March 1st, 2011
By: Catherine Donaldson-Evans
When your child has a fever, it’s natural to panic. And panicking parents often try to treat the problem with drugs.
Not so fast, says a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Reaching for the fever meds is actually the last thing a mom or dad should do — unless their little girl or boy is really suffering.
“There’s a myth out there that if you have a fever, you could have brain damage or seizures. That causes parents to be very anxious,” research co-author Janice Sullivan told Time.com. “Sometimes children with a fever of 103 will sit and play and act completely normal.”
Sullivan, a professor of pediatric critical care and clinical pharmacology at the University of Louisville, says fever generally doesn’t hurt children. It can actually help them because it sends a message to the body to produce more white blood cells, which ward off infection.
What that means is that a fever might actually cut the length of time a child is sick by stopping bacterial infections and viruses from multiplying, according to Sullivan.
The message? Don’t load your kids up on Tylenol, Advil or other fever-reducing medicine just because their body temperature is up a bit. Doctors wouldn’t, unless the fever is 101 degrees or higher, the research shows.
Sullivan and her team found that parents are quick to treat kids’ fevers with medicine, with a quarter of them saying they use it for fevers of under 100 degrees and 85 percent reporting they’d roused their children from sleep to give them medicine to bring their temperatures down.
The researchers said exceptions should be made for babies under 3 months old who have a fever that’s higher than 100.4 degrees and those 3 to 6 months old with a temperature over 101 degrees. They said immediate medical care is necessary in those cases.
But for the little ones older than 6 months, fevers shouldn’t send off alarm bells unless they’re higher than 103 degrees, the study said. If they’re accompanied by other serious symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, a trip to the pediatrician may be in order.
The report warns that though it may be more effective to alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen, the safety concerns over mixing the two probably outweigh the possible benefits.
There is “evidence that combining these two products is more effective than the use of a single agent alone; however, there are concerns that combined treatment may be more complicated and contribute to the unsafe use of these drugs,” the authors wrote.
Moms and dads who do decide to treat the temp with fever-busting medicine should give the correct dose, which is by the child’s weight, not age, Sullivan said. Her analysis found that half of parents give the wrong amount of medicine to their kids.
December 16th, 2010
By: David Gutierrez
Omega-3 fatty acids are “incredibly potent” anti-inflammatories, which may explain why they have been linked with lowered rates of diabetes and heart disease, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California-San Diego and published in the journal Cell.
In an experiment conducted on mice, the researchers examined how omega-3s interact with specialized white blood cells known as macrophages, which digest harmful molecules and cellular debris. As part of their operation, macrophages naturally secrete chemicals that produce an inflammatory response.
The researchers found that macrophages contain an omega-3 receptor, GPR120, that causes them to stop producing these inflammatory chemicals.
In a second experiment, the researchers genetically modified a group mice to lack a GPR120 receptor, then fed a high-fat diet to both modified and normal mice. All the mice became obese and developed diabetes. When their diets were then supplemented with omega-3s, only the non-modified mice exhibited improvement in their symptoms. In these mice, omega-3 supplementation was as effective at restoring insulin sensitivity as the drug Avandia.
“It’s just an incredibly potent effect,” researcher Jerrold Olefsky said. “The omega-3 fatty acids switch on the receptor, killing the inflammatory response.
“This is nature at work. The receptor evolved to respond to a natural product — omega-3 fatty acids — so that the inflammatory process can be controlled. Our work shows how fish oils safely do this, and suggests a possible way to treating the serious problems of inflammation in obesity and in conditions like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease through simple dietary supplementation.”
Omega-3 fatty acids naturally occur in fish oil and in some vegetable foods such as canola oil, flax seeds, chia, kiwifruit, and purslane. Many researchers now believe that the average Western diet contains a lower content of these oils than is necessary for optimal health.
July 29, 2010
By: David Gutierrez
Researchers have discovered that vitamin D plays a crucial role in activating the immune system’s ability to recognize and fight pathogens.
While scientists have long known that vitamin D plays a critical role in bone health, recent research has begun to suggest that it also serves to regulate the immune system, helping prevent infection, cancer and autoimmune disorders. Until now, the mechanism by which the vitamin acts on the immune system has been unknown.
In a study published in the journal Nature Immunology, researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that when a variety of white blood cells known as a T-cell comes across a pathogen in the bloodstream, it extends a receptor in search of vitamin D. If it encounters the vitamin, the T cell becomes “activated.” If there is not enough vitamin D in the blood, the cell remains passive and no immune response occurs.
The body produces vitamin D upon exposure to sunlight. It can also be found in eggs, fatty fish, fortified milk and in supplement form.
Once activated, a T-cell transforms into one of two kinds of cells. One type seeks out and destroys all traces of the infectious agent, while the other records information about the pathogen and transmits it to other parts of the immune system. These latter (“helper”) cells help the immune system respond quickly should infection with a similar pathogen occur at a later date.
In addition to providing new information about the importance of vitamin D, the study provides hope for better understanding — and perhaps prevention — of the unhelpful immune responses that result in autoimmune disorders like allergies or Type 1 diabetes, as well as those that cause the body to reject transplanted organs. The researchers were able to determine what chemical steps occur to transform a T-cell from active to inactive, suggesting the possibility that doctors may eventually be able to initiate or block this process, depending on the patient’s need.
March 10, 2010
By Fiona Macrae
A spot of sunshine doesn’t just lift your spirits, it also boosts your immune system.
Research shows that vitamin D, made when our skin is exposed to sunlight, plays a key role in activating white blood cells that protect the body from flu, food poisoning and even cancer.
Without the ‘sunshine vitamin’, the cells do not join the fight against disease.
The discovery could help in the development of vaccines and ways to combat auto-immune diseases and cancer.
It is well known that vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption and bone health and some studies have suggested it has an anti-cancer effect.
But scientists had not realised what a crucial role it played in the immune system.
A series of laboratory tests showed that the vitamin triggers dormant white blood cells into turning into ‘killers’ that seek out and destroy infections. Other white blood cells turn into ‘helpers’ that enable the immune system to build a ‘memory’ of the infection, allowing it to mobilise more quickly on the next encounter.
Researcher Carsten Geisler, of the University of Copenhagen, said: ‘If the T-cells (white blood cells) cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won’t even begin to mobilise.’
The discovery, documented in the journal Nature Immunology, could shed new light on conditions caused by immune system malfunctions, such as multiple sclerosis and organ transplant rejections.
Although vitamin D is found in foods such as oily fish and eggs, most of that found in the body comes from sunlight exposure, and many of us simply do not have enough.
In England, half the population is low in the vitamin when winter ends. In Scotland, it is two-thirds.
February 15, 2010
By Ethan A. Huff
A recent study conducted by researchers from Saarland University in Germany has found that engaging in long-term physical activity results in an anti-aging effect. Telomeres, the protective caps found on the ends of cell chromosomes that gradually shorten with age, were found to shorten more slowly in athletes who exercise regularly.
Every time a cell divides, its telomeres get a little bit shorter and the cell becomes slightly more susceptible to dying. Telomeres have been compared to the plastic ends on shoelaces that prevent them from unraveling. Recent telomere research has discovered that the shortening of telomeres is directly correlated to the aging process as cell integrity slowly degrades over time.
In the study, researchers evaluated two groups of healthy, non-smoking people and two groups of professional athletes. The one athletic group was composed of athletes averaging 20 years old who were members of the German national track and field team while the other athletic group was composed of middle-aged runners who had been training since they were young.
Researchers found that in both groups of athletes, physical exercise had led to the activation of the telomerase enzyme which is responsible for producing and stabilizing telomeres. Telomerase activation led to a reduced shortening of telomeres in the athletes’ leukocytes, white blood cells that protects the body against infection and disease. The most visible effect was noticed in the middle-aged participants who had been engaging in regular endurance training for several decades.
Other scientists believe that even moderate levels of exercise are responsible for slowing down the aging process and even reversing it. Many studies have shown that engaging in regular physical activity helps to prevent the onset of chronic disease and can help to lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. By slowing down the aging process, other diseases like cancer, stroke, and diabetes can also be prevented.
A similar study conducted in Sweden found that regular exercise also contributes to increased intelligence and boosted learning ability. More than 1.2 million 18-year-old Swedish men who enlisted for military service were evaluated. Researchers found that their intense physical training resulted in increased IQ and improved learning abilities.
Regular exercise increases blood flow to the brain which many believe helps to improve nerve function. Exercising also produces sweat which works to cleanse the body of toxic buildup and improve overall well being. A whole array of benefits can be achieved by regularly exercising.
February 2, 2010
By Mike Adams
This article continues part four of the 15-part article series called Heal Yourself in 15 Days. In part three, we explored how you are what you absorb, not merely what you eat (http://www.naturalnews.com/028067_s…). Today, in part four, we take a closer look at how to transform your health by changing your blood.
Your blood is a useful focal point for exploring your health. Whatever health outcome you are experiencing today, it is largely a result of what’s in your blood.
Think about it: Your blood bathes your cells in nutrients 24 hours a day. Blood not only brings vital nutrients to your cells; it also carries away metabolic waste products. It is the superhighway of nutrition and detoxification that reaches into (virtually) every organ and cell in your entire body.
It stands to reason, therefore, that altering your health outcome depends largely upon altering the composition of your blood. If you want to make someone really healthy for a short time, for example, you can give them blood from a healthy person. Research has already documented that when you take blood from people whose bodies prevent cancer and then inject that blood into people who are suffering from cancer, the anti-cancer benefits of the blood are immediately reflected in the cancer patient (through tumor shrinkage, for example). There is such a thing as anti-cancer blood. And if you eat an anti-cancer diet, you’re making anti-cancer blood every single day.
I eat a very strong anti-cancer diet. Most vegans do, too. They could theoretically help heal cancer patients by simply giving them some of their blood. The anti-cancer effects would be immediate and powerful. The FDA, not surprisingly, prohibits you from selling your own blood as “medicine,” so don’t think you can make money by eating a healthy diet and then selling your blood for $1,000 / pint (although it might very well be worth that much in a truly free market).
The other limitation with this idea is that the benefits from receiving donated blood are short-lived. If the blood recipient does not alter his or her lifestyle in some meaningful way, the anti-cancer properties of the “healthy” blood will, within just a few days, be erased and overpowered by the blood that person is manufacturing on their own.
And this leads me to the important question: How is your blood made?
How your body makes your blood
A typical human red blood cell only survives about 4-5 months. Your body is constantly producing new blood and releasing it into the bloodstream to do important work — the work of carrying nutrients, hormones, water, chemical messages and even information throughout your body.
Blood is primarily made of three things: Red blood cells (oxygen carriers), white blood cells (immune function) and blood plasma (a liquid solution that carries everything else).
When more red blood cells are needed, your body (with its infinite healing wisdom) automatically generates new ones. Naturally, it must create those red blood cells using the materials that are available: Materials that are circulating in your blood at the time.
Got that? So the blood cells you make TODAY, which circulate throughout your body for the next four months, are made out of the materials being carried in your blood right now.
So what’s in your blood right now?
Your blood is largely comprised of the things you ate, drank and absorbed over the last several months.
So if you ate a McDonald’s cheeseburger today and chased it with a large Coke, the blood cells your body generates today are going to be made, in part, of materials from that cheeseburger and Coke. If you think about where cheeseburgers really come from — with all the cruelly slaughtered, hormone-injected animals, the ammonia-injected beef parts, the refined white flour in the bun, the processed cheese “food” substances, and so on, it’s not exactly the kind of thing you probably want coursing through your veins for the next few months.
If, on the other hand, you spent the last several days consuming fresh living juices, superfoods and clean, energized water, then guess what your new blood is going to be made of? It will be super blood that’s energized with the elements and vibes of all the good stuff you’ve been consuming!
Bad blood leads to bad health results. It leads to angry, moody mental function and chronic disease. But good blood results in happy, healthy outcomes. Good blood improves your sleep, your sex, your moods and cognitive function. Good blood keeps your body free from cancer, youthful, energized and actively healing itself at multiple levels.
Once you understand all this, it only seems natural to work consciously towards creating good blood every single day.
Amazing facts about your red blood cells
• A whopping one-quarter of the human cells in your body are red blood cells. But most cells in your body are actually non-human cells (bacteria).
• A red blood cell circulates around your body in about 20 seconds. The same red blood cell makes tens of thousands of trips around your body, transporting oxygen to cells, before it is recycled by your own immune system.
• Red blood cells in humans are molecularly quite similar to chlorophyll cells in plants.
• Your red blood cells are made partially of cholesterol. Although the drug industry has tried to label cholesterol a villain, in truth you couldn’t survive without it!
December 1, 2009
by Lauren Cox
People who run everyday do it to keep their hearts strong, spirits up and waistlines trim, but how many could guess that sweating it out on the treadmill may actually fight aging?
A new study in the journal Circulation, shows that vigorous exercise may be inducing a natural anti-aging effect that goes right down to our DNA.
“People who exercise have better health and live longer, however the mechanisms are not completely understood,” said Dr. Ulrich Laufs, lead author of the new study and researcher at the University of Saarlandes in Saarbrücken, Germany “You’d be amazed at how little we know about the mechanism of exercise on the cellular level.”
In his small study of 104 people, Laufs and colleagues found that 50-year-old adults who had exercised vigorously over a lifetime — such as marathon runners or endurance athletes — appeared biologically younger –sometimes decades younger– than healthy people the same age who were not active.
The American College of Sports Medicine and other medical institutions agree that exercising can prolong life by protecting against diseases.
But research has not been able to point to an actual anti-aging effect in exercise, or detail exactly how exercise protects against some diseases even among people who are otherwise thin and healthy.
Exercise a Fountain of Youth, or Just Fountain of Health?
“As most people grow older they develop increase likelihood of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. People who exercise regularly have been shown to have a lower rate of developing those chronic diseases,” explained Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and head of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“But individuals differ widely in how they age. I think we’re a long way from understanding all of it,” he said.
Laufs and his colleagues decided to tackle the problem by studying exercise’s chemical influence on telomeres — caps, that act as a sort of buffer at the end of chromosomes that protect DNA from damage. A young cell typically has long telomeres, but telomeres begin to degrade and fray as it ages. Older people typically have shorter telomeres in their cells. If telomeres in a cell are too short, the cell dies.
Detecting How Exercise Affects Your DNA
Laufs first did a series experiments with mice and showed the more the mice exercised, the more their body’s biochemistry protected their telomeres from deterioration. The mice also helped researchers pinpoint exactly how exercise rejuvenates cells in the cardiovascular system.
The researchers then analyzed the blood chemistry of endurances athletes and non-active, but otherwise healthy people who were either in their 20s or 50s.
Human and mice endurance athletes of any age showed the same chemical signs that exercise was protecting their telomeres. But 50-year-old athletes had significantly longer telomeres than relatively healthy people their same age.
Despite the findings, Laufs and other scientists are hesitant to call exercise the fountain of youth.
Laufs said he can’t prove that the association has anything to do with cause and effect: Did a lifetime devoted to exercise make the 50-year-old marathon runners biologically younger, or did these individuals inherit physical advantage to begin with that would have made them appear biologically younger and led them to exercise more?
“This type of conclusion cannot be made,” said Laufs, especially because “the people we looked at in this study are kind of extreme examples. We chose these extreme examples because we wanted to look at the mechanism.”
For the rest of us who don’t run marathons until we’re 50, exercise experts ask that we please keep trying.
November 12, 2009
by S. L. Baker, features writer
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the Ginkgo biloba (G. biloba) is one of the oldest types of trees in the world. Ginkgo herbal treatments have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat a host of ills including asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, and tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears). Now 21st century scientists may have discovered yet another Ginkgo-based therapy.
According to a study just published in the International Journal of Low Radiation, antioxidant extracts of the leaves of the G. biloba tree may protect cells in the human body from radiation damage. The discovery could offer a way to protect cancer patients from side effects produced by radiotherapy. G. biloba might also offer protection from medical tests that involve radiation, such as X-rays.
Chang-Mo Kang of the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences in Taegu and colleagues have been investigating well-known herbal remedies to see what actual medicinal effects they may have. They specifically decided to study extracts made from G. biloba leaves because these substances are known to contain several antioxidant compounds, called ginkgolides and bilobalides, that are thought to protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals and other reactive oxidizing species. Free radicals are generated by the body’s normal metabolism and are also produced in excess as a result of certain diseases and from exposure to pollution or radiation. If left unchecked, they can damage proteins and DNA and even kill cells.
Dr. Kang and his research team collected human white blood cells, known as lymphocytes, from healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 50. Then they treated half of these cells in the lab with a G. biloba extract. The other half of the cells were used as a control group and exposed to only a salt solution. Next, both sets of white blood cells were treated with gamma radiation from radioactive cesium.
The scientists used a light microscope to measure how many lymphocytes were undergoing programmed cell death, known as apoptosis, caused by the exposure to radiation. They found a significant increase in apoptosis in the untreated cells but the lymphocytes treated with G. biloba extract tended to be protected from the radiation. In all, about a third of the untreated cells underwent apoptosis compared with only one in twenty of the Ginkgo treated cells.
October 29, 2009
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Researchers found that the body converts a fatty acid in fish oils into a powerful anti-inflammatory chemical called resolvin D2.
It was this compound that accounted for the ability of the oil found in fish such as salmon and mackeral to combat diseases.
Britons spend £60 million a year on fish oil supplements after research suggesting they are good for the brain, bones and heart and can even protect against cancer, eye problems and back pain.
But the mechanism for this “elixir of health” had not been known until British and US researchers showed how the body makes Resolvin D2 from DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and discovered its exact chemical structure
The British and American scientists believe resolvin D2 could provide the basis of new treatments for a range of serious diseases which involve inflammation.
The list includes sepsis – a potentially deadly reaction to infection which causes inflammation to rage through the body – stroke, and arthritis.
Laboratory experiments showed how the body converts the fish oil fatty acid DHA into resolvin D2, and revealed the chemical’s structure.
Professor Mauro Perretti, from Queen Mary, University of London, who led the UK team, said: “We have known for some time that fish oils can help with conditions like arthritis which are linked to inflammation. What we’ve shown here is how the body processes a particular ingredient of fish oils into resolvin D2.
“We’ve also looked in detail at this chemical, determining at least some of the ways it relieves inflammation. It seems to be a very powerful chemical and a small amount can have a large effect.
“This research is important because it explains at least one way in which fish oils can help in different types of arthritis. We can also work on this chemical and see if it can be used not only to treat or even prevent arthritis, but also as a possible treatment for a variety of other diseases associated with inflammation.”
Inflammation, caused when the immune system goes into “overdrive”, is known to play a role in many health problems ranging from heart disease and stroke to arthritis and cancer.
Previous research has shown that a key step in the inflammatory process occurs when white blood cells stick to the inner lining of blood vessels.
The scientists, whose findings are reported in the journal Nature, discovered that resolvin D2 helps prevent this happening by generating small amounts of nitric oxide.