It’s been a while since we had a general update on some stories and studies that have caught our attention around the office (and elsewhere). It’s always good to check in. The team and I are always keeping an eye on things… some good, some bad, some just simply interesting. Here are four stories that made the cut.
Inflammation shown yet again to be the root cause of modern health issues
According to a new study, it appears that people who suffer from depression are almost guaranteed to have very high levels of cytokines. These types of cells are a part of the body’s inflammatory immune response. This indicates a clear connection between inflammation and depression.
And what causes inflammation? Leaky gut mostly. And what causes leaky gut? Sugar, pesticides, processed foods, trans fats, etc. Basically, the Standard American Diet (SAD). The number of people who eat this sort of diet has been steadily increasing since processed foods really started to take off in the 1980s and 1990s. It sort of makes sense that since 1987, five times as many people are prescribed an antidepressants.
Sure, things like a death in the family, divorce and other major changes contribute, but if you’re feeling blue, take a good look at what you’re eating as well.
Rise in obesity is spreading
It used to be that obesity was largely a problem in the developed world with America leading the way, followed closely by the UK–two of the wealthiest nations in world history. The developing world hadn’t felt the sting of processed foods, fast food, convenience stores on every corner stocked to the gills with Snickers bars, potato chips and ice cream. They tended to eat what their people had always eaten based on their region and culture.
Apparently that’s changing.
A new look at global obesity is revealing some shocking stats. We’re looking at 107 million obese children and 603 million obese adults worldwide–that’s roughly 10 percent of the human population. The shocking part is that in developing countries like China, Brazil and Indonesia, obesity has tripled over the last decade. Could have something to do with the spread of fast food in these countries perhaps, or that in our cultural exports to these countries (movies, music, fashion, etc.), we’re including our poor eating habits as well.
If so, we’re sorry.
Autism linked to in utero infections
A new study is showing a link between infection (and particularly fevers) in women who are pregnant and the development of autism in their children.
Not to get on my hobby horse, but what really struck me about this article was this line:
The findings, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, support the theory that it might be the body’s response to an infection rather than a bacteria or virus that’s damaging the developing baby’s brain.
And what is a vaccine? It’s an infection. And if we’re acknowledging that a little baby body can develop autism as a response to an infection… well, I’ll let you put it together.
Low carb diets showing unexpected benefits
This is a social science study, so its conclusions are a bit more… fluid and up for interpretation. Nevertheless, a German study has found that those of us on low-carb diets tend to be more tolerant.
They did this by putting two participants in a little game together. One participant is given some money and told to split it with their partner. The partner then decides to accept the amount offered or reject it, at which point nobody gets anything.
During the study (which lasted two full days), some people were fed high-carb diets and others were fed low-carb diets. Those on high-carb diets seemed to have an urge to punish partners who offered them low sums of money, effectively choosing nothing so that their low-offering partner would be punished with nothing as well.
Those on low-carb diets were more likely to just let things go, take whatever amount of free money was offered to them and get on with it.
Lawsuit finally brings water fluoridation to the attention of the courts in the U.S.
A lead scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a study on the damaging neurotoxic effects of fluoride in the water in a respected Harvard University journal. Encouraged by this, the Fluoride Action Network has filed a lawsuit demanding the practice of water fluoridation be stopped.
There’s no way of knowing which direction these sorts of cases will go, but this is the first time the controversial practice of water fluoridation has even been examined by an American court. And if you’re familiar with the evidence, it will certainly be difficult for anyone to argue convincingly for it. We remain optimistic.