Skip to content

For a while now researchers have been finding that certain environmental chemical exposures are linked to the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease. Frequent exposure to pesticides and heavy metal and VOC exposure in solvents (e.g., in woodworking) are linked to ALS.

A recent study found that storing chemicals such as gasoline, kerosene, gasoline-powered equipment, lawn care pesticides, paint, and woodworking chemicals in an attached home garage is also linked to a higher risk for ALS. These are toxic chemicals that are volatile - get into the air.

The researchers felt that not only did the persons with ALS have a history of exposure by working with the chemicals, the chemicals also leach into the air when stored in the home (the attached garage). Every time the door to the garage is opened, the chemicals in the garage air rush into the home.

Earlier studies found higher amounts of pesticides in people with ALS, as well as faster disease progression. Certain pesticides show up repeatedly in studies, including 2,4-D, glyphosate, carbaryl, and chlorpyrifos. Note that 2,4-D is in popular feed and weed products (and was in Agent Orange), and glyphosate is in the commonly used Roundup.

ALS is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease. There is progressive loss of motor neurons, the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement and breathing.

From Science Daily: Chemicals stored in home garages linked to ALS risk

Over the last decade, researchers at University of Michigan continue to find that exposure to environmental toxins -- from pesticides used in agriculture to volatile organic compounds in the manufacturing industry -- is linked to the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. ...continue reading "Pesticides and Other Chemicals Stored in Home Garages Linked to ALS Risk"

Intestines Credit:Wikipedia

New discoveries about our gut microbiome (the community of viruses, bacteria, fungi) keep occurring. There is growing evidence that certain bacterial species in the gut are associated with cholesterol levels and heart disease.

Adding to the evidence, a recent study found that people with higher levels of several species of Oscillibacter bacteria had lower cholesterol levels than people without or diminished levels of these bacteria. The researchers than  found (in the lab) that these species of Oscillibacter bacteria actually take up and metabolize artery-clogging cholesterol, which could explain the lower cholesterol levels.

By the way, other species (e.g., Eubacterium coprostanoligenes)  were also associated with lower cholesterol levels in the study. The same people with higher levels of beneficial bacteria also had greater diversity of gut bacteria, which is considered a sign of gut health.

Species of Oscillibacter bacteria are not available in any supplements at this time. You'll just have to eat a diet that feeds and nurtures beneficial gut microbes.

And what is a health-promoting diet? A recent study found that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and olive oil promotes healthy bacteria in the gut, which are associated with good health. This also is a diet high in fiber. Think along the lines of a Mediterranean diet.

From Science Daily: Scientists link certain gut bacteria to lower heart disease risk

Changes in the gut microbiome have been implicated in a range of diseases including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease. Now, a team of researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard along with Massachusetts General Hospital has found that microbes in the gut may affect cardiovascular disease as well. In a study published in Cell, the team has identified specific species of bacteria that consume cholesterol in the gut and may help lower cholesterol and heart disease risk in people. ...continue reading "Certain Gut Bacteria Are Associated With Lower Cholesterol Levels"

Once again, another month had record warmth. March 2024 was the warmest March on Earth. And it's the 10th month in a row that set global heat records  (since June 2023). Yikes!

Ocean warmth has had 11 record-setting months in a row. Meanwhile, scientists are divided over whether climate change (and warmth) is accelerating or all this record warmth month after month is in line with climate change predictions.

The big question: What will summer heat be like?

From The Weather Channel: Earth's Warmest March Is 10th Straight Record Month, Just-Released Data Shows

March was E​arth's warmest on record, according to preliminary data, the latest month in a stretch of heat records since the planet's hottest year in 2023. ...continue reading "Earth Just Had Its Warmest March"

It is now my twelfth year of successfully treating sinus infections with only the probiotic Lactobacillus sakei. My twelfth year! This includes regular sinus infections, my initial chronic sinusitis, and even when there are just a few sinus symptoms (you know, the gradual slide toward sinusitis).

Amazingly, no antibiotics and no antibacterials in all this time! Just using a product with the beneficial bacteria L. sakei when needing it is all it takes. To say it feels miraculous is an understatement.

Studies show that the beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus sakei occurs naturally (in tiny amounts) in healthy sinuses, but is depleted or missing in those with sinusitis. It is normal for a community of bacteria, viruses, fungi to live in the sinuses - this is the sinus microbiome.

My journey started in the winter of 2013 after reading research in late 2012 about L. sakei. I started with kimchi back then, but in the last few years I've used the product Lanto Sinus, which contains a kimchi-derived strain of Lactobacillus sakei.

In the past decade, I have heard from hundreds of people from all over the world, and the majority agree that L. sakei works great as a sinus treatment! Other probiotic species just don't work, even though they may help with some symptoms. [See Best Probiotics For Sinusitis for details on results and products used.]

Lessons Learned Over the Past Eleven Years:

1) Lactobacillus sakei alone is enough to treat sinus infections or sinusitis. It helps with all the associated symptoms: mucus dripping down the throat (post-nasal drip), sinus pressure, sinus headaches, earaches and coughs from sinusitis, etc.

2) Using L. sakei (whether in kimchi or Lanto Sinus) should take about a minute! No fancy methods or protocols needed.

3) Only use L. sakei when needed. This means when there are sinus symptoms (e.g., lots of mucus, post nasal drip) or you're sliding towards sinusitis. No need to wait till the sinus infection is full-blown.

4) Stop using it when feeling better. Don't use it daily or as a preventive, but only when needed. There are many species of microbes living in the sinuses, so you don't want to flood the sinuses with just one species for weeks on end.

5) After using it for a few days, evaluate whether you can stop or whether you need to keep using it longer. The sinuses frequently keep improving and rebalancing after stopping L. sakei.  One can always use more if needed.

6) People use L. sakei products (e.g., Lanto Sinus) all sorts of ways. Can mix the powder with bottled/sterile water and dab/smear in nostrils (regular use). Or swish alone in the mouth - a gentle and cautious method. Or use it with saline nasal irrigation - a strong way to use. Yes, you can use less than the recommended dosage.

Please note: The only way kimchi (the juice) has an effect is by dabbing or smearing a little in the nostrils.

7) Don't overdo it. Using a little bit in the nostrils (as described in Sinusitis Treatment Summary) is sufficient. Let the little buggers travel on their own throughout the sinuses!

8) L. sakei normally lives in healthy sinuses, which is why it is such an effective sinus infection treatment for so many people. L. sakei overpowers or dominates over harmful (pathogenic bacteria), and so researchers are now studying its use for a variety of health conditions.

9) Over time a person typically needs less L. sakei to treat sinus symptoms. The L. sakei colonizes in the sinuses (can be short-term or long-term). Weeks or months can go by without needing to use it again.

10) When L. sakei works for a person, it can feel miraculous as sinusitis symptoms disappear, frequently within a few days. Others have slower improvement. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for everyone and only self-experimentation determines whether it does and how best to use it.

11) It is OK to do ordinary nasal irrigation once or twice a day on same day as using L. sakei product. Also OK, if needed, are nasal corticosteroids (e.g., Flonase), decongestants (e.g., Sudafed), and guaifenesin (e.g., Mucinex).

12) Every person's sinus and respiratory microbiome is a little different, which is why finding what works for a person is self-experimentation.

13) After using L. sakei in any product (e.g., kimchi) for an extended time, can start feeling like it's not working well anymore or some sinus symptoms may appear (e.g., mucus). This could be overuse or too much of a product - that is, flooding the respiratory system with too much of whatever you're using, and now need to add a little bit of other beneficial bacteria.

Simply stop using the product and try adding some other microbes into the respiratory system for a day or two or even more if needed - this will help rebalance the sinuses. Open a multistrain probiotic capsule and swish the powder in the mouth. [See Sinusitis Treatment Summary] Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species are OK to use - they are normally found in our bodies in tiny amounts.

This first happened in 2013 when I kept using kimchi even when sinuses felt healthy - I thought I needed a boost several times a week. Nope. After many months I started developing sinus symptoms and only switching to a different type of kimchi got rid of the symptoms. Over the years I've done this with every L. sakei product, and adding other microbes for a day or more solved the problem, and I could go back to the original product when next needed.

14) One possibility why sinus infections keep occurring over the years, even if less frequently, is because other bacterial species are also diminished in those with sinus infections (as shown by sinus microbiome studies). And these species are not available in probiotics.

15) People report that using L. sakei has helped bacterial conditions other than sinusitis. This includes earaches, coughs (bronchitis), tonsil stones. Sounds like lots of self-experimentation going on!

Good health!

Human brains are getting larger each decade. That's the conclusion of researchers conducting the large Framingham Heart study which has now gone on for 75 years.

Between 1999 and 2019 the researchers conducted MRIs on participants born from the 1930s to the 1970s, with participants having an average age of 57. They found that each decade the brain volume steadily increased, with the brains of people born in the 1970s having 6.6% more volume than those born in the 1930s. Brain surface area increased about 15% in that time.

Brain structures such as white matter, gray matter, and hippocampus (a brain region involved in learning and memory) also increased in size over time. This increase in brain volume clearly shows that environmental factors (e.g., nutrition, education, social), and not just genetic factors, influence brain size.

The researchers thought that a larger brain volume, which signifies brain health,  might be protective against Alzheimer's disease. And that this could explain why the percentage of people (the incidence) of Alzheimer's disease and dementia has gone down over time.

From Medical Xpress: Human brains are getting larger: That may be good news for dementia risk

A new study by researchers at UC Davis Health found human brains are getting larger. Study participants born in the 1970s had 6.6% larger brain volumes and almost 15% larger brain surface area than those born in the 1930s. ...continue reading "Human Brains Are Getting Larger Over Time"

It turns out that some commonly found chemicals in household products are actually hazardous to our brain health. A recent study found that these chemicals have a harmful effect on brain cells called oligodendrocytes. The harmful chemicals are quaternary compounds (found in some disinfectant products and personal care products) and some flame retardants found in household items such as furniture and electronics.

Oligodendrocytes are cells in the central nervous system that form the myelin sheath (a layer that covers and protects nerve cells) in the brain and spinal cord. Damage to the myelin sheath underlies some neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

The researchers felt that exposure to these chemicals that damage oligodendrocytes may be a risk factor for neurological diseases. In other words, you don't want to damage these cells. Pregnant women (developing baby) and children (developing brains!) are especially vulnerable.

Bottom line: Avoid disinfecting or cleaning supplies that say they contain "quaternary compounds" and try not to buy products containing flame retardants. Check labels!

From Science Daily: Common household chemicals pose new threat to brain health, study finds

A team of researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has provided fresh insight into the dangers some common household chemicals pose to brain health. They suggest that chemicals found in a wide range of items, from furniture to hair products, may be linked to neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and autism spectrum disorders. ...continue reading "Some Common Household Chemicals Have A Harmful Effect On the Brain"

Chronic wasting disease is slowly spreading through the US - county by county, state by state. In July 2022 it had been detected in deer, moose, or elk in 30 states, and by December 2023 in 32 states.

In December 2023, it was detected in Kentucky in a white-tailed buck that a hunter killed. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has now been found in deer in 6 of the 7 states bordering Kentucky. [CDC map]

Chronic wasting disease is an always fatal neurologic disease that can occur in cervids (deer, elk, moose, reindeer). It is a prion disease similar to "mad cow disease" (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob's disease in humans. There is no vaccine, treatment, or cure for the disease.

So far there is no evidence that CWD has crossed over to humans. But extra caution should be taken. Don't eat meat from infected deer or moose. Hunters should follow state precautions in field dressing and butchering, and have the meat tested for CWD. [CDC site for CWD]

How is it spread? Scientists believe CWD prions spread between animals through body fluids (e.g., feces, saliva, blood, or urine), either through direct contact or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, food or water. Once introduced into an area or farm, the CWD prion (protein) is contagious within deer and elk populations and spreads.

Once CWD gets into the soil, it stays there for years, and so animals can contract it even after infected deer and elk have died. Recent research found that plants uptake the prions where it remains infectious. Yikes!

How do you get rid of it? Unfortunately, high heat, disinfectants, and radiation don't kill the CWD prions. Dr.Zabel at the Colorado State Univ. Prion Research Center suggested a few years ago that controlled burns (fires) of infected fields or areas could eliminate the prions left behind by infected animals (from animal mucus/saliva, urine, and feces, and decaying carcasses) on plants and soil.

A concerning study. From Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) : Plants can take up CWD-causing prions from soil in the lab. What happens if they are eaten? ...continue reading "Chronic Wasting Disease Now Detected In 32 States"

Credit: Wikipedia

Cancer tumors have a different microbiome (community of microbes) than healthy tissue. Researchers have been finding the bacteria Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum) in a number of cancers, with high levels of its presence associated with a poorer outcome for the person (more metastases and death).

A recent study found that one strain or subtype of  F. nucleatum (called Fna C2)  is found in tumors of about 50% of aggressive colon cancers.

Interestingly, F. nucleatum is a normal oral bacteria - one found in the mouth of people, and also associated with periodontal disease. It is rarely found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of healthy persons.

It is thought that the bacteria somehow travels from the mouth to the stomach, where it can withstand stomach acid, and then grows there in the gastrointestinal tract. F. nucleatum is cancer promoting - for example, it has a supporting role in tumor progression. It appears to be resistant to cancer treatments.

Researchers are now wondering if certain beneficial or good bacteria ingested by the person or somehow delivered to the tumor site  can battle the F. nucleatum, perhaps as part of cancer therapy. Stay tuned....

From Science Daily: Bacteria subtype linked to growth in up to 50% of human colorectal cancers

Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center have found that a specific subtype of a microbe commonly found in the mouth is able to travel to the gut and grow within colorectal cancer tumors. This microbe is also a culprit for driving cancer progression and leads to poorer patient outcomes after cancer treatment. ...continue reading "A Specific Bacteria and Colorectal Cancer"

It has been known for a while that getting a good night's sleep after getting vaccinated results in a stronger immune response. Twice as strong response! A recent study suggests that this could be due to beneficial T-cells (which are part of immune system) migrating toward the lymph nodes during sleep.

Growth hormone and prolactin are both involved in the migrating response.

Similarly, many studies find that having a short sleep duration (less than 6 hours) after a vaccination reduces the immune antibody response.

Bottom line: If you want a good antibody/immune response to a vaccine - get a good night's sleep of 6 or more hours after being vaccinated! Good sleep stimulates the immune system.

From Science Daily: Immunology: Good sleep stimulates the immune system

Sleep is healthy -- this popular knowledge is backed by science.

Previous research had already shown that in people who slept after a vaccination, the immune response was twice as strong on average as in people who did not sleep during the night after the vaccination. However, the cell biological reasons for this had been little investigated before now.

...continue reading "Get A Good Night’s Sleep After Getting Vaccinated"

After reports that life expectancy for Americans was down in 2021, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) just released a report that in 2022 the life expectancy has once again increased.

The key finding in the report was that life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2022 was 77.5 years. This is an increase of 1.1 years from 2021. It increased for both males and females in 2022, but there is still a life expectancy gap between them. For males, life expectancy increased 1.3 years from 2021 to 74.8 in 2022. For females, life expectancy increased 0.9 year to 80.2 in 2022.

Heart disease and cancer remain the top 2 causes in 2022 (same as in 2021), while deaths from COVID-19 dropped from #3 in 2021 to #4. "Unintentional injuries" (e.g., accidents, drug overdose, homicide) is now #3 (it was #4 in 2021).

Excerpts from the CDC NCHS Data Brief No. 492, March 2024: Mortality in the United States, 2022 (pdf version) and the CDC page: Mortality in the United States, 2022

Key findings - Data from the National Vital Statistics System
  • Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2022 was 77.5 years, an increase of 1.1 years from 2021.

...continue reading "Life Expectancy For US Population Increased in 2022"