What Kind of Rice Is Best?

riceStory at-a-glance −

There are more than 40,000 types of rice, including white, brown, black, and wild varieties. Each has its own nutritional profile, benefits, and points that invite discussion relating to how they’re grown, processed, and prepared Continue reading

Report: Many Urban Tap Water Systems Loaded with SSRI Antidepressant Drugs

tapwaterAs you may recall, the Associated Press (AP) released the results of a groundbreaking investigation it conducted back in 2008 concerning the presence of pharmaceutical drugs in the water supply. In this report, it was revealed that at least 41 million Americans are exposed daily to tap water containing Continue reading

The Role of Pure Water in Detoxification

We need to hydrate with pure water to retain our physical and mental health. All our tissues’ cells need to be hydrated to function properly. Would you believe that most of us are dehydrated?

It’s not just your five or so quarts of blood serum that contain water. Your organs’ cells contain water. Your brain and nerve tissues are 80 percent water. Severe dehydration leads to mental derangement Continue reading

Help Your Body Win the Battle against Autoimmune Disease

We face an epidemic of autoimmune diseases, medical conditions that cause the body to attack itself and destroy its own tissues. Everyone who lives in today’s polluted world — exposed to toxins at home, outside and just about everywhere in the environment — is at risk. But you can take natural steps to regulate your immune system and help it ward off disease, not cause it.

Well-Designed Immunity

While your body is designed to defend against a host of environmental invaders, it cannot completely withstand the adverse effects of poor diet, chronic stress and toxic buildup. These common factors can contribute to a group of serious health problems of epidemic proportions, including autoimmune (AI) disease, which is on the rise.

AI diseases comprise more than 100 unique types, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Continue reading

The Top Five Secret Sugar Substitutes

Refined sugar is used in just about every type of food you can imagine. It’s in baked goods, of course, but you’ll find it in breads, cereals, dairy products, drinks, and even sandwich meat. The reason white sugar is used so often and in such a diverse range of foods is that white sugar leaves you wanting more. It creates a sort of nutritional deficit in your body, triggering cravings — which is exactly what the companies that make these sugar-laden products are hoping for.

Why not do your body a favor and try some natural sweeteners instead? They can boost your natural health by adding not only a little bit of energy, but also some vitamins and minerals. Here are five natural sweeteners that you may not have considered when it comes time for a little sweetness in your diet. Continue reading

Newly Discovered B Cells Suggest Why Women Suffer More Autoimmune Disease

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered a type of cell that may contribute to autoimmune disease. The findings also suggest why diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis strike women more frequently than men.

The cells, a subset of immune-system B cells, make auto antibodies, which bind to and attack the body’s own tissue. The researchers report in the August 4, 2011, issue of the journal Blood, that they found higher levels of these cells in elderly female mice, young and old mice prone to autoimmune disease, and humans with autoimmune diseases. National Jewish Health has applied for a patent for a method to treat autoimmune disease by depleting these cells.

“We believe these cells could be useful in the diagnosis  Continue reading

How Sex Hormones Influence Right Heart Function

WASHINGTON – A new study has revealed human sex hormones influence the structure and function of the right ventricle (RV) of the heart.

The researchers found that in women receiving hormone therapy, higher estrogen levels were associated with higher RV ejection fraction and lower RV end-systolic volume – both measures of the RV’s blood-pumping efficiency – but not in women who were not on hormone therapy, nor in men.

Conversely, higher testosterone levels were associated with greater RV mass and larger volumes in men, but not in women, and DHEA, an androgen which improves survival in animal models of pulmonary hypertension, was associated with greater RV mass and volumes in women, similar to the findings with testosterone in men.

For the study, researchers used blood samples and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart and measured sex hormones and RV structure and function in 1957 men and 1738 post-menopausal women.

“One of the most interesting things about this research is that we are focusing on individuals without clinical cardiovascular disease so that we may learn about determinants of RV morphology before there is frank RV dysfunction, which is an end-stage complication of many heart and lung diseases,” said Steven Kawut of the University of Pennsylvania School.

“When we study people who already have RV failure from long-standing conditions, the horse has already left the barn. We are trying to assess markers that could one day help us identify and intervene in individuals at risk for RV dysfunction before they get really sick,” he said,

Because the RV plays a critical role in supplying blood to the lungs and the rest of the body, RV function is closely tied to clinical outcomes in many diseases where both the heart and lungs are involved, such as pulmonary hypertension, COPD and congestive heart failure.

However, the RV is more difficult to study and image than the left ventricle and comparatively little is known about its structure and function and how to treat or prevent right heart failure.

Sex hormone levels could help explain a key paradox in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), where the RV response is an important determinant of survival. While women are far more likely to develop PAH, they also have better RV function and may have a better survival than men.

“It is possible that hormone balance could predispose them to developing PAH, but confer a protective benefit in terms of RV adaptation,” explained Kawut.

“We have shown differences in RV structure that go beyond the sexes and may depend on specific hormone levels,” he concluded. The study was published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Aura’ Migraines a Stroke Risk

Young women who have migraines with auras are twice as likely to have a stroke, researchers have confirmed.

Auras are sensory or visual disturbances that occur before or during a migraine headache.

Based on available evidence, the risk is greater if the woman is under 45, smokes and is on the contraceptive pill, say international experts.

But a migraine charity said most sufferers did not have auras and the absolute risk of a stroke was small.

Migraines affect between 10-20% of people and are four times as common in women compared to men.

Although the relative increased risk of stroke associated with migraine with aura is seemingly high, the actual risk is extremely low.

The researchers, writing in the British Medical Journal online, say they looked at nine of the most recent studies on the links between migraine and cardiovascular problems.

A previous large study in 2004 did find migraine sufferers had twice the risk of a stroke but the newer studies show that the risk is confined to people who suffer migraines with auras.

The investigators from the US, France and Germany did not find any link between migraines and heart attacks or death due to cardiovascular disease but there was a 30% increase in the risk of angina (heart pain).

Markus Schurks, of the Harvard Medical School and who led the research, said: “Clinicians may not agree but population studies show that up to a third of sufferers experience auras with their headaches.

“And when you consider that as many as 40% of young women suffer from migraines you can see that it really makes an impact on the health of the population.”

Sex hormones

The authors recommend that young women who have migraine with aura should be strongly advised to stop smoking and methods of birth control other than oestrogen containing contraceptives should be considered.

They say recent animal studies have shown that high levels of oestrogen can produce auras in animals, so it could be the sex hormones affecting the vascular system, but more research is needed.

The British Heart Foundation recommended the women concerned reduce their risks as much possible – by switching to non-oestrogen based contraceptives, quitting smoking or contact their GP for further guidance.

Lee Tomkins, director of the charity Migraine Action, said: “I think this research will help women to understand that for the majority there is no additional risk, and for women with aura the best policy to help themselves is to have a migraine management plan in place that helps reduce the frequency of attacks, and try to minimise the aura part of the attack.”

Susan Haydon of The Migraine Trust stressed: “Although the relative increased risk of stroke associated with migraine with aura is seemingly high, the actual risk is extremely low.”

Dr Tony Rudd of The Stroke Association said: “Living a healthy lifestyle, taking regular exercise and having your blood pressure checked regularly are simple ways to reduce your risk of having a stroke.”