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Updated bimonthly: Mar/Apr 2013 issue

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INSIDE features, cont. from Mar/Apr 2013 Pathfinder.
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Proof! GM Crops + Pesticides = Bee Colony Failures, pg 4

Acrylamides in Foods and What You Can Do to Avoid Them, pg 7

Depressing Drugs,pg 10

Global Warming's "New Math", Pt 2 (concl).pg 3

Mercola's Health News (Dec. 29, 2012)
Proof! GM Crops + Pesticides = Major Cause of Bee Colony Failures

© by Dr. Mercola

Material obtained from articles/mercola.com. Originally titled, "Study Proves Pesticide Exposure Linked to Bumble bee Colony Failures." Excerpt reprinted as "fair use." Condensed and edited for brevity and/or clarity. Editor's comments, etc. in square brackets.

Editor's Foreword: Since at least 2006, when the "Colony Collapse" syndome began to be reported, and certain nicotinoid pesticides were beginning to be associated with this apis-catastrophe, after some searching of the effects and route of effect on insects, I didn't need more "studies": I KNEW that this class of pesticides was indeed the major, preventable cause of the disorder, especially as these chemicals are long-lived — continuing to kill bees and related insects year after year . . . It is contemptible that even with European banning, OUR government has yet to step in to stave off this crime against Nature.


Serious honey bee die-offs have been occurring around the world for the past decade, which is an alarming trend considering one of every three bites of food you eat depends on the good graces of the honey bee.

They pollinate at least 130 different crops in the US alone, including fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. Without honey bees, farmers would have to resort to pollinating their crops by hand, which would be an incredibly expensive and labor intensive undertaking, if it could even be done on the same scale.
    . . . N]ow that they've boosted their corporate profits by draining the public treasury, how do they propose we put our fiscal house back in order? By squeezing programs for the poor and elderly, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
    [There are several interrelated reasons behind the colony collapse, from] imbalances in the environment, to current agricultural and industrial practices. § Bees are sensitive to the constant flood of manmade chemicals into their environment and bodies, especially pesticides, many of which accumulate over time . . . and now new research has provided some of the strongest evidence supporting this theory to date.

Pesticide Exposure Proven to Impact Bee Colonies
Exposure to pesticides has been associated with changes in bee behavior and reductions in colony queen production, both of which could have detrimental impacts on the life of the colony. However, the impact of pesticides on individual bee behavior, and its subsequent impact on the colony as a whole, had not been determined . . . until now.

Social Destruction . . .
Bee colonies are like living cities, and each individual bee plays a crucial role. A healthy hive is occupied by a collection of overlapping generations.Tasks are divided up according to age and colony needs via a very intricate system of communication:

[-] Younger worker bees (nurse bees) tend to the queen and the baby bees.

[-] Older worker bees forage for food and water for the colony, convert nectar into honey, construct and clean wax cells, and guard the hive from invaders. Worker bees develop stingers to defend the eggs lain by the queen.

[-] Drones' purpose [is] to mate with the queen. In fact, the queen will leave her hive only once in her lifetime, in order to mate with several drones and store up enough sperm to last the rest of her life. [1]

Researchers explained: [2]

Social bee colonies depend on the collective performance of many individual workers. Thus, although field-level pesticide concentrations can have subtle or sublethal effects at the individual level, it is not known whether bee societies can buffer such effects or whether it results in a severe cumulative effect at the colony level. Furthermore, widespread agricultural intensification means that bees are exposed to numerous pesticides when foraging, yet the possible combinatorial effects of pesticide exposure have rarely been investigated.

    This is what the new study set out to determine, and it was revealed that bees given access to two commonly used agricultural pesticides were adversely affected in numerous ways, including:

> Fewer adult worker bees emerged from larvae

> A higher proportion of foragers failed to return to the nest

> A higher death rate among worker bees

> An increased likelihood of colony failure

The researchers said:
“ . . . Chronic exposure of bumble bees to two pesticides (neonicotinoid and pyrethroid) at concentrations that could approximate field-level exposure impairs natural foraging behaviour and increases worker mortality leading to significant reductions in brood development and colony success. § We found that worker foraging performance, particularly pollen collecting efficiency, was significantly reduced . . . [affecting] forager recruitment, worker losses and overall worker productivity. Moreover, we provide evidence that combinatorial exposure to pesticides increases the propensity of colonies to fail.”

Leading Pesticide Makers Heading Up Bee Research?
Pesticide manufacturers are none too pleased about the recent accusations hurled against their products, so they've . . . purchased leading bee research firms, ostensibly to study colony collapse disorder and other bee research.
    Monsanto, which is the world leader in genetically modified (GM) crops (and the pesticides and herbicides that go along with them), recently bought Beeologics, a company whose primary goal is finding a solution to the colony collapse disorder.

Beeologics states their mission is to become the "guardian of bee health worldwide." Monsanto bought the company in September 2011, just months before Poland announced it would ban growing of Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) MON810 maize, noting, poignantly, that "pollen of this strain could have a harmful effect on bees." [3] §
    The ongoing blight of GM crops has been implicated in CCD for many years . . . In one German study, [4] when bees were released in a GM rapeseed crop, then fed the pollen to younger bees, scientists discovered the bacteria in the guts of the young ones mirrored the same genetic traits as ones found in the GM crop, indicating that horizontal gene transfer had occurred.
    Further, the newer systemic insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, have become the fastest growing insecticides in the world. Two prominent examples, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are used as seed treatments in hundreds of crops. Virtually all of today's genetically engineered Bt corn is treated with neonicotinoids.   top
Honey Bee w/flower


The Smoking Gun . . .

Bee colonies began disappearing in the US shortly after the US EPA allowed these new insecticides on the market.

Even the EPA itself admits that "pesticide poisoning" is a likely cause of bee colony collapse. These insecticides are highly toxic to bees because they are systemic, water soluble, and pervasive. They get into the soil and groundwater where they can accumulate and remain for many years and generate long-term toxicity to the hive. They enter the vascular system of the plant and are carried to all parts of it, as well as to the pollen and nectar. Neonicotinoids affect insects' central nervous systems in ways that are cumulative and irreversible. Even minute amounts can have profound effects over time.
    One of the observed effects of these insecticides is weakening of the bee's immune system. Forager bees bring pesticide-laden pollen back to the hive, where it's consumed by all of the bees.

Six months later, their immune systems fail, and they fall prey to secondary, seemingly "natural" bee infections, such as parasites, mites, viruses, fungi and bacteria. Indeed, pathogens such as Varroa mites, Nosema, fungal and bacterial infections, and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) are found in large amounts in honey bee hives on the verge of collapse. § In addition to immune dysfunction and opportunistic diseases, the honey bees also appear to suffer from neurological problems, disorientation, and impaired navigation. These effects have great consequence, as a bee can't survive for more than 24 hours if she becomes disoriented and unable to find her way back to the hive.

Bayer is Now Heading Up Bee Research
Bayer CropScience — a leading manufacturer of the neonicotinoid pesticides [now owned by Monsanto] at the heart of the CCD debate (lawsuits against Bayer from beekeepers are ongoing) — plans to open the N. American Bee Care Ctr by July 2013. The Center is intended to be a research hub as well as promote "the active promotion of bee-responsible use of Bayer products along with communication activities worldwide." [5] § Clearly, the forthcoming research from Beeologics and the North American Bee Care Center may now be tainted with regard these companies' products and their impact on bee populations.

Conflict of Interest?
Already, in 2010 a study by Montana bee researcher Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk . . . received a significant research grant from Bayer to study bee pollination — a massive conflict of interest that is likely to be carried over into any upcoming research from Bayer and Monsanto.

Losing Bees is About More Than Just Honey
When most people think of honey bees, they think honey. But honey is only a small part of the useful work bees do for us in the US [and the World]. Honey bees are critical components of agriculture, used to pollinate nuts, fruits and vegetables.

The California almond crop alone requires 1.3 million colonies of bees, and bees actually add an estimated $15 billion in value to crops like these. A full one-third of the US food supply depends on pollination from bees.

Apple orchards, for instance, require one colony of bees per acre to be adequately pollinated. If bee colonies continue to be devastated . . . major food shortages could result. If honey bees disappear, so, too, will all of these other innovations and any new developments that may be honey bee-inspired in the future. . . . Bees also contribute to many other areas of human health, including:

< Raw honey, which has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties, is being used for wound healing and treating coughs, while "stun" chemicals from bee stings are being looked at as an effective anesthetic for humans

< Propolis, the "caulk" honey bees use to patch holes in their hives, may slow the growth of prostate cancer and has powerful immune-modulating effects, along with potent antioxidant and anti-microbial action, and healing, analgesic, anesthetic, and anti-inflammatory properties

< Bee pollen . . . a superfood because it contains a broad range of nutrients required by your body. About half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be used directly by your body and can therefore contribute significantly to your protein needs.

< Scientific discoveries in many fields, including the aeronautics industry, which used the design of the six-sided honeycomb to help design aircraft wings; honeybee communication systems have even been adopted by computer programmers to help run Internet servers more efficiently [6]

Four actions to Preserve our Honeybees
1. Support organic farmers and shop at local farmer's markets as often as possible. You can "vote with your fork" three times a day. (When you buy organic, you are making a statement by saying "no" to GMOs and toxic pesticides!)

2. Cut the use of toxic chemicals in your house and on your lawn, and use only organic, all-natural forms of pest control.

3. Plant a garden. Lawns offer very little benefit for the environment. Both flower and vegetable gardens provide excellent natural honeybee habitats.

4. Become an amateur beekeeper. Having a hive in your garden requires only about an hour of your time per week, benefits your local ecosystem, and you can enjoy your own honey!

Bee Preservation Organizations:
* Pesticide Action Network Bee Campaign

* The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees

* American Beekeeping Federation

* Help the Honey Bees

References

1. New York Times, Apr. 11, 2008

2. Nature, Nov. 1, 2012; 491(7422):105-8

3. The Raw Story, Apr. 4, 2012; Oct. 21, 2012

4. The Observer, May 7, 2000

5. AG Professional, Dec. 7, 2012

6. The Drum Opinion, Dec. 13, 2012

Dr. Joseph Mercola provides some of the best health information available anywhere in one place. Visit mercola.com for health news, products, and more.    top


As most of us enjoy "crispy, crunchy" baked goods, it's time to reconsider . . .
Acrylamides in Foods — and What You Can Do to Avoid Them    top

Editor's Foreword: A friend of mine alerted me to fact that acrylamides — a cancer-causing class of compounds — are found in many "crunchy," deep fat fried, grilled foods, based on studies that came out in 2008. Yet, nothing much has appeared in recent health news — so I thought it would be useful to reprint some "old is new again" news about acrylamides and some foods that help counteract their effects.

The following segments are from several sites. Material from the FDA site proved to be too long and cumbersome to list properly. However, the general comments ahead of the food/product listings may motivate our Readers to try to obtain acrylamide content of their typical foods. A good idea would be to devise an "acrylamide budget" and see how many ppb acrylamide you and your family are consuming.

{From the] Dept of Health and Human Services, FDA Survey Data on Acrylamide in Food: Individual Food Products/ Food Contaminants & Adulteration, Chemical Contaminants, Acrylamide (Dec. 2002; Updated Mar. 2003, 2004; Jun. 2005; Jul. 2006)

Material obtained from the FDA website, usda.fda.gov.

On April 24, 2002, researchers at the Swedish National Food Administration and Stockholm University reported finding the chemical acrylamide in a variety of fried and oven-baked foods.

The initial Swedish research indicated that acrylamide formation is particularly associated with traditional high temperature cooking processes for certain carbohydrate-rich foods. In response to concerns about the potential risk of foodborne acrylamide based on the known toxicity of acrylamide at much higher doses than those seen in foods, the FDA began to analyze a variety of US food products for acrylamide. [Ed's: More information on the research program for acrylamide can be found in FDA's Action Plan for Acrylamide in Food.] FDA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, Md. 20993, 1-888-463-6332.

A Little Rosemary Can Reduce Acrylamides in Food


© by Leslee Dru Browning (Apr. 28, 2008)

Material obtained from naturalnews.com/ 023043_food_ acrylamide_rosemary. html#ixzz2Cnai9Ijp. Originally titled, "A Little Rosemary Can Go a Long Way in Reducing Acrylamides in Food." Edited for brevity and/or clarity. Editor's comments, etc. in square brackets.

(NaturalNews) Several animal tests have shown acrylamide to be a carcinogen, and a recent study conducted by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, has shown a positive association between acrylamide and breast cancer in humans.

Acrylamide is formed during the preparation of many ordinary foods. It is therefore important both for consumers and the food industry to find methods to reduce the acrylamide content," says Kit Granby, senior scientist at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

Over the past five years, a research project has identified several ways of reducing acrylamide in foods. The project is a collaboration between the National Food Institute and the Department of Systems Biology at the Technical University of Denmark, the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen and five Danish food companies.

Tests With Processing Conditions
Acrylamide is a chemical formed when frying, baking or grilling carbohydrate-rich foods at temperatures above 120ºC. Acrylamide is thus found in a number of foods, such as bread, crisps, French fries and biscuits.
    In addition to the heating temperature, tests carried out during the project also show that factors such as time of processing, pH, water content, water activity and the content of the amino acid asparagine and sugar in the raw ingredients influence the formation of acrylamide. For example, the longer the cooking time and the lower the water content, the higher the acrylamide content in the heat-processed food.

    "By changing and optimising these factors when producing foods, the acrylamide content of many different types of products can be reduced considerably," says Kit Granby.

Rosemary is put to the Test
The collaborative project also included a PhD research project which tested the addition of different antioxidants. The addition of rosemary to dough prior to baking a portion of wheat buns at 225ºC reduced the acrylamide content by up to 60 per cent. Even rosemary in small quantities in 1percent of the dough was enough to reduce the acrylamide content significantly.
    Flavonoids are another type of antioxidant found, among other things, in vegetables, chocolate and tea. Tests also showed that the addition of the flavonoids epicatechin and epigallocatechin from green tea considerably reduced the acrylamide content.    top
Antioxidants are substances which inhibit the formation of free radicals in the food and eliminate free radicals in the body. Our tests indicate that free radicals are formed when cooking and potentially increasing the acrylamide content in certain foods," explains Rikke Vingborg Hedegaard, PhD at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark . . .
    However, the findings do not show a general association between antioxidants and reducing acrylamide in foods. The tests indicate that different antioxidants do not have the same effect on the formation of acrylamide, and that it is important how antioxidants are added to a product to have an effect on the acrylamide content," adds Rikke Vingborg Hedegaard.
    . . . Other tests show that blanching, salt and the enzyme asparaginase may reduce the acrylamide content in potato products.

The findings have been published in a number of scientific journals, most recently in the journals European Food Research and Technology, Food Chemistry, the Jrl of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and the Jrl of Food Engineering.

. . . From my perspective, it is only good sense to also supplement with antioxidants. Research has now shown the many powerful benefits of Vitamin D, with up to 5000 IU now considered a safe daily dose. . . . At a minimum I would take both Vitamin D and Vitamin E daily.

Reference
> AlphaGalileo, www.alphagalileo.org/; Technical University of Denmark (2008, March 4). A Little Rosemary Can Go A Long Way In Reducing Acrylamide In Food. (www.dtu.dk/english.aspx)

Foods that Help Protect Against Acrylamides

Material obtained from naturalnews.com/019924_ acrylamides_ food_safety.html. Originally titled, "Research Reveals The Way For Consumers To Protect Themselves." Excerpt reprinted as "fair use." Edited for brevity and/or clarity. Editor's comments, etc. in square brackets.

As published in the July 15, 2008 edition of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that three dietary constituents, tea polyphenols, resveratrol, and diallyl trisulfide, inhibit damage to DNA from acrylamides at levels typically found in human exposure. Results of analysis of the compounds with accelerator mass spectrometry demonstrated that all three significantly inhibited the formation of acrylamide damage to liver DNA, whereas tea polyphenols and diallyl trisulfide reduced DNA damage to protamines and hemoglobin as well.
    Further biochemical studies showed that acrylamides could significantly inactivate creatine kinase and glutathione S-transferase and deplete glutathione. When the inhibitors were treated with acrylamide, all of them could effectively recover the activities of creatine kinase. In addition, tea polyphenols and diallyl trisulfide could increase glutathione S-transferase at a remarkably high level. Creatine kinase is an enzyme essential in biochemical reactions and energy generation. Glutathione S-transferase is a family of enzymes that play key roles in the detoxification of substances such as carcinogens, drugs, and byproducts of oxidative stress.

Acrylamides are formed when carbohydrate containing foods are baked, fried or roasted. They have been shown to cause cancer in animals exposed to high doses, as well as nerve damage. Acrylamides are not added to foods but occur naturally in the cooking process. Because of this, information on them is not required on food labels.

    Any starchy food cooked at high temperatures will contain acrylamides.  Potatoes that are fried may be the worst offenders, with potato chips fried to a golden brown containing the highest levels. Boiled or mashed potatoes will contain acrylamides as will cooked sweet potatoes. It can also be found in toasted or roasted cereal grains and bread products — again with the highest levels contained in those baked to a golden brown, and corn roasted on a grill, or popped in oil. Pretzels are promoted as healthy snacks, but that golden brown color is your tip that they contain high levels of acrylamides. Coffee creates acrylamides during its roasting.
    Since [their discovery in 2002], there has been little interest by the FDA to keep people abreast of the dangers of eating acrylamide containing foods. The method by which acrylamides form in food remains unknown.
    What we do know from this study is that by taking steps to protect ourselves from acrylamides, . . . we can eat foods containing acrylamides without suffering their effects — if we also make sure we are fortified with tea polyphenols, resveratrol and diallyl trisulfide.

More About Tea Polyphenols
Numerous studies have demonstrated . . . anti-cancer properties of tea polyphenols, with recent studies adding gastric, esophageal and skin cancers to the list of those inhibited by polyphenols from tea consumed in high amounts. Another study showed ovarian cancer risk reduced by 46 percent in women drinking two cups of tea daily.

Researchers have found tea polyphenols
[-] to lower cholesterol levels [-] prevent blood clots [-] and help prevent heart disease.

All types of tea contain polyphenols, with green and white tea having the highest levels due to their minimal processing.

Resveratrol . . . is turning out to be so good for us that red wine may end up on the superfood list* It is found in the skin of red or purple grapes, and in peanut products that contain the skins, such as Spanish peanuts. Resveratrol has also been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. A glass of tea or red wine during a meal containing foods that have produced acrylamides [may offer] you some dietary protection.

*Editor's Footnote: First independent researchers "discover" something useful about regular food in preventing and even curing disease; then a pharmaceutical-funded pitch to research-fund starved universities appears to contradict it. It must always be asked, "who asked for and paid for the study."

Diallyl trisulfide . . . is a compound found in garlic that has been roasted, smashed or otherwise processed. Shown particularly effective in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer, this compound is also a potent immune system booster.

All three of these compounds are extremely effective antioxidants. If you plan to be eating foods that contain acrylamides [e.g., fried potatoes or dark roasted anything], you [may] protect yourself by having supplements of these compounds on hand. Each offers an array of other health benefits. [Another supplement to consider is L-glutathione . . . ] < >

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.    top

Mercola's Health News (Apr. 14, 2012)
Depressing Drugs    top
© Dr. Joseph Mercola,1997-2012; aricles/mercola.com. All Rights Reserved.
Material obtained from above site. Excerpt reprinted as "fair use." Originally titled, "Best-Selling Drug Attacks Your Heart, Brain and Bones." Condensed or edited for brevity and/or clarity. Editor's comments, etc. in square brackets. Note: Bracketed numbered references are included with the text, but listings at the end have been removed to conserve space. For full details, see above site.

Depression is such a pervasive health issue in America] today that one in 10 American adults report some form of depression. [1] Eleven percent of the US population over the age of 12 is on antidepressant medication.[2]

However, mounting evidence shows the drug approach is not helping this trend. On the contrary, it may be fueling it... At best, beneficial results from antidepressants are comparable to placebos, and at worst, they can cause devastating side effects, including suicidal- and homicidal tendencies, and deterioration into more serious mental illness. § Meanwhile, research has shown there ARE effective treatments for depression. The problem is, they're not drugs, . . . and that may be why you don't normally hear about these strategies. I will list them at the end of this article, and by the time you've reviewed the many side effects of these drugs, . . . hopefully you'll be motivated to give those drug-free alternatives a try.

Antidepressants and Heart Disease
Antidepressant use has been linked to thicker arteries, which could contribute to the risk of heart disease and stroke. This is in addition to the already heightened risk for heart disease that accompanies depression.
    The results of a study of 513 twin veterans, presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans [3] found that antidepressant use resulted in greater carotid intima-media thickness (the lining of the main arteries in your neck that feed blood to your brain). The researchers found that the intima-media thickness of the men taking antidepressants was about five percent thicker than that of those who were not using the drugs.
    This was true both for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antidepressants that affect other brain chemicals, so while the researchers speculate that the vascular changes may be due to changes in serotonin, the underlying cause is still undetermined.
    According to Emory University [4]:
    Antidepressants' effects on blood vessels may come from changes in serotonin, a chemical that helps some brain cells communicate but also functions outside the brain... Most of the serotonin in the body is found . . . in the intestines... In addition, serotonin is stored by platelets, the cells that promote blood clotting, and is released when they bind to a clot. . . . [S]erotonin's effects on blood vessels are complex and act in multiple ways [e.g. constricting or relaxing] blood vessels, depending on whether the vessels are damaged or not."
    . . . [I]n August of last year, the US FDA issued a safety alert on the antidepressant Celexa, warning it can cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of your heart, which can lead to abnormal heart rhythm and fatal heart attacks. Celexa is part of the class of antidepressants called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
    People with underlying heart conditions and low potassium and magnesium levels in their blood are particularly at risk for this, and the drug should no longer be used at doses greater than 40 mg per day, the FDA said. While the drug's label indicates that "certain patients may require a dose of 60 mg per day," studies have shown that there's no benefit in the treatment of depression with doses higher than 40 mg, the FDA added.
    Antidepressants Increase Your Risk of Stroke and Sudden Cardiac Death Newer antidepressants also raise your risk of bleeding and stroke, according to a recent report in Pulse Today which cites a new study published in the BMJ [Apr. 3, 2012]:
    GPs should consider carefully the increased risk of bleeding and stroke with newer antidepressants before prescribing them, say US researchers. Their study looked at the records of 36,000 patients with a diagnosis of major depression taking serotonin transporter inhibitors (SSRIs) as monotherapy, and the frequency of bleeding complications over 19 years. SSRIs were categorised into 'high', 'moderate' or 'low' affinity for the serotonin transporter and patients with multiple prescriptions and those on tricyclic antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors were excluded.
    Over 600 bleeds were observed in the 21,000 patients in the high-affinity group, compared with 333 among the 15,000 patients in the low affinity group, [equivalent to a] risk ratio of 1.17. Stroke risk was also elevated in the high affinity group . . . with a risk ratio of 1.18.
    Another large study of women who have been through menopause found that those taking tricyclic antidepressants and SSRIs were 45 percent more likely to suffer a fatal stroke [6]. The findings came from an analysis that involved 136,000 women between the age of 50 and 79. Comparisons were made between the women who had been prescribed antidepressants since being enrolled in the research, and those who had not. The research also found that overall death rates were 32 percent higher in women on the drugs.
    According to one theory, this tragic effect may be due to how the drugs affect blood clotting. Antipsychotics are even more problematic and should be used with strict caution. A review of the medical literature from 2000-2007, published in Expert Opinion on Drug Safety in 2008, [7] found that:
    Antipsychotics can increase cardiac risk even at low doses, whereas antidepressants do it generally at high doses or in the setting of drug combinations.
    Another study published in Jan. 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine [8] also found that antipsychotic drugs doubled the risk of sudden cardiac death. Mortality was found to be dose-dependent, so those taking higher doses were at increased risk of a lethal cardiac event.

Other Well-Documented Side Effects
The interactions of antidepressants on your brain, liver, digestive system and other systems are still not fully understood, but we do know that [they are] numerous, and many are quite serious, as the studies above [show]. Aside from potentially lethal cardiac events, other serious side effects include:

[-] Suicidal thoughts and feelings and violent behavior: The primary side effect that you should be concerned about is that SSRI's can actually DOUBLE your risk of suicide.

[-] Diabetes: Your risk for type 2 diabetes is two to three times higher if you take antidepressants, according to one study. All types of antidepressants, including tricyclic and SSRIs, increase type 2 diabetes risk.

[-] Problems with immune system: SSRIs cause serotonin to remain in your nerve junctions longer, interfering with immune cell signaling and T cell growth.

[-] Stillbirths: A Canadian study of almost 5,000 mothers found that women on SSRIs were twice as likely to have a stillbirth, and almost twice as likely to have a premature or low birth weight baby; another study showed a 40 percent increased risk for birth defects, such as cleft palate.

[-] Brittle bones: One study showed women on antidepressants have a 30 percent higher risk of spinal fracture and a 20 percent high risk for all other fractures. This is because serotonin is also involved in the physiology of bone. If you alter serotonin levels with a drug, it can result in low bone density, boosting fracture risk.    top
Two Side Effects Your Doctor Likely Won't Tell You About
Aside from everything mentioned so far, there are two additional side effects or risks that need to be addressed . . . These show up in the scientific literature, but are rarely discussed. Medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Whitaker brought these issues to my attention during a 2010 interview. [9]

First risk: converting from unipolar depression to bipolar depression.

Second risk: with long-term use, antidepressants are associated with cognitive decline.

Whitaker's research shows that as many as half of all children placed on an antidepressant for five years will convert to bipolar illness. About 25 percent of adult long-term users convert from unipolar depression to bipolar. This is a very serious concern, not just for each affected individual and their family, but for society as a whole. As Whitaker explains:

When you convert from depression to bipolar, . . . you're . . . often treated with a cocktail of medications including an antipsychotic medication . . . Only about 35 percent of bipolar patients are employed [with a risk of permanent] disability. § When you go on an antidepressant, [there is] a risk of having a manic episode and... becoming "a bipolar patient," [then] you're into a much more long-term problematic disorder . . .

Key Factors to Overcoming Depression
Diet and general lifestyle are clearly parts of the "root" that must be healed if you want to resolve your mental health issues, because your body and mind are closely interrelated. Depression is . . . a serious condition; [but] it is not a "disease." Rather, it's a sign that your body and your life are out of balance. This is so important to remember, because as soon as you start to view depression as an "illness," you think you need to take a drug to fix it. § In reality, you may need to find a way to return balance to your body and your life. Fortunately, research confirms that there are safe and effective ways to address depression that do not involve unsafe drugs, including:

< Dramatically decrease your consumption of sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and processed foods. (In addition to being high in sugar and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can affect your brain function and mental state, especially MSG, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.) (See The Sugar Blues, written by William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into the topic of sugar and mental health in great detail.)

< Increase consumption of probiotic foods, such as fermented vegetables and kefir, to promote healthy gut flora. Mounting evidence tells us that having a healthy gut is profoundly important for both physical and mental health, and the latter can be severely impacted by an imbalance of intestinal bacteria.

< Get adequate vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to depression and affects one in four people.

< Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally through regular sun exposure [or a safe tanning bed]. Vitamin D is very important for your mood. In one study, people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were found to be 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels [10].

< Animal-based omega-3 fats. Many people don't realize that their brain is 60 percent fat, but not just any fat. It is DHA, an animal based omega-3 fat which, along with EPA, is crucial for good brain function and mental healthxi. Unfortunately, most people don't get enough from diet alone. Make sure you take a high-quality omega-3 fat, such as krill oil. (Dr. Stoll, a Harvard psychiatrist, was one of the early leaders in compiling the evidence supporting the use of animal based omega-3 fats for the treatment of depression. He wrote an excellent book that details his experience in this area called The Omega-3 Connection).

< Evaluate your salt intake. Sodium deficiency actually creates symptoms that are very much like those of depression. [Don't] use processed salt (regular table salt), however. You'll want to use an . . . unprocessed salt like Himalayan salt, which contains more than 80 different micronutrients.

< Adequate daily exercise . . . is one of the most effective strategies for preventing and overcoming depression. Studies on exercise as a treatment for depression have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity. So there's a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is real, and . . . maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place.

< Adequate amounts of sleep. You can have the best diet and exercise program, but if you aren't sleeping well you can easily become depressed. Sleep and depression are so intimately linked that a sleep disorder is actually part of the definition of the [condition] called depression.

< Energy Psychology . . . one of the most powerful tools for resolving emotional issues - specifically a technique called the Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. While anyone can learn to perform EFT on themselves, those who suffer from depression should see a qualified EFT therapist. § A number of studies now confirm clinical results, e.g., a 2009 study [12] of 16 institutionalized adolescent boys with histories of physical or psychological abuse showed substantially decreased intensity of traumatic memories after just ONE session of EFT. Another study involving 30 moderately to severely depressed college students showed significantly less depression than the control group when evaluated three weeks after receiving a total of four 90-minute EFT sessions. [13]

Concluding Thoughts
I want to make something clear . . . I know firsthand that depression is devastating. It takes a toll on the healthiest of families and can destroy lifelong friendships. Few things are harder in life than watching someone you love lose their sense of joy, hope, and purpose in life . . . You wonder if you will ever have your loved one "back" again. § It's impossible to impart the will to live to somebody who no longer possesses it. No amount of logic, reasoning, or reminders about all they have to live for will put a smile back on the face of a loved one masked by the black cloud of depression.

Oftentimes you cannot change your circumstances. You can, however, change your response to them. I encourage you to be balanced in your life. Don't ignore your body's warning signs that something needs to change . . . Depression is real, [but] it is my hope that you are encouraged and inspired by those who have "been there." [Ed's quotes.] < >

References
For details related to numbered references, please visit articles/mercola.com.

Dr. Joseph Mercola's site, mercola.com provides comprehensive information on health matters and other health-related issues, including excellent health products as well.    top

Why are the pyromaniacs in charge of putting out the fire?
Global Warming's "New Math," Pt. 2, concl.    top
© 2012 by Bill McKibben
Article submitted by Cher Gilmore. Originally published in the Aug. 2, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone. Reprinted excerpt as "fair use." Abridged and edited for brevity and/or clarity. Editor's comments, etc. in square brackets.

From previous segment, the First Number is 2º C. . .

The Second Number: 565 Gigatons
Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below 2º . . . )
    This idea of a global "carbon budget" emerged about a decade ago, as scientists began to calculate how much oil, coal and gas could still safely be burned. Since we've increased the Earth's temperature by 0.8 degrees so far [and] even if we stopped increasing CO2 now, the temperature would likely still rise another 0.8º, as previously released carbon continues to overheat the atmosphere.
    . . . The 565-gigaton figure was derived from one of the most sophisticated computer-simulation models that have been built by climate scientists around the world over the past few decades [and is being further refined] by the latest climate-simulation models. "Looking at them as they come in, they hardly differ at all," says Tom Wigley, an Australian climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "There's maybe 40 models in the data set now, compared with 20 before . . . " William Collins, a senior climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agrees. "I think the results of this round of simulations will be quite similar," he says. "We're not getting any free lunch from additional understanding of the climate system."
    . . . In late May [2012], the International Energy Agency published its latest figures — CO2 emissions last year rose to 31.6 gigatons, up 3.2 percent from the year before. American . . . converting more coal-fired power plants to natural gas, [had] its emissions [falling] slightly; China kept booming, so its carbon output (which recently surpassed the US) rose 9.3%; the Japanese shut down their [nuclear power plants] post-Fukushima, so their emissions edged up 2.4 percent . . .
    "There have been efforts to use more renewable energy and improve energy efficiency," said Corinne Le Quéré, who runs England's Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. "But what this shows is that so far the effects have been marginal."
    In fact, study after study predicts that carbon emissions will keep growing by roughly three percent a year — and at that rate, we'll [exceed] our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years, around the time today's preschoolers will be graduating from high school.
    The new data provide further evidence that the door to a 2º trajectory is about to close," said Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist. In fact, he continued, "When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of about 6º C.
    That's almost 11 degrees Fahrenheit, which would create a planet straight out of science fiction . . . We're in the same position we've been in for a [25 years]: scientific warning followed by political inaction. Among scientists speaking off the record, disgusted candor is the rule. One senior scientist told me, "You know those new cigarette packs, where governments make them put a picture of someone with a hole in their throats? Gas pumps should have something like that."

The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons
This number . . . meshes [with] the political and scientific dimensions of our dilemma. It was highlighted last summer by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts and environmentalists who published a report in an effort to educate investors about the possible risks that climate change poses to their stock portfolios. The number describes the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies . . .
    The Carbon Tracker Initiative — led by James Leaton, an environmentalist who served as an adviser at the accounting giant Pricewater-houseCoopers — combed through proprietary databases to figure out how much oil, gas and coal the world's major energy companies hold in reserve. The numbers [don't allow for related] energy sources like shale gas, [nor] coal reserves, which are subject to less stringent reporting requirements than oil and gas.
    But for the biggest companies, the figures are quite exact: If you burned everything in the inventories of Russia's Lukoil and America's ExxonMobil, for instance, which lead the list of oil and gas companies, each would release more than 40 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
    [That's why the] . . . number, 2,795 gigatons, is such a big deal. Think of 2º Celsius as the legal drinking limit — equivalent to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level below which you might get away with driving home. [Then], the 565 gigatons is how many drinks you could have and still stay below that limit . . . [But] the 2,795 gigatons . . . is the three 12-packs the fossil-fuel industry has on the table, already opened and ready to pour. [Ed's: To be followed soon by death from consuming too much "fire water"?]§    top
” Given the severity of the climate crisis, a . . . demand that our institutions dump stock from companies that are destroying the planet would not only be appropriate but effective . . . “


We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We'd have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked underground to avoid that fate . . . [Consider, though] the coal, gas and oil [is] . . . figured into share prices; companies [borrow] money against it; nations [base] their budgets on the presumed returns — [which] explains why big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of CO2 — those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It's why they've worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada's tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.
    . . . John Fullerton, a former managing director at JP Morgan who now runs the Capital Institute, calculates that at today's market value, those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion. [If] we burn all that carbon, investors will do fine. But if we do, the planet will crater. You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet [for a few years], or a relatively healthy planet [but not] both. Do the math: 2,795 is five times 565.
    § [Unhappily], environmental efforts to tackle global warming have [so far] failed. The planet's emissions of CO2 continue to soar, especially as developing countries emulate [or exceed] the industries of the West.
    . . . [A bright note of hope, though]: Germany is one of the only big countries that has actually tried to change its energy mix — generating nearly half its power from solar panels within its borders. . . . [This small miracle] demonstrates we have the technology to solve our problems, but "we" lack the will [Ed's quotes].

. . . At this point, effective action would require actually keeping most of the carbon the fossil-fuel industry wants to burn safely in the soil, not just changing . . . the speed at which it's burned . . .
    . . . The fossil-fuel industry has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth . . .

Six firms, Exxon, BP, Russian firm Gazprom, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell . . . of the 200 listed in the Carbon Tracker report, would use up more than a quarter of the remaining 2º budget. Severstal, the Russian mining giant, leads the list of coal companies, followed by firms like BHP Billiton and Peabody.
    [The Fossil Fuel Industry therefore] . . . holds the power to change the physics and chemistry of our planet . . . They're clearly cognizant of global warming — [but] they're . . . relentlessly searching for more hydrocarbons. —
    [Recently] Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson told Wall Street analysts that the company plans to spend $37 billion a year through 2016 (about $100 million a day) searching for yet more oil and gas.
    . . . Tillerson . . . told a New York audience that global warming is real [as Colorado fires raged], but dismissed it as an "engineering problem" that has "engineering solutions." Such as? "Changes to weather patterns that move crop-production areas around — we'll adapt to that." This in a week when Kentucky farmers were reporting that corn kernels were "aborting" in record heat, threatening a spike in global food prices."
    [Insult to injury]: Not long ago, the US Chamber of Commerce . . . filed a brief with the EPA urging the agency not to regulate Carbon. As, should the world's scientists turn out to be right and the planet heats up, the Chamber advised, "populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological and technological adaptations."


[Ed's: Is that the best that the collective human mind and will can come up with? I think not. See my editorial, "Magic Seeds."]

. . . [P]ure self-interest probably won't spark a transformative challenge to fossil fuel. But moral outrage just might — and that's the real meaning of this new math. It could, plausibly, give rise to a real movement. § Once, in recent corporate history, anger forced an industry to make basic changes. That was the 80s campaign demanding divestment from companies doing business in South Africa. It rose first on college campuses and then spread to municipal and state governments; 155 campuses eventually divested, and by the end of the decade, more than 80 cities, 25 states and 19 counties had taken some form of binding economic action against companies connected to the apartheid regime. "The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century," as Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it, "but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure," especially from "the divestment movement of the 1980s."
    . . . "Given the severity of the climate crisis, a comparable demand that our institutions dump stock from companies that are destroying the planet would not only be appropriate but effective," says Bob Massie, a former anti-apartheid activist who helped found the Investor Network on Climate Risk.< >    top
   

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