Thursday, 20 September 2018

How to Care For The Cosmos Plant

Cosmos Flower
A beautiful flower, yet largely invisible!

The Cosmos flower (Koz-moss) is an annual flowering plant grown for their showy daisy-like flowers often planted as background plants.
The Greek philosopher Pythagoras used the term “cosmos” to describe the “order of the universe” and translates from Greek as “orderly or balanced.”
Flowers may be bowl-shaped or open cup-shaped depending upon the specific plant grown.
pink daisy-like cosmos flower up close
These flowers are ideal as decorations, used as cut flowers in arrangements and perfect for attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and enticing beneficial insects to your garden.

Is Cosmos An Annual Or Perennial?

The Cosmos plant comes from the Asteraceae or Compositae (Kom-poz-it-ee) family and is primarily considered an annual but grown as a perennial in some zones.

Where Are Cosmos Native To?

The Cosmos is native to Mexico. It is assumed that the Cosmos was introduced to South Africa from contaminated horse feed imported during the Anglo-Boer War.
During the 16th-century…
Spanish explorers sent hundreds of cosmos back to Madrid. Cosmos wasn’t collected until the late 1700s, however, and the flower made its way to England in 1789, thanks to the Marchioness of Bute, wife of the English ambassador to Spain.
It was at least another 50 years until cosmos got to the United States, indirectly from England and Spain and more directly from Mexico. [source]

What Color Are Cosmos Flowers?

Back in 1895, there were only 3 colors of Cosmos flowers – crimson, white, and pink.
The introduction of Cosmos sulphureus (sul-few-ree-us) in 1896 added the color yellow to the flower color mix.
Since then new double, crested, and fluted types along with new colors have been added.
The primary colors found today are:
  • White
  • Orange
  • Pink
  • Lavender
  • Purple
  • Yellow
  • Scarlet
Years ago only late-blooming strains were available and burned down by the frost just as the Cosmos plants were coming into their prime. Today, through hybridization you can find new varieties starting to bloom in June.
Here are some cosmos varieties you may consider growing in your perennial gardens:
Cosmos bipinnatus (bye-pin-nay-tus), also known as Mexican aster or garden cosmos – a herbaceous plant native to Mexico and naturalized across South America, North America, West Indies, Asia, and Italy.
Bipinnatus produces medium-sized flowers usually raised as ornamental plants.
Cosmos sulphureus (sul-few-ree-us), also called yellow cosmos or sulfur cosmos – native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Its leaves appear opposite and pinnately divided. Available in colors of yellow, orange and red.
Cosmos atrosanguineus, also known as the chocolate cosmos plant, a herbaceous perennial species with fleshy tuberous root. They grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall with shades ranging from dark red to maroon-dark brown. Apart from the color, its fragrance is also like chocolates.
Cosmos diversifolius reaches about 16 inches tall and is a low tuberous-rooted perennial grown as an annual. The velvety-red rays, with red disks, are sometimes tinged dark purple.

How To Care For The Cosmos Plant

Cosmos plant care is easy, needs no special care and requires little maintenance – staking, and deadheading are the only real maintenance needed.
Cosmos grow as a loose bush with a branching habit ranging in height from 2 ½ feet to 6 feet.

Do Cosmos Like Full Sun?

For the best flowering, plant Cosmos in full sun. In very hot locations, consider planting Cosmos in areas where they receive some afternoon shade.
Many of these plants may require staking especially in exposed locations to keep them from falling over. Staking Cosmos provides some protection from strong winds.
Cosmos work well planted along a fence line as they can use the fence for support. They also grow nicely along the sides of buildings or in a tall annual summer border.

What Is The Best Soil For Cosmos?

Cosmos grow in a wide range of soils, and this includes poor soil. They need well-drained soil with an average to poor fertility, and a pH slightly on the alkaline side.
Plants growing in fertile soils produce weak stems, flower late, with few flowers and flop over.

How Often Should Cosmos Be Fertilized?

A VERY LIGHT feeding of a slow-release fertilizer early in the season is all the plants need. You can also use a liquid plant fertilizer at ¼ strength every two weeks.
If plants begin to look tall and spindly cut back on fertilizer.

How Often Should You Water Cosmos?

Although they are drought tolerant, Cosmos require water on a regular basis. However, take care not to overwater. This can lead to fewer flowers and root rot.
Wait until the plant is dry to water it. Give it a nice deep drink of water when the soil dries out.
The rest of the care for your cosmos is up to nature.
You can pretty much ignore this plant the rest of the time and yield beautiful flowers.

How Do You Grow Cosmos From Seed?

Cosmos plants grow easily from seeds which look like mini pine needles during spring. Start them indoors or directly outdoors.

Starting Cosmos Outdoors From Seed

Sow seed outdoors is the location they will grow. The area should be sunny, with a sandy well-drained soil with a little nitrogen to get started.
Seed planted outdoors after May 1 can expect blooms in 8 to 10 weeks continuing through fall. Stake tall varieties and pinch early to encourage more flowers and bushier growth.
Type determines spacing. Set dwarf varieties 18” – 24” inches apart. Larger varieties may need 36” inches to develop fully.

How And When To Plant Cosmos Seed Indoors

Plant Cosmos seeds indoors approximately four to six weeks before the last expected frost.
Using trays or pots make them ideal for gently removing plants when transplanting.
Also, they don’t ask for too much as they thrive in relatively poor soil.
When the seedlings reach three to four inches in height, transplant them into 5-inch pots.
To sow seeds, simply use a moist, well-drained soil at least 4 inches in depth. Place cosmos seeds into the soil approximately one-quarter inch in depth.

Transplanting Your Cosmos Seedlings

After the danger of frost passes, transplant your seedlings to flower beds. Keep in mind they prefer a soil that isn’t too rich.
Rich soil will encourage the leaves and foliage to grow but will discourage them from blooming. Cosmos prefer a warmer climate with dry weather.

Can You Save Cosmos Seeds?

For wanting to plant seed every year, look for the spiky-brown seed heads, save these for the following year in a dry envelope.
Allow the seeds to go wherever the wind blows them and self-seed.

Do You Deadhead Or Pinch Back Cosmos?

When your Cosmos finishes flowering, deadhead the plants by cutting off all of the dead flower blossoms. Deadheading will encourage the plant to produce more flowers and help the plant to fill out properly.
When in full bloom, consider removing spent blooms on a daily basis to keep plants looking healthy and full.
Don’t be afraid to pinch off any extra stems or shoots growing up from the base of plants. This will also encourage stronger more vigorous growth.

Can Cosmos Be Grown In Pots?

Cosmos can grow successfully in pots. The same “rules” apply for growing Cosmos in garden beds – lots of sun, lightly fertilize and do not over-water. However potted Cosmos need a few additional guidelines or tips.
  • When growing Cosmos in pots look for dwarf varieties to keep plants from becoming top heavy.
  • Use “heavy pots” such as terracotta or concrete to provide the plants with stability. If planting in plastic containers add some coarse gravel to the bottom to add some weight.
  • Do not use soil from the garden as over time it will become compacted. Plant Cosmos with a general potting mix soil or make your own. Use equal parts peat moss or coconut coir, good garden soil and perlite.
Water potted Cosmos thoroughly when the top 2” inches of the soil becomes dry. Allow the water to drain. Do not allow the potted Cosmos to sit in a saucer of water.

What Pests Or Disease Attack Cosmos Flowers?

Cosmos are relatively pests and disease free.
They are susceptible to fungus attacks on the stem with girdle the plant. The girdling results in all plant parts above the lesion to die.
Remove and destroy the infected plants.
Over-watered plants can experience root rot.
In fact, by planting Cosmos your garden can:
  • Easily attract and entice the Hover Fly, one of the most important pollinators for the garden.
  • Attract the green lacewing another beneficial insect using the red Cosmos. Green lacewings lunch on mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, thrips and more.
  • Draw praying mantis another good insect for the garden.
Not only do Cosmos have few pests or disease issues to battle with, but they attract good insects to the garden.

Are Cosmos Deer Resistant?

No plant is “deer proof.” Do not confuse deer resistant with deer proof.
Most growers consider Cosmos to be deer resistant or “seldom damaged.”

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Aspirin Has No Benefit, May Increase Cancer Mortality -- NEJM Study Reveals

Aspirin Has No Benefit, May Increase Cancer Mortality -- NEJM Study Reveals

Bayer’s headaches don’t stop with Monsanto-related buyer’s remorse. Their most iconic pharmaceutical -- aspirin -- which they once marketed as a 'wonder drug' is now being revealed to have no benefits to older adults, and may even cause significant harm. 
I’ve been writing about the underreported dangers and overstated health benefits of aspirin for some years now. Sometimes it feels like swimming upstream, given how often mainstream reporting and thinking associates so-called "low-dose" aspirin usage with some kind of ‘wonder drug’ for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. But the truth is now catching up to this marketing hype, as evidenced by this recent ABC news headline: “Daily aspirin may be harmful for healthy, older adults, large study finds.”
According to the new report, healthy patients, 70 and older (65 for blacks and Hispanics), experienced no health benefits from taking aspirin. This is based on research published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, titled, “Effect of Aspirin on Disability-free Survival in the Healthy Elderly.” As summarized by a Forbes article advising older, healthy adults to “Toss Your Aspirin”:
“A major study conducted in the United States and Australia that enrolled about 19,000 healthy adults, 70 years and older (65 years and older for blacks and Hispanics in the United States), found that an enteric-coated, aspirin that is similar to the dose of a baby aspirin increased the risk of death, did not reduce the risk of heart disease or disability or dementia or cancer. In fact, the increase in mortality was attributed primarily to cancer. And those taking aspirin also had an increased risk of bleeding. Overall there was nothing in the plus column for aspirin. And no benefit was found in any particular subgroup.”
The study’s co-author Dr. Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, was quoted as saying:
“We knew there would an increased risk of bleeding with aspirin, because there has always been…But not only did it not decrease risk of disability or death, it did not decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, and there was an increase in the rate of death."

Why and How Does Aspirin Cause Harm?

The obvious problem with aspirin is that it’s actually not a natural substance, comprised as it is of xenobiotic chemicals alien to the human body and its delicate metabolism.  In my previous article on the topic, “The Evidence Against Aspirin And For Natural Alternatives,” I discuss this in detail:
"As far back as the 5th century BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about the use of a bitter powder extracted from willow bark that reduced fevers and eased aches and pains.  Native Americans also used an infusion of willow bark for similar purposes. What was this remarkable "healing" principle within the bark that relieved disease?

Known as salicylic acid (from the Latin salix, willow tree), this pain-killing compound is widely distributed throughout plants, where it functions as a hormone.  The more vegetables and fruits you consume, the more likely you are to have a physiologically significant concentration of salicylic acid in your blood. This is why, for instance, vegans and vegetarians generally have higher levels than most grain- and meat-based consumers. [1]

The chemical acetyl-salicylic acid, commonly known as aspirin, is a synthetic form of salicylic acid, a compound which is formed when salicin, a bitter compound naturally found within plants like white willow bark, is broken down within the human body. Salicylic acid can also be synthesized endogenously from benzoic acid, and its urinary metabolite, salicyluric acid, has been found to overlap levels in patients on low-dose aspirin regimens. Cell research indicates that salicylic acid compounds (known as salicyclates) actually compare surprisingly well to aspirin in reducing inflammatory activity.[2]

While salicylic acid is found naturally in plants as salicylates, acetyl-salicylic acid does not exist in nature, is not formed as byproduct of natural salicylate consumption,[3] and is produced only through industrial synthesis. For example, this is one method of synthesis:  
Acetylsalicylic acid is prepared by reacting acetic anhydride with salicylic acid at a temperature of <90 deg C either in a solvent (e.g., acetic acid or aromatic, acyclic, or chlorinated hydrocarbons) or by the addition of catalysts such as acids or tertiary amines."[4]
Also, the chemical modification of natural salicylic acid with an acetyl group results in the acetylation of hemoglobin,[5] essentially chemically altering the natural structure-function of our red blood cells and subsequent hemodynamics. In essence, aspirin, a semi-synthetic compound, makes the blood tissue itself semi-synthetic.
This could be why aspirin has been linked to such a broad range of unintended adverse health effects, including but not limited to:
We have a section on our database dedicated to indexing the under-reported, unintended adverse effects of aspirin, related to 50 diseases which can be viewed here: Aspirin Side Effects. We also have a section which indexes research on natural compounds studied to prevent, reduce or reverse Aspirin-Induced Toxicity.
According to US EPA statistics, up to 500 thousand pounds of the chemical was produced in the United States in 1998 alone.[17]  Millions the world over take it for pain relief, including your typical headache, but also for the prevention of heart attacks and stroke.
Taking a "baby aspirin," i.e. an 81 mg dose, is considered safer -- which it is relative to a 325 mg "adult dose" – but is known to cause widespread and significant gastroduodenal damage.  A study published in 2009 in the journal Currrent Medical Research & Opinion titled, "Gastroduodenal toxicity of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid: a comparison with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs," found the following:
"Data suggest that ASA causes significant gastroduodenal damage even at the low doses used for cardiovascular protection. These effects (both systemic and possibly local) may be pharmacodynamically distinct from the gastroduodenal toxicity seen with NSAIDs."[18]
Another 2009 study found that 80% of healthy individuals who uses short-term (14 days), low-dose aspirin experienced small intestinal toxicity, including small bowel mucosal breaks and mucosal inflammation. [19]  Also, there are reports of esophageal mucosal lesions induced by low-dose aspirin and other antiplatelet medications mimicking esophageal malignancy.[20]
Data suggest that ASA [aspirin]causes significant gastroduodenal damage even at the low doses used for cardiovascular protection. These effects (both systemic and possibly local) may be pharmacodynamically distinct from the gastroduodenal toxicity seen with NSAIDs.[21]
Hemorrhagic side effects, in fact, are one of the greatest challenges facing those who use aspirin for prevention.  By taking a drug which prevents clotting, aspirin can work too well, resulting in bleeding disorders or events, some of which may be life-threatening, even lethal."

If Aspirin is So Dangerous and Ineffective, What’s the Natural Alternative?

With tens of thousands dying each year from opioid drug overdose, and with thousands more succumbing to the cardiotoxicity of commonly used NSAID drugs like ibuprofen, it is important for people to know about one natural alternative to aspirin that has been studied to be far superior both in safety and effectiveness, and which may have over a dozen significant side benefits. That substance is pycnogenol, or French maritime pine bark extract.
A 1999 clinical study published in Thrombotic Research found that when habitual smokers were given either 500 mg of aspirin or anywhere between 100-200 mg of pycnogenol, the pycnogenol group experienced equivalent platelet aggregation inhibiting effects but with much lower bleeding times:
"Thus, smoking-induced enhanced platelet aggregation was inhibited by 500 mg Aspirin as well as by a lower range of 100-125 mg Pycnogenol. Aspirin significantly (p<0.001) increased bleeding time from 167 to 236 seconds while Pycnogenol did not.These observations suggest an advantageous risk-benefit ratio for Pycnogenol."
This is a highly significant finding, as aspirin-induced bleeding can result in significantly increased morbidity and mortality. To learn more, read my article on the topic: The Powerful Aspirin Alternative Your Doctor Never Told You About.
To learn more about the toxicity of aspirin use our research database on the topic: 
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
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Sunday, 16 September 2018

3 Ways To Make Better Decisisions

If you ever struggle to make decisions, here's a talk for you. Cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths shows how we can apply the logic of computers to untangle tricky human problems, sharing three practical strategies for making better decisions -- on everything from finding a home to choosing which restaurant to go to tonight.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

About the speaker
More Resources
Tom Griffiths and Brian Christian
Henry Holt and Co. (2016)
*Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions*

TEDxSydney | June 2017

Saturday, 15 September 2018

First Ever Guidelines Address Depression in Midlife Women


New evaluation and treatment recommendations are specific to perimenopause, the years before menopause, when women are especially vulnerable to mood problems.

September 11, 2018
The field of medicine has really grown in its appreciation for the need to understand factors that contribute to women’s vulnerability to depression. For example, there is much more understanding, outreach, and treatment for depression during pregnancy and postpartum today compared with 20 years ago.
But depression during perimenopause is even more frequent than depression during pregnancy, yet very little is known about it. The good news: The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and the Women and Mood Disorders Task Force of the National Network of Depression Centers have released the first-ever guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of perimenopausal depression, published online on September 4, 2018, simultaneously in the journal Menopause and the Journal of Women's Health. These guidelines have also been endorsed by the International Menopause Society.
Related: 7 Common Myths About Depression

Breaking the Stigmas for Better Depression Care

“There is a lot of stigma around menopause generally, and we wanted to bring attention to this as another contributor to women’s higher prevalence of depression disorders,” says co-lead author Pauline M. Maki, PhD, of the department of psychiatry and the department of psychology at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Related: 9 Different Types of Depression

Depression Risk Is Higher During Perimenopause Than After a Women Reaches Menopause

Dr. Maki reports that data uniformly show that there is an increased risk in the years around the final menstrual period, as compared with the many years following the final menstrual period, because of this fluctuation. Estrogen levels may be low during menopause but at least they are somewhat stable. “That being said, the largest longitudinal study of women did indeed show that the risks do persist into the postmenopausal period,” she cautions.
According to Maki, an analysis of data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), in a report published in June 2015 in the journal Psychological Medicine, found that of perimenopausal and menopausal women, the risk for new onset depression (women who have never experienced depression before) is about 28 
 percent. For women who have a history of depression, that figure is 59 percent.

Determining Exactly When a Woman Reaches Menopause Is Tricky

Typically, menopause is diagnosed in hindsight, after a woman has not had a menstrual period, or any spotting, for 12 consecutive months.

What Is the Connection Between Perimenopause and Depression?

Most people think that the estrogen levels are what make a difference in moods, but studies have shown that it’s really the change in daily hormones that is related to mood disruption in women. “In other words, it’s not the fact that women’s estrogen levels are low that makes a difference, but that estrogen levels are fluctuating. Many people misunderstand how the hormones change around the perimenopause. People believe that it is a gradual tapering off of estradiol, but women experience tremendous and dramatic fluctuation of estrogen. Estrogen levels can be even higher than what women experience during regular menstrual cycles,” explains Maki.Related: Kate Spade’s Suicide Brings Health Threat Back Into Spotlight

Hormones Flux May Mess With Menstrual Cycles, Healthy Sleep

The fluctuating hormones can also cause sleep problems because of issues such as hot flashes. Lack of sleep can lead to mood disturbances.

Women’s Life Changes in Forties Also Affect Mood Cycles

“The main thing is that women who are going through this understand what is happening because in addition to the biological factors, it is just as important to recognize the environmental factors,” says Maki. Women at midlife are experiencingbig life changes: children growing up and taking off, taking care of elderly parents (sometimes both at the same time), career shifts, martial conflict, conflicted emotions about aging and body changes, and more. This combination of hormonal and life changes creates a complex causality that needs to be addressed in its totality.Related: Resources for Managing Depression


Friday, 14 September 2018

Insect-Borne Chagas Disease Becoming More Prevalent in the US

Interesting Topic

 Worth a read!

Story at-a-glance

  • Chagas disease is spread by triatomines infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite that lives in the bug’s digestive system. Between 50 and 64 percent of triatomines tested are infected with this parasite
  • Chagas infection is contracted through a bite from a triatomine, a nocturnal insect that crawls around on your face while you’re sleeping. It will typically bite around the lips or eyes — hence the nickname “kissing bug”
  • An estimated 300,000 Americans have Chagas, including 40,000 pregnant women, and prevalence is on the rise. In South and Central America — where Chagas disease is most prevalent — an estimated 12 million people are infected
  • While Chagas is not transmissible via person-to-person contact, you can contract it via blood transfusion, organ transplantation and/or eating food in which the insect has defecated. An infected mother can also transmit Chagas to her unborn child
  • One-third of those infected are at risk of developing chronic Chagas disease, which can trigger cardiac and intestinal complications years or decades after the initial infection
By Dr. Mercola
Triatomines, affectionately known as “kissing bugs,” have made headlines lately. According to U.S. health officials, disease caused by these insects is on the rise, and in the long term can be quite serious. Known as Chagas disease,1,2 the infection is contracted through a bite from a triatomine, a nocturnal insect that crawls around on your face while you’re sleeping.
It will typically bite around the lips or eyes — hence the nickname “kissing bug.” Most people report they did not feel the bite. Like other bloodsucking insects, the triatomine sucks your blood. It then deposits parasite-infested feces near or into the open wound.
The parasite responsible for the disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, lives in the bug’s digestive system, and researchers have found between 503 and 64 percent4 of triatomines tested are infected with this parasite.

Chagas Prevalence on the Rise

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 300,000 Americans have Chagas disease,5 including 40,000 pregnant women,6 and prevalence is believed to be on the rise. The disease was initially reported in Texas in 2010, but has since been identified in 28 states.7
Chagas disease has also been identified in Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Australia, Japan and the U.K.8 Bolivia is thought to have the highest Chagas prevalence in the world.9 Globally, Chagas disease is thought to be responsible for 10,000 deaths each year.
In South and Central America — where Chagas disease is most prevalent — an estimated 12 million people are infected,10 and while it is not transmissible via person-to-person contact, you can contract it via blood transfusion, organ transplantation and/or eating food in which the insect has defecated.
Disturbingly, a 2014 study revealed 1 in 6,500 blood donors tested positive for Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite responsible for Chagas. In April 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two screening tests to screen blood, tissue and organ donations for the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi antibodies11 to prevent the spread of the disease.
An infected mother can also transmit Chagas to her unborn child. As reported by The Charlotte Observer:12
“Chagas often has no symptoms at first, according to the CDC, but it can lurk in the body for years and eventually cause serious problems such as an enlarged heart, enlarged colon, heart attacks and more …
‘Chagas disease causes early mortality and substantial disability, which often occurs in the most productive population, young adults, (and) results in a significant economic loss,’ a medical representative from the American Heart Association said …”

What to Do if You Find a Kissing Bug or Believe You’ve Been Bitten by One

So far, 11 species of triatomines have been identified in the U.S.13 The most common are Triatoma sanguisuga and Triatoma gerstaeckeri, both of which measure about 1 inch in length. You can find photos to help with identification on the Texas A&M University website.14
Should you find a bug suspected of being a triatomine, you can send it to the Texas A&M University research team for inspection. The form and instructions can be found here. Details you need to provide include:
  • The location of where it was found
  • The date and time of day you found the bug
  • Whether the bug was alive or dead when you found it
  • What the bug was doing when you found it
The bug tends to hide out in crevices in the home during the day and only come out at night. If traveling, avoid sleeping in rooms with unplastered adobe walls, as this provides an excellent hiding place for the little critters.
If you believe you’ve been bitten by a kissing bug, whether you’ve found the bug or not, seek medical attention and let them know you suspect having been bitten by a triatomine.
If your health provider is unfamiliar with Chagas, they should contact their state health department and/or CDC.15 Treatment, which involves unapproved experimental drugs to kill the parasitic infection (which is why you can only receive treatment after approval by the CDC), is most effective when implemented during the early, acute phase.
The antiparasitic drugs used are not harmless, however. As so many others, they come with a list of side effects, ranging from insomnia and nausea to peripheral neuropathy and anorexia.16
At present, there is no known effective treatment for the later stages of the disease. In one study,17 treatment with the antiparasitic benznidazole had no impact on reducing cardiac complications from Chagas, even though the medication lowered levels of the parasite in the patients’ blood.

Acute and Chronic Phases of Chagas

Triatomines can spread Chagas disease to humans and animals alike. In humans, the disease has two manifestation phases: an acute phase, which can last for a few weeks or months, and a chronic phase, which can manifest up to two decades later. While many have no symptoms at all during the acute phase, some may experience:
Fever Fatigue
Body aches Headache
Skin rash Loss of appetite
Diarrhea Vomiting
Mild liver or spleen enlargement Swollen glands
Local swelling Romana’s sign (swelling on the eyelid near the bite, or where fecal matter was rubbed into your eye)
As for the chronic phase, Texas A&M explains:
“Of those who are infected with the parasite, approximately 30 percent are at risk of developing chronic Chagas disease. Chronic Chagas disease includes cardiac complications and/or intestinal complications, and these signs may not be apparent until decades after the initial infection.
Cardiac signs include enlarged heart, heart failure, altered heart rate, and/or cardiac arrest. Intestinal signs include an enlarged esophagus or colon, which can cause difficulties with digestion.
Concerned individuals should discuss testing options with their physicians. Treatment of Chagas disease can be difficult, and drugs are available only through the CDC after consultation with a physician.”

Lyme Disease Is a Much Greater Concern

While all of this may sound disconcerting, Chagas disease is not as common as Lyme disease, with which 300,000 Americans are diagnosed each year.18,19 This disease, originally identified in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, has now spread across every state in the U.S.20
The black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis, also known as the deer tick) was linked to transmission of the disease in 1977, and while some still attribute transmission exclusively to ticks, the bacteria can also be spread by other insects, including mosquitoes, spiders, fleas and mites.
In 1982, Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., identified the bacterium responsible for the infection: Borrelia burgdorferi21 — a cousin to the spirochete bacterium that causes syphilis. Since then, five subspecies and 300 strains of B. burgdorferi have been identified, many of which have developed resistance to our various antibiotics.
Like Chagas, symptoms of Lyme disease often start with unrelenting fatigue, recurring fever, headaches and achy muscles or joints. Over time, these symptoms may progress to muscle spasms, loss of motor coordination and/or intermittent paralysis, meningitis or heart problems.22,23
Diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cardiomyopathy, gastritis and chronic fatigue may also be expressions of chronic Lyme disease. Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to diagnose Lyme.
It’s also known as “the great imitator,”24 due to its ability to mimic many other disorders, including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ALS, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, misdiagnosis is very common. Negative test results are also more the norm than the exception when you have Lyme, as the spirochete has the ability to infect your white blood cells.

Diagnosing and Treating Lyme Disease

The reason blood tests are so unreliable for diagnosing Lyme is because the tests rely on the normal function of white cells, but when these cells are infected with Lyme, they lose the ability to produce antibodies. Hence, nothing shows up on the test. This is known as the “Lyme paradox,” and necessitates putting treatment before diagnosis.
The idea is that by treating the infection, your white blood cells will regain their ability to mount a normal immune response, which can then be picked up by blood tests. For more in-depth information about Lyme disease and its treatment, I recommend listening to my previous interview with Lyme expert Dr. Dietrich Klin

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Did The Global Response To 9/11 Make Us Safer?

Aftermath of 9/11

 Lest we forget that dreadful day in 2001.

 If we want sustainable, long-term security to be the norm in the world, it's time to radically rethink how we can achieve it, says TED Fellow and conflict researcher Benedetta Berti. In an eye-opening talk, Berti explains how building a safer world has a lot less to do with crushing enemies on the battlefield and a lot more to do with protecting civilians -- no matter where they're from or where they live.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

8 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Detoxify

8 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Detoxify:

 Given what we are now exposed to through our food, air, and water, detoxification has become a modern-day necessity. Without the daily activation of ancient, effective physiological pathways designed to remove environmental toxins, we are bound to get sick. So, what are some simple, effective ways we rid our body of its daily toxic burden?

8 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Detoxify
Given what we are now exposed to through our food, air, and water, detoxification has become a modern-day necessity. Without the daily activation of ancient, effective physiological pathways designed to remove naturally occurring environmental and toxins or manmade chemical toxicants, we are bound to get sick.
So, what are some simple, effective ways we rid our body of its daily toxic burden?
1) Pop a Probiotic: Of course, you don't have to 'pop a pill' to get a probiotic. In fact, it is preferred you ingest either a cultured food (e.g. kombucha, yogurt (preferably non-cow's milk based), cultured veggies, etc.) or eat more raw fruits and vegetables grown in truly healthy soil, as this is actually the root of where 'good bacteria' come from.
How will getting probiotics help? Fascinating research indicates that probiotics actually help us break down foods (e.g. gluten; casein) and chemicals  (pesticides, Bisphenol-A) which can cause great harm to our bodies, and which our own detoxification pathways do not handle effectively. Its kind of a wonder, isn't it, that 'germs' can help save us from ourselves in this way? (Learn more: 8 Ways Microbes Can Save Us From Ourselves).
1) Breaking a Sweat: Sadly, sweating has become synonymous with something gross that should be blocked with antiperspirants/deodorants – which, ironically only further exacerbates the problem of bodily odor, as it keeps one of your primary channels of detoxification from doing its job.
The reality is we were designed to move our bodies, the result of which is the release of profoundly uplifting and regenerative hormonal and neurochemical secretions. And this is just the obvious 'reward' we receive by pushing ourselves through the discomfort of sustained, intense bodily exertion to the point where we are profusely sweating.
Deeper benefits include the activation of the lymphatic system, which while being part of the circulatory system lacks a pump (like the heart) to push the lymphatic fluid through; this requires the activation of our entire skeletal musculature via exercise.
While one does not necessarily need to break a sweat to move the lymph – walking will suffice – you can 'free two birds with one hand,' by eliminating various heavy metals and chemicals via profuse sweating if you bring your physical activity towards that threshold, which incidentally also overlaps with that 'sweet spot' that activates the 'feel good' secretions we talked about.   (Learn More: Research Confirms Sweating Detoxifies Dangerous Metals, Petrochemicals).
3) Don't Break-The-Fast: In wealthier countries, where we suffer from the Orwellian paradox of being incredibly over-nourished and simultaneously dying of nutritional deficiencies, one of the best way to optimize your detoxification systems is to stop eating before sundown (which, I believe, is hard-wired into our bodily design) and skip your break-fast entirely. In other words, don't break-the-fast and continue through your day until you are truly hungry (not morbidly craving nutritionally dead gunk, or confusing the putrefaction-associated acidity of last night's poorly digested, or poorly food-combined dinner with an actual need to eat more), wherein you're eating something wholesome, organic, and preferably living to "get your fill."
If you eliminate and/or minimize the consumption of nutritionally vapid foods such as processed grain products, and beans (soybean, peanut, and other "vegetable oils"  included), and have a salad, eat an apple, or consume some organic nuts, etc., and focus on eating one really good meal later in the day, you will be surprised by how little you will be hungry; much of that craving is a byproduct of chronic, elevated insulin, which is largely caused by over-consumption of processed grain-based foods, and/or simple carbohydrates way beyond what you need to replenish your glycogen stores.
Now consider, this doesn't have to be painful. Literally, if you awake in the morning, have your cup of coffee or tea (if you imbibe), and feel that empty hunger and low energy driving you towards you French toast, or whatever you would normally eat, try taking a couple tablespoons full of coconut oil, which will provide you (and your grumpy 'morning brain') with a near immediate source of fuel (66% of coconut oil is medium chain triglycerides which your body can use for energy very quickly, and which your liver breaks down into ketone bodies for your brain, which is the brain's only other source of energy beyond glucose).[1]  Consider, of course, this is not going to work for everyone, but it certainly may fit better into a busy lifestyle than the 'heroic' fast concept of just not eating anything at all – which has its place, especially for the very sick under professional guidance, or those on a spiritual mission, but not those with kids, several jobs, and just wants a way to jump-start the internal house-cleansing, metabolism-boosting process.
4) Spice Up Your Life! Basic culinary spices can work wonders at stimulating bodily detoxification. A recent study, which we highlighted in the article "Garlic Beats Drug In Safely Detoxifying Lead from the Body," illustrates how you can use your 'food as medicine.' If you LOVE Garlic, great. You are already a step ahead of those who tolerate it. In the former case, you might just want to ratchet up your romance a bit. In the latter case, just don't ignore its potential application in foods you are already enjoying. The point is that we have plenty of help all around us, in our kitchen cupboards, on our spice racks, etc. And do you know what's cool? There is a huge list of spices, foods, and nutrients – over 75 last time we counted -- that we have indexed on that can stimulate detoxification pathways in the body. Here's how you navigate to it: > Menu Item: Research Database  > Pharmacological Action > Detoxifier.
6) An Apple A Day Isn't Going Away: One of the most amazing nutritional stories of our time is what happened to tens of thousands of so-called "Chenobyl Children," after the meltdown of that reactor. As we discussed in our article "Why Apple Is One of the World's Most Healing Superfoods" we discuss the radioisotope-detoxifying properties of this incredible healing agent:

"Post-Chernobyl, for instance, apple pectin was used to reduce Cesium-137 levels in exposed children, in some cases by over 60%.[x] From 1996 to 2007, a total of more than 160,000 "Chernobyl" children received pectin food additives. As a result, levels of Cs-137 in children's organs decreased after each course of pectin additives by an average of 30-40%.[xi] Significant reductions were noted in as short a time period as 16 days.[xii]  Apple pectin has even been found to prevent the most deadly, and entirely man-made radioisotope, Plutonium-239, from absorbing in the gastrointestinal tract of animals fed it.[xiii]"
The great thing about an apple, of course, is that it's a whole food. Rather than take mega-doses of apple pectin (assuming you don't live in Fukushima, or are exposed to its fallout in some way – then please do!), simply incorporating a 'good apple' – that is to say, 100% organic, non-irradiated, etc. – into your daily diet, should constitute an extremely pleasurable experience (especially if you incorporate this healthy snack as the "break" in our "Break-The-Fast" strategy). We can be nourished, pleasured, and detoxified all in one act; and this is, indeed, the way nature designed things in Her infinite wisdom. [insert "He" and "God" if you prefer, but don't hold the story of Adam and Eve against this sacred fruit!].
The last thing we should say on the topic, which may be the most important thing of all, is please void being poisoned in the first place. Easier said than done, I understand. But here are some really important things to remember, to make sure you aren't unintentionally throwing yourself on a chemical grenade every day....
  • Unless you need your receipts, don't take them.  Next to canned food (with those darn alphabetic soup of bisphenols in their can liners; yeah, its not just BPA, but BPS, and others the industry is now using), what is likely our primary route of exposure for this profoundly damaging class of gender-bending, heart-damaging, brain-damaging petrochemicals is going to be touching thermal printer receipts – especially if you already use lotion, which only helps to accelerate the skin's absorbance of these chemicals.
  • Stop slathering petrochemicals on your body.  If you are putting it on your skin, it's likely worse than eating it. How's that? Unlike what you put into your mouth, where your liver determines if what you eat will be allowed into your bloodstream, your skin has no such 'guardian' to keep the poisons out. If something you are using as a body care product has an ingredient that requires a degree in chemistry to understand, ditch it (that is, recycle it) or don't buy it.  If you can't eat an ingredient, don't put it on your body. Even better trying using coconut oil, or related food-cosmetic-medicines, with thousands of years of prior use backing it up for effectiveness and safety. If you want to learn more on the topic, read about how everyone now had actual crude oil derivatives in their body years of eating FDA/USDA-approved "food grade petroleum," and aforementioned exposures: ["Crude Awakening: Mineral Oil Contaminates Everyone's Bodies"]
  • Don't drink the water. What I mean by this is if you get your water through a municipal system, and it hasn't been effectively purified (ideally, distilled with minerals reintroduced), you shouldn't drink it. Keep in mind, also, you can get 'pristine' water from Iceland or Fiji, or wherever marketers like to take our imagination, but if its been sitting in plastic for a year, its not as good as it would seem. Keep in mind that the problem with municipal drinking water, isn't just the fluoride residues, but the 600+ disinfectant byproducts all of which are known to be toxic to the body,[2] to damage DNA, and probably contribute to cancer. It still boggles my imagination that anyone would willfully expose themselves to this, even in its secondary reiteration as 'cooking water,' i.e. using it to make pasta.  Water is what the majority of our bodies are composed of. Learn to savor 'biological water,' that is, water that comes from pure food, e.g. watermelon. This is 'structured' by the universe itself, and is unparalleled in what it can do for your body.
So, we've covered some problems and solutions, and certainly this is just the tip of the iceberg. Just take it all with a grain of sea salt, and take what works for you and leave the rest. If you find the time to comment on your own experience with detoxification, or how some of these strategies played out in your life, please feel free to below.

[1], MCT Fats Found in Coconut Oil Boost Brain Function In Only One Dose.
[2] Susan D Richardson, Michael J Plewa, Elizabeth D Wagner, Rita Schoeny, David M Demarini.Occurrence, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity of regulated and emerging disinfection by-products in drinking water: a review and roadmap for research. Mutat Res. 2007 Nov-Dec;636(1-3):178-242. Epub 2007 Sep 12. PMID: 17980649
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
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