Most of these “friendly” viruses, which don’t cause diseases, make their home inside bacteria already living in the gut. These viruses are thought to influence the activities of gut microbes, which among their other benefits, allow us to digest certain components of our diets, such as plant-based carbohydrates, that we can’t digest on our own.

In recent years, a number of projects worldwide have been initiated to catalog the microbes that live in and on the human body, with the goal of understanding the relationship between microbial communities (including viruses and bacteria) and overall health and disease.
The new research, published this week in the journal Nature, suggests such projects should also focus on the viruses that co-exist and co-evolve with bacteria and other microbes that normally live in our bodies. For instance, these viruses might act as barometers for the overall health of the gut microbial community as it responds to challenges or recovers after an illness or therapeutic intervention.
Studying stool
Most of the information scientists have about viruses that live together with bacteria comes from studies of their outdoor habitats, like the ocean, said study researcher Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “There, the lifestyle of viruses can be described as [a] ‘predator-prey dynamic’ with a continuous evolutionary battle of genetic change affecting viruses and their microbial hosts,” he said.
To learn more about the viruses in the human gut, the scientists turned to poop.
Gordon and his colleagues decoded the DNA isolated from viruses in stool samples provided by four pairs of identical twins and their mothers. The investigators sequenced the viral DNA — or viromes — from samples collected at three different times over a one-year period, which enabled them to track any fluctuations in viral communities over time.
They also sequenced the DNA of all the microbes (including bacteria) — the microbiome — in the samples, which allowed them to compare the viral and bacterial communities in the lower intestines.
Remarkably, more than 80 percent of the viruses in the stool samples had not been previously discovered. “The novelty of the viruses was immediately apparent,” Gordon said.
The intestinal viromes of identical twins were about as different as the viromes of unrelated individuals. However, family members shared a certain degree of the same bacteria species.
Within each individual, the viromes remained stable and persisted over the one-year study. This also differed from the bacterial communities, which experienced greater fluctuations.
In other words, the viruses in the stool specimens did not appear to exhibit the predator-prey lifestyle seen in environment communities, Gordon said. Instead of trying to kill each other, the bacteria and viruses appear to be engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship — the bacteria provide a way for the viruses to reproduce and the viruses may provide extra genes that benefit their bacterial hosts.
Future outlook
The researchers now plan to study the viromes in the developing intestines of infant twins – identical and fraternal – from different families to determine how viruses first “set up shop” in the gut ecosystem and how they are influenced by the nutritional status of their human hosts.
In addition, to better understand viral lifestyles throughout the length of the intestine, they are introducing these viruses into mice that only contain human gut microbes.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, among others.

Spinal cord has successfully been grown in a lab

Researchers from the University of Dresden have used embryonic stem cells to grow an intact spinal cord in a petri dish, the teamreported this week. It’s an enormous achievement in a field that has long viewed neural tissue as the ultimate challenge, and one which could give hope to millions of people suffering from spinal cord injuries.

Neurons, the cells that form the thinking matrix of your brain and carry its orders to the rest of your body, are very difficult to grow. For a long time growing neurons was thought to be impossible, but then it was discovered that olfactory neurons regrow. This is why you can lose your sense of smell for a few days then slowly regain it; the neuron ends, basically open-ended synapses facing into your nasal cavity, are burned away by corrosive smells, but slowly grow back. Intense study followed this discovery, as scientists tried to track down how our olfactory neurons regrow, and others packed them directly into severed spinal cords with real success. In the image above, olfactory neurons have granted a lab rat regains some ability to walk again after being paralyzed (though to be fair, those same researchers are the ones who paralyzed it).

Even if you can grow one, the spinal cord still needs to form connections with an incredible number of body parts.

Now, rather than trying to force our spinal neurons to act like nasal ones, this German team may have a way of making new ones from scratch. Certain diseases and massive injuries could easily render a spine beyond all hope of repair, but in such a situation a full replacement might still work. Remember, though, that one of the reasons neurons are hard to work with is that they must form complex synaptic connections with other neurons to work properly; just growing the spinal cord is only half the battle, and the patient’s body still has to accept the new routing hardware and integrate it properly. Still, even just the ability to closely observe the growth of a full spinal cord could move neuronal research forward by leaps and bounds.

This technique worked essentially by letting the stem cells go to work and getting as far out of the way as possible; rather than introducing some novel new growth factor, the researchers basically just created an environment where the spine could grow just like it would in a body. Their setup involved inserting small bubbles of stem cells into a nutrient-rich growth medium and letting them go from there. Given all the opportunities they required, the cells naturally started coordinating and shunting growth factors around — most notably the trio of “hedgehog” signaling molecules.

The team’s diagram shows inserted ESC colonies growing into larger cysts which eventually associate.

The most famous of the three-member band, both for its name and its function, is Sonic Hedgehog, which can stimulate directed neuron growth through its concentration gradient. A high concentration of Sonic Hedgehog leads the cord to grow motor neurons to carry the brain’s muscular commands, while a lower concentration near the top of the cord will lead to interneurons that wire up the spine itself. This is roughly analogous to growth factors in trees, where the “widen the trunk” molecule is made at the bottom and ferried up, and the “split the trunk into branches” molecule is made at the top and ferried down; the two opposing concentration gradients lead to the tree-shaped trees we all know so well, with branches becoming less common toward the bottom, where trunk-width takes priority.

In this case, the stem cells and spinal cord were from a mouse, which allowed for lower cost and ethical considerations, but the principles of growth and signaling should be the same. This technique made use of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), which in humans must be collected from fertility clinics and similar, but the ultimate human progenitor cell might not be necessary to further research. As scientists come to understand the mechanics of this breakthrough better, and replicate its results a few more times, it would presumably become possible to begin this process with induced stem cells made from adult tissue. If not, this will remain an interesting research tool with little real-world applicability due to the costs and regulatory problems with ESCs.

Star Trek had a spinal transplant episode — but even in the 24th century, it’s an experimental procedure.

Lab-grown organs are coming far, fast. Somewhere in the world today there are gel baths and petri dishes growing human bladders, eyes, and penises, esophagi, livers, and breasts. Even the quest for lab grown meat falls under the same basic research umbrella, as scientists use similar techniques to create high quality chicken and bovine skeletal muscle. As with this spinal cord, each of these areas of research is trying to create laboratory conditions that perfectly mimic the body, so cells grow and develop normally.

7 Reasons to NEVER Drink Tap Water

Did you know that the average adult human body is 55-60% water? (Babies’ bodies are closer to 75%.) The brain is made up of about 70% water, and the lungs, closer to 90%! This means that the quality of the water you drink has an enormous impact on the quality of yourhealth.

Unfortunately, high quality drinking water is increasingly difficult to come by in this day and age. Most health conscious Americans know that, while we are lucky in this country to have access to water that is largely free of disease-causing microorganisms, drinking plain old, unfiltered tap water is generally not a great idea.

What’s wrong with tap water?

tap water 300x200 7 Reasons to NEVER Drink Tap Water

Recent analyses of municipal drinking water have shown that, despite governmentregulations, there are still many dangerous contaminants present in our water, even after it has gone through municipal water treatment facilities.

In fact, these water treatment facilities often actually contribute to the problem by adding dangerous chemicals like fluoride and chlorine to water as part of the treatment process. The water regulations and treatment methods used in the U.S. are old and outdated and do little to address the assortment of toxic chemicals that are currently present in our environment. The Safe Drinking Water Act only regulates 91 potential water contaminants. Yet there are more than 60,000 chemicals used within the U.S., many of which have been identified as probable carcinogens. According to some estimates, there are now more than 2,100 known chemical toxins present in U.S. tap water. Additionally, many municipalities transport their water in antiquated, corroded pipes, which may leach toxic heavy metals into the water after it has been treated.

Here’s a rundown of some of the chemicals that are more than likely lurking in your tap water:

1. Fluoride

For over 50 years, the U.S. government has mandated that fluoride be added to the water supply to prevent dental problems. However, current research has shown that fluoride, a chemical that is used in rat poison, does a lot more harm than good. The fluoride found in tap water has actually been shown to damage tooth enamel, increase fracture risk, suppress immune and thyroid function, increase cancerrisk and disrupt the function of the pineal gland.

Many European countries have banned the use of fluoride altogether, and there is a large activist movement of people working to get fluoride banned in the U.S. Visit FluorideAlert.org to learn more.

2. Chlorine

Water treatment facilities use chlorine as a disinfectant. It effectively kills microorganisms, but also has toxic effects on the human body. Chlorine has been identified as a leading cause of bladder cancer, and has been associated with rectal and breast cancers, asthma, birth defects and premature aging of skin.

3. Radioactive contaminants

Radioactive fallout from Japan has been detected in drinking water supplies throughout the U.S. As of last week, radioactive iodine-131 had been detected in drinking water samples from 13 U.S. cities. Radioactive cesium and tellurium isotopes have also been detected at low levels in some cities. (You can view this data on the EPA’s website.) The health implications of this radioactive contamination are yet unknown, but the EPA has said it will continue to monitor the situation.

4. Pharmaceutical drugs

Recent investigations have shown that an increasing number of pharmaceutical drugs are finding their way into our drinking water. Drugs ranging from antibiotics and birth control pills to painkillers, antidepressants and other psychiatric medications are now showing up in most municipal water supplies.

5. Hexavalent chromium

Earlier this year, an Environmental Working Group report revealed that hexavalent chromium, a chemical identified as a “probably carcinogen by the EPA,” is present in high concentrations in 31 U.S. cities. This is the chemical made famous by the movie, Erin Brockovitch, which chronicled the case brought against Pacific Gas and Electric for contaminating the water in an area of Southern California and poisoning thousands of people. Yet despite its known toxicity, there are no government regulations for hexavalent chromium in drinking water.

6. Lead, aluminum and other heavy metals

Lead and other heavy metals can make their way into your tap water through corrosion of the pipes in your plumbing system. Lead consumption has been linked to severe developmental delays and learning disorders in children. Aluminum and other heavy metals have been linked to nerve, brain and kidney damage. Currently, some municipalities still transport water in lead pipes.

7. Arsenic

Arsenic is a poisonous element known to be extremely carcinogenic. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates as many as 56 million Americans drink water containing unsafe levels of arsenic. For more information, see the USGS website, which offers maps showing where and to what extent arsenic occurs in ground water across the U.S.

So what are the healthier alternatives to tap water?

So what is the best way to ensure that the water you drink is supporting your health, rather than damaging it? We’ll explore this topic next week, but in the meantime, I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter. Are you concerned about fluoride, chlorine or other chemicals found in your drinking water? Do you filter your water? Drink bottled water?

Scientists Reveal Ramen Noodles Cause Heart Disease, Stroke & Metabolic Syndrome

The dangers of ramen noodles are self-evident to most, however there will always be those who will deny the dangers of consuming them. After all, it’s a staple food for college kids so how bad could it be? It can’t kill you right? New research from Baylor University and Harvard says it can. The noodles increase people’s risk of metabolic changes linked to heart disease and stroke, researchers found.

 Ramen noodles contain Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which is a byproduct of the petroleum industry and food additive frequently to preserve cheap processed foods. A gastrointestinal specialist conducted an experiment with a time lapse video inside the stomach to what would happen after two hours of digesting ramen noodles andthe results were staggering.

In the most recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, women in South Korea who consumed more of the precooked blocks of dried noodles were more likely to have “metabolic syndrome” regardless of what else they ate, or how much they exercised, the researchers found. People with metabolic syndrome may have high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels, and face an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The dried noodle block was originally created by flash frying cooked noodles, and this is still the main method used in Asian countries, though air-dried noodle blocks are favoured in Western countries. The main ingredients of the dried noodle are wheat flour, palm oil, and salt. Common ingredients of the flavouring powder are salt, monosodium glutamate, seasoning, and sugar. A typical cup-type instant noodles contain 2700 mg of sodium.

“Although instant noodle is a convenient and delicious food, there could be an increased risk for metabolic syndrome given [the food’s] high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads,” said study co-author Hyun Shin, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Shin and his colleagues at Baylor University and Harvard analyzed the health and diet of nearly 11,000 adults in South Korea between ages 19 to 64. The participants reported what they ate, and the researchers categorized each participant’s diet as centered on either traditional healthy food or fast food, as well as how many times weekly they ate instant noodles.

The study focused on individuals in South Korea, Shin said, as the country has the highest per-capita number of instant noodle consumers in the world, and because, in recent years, health problems there, including heart disease and obesity, have been on the rise. But the findings appear to be quite relevant to consumers stateside too, as the United States ranked sixth globally in instant noodle sales, according to the World Instant Noodles Association, which found that the United States accounted for 4,300 billion units sold in 2013 (coming in just behind China, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and India — and one spot above South Korea, in fact).

Women who ate instant noodles twice a week or more had a higher risk of metabolic syndrome than those who ate ramen less, or not at all, regardless of whether their diet style fell into the traditional or fast-food category. The researchers found the association even among young women who were leaner and reported doing more physical activity.

As for men, Shin and his colleagues guessed that biological differences between the genders, like the effect of sex hormones and metabolism, might account for the lack of an apparent association among males between eating instant noodles and developing metabolic syndrome.

The study was conducted in South Korea, an area known to have the largest ramen consumption group in the world, where people consumed 3.4 billion packages of instant noodles in 2010.

But the findings could apply to people in North American too, said Lisa Young, a nutritionist and professor at New York University who was not involved in the study. “We [in the States] don’t eat it as much, but the ramen noodles are being sold, so this could apply to anywhere they’re sold, and they’re sold almost everywhere.”


So what’s so bad about instant noodles?

“Instant noodles are high in fat, high in salt, high in calories and they’re processed — all those factors could contribute to some of the health problems [the researchers] addressed,” Young said. “That doesn’t mean that every single person is going to respond the same way, but the piece to keep in mind is that it’s not a healthy product, and it is a processed food.”


In June 2012, the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) found Benzopyrene (a cancer causing substance) in six brands of noodles made by Nong Shim Company Ltd. Although the KFDA said the amounts were minuscule and not harmful, Nong Shim did identify particular batches of noodles with a problem, prompting a recall by October 2012.

They also contain TBHQ (Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone) which can have a long term effect on your health such as weakening of organs and contributing to the onset of cancers and tumors.

Processed foods generally contain high amounts of sugar and salt, primarily because they are designed to have long shelf lives.

Above all, however, Young said a little bit of preparation could help people avoid processed instant noodles altogether. “You can easily make noodles, homemade pasta, ground-rice pasta and veggies” at home, with a little bit of planning, she said.


This hippie Santa is selling pills that make farts smell like chocolate

If you’re reading this, all your holiday shopping problems are solved: just buy everyone you know a packet of pills that allegedly make flatulence smell like chocolate or flowers.

Chocolate | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The herbal supplements, “homologated by a French laboratory,” were invented by Christian Poincheval, who could easily be mistaken for some kind of a hippie Santa Claus. He told the Local that he’d been working on the product since a fateful dinner party six years ago:

We had just come back from Switzerland and we were eating a lot with our friends and the smell from the flatulence was really terrible. We couldn’t breathe so me and friend decided something had to be done. When we were vegetarian we noticed that our gas smelt like vegetables, like the odour from a cow pat, but when we started eating meat, the smell of the flatulence became much disagreeable. We needed to invent something that made them smell nicer.

While Poincheval has long sold pills that infuse your natural gases with the aroma of violets or roses, he’s only recently opened up pre-orders for a “stinky dog” product and unveiled a Christmas-themed chocolate scent pill—in case you want those farts to stay naturally brown.

“Every year we wonder if we should do it and this year it is done!”Poincheval’s site declares. “Our renowned fart pill is back with a xmas fragrance based on real cocoa. You can now fart through to the New Year in grand style. The pills have the usual benefits of our recipe like reducing intenstinal [sic] gas and bloating.”

They contain “vegetable coal, fennel, seaweed, plant resin, bilberry, and cacao zest.” Only €9.99 ($12.50) for 60 capsules!

Now can we please do something about garlic breath and red-wine teeth stains?

Fluoride combined with even trace amounts of aluminum in water can cause major brain damage

Renowned medical doctor and neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock holds nothing back when it comes to telling it like it is, even when “it” goes against the prevailing schools of thought within his profession. And one of his latest Blaylock Wellness Reports is no exception, shining light on the very real dangers associated with fluoride exposure, especially when that fluoride interacts with other toxic chemicals commonly found in municipal water supplies.


In his “Why Fluoride Is Toxic” report, Dr. Blaylock explains how we are all essentially being lied to about the safety of artificial fluoride chemicals in our water. Widespread claims by government health authorities that fluoride is completely safe at current exposure levels are false, Dr. Blaylock explains, as they ignore copious scientific evidence pointing to both brain and nervous system damage in conjunction with fluoride exposure, not to mention an elevated risk of cancer.

One major area of research involves fluoride’s apparent role in triggering early-onset brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. When it is not lodging itself in brain tissue and actually causing this and other forms of dementia, fluoride appears to worsen brain disease symptoms in patients who have already been diagnosed with dementia. And it does this by combining with other toxins also found in water such as aluminum.

“One study shows that adding fluoride to water in the presence of even small amounts of aluminum caused severe destruction of brain cells in the part of the brain controlling learning and memory,” explains Dr. Blaylock in his new report.

Studies confirm fluoride enhances ‘bioavailability’ of aluminum

What apparently happens when individuals with aluminum-induced neural degeneration are exposed to fluoride is that the fluoride enhances the toxicity of aluminum. In terms of bioavailability, or the ability of aluminum to cause harm, fluoride greatly increases the overall toxic burden of this pervasive metal, rendering it exceptionally more toxic.

“[A]luminum-induced neural degeneration in rats is greatly enhanced when the animals were fed low doses of fluoride,” reads the news release for a 1998 study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Brain Research. “The presence of fluoride enhanced the bio-availability of aluminum (Al) causing more aluminum to cross the blood-brain barrier and become deposited in the brain. The aluminum level in the brains of the fluoride-treated group was double that of the controls.”

These findings have major implications for humans, many of whom are exposed to both fluoride and aluminum through their tap water. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains in a report on aluminum that aluminum salts used as coagulants at many water treatment facilities can lead to increased concentrations of aluminum in finished water, which is worsened by the addition of fluoride chemicals.

“The pathological changes found in the brain tissue of the animals given fluoride and aluminum-fluoride were similar to the alterations found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” reads an announcement associated with the publishing of the Brain Research study, which corroborates the findings of an earlier study published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology back in 1995.

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