Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Russian health official says - American milk gives women mustaches - literal mustaches -

Russian health official says - American milk gives women mustaches - literal mustaches - 

Global Post has pointed out an article in The Moscow Times featuring a Russian health official giving some beauty advice to women worried about unwanted facial hair:

American milk = literal mustaches.

This is according to Nikolai Vlasov, Russia's deputy head of the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service. Here's what he told the Moscow Times:

"In the United States, dairy cows are treated with somatotropic hormone. As a result, the yield increases by 20 per cent. And it makes women develop male sexual characteristics — mustaches."

Vlasov is referring to a synthetic bovine growth hormone known as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST).

As far as I can tell, there are no scientific studies directly linking rBGH and unwanted facial hair. But as Global Post points out, the Russian official isn't totally off base in sounding the alarm over rBGH.

The hormone is approved by the U.S. FDA and deemed safe for humans by the WHO. But it has been banned in Canada, as well as the European Union, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

According to the American Cancer Society, which has no formal position on rBGH, there is inconclusive evidence that drinking rBGH milk is harmful to human health. But they highlight two main concerns:

1) that rBGH milk may increase people's blood levels of growth hormone or insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)

2) that rBGH milk could cause cows to develop more udder infections, which means farmers are administering more antibiotics

With respect to No. 2, the overuse of antibiotics in livestock is a major concern because it is driving drug resistance -- not only in animals but humans too (and as we've heard, health officials are very worried about antibiotic resistance and a looming apocalyptic scenario).

As for No. 1, some studies have suggested links between IGF-1 and certain cancers. But according to the American Cancer Society, that link remains unclear -- and we don't know the extent to which IGF-1 in milk is absorbed by the human digestive tract.

Now, going back to what the Russian health official said -- there is this article that suggests IGF-1 may cause ovaries to produce more male hormones. Which, yes, is linked with hirsutism, or excess hair growth in women.

But until there is solid evidence linking rBGH milk and unwelcome facial hair, perhaps it would be best to take the Russian's milk mustache warning with a grain of salt. 


Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease -

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease - 

The modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema.

A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame.

‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said.

Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries.

 U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary.

Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are.

Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon.

How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease

The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections.

Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’

They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation.

They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans.

The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level.

Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells.

Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’

It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body.

It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance.

Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part.

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.

‘Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt.

‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’

The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin.

‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said.

‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’

Stick to Good Salts

Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet.

“These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.”

“In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.”

Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases.

Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US.

He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.


Chicago anchor loses it over report woman had gun hidden in vagina - and drugs in her bum... -

Chicago anchor loses it over report woman had gun hidden in vagina - and drugs in her bum... - 

A news anchor at a Chicago television station lost her composure on Wednesday following a report about a woman who had hidden a handgun in her vagina.

According to Oklahoma City’s KFOR, police in Ada arrested Christie Dawn Harris at the Dairy Lou Drive Inn on drug charges, and soon discovered why she kept repeating that she needed to go to the bathroom.

The female officer searching Harris noticed “something strange.”

“The officer observed the handle of a revolver sticking out from inside her body,” Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross told KFOR.

A police property report described the item as a “gun located in suspect vagina.”

The report said that the weapon was “loaded with three live rounds and one spent shell.”

“It was a five shot,” Ross explained. “It was loaded and as she turned around, she noticed more plastic baggies, larger plastic baggies wedged in the crack of her buttocks.”

“It would seem to be a very dangerous place to carry a loaded firearm,” he added. “If it goes off it’s only going one place.”

Both the revolver and the baggies full of methamphetamine were removed from the woman’s body.

During a Wednesday news broadcast on Chicago’s WGN-TV, the news team played a portion of the KFOR report.

“What?” anchor Robin Baumgarten exclaimed.

“The old caboose pistol, everybody has one,” anchor Larry Potash quipped.

At that point, Baumgarten lost control: “Did you just say, ‘caboose pistol’?”

“What are you getting all worked up over? Hey, don’t knock it until you try it,” an off-camera anchor replied.

“I know some women that could hide a machine gun in there,” Potash remarked. “I’m sorry, we’re getting off track.”

Watch this video from WGN-TV, broadcast Feb. 6, 2013

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