Better Living Through Well Being
“How much of the planet should we leave for other forms of life?” This is a question humanity must now grapple with. Global human population is anticipated to increase from 7.6 billion to 10 billion by the middle of the century. Consumer demand for food and water will more than double by 2050. Fortunately, the National Geographic Society and Google have joined forces to advance human understanding and action for global conservation of nature in the hope that technology will empower global leaders to make better decisions for a sustainable future.
Looking ahead at 2019 and 2020, Google and National Geographic will collaborate on key Google Earth data layers and stories focused on biodiversity, animal migrations and the impacts of climate change. They plan to develop engaging user and decision-maker experiences to better demonstrate the need to protect the world’s ecosystems. Leveraging the National Geographic Society’s expertise in conservation science with Google’s excellence in big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, the organizations will identify and aim to solve the grand challenges that decision-makers are trying to address and help them make better informed decisions to protect the planet.
MegaFood, maker of vitamins and supplements from organic whole foods, is leading the charge with a petition to the EPA to ban the use of glyphosate as a pre-harvest desiccant and keep farmers from applying the toxic pesticide to commercial crops. Scientists have linked glyphosate to cancer, specifically non-Hodgkins lymphoma, as was recently brought to media attention by the verdict in the case of Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto Company. Using glyphosate as a desiccant allows produce to be harvested quickly, but it also increases direct exposure to the harmful pesticide by consumers through the food they eat, even after processing. High levels of glyphosate residue have been found in popular brands of breakfast cereal and snack bars made from oats.
A research scientist at Harvard University became intrigued by an anomaly he saw on a graph chart published on the front page of the New York Times in January 2017. It showed a large bump in a time series of global surface temperature. After applying sophisticated curve-fitting techniques, he demonstrated that the bump, which shows a global burst in Earth temperature during WW2, also showed up in eight independent NOAA databases, four land and four ocean. This discovery inspired geoscientist J. Marvin Herndon to conduct further research on his data to make the claim that climate scientists have been chasing the wrong culprit for global warming and climate change. The true culprit causing marked global increases since WW2 according to Herndon is air pollution from aerosolized pollution particulates “intentionally and covertly sprayed into the atmosphere for decades where clouds form.”
Herndon’s article contains numerous references for statements such as the above, and he warns the consequences of continued air pollution from use of military aerosols such as coal fly ash are grave for human and environmental health.
Other articles of interest in this Fall 2018 TMIS eNewsletter:
* Agroforestry addresses environmental concerns while returning investments by integrating timber, livestock and crops.
* At-home genetic test kits for Alzheimer’s may cause people to confuse genetic risk with genetic certainty.
* New research projects funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society aim to restore function and stop MS forever.
* The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns about the dangers of illegal costume contact lenses lurking on store shelves and invading online retailers.
* Green and energy-efficient home improvements have potential to pay dividends for buyers and sellers.
* Cost recovery will ensure Canadian cannabis industry covers costs of regulating cannabis.
* Genetic structure similarity between zebrafish and humans reveals contamination of seawater by sunscreen chemicals poses a risk to human health via the food chain.
* Select herbs from mountainous regions of Greece help heal autoimmune disease.
I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.
- Mary Michele McLaughlin
From the Front Page of TMIS News
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Life on Earth - Creating a Planet in Balance: The National Geographic Society and Google Join Forces to Advance Human Understanding and Action on Global Conservation of Nature
Building upon 12 years of collaboration, Google and the National Geographic Society have announced the launch of a major new partnership that will address the myriad threats impacting the Earth at this critical juncture in ways only the two organizations can. Over the next two years and beyond, Google and the National Geographic Society will work together to leverage the power of Google's technology and National Geographic's world-class science and storytelling, as well as National Geographic Labs' innovations, to build a first-of-its-kind, dynamic, four-dimensional digital representation of the vital signs of Earth's natural ecosystems. This living rendition of the globe will allow users to monitor the world's species and ecosystems over time, understand threats to the natural world and realize solutions to help achieve a planet in balance.
The two organizations will source and generate new data on ecosystems, biodiversity, urban growth, migrations and extreme environments to inform insights and inspire action by educating consumers and decision-makers about the critical importance of protecting at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030. National Geographic Society's Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist Dr. Jonathan Baillie and Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Dr. Ya-Ping Zhang highlighted the need to achieve this critical biodiversity target in a recent editorial in the journal Science.
"There is finite space and energy on the planet, and we must decide how much of it we're willing to share," Baillie and Zhang wrote. Wildlife populations have decreased over 50 percent since the 1970s, while humans' impact on the landscape is becoming more and more visible in satellite imagery. For decades, decisions about protecting critical ecosystems have been made using very limited data. In 2020, the world's governments will meet in Beijing, China, to set targets that aim to protect current levels of biodiversity and the ecosystems that support food and water security as well as the health of billions of people. The Google-National Geographic Society partnership will create tools to help this decision-making.
Maker of Premium Supplements Seeks Ban on Use of Glyphosate as a Desiccant Through EPA Petition
MegaFood, an award-winning dietary supplement brand and pioneer of vitamins and supplements made with real, whole foods, together with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and several additional food and nutrition brands, including Ben & Jerry's and Stonyfield, has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of glyphosate as a desiccant before harvest. With this petition, alongside a supporting petition to invite all consumers to play a role, MegaFood underscores its commitment to improving lives as the first supplement brand to have its entire line certified Glyphosate Residue Free by The Detox Project, and aims to raise awareness of the potentially unsafe levels of glyphosate residue found in our foods today.
Glyphosate is the number one herbicide used in the world and has been classified by the World Health Organization as "probably carcinogenic in humans." With the support of the EWG and several like-minded brands, MegaFood is on a mission to keep farmers from conducting "pre-harvest application" of the harmful pesticide on conventionally-grown crops to ultimately reduce dietary exposure amongst consumers. Using glyphosate as a desiccant allows food to be harvested quickly but in turn, increases the likelihood that consumers will be directly exposed to the pesticide through the foods they eat, even after processing. This year alone, glyphosate was targeted as the cause for significant health ailments in the Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto Company verdict, and concerning levels of glyphosate residue have been traced to household names in oat cereal, such as Cheerios and Lucky Charms.
"Consumers are becoming increasingly aware that glyphosate use on our farms can lead to significant threats to both their health and that of our environment. With these growing concerns about the incredibly harmful effects of exposure to glyphosate, the EPA has a duty to put an end to the pre-harvest use of glyphosate," said Robert U. Craven, MegaFood CEO. "As citizens, we should feel protected by the rules and regulations set forth by the federal government, and the petition filing brings us one step closer to cleaning up the supply chain to support the longevity of our planet and the health of our people."
Air Pollution, Not Greenhouse Gases, Is the Main Cause of Global Warming
San Diego, California
In a recent article in the Journal of Geography, Environment and Earth Science International, Transdyne Corporation geoscientist J. Marvin Herndon makes the startling claim that climate scientists, including the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have been chasing the wrong culprit for global warming and climate change.
"Time series of global surface temperature presentations often exhibit a bump coincident with World War II (WW2)," the Herndon article explains, "as did one such image on the front page of the January 19, 2017 New York Times." Intrigued by the front-page New York Times graph, "Bernie Gottschalk of Harvard University applied sophisticated curve-fitting techniques and demonstrated that the bump," which shows a global burst in Earth temperature during WW2, "is a robust feature showing up in eight independent NOAA databases, four land and four ocean."
Inspired by Gottschalk's data, Herndon considered "the broader activities of WW2," especially those capable of "altering Earth's delicate energy balance by particulate aerosols." Herndon then "generalized [these] to post-WW2 global warming." The geoscientist used relative-values of pollution-causing proxies to demonstrate "the reasonableness of the proposition that increases in aerosolized particulates over time is principally responsible for the concomitant global warming increases."
These proxies for global particulate pollution -- increasing global coal and crude oil production, as well as aviation fuel consumption -- rise in strikingly parallel fashion to the rise in global temperature as shown in the accompanying figure.
"The World War II wartime particulate-pollution," the Herndon article asserts, "had the same global-warming consequence as the subsequent ever-increasing global aerosol particulate-pollution from (1) increases in aircraft and vehicular traffic, and the industrialization of China and India with their smoke stacks spewing out smoke and coal fly ash," as well as from recently documented studies that show "(2) coal fly ash [is being] covertly jet-sprayed into the region where clouds form on a near-daily, near-global basis."
Timber Grown Among Crops Shows Promise for Timberland Investors: Agroforestry Can Address Environmental Concerns While Potentially Improving Returns
Corn, coffee, cattle, and other crops can be raised on land that also supports cultivated timber. This symbiotic approach, known as agroforestry, has clear ecological benefits -- and it could become a new asset class for timberland investors. The opportunities and obstacles to expanded agroforestry are explored by the Global Agroforestry Review, a new report from RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry.
"Public concern about environmental impact is mounting on agribusinesses, and on the pension funds and others who invest in them," said John North, RISI International Timber Economist and co-author of the report, along with RISI Director of International Timber Bob Flynn. "Timberland investment management organizations (TIMOs) and other investors should recognize the risks of current 'monoculture' approaches, and the potential for agroforestry to mitigate those risks."
"Agroforestry is not a panacea, but it offers tangible benefits," said North.
The Global Agroforestry Review is the first study of its kind from RISI. The report combines a survey of agroforestry methods with in-depth analysis of their potential value for investors and the forest products sector.
Agroforestry is an accepted practice throughout much of the world. Important cash crops, such as corn and rice, are planted in rows among eucalyptus trees in Brazil, India, and other major agricultural exporters. Coffee and cacao are harvested from timber-producing forests in Latin America and Asia, and cattle graze among cultivated pines in Argentina -- a practice called "silvopasturing." Researchers and landowners in the US and Brazil, among others, are exploring how agroforestry methods can be scaled up worldwide.
Genetic Testing: Thinking About An At-Home Test for Alzheimer's Risk Gene? -- What You Need to Know First
New York, New York
Persons wishing to learn their genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease -- by way of an at-home genetic test -- should first consider consulting with their doctor and a genetic counselor, according to a commentary authored by AFA's Medical, Scientific & Memory Screening Advisory Board, among other recommendations aimed at physician-scientists, policymakers, and the commercial genetic testing industry. The article was published online by the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
"Before pursuing any kind of genetic testing, it is essential that consumers are fully informed and understand the benefits, limitations and other implications of learning one's personal health information," says Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA). "This includes having insight on how a test result might impact the individual and their family emotionally, particularly in the case of Alzheimer's in the absence of a cure, or an effective treatment."
The number of consumers accessing their genetic information has exploded, since the April 2017 FDA approval of direct-to-consumer testing for genetic disease risks. Among the genetic tests available is one to determine APOE status—apolipoprotein-E, a "susceptibility" gene for late-onset Alzheimer's disease. And with effective and sustained marketing campaigns by commercial testing entities, the sales of the tests (and presumed use) have already skyrocketed as evidenced by the following reports:  .
"To begin with, people may wrongly confuse genetic risk with genetic certainty -- or a diagnosis; the distinction between risk and causation must be made clear to consumers. APOE genes affect the probability of developing Alzheimer's, but APOE does not by itself cause the disease," cautions J. Wesson Ashford, MD, PhD, Chairman of AFA's scientific advisory board. "It is important to understand that many individuals who have the APOE susceptibility gene never get Alzheimer's. At the same time, not having an APOE susceptibility gene doesn't mean that person will never develop Alzheimer's in their lifetime."
National MS Society Commits $12 Million to 40 New Research Projects to Stop Multiple Sclerosis, Restore Function and End MS Forever
New York, New York
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has just committed $12 million to support 40 new multi-year MS research projects. These are part of a comprehensive approach to accelerate research breakthroughs aimed at stopping MS, restoring lost function, and ending the disease forever.
This financial commitment is the latest in the Society's relentless research effort, investing a projected $35.8 million in 2018 alone to support new and ongoing studies around the world. To date, the Society has committed more than $1 billion in research funding.
Just a few of the of the new cutting-edge research projects include a study at Massachusetts General Hospital to develop a way to monitor cells that play a role in the repair of nerve-insulating myelin in people with MS; a clinical trial at New York University testing benefits of transcranial direct current stimulation to treat MS-related fatigue; and a study at the Australian National University focusing on a link between the environment and how genes are turned on and off to trigger the onset of MS. For the full list of projects click here.
"These important new research investments strengthen the Society's comprehensive approach to address our most pressing research priorities that will accelerate breakthroughs and build pathways to a cure for MS," noted Bruce Bebo, PhD, National MS Society's Executive Vice President, Research.
Consult an Eye Care Professional if Your Halloween Costume Includes Scary Eyes
San Francisco, California
Creepy costume lenses might add a spine-tingling thrill to your Halloween costume, but wearing costume contact lenses without a prescription can lead to serious eye infections or permanent vision loss. Decorative lenses are medical devices, not costume jewelry. They must be prescribed and fitted by an eye care professional, just like regular contact lenses. That's why the American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging people to buy decorative contact lenses only from retailers who require a prescription and sell FDA-approved products.
A poorly fitted contact lens can easily scrape the cornea, the outer layer of the eye, making the eye more vulnerable to infection-causing bacteria and viruses. Sometimes scarring from an infection is so bad, a corneal transplant is required to restore vision. The most extreme cases can end in blindness.
Although it is illegal to sell non-prescription contact lenses, they are available at costume shops, gas stations, corner shops, and online. Research shows that people who purchase contacts without a prescription face a 16-fold increased risk of developing an infection.1
'Green' Home Improvements Can Pay Off Says Appraisal Institute
The Appraisal Institute, the nation's largest professional association of real estate appraisers, has encouraged home sellers to consider making energy-efficient improvements to their properties and urged potential buyers to seek homes with those features.
"The latest research shows that green and energy-efficient home improvements have the potential to pay dividends for buyers and sellers," said Appraisal Institute President James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA. "However, it depends on the improvements made. Some green renovations, such as adding Energy Star appliances and extra insulation, are likely to pay the homeowner back in lowered utility bills relatively quickly."
Additionally, by purchasing an energy-efficient product or renewable energy system for a home, the owner may be eligible for a federal tax credit based on EPA-established guidelines.
Three recent studies confirm that green homes sell for more than non-green properties:
Health Canada Announces the Approach to Cost Recovery for the Regulation of Cannabis
The Cannabis Act will come into force on October 17, 2018. The Act aims to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth and the profits away from criminals and organized crime.
Since it introduced the legislation, the Government of Canada has committed to fully recovering the costs of regulating the cannabis industry. Cost recovery ensures that those who benefit from the new legal market will pay the costs of regulating cannabis, which will reduce the cost to Canadians.
The Ministerial Order authorizing cost recovery for the regulation of cannabis and the new fees will come into force on October 17, 2018, in conjunction with the Cannabis Act.
Over the summer, Health Canada held a 30-day public consultation to solicit public input and views on the proposed approach to cost recovery for the regulation of cannabis. The Department received 108 online submissions, 18 written submissions, and 755 form letters. In addition, Health Canada hosted four online information sessions with industry, including those who are or who have applied to be licensed producers, to explain the proposal and to answer questions. The feedback Health Canada received focused primarily on the timing of implementing the proposed fees, the design of the annual regulatory fee, and the desire for additional service standards.
As a result of the feedback, Health Canada has modified the design of the annual regulatory fee to use previous year's revenue to calculate the fee rather than forecasted revenue. These measures will help moderate the financial impact on the emerging industry in the early years following coming into force of the Act.
In addition, Health Canada is committing to monitoring its administration of the regulatory program closely to ensure it recovers no more than the regulatory costs and with a view to establishing defined service standards in areas such as the processing of license amendments. The Department is also committing to create a forum to engage with the cannabis industry on the administration of the fee regime and as it develops additional service standards, supporting predictability and transparency.
Sunscreen Chemicals Harm Fish Embryos and Could Pose Risk to Humans
Hong Kong, China
A study by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has detected an extensive amount of sunscreen chemicals in seawater that could pose a risk to human health. The study, a world-first in identifying the harm caused by a combination of polluting chemicals in sunscreen, found the chemicals can cause abnormalities in and kill the offspring of zebrafish by entering the food chain. As the genetic structure of zebrafish resembles that of humans, the results imply that these contaminants could pose a risk to humans. The study also revealed that these contaminants are commonly found in the coastal waters of Hong Kong.
The team was led by Dr Kelvin Leung Sze-yin, Associate Professor of the Department of Chemistry of HKBU. The team collected seawater samples from 30 locations off the Hong Kong coast. Seven commonly used organic UV (ultra-violet) filters, the active ingredients in sunscreens, were investigated. The team also collected fish, shrimps, mussels and other wild organisms from seven local aquaculture farms around Hong Kong. The team found the presence of UV filters in concentrations ranging from 3.1 to 51.3 nanograms in each gram of the samples. The findings indicated that the UV filters that accumulated in marine life could possibly pass up the food chain to humans and affect our health.
The team collected the samples at depths of two metres in the sea, extracted the samples using the "solid phase extraction" method followed by highly sensitive instrumental analysis, a process designed to obtain reliable environmental data of UV filters.
The team simulated the real aquatic environment in a laboratory where contaminated artemia were fed to zebrafish for 47 days. The contaminated water contained three commonly used UV filters, namely benzophenone-3 (BP-3), ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC) and octocrylene (OC).
After 47 days, none of the adult zebrafish appeared to be damaged, but several of their embryos were found to have malformations or abnormalities. The embryos' 24-hour mortality rate increased dramatically, from 10 % to nearly 60%, while the 72-hour hatching rate decreased significantly, from 80% to less than 30%.
Herbal Tea Experience Store Opens in NYC Offering Ancient Remedies for Modern Living
Astoria, New York
The Loose Leaf Herbal Tea Experience Store recently opened in the Ditmars area of Astoria Queens. The café offers select herbs and herbal teas imported from mountainous regions of Greece that have been untouched by industry for thousands of years. These herbs, of the highest purity, helped heal founder Peter Zotis's autoimmune disease and inspired this new business.
Zotis said, "I hope people have an enjoyable experience when they visit the Store, but I also hope that they acquire a bit of knowledge about the exciting possibilities to create good health with diet and herbal remedies." Zotis went on to say, "I want people to know that there are options when it comes to healing. Incorporating these herbs into my life has kept me healthy and strong. I feel great."
Herbal teas have been used for thousands of years for holistic and healing purposes, refreshing beverages, and energizing elixirs. Hippocrates, considered by many to be the father of modern medicine, exhorted the many benefits of herbs and herbal remedies. Hippocrates said, "Foolish the doctor who despises knowledge acquired by the ancients." Loose Leaf is committed to making these ancient herbal remedies available and practical in our busy modern lives.
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