People who post their fitness routine to Facebook have psychological problems, study claims

Be honest with me here: You have one or even multiple friends, who always post their gym activity to Facebook. Or maybe that person is you.


“Ran 15 miles before work! Yeah” can be motivating to read in the morning, or incredibly annoying, depending on how much you hate that painfully overused flexed-biceps-emoji.

Researchers from the Brunel University in London have conducted a study as to why so many people share every workout on social media. The results are unflattering, to say the least.

Addicted to attention and esteem

People who are always keen on documenting their gym activities (or every time you simply go for a good, old-fashioned run) tend to be narcissists. According to the researchers, the primary goal is to boast about how much time you invest in your looks. Apparently, these status updates also earn more Facebook likes than other kinds of posts.

“Narcissists more frequently updated about their achievements, which was motivated by their need for attention and validation from the Facebook community”, the study concludes. The high number of likes doesn’t necessarily mean everyone loves seeing those bragging posts, though.

Dr Tara Marshal goes on saying, that “although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays.”

So, unless you get creative in your workout, maybe hold back on those daily Facebook updates on your progress in the gym. Your friends will thank you for it.


Which Fish Is the Best Fish

In a world full of pollution and environmental disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear collapse, many consumers may be confused as to what types of fish or seafood they should eat. Generally speaking, people understand that fish should be part of a healthy diet — but what’s the best choice? The Cornucopia Institute has offered up some ideas on selecting the safest and best fish for your platter.

The hints offered are helpful, especially since so many people are still making unhealthy purchasing choices. The good news is that Americans have increased their seafood consumption, but we need to do better — and that’s where good choices are important.

For example, cold-water fatty fish is a great source of vitally important fats — both saturated and omega-3s — but the benefits of eating fish can easily be negated by selecting varieties that tend to be highly contaminated with mercury. Plainly stated, the healthiest and least risky in terms of contamination are wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sockeye salmon and smaller fish like anchovies, sardines, mackerel and herring.

When you look at seafood such as shrimp, you need to choose carefully, and buy only guaranteed Gulf-caught shrimp rather than “regular” shrimp which are raised in farms in Southeast Asia.

As a general rule, the closer to the bottom of the food chain the fish is, the less contamination it will have accumulated, like the sardines, anchovies, mackerel and herring already mentioned. Like salmon, all of these are also high in healthy fats and omega-3s. To avoid being defrauded when buying seafood, your best bet is to buy your fish from a trusted local fish monger, or look for third party labels in grocery versions that verify quality, such as the Marine Stewardship Council.

How Exercise Combats Heart Problems, Alzheimer’s and Cancer

exercise benefits

Story at-a-glance

  • Exercise lowers your risk of a hard-to-treat form of heart failure by 11 percent to 19 percent
  • Being obese may carry the same risk of heart disease as being inactive
  • A walking program led to improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, which in turn was associated with improved memory in people with early Alzheimer’s
  • Breast-cancer survivors who exercised regularly reduced their risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent compared to those who didn’t exercise

Nearly 80 percent of Americans do not get the recommended amount of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity recommended for optimal health.1

Far from being only a matter of weight loss or aesthetics, exercise is a crucial element of disease prevention and management, with the “side effect” of helping you maintain a healthy weight.

There’s a reason why the late Dr. Neil Butler, gerontologist and psychiatrist who founded the International Longevity Center (ILC), said, “If exercise could be purchased in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.”2

Harvard Medical School also states, “Decades of research have determined that regular exercise is one of the most important factors in warding off cardiovascular disease, many types of cancer, diabetes and obesity.”3 Simply by getting moving, you, too, can reap the many scientifically proven benefits that exercise has to offer.

Lack of Exercise Linked to Hard-to-Treat Heart Failure

If you have heart failure, it means your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be and, as a result, your body is probably not getting enough oxygen. In other words, you have a weak heart.

Once-simple activities, like walking or carrying groceries, may become difficult, and you may also experience fatigue, shortness of breath, fluid build-up and coughing.4

A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a strong, dose-dependent association between low levels of physical activity, higher levels of overweight and obesity (as measured by body mass index (BMI)) and risk of overall heart failure.5

However, the risk was most pronounced with one subtype of heart failure — a particularly hard-to-treat variety known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), in which the heart becomes stiff, resists expansion and doesn’t fill up with enough blood.

Many of the risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, were also lower among people who exercised more.

Overall, those who exercised the recommended amounts lowered their risk of HFpEF by 11 percent, while those who exercised more than the recommended amounts lowered their risk by 19 percent.6

There are few effective treatments available for this type of heart failure, and the five-year survival rate is just 30 percent to 40 percent,7 which highlights the importance of preventive strategies like exercise and healthy weight management.

Past research has also found that people who engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week (the recommended amount), had a 33 percent lower risk of heart failure than inactive people.8

Exercise Improves Heart Disease Risk Among Obese Middle-Agers and Seniors

People who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk of heart disease, but being physically active might help to reduce or even negate this risk, according to research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.9,10

The study included more than 5,300 participants aged 55 years and older, who were categorized as having high or low levels of physical activity. During 15 years of follow-up, overweight and obese participants with low exercise levels had a higher risk of heart disease than normal-weight participants with high levels of activity.

However, overweight and obese participants who exercised often did not have a higher heart disease risk compared to the normal-weight frequent exercisers. This emphasizes that physical activity may matter more than body mass index when it comes to gauging your heart disease risk.

The researchers also noted that being obese may carry the same risk of heart disease as being inactive.11 According to the study:12

“Our findings suggest that the beneficial impact of physical activity on CVD [cardiovascular disease] might outweigh the negative impact of body mass index among middle-aged and elderly people.

This emphasizes the importance of physical activity for everyone across all body mass index strata, while highlighting the risk associated with inactivity even among normal weight people.”

It’s important to note that this study was conducted in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where people typically ride bikes to work and errands. Because of this, even the infrequent exercisers were exercising at least two hours a day, while the high-level exercisers reported four hours a day of activity or more.13

Exercise May Help a ‘Bad’ Heart

The idea that people should take it easy after having a heart attack or heart failure has been disproven. Exercise allows your heart to work more efficiently and may reduce narrowing of the arteries and other effects of heart disease.14

Exercise is highly recommended for heart failure patients, as it strengthens your heart, helps your body use oxygen, and improves heart failure symptoms. Moderate exercise also lowers your risk of being hospitalized for heart failure15 and may slow the disease’s progression.

Both heart-failure and heart-attack patients can benefit from getting up and moving as soon as their physicians give them the all clear.

A cardiac rehabilitation program can help you learn what target heartrate you should be aiming for during exercise. Also contrary to popular belief, it’s not only low- or moderate-intensity exercise that you should be after.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves short periods of intense exercise broken up by periods of lower-intensity rest, may actually be among the most beneficial form of exercise for heart patients and is recommended for this population by the Mayo Clinic.16

Most patients are cleared to try HIIT after they’re able to perform moderate-intensity exercise for 20 minutes. In one meta-analysis of 10 studies, people with a variety of heart problems (coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypertension and more) had significantly better results from HIIT compared to moderate-intensity workouts.

Specifically, the HIIT workouts led to nearly double the improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness compared to continuous moderate-intensity exercise.17

Physical Activity May Slow Memory Loss in Early Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease has grown to be one of the most pressing and tragic public health issues facing the U.S. With no known cure and the number of people affected expected to triple by 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that by mid-century someone in the U.S will develop Alzheimer’s disease every 33 seconds.18

Exercise is once again important here, as it can also reduce your risk of the disease as well as help with treatment. In one study, patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s who participated in a four-month-long supervised exercise program had significantly fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with the disease than the control group that did not exercise.19

Another study published in PLOS One revealed that a progressive walking program that led to participants briskly walking for at least 150 minutes each week was associated with improvements in functional ability in people with early Alzheimer’s disease.20

Among some of the participants, the walking program also led to improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, and this was in turn associated with improved memory performance and even increases in the size of their brain’s hippocampus, a region of your brain important for memory.21

It’s previously been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way amyloid precursor protein is metabolized, thus slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brains and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s.22

Exercise May Reduce Cognitive Decline in Those at High Risk of Dementia

If you know you’re at increased risk of dementia, for instance if a close family member has been diagnosed, it’s even more important to adhere to a regular exercise program. In seniors who are at high risk of dementia, cognitive decline can be reduced with a comprehensive program addressing diet, exercise, brain training and managing metabolic and vascular risk factors.23

Exercise initially stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5, which in turn triggers the production of BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. In your brain, BDNF not only preserves existing brain cells,24 it also activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons and effectively makes your brain grow.

Research confirming this includes a study in which seniors aged 60 to 80 who walked 30 to 45 minutes, three days per week, for one year increased the volume of their hippocampus by 2 percent.25 Higher fitness levels were also associated with a larger prefrontal cortex.

Exercise Reduces Breast Cancer Recurrence, Helps Prevent Cancer

In terms of cancer, exercise is also crucial for both prevention and treatment. In a meta-analysis of 67 studies that examined the most important lifestyle factors to help prevent breast cancer recurrence, exercise came out on top.26 Those who exercised regularly reduced their risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent compared to those who didn’t exercise.27,28

Previous research has also shown that breast and colon cancer patients who exercise regularly have half the recurrence rate than non-exercisers.29 As for prevention, being fit in middle-age cut men’s risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer by 55 percent and bowel cancer by 44 percent.30

High levels of cardiorespiratory fitness in middle age also helped men survive cancer, reducing their risk of dying from lung, bowel and prostate cancer by nearly one-third (32 percent). Not surprisingly, it also reduced their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 68 percent.

The degree to which exercise cuts your cancer risk varies depending on the type of cancer and other factors, but the data shows physically active individuals have a 20 percent to 55 percent lower risk of cancer than their sedentary peers. For example, compared to inactive people, active men and/or women have a 20 percent to 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer and a 30 percent to 40 percent lower risk of colon cancer.31

Further, an analysis of 12 studies that included data from 1.4 million people of a wide range of ethnic backgrounds from both the U.S. and Europe over the course of 11 years found that those who exercised more had, on average, a 7 percent lower risk of developing any kind of cancer and a 20 percent lower risk of cancers of the esophagus, lung, kidney, stomach, endometrium and others.32

What Are You Waiting For?

If you’re an avid exerciser, keep up the good work. If you’re looking for some motivation to get started, identify what it is you seek to gain from exercise. Homing in on the immediate rewards, such as being able to think more clearly and boosting your mood, may be more effective than “avoiding heart disease and cancer,” but they’re all rewards worth seeking.

Next, pencil it into your calendar like you would any other appointment — and just do it. The more you exercise, the more you’ll experience the benefits and highs that go along with it, and the memory of the positive feedback helps motivate you to exercise the next time. Remember, also, that exercise is only one part of staying physically active. It’s equally important to keep from being sedentary during your non-exercise hours by replacing too much sitting time with active movement.


Coronary atherosclerosis in indigenous South American Tsimane: a cross-sectional cohort study.


Conventional coronary artery disease risk factors might potentially explain at least 90% of the attributable risk of coronary artery disease. To better understand the association between the pre-industrial lifestyle and low prevalence of coronary artery disease risk factors, we examined the Tsimane, a Bolivian population living a subsistence lifestyle of hunting, gathering, fishing, and farming with few cardiovascular risk factors, but high infectious inflammatory burden.


We did a cross-sectional cohort study including all individuals who self-identified as Tsimane and who were aged 40 years or older. Coronary atherosclerosis was assessed by coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring done with non-contrast CT in Tsimane adults. We assessed the difference between the Tsimane and 6814 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). CAC scores higher than 100 were considered representative of significant atherosclerotic disease. Tsimane blood lipid and inflammatory biomarkers were obtained at the time of scanning, and in some patients, longitudinally.


Between July 2, 2014, and Sept 10, 2015, 705 individuals, who had data available for analysis, were included in this study. 596 (85%) of 705 Tsimane had no CAC, 89 (13%) had CAC scores of 1–100, and 20 (3%) had CAC scores higher than 100. For individuals older than age 75 years, 31 (65%) Tsimane presented with a CAC score of 0, and only four (8%) had CAC scores of 100 or more, a five-fold lower prevalence than industrialised populations (p≤0·0001 for all age categories of MESA). Mean LDL and HDL cholesterol concentrations were 2·35 mmol/L (91 mg/dL) and 1·0 mmol/L (39·5 mg/dL), respectively; obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar, and regular cigarette smoking were rare. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein was elevated beyond the clinical cutoff of 3·0 mg/dL in 360 (51%) Tsimane participants.


Despite a high infectious inflammatory burden, the Tsimane, a forager-horticulturalist population of the Bolivian Amazon with few coronary artery disease risk factors, have the lowest reported levels of coronary artery disease of any population recorded to date. These findings suggest that coronary atherosclerosis can be avoided in most people by achieving a lifetime with very low LDL, low blood pressure, low glucose, normal body-mass index, no smoking, and plenty of physical activity. The relative contributions of each are still to be determined.


Taking Statins May Boost Heart Surgery Outcomes.

Heart surgery patients taking statins should keep taking those cholesterol-lowering drugs, even on the day of their operation, because doing so may improve their chances of survival, a new study suggests.

“Based on our findings, we would advise patients to continue taking their statin medication all the way up to and including the day of surgery,” said study author Dr. Wei Pan.

Statins are one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States. One in four Americans 40 or older takes a statin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the new study, Pan’s team looked at more than 3,000 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Pan is a cardiovascular anesthesiologist at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston.

The findings showed that the rate of death from all causes within 30 days was about 2 percent for those who took statins 24 hours or less before their operation.

In those who took statins 24 to 72 hours before their operation, the rate of death was nearly 3 percent. And, for those who never took statins or who took statins more than 72 hours before the surgery, the death rate was just under 4 percent, the researchers said.

The study was published online March 16 in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

“Patients frequently forget to take their pills on the day of surgery, or they’ve been told to stop certain medications,” Pan said in a journal news release.

“This study shows that not taking your statin for even one day before cardiac surgery may increase your risk of death after surgery,” he said.

“Statins are ubiquitous today, so this study is especially important as it highlights that a patient simply adhering to his or her already prescribed statin medication and not stopping it prematurely could be lifesaving,” Pan said.

The researchers noted that they believe this is the first study to look specifically at the timing of statin medication before surgery.

Dr. Todd Rosengart is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who wasn’t involved in the study.

He said in the news release that “this is an important study that clearly extends our understanding of the growing importance of statins in benefiting patients with cardiovascular disease.”

Although the study found a link between regular statin use and increased survival rates in these patients, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Jemma Batte: The positive power of transparency.

We have long known that there is an imbalance of knowledge and power in the doctor-patient relationship. It exists in other relationships too—between patients and nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and other healthcare professionals. But greater transparency between healthcare professionals and their patients empowers patients and leads to better health outcomes—and I’ll tell you why.

This week I have been fortunate to attend the Salzburg Global Seminar Session 553 with around 50 other clinicians, patients, technology experts, social scientists, and communication experts from around the world. Entitled “Enriching and Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship,” this was a conference like no other: immersed for five full days in discussions, debates, presentations, knowledge cafes, workshops, and walks while resident in an Austrian lakeside palace, the conference culminated in some truly creative thinking about what the future of the patient-clinician relationship could look like.

I have had two strongly influential experiences in Salzburg. The first was meeting Jan Walker, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. As co-founder of OpenNotes in the US, Jan outlined a pilot in the early 2000s which involved 105 volunteering primary care doctors and 19,000 of their patients. Patients were given open access to their medical notes online. Despite fears that doctors’ workloads would spiral out of control as patients raised questions or sought to correct real or perceived errors in their notes, this did not happen. In fact, patients reported increased understanding of their healthcare conditions and better motivation to adhere to treatment. At the end of the pilot, 99% of patients wished to continue with OpenNotes and all doctors agreed to do so. Today, OpenNotes has been adopted by more than 80 hospitals and clinics in the US, with 12 million patients in primary and secondary care enrolled. OpenNotes is demonstrating positive effects on patient engagement, understanding and outcomes—just by offering patients access to their notes.

The second experience was meeting Sara Riggare, a health informatics doctoral student at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in her early 30s. Sara speaks for millions of patients the world over with a single basic truth: with just 1 hour per year visiting her neurologist for an outpatient appointment, and no Parkinson’s specialist nurse, she spends the vast majority of her time in self-care—8,759 hours of the year, to be exact. It is probably true that any patient with a chronic condition spends most of their time in self or community care. In other ways, however, Sara is also an unusual patient: she tracks her Parkinson’s symptoms using an app on her Smartphone that counts the number of finger taps she can achieve. Plotting this data for both her left and right hand at different times of day against the time she takes her Parkinson’s medications, she has successfully altered her medication timings to minimise her symptoms. Sara shares the data she collects with her neurologist, when she visits annually and is demonstrating the positive power of patients being transparent with their own health data.

My week at the Salzburg Global Seminar made me question whether patients in the UK are empowered through transparency. My clinical training taught me to take a history (including asking about ideas, concerns and expectations, though this was modern thinking at the time), perform a clinical examination and investigations, then to formulate a diagnosis and differentials. I learned to devise management plans, perhaps in consultation with clinical colleagues, and to communicate these plans to my patients. But beyond answering questions as part of the history, patients have little active part in this process.

I was not encouraged to share medical notes with my patients. Patients may of course request access to their medical notes, but few would know how to do this. Yet there is a strong case to offer patients access to their notes, in both primary and secondary care. In both the US and Sweden—where Sara is from—they already do.

There are steps beyond offering patients access to their medical notes, which can improve healthcare in other ways. For example, patients—as the users of healthcare services—are well placed to inform service improvements. Patients and their carers—as those affected by disease—are best placed to educate others about self-care. And patients—as sufferers of disease—are able to design meaningful patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and formulate research questions that really matter to drive medical research forward. As I continue my clinical career, I will remember that patients can do so much more than be passive recipients of medical care. If empowered as active partners in healthcare, patients might help us change the world.

Source: BMJ

Device promises injections without needles

A computerised system for injecting medicine without using needles has won an innovation award at the South by SouthWest Interactive technology conference in Austin, Texas.

Portal Instruments’ device, which the company hopes will be on the market in the next two years, won in the health category.

Read more :

10 Worst Toys Your Kids Should Stay Away From

Worst Toys for Kids

Story at-a-glance

  • Many top toy are hazardous and present strangulation, choking, and other risks to children
  • Toys often contain toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, thyroid disruption, brain damage, and more
  • Many leading toys stores and top toy brands are among those offering dangerous products to kids

The US toy industry generates $22 billion in sales a year, with 65 percent of those sales taking place during the holiday season.1, 2 Unfortunately, many toys meant to bring children joy can end up injuring them instead, sometimes seriously.

According to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data, there were 265,000 toy-related injuries and 11 deaths in 2012 alone.3 Many parents assume the toys they purchase from well-known retailers and toy brands, or which feature characters from popular movies and television shows, are heavily regulated and safe.

A new report from the World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H., reveals significant hazards abound. According to W.A.T.C.H.:

“Some toys that are in compliance with current industry or regulatory standards have proven to be hazardous, proving the inadequacy of existing standards.”

W.A.T.C.H., which recently revealed this season’s 10 worst toys, has been compiling hazardous toy lists for more than three decades, notes that many of the same hazards continue to appear year after year, showing manufacturers’ reluctance to make toys safer. Some of the top hazards could be easily changed, while others have no business being “toys” at all:

  • Dangerous projectiles
  • Strings that can cause strangulation
  • Small detachable parts that present choking hazards
  • Misleading or confusing warning labels, packaging, or instructions
  • Toy “weapons” designed to look real

The Top 10 Worst Toys List

While holiday shopping this year, be on the lookout for potentially hazardous toys such as the 10 that follow. These toys are meant to be examples of the types of hazards that exist widely in the toy industry, and are certainly not the only dangerous toys on the market.

Some of these are common sense… if you give a child a slingshot or bow-and-arrow to play with, there are obvious risks involved. Still, the way these toys are marketed draws in children and parents alike, often giving an illusion of safety when none actually exists.

What the list did not cover, unfortunately, are the dangerous chemicals lurking in many toys (see below for more information). Still, the list is an important reference for anyone who is planning to shop for toys this season or any time of year. W.A.T.C.H. stated:

“We are warning parents not to assume the toys they buy are safe. Many consumers are under the impression that heightened public attention to toy safety, increased government regulations and screening by big name manufacturers and retailers have eliminated hazards from toy store shelves—but this is not the case.

The key message today is to let caregivers know that while there are dangerous toys being sold in retail stores, awareness this holiday season and year-round truly can save lives.”

1. Air Storm Firetek Bow

This light-up bow-and-arrow set designed for kids 8 and up poses a potential for eye injuries. The arrows fly up to 145 feet and the toy (which is designed with illuminated arrows for “night or day” use) warns children not to pull back the arrows “more than half strength” or play with the toy “in complete darkness.”

 2. Radio Flyer Ziggle

This tricycle-like toy encourages children to “swerve & spin” and “race around the block,” but its low profile makes it a hazard for cars. It also poses a risk of forehead and other impact injuries. And while the warning states to “always wear” a helmet and other safety gear, the packaging shows riders using the device without protective gear.

3. Cat-a-Pencil

This toy is part pencil, part slingshot, which poses a risk of eye injuries. There are no warnings or age recommendations on the packaging, which encourages using the toy for “target practice from your desktop.”

4. Alphabet Zoo Rock & Stack Pull Toy

This pull toy has a pull cord measuring about 20 inches long, which poses a strangulation hazard and could cause entanglement injuries. Strangulation warnings are printed on the toy’s packaging but not on the toy itself. While strings on playpen and crib toys must be less than 12 inches long, pull toys have no such restrictions.

5. Swat Electric Machine Gun

This toy gun boasts “lights and realistic combat sound” and a warning that this “toy is a replica of a real weapon” that “may be mistaken for an actual firearm by law enforcement officers and others.” According to W.A.T.C.H.:4

In today’s world, there is no excuse for outfitting children with realistic toy weapons designed to produce potentially dangerous and unnecessary thrills.

Existing regulations addressing the hazards associated with such ‘toys’ are inadequate. Detailed replicas have resulted in a number of deaths through the years and should never be sold as toys.”

6. Wooden Instruments

One brand of wooden instruments distributed at Walmart stores is sold for babies as young as 12 months old, yet contains a slender, rigid 4.5-inch long drumstick, which could be ingested and cause choking. The toy contains no warnings.

7. Bottle Rocket Party

This bottle rocket kit, intended for children aged 8 and over, contains projectiles that could cause eye, face, or other impact injuries. It does include warnings that “this kit must only be used under strict supervision of adults,” but it makes shooting off bottle rockets sound like a party event. Also, though they advise safety goggles be used, they are not supplied.

8. Lil Cutesies Best Friends Doll

These dolls are marketed to children as young as 2, yet contain a decorative bow that could be detached and pose a risk of choking if ingested.

9. True Legends Orcs Battle Hammer

This hard plastic “battle hammer” is almost two feet long and poses the potential for blunt impact injuries. There are no warnings or cautions included.

10. Colored Hedgehog

This stuffed hedgehog, distributed by Toys R Us, is marketed to infants (ages 0+), but it has long, fiber-like hair that is “not adequately rooted and is easily removable.” It poses a potential for ingestion and aspiration injuries, a risk that is not referenced anywhere on the product or tag.

Chemicals: The Even More Insidious Toy Hazard

Just like many household products, toys are commonly made from materials that contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (like bisphenol-A or BPA), carcinogens, and even toxic metals like lead. These chemicals are found in many toys at leading toy retailers, like Toys R Us. You might be familiar with some of the recommendations to avoid such toxins, such as choosing toys made from natural materials like fabric and wood, instead of plastic, but in some cases you may need to avoid a type of toy entirely.

One such example is make-up designed to be kid-friendly and “safe” for kids. One Toys R Us private label brand, TM! products, was recently outed by Andrea Donsky, the founder and editor-in-chief of Some of the chemicals found in these children’s cosmetics (nail polish, hair and body gel, blushes, eye shadows, and lip glosses) include:

Propylene glycol, a solvent that produces a carcinogenic byproduct called 1,4 Dioxane Imidazolidinyl urea, a formaldehyde-releasing preservative that is carcinogenic and may cause allergic skin reactions
Fragrance, which may contain hundreds of synthetic toxic chemicals that are undisclosed on the label Parabens, which are carcinogens and endocrine disrupters that are used as preservatives
Synthetic dyes, which are often derived from coal tar and may be carcinogenic BHT, a preservative linked to tumor development in animals as well as developmental effects and thyroid changes, which suggests it may be an endocrine disrupter

Other brands, such as Disney and Barbie, didn’t fare any better. According to Donsky, of the children’s cosmetics sold at Toys R Us that she reviewed: They all contain parabens, phthalates and/or synthetic dyes. One of them even contains an artificial sweetener!”

Aside from children’s makeup, other top offenders included temporary tattoos, face painting sticks, glitter nail art, and body art. All contained chemicals on par with the toxins commonly found in adult cosmetics, and in some cases even worse. The Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the American Chemistry Council have successfully defeated numerous bills and policies that would have helped to keep hazardous chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, formaldehyde, and others out of children’s toys.6

Last year, for instance, both groups opposed a now-defeated bill that would have required toy manufacturers to disclose the presence of 19 “high priority chemicals of concern for children’s health” – and remove the chemicals within five years.7 Many of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, fertility issues, thyroid disruption, and developmental problems, including brain damage and lower IQ, in children.

Steer Clear of Food-Based Toys…

The Easy Bake Oven is one of the most nostalgic family toys, but according to Donsky, the baking kits included with this brand are filled with toxic ingredients you and your children shouldn’t be eating. The same goes for the other food-based toys that Donsky encountered at her local Toys R Us – items like Cake Pops, a Blizzard Maker, and Slurpee Kits. Hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and colors, genetically modified soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives are par for the course. If it makes you upset that kids are quite literally being deceived into destroying their health potential by junk food companies seeking revenue, then you will be equally dismayed to know that these junk foods are allowed to blatantly masquerade as children’s toys.

As you exit most Toys R Us stores, you’ll also pass by row upon row of candy, sodas and other snacks that represent the epitome of junk food, and which have been overwhelmingly implicated in rising obesity and chronic disease rates—especially among kids. Junk-food marketers know kids love toys, and what better place to capture their attention than in a toy store? Toys R Us, however, has the power to force its suppliers to at least remove the chemicals that we know are harmful, especially since their target market is children. If you’d like to get involved, please sign the petition below asking Toys R Us to stop selling products with toxic chemicals.Donate Today!

How to Choose Safe Toys: What to Look For

As W.A.T.C.H. stated, toys are designed and marketed for sales over safety. It’s very much a “buyer-beware” market when it comes to children’s toys, not only in regard to safety features but also in regard to the quality of materials and toxic compounds therein. So in addition to regularly monitoring toys in your home for broken parts, sharp surfaces, or dangerous wear-and-tear, you’ll want to pay attention to the quality of the materials from which your children’s toys are made.

There are many “green” and organic toy manufacturers that produce truly toxin-free toys for kids. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer directly and ask them what materials are used, and which are excluded, directly. Read toy labels and ask questions about where and how the toy is made. Additional tips to finding safe, pure toys include:

  • Purchase natural fabric or wooden toys instead of plastic ones, and if you’re going to purchase teethers and pacifiers, looks for those that are BPA- and phthalate-free (a frozen washcloth makes a great “natural” teether)
  • Avoid toys made from PVC plastic (soft vinyl plastic), which often contains lead and phthalates
  • Avoid children’s “play” jewelry and cosmetics, as well as food-based toys
  • Repurpose items around your home as toys (stainless steel bowls, measuring cups, cardboard boxes… get creative using items around your home as toys for kids)
  • Purchase simple high-quality toys that encourage imaginative play (wooden blocks, materials for building forts, construction paper, books, etc.)

Syria: Health in Conflict

The Lancet and the American University of Beirut have together established the concept for a Commission on Syria: Health in Conflict. The aim of the Commission will be to describe, analyse and interrogate the calamity before us through the lens of health and wellbeing. With this Commission, we aim to examine five priority areas: health of people inside Syria; health of refugees and host communities; health systems, which includes the pillars of health professionals, delivery, infrastructure, and transition to rebuilding; challenges of the international response to the crisis particularly health-related international law violations and humanitarian aid design and delivery; and policy options and next steps, including those that can strengthen the role of global health in conflict and health more broadly. The Commission will develop concrete recommendations to address the unmet current and future health needs.

Source: Lancet

Is Chlorella a Powerful Natural Detoxification Tool?


Story at-a-glance

  • Chlorella, a single-celled, micro-algae, is one of the most powerful detoxification tools to eliminate accumulated toxins, including mercury, in your body.
  • Body fat accumulates 10 to 100 times more toxins than your blood. One of the best ways to remove these toxins include detoxifying foods like high quality whey protein concentrate that has the precursors for glutathione, exercise, and using an infrared sauna.
  • Whole chlorella is completely indigestible, so in order to work as a detoxifyer, its cell wall must be broken during manufacturing process.
  • Chlorella also contains complete proteins, so vegans and vegetarians can use it to enhance their B vitamin and protein intake.

Have you noticed that practically every day a new story comes out in the media about the toxic side effects of living in the modern world?

Chemical and heavy metal dangers seem to be lurking everywhere you turn in the 21st century!

Pesticides coat much of our fresh food supply, chemical by-products from manufacturing are routinely dumped into our air and water, and mercury amalgam fillings in your teeth may be releasing mercury into your body with every bite of food you take!

The seafood in our oceans are laden with heavy metals and mercury and pass these poisons up the food chain until potentially massive doses of both wind up on your dinner plate disguised as a healthy meal.

Underground water supplies have been tainted by chemical and pesticide run off from farms, factories and high technology industries.

In fact, acceptable levels of many poisons are allowed to come into your home through your drinking and bathing water, including fluoride, chlorine and low levels of many heavy metals.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see that your body too is under attack from environmental pollution every single day.

You can seek to protect yourself and combat this hazard by eating foods that are free of pesticides and chemicals, but you simply cannot entirely remove all sources of toxins from your environment. The damage to our world is just too widespread and pervasive. You have to take it upon yourself to take measures to protect yourself and your family from this toxic world, and one of the best natural sources for moving these toxic materials out of your body is a whole-food based, green algae called chlorella.

How Can You Fight Systemic Pollution?

To address the harmful and unwanted chemicals your body picks up through the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the water you drink, it is wise to develop a proactive plan. One of the most powerful parts of this plan is detoxification of the toxins you may have already built up inside your body.

Your body is naturally able to remove many of the harmful pathogens, chemicals and poisons you may come into contact with in the environment. That’s how we are all designed.

But in the 21st century, we’re seeing an explosion of accumulated toxin-related diseases like cancer, auto-immune dysfunction, brain disorders like autism, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, nerve disorders and more common ailments like depression, learning disabilities and fatigue. It can become relatively easy to overwhelm your body’s ability to remove many of these toxins. Symptoms of toxic build-up due to chronic metal exposure include:

  • Fatigue
  • Digestive distress, and reduced ability to properly assimilate and utilize fats
  • Aching joints
  • Depression
  • Impaired blood sugar regulation
  • Female reproductive problems

Mercury is also a potent toxin in its own right that can damage your brain, central nervous system and kidneys, and is especially dangerous for children, fetuses, pregnant and nursing women and people who have high levels of mercury bioburden. So it clearly pays dividends to detoxify your body of the accumulated toxins built up, to get yourself to a healthier state where your body can more effectively remove the toxins you’re exposed to every day.

Infrared Sauna

There are ten to 100 times more toxins in your fat than in your blood, so one of the best ways to remove toxins is to decrease your body fat. That really is your first defense. Choosing the right foods and exercise are key here. After that, one of the most effective detoxification strategies I know of is the use of an infrared sauna. This can be done for about one hour daily for a month. Remember, it’s important to hydrate well before and during the sauna treatment to avoid dehydration.

Additionally, you can exercise for 30-60 minutes immediately prior to help liberate some of the toxins from your fat.

Some clinicians have also found the use of NON timed release niacin useful, as it helps liberate toxins from the fat. However, relatively high doses of 5,000 mg are needed. These high doses need to be slowly worked up to as niacin will cause flushing. However, about one fourth of people are simply unable to tolerate the niacin flush. Please avoid timed release niacin as it can potentially lead to chemical hepatitis.

Chlorella as a Powerful Detoxification Tool

One of the most exciting nutritional resources available today to help your body naturally fight environmental pollution is a whole-food based supplement called chlorella. Chlorella is actually one of the most widely used supplements in Japan, where over 10 million people use it regularly. The Japanese use of chlorella is more widespread than the North American use of vitamin C, our most popular supplement.

Do the Japanese know something we don’t?

One of the reasons the Japanese value chlorella so highly is its natural detoxification abilities. Chlorella is a “green food,” a single-celled, micro-algae that is about two to ten microns in size. It’s very small. It is this small size combined with its unique properties that make it such a useful detoxification tool. Its molecular structure, allows it to bond to metals, chemicals and some pesticides.

When chlorella is taken into your body, its natural action will bind it to lingering heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides found in your digestive tract, which is your body’s pathway to your bloodstream where these harmful toxins are delivered and deposited into your body’s cells.

So chlorella first and foremost will help your body eliminate unwanted metals and toxins. But it does more than that.

Chlorella is uniquely designed to not bind to the minerals your body naturally needs to function optimally. It does not bind to beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, or zinc. It’s almost as if chlorella knows which metals belong in your body and which chemicals need to be removed. Supplementing with chlorella is like unleashing a tiny army inside your body to fight the battle of removing toxins from your tissues and ushering them back outside your body where they belong.

The History of Chlorella

Chlorella is one of the most widely studied food supplements in the world. Aside from being the subject of medical research in the USA, USSR, Germany, Japan, France, England and Israel, chlorella has been extensively studied as a food source since it is made up of a whopping 50 percent protein and is considered a complete amino acid-based food.

Even NASA has studied using chlorella as the one of first whole foods in space on the international space station!

Studies in Japan have shown chlorella may help reduce body fat percentage and may be useful in fighting obesity and weight related diabetes. It may also help reduce both cholesterol and hypertension. Chlorella’s cleansing action on your bowel and other elimination channels, as well as its protection of your liver, also helps promote clean blood. And clean blood helps assure metabolic waste get efficiently carried away from your tissues.

Chlorella is such a powerful detoxifier because it is rich in chlorophyll, which is known to:

  • Aid you in processing more oxygen
  • Cleanse key elimination systems like your bowel, liver, and blood
  • Help purify your blood and clean away toxins
  • Aid you in promoting optimal blood pressure
  • Support elimination of molds in your body
  • Help neutralize bad air you might breathe in
  • Promote growth and repair of your tissues

Chlorella is actually very useful even beyond detoxification, and its range of health benefits includes:

  • Boosting your immune system
  • Improving your digestion, especially if constipation is a problem
  • Providing B vitamins from an animal source
  • Enhancing your ability to focus and concentrate
  • Increasing your energy levels
  • Balancing your body’s pH
  • Normalizing your blood sugar and blood pressure
  • Reducing your cancer risk
  • Freshening your breath

A three-year double-blind metal detoxification study with over 350 people participating was undertaken at a Russian metal foundry, where more than 20 natural compounds were used in trials to remove heavy metals from people who had been exposed at very high levels to four main metals — antimony, lead, cadmium and arsenic.

What were the results of testing chlorella as a heavy metal detoxification agent? The Russian trial using Broken Cell Wall chlorella combined with cilantro eliminated ALL heavy metals, including mercury! With no reported side-effects! In fact, the heavy metal binding power of chlorella was first discovered in the mining industry. Mixed with water, they pumped chlorella into mine shafts to collect the residual metals after bulk mining was completed.

Not All Chlorella is Created Equal

Unlike many food supplements, chlorella has one unique feature that makes the manufacturing process one of the primary concerns when considering a source of supplementation. Chlorella is completely indigestible by humans. We simply do not have the enzymes to break down its cell wall.

Unlike other green foods, chewing and digesting chlorella will not release the powerful health benefits contained within this green algae. This is because chlorella’s tough outer cell wall, which is also chemically responsible for binding with the toxins inside your body, cannot be broken down by your biology,

Therefore, it is imperative that the manufacturing process break down the tough outer cell wall for you, as this is the only way to make the chlorella biologically available to remove toxins from your body.

This is why I only recommend supplementing with Broken Cell Wall chlorella, because this is the only form that allows your body to use this powerful detoxification agent. Another concern when choosing your chlorella is to be sure that the source waters where it is grown and harvested are free of any contamination. Since chlorella is a natural green food, it will be affected by polluted water and will retain environmental toxins if it’s grown in contaminated waters. So be certain any chlorella you supplement with comes from a naturally clean water source.

One other aspect of chlorella you need to be aware of is some people tolerate it better than others.

You should always start any detox with chlorella gradually, taking just a small amount at first to see how your body tolerates this powerful detoxification tool. Some people also report benefits from beginning a detoxification by first eating small amounts of cilantro for a few days. Cilantro also promotes a detoxification response in your body, but at a less intense level — which may help your body ease into a smoother detoxification response from chlorella.

The best results of using broken cell wall chlorella for detoxification have also been documented as coming from mixing chlorella with the green plant cilantro, so this might be another consideration for you when undertaking your detoxification program. I recommend finding an organic source of cilantro, to insure you are not putting more unwanted chemicals into your body as you try to detoxify your body’s already existing heavy metal burden.

Too Much Iron?

One other thing to be aware of when using chlorella is that this green algae does contain large concentrations of iron. Iron levels in women should not be a problem due to the loss of iron related to the menstrual cycle, but for men, or postmenopausal women, excessive iron can become a problem.

So for men using chlorella, you want to have your blood iron levels checked regularly to ensure the iron in your blood is staying within healthy levels. The simple best screen is ferritin. Ideally it should be between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Levels over 150 or higher become problematic and should be treated by blood donations or therapeutic phlebotomies.

Chlorella for Vegetarians and Vegans

Chlorella is also a great source of complete amino acid protein, and is made up of 50 percent protein. So vegans and vegetarians can benefit not only from the detoxification properties of chlorella, but can also enhance their B vitamin and protein intake as well through chlorella supplementation.

Many claim that it can also be a useful source of vitamin B12. While chlorella does contain this vitamin, most people develop deficiencies because they lose the ability to absorb it. So swallowing it will not provide the same benefit as injecting it or using it in a sublingual drop or spray.

To the best of my knowledge, chlorella is not an effective alternative to animal sources of vitamin B12 which can be an issue for vegans.

Final Thoughts on Chlorella

Sometimes living in the modern world can feel like you’re at war with the environment around you, and sources of pollution are often silent and unavoidable. You can do your best to avoid pollution and toxins, eat only the healthiest organic foods, drink only filtered water, avoid exposure to harsh man-made chemicals, and yet still find yourself exposed daily to massive amounts of harmful pollutants that are totally outside of your control.

Maintaining optimum wellness includes creating defensive mechanisms to fight back against these pervasive and unavoidable environmental assaults on your good health.

By implementing a detoxification program now you can help your body naturally remove the unwanted and harmful heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides you may unknowingly taken into your body. And lessening your toxic burden has been shown to improve many common health ailments, from lack of energy and insomnia, to sluggish digestion, lack of immune response and mental fatigue.

In fact, almost everything inside your body, including all of your organs, function better with reduced loads of systemic toxins.

And by removing the toxins now and not letting them accumulate to dangerous levels, you may be helping your body ward of such killers as cancer, diabetes, and hypertension, along with all of the now too common neurological disorders that may not manifest for decades to come.

Just remember to start slowly, perhaps using cilantro first, and gradually increase your intake of chlorella at a pace your body can tolerate.

It took a long time for your body to accumulate these toxins and it will probably take you many weeks and even months to effectively remove them from your system. So if you experience any indigestion or discomfort from chlorella supplements, you’re probably taking too much too fast.

It will be crucial to lower your body fat as low as possible as this will remove large amounts of toxins from your body that are stored there. You can also use the infrared sauna in conjunction with exercise and niacin as described above.

Be patient, stick with chlorella supplementation, and in a few weeks you’ll most likely begin to notice an overall improvement in your health as you naturally start to remove these heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides from your body.