Freaky new evidence suggests your immune system could be controlling your behaviour


“Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.”

We all like to think of ourselves as totally unique, independent individuals, in charge of our own destinies. But new research has found evidence that our behaviour, and maybe even our personalities, could be influenced by something totally unexpected – our immune systems.

Researchers have shown that by switching off just one immune molecule in mice, they can change the way the animals behave and interact with each other – which suggests the immune system may play a role in conditions such as autism-spectrum disorder or schizophrenia.

Before we get too carried away, this is early research that’s only been conducted in rodents for now. But the researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine were able to clearly show that by simply changing the way the immune system responds to pathogens, they could trigger antisocial behaviour in mice.

Restoring the molecule returned the mouse personalities to normal.

“It’s crazy, but maybe we are just multicellular battlefields for two ancient forces: pathogens and the immune system,” said lead researcher, Jonathan Kipnis. “Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.”

The molecule in question is called interferon gamma, and it’s usually released by the immune system when it comes into contact with a pathogen, such as a virus or bacteria.

This type of immune response is part of the adaptive immune system, which learns to keep an eye out for nasty germs – and up until last year it was thought to be isolated from the brain as a result of the blood-brain barrier.

But that all changed in 2015, when Kipnis and his team discovered for the first time that meningeal vessels directly link the brain to the lymphatic system, which means that the brain and the immune system can directly interact, something that was previously thought to be impossible.

shockingnewr
“The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as sign of a pathology,” explained Kipnis. “And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behaviour traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens.”

This link between the immune response and the brain could explain a lot – for years, scientists had suspected that conditions such as depression, autism, and schizophrenia might somehow be triggered by the immune system, and the research offered a possible explanation for how that could be happening.

But Kipnis and his team took things one step further, and hypothesised that if the pathogens and the immune system could be linked to certain social conditions, then it could also be influencing our broader social interactions and personality.

As the University of Virginia explains:

“The relationship between people and pathogens, the researchers suggest, could have directly affected the development of our social behaviour, allowing us to engage in the social interactions necessary for the survival of the species while developing ways for our immune systems to protect us from the diseases that accompany those interactions.”

From an evolutionary point of view, this makes sense, because social behaviour would be in the interest of pathogens to help allow them to spread. And for us, the social behaviour leads to reproduction and the propagation of the species, so it’s a win/win.

To investigate whether this could be the case, in the latest study, the researchers switched off the immune molecule interferon gamma in mice, flies, zebrafish, and rats. Because this molecule runs and tells the rest of the immune system when germs are about, they were testing what would happen when that interaction was shut down.

In all species, they showed that interferon gamma was essential to normal social interaction.

They found that blocking the molecule in mice caused the animals’ brains to become overly connected, making the mice less willing to interact with others.

You can see a gif representing the extra connections forming in the mice’s brains below (the normal brain has similar connections, but fewer of them):

Reinstating the molecule restored their brains to normal, and saw them resume social activities, showing a clear link between the immune system and behaviour – in mice, at least.

The team has published their research in Nature, and concludes that the immune molecule plays a “profound role in maintaining proper social function”.

What this means for humans remains to be seen, and more research is now needed to investigate whether interferon gamma plays the same role in people’s social behaviour.

It’s still very early days, but having some insight into how germs and the immune system could control our behaviour opens up a lot of potential to further understand why we act the way we do, and why things occasionally go wrong. It could even lead to new treatments for people with social disorders one day.

“Immune molecules are actually defining how the brain is functioning. So, what is the overall impact of the immune system on our brain development and function?” said Kipnis. “I think the philosophical aspects of this work are very interesting, but it also has potentially very important clinical implications.”

A man who lives without 90% of his brain is challenging our concept of ‘consciousness’


The father of two lives a normal life.

A French man who lives a relatively normal, healthy life – despite missing 90 percent of his brain – is causing scientists to rethink what it is from a biological perspective that makes us conscious.

Despite decades of research, our understanding of consciousness – being aware of one’s existence – is still pretty thin. We know that it’s somehow based in the brain, but then how can someone lose the majority of their neurons and still be aware of themselves and their surroundings?

First described in The Lancet in 2007, the case of the man with the missing brain has been puzzling scientists for almost 10 years.

The French man was 44 years old at the time the journal article came out, and although his identity was kept confidential, the researchers explained how he’d lived most of his life without realising anything was wrong with him.

He only went to the doctor complaining of mild weakness in his left leg, when brain scans revealed that his skull was mostly filled with fluid, leaving just a thin outer layer of actual brain tissue, with the internal part of his brain almost totally eroded away.

You can see his scans below:

brainscan

Doctors think the majority of the man’s brain was slowly destroyed over the course of 30 years by the build-up of fluid in the brain, a condition known as hydrocephalus. He’d been diagnosed with it as an infant and treated with a stent, but it was removed when he was 14 years old, and since then, the majority of his brain seems to have been eroded.

But despite his minimal remaining brain tissue, the man wasn’t mentally disabled – he had a low IQ of 75, but was working as a civil servant. He was also married with two children, and was relatively healthy.

Not only did his case study cause scientists to question what it takes to survive, it also challenges our understanding of consciousness.

In the past, researchers have suggested that consciousness might be linked to various specific brain regions – such as the claustrum, a thin sheet of neurons running between major brain regions, or the visual cortex.

But if those hypotheses were correct, then the French man shouldn’t be conscious, with the majority of his brain missing.

“Any theory of consciousness has to be able to explain why a person like that, who’s missing 90 percent of his neurons, still exhibits normal behaviour,” Axel Cleeremans, a cognitive psychologist from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, told Quartz.

In other words, it’s unlikely that one specific region on its own is going to be responsible for consciousness.

Cleeremans has instead come up with a hypothesis that’s based on the brainlearning consciousness over and over again, rather than being born with it. Which means its location can be flexible and learnt by different brain regions.

“Consciousness is the brain’s non-conceptual theory about itself, gained through experience – that is learning, interacting with itself, the world, and with other people,” he explains.

He first published this idea back in 2011, and has now given a lecture on the subject at the 2016 Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness conference in Buenos Aires in June.

He calls his hypothesis the ‘radical plasticity thesis‘, and it fits in pretty well with recent research that suggests the adult brain is more adaptable than we previously thought – and capable of taking on new roles in case of injury.

As Olivia Goldhill reports for Quartz:

“Cleeremans argues that in order to be aware, it’s necessary not simply to know information, but to know that one knows information. In other words, unlike a thermostat that simply records temperature, conscious humans both know and care that they know.

Cleeremans claims that the brain is continually and unconsciously learning to re-describe its own activity to itself, and these descriptions form the basis of conscious experience.”

But what does all that have to do with a man surviving with only 10 percent of his brain? According to Cleeremans, even though his remaining brain was only tiny, the neurons left over were able to still generate a theory about themselves, which means the man remained conscious of his actions.

In itself, the concept isn’t new – we’re discovering more and more each day just how flexible and adaptable our brains really are. Just this week, scientists were able to trigger brain cells to start growing again in order to restore vision in blind mice.

But it’s a striking reminder of what our brains can learn to achieve, even when they’re incredibly damaged, and provides hope that we might one day learn how to reverse some of the illnesses that cause neurodegeneration.

 

Massive New Study Suggests Pesticide the Cause of Microcephaly — NOT Zika Virus


A new scientific study carried out by the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) is casting doubt on the assumed connection between the Zika virus and microcephaly. The study was prompted by the fact that no similar epidemics of microcephaly are being found in other countries hit hard by the Zika virus.

zika-pesticide

“Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published the preliminary results of a large study of pregnant Colombian women infected with Zika. Of the nearly 12,000 pregnant women with clinical symptoms of Zika infections until March 28, no cases of microcephaly were reported as of May 2. At the same time, four cases of Zika and microcephaly were reported for women who were symptomless for Zika infections and therefore not included in the study itself.”

The four cases are consistent with the expected normal background rate of microcephaly–2 in 10,000. Also, there have been almost 50 microcephaly cases in Colombia up to April 28 with no connection to the Zika virus.

The mathematical analysis demonstrates that there are at least 60,000 Zika-infected pregnancies in Colombia, yet the near absence of microcephaly calls for a renewed investigation into the cause of this birth defect.

Four days after the NECSI study was reported by media, five new cases of microcephaly with Zika infections were found prior to June 18. However, this is still consistent with the random co-occurrence of each of the separate conditions.

Reports out of Colombia over the next few weeks will provide much more evidence on whether there is a causal connection between Zika virus and microcephaly. If there is a link, the number of microcephaly cases should rise dramatically.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) have already concluded that Zika is a cause of microcephaly. However, the NEJM acknowledges that no experimental evidence exists yet to support that conclusion. Also, “no flavivirus has ever been shown definitively to cause birth defects in humans, and no reports of adverse pregnancy or birth outcomes were noted during previous outbreaks of Zika virus disease in the Pacific Islands.”

In keeping with the spirit of scientific inquiry, all avenues should remain open in determining the cause of the microcephaly outbreak in Brazil. Evidence could build for the Zika virus link, but scientists are insisting that the insecticide pyriproxyfen should also be explored as a possible cause.

In February we reported that doctors in Brazil and Argentina sounded the alarm over pyriproxyfen, which is used for mosquito control by targeting the larval stage. This chemical was sprayed in the areas most affected by microcephaly, but more significantly, was added to drinking water in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco.

The doctors’ report was widely lambasted in the corporate media, but that has not diminished the possibility of a link between pyriproxyfen and microcephaly. The NECSI, which published the new study on Colombia, has provided a comprehensive review of the facts leading to this hypothesis.

“Pyriproxyfen acts as a larvicide by interfering with the development of mosquito larvae. It may unintentionally do the same in humans. Its structure mimics the role of juvenile hormone, which has been shown to correspond in mammals to a number of molecules including retinoic acid, a metabolite of vitamin A, with which it has cross-reactivity. The application of retinoic acid during development has been shown to cause microcephaly. Methoprene, another juvenile hormone analog that was approved as an insecticide based upon tests performed in the 1970s, has also been shown to bind to the mammalian retinoid X receptor, and to cause developmental disorders in mammals. Isotretinoin is another example of a retinoid causing microcephaly in human babies via maternal exposure and activation of the retinoid X receptor in developing fetuses.”

Pyriproxyfen had never been applied to drinking water on such a scale as it was in Brazil, which began the application in 2014–just before the outbreak of microcephaly. Combined with the fact that other countries with Zika outbreaks are not seeing cases of microcephaly beyond the normal rates of co-occurrence, there is certainly cause for suspicion.

The increase in developmental brain abnormalities following a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia—widely cited by corporate media as proof against the pesticide-microcephaly link—was not a valid comparison due to the much smaller population and relatively few cases. Even the New England Journal of Medicine acknowledged that the French Polynesia case does not provide compelling evidence of Zika being the cause.

Adding another layer of suspicion is the fact that Sumitomo, the Monsanto-linked manufacturer of pyriproxyfen, claimed there is no evidence for developmental toxicity in their product, when in fact a review of their own data found this claim to be false.

Philippe Grandjean, a neurodevelopmental toxicologist affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health, discovered “an animal test shows possible link to teratogenic effects and smaller skull.” Sumitomo failed to mention their own tests showing “low brain mass and arhinencephaly—incomplete formation of the anterior cerebral hemispheres—in rat pups.”
“Few pesticides have been properly tested for developmental neurotoxicity,” said Grandjean. “This is unfortunate as pesticides are suspected of causing a silent pandemic of neurotoxicity. In this case the absence of proper toxicological data confuses the search for causes of the reported surge in microcephaly.”

While politicians and corporate media continue to ignore the possibility that an insecticide may be causing the microcephaly outbreak in Brazil, continued application of the chemical may be aggravating the problem.

The chemical approach to addressing problems such as mosquitoes is standard procedure for centralized, corporate-backed governments, as it rakes in profits for chemical manufacturers such as Suminoto, which in turn line the pockets of politicians who pushed for the measure.

Viable alternatives are lost in the push for more chemicals. The World Health Organization describes how fish that eat mosquito larvae are an effective part of an integrated biological control program. When El Salvador began putting larvivorous fish in water storage containers, dengue vanished along with the mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

In Guatemala, researchers developed a highly effective mosquito trap called an ovillanta. The device is nothing more than 20-inch cut tire pieces hung in a certain fashion with a pheromone-laden non-toxic solution poured into the bottom, and a piece of floating wood or paper where female mosquitoes are drawn to lay their eggs. Use of the traps prevented new cases of dengue during the entire length of the study.

It is also worth noting that environmental degradation and poverty play a part in mosquito-borne outbreaks such as Zika.

Dino Martins, a Kenyan entomologist, said that “the explosion of mosquitoes in urban areas, which is driving the Zika crisis” is caused by “a lack of natural diversity that would otherwise keep mosquito populations under control, and the proliferation of waste and lack of disposal in some areas which provide artificial habitat for breeding mosquitoes.”

Harvard University Finds Cannabis Cuts Tumor Growth in Half in Three Weeks


A Harvard University study from 2007 which remains the most comprehensive ever released on THC’s potential to combat tumors found that in just three weeks doses of THC were able to cut lung cancer tumor growth in half in mice subjects, and were able to reduce cancer lesions by even more.

good-grass

Harvard University researchers tested THC(delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found naturally in cannabis) on cancer cells in labs, and followed that up by studying mice subjects.

The lab demonstration found that doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cancer cells; “When the cells are pretreated with THC, they have less EGFR stimulated invasion as measured by various in-vitro assays,” states Anju Preet, PhD, who was one of the researchers for the study.

Following the lab test, researchers dosed mice – which were implanted with human lung cancer cells – with THC, and found that in just three weeks, tumors were reduced in both size and weight by roughly 50% compared to a control group. According to Preet, cancer lesions on the lungs were also reduced – by nearly 60% – and there was as a significant reduction in “protein markers” associated with cancer progression.

Researchers predict that THC had such a positive effect on combating tumors because it activates molecules that arrest the cell cycle, and may also interfere with the processes of angiogenesis and vascularization, which lead to cancer growth.

Over 6 years since its original release, this study remains one of the most important cannabis-related studies ever released.

Ginger: 10,000x Stronger Than Chemo (Taxol) In Cancer Research Model


Ginger: 10,000x Stronger Than Chemo (Taxol) In Cancer Research Model

A new study reveals ginger contains a pungent compound that could be up to 10,000 times more effective than conventional chemotherapy in targeting the cancer stem cells at the root of cancer malignancy. 

A new study published in PLoS reveals a pungent component within ginger known as 6-shogaol is superior to conventional chemotherapy in targeting the root cause of breast cancer malignancy: namely, the breast cancer stem cells.

As we have discussed in greater detail in a previous article titled, “Cancer Stem Cells: The Key To Curing Cancer,” cancer stem cells are at the root of a wide range of cancers, not just breast cancer, and are sometimes referred to as “mother cells” because they are responsible for producing all the different “daughter” cell types that makeup the tumor colony. While cancer stem cells only constitute between .2 and 1% of the cells within any given tumor, they have the seeming “immortal” ability to self renew, are capable of continuous differentiation, are resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic agents, and are tumorigenic, i.e. are capable of “splitting off” to create new tumor colonies. Clearly, the cancer stem cells within a tumor must be destroyed if cancer treatment is to affect a lasting cure.

The new study titled, “6-Shogaol Inhibits Breast Cancer Cells and Stem Cell-Like Spheroids by Modulation of Notch Signaling Pathway and Induction of Autophagic Cell Death,” identified powerful anti-cancer stem cell activity in 6-shogaol, a pungent constituent of ginger produced when the root is either dried or cooked. The study also found that the cancer-destroying effects occurred at concentrations that were non-toxic to non-cancerous cells – a crucial difference from conventional cancer treatments that do not exhibit this kind of selective cytotoxicity and therefore can do great harm to the patient.

PLoS

The authors of the study further affirm these points:

Cancer stem cells pose serious obstacle to cancer therapy as they can be responsible for poor prognosis and tumour relapse. To add into the misery, very few chemotherapeutic compounds show promise to kill these cells. Several researchers have shown that cancer stem cells are resistant to paclitaxel, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, and platinum drugs [8, 16]. CSCs are thus an almost unreachable population in tumours for chemotherapy. Therefore any compound, that shows promise towards cancer stem cells, is a highly desirable step towards cancer treatment and should be followed up for further development.

The researchers identified a variety of ways by which 6-shagoal targets breast cancer:

  • It reduces the expression of CD44/CD24 cancer stem cell surface markers in breast cancer spheroids (3-dimensional cultures of cells modeling stem cell like cancer)
  • It significantly affects the cell cycle, resulting in increased cancer cell death
  • It induces programmed cell death primarily through the induction of autophagy, with apoptosis a secondary inducer
  • It inhibits breast cancer spheroid formation by altering Notch signaling pathway through γ-secretase inhibition.
  • It exhibits cytotoxicity (cell killing properties) against monolayer (1-dimensional cancer model) and spheroid cells (3-dimensional cancer model)

It was in evaluating the last mode of 6-shagoal’s chemotherapeutic activity and comparing it to the activity of the conventional chemotherapeutic agent taxol that the researchers discovered an astounding difference. Whereas taxol exhibited clear cytotoxicity in the one-dimensional (flat) monolayer experimental model, it had virtually no effect on the spheroid model, which is a more “real world” model reflecting the 3-dimensionality of tumors and their stem cell subpopulations. Amazingly, this held true even when the concentration of taxol was increased by four orders of magnitude:

 “In contrast [to 6-shagoal], taxol, even though was highly active in monolayer cells, did not show activity against the spheroids even at 10000 fold higher concentration compared to 6-shogoal.”

This is a highly significant finding, as it affirms a common theme in cancer research that acknowledges the primarily role of cancer stem cells: namely, while conventional techniques like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are effective at reducing a tumor’s size, sometimes to the point where it is “debulked,” burned,” or “poisoned” out of the body even below the threshold of re-detection, the appearance of “winning the battle” often comes at a steep price, as ultimately the cancer stem cell population regrows the tumors, now with increased vengeance and metastastic invasiveness, resulting in the cancer “winning the war.”

The monolayer model, which does not account for the complex immunity of actual cancer stem-cell based tumors against chemoagents like taxol, represents the old preclinical model of testing cancer treatments. The spheroid model, on the other hand, clearly shows that even 10,000 times higher concentrations of taxol are not capable of beating this ginger component at selectively targeting the root cause of the tumor malignancy.

Cancer

In their concluding remarks, the authors point out a hugely important distinction between natural anti-cancer agents and conventional ones that have only been introduced in the past half century or so, namely, “Dietary compounds are welcome options for human diseases due to their time-tested acceptability by human bodies.”  

Unlike modern synthetically produced and patented chemicals, ginger, curcumin, green tea, and hundreds of other compounds naturally found in the human diet, have been “time-tested” as acceptable to the human body in the largest and longest running “clinical trials” known: the tens of thousands of years of direct human experience, spanning thousands of different cultures from around the world, that constitute human prehistory. These experientially-based “trials” are validated not by RCTs, or a peer-reviewed publication process, but by the fact that we all made it through this incalculably vast span of time to be alive here today. Consider also that if our ancestors made the wrong dietary choice by simply mistaking an edible berry for a poisonous one, the consequences could be deadly. This places even greater emphasis on how the “time testing” of dietary compounds was not an academic but a life-death affair, and by implication, how the information contained within various cultural traditions as “recipes” passed down from generation to generation are “epigenetic inheritance systems” no less important to our health and optimal gene expression as the DNA in our own bodies.

Ultimately, this new study adds to a growing body of research indicating that cancer stem cell targeting approaches using natural substances present in the human diet for thousands of years are far superior chemotherapy and radiation, both of which actually increase the relative populations of cancer stem cells versus non-tumorigenic ones. For further reading on ginger’s anti-cancer properties, consult our Ginger Research database. Also, you can use our Cancer Research Health Guide for thousands of studies and articles about natural healing approaches for cancer.

What’s New in Women’s Health?


What's New in Women's Health?

What does nature have to offer that’s new for women? Quite a lot! 

MENOPAUSE

Flax: Improves Life More than Hormone Replacement Therapy

A very exciting 3 month study compared four groups: 5g of flaxseed + training about menopause, 5g of flaxseed without training about menopause, HRT or a control group that that received no therapy. Menopause symptoms improved by 9% in the flax group, 9.8% in the flax/training group, 10% in the HRT group and got worse by 7% in the control group, meaning that flax is similarly effective to HRT. Actually, though, it’s better. Because Quality of Life scores declined even more in the HRT group than in the group that did nothing, but improved in the flaxseed group (1). So flax improves life for menopausal women more than hormones do.

Hops: Help for Physical & Psychological Symptoms
The herb hops contains prenylcaringenin, a powerful phytoestrogen. So, this double-blind, placebo-controlled study tried giving either 500mg of hops or a placebo to 120 women with hot flashes for 90 days. On the Greene Menopausal Scale, the women on hops had significantly lower total symptom scores: there was a 90% decrease in the hops group versus only a 3.6% drop in the placebo group. The women had significantly better scores for anxiety and depression, physical symptoms, hot flashes and loss of interest in sex. Hot flashes dropped by 94.5% in the hops group but by only 0.8% in the placebo group. The hops was very safe: there were no adverse events (2).

Ginkgo, Menopause & Libido
And, speaking of loss of interest in sex, because many women experience some loss of libido with menopause, researchers conducted a triple-blind, placebo-controlled study to see if Ginkgo biloba could help. 63 menopausal women were given either 120-240mg of Ginkgo biloba extract or a placebo for 4 weeks. Sexual desire significantly improved in the ginkgo group compared to the placebo group: 64.5% of the ginkgo group reported moderate to great sexual desire compared to only 34.4% of the placebo group (3).

PAINFUL PERIODS

Ginger
122 women with moderate to severe dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) were given either 250mg ofginger every 6 hours until they experienced pain relief or 250mg of the drug mefenamic acid every 8 hours until they experienced pain relief. The study lasted for 2 menstrual cycles and found that the 2 treatments reduced pain significantly and equally. By the end of the study, about half of the women in each group had improved from moderate/severe pain to mild pain. Though fewer women in the drug group had severe pain at the end, it is important to remember that, while ginger is very safe, NSAID’s like mefenamic acid increase the risk of ulcers, bleeding, cardiovascular disease and other side effects (4).

An earlier study of 150 women with moderate to severe dysmenorrhoea compared 250mg of ginger 4 times a day to either mefenamic acid or ibuprofen. The treatments were given for 3 days, beginning on the first day of their period. The ginger worked as well as either of the drugs. The authors of the study concluded that ginger is as effective as the drugs (5).

Cinnamon
Two new studies show that cinnamon is a safe and effective way to help with painful periods.

The first double-blind study gave either a placebo or 420mg of cinnamon 3 times a day to 76 women. The women who got the cinnamon had significantly greater reductions in pain severity and significantly less nausea and vomiting. Importantly, they also had significantly less heavy menstrual bleeding. The cinnamon had all of these advantages over a placebo without having any side effects (6).

So how does this side effect free herb stack up against a side effect laden drug? A second double-blind study compared a placebo to either 400mg of Ibuprofen 3 times a day or 420mg of cinnamon 3 times a day. Both the drug and the herb were significantly better than the placebo for severity and duration of pain. Though the cinnamon was effective, it was not as effective as the Ibuprofen (7).

So why would you consider taking cinnamon instead of Ibuprofen if it is not quite as effective? Other than that it is much safer, there is an additional situation in which taking cinnamon may be ideal. As the first study shows, when painful periods present with excessive bleeding, cinnamon can be a very suitable herb. Long known as an astringent that helps with heavy bleeding, the study showed that cinnamon not only significantly decreases pain, but that it also significantly decreases bleeding. So, when painful periods are complicated by excessive bleeding, cinnamon may be an effective part of your treatment.

Herbal Combo: Saffron, Celery Seed & Anise
This double-bind study followed 180 women with dysmenorrhoea for 2-3 menstrual cycles. The women were given either a placebo, mefenamic acid or a herbal combination for 3 days starting from the onset of bleeding or pain. The herbal combination included extracts of saffron, celery seed and anise. The dose was 500mg 3 times a day. Mefenamic acid is a NSAID that is commonly used for dysmenorrhoea. It has a host of possible side effects, including ulcers and, incredibly, increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Both the mefenamic acid and the herbal combination significantly reduced pain and duration of the pain, but the reduction was significantly greater in the herb group than in the drug or placebo groups (8).

 

PMS

Chamomile
90 women were given either 100mg of chamomile extract or 250mg of mefenamic acid 3 times a day for 2 months in a double-blind study. There was no significant difference in the ability of the 2 treatments to reduce the physical symptoms of PMS, including breast pain, meaning that the herb was just as good as the drug for physical symptoms. But the herb was better than the drug because it was significantly better at relieving the emotional symptoms of PMS. This study indicates that chamomile is better than drugs for comprehensively treating PMS (9).

 

PREGNANCY

Lavender
Researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to see if lavender could be a safe way to help ease anxiety, stress and depression in pregnant women. The researchers asked 141 healthy pregnant women to rub either a placebo cream or a lavender cream onto their legs for 10-20 minutes an hour and a half before going to bed. The lavender cream contained 1.25% lavender essential oil. At the end of the 8 week study, there was significant improvement in anxiety, stress and depression in the lavender group compared to the placebo group. By the end of only the fourth week, there was already significant improvement in stress and anxiety (10).

Aromatherapy
This double-blind study let 100 pregnant women inhale either lemon aromatherapy (lemon peel extract oil) or a placebo 3 times when they felt nauseous. They could do the triple inhale as often as they wanted. Nausea decreased significantly more in the lemon aromatherapy group than in the placebo group (11).

Rob Schneider’s Uncensored Press Release On Vaccination


Rob Schneider’s Uncensored Press Release On Vaccination

“The most basic of all human rights is the ability to have control over your own body and be able to exercise informed consent when making medical decisions that can harm you or your child.” -Rob Schneider

The year was 2014 and California just passed Assembly Bill 2109 in the face of widespread opposition. The bill was designed to make it harder for parents to receive vaccine exemptionsfor their children. During this time, the slippery slope of forced vaccination in the state was just getting started. Few communities, parents and advocacy groups were fighting for health freedom. Dr. William Thompson had just come forward admitting research fraud within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the film Vaxxed wouldn’t be released for two more years. Meanwhile, politicians and medical trade groups — funded and directed by pharmaceutical company money — were racing behind the scenes to fulfill an agenda in the absence of widespread public push back. The pharmaceutically-funded mainstream media waited like guard dogs with hair triggers to assassinate the character of anyone in the public eye that had the courage to side with parental rights and common sense. Enter Rob Schneider.

“Schneider has guts and intelligence.” – Journalist Jon Rappoport

Commanding a solid grasp on the reality of the pharmaceutical company power grab and dismal vaccine facts, Schneider’s voice has been an essential addition to the global awakening of health freedom. As California families stare into the abyss of endless vaccinations, a common thread of resistance has united all walks of life. As one of very few public figures in the entertainment industry who had the courage to tell it like it was, and continues to be, Schneider’s points over the years have been concise and on target. You can listen to him speak out about vaccines in the video below:

In retrospect, the mainstream media hit pieces that have attempted to nullify his message can now be seen for what they really were — malicious attacks to stifle essential discussion.

In September 2014, Schneider was dropped from his contract as a voice and face for State Farm Insurance directly after he chose to make his views on mandatory vaccination known through Twitter. Racing to capitalize on his dismissal, mainstream news stories continuously popped up like to attack his character like an unethical, villainous game of whack-a-mole. While the mainstream media is busy running articles with titles like “Dear Rob Schneider, Please Shut Up About Vaccines”, Schneider has chosen the independent media to release his press statement onvaccination. His statement is printed below in full and uncensored.

Rob Schneider
Statement on Vaccination
June 7, 2016

The most basic of all human rights is the ability to have control over your own body and be able to exercise informed consent when making medical decisions that can harm you or your child.

There is a concerted effort by the pharmaceutical industry, medical trade groups and their lobbyists and our paid elected representatives in state and federal government to

persuade legislators to abolish rights that individuals and parents have in making informed choices about what is best for their health and their children’s health.

In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and declared that government licensed and recommended vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court said the same thing when they shielded vaccine manufacturers from vaccine injury lawsuits: vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” Their words.

All pharmaceutical products, like prescription drugs and vaccines, carry a risk of permanent injury or death. No drug or vaccine is 100 percent safe or effective 100 percent of the time. It is also true that, as individuals, we do not all respond the same way to drugs and vaccines.

When there is a risk of permanent injury or death from any drug or vaccine, we must have a choice. If choice is taken away and people are forced to use any drug or vaccine licensed and mandated by our government, then we are no longer a free people but live in state sponsored medical tyranny.

There is also a problem with vaccine failures and waning vaccine immunity. Public health officials, medical trade groups and pharmaceutical companies admit that vaccine immunity is only temporary and sometimes they give no protection at all. In other words, vaccines don’t always work! In the case of the pertussis vaccine, whooping cough outbreaks often occur in individuals who are completely up to date with the CDC’s schedule of recommended shots.

Over THREE BILLION DOLLARS has been paid out to vaccine injured children and adults by the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) under the 1986 Vaccine Injury Act. Because so few parents know about deadlines for filing vaccine injury claims in the VICP, most vaccine injured children never get their day in “Vaccine Court” and, even when they do, the government rejects compensation for two out of three vaccine injury claims.

The fact that Congress and the Supreme Court have given pharmaceutical companies and doctors COMPLETE IMMUNITY from product liability and personal injury lawsuits is a big red flag for parents being pressured to give their children dozens of doses of “unavoidably unsafe” vaccines. Parents look around and see so many chronically ill children in America, even though most children have gotten the CDC recommended 49 doses of 14 vaccines before age six. That is twice as many vaccinations as children got in the early 1980’s and three times as many vaccinations as children get in Europe.

While our children today have gotten more vaccines than any other generation before them, there has been an explosion in the numbers of chronically ill children in the U.S. Over 50 percent (actually 54%) of our nation’s children now live with these chronic diseases in numbers that were unheard of just a few short decades ago: ADHD and learning disabilities, peanut allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, childhood diabetes and obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and children who suffer brain swelling (encephalitis) and seizures and are diagnosed with autism.

Instead of having a real discussion about why the most precious members of our society are suffering from this new onslaught of chronic illnesses and brain injuries, anyone who raises questions about vaccine safety and dares question the (paid) medical and pharmaceutical industrial complex is labeled and ridiculed as an “Anti-Science Anti- Vaxxer.”

The media fueled hysteria over the reporting of measles cases at Disneyland last year, when only 189 children and adults in a country with over 320 million people got measles, was used as an excuse to hammer through legislation in California that removed the personal belief vaccine exemption, including for religious and conscientious beliefs. Only 2.5 percent of children attending kindergarten in California had a personal belief exemption on file but those children will be blocked from getting a school education starting in the fall.

Now there is a concerted effort by public health officials to mandate vaccines for adults, too. Health care workers are being fired if they don’t get an annual flu shot, which CDC admits is a vaccine that doesn’t work half the time!

With hundreds of new vaccines being developed by industry and government, it is very important that we protect our legal right to exercise informed consent to vaccination for ourselves and our children because our civil rights also are being threatened if vaccination is tied to our ability to get an education, a job or medical care.”

Please help us spread Rob’s message via social media and email.

How To Stay Healthy Even If You Eat Junk, Smoke Ciggies, Skip Exercise & Booze It Up


Ever since we docs started teaching people the importance of smoking cessation, moderation in alcohol intake, a nutritious, mostly plant-based diet, daily exercise, and weight control, millions of people have been beating themselves up for unhealthy lifestyle habits. Yet the guilt and shame so many feel hasn’t led to significant improvements in the health of the general public. Even though people know how to live a “healthy” lifestyle, most choose not to. Instead, rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other largely preventable diseases are on the rise.

cheers

Bummer.

While lots of people rattle off about the importance of healthy lifestyle modifications – and as a green-juicing, exercising, non-smoking, health food junkie, I agree with them – what shocks me is how few are talking about the other critical factors that contribute to health and longevity – the factors that are arguably even more important than diet, cigarette use, alcohol intake, weight, and exercise.

Some Diseases Are Preventable

Before I share with you these factors that may shock you, let me start with a hat tip to conventional medical wisdom. Yes, some diseases are largely preventable. If you’re a 3 pack-a-day smoker who winds up with lung cancer, you’re probably feeling pretty crappy about your cancer because you know that if you had never smoked, you probably wouldn’t have been saddled with that disease. If you’ve been eating at McDonalds every day, it won’t surprise you if a heart attack knocks you flat and you have to get bypass surgery. If you’ve been boozing it up for three decades and you wind up with cirrhosis of the liver, well… not to be harsh, but you knew that might happen, right? If you’re four hundred pounds and you get diabetes, um… need I say more?

Yes, if we aim to lead optimally healthy lives, diet, exercise, weight control, alcohol intake, and cigarette use matter.

Some Unhealthy People Live To Be 100

But let’s face it. Some smoking, boozing, overweight, junk food binging couch potatoes stay healthy and die of old age. As a physician, these people have always blown me away. How are their bodies so resilient to such poisons? Is it genetic? Is it just dumb luck?

Clearly, there are many factors contributing to why one person winds up sick when another stays healthy, in spite of poor health habits. The same is true for the health nut who is doing everything “right” but still winds up sick.

So what are these factors that your doctor probably isn’t discussing with you?

Loving Community Equals Health

Let me start by telling you a story.

Once upon a time, a tribe of Italian immigrants crossed the Atlantic and settled in Roseto, Pennsylvania, where they didn’t exactly live the most “healthy” lifestyle. They ate meatballs fried in lard, smoked like chimneys, boozed it up every night, and pigged out on pasta and pizza. Yet, shockingly, they had half the rate of heart disease and much lower rates of many other illnesses than the national average. It wasn’t the water they drank, the hospital they went to, or their DNA. And clearly, it wasn’t their stellar diet. So what was it that made the people of Roseto so resistant to heart disease?

One physician, baffled by their low rates of heart disease, studied the townspeople to determine why they were so protected.

The Effects of Loneliness On The Body

What his researchers found is that the tight knit community living in multi-generational homes and enjoying communal dinners and frequent festivities provided solace from the loneliness so many people feel. The love and support of others in the close knit community alleviated the stress and overwhelm many lonely people feel. Researchers posit that the stress lonely people feel, which increases cortisol levels and activates the sympathetic nervous system, raising heart rate, elevating blood pressure, incapacitating the immune system, and increasing the risk of heart disease, is responsible for much of the illness lonely people experience.

Because the people of Roseto never felt alone, they rarely died of heart disease – most died of “old age”- even though they smoked, ate poorly, and drank. As it turns out, alleviation of loneliness is preventative medicine, and the scientific data suggests that loneliness is a stronger risk factor for illness than smoking or failure to exercise.

Why One Person Gets Sick & Another Stays Healthy

It’s not just loneliness that contributes to whether you get sick or stay healthy. As I discussed in my TEDx talk, it’s not just your relationships that affect your health – it’s work stress, financial stress, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic, and whether or not you’re actively engaging in potentially stress reducing activities like creative expression, sex, and spiritual activities like prayer, attending religious services, or meditation.

For example, let’s take one person who eats poorly, smokes, and never exercises, but who enjoys an incredible marriage, a great family, fabulous friends, a rewarding and financially lucrative job, a sense of life purpose, a healthy spiritual life, a blossoming creative life, and a kickin’ sex life. Aside from the cloud of smoke infusing the lungs with toxins and the poisons this person’s body is ingesting, this kind of lifestyle has been scientifically proven to result in better health than the lonely individual in an emotionally abusive marriage, with a soul-sucking job, no sex life, an absent spiritual life, and no creative outlets. The scientific data suggests that the “unhealthy” individual with an otherwise healthy, balanced life is more likely to live a long, healthy life than a nonsmoking, abstaining vegan with a personal trainer who is unhealthy and miserable in all other facets of life.

Make sense?

How Healthy Is Your Life?

In my upcoming book, I go into great detail, proving how each of these factors of a healthy life affect the physiology of the body, but until then, let me just assure you that what I’m suggesting is true. I’m not recommending that you pick up smoking, drinking, or overeating (and if you already have, you can read here about how I think you shouldn’t kick the habit until you’re ready). But I am suggesting that you start thinking about your health beyond the traditional confines of how most people define health.

Seed Bombs: A Creative (and Fun) Mission to Save the Bees and Butterflies


By now most are aware of the dire situation of the honeybee: dwindling numbers, collapsed colonies and dying hives — which endangers not only honey production, but also the food supply. We face a stark reality if bee numbers continue to decline, some foods will become downright impossible to grow — such as almonds, certain berries and apples. Not to mention bees contribute approximately $15 billion to U.S. crop production. If they all but disappear, the economy will be hard hit.

Seed Bombs - A Creative (and Fun) Mission to Save the Bees and Butterflies

And it’s not just honeybees at risk. Wild pollinators — thousands of breeds of bees, butterflies, moths and birds — are in trouble as well. Some speculate GMOs are the cause of the shrinking numbers, others claim pesticides — especially those of the neonicotinoid and glyphosate class — are at the root of the problem. Many believe it’s a combination of both. While environmental advocacy groups and corporate chemical companies battle it out, grassroots efforts have taken the matter in hand and have cultivated an innovative solution to the issue. One such organization is the Great Seed Bomb.

Seed Bombs - A Creative (and Fun) Mission to Save the Bees and Butterflies

How a Bike Ride Can Help Save Declining Honeybee and Monarch Butterfly Populations

Jill Jordan was tired of hearing about the frightening state of pollinators — and decided to do something about it. An environmental advocate and social entrepreneur with a master’s in public administration, Jordan is no stranger to how we can create effective change. Having worked for the Environmental Defense Fund in Austin, Texas and the Climate Institute in Washington, D.C., she’s seen first hand how assaulting nature wreaks havoc on wildlife. Years back, she learned of the plight facing pollinators and it always remained in the back of her mine. Then one day, she had enough.

Using the immensely popular charity 5K and 10K model, she decided to take the idea a step further and developed a scenic bike ride that included planting wildflowers — which ultimately birthed the Great Seed Bomb. Ticket proceeds from the event help support local environmental non-profits, while participants “bomb” the landscape as they ride with dirt and compost balls that contain a mighty treasure within: a blend of non-GMO milkweed and bee-friendly native wildflowers.

“This is an ancient agricultural method,” Jordan told Dallas Innovates. “If you just chuck seeds out there, they’ll get eaten or washed away. This method gives the seed ample time to survive.”

Milkweed is especially important as it has been disappearing at an alarming rate because of landscape fragmentation and herbicide use. As noted by the organization: “A whopping 90% of the monarch butterfly population is gone. This is mainly due to the use of glyphosate (Roundup) – a pesticide destroying much of the monarch habitat, which consists of milkweed and wildflowers. Most unsettling is the fact that when there is no milkweed, there will be no monarch – it’s where they lay their eggs and monarch larvae feed almost exclusively on milkweed.”

Seed Bombs - A Creative (and Fun) Mission to Save the Bees and Butterflies

However, the event isn’t just about planting seeds. The ride will also raise awareness for the importance of:

  • a bike-friendly community and economy
  • health and wellness, quality of life
  • buying local
  • the environment and our lovely local beneficiaries

The first Great Seed Bomb took place on November 15, 2015 in Fort Worth Texas. Participants were given a fanny pack filled with the seed balls and encouraged to toss them anywhere along the 15-mile bike route. Vendors and environmental learning stations lined the trail, where people could stop and enjoy refreshment in a festive atmosphere, all the while learning more about our delicate ecosystem. Due to national news coverage, Jordan has received many requests from people and organizations wanting to plan their own seed bomb event. Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Kansas, Iowa, as well as cities around Texas, have expressed interest. The next event Jordan is planning will start in the bike-friendly neighborhood of Oak Cliff in Dallas on April 23 and end at the Earth Day Texas 2016 gathering at Fair Park.

If you’re in the area, the launch is happening now. Get involved: spread the word, volunteer, donate, become a sponsor and buy your ticket to ride. Or if you would like to learn more about how to start a Great Seed Bomb event in your own community, you can connect with the organization here.

“The Great Seed Bomb is about environmental awareness,” Jordan says. “We’re empowering nonprofits that don’t have a lot of money, and we’re giving people something tangible to do. And we’re helping to grow flowers and plants for thousands of monarchs and bees.” [source]

Roundup Weed Killer (Glyphosate) Threatens Coral Reefs, Persists In Seawater


The coral reefs are dying and the seas are increasingly depleted of sea life. Could Roundup weed killer be partially to blame?

A highly concerning study published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin indicates that the world’s most popular herbicide glyphosate (aka Roundup), used primarily in GM agriculture, is particularly resistant to biodegradation in coral reef collected sea water, and could therefore be a major contributor to the decline of marine coral reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef.

coral_reef_roundup_monsanto

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms, and is so massive it is visible from outer space.[i] Sadly, according to a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985,[ii] which is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including climate change induced acidification of the ocean, outbreaks of predator species and extensive pollution. Despite the established role of agrichemicals in harming sea life, glyphosate has yet to be included in marine monitoring programs for its impacts on the reef — this despite being used at a rate of 30,000,000 lbs annually in Australia.

In the study titled, “Glyphosate persistence in seawater,” Australian marine researchers described “increasing concern over the global loss of corals and seagrass and this has been particularly well documented for the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef (GBR),” pointing out that extensive agriculture activities impact water quality around reefs and seagrass beds, especially during the summer wet season from November to March, when rain-induced flooding delivers “runoff containing excess sediments, nutrients, and pesticides,” and with satellite imagery reveals their associated plumes travel up to 50 km offshore as far as the midshelf coral reefs.

In order to ascertain the potential impact of glyphosate, they quantified its biodegradation using “simulation” flask tests with native bacterial populations and coastal seawater from the Great Barrier Reef. They discovered that, “the half-life for glyphosate at 25 °C in low-light was 47 days, extending to 267 days in the dark at 25 °C and 315 days in the dark at 31 °C, which is the longest persistence reported for this herbicide.”

When compared to previously reported half-life estimates for glyphosate biodegradation in soil and fresh waters, the sea water estimates are dramatically higher. Previous soil and water data described glyphosate’s biodegration half-life to be as rapid as 5 days for field soil and 49 days for bog and natural water.* If the new sea water flask experiments accurately reflect real world conditions, glyphosate’s maximal 315 day half life in sea water would add up to 63 fold increased persistence to the chemical’s toxicological profile. The researchers also pointed out that flooding events which would bring glyphosate to sea would involve co-occurrence of massive quantities of sediment to which glyphosate readily binds, which would further prevent glyphosate’s biodegradation, potentially greatly enhancing its persistence and toxic effects.

Despite previous assurances by both the manufacturer (Monsanto) and regulatory bodies that glyphosate is safe to the environment and highly biodegradable, an increasingly alarming body of experimental data on glyphosate’s toxicity indicates that the chemical is extremely toxic, exhibiting potentially carcinogenic endocrine disrupting activity in the parts-per-trillion concentration range, as well as a laundry list of multiple modes of toxicity to animal life. For direct access to the biomedical data on glyphoste’s toxicological profile, view GreenMedInfo’s section on the topic: Glyphosate Toxicity.