Sounds like familiar advice that’s been passed down from generation to generation. But as it turns out, it’s not always the fighting, but rather the way you fight that can have a negative — or a positive — effect on your children.
Researchers E. Mark Cummings and Patrick Davies have studied this topic for decades. They say hearing parents argue in a positive, constructive way can actually boost a child’s development, from learning better social skills to doing better in school.
On the other hand, whether you go behind closed doors to fight or argue in front of your kids, if you do it in a mean-spirited way, you create a stressful environment that can affect their psychological development. It can also lead to behavioral problems, especially if kids are drawn into the arguments. Kids also get the wrong message when one parent tries to stop fights by giving in, especially if he or she is resentful or simply shuts down communication.
Taking a positive approach to arguments is better for kids and your relationship. Rather than having the mindset of an adversary prepared for battle, look at the situation from your partner’s point of view to understand his or her perspective. If both of you do this, it will be easier to find solutions. Whether the fight is over a transgression or a difference in opinion, resist being critical and show kindness, an important behavior to model to your children that teaches them how to handle difficult situations in their own lives.
If you are planning a romantic dinner that will lead to an intimate rendezvous, experts advise to choose your menu wisely.
“Certain foods lower your libido or sex drive,” Dr. Jamie Turndorf, aka Dr. Love, a leading psychotherapist, media personality, and an expert on dialing up desire, tells Newsmax. “For example, if you are planning to go to dinner and a movie, skip the diet soda and popcorn. Diet soda containing aspartame blocks serotonin production and that crushes the sex drive in both men and women. The acid that lines popcorn bags in microwaved popcorn also trashes the sex drive and over time can create prostate issues which causes even more damage.” (Many theaters don’t microwave their popcorn, so apply this knowledge to snacks at home.)
According to The Daily Meal, in both men and women the hormone testosterone drives much of the human libido. Dr. Michael Hirt, founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine in California’s San Fernando Valley says, “Low testosterone means a lower sex drive.”
Here are some foods (and drinks) that lower your libido;
Alcohol. Hirt says booze can seriously interfere with a man’s ability to perform. And it also does a double whammy by lowering your testosterone.
Shrimp. That sexy shrimp cocktail may be the victim of pesticide spraying that disrupts hormones, says Turndorf. “Elevated estrogen levels destroy a woman’s sex drive and make men estrogen dominant rather than testosterone dominant, which will lower their libido.”
Bottled water. According to The Daily Meal, the BPAs found in plastic bottles can seriously affect virility and fertility. BPAs are also present in reusable water bottles and can also cause erectile dysfunction.
Canned soup. Most canned soups contain outrageous amounts of sodium, which can lead to elevated blood pressure and diminished blood flow to the organs, including the penis.
Deli meats. Sliced meat from your favorite deli may come packaged in PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. The meat may absorb the PVC, which causes undesirable hormonal changes.
Weed. Smoke or eat marijuana and say “sayonara” to sex, says Turndorf. Testosterone levels tank for up to 24 hours after marijuana use or consumption.
Soy products. Munching on trendy edamame beans or other soy-based products that are genetically modified can lower estrogen levels in women and sperm counts in men.
Fried foods. The hydrogenated oils used to fry many foods may lower testosterone levels, says The Daily Meal.
Red Meats. According to Cosmopolitan, some red meats contain added hormones or antibiotics which can unbalance a man’s natural hormones levels if eaten in large quantities.
Mints. Surprisingly, the menthol in mints tends to lower testosterone, which in turn lowers the sex drive.
Early Risers May Be a Little Less Likely to Get Breast Cancer
If you’re a woman who greets the early morning with a smile, new research delivers good news — you have a slightly reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
For night owls and people who tend to sleep more than the usual seven to eight hours nightly, the analysis suggested a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.
“Sleep does impact health,” said study co-author Caroline Relton, a professor at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.
“The study found evidence for a protective effect of morning preference on breast cancer risk,” she said.
What the study team couldn’t tease out from the data was exactly why your sleep type — early bird or night owl — could affect your risk of breast cancer.
Eva Schernhammer, author of an editorial accompanying the study, said “one possible mechanism could relate to the misalignment between internal and external clocks.” She is chair of epidemiology at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria.
The disruption of a normal circadian rhythm can impact how the body functions. An example is the normal variation of melatonin levels, Schernhammer said in her editorial. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone.
Dr. Daniel Barone, a sleep specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, said that melatonin is a powerful antioxidant.
“If you’re reducing melatonin, that could potentially lead to an inflammatory response in the body,” he said. (Inflammation has been linked to cancer and other health conditions.)
Both Barone and Schernhammer pointed out that night-shift work has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Diet may be one reason why. He said it’s harder to find nutritious food options at night, and night-shift workers may get food from places like vending machines. Diet can impact heart disease and breast cancer risk.
The new analysis looked at two large groups of data, which included about 400,000 women altogether.
Previous studies had asked women about their sleep type — whether they preferred morning or evening, how long they slept, and whether or not they had insomnia.
But these researchers controlled the data to account for other factors that can affect breast cancer risk, including obesity, family history of breast cancer, alcohol use and smoking.
Women who said they were “morning people” were slightly less likely to develop breast cancer. The researchers said that early birds had about one less case of breast cancer per 100 women than did night owls.
So, should night owls be worried?
Maybe not just yet, said breast cancer surgeon Dr. Alice Police.
“This study suggests that there may be a lower incidence of breast cancer in ‘morning people,'” she said, but noted that the data in the study is “vague.”
“Until we understand other correlations, such as obesity rates and exercise rates in morning people versus night owls, I do not think definitive conclusions can be drawn,” Police added. She’s the Westchester regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
Relton agreed that more research is needed, particularly to figure out the underlying reason why morning people seem to have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
In the meantime, she said it’s possible that changing your sleep times to become more of a morning person might change your risk, though more research is necessary before doctors could make a specific recommendation.
If you’d like to try to get some shuteye earlier in the night, sleep expert Barone said the best change you could make is to limit “blue light” at night.
“Any screen you can look at without an additional light on is blue light, and blue light tells our brains that the sun is out and we should shut off melatonin production. Shut off blue light a good hour or so before bed to help keep the body more in tune with what it’s designed to do,” he said.
If you have trouble sleeping, taking a melatonin supplement a half-hour or so before bed can help, Barone noted.
If you’re wondering what else you might do to reduce the risk of breast cancer, editorial author Schernhammer said, “A woman should be more concerned about other, more established, breast cancer risk factors.”
Relton agreed, explaining that risk factors such as alcohol intake and obesity increase the risk of breast cancer much more than your sleeping pattern might.
Are genetically engineered food and lab-grown meat the most sustainably regenerative choices available? Impossible Foods, creator of the meatless bleeding Impossible Burger, made with GMO soy, would like you to think so. After the release of its 2019 Impact Report,5 senior manager of impact strategy, Rebekah Moses, told FoodNavigator-USA:6
“We have done a tremendous amount of diligence and we’re confident that in using GMO soy, we are not taking a step backward in terms of sustainability.
Soy is really high yielding, it’s a good source of protein and it’s more efficient than wheat. You get so much more protein in a given harvest vs the amounts of water, energy and inputs needed to grow it.
Everything is very field-based, but at a high level, there is very little difference if any difference in the environmental impact of conventional vs herbicide tolerant soy and in some cases using herbicide tolerant soy enables you to adopt more sustainable practices such as the ability to reduce tillage, which is a win for the soil.
Similarly, the chemicals you spray to manage pests — that includes insects and weeds — in herbicide tolerant crops are lower toxicity than the alternatives [used to grow conventional soy].”
Impossible Foods takes aim at regenerative farming
Impossible Foods also points out that since meat from cows require about 30 pounds of corn and soy for every pound produced, GMO soy burgers reduce the net use of herbicides.
However, while this is true for livestock raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), it’s absolutely not the case for organic grass fed beef production, as pastured cattle eat grasses and never lay a nose to GMO grains of any kind.
So, while GMO soy burgers may have an environmentally competitive advantage over CAFO beef, it cannot compete with regenerative grazing as far as herbicide usage (or toxicity thereof) is concerned.
Despite such well-established facts, Impossible Foods takes aim directly at regenerative ranching in its report, claiming grass fed cattle ranching generates higher amounts of greenhouse gas emissions than cows raised in CAFOs.7,8 What it fails to include is evidence9 showing grass fed ranching actually has net negative emissions after all relevant factors are taken into account.
Is fake food really the answer we’re looking for?
Impossible Foods’ impact report is hard to reconcile with other established data showing GMO soybean and corn farms are a primary source of water10 and air pollution.11 GMO soybeans and corn have also been identified as primary destroyers of grasslands and forests.12,13
Regenerative grazing is also a key activity required for the optimal sequestering of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into our rangelands and pasturelands, while GMO soy production is associated with resistant super weeds14 and super pests and uncontrollable cross contamination.
Impossible Burger also skirts the issue of nutrition by focusing solely on the intake of protein in general, ignoring the fact that grass fed beef contains a complex mix of nutrients (including healthy fats) and cofactors you simply cannot recreate by mixing together an assortment of plant-based components.
GMO soy linked to ecological devastation
To learn more about the ecological impact of soy, check out the Greenpeace documentary “Soy: In the name of progress.” Also take a look at Dan Charles’ 2013 NPR article,15 “Pictures don’t lie: Corn and soybeans are conquering U.S. grasslands.” He writes, in part:
“Grasslands are disappearing … They’re being replaced by fields of corn and soybeans … A study16published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows actual pictures — derived from satellite data — of that changing landscape.
The images show that farmers in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska converted 1.3 million acres of grassland into soybean and corn production between 2006 and 2011.
‘This is kind of the worst-kept secret in the Northern Plains. We just put some numbers on it,’ says Christopher Wright, from South Dakota State University, who got funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy to take a close look at this phenomenon …
Wright’s images are striking, and these changes are having profound effects on the environment of this region. For instance, it’s bad news for wildlife, because corn fields are much less inviting habitat for a wide range of wild creatures, from ground-nesting birds to insects, including bees.
Corn and soybean fields are increasingly encroaching into the Prairie Pothole region of the Dakotas and Minnesota, the most important breeding habitat for waterfowl in North America.
In southern Iowa, Wright says, much of the land conversion is taking place on hillsides. The soil of those fields, without permanent grass to hold it in place, is now much more likely to wash into streams and ponds.”
Modern agriculture largely responsible for death of our oceans
Chemical runoff is indeed among the most significant threats posed by these gigantic monocrop fields. As noted by National Resources Defense Council:17
“Nutrient pollution, caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in water or air, is the number-one threat to water quality worldwide and can cause algal blooms, a toxic soup of blue-green algae that can be harmful to people and wildlife.”
Similarly, a June 11, 2019 PBS News Hour article18 warns that “A ‘dead zone’ the size of Massachusetts could hit the Gulf this summer,” based on the latest forecast19 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“If this prediction holds true, this event would be the second largest on the list of Gulf dead zones in more than three decades,” PBS reports, noting this dead zone “would be 50% larger than the average seen in the last five years.”
The reason for the massive increase in algal blooms that kill marine life by sucking up all the oxygen is blamed on heavy rainfall increasing chemical runoff from fertilizer-enriched farmland — in the case of the Gulf, farmland surrounding the Mississippi River. As reported by The Washington Post:20
“Analyses from U.S. Geological Survey monitors in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya watersheds showed that discharge from these rivers was 67 percent greater than the 1980-2018 average. The amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus spilling into the Gulf were 18 percent and 49 percent above average, respectively.”
What’s more, “Even if nitrogen runoff was eliminated today from the Mississippi River, a 2018 study in the journal Science found, it would take at least 30 years for the Gulf dead zone to recover,” The Washington Post notes.21
Savory Institute responds to Impossible Foods’ attack
Impossible Foods specifically mentions the Savory Institute in its report, boldly claiming that Savory’s regenerative grazing theories have been “thoroughly debunked.” In response, the Savory Institute issued a statement saying:22
“This is not the first, nor will it be the last, attempt to discredit Holistic Management as a sleight-of-hand for promoting and profiting off of large scale industrial agriculture …
Claims that our work has been ‘debunked’ disregard not just the millions of acres that have been regenerated globally and the tens of thousands of farmers, ranchers, and pastoralist communities who have stewarded this land transformation and witnessed it firsthand …
[T]hey also overlook the growing body of peer-reviewed evidence documenting that properly-managed livestock can be a net positive for grassland ecosystems,23carbon drawdown,24wildlife habitat,25 and rural communities.26”
Savory also highlights a third-party lifecycle analysis27 (LCA) of a holistic ranch, showing properly grazing livestock “when taking a full accounting of all greenhouse gases in and out of their farming operation,” is a net carbon sink. As noted in the analysis, “Carbon footprint evaluation of regenerative grazing at White Oak Pastures”:28
“Traditional LCAs don’t account for soil carbon sequestration and therefore don’t take into account the full carbon story for regenerative agriculture systems … Soil samples were taken and evaluated to quantify soil carbon sequestration and allow a highly credible inclusion of this information into the LCA …
As there is little information published on this topic and the outcomes challenge much conventional thinking on beef’s carbon footprint, careful consideration should be given to the conclusions and messaging.”
According to this analysis — notably performed by the very same company that conducted Impossible Burger’s LCA — the carbon footprint of beef from White Oak Pastures is 111% lower than conventional CAFO beef, as the “system effectively captures soil carbon, offsetting a majority of the emissions related to beef production.”
Regenerative grazing creates net carbon sink
All things considered, including enteric emissions, manure emissions, soil carbon capture, vegetation carbon, miscellaneous farm activities, slaughter and transport, the total net carbon emissions from the beef production on White Oak Pastures was found to be a negative 3.5 kilos of carbon emissions per kilo of fresh meat, making this integrated, holistic system six times more carbon efficient than the average CAFO production model. Importantly, as noted by Savory:29
“What Impossible Burger seems to have conveniently omitted is that their GMO soy-based product is still a net carbon emitter in comparison to White Oak’s properly-managed livestock that create a net carbon sink.
Could it be that GMO soy-based Impossible Burger feels threatened by the regenerative movement? In a world where current agricultural practices have eroded soils to the point of having less than 60 harvests left (according to the UN FAO30), the solution is not to maximize efficiencies in the broken, extractive, industrial model …
Rather, as environmentally-conscious businesses and individuals, we must address the root cause and adopt land management practices that honor the symbiotic relationships of plants and animals. One cannot exist without the other, so we must reevaluate our preconceived notions and return to farming in nature’s image.”
White Oaks Pastures invites Impossible Foods for a visit
Will Harris, owner of White Oaks Pastures and president of the American Grassfed Association, has taken matters a step further, issuing an open invitation to Impossible Foods’ officials to visit his farm to get a thorough understanding of how regenerative grazing actually works. In a statement, Harris writes:31
“As an independent professional rancher, who has practiced regenerative land management on our family farm for more than 20 years, I can state unequivocally that Impossible Burger’s claims about regenerative grazing are incorrect.
Not only is our business financially successful on a large scale, but we are accumulating data showing that our practices are enhancing the carbon sequestration potential of the soil on the lands we manage.
Today I am publicly inviting Impossible Foods representatives to visit my farm and see for themselves the many social, economic and environmental benefits of regenerative grazing.
I would be grateful to share our recent Life Cycle Assessment that clearly demonstrates that the carbon footprint of our farm results in a positive impact on the environment — a claim that imitation meat companies cannot make.”
Meat replacement companies need to demonstrate superiority
On his website, Harris also highlights some of the other benefits of regenerative farming and why we need it:32
“Land is meant to be a living thing. It contains the natural order of all living things: Life, Growth, Death, Decay, Life, Growth, Death, Decay. The land is our teacher. Looking back to the evolution of our ecosystem informs the way we manage land today.
The energy cycle, carbon cycle, mineral cycle, microbe cycle, water cycle have all co-evolved with plants, microbes, and animals since our planet’s creation. Our passion is to create an environment that allows these cycles to flow freely: microbes feed plants which feed the animals which spread urine and feces to microbes which feeds the plants which feed the animals.”
Just how exactly does cultivating fake meat in an industrial facility improve the ecology of our environment? Again, we’re not just talking about which strategy is the least destructive, we’re talking about which one actually improves the environment the most.
“Talk is cheap” they say, and in the case of Impossible Burger’s claims that certainly rings true. They (and other meat replacement companies) really need to tangibly demonstrate how their system is better, overall, and not just on some minor point, than the regenerative system.
Grazing livestock is integral to ending ecological destruction
In the podcast above, Sustainable Dish interviews Ronnie Cummins, executive director and co-founder of the Organic Consumers Association, about the importance of grass fed livestock farming for climate stability, environmental health, sustainability and regeneration.
As explained in many previous articles, livestock are important components that make farming truly regenerative, as they help build healthy soils. Lab-derived meat substitutes do not actually contribute anything to this healthy ecological cycle.
When animals are raised according to regenerative agriculture, a healthy ecosystem is produced and then more or less effortlessly maintained. So, eating meat is not synonymous with environmental harm; it’s industrial farming practices — CAFOs — that inflict the damage.
Some also believe eating meat means ripping out more forests so animals can graze, but I’m certainly not advocating for that. U.S. cropland is currently dominated by a two-crop planting cycle of corn and soybeans, largely for animal feed. Like CAFOs, these monocrops are devastating the environment, and even though they’re plant foods, they are part of the problem, not the solution.
Getting rid of these large swaths of corn and soy fields — which are laden with chemicals and largely devoid of life — is key, as is reverting them back to what they were before, namely grasslands for grazing animals.
Grasslands are key to fixing many environmental problems, and herbivores are a necessary part of this ecosystem. By mimicking the natural behavior of migratory herds of wild grazing animals — meaning allowing livestock to graze freely, and moving the herd around in specific patterns — farmers can support nature’s efforts to regenerate and thrive.
Long-term health effects of fake meat are still unknown
Aside from the fact that fake meat production doesn’t have any regenerative capabilities that would benefit the ecosystem, there’s also the issue of health effects. A number of studies have highlighted the risks of ultraprocessed foods, showing they raise your risk of cancer, and the more ultraprocessed foods you eat, the greater your risk.
In one,33,34,35,36 which included 104,980 participants followed for an average of five years, 18.74% of the men’s diet and 18.71% of women’s was ultraprocessed, and each 10% increase in ultraprocessed food raised the cancer rate by 12%, which worked out to nine additional cancer cases per 10,000 people per year.
The risk of breast cancer specifically went up by 11% for every 10% increase in ultraprocessed food. While sugar and unhealthy fats are key staple ingredients suspected of causing these effects, there’s reason to believe fake meat might have a similar impact, for a number of reasons.
For starters, the Impossible Burger meat substitute is the epitome of a highly-processed food — seeing how it’s manufactured from start to finish, and involves the use of man-made ingredients — placing it squarely in the higher-risk category.
Secondly, GMO soy has been shown to have a number of health risks all by itself. Third, the human body is not designed to process fake meat and there’s no telling what the long-term health ramifications might be. Even the liberal U.S. Food and Drug Administration has raised concerns over the soy leghemoglobin in the Impossible Burger being a possible human allergen.37,38,39
Fourth, GMO soy is loaded with glyphosate, the health risks of which are of increasing concern as it’s now being found in most processed foods, including non-GMO foods. Recent testing by Moms Across America (MMA) revealed concerning levels of glyphosate in the Impossible Burger.40
Fake meat isn’t about humanitarianism; it’s about profit
You really need to question the rationale for creating expensive fake meat alternatives when a far less expensive and more reasonable answer is readily available. What’s worse, fake meats may ultimately create more problems than they solve, as laboratory derived meat substitutes are not part of the ecological cycle and health hazards are as yet entirely unknown.
This basic lack of understanding affects safety regulations pertaining to processing and manufacturing as well. Commenting on the open questions pertaining to fake chicken production, Al Almanza, former acting deputy undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, noted that we still do not know “what’s normal or abnormal, and thus potentially unsafe, in a cultured-chicken plant.”41
Without this knowledge, food inspectors have no idea what to look for, companies cannot devise and implement proper safety protocols and regulators cannot make regulations to ensure safety. The same applies to fake beef,
In its report “From Lab to Fork: Critical Questions on Laboratory-Created Animal Product Alternatives,”42 released in June 2018, Friends of the Earth calls for more stringent safety assessments, regulations and labeling requirements.
The report highlights a number of health and safety concerns and environmental impacts hidden beneath “climate-friendly” claims. It also points out the lack of substantiation for “clean meat,” “animal-free,” “plant-based” and “sustainable” claims.43
All in all, it seems that, contrary to the PR being churned out, the creation of fake meat products is not about feeding the world or eliminating animal suffering. It’s about dominating billionaires looking to put patents on the food system.
Go grass fed, not lab bred
While many view lab-created meat substitutes as the lesser of two evils when comparing it to the CAFO meat that currently dominates the market, taking nature out of the equation altogether is not the answer, especially since holistic herd management is an integral part of the regenerative agriculture equation.
Ultimately, creating fake food is not the answer to solving the problems associated with conventional meat. For health reasons as well as ecological reasons, I recommend skipping the meat alternatives and opting for real beef raised the right way instead.
When you do shop for meat, go to a local organic farmer or look for Demeter (biodynamic) and American Grassfed Association (AGA) certifications. Both indicate high-quality, sustainable and environmentally sound food.
Hawaii Warns Tourists Of Parasitic Worm That Can Burrow Into Human Brains
If you have plans to go to Hawaii this summer, take note! The state’s health department has recently released warnings about a parasitic worm capable of infecting humans and affecting the brain and spinal cord. While you might be determined to prevent anything from ruining your island vacation, this squirmy bugger just might!
What’s Happening with the Parasitic Worm in Hawaii?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been three brand new cases of United States mainland adults infected with this brain worm while visiting Hawaii Island. These three cases were completely unrelated, become infected at different times, and all lived in different places. They bring the state’s case total to 5 infections in 2019 and 10 infections in 2018. These numbers don’t represent the 17 confirmed cases that occurred back in the year 2017 or the two recorded cases in the previous decade. According to officials, this new eruption in parasitic worm infections is due to a boom in the population of semi-slugs, a carrier of the worm.
What Is Hawaii’s Parasitic Worm?
Disgust is any reasonable person’s reaction to hearing about any kind of parasitic worm! But it might be worth your while to learn a bit about them. In all of the Hawaii cases, the particular parasite was the rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis). As their name suggests, this nasty creature usually makes its home inside the lungs of rats. Females lay eggs there and then young worms abandon their nest soon in order to discover their own home.
Nature takes its somewhat revolting course when the larvae get coughed up the rat’s airway, then swallowed and passed through their digestive system. Snails, slugs, and other feces-eating bugs soon become intermediate hosts until new rodents eat these infested mollusks. Prepubescent parasites make their temporary home in the rat’s brain until they’re mature enough to resettle and reproduce in the lungs.
According to the State of Hawaii Department of Health, “You can get angiostrongyliasis by eating food contaminated by the larval stage of A. cantonensis worms. In Hawaii, these larval worms can be found in raw or undercooked snails or slugs. Sometimes people can become infected by eating raw produce that contains a small infected snail or slug, or part of one.”
How to Prevent a Rat Lungworm Infection
Diagnosing a rat lungworm infection is difficult. Some cases are entirely symptomless and blood tests don’t identify the parasite. Typically patients infected with the worm are left to manage their own symptoms while they wait for the worm to die on its own. This usually happens before the worm is able to infest a human’s lungs.
If you plan to visit Hawaii any time soon, carefully inspect and thoroughly wash all produce purchased in store. Once you purchase it, keep your produce properly sealed in airtight containers. Avoid eating snails or slugs in Hawaii. Wash any food item that might have come into contact with snails or slugs, such as salad fixings that snails or slugs might have used as grazing foods.
It’s important to be careful with what you eat anytime you travel. Be sure you wash all fruits and vegetables, only eat meat that’s fully cooked, and do not drink the tap water. If you’re going to Hawaii this summer, just be extra careful with fruits and vegetables. Rat lungworm isn’t something to scoff at!
A flesh-eating bacteria has migrated into the Delaware Bay between Delaware and New Jersey, drawn north by the warmer waters of climate change, doctors say.
Five cases of infection with Vibrio vulnificusoccurred in 2017 and 2018 along the Delaware Bay, compared to one infection with the devastating bacteria in the eight years prior, researchers said.
The infections resulted in one death and multiple rounds of surgery to save the other patients. One had all his limbs removed at the elbows and knees due to severe bacterial infection, said Dr. Katherine Doktor, an infectious disease specialist at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J.
“In order to stop the infection, the person needs antibiotics and they need to be taken to the OR [operating room] quickly so any infected tissue can be removed, so it doesn’t spread further,” she said.
But Doktor added that the bacteria tends to strike hardest at people with pre-existing health problems like liver disease, diabetes, kidney failure or a compromised immune system.
“Just going to the beach or going to the bay is not going to make you sick,” she said. “These people usually have a cut and the infected water gets into the cut, or they eat raw seafood that’s infected.”
Vibrio bacteria cause an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the United States each year, with most infections in May through October when water temperatures are warm, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One in five people with this type of infection die, sometimes within days of becoming ill, the CDC warns.
Because the bacteria thrive in warmer, salty water, it’s usually found mostly in southern waters, Doktor said.
But cases of Vibrio infection began showing up in emergency rooms along the Delaware Bay a few years back, Doktor and her colleagues reported June 18 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Four of the cases involved middle-aged or older men who had been crabbing in the bay or eating crabs taken from the bay, the doctors said. The fifth case involved a man who worked at a seafood restaurant in New Jersey.
Wound infections affecting a person’s limbs occur through breaks in the skin, while eating tainted seafood can cause intestinal and bloodstream infections, the researchers said. Large blood blisters start popping up at sites where skin cells are dying off, Doktor explained.
“On average, people need to be taken back to the OR two to four times to remove any tissue that has died,” she said.
It’s not just in the United States that Vibrio is migrating northward, Doktor said. In Europe, infections with the bacteria have extended as far north as Norway.
Dr. Amesh Adalja is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore. He said, “Vibrio vulnificus infections contracted in the Delaware Bay, an area not known to be endemic for the bacteria, should serve as an important reminder that infectious diseases can expand from their traditional areas so long as the environment is hospitable to them.” Adalja was not involved with the new report.
“If certain bodies of water have had temperature changes that allow Vibrio vulnificus to flourish in a new region, it will be important that clinicians have heightened awareness of this serious, and sometimes fatal, infection in order to diagnose and treat it appropriately,” Adalja added.
Doktor advised that shellfish lovers should exercise caution when having a seafood meal, especially if they have a health condition that compromises their body’s ability to stave off infection.
“Some people, when they shuck the crabs, they use gloves,” she said. “I would protect your skin by wearing gloves.”
You might want to think twice about hitting the raw bar, too.
“As an infectious disease physician, I don’t think people should be eating raw seafood,” Doktor said. “But if you don’t have any of these risk factors, the chance of infection is much, much lower.”
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, debilitating mental illness characterized by disordered thoughts, abnormal behaviors, and anti-social behaviors. It is a psychotic disorder, meaning the person with schizophrenia does not identify with reality at times.
Who is Affected
Schizophrenia affects about 1.1% of the world’s population
3.5 million Americans have schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 16 to 25
Schizophrenia can be hereditary (runs in families)
It affects men 1.5 times more commonly than women
Schizophrenia and its treatment has an enormous effect on the economy, costing between $32.5-$65 billion each year
How Common Is Schizophrenia in Children?
Schizophrenia in young children is rare. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates only 1 in 40,000 children experience the onset of schizophrenia symptoms before the age of 13.
Types of Schizophrenia
There are five types of schizophrenia (discussed in the following slides). They are categorized by the types of symptoms the person exhibits when they are assessed:
Paranoid-type schizophrenia is distinguished by paranoid behavior, including delusions and auditory hallucinations. Paranoid behavior is exhibited by feelings of persecution, of being watched, or sometimes this behavior is associated with a famous or noteworthy person a celebrity or politician, or an entity such as a corporation. People with paranoid-type schizophrenia may display anger, anxiety, and hostility. The person usually has relatively normal intellectual functioning and expression of affect.
A person with disorganized-type schizophrenia will exhibit behaviors that are disorganized or speech that may be bizarre or difficult to understand. They may display inappropriate emotions or reactions that do not relate to the situation at-hand. Daily activities such as hygiene, eating, and working may be disrupted or neglected by their disorganized thought patterns.
Disturbances of movement mark catatonic-type schizophrenia. People with this type of schizophrenia may vary between extremes: they may remain immobile or may move all over the place. They may say nothing for hours, or they may repeat everything you say or do. These behaviors put these people with catatonic-type schizophrenia at high risk because they are often unable to take care of themselves or complete daily activities.
Undifferentiated-type schizophrenia is a classification used when a person exhibits behaviors which fit into two or more of the other types of schizophrenia, including symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, catatonic behavior.
When a person has a past history of at least one episode of schizophrenia, but the currently has no symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior) they are considered to have residual-type schizophrenia. The person may be in complete remission, or may at some point resume symptoms.
What Are Causes of Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia has multiple, intermingled causes which may differ from person to person, including:
Genetics (runs in families)
History of abuse or neglect
Is Schizophrenia Hereditary?
Schizophrenia has a genetic component. While schizophrenia occurs in only 1% of the general population, it occurs in 10% of people with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling) with the disorder. The risk is highest if an identical twin has schizophrenia. It is also more common in people with a second-degree relative (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) with the disorder.
Many people with schizophrenia do not appear ill. However, many behavioral changes will cause the person to seem ‘off’ as the disease progresses. Symptoms include:
Paranoid feelings or feelings of persecution
Loss of appetite or neglecting to eat
Loss of hygiene
Symptoms may also be grouped into categories, discussed in the following slides.
Positive (More Overtly Psychotic) Symptoms
The “positive,” or overtly psychotic, symptoms are symptoms not seen in healthy people, include:
Disorganized speech or behavior
Catatonia or other movement disorders
Negative (Deficit) Symptoms
“Negative” symptoms disrupt normal emotions and behaviors and include:
“Flat affect,” dull or monotonous speech, and lack of facial expression
Difficulty expressing emotions
Lack of self-care
Inability to feel pleasure (anhedonia)
Cognitive symptoms may be most difficult to detect and these include:
Inability to process information and make decisions
Difficulty focusing or paying attention
Problems with memory or learning new tasks
Affective (or Mood) Symptoms
Affective symptoms refer to those which affect mood. Patients with schizophrenia often have overlapping depression and may have suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of schizophrenia is made both by ruling out other medical disorders that can cause the behavioral symptoms (exclusion), and by observation of the presence of characteristic symptoms of the disorder. The doctor will look for the presence of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, and/or negative symptoms, along with social withdrawal and/or dysfunction at work or in daily activities for at least six months.
The doctor may use physical examination, psychological evaluation, laboratory testing of blood, and imaging scans to produce a complete picture of the patient’s condition.
How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?
Mental health screening and evaluation is an important part of the diagnosis process for schizophrenia. Many other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, anxiety disorders, severe depression, and substance abuse may mimic symptoms of schizophrenia. A doctor will perform an assessment to rule out these other conditions.
Schizophrenia Treatment – Medications
Antipsychotic medications are the first-line treatment for many patients with schizophrenia. Medications are often used in combination with other types of drugs to decrease or control the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Some antipsychotic medications include:
Schizophrenia Treatment – Medications (Continued)
Mood swings and depression are common in patients with schizophrenia. In addition to antipsychotics, other types of medications are used.
Family psycho-education: It is important to include psychosocial interventions in the treatment of schizophrenia. Including family members to support patients decreases the relapse rate of psychotic episodes and improves the person’s outcomes. Family relationships are improved when everyone knows how to support their loved one dealing with schizophrenia.
Assertive community treatment (ACT): Another form of psychosocial intervention includes use of out-patient support groups. Support teams including psychiatrists, nurses, case managers, and other counselors, meet regularly with the schizophrenic patient to help reduce the need for hospitalization or a decline in their mental status.
Substance abuse treatment: Many people with schizophrenia (up to 50%) also have substance abuse issues. These substance abuse issues worsen the behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia and need to be addressed for better outcomes.
Social skills training: Patients with schizophrenia may need to re-learn how to appropriately interact in social situations. This kind of psychosocial intervention involves rehearsing or role-playing real-life situations so the person is prepared when they occur. This type of training can reduce drug use, and improve relationships.
Supported employment: Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty entering or re-entering the work force due to their condition. This type of psychosocial intervention helps people with schizophrenia to construct resumes, interview for jobs, and even connects them with employers willing to hire people with mental illness.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of intervention can help patients with schizophrenia change disruptive or destructive thought patterns, and enable them to function more optimally. It can help patients “test” the reality of their thoughts to identify hallucinations or “voices” and ignore them. This type of therapy may not work in actively psychotic patients, but it can help others who may have residual symptoms that medication does not alleviate.
Weight management: Many anti-psychotic and psychiatric drugs cause weight gain as a side effect. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly helps prevent or alleviate other medical issues.
What Is the Prognosis for Schizophrenia?
The prognosis for people with schizophrenia can vary depending on the amount of support and treatment the patients receives. Many people with schizophrenia are able to function well and lead normal lives. However, people with schizophrenia have a higher death rate and higher incidence of substance abuse. When medications are taken regularly and the family is supportive, patients can have better outcomes.
A new study suggests that men who eat lots of red meat are much more likely to have bowel problems, pain and nausea than their peers who stick mainly with chicken or fish.
Researchers examined more than two decades of data on more than 46,000 men and found frequent red meat eaters were 58 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diverticulitis, a common bowel condition that occurs when small pockets or bulges lining the intestines become inflamed.
“Previous studies have shown that a high fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of diverticulitis, however, the role of other dietary factors in influencing risk of diverticulitis was not well studied,” said senior study author Andrew Chan, a researcher at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“Our result show that diets high in red meat may be associated with a higher risk of diverticulitis,” Chan added by email.
Diverticulitis is common, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations a year in the U.S. at a cost of more than $2 billion, Chan and colleagues note in the journal Gut.
New cases are on the rise, and the exact causes are unknown, although the condition has been linked to smoking, obesity and the use of certain nonprescription painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
While diverticulitis can often be treated with a liquid or low-fiber diet, severe cases may require hospitalization and surgery to fix complications like perforations in the gut wall.
Researchers examined data collected on men who were aged 40 to 75 when they joined the study between 1986 and 2012. Every four years men were asked how often, on average, they ate red meat, poultry and fish over the preceding year.
They were given nine options, ranging from ‘never’ or ‘less than once a month,’ to ‘six or more times a day.’
During the study period, 764 men developed diverticulitis.
Men who ate the most red meat were also more likely to smoke, more likely to regularly take NSAIDs, and less likely to eat foods with fiber or get intense exercise.
By contrast, men who ate more chicken and fish were less likely to smoke or take NSAIDs and more likely to get vigorous exercise.
After accounting for these other factors that can influence the risk of diverticulitis, red meat was still associated with higher odds of developing the bowel disorder.
Each daily serving of red meat was associated with an 18 percent increased risk, the study found.
Unprocessed meats like beef, pork and lamb were associated with a greater risk than processed meats like bacon or sausage.
It’s possible the higher cooking temperatures typically used to prepare unprocessed meats may influence the composition of bacteria in the gut or inflammatory activity, though the exact reason for the increased risk tied to these foods is unknown, the researchers note.
Swapping one daily serving of red meat for chicken or fish was associated with a 20 percent reduction in the risk of this bowel disorder, the study also found.
The study is observational, and doesn’t prove red meat causes diverticulitis.
Other limitations of the study include its reliance on men to accurately recall and report how much meat they ate and the possibility that the results may not apply to women, the authors point out.
Even so, the findings should offer yet another reason to consider cutting back on red meat, said Samantha Heller, a nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.
Diets high in red and processed meats have been linked with increased risks of inflammatory bowel diseases, so the link found in this study “is not surprising,” Heller said by email.
“Focusing on a more plant based, higher fiber diet that includes legumes, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits, replete with appropriate fluid intake, may go a long way in helping reduce of inflammatory bowel diseases, diverticulitis, and other chronic diseases,” Heller added.
Something that you can do in your sleep would seem to be pretty simple, but getting an erection is actually a complicated business—a complex biomechanical process that requires your body to be firing on all cylinders, three to be exact. (Note: It’s best not to think of this as a “complicated business” when the moment presents itself.) First, testosterone, which fuels male arousal, should be pumping at healthy levels. Second, a strong immune system will scrub away free radicals, keeping arteries clear and free of inflammation. Third, blood vessels should dilate easily so that blood pressure is regulated and blood flows easily. This last mechanism relies on the production of one chemical, nitric oxide, which, not coincidentally, is the key target of all the major pharmaceutical treatments for erectile dysfunction (the accursed ED), from Cialis to Viagra.
Simply put, a healthy heart equals a healthy penis. “If your cardiovascular system is impaired, your penile health is impaired, and the reverse is true as well—it’s one system,” says Steven Lamm, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine and the author of The Hardness Factor. “The endothelial cells that line your coronary arteries line all the arteries in your body, including the arteries that go to the penis.”
Your endothelial cells are crucial for releasing nitric oxide—and good nutrition is one of the central factors influencing its production, according to a study in the American Journal of Cardiology. Which is good news, since ED pills come with an ever-growing list of side effects: heartburn, chest pain, memory loss, vision loss, and hearing loss. “The right foods will help you stay well and reverse small vascular abnormalities before you have no choice but to use medications,” Lamm says.
15 Foods You Need For Your Penis to Perform
A crappy diet can do more than wreck your waistline—it can also sink your erection, too.
Think about it: Some of the smallest blood vessels and nerves in your body can be found in your penis, says Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., a urologist at Orlando Health. So if you’re slamming down junk like pizza and fries every day, your blood vessels down under may be some of the first to get clogged up with fat and cholesterol.
This restricts blood flow to your penis, preventing you from getting hard when you’re ready for action and even putting your heart health at risk down the road, too.
It may sound wacky, but you should treat your penis like a luxury car, says Dr. Brahmbhatt. To keep your ride running smoothly, you need to fill it with the recommended fuel and keep up with the suggested maintenance. Well, your penis needs the same—like healthy foods and plenty of exercise—to keep it going strong, he says.
Filling up with the right foods can boost your testosterone, strengthen your sperm, and supercharge your erection. So, what would we recommend as premium fuel? These 15 foods are a good place to start.
Your morning coffee may protect you from going limp later, according to a study of more than 3,700 men from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Those who downed the equivalent of 2 to 3 cups of a coffee a day—between 170 to 375 milligrams (mg) of caffeine—were less likely to report erectile dysfunction (ED) issues than men who skipped their cup of Joe.
Why? Caffeine triggers a series of effects in your body that help the arteries in your penis relax and blood flow to increase, producing an effect similar to ED drugs like Viagra, the study authors explain.
SALMON, EGG YOLKS, AND FORTIFIED MILK
Your D needs vitamin D, suggests one Austrian study—and the foods above are great sources of it.
After researchers had men take either 3,332 IU of vitamin D or a placebo per day for a year, they found that free testosterone levels—the powerhouse behind your sex drive—significantly increased in guys loading up with vitamin D
Plus, insufficient D levels may also increase your risk for erectile dysfunction, Italian researchers found. When you don’t get enough vitamin D, you produce free radicals that decrease nitric oxide in your body, a compound that helps your blood vessels function, the researchers say.
Without it, your blood vessels can’t relax, hindering the flow of blood to your penis. That makes it difficult for you to get hard, says Men’s Health urology advisor Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. (Here’s another reason you should get your vitamin D levels checked.)
So how much D do you really need? That’s still up for debate: The National Institutes of Health recommend getting 600 IU daily, while the Endocrine Society notes that some people may need to go much higher with 1,500 to 2,000 IU a day. Talk to your doctor to find out what works best for you.
You can not take Vitamin D alone. If you doctor does not know what to take with it, run!
PISTACHIOS, ALMONDS, AND WALNUTS
Need a snack? Choose nuts, researchers from Turkey suggest. After 17 men with ED ate 100 grams of pistachios for three weeks, they all reported a significant improvement in their erectile function, ability to orgasm, libido, sexual satisfaction, and overall happiness in life. As a bonus, they all had higher HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, too.
Pistachios contain a high amount of an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide in your body, the researchers say. And like almonds, walnuts, and most other nuts, they’re a great source of healthy fats, which are good for your heart and therefore your penis, says Dr. Brahmbhatt.
BLUEBERRIES AND ORANGES
Only 13 percent of Americans eat enough fruit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Big mistake: Eating enough of the right ones can work wonders below the belt.
In a 10-year study of more than 25,000 men, Harvard University researchers found that men who ate foods packed with certain flavonoids—anthocyanins, flavanones, and flavones—had a lower ED risk than guys who didn’t eat as much of them. The effect was particularly strong among those under 70 years old.
In fact, men who ate flavonoid-rich foods—like blueberries, strawberries, apples, and citrus fruits—a few times a week reduced their ED risk by 9 to 11 percent compared to those who ate them less frequently. The researchers speculate that flavonoids found in these foods may help improve the health of your blood vessels by relaxing your arteries.
Bonus points if you like to break a sweat: Men who were physically active (consider that 2 to 5 hours of brisk walking a week) and ate flavonoid-rich fruits reduced their ED risk by 21 percent.
So make sure you‘re fitting enough in your diet: The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming two cups of fruit every day.
LEGUMES, WHOLE GRAINS, AND OLIVE OIL
Since the Mediterranean diet is good for your heart, it’s not exactly surprising that it may benefit your penis, too. Heart disease is actually one of the most common causes of ED. Once plaque starts to build up in your blood vessels, the ones in your penis are the first to get blocked up.
So to truly test the diet’s benefits, Italian researchers had 35 men with diagnosed with ED and metabolic syndrome—a group of factors linked to heart health problems—load up their plates with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish. Another 30 men with metabolic syndrome followed a control diet.
After 2 years, about one third of the men following the Mediterranean diet regained normal sexual functioning and saw lower levels of inflammation in their bodies.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure why the diet could help men with ED, but they believe the combination of eating more fiber-filled and antioxidant-rich foods may have anti-inflammatory properties, which helps promote healthy blood flow, the study authors say.
And you don’t have to be dealing with heart problems to notice the diet’s benefits in the bedroom. Men who eat lots of monounsaturated fats (a Mediterranean diet staple), like fish and nuts, also have the highest levels of testosterone, research suggests.
PEPPERS, PEACHES, AND SPINACH
Vitamin C is key for healthy sperm, according to research from the University of Texas Medical Branch.
In the study, researchers divided 75 men—all heavy smokers with poor semen quality— into three groups. One group took 200 mg of vitamin C, another took 1,000 mg, and the last group took a placebo.
After four weeks, the 200-mg group improved their sperm quality by 15 percent, meaning they not only had a higher sperm count, but their sperm were able to swim more efficiently and survive longer, too.
What’s more, the 1000-mg group more than doubled that by 40 percent. Vitamin C seems to protect your sperm’s DNA from cell-damaging free radicals, the researchers say. That’s important, since damaged sperm might mess with your ability to conceive when you’re ready to have a kid.
Aim for a minimum of 90 mg and no more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C a day, suggests the National Institutes of Health. While the participants in the study popped a supplement, you can easily get your daily dose through vitamin-C rich foods, like yellow peppers, peaches, and spinach.
You know that Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only about 10 percent of people get the recommended amounts: one and a half to two cups of fruit, and two to three cups of vegetables daily.
But did you know that, according to the latest General Social Survey from the National Opinion Research Center, Americans are having less sex than ever? Is there a connection?
Overall health depends on eating more produce, and a healthy sex life is influenced by overall health. So, that lack of broccoli — and an associated increase in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes — may be a big factor in the declining frequency of sexual relations.
According to the 2018 survey, the number of adults who went a year (2018) without sex was 23 percent, a record high.
And it’s not just among baby boomers. Eighteen percent of women and 28 percent of men ages 19 to 29 report having had no sex in the past year, more than double the number in 2008. (Maybe it’s because 35 percent of men age 18 to 34 are living at home, compared with 29 percent of women.)
Poor health, plus a lack of face-to-face interaction with potential mates, may be to blame. Research shows that sexual satisfaction and contentment within relationships is strongly associated with the quality of communication between partners.
So whatever your age, turn off Facebook, put down the phone, and ask someone to share veggie-loaded Thai or Vietnamese food with you. It may have the spice you need.