Is Red Meat Killing You?

A new study in the journal of Nature Medicine found that saturated fat and cholesterol are not the only things in red meat raising the risk of heart disease. Carnitine, a compound found in red meat, certain dietary supplements, and energy drinks, can contribute to atherosclerosis (a thickening of the arteries). Certain bacteria in the digestive tract convert carnitine into TMAO, which promotes atherosclerosis. Frequent meat eaters were found to have more of the bacteria, thus compounding a greater risk. Another study found that one additional serving a day of red meat raised risk of death by 13%. Continue reading “Is Red Meat Killing You?”

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Overcoming Dyslexia

Dyslexia is the most common form of learning disability, accounting for about 85% of cases. People with this disorder struggle to make sense of language. Some symptoms include trouble rhyming, separating sounds that make up words, and difficulty connecting sounds to letters. The affliction is much broader than simply confusing or transposing letters. Continue reading “Overcoming Dyslexia”

Should Obesity Be Considered A Disease?

There has been significant debate in the American Medical Association on whether to classify obesity as a disease. At the core of the debate is a question of what is the definition of disease. Perhaps surprisingly, there is no consensus on this. There are several definitions, and not all experts agree. Consequently, all official determinations of disease have a sociological and contextual aspect to them. Continue reading “Should Obesity Be Considered A Disease?”

Medicated America

The United State of America is the most heavily medicated country in the world. With 3.5 billion drugs or more prescribed each year, Americans buy more drugs per person than any other country. About 34% of American adults take at least one prescription drug and 11.5% take 3 or more, according to a 2012 Forbes report. This amounts to around 130 million Americans each month. Continue reading “Medicated America”

Dropping Dollars and Pounds

With the ushering in of the new year a large mass of people are trying to better themselves by losing the extra weight they put on the previous month. Those holiday turkeys and pies are stubborn though, which inevitably leads many into the pseudoscientific arena of the fad diets. They seem like an easy way out. With only a few monthly payments you can be looking like new again. Are they really that easy, and do they ever deliver what was promised? Continue reading “Dropping Dollars and Pounds”

What Does Organic Really Mean?

The USDA has a very specific legal definition of what you need to have in order to call a food “organic.” While it does require minimalizing pollutants, pesticides, and “off-farm” products, the existence of some pollutant “residues” is permitted. Organic animal products must be free of antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic crops must not have “fertilizers with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.” The food must be free of “most” conventional pesticides, and the farm must be inspected by a Government-approved certifier. Continue reading “What Does Organic Really Mean?”

Broccoli or Bambi

People with vegetarian or vegan diets are generally healthier than the average omnivore. However, this is not to say that eating meat is bad for you in and of itself. In reality, the problem is that the average diet is disproportionate to the nutritional needs of the body, and vegans and vegetarians are more health conscious than the average person. Continue reading “Broccoli or Bambi”

Preparing for Pandemics

The 2012 Summer Olympics are raising concerns of a pandemic spreading in London, as masses of people flock to the city from around the world, according to the Influenza Pandemic Risk Index released by Maplecroft. At the same time another report from Cambridge University found that the H5N1 virus (a bird flu strain) is just three mutations from human to human transmission. These mutations, one of the study’s authors speculates, could happen in one human host. Continue reading “Preparing for Pandemics”

Losing the Medical Arms Race

Most of us have heard of the flesh eating bacteria that Aimee Copeland is currently recovering from. But how many people know that 47 % of meat sold in supermarkets in U.S. contained drug resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (staph), according to a study conducted by Translational Genomics Research Institute? How about the two incidents in a Rhode Island hospital where a carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) form of Klebsiella was found? There are many “super bugs” cropping up around the world, and many of them are more common than necrotizing fasciitis (Flesh Eating Bacteria), which only occurs in about 1 in 453,333 people in the U.S. annually. Continue reading “Losing the Medical Arms Race”

Antibiotic Resistance: What Causes It?

In many cases, it is patients who are causing the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Whenever you take an antibiotic for a viral infection, you are making yourself resistant to the drug. When you don’t take the full regiment of prescribed antibiotics because you “feel better,” you are creating super bugs. This is because whatever bacteria are still alive in your system are now resistant to that antibiotic. Continue reading “Antibiotic Resistance: What Causes It?”