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Home Depot on Tuesday raised its yearly outlook and posted better-than-anticipated same-store sales figures in a quarter that was "marked by week-to-week demand spikes caused by weather variability." The home improvement retailer said first-quarter net profit were $1.8 billion, or $1.44 share, compared with $1.58 billion, or $1.21 a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $1.35 a share. Sales rose to $22.76 billion from $20.89 billion in the same period last year. Wall Street had pegged sales at $22.38 billion. Home Depot said quarterly U.S. same-store rose 7.4%, above expectations of a 5.2% increase. The company now expects fiscal 2016 per-share earnings to rise 14.8% to $6.27, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $6.22 a share. It also lifted its fiscal 2016 sales view, foreseeing a same-store sales rise of 4.9%.
Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Monarchies are great not because of what they do, but because of what they prevent others from doing, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
The post Why the Queen is great (and the world’s other monarchies, too) was first published on MoneyWeek.
On Tuesday, with the Olympics fast approaching and the world freaking out over the runaway Zika virus, the Senate is expected to approve at least $1 billion to help keep the scourge in check. Several bills are up for consideration, and they all include a decent chunk of change for the development of a Zika vaccine, a task already well underway over at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. I figured it was a good time to check in with the institute's longtime director—rock star scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci—to discuss how things are going, what we know (and don't) about the epidemic, and whether we should just run like hell from the Olympics in Rio—where the Zika infection rate is estimated to be triple Brazil's national average.Anthony Fauci NIH
Mother Jones: I've read that a DNA vaccine for Zika could be ready for testing as early as September.
Anthony Fauci: Correct. But people get confused about this. It's a phase I trial, just the first in a multiphase process of developing a vaccine. We took a DNA construct that we used to develop a West Nile vaccine a few years ago and we just substituted the Zika insert for the West Nile insert, so now it's a Zika vaccine. We're producing it in a pilot plant and doing all the preclinical studies you have to do before you go into a human, and we're pretty certain we'll get started with the trial in September. It usually takes three to four months and would typically involve around 80 volunteers. So let's say we figure out that the vaccine is safe and that it induces the kind of immune response we would predict would be protective. If everything looks good, we'll move into a larger (phase IIb) trial to determine if it's effective.
MJ: And that would involve rolling it out in Zika-affected areas?
AF: Yes. Otherwise you'd never have enough infections to prove it's effective. When you finish phase II is dependent on factors that are very difficult to predict. The two major factors are, one, how effective the vaccine is—because the more effective it is, the easier it is to prove it's effective. The other factor is how many infections are going on in whatever country we're testing it in: Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela—it likely will be multiple sites. If there is a lot of infection, we can probably determine within a year, by the beginning of 2018, if it's effective enough. And then, depending on the urgency, you can get accelerated approval. Or, the FDA and other regulatory agencies may say you have to test it for another year or so.
MJ: If you need a lot of infections to determine whether a vaccine is effective, then how did you test the vaccine for West Nile, which has resulted in relatively few cases?
AF: We never tested its efficacy. We tested the West Nile vaccine the same way we're going to do the phase I here. The problem is, we could not get any company to partner with us for advanced development because there was not the perception by any company that this was a vaccine that would be widely used. So we never brought it into phase IIb.
MJ: What are the pros and cons of a DNA vaccine versus, say, using an inactivated virus?
AF: It's about the same. We have four or five candidates lined up. The first is the DNA. The one behind it is a whole inactivated [virus] particle vaccine. That won't go into phase I until at least the end of 2016. Then we have a live chimeric inactivated vaccine that won't go into phase I until the middle of 2017. But there's no substantial difference. The DNA so far looks pretty good with regard to immunogenicity [strength of the immune response it elicits]. From a historical standpoint, whole attenuated [virus] vaccines tend to be more immunogenic. You've got to be careful with mice, you can't be strictly extrapolating to humans, but in the studies we've done, just a few weeks ago, the DNA vaccine looked very immunogenic in a mouse, so it may be as immunogenic as the whole killed [virus].
MJ: How does a DNA vaccine work?
AF: You have a circular plasmid of DNA. You splice into it the gene of the Zika outer coating protein. You inject that plasmid into the muscle of an individual. It goes into the host cells and starts to produce the protein, which your antibodies attack. Interestingly—this is good luck—the vaccine doesn't just produce soluble outer envelope proteins, it produces them in the form of a virus-like particle. So they look like a small virus, which makes them that much more immunogenic.
MJ: Some researchers worry that Zika is stimulating an autoimmune response in some adults that makes the body attack its own nerve cells, and that's why we're seeing these Guillain-Barré symptoms. If that's what's happening, is there a danger that a Zika vaccine could actually cause Guillain-Barré?
AF: In these small safety studies, if there is a complication like that, it's probably so rare you wouldn't pick it up. That's why, when you do a larger study, you have to do double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Because whenever you're developing a vaccine that could have a deleterious effect, you want to make sure you're not seeing worse effects in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated. And when dealing with any vaccine, there's always the danger—and we've seen this with flaviviruses [which include Zika and dengue], so you have to be careful—that if you have an inadequate antibody response, you can actually enhance the infection.
MJ: I've read that with dengue, people who get re-infected after a previous infection are at much higher risk for the extreme form of the illness.
AF: It's called "antibody-mediated enhancement." Let's say you get infected with serotype 2 dengue and then you wind up getting infected with serotype 4. The antibody against serotype 2 is good enough to protect you against reinfection with serotype 2, but even though it cross reacts somewhat with serotype 4, it's not good enough to protect you. And when it binds to the [serotype 4] virus as it enters your body, sometimes it enhances the ability of the virus to damage your tissue. That can be the scenario for developing the hemorrhagic dengue syndrome.
MJ: Are we worried that something like this could happen with Zika?
AF: Well, interestingly, the Zika that's going around in Brazil is all one serotype. So that's not so much of a concern.
MJ: The Senate is preparing to approve a good-sized sum for Zika vaccine development. How will that accelerate your efforts?
AF: It won't accelerate it. It will allow it to happen. You can't rush clinical trials. If we didn't get the money, it would either be dramatically slowed down, or it wouldn't happen.
MJ: At a recent Zika summit, you said, "I have this ominous feeling we have yet to see the worst of it." What were you thinking about when you said that?
AF: It was at a time when every time we would learn something new, it would not be good news. First it was. "Is it really causally associated with the congenital abnormalities of microcephaly?" Well, we don't know—then all of a sudden we definitely know: The first cohort study showed a 29 percent incidence, which is really very high. Then we find out when we study the virus in vitro—either in a test tube using these organoids, or in a mouse model—we find out the virus is ferociously neurotropic; it really destroys neurological tissue very aggressively. [Scientists asked], "Well, is it something special with Brazil? Is it a co-factor with dengue?" Uh-uh. It can do it by itself. And then you find out it's sexually transmitted. Now if you ever wanted to compound and confound the spread of an outbreak that already is amazingly strange—the first mosquito-borne virus that results in a congenital abnormality—now you find out it's sexually transmitted! And then you find out it's also associated with Guillain-Barré. I was saying, "My goodness. Every time you wake up, there's something else that's bad about it."
MJ: Okay, along those lines, given that Zika attacks developing nerve cells, wouldn't we expect it to go after the brains of adolescents, who are having all this explosive brain growth?
AF: Thus far, there's no red flag that comes jumping out at us with young kids and adolescents. However, the only way you really know is to do a long-range, multi-year cohort study. You follow the children and find out if those who were infected young end up with mental abnormalities. Part of our cohort study is going to look at that. I don't think we're going to see it, but you have to look.
MJ: Roughly 80 percent of people infected with Zika never get sick. Does a pregnant woman need to show symptoms for her baby to be affected?
AF: We don't know. So we're doing a "Zika in infants and pregnancy" program—called a ZIP—to ask just that question. Do only symptomatic women have a problem with their fetuses? What's the level of virus in an asymptomatic woman versus a symptomatic one? There are a lot of questions we're going to ask. You just asked one of the important ones.
MJ: How do you even find asymptomatic people?
AF: You have to do a screening study of thousands of people in the community.
MJ: If a person is asymptomatic, can they spread Zika through sex?
AF: You're asking all the right questions. It's almost as if you looked at our protocols, because those are the questions we're asking. So far, the only sexual transmissions that we know of are people who transmitted it when they were symptomatic or very, very soon after. In fact, the ones that are well documented had a rash when they transmitted it. But that's maybe just the tip of the iceberg.
MJ: There's been some debate over whether the Olympics should be moved or delayed. What's your take?
AF: I don't think so. You have to be careful and know what the risks are. You're pregnant, might be pregnant, planning on being pregnant: Stay away from areas where there's active Zika transmission. That's the most important thing. If you're an athlete who has no intention of being pregnant, you go down there, and apart from the Guillain-Barré—we don't know how great the risk is yet—Zika is a relatively mild disease: fever, aches, pains, rash, conjunctivitis, and done. And that's if you even show symptoms. But it's really important to look at the guidelines: A) Pregnant? Stay away. B) If you're a man, and you come back home to a pregnant wife, don't have sex—or consistently use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy. If you don't have a pregnant wife or girlfriend and really want to be safe, you use a condom for eight weeks upon returning. If people do that, there's no reason not to go to the Olympics.
MJ: So far, we've had zero mosquito-borne Zika transmission in the United States, probably for the same reasons we haven't seen much dengue here. Do you think we're going to start seeing mosquito-borne transmission here?
AF: Yesterday was my sixth congressional hearing on this, not to mention many individual briefings, and I've been very consistent. We've had now 500 or so travel-related cases. We've had no local transmission. It is likely that we will have restricted local transmission—small local outbreaks? My call would be that we will. Because we've had dengue and chikungunya, which are in the same regions of South and Central America and the Caribbean, and are transmitted by exactly the same mosquito. Historically we've had small local outbreaks of dengue in Florida and Texas, and a small local outbreak of chikungunya in Florida, which makes me conclude that sooner or later, we have going to have small local outbreaks of Zika—whether that's five cases or 30—likely along the Gulf Coast.
Having said that, the dengue and chikungunya outbreaks were well controlled by aggressive mosquito control and attention to using insect repellent, staying indoors with air conditioning, making sure you have screens in your house, and eliminating standing water in those areas. That successfully prevented dengue and chikungunya from becoming sustained and disseminated. So, I never say never, but I do not think we're going to have a widespread Zika outbreak in this country.
No television "event" today has a prayer of matching Roots, the eight-part 1977 miniseries based on Alex Haley's autobiographical slavery saga. Those broadcasts attracted some 85 percent of American TV households.W. Kamau Bell
Comedian W. Kamau Bell, whose latest project, a CNN docuseries called United Shades of America, launched in April, still remembers watching Roots when he was little. Who could forget that iconic scene in which Kunta Kinte, a Mandinka holy man's grandson kidnapped from West Africa and sold into slavery, endures a brutal whipping for refusing to utter his slave name?
"If you deconstruct the DNA of people my age and generation, Roots is in there," Bell tells actor LeVar Burton, whose portrayal of Kinte launched his career. Burton, now 59, went on to play countless roles (including Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation) and host the PBS children's show Reading Rainbow. But an entire generation will forever associate him with the slave who was determined never to forget his roots. Now Burton is an executive producer of a star-studded remake from A&E and the History Channel that updates Haley's story for a 2016 audience. We enlisted Bell to chat with Burton about the epic retelling, which airs for four nights starting on Memorial Day.
Levar Burton: I understand you've seen a preview?
W. Kamau Bell: The first installment, yes.
WKB: Wait a minute, I'm supposed to ask the questions! [Laughs.] It was surreal. I have a four-and-a-half-year-old, and I immediately started thinking, "How would I prepare her for this?" We've already started the slavery conversation, but not in that direct of a way. Overall, I'm super impressed with how the production updates the story—better special effects and better makeup, but also we know more about the history now.
In my black circle, your name comes up a lot. You got us at Roots when we were little. Reading Rainbow, obviously. Star Trek—I don't know if this is the right way to say it, but you're like a black totem! So when I heard they were remaking Roots, my first thought was, "Oh no! No, no, no, no, no!" But when I read that LeVar Burton was one of the producers, I went, "Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!"
LB: I had a similar reaction. I was at a screening at the Directors Guild of America for 12 Years a Slave. It was Russell Simmons who said to me, "You know they're remaking Roots?" I was incredulous, but he assured me it was true, and I was troubled. For obvious reasons, I'm really protective of what I believe to be an American classic. Less than 48 hours later, I got a call from executive producer Mark Wolper, the son of [original Roots executive producer] David Wolper. Mark explained that he had wanted to get to me and the other cast members before the news broke, but somebody jumped the gun. I asked him point-blank, "Mark, why?" He explained that he had attempted to show the original to his children, and the response was very lukewarm. They understood why Roots was important to him, but they didn't feel it had much relevance to them. Mark thought, "Wow! Perhaps we need to remake it with a different sensibility and with a different set of actors." Because part of the genius of David Wolper was that he cast all of America's TV dads as villains. Ed Asner, Chuck Connors, Lorne Greene, Robert Reed, Lloyd Bridges—they all played the villains, and it was a brilliant idea. But those names don't mean anything to this generation. I got it right away. I said, "How can I help?" And then immediately I went to the political: Look at what's going on in America today. Could the timing be more perfect? I don't think so.
WKB: Will that connection be apparent to somebody who isn't a person of color living under the glove of racism?
LB: I don't know that it will be readily apparent to everyone. But I'm hoping that the conversation around Roots when it airs will fill in the gaps so that it is absolutely, unavoidably clear that America today is directly related to America of the antebellum South and the slave trade. And that some of the issues that we still grapple with have their roots in slavery and its attendant legacy of racism.Burton on the set of the Roots remake Casey Crafford/A&E Networks
WKB: It seems we're going to be remaking Roots every 30 years for a while!
LB: Well, how often have we seen Holocaust stories? I bring that up because there's a wonderful tradition in Jewish culture that is about "never forget." In insisting that this story is passed onto each successive generation, it has become part and parcel of Jewish identity. Human beings have remarkably short memories, and so it is essential that we continually remind ourselves.
WKB: Okay, here's a Fox News question: What do you say to Americans, many of them white, who say, "Slavery happened a long time ago. Why are you people still talking about this?"
LB: The vestiges of slavery are alive and well and have been institutionalized in American culture—in the disproportionate number of black men incarcerated, in phenomena like Driving While Black. It's like Neil deGrasse Tyson says about science: "The great thing about science is, whether you believe it or not, it's still true!"
WKB: You can't argue your way out of the theory of gravity!
LB: Right. So to move forward as a nation, we must not try and ameliorate the past, but embrace it. If one more person tells me to get over it...
WKB: [Laughs.] We'll put in the interview: "Pregnant pause that sounded menacing."
LB: Ellipsis into infinity.
WKB: You were, what, 19 when you did the original Roots?
LB: Yeah, I was a kid. It was my first job. It was my first audition.
WKB: Wow! That's an intense first audition. That's not a toothpaste commercial. That's not the best friend on the sitcom, the new black guy in town on an episode of That's My Mama. When did you understand that this role was going to define you?
LB: It was a real initiation.
WKB: Was there a point you felt like, "I don't want to be answering Kunta Kinte questions anymore"?
LB: Yeah, there was a time, early in my career, when I felt the shadow of Kunta was so large as to be insurmountable.
WKB: Where did you find Malachi Kirby, the new Kunta Kinte?
LB: Malachi is from London. He came in on tape, and he was one of the handful that got down to the wire. I needed to be sure, so we sent him to South Africa to do a screen test. Night 1 director Phillip Noyce put him on film, and I saw everything I needed to see.
WKB: Your Kunta was somewhat childlike. With Malachi's portrayal, there's more a sense of Kunta as a man. A young man, but much more is made of his warrior spirit.Burton grabs a selfie with cast members. Casey Crafford/A&E Networks
LB: I'm glad you picked up on that. One of the things Malachi and I talked about was the need for him to do his version, to infuse the character with his spirit.
WKB: Kunta has a new origin story, too. Slave trading among the tribes is one of the first things we hear about. We also learn the Kintes are Muslim, which feels like another thing to signal blast: Not all Muslims are from the Middle East!
LB: When Alex Haley did the original research, we didn't know Juffureh was a major center of commerce. That information is due to the success of the novel and the miniseries; many more people were interested in studying West Africa, and specifically Gambia. We know now that the Mandinka were horse warriors——we didn't know that in the '70s. These are essential elements. We had historians involved in every aspect: set design, costume design, music.
WKB: So maybe in 40 years, we'll be able to tell an even more accurate tale?
LB: Alex used linguistic clues that were part of his family's oral tradition—the story of the old African who came from a place where there was a "Kamby Bolongo" and called a guitar a "ko," and one day he was in the woods looking for wood to make a drum for his younger brother and was set upon by slavers. Those clues led Alex to West Africa, and then Gambia and the village of Juffureh, where the griot confirmed the story. Today, you can swab the inside of your mouth and send it away and get a written report of where your DNA shows up on the planet!
WKB: And find out where your great-great-grandpapa had breakfast that morning!
LB: Exactly. So in 40 years, who knows what we will be able to know? What will remain is the essential nature of storytelling as a part of who we are, as a mechanism that always has and always will help us define—for ourselves—who we are, why we're here, where we are going. And most importantly, what is my own contribution?
WKB: What do you hope Americans who aren't descended from slaves will take away from this new Roots?
LB: That this is our common story. And whether you feel like it has any relevance or meaning to you, the real truth is that it does. If you are part of the fabric of America, this is your story, too.
WKB: Well, we'll consider that a mic drop, sir.
Oil has been on a rollercoaster for the last few years. But things are changing fast. And it could have a huge effect on your investments, says John Stepek.
The post This could herald one of the biggest investment trend shifts of 2016 was first published on MoneyWeek.
|(NaturalNews) So this guy walks into an OB/GYN clinic and demands a gynecological exam. The doctor, a woman, takes one look at him and says, "That won't work. You're a man." The man, however, "self identifies" as a woman and blasts the doctor for being a bigot. "I self identify as...|
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By Michael Connett
Fluoride Action Network (FAN)
Following the recent water crisis in Flint, it's no wonder that the U.S. public has begun to question exactly how safe our drinking water actually is. What was once taken for granted — the idea of safe, pure, and drinkable water for everyone — is now in serious question.
In addition to the continuing problems with lead contamination, it has come to light in recent years that public water supplies are now contaminated with trace levels of pharmaceutical drugs, including oral contraceptives and mood stabilizers.
These drugs end up in our water inadvertently; however, there's one pharmaceutical that is intentionally added to our tap water: Fluoride.Fluoride Is a Neurotoxic, Endocrine-Disrupting Drug
Fluoride is an endocrine-disrupting, neurotoxic, and bone-weakening substance that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines as a drug when used to prevent disease, because unlike the minerals we need (e.g. calcium), humans have no known physiological requirement for fluoride.
But because of fluoride's toxicity, you cannot purchase fluoride "supplements" over-the-counter; they can only be dispensed by prescription under the supervision of a doctor. In short, sodium fluoride is not a nutritional "supplement;" it is a prescription drug, and a dangerous one.
Although fluoride drugs have been prescribed for over 50 years, the FDA recently announced that marketing fluoride drops and tablets for cavity prevention violates federal law, because FDA has never approved these products as either safe or effective.
FDA made this stunning declaration in a Warning Letter, in which the Agency called on a manufacturer to immediately cease selling fluoride drops and tablets. Removing harmful fluoride drugs from the market will protect the health of millions of children, but we also need to address the big elephant in the room: water fluoridation.
With water fluoridation, cities and towns can add almost the same dose of fluoride contained in prescription fluoride drops and tablets to each glass a toddler drinks — with no supervision of a health professional, and without the informed consent of the patient.FDA Issues Warning Letter
On January 13, 2016, the FDA sent a "Warning Letter" to Kirkman Laboratories, Inc., demanding that the manufacturer immediately discontinue the marketing of its fluoride drops and tablets.
The FDA's Warning Letter clearly states that fluoride drops and tablets are "unapproved new drugs" because: (1) they are not generally recognized as safe and effective for caries prevention purposes, and (2) no manufacturer has ever provided FDA with adequate studies to demonstrate the drugs' safety and effectiveness.
This isn't the first time FDA has stated that fluoride drops and tablets are unapproved drugs; FDA first grudgingly admitted this bewildering fact in the 1990s in response to a dogged investigation by the late New Jersey Assemblyman John Kelly.
What makes the Warning Letter to Kirkman so significant, however, is that the FDA has finally decided to take enforcement action against a company producing these drugs.
FDA's Warning Letter is a historic development, but much remains to be done. The real test will be whether FDA follows through on its own conclusions by going after the larger companies that are currently manufacturing the very same fluoride drugs.
Three of the largest companies making fluoride drops/tablets today are Libertas Pharma Inc., Sancilio & Company, Inc., and Qualitest and so far, FDA has not taken any action against these companies.
For this reason, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) and International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT) have filed a Citizens Petition with the FDA that calls upon the agency to take enforcement action against all companies, not just Kirkman, that continue to produce unapproved fluoride drugs.
The petition asks that these unsafe and ineffective drugs be removed from the market entirely. To support the FAN/IAOMT petition, please sign this online letter to FDA.Click Here Pharmacies Are Violating Federal and State Law
It's not just the fluoride drug manufacturers who are violating the law. The nation's largest pharmacies are culprits as well. FAN recently conducted an undercover investigation of the nation's four largest pharmacies: Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and Walmart.
This investigation has revealed that each of these four companies continues to sell unapproved fluoride drugs, which not only violates the federal prohibition on introducing unapproved drugs into interstate commerce, but violates the laws of at least 17 states which prohibit the "sale" of any drug not approved by the FDA.
Not only are the nation's largest pharmacies systemically violating these laws, their pharmacists are providing false information to inquiring customers and concerned parents about the FDA approval status of these drugs.
As can be heard in these audiotaped conversations, the nation's largest pharmacies repeatedly assured customers that they do not sell unapproved drugs, and that fluoride drops/tablets have either been approved by the FDA or don't need FDA approval.
Each of these assertions is false, as evident by FDA's Warning Letter and FAN's investigation. The scope of misunderstanding among pharmacists is striking, and troubling. If pharmacists have no idea about fluoride's lack of FDA approval, who else would?
Attorney and FAN Executive Director, Michael Connett, recently wrote letters to the big four pharmacies disclosing the findings of FAN's investigation, calling on them to immediately remove these unapproved, unsafe, and ineffective drugs from their shelves.Unnecessary, Ineffective, and Dangerous
In its Warning Letter, FDA states that fluoride drops and tablets are "not generally recognized as safe and effective" for caries prevention.
This is an important legal conclusion as it means fluoride drops and tablets are "new" drugs under 21 USC 321(p), and thereby require FDA approval before they can be lawfully marketed.1 This conclusion, important from a legal standpoint, is amply supported by a wealth of scientific research.
Fluoride drops and tablets were introduced in the 1950s and '60s on the now universally discredited premise that fluoride's predominant benefit to teeth comes from ingesting fluoride while the teeth are still forming.
As explained in the Journal of the American Dental Association, "fluoride incorporated during tooth development is insufficient to play a significant role in cavity protection."2
Both the Centers for Disease Control and National Research Council have confirmed this, declaring, respectively, that "fluoride's predominant effect is posteruptive and topical,"3 and "the major anticaries benefit of fluoride is topical and not systemic."4
In other words, fluoride works when it is applied directly to the outside of teeth (i.e. topical), not when swallowed (i.e. systemic).
The new understanding that fluoride's main, if not sole benefit comes from topical application, eviscerates the need for adding fluoride to drops, tablets, and any other product that we swallow. Indeed, as noted in a recent review by the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration:
"Now the common view is that it is through the posteruptive (topical) effect that fluorides have caries preventative action.
In this context, ingestion of the supplements is not necessary nor needed to obtain a preventive effect as the topical application of fluoride compounds is all that is required to provide preventive effect on dental caries."5
Swallowing fluoride is not only unnecessary, it's dangerous. It is well-established that children who swallow fluoride drops and tablets are at significantly elevated risk of developing dental fluorosis,6 a defect of enamel that can produce embarrassing stains on the teeth7 which is caused by fluoride's interference with tooth-forming cells.8
As noted in one review, "Supplement use by children younger than 5 years entails a risk of fluorosis which, at the community level, becomes a certainty."9 Based on this "clear" risk of fluorosis, and "marginal at best" benefit, even some pro-fluoride dental researchers have called for the elimination of fluoride drops/tablets entirely.10Fluoride Exposure Can Impact Early Brain Development
Dental fluorosis is not the only risk from early ingestion of fluoride. Fluoride exposure can also negatively impact brain development, resulting in both learning and behavioral disorders. Fifty studies of human populations have linked fluoride exposure with reduced IQ scores, while over 30 laboratory experiments have confirmed (under carefully controlled conditions) that fluoride exposure can impair learning and memory capacity in rats and mice.
The evidence of fluoride's interference with brain development is now sufficiently advanced that a recent review in Lancet Neurology classified fluoride as 1 of only 11 chemicals "known to cause developmental neurotoxicity in human beings."11 Fluoride has also been classified by the prestigious National Research Council (NRC) as an "endocrine disruptor" due, in large part, to its documented capacity to interfere with thyroid function and glucose metabolism.
In fact, while sodium fluoride tablets are currently used to prevent tooth decay, they were previously used by doctors as a medication to reduce thyroid function among hyperthyroid patients, and recent research has linked fluoridated drinking water to elevated rates of hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid).
Further, fluoride's ability to disrupt insulin production and glucose metabolism has been established in multiple studies, at strikingly low levels.12 In fact, the blood fluoride levels found in pre-school children following ingestion of fluoride tablets13 overlap the levels that have been found to impair glucose tolerance (~0.1 ppm).14 Other risks from fluoride ingestion include damage to the pineal gland, bone fragility, and possibly childhood cancer.
It should go without saying that a non-FDA approved drug with the potential to permanently damage the brain, disrupt the endocrine system, and damage the bone should not be dispensed to infants and toddlers unless and until adequate and well-conducted studies have been conducted and vetted by the FDA to ensure the drug's safety and effectiveness. The manufacturers of fluoride drops and tablets have had decades to submit these studies, but they have failed to do so.Public Water Supplies and the Drug We Drink
Adding fluoride to prescription drops and tablets for ingestion is bad enough, but adding prescription-strength doses of fluoride to public water supplies is even worse. No other drug — let alone an unapproved drug — is purposely added to water, and there is no reason to make an exception for fluoride.
Indeed, most Western industrialized nations have rejected fluoridation precisely on this ground: that the public water supply is a fundamentally inappropriate and unethical way of medicating a population. As summarized by Dr. Arvid Carlsson, the pharmacologist who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine/Physiology in 2000:
"[Fluoridation] is absolutely obsolete. In modern pharmacology it's so clear that even if you have a fixed dose of a drug, individuals respond very differently. Now, in this case, you have it in the water and people are drinking different amounts of water. So you have huge variations in the consumption of this drug. So, it's against all modern principles of pharmacology. It's obsolete. I don't think anybody in Sweden, not a single dentist, would bring up this question anymore."
Carlsson's home country of Sweden rejected fluoridation in the 1970s, and most other western European countries have done the same, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Norway. And yet, despite rejecting fluoridation, tooth decay rates in Europe are generally lower than in heavily fluoridated U.S. Whatever we thought the fluoride in our water supply would accomplish for us, it doesn't actually seem to be working so well.
It's high time for the U.S. to follow Europe's lead and end water fluoridation. The only place that fluoride belongs is in toothpaste and other topical tooth applications. This way, the fluoride is applied to the only organ in the body that stands to benefit (the surface of the teeth), individuals have a clear choice as to whether or not to use fluoride, and the entire food chain is not contaminated with fluoridation chemicals.
This is not rocket scienc; it's common sense. And, unlike the fluoride in drops, tablets, and tap water, fluoride toothpaste is actually FDA approved. However, make sure to read the poison label that FDA requires on all tubes of fluoride-containing toothpaste: "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact poison control immediately."
So — how many glasses of water, tea, coffee or other tap-sourced beverages do you drink in a day? If you're starting to feel a little uneasy — you should be. We all should.
By Dr. Mercola
Rick Friday is a veteran political cartoonist for Farm News, an Iowa newspaper. That is, he was their political cartoonist up until earlier this month. After drawing more than 1,000 cartoons over his 21-year career, he was fired from the newspaper after one of its advertisers complained.
It's true that money talks, and this is a clear example of who's really in control of the press. The career-ending cartoon pictured two farmers talking. One said, "I wish there was profit in farming."
The other responded, "There is, in year 2015 the CEOs of Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and John Deere combined made more money than 2,129 Iowa farmers."
As for who complained, it was reportedly "a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon," according to a Facebook response written by Friday. The company canceled their advertisement with the paper after the cartoon was published, leading to Friday's termination.
Monsanto claimed it had no role in Friday's firing, but a reported email sent by his supervisor said it was a "seed dealer" that canceled their advertising.1
Friday's cartoon was accurate, by the way, but it doesn't matter. When you receive advertising money from Monsanto, DuPont and other bigwigs, you have to censor what you say so they — and their products — are painted in only a positive light. In rebuttal, Friday wrote:
Big Agriculture Pushes for Exemption From FOIA Requests
"I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon. That's okay, hopefully my children and my grandchildren will see that this last cartoon published by Farm News out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, will shine light on how fragile our rights to free speech and free press really are in the country."
The major corporate players in agriculture easily hold enough clout to sideline a political cartoonist and that's not all. They hold incredible power in influencing federal, state and local legislation as well.
They also have blatant double standards, wanting to censor speech and expressions that might paint them in a poor light while at the same time wanting to keep their own communications private.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives anyone the right to access information from the federal government. According to FOIA.gov, "it is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.'2
FOIA requests allow the media, non-government organizations and private citizens to obtain information in the possession of government entities that would otherwise remain private. It can be used, and has been in the past, to disclose inappropriate relations between scientists and corporations, for example.
Some of the largest food producers in the U.S. are now trying to opt out of FOIA requests.
Major agricultural commodity groups, including beef, egg and milk producers, have petitioned Congress to include language in the pending 2017 House Agricultural Appropriations bill that would exempt their promotional groups from FOIA requests.Agricultural Commodity Groups Want to Keep Their Communications Private
The promotional and research groups pushing for the FOIA exemption are behind the widely known slogans "Got Milk?" and "Beef — It's What's for Dinner." They include the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and others.
They're overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) but are referred to as "checkoff programs" because they're funded by fees automatically charged to producers. NPR explained:3
"These programs have long been controversial because they use government authority to collect money for private commercial goals, such as advertising campaigns and research on the nutritional quality of particular foods.
Farmers themselves vote to set up such programs, but Congress then establishes them and at that point, every farmer is required, by law, to contribute to them."
In a letter obtained by Fortune, 14 commodity groups wrote a letter to the heads of the House's subcommittee arguing that since the research and promotion boards are not agencies of the federal government nor funded by federal funds, they should be exempt from FOIA requests.4American Egg Board Tried to Squash Vegan Mayo Producers
The impetus for the proposed FOIA exemption occurred in 2015, when an FOIA request revealed the American Egg Board had waged a war against one of its competitors — a vegan start-up company (Hampton Creek) selling egg-free mayonnaise.
Emails obtained under an FOIA request revealed the American Egg Board went so far as to try to get the mayo out of health food store Whole Foods. The scandal led the CEO of the American Egg Board to retire early and the USDA to launch an investigation (which is still ongoing) into the group's practices.
Instead of cleaning up their acts, the commodity groups have now banded together to stop any further FOIA requests, lest any unsavory practices be uncovered once again. But, as food-policy specialist Parke Wilde, Ph.D. told NPR, the groups "very much want to have it both ways." NPR reported:5
"In 2005, Wilde points out, industry groups argued before the Supreme Court that the checkoff programs were, in fact, 'government speech.' At that time, the groups were facing a challenge from farmers who didn't want to pay for those programs.
If the programs were part of the government, though, the farmers could be forced to pay up, just as they are forced to pay taxes. The Supreme Court agreed. Now that they wish to escape from the FOIA, however, the checkoff programs are emphasizing their private nature.
In early April, a dozen agricultural industry groups — but not the checkoff programs themselves, because they aren't allowed to lobby Congress — asked Congress to declare the checkoff programs exempt from the FOIA because they 'are funded solely with producer dollars, and therefore are not agencies of the federal government.'
Rancher Sued USDA Over Beef Checkoff Program's Favoritism to Large Producers
The House Appropriations Committee has now adopted that view."
Checkoff programs have long faced criticism for serving the interests of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) over small producers and have even been sued as a result. Rancher Mike Callicrate filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Kansas City in 2012 against the USDA, the Cattlemens' Beef Board (CBB) and others.
The suit alleged that money cattle ranchers are forced to pay to improve beef marketing in the U.S. is used to lobby for policies that are harmful to small family farmers.
For every head of cattle brought to market, the seller must pay a set amount to the Beef Industry Council, which is then sent to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).
Although the suit was later dropped, Callicrate has continued to speak out against beef checkoff program practices, including mismanagement of funds by NCBA. He reported:6
"The current structure and administration of the Checkoff Program fosters severe conflicts of interest. NCBA uses the millions in Checkoff dollars to promote the interests of packers and retailers, and their views concerning industry structure, rather than promoting beef and the interests of beef cattle producers.
Significant funds are expended on ads in producer publications that promote the Checkoff Program rather than beef, leading many busy cattle producers into believing the program is working. The NCBA vision of vertical integration, patterned after the poultry and pork industries, is in stark conflict with the vast majority of independent, Checkoff-paying cattle producers.
NCBA enjoys total control of the Checkoff Program due to the representational structure of the Checkoff Program. NCBA, with membership representing less than four percent of the nation's 750,000 beef cattle producers, has a lock on the governance of the Checkoff Program and its many millions of producer dollars.
Virtually All Agricultural Programs Subsidize CAFOs
… In what has become known as a 'pay-to-play' scheme … State Beef Councils that can afford to, and pay the most, are rewarded with a disproportionate number of voting seats, and thus control the Federation. Not surprisingly, of the 85 voting directors on the Federation, approximately 82 are reported to be NCBA members."
John Ikerd, Ph.D. is an industrial agriculture insider, making him a rare voice to speak out against the conventional model. He worked as an extension livestock marketing specialist and an agricultural economist, spending the first 15 years of his academic career promoting industrial agriculture, which includes large-scale CAFO's.
He explains that virtually every program that has come out of the USDA during his career has in one way or another subsidized specialized, standardized, and consolidated production. Consumers ultimately pay the cost of the risks inherent with these types of operations. We also pay for subsidized credit that allows farmers to expand their operations.
Today, we have a higher percentage of people who are food insecure or go hungry in the U.S. than we had in the 1960s, before widespread industrialization started. About 15 percent of Americans are now classified as being food insecure. More than 20 percent of American children live in food insecure homes.
So while the industrialization of agriculture lowered production costs, and to some extent made certain foods (read processed foods) less expensive, the system has completely failed to secure food for all.
With respect to what could be done to improve CAFOs (either that, or speed up their conversion to more sustainable operations), Ikerd suggests treating them as if they were any other factory industry. They're not like traditional agriculture, they're not diversified like a family farm, so why are they being treated like one?
CAFOs — and other agrigiants like Monsanto — need to be held accountable for the pollution they create, the public health problems they bring, and they need to have regulations in place to address the fair treatment of workers and animals — just like any other factory enterprise.
Moreover, if their subsidized risk protections were removed, they would no longer be able to compete with diversified, independent family farms. All of this would likely prompt CAFOs to be broken up into smaller, more diversified pieces, which is the solution to healthier food, people and planet.
Sustainable agriculture is the answer to these and many other related problems. While it may not be the easiest solution, implementation wise, it's the best and most logical solution in the long term. Sustainable agriculture balances the need to produce food to be economically viable and efficient with a need to take care of the land and support rural communities and society as a whole.To Learn Who Rules Over You, Find Out Who You're Not Allowed to Criticize
The food industry is only one powerhouse that engages in a variety of schemes to control what information is widely disseminated — and what is not. The medical field is another. The film "Vaxxed," which asks the question of whether autism could be related to vaccines, was originally scheduled to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival but was pulled from the lineup on March 26, 2016 — allegedly due to threats from other filmmakers to cancel their participation.
The Tribeca Film Festival was started by Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal in 2001. While De Niro felt pressured to pull the film, he makes it clear it's a film people need to see, noting there are many issues relating to the way the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluates and monitors the safety of vaccines that are not being spoken about openly — and they should.
De Niro has an 18-year-old son who is autistic, and he admits he has concerns about vaccines and autism. "There is a link," he says, and draws a parallel between people who have severe, even fatal, reactions to penicillin. De Niro points out that the same might be true for some people who react to vaccines.
Still, to protect the vaccine program and the fantastic profits generated from it, any and all "cracks in the wall" must be sealed, and the primary way this is done is by way of censoring, ridicule, and character assassination. They want mandatory vaccines from cradle to grave, and in order to implement that all dissenters must be destroyed.
In the case of De Niro, they may have met their match, as he's not one to be intimidated and dismissed so easily — although a number of industry "bobble heads" have already tried to make it seem as though he's just another confused parent of an autistic child looking for a scapegoat. They are wrong, of course, and efforts to paint De Niro as a fool just might backfire in the most spectacular way.
The decision to pull "Vaxxed" has created so much blowback and publicity that whoever was pushing for its removal may have cause to regret it, because it has given the film a much higher public profile than if it had simply been screened as scheduled. Likewise, in the case of Rick Friday and his poignant cartoon that cost him his job, it's now getting far more exposure than it ever would have had it stayed in Iowa's Farm News. So it seems Friday got the last word after all.
By Dr. Mercola
Despite warnings that we’re quickly approaching a post-antibiotics era in which bacterial infections once easily cured by the drugs become resistant and life threatening, doctors are still prescribing too many antibiotics.
The finding comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found 262 million people received prescriptions for antibiotics from their physicians from 2010 to 2011. Of these, about 30 percent were unnecessary.
The report, which was published in JAMA, assessed data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) to estimate the current rate of U.S. antibiotic prescriptions.1
A group of experts then determined whether the antibiotic prescriptions were appropriate based on national guidelines. There were an estimated 506 antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 population annually, but only 353 of those were appropriately prescribed.2 The researchers wrote:
A 15-Percent Reduction in Antibiotic Use Recommended to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
“Collectively, across all conditions, an estimated 30% of outpatient, oral antibiotic prescriptions may have been inappropriate.”
The White House National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria set a goal to reduce at least half of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions by 2020. In order to meet this goal, the JAMA report found a 15 percent reduction in antibiotics use is needed.
According to the report, antibiotics prescriptions for acute respiratory conditions were most often inappropriately prescribed, and children aged 2 years and younger were the most frequent recipients of antibiotics prescriptions.
Across all age groups, such drugs were most often prescribed for sinusitis, ear infections and inflammation of the throat (pharyngitis). As for why so many unnecessary antibiotics are being prescribed, sometimes doctors do it to appease their patients.
Other times they may be misguided in when the drug’s risks outweigh their benefits. According to the study, “no data suggest worse outcomes … in low-prescribing regions due to undertreatment.”3 Meanwhile, there’s still a great deal of misunderstanding among the public.
A 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) survey found, for instance that one-third of people surveyed believed you should stop taking antibiotics when you start to feel better as opposed to finishing the entire course.4 Stopping early can lead to resistant bugs by allowing stronger bacteria to survive and thrive.
Further, 64 percent of those surveyed believed antibiotics could be used to treat influenza and colds, both of which are caused by viruses, which cannot be killed by antibiotics. As WHO reported, there are also misconceptions about who is at risk of drug-resistant infections:5
“Two thirds (66%) of respondents believe that individuals are not at risk of a drug-resistant infection if they personally take their antibiotics as prescribed.
Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs Kill Millions Every Year in the US Alone
Nearly half (44%) of people surveyed think antibiotic resistance is only a problem for people who take antibiotics regularly. In fact, anyone, of any age, in any country can get an antibiotic-resistant infection.”
In the U.S., at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, and at least 23,000 die as a result.6 This is already a staggering number, but the problem is slated to get worse.
A 2015 report commissioned by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron estimated that by 2050 antibiotic resistance will have killed 300 million people, with the annual global death toll reaching 10 million, and the global cost for treatment reaching $100 trillion.
By the year 2030, antibiotic-resistant disease — if left to spiral out of control — is expected to have killed 100 million.7 The problem is that antibiotic’s primary target — bacteria — is smart. Even under the best circumstances, bacteria can eventually adapt to resist and overpower once-effective antibiotics.
In recent decades, however, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has greatly sped up this process, and we’re now seeing what it’s like to live in a post-antibiotic era.
For instance, from 2013 to 2014, cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea doubled, with rates reaching 0.8 percent. WHO already recognizes drug-resistant gonorrhea as "an emergency," with several countries, including Australia, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, experiencing increasing infections.
Further, up to 50 percent of pathogens that cause surgical site infections, and 25 percent of those that cause infections following chemotherapy, are already resistant to common antibiotics.8
If antibiotic effectiveness drops by another 10 percent, it could result in 40,000 more infections and 2,100 additional deaths following surgery and chemotherapy each year.Antibiotics Disrupt Your Gut Bacteria by Creating an Oxygen-Rich Environment
In your gut, beneficial microbes grow in an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment while pathogenic bacteria like salmonella need oxygen to thrive.
One way antibiotics may promote disease is by creating an oxygen-rich environment that favors that growth of pathogens, according to a recent study published in Cell Host & Microbe.9
The study involved the antibiotic streptomycin, which first reduces populations of beneficial microbes in your gut. Among them are Clostridia, which help break down fiber into an organic acid called butyrate.
Cells lining your gut use butyrate as an energy source, but if Clostridia, and thereby butyrate, are reduced, the cells ferment glucose to lactate for energy, and this is what causes an increase in oxygen.
Study author Andreas Bäumler, professor of medical immunology and microbiology at the University of California-Davis, told Medical News Today, "In essence, antibiotics enabled pathogens in the gut to breathe."10
In addition, by killing off the bacteria in your gut, antibiotics have a detrimental effect on your overall immune system, as about 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gastrointestinal tract.
Research published in MBio even found just one course of antibiotics negatively alters your microbiome for up to a year.11 This is precisely why it’s crucial to only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary.
And when you do use them, be sure to “reseed” your gut with beneficial bacteria, either in the form of a probiotics supplement or fermented foods. If you don’t, your immune function, and more, can remain compromised for some time.Antibiotics in Sewage Sludge
The use of antibiotics is concerning not only on an individual level but on a much larger scale as well.
For instance, in studies of sewage sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plants, which allow researchers to get an idea of chemical exposures on a citywide basis, antibiotics (and other pharmaceuticals) are often apparent. As noted in Environmental Health Perspectives:12
Antibiotics Carry Risks, Including Sudden Cardiac Death
“ … it was becoming clear that … contaminants of emerging concern — those chemicals that are being detected for the first time or in increasing amounts — tend to elude treatment and remain in treated water and sewage sludge, returning to the environment and in some cases accumulating in living organisms, including humans.”
Part of the problem with antibiotics' overuse and misuse is that some people, including even some physicians, assume it can’t hurt to take a course just in case. But many people aren’t aware that antibiotics have a risk of serious side effects.
Macrolide antibiotics (azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin), quinolone, and erythromycin), for instance, increase your risk of sudden cardiac death. In a meta-analysis of nearly 21 million people, the drugs were linked to a small but significant increase in the heart risk.
For every 1 million treatment courses, the use of macrolide antibiotics resulted in an additional 36 sudden cardiac deaths.13 Macrolides are widely used in the treatment of bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases. Past research has also highlighted their risk of side effects. Azithromycin, for instance, increases your chances of dying from a cardiovascular event by a whopping 250 percent within the first five days of usage compared to taking amoxicillin.14Industrial Agriculture Is One of the Worst Offenders
While reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics in humans is important, one of the worst offenders is industrial agriculture. Eighty percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are used by industrial agriculture for purposes of growth promotion and preventing diseases that would otherwise make their concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) unviable.
In 2011, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) issued a policy paper that recommended significant reductions in the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in agriculture.15 In 2015, the federal Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria was created. Part of its role is to evaluate the implementation of the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.
One of the latter’s goals is to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria, which will require “judicious use” of the drugs. According to the National Strategy, “Judicious use of antibiotics in healthcare and agricultural settings is essential to slow the emergence of resistance and extend the useful lifetime of effective antibiotics.”16
By 2020, the plan calls for the elimination of the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in food-producing animals. It also calls for veterinary oversight for use of medically important antibiotics in the feed or water of food-producing animals. But is this going far — and fast — enough?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked drug companies to remove indications for “feed efficiency” and “weight gain” from the labels of their antibiotic products. They also require veterinarians to oversee any addition of these drugs to animal feed and water.
However, no benchmarks have been set to reduce antibiotic use on CAFOs, and there is no system in place to collect data on how agricultural antibiotics are being used. Without any baseline data, monitoring any process toward reduction will be difficult it not impossible.
As it stands, CAFOs remain hotbeds for breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria because of the continuous feeding of low doses of antibiotics to the animals, which allows pathogens to survive, adapt, and eventually, thrive.How to Avoid Becoming Another Victim to Antibiotic-Resistant Disease
You can help yourself and your community by purchasing only antibiotic-free meats and other foods and using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. This is an important step that I urge everyone to take, even though ultimately the problem of antibiotic-resistance needs to be stemmed on a global level. That said, your lifestyle choices are the most critical factors in determining the health of your immune system, which determines your ability to resist infections.
The stronger your immune defenses, the less chance a microbe — antibiotic-resistant or otherwise — will have of gaining a foothold in some part of your body. Below are some basic strategies for supercharging your immune system. You may also want to download my free special report about how to protect yourself from super germs.
• Optimize your diet. Avoid foods that tax your immune system such as synthetic trans fats, fried foods, processed foods, sugar and grains; reduce carbohydrates (sugar, grains, fructose) and protein, replacing them with high-quality fats. Fifty to 70 percent of your total intake should be fat.
Most of your diet should be fresh, whole foods, like organic vegetables and grass-pastured meats and dairy, and beneficial fats, such as butter and fermented dairy from grass-pastured animals, cheese, egg yolks, and avocados. A great portion of your immune system resides in your GI tract, which depends on a healthy, balanced gut flora.
One of the best ways to support this is by incorporating naturally fermented foods into your diet, working up to 4 to 6 ounces per day. One large serving of several ounces of fermented foods can supply you with around 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, which is about 10 percent of the population of your gut. You can take a high-quality probiotic supplement, but the actual fermented foods offer the greatest benefit.
• Exercise regularly. Exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at locating and eliminating pathogens in your body. Make sure your fitness plan incorporates weight training, high-intensity exercises, stretching and core work.
• Get plenty of restorative sleep. Recent research shows sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or disease, which is why you may feel ill after a sleepless night.
• Have good stress-busting outlets. High levels of stress hormones can diminish your immunity, so be sure you’re implementing some sort of stress management. Meditation, prayer, yoga, and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are all excellent strategies for managing stress, but you’ll have to find what works best for you.
• Optimize your vitamin D levels. Studies have shown that inadequate vitamin D can increase your risk for MRSA and other infections, which can likely be extended to other superbugs. Your best source of vitamin D is through exposing your skin to the sun or using a safe tanning bed. Monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm they’re in the therapeutic range, 50-70 ng/ml. If you can’t get UV exposure, consider taking an oral vitamin D supplement.
In addition to the basic lifestyle measures listed above, there are natural agents that science has shown to be naturally antibacterial. The following deserve special mention.
• Vitamin C. Vitamin C’s role in preventing and treating infectious disease is well established. Intravenous vitamin C is an option, but if you don’t have access to a practitioner who can administer it, liposomal vitamin C is the most potent oral form.
For more information on vitamin C, listen to my interview with Dr. Ronald Hunninghake, an internationally recognized vitamin C expert. If you choose to use supplement vitamin C, liposomal C seems to be the best form to use.
• Garlic. Garlic is a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. It can stimulate your immune system, help wounds heal, and kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria (including MRSA and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis), plus has shown more than 100 other health promoting properties. 17 For highest potency, the garlic should be eaten fresh and raw (chopped or smashed.)
• Olive leaf extract. In vitro studies show olive leaf extract is effective against Klebsiella, a gram-negative bacteria, inhibiting its replication, in addition to being toxic to other pathogenic microbes.
• Manuka honey. Manuka honey, made from the flowers and pollen of the Manuka bush, has been shown to be more effective than antibiotics in the treatment of serious, hard-to-heal skin infections. Clinical trials have found Manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as MRSA.
• Colloidal silver. Colloidal silver has been regarded as an effective natural antibiotic for centuries, and recent research shows it can even help eradicate antibiotic-resistant pathogens. If you are interested in this treatment, make sure you read the latest guidelines for safe usage of colloidal silver as there are risks with using it improperly.
• Copper. Replacing fixtures with certain copper alloys can help kill bacteria, even superbugs. Installing copper faucets, light switches, toilet seats and push plates in germ-infested areas such as hospitals and nursing homes could potentially save thousands of lives each year.
A mentally disabled Virginia man accused of stealing $5 worth of snacks from a convenience store was often left in isolation, without water in his cell, and essentially starved to death, according to a lawsuit from his family.
How did it ever come down to abandoning peace keeping and accepting law enforcement by any means? Even the New York Times expresses alarm in, When the Police Go Military.
With the BBC reporting that 68% of men and 61% of women in the UK make bets at least once a year, it is clear that the gaming industry is a thriving business worth billions of pounds to the British economy.
John Sanders worked in the orange and grapefruit groves in Redlands, California, for more than 30 years. First as a ranch hand, then as a farm worker, he was responsible for keeping the weeds around the citrus trees in check. Roundup, the Monsanto weed killer, was his weapon of choice, and he sprayed it on the plants from a hand-held atomizer year-round.
Canada took direct aim at the war on drugs Friday, announcing it will propose allowing doctors to prescribe pharmaceutical-grade heroin under its Special Access Program (SAP).
Some industries are created when you invent a new product that people feel they need. Think of the iPhone, or smartphones in general. Other industries are created when you invent a need for which people feel they must have a product to fulfill it.
Saudi Arabia stockpiled $116.8 billion of U.S. Treasuries as of March, the Treasury Department announced on Monday, ending four decades of keeping the figure secret.
The US Senate adopted unanimously a proposed bill that would allow Americans to sue nation-states for terrorist attacks on US soil, despite opposition from the White House and allies such as Saudi Arabia.
Is there more than meets the eye to this big scare?
Over the past few years, the police in America and around the world have been facing more scrutiny than they ever have before. Their abuses and arrogant demeanor are now easily recorded, and displayed on the Internet for all to see. As a result, it’s never been so easy to criticize the police.
Police state America show no signs of slowing down. Two years have passed since, police were forced to stop using 'voluntary' DNA checkpoints across the country.
“So I’m going to speak out. I’m going to do everything I can to rally people against this pernicious, corrupting influence of the NRA,” Clinton asserts. “And we’re going to do whatever we can. I’m proud when my husband took them on and we were able to ban assault weapons but he had to put a sunset on it so, 10 years later, of course, Bush wouldn’t agree to reinstate them.” “We’ve got to go after this,” Clinton urged.
In retrospect, Obama’s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths and other human rights abuses have increased severalfold. Rather than helping the United States combat terrorism, as Qaddafi did during his last decade in power, Libya now serves as a safe haven for militias affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libya intervention has harmed other U.S. interests as well: undermining nuclear nonproliferation, chilling Russian cooperation at the UN, and fueling Syria’s civil war. As bad as Libya’s human rights situation was under Qaddafi, it has gotten worse since NATO ousted him. Immediately after taking power, the rebels perpetrated scores of reprisal killings, in addition to torturing, beating, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of suspected Qaddafi supporters. The rebels also expelled 30,000 mostly black residents from the town of Tawergha and burned or looted their homes and shops, on the grounds that some of them supposedly had been mercenaries. Six months after the war, Human Rights Watch declared that the abuses “appear to be so widespread and systematic that they may amount to crimes against humanity.”
Billionaire George Soros, who has spent millions of dollars financing Democrats and left-wing causes, used a controversial Panamanian law firm to establish a web of offshore investment partnerships that operate around the world and out of the scrutiny of U.S. regulators, according to leaked documents. The so-called Panama Papers, a trove of 11.5 million financial documents tracing the Mossack Fonseca law firm’s efforts to help politicians, celebrities and criminals shield their money from taxes, contain links to Soros, who funds the journalism group that is disseminating the information. So far, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has been silent on its benefactor’s ties to the law firm.
Psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, may one day be an effective treatment for patients with severe depression who fail to recover using other therapies, scientists said on Tuesday. A small-scale pilot study of psilocybin's use in cases of treatment-resistant depression showed it was safe and effective, the British researchers said. Of 12 patients given the drug, all showed some decrease in symptoms of depression for at least three weeks. Seven continued to show a positive response at three months. Five remained in remission beyond the three months.
Belgian police are warning users not to use the Facebook Reactions feature to respond to posts if they want to protect their privacy. In February, the series of six emoticons, allowing users to express a range of emotions from anger to love, were added to the original thumbs-up option. They came in response to calls for a ‘Dislike’ button. However, the new expressions are another big ‘like’ for Facebook and a ‘dislike’ for its users — according to Belgian police who claim the site is using them as a way to collect information on people to target advertising toward them. In a statement released on their official website on Wednesday, the Belgian force warned people to avoid using the series of emoticons if they want to preserve their privacy.
The CIA inspector general’s office — the spy agency’s internal watchdog — has acknowledged it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved, Yahoo News has learned.