How to print these articles

There are several methods to print these articles.

Using notepad or text editor:

Select text you want to print, copy it to the clipboard using CTL-C. Paste into notepad or your favorite text editor using CTL-V. Use your text editor to print.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The good bacteria in your gut

It wasn't until recently that doctors and scientists knew how important the good bacteria in your gut are.  Gut microbiota live in the digestive tract of animals, and help them digest food as well as absorb vitamins. One study from UCLA shows that eating probiotics via yogurt can change how a person's brain works. There are many sources of probiotics in pill form but they are useless, the bacteria simply don't survive the drying out process.

From Wikipedia:
Gut microorganisms benefit the host by collecting the energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and the subsequent absorption of short-chain fatty acids. The most important of these fatty acids are butyrates, metabolised by the colonic epithelium; propionates by the liver; and acetates by the muscle tissue. Intestinal bacteria also play a role in synthesizing vitamin B and vitamin K as well as metabolizing bile acids, sterols and xenobiotics. 99% of the bacteria in the gut come from 30-40 species. Bacteria make up 60% of the dry weight of feces. The currently known genera of fungi of the gut flora include Candida, Saccharomyces, Aspergillus, and Penicillium.


70% of Upper Respiratory Infections are from viruses, not bacteria, so antibiotics will not help you most of the time. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to an imbalance of the gut bacteria, allowing bad bacteria to take over. More about gut flora and antibiotics:
Altering the numbers of gut bacteria, for example by taking broad-spectrum antibiotics, may affect the host's health and ability to digest food.[52] Antibiotics can cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) by irritating the bowel directly, changing the levels of gut flora, or allowing pathogenic bacteria to grow.
Fiber is said to encourage the growth of helpful gut microbiota, but you must eat it every day in enough quantity to be helpful.

Bacteria and cancer:
Some genera of bacteria, such as Bacteroides and Clostridium, have been associated with an increase in tumor growth rate, while other genera, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, are known to prevent tumor formation.

Gut bacteria and obesity:
The mutual influence of gut flora composition and weight condition is connected to differences in the energy-reabsorbing potential of different ratios of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, especially in the digestion of fatty acids and dietary polysaccharides, as shown by experiments[63] wherein the (caecum) gut flora of obese mice were transplanted into germ-free recipient mice, leading to an increase in weight despite a decrease in food consumption. The experimentation and results suggest bacteria specific to lean and obese genes can be a weapon in the fight against the obesity epidemic.

Fecal bacteriotherapy (or "poop pill") is an attempt to give a person with the wrong ratio of bacteria, a healthy set of bacteria. But so far the bacteria do not survive drying out, and a "fresh" pill is not so appetizing.

So be kind to your bacteria, do not take antibiotics unless you really have to, and eat more fiber to encourage the growth of good bacteria.


Does talc cause ovarian cancer?

Jury says Johnson and  Johnson must award $72 million to family of Jacqueline Fox, who died from ovarian cancer, and used talcum powder for many years in the genital area.

So, does talc cause ovarian cancer? And how often does it do so?

This page from cancer.org says there is no clear connection, or correlation, but there are a lot of studies on this page you can read up on. Some talc comes with asbestos which is naturally part of the talc deposit, but this asbestos-containing talc has been banned since the 1970s. When in doubt, avoid the substance entirely.

If you want to find free text of the whole study, here are some websites you can look through. The DOI number is a unique, universal number used to identify studies. Sometimes the DOI is all you need to search for a study.

UPDATE 3/1/16: A meta study of thousands of cases and controls. Thanks to my sister! Hi sis!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pesticides in your foods and how the US deals with the issue

The issue of pesticides in or on your food is important. Scientists do not know how long exposure to low levels of pesticides, or other chemicals, affect people and their health. In 1997 the US FDA tested 4501 domestic and 5342 imported food. According to this source, imported foods account for 10% of the US market. Imported foods come from 97 countries. Pesticides were found on 34% of the combined imported and domestic foods. Pesticide residues that violated FDA guidelines made up 1.2% of domestic foods, and 1.6% of foods imported to the US.

The issue of pesticides on imported foods is important because some countries do not have laws regarding pesticide residue on foods, or they simply don't enforce them. And some countries have more pesticide risk on their foods than others.

Some notes from a Consumer Reports article about pesticides on foods:
  1. The average American has 29 pesticides in their body. 
  2. Eating one serving of US green beans is 200x more risky than eating one serving of US-grown broccoli. 
  3. Consumer reports has a 31 page PDF paper entitled "From Crop To Table". It is a pdf that is free at the time of this blog post. 
Notes taken from "From Crop to Table".
  1. 10,000-20,000 pesticide poisonings are confirmed by doctors each year among 2 million farm workers. That's about 1% of farm workers.
  2. Studies show a correlation between fields where 2,4-D is used and people who live near these fields.  
  3. Almost all, but not all, pesticides are banned on US organic farms (page 25).
  4. PLU codes used on US produce are a standard code used to label produce in retail stores. A 4 digit code means it is not an organic product. A 5 digit code beginning with "9" means it is an organic product. (I am personally involved in making produce signs that use this PLU code.)
  5. Consumer Reports created a DRI (Dietary Risk Index) that takes into account the serving size of the food, the amount and frequency of the residues found, and other factors. 
  6. Starting on page 34, CR includes tables for each food and country of origin and calculates a DRI for each food based on the country, food, and farming method. Take a look, it's interesting. 
  7. Here are some non-organic fruits that are in the Very High risk category: peaches, tangerines, plums, nectarines, apples, strawberries. For a strawberry crop to remain profitable the farmers must use some pretty dangerous pesticides. Always wash foods thoroughly.  
  8. Here are some non-organic vegetables that are in the Very High risk category: green beans, sweet bell peppers, hot peppers. Here are veggies in the High risk category, excluding the duplicates from the Very High category: winter squash, cucumbers, summer squash, snap peas, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes. 
  9. This report also has DRI risk scores over time. Some scores have gone down (now with lower risk).
On this page is an interactive "wheel". Click on the food in the horizontal bar, and it will tell you the country or origin that is the safest for you (has the lowest DRI). For examples, apples from New Zealand have a lower DRI than apples from the US. This is why Country Of Origin Labeling laws, very much opposed by industry, are so important.

And why the EPA guidelines are broken:
In a 2010 report on environmental cancer risks, the President’s Cancer Panel (an expert committee that monitors the country’s cancer program) wrote: “The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals. … Many of these chemicals have known or suspected carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting properties.” Endocrine disruptors can block or mimic the action of hormones, even at low doses. “Endocrine effects aren’t sufficiently factored into the EPA pesticide-tolerance levels...”

Saturday, February 27, 2016

National Cancer Institutes admits marijuana kills cancer cells

Marijuana has been under a hysterical attack by the US gov't for decades now. Ask yourself, how many people high on pot have actually robbed a liquor store? None. How many people have died from an overdose of pot? None.

The US NCI now admits marijuana kills cancer cells. A direct link to an image of the site for backup.

The US makes it hard to even study the effects of pot, Europe has done more on this than the US. Don't expect the US to move forward with this. More studies need to be done about how it can be administered for each problem it solves.

More studies about pot from PubMed. Some may just be abstracts. On each abstract page look in the upper right of the page for "Full Text Links" and "View Full Text". Some abstracts have free full text on another website. Screenshot here of where "Full Text Links" is.

Free full studies about marijuana from PLOS.org.


Friday, February 26, 2016

TPP signed on Feb 3, 2016

On Feb 3, 2016 the TPP was signed by the 12 countries involved in it. Now the US congress has to pass a package of laws to implement the changes. I don't think this is a conspiracy, because a broken democracy, and corporate greed, I don't think are conspiracies.

Here's what the Electronic Frontier Foundation has to say about the TPP.
The twelve nations that negotiated the TPP are the U.S., Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam.

The IP chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of expression, right to privacy and due process, as well as hindering peoples' abilities to innovate. Other chapters of the agreement encourage your personal data to be sent borders with limited protection for your privacy, and allow foreign corporations to sue countries for laws or regulations that promote the public interest.

The entire process has shut out multi-stakeholder participation and is shrouded in secrecy.

Create copyright terms well beyond the internationally agreed period in the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The TPP could extend copyright term protections from life of the author + 50 years, to Life + 70 years for works created by individuals, and 70 years after publication or after creation for corporate owned works (such as Mickey Mouse). (In most cases, the copyright extends to the end of the year the copyright holder, or author, dies, plus 70 years. While this simplifies the current US law, it also takes some items OUT of the public domain for projects like Gutenberg.)
The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is putting fair use at risk with restrictive language in the TPP's IP chapter. Companies that adopt more user-friendly rules could also risk lawsuits by content industry investors who believe these rules limit their profits.
There is a copy of the Ch 18, Intellectual Property in html here. Ch 18 would print out at about 74 pages alone.


Links

I had a lot of trouble getting the version of the TPP that was actually signed. I live in the US and I had to get a copy from the New Zealand gov't.

  1. 2013 TPP from Wikileaks. Older version linked for posterity or research. 
  2. KEI online article from Nov 2015. Summarizes some of the problems, like an interpretation that would ban open source software. 
  3. A summary from Reddit
  4. A series of PDFs from the New Zealand gov't.
  5. From the US Trade Office. Also a series of PDFs. 
  6. TPPInfo.org. This might be the official TPP site. Brought to you by Public Knowledge.

If you know of html versions with links to chapters and subchapters please comment.


The Definition of Skeptic

The definition of skeptic seems to have changed over the years. In the 1980s this was the definition:

Someone who does not believe in something unless given reasonable evidence supporting an issue. Initially disbelieving but open-minded.
Now here are some modern definitions:
  • A person who questions or doubts something (such as a claim or statement) : a person who often questions or doubts things. Merriam-Webster.
  • A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion. Source.
  • 1. a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual. 2. a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others. Dictionary.com
  • 1. One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.2. One inclined to skepticism in religious matters. TheFreeDictionary.com.
In general, it's a good idea to question things, try to get confirmation. Don't be so open-minded your brains fall out, but don't be close-minded that no good ideas seep in. I.e. Question, but be reasonable. 

Some funny pictures

And now some funny pictures, captured at just the right moment.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Campbell's decides to label it's products with GMOs

The DARK act did not manage to become law but Campbell's will be labeling it's products if they contain GMOs or not. There is no evidence GMOs themselves cause harm, it's the Roundup sprayed on the GMOs that gets into the food system. My blog has covered this before with several studies listed.



World Trade Org ruled against India's solar program, and less pollution

It seems like the WTO is ruling for more pollution when it ruled against Indian's solar program. List of WTO related docs here.

India has named the solar program as a core component of its contribution to the Paris agreement to tackle climate change. But today, the WTO released its ruling against India's National Solar Mission, deciding that India's efforts to boost local production of solar cells violated WTO rules. Though India argued that the program helps the country to meet its climate commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the WTO rejected that argument.
It seems common sense should rule when we're talking about addressing climate change, but good, even great, ideas seem to get killed by technicalities.

It seems the US filed a complaint with the UN, from WTO document WT/DS456/R:
1.1.     On 6 February 2013 and 10 February 2014, the United States requested consultations with India pursuant to Articles 1 and 4 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU), Article XXII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), and Article 8 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs Agreement) with respect to the measures and claims set out below. 1   
You can read WT/DS456/R and decide for yourself.


Glyphosate found in urine

Glyphosate found in urine of all samples. Link to English. Dutch and French versions also available.

The urine of city workers, journalists and lawyers, who had no direct contact with glyphosate, was examined for glyphosate contamination by a research team at the University of Leipzig. The study found glyphosate in all urine samples at values ranging from 0.5 to 2 ng glyphosate per ml urine (drinking water limit: 0.1 ng / ml). None of the examinees had direct contact with agriculture.
Even more dangerous now is the increasing use of herbicides in the EU over the past several years for the desiccation of entire stocks of harvestable crop. “Spraying crops to death”, as desiccation should be more aptly called, means that herbicides are being sprayed directly on the crops shortly before they are to be harvested to facilitate the harvest by uniformly killing off all living plants (including the crops) on the field. 
In 2009, a Seralini study shows glyphosphate kills cell cultures.

Another study shows unhealthy people have extremely high levels of glyphosate in their urine.

A study showing glyphosate in breast milk. Monsanto claims glyphosate is excreted out of the body. This article debunks the study. You decide if the debunking shows science or politics is more important.

Glyphosate found in the blood in 2013 (pdf) of people from 18 different countries, 182 samples. Another study of how glyphosate affects blood cells. Website of study abstract here.

Hillary supports GMOs which use glyphosate.

2004 Study: Monitoring farms and their families for glyphosate. Some points:

  1. We evaluated 24-hr composite urine samples for each family member the day before, the day of, and for 3 days after a glyphosate application. 
  2. Sixty percent of farmers had detectable levels of glyphosate in their urine on the day of application. The geometric mean (GM) concentration was 3 ppb, the maximum value was 233 ppb, and the highest estimated systemic dose was 0.004 mg/kg. 
  3. Farmers who did not use rubber gloves had higher GM urinary concentrations than did other farmers (10 ppb vs. 2.0 ppb).
2013 News: EPA raises residue limits of glyphosate on food. Not good. Here's the actual document though comments are closed.

The EPA page on glyphosate. This EPA page has links to tolerance limits (from EPA), studies, and more. EPA limits on drinking water contaminants. For glyphosphate, scroll down to Organic Chemicals.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Seralini glyphosate study republished

Study republished in Environmental Sciences Europe. Critics of the study claimed the rats Seralini used were a special rat already prone to tumors. 'The known high incidence of tumours in the Sprague–Dawley strain of rat ”cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups”, [statement from Elsevier] added.' It's common in research to have special rats or mice with certain weaknesses, to study how things affect them. But in this case, the choice of rat strain was probably inappropriate.(Search for info on Sprague Dawley rats.)

From http://www.nature.com/news/paper-claiming-gm-link-with-tumours-republished-1.15463
The journal that originally published the paper3, Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), retracted it in a storm of criticism in November 2013 after Séralini’s team refused to withdraw it (see ‘Study linking GM maize to rat tumours is retracted’). A post-publication review of the paper found that “the data were inconclusive, and therefore the conclusions described in the article were unreliable.” However FCT found “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data”, according to the journal's publisher, Elsevier in Amsterdam.

Séralini's team had found that rats fed for two years with a glyphosate-resistant type of maize (corn) made by Monsanto developed many more tumours and died earlier than did control animals. It also found that the rats developed tumours when Roundup was added to their drinking water.
The issue with Roundup-resistant foods is that the Roundup label says the foods can be harvested 2 days after spraying. Surely this means some Roundup gets into foods. Roundup booklet pdf here.

If Roundup is so safe
  1. Why do they require you to wear shoes and socks? (Booklet PDF page 1, right column, under Precautionary Statements, then Personal Protective Equipment).
  2. Why does the Roundup booklet from Monsanto say this: "Wash hands before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or using the toilet." (PDF page 1)
  3. And why this? "Remove clothing immediately if pesticide gets inside. Then wash thoroughly and put on clean clothing."
  4. Why this warning? "Keep and wash PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) separately from other clothing." 
  5. And on page 2: "Do not apply directly to water, or in areas where water is present, to intertidal areas below the high water mark. Do not contaminate water when cleaning equipment or disposing of equipment wash waters." But studies showed it was safe in water!
  6. Still on page 2, left column, right below Non Agricultural Use Requirements: "Potatoes grown for seed are very sensitive to glyphosphate at extremely low concentrations. Exposure of the seed potato crop can cause germination failure or deformities."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What else is in this blog?

Over time I may expand the topics this blog includes. Perhaps I'll cover new foods, new ways to eat or grow food, inventions to cook food or get clean water, low-tech helper ideas, gardening, relationship advice, fracking, corporate welfare, corporate rigging, etc.

If you have any ideas you would like to share as a co-blogger, write up your article and let me know you want to post your article.


Ways to fight inflammation

From Arthritis.org: 

Cut salt
Cut sugar
Alcohol in moderation

Paper: The effects of diet on inflammation

Reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease with diet is possible. The main dietary strategies include
  1. Adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acides
  2. Reduce saturated and trans fats
  3. Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. 
  4. Eat less processed grains. 
Each of these strategies may be associated with lower generation of inflammation. This review examines the epidemiologic and clinical evidence concerning diet and inflammation. Dietary patterns high in refined starches, sugar, and saturated and trans-fatty acids, poor in natural antioxidants and fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and poor in omega-3 fatty acids may cause an activation of the innate immune system, most likely by an excessive production of proinflammatory cytokines associated with a reduced production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. The whole diet approach seems particularly promising to reduce the inflammation associated with the metabolic syndrome. The choice of healthy sources of carbohydrate, fat, and protein, associated with regular physical activity and avoidance of smoking, is critical to fighting the war against chronic disease.

 I.e. eat less processed food, more natural food.

Weight gain and sugar-sweetened beverages. Is there a link between sugar and weight gain? This paper looks at past studies for patterns. Full text is free, no account required.



Fun with health maps!

You didn't know obesity could be this fun, could you? Well, obesity is no laughing matter, but maps can be interesting. Some of these might require Javascript or Flash so make sure they are turned on in your browser first.

CountyHealthRankings.org: map many health issues by US county like obesity rate, adult smoking, inactivity, teen births, uninsured, high school graduation, unemployment, children in poverty, income inequality, violent crime, physical environment, air pollution, drinking water violations, severe housing problems, and more.

A US health map with time slider. Map many factors, one at a time, and see how they changed over time. Some of the items you can map: alcohol use (any at all, binge drinking, and more), hypertension (various factors), life expectancy, obesity, physical activity (various types), poverty, smoking (daily and total).

78% of Americans are overweight or obese. (WHO 2010). A world map showing how common obesity is by country. Look at which nations have the "western diet". Now Finland, north and west of Germany, does surprise me at 67% overweight and obese. On this map you can also see cholesterol levels and tobacco use.

WHO obesity and overweight maps.

CDC: 2014, 28.9 percent of Americans who are obese, average for US, and by state. You can also see other indictors like overweight (child or adult), and older years.

CDC: Obese people have higher medical costs as a group.

Not everyone who has a high BMI is unhealthy. These include body builders, football players (who tend to be large) and people who get regular exercise. There is correlation that overweight people are unhealthy, because many of them rarely exercise. That does not mean all overweight people are unhealthy.

Monsanto charged with crimes against humanity

Although this is from Dec 2015, it should not be forgotten:
Earlier this year, dozens of food, farming, and environmental justice groups announced they will put Monsanto on trial for “crimes against nature and humanity” on October 16, 2016 (World Food Day), in The Hague, Netherlands.

The steering committee1 for the Monsanto Tribunal includes Vandana Shiva, Corinne Lepage (former environment minister of France), Gilles-Éric Séralini (toxicologist researching toxicities of GMOs and glyphosate), and Olivier De Schutter (former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food), among others. See Monsanto-Tribunal.org.
CBS This Morning recently interviewed Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant about the lack of transparency when it comes to foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, and why the company spent $10 million to defeat GMO labeling in Colorado and Oregon alone. (GMO food labeling will allow people to make a choice. Monsanto is against choice.)

Monsanto is fine with science, as long as it doesn't decrease profits. So when IARC, the gold standard for studies, tried to interrupt Monsanto money, this happened:

On the list of “horrible” things Monsanto does on a regular basis: paying scientists to develop support for its toxins. When the IARC concluded that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, Monsanto was quick to demand a retraction, charging the internationally recognized experts with conducting “junk science.” This time the charge didn’t stick, however — probably because the IARC is considered the global gold standard for carcinogenicity studies. 

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/12/22/monsanto-charged-with-crimes-against-humanity.aspx

Monsanto has their own blog and responds to tribunal.

A German study from 2008 found glyphosate in the urine of ALL people. (German, English, French, and printable versions available for free.)

UPDATE 2/23/2016:
A summary of the IARC study was published in The Lancet Oncology. And here it is at Lancet Oncology, free full article. Alternate site.



Monday, February 22, 2016

Woman finds snake head in can of green beans

A woman in Utah was surprised to find a severed snake's head in a can of Western Family green beans.

Story here.

US congress considers updating food labels with added sugar content



(In order to understand the whole issue one needs to know the history of the issue, and a pattern of contempt of health, and massive negligence of the food industries. In this article from 2014, Campbell's opposes adding the added sugar amount to the label.)


In Washington, a pivotal battle over sugar is heating up. One small corner of the wider culture war over public health and sweeteners, this fight isn't about how much sugar should be in your food, but how much you should know about it.

U.S. food regulators say the public needs to know how much sugar manufacturers add to their products, beyond the sweetener that naturally occurs in the raw ingredients. Companies such as Campbell Soup Company oppose the addition. While the company says it supports better food labels, it warns that making a distinction in the source of sugar risks dangerous confusion.


From Feb 2014.


News: Mom sues over misleading product names

A San Diego mother is suing cereal companies, saying "misleading" marketing on "low-sugar" cereals mistakenly led her to believe she was giving her kids healthier breakfasts.

"It's deceiving," Jennifer Hardee said in an interview today on ABC News' "Good Morning America." "Parents think they're buying something healthier for their children, [only] to find out that they're not."

The low-sugar versions of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops, General Mills' Cocoa Puffs and Trix, and Post's Fruity Pebbles, have the same amount of calories, carbohydrates, fat, fiber and other nutrients as the regular versions of the cereals, according to a recent report by The Associated Press.

More info on sugar

Here's a quick look at the percent of sugar that many "healthy" foods have. Notice that a bbq sauce is composed of more sugar than ice cream!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wbLdODNGIvr_uHURTdICfemtMVliQloapK0Q5itvCOo/edit?usp=sharing

Here's a website that shows you how much sugar is in many US foods. http://www.fooducate.com/

They also have an app that you can use on the iPhone and Android. The Android app is available at http://play.google.com. I have been unable to find out if there is a cost for the app, but many foods one things are healthy, are really not. Check labels carefully.

Another quick way to judge the sugar content is look at the first 4 ingredients. Ingredients in the US are listed from most (by weight) to least. The first 4 ingredients will compose most of the product. If one or more of the first 4 ingredients is a form of sugar (glucose, fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, cane sugar, beet sugar, etc) then it's probably not good for you. Again, check labels carefully. Food companies in the US have fought heavily against any more truth in labeling when it concerns sugar or GMOs.

US public schools replacing soda machines with machines dispensing "juice" does not help the problem at all. The "juice" contains lots of added sugar, just as much as the soda.





Sunday, February 21, 2016

The cost of healthcare for multiple countries

"A teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams of sugar."

When trying to compare the amount a country spends on healthcare you just can't take their currency and convert it to dollars, you have to use a ratio of some kind, such as:
  • cost per citizen per year
  • total spending on healthcare vs GDP

Here's a graphic from National Geographic about the cost of healthcare vs the life expectancy. As you can see the US spends a HUGE amount of money with little increase in life span for it. In fact, US spending for healthcare is off the charts.


Here's a graphic about healthcare spending as a percent of GDP for many countries. Even countries with socialized medicine spend less per GDP, however their income taxes are also a bit higher than in the US.


How sugar affects your immune system, causation vs correlation

This page has a nice graphic that explains how sugar reduces the efficiency of your immune system.

http://alternativehealthatlanta.com/immune-system/sugar-and-your-immune-system/

When reading any piece of information, like a web page or a study, it's important to note the difference between correlation and causation. Years ago there was a big flap about aluminum possibly causing Alzheimer's disease. What the study said: "Aluminum found in x% of dead Alzheimer patient brains." What the journalist wrote: "ZOMG! Aluminum causes Alzheimer's!!!"

Americans panicked, people looked for deodorants without aluminum, and replaced their aluminum cooking pots and pans with something else.  These are the people who do not understand correlation vs causation. And the deodorant and pan companies made money off of them.

First of all, if someone uses "ZOMG" they are probably under the age of 16. Second, if a person uses more than one exclamation point in a paragraph, it's safe to assume they are over reactive, or trying to sell you something you don't need. In either of these cases you cannot trust the source.

There was some correlation between aluminum in dead brains and Alzheimer patients, but causation is much harder to prove, and causation was not proven in this case. Another possible correlation was 100% of the dead Alzheimer patients brains contained dihydrogen monoxide, a deadly chemical known to almost everyone. But this is correlation, not causation. No one showed that water killed these people. There was no cause and effect proven.

Here's another example. If you hold your hand over a lit candle flame, you will eventually get burned. Now that's a working theory at this point, but I think science has proven pretty well many times that excessive heat causes burns on human tissue. So it's a pretty good bet we have proven causation.

-----

"It takes only about 2 tablespoons of sugar to weaken the immune system by up to 92%."

Source: http://www.heathscience.org/sugar-research

Now look closely at that statement, which says "up to 92%". That's the worst case scenario, not the average case. Still, sugar is pretty bad. Most people eat too much, that's a big reason it's bad. 
 



Welcome to my blog!

This is my new blog. I want to cover mostly health issues, and how they related to individuals, and politics. I want to eventually set up an RSS feed so you can download content to a tablet or phone and read it that way too.

A note about labels I use for my blog posts. 
  1. app: an app for iPhone, Android or other portable device is mentioned.
  2. spreadsheet: a spreadsheet with data is mentioned.
  3. website: a website relating to health info, or a health utility is mentioned.
  4. sugar: blog post is mainly about sugar. 
  5. GMO: blog post is mainly about GMO products, studies, or issues.

RSS Feeds

We have syndication of FULL articles! Not partial articles. So when you download/update your RSS feed to this blog, you should get the WHOLE article to read offline. These are the RSS feed addresses:

  • Atom 1.0: http://chuckrblog.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
  • RSS 2.0: http://chuckrblog.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Stay tuned!