Stefani produces videos and immersive, interactive installations that explores the influences of corporate culture and industrial food production. Her current project works with gastroenterologist Dr. Braden Kuo at Harvard University where they just completed the first ever clinical study to use the M2A™ and SmartPill devices that look at how the human body responds to processed versus whole foods. She is an Honorary Resident at Eyebeam Art +Technology Center in New York and teaches in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design and in the Food Studies Program at The New School for Public Engagement.
‘Hidden Dangers’ of Mammograms Every Woman Should Know About
Millions of women undergo them annually, but few are even remotely aware of just how many dangers they are exposing themselves to in the name of prevention, not the least of which are misdiagnosis, overdiagnosis and the promotion of breast cancer itself.
A new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine titled, Long-term psychosocial consequences of false-positive screening mammography, brings to the forefront a major underreported harm of breast screening programs: the very real and lasting trauma associated with a false-positive diagnosis of breast cancer.
The study found that women with false-positive diagnoses of breast cancer, even three years after being declared free of cancer, “consistently reported greater negative psychosocial consequences compared with women who had normal findings in all 12 psychosocial outcomes.”
- Sense of dejection
- Negative impact on behavior
- Negative impact on sleep
- Degree of breast self-examination
- Negative impact on sexuality
- Feeling of attractiveness
- Ability to keep ‘mind off things’
- Worries about breast cancer
- Inner calm
- Social network
- Existential values
What is even more concerning is that “[S]ix months after final diagnosis, women with false-positive findings reported changes in existential values and inner calmness as great as those reported by women with a diagnosis of breast cancer.”
In other words, even after being “cleared of cancer,” the measurable adverse psychospiritual effects of the trauma of diagnosis were equivalent to actually having breast cancer.
Given that the cumulative probability of false-positive recall or biopsy recommendation after 10 years of screening mammography is at least 50%, this is an issue that will affect the health of millions of women undergoing routine breast screening.
The Curse of False Diagnosis and ‘Bone-Pointing’
Also, we must be cognizant of the fact that these observed ‘psychosocial’ and ‘existential’ adverse effects don’t just cause some vaguely defined ‘mental anguish,’ but translate into objectively quantifiable physiological consequences of a dire nature.
For instance, last year, a groundbreaking study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that, based on data on more than 6 million Swedes aged 30 and older, the risk of suicide was found to be up to 16 times higher and the risk of heart-related death up to26.9 times higher during the first week following a positive versus a negative cancer diagnosis.
This was the first study of its kind to confirm that the trauma of diagnosis can result in, as the etymology of the Greek word trauma reveals, a “physical wound.” In the same way as Aborigonal cultures had a ‘ritual executioner’ or ‘bone pointer’ known as a Kurdaitcha who by pointing a bone at a victim with the intention of cursing him to death, resulting in the actual self-willed death of the accursed, so too does the modern ritual of medicine reenact ancient belief systems and power differentials, with the modern physician, whether he likes it or not, a ‘priest of the body.’; we must only look to the well-known dialectic of the placebo and nocebo effects to see these powerful, “irrational” processes still operative.
Millions Harmed by Breast Screening Despite Assurances to the Contrary
Research of this kind clearly indicates that the conventional screening process carries health risks, both to body and mind, which may outstrip the very dangers the medical surveillance believes itself responsible for, and effective at, mitigating. For instance, according to a groundbreaking study published last November in New England Journal of Medicine, 1.3 million US women were overdiagnosed and overtreated over the past 30 years. These are the ‘false positives’ that were never caught, resulting in the unnecessary irradiation, chemotherapy poisoning and surgery of approximately 43,000 women each year. Now, when you add to this dismal statistic the millions of ‘false positives’ that while being caught nevertheless resulted in producing traumas within those women, breast screening begins to look like a veritable nightmare of iatrogenesis.
And this does not even account for the radiobiological dangers of the x-ray mammography screening process itself, which may be causing an epidemic of mostly unackowledged radiation-induced breast cancers in exposed populations.
For instance, in 2006, a paper published in the British Journal of Radiobiology, titled “Enhanced biological effectiveness of low energy X-rays and implications for the UK breast screening programme,” revealed the type of radiation used in x-ray-based breast screenings is much more carcinogenic than previously believed:
Recent radiobiological studies have provided compelling evidence that the low energy X-rays as used in mammography are approximately four times – but possibly as much as six times – more effective in causing mutational damage than higher energy X-rays. Since current radiation risk estimates are based on the effects of high energy gamma radiation, this implies that the risks of radiation-induced breast cancers for mammography X-rays are underestimated by the same factor.
Even the breast cancer treatment protocols themselves have recently been found to contribute to enhancing cancer malignancy and increasing mortality. Chemotherapy and radiation both appear to enrich the cancer stem cell populations, which are at the root of breast cancer malignancy and invasiveness. Last year, in fact, the prestigious journal Cancer, a publication of the American Cancer Society, published a study performed by researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center showing that even when radiation kills half of the tumor cells treated, the surviving cells which are resistant to treatment, known as induced breast cancer stem cells (iBCSCs), were up to 30 times more likely to form tumors than the nonirradiated breast cancer cells. In other words, the radiation treatment regresses the total population of cancer cells, generating the false appearance that the treatment is working, but actually increases the ratio of highly malignant to benign cells within that tumor, eventually leading to the iatrogenic (treatment-induced) death of the patient.
What we are increasingly bearing witness to in the biomedical literature itself is that the conventional breast cancer prevention and treatment strategy and protocols are bankrupt. Or, from the perspective of the more cynical observer, it is immensely successful, owing to the fact that it is driving billions of dollars or revenue by producing more of what it claims to be fighting.
The time has come for a radical transformation in the way that we understand, screen for, prevent and treat cancer. It used to be that natural medical advocates didn’t have the so-called peer-reviewed ‘evidence’ to back up their intuitive and/or anecdotal understanding of how to keep the human body in health and balance. That time has passed. GreenMedInfo.com, for instance, has over 20,000 abstracts indexed in support of a return to a medical model where the ‘alternative’ is synthetic, invasive, emergency-modeled medicine, and the norm is using food, herbs, minerals, vitamins and lifestyle changes to maintain, promote and regain optimal health.
You can learn more about this article at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/hidden-dangers-mammograms-every-woman-should-know-about
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Will Resveratrol Really Prevent Aging?
It’s almost impossible to avoid those internet ads urging you to buy resveratrol. They claim it’s the fountain of youth in supplement form. News stories tout resveratrol as a cure for various diseases as well as a preventative against aging. Is it true or just hype?
Researchers from the University of Florida reviewed the available research and concluded that it may be some of each. Study authors say that the polyphenol compound known as resveratrol may not prevent old age, but it might make it more tolerable.
While acknowledging the search for an anti-aging cure in a pill, the researchers admitted that it doesn’t exist. But they did find that resveratrol may lessen many of the “scourges and infirmities of old age.”
Reviewing the body of human clinical research on resveratrol, they found it has “anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.” But the authors admitted that more research is needed to determine its specific benefits.
The study, which appeared online in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, also examined results from thousands of laboratory studies with enzymes, cultured cells and laboratory animals.
The researchers found that despite numerous clinical studies on resveratrol’s beneficial effects on animals, there is little evidence that it benefits human health. That’s because there haven’t been as many studies on humans.
Resveratrol is a chemical compound found in certain plants that acts as an antibiotic to fight off both bacteria and fungus.
Although red wine is the best known dietary source of resveratrol, it is also found in raspberries, mulberries, blueberries, and cranberries. Few people realize that resveratrol is also found in peanuts, pine trees and in Japanese knotweed, from which most resveratrol supplements are derived.
Scientists began exploring the potential health benefits of resveratrol in 1992 when it was first found in red wine. It was thought to be a possible explanation of the “French Paradox,” or the observation that the French eat a high saturated fat diet and drink red wine, but do not suffer the same rates of heart disease as Americans.
Others disagree, attributing the cardiac health of the French to the very saturated fats that Americans fear. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, saturated fat has never really been proven to be linked to heart disease, despite the government’s consistent vilification of animal fats.
We do know that resveratrol acts as a powerful antioxidant. Oxidation causes cells to lose electrons and form “free radicals” that can cause cell damage. That in turn leads to various diseases.
Resveratrol and Breast Cancer
Various clinical trials have indicated that as a polyphenol – an antibiotic substance produced by plants as a defense against microorganisms – resveratrol prevents the growth of some cancers in mice.
A team of American and Italian scientists have suggested that this “healthy” ingredient in red wine also stops breast cancer cells from growing by blocking the growth effects of estrogen.
In a study published in The FASEB Journal, researchers found that resveratrol inhibits the proliferation of hormone resistant breast cancer cells. This has important implications for the treatment of women with breast cancer whose tumors eventually develop resistance to hormonal therapy.
The researchers treated different breast cancer cell lines with resveratrol and compared their growth with cells left untreated. They found an important reduction in cell growth in cells treated by resveratrol, while no changes were seen in untreated cells. Additional experiments revealed that this effect was related to a drastic reduction of estrogen receptor levels caused by resveratrol itself.
The Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal called the findings exciting and said that “scientists haven’t finished distilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural products such as red wine.”
Resveratrol and Alzheimer’s Disease
There are no human studies backing up the claim that resveratrol might extend life. Many believe it may have anti-aging properties based on studies showing that it increases the life-spans of yeast, worms, fruit flies, fish and mice.
But it may help avoid some diseases associated with aging. Research from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that resveratrol has the ability to neutralize the toxic effects of proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
The study was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. It shows that resveratrol selectively targets and neutralizes clumps of peptides or proteins that are bad and have been linked to Alzheimer’s, but leaves alone those that are benign.
Other research shows that resveratrol may:
- inhibit enzymes that cause inflammation;
- shrink tumors;
- reduce cardiovascular disease by increasing blood flow;
- extend the life of obese animals; and
- help regulate insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients.
Reason enough to enjoy a glass of red wine.
You can learn more about this article at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/will-resveratrol-really-prevent-aging
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Cinnamon’s Infection and Diabetes-Fighting Properties Revealed
Cinnamon’s medicinal potential is as rich and complex as its flavor and aroma, with blood sugar balancing and infection fighting top on the list.
Cinnamon is a familiar spice, but few are aware of just how diverse are its medicinal properties. The US National Library of Medicine houses well over 1300 abstracts on the subject of the various forms of cinnamon’s potential health benefits.
GreenMedInfo.com has gathered together research on no less than 60 potential health benefits of this highly valued spice on our research page dedicated to the topic: Cinnamon Medicinal Properties.
First, it must be clarified that there are a wide range of plants whose bark are sold as cinnamon. The first though less used form is known as Cinnamomum verum (literally “true cinnamon”) and is sometimes called Ceylon (the ancient name of Sri Lanka) cinnamon, as it is named after the geographic region where it was first commonly cultivated. Due to its rarity, it is more expensive and harder to find on the market.
Other forms include:
- C. cassia (Cassia or Chinese cinnamon)
- C. burmannii ( Indonesian cinnamon)
- C. loureiroi (Vietnamese cinnamon)
One of the major differences between C. verum and varieties such as C. burmannii and C. cassia is that the latter types contain much higher levels of coumarin, a naturally occurring phytochemical with blood-thinning properties. This has prompted European health agencies to warn against consuming large amounts of cinnamon varieties such as cassia.[i] Natural blood-thinning activity, of course, within the proper context can be life-saving, but when mixed with already dangerous blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin, can be a recipe for disaster – all the more reason why folks using spices and herbs in ‘pharmacological’ or heroic doses should consult a medical herbalist, or physician with a nuanced understanding of the benefits and potential harms of using high-dose herbal therapies.
Another issue that the US buyer of spices must be fully aware of is the likelihood that unless explicitly labeled USDA certified organic the cinnamon they are purchasing was exposed to toxic levels of gamma irradiation in a controversial process known as “electronic” or “cold” pasteurization. To learn more about this serious threat to our food supply read: The Invisible Nuclear Threat in Non-Organic Food.
Lastly, be mindful of the differences between the powdered whole herb, various water or alcohol extracts, and the oil itself. Some of the studies below focus on solely the oil component (90% of the oil is the therapeutic substance known as cinnamaldehyde) whereas others use water soluble components. The information listed below is not provided as medical advice but to illustrate the vast potential natural substances have to be used in a therapeutic manner.
Blood Sugar Disorders
Probably the most well-known health benefit of cinnamon is for blood sugar disorders. And this is for good reason. There is now a rather substantial body of clinical and preclinical research showing that it may help to improve the condition of both type 2 and type 1 diabetics in the following ways:
- Type 2 diabetics: Improve fasting blood sugar,[ii] reduce glycated hemoglobin (A1C) and blood pressure,[iii] increase glucose optimization in a manner similar to metformin,[iv][v]improve insulin signaling and sensitivity,[vi] [vii] and improve blood lipid profiles.[viii]
- Type 1 diabetics: Protect against hypertension,[ix] protect against diabetes-associated kidney damage,[x] suppress post-meal blood sugar elevations,[xi] and contribute to ongoing reduction in blood sugar.[xii]
While there is extant folk medical lore indicating that honey mixed with cinnamon can help relieve a sore throat, or fight off infection, few realize it has been confirmed to have extensive anti-infective properties against a wide range of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
It makes sense that cinnamon bark would protect against infection, as one of the major biological functions of plant bark is defense against predation (i.e. infection).
What follows is an impressive range of pathogens that appear to succumb to cinnamon:
- Aspergillus niger[xiii]
- Campylobacter Infections[xiv]
- Candida Infection[xv]
- Coronaviridae (SARS-associated) Infections[xvi]
- Escherichia coli Infections[xvii]
- H1N1 Infection[xviii]
- Head Lice[xix]
- HIV Infections[xx]
- Insect Bites: Repellent[xxi]
- Klebsiella Infections[xxii]
- Legionnaires’ disease[xxiii]
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa[xxv]
- Staphylococcal Infections[xxvi]
Like many natural spices that have been used for thousands of years, we are only now just beginning to comprehend through scientific research how important they are in not simply flavoring our foods but helping keep us free of disease.
To learn more about this article go to: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/cinnamons-infection-and-diabetes-fighting-properties-revealed-0
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New Study Signals Wheat-Autism Link
As the autism epidemic continues to accelerate, one of the least well known contributing factors goes mostly unnoticed: wheat consumption.
A new study published in the open access journal PLoS is reinvigorating the debate over what are the primary causes of the accelerating autism epidemic. Whereas too many within the conventional medical establishment, failing to identify a singular cause, apathetically label the condition “idiopathic,” i.e. cause unknown, or worse, “caused by unknown defective genes,” there is a growing awareness that a multitude of environmental factors including vaccines, chemical exposures, C-sections, antibiotics, genetically modified food, and food intolerances are essential in both understanding and treating this disturbing affliction.
The point therefore is not to prove one thing the cause (e.g. “autism genes”), and another not the cause (e.g. vaccines), as if it were strictly some kind of academic sport or past time, rather, to acknowledge possible contributing factors, and eliminate them whenever possible as a precaution.
The new study titled, “Markers of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity in Children with Autism,” explored the possible association between gluten sensitivity and autism, which previous research has confirmed only inconsistently.[i]
They described their aim as follows: “[T]o assess immune reactivity to gluten in pediatric patients diagnosed with autism according to strict criteria and to evaluate the potential link between autism and celiac disease.”
They discovered that children with autism had significantly higher levels of IgG antibodies to gliadin, the primary immunotoxic protein in wheat, compared with healthy controls. They also found that the IgG anti-gliadin antibody response was significantly greater in the autistic children with gastrointestinal symptoms in comparison to those without them. The elevated IgG antibodies indicate: 1) that their immune systems are identifying gliadin proteins as “other.” 2) that gliadin is not being properly broken down through digestive processes and are entering through a compromised intestinal tract (“leaky gut”) into the blood.
It has been theorized that when the immune system forms antibodies against gliadin, these antibodies cross react with self-structures within the nervous system. Known as molecular mimicry, this break down of immunological self-tolerance can contribute to wide range of neurological problems including neuropathy, ataxia, seizures, and neurobehavioral changes including mania, schizophrenia and autism. Anti-gliadin antibodies are therefore a possible cause of autoimmune neurological damage. One study published in the Journal of Immunology in 2007 found that anti-gliadin antibodies crossreact with the neurological protein class known as synapsin I, providing a molecular mechanism behind how an immune reaction to gliadin could contribute to neurological degeneration.
Beyond Celiac Disease: Wheat Causes Far More Harm Than Commonly Understood
When the researchers looked at levels of celiac disease specific blood markers (i.e. antibodies to deamidated gliadin and TG2), they did not differ between patients and controls. Moreover, there was no observed association between the HLA-DQ2 genetic locus of celiac disease susceptibility and increased anti-gliadin antibodies. This is an important finding, as many look upon wheat intolerance or sensitivity as a rare disorder without a clearly defined mechanism of action like celiac disease. They would rather not believe that wheat, which is a glorified grain in wealthier countries, could contribute to a wide range of diseases. Our project, for instance, has identified over 200 potential adverse health effects of gluten consumption. One does not therefore have to have classically defined celiac disease, or “wheat allergy,” to experience adverse effects associated with gluten-grain consumption.
The authors of the study concluded:
A subset of children with autism displays increased immune reactivity to gluten, the mechanism of which appears to be distinct from that in celiac disease. The increased anti-gliadin antibody response and its association with GI symptoms points to a potential mechanism involving immunologic and/or intestinal permeability abnormalities in affected children.
You can learn more about this article at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/new-study-confirms-wheat-autism-link-0
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