Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Fungus may be causing your Sinus Infections

By Dr. Joseph Mercola with Rachael Droege and David A. Holland, M.D.
Source: Optimal Wellness Center / Mercola.com

About 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal sinuses commonly known as a sinus infection, each year and for many this is a chronic problem that can seriously affect the quality of your life. Most cases of sinusitis are treated with antibiotics, which may help to cover up symptoms in the short-term but are a disaster when used in the long-term.

Sinusitis can be acute or chronic, and can last for months or years if not addressed. Symptoms vary for each type but can include:

And despite constant treatment with antibiotics, many peoples sinusitis continues to return. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, not only is sinusitis one of the most expensive disorders in the United States, but also its prevalence is on the rise, indicating that the common treatment methods are not getting to the root of the problem.

So what is the root of the problem? Researchers have found that most cases of chronic sinusitis are not caused by infection but are actually an immune disorder caused by fungus. In a 1999 study, the researchers discovered that fungal organisms were present in the mucus of 96 percent of patients who had surgery for chronic sinusitis, and inflammatory cells were clumped around the fungi, which meant the condition was an immune disorder caused by fungus.

Fungus and mold spores are in the air all the time and are commonly inhaled so most people have fungi lodged in the mucus lining of the sinuses. However, only people who are prone to chronic sinusitis will experience an immune response to the fungi that results in the symptoms of sinusitis.

They took the research a bit further and in the next study found that a fungicide was effective in decreasing inflammation and nasal swelling among participants suffering from chronic sinusitis. The researchers are hoping the study will lead to the development of new antifungal medications to treat the condition.

Although antifungals may be more effective than antibiotics--antibiotics make fungal infections worse--there are other steps you can take to lessen your risk of sinus infections by getting at the underlying cause.

Make Your Body Less Hospitable to Fungus

As the body attempts to destroy the fungus, the immune system damages the sinus membranes, which causes the symptoms of sinusitis, the researchers say. To combat the fungus and prevent the immune system reaction, youll need to create an environment that makes it more difficult for fungus to thrive. Here are the top ways to do this:

Avoid Eating Sugar or Grains - Fungus feeds on sugar and grains (which break down to sugar in your body), so reducing or eliminating these foods is necessary to keep fungus under control.

Eat Raw Garlic - Consume a high quality cod liver oil or fish oil every day. The high order omega-3 fats, DHA and EPA are essential to maintaining and improving your immune system. Don't get fooled by taking any general omega-3 supplement. The ALA in flax seed oil won't give you the same benefits. Not only will cod liver oil or fish oil improve your sinus infection, but they will also improve your health and brain and reduce your risk of cancer and Alzheimer's.

Eat Coconut Oil - Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is known for being antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. However, be careful with which oil you choose, as many coconut oils contain fungal toxins. This is because they are commonly made with copras, or dried coconuts, which are often contaminated with mycotoxins. So in order to fully enjoy the benefits of this coconut oil, you will want to be sure that you find a company that uses only fresh coconuts to make their oil, like the Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oil on this site.

Avoid Eating the Top 10 Mycotoxic Foods - Heres a list of the top 10 foods that are contaminated with mycotoxins (fungal toxins) that need to be avoided.

1. Alcoholic beverages - Alcohol is the mycotoxin of the Saccharomyces yeast--brewers yeast. Other mycotoxins besides alcohol can also be introduced into these beverages through the use of mold-contaminated grains and fruits. Producers often use grains that are too contaminated with fungi and mycotoxins to be used for table foods, so the risk is higher that you are consuming more than just alcohol in your beverage (Council for Agricultural Science and technology. Mycotoxins: Economic and Health Risks. Task Force Report Number 116. CAST. Ames, IA. Nov 1989). Before you drink for the health of your heart, consider the other possible risks of drinking. There are safer ways of consuming antioxidants.

2. Corn - Corn is "universally contaminated" with fumonisin and other fungal toxins such as aflatoxin, zearalenone and ochratoxin (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Mycotoxins: Risks in Plant, Animal and Human Systems. Task Force Report No. 139. Ames, IA. Jan 2003). Fumonisin and aflatoxin are known for their cancer-causing effects, while zearalenone and ochratoxin cause estrogenic and kidney-related problems, respectively. Just as corn is universally contaminated with mycotoxins, our food supply seems to be universally contaminated with corn--its everywhere! A typical chicken nugget at a fast food restaurant consists of a nugget of corn-fed chicken that is covered by a corn-based batter that is sweetened with corn syrup!

3. Wheat - Not only is wheat often contaminated with mycotoxins, but so are the products made from wheat, like breads, cereals, pasta, etc. Pasta may be the least-"offensive" form of grains since certain water-soluble mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin), are partially removed and discarded when you toss out the boiling water that you cooked the pasta in. Unfortunately, traces of the more harmful, heat-stable and fat-soluble mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, remain in the grain. Regarding breads--it probably doesnt matter if its organic, inorganic, sprouted, blessed or not--if it came from a grain that has been stored for months in a silo, it stands the chance of being contaminated with fungi and mycotoxins.

4. Barley - Similar to other grains that can be damaged by drought, floods and harvesting and storage processes, barley is equally susceptible to contamination by mycotoxin-producing fungi. Barley is used in the production of various cereals and alcoholic beverages.

5. Sugar (sugar cane and sugar beets) - Not only are sugar cane and sugar beets often contaminated with fungi and their associated fungi, but they, like the other grains, fuel the growth of fungi. Fungi need carbohydrates--sugars--to thrive.

6. Sorghum - Sorghum is used in a variety of grain-based products intended for both humans and animals. It is also used in the production of alcoholic beverages.

7. Peanuts - A 1993 study demonstrated 24 different types of fungi that colonized the inside of the peanuts used in the report (Costantini, A. Etiology and Prevention of Atherosclerosis. Fungalbionics Series.1998/99). And this was after the exterior of the peanut was sterilized! So, when you choose to eat peanuts, not only are you potentially eating these molds, but also their mycotoxins. Incidentally, in the same study the examiners found 23 different fungi on the inside of corn kernels. That said, if you choose to plant your own garden in an attempt to avoid mycotoxin contamination of corn or peanuts, it does you no good if the seed (kernel) used to plant your garden is already riddled with mold.

8. Rye - The same goes for rye as for wheat and other grains. In addition, when we use wheat and rye to make bread, we add two other products that compound our fungal concerns: sugar and yeast!

9. Cottonseed - Cottonseed is typically found in the oil form (cottonseed oil), but is also used in the grain form for many animal foods. Many studies show that cottonseed is highly and often contaminated with mycotoxins.

10. Hard Cheeses - Heres a hint: if you see mold growing throughout your cheese, no matter what you paid for it, theres a pretty good chance that theres a mycotoxin not far from the mold. It is estimated that each fungus on Earth produces up to three different mycotoxins. The total number of mycotoxins known to date numbers in the thousands.

On the other hand, some cheeses, such as Gouda cheese, are made with yogurt-type cultures, like Lactobacillus, and not fungi (Costantini, 1998/99). These cheeses are a much healthier alternative, fungally speaking.

Naturally, with this list coming from a group that opposes eating food that is merely contaminated with fungi, wed certainly oppose eating the fungus itself! That would include common table mushrooms and so-called myco-protein food products.

Other foods that could potentially make our list are rice, oats and beans, given that these too are sources of carbohydrates. And occasionally food inspectors will come across a batch of mold-contaminated rice or oats. However, all other things being equal, these crops are generally more resistant to fungal contamination (CAST 1989).


Physical activity causes the sinuses to expand and stimulates air circulation and cleansing mucus to move through the sinuses. This will help to clear out any particles that are contributing to the irritation.

Similarly, a past study found that humming increases the amount of air exhaled from the nose and facilitated the exchange of air from sinuses into nasal passages, which could lower the risk of sinus infections if done routinely.

Clear Your Sinuses Without Medication

To help clear sinuses that are congested, you can consider washing the nasal cavities with a solution of salt and room temperature purified water. Breathing in certain essential oils can also be beneficial. The Clenzology Advanced Hygiene System can help irrigate and clean your sinues without the use of potentially harmful antibiotics.


If you want to learn the true cause of disease & practical inexpensive ways to address it, go to http://www.Mercola.com.

© 2004 Optimal Wellness Center. All Rights Reserved.

Consider: Glcyonutrients are the alphabet for the cells in the body to communicate. Then read this story on inflamation and stem cells.

Inflammation sends SOS to body defenses

By Randy Dotinga, HealthDay Reporter
Source: HealthDay

(HealthDayNews) -- For anyone who's ever gotten a knock on the noggin, swelling hardly seems to be a good thing.

But inflammation is actually a vital part of the immune system, and a new study suggests it sends SOS signals to bring stem cells to the rescue, at least in the brain.

For now, the findings are preliminary. But the research could pave the way for better drugs to help the body heal itself.

According to study co-author Dr. Samia Khoury, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, scientists didn't previously understand the "cross talk" within the immune system. "We have the first kind of road map to try to distinguish the steps from the initial injury towards repair," she said.

Inflammation occurs when the immune system rushes in to try to fix an injury. In some cases, as in rheumatoid arthritis, swelling can inadvertently cause even more problems by disrupting the way the body functions.

In the new study, Khoury and her colleagues induced mice to have a brain injury similar to a stroke. They then watched to see how the affected areas brought stem cells to the scene. "How do they get there? That's a question that hasn't been addressed," Khoury said. "How do they know where to go?"

The researchers report their findings in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The areas of inflammation sent out a chemical distress signal that called stem cells to the scene, Khoury said. Stem cells are essentially blank, designed to turn into something else. The topic of much controversy in medical research, they appear naturally in the brain. Once they get to the site of injury, "they start differentiating into different kinds of cells," Khoury explained.

In a way, it's as if a piece of metal appears at a construction site and turns into a wrench or a pair of pliers, depending on what workers need at the time.

The SOS might be set off by traumatic injury to the brain or the effects of disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Khoury said.

The next step is to figure out how to control the cry for help. "Everyone is interested in how to get the stem cells into the right place," perhaps by using drugs, said Helen Blau, a professor of genetic pharmacology at Stanford University.

Meanwhile, the findings "may tell us that inflammation is beneficial in some cases, and in some cases it isn't," Blau said. "Even in the brain, it's not necessarily going to be beneficial."


More information

Learn more about inflammation from the Cleveland Clinic.


For the latest health news & Health-Life Services like tools, calculators, & a physician locator, go to www.healthday.com.

Copyright © 2004 ScoutNews LLC. All rights reserved.

‘Out of the box and off the wall’

Posted on Fri, Mar. 26, 2004
News-Mirror Writer

PUBLISHED MARCH 25: One of the first things that Dr. Reg McDaniel tries to make clear is that he is not trying to push a product or tout a miracle cure. He’ll say that right before he shows you a desk drawer full of dramatic before and after photos of the people he says he’s helped.

No, he would tell you, he didn’t devote the last 19 years to researching a radical alternative to conventional medicine just to pitch the newest snake-oil remedy. In other words, McDaniel, who is the medical director for MannaRelief Ministries, an Arlington-based nonprofit company, doesn’t intend to sound like he’s making a sales pitch when espousing what he believes are the amazing and groundbreaking benefits of taking supplements that contain certain glyconutrients. It’s just that McDaniel, 68, who lives in Mansfield, can’t contain his excitement when reciting the seemingly phonebook-sized list of patients who he claims his nutritional approach to health care has allowed to overcome debilitating disorders or even return from the brink of death to lead normal lives.

“Their malignancies faded away,” McDaniel said, describing some patients that his early research focused on.

Among those who have made dramatic turnarounds are elementary schoolchildren in Dallas who went from flunking fourth grade to acing standardized tests and patients in advanced stages of AIDS who went from being bed-ridden with unrelenting symptoms to again being productive members of the work force.

Of course, there’s also the story of the Las Vegas casino manager who was in the grips of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and whose family was getting a head start on arranging his funeral. He took a heavy dose of glyconutrients and is now fine.

If you have enough time to listen, McDaniel could list a hundred or perhaps a thousand other people who were suffering from a variety of ailments and are apparently now better because of taking products containing certain plant sugars and other micronutrients that are missing from the modern diet.

“I’m here to tell you we haven’t recovered or sobered up from all the benefits that adding this to the diet caused,” McDaniel said.

Out of the box

A businessman and a researcher came to McDaniel’s office at Dallas Medical Center in August 1985, asking him to conduct research on eight AIDS patients whose symptoms had dramatically subsided. McDaniel, who about that time became a consultant for Carrington Labs in Irving, said he and his team of researchers learned that the patients had been drinking a beverage that contained aloe vera leaf gel. What the doctors eventually concluded was that a sugar extracted from the leaves was helping to rebuild the patients’ immune systems. He said that the aloe vera sugars were used in cellular synthesis. In other words, the sugar is basically a raw material used by the body in the “general defense and repair” of cells, McDaniel said.

The addition of the aloe vera sugars helped the cells of the body more effectively to perform their functions. And, by performing better, the cells of the immune system could more strongly combat infection and disease, McDaniel said. McDaniel said he tried to get Food and Drug Administration approval for products containing micronutrients extracted from aloe vera leaves, vine-ripened tomatoes and other sources.

“We identified brakes and clutches missing from the modern diet,” said McDaniel, who compares the nutrients that most people lack from their diets to certain car parts being absent from a General Motors assembly line. But the FDA did not approve the proposed medicines. McDaniel said it was because the products showed no toxicity at even high doses and their benefits were not being pitched as having just a few specific remedies for only one condition. Instead, McDaniel’s research team was touting having multiple therapeutic effects for many different medical conditions. “That’s out of the box and off the wall,” McDaniel said.

No inhaler necessary

Stephen Mackel of Manchester, England, is a proponent of McDaniel’s approach. The avid runner, who says he used to suffer from severe asthma, brags that he recently ran the London Marathon and that he no longer has to rely on inhalers with heavy doses of medication to control his condition. He credits the glyconutrient supplements he began taking more than three years ago with his improved health. The products have names that sound like they came straight off a chemist’s Periodic Table of Elements: Ambrotose and Phytaloe. The products are expensive dietary supplements sold by Coppell-based Mannatech, a company for which McDaniel spent eight years as medical director.

“The products do not and cannot be acclaimed to heal or cure any disease or condition, they simply give the body what it needs to run itself what God [intended] to have our bodies coming in as fuel in the first place,” Mackel said Tuesday in an e-mail. But a microbiology professor at Tarrant County College Northeast Campus said she does not advocate the use of nutritional supplements, which don’t require FDA approval in order to be sold over the counter, to treat diseases or medical conditions. Many distributors of supplements, she said, are purely trying to make a buck.

“I think people have to be very careful when they use any of these products,” said assistant professor Debbie Scheiwe.

However, McDaniel claims that he isn’t trying to cure medical conditions — at least not through the direct intervention against symptoms that traditional medicines take. Instead, he said, the glyconutrients don’t fight the bugs themselves but rather bolster the body’s ability to fight disease and maintain health. And in some cases, he said, the supplements could allow many drugs to have a stronger effect at lower doses.

“When we get sick, our medicines treat symptoms, but our body gets us over the flu,” said McDaniel, whose MannaRelief Ministries works to provide glyconutrient products to financially disadvantaged children.

In the February 2003 edition of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review, glycomics — research aimed at using glyconutrients in medicines — was detailed in an article titled “10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World.” McDaniel said his research was once frowned upon as medical heresy but that he is enjoying the wider acceptance that his work is starting to receive.

“I kind of like it, if you know what I mean,” McDaniel said. “It’s fun to be right.”

United Nations Reports a Worldwide Deficiency in Vitamins, Reducing the IQ's of People--World Wide Crisis

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The brainpower of entire countries has diminished because of a shortage of the right vitamins, and slipping nutrients into people's food seems to be the only solution, a new UN survey says. To fight the problem, the United Nations is prescribing a whole pantry of artificially fortified foods: soy sauce laced with zinc, "super salt" spiked with iron, cooking oil fortified with vitamin A. Deficiencies in these vitamins are having alarming effects in developing countries, even ones where people generally have enough to eat, said the study, released Wednesday.

A lack of iron lowers children's IQs by an average five to seven points, the report said. A deficiency in iodine cuts it 13 more points, said Venkatesh Mannar, president of the Micronutrient Initiative, which produced the report along with the United Nations Children's Fund. Birth defects increase when mothers don't get enough folic acid, and a shortage of vitamin A makes children 25 to 30 per cent more likely to die of disease.

"So ubiquitous is vitamin and mineral deficiency that it debilitates in some significant degree the energies, intellects, and economic prospects of nations," the study said. It looked at 80
developing countries representing some 80 per cent of the world's population. It found:

- Iodine deficiency has lowered the intellectual capacity of almost all of the countries by as much as 10 to 15 percentage points. It causes 18 million children a year to be born mentally impaired.

- Iron deficiency in adults is so widespread that it lowers the productivity of work forces, cutting the Gross Domestic Product in the worst-affected countries by two per cent.

- Deficiencies in folic acid, a nutrient needed for tissue growth, especially in pregnant women, causes approximately 200,000 severe birth defects every year in the 80 countries.

- About 40 per cent of the developing world's people suffer from iron deficiency, 15 per cent lack adequate iodine and as many as 40 per cent do not get enough vitamin A.
In most Western countries, governments have fought the problem with additives: iodine is sprayed onto salt before packaging, vitamin A is added to milk and margarine, and flour is enriched with niacin, iron and folic acid. But that doesn't work in countries where governments are weak, food is not processed in big mills and diets are based on a single starchy staple like rice or corn. Other health experts said the UN findings echoed other studies showing the link between intelligence and nutrition.

"This is absolutely happening," said Ronald Waldman, a professor of clinical health at Columbia University. "Vitamin deficiency is a disease, and when people have this disease they don't reach their ideal mental potential." While some deficiencies, like lack of vitamin A, can be corrected, "If you grow up and your IQ has suffered from iodine deficiency, it's not going to be reversible," Waldman said.

Furthermore, things are getting worse in some countries, the report said. The percentage of salt that is iodized has slipped to 25 per cent in some Central Asian countries and to 50 per cent in India, the country with the largest number of iodine deficient people, the report said. Getting vitamins to people other ways just doesn't work, researchers said. In the United States, most people ignored government pleas to take more folic acid, a nutrient found in nuts, until the government started putting it in flour in 1998. The result: cases of spina bifida and anencephaly, two serious birth defects, dropped by at least 20 per cent.

"It becomes an issue of compliance. If people have to eat a vitamin pill every day, a lot of them won't do it," Mannar said. The report urges countries to step up enrichment in foods that people don't make themselves: things like soy sauce, cooking oil or margarine. It also endorses a new kind of salt fortified with iron in "micro capsules." Putting more nutrients into the food has a measurable economic effect, Mannar said. He cited an Indian study that showed a 20 per cent increase in production among tea leaf pickers after iron was added to their diets. But the most disturbing gap between countries with good and poor nutrition is in intelligence, said Cutberto Garza, a Cornell University professor who also leads the nutrition program at United Nations University.

"A difference of five to seven IQ points doesn't sound like a lot, but you have to look at the tail ends of the (statistical) curve," Garza said. "You are significantly reducing the number of gifted people and increasing the number of people with mental incapacities." CHRIS HAWLEY

Grapefruit and Fat Reduction -- Yes it WORKS!

Health Sciences Institute e-Alert
March 9, 2004

A friend of mine (I'll call him John) lived in the suburbs of Phoenix when he was in his "middle school" years. He tells me that he and his friends used to spend hours running around the citrus groves that were wedged in here and there between suburban tracts. In addition to building tree houses, John and his friends frequently helped themselves to fresh fruit, right off the tree. If all of us could get a couple of daily servings of citrus this way - fresh picked from the branch - we might have far fewer chronic health problems, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In the e-Alert "Orange Express" (12/17/03), I told you about a review of citrus studies that revealed how a high intake of citrus fruits can help reduce the risk of various chronic diseases. Now a new study shows that grapefruit may be one of the healthiest dietary choices for diabetics and anyone who's trying to lose weight. The idea that grapefruit servings may help dieters lose weight is not news. But until now there were no studies to actually support this claim.

Researchers at Scripps Clinic of San Diego divided a group of 100 obese subjects into three equal groups: one group ate half a grapefruit before each meal, one group drank a glass of grapefruit juice before each meal, and one group was instructed not to eat any grapefruit or drink any grapefruit juice. Subjects followed their regimens for three months, while continuing to eat as they normally would. The results were striking. Those in the group that ate grapefruit with each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds. Subjects in the grapefruit juice group lost an average of 3.3 pounds. A few of the subjects in both of these groups lost nearly 10 pounds. Meanwhile, the average weight loss in the group that consumed no grapefruit was less than one pound.

The insulin connection

So... what dietary magic makes grapefruit such a helpful weight-loss aid? Researchers believe that grapefruit contains chemical properties that assist in the management of insulin levels - a potential boon to dieters and diabetics alike. At the beginning and the completion of the Scripps study, researchers measured the insulin and glucose levels of all subjects. When the test was over, those in the two grapefruit groups had lower levels of insulin and glucose than they did at the beginning, while levels in the non- grapefruit group were unchanged. The Scripps researchers believe that enzymes in grapefruit help control insulin spikes that occur after a meal, which frees the digestive system to process food more efficiently. The result: Less nutrients are stored as fat. And like all citrus, grapefruit is rich in water-soluble fiber, which has been shown to enhance digestion while helping regulate the absorption of carbohydrates that would otherwise contribute to blood sugar spikes. And there's an added bonus to grapefruit's ability to lower insulin levels. Elevated insulin levels prompt hunger pangs. Likewise, when those levels drop, hunger fades and less food is consumed.

With the success of this study, the Scripps Clinic is now preparing a similar, but much larger study that may provide support to their findings. I'll keep an eye out for those results. In the meantime, adding some grapefruit to our diets would seem like a no-brainer. Especially because weight-loss and insulin control are not the only health benefits we get from grapefruit.

In the May 2001 Members Alert we told you about grapefruit pectin, a substance found in the pulp of the fruit, which has been studied extensively by Dr. James Cerda, a gastroenterologist at the University Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. After years of experimenting with animals, subsequent human trials by Dr. Cerda showed that an intake of grapefruit pectin may help lower LDL cholesterol levels and reverse arterial-wall damage caused by atherosclerosis. (Pectin is an ingredient in ImmunoStart)

A report on one of these studies in the journal Clinical Cardiology concluded, ""This study has shown that daily dietary supplementation of 15 grams of grapefruit pectin significantly lowered plasma cholesterol and improved the ratio of LDLC to HDLC in hypercholesterolemia patients who are unable or unwilling to follow a low-risk diet."

Getting an intake of grapefruit pectin, however, is not as easy as simply eating a few grapefruit sections. To ingest the 15 grams of pectin suggested in the Clinical Cardiology study you'd have to eat two entire grapefruits, rind and all. Not an appetizing prospect. But in the years since that 1988 study was published several grapefruit pectin supplements have appeared on the market. They can be easily found in health food stores and though Internet sources. Dr. Cerda himself developed a pectin supplement called Profibe, which you can read about at profibe.com.

One interesting aspect of the Scripps study that's similar to the Clinical Cardiology study is that in both trials the subjects didn't begin any special exercise regimens or strict diets, and yet subjects in both studies still experienced positive health benefits. So just imagine how useful grapefruit or grapefruit pectin might be for those who eat nutritious meals and get regular exercise as well. The results could be amazing.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Doctor stresses importance of posture

By Tiffany Summerville
Source: U-WIRE

(U-WIRE) TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Normal, everyday activities, such as studying, working productively at a computer, casually watching TV or even walking to class, might be bad for your health. That's because you may be doing all these tasks with incorrect posture and setting yourself up for future negative health effects.

Dr. Wayne Rhodes, a chiropractor who has practiced in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for 18 years, said a large portion of the problems he encounters in his patients are posture-related and that bad posture is an aggregative factor in his patients' conditions 100 percent of the time, even if they are young adults.

"Posture is a huge factor that a lot of young people don't pay enough attention to," he said.

Yet, all it takes is making some small changes to your daily activities now to greatly reduce your risk of future negative health effects as a result of bad posture. Here are some tips on how to maintain proper posture as you go through your day.


When sitting, make sure your lower back is supported properly so you don't slump. When you slump, the rounding of your spine places undue pressure on your lower back. Most chairs are not made to support the lower back, so you may want to invest in one specially equipped to offer that crucial lower back support.

If you're sitting at a desk working at a computer, it's a good idea to use a document holder so you can consistently hold your head at chin level without having to glance back and forth from the desk to the monitor, which places unnecessary stress on your neck.

It's also important to make sure your keyboard is low enough so your arms can hang at lap level. When the keyboard is too high, you are forced to hold your shoulders higher than you would in a normal, relaxed position, which also places stress on your neck.


Though you might have done it when you were a baby, sleeping on your stomach as an adult can cause serious damage to the neck and is a habit that must be changed immediately to avoid future neck and back problems, Rhodes said.

When you sleep on your stomach, the neck is strained because the head is rotated to one side for hours on end. The best sleep position is on the back or side with a pillow placed between your legs to keep the pelvis aligned.

Walking with a backpack

Students who carry heavy backpacks when walking to class on a daily basis need to be careful to distribute weight evenly over their body by wearing the backpack over both shoulders.

That's why a properly worn backpack is more conducive to good posture than a tote or shoulder bag carried on the hips or on one side of the body, which places undue stress on that one side.

As a general rule, the weight of backpacks should be no more than 10 percent of your body weight, Rhodes said, though it's very easy to let your backpack become substantially heavier. He also recommends taking precaution picking up a heavy backpack from the floor, an act that could cause serious back harm if done carelessly.


Driving can wreak havoc on posture and health if you're not seated properly in the driver's seat, Rhodes said.

As with any sitting position, it is important to have the lower back supported. Rhodes also suggests sitting fairly close to the steering wheel so you don't have to lean forward.

It's beneficial to use the entire back of the seat for support to be able to lean back and still control the wheel without straining muscles at the shoulder junction. It's also always a good idea to get out of the car and move around after every couple of hours of driving.


Even a physically passive activity such as lounging on the couch or floor in front of the TV can compromise the curve of the neck if you're straining to hold the neck at an improper angle to view the television screen.

This popular lounging position has caused serious health problems in the last 40 years with the increase in TV watching among Americans, Rhodes said.

"Unless you have a TV on your ceiling, you do not need to lie on your back and watch TV," he said.

(C) 2004 The Crimson White via U-WIRE

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Optimism is good for your heart

[Health India]: Washington, Nov 2, 2004

Are you an eternal optimist?

Well then there is good news for you, for a new study conducted by researchers at the Psychiatric Center GGZ Delfland, Delft, the Netherlands, suggests that highly optimistic people have lower risks of all-cause death, and lower rates of cardiovascular death than those with high levels of pessimism.

The team led by Erik J. Giltayand colleagues analyzed data from the Arnhem Elderly Study to test whether participants who are optimistic live longer than patients who are pessimistic.

Participants aged 65 to 85 years (999 men and women) completed a 30-item questionnaire on health, self-respect, morale, optimism and relationships. 941 (466 men, 475 women) of them had complete information on questions regarding optimism.

They were then divided into four groups based on their level of optimism. Over the follow up period of 9.1 years (1991 to 2001), there were 397 deaths. Those with high levels of optimism had a 55 percent lower risk of death from all causes, and a 23 percent lower risk of cardiovascular death.

An inverse relationship was found between level of optimism and risk of death, with a stronger protective effect of optimism in men than women for all-cause mortality, but not cardiovascular mortality.

"In conclusion, we found that the trait of optimism was an important long-term determinant of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in elderly subjects independent of sociodemographic characteristics and cardiovascular risk factors. A predisposition toward optimism seemed to provide a survival benefit in elderly subjects with relatively short life expectancies otherwise," the authors were quoted as saying.

"Our results, combined with the finding that hopelessness was associated with an increased incidence or progression of disease, suggest that dispositional optimism affects the progression of cardiovascular disease, " they added. (ANI)

Dioxin in Plastics

What you should know

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in their Newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Dioxin Carcinogens causes cancer, especially breast cancer. Don't freeze your plastic water bottles with water as this also releases dioxin in the plastic.

Dr. Edward Fujimoto from Castle hospital was on a TV program explaining this health hazard. (He is the manager of the Wellness Program at the hospital.) He was talking about dioxin and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Dioxin are carcinogens and highly toxic to the cells of our bodies. Instead, he recommends using glass, Corning Ware, or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results............. without the Dioxin.

So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It’s just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc.

He said we might remember when some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons.

To add to this: Saran wrap placed over foods as they are nuked, with the high heat, actually drips poisonous toxins into the food, use paper towels.

In addition - I would like to point out that you should not recycle plastics...
I know that is hugely controversial, and you call my credibility into question, but think about it logically for a second. What has to be done to a plastic water bottle to make it into another plastic article?

It has to be melted. Melting applies heat. Heat releases more dioxins. But another issue that I won't get into here, is not just the dioxins, but the pseudo estrogens.

Read more by ordering Dr. Steve Nugent's Book How to Survive on a Toxic Planet