Tag Archives | Health

Daily diary reveals how cannabis use affects people with bipolar

Experiences in real-time. Rafael-castillo, CC BY

Experiences in real-time. Rafael-castillo, CC BY

By Elizabeth Tyler, Lancaster University

Rates of substance use are higher in people with mental health problems compared to the general population and particularly in people with bipolar disorder, with cannabis the street drug most frequently used. Estimates suggest that up to 64% of this group have tried cannabis at least once in their lives, against about 30% of those without the disorder, despite only being about 2% of the overall population.

Specific reasons for the high levels of cannabis use in bipolar disorder are not yet fully understood. Retrospective studies (using case histories and qualitative interviews) suggest that individuals see cannabis as sometimes useful for managing symptoms of mania and depression. However, a number of large scale research studies have found that cannabis use is associated with significantly more manic and depressive episodes.

The daily experience

A study we published in PLOS ONE is the first to explore the use of cannabis in bipolar disorder in daily life.… Read the rest

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Are processed foods finally on their way out?

kraft_sales_735_350_decline

Christina Sarich via Natural Society:

The public doesn’t trust manufacturers like Kellogg’s and Kraft anymore. Earnings are falling, and dozens of Big Food companies’ stocks are down. One of the biggest food companies in the world, ConAgra, is even slashing its 2015 earnings projections. Is Big Food really over?

ConAgra is changing management – is it because their 2015 earnings projections are way are down and stocks took a plunge recently? The food giant owns brands like Hunts, Swiss Miss, as well as Chef Boyardee, among others. Do people really want to eat cancer-causing chemicals in a can anymore?

Kraft, the maker of Oscar Mayer deli meats, Jell-O, Maxwell House coffee, and Velveeta cheese also recently shook up top management and reported sluggish sales.  Big Food company, Kellogg’s, has seen its sales plunge 5.4 percent over the past year.

Campbell’s Soup CEO has said:

“There’s a mounting distrust of so-called Big Food, the large food companies and legacy brands on which millions of consumers have relied on for so long.”

Do Americans finally realize what Yale medical researchers David Katz and Samuel Meller declared in a paper in 2013, that a “diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”

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Feast-and-famine diet could help extend life, study suggests

Vox Efx (CC BY 2.0)

Vox Efx (CC BY 2.0)

via ScienceDaily [Based on materials from the University of Florida]:

Think of it as interval training for the dinner table.

University of Florida Health researchers have found that putting people on a feast-or-famine diet may mimic some of the benefits of fasting, and that adding antioxidant supplements may counteract those benefits.

Fasting has been shown in mice to extend lifespan and to improve age-related diseases. But fasting every day, which could entail skipping meals or simply reducing overall caloric intake, can be hard to maintain.

“People don’t want to just under-eat for their whole lives,” said Martin Wegman, an M.D.-Ph.D. student at the UF College of Medicine and co-author of the paper recently published in the journal Rejuvenation Research. “We started thinking about the concept of intermittent fasting.”

Michael Guo, a UF M.D.-Ph.D. student who is pursuing the Ph.D. portion of the program in genetics at Harvard Medical School, said the group measured the participants’ changes in weight, blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, cholesterol, markers of inflammation and genes involved in protective cell responses over 10 weeks.

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Is Scurvy the New Diabetes?

Scurvy is the new poor people’s disease in the United States. Yes you read that right. Leigh Cowart tells the sad story at Medium:

… It’s true: Scurvy is not something that you will readily encounter in mainstream American life, since death from lack of vitamin C requires poor medical care and consistent and prolonged lack of access to fresh or fortified foods. It also often involves a cofactor such as alcoholism, being an elderly shut-in, or inadequate infant nutrition. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook: Like so many diseases with social roots, scurvy doesn’t come on like flipping a switch; it’s not as if one day you’re fine, and the next all your old scars are opening up and your tongue is covered in sores. This kind of malnutritive illness exists on a sliding scale of grays. Vitamin C deficiency is no joke, and acting like we don’t have to worry about historical diseases is arrogant and stupid.

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Criminologist’s study shows lack of mental health care for prisoners

[AndreasS] (CC BY 2.0)

[AndreasS] (CC BY 2.0)

via ScienceDaily:

New research by a UT Dallas criminologist has found that a substantial number of prison inmates have not received treatment for mental health conditions.

Dr. Nadine M. Connell, assistant professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS), analyzed data from 18,185 inmates in state and federal correctional facilities for the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health. Connell worked with co-author Dr. Jennifer M. Reingle Gonzalez, an assistant professor at The University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas.

Their findings include:

  • 1 in 4 prisoners had been diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 of those inmates were taking medication for their conditions when they were admitted.
  • Of those, fewer than half of the inmates who reported taking medication at intake were receiving medication for their conditions in prison.
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Water Fluoridation May Increase Risk of Underactive Thyroid Disorder

Luis (CC BY 2.0)

Luis (CC BY 2.0)

Can you guess the number one prescribed medication in the USA between 2013-2014?  It was for under-active thyroid!  The CDC and USPHS is shooting for 75% of the population to be drinking Fluoridated tap water.

BY 2/24/15  Newsweek

A large study that looked at data from nearly every general medical practice in England suggests that water fluoridation may increase the risk of developing hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. This condition, in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, is associated with symptoms such as fatigue, obesity and depression.

The study found that locations with fluoridated water supplies were more than 30 percent more likely to have high levels of hypothyroidism, compared to areas with low levels of the chemical in the water. Overall, there were 9 percent more cases of underactive thyroid in fluoridated places.

Fluoride is added to the water of about 10 percent of England’s population—and to the taps of about two-thirds of Americans—for the purpose of preventing cavities.

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How Emulsifiers Are Messing with Our Guts (and Making us Fat)

Common food ingredients like polysorbate 80, lecithin, and carrageenan interfere with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, reports Elizabeth Grossman at Civil Eats:

Scan the fine print on almost any processed food in the grocery store and you’re likely to find emulsifiers: Ingredients such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan and other “gums,” all of which keep ingredientsoften oils and fatsfrom separating. They are also used to improve the texture and shelf-life of many foods found in supermarkets, from ice cream and baked goods, to salad dressings, veggie burgers, non-dairy milks, and hamburger patties.

Light Mayo Ingredients

Now, a new study released today in the journal Nature suggests these ingredients may also be contributing to the rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, known as “gut microbio.”

This news may surprise consumers, given the fact that emulsifiers are approved for use by the U.S. 

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Heavy Drinkers Have Lowest IQs

A Soldier Drinks a Pint of Beer on his Return from Afghanistan MOD 45152497.jpg

Photo: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC/MOD (CC)

New findings show a link between a lower IQ and and alcohol consumption amongst young men, reports the Telegraph:

People with low IQs are more likely to consume higher amounts of alcohol than those with higher IQs, a new study has claimed.

The study, which was carried out by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, surveyed 49,321 Swedish men who were born between 1949 to 1951 and were conscripted for Swedish military service from 1969 to 1971. IQ tests done upon conscription, alcohol intake, pattern of drinking, tobacco use, and medical conditions were all examined.

The results showed that men with lower results on their IQ test consumed higher levels of alcohol, leading the team to conclude that “a higher IQ results in healthier lifestyle choices”.

Sara Sjölund a student at the Institutet and corresponding author for the study, said that this was the first study to find “consistent” links between “cognitive ability and alcohol-related problems”.

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