Saturday, January 20, 2007

Health Notes

Women of childbearing age should reconsider taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 20 out of 52 women who used statins while pregnant had babies with severe birth defects.

Statins can be useful, however, in certain circumstances. In this study, for example, they were used to help kill brain cancer cells.

A vaccine against lung cancer would be a great thing. Stimuvax might be a step toward developing one.

Has anyone heard about the deadly wheat disease that is killing crops in Africa and which is now spreading eastward? They say that stem rust has the potential to devastate world wheat crops. I would just like to remind people that this very situation is one reason why we shouldn’t play around with genetic engineering. You might genetically engineer a crop, plant it, and think that you can control it, but Nature has a way intervening by spreading seeds and pollen virtually to the four winds. If we can’t control a disease like stem rust – if it spreads from country to country, even across oceans – then we can’t control GMOs. I don’t mind using science to fight disease and improve living conditions for people. Too often, however, I feel that the main motivation behind genetic engineering is money and not altruism.

Chlorine is used to sanitize a lot of our water. Chlorine might cause cancer.

Here is an article about the health benefits of almonds. Too bad I don’t really like them all that much. A one ounce serving supposedly contains “the same amount of antioxidants as a serving of cooked broccoli or a serving of brewed green or black tea." I do like those, however, and I eat them a lot. In the nut department, I’m really big into pistachios, and I am eating walnuts as I write this. I’m not crazy about walnuts either, but I chop up a bunch of them and put them in the soy milk left over from my breakfast Cheerios. They’re pretty good that way.

Eating ginger might help with inflammatory problems like arthritis. I’ve been eating some ginger candy recently, but I don’t know if it is doing me any good.

Here are five diet myths discussed, including the question: does eating grapefruit burn fat? See the answer here.

June Russell says alcohol is not healthy in any amount. Here is her website. She has a lot of interesting things to say, and her story is also very interesting, well worth reading. She overcame a lot. Hats off to her.

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Note: links that look good today often are no longer good in the future. I make every effort to create good links. When I discuss a topic, I also attempt to provide enough pertinent information so that readers won’t have to rely solely on the link at hand for their understanding, or for their further research.


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