Skip to content

Some good news. A study found that frequent consumption of foods and beverages containing flavonoids by elderly women had health benefits. Flavonoids are compounds found naturally in plants, and that have health-promoting effects.

The 881 women (aged 78 to 82 years) in the Australian study were less likely to have abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) if they ingested high levels of flavonoids in their diet. This is significant because AAC is a major predictor of cardiovascular disease events, such as heart attacks, strokes, and death.

Drinking black tea daily was their major source of flavonoids. Drinking 2 to 6 cups a day lowered the risk of having extensive AAC.

Good flavonoid sources are: black tea, green tea, wine, apples, nuts, citrus fruits, berries, grapes, onions, broccoli, kale, parsley, and dark chocolate. There are different types of flavonoids, each with different health-promoting effects. This is why it's good to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.

From Science Daily: Put the kettle on! How black tea (and other favorites) may help your health later in life

A daily cup of tea could help you to enjoy better health late in life -- however if you're not a tea drinker, there are other things you can add to your diet. ...continue reading "Drinking Tea Every Day Has Health Benefits"

Finally, a study with results that are totally obvious to people living in areas with lots of deer. Researchers say that adopting permanent year-round daylight savings time would extend the hours of daylight, and in doing so would reduce the number of deer-vehicle collisions. Of course.

The Univ. of Washington researchers found that deer-vehicle collisions are 14 times more likely shortly after dark than before. Collisions with deer increase by 16% in the week after clocks change in the fall.

They estimate that permanent daylight savings time would probably prevent an estimated 36,550 deer deaths, 33 human deaths, 2054 human injuries, and about $1.2 billion in costs each  year. This is because the skies would be brighter later into the evening.

On the other hand, they predict permanent standard time would result in an increase in deer-vehicle collisions, and more deaths, more injuries, and cost more money.

From Science Daily: Permanent daylight saving time would reduce deer-vehicle collisions, study shows

In much of the United States, there is a twice-yearly shift in timekeeping between standard time and daylight saving time, or DST, which delays both sunrise and sunset to make mornings darker and evenings brighter. Recently, scientists, policy experts, lawmakers and citizens have debated abandoning the twice-a-year switch and adopting either year-round standard time or DST. ...continue reading "Study Says Permanent Daylight Savings Would Reduce Car-Deer Crashes"

Some dietary supplements can do serious harm, especially when taken in high doses. A recent study found cancer associated with high doses of the supplement nicotinamide riboside (NR), which is a form of vitamin B3.

Keep in mind that this study was done in vivo and in vitro (in a lab), and also in mice.. and not humans. But the results are concerning.

Swiss and Univ. of Missouri researchers found that high levels of NT could increase the risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer, and also for it to metastasize to the brain. Yikes.

By the way, while NR can be purchased as a supplement, it is normally not found in ordinary multi-vitamins that many take daily. Low levels of NR are found in fruit, vegetables, meat, and milk - it is necessary for health (it increases levels of cellular energy). It's the large amounts found in supplements that the researchers were concerned with and that can be problematic.

Stay tuned for further research...

From Science Daily: Popular dietary supplement increases breast cancer risk, brain metastasis, study suggests

While previous studies have linked commercial dietary supplements like nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3, to benefits related to cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological health, new research from the University of Missouri has found NR could actually increase the risk of serious disease, such as development of breast cancer and brain metastasis. ...continue reading "A Dietary Supplement That Might Increase Cancer Risk"

Honey
Credit: USDA

Great news for those who like honey! Even though honey is really sweet (lots of sugars!), eating it actually helps your health. Univ. of Toronto researchers analyzed 18 well done studies and found that honey improved key measures of cardiometabolic health, including blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

These results are interesting because they contrast with other research finding a high intake of sugars (e.g., sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soda) contributing to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, most regulatory agencies, including the World Health Organization, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), include honey within their definition of free or added sugars. And advise limiting intake.

However, honey is not like other sugars. Honey has a complex composition of organic acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, proteins, amino acids, and bioactive substances. Rare sugars constitute around 14% of the sugar content of honey. Raw honey also contains probiotic bacteria.

All sorts of studies (in vitro, animal, clinical) have shown that honey has health benefits for cardiometabolic health. Among these benefits are improvements in body weight, inflammation, lipid profile, and glycemic control.

What kind is best? The Univ. of Toronto researchers found that the best health results are found with consumption of raw honey, clover honey, and robinia honey. In other words, honey that is not processed (raw honey) or from only 1 floral source (e.g., clover, acacia/robinia).

How much is best? The median dose consumed was 40 g or about 2 tablespoons daily, usually added to foods or beverages as a sweetener (e.g., in tea, mixed with yogurt, spread on bread) . Enjoy!

From Science Daily: Sweet: Honey reduces cardiometabolic risks, study shows

Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that honey improves key measures of cardiometabolic health, including blood sugar and cholesterol levels -- especially if the honey is raw and from a single floral source.  ...continue reading "Study Finds Health Benefits From Eating Honey"

Light aircraft Credit: Wikipedia

Finally, finally... the FAA just approved an unleaded fuel for small aircraft. Yup, for all these years that other vehicles had switched to unleaded gas, small aircraft had no unleaded alternative. (Jet aircraft used for commercial transport do not use fuel containing lead.)

Unleaded gas was introduced in the United States in the 1970s, and this was because it was apparent the lead in gas was causing health problems (e.g., lower IQ in children, neurological effects, kidney damage). Leaded gas was completely phased out in on-road vehicles as of January 1, 1996 (with the passage of the Clean Air Act).

But even now, leaded fuel still fuels about 170,000 piston-engine airplanes and helicopters, typically small aircraft that carry 2-10 passengers. Jet aircraft used for commercial transport do not operate on a fuel containing lead. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), emissions of lead from aircraft using leaded aviation gas (avgas) makes up the largest remaining "source of lead emissions to air in the U.S."

This is air pollution! It is especially problematic for people living, working, or attending school near airports. Tiny lead particles (from the air) land near the airports, and can even be seen as a layer of "grey film" coating cars and other surfaces on everything near the airports.

Excerpts from Axios: Small airplanes are finally switching to unleaded fuel

Cessnas, Pipers and other small airplanes — now the largest U.S. lead emitters — are on the verge of a historic shift to unleaded fuel. ...continue reading "Small Airplanes Will Finally Use Unleaded Fuel"

Greenhouse gas emissions by factory Credit: Wikipedia

It turns out that many companies are really, really underreporting the amount of  planet warming gases (greenhouse gas emissions) that they release into the air. These pollutants (carbon dioxide and other gases) are causing the world to have increasingly higher temperatures. Uh-oh...

This underreporting has been exposed by Climate Trace - a project to measure at the source (of the pollution) the true levels of carbon dioxide and other global heating gases. Climate Trace released a report this week showing that oil and gas facilities around the world are emitting greenhouse gas emissions about three times higher than their producers claim. (Are you surprised that the big companies are lying?? Hah!)

In fact, half of the 50 largest sources of greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, methane) in the world were oil and gas fields and production facilities.

Climate Trace (a non-profit group of academic scientists, environmental groups, technology companies) used evidence from satellites, remote sensors and other sources, and artificial intelligence to track who is polluting and how much throughout the world.

It's a big deal that finally there is monitoring of big polluters rather than we (including governments) taking them at their word. Will this finally result in serious action taken to reduce the amount of air pollutants being released by big companies? Hopefully.

Two  good articles. 1) From NY Times: Who’s Driving Climate Change? New Data Catalogs 72,000 Polluters and Counting

A nonprofit backed by Al Gore and other big environmental donors says it can track emissions down to individual power plants, oil fields and cargo ships.

Upstream from Shanghai along the Yangtze River, a sprawling factory complex in eastern China is churning out tens of millions of tons of steel a year — and immense quantities of planet-warming gases.
...continue reading "Factories Underreport Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions"

Cell tower Credit: Wikipedia

There is increasing concern among scientists and doctors about 4G and 5G cell tower and cell phone radiation. Unfortunately, the cell phone and telecommunication industry, and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) are fighting tooth and nail to prevent consumers from hearing about the concerns, and preventing the enactment of any safeguards to human health.

All concerns are pooh-poohed and dismissed by the FCC and wireless industry. The FCC is supposed to regulate the industry and protect us, but it hasn't happened. As a recent Propublica report documents:

"Federal law and FCC rules are so aligned with the industry that state and local governments are barred from taking action to block cell towers to protect the health of their citizens, even as companies are explicitly empowered to sue any government that tries to take such an action." (This means that companies such as Verizon have more legal rights than persons in the United States.)

One could say that the FCC is protecting the wireless industry at any cost. By the way, when someone says there is "no evidence" of harm - look at who is paying for or doing the study. Industry wireless/cell phone studies find "no harm", while non-industry studies generally find harm to health. Of course, the wireless industry sponsored research won't find harm - that was the whole point of the "research".

For over a decade concerns have been raised over the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from cellular phones, and 4G and 5G towers. Back in 2011 the World Health Organization already said that based on research, they are "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (cancer causing).

Numerous studies are finding harmful health effects: Increased risk of brain tumors and other cancers (esp. gliomas and salivary gland tumors), effects on memory function and the nervous system, behavioral disorders, and harmful effects to human sperm. One large review/analysis of studies found that: "cellular phone use with cumulative call time greater than 1000 hours (about 17 min per day over a 10 year period) increased the risk of tumors by 60%". 

By the way, more than 20 other countries are listening to the scientific and medical research and have protections for consumers. (Why does it not surprise that once again the US is lagging behind other countries in consumer safeguards?)

Some recommendations: Don't sleep with your cell phone near your head or body. Don't carry (or carry less) your phone in your pants pockets or in your bra (near breasts). Try to keep the phone away from direct contact with your body. Use headsets. Plug in your laptop when using (rather than wireless).

1) Some excerpts of very interesting (and sure to make you angry) piece of investigative journalism from ProPublica: How the FCC Shields Wireless Providers

The wireless industry is rolling out thousands of new transmitters amid a growing body of research that calls cellphone safety into question. Federal regulators say there’s nothing to worry about — even as they rely on standards established in 1996.
...continue reading "Evidence That FCC Is Ignoring Studies Showing Harm From Cell Phones"

Normal (left) vs cancerous breast (right), mammography image
Credit: National Cancer Institute

This is very preliminary, but everyone is excited over a breast cancer vaccine now being tested. The vaccine is meant to treat women who have breast cancer.

University of Washington researchers tested the vaccine for safety (it was very safe) and to see what was a good dose for women in a Phase 1 Clinical Trial. But the 66 women it was tested on (all who had metastatic breast cancer that had been treated) overall did much better than expected. Fabulous!

The next trial will soon start (Phase 2) with women at different stages of breast cancer. Stay tuned!

From Medical Xpress: Breast cancer vaccine safely generates anti-tumor immunity

An experimental vaccine against breast cancer safely generated a strong immune response to a key tumor protein, researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle report in a paper published by the journal JAMA Oncology. The findings suggest the vaccine may be able to treat different types of breast cancer.

"Because this was not a randomized clinical trial, the results should be considered preliminary, but the findings are promising enough that the vaccine will now be evaluated in a larger, randomized clinical trial," said lead author Dr. Mary "Nora" L. Disis, a UW professor of medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, and director of the Cancer Vaccine Institute. ...continue reading "Breast Cancer Vaccine Now Being Tested"

Soda Credit: Wikipedia

All of us should be concerned about harmful health effects from a sedentary lifestyle, along with drinking lots of sugary soda. However, according to a (very) small study, ten days of adopting this lifestyle seems to have more of a negative effect on healthy young men than on women, at least in the short term.

Even just 10 days of reducing physical activity (from greater than 10,000 steps to less than 5000 steps per day) and increasing soda intake (to 6 cans a day!) was enough to have a negative effect on insulin levels (vascular insulin resistance) in healthy young men. But the Univ. of Missouri researchers found no real effect on the young women.

From Medical Xpress: Sedentary lifestyle and sugary diet more detrimental to men, study finds

A new study from the University of Missouri School of Medicine is the first evidence in humans that short-term lifestyle changes can disrupt the response to insulin of blood vessels. It's also the first study to show men and women react differently to these changes. ...continue reading "Ten Days of Unhealthy Lifestyle Has Greater Effect on Young Men than Women"

One of the fears about aging is the possibility of developing dementia. Even in healthy older adults it is normal for the brain to slowly shrink with increasing age, and thinking processes can deteriorate. A recent study lasting 78 weeks offers hope to persons already diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

In older adults with MCI, there is an increased risk it can progress to dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease. Studies are finding that doing complex mental activities that stimulate the brain may decrease the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

In this study, researchers found that doing crossword puzzles was better than doing computer games in improving memory loss and thinking processes, and slowing the progression of decline in persons already diagnosed with MCI. The crossword puzzle group also showed less decline in daily activities, and MRIs showed fewer decreases in brain size (hippocampal volume and cortical thickness).

Persons (average age 71.2 years) were randomized to either of the groups, and they did the online games or crossword puzzles (provided by Lumos Labs) at home. Total time spent each day: 30 minutes four times per week.

Are online crossword puzzles better than computer games for persons without any cognitive impairment?  This is where it gets interesting - the answer is no. One study found that computer games were better in a group of 18 to 80 year olds, even though doing either results in improvement.

By the way, numerous "brain training" claims by a computer mind games company such as Lumos Labs were viewed as deceptive by the FTC ($2 million fine back in 2016 for all sorts of unsupported claims).

What to do for brain health? The reality is that activities that stimulate the mind (reading, art, computer games), getting vaccines in adulthood, and exercise/physical activity are all good for the brain. And of course, eating well (especially more fruits, berries, nuts, and eggs) and getting enough sleep. Avoid anticholinergic medicines and smoking.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can even improve on its own without any special treatments - even in adults 65 years or older.

From Medical Xpress: Crossword puzzles beat computer video games in slowing memory loss

A new study by researchers from Columbia University and Duke University published in the journal NEJM Evidence shows that doing crossword puzzles has an advantage over computer video games for memory functioning in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. ...continue reading "Crossword Puzzles Are Good For the Brain"