Let Them Eat (genetically engineered) Cake

About the food industry, not in a nice way

Archive for the ‘medical industry’ Category

hair of the dog

Posted by jeanne on October 28, 2011

i’ve long held that you should not be too pure because it makes you too vulnerable to passing whammies.  so i am domestically challenged, but it’s by choice.

oh 20 some odd years ago i went to an allergist because i had asthma and my doctor referred me.  i got a battery of tests – these big boards with pins sticking out of them that the tech mashed into my back, and then watched the welts come up.

the result – i was allergic to practically everything and needed a whole bunch of allergy shots, a whole regimen.

i ran screaming.

my understanding of my own system is that i am hypersensitive, especially to chemicals.  but i react easily, to pretty much anything.  i’ve got that kind of personality, too.  you should see me at a party.

so my answer to i’m allergic to everything was to decide i just had to be more tolerant.

so, allergic to feathers?  sleep on a feather pillow.  allergic to dog hair?  get a dog.  total immersion, that’s my answer.  it’s a personal thing.  kind of macho, actually, and since i got cancer i’ve kind of toned down the self-conquering attitude.

but moderation in all things.

being allergic to something is being intolerant to it.

and intolerance is bad, right?

so the idea that a little dose will inoculate you isn’t such a far-fetched one.

Can exposing little mites to dust stop allergy?

By Martin Halfpenny

Thursday October 27 2011

DOCTORS are to expose babies to dust mites in an attempt to halt the rising allergy epidemic.

Experts hope that exposing tots under one year old to the common allergen — often found in pillows, mattresses and on carpets — when their immune systems are developing will prevent them becoming allergic in the future.

A total of 120 babies aged five to nine months with a family history of allergy will take part in the project.

It is being conducted at the respiratory biomedical research unit at the University Hospital Southampton and the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre on the Isle of Wight.

As many as one in four people in the UK are affected at some time in their lives, with children accounting for half of those affected.

Dust mites are the most prevalent trigger, inducing reactions in 85pc of asthmatic people.

Prof Graham Roberts, a specialist in allergies, said: “We hope that by giving babies an allergen when their immune systems are working out what is and isn’t harmful will teach their bodies to not become susceptible as they grow up.”

Professor Hasan Arshad, director of the research centre, said: “We need to act very early in life — before babies reach their first birthday — and this should reduce the development of asthma and other allergies.”

 

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hey, i’m mentally ill

Posted by jeanne on June 30, 2010

this is great.  it’s so funny it’s got to be true.  if you care about what you eat, you need to be medicated.

Healthy food obsession sparks rise in new eating disorder

Fixation with healthy eating can be sign of serious psychological disorder

Amelia Hill, The Observer, Sunday 16 August 2009Eating disorder charities are reporting a rise in the number of people suffering from a serious psychological condition characterised by an obsession with healthy eating.

The condition, orthorexia nervosa, affects equal numbers of men and women, but sufferers tend to be aged over 30, middle-class and well-educated.

The condition was named by a Californian doctor, Steven Bratman, in 1997, and is described as a “fixation on righteous eating”. Until a few years ago, there were so few sufferers that doctors usually included them under the catch-all label of “Ednos” – eating disorders not otherwise recognised. Now, experts say, orthorexics take up such a significant proportion of the Ednos group that they should be treated separately.

“I am definitely seeing significantly more orthorexics than just a few years ago,” said Ursula Philpot, chair of the British Dietetic Association’s mental health group. “Other eating disorders focus on quantity of food but orthorexics can be overweight or look normal. They are solely concerned with the quality of the food they put in their bodies, refining and restricting their diets according to their personal understanding of which foods are truly ‘pure’.”

Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating. Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out.

The obsession about which foods are “good” and which are “bad” means orthorexics can end up malnourished. Their dietary restrictions commonly cause sufferers to feel proud of their “virtuous” behaviour even if it means that eating becomes so stressful their personal relationships can come under pressure and they become socially isolated.

“The issues underlying orthorexia are often the same as anorexia and the two conditions can overlap but orthorexia is very definitely a distinct disorder,” said Philpot. “Those most susceptible are middle-class, well-educated people who read about food scares in the papers, research them on the internet, and have the time and money to source what they believe to be purer alternatives.”

Deanne Jade, founder of the National Centre for Eating Disorders, said: “There is a fine line between people who think they are taking care of themselves by manipulating their diet and those who have orthorexia. I see people around me who have no idea they have this disorder. I see it in my practice and I see it among my friends and colleagues.”

Jade believes the condition is on the increase because “modern society has lost its way with food”. She said: “It’s everywhere, from the people who think it’s normal if their friends stop eating entire food groups, to the trainers in the gym who [promote] certain foods to enhance performance, to the proliferation of nutritionists, dieticians and naturopaths [who believe in curing problems through entirely natural methods such as sunlight and massage].

“And just look in the bookshops – all the diets that advise eating according to your blood type or metabolic rate. This is all grist for the mill to those looking for proof to confirm or encourage their anxieties around food.”

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just say no to antidepressants

Posted by jeanne on April 28, 2010

ritalin and antidepressants – tools of the devil

The hidden damage of psychiatric drugs

BY JED LIPINSKI

An award-winning science reporter looks at the history of mental illness in America — with disturbing results

In the past few months, the perennial controversy over psychiatric drug use has been growing considerably more heated. A January study showed a negligible difference between antidepressants and placebos in treating all but the severest cases of depression. The study became the subject of a Newsweek cover story, and the value of psychiatric drugs has recently been debated in the pages of theNew Yorker, the New York Times and Salon. Many doctors and patients fiercely defend psychiatric drugs and their ability to improve lives. But others claim their popularity is a warning sign of a dangerously over-medicated culture.

The timing of Robert Whitaker’s “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” a comprehensive and highly readable history of psychiatry in the United States, couldn’t be better. An acclaimed mental health journalist and winner of a George Polk Award for his reporting on the psychiatric field, Whitaker draws on 50 years of literature and in-person interviews with patients to answer a simple question: If “wonder drugs” like Prozac are really helping people, why has the number of Americans on government disability due to mental illness skyrocketed from 1.25 million in 1987 to over 4 million today?

“Anatomy of an Epidemic” is the first book to investigate the long-term outcomes of patients treated with psychiatric drugs, and Whitaker finds that, overall, the drugs may be doing more harm than good. Adhering to studies published in prominent medical journals, he argues that, over time, patients with schizophrenia do better off medication than on it. Children who take stimulants for ADHD, he writes, are more likely to suffer from mania and bipolar disorder than those who go unmedicated. Intended to challenge the conventional wisdom about psychiatric drugs, “Anatomy” is sure to provoke a hot-tempered response, especially from those inside the psychiatric community.

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finally a study of autism in adults

Posted by jeanne on October 4, 2009

For the First Time, a Census of Autistic Adults
By CLAUDIA WALLIS
Saturday, Oct. 03, 2009

Among the many great mysteries of autism is this: Where are all the adults with the disorder? In California, for instance, about 80% of people identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are 18 or under. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) indicate that about 1 in 150 children in the U.S. have autism, but despite the fact that autism is by definition a lifelong condition, the agency doesn’t have any numbers for adults.

Neither has anyone else. Until now.  On Sept. 22, England’s National Health Service (NHS) released the first study of autism in the general adult population. The findings confirm the intuitive assumption: that ASD is just as common in adults as it is in children. Researchers at the University of Leicester, working with the NHS Information Center found that roughly 1 in 100 adults are on the spectrum — the same rate found for children in England, Japan, Canada and, for that matter, New Jersey.

This finding would also appear to contradict the commonplace idea that autism rates have exploded in the two decades. Researchers found no significant differences in autism prevalence among people they surveyed in their 20s, 30s, 40s, right up through their 70s. “This suggests that the factors that lead to developing autism appear to be constant,” said Dr. Terry Brugha, professor of psychiatry at the University of Leicester and lead author of the study. “I think what our survey suggests doesn’t go with the idea that the prevalence is rising.” In England, where there is widespread suspicion that the childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella has led to an explosion in autism cases, the study was hailed as part of a growing body of evidence that the vaccine, which was introduced in the 1988, is not to blame.

Brugha’s study was part of a larger national survey of psychiatric disorders among adults. In the first phase, researchers conducted 90-minute interviews with 7,461 people in 4,000 randomly selected British households; the interview included a 20-item questionnaire designed to screen for autism.
(Sample yes-or-no questionnaire items: I find it easy to make friends. I would rather go to a party than the library. I particularly enjoy reading fiction.)

Based on their answers in the first phase, investigators further assessed 618 individuals, using a battery of psychiatric measures, including a state-of-the art autism diagnostic tool. (About 200 of these participants had been selected for scoring high on the autism screen; the rest had been selected to sample for other disorders.) In the second phase, researchers identified 19 adults with ASD. But had they been able to evaluate all 7,461 in the survey, they estimate that they would have found 72 cases, or roughly 1% of the total.

One limitation of the study is its relatively small size, says Brugha. Being the first of its kind, it also needs to be confirmed by other studies. Another issue, notes Richard Roy Grinker, an autism researcher and professor of anthropology at George Washington University, who was not involved in the work, is that the study looked only at adults in the general population. Had it included people living in institutions, which is where the most severely autistic adults are likely to be, the estimated rate of ASD may have been even higher than 1%. Michael Rosanoff, an epidemiology specialist with Autism Speaks, emphasizes that “the small sample size for estimating prevalence requires caution about interpreting this finding on a population-based scale.”

Despite its limits, the new study does begin to fill in the profile of high-functioning adults who are on the spectrum but living in an ordinary home in the community. Researchers found that they are primarily male and unmarried: about 1.8% of men surveyed were on the spectrum — among never-married, single men, an estimated 4.5% had ASD — compared with just 0.2% of women. (Brugha notes, however, that autism screening tools may be poorly adapted for identifying autism in adult females.) People with autism are less likely than average to have finished college but about as likely to be employed. Only 0.2% of adults who had finished college were on the spectrum, but the rate was 10 times higher among those without a high school degree. And, in contrast with people with depression or anxiety disorders, autistic adults were unlikely be receiving any sort of mental health services.

Why has it taken so long to do a study of this sort? For one thing, you need an enormous sample size — at an enormous cost — to find significant numbers of people with autism. Second, it’s more difficult to detect autism in adults than in children. Children often have glaring symptoms, like delays in learning to speak, extreme social withdrawal and terrible tantrums. Less is known about how autism looks in adults. “To diagnose autism, you need to have good information on people’s behavior,” says Brugha. “It’s much more straightforward to get that with children because you’ve got parents and teachers as observers. Adults with autism are not the best people to describe their own behavior.”

The Irish-born psychiatrist and epidemiologist says he sees a lot of adults with ASD in his own clinical practice, and “they have so much difficulty saying what their own difficulties are.” He suspects that this lack of insight and inability to communicate emotional issues also reduces their ability to seek professional help. Efforts to identify and help adults with ASD have lagged far behind efforts to help children.

And yet, Brugha notes that just having an ASD diagnosis to explain their troubles can be enormously beneficial to his adult patients, who often struggle with relationships at home and at work because of difficulty reading social cues. “Once you help them to understand that they are not the only person on the planet who is like this, and help their families understand, it can be a breakthrough. People also have a better chance of staying in their work, if their employer understands why they are the way they are.”

Moreover, Brugha says it is not expensive to provide services to adults with relatively mild autism. “The cost of treating a child with autism is phenomenally high. We are not talking about this. We are talking about support, helping people adapt their lives” with help from a social worker. Grinker, who has a teenage daughter with autism, finds the study to be in some ways comforting. “I would think that a study like this would encourage people that children with autism could grow up and have futures that are meaningful and that they are not going to end up in institutions.”

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do men have inferior genes?

Posted by jeanne on July 18, 2009

found this article today. this is at the end of the first page:

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes packed with genes that dictate every aspect of our biological functioning. Of these pairs, the sex chromosomes are different; women have two X chromosomes and men have an X and a Y chromosome. The Y chromosome contains essential blueprints for the male reproductive system, in particular those for sperm development.

But the Y chromosome, which once contained as many genes as the X chromosome, has deteriorated over time and now contains less than 80 functional genes compared to its partner, which contains more than 1,000 genes. Geneticists and evolutionary biologists determined that the Y chromosome’s deterioration is due to accumulated mutations, deletions and anomalies that have nowhere to go because the chromosome doesn’t swap genes with the X chromosome like every other chromosomal pair in our cells do.

eighty functional genes. versus a thousand.

what’s the ratio of nerve endings in the clitoris versus the head of a penis?

The clitoris, not the vagina, has 8,000 nerve endings connected with 15,000 nerve fibers in the pelvic area, more than any part in the body. the gland of the penis has 4000 nerve endings the foreskin has 20000 nerve endings making it 83% of the feeling of the penis so as you can see the normal penis has the most nerve endings

this is misleading. most men in the us have been circumcized, robbing them of 20,000 nerve endings, so they come out with 4,000 nerve endings on the head of their dicks, versus 8,000 in our itty bitty clitori.

i think circumcision should be outlawed.

but either way we women win.

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