On January 26, Earth will have closest asteroid flyby until 2027

It’s not the space rock NASA is looking to target for its Asteroid Redirect Mission, but if an asteroid dubbed 2004 BL86 was just a few years later it might have been. On January 26, the half-kilometer asteroid will pass within 1.2 million kilometers of Earth — the closest any major stellar object will come for 12 more years. It’s a unique opportunity since this is an asteroid of meaningful size passing usefully close to the Earth, but it poses absolutely no threat to the Earth. Astronomers can watch and collect information at their leisure, as the space rock passes just four times further from the Earth’s surface than our own Moon. It’s such a close pass that if the night sky is clear you ought to be able to see it with a small telescope or strong binoculars.

1.2 million kilometers might seem like a long way for an object to pass, and it’s certainly a sizable miss for those of you worried about an asteroid-borne apocalypse, but in the context of super-powered optical telescopes, a million kilometers is a just stone’s throw. With such powerful spyglasses astronomers should be able to resolve all manner of interesting details about its structure and composition, perhaps even collecting some of the information projected to come from a (decreasingly likely) asteroid capture. At the very least, it should give astronomers the opportunity to gaze at a stellar time capsule bringing us information from a distant area of the galaxy — or at least, of our own solar system.

NASA will look at the asteroid first with microwaves, via its Deep Space Network of satellites, and attempt to collect some radar data. This should provide not just insights about the surface, but also the internal structure of the rock, about which astronomers currently know almost nothing. Asteroids are small and dark, meaning that astronomers rarely get the chance for a detailed look. Even their shapes make them difficult to study, as the jagged, erosion-free surfaces often cast long, jet-black shadows that render the majority functionally invisible.

An asteroid roughly ten times the size of 2004 BL86 passed about the same distance from Earth in 1967, but we only know about that close pass by tracking its path backward; tragically, this wonderful opportunity was totally missed at the time, and the mega-asteroid was only discovered in 1999. The danger posed by this asteroid, 1999 RD32, was only appreciated more than 30 years after it had already passed, and it stands as one of the best examples of the necessity of defensive star-gazing. The asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs and reshaped out planet some 65 million years ago was probably only about twice as large as 1999 RD32, so don’t dismiss the danger.

#Asteroid 2004 BL86 will safely pass Earth on Jan 26 by 745,000 mi/1.2 million kmhttp://t.co/z1ZoGXW0T2 pic.twitter.com/QwvKesPh0n

— Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) January 14, 2015

Asteroids have a lot of potential for future space science; they carry the majority of all evidence we have from other systems that doesn’t come in the form of light, and according to one NASA researcher they could represent cosmic “refueling stations” for long term missions. They are more accessible than planets and moons, more plentiful than comets, and they are often broken-off bits of larger bodies we can track back for insight.

Close passes like this should be able to offset any potential failures in asteroid redirection, granting some insight into the nature of space rocks even if we can’t use ion thrusters to push one into a stable lunar orbit. Though they are often thought of as little more than dead rocks, large bits of space debris with little function other than causing randomized extinction events, asteroids hold marvelous potential to reform the scientific understanding of space.

Fossil ankles indicate Earth’s earliest primates lived in trees .

Earth’s earliest primates have taken a step up in the world, now that researchers have gotten a good look at their ankles. A new study has found that Purgatorius, a small mammal that lived on a diet of fruit and insects, was a tree dweller. Paleontologists made the discovery by analyzing 65-million-year-old ankle bones collected from sites in northeastern Montana.

Fossil ankles show that Purgatorius, an early primate, lived in trees.

Earth’s earliest primates have taken a step up in the world, now that researchers have gotten a good look at their ankles.

A new study has found that Purgatorius, a small mammal that lived on a diet of fruit and insects, was a tree dweller. Paleontologists made the discovery by analyzing 65-million-year-old ankle bones collected from sites in northeastern Montana.

Purgatorius, part of an extinct group of primates called plesiadapiforms, first appears in the fossil record shortly after the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. Some researchers have speculated over the years that primitive plesiadapiforms were terrestrial, and that primates moved into the tree canopy later. These ideas can still be found in some textbooks today.

“The textbook that I am currently using in my biological anthropology courses still has an illustration of Purgatorius walking on the ground. Hopefully this study will change what students are learning about earliest primate evolution and will place Purgatoriusin the trees where it rightfully belongs,” said Stephen Chester, the paper’s lead author. Chester, who conducted much of the research while at Yale University studying for his Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Chester is also a curatorial affiliate at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Until now, paleontologists had only the animal’s teeth and jaws to examine, which left much of its appearance and behavior a mystery. The identification of Purgatorius ankle bones, found in the same area as the teeth, gave researchers a better sense of how it lived.

“The ankle bones have diagnostic features for mobility that are only present in those of primates and their close relatives today,” Chester said. “These unique features would have allowed an animal such as Purgatorius to rotate and adjust its feet accordingly to grab branches while moving through trees. In contrast, ground-dwelling mammals lack these features and are better suited for propelling themselves forward in a more restricted, fore-and-aft motion.”

The research provides the oldest fossil evidence to date that arboreality played a key role in primate evolution. In essence, said the researchers, it implies that the divergence of primates from other mammals was not a dramatic event. Rather, primates developed subtle changes that made for easier navigation and better access to food in the trees.

The research appears in the Jan. 19 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. The original article was written by Jim Shelton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Stephen Gregory Benson Chester, Jonathan I. Bloch, Doug M. Boyer, William A. Clemens. Oldest known euarchontan tarsals and affinities of Paleocene Purgatorius to Primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015;

Microsoft designs a lamp that could charge your smartphone .

Microsoft has designed a lamp that will detect your phone and charge it by shining a light onto its surface.

Tests show the light from the lamp can replenish phones fitted with solar panels as rapidly as wired charging. Microsoft Research has built a working prototype but the charging system remains for now a proof-of-concept rather than anything that will appear in a commercially available product anytime soon.

The AutoCharge system would work by using cameras to detect a phone on a desk or in a room and angling the lamp’s beam onto the smartphone’s surface.

A paper written by Microsoft researchers envisions three uses for ‘AutoCharge’: sat on a table charging any phone placed on the surface, hung from the ceiling charging any phone in a room (although Microsoft admits maintaining sufficient beam strength would be challenging), and sat in a box that charges any phone put within it.

To maximise the speed and efficiency of the charger AutoCharge would give off a “straight light beam with little scattering”, the research document says.

A demonstation of how the AutoCharge system would work Image: Microsoft Research

In the prototype system the phone’s solar panels included an LED that would give off a series of blinks, which could be detected by the AutoCharge cameras, when the device needed charging. It took a maximum of three seconds for the prototype to detect the signal.

Most phones don’t come with integrated solar panels but Microsoft Research suggests a transparent film, such as those provided by Wysips, could be placed over the screen and the rear of existing devices to facilitate charging.

To accurately pick out a phone within a room, the system would include multiple cameras to allow it to extract the depth of objects in its view and determine both the dimensions and volume of handsets. If there are multiple smartphones on the same desk, the charger can charge them one by one, the paper says.

To get around the problem of people being annoyed by the shining of a visible light, the system may use an infra-red light beam, which can’t be seen by the human eye. The beam itself can cut out within 50ms if the cameras detect another object, such as a person, in its path.

The prototype used the head of an UltraFire CREE XM-L T6 Focusing LED Flashlight to generate the beam of light. The strength of the beam would not pose any sort of safety hazard, according to Microsoft researchers.

“It is actually much safer than sunlight because 1) the light beam is cool light and thus causes less heat than sunlight; 2) a large part of the energy of the light beam is converted by the PV [photo-voltaic] panel into electricity and thus generates even less heat,” they state in the paper. The beam’s energy level was about 110 mW/cm2, which is only slightly higher than that of sunlight of AM1.5 spectral irradiance.

“The key idea of the AutoCharge approach is identifying the opportunities of smartphone charging from a user’s existing action of putting a smartphone on a desk and automatically charging the smartphone without requiring explicit effort from the user,” the paper says.

One Simple Exercise Sure to Make You Feel Better About Yours .

One Exercise Sure to Make You Feel Better About Yourself

One simple exercise can help you build the strength to disengage from a negative thought stream, redirect your attention to positive aspects of yourself, and retrain your selective attention bias so you can improve how you see yourself in the world.

What Your Fear is Telling You

Your fear is sending your a message about your readiness to act in life. Learn how to read what it is saying.

How to Win the Willpower Battle

You don’t need more willpower to achieve your goals, instead what you really need is more motivation.

How to Be Present and Still Create Your Future

Mindfulness is about being present not thinking about the present and if you know how, you can use mindfulness as an important tool to break out of the past and create your life.

Improve How You Feel by Changing Your Attention

You can learn to control painful emotions through the simple but highly significant process of learning to redirect your attention.

7 Home Safety Tips for People with Parkinson’s Disease

After a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, adjustments and renovations both small and large can help make your home more comfortable — and safer — for yourself or a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, especially if gait, balance and fatigue symptoms are an issue.

Our community shared changes they made around the home that helped them — add your own in the comments. You can also find our guide to assistance products for Parkinson’s disease such as utensils with a padded, ribbed handle and non-slip shoes, which can also help make life at home with Parkinson’s disease more comfortable.

Not all of these recommedations may be the right fit for you or your loved one. Connect with an occupational therapist for personalized advice on making changes around your home. An OT can also help you plan for how to make further adjustments as the disease progresses.

Brace yourself against radiation

People living in the vicinity of a nuclear facility live under a constant threat of leakage and exposure to radiation. The nuclear disaster that took place in the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 is the most recent example of the damage caused when almost negligent measures are taken to protect the people from radiation exposure.

Stemrad belt . Photo: Special arrangement

This is why the Stemrad belt was created – to protect people from life threatening radiation exposure. The belt has been created for the first people to respond to nuclear disasters and it claims to shield the wearers from the effects of gamma radiation by protecting the bone marrow.

Usually, the employees of a nuclear reactor are the first people to respond to a disaster, and usually the number can be anything between ten and fifty. But, in the event of more severe disasters (like the one in Fukushima or the Chernobyl disaster in 1986), the first responders usually receive support from surrounding fire and police stations. This raises the number of people potentially exposed to radiation to hundreds.

In order to keep the public safe, these brave men and women can be exposed to high doses of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. Normal clothing can repel alpha and beta radiation, but gamma radiation causes severe damage to the bone marrow stem cells. The body cannot produce white and red blood cells, and platelets without stem cells. This can result in severe anaemia, leukaemia, or acute radiation syndrome. These conditions require bone marrow transplants, or else the patient is likely to die.

This belt shields the pelvic area that contains 50 percent of all bone marrow with a leaden harness. This means that it cannot provide full body protection against radiation. This could be a serious drawback because some of the most affected areas of the body include the thyroid and the liver.

The 15 kilograms belt is made of differently shaped lead plates that have been layered on top of each other, with Teflon tissue in between them to allow for flexibility. The frame is covered with a fire – resistant Kevlar fabric that ensures full protection against every factor involved in a nuclear disaster. The company says that the belt protects up to five percent of the bone marrow in a person’s body. This amount is enough to regenerate a new batch within a month’s time.

The belt has a Geiger counter built in that works as a gamma radiation monitor, thus keeping the wearer aware of potential dangers through a chirping sound. It also has a cumulative dose decimetre card that displays a scale of rads a person was exposed to.

The makers have already sold the belt in many countries like Israel, Japan, and Russia, and has pending sales in Germany and in the USA. Stemrad also plans to make a protective belt for civilians that will be lighter and more economical than the regular belt. Quite recently, three noble laureates joined the advisory board of the company – Aaron Ciechanover, Roger D. Kornberg, a prominent American biochemist, and biophysicist Michael Levitt.



Benefits of Immunotherapy: Enhancing Patient Immunity to Fight Cancer

Despite the fact that they are toxic and carcinogenic, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery (the “Big 3”) are widely accepted as the standard treatments for cancer.  Additional drugs are utilized to stop the growth of cancer cells, treat side effects from the chemo and radiation, and manage pain.  Throughout “traditional” cancer treatment, the patient’s body is under attack by the disease and by medical attempts to kill the disease.  It is exhausting, dangerous, and the side effects are substantial. Over the past century, despite their abysmal success rates, the “Big 3” treatments have gradually been accepted by the medical community at large as the “standard of care” for treating cancer.  Although they are thought of as “traditional,” they actually are quite new treatments, whereas the treatments that are thought of as “alternative” (such as herbal remedies) have been used for thousands of years. Partly due to this bastardizing of the true meaning of these words and partly due to the vast revenues that they generate, the “Big 3” treatments have become the “norm” – unlike most preventative, alternative, and complementary therapies that do not increase industry profit.


The Science of Immunotherapy A new treatment has caught the attention of scientists and doctors.  Initial results for the patient are incredible.  It’s called immunotherapy and the goal is to empower your own immune system to beat cancer. Those interested in the field of immunology recognize the power of the human body.  They’d like to put it to work…doing what it does best. Director of the Cancer Immunology Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Drew Pardoll, PhD, explained, “After years of research in this field, we began to learn that tumors resisted being eliminated by the patient’s immune system by co-opting inhibitory pathways, thus putting the brakes on the immune response.  In fact, the tumors could highly upregulate [increase the response of] molecules that would stop a T cell in its tracks and protect the cancer.” Immunotherapy involves engineering or enhancing the immune cells of the cancer patient to wipe out cancer cells.  This therapy is also called adoptive cell transfer (ACT).  Initial clinical trial results have been remarkable.  Significant improvement to overall patient health, elimination of the cancer cells, and remaining cancer free.  Though experts agree that many more studies will need to be done, there is no doubt that the human immune system is up to the challenge if given the right tools. The Living Drug Immunotherapy is considered the “living drug.”  Its building blocks are T-cells, which are collected from the blood of the patient.  These cells are then altered to create “special receptors” referred to as chimeric antigen receptors (CARs).  These CARs are a type of protein that enables the T-cells to attack the antigen – the protein found in cancer cells. These engineered T-cells are cultured in the lab and allowed to grow to billions in number.  Then the CAR T-cells are injected into the patient where, if everything goes well, the T-cells will reproduce, seek out cancer cell antigens, and destroy them.


Experimentation on T-cells began in the 1990s when researchers considered it for new cancer treatment.  Scientists utilized viral vectors that are deprived of their capacity to produce illness but are still able to join with human DNA to provide the genetic material required for the creation of T-cell receptors. Second and third generations of CARs have monoclonal antibodies, referred to as “single-chain variable fragments” (scFv), which inhabit the surface of the T-cell membrane and associate with the “stimulatory molecules” within the T-cell.  The scFv guides the T-cell toward its target – the antigen.  Once the T-cell is linked to the antigen, the stimulatory molecules activate the T-cells to annihilate the cancer cells. Today, researchers and specialists are finding ways to generate more powerful T-cells that will completely eliminate cancer cells from the patient’s body. The Benefits of Immunotherapy Experts think ACT could be the answer to B-cell diseases such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  Approximately 8-in-10 children who have acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are treated using intensive chemotherapy.  However, if the cancer returns after treatment (which is almost always does), the patients are left with no further options.  The ACT is a new option for this group of patients. Two trials were conducted for the CAR T-cells.  Each patient was injected with engineered T-cells to attack the CD19 antigen, which is on the surface of the B cells. The first trial, referred to as the CHOP trial, was conducted in the University of Pennsylvania.  The majority of the patients responded positively to the treatment.  Although 3 out of the 17 participants were diagnosed with cancer again, fourteen remained cancer free. On the second trial conducted at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) by Daniel W. Lee, nine out of fifteen patients responded positively to the treatment.  During the trial, two patients received only a small dose of the CAR T-cells compared to the other patients, nevertheless, those patients also reacted to the treatment positively. Side Effects of Immunotherapy The ACT causes bothersome side effects referred to as cytokine-release syndrome.  Engineered T-cells give off cytokines – chemical messengers that aid the T-cells in completing their mission.  Excess cytokines in the bloodstream can cause high fever and low blood pressure. In the trials conducted for T-cells, some of the patients experienced the syndrome while others only reported mild side effects.  Researchers are putting forth their best efforts to improve the ACT process so it can be used as a standard cancer treatment. If immunotherapy gains ground, as well as the funding and manufacturing ability necessary to administer it, then it will change the face of cancer treatment around the world.  We can only hope that it will become more accepted and become oncologists’ first choice to treat their patients – before using toxic chemo drugs, radiation, or surgery. – See more at: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/benefits-immunotherapy-enhancing-patient-immunity-fight-cancer/#sthash.nzzlhdT0.dpuf

New high-speed 3-D microscope gives deeper view of living things

This schematic depicts SCAPE’s imaging geometry. The sample is illuminated by a thin sheet of light (blue), incident at an oblique angle. SCAPE achieves high speed imaging by sweeping this light sheet back and forth within the sample, achieved using a scanning mirror configured similarly to confocal microscopy. This optically sectioned plane is imaged onto a high speed sCMOS camera via the same objective lens. Unique de-scanning and image rotation optics ensure that the illuminated plane is always co-aligned with the camera plane, throughout its scan position. The end result is data equivalent to conventional light-sheet microscopy, but requiring a single, stationary objective lens, no sample translation, and consequently very high speed 3-D imaging. This unique configuration permits volumetric imaging of intact tissues including the awake, behaving mouse brain. While limited in penetration depth (since SCAPE is currently implemented with a 488 nm laser) spontaneous activity in apical dendrites in layers one and two of the mouse cortex can be resolved at >10 volumes per second. Panels show dendrites rendered from SCAPE data acquired in an awake behaving mouse with layer five neurons labeled with GCaMP5g. Renderings show dendritic branches corresponding to the colored time-courses shown below. Temporal resolution and signal to noise are sufficient to discern different properties of onset and decay dynamics within individual dendritic branches for single events. Credit: Elizabeth Hillman, Columbia Engineering

Opening new doors for biomedical and neuroscience research, Elizabeth Hillman, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering and of radiology at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), has developed a new microscope that can image living things in 3D at very high speeds. In doing so, she has overcome some of the major hurdles faced by existing technologies, delivering 10 to 100 times faster 3D imaging speeds than laser scanning confocal, two-photon, and light-sheet microscopy. Hillman’s new approach uses a simple, single-objective imaging geometry that requires no sample mounting or translation, making it possible to image freely moving living samples. She calls the technique SCAPE, for swept confocally aligned planar excitation microscopy. Her study is published in the Advance Online Publication on Nature Photonics‘s website on January 19, 2015.

“The ability to perform real-time 3D imaging at cellular resolution in behaving organisms is a new frontier for biomedical and ,” says Hillman, who is also a member of Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. “With SCAPE, we can now image complex, living things, such as neurons firing in the rodent brain, crawling fruit fly larvae, and single cells in the zebrafish heart while the heart is actually beating spontaneously—this has not been possible until now.”

Highly aligned with the goals of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, SCAPE is a variation on light-sheet imaging, but, “It breaks all the rules,” says Hillman. While conventional light-sheet microscopes use two awkwardly positioned objective lenses, Hillman realized that she could use a single-objective lens, and then that she could sweep the light sheet to generate 3D images without moving the objective or the sample. “This combination makes SCAPE both fast and very simple to use, as well as surprisingly inexpensive,” she explains. “We think it will be transformative in bringing the ability to capture high-speed 3D cellular activity to a wide range of living samples.”

SCAPE is an urgently needed breakthrough. The emergence of fluorescent proteins and transgenic techniques over the past 20 years has transformed biomedical research, even delivering neurons that flash as they fire in the living brain. Yet imaging techniques that can capture these dizzying dynamic processes have lagged behind. Although confocal and two-photon microscopy can image a single plane within a living sample, acquiring enough of these layers to form a 3D image at fast enough rates to capture events like neurons actually firing has become a frustrating road-block.

While SCAPE cannot yet compete with the penetration depth of conventional two-photon microscopy, Hillman and her collaborators have already used the system to observe firing in 3D neuronal dendritic trees in superficial layers of the mouse brain. In small organisms, including zebrafish larvae, SCAPE can see through the entire organism. By tracking these tiny, unrestrained creatures in 3D at high speeds, SCAPE can capture both cellular structure and function and behavior. SCAPE can also be combined with optogenetics and other tissue manipulations during imaging because, unlike other systems, it does not require any movement of the imaging objective lens or the sample to create a 3D image.

Hillman and her students built their first SCAPE system using inexpensive off-the-shelf components. Her “aha” moment came when, looking at an old polygonal mirror in the lab, she realized how it could be used to generate SCAPE’s unusual scanning geometry. After several years of trial and error, Hillman and graduate student Matthew Bouchard came up with a configuration that worked, and beautiful started to flow out. “It wasn’t until we built it that we realized it was a light-sheet microscope!” says Hillman. “It took us a while to realize how versatile the imaging geometry was, how simple and inexpensive the layout was—and just how many problems we had overcome.”

Beyond neuroscience, Hillman sees many future applications of SCAPE including imaging cellular replication, function, and motion in intact tissues, 3D cell cultures, and engineered tissue constructs, as well as imaging 3D dynamics in microfluidics, and flow-cell cytometry systems—all applications where molecular biology is delivering tools and techniques, but imaging methods have struggled to keep up. Hillman also plans to explore clinical applications of SCAPE such as video-rate 3D microendoscopy and intrasurgical imaging. Next-generation versions of SCAPE are in development that will deliver even better speed, resolution, sensitivity, and penetration depth.

As a member of the new Zuckerman Institute and the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia, Hillman is working with a wide range of collaborators, including Randy Bruno (associate professor of neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience), Richard Mann (Higgins Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics), Wesley Grueber (associate professor of physiology and cellular biophysics and of neuroscience, Department of Physiology & Cell Biophysics), and Kimara Targoff (assistant professor of pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics), all of whom are starting to use the SCAPE system in their research.

“Deciphering the functions of brain and mind demands improved methods for visualizing, monitoring, and manipulating the activity of neural circuits in natural settings,” says Thomas M. Jessell, co-director of the Zuckerman Institute and Claire Tow Professor of Motor Neuron Disorders, the Department of Neuroscience and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia. “Hillman’s sophistication in optical physics has led her to develop a new imaging technique that permits large-scale detection of neuronal firing in three-dimensional brain tissues. This methodological advance offers the potential to unlock the secrets of brain activity in ways barely imaginable a few years ago.”

Hillman’s technology is available for licensing from Columbia Technology Ventures and has already attracted interest from multiple companies.

Fructose causes reproductive problems, earlier death, study shows

When fructose is discussed, it’s usually not just about normal natural sugars in fruits like apples, pears and watermelons. It’s usually about high-fructose corns syrup (HFCS).

It is ubiquitous in processed foods, especially sodas, because it packs more sweetness per gram than sugar and it’s cheaper. And no matter how much food processors cover it up by labeling ingredients as “corn syrup,” it’s still HFCS.

You’ll get all sorts of disagreements from the corn refiners’ industry, but the overwhelming nutritional scientific evidence proves that you’ll live healthier without it, perhaps even longer.

An unusual recent mouse study at the University of Utah

An open-air mouse barn, using mice that normally tend to inhabit homes and restaurants, was created to observe male and female mice over a 32-week period. Protected tubs and open trays with vertical tube feeding stations were used to feed sucrose and HFCS proportionally to what most humans eat.

The researchers discovered that female mice that ate HFCS died earlier and had very poor reproduction cycles compared to sucrose-consuming mice. On the other hand, male mice showed no difference in toxicity from HFCS to sucrose or table sugar.

Both were equally toxic, affecting their ability to hold a territory and reproduce. The researchers concluded that all added sugars are toxic in some way, but HFCS is worse.[1]

Note the key words — added sugars — the stuff of sodas or sweetened juices and processed foods, not naturally occurring fruit sugars in whole fruits.

Other experts weigh in on added sugar and HFCS

Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a professor of pediatrics and obesity specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, has probably the most powerfully intriguing and entertaining video lecture on sugar and fructose available online. It went very viral.[2]

Lustig points out that, during the early 1900s, the average American took in about 15 grams of fructose annually, mostly from eating fruits and vegetables. Today, the average American consumes 55 grams a day, with teenagers and children packing in 73 grams daily. Ten grams equates to a third of an ounce.

Dr. Lustig’s main concern is the increase in fructose. He says it’s worrisome because the increased amounts of HFCS since it first appeared in sodas and processed foods in the 1970s parallels increases in obesity, diabetes and a new condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease that now affects up to one-third of Americans.

At Harvard, Lustig lectured on how the rapid rise in obesity, diabetes and poor heart health has continued despite the obsessive pursuit of low- and no-fat diets. All these conditions increasing exponentially despite decades of no- or low-fat mania? Lustig asserts that it’s the sugar, especially HFCS, which is used in most all sodas, that’s the culprit.[3]

Even soda sizes have increased exponentially since those 6.5 ounce glass bottles of Coca-Cola during the 1950s. Double Big Gulp soda cups peaked at 64 ounces recently but were sized down to 50 ounces by the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, mostly because the 64 oz size was too much for most vehicle cup holders.[4]

Of course, those oversized cups get a lot of ice dumped into them, but the 20 ounce bottled sodas give you a full dose of tasty poison without being displaced by ice.

Other animal and human tests have determined that HFCS in amounts that somewhat exaggerate SAD (standard American Diet) consumption do cause insulin resistance, the precursor to type 2 diabetes.

And testing has also observed that HFCS rapidly affects the liver adversely even if consumed in moderate amounts, manifesting signs of early fatty liver development.[5][6]

Diet sodas are not the answer. They use artificial sweeteners containing neurotoxins that kill brain and nervous system cells and are carcinogenic. But you knew that, right?


[1] http://www.newswise.com

[2] http://authoritynutrition.com

[3] http://www.health.harvard.edu

[4] http://www.theblaze.com

[5] http://www.greenandhealthy.info

[6] http://drhyman.com


12 Common Triggers Of Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune conditions have grown rapidly the over past years, with more than50 million Americans living with some sort of autoimmune disorder.

I’ve already covered the multifaceted reasons for the autoimmune explosion we are seeing, and I’ve also given you some effective tools to reverse autoimmune symptoms and balance your immune system.

Now, I want to go over the top triggers that can flare up an autoimmune response and cause devastating symptoms in the body.

From full-blown autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s, celiac or Hashimoto’s disease to common “autoimmune spectrum disorders” like acne, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it’s important to know what the potential “land mines” are that can turn on an inflammatory-immune response in your body:

1. Gluten

The infamous “G” word is a protein that’s found in wheat, barley, spelt, rye and other grains. This protein is linked in many different studies to an increase risk of autoimmunity.

Many people and their doctors believe you have to have celiac disease to be gluten intolerant. When their labs for Celiac come back negative, they are told that avoiding gluten is not necessary. This antiquated misinformation keeps many people struggling with an autoimmune condition very sick.

For many of my autoimmune patients it doesn’t have to be a piece of bread or pasta to cause damage either. Foods cross-contaminated with gluten can be like gasoline on a fire for many people with autoimmune conditions.

2. Gluten-free grains

Many people with autoimmune problems already avoid gluten, but still consume foods like corn, oats and rice. As well-intentioned as that decision may be, these grains can be just as damaging as gluten, or even more damaging.

The proteins in these grains are very similar to gluten, which can be like a game of Russian roulette for someone suffering from an autoimmune condition. Just like gluten sensitivities, symptoms do not have to be gastrointestinal in nature. A flare-up of any autoimmune symptom can occur with exposure to grains.

Everyone is different, so it’s helpful to run immunological blood tests to see what your body is cross-reacting with.

3. Quinoa

A favorite in the health community, pseudo-grains like quinoa are high in proteins called saponins which can damage the gut lining, causing an immune response in the body. Soaking and rinsing quinoa can reduce the gut-damaging effect, but for many autoimmune conditions this is not enough.

4. Stress

Stress has many far-reaching effects on your health; one of them is your immune system. Research has found chronic mental stress to be a trigger for autoimmune diseases.

Many of my patients noticed the onset of their health problems during a rough time in their life. Caring for an aging parent, the loss of a loved one or a divorce can be the tipping point for an autoimmune response.

5. Toxins

Our environment has been bombarded with toxins that were unknown 100 years ago. Studies have shown toxins play a role in autoimmune cases such as autoimmune thyroiditis.

6. Sugar

It should be no surprise that sugar is on this list, but I’m not just talking about the stereotypical junk food. There aremany “healthy” junk foods that are popular in the health food community that will not be good for autoimmune conditions.

Healthier-sounding terms like “organic turbinado sugar” or “agave nectar” on a food label may sound more earthy and natural, but sugar is still sugar to the immune system.

7. Chocolate

This yummy food can cause a lot of damage to someone living with an autoimmune condition. The literature shows that some people who struggle with autoimmune problems may be negatively affected by chocolate.

8. Dairy

Casein, the main protein found in milk and other dairy products, can be a trigger for runaway inflammation in the body. Removal of the dairy proteins in ghee or clarified butter can be a safer alternative for some people. Some autoimmunity disorders can also handle fermented dairy, like grass-fed whole yogurt or kefir.

9. Nightshades

A plant group that consists of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, goji berries and some spices contains alkaloids in their skin which can cause an inflammatory response in the body.

10. SIBO

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, occurs when normal bacteria of the microbiome grow from the large intestines where they belong into the small intestines. This can lead to a number of localized autoimmune spectrum conditions such as IBS and acid reflux. Chronic SIBO can also lead to a leaky gut which can then cause autoimmune problems throughout the body.

11. Weakened microbiome

The majority of your immune system resides in what’s referred to as the microbiome. This highly sophisticated gut ecosystem consists of trillions of bacteria colonies. Your microbiome controls not only your immune system but your brain, hormones and genetic expression.

Parasitic, yeast and fungal infections have all been implicated in a variety of autoimmune type conditions such as Parkinson’s and M.S. It’s also important to note that you don’t necessarily have to be experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms to be affected by these pathogens.

I run a specific two or three day stool lab to uncover these often undiagnosed factors in autoimmunity.

12. Leaky gut syndrome

Functional medicine considers an increased permeability to the gut lining, or a “leaky gut,” a precursor to autoimmunity. All of the above-mentioned triggers can lead to leaky gut syndrome. Because of this, a leaky gut can be seen as a causal trigger, but also the effect that proceeds from an autoimmune condition.

When your gut is damaged undigested food proteins and bacterial endotoxins can pass through the protective gut lining, turning on an autoimmune reaction throughout the body.

In summary, finding out your individual underlying triggers can save you from the years of unnecessary suffering that millions with autoimmune conditions go through. I clinically investigate autoimmune cases all around the world,customizing personalized plans for the individual.