Is it time to reassess current safety standards for glyphosate-based herbicides? 


Is it time to reassess current safety standards for glyphosate-based herbicides? | Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2017/02/22/jech-2016-208463

From XBrowser

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology


Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1117344-overview?src=soc_tw_170326_mscpedt_oth_MedUpdate_progeria

From XBrowser

Monsanto Dicamba Herbicide


Monsanto Dicamba Herbicide

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/11/22/monsanto-dicamba-herbicide.aspx?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=twittermercola_ranart&utm_campaign=20170327_monsanto-dicamba-herbicide

From XBrowser

How GMO Crops Impact Livestock and Human Health Worldwide


How GMO Crops Impact Livestock and Human Health Worldwide

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/09/24/transgenic-wars-gmo.aspx?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=twittermercola_ranart&utm_campaign=20170326_transgenic-wars-gmo

From XBrowser

The Ultimate Guide to GMO Foods eBook – Mercola.com


The Ultimate Guide to GMO Foods eBook – Mercola.com

http://www.mercola.com/ebook/gmo-foods.aspx

From XBrowser

Should we screen extensively for cancer after unprovoked venous thrombosis?


What you need to know

  • The prevalence of occult cancer in patients with a first unprovoked venous thromboembolism seems to be lower (~4%) than previously reported (10%)

  • There is limited evidence to recommend extensive cancer screening with computed tomography in such patients

  • Consider history and physical examination, basic laboratory tests, and results from routine age-specific cancer screening to guide further testing as an alternative to extensive screening

How far to go in screening patients with an unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE) for an occult cancer is a clinical dilemma. Unprovoked VTE, either deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, can be the first manifestation of an undiagnosed cancer. Until recently, the literature suggested that up to 10% of such patients would be diagnosed with a cancer in the year after their diagnosis of VTE.1 However, the incidence of occult cancer in patients studied in two recent, high quality, randomised controlled trials was only about 4%.23 This drop in the proportion of people with occult cancer may require an adjustment in the clinical approach.

Fig 1⇓ outlines a conservative approach and a more detailed approach to investigating such patients. Extensive screening has become the standard of care, though it is based on limited data.

 However, high quality data from recently completed trials discussed below suggest that extensive screening strategies may not provide additional value over routine cancer screening in the frequency of cancer detection in these patients.

What is the evidence of uncertainty?

Search strategy and study selection

We searched PubMed (from inception to 31 December 2016) for randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews using the search terms “cancer screening,” “venous thromboembolism,” “unprovoked,” “meta-analysis,” and “randomized controlled trial.” We reviewed articles published in English between 2012 (publication of NICE guidelines) and 2016.

Source:BMJ

Hidden Dangerous Sushi Ingredients Exposed


Sushi

Story at-a-glance

  • Popular ingredients in sushi and other Asian foods often contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, artificial colors, and artificial flavors
  • Seaweed salad, pickled ginger, wasabi, soy sauce, and even sushi rice and sesame seeds may contain artificial ingredients and additives
  • Restaurant sushi is often mislabeled and may include a different fish than is labeled; it also may be high in mercury or other pollutants
  • If you love sushi, try making it at home by purchasing a whole, pollutant-free fish, such as wild-caught, Alaskan sockeye salmon

Most people regard sushi as a healthful choice when eating out, or even when looking for a quick take-out option, as ready-made sushi is now widely available in grocery stores.

Obviously, if you order certain sushi rolls that are deep-fried, you’re probably already aware that not everything on the menu at your favorite Asian restaurant is actually healthy.

But what may come as a surprise – even to the most health-conscious sushi lovers – are the potentially dangerous ingredients hidden in even seemingly excellent choices – like seaweed salad, wasabi, or sushi ginger.

Dangerous Ingredients Lurking in 8 Popular Sushi Dishes

A revealing report1 by Andrea Donsky, founder of NaturallySavvy, has exposed the many not-so-healthy ingredients found in popular Asian foods.

1. Seaweed Salad

Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, vitamins, and minerals, provided it comes from clean, non-polluted waters. But the seaweed salad sold at many sushi restaurants comes pre-made in bulk from distribution companies and may contain:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Vegetable oil
  • Hydrolyzed protein (which contains monosodium glutamate or MSG)
  • Artificial color, such as yellow #4 and blue #1
  • Genetically modified (GM) ingredients

A fairly surefire sign that your favorite sushi salad contains some of these “pre-packaged” ingredients is an unnaturally bright green color. You can also ask the restaurant directly if it makes its own seaweed salad.

2. Ginger

Ginger has phenomenal health benefits for conditions ranging from nausea and arthritis pain to heart health and asthma. Unfortunately, the pickled ginger often served alongside sushi is often doctored-up with some dangerous additives, including:

  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Aspartame
  • Potassium sorbate (a preservative)
  • Artificial colors, including red #40, which is linked to hyperactivity in children (if the ginger looks pink)

3. Wasabi

The bright green Japanese mustard known as wasabi has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-platelet, and, potentially, anti-cancer effects. However, this is referring to authentic wasabi (the kind that comes from the wasabia japonica root or rhizome).

Authentic wasabi is extremely hard to come by, even in Japan, and it’s estimated that only 5 percent of restaurants in Japan and only very high-end restaurants in the US2serve the real deal. So what is that green paste being served with your sushi? Most likely a combination of horseradish, Chinese mustard, and green food coloring. The featured report found the following in wasabi:

  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial colors
  • Potential GM ingredients (corn and soy)

A better alternative is to look for “wasabi” that’s made from only horseradish, spirulina, and turmeric, which is likely to be far healthier than the wasabi imposters being sold at most sushi restaurants.

4. Sesame Seeds

That’s right… even sesame seeds may contain hidden ingredients! While most sushi restaurants use plain toasted sesame seeds in their dishes, there are some flavored sesame seeds on the market that also contain:

  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial sweeteners (sucralose)

5. Soy Sauce

The soy sauce served alongside your sushi also likely contains additives you’re far better off avoiding, including:

  • Hydrolyzed soy protein (MSG)
  • GM ingredients (soy and con)
  • Corn syrup
  • Potassium sorbate (preservative)
  • Caramel color (certain types of which may form potentially carcinogenic byproducts)

6. Rice

The rice used on sushi rolls may also contain hidden ingredients used to make it sweeter. The featured report revealed sushi rice may contain:

7. Imitation Crab

Imitation crab meat may be made from Golden Threadfin Bream, a fish facing extinction, and that’s not all. It may also contain additives including:

  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Artificial flavor

8. Fish Roe (Seasoned Caviar)

The orange-colored fish eggs often served with sushi dishes are also commonly full of additives like those found in other Asian foods. Among them:

  • Monosodium glutamate
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial color (yellow #6)

Tuna and Snapper Sushi Are Probably Not What You Think

When you factor in all of the additives found in many sushi dishes, it becomes clear that this potentially healthful food has succumbed to the processed food trap of artificial additives and fillers in lieu of real, quality ingredients. But there is more to the story than even this… When you eat tuna at your favorite sushi restaurant, there’s a good chance you’re not actually eating tuna. Instead, the majority of fish labeled “white tuna” may actually be escolar, a type of fish that can cause serious digestive effects, including oily anal leakage.

Oceana conducted DNA testing on more than 1,200 fish samples across the US and found that one-third were mislabeled.3 While red snapper had the highest mislabeling rates (87 percent of “red snapper” samples were not actually red snapper), tuna was a close second, with 59 percent mislabeled.

At sushi restaurants, however, 74 percent of fish samples were mislabeled. This included every single sushi restaurant from which samples were tested, even in major metropolitan areas like Chicago, Austin, New York and Washington DC. In many cases, the mislabeled fish had been substituted for cheaper, less desirable and/or more readily available fish varieties. More than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, yet only 1 percent of imports are inspected for fraud, which may explain this clearly out-of-control situation.

Sushi Tuna Is Typically High in Mercury

Most major waterways in the world are contaminated with mercury, heavy metals, and chemicals like dioxins, PCBs, and other agricultural chemicals that wind up in the environment. Fish has always been the best source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, this health treasure of a food has become less and less viable as a primary source of beneficial fats.

This is particularly true for tuna, which tends to be a higher mercury fish. One study from the U.S. Geological Survey found that ALL tuna tested contained fairly high amounts of mercury. The contamination may be even worse in restaurants, again confirming that eating restaurant tuna is a risky proposition.

Further, according to a separate study, toxicological testing revealed that tuna sold in restaurants actually contained higheramounts of mercury than the store-bought variety.4 The reason is that restaurants tend to favor certain species of tuna, such as bluefin akami and bigeye tuna, which had significantly higher levels of mercury than bluefin toro and yellowfin tuna. Unfortunately, mercury tends to accumulate to a greater degree in muscle than in fat, rendering these highly prized, leaner species of tuna more susceptible to high contamination.

Can You Still Enjoy the Sushi You Love?

If you love sushi, and want to enjoy it without adding unnecessary health risks, try making it at home. You can purchase a whole, low-mercury fish, such as wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, and use natural versions of ginger and wasabi for condiments. If this sounds daunting, there are many tutorials on how to make your own sushi simply at home available online.

Additionally, whenever I consume fish, I make sure to also take chlorella tablets. The chlorella is a potent mercury binder and, if taken with the fish, will help bind the mercury before you are able to absorb it, so it can be safely excreted in your stool.

If you want to eat out, search around for a higher end restaurant that makes its own dishes, like seaweed salad, and will be upfront about disclosing ingredients. Steer clear of tuna due to its mercury content in favor of lower mercury wild-caught salmon, and consider bringing your own natural versions of wasabi or pickled ginger (available in some health food stores) from home. You can also try some of the all-vegetable options and forgo the seafood entirely, if you’re in doubt about its variety or purity.

Be sure to avoid any sushi made from farmed fish. Remember, fish farms are the aquatic version of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), and just like land-based cattle and chicken farms, fish farms breed disease due to crowding too many fish together in a small space. They also produce toxic waste, and fish of inferior quality. These fish are further contaminated by drugs and genetically modified corn and soy meal feed, and in the case of salmon, synthetic astaxanthin, which is made from petrochemicals that are not approved for human consumption.

Source:mercola.com

11 Vegetables Anyone Can Grow on Their Own


Growing Vegetables

Story at-a-glance

  • One in three US households are now growing food
  • Some of the easiest vegetables for beginner gardeners to grow include cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, chard, kale, and herbs
  • If you don’t have space in your backyard for a garden, you can grow vegetables in containers on your patio, balcony, rooftop, or windowsill

One in three US households are now growing food, according to a special report from the National Gardening Association (NGA).1 This equates to about 42 million households with a food garden in 2013, a 17 percent increase from 2008.

Keeping a garden can improve your health by providing you with fresher, uncontaminated food, and cutting your grocery bill. NGA estimates that while the average US family spends $70 per year to plant a vegetable garden, they grow about $600 worth of produce – that’s a $530 return on your investment.2

The promise of garden-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, and carrots is what initially draws many new gardeners in… but what keeps many involved is the intrinsically rewarding feeling of growing your own food.

11 Foods That Are Easy to Grow at Home

You might be surprised at how much food you can grow from just a few packets of seeds. Even if you’re new to gardening, many of the foods that follow are relatively foolproof options that will deliver a robust harvest, sometimes in as little as a few weeks from planting.3

Keep in mind that even if you don’t have space in your backyard for a garden, you can grow vegetables in containers on your patio, balcony, or rooftop. Community gardens are also growing in popularity where you can rent a plot of soil to grow food for your family.

If this is your first garden, you might want to start out with just a few options from this list. You’ll probably need to experiment with different methods of planting, watering, building soil health, and controlling pests naturally, but as you gain confidence, and harvest the fruits of your labor, your garden (and your passion for gardening) will likely continue to grow.

If you’re not sure of which seeds to choose, check out my Heirloom Seed Kits for wonderful selections of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers that are non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented, in selections for both Northern and Southern climates.

1. Sprouts

Growing your own sprouts is quite easy, and you don’t need a whole lot of space either; they can even be grown indoors. Sprouts may be small, but they are packed with nutrition, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes that help protect against free radical damage.

Two of my personal favorites are sunflower seed and pea shoots—both of which are typically about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables. They’re also among the highest in protein. In addition, sunflower seeds contain healthy fats, essential fatty acids, and fiber—all of which are important for optimal health.

I used Ball jars when I first started sprouting seeds about 25 years ago, but I’ve since switched over to growing them in potting soil. With Ball jars you need to rinse them several times a day to prevent mold growth and it is a hassle to have them draining in the sink, taking up space.

Moreover, you need dozens of jars to produce the same amount of sprouts as just one flat tray. I didn’t have the time or patience for that, and you may not either. The choice is yours though. You can easily grow sprouts and shoots with or without soil.

My Sprout Doctor Starter Kit comes with what I consider to be three of the best sprouts to grow – sunflower shoots, broccoli sprouts, and pea shoots. When grown in soil, you can harvest your sprouts in about a week, and a pound of seeds will probably produce over 10 pounds of sprouts.

Sunflower shoots will give you the most volume for your effort and, in my opinion, have the best taste. In one 10×10 tray, you can harvest between one and two pounds of sunflower sprouts, which will last you about three days. You can store them in the fridge for about a week. Broccoli sprouts look and taste similar to alfalfa sprouts, which most people like.

They’re perfect for adding to salads, either in addition to or in lieu of salad greens, and sandwiches and are especially tasty in combination with fresh avocado. You can also add them to your vegetable juice or smoothies.

I’ve partnered with a company in a small town in Vermont that develops, breeds, and grows their own seeds, and is an industry leader in seed safety for sprouts and shoots.

All of my seeds are non-GMO, certified organic, and packed with nutrition. My starter kit makes it easy to grow your own sprouts in the comfort of your home, whenever you want. It provides everything you need, so all you have to do is grow and enjoy your sprouts.

2. Spinach and Loose-Leaf Lettuce

Early spring is a good time to plant spinach and other loose-leaf greens. The harvest is ready in just three to five weeks; simply cut off leaves here and there with scissors (don’t worry, they’ll grow back). Up to half of the nutrients in lettuce may be lost within two days of harvest, so growing your owns leads to a much more nutritious salad.

3. Kale

One cup of kale contains just around 30 calories but will provide you with seven times the daily recommended amount of vitamin K1, twice the amount of vitamin A and a day’s worth of vitamin C, plus antioxidants, minerals, and much more.

This leafy green also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases – plant-based omega-3 fats for building cell membranes, cancer-fighting sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol, and an impressive number of beneficial flavonoids.

Kale grows all season long, but its flavor gets sweeter after a frost. Impressively, kale can survive temperatures as low as 10° Fahrenheit, so be sure to keep it growing into the fall and winter. Kale is ready to harvest about a month after planting.

4. Rainbow Chard

Chard belongs to the chenopod food family, along with beets and spinach. It’s an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and A (in the form of beta-carotene) along with the minerals manganese and zinc. It’s a hearty plant that grows easily, and it makes a striking addition to your garden with its bright red stems.

Plus, chard degrades quickly during shipping, making it ideal to grow at home. Plant chard in early spring, and you’ll be able to harvest it all season long.

5. Bok Choy

Bok choy, which is also referred to as Chinese white cabbage, contains vitamins C and K, plus a higher concentration of beta-carotene and vitamin A than any other variety of cabbage. It also contains important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, all wrapped up in an extremely low-calorie package

Bok choy can be planted early spring through midsummer. Its leaves can be harvested when they’re about three inches tall, or you can wait until a head forms and harvest the whole plant at once.

6. Herbs

Fresh herbs can make your meals pop, but they’re expensive to purchase in the store. Fortunately, it takes very little space or skill to grow your own. You can even grow them on a windowsill. Some basic herbs to start with include basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, thyme, and dill.

7. Cherry Tomatoes

While regular tomatoes are relatively easy to grow, they can be sensitive to different temperatures. Cherry tomatoes are even easier, and you’ll be rewarded with pint after pint of the fruits that taste far superior to store-bought versions (plus they’ll be free of pesticides and fertilizers).

Cherry tomatoes like a sunny spot to grow, and you’ll need to tie them to a supportive stick or tomato cage as they grow.

8. Cucumbers

Cucumbers grow quickly and easily, and once you taste your homegrown version, you won’t want to go back to store-bought. These vines like to climb, so plant them near a trellis or fence, and put the seeds in only after the soil is warm.

9. Peas

Snap peas are another “vertical” grower, making them ideal when space is tight. Plant peas in early spring and plan to tie them to a small trellis for support when they start to get tall.

10. Carrots

Don’t let carrots intimidate you just because they grow below ground – they’re quite hearty and easy to grow for beginners. The seeds may take a few weeks to sprout and the carrots are usually ready to harvest in 46 to 65 days. As Matthew Benson, author of Growing Beautiful Food and farmer of Stonegate Farm in New York, told TIME:4

“‘We know less about what’s going on under our feet than we do what goes on up in the cosmos,’ says Benson. ‘It’s so mysterious, all of these interesting relationships between roots and rhizomes and microbes and all these cellular chatter that goes on in the dirt.’ Pulling veggies from the soil can be very satisfying for a first time farmer.”

11. Edible Flowers

Edible flowers like nasturtium add color to your garden and can add intense flavor to your meals. Plus, nasturtium is known to naturally repel pests like whiteflies, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles. It takes about one to two weeks from planting for flowers to develop (simply snip the petals off for eating). These can even be grown indoors in pots.

How to Create Healthy Soil

The key to growing nutrient-dense food is to have soil that is abundant with microbial life and nutrients. Sadly, very few of us have access to this type of soil, but the good news is that it is relatively easy to create it. Paul Gautschi has been a personal inspiration to me in this area, and his garden is a testament to the fact that growing large amounts of healthy food can be very simple, and doesn’t require a lot of time.

The documentary Back to Eden was my first exposure to his work. I struggled for years seeking to unlock the puzzle of growing nutrient-dense food before I came across his recommendations—the simplicity and low cost of which really appealed to me. After studying his technique more carefully, I realized that using wood chips is probably the single best way to optimize soil microbiology with very little effort.

You can actually use virtually any organic material for mulch but wood chips seem to be one of the best, as they are concentrated sources of carbon that serve to feed the complex soil ecology. Typically, carbon is one of the nutrients that is far too low in the soil.

Additionally, by covering the soil around your plants and/or trees with mulch, you mimic what nature does naturally, and in so doing, you effortlessly maximize the health of the soil. Actually, the effortlessness comes after you do the hard work of moving the chips to where you need them to be. But once there, over time they work their magic and virtually eliminate the most concerning garden tasks, which is weeding, watering, and fertilizing.

Biochar is another great tool to help building your soil, the surface area of biochar is what gives it such great qualities when used in farming or gardening. The chips and leaves gradually break down and are digested and redigested by a wide variety of bacteria, fungi, and nematodes in the soil. Once the carbon can’t be digested anymore, it forms humates that last in the soil and provide a host of benefits that I will describe below.

Drastically Cut Down on Weeding and Watering

Other gardeners till the wood chips into the ground, which is by far your worst option. It’s actually important to avoid tilling the earth as it tends to destroy soil microbes, especially the complex and delicate mycorrhizal fungi. When you use wood chips as ground cover, tilling becomes completely unnecessary.

A few short months after putting down a deep layer of wood chips, you will end up with lush fertile soil beneath the chips that will happily support whatever you choose to grow. It is important to never plant in the actual chips, you need to move the chips back and plant in the soil and then cover the plant to below the first leaves.

One major reason why most people don’t want to garden is they abhor weeding. Wood chips will radically reduce your weeding, probably by over 90 percent, and the weeds that do grow are easily pulled out by their roots so it becomes relatively effortless to keep the area clean.

Many parts of the country are also challenged with droughts and may not get more than 10-20 inches of water a year. Wood chips are the ideal solution, as they will eliminate water evaporation from the soil. Better yet, at night they will grab moisture from the air and release it into the soil in the day when the soil needs it.

The Benefits of Gardening Go Far Beyond the Food

Gardening can provide you with a variety of fruits and vegetables to feed your family, but it also gets you outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, helping your body produce much-needed vitamin D. It gets you moving, providing important exercise, and allows you to connect socially with other gardeners. It’s also good for your mental health.

A systematic review examined the impact of gardens and outdoor spaces on the mental and physical well-being of people with dementia. The research suggested that garden use, whether it be watering plants, walking through a garden, or sitting in one, lead to decreased levels of agitation or anxiety among the patients.5

Researchers in the Netherlands have also found that gardening is one of the most potent stress-relieving activities there is.6 In their trial, two groups of people were asked to complete a stressful task; one group was then instructed to garden for half an hour while the other group was asked to read indoors for the same length of time.

Afterward, the gardening group reported a greater improvement in mood. Tests also revealed they had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who tried to relax by quiet reading.

According to a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine, 80 percent of gardeners reported being “happy” and satisfied with their lives, compared to 67 percent of non-gardeners.7 Perhaps it’s no coincidence that gardeners are happier…

Mycobacterium vaccae is a type of bacteria commonly found in soil. Remarkably, this microbe has been found to “mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide.”8 It helps to stimulate serotonin production, helping to make you feel happier and more relaxed. No wonder so many people describe their garden as their “happy place.”

Source:mercola.com

Bad Luck Causes Most Cancer, New Study Finds


Cancer cells in a culture from human connective tissue.

Humans want to believe we control our own destinies. If we exercise for 30 minutes every day, eat healthy, avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs, meditate, and participate in the health trend du jour, it seems logical that we will live longer, be happier, and avoid diseases like cancer. Unfortunately, it seems fate is more chaotic than that. A new study published in Science suggests that most cancers are unavoidable. They’re caused more often by bad luck than anything else.

Mutation, which drives cancer, is actually totally normal. In fact, its the engine of evolution–if not for mutation, our genes wouldn’t make the random changes that once in a while end up giving us a new, important skill–like making enzymes that break down lactose, or resistance to disease. But often, those mutations get out of control. Cells divide and divide until they overpower the useful cells in our body and kill us. That’s what cancer is.

According to Bert Vogelstein and Cristian Tomasetti at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, many of these cancers are unavoidable. They’re just part of nature.

“We all agree that 40 percent of cancers are preventable,” Vogelstein said at a press conference. “The question is, what about the other cancers that aren’t known to be preventable?”

Vogelstein explained that each time a cell’s DNA is copied, mistakes are made. Most of these mistakes are harmless, and as noted above, some of them can even be beneficial. “But occasionally they occur in a cancer driver gene. That’s bad luck,” Vogelstein says. Several of these bad-luck mistakes can add up to a cancerous cell.

Their study sets out to determine how often these mistakes are preventable–whether by not smoking or maintaining a healthy weight–how often they are genetic, and how often they occur by chance. The answer may surprise people who have spent decades believing they can control the development of cancer in their bodies. According to the paper, 66% of cancerous mutations are random, 29% are preventable, and only 5% are genetic.

The numbers vary depending on the type of cancer. Lung cancer is indeed usually caused by cigarette smoke, while childhood cancer is often random. The authors hope that these statistics will help some parents feel less responsible for their children’s disease.

An earlier paper by the authors on the same topic stirred up controversy in the scientific community. Some feel that publicizing this viewpoint will make people less likely to follow advice about cancer prevention. This new study is likely to be even more controversial.

Of course, cancer science is incredibly complicated. Mutations are not the only thing that matter in driving cancer. Factors like hormones can also play a role in determining who the disease hits hardest. “We’re not saying the only thing that determines the seriousness of the cancer, or its aggressiveness, or its likelihood to cause the patient’s death, are these mutations,” Vogelstein told NPR. “We’re simply saying that they are necessary to get the cancer.”

Source: Science via NPR

The Amount of Food Spiders Eat Each Year Will Haunt You for the Rest of Your Life


Spiders are already horrifying, with their eight beady little eyes and spindly legs and sticky webs. They also probably eat more meat than your mind can wrap your head around—more meat than humans eat, even.
 Spider meal specialist Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel, Switzerland decided, hey, let’s try and estimate the total weight of all of the food spiders around the world eat per year. Some data crunching resulted in a number so bafflingly high you’ll either squirm or thank the spiders for keeping us safe from all the other bugs. Maybe both.

That number: The world’s estimated 25 million metric tons of spiders eat between 300 and 800 million metric tons of food per year, according to estimates published today in the very silly-sounding journal The Science of Nature. (That almost feels like calling something the Ferrari of Lamborghinis in academic journal speak). That food consists mainly of insects, little non-insect bugs called springtails, and even small vertebrates. The researchers make several assessments, using the amount of food individual spiders need to eat, the number of insects they catch in their webs, and the number of insects they kill on the hunt.

The 300 to 800 million metric ton figure is pretty close to the mass of meat and fish humans eat per year—around 400 metric tons, according to the paper. It’s also equal to the mass of humans: There are 7.4 billion people on earth, and the average human’s weight is around 130 pounds. Converted to metric tons, that’s a bit over 400 million.

 The idea to do this eye-opening calculation came from a book Nyffeler read 40 years ago, The World of Spiders by arachnologist William Bristowe in 1958, according to a prepared statement he passed along to Gizmodo. “In this book, Bristowe speculated that the weight of insects annually killed by the British spider population would exceed the combined weight of the British human population,” wrote Nyffeler. “This statement fascinated me very much. I decided that I would like to find out if Bristowe was correct with his speculation.”

You might think this means spiders are helping our crops by eating all of the pests, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. “Instead spiders appear to play a significant ecological role as predators of insects in forests and undisturbed grasslands,” Nyffeler wrote. Very generally speaking, spiders don’t seem to eat as many bugs in agricultural areas because these heavily managed systems don’t have as many or as good an assortment of prey.

Our apologies for that horrible image. But hey, at least they aren’t eating you. Yet.

Source:The Science of Nature