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Over 100 original articles on health and other topics such as the environment and the economy are now available.

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Mercury’s Blowback - Autism PDF Print E-mail
(3 votes, average 3.33 out of 5)
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 10 March 2008 00:00

Mercury, also known as quicksilver, is the only common metal which is liquid at ordinary temperatures. Metallic mercury is used in a variety of household products, such as barometers, thermometers and fluorescent light bulbs. Alkali and metal processing, coal-burning power plants, medical and other waste, and mining of gold and mercury contribute greatly to mercury concentrations in some areas. However, the dominant source of mercury over most of the landscape is when mercury enters the atmosphere. Once in the atmosphere, mercury is widely disseminated and can circulate for years, accounting for its wide-spread distribution. 

Mercury is a neurotoxin. The “mad hatters” of the 19th century suffered from mercury poisoning which caused personality changes, nervousness, trembling, and even dementia. The hatters were exposed to mercury in the felting process when mercury was rubbed onto cloth to preserve it. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “for fetuses, infants, and children, the primary health effect of methylmercury is impaired neurological development. Methylmercury exposure in the womb, which can result from a mother's consumption of fish and shellfish that contain methylmercury, can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system. Impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills have been seen in children exposed to methylmercury in the womb.” 

According to a recent article in USA Today, the EPA states that as many as 600,000 babies may be born in the USA each year with permanent brain damage because pregnant mothers ate mercury-contaminated fish.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:38
Learning and Developmental Disabilities Linked to Environmental Toxins PDF Print E-mail
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 25 February 2008 00:00

Autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, mental retardation, lowered IQ and other learning and behavior disorders are very common in today’s American children. The occurrence of these learning and developmental disabilities (LDDs) appears to be rising with between 5 to 15 percent of all children under the age of 18 in the United States affected. In general, these disabilities have significantly increased over the past 40 years and now affect more than 12 million children in the United States. 

On February 20, 2008 The Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative published a Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorder. This statement signed by more than 50 national and international health professionals and scientists summarizes the most recent science about environmental contaminants associated with learning and developmental disabilities. The report that was drafted by this prestigious group contains over 200 scientific references. 

“We know enough now to move on with taking steps to protect our children. This document pulls that knowledge together to further this vital effort," said reviewer Martha Herbert, PhD, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric neurologist with subspecialty certification in neurodevelopmental disabilities at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. 

Exposure to a wide variety of chemicals is now an unavoidable fact of modern life. Approximately 3,000 chemicals are manufactured in amounts over 1,000,000 pounds each year. The vast majority of these chemicals have little to no information on their potential to effect learning and development. According to the report, “there is good evidence that about 200 of these chemicals are adult neurotoxicants and another 1,000 are suspected of affecting the nervous system. Overall there has been a gross failure to require developmental neurotoxicity testing.”

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:39
Pesticides – The risk to human health PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 05 November 2007 00:00

We’ve all seen those signs on lawns warning about a pesticide application. In many communities in the United States people dutifully apply pesticides to their lawns to present a certain look. In the land that touts individuality, paradoxically how your home and surrounding lawn appear must conform within a certain narrow standard of socially acceptable parameters. 

A uniform golf-course-carpet-like green lawn has become in many cases an ingrained view that is ever reinforced by a myriad of commercials offering products to achieve this utopian “Garden of Eden.” According to the EPA, people used over 100 million pounds of active pesticide ingredients in 2001 to in part achieve this result. However, what are the consequences of achieving that certain look – of “keeping up with the Joneses”? 

The Canadian Cancer Society states that it is very concerned about the “potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances for the purpose of enhancing the appearance of, for example, private gardens and lawns as well as parks, recreational facilities and golf courses.” They base this concern on the conclusions of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, that state the some substances used in pesticides are classified as “known, probable or possible carcinogens.” The Canadian Cancer Society continues, “Since ornamental use of pesticides has no countervailing health benefit and has the potential to cause harm, we call for a ban on the use of pesticides on lawns and gardens.” 

However, the carcinogenicity of pesticides isn’t the only cause for concern. Although it is well accepted that acute pesticide poisoning causes an array of health problems such as seizures, rashes, and gastrointestinal illness, the chronic effects are less well known. A study in Canadian Family Physician, examined all the scientific studies from 1992 to 2003 to examine the other consequences of pesticide use. In all, the study identified 124 quality studies to be included in their analysis.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:39
No more migraines! – Barbara’s story PDF Print E-mail
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Friday, 12 October 2007 00:00

Picture a pulsating, painful headache that twice a month left you mostly bedridden for three to five days at a time. Imagine that headache was also accompanied with vomiting, dizziness, poor coordination, and a seemingly unending pain. That was the hellish reality for Barbara in the spring of 2007 who had suffered with full-blown migraines since she was a child. “I’ve been plagued with headaches which have become more painful and more frequent the older I got.” 

According to an April 2004 article in the British medical journal the Lancet a migraine is a very common neurobiological headache disorder that ranks among the world’s most disabling illnesses. According to Wikipedia, in the United States 18% of women and 6% of men report having at least one migraine episode over the period of a year. 

For years Barbara searched everywhere for everything and anything to try and eliminate her headaches. Barbara went to numerous doctors. “They gave me shot after shot and then sent me home in the exact same condition I came in with them saying ‘Sorry. I can’t do anything to help you.’” 

Several years ago Barbara found a vitamin supplement that contained ephedra. Taking the supplement once a day on a regular basis eliminated Barbara’s headaches. “I was elated with happiness.” However, shortly after Barbara discovered this product the federal ban on ephedra went into place. “The product I was successfully using to eliminate my pain was taken off the market, reformulated and proved itself useless to my headaches. They came back.” Barbara resumed her search to try and stop her suffering. 

In July 2007 Barbara contacted me about her condition on the suggestion of a mutual acquaintance. Based on information from Dr. Gary Null and my own investigations I suggested Barbara make a large number of lifestyle modifications which included changes in diet and attitude, and included the use of various vitamins, minerals, and herbs.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:40
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) increases seizure risk in women with epilepsy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 24 September 2007 00:00

Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT, is a medical treatment for women who have reached or passed menopause. HRT involves taking small doses of hormones – estrogen and/or progesterone. Prempro is a medication that combines conjugated equine estrogens plus medroxyprogerstone acetate also known as CEE/MPA. The conjugated estrogens are obtained from the urine of pregnant mares and progestin part of Prempro is the synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. 

HRT was once hailed as the drug that would ease a woman through menopause while protecting the heart. However, despite these hopes numerous studies have shown that HRT causes a large number of serious problems including the increased risk of stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, deep-venous thrombosis, and gallbladder disease. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research group classifies both birth control pills and HRT as “carcinogenic to humans”. 

A large study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in August of 1998 showed that HRT provided no benefit in coronary heart disease but did increase the risk of venous thromboembolic events and gallbladder disease. 

A study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) enrolled over 160,000 women from 40 different medical centers. The purpose of the study was to examine the health benefits and risks of HRT. In July 2002, the study that involved the use of HRT was stopped mainly because of the detected 26% increased risk in breast cancer. 

In 2004, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that women aged 60 to 69 were 4.3 times more likely to develop a clot if taking combined HRT, while women in their seventies were at 7.5 times the risk.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:40
CoQ10 helps relieve statin induced muscle pain PDF Print E-mail
(2 votes, average 2.50 out of 5)
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Thursday, 12 July 2007 00:00

Statins are a class of drug that are used to lower cholesterol levels. Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor, Zocor, and Vytorin are some of the more well known brand names that belong to this class of drug. These drugs are extremely profitable generating billions of dollars in sales. According to CNN Money, Lipitor is the top-selling drug of all time with nearly $13 billion in 2006 sales. 

Despite a large analysis presented in a study in the April 2005 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine showing that omega-3 fatty acids decreased the risk ratio for death by 23% and that statins only decreased the risk of death by 13%, statins are still used as the primary way to treat people with high cholesterol. Lipitor alone has been prescribed to over 18 million Americans to help them treat their cholesterol levels. 

Muscle symptoms commonly occur with statin drugs. In some cases myopathy, or damage to the muscle tissue, can actually occur. Very rarely, if myopathy occurs and statin therapy is not stopped a very dangerous condition called rhabdomyolysis can occur which can sometimes be fatal. 

According to an article in USA Today, Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group, “linked 72 fatal and 772 non-fatal cases of muscle breakdown, known as rhabdomyolysis, to all six of the statins sold between October 1997 and December 2000. The study found 29 earlier deaths.” 

Statins decrease cholesterol production by inhibiting an enzyme in the body called HMG-CoA, which is short of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl. The same biosynthesis pathway that is blocked in order to reduce cholesterol also reduces the production of a key nutrient in the body called coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 for short. Studies have shown that blood levels of CoQ10 drop by 25% to 50% after statin treatment.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:41
Toxic Jewelry – The Gold Mercury Connection PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Friday, 08 June 2007 00:00

Gold has been sought after and treasured since ancient times and represents to many wealth and status. Jewelry accounts for approximately 70 percent of the gold demand and wearing gold is considered by many to enhance a woman’s appearance. 

The World Gold Council is an association of the world’s leading gold producers established to promote the use of gold. They state in their report A Passion for Gold – Realizing Potential in the Gold Market, “Gold jewelry is perceived to be an integral part of a woman’s appearance. Our research showed that gold jewelry is considered by the majority of the consumer segments to be a necessary item rather than just an accessory – women derive strong emotional benefits from wearing gold jewelry, it is believed to complete a woman’s appearance.” 

Gold jewelry is also extremely profitable amounting to over $44 billion dollars in 2006 making gold jewelry one of the world’s largest categories of consumer goods. In terms of retail value the United States is the largest market for gold jewelry, whereas India is the largest consumer in volume terms. The demand for gold has driven the price from $260 per ounce in 2001 to $725 per ounce in 2006. 

This demand for gold has fostered a gold rush and increasingly impoverished people in developing countries have turned to small scale gold mining to earn a living. The choice of these miners to extract gold because it is easy, effective, and generally cheap is quicksilver also known as mercury. 

The May 2007 issue of Chemical & Engineering News examines the practice of using mercury to extract gold and its impact on the environment.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:41
The Mother of All Bubbles – Credit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Martin   
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 00:00

The real estate market is crashing faster than anyone had anticipated. Housing prices have fallen in 17 of 20 of the nation's largest cities and the trend lines indicate that the worst is yet to come. March sales of new homes plummeted by a record 23.5% (year over year) removing all hope for a quick rebound. Problems in the subprime and Alt-A loans are mushrooming in previously "hot markets" resulting in an unprecedented number of foreclosures. The defaults have slowed demand for new homes and increased the glut of houses already on the market. This is putting additional downward pressure on prices and profits. More and more builders are struggling just to keep their heads above water. This isn't your typical 1980s-type "correction"; it's a full-blown real estate cyclone smashing everything in its path. 

Tremors from the real estate earthquake won't be limited to housing-they will rumble through all areas of the economy including the stock market, financial sector and currency trading. There is simply no way to minimize the effects of a bursting $4.5 trillion equity bubble. 

The next shoe to drop will be the stock market which is still flying-high from increases in the money supply. The Federal Reserve has printed up enough fiat-cash to keep overpriced equities jumping for joy for a few months longer. But it won't last. Wall Street's credit bubble is even bigger than the housing bubble---a monstrous, lumbering dirigible that's headed for the cliff. The Dow is like a drunk atop a 13,000 ft cliff; inebriated on the Fed's cheap "low-interest" liquor. One wrong step and he'll plunge headlong into the ether.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 01:46
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