Better Living Through Well Being
Thousands of bacteria and microorganisms living in our guts maintain our health by aiding in digestion and communicating with our immune systems to guard against infection. This is an ecosystem of the body known as the microbiome. Researchers are discovering that certain environmental factors, like a person’s diet, can favor production of intestinal bacterial that fuel or dampen a person’s susceptibility to autoinflammatory disease. The exact scientific mechanism involved is now becoming understood.
While research has not yet begun with humans, animal studies have shown remarkable reversals in osteomyelitis, arthritis, periodontal disease, and other inflammatory disorders by changing the nutritional composition of the diet. Changes in diet led to marked increases and decreases of certain intestinal bacteria. This shows how diets that limit growth of certain bacteria reduce production of the immune molecules that promote inflammation leading to various disorders.
Probiotics are bacteria and other microorganisms with a demonstrated health benefit. In a series of probiotic experiments, researchers discovered that transplanting the intestinal microbiome from healthy mice protected the at-risk, mutant mice from developing disease, suggesting that probiotics might provide a more targeted method for suppressing production of the microorganisms that promote autoinflammatory diseases.
High caliber collaborative research studying the impacts of organic management on soil, and the health effects of pesticide exposure continues at The Organic Center, a nonprofit and educational research organization. Preliminary findings of this research support the benefits of organic food and farming for the health of humans and the environment.
In collaboration with the National Soil Project at Northeastern University, The Organic Center is examining differences in soil health between organic and conventional soil. They are looking at the level of sequestered carbon in soils to investigate potential benefits of organic farming on soil health. The sequestered carbon content of a soil is a key component of the organic matter of a soil, which helps the soil retain water, acts as a buffer, improves soil texture, helps regulate the climate and supports many other soil functions. Massive quantities of synthetic fertilizers used in conventional farming can jeopardize the long-term health of the soil. Preliminary evidence of this research suggests that organic soil has more sequestered carbon than conventional soil, and that synthetic fertilizers can strip the soil of organic matter. This same research suggests that organic farming may also play an important role in climate change because organic soils contain higher levels of sequestered carbon. The Organic Center is seeking more soil samples from organic farms to test his research. They are offering organic farmers free soil analyses if they send them a few tablespoons of soil. Information on submitting samples can be found on The Organic Center site.
A 4 minute film highlights the critical need to stay below 2 degrees Celsius, a critical point in increasing global warming, by reducing carbon emissions and preventing them from entering the atmosphere. It points out that while zero-carbon renewable forms of energy use is increasing, it is not keeping up with the increasing use of energy from fossil fuels. A solution offered is the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a technology that keeps CO2 out of the atmosphere by returning emissions below several layers of rock into the planet’s geosphere.
Applying a tariff on CO2 emissions by volume would be an incentive to deploy CCS extensively by industry. The maker of this informative and starkly engaging film, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), is committed to galvanizing the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society, and the environment.
National Geographic Society’s Greendex, an 18-country survey measuring consumer trends related to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods, shows that consumers are adopting some sustainable behaviors, but that change is not keeping pace with concern about environmental problems. The top-scoring consumers of 2014 are in the developing economies of India and China, followed by South Korea, Brazil and Argentina. More and more consumers are embracing local and organic foods and lightening their environmental footprint in the food category. Nearly all consumers believe that we need to change the way we produce and consume food in order to feed a growing population. Many say it is very important to know how and where their food is produced, yet relatively few people report that they do.
Terrestrial Energy, Inc., a Canadian-based company, has developed a non conventional nuclear technology that uses a molten salt reactor with liquid fuel rather than solid fuel, and it operates at atmospheric pressure rather than being highly pressurized. A spokesman for the company says their Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) will be much less expensive to build and operate, and it will have a “walk away safe” level of assurance with zero operator intervention even with a total loss of site power. He says the IMSR consumes one-sixth the fuel to produce the same amount of electricity, and it can be designed to consume the spent fuel of today’s conventional nuclear reactors. He estimates that the IMSR will demonstrate the lowest Lifetime Cost of Energy of any known technology.
Terrestrial Energy, Inc. intends to commercialize its IMSR by early next decade. “The world is changing. Voters are turning their backs on technologies that they believe pose a risk to their environment. Public policy has been moving, and will continue to move, in only one direction, rewarding carbon-free alternatives and making it tougher for the others,“ the spokesman said.
Other articles of interest in this Fall 2014 TMIS eNewsletter:
* Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment, a non invasive therapy for Alzheimer’s, shows promising results.
* GENiSYSS launches thumb-drive sized devices for storing DNA and crucial information for your family and future generations.
* Annual survey of American’s views on health care and the ACA finds nearly half of remaining uninsured are unaware of the individual mandate or of the exchanges.
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From the Front Page of TMIS News
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Study finds that diet affects mix of intestinal bacteria and the risk of inflammatory bone disease
Diet-induced changes in the gut's bacterial ecosystem can alter susceptibility to an autoinflammatory bone disease by modifying the immune response, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists reported. The findings appeared September 28 as an advanced online publication of the scientific journal Nature.
The research provides insight into how the thousands of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in the intestines affect health. Microbes make up the intestinal microbiome, a diverse evolving ecosystem that aids digestion and helps to educate the immune cells that guard against infection. Growing evidence suggests that changes in the microbiome composition may contribute to development of diseases ranging from cancer to chronic inflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis. The mechanisms involved, however, have been poorly understood.
"These results are exciting because they help to explain how environmental factors like diet can influence susceptibility to autoinflammatory diseases," said the study's corresponding author Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Immunology. "While multiple lines of evidence have suggested that diet can impact human disease, the scientific mechanism involved was a mystery. Our results demonstrate that diet can influence immune-mediated disorders by shaping the composition of the gut microbiome, which our findings suggest play a role in immune regulation."
Early findings of Harvard's Organic Center and Northeastern's research show organic's benefits
Members of The Organic Center's Board of Trustees gathered at Harvard University for their annual retreat and for scientific briefings on collaborative research on organic's impact on the health of humans and the environment. After hearing the updates, they reported that preliminary findings of the research support the benefits of organic food and farming and show organic's potential to solve a host of real-world concerns.
Meeting with Harvard professor Dr. Chensheng (Alex) Lu who is collaborating with The Organic Center to examine the health effects of pesticide exposure and the benefits of sticking to an organic diet, and Drs. Geoff Davies and Elham Ghabbour at Northeastern University who, with The Organic Center, are studying the impacts of organic management on soil, Board members expressed their commitment to problem-solving for the entire organic value chain, from the farmer to the consumer.
"We wholeheartedly encourage research filling the gaps in our knowledge about organic, such as that being conducted by these high-caliber researchers on these complex topics," said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The Center. "The preliminary findings of this important research support the benefits of organic food and farming for the health of humans and the environment."
Dr. Lu spoke about his work to study the adverse health effects associated with pesticide exposure in a meta-analysis, and the health benefits of consuming organic foods in a pilot study. "Exposure to pesticides can affect human health in ways that we don't fully understand yet," said Dr. Lu. "Eating organic is one way to help reduce risks associated with environmentally induced diseases."
CO2 Emissions Bury the UN Climate Summit: Why Carbon Capture and Storage is a Critical Part of the Solution to Climate Change
A coal pile buries the UN Headquarters and New York is lost under a mountain of CO2 . These scenes, illustrating actual quantities, bring home the sheer scale of global carbon emissions and the urgency for action. This four-minute film allows us to visualize the critical part carbon capture and storage (CCS) can play in limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The animation is a call to help catalyze action to reduce carbon emissions.
Led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Action2020 is a science-based platform for business action on sustainable development to 2020 and beyond, covering a range of solutions addressing the key mitigation levers for climate change. This animation, supported by companies working on the CCS business solution, focuses on this technology, one of the essential solutions at risk of being overlooked.
Today we get over 80% of our energy from fossil fuels. To stay below 2 degrees Celsius warming, we cannot emit more than 1 trillion tonnes of carbon. World population is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050, doubling energy demand. The most ambitious plans to replace fossil fuels see only about half of our energy needs being met by zero-carbon renewables by 2050. With the rise in energy demand, the concentration of CO2 will exceed the agreed limit of dangerous climate change.
To stay within emissions targets, we must have CCS in our portfolio. CCS keeps CO2 out of the atmosphere by returning emissions below several layers of rock into the geosphere. A price on CO2 coupled with ambitious reduction targets would help CCS to be deployed extensively. We need a robust technology, policy, legal and infrastructure pathway to be implemented now.
Increased Fears About Environment, but Little Change in Consumer Behavior, According to New National Geographic/GlobeScan Study
A new global analysis released today by the National Geographic Society and GlobeScan finds that concern about environmental problems has increased in most countries surveyed, and that more people now expect global warming will negatively affect them during their lifetime than in 2012. Despite this, National Geographic's Greendex, a comprehensive measure of consumer behavior in 65 areas related to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods, shows that sustainable consumer behavior has only grown slowly.
Results of the 2014 Greendex, a collaboration between National Geographic and global research consultancy GlobeScan, were released in Boston at the Sustainable Brands New Metrics '14. Greendex 2014 surveyed 18,000 consumers in 18 countries and is the fifth iteration of the survey, which was first fielded in 2008.
Among the top findings in 2014: Environmental concern has increased since 2012:
* Sixty-one percent of consumers globally now say they are very concerned about environmental problems compared with 56 percent in 2012.
* Compared to the study's 2008 baseline, sustainable consumer behavior has increased in nearly every country tracked since the first survey, suggesting consumer behavior across the world is improving, albeit slowly.
* Environmentally friendly behavior has increased in nine of the 17 countries that were surveyed in 2012: Argentina, Australia, Hungary, India, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, South Korea and Great Britain. However, sustainable behavior decreased since 2012 among consumers in five countries: Canada, China, Germany, Japan and the United States.
Integral Molten Salt Reactor touted as promising source of carbon-free, highly reliable, low-lifetime cost power
If we are to keep up with growth in global energy demand, especially from developing nations, the world will need to change the way it thinks about nuclear energy, says one of Canada's long-time business leaders, and the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR), one of a new generation of nuclear reactors, is poised to help fill that supply gap and "grab a significant foothold in the markets of the future."
In a recent speech to the Economic Club of Canada, Hugh MacDiarmid, a former chief executive of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Laidlaw Transit, and Lumonics, and a former top executive with Canadian Pacific Railway, said Molten Salt Reactor technology "offers answers to the most challenging questions surrounding nuclear energy today and, with those questions addressed, we can begin to realize the inherent potential of nuclear as carbon-free, highly reliable, low-lifetime-cost power."
Mr. MacDiarmid was recently named non-executive Chairman of the Board of Terrestrial Energy Inc., a Mississauga-based company that will be seeking license approval for its IMSR design from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. "The size of the upcoming gap between energy supply and demand is staggering," said Mr. MacDiarmid. "And there aren't enough good answers in the existing range of supply alternatives."
Mr. MacDiarmid noted that, in our search for ways to meet Canada's and the world's energy demands, "We have more issues and obstacles than we have solutions." Coal is "not acceptable to today's social norms" for environmental protection; "making a bet on natural gas is highly risky" in terms of long-term fuel cost; "we are approaching the limits" of exploiting our massive hydroelectric resources, and "there is no evidence that renewables such as wind and solar can make the BIG difference to the BIG energy problem we have." Even conventional nuclear "continues to operate in a parallel universe, with those of us who are insiders firmly believing in the rightness of our cause, while the rest of the world sees only issues of safety, management of long-term wastes, and the costs and financial risks associated with construction of new capacity or life extension of existing capacity."
Promising Alzheimer's Treatment Being Tested by NeuroEM Therapeutics and a Leading U.S. Research University
NeuroEM Therapeutics, Inc., a Phoenix-based medical device R&D company, has announced that it has begun a study with a premiere research university to test its Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment (TEMT) in aged primates. "All attempts to treat Alzheimer's through drugs have thus far been very disappointing, so our medical device represents a new therapeutic direction," said Dr. Gary Arendash, President and CEO of NeuroEM Therapeutics.
"Aged primates (Rhesus monkeys) develop the same abnormal amyloid deposits in their brains as Alzheimer's patients and they also become cognitively impaired during aging," Dr. Arendash indicated. He and his colleagues had previously found that their patent-pending TEMT technology reverses both Alzheimer's brain pathology and severe memory impairment in aged Alzheimer's mice. These mice had been genetically modified to produce human amyloid deposits, which are thought to cause Alzheimer's disease.
However, primates are much closer to humans in brain structure and function. Moreover, they spontaneously develop amyloid plaques in their brains during aging identical to those in human AD patients. A therapeutic that is found to be beneficial to these aged primates is likely to provide the same benefits in Alzheimer's patients.
For the study, researchers at NeuroEM's collaborating university are administering TEMT to aged primates over several months while monitoring cognitive performance and brain function. TEMT is completely non-invasive, so subjects will not even be aware of it.
"The primates being used in this study are all substantially aged, which affords us a unique opportunity to get important, Alzheimer's-related data during the treatment period," stated Dr. Arendash. Dr. Chuanhai Cao at the University of South Florida, who helped develop TEMT technology with Dr. Arendash, is performing the study's biochemical analyses.
TEMT has two ways that it directly attacks the Alzheimer's disease process. First, it disaggregates amyloid plaques both inside and outside of brain cells. Secondly, it increases brain metabolism by enhancing mitochondrial function. Both of these mechanisms are unique to TEMT in that no drug being clinical tested against Alzheimer's offers them.
GENiSYSS Announces Launch of Products to Store Life
Santa Barbara, California
The patented GENiSYSS Capsules are thumb-drive sized products that focus on DNA as the core of life. Each product has 4 or 8 storage wells containing a patented material that safely stores the DNA contained in a tiny drop of blood at room temperature.
The associated digital memory contains customized software, encrypted and password-protected, to step people through the crucial information to store for your family and future generations. This includes medical information and the priceless memories in the forms of videos, audios, photos, stories, family tree and genealogy and more.
GENiSYSS uses their patented technology to provide peace of mind for parents. In case of emergency, ALL the information crucial to law enforcement and medical responders is immediately available, including the child's DNA, a better marker than fingerprints. Time is of the essence in emergency situations. With a GENiSYSS Child Safety Capsule, everything is quickly accessible. The Child Safety Capsule contains 4 DNA wells plus encrypted, custom software on 4 GB of digital memory. The size of a thumb drive, it is designed to attach to the parent's keychain. Never before has DNA been this easy to store or easily accessible for emergency uses.
Annual Survey of Americans' Views on Health Care and the ACA Finds Nearly Half of Remaining Uninsured are Unaware of the Individual Mandate or of the Exchanges
Los Angeles, California
While the percentage of Americans without health insurance has fallen from 22 to 15 percent over the past 11 months, a new Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the national non-profit Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) found that nearly half (46 percent) of those who remain uninsured have still not heard of the individual mandate, and 43 percent have not heard of the Exchanges where they may be eligible to purchase health insurance.
The survey also found that among those who remain uninsured, 11 percent stated they did not obtain insurance because it is too expensive, and 27 percent said paying the tax penalty and health expenses costs less than paying for health insurance.
For those who did comply with the ACA's individual mandate to purchase health coverage, the survey revealed a positive sentiment. "More than three-quarters (78 percent) of the newly insured population (ages 18-64) are at least somewhat satisfied with the quality of the health care that they can access," said TCHS Executive Director Hector De La Torre.
LaunchPads for Change Profiled in Pulitzer Prize Winners' Latest Book
New York, New York
A Path Appears, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, and Sheryl WuDunn, includes a profile of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) founder Elizabeth Scharpf on her journey from business school to rural Rwanda in pursuit of a solution to a pressing social problem: 18% of women and girls in Rwanda that SHE surveyed were regularly missing out on work or school because they could not afford to buy menstrual pads.
Quite apart from the personal injustice, and the larger issues of health and dignity, Scharpf calculated the potential GDP loss at $215 per women per year, a total of $115,000,000 in Rwanda alone. Determined to pursue an innovation not aid approach, Scharpf, through her organization SHE, Sustainable Health Enterprises, developed and patented a method to transform banana trunk fiber (typically thrown out) into 5-cent menstrual pads. Which could be sold cheaply to women, and to schools who could give them to girls who need them, 500 pads a day. 3,000 girls a month. A Path Appears weighs up the merits of the innovation not aid approach, and finds it to be highly successful: "innovators who are using research, evidence-based strategies, and brilliant ideas of their own to prevent violence, improve health, boost education, and spread opportunity at home and around the world."
The book concludes that "social entrepreneurship" and for-profit organizations are the most promising models for change. A Path Appears offers practical, results-driven advice on how best each of us can give and reveals the lasting benefits we gain in return. Kristof and WuDunn know better than most how many urgent challenges communities around the world face today. Here they offer a timely beacon of hope for our collective future.
It's Time to Talk about Sex After Menopause, A New Campaign To Free Women From The Silence Around An Often-Neglected Area Of Women's Health
Women, men and health care providers are encouraged to lend their social voices to an often-neglected area of women's health by committing to have a conversation about sex after menopause in the doctor's office, at home or with friends.
"For millions of women in America, sex after menopause is not a pleasurable, fun activity. Common gynecological problems can make it uncomfortable and medical issues can cause it to become downright painful," said Lauren Streicher, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school, The Feinberg School of Medicine and author of the new book, Love Sex Again. "Unfortunately, many women and their doctors are unwilling or afraid to bring these issues up."
It's Time to Talk about Sex After Menopause is sponsored by the Women's Health Foundation in partnership with Shionogi Inc., and will be spread through Thunderclap, a crowd amplification website.
"When it comes to talking about sex after menopause, women and their doctors pull back and are reluctant to have any earnest dialogue about what is really going on," said Missy Lavender, Founder and Executive Director, Women's Health Foundation. "When we compared this silence for women to how men's sexual health is a socially acceptable part of the vernacular today, we realized something needed to be done."
Alternative Medicine Psychotherapist Launches Groundbreaking Alternative Guide for Mental Health
The year 2014 is poised to bring a sigh of relief to the 450 million people around the world with mental and emotional issues and diagnoses, thanks to Amelia Kemp, Ph.D., LMHC. Dr. Kemp, a licensed psychotherapist, metaphysician and board certified alternative medical practitioner, has released a groundbreaking self-help book, "From Psychotherapy to Sacretherapy - Alternative Holistic Descriptions & Healing Processes for 170 Mental & Emotional Diagnoses Worldwide." The book is the first to offer alternative holistic ways to describe, interpret and treat all 170 mental and emotional diagnoses in an attempt to remove the stigma and pathology associated with mental and emotional issues and restore sufferers' sense of value and worth, while bringing them back into alignment with their inherent wellness.
Dr. Kemp, a psychotherapist for 18 years, believes traditional interventions are "fragmented" and they label people with "disorders" the label itself causing them to feel sick and defective. She boldly breaks the mold, exchanging the stigmatized word "disorder" with "reaction" and prescribes holistic treatments that honor the whole person - mind, body and spirit. Dr. Kemp tells sufferers, "You're not sick, you're sacred." The book addresses mental health through universal spiritual principles that are metaphysical in nature in order to get to the essence of the matter. It offers eight steps to mental and emotional well-being, along with a chapter specifically devoted to healing suicidal thoughts and behaviors since hopelessness is often the result of stigma and reduced self esteem. The book also honors other alternative healing modalities including herbal remedies, which are usually minimized in the American mental health community.
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