Friday, October 30, 2009

Lupus and other Autoimmune Diseases Linked to Insecticide Use

Lupus Linked to Insecticide Use

Beyond Pesticides reports that a "study, which looked at more than 75,000 women, shows that those who spray insecticides at least six times per year have almost two and a half times the risk of developing lupus and rheumatoid arthritis versus those who do not use insecticides. The risk doubles if insecticides were used in the home for 20 years or more."

"Hiring a gardener or commercial company to apply insecticides also resulted in a doubling of risk, but only if they were used long-term."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nuclear Power and Cancer

I heard an interview on NPR's Living on Earth about radiation and health. The worrisome part was that living near a nuclear power plant carries a significant risk of cancer for children. The speaker was Joseph Mangano, MPH, MBA, the Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

Even more information is at the (Radiation and Public Health) website.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fructose and "FODMAPS" Can Be Digestive Demons

I'm benefitting from a low-fructose diet but it's hard to follow. Here's an article (in PDF) on Malabsorption of Fructose and "FODMAPS" that has good science to explain why some carbs cause digestive problems and how they interact with bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine.

FODMAPS stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides And Polyols. Authors Jacqueline S. Barrett and Peter R. GIbson are in Australia, but it is reproduced by the UVA Health System.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Killing Germs: Your Battle with Biofilm

Biofilm is formed by colonies of similar bacteria, usually on damp surfaces such as your sink. The germs cooperate to build and maintain a barrier that keeps even strong disinfectants such as bleach and iodine at bay.

Yes, they can resist bleach and iodine! Read this: Killing Germs: Are You Winning the Battle with Biofilm? -

Scientific American Magazine reports that bacteria communicate to build "microcolonies within a sophisticated architecture" that protects the organisms in a kind of walled — if somewhat slimy — city.
According to Science News Magazine, scientists report that, "Pseudomonas [the bacterium that causes cystic fibrosis pneumonia] … [in a biofilm can] survive in bottled iodine solution for up to 15 months." Based on another study, Scientific American reported that harmful microbes suspended in a biofilm were still alive and well after 60 minutes exposure to bleach.
Stanford University researchers reported that the germ that causes cholera (Vibrio cholerae) forms a biofilm that enables it to survive in the presence of chlorine in concentrations 1000 to 2000% higher than that found in chlorinated drinking water. Washington DC’s water supply was compromised by biofilms in 1996 for this very reason.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Some Notes on Fructose

You've probably read that high-fructose corn syrup is supposedly not healthy. I just learned that some people can't handle regular fructose either. In the book, Why Doesn't My Doctor Know This? David Dahlman writes that for some of us, fructose contributes to irritable bowel syndrome.

I'm going to stay off fructose for a week or so to see if that helps. I looked up fructose in Wikipedia to get more information. Here are my notes from that detailed article and from a linked page on Fructose Malabsorption.
  • The primary food sources of fructose are fruits, vegetables, and honey.
  • Apple and pear juices [have] the high concentrations of free fructose, and these juices can cause diarrhea in children.
  • Studies indicate that fructose is not completely absorbed in the small intestine... it is transported into the large intestine, where it is fermented by the colonic flora... The presence of gases and organic acids in the large intestine causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, and gastrointestial pain. Exercise can exacerbate these symptoms by decreasing transit time in the small intestine, resulting in a greater amount of fructose being emptied into the large intestine.
  • It is suspected that eating large amounts of fructose increases the likelihood of weight gain.
  • Excessive fructose consumption is also believed to contribute to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Even in healthy people, only about 25-50 g of fructose per sitting can be absorbed.
  • Foods with a high glucose content actually help sufferers absorb fructose.
  • Fructose malabsorption is common in patients with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A small proportion of patients with both fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance also suffer from celiac disease.
  • Patients with fructose malabsorption may need to avoid inulin, FOS, sorbitol, and xylitol.