We Are The World…He Is The Legend

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We Are The World...He Is The LegendIt’s 1:15 a.m. here…I had turned off my computer for the night and was headed to bed. Like most of the country, and the world, I have spent a good part of today watching the news. It’s been a long, sad day.

For reasons I can’t begin to explain, I just had to turn the computer back on and make this post. Maybe because I’m trying to sort through my own feelings and have a small hope that putting my thoughts down ‘on paper’ will help me do that.

Wow, two HUGE icons – icons who have been ‘in’ my life for all of my life – gone in a single day. It’s mind-boggling.

“But Dee, this is a health blog, why on earth are you posting about the deaths of two celebrities?”, you may be asking. Well, yeah, it’s a health blog – but more than that, it’s a life blog.

Music has always been a HUGE part of my life, and of my kids’ lives. I could tell my life story in songs, believe me. On Thanksgiving the kids and I have a tradition of blasting music while we cook and bake – stopping at regular intervals to shoot our own ‘music videos’. It’s a tradition we all cherish and one we all look forward to.

Health spending outlay tops $2 trillion, but spending growth on doctors declines

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Washington — While the national health spending growth rate increased slightly in 2006, the percentage rise in expenditures on physician services slowed markedly, due largely to a small Medicare pay increase and its private-sector fallout, according to a new report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

At the same time, the start of Medicare Part D had a major impact in the prescription drug sector.

Overall national health spending reached $2.1 trillion, up 6.7% from $1.97 trillion in 2005, states the CMS report, published in the January/February Health Affairs. The 2005 growth rate was 6.5%.

This moderate increase was possible because of a broad-based slowdown in spending growth in many categories, including physicians and clinical services. These expenditures increased by 5.9% in 2006, down from 7.4% in 2005, found the report, “National Health Spending in 2006: A Year of Change for Prescription Drugs.” For the first time since 1999, physician spending increased more slowly than the gross domestic product.

Article continued here: Health spending outlay tops $2 trillion, but spending growth on doctors declines …

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Fake foods, drinks on the increase, says OECD

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by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

Counterfeit products are not just limited to CD’s, clothes and other common consumables. They are also widespread amongst food and drink.

Is it not easy to determine what may be counterfeit as the inferior quality may not become apparent until some time later, for example in the case of ‘designer’ clothing. (I don’t have that problem as I never buy designer clothing anyway.)

On the other hand if you are a whisky drinker the chances are you would pick up a counterfeit product on the first sip.

Of more concern is the amount of counterfeit baby formulas on the market. Some of these formulas are bad enough without having the added risk of a possible cheap imitation which may have contaminated ingredients.

Remember that these counterfeit products can look identical in appearance to the real thing. The difference is in the unseen details which are very important if you are consuming it, such as in the case of baby formulas.

If you buy baby formula and have researched a good brand then be sure to buy it from a good reputable chain store where you could reasonably expect them to stock the genuine article.

Coffee is Healthy!

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Here are some facts (website reference at bottom):

* In the sleep-deprived, says Harris Lieberman, PhD, a leading caffeine researcher, caffeine improves scores on a range of cognitive tasks, such as decision making, memory, learning, and attention.

* A tall latte may keep you out of the dentist’s chair. In lab tests, researchers in Italy recently found that coffee’s antibacterials slow the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the culprit in tooth decay. Coffee also contains compounds that keep bacteria from sticking to tooth enamel.

* It’s no secret that coffee makes your bladder more active. While that can be bothersome, it can also help reduce the risk of kidney stones, according to the Nurses Health Study. Women who drank the most coffee had the lowest risks. Caffeine increases the flow of more diluted urine, which lowers the chance of a kidney stone forming. Prefer decaf? No problem: It was shown to have similar effects. [Drink water processed decaf]

* At least six independent studies have confirmed a link between coffee drinking and the prevention of Parkinson’s Disease. The research shows that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are 60 to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s. Three of the studies also show that the more they drink, the lower the risk.

Shark Cartilage Capsules, Chondrotin Sulfate…A Warning!!

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by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

The UK Food Standards Agency warns that Salmonella has been found in some batches of shark cartilage capsules originating from the US.

The capsules which are popular for joint health have been recalled from the US distribution firm after they said is discovered the ‘issue’ during routine testing of the product.

Wow…salmonella is bad stuff! This is shocking and there is NO excuse for it. ALL batches of supplements should be tested for basic microbiological contamination of which salmonella is a standard test, and the tests should be done PRIOR to the product leaving the factory.

This should be standard procedure for ALL manufacturers. It is something that we do automatically for all batches of all products and always have done.

It highlights the problem of contract manufacturers which I have raised many times. These companies are under pressure from their Corporate Customers to produce products at the lowest possible cost so as a result shortcuts are taken and these basic tests are simply not done.

The affected shark cartilage capsules were sold under the following labels:

Another flawed study promoted by the media

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by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

This time it is folic acid. In a new study named “Folic Acid for the Prevention of Colorectal Adenomas,” which was published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association it was found that high doses of folic acid did little to reduce precancerous colon polyps in those prone to them and may actually increase the risk of developing such growths.

Once again, like so many other studies the name of this study is misleading due to the inclusion of one word. ‘Prevention’. The participants in the study already had the condition that folic acid was supposed to prevent! How can you have a study about prevention when you are using people who are not representative of the general population?

This ‘principle’ is quite common in many studies in which the authors have already determined in advance what they want the results to be. Almost all the negative studies about natural products are as a result of using the specific ingredient on subjects who already have a disease or condition.

Natural ingredients are all about preventing the disease and/or condition in the first place, and then they should always be combined with compatible ingredients to maximize their efficacy.

Ex Head of Chinese FDA sentenced to Death

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by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

I guess that it is unlikely that many of the officials in the US FDA will be queuing up to apply to fill the vacancy!

Last week a Chinese court sentenced to death the former head of the Chinese FDA for accepting bribes and allowing the approval of faulty medicines including an antibiotic that was responsible for killing six people. Imagine, if the same form of justice was applied to those officials in the US FDA and other western FDA’s who have over the last 20 years approved drugs that subsequently were found to have serious side effects in many cases and were directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent patients.

It would thin out the management somewhat wouldn’t it?

Pretty tough justice by the Chinese…but, a pretty good deterrent as well. For the full article about this have a look at the article in the Washington Post – http://www.washingt...l?hpid=moreheadlines

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Omega 3 Linked To Lower Blood Pressure

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DALLAS (Reuters) – A diet with liberal servings of fish, nuts and seeds rich in nutrients called omega-3 fatty acids can help lower a person’s blood pressure, according to a study released on Monday.

“A large percentage of people between ages 20 and 60 have a rise in blood pressure, and by middle age many have high blood pressure,” said Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, professor emeritus of preventive medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, who worked on the study.

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Brain tumour link to pesticides

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Agricultural workers exposed to high levels of pesticides have a raised risk of brain tumours, research suggests.

The French study also indicated a possible higher risk among people who used pesticides on houseplants.

All agricultural workers exposed to pesticides had a slightly elevated brain tumour risk, it suggested.

But the Occupational and Environmental Medicine study found the risk was more than doubled for those exposed to the highest levels.

The risk of a type of central nervous system tumour known as a glioma was particularly heightened among this group – more than three times the risk in the general population.

Gliomas are more common in men than women, and the researchers speculate that part of the reason might be that men are more often exposed to pesticides.

However, the overall risk of developing a brain tumour remained very low.

UK experts said the findings were inconclusive.

The findings were based on an analysis of 221 cases of brain tumours by the French Institute of Public Health, Epidemiology and Development.

The research took place in the Bordeaux wine-growing region, where 80% of all pesticides used are fungicides.

Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health

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By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent – http://www.independent.co.uk/

A new health scare erupted over soft drinks amid evidence they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.

The problem – more usually associated with aging and alcohol abuse – can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.

The findings could have serious consequences for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who consume fizzy drinks. They will also intensify the controversy about food additives, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children.

Concerns centre on the safety of E211, known as sodium benzoate, a preservative used for decades by the global carbonated drinks industry. Sodium benzoate derives from benzoic acid. It occurs naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks such as Sprite, Oasis and Dr Pepper. It is also added to pickles and sauces.