Air pollution “can cause changes in the brain seen in autism and schizophrenia”

  • Male brains are more strongly affected by pollution than female brains
  • Pollution exposure could cause memory and learning problems in people
  • It causes ‘rampant’ inflammation throughout the brain

Early exposure to air pollution causes harmful changes in the brain seen in autism and schizophrenia, research has shown.

The findings in mice follow previous research linking traffic pollution and higher rates of autism in children.

As in humans, it was mostly male mice that were affected.

Besides suffering physical damage to their brains, they performed poorly in tests of short-term memory, learning ability and impulsivity.

Exposure to air pollution causes harmful changes in the brain seen in autism and schizophrenia

Exposure to air pollution causes harmful changes in the brain seen in autism and schizophrenia

In a series of experiments, scientists exposed mice to levels of air pollution typically found in medium-sized cities during the first two weeks after birth.

Mice examined 24 hours after their last exposure displayed evidence of ‘rampant’ inflammation throughout their brains.

Fluid-filled ventricle chambers on both sides of the brain were also enlarged to two or three times their normal size.

Lead researcher Professor Deborah Cory-Slechta, from the University of Rochester, U.S., said: ‘When we looked closely at the ventricles, we could see that the white matter that normally surrounds them hadn’t fully developed.

‘It appears that inflammation had damaged those brain cells and prevented that region of the brain from developing, and the ventricles simply expanded to fill the space.

‘Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that air pollution may play a role in autism, as well as in other neurodevelopmental disorders.’

Pollution has a more significant effect on the brains of boys than of girls - autism is also more common in boys

Pollution has a more significant effect on the brains of boys than of girls – autism is also more common in boys

The same defects were seen in other groups of mice 40 and 270 days after exposure, suggesting they were permanent.

Brains of all three groups of mice also had raised levels of the nerve message chemical glutamate.

Again, this is seen in humans with autism and schizophrenia.

The research, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, focused on ultra-fine carbon particles of the type produced by factories and motor vehicles.

Being so small, the particles can travel deep into the lungs and become absorbed into the bloodstream.

Last year, a study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry showed that children who spend the first year of life in areas highly polluted by traffic are three times more likely to develop autism.

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Will a Nicotine Patch Make You Smarter?

Back home in New Jersey, I read through dozens of human and animal studies published over the past five years showing that nicotine—freed of its noxious host, tobacco, and delivered instead by chewing gum or transdermal patch—may prove to be a weirdly, improbably effective cognitive enhancer and treatment for relieving or preventing a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s, mild cognitive impairment, ADHD, Tourette’s, and schizophrenia. Plus it has long been associated with weight loss. With few known safety risks.

Nicotine? Yes, nicotine.

Nicotine PatchIn fact—and this is where the irony gets mad deep—the one purpose for which nicotine patches have proven futile is the very same one for which they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, sold by pharmacies over the counter, bought by consumers, and covered by many state Medicaid programs: quitting smoking. In January 2012, a six-year follow-up study of 787 adults who had recently quit smoking found that those who used nicotine replacement therapy in the form of a patch, gum, inhaler, or nasal spray had the same long-term relapse rate as those who did not use the products. Heavy smokers who tried to quit without the benefit of counseling were actually twice as likely to relapse if they used a nicotine replacement product.

“I understand that smoking is bad,” said Maryka Quik, director of the Neurodegenerative Diseases Program at SRI International, a nonprofit research institute based in California’s Silicon Valley. “My father died of lung cancer. I totally get it.”

Yet for years Quik has endured the skepticism and downright hostility of many of her fellow neuroscientists as she has published some three dozen studies revealing the actions of nicotine within the mammalian brain.

“The whole problem with nicotine is that it happens to be found in cigarettes,” she told me. “People can’t disassociate the two in their mind, nicotine and smoking. It’s not the general public that annoys me, it’s the scientists. When I tell them about the studies, they should say, ‘Wow.’ But they say, ‘Oh well, that might be true, but I don’t see the point.’ It’s not even ignorance. It’s their preconceived ideas and inflexibility.”

I met Quik at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience held in Washington, D.C. Amid thousands of studies presented in a cavernous exhibition hall, the title of hers jumped out: “Nicotine Reduces L-dopa-Induced Dyskinesias by Acting at 2 Nicotinic Receptors.”

“A huge literature says that smoking protects against Parkinson’s,”she said. “It started as a chance observation, which is frequently the most interesting kind.”

The first hint of nicotine’s possible benefits, I learned, came from a study published in 1966 by Harold Kahn, an epidemiologist at the National Institutes of Health. Using health-insurance data on 293,658 veterans who had served in the U.S. military between 1917 and 1940, he found the kinds of associations between smoking and mortality that even by the mid-1960s had become well known. At any given age, cigarette smokers were eleven times more likely to have died of lung cancer as were nonsmokers and twelve times more likely to have died of emphysema. Cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, larynx—blah, blah, blah. But amid the lineup of usual sus­pects, one oddball jumped out: Parkinson’s disease. Strangely enough, death due to the neurodegenerative disorder, marked by loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the midbrain, occurred at least three times more often in nonsmokers than in smokers.

What was it about tobacco that ravages the heart, lungs, teeth, and skin but somehow guards against a disease of the brain? Over the course of the 1970s, neuroscientists like Quik learned that the nicotine molecule fits into receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine like a key into a lock. By managing to slip through doors marked “Acetylcholine Only,” nicotine revealed a special family of acetylcholine receptors hitherto unknown.

And what a family. Nicotinic receptors turn out to have the extraordinary capacity to moderate other families of receptors, quieting or amplifying their functioning. According to psychopharmacologist Paul Newhouse, director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, “Nicotinic receptors in the brain appear to work by regulating other receptor systems. If you’re sleepy, nicotine tends to make you more alert. If you’re anxious, it tends to calm you.”

The primary neurotransmitter that nicotine nudges is dopamine, which plays an important role in modulating attention, reward-seeking behaviors, drug addictions, and movement. And therein lies the answer to the mystery of why nicotine could prevent a movement disorder like Parkinson’s disease, due to its effects on dopamine.

To put the drug to the test, Quik treated rhesus monkeys with Parkinson’s with nicotine. After eight weeks, she reported in a landmark 2007 paper in the Annals of Neurology, the monkeys had half as many tremors and tics. Even more remarkably, in monkeys already receiving L-dopa, the standard drug for Parkinson’s, nicotine reduced their dyskinesias by an additional one-third. Studies of nicotine in humans with Parkinson’s are now under way, supported by the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Other research suggests the drug may protect against the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A study involving sixty-seven people with mild cognitive impairment, in which memory is slightly impaired but decision-making and other cognitive abilities remain within normal levels, found “significant nicotine-associated improvements in attention, memory, and psychomotor speed,” with excellent safety and tolerability.

“What we saw was consistent with prior studies showing that nicotinic stimulation in the short run can improve memory, attention, and speed,” said Newhouse, who led the study.

As Newhouse sees it, “Obviously the results of small studies often aren’t replicated in larger studies, but at least nicotine certainly looks safe. And we’ve seen absolutely no withdrawal symptoms. There doesn’t seem to be any abuse liability whatsoever in taking nicotine by patch in nonsmokers. That’s reassuring.”

That’s not reassuring: it’s totally bizarre. Nicotine has routinely been described in news accounts as among the most addictive substances known. As the New York Times Magazine famously put it in 1987, “nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine or amphetamines, and for most people more addictive than alcohol.”

But that’s just wrong. Tobacco may well be as addictive as heroin, crack, alcohol, and Cherry Garcia combined into one giant crazy sundae. But as laboratory scientists know, getting mice or other animals hooked on nicotine all by its lonesome is dauntingly difficult. As a 2007 paper in the journal Neuropharmacology put it, “Tobacco use has one of the highest rates of addiction of any abused drug. Paradoxically, in animal models, nicotine appears to be a weak reinforcer.”

That same study, like many others, found that other ingredients in tobacco smoke are necessary to amp up nicotine’s addictiveness. Those other chemical ingredients—things like acetaldehyde, anabasine, nornicotine, anatabine, cotinine, and myosmine—help to keep people hooked on tobacco. On its own, nicotine isn’t enough.

But what about nicotine as a cognitive enhancer for people without Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or any other brain disease?

“To my knowledge, nicotine is the most reliable cognitive enhancer that we currently have, bizarrely,” said Jennifer Rusted, professor of experimental psychology at Sussex University in Britain when we spoke. “The cognitive-enhancing effects of nicotine in a normal population are more robust than you get with any other agent. With Provigil, for instance, the evidence for cognitive benefits is nowhere near as strong as it is for nicotine.”

In the past six years, researchers from Spain, Germany, Switzer­land, and Denmark—not to mention Paul Newhouse in Vermont—have published over a dozen studies showing that in animals and humans alike, nicotine administration temporarily improves visual attention and working memory. In Britain, Rusted has published a series of studies showing that nicotine increases something called prospective memory, the ability to remember and implement a prior intention. When your mother asks you to pick up a jar of pickles while you’re at the grocery store, she’s saddling you with a prospective memory challenge.

“We’ve demonstrated that you can get an effect from nicotine on prospective memory,” Rusted said. “It’s a small effect, maybe a 15 percent improvement. It’s not something that’s going to have a massive impact in a healthy young individual. But we think it’s doing it by allowing you to redeploy your attention more rapidly, switching from an ongoing task to the target. It’s a matter of cognitive control, shutting out irrelevant stimuli and improving your attention on what’s relevant.”

Of course, all the physicians and neuroscientists I interviewed were unanimous in discouraging people from using a nicotine patch for anything other than its FDA-approved purpose, as an aid to quit smoking, until large studies involving hundreds of people establish the true range of benefits and risks (even though studies find it doesn’t work for that purpose). But with so many studies showing that it’s safe, and so many suggesting it might well be the most effective cognitive enhancer now on the market, I decided to ignore not only their advice but the advice of my personal physician.

I added a nicotine patch to my list [of things to try to become smarter.]

Source:  Scientific American

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Is there benefit to the Gardasil vaccine? Opponents say no.

GardasilThe human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is given to prevent the risk of cancer associated with HPV and is typically administered between the ages of eight and 26. Opponents argue that not only is the vaccine risky, but it is of no value.

The HPV vaccine effects are said to last for only about five years.

In a Health Impact News Daily Post dated today, Dr. Mark Flannery states that, “The problem with this vaccine is this: Even though it’s estimated 60 percent of women have the HPV virus, only 1-2 percent of the total population gets cervical cancer, and most of those women get the cancer in their 50s. If the vaccine only works for five years, is administered up to age 26, and yet most cases of cervical cancer happen to women in their 50s, the benefits of the Gardasil vaccine are questionable given the severe consequences it can cause.”

In Dr. Flannery’s practice, he has worked with a number of people injured by the Gardasil vaccine for HPV and, according to SaneVax, Inc., as of 2013 more than 32,000 people have reported adverse affects to the Gardasil vaccine, more than 145 have died, over 1,000 are permanently disabled, and more than 6,400 have yet to recover. Dr. Flannery writes, “The evidence shows HPV rarely proceeds to cancer and that very few women with HPV develop cervical cancer, as other risk factors are involved.”

More than 30 to 40 types of HPV are typically transmitted through sexual contact and infect the anogenital region. Some sexually transmitted HPV types may cause genital warts. PositiveSingles, a trusted online dating site for people with HPV, Syphilis and other STDs in the Unted States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Europe has information on the latest treatments for sexually transmitted infections as well as locations where someone with HPV or another STD can receive appropriate health care or find the support they need.

Source:  http://www.digitaljournal.com

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The Art and Science of Nutritional Ketosis

Carbohydrate restricted diets are commonly practiced but seldom taught. As a result, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, and nurses may have strong opinions about low carbohydrate dieting, but in many if not most cases, these views are not grounded in science.

“The Art and Science of Nutritional Ketosis” was presented by Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD, UC Davis at the University of California on November 16th, 2012. It will inspire you to think more carefully about sugars and starches in your diet, and empower you with essential knowledge to help you achieve long-lasting health and well-being.

 

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Why dark chocolate is good for your heart

Dark chocolate. It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Credit: © Andris T / Fotolia

Dark chocolate. It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why.
Credit: © Andris T / Fotolia

It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis. What’s more, the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect. This discovery was published in the March 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal.

“We provide a more complete picture of the impact of chocolate consumption in vascular health and show that increasing flavanol content has no added beneficial effect on vascular health,” said Diederik Esser, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition in Wageningen, The Netherlands. “However, this increased flavanol content clearly affected taste and thereby the motivation to eat these chocolates. So the dark side of chocolate is a healthy one.”

To make this discovery, Esser and colleagues analyzed 44 middle-aged overweight men over two periods of four weeks as they consumed 70 grams of chocolate per day. Study participants received either specially produced dark chocolate with high flavanol content or chocolate that was regularly produced. Both chocolates had a similar cocoa mass content. Before and after both intervention periods, researchers performed a variety of measurements that are important indicators of vascular health. During the study, participants were advised to refrain from certain energy dense food products to prevent weight gain. Scientists also evaluated the sensory properties of the high flavanol chocolate and the regular chocolate and collected the motivation scores of the participants to eat these chocolates during the intervention.

“The effect that dark chocolate has on our bodies is encouraging not only because it allows us to indulge with less guilt, but also because it could lead the way to therapies that do the same thing as dark chocolate but with better and more consistent results,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Until the ‘dark chocolate drug’ is developed, however, we’ll just have to make do with what nature has given us!”

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US Government Orders 14 Million Doses of Potassium Iodide

Huge purchase linked to ongoing Fukushima crisis?

UPDATE: Plumes of mysterious steam rise from crippled nuclear reactor at Fukushima

The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered 14 million doses of potassium iodide, the compound that protects the body from radioactive poisoning in the aftermath of severe nuclear accidents, to be delivered before the beginning of February.

According to a solicitation posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the DHHS asks contractors to supply, “potassium iodide tablet, 65mg, unit dose package of 20s; 700,000 packages (of 20s),” a total of 14 million tablets. The packages must be delivered on or before February 1, 2014.

Potassium iodide helps block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland and is used by victims of severe nuclear accidents or emergencies. Under current regulations, states with populations living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant are encouraged, but not required, to maintain a supply of potassium iodide.

A search of the FedBizOpps website returns no other results regarding the purchase of potassium iodide from any government agency, suggesting that the DHHS bulk buy of the tablets is unprecedented in recent times.

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has prompted concerns that the purchase is connected to the threat posed by radioactive debris washing up on the shores of the west coast or the potential for another natural disaster occurring in Japan which could impact the U.S.

“Governments usually respond to disasters very similarly; first move is to avoid panic,” writes The West Wire. “The Japanese didn’t want to panic the world, or tarnish their honor and now, as a consequence of their reluctance, Japanese citizens and international aid personal find themselves in a horrible state of being.”

“Panic is usually avoided by keeping their citizens as blind to the truth as possible, until confrontation with the truth becomes inevitable. The crucial question at this juncture; “would our government be reluctant about warning us of potential disaster, in an attempt to avoid panic?” 14 million doses of Potassium Iodide say that might just be the case.”

Last month it was revealed that 71 U.S. sailors who helped during the initial Fukushima relief efforts are suing the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) after they returned with thyroid cancer, Leukemia, and brain tumors as a result of being exposed to radiation at 300 times the safe level.

TEPCO has repeatedly been caught lying in their efforts to downplay the scale of the disaster. In September it was confirmed that radiation readings around the power plant were 18 times higher than previously reported by TEPCO. After a tank leaked 300 tonnes of toxic water in August, groundwater radiation readings at the plant soared to 400,000 becquerels per litre, the highest reading since the nuclear accident occurred in March 2011.

Top scientists have warned that if another major earthquake hits Fukushima, which is almost inevitable, it would mean “bye bye Japan” and the complete evacuation of the west coast of North America.

Now that radioactive debris is hitting the West Coast of North America, numerous different animals and sea life are suffering from mysterious diseases, including 20 bald eagles that have died in Utah over the last few weeks alone.

Source: infowars

Potassium Iodate (KIO3) form is superior to Potassium Iodide (KI) because the iodide has a much shorter shelf life than the iodate and has a bitter taste that makes it difficult to administer to children.

For more info:  http://www.lifelinknet.com/siteResources/Products/Potassium-iodate.asp

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NEWS FLASH — URGENT ** Steam Suddenly Emanating From Fukushima

 

For more info:  http://www.lifelinknet.com/siteResources/Products/Potassium-iodate.asp

Potassium Iodate (KIO3) form is superior to Potassium Iodide (KI) because the iodide has a much shorter shelf life than the iodate and has a bitter taste that makes it difficult to administer to children.

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