Stethoscope is Dead, says Leading Cardiologists


The role of the stethoscope, the ubiquitous tool of the medical profession for over 200 years, is at the center of debate in the US with a leading Indian- origin cardiologist declaring “the stethoscope is dead”.
In recent years, the sounds it transmits from the heart, lungs, blood vessels and bowels have been digitised, amplified, filtered and recorded.

Algorithms already exist that can analyze the clues picked up by a stethoscope and offer a possible diagnosis. But whether all this represents the rebirth of diagnostic possibility or the death rattle of an obsolete device is a subject of spirited discussion in cardiology, The Washington Postreported.

The widespread use of echocardiograms and the development of pocket-size ultrasound devices are raising questions about why doctors and others continue to sling earphones and rubber tubing around their necks.

“The stethoscope is dead,” said Jagat Narula, a cardiologist and associate dean for global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “The time for the stethoscope is gone,” Narula said.

Starting in 2012, Mount Sinai began giving its students hand-held ultrasound devices that are little bigger than a cellphone but can generate real-time images of the heart right at the bedside. Several other schools will join the experiment in the coming months, the report said.
Stethoscopes retain their value for listening to lungs and bowels for clues of disease, experts say. But for the cardiovascular system, “auscultation is superfluous. We are wasting [students’] time,” Narula said.

“Why should I not have an echocardiogram in my hand if it’s as small as the stethoscope?” Not so, counters W. Reid Thompson, an associate professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“We are not at the place, and probably won’t be for a very long time,” where listening to the body’s sounds is replaced by imaging. “It is valuable,” he said. One thing on which both sides agree, however, is that doctors are not very good at using stethoscopes and have not been for a long while, the report said.
In 1997, researchers examined how well 453 physicians in training and 88 medical students interpreted the information obtained via stethoscope. According to their study, “both internal medicine and family practice trainees had a disturbingly low identification rate for 12 important and commonly encountered cardiac events.”

19 years later, another team tried to determine when doctors stopped improving at “auscultation” the art of listening to the body to detect disease. The answer: after the third year of medical school.
French physician Rene Laennec had invented the stethoscope in 1816.

Adrenal Insufficiency


Adrenal insufficiency is a condition in which the adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, do not produce adequate amounts of steroid hormones (chemicals produced by the body that regulate the function of other organs). There are many causes of adrenal insufficiency. Certain diseases cause permanent adrenal insufficiency while other conditions cause temporary adrenal insufficiency. Some medications can also result in temporary adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal insufficiency can also occur when the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, does not make adequate amounts of the hormones that assist in regulating adrenal function. The November 16, 2005, issue of JAMA includes an article about adrenal insufficiency.

SYMPTOMS OF ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY

Typical symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include unusual tiredness and weakness, unintended weight loss, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, loss of appetite, joint pain and belly pain, salt craving, and darkening of the skin. When levels of ACTH or CRH are affected, people can feel well most of the time but have low blood pressure or low blood sugar during times of extreme stress. To diagnose adrenal insufficiency, doctors need to determine blood levels of the steroid hormones and then perform other tests to determine the cause of any deficiency.

TREATMENT OF ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY

If adrenal insufficiency is untreated, serious illness or even death can occur. Synthetic (manufactured) glucocorticoids that replace the deficient adrenal steroid hormones are the main treatment. They must be taken daily and as directed to keep the body in balance. Synthetic mineralocorticoid and androgen medications may also be necessary. If you have adrenal insufficiency and are sick or under physical stress, you may need to take glucocorticoids to counter the excess stress on your body. Discuss with your doctor the need for adequate glucocorticoid replacement if you are having surgery, major dental work, or other invasive procedures or if you are sick with a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.

MEDICAL ALERT BRACELET

During an emergency, medical personnel need to know if you have adrenal insufficiency. It is very important that persons with adrenal insufficiency always wear a medical alert bracelet indicating the need for a lifesaving glucocorticoid injection. You should also carry a list of your current medications and their doses as well as your doctor’s name and contact information. If you live in a remote area or are planning travel, your doctor can prescribe an injection kit for emergencies.

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Tables

Does Stretching Increase Flexibility?


yogi doing a stretch

Many people think stretching is essential to improving flexibility. Runners stretch their hamstrings before hitting the pavement, gymnasts do hyper-splits during their warm-ups and yogis wind down their practice with some forward bends.

But does stretching really prevent tight hamstrings and stiff shoulders? And if so, how?

It turns out that scientists don’t fully understand what happens during a stretch.

“Yoga will make you more flexible, but we don’t know how,” said Jules Mitchell, a yoga instructor and a master’s degree candidate in exercise science at California State University, Long Beach.

It is clear that stretching doesn’t actually make muscles permanently longer, experts agree. Instead, it may be that exercises such as reaching for your toes train the nervous system to tolerate a greater degree of muscle extension with

Sperm Count Test: Guys Should Avoid These 6 Things That Are Destroying Their Sperm Count


Men worry so much about the amount of sperm they produce that they sometimes forget how important the quality of their sperm is to fertility. Unfortunately, around 15 percent of couples are unable to conceive a child after a year or more of unprotected sex. Male infertility can be caused by several factors including the production, motility (the ability to move spontaneously and actively), and blockage of sperm. Excessive alcohol and tobacco use have been known to limit the production of sperm and damage its quality, but what are some other behavioral and environmental factors that can ruin a man’s chance of conceiving? Here are six things that men may not realize are destroying their sperm count:

Male Fertility

1. Eating Bacon

A crispy strip of bacon may be delicious, but research shows it could also be destroying your sperm count. A recent study conducted at Harvard University included 156 men enrolled in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) trial. Lead researcher Dr. Myriam Afeiche and colleagues from the university tracked the eating habits of each male participant and his female partner, including how often they ate processed meat, red meat, white meat, poultry, and fish. Men who ate half a portion or more of processed meat a day recorded 5.5 percent normal-shaped sperm compared to 7.2 percent in men who ate less than half a portion. On the other hand, men who reported eating a healthy portion of fish actually improved the quality of their sperm.

“We found the effect of processed meat intake lowered quality and fish raised quality,” Dr. Afeiche explained.

2. Sweating It Out in a Sauna

If you’re looking for a healthy way to sweat out all of your body’s toxins, you may want to avoid trips to the sauna. Researchers from the University of Padova in Italy asked 10 healthy Finnish men in their thirties to participate in 15-minute sauna sessions twice a week for three months. Each study participant reported normal sperm count prior to the sauna regimen and no history of sauna use in the past year. They were also asked to provide blood and semen samples and had their scrotal temperatures taken before and after each sauna session. The group’s sperm count and concentration experienced a significant drop off after three months of 15-minute sauna sessions and remained low in the three months following the program. However, sperm production was restored to normal levels after six months.

“Avoidance of testicular heating and in particular of sauna exposure (in those countries where sauna is largely used) could be suggested in the counseling of males seeking fertility [treatment],” lead researcher Carlo Foresta told LiveScience.

3. Stressing Out About Life

Stress and anxiety can have a damaging effect on our overall health, including male fertility. Take for example a recent study involving 193 men between the ages of 38 and 49 who were assessed by a subjective and objective scale including life events that led up to stress at work and in life. Semen samples provided by each male participant were analyzed by University of California-Davis technicians for sperm appearance, motility, and semen concentration. While men who reported stressful life events suffered from impaired fertility, stress at the workplace had no damaging effect on semen quality. Work stress, however, did lower the group’s testosterone levels.

“Men who feel stressed are more likely to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate, and the sperm they have are more likely to be misshapen or have impaired motility,” said Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak, senior author and associate professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, in a statement. “These deficits could be associated with fertility problems.”

4. Using Your Laptop

You may recall being told to keep your laptop off of your lap to prevent the heat from damaging your sperm count, but you may not know that even a computer’s Wi-Fi connection can hinder male fertility. A recent study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility collected 29 sperm samples from healthy men that were placed underneath laptop with a wireless Internet connection for four hours. Researchers set the laptop to download and upload information so its Wi-Fi was in constant use. To prove that temperature wasn’t the only factor effecting sperm quality, an air-conditioning system was used to keep the laptop at 77 degrees. Radiation from the laptop’s Wi-Fi connection caused DNA damage and less motility in sperm.

5. Being Exposed to Pesticides

Exposure to pesticides has been implicated in a variety of health complications, including birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and even decreased sperm count.  A research team from George Washington University’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health investigated 17 recent studies testing the effects of certain pesticides on male fertility. Researchers targeted studies that involved pyrethroids and organophosphates, two pesticides that humans are commonly exposed to. Out of all 17 studies, 15 reported significant damage to sperm quality due to pesticide exposure. Almost all studies found that sperm concentration had decreased while some reported sperm motility obstruction.

6. Smoking Marijuana

With all the research coming to light surrounding the alleged healthy effects of marijuana use, it may be hard for men to accept what cannabis is doing to their fertility. University of Buffalo researchers who tested the sperm quality and concentration of frequent marijuana smokers found that their little swimmers were burnt out before reaching the egg because they had swam too fast too early. To examine the effect marijuana’s main component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), had on sperm, the research team tested semen samples from 22 men who reported smoking marijuana at least 14 times a week for five years. Laboratory tests confirmed that when sperm was exposed to THC it began to swim erratically and was unable to start the fertilization process by attaching itself to an egg.

“The sperm from marijuana smokers were moving too fast too early,” said lead researcher Dr. Lani Burkman. “The timing was all wrong. These sperm will experience burnout before they reach the egg and would not be capable of fertilization.”

Why Don’t More People Want to Donate Their Organs?


Around 21 Americans die each day waiting for transplants. What’s behind the reluctance to posthumously save a life?

 

In 1998, Adam Vasser, a 13-year-old teenager who loved playing baseball, was vacationing in Montana with his family when he suddenly came down with what felt like the flu. When he had trouble breathing and his ankles became swollen, his parents took him to a nearby clinic where the doctor on duty checked his vitals and sent him directly to the hospital across the street. By the time the family arrived at the hospital a few minutes later, Adam was in complete heart failure.

For months, Adam waited in a hospital for a heart transplant, during which time his heart was only able to pump with the assistance of a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD). “It was the size of a washing machine and it had two tubes that went through my chest into my left ventricle to help it pump blood,” Adam, now a 30-year-old teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area, recalls. “My official diagnosis was idiopathic viral cardiomyopathy. Meaning, basically, a virus of unknown origin had attacked my heart.” Four and a half months after getting sick, Adam underwent a heart transplant that saved his life.

But thousands of people aren’t as lucky. In the United States alone, 21 people die everyday waiting for an organ transplant. Though about 45 percent of American adults are registered organ donors, it varies widely by state. More than 80 percent of adults in Alaska were registered donors in 2012, compared to only 12.7 percent in New York, for example. In New York alone, there are more than10,000 people currently waiting for organ transplants. According to data compiled by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, more than 500 people died in New York last year, waiting for an organ to become available.

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There’s a large disparity between the number of people who say that they support donation in theory and the number of people who actually register.
 Given this shortage of organs, why don’t more people donate?It’s a touchy question, something non-donors aren’t necessarily keen to answer. But experts say there is a large disparity between the number of people who say that they support organ donation in theory and the number of people who actually register. In the U.K., for example, more than 90 percent of people say they support organ donation in opinion polls, but less than one-third are registered donors. What keeps well-intentioned people from ultimately donating is something that academics, doctors, and organ-donation activists are trying to figure out.

In a recent literature review, researchers at the University of Geneva examined several social and psychological reasons why people choose not to donate, either by not registering as an organ donor during their lives, or electing not to donate the organs of their next of kin.

 The study cites mistrust in the medical field and lack of understanding about brain death as major barriers to donation. A 2002 study in Australia, for example, illustrates the controversy surrounding brain death. Some participants indicated that they wouldn’t donate the organs of their next of kin if his or her heart were still beating, even if they were proclaimed brain-dead.

Studies have also shown that the less people trust medical professionals, the less likely they are to donate. The mistrust can come from personal experience—one study in New York showed, for example, that next of kin who perceived a lower quality of care during a loved one’s final days were less likely to consent to donation—or from misconceptions about how the medical community treats registered organ donors.

“There are a lot of people who subscribe to the belief that if a doctor knows you are a registered donor, they won’t do everything they can to save your life,” saysBrian Quick, an associate professor of communication at the University of Illinois.

More than half of people, one study shows, have gotten information regarding organ donation from TV, so it makes sense that researchers are concerned with how fictional medical dramas can influence our attitudes toward medical professionals (a topic The Atlantic covered in August).

Quick and his colleagues have studied how watchingGrey’s Anatomy can influence people’s attitudes toward the medical community. “We found that heavy viewers of the show saw Grey’s Anatomy as realistic, meaning that they felt the images and the stories were realistic. And the more realistic they saw these stories, the more likely they were to buy into medical mistrust.”

Religion is another factor that repeatedly comes up in research. While many religions consider organ donation an act of love, some research has shown that Catholics are less likely to donate than other religious groups, despite the Vatican’s official position in favor of it. It seems that this is due to a belief in the afterlife and the concern for maintaining body integrity.

It could be that people are simply uncomfortable or unwilling to talk about death at all. In a survey of more than 4,000 students and their families from six universities throughout the United States, some people indicated concern that making plans for death would bring it about prematurely (which might also account for the fact that only 25 percent of Americans have advance directives). Others can’t shake the “ick” factor. Defined by researchers as “a basic disgust response to the idea of organ procurement or transplantation,” a 2011 study in Scotland found that non-donors reported higher levels of the ick factor and concern with body integrity than donors.

In a study of British women who had not signed up to be donors, researchersfound that they were uncomfortable talking about death, with one participant saying, “The underlying taboo is that you have to be dead, potentially, well, you have to be dead […] Nobody really wants to think about that.” The research suggests that the more matter-of-fact attitude people have when talking about death and normalizing the issue of organ donation, the more likely they are to sign up as donors.

And this is where a lot of people think the solution comes in. “What we’re trying to do in New York is move the cultural needle on the issue,” says Aisha Tator, executive director of the New York Alliance for Donation. “Organized tissue donation should be a cultural norm like we did with bike helmet and seatbelt interventions.” Her organization isn’t the only one. Throughout the United States there have been a smattering of recent educational campaigns and studies on their efficacy. Campaigns have targeted the young, the old, nurses, DMV employees, and ethnic minorities who tend to donate less than white Americans or white Brits.

Another, more ambitious, strategy people point to is to change from the United States’ current opt-in system to an opt-out system, which would mean that everyone would be a donor by default, unless they actively opted out.

In a recent study conducted in the U.K., researchers studied the organ-donation systems of 48 countries over 13 years and concluded that Spain, with an opt-out style of consent, had the highest rate of organ donation of the countries studied and represents a successful model to emulate.

“Unless you’re personally touched by the issue, unless you have a child that gets a virus and suddenly needs a new heart, you don’t really think about it.”

But beyond being a political and bureaucratic nightmare to actually make happen, changing the American system to an opt-out system might not fix the problem.

“The Spanish model is held up as the ideal, and in many ways it is,” says Eamonn Ferguson, a professor of health psychology at the University of Nottingham and one of the researchers on the study. “They have an opt-out system, but they also have a very coordinated, hierarchical, interlinked system of well-trained organ-transplant professionals.” Adding to the complexity of the issue is the fact that the rate of live organ donations is lower in countries with opt-out systems.

Some groups of people have tried to take the issue into their own hands.Lifesharers and other organ sharing networks, in which members promise to donate organs upon their death and give priority to fellow member donors, highlight that notions of reciprocity and fairness are incentives for at least some people.

The transplant system in Israel is a case study for how these ideas can be systematized. A change of law in 2010 that prioritizes patients with a history of donation—if a family member donated his or her organs or the patient himself made a living donation or if the patient has been on the donor list for at least three years—has incentivized a significant portion of the population to register as donors.

Preliminary results, published last year, show that the annual deceased organ-donation rate increased from 7.8 organs per million people in 2010 to 11.4 organs per million people in 2011. The number of new registrations per month more than doubled and the total number of candidates waiting for a transplant fell for the first time ever.

The new law, which was coupled with a multimedia campaign called ‘Sign and Be Prioritized’ and a streamlined registration process, has also changed who receives organs.

“More than 35 percent of those who actually got organs after the law was passed got them because of the prioritizing system,” says Dr. Jacob Levee, director of the Heart Transplantation Unit at Sheba Medical Center who spearheaded the change and authored the results. “It’s not just a dead-letter law. We’ve seen an actual change in how organs are being allocated.”

Though the Israeli case is compelling, for some, the decision to donate might not be rational at all. If the idea of someone cutting them open makes people feel sick, they are probably unlikely to sign up.

“Unfortunately unless you’re personally touched by the issue, unless you have a child that gets a virus and suddenly needs a new heart, you don’t really think about it,” Tator says. But it’s not only recipients like Vasser who can be touched by a transplant. The parents of at least one donor have become vocal advocates of organ donation after the loss of their son.

In 2003, Matthew Messina, a 25-year-old student at Chico State, was struck by a drunk driver while riding his bike home from a barbecue. Soon after his family arrived from New York, Matthew was in a coma. After running a series of tests, the neurosurgeon determined that he was brain-dead and recommended taking him off life support.

Matthew’s father Sam Messina says that when the organ-procurement team approached him and his wife, they knew it was something that Matthew, who was a reservist in the Marines and volunteered with handicapped children in his spare time, would have wanted to do.

“We stay in touch with two women in California who received organs from him. Both are married with families,” Sam Messina, who now gives talks about organ donation and is on the board of directors at the Center for Donation and Transplant, told me. “When I look into their eyes, I see a little bit of Matthew moving on.”

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Vitamin B12: The Most Important Nutrient You Aren’t Thinking About.


If you aren’t getting enough vitamin B12, it is indeed very important – and you may very well not be thinking about it. One reason you aren’t thinking about it is that we tend to fall in (and out!) of love with one nutrient at a time (such as vitamin C, beta carotene, lycopene and so on), and vitamin B12 isn’t the nutrient du jour. But the other reason you may not be thinking about it is … because you can’t. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can limit your ability to think clearly about anything!

 

What is Vitamin B12 and why is it so essential?

Like all vitamins, B12 is an organic compound, made from carbons (as opposed to minerals, which are inorganic), and essential for our normal metabolic function and health. Also, like most vitamins, B12 plays a wide variety of roles in our metabolism. The short list of important effects B12 has on your health includes these:

  1. Vitamin B12 is essential for the manufacture of red blood cells; a deficiency leads to a characteristic kind of anemia
  2. Vitamin B12 is needed to support the normal function of nerve cells, and to manufacture myelin, the insulating material that surrounds some of our nerve cells and speeds neural transmission
  3. Vitamin B12 is required for the replication of DNA

Each of these effects is obviously quite important, but note the third one in particular. When B12 is deficient, our DNA cannot replicate normally – meaning we can’t generate new, healthy cells. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency can mimic all of the effects of aging.

Manifestations of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

Common manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency include weakness, numbness and tingling, fatigue, dizziness, swelling and irritation of the mouth and tongue, and irritability. Anemia can develop, as noted, but a high intake of folate can compensate for a deficiency of vitamin B12 and prevent anemia.

The most serious manifestation of B12 deficiency is impaired brain function, due to the effects of B12 on nerve cells. Advanced B12 deficiency causes dementia severe enough to resemble Alzheimer’s disease. Generally, though, the dementia caused by B12 deficiency is completely reversible with supplementation. While folate can prevent B12-deficient anemia, it cannot prevent the dementia – only B12 itself can do that job.

Difficulties with Vitamin B12 absorption:

Vitamin B12 is found in animal foods (and fortified cereals), so vegans are vulnerable to deficiency. But the most important cause of deficiency has to do with the unique way B12 is absorbed. To get into the bloodstream, B12 must be escorted by a protein called intrinsic factor, produced by cells of the stomach. Many disorders of the stomach, such as gastritis, particularly common after age 50, can interfere with the production of intrinsic factor. This condition is called pernicious anemia.

Medications that affect the stomach – such as aspirin, antacids and proton-pump inhibitors – can also interfere with intrinsic factor production and result in B12 deficiency. The commonly used diabetes medication, metformin (Glucophage), can do so as well.

Treatment options:

For garden-variety B12 deficiency, due to inadequate intake from food or supplements, oral supplementation suffices to fix the problem. But pernicious anemia cannot be treated with oral B12, because the lack of intrinsic factor will prevent absorption. The appropriate treatment is B12 injections your doctor must provide.

In some cases, genetic mutations can limit the ability to metabolize B12 as well, in which case you will need to get the active form, called methylcobalamin, instead of the more common cyanocobalamin.

Health-care professionals are, of course, taught to be on the lookout for B12 deficiency, particularly in patients over age 50 with suggestive signs or symptoms. But health care is at its best when both clinician and patient are on the ball! I encourage an empowered, assertive role for all patients.

 

Medicinal Mushrooms – Ancient Knowledge, Modern healing.


Mushrooms have been used by all ancient cultures all over the world. They werehighly revered in ancient Peru, where they “used the power of mushrooms medicinally, nutritionally and spiritually.” In Meso America, the “A. muscaria [mushroom] has been shown to have been deeply engrained in the religious cultures.”

Even more amazing, Amadou mushrooms have the ability to store fire! You can put an ember inside an Amadou mushroom and it will stay lit for days. This knowledge is believed to have been critical for the first humans to travel throughout Europe and into colder climates. (2)

Medicinally speaking, mushrooms are one of nature’s greatest gifts. Science is now showing that medicinal mushrooms are capable of slowing ageing, improving blood flow, reducing the risk of heart disease, improving your skin and hair, stabilising cholesterol and blood sugar, protecting the kidneys and liver, improving respiratory function, decreasing platelet aggregation, increasing sexual function and athletic ability. Mushrooms with anti-tumor activity appear to increase the number and activity of killer T and natural killer (NK) lymphocytes, with no toxicity to healthy cells. They also have potent antiviral (including HIV), antibacterial and anti fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties. (1)

But where medical mushrooms really excel is with immune system modulation. (3)

Ancient Knowledge, Modern Healing

Different mushroom have different properties so, to get the full spectrum of all the different kinds of healing agents mushrooms offer, it is best to utilise a blend of several mushroom species. It is easier for pathogens in your body to adapt (and become resistant) to one type of mushroom than to several. Each mushroom species also has a unique arsenal of anti-infective and immunomodulating agents, so combining medicinal mushrooms is the best way to support your immune system.

Immunomodulating agents in medicinal mushrooms include:

  • Polysaccharides
  • Glycoproteins
  • Ergosterols (steroid-like compounds that create vitamin D in sunlight)
  • Triterpenoids”(1)

It is the synergism between these elements that makes mushrooms so medicinally powerful. These are all precursors to the more complex compounds, Beta Glucans, which are used medicinally:

“… for high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. Beta glucans are also used to boost the immune system in people whose body defenses have been weakened by conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, or physical and emotional stress; or by treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy.” [5]

According to leading natural health advocate and New York Times best-seller Dr. Joseph Mercola, some of the most effective medicinal fungi include:

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

“Science is showing that Turkey Tail mushroom holds an arsenal of cancer-blasting compounds. Two polysaccharide complexes in Turkey Tail are getting a great deal of scientific attention, PSK (or “Kreskin”) and PSP. The subject of large scale clinical trials, it the most extensively researched of all medicinal mushrooms.

“A seven-year, $2 million NIH-funded clinical study in 2011 found that Turkey Tail mycelium improves immune function when taken daily by women with stage I–III breast cancer. Immune response was dose-dependent, with no adverse effects. In addition to breast cancer, Turkey Tail has been found to hold promise for other cancers, including stomach, colorectal, lung, esophageal, nasopharyngeal, cervical, and uterine. PSP has been shown to significantly enhance immune status in 70 to 97 percent of cancer patients.

“Turkey tail is also being used to treat many different infections, including aspergillus niger, Candida albicans, E. coli, HIV, Herpes, and streptococcus pneumonia, and is hepatoprotective. It may also be useful for CFIDS.”(1)

Himematsutake (Agaricus blazei)

“Himematsutake mushroom is attracting many scientists worldwide due to itsremarkable anticancer properties related to six special polysaccharides. Like many other medicinal mushrooms, this fungus can also protect you from the damaging effects of radiation and chemotherapy. But its benefits don’t stop there—Himematsutake can also decrease insulin resistance in diabetics, normalize your cholesterol, improve your hair and skin, and even treat polio.”(1)

A 2005 Wellness Industries report concluded that Ergosterol, a major constituent of Agaricus blazei:

“… was found to inhibit tumour growth in mice via direst inhibition of tumour-induced angiogenesis. Other studies demonstrated that polysaccharides present in Agaricus extract caused activation of macrophages or natural killer cells and induced cytotoxic T”lymphocyte activity in tumour”bearing mice. Specifically, activation of natural killer cells was mediated through IL”12”induced IFN”gamma expression.” (4)

This is just 2 of hundreds of mushrooms celebrated for their medicinal qualities.

Medicinal mushroom varieties

Grow Your Own or Supplement Instead?

Growing your own mushroom is easy, rewarding and good for your health. Not all mushrooms are easy to grow but there are edible mushrooms for just about every climate.

You can purchase spawn, or full mushroom kits from many sellers online.

If you can’t grow your own or just want to get all the effects of medicinal mushrooms in an easy to take form, there are some good supplements on the market.

I recommend Megadefense (from Pure Liquid Zeolite) which is the most potent and broad spectrum mushroom supplement available. It blends 6 potent medicinal mushrooms, including Turkey Tail and Himematsutake, each offering a slightly different polysaccharide structure, activating all 260 different types of human immune cells. All the mushrooms in Megadefense are grown in competition with each other, which stimulates production of the immune-modulating agents that medicinal mushrooms are known for. It is made from only 100% USDA certified organic, certified kosher, non”GMO ingredients (3) and it also includes the benefits ofmicronized zeolite, an powerful immunity and detox agent.

For more information, please visit www.pureliquidzeolite.com

Solutions From The Underground – How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World

Paul Stamets has been a dedicated mycologist for over thirty years. Over this time, he has discovered and coauthored four new species of mushrooms, pioneered countless techniques in the field of edible and medicinal mushroom cultivation, and written six books on mushroom cultivation, use and identification.

This is Paul’s inspiring and fascinating lecture about various ways in which mushrooms can help humanity and the earth heal.

Neutrinos’ identity shift snares physics Nob


Elusive particles must have mass, measurements in Japan, Canada showed

McDonald and Kajita

NEUTRINO NOBEL  Arthur McDonald (left) and Takaaki Kajita shared the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery that neutrinos oscillate between different types, which demonstrates that the particles have mass.

Capturing the identity-shifting behavior of neutrinos has won Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo and Arthur McDonald of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics. The scientists spearheaded giant underground experiments that revealed that the elusive particles morph from one variety into another. Those crucial findings demonstrated that neutrinos have mass, which confirmed many physicists’ suspicions but defies the standard model, the framework that predicts the properties of nature’s particles and forces.

“It’s incredibly exciting,” says Janet Conrad, a neutrino physicist at MIT. “I had been waiting for this for so many years.” Neutrino mass, though minuscule for individual particles, could have major implications for improving the standard model and understanding the evolution of the cosmos.

 

New targeted therapies for genetically linked skin diseases


Tuberous Sclerosis

  • Topical Rapamycin could be used to treat facial angiofibromas (“Adenoma Sebaceum”) (link) (Archives of Dermatology, 2010)

 

 

Neurofibromatosis (Recklinghausen’s Disease)

  • Mast cells play an important role
  • The c-Kit receptor on mast cells is stimulated by mediators that are liberated by Schwann cells
  • The activation of mast cells then induces the liberation of maediators that lead to proliferation of Schwann cells and the subsequent tumor formation.
  • Imatinib inhibits c-Kit activation and could therefore play a role

 

 

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

  • In Gorlin’s Syndrome as well as sporadic BCCs, mutations of the PTCH (Patched) gene have been found.
  • This mutations leads to the overactivity of the hedgehog pathway and subsequent carcinoma formation.
  • Inhibition of this pathway through inhibition of SMO (Smoothened) is possible with oral and topical substances (LDE 225 is an example…)

 

 

Progeria

  • Mutations of the LMNA gene have been found
  • Inhibition of the nuclear activation is possible with inhibitors of farnexytransferase

 

 

Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)

  • deficiency of collagen VII is responsible for this condition.
  • It has been shown that injection of collagen VII into the wounds can reverse this phenomenon
  • When applied topically, it has been shown to accelerate wound healing in mice.

 

 

CHILD syndrome (Congenital Hemidysplasia with Ichtyosiform Lesions and Limb Defects)

  • Proteolysis of HMG Co-A is dependant on cholesterol. A lack of this leads subsequently to an abnormal Stratum Corneum.
  • Topical formulations containing 2% lovastatin and 2% cholesterol have been shown to show good clinical results (link)

 

 

Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex (EBS)

  • Symptoms are due to a mutation and functional absence of keratin 14 (K14)
  • Addition of K16 can compensate for this loss.
  • Sulforaphane in Broccoli Sprouts could compensate for this loss by supplying K16 and K17.

Poorly ventilated office spaces really do slow down our cognitive performance.


Do you ever get that feeling at work where you can’t think straight, or you feel drowsy and uninspired? Most people tend to blame their job for arousing this kind of fuzzy-headedness – and yep, that could be part of the problem! – but a new study reveals another likely culprit: the stale air in your poorly ventilated workspace.

Researchers led by Harvard University have found that people working in well-ventilated office spaces with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) demonstrate significantly higher cognitive functioning scores than workers in offices with typical levels of pollutants and CO2.

 “We spend 90 percent of our time indoors and 90 percent of the cost of a building are the occupants, yet indoor environmental quality and its impact on health and productivity are often an afterthought,” said Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at the Harvard Centre for Health and the Global Environment. “These results suggest that even modest improvements to indoor environmental quality may have a profound impact on the decision-making performance of workers.”

According to the researchers, ever since the 1980s office buildings have increasingly become more energy-efficient, but this trend has also meant they’ve become more airtight and insulated from the outdoor environment, increasing the risks of poor indoor air quality. New ‘green’ buildings are designed to be provide both energy efficiency and good indoor air quality, but are they really effective in marrying the two?

To find out, the researchers measured the performance of 24 professional participants – including architects, designers, programmers, engineers, and managers – in a controlled office environment for six work days, with the workspace specially ducted to perform indoor environmental air quality testing.

While they were engaged in their regular work, the participants were exposed to a range of varying indoor air qualities on different days. These included: normal office conditions with relatively high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being emitted from common materials; green conditions with low VOC concentrations; and green conditions with enhanced ventilation (called “green+”).

They also exposed participants at times to artificially elevated levels of CO2 across all the air qualities. The workers were tested at the end of each day via cognitive performance tests.

The findings, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, show that green+ office conditions on average enabled workers to double their cognitive performance when compared with workers in conventional environments, while green conditions helped workers to score 61 percent higher.

The researchers tested nine different cognitive function areas in the tests, and the greatest gains were seen in strategy, information usage, and crisis response. In terms of the CO2 impact, the researchers found cognitive scores generally decreased as CO2 levels increased.

It’s food for thought next time you get a chance to move desks in your office, with the research suggesting yet another reason why workers should try to nab that all-important window desk with a view. With modern climate-controlled offices, sadly, the chances of that window being manoeuvrable so you can grab some fresh air are pretty slim, but at least the exposure to light during daylight hours will do you some good.

In the meantime, the rest of us will have to wait for green or green+ style office buildings to slowly become the norm. Sigh! (At least we’ve now got something to point the finger at in the unfortunate event of a less-than-stellar performance review…)