Pets OK for Kids with Asthma, say researchers – FIREPAW, Inc.

firepaw.org
Published by firepawinc View all posts by firepawinc
3 minutes

The findings of a recent scientific study are good news for families who have pets and a child with asthma. The takeaway: Having a pet or not was insignificant in determining whether the child’s asthma improved. What did matter was the child and family closely following the asthma guidelines. This was true even for families with pets. In other words: According to the research findings, if you have a child with asthma, as long as you carefully follow the guidelines, there may be no need to get rid of the family cat or dog.
Have asthma and a pet? Re-homing your cat or dog may not be necessary

A study analyzed environmental exposures, like pet and secondhand smoke, to determine if they have a role in asthma control among children whose asthma is managed per NAEPP (EPR-3) guidelines. Researchers found that once asthma guidelines are followed, environmental exposures to pets or secondhand smoke were not significant factors in overall asthma improvement over time.

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Study overview

Three hundred and ninety-five children, ages 2 to 17 years, were included in this study; 25 percent were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, and 55 percent were exposed to a cat or dog at home.

Children with the diagnosis of uncontrolled asthma and were followed at a pediatric asthma center were provided asthma care as per NAEPP guidelines. At each visit (3-6 months), families completed asthma questionnaires including acute care needs, symptom control and asthma control test (ACT). Asthma control in patients was evaluated at each visit. Results were compared between patients with or without exposure to secondhand smoking and between patients with or without exposure to pets (cats or dogs) at home at baseline and over time.

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Findings

Environmental exposure to pets and secondhand smoke were not significant co-variants in asthma improvement over time. When closely following the asthma guidelines, both groups of asthma patients improved over a three-year period–regardless of whether there was a pet in the house.

Journal Reference: Shahid Sheikh, Judy Pitts, Ann Salvator, Christopher Nemastil, Swaroop Pinto. IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURES (SECOND HAND SMOKING AND/OR PETS) ON LONG-TERM ASTHMA CONTROL IN CHILDREN. Chest, 2018; 154 (4): 738A

Study abstract: DOI: 10.1016/j.chest.2018.08.666

Overview of findings

https://firepaw.org/2018/10/05/pets-ok-for-kids-with-asthma-say-researchers/

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Man nearing death makes miraculous recovery after 3 unwanted dogs come into his life

positiveoutlooksblog.com
Man nearing death makes miraculous recovery after 3 unwanted dogs come into his life
4-5 minutes

When Zach Skow crossed path with Tug, Marley, and Buddy from a dog rescue center, he took them home thinking how much of a difference he’s making in their life. Unbeknownst to the young man, it was the other way around…

Zach was only 16 years old when he started drinking heavily. With all of the problems he faced, he always tried to resolve with alcohol. With every great things happening in his life, he always celebrated with alcohol. Working at an Arizona comedy club only escalated his drinking problems. Thus years later, at the young age of 28 years old, his alcohol and drug abuse had consumed his liver. It was so damaged that his doctors only gave him three months to live if he would not be able to get a transplant.

There was another problem though, Zach could not get a transplant unless he could do away with alcohol for at least 6 months. It was during at his darkest days that he met the three dogs who inspired him to be a better man. Zach met Tug, Marley, and Buddy in a rescue shelter and decided to take them home. Little did he know that his decision would give his life a new purpose.

Every animal lovers know that getting a pet is a big responsibility. Thus, no matter how Zach felt like giving up on life, Tug, Marley, and Buddy would remind him that they need him. His life is important because they depend on him. These thoughts gave Zach the motivation he needed back then to continue living.

“My dogs were all looking at me like I was the sexiest man alive,” Zach recalled with fondness. “They didn’t see the desperation, they just saw the person that they love. They were looking forward to a future.”

Zach took his fur-parent role by heart. He did not only nourished the three adorable dogs with food and water. He also spent time with them. He often took the dogs out for their exercising needs as well.

Months later, Zach found himself eating healthier food as well. He took regular blood tests and noticed how the doctors kept looking at him with confusion and amazement in their eyes.

As unbelievable as it sounds, because of Tug, Marley, and Buddy, Zach was able to become a better and healthier version of himself. He was able to turn his life around to the point that he no longer needed a liver transplant to live!

“My kidney function had improved,” Zach recalled happily. “The doctor told me I didn’t have cirrhosis any more.”

Since that fateful day, Zach now calls himself as a professional dog rescuer and people saver. In addition, he founded Marley’s Mutts, a non-profit organization aiming to rescue, rehabilitate, train, and find homes for dogs saved from a high-kill shelter in California’s Central Valley. Since the day it has been established, Marley’s Mutts saved more than 5,000 dogs from being euthanized.

Marley’s Mutts also educates people about the health benefits we can enjoy from owning pets. In line with this, the people behind Marley’s Mutts bring their rescued dogs to visit veterans, hospital patients, and people with disability to let them experience the therapeutic magic of owning a dog or a pet.

The rescued dogs also get to be paired with inmates. This way, their likelihood of finding a new home increases and at the same time, they also help inmates feel a sense of belonging.

Robinson, for example, has been incarcerated since he was a kid. He spent almost 10 years in prison though he is just 27 years old. Thanks to Tyson, the adorable and loving Yorkshire, Robinson was able to transform into a young man with a promising future.

Truly, the best therapist in the world has a fur and four legs! Thanks to Tug, Marley, and Buddy, Zach was able to turn his life around and rebuild himself. Not only that, but he has also inspired numerous people to realize that, in saving a dog’s life, one saves his own as well! In reality we need our loving pets more, if not as much, than they need us.

https://positiveoutlooksblog.com/2018/10/02/man-makes-miraculous-recovery-after-3-unwanted-dogs-come-into-his-life/

Instagram l Zach Skow

Petition · Get harmful chemicals out of sunscreen · Change.org

Get harmful chemicals out of sunscreen
Arabella Hubbauer started this petition to Coppertone and 1 other

Summer means the beach, roofdecks, backyard barbecues and for many, being outside as much as humanly possible. It also means sunscreen! But what if the chemicals in sunscreen products were potentially harmful — not just to humans, but also do precious wildlife and coral reefs in the ocean?

You might not know the name Oxybenzone, but it’s a common chemical in many brand name sunscreens. But in many places around the globe — most recently Hawaii — lawmakers have been working to ban sunscreens with the chemical because of its potentially harmful side effects to human health (including possible effects on the endocrine system), and devastating impact on coral reefs and ocean life.

Coppertone and its parent company, Bayer, have a real moment to be industry leaders and remove Oxybenzone from products. Tell the makers of Coppertone to get potentially harmful chemicals out of sunscreen.

The Environmental Working Group has long considered Oxybenzone toxic, and regularly warns that using sunscreen with this chemical is problematic for health and for the environment. There are also countless sunscreens that don’t use this chemical — some even produced by Bayer! — that allow for people to continue to use sunscreen while also not dousing themselves with a chemical that could cause serious side effects, as well as bleach coral reefs that are already under terrible duress.

As one scientist who co-authored a study on coral reefs and the impact of sunscreen on them stated, “any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers.”

With so many potential Oxybenzone-free sunscreens available, let’s make it the industry standard that the sunscreens we’re putting on our body remove this chemical that could harm human beings, and looks like it’s harming precious coral reefs.

https://www.change.org/p/get-harmful-chemicals-out-of-sunscreen?signed=true

138,106 have signed. Let’s get to 150,000!

Get harmful chemicals…

https://www.change.org/p/get-harmful-chemicals-out-of-sunscreen?recruiter=44240641&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=396231

 

© 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

An army of deer ticks carrying Lyme disease is advancing. It will only get worse.

grist.org
By Kristen Lombardi and Fatima Bhojani on Aug 11, 2018
23-29 minutes

This story was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity and was co-published with Mother Jones. It is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Maine’s invasion came early this year. In recent hotbeds of tick activity — from Scarborough to Belfast and Brewer — people say they spotted the eight-legged arachnid before spring. They noticed the ticks — which look like moving poppy seeds — encroaching on roads, beaches, playgrounds, cemeteries, and library floors. They saw them clinging to dogs, birds, and squirrels.

By May, people were finding the ticks crawling on their legs, backs, and necks. Now, in midsummer, daily encounters seem almost impossible to avoid.

Maine is home to 15 tick species but only one public health menace: the blacklegged tick — called the “deer” tick — a carrier of Lyme and other debilitating diseases. For 30 years, an army of deer ticks has advanced from the state’s southwest corner some 350 miles to the Canadian border, infesting towns such as Houlton, Limestone, and Presque Isle.

“It’s horrifying,” says Dora Mills, director of the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation at the University of New England in Portland. Mills, 58, says she never saw deer ticks in her native state until 2000.

The ticks have brought a surge of Lyme disease in Maine over two decades, boosting reported cases from 71 in 2000 to 1,487 in 2016 — a 20-fold increase, the latest federal data show. Today, Maine leads the nation in Lyme incidence, topping hot spots like Connecticut, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. Deer-tick illnesses such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis — a bacterial infection and a parasitic disease similar to malaria, respectively — are following a similar trajectory.

The explosion of disease correlates with a warming climate in Maine where, over the past three decades, summers generally have grown hotter and longer and winters milder and shorter.

Today, Maine leads the nation in Lyme incidence, topping hot spots like Connecticut, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

It’s one strand in an ominous tapestry: Across the United States, tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, some potentially lethal, are emerging in places and volumes not previously seen. Climate change almost certainly is to blame, according to a 2016 report by 13 federal agencies that warned of intensifying heat, storms, air pollution, and infectious diseases. Last year, a coalition of 24 academic and government groups tried to track climate-related health hazards worldwide. It found them “far worse than previously understood,” jeopardizing half a century of public health gains.

Yet in Maine, Governor Paul LePage — a conservative Republican who has questioned the science of global warming — won’t acknowledge the phenomenon. His administration has suppressed state plans and vetoed legislation aimed at limiting the damage, former government officials say. They say state employees, including at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have been told not to discuss climate change.

“It appears the problem has been swept under the rug,” says Mills, who headed the Maine CDC from 1996 to 2011. In the 2000s, she sat on a government task force charged with developing plans to respond to climate change; those efforts evidently went for naught. “We all know this response of ignoring it and hoping it goes away,” she says. “But it never goes away.”

In an emailed statement, LePage’s office denied that the governor has ignored climate change. It cited his creation of a voluntary, interagency work group on climate adaptation in 2013, which includes the Maine CDC. “To assume … that the governor has issued a blanket ban on doing anything related to climate change is erroneous,” the statement said. A recent inventory of state climate activities performed by the group, however, shows that most of the health department’s work originated with the previous administration.
Tripling of vector disease cases

Climate’s role in intensifying diseases carried by “vectors” — organisms transmitting pathogens and parasites — isn’t as obvious as in heat-related conditions or pollen allergies. But it poses a grave threat. Of all infectious diseases, those caused by bites from ticks, mosquitoes, and other cold-blooded insects are most climate-sensitive, scientists say. Even slight shifts in temperatures can alter their distribution patterns.

In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a tripling of the number of disease cases resulting from mosquito, tick, and flea bites nationally over 13 years — from 27,388 cases in 2004 to 96,075 in 2016. Cases of tick-related illnesses doubled in this period, accounting for 77 percent of all vector-borne diseases. CDC officials, not mentioning the words “climate change,” attributed this spike partly to rising temperatures.

Heedless officials like LePage are one reason the government response to the human impacts of climate change has been so sluggish. But discord within the health community has stymied action, too, according to interviews with more than 50 public health experts and advocates, and a review of dozens of scientific studies and government reports. State and local health department employees may believe climate change is happening but don’t necessarily see it as a public health crisis, surveys show. Many find it too taxing or nebulous a problem to tackle.

“Like most health departments, we are underfunded and our list of responsibilities grows each year,” wrote one investigator from Arizona, echoing the 23 professionals who responded to a Center for Public Integrity online questionnaire.

The fraught politics of climate change also loom large. Chelsea Gridley-Smith, of the National Association of City and County Health Officials, says many local health departments face political pressures. Some encounter official or perceived bans on the term “climate change.” Others struggle to convey the urgency of threats when their peers don’t recognize a crisis.

“It’s disheartening for folks who work in climate and health,” says Gridley-Smith, whose group represents nearly 3,000 departments. “When politics come into play they feel beat down a little.”

This reality is striking in Maine, among 16 states and two cities receiving a federal grant meant to bolster health departments’ responses to climate-related risks. Under the program — known as Building Resilience Against Climate Effects, or BRACE — federal CDC employees help their state and local counterparts use climate data and modeling research to identify health hazards and create prevention strategies. National leaders have praised the Maine CDC’s BRACE work, which includes Lyme disease.

But the Maine CDC employees declined requests to interview key employees and didn’t respond to written questions. Instead, in a brief email, a spokesperson sent a description of initiatives meant to help people avoid tick bites and Lyme disease. Sources close to the agency say the LePage administration is concerned about tick-related illnesses but not their connection to climate. In its statement the governor’s office said this relationship “is of secondary concern to the immediate health needs of the people of Maine.”

The ticks, meanwhile, continue their northerly creep. In Penobscot County — where the Lyme incidence rate is eight times what it was in 2010 — the surge has unnerved residents. Regina Leonard, 39, a lifelong Mainer who lives seven miles north of Bangor, doesn’t know what to believe about climate change. But she says the deer tick seems “rampant.”

In 2016, her son Cooper, then 7, tested positive for Lyme disease after developing what she now identifies as an expanding or “disseminated” rash, a classic symptom. Red blotches appeared on his cheeks, as if he were sunburned. The blotches coincided with other ailments — malaise, nausea. Weeks later, they circled his eyes. The ring-shaped rash spread from his face to his back, stomach, and wrists.

Leonard says Cooper could barely walk during his 21-day regimen of antibiotics. His fingers curled under his hands. He stuttered. The thought of being bitten by another tick terrifies him to this day.

“At this rate,” Leonard says, “we’re all going to end up with Lyme.”
‘A huge epidemic’

The spread of Lyme disease has followed that of deer ticks. The incidence of Lyme has more than doubled over the past two decades. In 2016, federal health officials reported 36,429 new cases, and the illness has reached far beyond endemic areas in the Northeast to points west, south, and north.

The official count, driven by laboratory tests, underplays the public health problem, experts say. In some states, Lyme has become so prevalent that health departments no longer require blood tests to confirm early diagnosis. The testing process — which measures an immune response against the Lyme-causing bacteria — has limitations as well. It misses patients who don’t have such a reaction. Those who show symptoms associated with a later stage — neurological issues, arthritis — can face inaccurate results. The CDC estimates the actual caseload could be 10 times higher than reported.

Dr. Saul Hymes heads a pediatric tick-borne disease center at Stony Brook University on Long Island, a Lyme epicenter since the disease’s discovery in 1975. He’s noticed a change: Patients file into his office as early as March and as late as November. Often, they appear in winter. Deer-tick samples collected from 2006 to 2011 at the university’s Lyme lab show a jump in tick activity in December and January.

States where Lyme hardly existed 20 years ago are experiencing dramatic changes. In Minnesota, deer ticks and the illnesses they cause appeared in a few southeastern counties in the 1990s. But the tick has spread northward, bringing disease-causing bacteria with it. Now, in newly infested areas, says David Neitzel, of the Minnesota Department of Health’s vector-borne disease unit, “We haven’t been able to find any clean ticks. They’re all infected.” Minnesota ranks among the nation’s top five states for Lyme cases; it places even higher in incidence of anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

A similar transformation is under way in Maine, where the 2017 count of 1,769 Lyme cases represented a 19-percent increase over the previous year. Anaplasmosis cases soared 78 percent during that period, babesiosis 42 percent.

“It’s quite a remarkable change in a relatively short period,” says Dr. Robert Smith, director of infectious diseases at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Researchers at the hospital’s vector-borne disease laboratory have tracked the deer tick’s march across all 16 of Maine’s counties since 1988. Through testing, they’ve identified five of the seven pathogens carried by deer ticks. That’s five new maladies, some life-threatening.

Betsy Garrold, 63, lives on 50 acres amid dairy farms in Knox, a rustic town of 900 in Waldo County, where the Lyme incidence rate is three times the state average. A retired nurse midwife, Garrold says she long viewed the disease as many in the health profession would: mostly benign when treated with antibiotics. In 2013, she tested positive for Lyme after a red, brick-shaped rash covered her stomach and legs. She lost her ability to read and write and struggled to form a simple sentence.

“It was the worst experience of my life,” says Garrold, who previously had weathered bouts of tropical intestinal diseases.

Lisa Jordan, a patient advocate who lives in Brewer, just southeast of Bangor, says she’s already inundated with phone calls from people stricken by Lyme. On her cul-de-sac, she counts 15 out of 20 households touched by the disease. Three of her family members, herself included, are among them. “It’s a huge epidemic,” she says.
A vector-borne ecologist collects ticks at a site in Maine. John Ewing / Portland Press Herald / Getty Images
‘Disease emergency’ in Canada

The link between Lyme disease and climate change isn’t as direct as with other vector-borne diseases. Unlike mosquitoes, which live for a season and fly everywhere, deer ticks have a two-year life cycle and rely on animals for transport. That makes their hosts key drivers of disease. Young ticks feed on mice, squirrels, and birds, yet adults need deer — some suggest 12 per square mile — to sustain a population.

Rebecca Eisen, a federal CDC biologist who has studied climate’s influence on Lyme, notes that deer ticks dominated the East Coast until the 1800s, when forests gave way to fields. The transition nearly wiped out the tick, which thrives in the leaf litter of oaks and maples. The spread of the deer tick since federal Lyme data collection began in the 1990s can be traced in part to a decline in agriculture that has brought back forests while suburbia has sprawled to the woods’ edges, creating the perfect habitat for tick hosts.

Eisen suspects this changing land-use pattern is behind Lyme’s spread in mid-Atlantic states like Pennsylvania, where the incidence rate has more than tripled since 2010. “It hasn’t gotten much warmer there,” she says.

But climate is playing a role. Ben Beard, deputy director of the federal CDC’s climate and health program, says warming is the prime culprit in Lyme’s movement north. The CDC’s research suggests the deer tick, sensitive to temperature and humidity, is moving farther into arctic latitudes as warm months grow hotter and longer. Rising temperatures affect tick activity, pushing the Lyme season beyond its summer onset.

Canada epitomizes these changes. Over the past 20 years, Nicholas Ogden, a senior scientist at the country’s Public Health Agency, has watched the tick population in Canada spread from two isolated pockets near the north shore of Lake Erie into Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario, the front lines of what he calls “a vector-borne disease emergency.”

Scientists say ticks can use snow as a blanket to survive cold temperatures, but long winters will limit the deer tick, preventing it from feeding on hosts and developing into adults. In the 2000s, Ogden and colleagues calculated a threshold temperature at which it could withstand Canada’s winter. They surmised that every day above freezing — measured in “degree days,” a tally of cumulative heat — would speed up its life cycle, allowing it to reproduce and survive. They mapped their theory: As temperatures rose, deer ticks moved in.

By 2014, the researchers had published a study examining projected climate change and tick reproduction. It shows higher temperatures correlating with higher tick breeding as much as five times in Canada and two times in the northern United States; in both places, the study shows, a Lyme invasion has followed.

The Canadian health agency reports a seven-fold spike in Lyme cases since 2009. “We know it’s associated with a warming climate,” Ogden says.

The U.S. EPA concluded as much in 2014, when it named Lyme disease an official “indicator” of climate change — one of two vector infections to receive the distinction. In its description, the EPA singles out the caseloads of four northern states, including Maine, where Lyme has become most common.

Maine researchers have found a strong correlation between tick activity and milder winters. According to their projections, warming in Maine’s six northernmost counties — which collectively could gain up to 650 more days above freezing each year by 2050 — will make them just as hospitable to deer ticks as the rest of the state.
Maine’s governor nixes climate change research

Research like this is crucial, experts say. Yet the federal government has failed to prioritize it. From 2012 to 2016, the National Institutes of Health spent a combined $32 million on its principal program on climate change — 0.1 percent of its $128 billion budget, says Kristie Ebi, a University of Washington public health professor. NIH spending has gone up in the past two fiscal years, to an average of $193 million annually. But that’s still less than the $200 million Ebi says health officials need annually to create programs that will protect Americans. And NIH spent 38 times as much on cancer research during the two-year period.

Congress has done little to fix the problem. Last year, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, sponsored legislation calling for an increase in federal funding for climate and health research and mandating the development of a national plan that would help state and local health departments. The bill, sponsored by 39 House Democrats, is languishing in committee. Sources on Capitol Hill say it has no chance of advancing as long as climate-denying Republicans hold a majority.

The only federal support for state and city health officials on climate change is the CDC’s BRACE grant program. George Luber, chief of the CDC’s climate and health program, considers it “cutting-edge thinking for public health.” He intends to expand it to all 50 states, but funding constraints have kept him from doing so.

Republicans in Congress have tried repeatedly to excise BRACE’s $10 million budget, to no avail. Its average annual award for health departments has remained around $200,000 for nearly a decade.

The modest federal response has shifted the burden to state and local health departments, most of which have “limited awareness of climate change as a public health issue,” according to a 2014 Government Accountability Office report. Of the two dozen responding to the Center’s questionnaire, only one said her agency had trained staff on climate-related risks and drafted an adaptation plan.

By contrast, BRACE states are hailed as national models for climate health adaptation. In Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont — where deer ticks and their diseases are moving north — health officials have modeled future climate change and begun education campaigns in areas where Lyme is expected to rise.

Dora Mills, the former Maine CDC chief, oversaw the department’s bid for a BRACE grant in 2010. State epidemiologists already were surveying tick-related illnesses, but no one was asking why deer ticks were spreading or which areas were in jeopardy.

One year later, the department launched a program prioritizing vector-borne disease and extreme heat. Some employees worked with experts to model high-heat days and analyze their relationship with heat-induced hospital visits, among other activities. Much of the funding went to climate scientists and vector ecologists, who looked at the relationship between deer ticks and warming temperatures and did a similar study involving mosquitoes. They planned to develop a broader tick model that would examine the climate and ecological processes underlying the spread of Lyme disease in Maine and project its future burden.

By 2013, the administration of Governor LePage, elected in 2010 as a denier of what he called “the Al Gore science” on climate change, was clamping down. Norman Anderson worked at the Maine CDC for five years and managed its climate and health program. He recalls department public relations officials warning him not to talk about his work and refusing to green-light his appearances.

Eventually the governor eliminated the department’s climate change research. Scientists say they had to replace their ambitious modeling plan with rudimentary activities and spend their remaining BRACE funds on “tick kits” — complete with beakers of deer ticks in nymph and adult stages — to distribute to school children.

“Governor LePage said, ‘No one is doing climate change research,’” says Susan Elias, a vector ecologist at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute who worked on the tick-climate research and is developing the broader model for her Ph.D. dissertation. “That message came down from on high through official state channels.”

LePage’s office defended the governor’s decision, arguing that scientists studying the relationship between climate and disease “are best funded in research settings such as large universities,” not the Maine CDC.

LePage did approve a proposal by the Maine CDC to renew its BRACE grant, but only after narrowing the scope. Employees had to abandon planned climate research related to the health impacts of extreme weather and worsening pollen, records show. Their heat research yielded results — indeed, the threshold at which officials issue dangerous heat advisories was lowered from 105 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit after their analysis had found it didn’t protect Mainers’ health. But employees had to scrap their heat-response plans nonetheless. The only BRACE work that LePage approved involved Lyme prevention.

In 2014, Anderson, frustrated by what he calls the “repressive” environment, quit the Maine CDC. The department’s larger “strategy around climate and health had just been whittled away,” he says.
‘Trying to plug holes in the dam’

Today, the Maine CDC’s climate and health program amounts to little more than a half dozen initiatives on ticks and tick-borne diseases. Health officials have developed voluntary school curricula and online campaigns targeting the elderly, for instance. They’ve launched training videos for school nurses and librarians.

The department’s “main prevention message is encouraging Maine residents and visitors to use personal protective measures to prevent tick exposures,” it said in a 2018 report.

That report, filed by the Maine CDC with state legislators, hints at the department’s myopic focus on the accelerating public health problem. Its vector-borne disease work group, consisting of scientists, pest-control operators, and patient advocates, has extensive knowledge on ticks and tick-borne diseases, yet has no mandate to draft a statewide response plan, members say. Its published materials make no mention of Lyme’s connection to climate change.

Sources close to the Maine CDC say the prevention work is the best it can do with limited resources. At $215,000 a year, the BRACE grant — which totals $1.1 million over five years — isn’t enough to cover a 38,385-square-mile state with 1.3 million residents, they say. No state money is directed toward the surge in tick-related illnesses.

LePage’s office cites the governor’s leadership in building an $8 million research facility at the University of Maine, which opened last month. The laboratory — the product of a ballot initiative in 2014 — houses the university’s tick-identification program. Director Griffin Dill considers it a major upgrade from the converted office in which he logged tick samples for five years. It will enable him to expand tick surveillance and test ticks for pathogens. Still, he’s candid about the bigger picture.

“We’re still so inundated with tick-borne disease,” Dill says. “We’re trying to plug holes in the dam.”

Already, another threat is looming. Scientists consider the Lone Star tick a better signal of climate change than its blacklegged counterpart — it has long thrived in southern states like Texas and Florida but is advancing northward. In Maine, tick ecologists have logged samples of the Lone Star species since 2013. Dill has surveyed fields and yards in search of settled populations, dragging what looks like a white flag on a stick over brush. He says the tick isn’t surviving Maine’s winters — yet.

It may be bringing new and unusual diseases here nevertheless. Patty O’Brien Carrier suffered what she describes as a bizarre reaction — itchy hives, a reddened face, a swollen throat — twice before learning that she has Alpha Gal Syndrome, a rare allergy to meat. In February, lab tests identified its source: a Lone Star tick bite. A “ferocious gardener” from Harpswell, 37 miles northeast of Portland, O’Brien, 71, believes she was bitten in her yard. She spends her time in the dirt surrounded by roses, daisies and other perennials. She notices more ticks in her garden, she says, much like she notices the ground thawing earlier each spring.

In November, O’Brien pulled a bloated tick from her neck. It was as large as a sesame seed, concave-shaped and bore a white dot on its back — just like the Lone Star. “Its face was right in my neck and its legs were squirming,” she says. “It was quite disgusting.”

Now O’Brien performs the same ritual every time she goes outside: She applies tick repellant on her clothes and skin. She fashions elastic around her pants, and pulls her knee socks up. She adds boots, gloves and a hat.

“It’s like a war zone out there,” O’Brien says, “and I cannot be bitten by another tick.”

https://grist.org/science/an-army-of-deer-ticks-carrying-lyme-disease-is-advancing-it-will-only-get-worse/

Deaf Singer Gets Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer

Identifying Poison Ivy and Poison Oak (and Natural Remedies for When It’s Too Late)

onegreenplanet.org
Jonathon Engels
The green of summer feels great. All the plants are in full go, and fresh veggies are coming out of the garden. Berries are stocked at the you-pick-‘em farms, and butterflies and bees are flittering. It might be a little hot, but it seems like all the world is right. Then, on a hike like any other, a leg brushes up against some poison ivy, and things go askew.

Poison oak, poison ivy or poison sumac can quickly dampen a flying spirit and cause a month of the summer to be mixed up in skin irritations and lotions. Getting a rash from any of these plants, which have a common offending component called urushiol, leads to itching so intensely that it feels painful. Urushiol can even reach our skin via airborne specks.

The best way to avoid getting the itch is to give the plants a wide berth, and the only way for us to do that is knowing what they look like.
Poison Ivy

Poison ivy can sometimes be a nightmare to identify because it is a bit of a shapeshifter. It can be a vine, or it can be a bush. It can have green leaves, or reddish and yellowish leaves. The leaves can have widely varying edges as well, sometimes smooth and other times jagged.

However, what all poison ivy plants have in common is that their leaves come in groups of three, and those three leaves will all come to a point at the end, as opposed to being rounded or lobed. Additionally, the changes in leaf color tend to be seasonal, with reds and oranges being in springtime, green being in summer, and back to reds and oranges in the fall.

Because many plants have leaves of three, other characteristics to help identify poison ivy is that mature vines appear hairy due to aerial roots (Note: While the leaves drop in winter, the vines can still give us a rash) and, in the fall, distinct white berries form on the plants. As far as the leaves, the middle leaf of the trio has a noticeably longer stem as well.
Poison Oak

Like poison ivy, poison oak has leaves of three, though it has been known to have groups of up to seven, and it can grow as either a vine or shrub. It gets its name because poison oak leaves resemble the leaves of young oak saplings sprouting up. In the case of poison oak, the three leaves connect to a single stem with the side leaves alternating up it rather than being directly across from one another.

Luckily, poison oak is less common than poison ivy, which grows everywhere in the US except California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Poison oak is more or less relegated the Pacific Coast or the Southeast. It, too, gets clusters of white berries (or greenish-yellowish) in the fall.
Poison Sumac

Even less common than poison oak, poison sumac is prone to boggy areas in the Southeast and occasionally the Northeast. It grows as a shrub or small tree and has between seven and thirteen leaves per stem. The stems can have a reddish appearance, and the leaves are green in the summer and turn yellow to red in the fall. Sumac, too, has clusters of green berries that turn white in autumn.
Common (and Harmless) Lookalikes

Some plants are commonly mistaken for poison ivy or oak, so it’s good to be familiar with them as well. Virginia creeper looks just like poison ivy and is often in the same location, but it has leaf groups of five. Wild raspberry and blackberry vines can look almost identical to poison ivy, but they’ll have thorns to distinguish them. Neither poison ivy nor poison oak have thorns. Hog peanuts have leaves of three but are lighter in appearance than poison ivy, have ubiquitously smooth leaves, and are notably daintier. Box elder is another lookalike, and it has a much shrubbier look about it than does poison ivy. As well, box elders have opposite leaves rather than alternate.
Dealing with the Rash

Unfortunately, no matter how careful we are, sometimes accidents happen, and the urushiol gets the better of us. When that day comes, it’s nice to know that there are some natural remedies (or soothers) available to us.

A baking soda paste (three-to-one with water) relieves itching and helps to dry out the rash.
Apple cider vinegar also relieves itching and helps to pull toxins out of the skin’s pores.
An oatmeal paste (cook the oatmeal very thick and apply it while warm but not hot) can help dry the rash out.
Jewelweed, often growing near poison ivy, is a natural remedy as well. Just crush the stalk and get the juices from it, applying the juice to suspect areas of infection.

As a last comforting word, a good thing to know for those infected (or the loved ones of those infected) is that the rash is not contagious. Once the initial urushiol has been washed away, the resulting rashes can’t spread to others. The blisters do not have the chemical in them. So, in the case of having poison ivy, at least getting some hugs and comforting is still an option.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/identifying-poison-ivy-poison-oak-natural-remedies/?utm_source=Green+Monster+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=c4574fe86e-NEWSLETTER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbf62ddf34-c4574fe86e-106049477

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7 Really Gross Reasons To Never Eat Meat Again

care2.com
Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on September 26, 2013.

You know the statistics that eating red meat will take years off your life, and you’ve probably heard of pink slime. If, for some reason, you’re still hesitating, here are seven reasons why you might want to think twice before eating your next steak.
1. Superbugs

Thinking about turkey burgers for dinner tonight? You may want to think again.

A report from the Food and Drug Administration found that, of all the raw ground turkey tested, 81 percent was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But ground turkey wasn’t the only problem. These bacteria were found in some 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of chicken.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are known as superbugs. The use of antibiotics on factory farms, in order to bring animals to slaughter faster or to make up for crowded conditions on feed lots, is one of the reasons why antibiotic resistance is on the rise.

Government data has revealed that one antibiotic-resistant strain of a germ called Enterococcus faecalis, normally found in human and animal intestines, was prevalent in a wide variety of meats. This means that the meat likely came into contact with fecal matter — and that there’s a high likelihood that other antibiotic-resistant bacteria is present too.

How’s that burger looking now?
2. Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used in livestock to make animals grow faster and to prevent disease. Some 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in 2011 for meat and poultry production — compared with the 7.7 million sold for human use, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. And that number has been on the rise.

Dr. Gail Hansen, a veterinarian and senior officer for the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, believes the use of antibiotics in animals is out of hand:

We feed antibiotics to sick animals, which is completely appropriate, but we also put antibiotics in their feed and in their water to help them grow faster and to compensate for unhygienic conditions. If you have to keep the animals healthy with drugs, I would argue you need to re-examine the system. You don’t take antibiotics preventively when you go out into the world.
3. Cleaning products

School districts and parents had not been aware that some 7 million pounds of meat served up in school cafeterias was coming from scraps swept up from the floor. These meat parts were then sent through a series of machines, which grind them into a paste, separatesout the fat and lace the substance with ammonia to kill bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli.

The end product, known as pink slime, looked disgusting. And the puffs of ammonia used to kill the bacterium E. coli really grossed everyone out.

It turns out there’s also another cleaning product used in meat production. According to the website MeatPoultry.com, “99 percent of American poultry processors” cool their “birds by immersion in chlorinated water-chiller baths.”

Yum.
4. Meat glue

What you think is a slab of meat, perhaps a filet mignon, often turns out to be comprised of meat scraps held together with something commonly referred to as “meat glue.” Officially known as “transglutaminase,” the product has its origins in the farming industry, when the natural enzyme was harvested from animal blood. Nowadays, it is produced through the fermentation of bacteria.

The FDA has ruled that meat glue is “generally recognized as safe,” and it is required to be listed as one of the ingredients. However, it’s unlikely that any restaurant or banquet hall would list the ingredients of its meat on the menu.

Ever thought of going vegetarian?
5. Chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals

In 2010 the Department of Agriculture’s inspector general condemned the U.S. for allowing meat containing pesticides, heavy metals, veterinary drugs and other chemicals to reach supermarket shelves. That’s because the country’s standards for testing meat for pesticides and chemicals were so lax that, in 2008, Mexico turned back a shipment of American beef because it didn’t meet its standards for copper traces.

How about a veggie burger instead?
6. Hormones

American beef is so heavy in hormones that the European Union has said it doesn’t want the product. The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures claims that hormone-heavy beef production poses “increased risks of breast cancer and prostate cancer,” citing cancer rates in countries that do and don’t eat U.S. beef. Perhaps you didn’t know that the synthetic hormones zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate are a routine part of the recipe for production of U.S. beef.
7. Carbon monoxide

Have you ever wondered why those steaks on the supermarket shelf are so red? That’s because as much as 70 percent of meat packages in stores are treated with carbon monoxide to keep the meat’s red color — oxymyoglobin — from turning brown or gray — metmyoglobin — through exposure to oxygen.

According to Ann Boeckman, a lawyer with a firm representing major meat companies, consumers do not need to worry about being deceived. “When a product reaches the point of spoilage, there will be other signs that will be evidenced—for example odor, slime formation and a bulging package—so the product will not smell or look right.”

https://www.care2.com/causes/7-really-gross-reasons-to-never-eat-meat-again.html

Good to know.

Photo Credit: USDA/Flickr

Confusing New GMO Labels Help Big Ag, Not Consumers – Chemical Free Life

chemical-free-life.org
Confusing New GMO Labels Help Big Ag, Not Consumers – Chemical Free Life
Published by Chemical-Free-Life.org
3-4 minutes

If there was ever a way to assist Big Ag in selling GMO food products, this is it…
USDA Unveils Prototypes For GMO Food Labels, And They’re … Confusing

Foods that contains genetically modified ingredients will soon have a special label.

We recently got the first glimpse of what that label might look like, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its proposed guidelines.

This is the product of a decades-long fight between anti-GMO campaigners and Big Agriculture companies, which left neither side completely satisfied…

After Congress passed a bill in 2016 requiring labels on foods containing GMO ingredients, the USDA launched a long process to figure out the specifics.

The result?

Confusion for Consumers

“…they look like a little smiley face. They’re very pro-biotech, cartoonishly so, and to that extent are, you know, not just imparting information but instead are essentially propaganda for the industry.”

-George Kimbrell, legal director for the Center for Food Safety

The letters B-E stand for bioengineered — a term critics say is unfamiliar to the U.S. consumer, compared to more commonly used phrases like genetically engineered or GMO.

“It’s misleading and confusing to consumers to now switch that up and use a totally different term, bioengineered, that has not been the standard commonplace nomenclature for all of this time.”

-George Kimbrell, legal director for the Center for Food Safety

Big Ag Loves the New Labels

…industry representatives such as Nathan Fields, the director of biotechnology and crop inputs at the National Corn Growers Association, say the new “Bioengineered” term provides a clean slate.

The National Corn Growers Association was supportive when Congress passed the mandatory disclosure standards, in part because states such as Vermont were creating their own rules about labeling genetically engineered foods…

More than 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered. Soy, like corn, is also more than 90 percent genetically engineered. That means that the majority of processed foods containing ingredients such as soy, canola oil or corn starch, also contain modified genetic material.

More Obstacles for Consumers to Know What is In Their Food

Polls show that a majority of Americans want to know whether their food is genetically engineered.

…but it is not certain that the USDA will require the label to actually say “bioengineered”…companies could simply use a QR code, a kind of barcode that a phone can scan, to disclose info about the product. Industry professionals say they are clear and easy to use.

But critics say scanning a code would be one more obstacle for people who want to know how their food is made.

“People who aren’t in a place where there’s good wi-fi won’t know if it’s a GMO, and people who don’t use smartphones won’t know if it’s a GMO and also people who are in a hurry won’t know if it’s a GMO.”

-Dr. Glenn Stone, a Washington University in St. Louis anthropology professor who focuses on genetically modified crops

https://chemical-free-life.org/2018/05/21/confusing-new-gmo-labels-help-big-ag-not-consumers/

Hospital exposure to BPA may put babies at risk for serious heart conditions – Chemical Free Life

chemical-free-life.org
Hospital exposure to BPA may put babies at risk for serious heart conditions – Chemical Free Life
Published by Chemical-Free-Life.org
4-5 minutes

Despite scientific evidence that it disrupts the human endocrine system, BPA continues to be a widely used chemical in the U.S.–one that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to maintain is safe for consumers and therefore has not banned. While it is at least now prohibited in the manufacturing of baby bottles, it has been detected in baby teething rings and other items babies and children may put inside their mouths. Additionally, as we have reported earlier, it can still be found in some dental products and inside food containers such as canned goods and plastic beverage bottles–as well as in plastic tubing and equipment used in food production (including organic milk) and in hospital equipment and medical products.

If the FDA says it is safe, what is the problem? As we have reported for a number of years now, there have been many hundreds of original scientific studies and replication studies linking BPA to a variety of serious health outcomes. (See a few of some recent ones here: a, b, c, d)

Now a new animal study has demonstrated that short-term, early exposure to the endocrine disrupting chemical BPA–such as from hospital and medical equipment used during the birthing process and in newborn care settings–may pose a risk for babies to cardiac problems.

At-a-Glance:

This new study documents the elevated risk short-term BPA exposure, for a period of 15 minutes, may have in pediatric intensive care settings.*

*The potential impact from even a short-term, 15-minute exposure is relevant given that many medical devices and hospital equipment contain BPA.

Overview:

“Epidemiological studies find BPA exposure in adults correlate with adverse cardiovascular events, ranging from abnormal heart beats, or arrhythmias, and angina, chest pain, to coronary artery disease, the narrowing of the arteries, commonly referred to atherosclerosis — the leading cause of death in the United Sates. Now, based on a study using neonatal rat heart cells, researchers find that the immature heart may respond to BPA in a similar fashion — with slower heart rates, irregular heart rhythms and calcium instabilities.”

Importance of this study:

“Current research explores the impact endocrine disruptors, specifically BPA, have on adults and their cardiovascular and kidney function. We know that once this chemical enters the body, it can be bioactive and therefore can influence how heart cells function. This is the first study to look at the impact BPA exposure can have on heart cells that are still developing.”

-Nikki Gillum Posnack, Ph.D., study author and assistant professor at Children’s National Heart Institute and the George Washington University*

Real-world implications of the findings:

As stated earlier, BPA can commonly be found in medical devices and hospital equipment. Babies who are exposed to BPA in the hospital setting may be at increased risk for cardiac problems.

“We’re investigating whether these hospital-based exposures may cause unintended effects on cardiac function and looking at ways to mitigate chemical exposure. We hope this preliminary research incentivizes the development of alternative products by medical device manufacturers and encourages the research community to study the impact of plastics on sensitive patient populations.”

–Nikki Gillum Posnack, Ph.D., study author and assistant professor at Children’s National Heart Institute and the George Washington University*

*Dr. Posnack’s ongoing research examines the impact environmental influences — including BPA and other endocrine disruptors — have on cardiac function

https://chemical-free-life.org/2018/05/15/hospital-exposure-to-bpa-may-put-babies-at-risk-for-serious-heart-conditions/

source

Journal Reference: Manelle Ramadan, Meredith Sherman, Rafael Jaimes, Ashika Chaluvadi, Luther Swift, Nikki Gillum Posnack. Disruption of neonatal cardiomyocyte physiology following exposure to bisphenol-a. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25719-8

Tips for Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Chronic Yeast Overgrowth (Candida)

onegreenplanet.org
Tips for Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Chronic Yeast Overgrowth (Candida)
Heather McClees
8-10 minutes

Chronic yeast overgrowth is something that’s often referred to as candida. If you’re not familiar with it, then basically, all you need to know is that we have all types of yeasts and bacteria in our bodies. Some are good and some are bad, and most live within our digestive tracts. The good “bugs” keep us healthy, energized, and protect us from the harmful toxins and everyday contaminants we encounter. They also help keep us regular and keep our skin, weight, and immune system in check.

Bad yeasts and bacteria do the opposite, and sadly, things that we eat in our diets can often fuel these bad “bugs” to become predominant in our systems, outnumbering the good bacteria.
What is Candida?chickpea flour omelet

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Everyone has a type of yeast known as candida albicans in the gut. It’s one of the most well-known because it’s easy to get out of hand since it’s fed through sugar, or anything that converts to sugar in the digestive tract (like refined carbs, breads, pastries, cookies, very high starch foods eaten in abundance, candies, sweets, most processed foods, and some moldy foods like cheese, beer and wine). Candida thrives on these foods and can grow at rapid speeds. When this happens, chronic yeast overgrowth occurs and is seen through symptoms such as: constant fatigue and headaches, depression, jock itch, possibly skin yeast infections like ringworm and psoriasis, multiple types of food reactions or allergies, brain fog, and a sensitivity to certain types of moldy, fermented foods (cheese, dairy, wine, beer). Some natural health experts also believe that sugar addictions stem from yeast overgrowth because the yeast needs “food” to survive, leading one to eat more and more.
How Natural Remedies May Helpkale-tomato-salad

kale-tomato-salad

Many natural remedies are available and you’ve likely seen all kinds of anti-fungal pills at health food stores that promise to help get rid of candida. While some of these may in fact fight the symptoms of candida and even cure mild cases, it’s best to treat the root of the problem first: removing the harmful foods and replenishing the good gut bacteria. One natural remedy that can help you restore good gut bacteria is an old time classic treatment known as ACV, or apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is fermented with a beneficial yeast that acts as a prebiotic for healthy bacteria in your gut, so essentially it helps your good bacteria grow as you eliminate harmful foods that feed the harmful yeasts like candida. Apple cider vinegar is even applied topically to the skin to treat skin fungal infections, acne, and even used as an alternative treatment to chemical-filled creams for jock-itch.
The Most Important Part About Fighting CandidaGolden Hummus With Curried Chickpeas b

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First, it’s important to remove all the processed, refined, and even naturally sugary foods on your diet. Stick to lots of greens, low-starch root vegetables like turnips, green vegetables and other low-starch vegetables, raw nuts and seeds that are fresh (to prevent mold encounter), as many fresh foods as possible, and low sugar fruits like berries, green apples, cucumber, limes, tomatoes, lemons, and some people handle citrus fine. You can also eat naturally sweet, healthy foods instead, and emphasize healthy fats from coconut, which contains anti-fungal properties naturally.

 

Some recipes you could enjoy might be: Jazzy-licious Kale, Mesquite Avocado Kale Salad, Escarole and White Bean Soup, Low-Carb Sugar-Free Vegan Protein Bars, Kale and Grilled Tomato Salad or a Chickpea omelet for something hearty. You can also learn to make lower sugar smoothie recipes without so much fruit, with a few of these natural, healthy tips.

After a while, once the yeast is under control, many people can add back low-starch grains like oats and quinoa, and some can even keep them in the beginning. Lentils, chickpeas, avocados, and even winter squash are also usually tolerated just fine on a yeast-free diet. The lower the sugar content of a food, the better. Once you’ve replaced the harmful ‘food’ that candida thrives on, it’s important to add other items to your menu that can possibly help fight bad bacteria.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar as Part of a Candida Treatment Regim

ACV-1200x797

 

Apple cider vinegar is a stellar choice to help your body heal naturally because it’s known for so many healing benefits, including acting as an antifungal and antibacterial food. You’ll need to take it internally as it can help flush out toxins, mucus, and all types of harmful bacteria that can cause a back up during digestion and cause yeast to fester even more. Take a tablespoon diluted in some room temperature or warm water in the morning, in the afternoon and at night after or before your meals. You can add some lemon and stevia if you need it to taste better. You can even add it to herbal teas over ice if you want (it’s actually pretty refreshing!). Try adding ginger to fight bacteria further, and whatever you do- buy the right kind of apple cider vinegar.

You need to purchase raw, organic apple cider vinegar so you know that the ‘mother’ is still in tact, which is the good bacteria the vinegar grows on. (This is the cloudy appearance you see in the bottom of the jar.) A good brand is Bragg’s, though some others are available too. Be sure it’s also non-GMO and organic, whatever you do, to avoid pesticides and harmful chemicals that only feed bad bacteria.
How Apple Cider Vinegar HelpsEasy Green Casserole 1

easy-green-casserole-1

Since apple cider vinegar is a prebiotic (which feeds the good bacteria), you need to be sure you’re taking in plenty of good bacteria so they can thrive. You can eat fermented foods that are helpful, such as sauerkraut, raw kimchi, and miso. You’ll want to avoid dairy, gluten and most wheat products, and other allergenic foods that can sometimes aggravate yeast overgrowth as well. Also, eat plenty of prebiotic-rich foods that can also help your good gut bacteria and take a plant-based probiotic as well.

You may find in the beginning of healing and battling yeast that you suffer a detox reaction where you feel worse before you feel better, but after several days or weeks, you’ll probably feel much better. You might also see some changes during digestion at this time, but keep in mind that your body is healing and getting rid of bad bacteria. Use warm baths, take magnesium or eat magnesium-rich foods if you find you have a hard time sleeping or with regularity, and be sure to get some fresh sunlight daily if you can. If you’re tired, allow your body to rest, and overall, just focus on eating healthier foods while your body adjusts.
What to Remember About Candida and Yeast OvergrowthRaw Turnip Ravioli 1

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Keep in mind that chronic yeast overgrowth can lead to larger health problems later on, so do your best to take care of your body. Though apple cider vinegar may not cure it completely, it can be used as a helpful tool in fighting candida. For professional advice on treating yeast overgrowth, see Body Ecology, a world-wide leading organization known for treating candida, The Candida Diet, and Ricki Heller, a renowned candida expert with recipes and tips for plant-based eaters.

Also see how to eat a healthy lower carb diet as a plant-based eater from one of our health experts, Registered Dietitian, Ginny Messina.
Recommendation: Download the Food Monster AppCashew Cream Stuffed Avocado

cashew-cream-stuffed-avocado

If you enjoy articles like this and want more, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more find awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions.

The Food Monster app has over 8000+ recipes and 500 are free. To access the rest, you have to pay a subscription fee but it’s totally worth it because not only do you get instant access to 8000+ recipes, you get 10 NEW recipes every day! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!

Lead Image Source: Emma/Flickr

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Meet the tick that’s forcing Americans to give up their meat

grist.org
Meet the tick that’s forcing Americans to give up their meat
14-18 minutes

When Peter Coughlin was in his sophomore year at James Madison University in northern Virginia, he was besieged by a strange and unsettling illness. At random times throughout the night, Coughlin would wake up with hives, full body chills, and raging fevers. These episodes always ended up with him in the bathroom, throwing up until his stomach was empty.

After keeping a food journal for nearly a year, Coughlin realized his symptoms occurred after eating meat, primarily pork. “I essentially spent a week proving my point,” Coughlin says. “I’d eat a bunch of red meat, and go through a series of pretty severe reactions.”

When he finally went to the hospital in 2016, the doctor tested him for all the usual allergies and was flummoxed by the lack of results. She gave him a strong antihistamine and an EpiPen and sent him home.

Frustrated by the lack of answers, Coughlin started researching. He found similarities between his symptoms and documented cases of something called alpha-gal allergy. A major study on the allergic reaction had been done right across the Blue Ridge Mountains at the University of Virginia.

Suddenly, his hiking trips in that very mountain range came into focus: “I kept pulling ticks off of me,” he says. According to the research, those little brown bugs, marked by a telltale white spot, were to blame for his meat allergy. Coughlin was bit by lone star ticks.

Alpha-gal isn’t your typical hayfever-like allergy. It’s a severe, delayed-reaction immune response, which means it hits hours after someone who suffers from the allergy eats meat. People with alpha-gal describe their episodes as terrifying experiences that can land you in the emergency room and change the way you live your life.

“I was disheartened,” Coughlin says. “I’m a big eater.”

CDC

Even a decade ago, only small populations of lone star ticks were found in the northeastern U.S. As climate change shifts temperatures and humidity levels across the country, many types of ticks, which thrive in warm, humid weather, are able to expand their ranges. The EPA even uses Lyme disease, which is transmitted by blacklegged ticks, as an indicator to track where the country is warming. The spread of lone stars has been linked to climate change, and now, the ticks have made it all the way up through Maine, imparting severe red meat allergies on unsuspecting carnivores — and offering a window into our changing world and its effect on human health.

As lone stars expand into new communities this summer, the ticks are poised to catch people off guard. And just like Coughlin, these little fellows are big eaters.

As you read this, millions of tiny, black-and-brown-legged creatures are beginning to reawaken after laying dormant underneath layers of last year’s leaf cover.

Ticks are only second to mosquitoes as vectors for human disease. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report showing illnesses from ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are on the rise. Disease cases in the U.S. more than tripled between 2004 and 2016, and the report found that we’re ill-equipped to tackle the growing problem.

Large swaths of the eastern U.S. are already dealing with an epidemic of Lyme disease, an illness that can rob you of your short-term memory, your motor functions, and, very rarely, even your life.

And every so often, it seems, the ticks that rouse themselves from the leaf litter are armed with unexpected and mysterious pathogens, like the resurfaced Powassan virus or Pacific Coast tick fever. The CDC report says seven new tick-borne infections have been recorded since 2004. The organization hasn’t recognized alpha-gal allergies yet.

“It’s scary,” says Graham Hickling, the director of the University of Tennessee’s Center for Wildlife Health. “Pretty much every year, we’re finding something new.”

A combination of factors has allowed lone stars to conquer territories far outside their known range.

Climate change is among them. It’s likely affecting the viability rates for the thousands of eggs that a single lone star can lay at a time. “When we start getting these warm seasons, high rainfall kind of years, that probably means that those 2,000 baby ticks do a lot better,” Hickling says.

That’s not the only way climate change is aiding survival rates. Many ticks go dormant during the winter, when consecutive below-freezing days and nights turn them into sesame-sized popsicles. But as warming keeps taking days out of the region’s cold season, ticks are able to stay active for longer.

Hickling says a benign climate is helpful for ticks and what they carry: “There are more opportunities for those viruses to start infecting us.”

Holly Gaff, a tick-borne disease expert at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, also points to one of the tick’s favorite hosts, the white-tailed deer. Deer can travel several miles in the days or even weeks it takes for lone stars feed on them, eventually dropping the ticks a long way from where they first picked them up. Reforestation efforts in the eastern U.S. that began in the 20th century, coupled with a slump in hunting, have led to an explosion in white-tail deer populations. The growth of suburbs means there are plenty of people pressed up against these wooded areas.
Raymond Gehman/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Gaff calls this combination of factors — higher deer populations, people living next to fragmented forests, a friendlier climate — the “perfect storm” for lone star–tick proliferation. “When you have nature in balance you get some ticks, but not like this,” Gaff says.

Already, at least 600 known cases of alpha-gal have occured north of the Mason-Dixon line, according to University of North Carolina allergist Scott Commins, one of the researchers who discovered the connection between ticks and alpha-gal. But that’s probably only a fraction of the incidences. It’s a difficult pathology to diagnose, and doctors aren’t required to report alpha-gal to the CDC.

Compared to blacklegged ticks, lone stars are much more aggressive. Blacklegged ticks behave in relatively predictable ways — they hang out in leafy undergrowth, arms and legs outstretched in case a hapless animal or human passes by. According to Ellen Stromdahl, a researcher with the United States Army Public Health Center, blackleggeds are relatively small and weak.

Lone stars, on the other hand, hunt in packs and travel at surprising speeds, emerging from the leaf litter like a swarm of thirsty, galloping lentils.

“If you sit in the middle of the woods breathing out CO2, you’ll get a fan club of lone stars pretty quickly,” Hickling says.

On top of lone stars’ rapacious mentality, Old Dominion’s Gaff says that after conducting a series of experiments, the bugs “seem to be invincible.”

She’s tried freezing them — but they came crawling out of the freezer after seven days on ice. Next, she tried drowning them, figuring that sea-level rise on Virginia’s coast could end up doing humanity a favor by drowning out tick populations. Her team submerged lone stars in salt, fresh, and brackish water. Every single tick lasted for at least 30 days in each condition — the last lone star died after 74 days.

It only takes one bite from a lone star tick for an unsuspecting victim to develop a meat allergy that can last months, years, or even an entire lifetime.

Here’s how scientists think it goes down: Alpha-gal is a sugar molecule found in nearly all mammals, except humans and a few other primates. A lone star carrying alpha-gal (or an alpha-gal-like substance) bites a person and spreads it to their blood through the tick’s saliva. Then, the molecule essentially rewires the body’s immune system, prompting it to produce an overload of alpha-gal antibodies. When that person goes in for a cheeseburger, their body has a life-threatening reaction to the sugar in the meat.

As recently as a few years ago, the link between lone stars and this allergic reaction was controversial. In 2011, a team of University of Virginia allergists presented its hypothesis in front a group of tick experts. The scientists’ reaction was dismissive.

“We thought, ‘These guys are full of stuffing,’” Gaff recalls.

That team was led by Thomas Platts-Mills, who initially made the connection between lone stars and alpha-gal. Platts-Mills applied insights from his study of patients who were taking the cancer drug cetuximab. Some patients were allergic to the drug, which contains alpha-gal. The team looked into what could be causing the reaction and discovered the link between lone stars and alpha-gal antibodies.

As more people started turning up in emergency rooms with sudden and inexplicable reactions to meat, other researchers began coming around to the idea that a sesame-sized insect could, in fact, instill a lifelong aversion to red meat in full-sized human beings. While the CDC has a comprehensive map of Lyme disease cases in the U.S., state health departments aren’t required to report incidents of alpha-gal as they are with Lyme. Platts-Mills is now working on mapping cases of the allergy.

Lone star ticks. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

One such case took place in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. John Beckett, a self-professed meat lover, was besieged by a pack of lone stars when he was cleaning out underbrush from an old car lot in 2014. Two weeks later, he was chowing down on hamburgers with some friends at a dock party on the lake when he started breaking out in hives.

Over time, Beckett figured out that he felt sick every time he ate red meat.

The hives weren’t enough to make him stop, though. It wasn’t until he wound up in the emergency room — after eating a cowboy rib eye from one of his favorite restaurants — that he decided to kick red meat out of his diet once and for all.

“The hives had closed my airways,” Beckett says. “I thought I was going to die that night.”

When he finally went to an allergist and got his blood tested, his doctor told him the levels of alpha-gal antibodies in Beckett’s system were the highest he had ever seen. “You gave me bragging rights,” Beckett remembers his doctor telling him.

That was four years ago. Beckett stopped eating meat, and the amount of alpha-gal antibodies in his blood declined only slightly.

Mark Vandewalker, an allergist who’s been treating patients in Missouri since 1990, has noticed an uptick in patients exhibiting anaphylaxis, or a systemic allergic reaction, to meat. He sees patients come in with hives, swelling, itching, and, occasionally, some respiratory difficulties.

“Initially, I didn’t even believe that the condition was real,” Vandewalker says. “But now, having seen so many cases of my own, I think that it’s impossible to deny that this is a very unusual, but a very real, form of food-induced anaphylaxis.”

The vast majority of food-related anaphylaxis occurs within minutes after eating, but alpha-gal is one of the rare allergies that doesn’t work that way.

“What’s odd is that it’s happening in the middle of the night,” Vandewalker explains. “These episodes have occurred three, four, five, even up to eight hours after eating.”

That makes it harder to diagnose, which is why patients with alpha-gal are often sent home from medical facilities without answers.

On a trip to visit his family in Leesburg, Virginia, last year, Peter Coughlin was bitten by a blacklegged tick. He contracted Lyme disease, which required him to go on a regimen of antibiotics.

A few months later, he reunited with a bunch of his high school friends, and the group decided to go out to eat. It had been two years since his alpha-gal symptoms began popping up, and Coughlin explains he was ready to jeopardize his health in the name of grilled steak.

“I just said, ‘Fuck it,’” he recalls. “I filled my pocket with Benadryl and went to Korean barbecue.”

This time Coughlin didn’t have an allergic reaction. The Benadryl he had brought stayed in his pocket.

According to Vandewalker, the Missouri physician, alpha-gal can eventually retreat to the point where eating red meat again is possible. Doctors and researchers don’t know, however, how long the antibodies will linger patient to patient — remember, John Beckett’s levels were still high four years after he was bit — and they don’t know how to counteract it besides telling patients to lay off the red meat.

Though alpha-gal remains somewhat mysterious, there is some good news about the ticks that carry it. While in some areas up to 50 percent of blacklegged ticks carry some kind of infectious disease — Lyme, Babesia, Anaplasmosis — the rate of transmissible illnesses found in lone stars (like Rocky Mountain Fever) is much lower, around 10 to 20 percent. What’s more, a recent study published by the Army Public Health Center indicates that lone stars can’t carry Lyme disease at all. Stromdahl, the Army entomologist, surveyed 54 studies from 35 different research groups involving 52,000 ticks and found that a chemical in lone star saliva kills Borrelia – the bacteria that causes Lyme.
Lisa Zins

“You never want to say never with ticks or insects and what they can carry,” she says. “But we presented a lot of evidence that they don’t.”

But the reality is that we’re living in a warming world, and one of the consequences of that is a tick expansion. And while a group of scientists is working on a vaccine for alpha-gal, others are devising ways to attack the issue at its root — by eliminating the ticks from highly populated areas.

Gaff at Old Dominion conducts studies using a robot called a tickbot, which moves around dragging a rag soaked with permethrin (a common treatment for lice that also kills ticks). The bot, which has a little piece of dry ice embedded in its center, breathes out CO2 and attracts ticks to the toxic rag.

Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Upstate, New York, is conducting tick experiments on entire neighborhoods, which he calls “tick towns.” Twenty-four communities volunteered for the experiment, and some are outfitted with a naturally occurring fungus that sucks the life force out of ticks. Others have little contraptions called “bait boxes” that dab rodents with a small dose of Frontline, the flea and tick medicine for cats and dogs. According to Ostfeld, these preventive measures are “probably our best hope at clobbering ticks.”

Tickbots and tick towns aren’t much comfort to people already living with Lyme or alpha-gal, but they’re our best shot at keeping people who are still unaffected safe. For the alpha-gal allergic among us, the spread of lone stars means the end of traditions that once seemed reassuringly permanent — like eating hamburgers at a dock party on the Lake of Ozarks. Those get-togethers aren’t what they once were for John Beckett. But he’s playing the long game.

“I’m trying my best not to get bitten a second time,” he says, adding he reckons his blood levels will have evened out in a few decades. “By the time I’m 80 I might be able to eat meat again.”

https://grist.org/science/lone-star-ticks-are-a-carnivores-nightmare-and-theyre-just-waking-up/

Lyme Epidemic Spreads Worse Than Ever

ecowatch.com
Natural Resources Defense Council
By Clara Chaisson

In the summer of 2013, I was changing into pajamas when an irritated blotch of skin caught my eye. My rib cage looked like a miniature advertisement for Target: There was a near-perfect circle of red, a smaller, concentric ring of clear skin, and then a red dot right in the middle. Bull’s-eye.

In medical jargon this distinctive rash is called erythema migrans, and it’s the calling card of Lyme disease. Fittingly enough, I was spending this particular peak tick season in Old Lyme, Connecticut—where it was first discovered in 1975. Luckily, I knew to be on the lookout for this exact symptom, and a course of antibiotics knocked it out of my system. I experienced no further problems.

But cases of Lyme disease aren’t always so straightforward. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), somewhere around a quarter of infected people never get the bull’s-eye rash, and other early signs, like headache and fatigue, can be easy to misinterpret. If Lyme progresses untreated, it can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system, sometimes triggering problems like meningitis, arrhythmias, or Bell’s palsy. Later stages of the disease can cause symptoms that are more difficult to treat, like arthritis and memory loss.

Worryingly, more and more people are experiencing Lyme’s ravages as environmental conditions help Borrelia burgdorferi, the disease-causing bacterium carried by ticks, spread into new areas.

“It’s a huge problem, it’s growing, and we really are concerned about the lack of prevention tools that are available,” said C. Ben Beard, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases.

Unlike the tiny ticks that carry the troublesome bacteria, Lyme’s rise is easy to spot in the CDC’s incidence maps from the past couple of decades. Since the early 1990s, the annual number of officially reported cases of Lyme has tripled to 30,000, but studies suggest the actual number is 10 times higher than that. Climate change, suburban land development, and habitat change are creating conditions that not only allow the ticks to thrive, but also put more people into contact with them and their harpoon-like mouthparts.

Black-legged ticks (also known as deer ticks) feed exclusively on blood and need three meals over a two-year period to complete the four stages of their life cycle; otherwise, they starve to death (good riddance). As winters warm, milder seasons are giving the bloodsuckers a larger window of opportunity to find hosts to dine on, allowing them to survive in greater numbers. Meanwhile, higher temperatures are enabling the ticks to spread to parts of the map that have historically been too cold to sustain them. (These arachnids also depend on a high baseline of relative humidity, which explains why residents of drier regions of the country don’t have to worry about the disease.)

A black-legged tick’s four stages lifePamela Freeman

Climate change isn’t the only thing humans are causing to make the environment more hospitable to these parasites. Forest fragmentation is giving a boost to populations of white-footed mice, the primary carriers of B. burgdorferi, and suburbanization puts humans into closer contact with these and other tick-hosting wildlife like chipmunks and deer.

Almost half of all U.S. counties reported the presence of black-legged ticks as of 2015, up 45 percent from 1996. Still, Lyme is mostly a regional threat—95 percent of confirmed cases occur in just 14 states in the Northeast and upper Midwest. And within those states, Lyme is sickening more and more people. The upsurge is especially pronounced in the Northeast, where the number of counties with high incidence of the disease increased 320 percent between 1993 and 2012.

As Lyme moves into new communities, residents often don’t know how to protect themselves, and local doctors aren’t always familiar with the symptoms and best treatment practices. On top of that, bad advice on how to treat Lyme is swirling around on the Internet. According to one study, more than 30 untested alternative therapies are marketed to Lyme sufferers online, including drinking urine, sleeping on a bed of 70 magnets, and blowing gaseous ozone into the rectum. Yup. (Just to be crystal clear: Do not try any of this at home … or anywhere else.)

“The misinformation persists at almost all levels of the Lyme epidemic,” said Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Richard Ostfeld tags a white-footed mouse as part of field research on the ecology of Lyme disease.Pamela Freeman

Combine inadequate prevention with serious—but sometimes enigmatic—symptoms, widespread misinformation, and a steady creep into new areas, and you’ve got a recipe for a population increasingly vulnerable to a Lyme epidemic. “I would characterize our preparedness as very poor,” said Ostfeld. “And that needs to be rectified.”

So, what can be done? A lot, actually. Beard said the CDC is working to educate health care providers in Lyme-prone areas on how to recognize the symptoms. The National Institutes of Health is also supporting research into more rapid diagnostic tests. The current approach detects antibodies that the immune system produces in response to the bacteria, but the antibodies can take a few weeks to show up.

Ostfeld thinks diagnosing Lyme will remain difficult for some time, and avoiding infections in the first place through tick checks, proper clothing, and potential vaccines may still be the best strategy. “What if we lived in a world in which [diagnosis] was less important because we were preventing so many potential cases of tick-borne disease?” he asked.

Last summer, the FDA fast-tracked the approval process for VLA15, a potentially safe and effective Lyme disease vaccine. (A pharmaceutical company discontinued an earlier vaccine, introduced in 1998, after some recipients claimed it gave them arthritis. Clinical data did not support these claims; the same vaccine is now used to protect dogs from the disease.)

Ostfeld, along with his research partner and wife, Bard College ecologist Felicia Keesing, is leading the Tick Project, a five-year study to see if environmental interventions can protect communities from Lyme disease. A thousand households (and their pets) in 24 neighborhoods in Dutchess County, New York, have signed up to participate. The researchers began deploying two tick control methods last summer: bait boxes that apply a small dose of fipronil—the main ingredient in Frontline—to small animals like chipmunks and mice, and a fungal spray that kills ticks. Over the next few years, they hope to find out whether these methods can effectively lessen a neighborhood’s exposure to Lyme.

On a larger scale, it will be critical to curb climate change and the other forces that drive Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses, like the Zika virus and malaria, into new areas.

“We absolutely need to be pushing our leaders at all levels of government to cut carbon pollution,” said Juanita Constible, senior advocate for climate and health for NRDC’s Climate and Clear Energy program. “We’re setting up the backdrop for ticks to take over parts of the country where they never were before.”

Constible speaks from the heart. She lives in Loudoun County, Virginia, a Lyme hot spot, and has had the disease three times in the past six years. And though she has made a full recovery after each bout with Lyme, the experiences have left their mark on her work. “It makes it a lot more deeply personal for me, and it heightens the urgency to do something about climate change,” she said. “I certainly don’t want my friends and family and coworkers to face this.”

https://www.ecowatch.com/lyme-disease-climate-change-2558718285.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=a32277fb5e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-a32277fb5e-86074753

Top 5 Most Common Food Allergies in Dogs

Top Quality Dog Food

Most-common-food-allergies-in-dogs

It is no surprise that like human beings, even the animals also have food allergens. As an owner of the pet, it is expected of you to know what causes the allergy to your pet dog. Of course, you may not be able to consult the vet quite often. However, simple precaution you take to know the food allergens for the dog will go a long way to avoid the food your pet is allergic to. It might surprise you that the high-quality ingredients of the pet food also are the culprit to a certain extent.

Primarily, you should not get confused with the food intolerance and the food allergy. The sensitivity of certain food might trigger gastro or skin problems to your pet not because of allergy, but due to external environmental issues like the pollen. The food allergy is since the immune system erroneously concludes that the…

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Keep Mosquitoes Away This Summer With DIY Bug-Repelling Mason Jars

healthspiritbody.com

MOSQUITOS!

Nearly everyone loves summer, but few appreciate the influx of insects that come with seasonally warm temperatures – especially the pesky mosquitoes. Not only are they a nuisance, but their bites can result in itching, swelling, redness, and in extremely rare cases, diseases as serious as the Zika virus.

Getting Rid Of Mosquitoes

If you’ve been optimistically hoping that your six-legged, bloodsucking friends will have succumbed to extinction over the winter, think again. Mosquitos have been around since the Jurassic period and will likely remain long after we’re gone.

Luckily, there are several options available to help us combat the pesky insects and keep them from ruining our outdoor summer activities. The most common being a wide range of over the counter repellents that can be sprayed directly on the skin or clothes. While the sprays are generally effective, most contain a chemical known as DEET which has been shown to cause health problems ranging in severity from mild skin irritations to nervous system interference.

mosquito spray

For this reason, it is recommended that when possible, you should avoid these products and opt for natural bug sprays.
Natural Insect Repellents
Citronella essential oil

This oil is extracted from lemongrass and repels mosquitoes and other flying insects with its potent scent.
Lemon eucalyptus essential oil

Numerous studies have shown that when extracted from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree this oil acts as a highly effective mosquito repellent.
Citrus fruits

Similarly, studies have proven that the peels of citrus fruits are beneficial for repelling mosquitoes when placed around the perimeter of a space.

 

Natural-Bug-Repellent-mason-jar

natural-bug-repellent-mason-jar-768x4031442113708.jpg
Homemade Bug-Repelling Mason Jar Recipe

When combined together, essential oils and citrus fruits make a very effective mosquito repellent. Here’s what you will need:

2 mason jars

One lemon, sliced

One lime, sliced

10 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil

10 drops of citronella essential oil

4 rosemary sprigs

Floating disc candles

Instructions:

Add even amounts of lemon and lime slices to each jar.
Add 2 sprigs of rosemary to each.
Fill the jar with ¾ water and add 10 drops of the essential oils to a specific jar (do not mix).
Activate the recipe by lighting a candle.

These bug-repelling jars will make a great addition to your outdoor spaces this summer. Give this recipe a try and you’ll be amazed by the health conscious results!

https://www.healthspiritbody.com/bug-repelling-mason-jar/

Stevia Kills Lyme Disease Pathogen Better Than Antibiotics, Study Confirms

healthspiritbody.com

With summer upon us the risk of encountering ticks, the pesky critters responsible for the spread of Lyme disease is on the rise.

Lyme disease is an insidious and complicated disease to treat, both for the allopathic medical world and alternative medical practitioners, due to its rapid shape-shifting abilities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 300,000 people have diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States alone. While ticks exist in half of all US counties, Lyme disease cases are concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 14 states accounting for over 96% of cases reported to CDC.

The CDC says that while 80-90% of reported cases are considered resolved with the treatment of antibiotics, 10-20% of patients go on to develop the chronic form, which is a persistent and sometimes devastating illness that can harm any organ of the body, including the brain and the nervous system.

The culprit behind Lyme disease is Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterial infection proven to respond most effectively to antibiotics doxycycline and amoxicillin.

However, Borrelia burgdorferi can exist in morphological forms, including spirochetes, spheroplast (or L-form), round bodies, and biofilms. When conditions are considered unfavourable for the bacteria, it has the ability to morph into the dormant round body, then hide in a biofilm form. When conditions are favourable, however, it can shift back to its spirochete form.

While conventional antibiotics can treat some forms of the disease, they’re not effective in treating ALL forms, often times failing to produce a long-term cure.

But, new research suggests a long-term treatment may be just around the corner.

A recent study published in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology revealed that stevia, a sweetener, and sugar substitute, has been found to terminate late state or chronic Lyme disease.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Department of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut, found that stevia whole leaf extract, as an individual agent, was an effective treatment against all known morphological forms of B. burgdorferi.

For the study, researchers examined the antimicrobial effect of four stevia leaf extracts in comparison to individual antibiotics (doxycycline, cefoperazone, daptomycin), as well as a combination of the three.

Lab tests revealed that while one extract was more potent than the others, likely due to its growing conditions and the agricultural practices utilized, all extracts were effective in treating all forms of the bacteria.

In fact, the stevia extract was proven to work against even the most antibiotic-resistant of the bacteria, known as the biofilm. The individual antibiotics, on the other hand, actually increased the biofilm.

While researchers acknowledge that the results need more investigation and clinical trials to corroborate the finding, they’re hoping these results indicate we’re one step closer to finding an effective treatment for even the most persistent forms of Lyme disease.

https://www.healthspiritbody.com/lyme-disease-treatment/

Petition Update · **VETERAN SURVEY** · Change.org

sgvfiaagvwwward-800x450-nopad-1670122589

https://www.change.org/p/1780490/u/22513070?utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_update&utm_campaign=280852&sfmc_tk=Y65ELrEVwnOSO7%2bDYTtOcQkYtb%2fAjZwFowttocElU4rCLziwe5SqcngVrkZ%2fmD36&j=280852&sfmc_sub=61374949&l=32_HTML&u=50842957&mid=7259882&jb=88

Fight For Those Who Fought For You

Petition update
VETERAN SURVEY
1620 Legion
Tucson, AZ

Mar 16, 2018 — The first 200 veterans to complete this will receive a complimentary ticket to Greenhouse Ventures Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo, taking place April 30th – May 2nd at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

Cannabis Learn will feature presentations from over a dozen University researchers in the medical cannabis and industrial hemp industries, and provide attendees with exclusive access to regulatory timelines, business tips, and market trends from leading operators, investors, and industry leaders.

On Monday, April 30th, the Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo will feature a “Veterans & Cannabis” course hosted by Veterans Cannabis Project, that will educate, spark conversation, entertain and dispel myths for veterans interested in learning more about medical cannabis.

How to redeem your complimentary ticket for Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo:

Complete all questions on the survey

Take a picture or screen shot of your screen after submitting your completed survey

Send proof of survey completion (picture/screen shot) to info@greenhouse.ventures with the subject line reading; “Veterans Access – Cannabis Learn”

A GHV team member will reply with your custom promo code and instructions on how to register

Join us in Philadelphia April 30th – May 2nd for Cannabis Learn 🙂

Thank you for your continued support!!
-Rico
Veteran Cannabis Survey – Cannabis Learn
Veteran Cannabis Survey – Cannabis Learn
Web survey powered by SurveyMonkey.com. Create your own online survey now with SurveyMonkey’s…
https://www.surveymonkey.com

 

118,735 have signed. Let’s get to 150,000!

Support Our Veterans!!

https://www.change.org/p/support-our-veterans?recruiter=44240641&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=280852

© 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

Protein Part 1—Basics – Vegan Health

https://veganhealth.org/protein-part-1/#amino-acids

Evidence-Based Nutrient Recommendations

Protein Part 1—Basics
by Jack Norris, RD

Plant Protein and Amino Acids
Protein Recommendations for Vegans

Protein is important for maintaining muscle and bone mass, for keeping the immune system strong, and preventing fatigue.

People not familiar with vegan nutrition often assume it’s terribly hard to get enough protein on a vegan diet, and that’s if they even think there’s any protein in plant foods at all—it’s not clear how they think vegans survive.

On the other hand, once “educated,” many vegans have the opposite view—considering protein either a myth or that it would be impossible for anyone not to get enough on a vegan diet.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Plant Protein and Amino Acids

Proteins are made out of chains of amino acids. Some amino acids can be made by the body—generally from other amino acids—but some cannot. The ones that cannot are known as essential or indispensable.

Because some amino acids are essential, the amino acid requirements are as important as protein needs. But because the essential amino acids are found in fairly consistent amounts in the average diet of Americans, the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is able to account for amino acid needs.

The percentages of essential amino acids in both animal and soy products closely mimic those found in human proteins, and they are, therefore, considered complete or high-quality protein. Non-soy plant proteins have a lower percentage of at least one amino acid, although all legumes are almost as “complete” as soy.

A common belief is that most plant foods are completely devoid of at least one essential amino acid, but the truth is that all plant proteins have some of every essential amino acid. As a general rule, legumes are lower in the amino acid methionine while most other plants foods are lower in lysine. In general, though, only lysine is likely to be a concern for most vegans because almost all vegans naturally eat plenty of foods high in methionine.

In an effort to make sure vegetarians were getting enough of all the amino acids, in the early 1970s in her book Diet for a Small Planet, Frances Moore Lappe popularized the idea of combining plant proteins at each meal in order to get a “complete” protein. The idea was that mixing beans and grains would allow you to ensure that you’re getting both methionine and lysine at each meal.

Since the 1980s, it’s been well known that our livers store the various essential amino acids. For example, the 2009 American Dietetic Association’s Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets says:

“Plant protein can meet requirements when a variety of plant foods is consumed and energy needs are met. Research indicates that an assortment of plant foods eaten over the course of a day can provide all essential amino acids and ensure adequate nitrogen retention and use in healthy adults, thus complementary proteins do not need to be consumed at the same meal.”

In other words, just get enough lysine in general and you don’t need to worry about combining proteins.
Protein Recommendations for Vegans

To ensure adequate protein status, vegans should eat 3–4 servings of the following foods which are both high in protein and the amino acid lysine:

Legumes—1/2 cup cooked
Beans—garbanzos, kidney, pinto, navy
Lentils
Peas—split or green
Soyfoods—edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk (1 cup), soy meats (3 oz)
Peanuts—1/4 cup
Seitan—3 oz (85 g)
Quinoa—1 cup cooked
Pistachios—1/4 cup
Pumpkin seeds—1/4 cup roasted

It’s hard to design a vegan diet that meets lysine requirements for a person who doesn’t exercise daily without including legumes, seitan, quinoa, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds and therefore without having too many calories. It’s easier to design a vegan diet for regular exercisers whose calorie requirements are higher—the low lysine foods will add up to provide enough.

Athletes will require somewhat more servings of protein than listed above, but this will be based on their individual sport and training. See Sports Nutrition for more information.

There’s evidence that as people age, they need a higher percentage of their calories to be protein—thus people over 60 should focus on making the above high-protein foods a large part of their meals.

Vegans who don’t eat enough calories to maintain their weight should make an effort to include a higher percentage of high protein foods.

· © 2003-2018 Vegan Health · A Project of Vegan Outreach ·

13 Ways Public Schools Incubate Mental Instability In Kids – Stop Putting Traumatized Teens On TV

“Brain Games for Old Dogs Could Improve Their Mental Health” National Geographic

Attention People Who Eat Dog Meat! Here are 3 Major Health Concerns You Should Know About – One Green Planet

Sara Farr
June 30, 2015

Although the concept of eating dog meat is completely unheard of in the U.S., in other parts of the world, it is regarded just the same as eating chicken or cow. In Vietnam, for example, approximately five million dogs are killed every year for meat, other places dog meat is eaten include Europe, Russia, Africa, Latin America, China, the Philippines, and South Korea.

The Yulin dog meat festival recently garnered international outrage as celebrities and animal activists joined together to raise awareness and call for an end to this faux “tradition.” Photos of dogs stuffed into cages and huddled in absolute fear before slaughter for the festival illustrate the cruelty involved in the dog meat trade. While the suffering of these animals is undeniable, there are also major human health concerns arising from the consumption of dog. The issues highlighted are critical concerns that could have a negative impact on human health if they are not addressed by ending the consumption of dog meat.
1. Rabies

One of the largest dangers of dog meat is the spread of rabies to both animals and people. In the Philippines, approximately 10,000 dogs and 300 people are killed by rabies each year. Despite efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) to mass vaccinate dogs to prevent the spread of rabies through the processes of sourcing, slaughter, and sale of dogs, the dog meat trade moves tens of thousands of dogs across international borders making rabies prevention enormously difficult.

Workers can easily be infected with rabies during slaughter and spread the disease to other dogs and humans alike. In 2008, 20 percent of dogs in slaughterhouses in Hoai Duc, Vietnam were found to have rabies. The previous year, Vietnam suffered from a rabies outbreak with approximately 30 percent of the deaths attributable to the slaughter of dogs for meat. According to the Center for Disease Control’s records, only 10 people have ever survived this horrific disease. This is clearly a major concern when such a dangerous and deadly disease can be so easily spread.
2. Other Diseases

There are many other diseases and infections associated with dog meat that can endanger human health. The regional director of the Philippines National Meat Inspection Commission admitted that they do not inspect dog meat. Unfortunately, this is also the trend in China, according to Qin Xiaona, President of the Capital Animal Welfare Association.

Possible infections include parasites such as E. Coli 107 and salmonella. There is also a danger that bacterial infections like anthrax, brucellosis, hepatitis, and leptospirosis can be spread through the meat to people.

The bacteria associated with Cholera is also easily spread and propagated through the process of mass transporting and slaughtering dogs for consumption. Following a massive outbreak of Cholera in Vietnam, WHO’s representative Jean-Marc Olive, warned that eating dog meat, or other food from outlets that serve it, is linked to a 20-fold increase in the risk of becoming infected with the bacteria.

Trichinellosis is a zoonotic parasite that can be easily transmitted from dogs to humans through infected meat consumption. Once these parasites are in the human body, they can cause inflammation in blood vessels which leads to hemorrhaging in the nail beds and eyes, in addition to severe muscle weakness. If left untreated, trichinellosis can be fatal.
3. Antibiotic Resistance

There are many parallels to be found between dog meat farms and factory farms in America, unfortunately, antibiotic resistance is one of them. According to Change for Animals Foundation, “On dog farms, large numbers of dogs are living in close confinement, under stressful conditions, and are usually being fed insufficient, poor quality food. These factors result in increased levels of infectious disease and high mortality rates. In an effort to try to control the spread of disease and maximize productivity, there is evidence of farmers resorting to the indiscriminate overuse of antibiotics and vaccines.”

Dogs in these dirty farms are given large amounts of antibiotics and vaccines to fight the disease-ridden conditions on the farms. This influx of antibiotics is leading to a rise in superbugs. Superbugs present an enormous threat to global human health as a recent study conducted by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance found that drug-resistant infections could kill an additional 10 million people a year by 2050 if steps aren’t taken to reduce the overuse of antibiotics. While the dog meat industry is not the only one contributing to this increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, its contribution should not be overlooked.
How to Stop the Dog Meat Trade

There are many options available if you want to help stop the cruel dog meat trade. First and foremost educating yourself and others of the dangers associated with eating dog meat is critical to bringing and end to this practice. Humane Society International has a wealth of information and resources to help and they also run large campaigns encouraging country leaders to take action to ban the trade altogether. Many people are not aware of the cruel practices and dangers or even the existence of the dog meat trade, so your best course of action is to educate yourself and others to expose the truth of this industry!

Image Source: amayaeguizaba/Pixabay

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/major-human-health-concerns-associated-with-the-dog-meat-trade/

petition: Demand Animal Shelters Vaccinate Dogs Against the Canine Flu!

A flu epidemic is currently spreading across the United States – and it’s not the one affecting people. It’s a very contagious canine influenza (CI), which has sickened dogs in 40 States.

The dogs most ceptable to CI are those that are exposed to other dogs and dog parks, boarding facilities, grooming salons and animal shelters. The symptoms can range from mild coughing to serious complications like ammonia. CI is Deadliest for puppies and Senior Dogs, and dogs with weakened immune systems.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/865/692/718/

Should Your Dog Be Vaccinated Against The Canine Influenza Outbreak? | Care2 Causes

By: Laura Goldmanh
January 25, 2018

We’re all aware of the H3N2 flu epidemic that’s made tens of thousands of people sick, but did you know the highly contagious canine influenza (CI) is also spreading across the United States and parts of Canada?

Dogs are becoming infected with the canine influenza virus (CIV) through direct contact with other dogs, nasal secretions, contaminated objects like food bowls and leashes, and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). It’s important to note that dogs rarely get sick from humans with the flu, and there’s no evidence (for now, at least) that dogs with the virus can transmit it to humans – but cats in an Indiana shelter became sickened with it in 2016.

There are currently two strains of the canine influenza virus (CIV) in the U.S.: H3N8 and H3N2. The H3N8 strain, which originated in horses and then spread to dogs, was first identified in 2004 in Florida’s racing greyhounds and has since spread to dozens of other states. Three years ago, the H3N2 strain caused a CI outbreak in Chicago. It was the first time this strain sickened dogs (and cats) outside Asia, where it had previously been identified.

All dogs are at risk for getting the flu. CI is deadliest for puppies and senior dogs, as well as dogs with weakened immune systems. Fortunately, the death rate is under 10 percent.
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Symptoms to Watch For

Dogs with the flu virus may show symptoms like the following:

A persistent cough
Sneezing
Thick nasal discharge
Fever of 104 to 105 degrees
Lethargy
Lack of appetite

If your dog has any of these symptoms, go see a veterinarian. Because CI symptoms are similar to kennel cough and other illnesses, your veterinarian can run laboratory tests that will diagnose if your dog has the flu. If that’s the case, your vet may prescribe an antibiotic to fight secondary infections and an anti-inflammatory to reduce fever and pain. In severe cases, your dog may need fluid therapy to restore hydration, and hospitalization may be necessary.

About 20 percent of infected dogs show no symptoms at all, but they can still be contagious.
Does Your Dog Really Need a Flu Shot?

Fortunately, just as for people, a flu shot is available for dogs. Although it may not completely prevent dogs from getting sick, it can significantly decrease the symptoms, severity and spread of infection.

The vaccine can be given to dogs that are six weeks of age and older. The initial two vaccines are given to dogs six weeks apart. After that, dogs receive an annual booster shot.

The AVMA refers to the flu shot as a “lifestyle” vaccination, meaning it’s recommended for dogs that are frequently exposed to other dogs at parks, boarding facilities, grooming salons and other places. You should confer with your veterinarian to see if your dog needs the vaccination. Be aware that many animal hospitals, kennels and other facilities now require all dogs to be vaccinated against CI.

Prevent the Spread of Canine Influenza

In addition to vaccinating your dog against CI, here are some ways you can prevent the flu from spreading:

Isolate dogs that are infected or have been around an infected dog. Dogs infected with H3N8 should be isolated from other dogs for at least three weeks, while those infected with H3N2 should be isolated for at least one week.
Wash your hands after you touch other dogs. The virus can live on our hands for 12 hours (and on our clothing for 24 hours).
Thoroughly clean food and water bowls, crates and other shared objects. The viruses don’t typically survive longer than 48 hours in the environment, and can be killed by disinfectants (just make sure any cleansers you use are pet friendly).

Since CI can quickly spread in places where dogs are in close contact with each other, please sign and share this petition urging U.S. animal shelters to ensure all dogs stay healthy and adoptable by being vaccinated against the flu.

Photo credit: gerson_rodriguez

https://www.care2.com/causes/should-your-dog-be-vaccinated-against-the-canine-influenza-outbreak.html

Copyright © 2018 Care2.com, inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved

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