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The Sialic Quirk of Humanity

28. January 2009

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The Sialic Quirk of Humanity

Why are people susceptible to so much disease? How is it that the most sophisticated creatures on planet earth succumb, sometimes completely, to some of the most simplistic viruses, like the flu? We would expect that our bodies have seen every intruder possible in our evolutionary trek to becoming human - and should have developed a solution. But we haven't. So, what then is this evolutionary step that has made us so susceptible to microscopic pathogens? A fascinating physician-scientist may have uncovered the answer.

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Beer and Barbecue Really Do Belong Together: A Lesson in Cancer Prevention

23. January 2009

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Beer and Barbecue Really Do Belong Together: A Lesson in Cancer Prevention

Whether it be the braai of our meat-loving South African friends, the asado of Argentina or the barbie of the Kiwis and Aussies, grilled meat is sacred to many cultures the world over. But cancer is never on the menu. At least explicitly. In fact, if you asked most people, barbecues are probably the last thing they would think of when they hear cancer. For our friends with a family history of cancer, however, it may be one of the first places to look.

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Book Review: The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, MD

15. January 2009

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Book Review: The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, MD

Dr. Ravnskov, a founding member of the International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, takes many positions against cholesterol and goes even further in his book, "The Cholesterol Myths" published by NewTrends Publishing. One part detective mystery, one part conspiracy theory, Ravnskov tears through piles of medical studies digging towards the "truth." His thesis is rather simple: cholesterol does not cause heart disease. We put emphasis on the word cause for good reason: Ravnskov's entire argument hangs on tearing apart the correlation-versus-causation dichotomy. For the most part, he succeeds but at a cost to his text.

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Piven Sickened by Sushi’s Mercury

12. January 2009

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Piven Sickened by Sushi’s Mercury

Actor Jeremy Piven announced yesterday that he will leave the David Mamet play Speed-the-Plow because he has a mercury level running almost six times that of a normal person.

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Organic Fish Standards Announced by the USDA

9. December 2008

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Organic Fish Standards Announced by the USDA

Last week, the USDA announced their first organic guidelines for fish. The new guidelines uphold some of the traditional mainstays of organic agriculture, like banning the use of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and GMO feed in some instances while weakening other provisions at the same time. Most notable in the new guidelines is the inclusion of a loophole that allows aquaculture farms to obtain up to 25% of their feed from unregulated wild seafood stock (see the NOSB draft literature). The loophole does specify that organic producers use 'sustainable' wild seafood as the feed for their fish stocks but does not go so far as to require 100% organic feed. This is the first time ANY livestock producer (NOTE: the USDA classifies fisheries as 'livestock') has been allowed to include any non-organic feed into their own animal's feed.

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Purple Tomatoes Go GMO to Cure Cancer

26. November 2008

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Purple Tomatoes Go GMO to Cure Cancer

Researchers at John Innes Centre in the UK have used successfully created a purple tomato by using genes from the common snapdragon flowering plant. Tomatoes natively possess the genes required to make themselves purple but normally these genes lie dormant. By inserting borrowed genes from the snapdragon plant, the researchers engineered the tomato to activate the usually dormant genes. The tomato plant was designed intelligently with promoter sections of DNA inserted in front of the snapdragon genes, so that the tomato plant would only turn its ripening fruits purple and not its leaves.

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