Disease

30-year-old Russian man volunteers for world’s first human head transplant

April 14, 2015

In February, Medical News Today reported that an Italian surgeon is to announce updated plans to conduct the world’s first human head transplant within the next 2 years. Now, a 30-year-old Russian man is set to become the first person to undergo the procedure.Dr. Sergio Canavero, of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group (TANG) in Italy, first spoke of his plans to carry out the first human head transplantation in July 2013 – a project named HEAVEN-GEMINI. At the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons’ 39th Annual Conference in Annapolis, MD, in June, Dr. Canavero will present updated plans for the project, addressing some of the previously identified challenges that come with it. Though researchers have seriously questioned the feasibility of Dr. Canavero’s plans, it seems the first human head transplantation is a step closer to becoming a reality; Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old computer scientist from Vladimir, Russia, is the first person to volunteer for the procedure. Spiridonov has Werdnig-Hoffman disease – a rare genetic muscle wasting condition, also referred to as type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The condition is caused by the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and the brain region connected to the spinal cord. Individuals with the disease are unable

Microbes are Holding the Reins to our Health – Erica Sonnenburg Ph.D.

April 14, 2015

You are not alone. Your gut is teaming with bacteria that have been linked to everything from autism to obesity and may even be influencing your mood and behavior. Whether this collection of microorganisms, your microbiota, is thriving or suffering has huge implications for your risk of a number of diseases including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and even mental illness. Each of us is colonized by a dense collection of microbes that outnumber our own human cells 10 to 1. That’s right, you are more microbe than you are human. In fact if you count up the total amount of genetic material you carry around, only 1% is human in origin, the rest comes from your associated bacteria. Perhaps, a more accurate way to think of yourself is as a super-organism, small part human and large part microbial. These bacteria have been with our species since we evolved millennia ago on the savannahs of Africa. As researchers study this immense collection of bacteria we house, it is becoming more evident each day that they are an integral part of our biology and our health. Read

Awe-Inspiring Moments Lower Inflammation Marker Cytokines, Positively Impact Health

April 14, 2015

The beauty of a night sky or painting may lower risk for inflammation, found a studypublished in the journal Emotion. Researchers conducted two experiments designed to measure the affect positive emotions, such as amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, joy, love, and pride, have on the cytokine Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a marker for inflammation. More than 200 young adults participated in the experiments, mostly self-reporting their emotions on a given day. Afterward, researchers took samples of their gum and cheek tissue to measure levels of IL-6. The results supported researchers’ hypothesis: Positive emotions are associated with lower levels of IL-6. What’s more is awe in particular was the strongest predictor for low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, even when samples were controlled for relevant personality and health variables. “That awe, wonder, and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions — a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art — has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy,” Dacher Keltner, co-author of the study and psychologist at the University of California-Berkeley, said in a press release. Prior research has found high levels of cytokines are associated with poor health and disease, like type 2 diabetes, heart

Susan McCreadie, MD: I Rest Easier NOT Vaccinating my Children

April 7, 2015

Since finishing my pediatric training, I have come to realize that you can find evidence to support your decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. When I started my pediatric practice fresh out of residency, I was a primary care physician and offered vaccinations to those families who chose to vaccinate their children. I actually gave the children the vaccines myself (I’m so glad I no longer do that – I truly disliked that part of my job!). I was also one of the parents who chose to vaccinate my child. I did educate myself about the pros and cons of vaccines, and felt I still needed to vaccinate Kaitlin (my oldest), but selectively vaccinate and on an alternative schedule (one vaccine per month). After the 5th  vaccine, her eczema continued to worsen. I started to have the uncomfortable feeling of having to step outside the lines of what the standard medical   community recommended, on behalf of the health of my child. I have always been a rule follower, so naturally stepping outside ‘the standard of care’ was very   uncomfortable for me – especially as a physician going against ‘my tribe’. But…I am a mother first and a

Morgellons Disease Finally Hits The Mainstream Media

April 7, 2015

Joni Mitchell is one of the most beloved of folk singers from the 1960’s protest and 70’s hippie era. She endeared many fans to her simple and sincere form of “music with a conscience.”  Therefore, it is no surprise that she would somehow be chosen to confer legitimacy to a skin-crawling disease known as Morgellons. In addition to being known as the Plague of the 21st Century, Morgellons is also known by many other names, each of which misrepresents the true seriousness or causes of the syndrome. Morgellons is in fact a multi-infection syndrome which has a number of different causative factors as well as various pathogenic micro-organisms present. Because it has never been formally recognized by the American medical establishment as a scientifically-proven disease process, proper diagnosis is rare. Effective treatment regimens are therefore even more unlikely to be formulated by doctors who refuse to acknowledge its existence. That’s where the advocacy of famous people like Joni Mitchell can be of invaluable assistance. Mitchell has apparently suffered from Morgellons for many years now and displays many of the classic physical symptoms experienced by the vast majority of those who have been likewise afflicted. Her psychological profile, which has become quite well known by the general public,

Coconut Oil Pulling Superior to Chemicals for Oral Health

April 7, 2015

Swishing your mouth out with coconut oil may be a more effective and safer alternative to chemical mouthwashes, according to new research.  A new study has proven for the first time that the oral use of coconut oil is effective in reducing plaque related to gingivitis, a common form of inflammation in the gum tissue of the mouth that occurs in response to bacterial biofilms (known as plaque) adhering to the surfaces of the teeth and which can lead to more serious oral condition known as periodontal disease. Titled, “Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – a preliminary report“, and published in the Nigerian Medical Journal, researchers decided to test the hypothesis that the increasingly common practice of “oil pulling or oil swishing therapy” today, is as effective for maintaining oral health as has been believed for centuries. Oil pulling, in fact, is a traditional therapy that stretches at least as far back as 1500 years ago, where it was mentioned in the early Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, and which we covered in our article “Oil Pulling: Ancient Secret for Optimal Health.” Yet, traditional oil pulling was believed performed mainly with sesame oil, with available published studies also using

Chemical Exposure Linked to Billions in Health Care Costs

March 30, 2015

Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is likely leading to an increased risk of serious health problems costing at least $175 billion (U.S.) per year in Europe alone, according to a study published Thursday. Chemicals that can mimic or block estrogen or other hormones are commonly found in thousands of products around the world, including plastics, pesticides, furniture, and cosmetics. The new research estimated health care costs in Europe, where policymakers are debating whether to enact the world’s first regulations targetingendocrine disruptors. The European Union’s controversial strategy, if approved, would have a profound effect on industries and consumer products worldwide. Read

Ginger: The Enemy of Type 2 Diabetes

March 30, 2015

Ginger has been studied to have value in over 150 health conditions with type 2 diabetes top on the list. With anti-diabetic drugs linked to increased cardiovascular mortality, natural alternatives are needed now more than ever.  While ginger is widely used as a spice today, its role as a healing agent is often overlooked in modern society despite its thousands of years of documented use as a powerful medicine.  Modern science, however, is finally catching up to the wisdom of the ancients. For instance, there are over 2100 published studies on the medicinal properties of ginger in the scientific literature, and the Greenmedinfo.com database contains evidence that it has value in over 170 different health conditions, and has over 50 different beneficial physiological effects. Notably, of all the conditions the research on ginger we have indexed reveals its therapeutic value for, type 2 diabetes is top on the list, with seven studies on our database providing proof of its efficacy.And the research keeps coming… Half a Billion At Risk for Type 2 Diabetes Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder dominated by high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), but with inflammation and oxidative stress driving the damage most directly linked to morbidity and mortality associated with the condition.

Pertussis outbreak at Salinas school among fully vaccinated

March 25, 2015

In less than one month, four students at Monterey Park School have been diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough. Principal Brian Hayes and school officials met with parents to offer information and answer questions. “There really hasn’t been a feeling of fear. It’s been more of ‘what can we do to stop this?'” he said. “This is serious for parents that have younger children. This is a huge concern,” said one parent who wished to remain anonymous. The first case was diagnosed on Feb. 25. Three more students from the same fifth grade class also came down with the disease. “If there are students who are sick, we’re taking temperatures, we’re notifying parents. If they need to go to a physician, we’re doing that,” Director of Pupil Personnel Services Beatriz Chaidez said. Read

Tomorrow’s Anti-Aging Treatment, Available Today

March 20, 2015

For people who have a few hundred thousand dollars to spend and are willing to take on the risks of an “early adopter” and travel to South America, options are now becoming available that were inconceivable just a few years ago. A new company is leapfrogging over the time-consuming process of testing and regulatory approval, and offering the best-established and most promising experimental anti-aging technologies in the near future. This is a new vision for combining research with treatment, for treating diseases that have no proven therapies, and for aging itself. You only have to read Time Magazineto notice that this is the year anti-aging medicine is coming of age. Promising life extension technologies are being debuted, with potential for preventing many diseases at once, adding decades to the human life span, and restoring youthful function to an aging body. These include telomerase therapies, stem cell therapies, epigenetic reprogramming, removal of senescent cells, plasma transfer, and hormonal therapies inspired by gene expression changes between young and old. Inevitably, this has brought a surge in the number of companies eager to jump the gun and offer treatments to consumers based on early lab research, before the technology has proved safe and effective
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