French scientists recently completed a study on the long-term effects of eating genetically modified foods. Turns out chemicals only need to be proven to be 'safe' in test animals for 90 days. This study found some upsetting long-term consequences from GM foods, and the pesticides used on them. http://www.naturalnews.com/037249_gmo_study_cancer_tumors_organ_damage.html
For a slightly different take on the study, including pointing out some of its weaknesses, check out the BBC's coverage
And, last but not least, here's the study itself if you want to check it out.
I always thought Dr. Brian Goldman was a pretty great guy (CBC's White Coat, Black Art), but now I like him even more! This is his recent show about complimentary and alternative health care. The link is on the right under "Most Recent Podcast." Check it out!
The light coming from tablets suppresses the hormone melatonin (involved in sleep patterns and circadian rhythm). Your body starts producing melatonin a couple of hours before your natural bedtime (meaning the time nature intended you to go to bed). The closer you are to the light, the more significant the suppression. Solutions include:
1) turning town the brightness of your device
2) exposure times of less than an hour
3) limiting exposure a few hours before bedtime.
[Article link and text below]
Melatonin Disruption Seen With Self-Luminous Tablets
Nancy A. Melville
September 12, 2012 — Light emanating from self-luminous tablet computers can suppress levels of the sleep hormone melatonin, potentially having a negative effect on the body's circadian rhythm, new research suggests.
Researchers with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center in Troy, New York, have previously explored the effects of light from computer monitors and 70-inch televisions but found little to no suppression of melatonin.
But the availability of tablet devices raise new concerns, not only because they emit optical radiation at short wavelengths near the sensitivity for melatonin suppression but also because they are often viewed for hours on end and at close range, said lead author Mariana Figueiro, PhD.
"The main issue with tablets and computer screens, and less of an issue with TV, is that the device is placed close to the eyes, so light at the back of the eye, which is what matters for the circadian system, is increased with proximity of the source," said Dr. Figueiro, an associate professor and director of the LRC Light and Health Program at the Lighting Research Center.
Their findings were published online July 31 in Applied Ergonomics.
Participants viewed tablets without goggles, through orange-tinted goggles capable of filtering out radiation that can suppress melatonin, and through clear goggles fitted with blue LEDs to suppress melatonin.
In a small study to investigate how self-luminous tablet display screens affect nocturnal melatonin, Dr. Figueiro and her colleagues measured melatonin suppressions in 13 participants after exposures to backlit tablet devices (Apple iPads) viewed under 3 experimental conditions.
Under one condition, the tablets were viewed through a pair of clear goggles fitted with 470-nm (blue) light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which served as a "true positive" condition because the blue light is known to be a strong stimulus for suppressing melatonin.
Under the second condition, the tablets were viewed through orange-tinted glasses that filtered out the short-wavelength radiation, representing a "dark control" condition. In the third condition, no glasses or goggles were worn.
The iPad display is approximately 9.7 inches diagonally and is backlit with LEDs. The tablets in each viewing condition were set to full brightness.
Each of the participants also wore dimesimeters, small light meter devices that were developed at the RPI Lighting Research Center. The devices are worn near the eye and continuously record circadian light and activity levels.
Although the results showed no significant melatonin suppression after 1 hour of normal exposure, the suppression after 2 hours was significantly greater than 0 (P = .006).
"Our study shows that a 2-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent," the authors write.
The dimesimeter measurements indicated that the level of photopic illuminance from tablet use can vary significantly according to the type of task being performed and the distance from the device to the eyes.
Illuminance levels ranged from 5 lux, which would typically not affect melatonin levels, to 50 lux, which could have a significant effect over 2 hours.
Type of Task
"The type of task will influence the color of the background," Dr. Figueiro explained. "White background, such as with Microsoft Word documents or Facebook, emits more light than darker backgrounds, like movies or black screen with white fonts. And for the same light being emitted by the device, the farther from the eye, the least amount of light at the retina."
Teens and adolescents may be particularly prone to the melatonin-suppressing effects of tablet device usage, and not just because they are known to be heavy users, Dr. Figueiro noted.
"Studies suggest that adolescents are more sensitive to light in the evening and will respond more to an evening light," she said. "Having said that, the effect can occur in any population."
Melatonin onset occurs approximately 2 hours before natural bedtimes, Dr. Figueiro explained. "If one suppresses the onset of melatonin in the evening, it will delay the timing in which the biological clock will tell the body to fall asleep."
By disrupting normal sleep patterns, the suppression of melatonin has been implicated in other health issues, including an increased risk for obesity and other serious disease, such as breast cancer.
One easy solution is for tablet users to adjust the brightness of their devices at night to allow less interruption with normal circadian rhythms.
Dr. Figueiro and her colleagues also suggest the potential development of more "circadian-friendly" electronic devices.
"Since a large portion of the population spends most of their waking hours in front of a self-luminous display, it is important that manufacturers and users have a tool to increase or to decrease circadian stimulation delivered by their self-luminous displays," they write. "However, it is also important to consider how and how long these devices are used."
A Real Concern
Asked to comment on these findings, William Kohler, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, pointed out that melatonin is key in regulating the body's circadian rhythms, and the ability of light from handheld or close-range electronic devices and tablets to disrupt melatonin is indeed a concern.
"The concern is that the bright light inhibits the production of melatonin, which acts on the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a group of neurons in the anterior hypothalamus. This is basically our pacemaker and allows us to be alert," explained Dr. Kohler, who is director of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill.
The findings offer some early insights into the potential effect the devices can have on sleep patterns, he added.
"It was interesting that the researchers did show the melatonin was suppressed not only with the bright light, but also the duration and the type of light."
"But we're in a virgin field of expanding knowledge right now, and it's exciting because almost every week there is new research coming out on therapies for sleep problems."
The study was funded by Sharp Laboratories of America. Dr. Figueiro and Dr. Kohler have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Appl Ergon. Published online July 31, 2012. Abstract
Medscape Medical News © 2012 WebMD, LLC
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A new report from the Environmental Working Group suggests avoiding using air fresheners, antibacterial products, fabric softeners, and caustic drain & oven cleaners because they have a higher chance of containing toxic ingredients. The authors of the report also refer to the regulation of cleaning products as the "Wild West."
This summary of the report comes from WebMD Health News (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/770678?src=nldne%3Fsrc%3Dstfb)
Many Cleaning Products Said to Contain Toxins
September 10, 2012 — Household cleaning products may contain toxic substances linked to health problems such as asthma, allergic reactions, and cancer, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.
The environmental group rated more than 2,000 household cleaners -- from laundry soaps and stain removers to bathroom cleaners and floor care products. Products are graded A to F based on the safety of the ingredients and how well the maker discloses those ingredients.
One industry trade group disputes the findings, though, saying the report doesn't make the grade.
According to the EWG report, more than half the products evaluated contain ingredients known to harm the lungs. In other cases, it was difficult to figure out what was in the product because of incomplete labeling.
"Companies are still hiding information from us, and we have a right to know what we are buying," says Rebecca Sutton, PhD, a senior scientist at EWG involved in compiling the report.
"Ninety-three percent [of the products] provided ingredient lists that were incomplete or not specific enough," she says. "We were surprised to see a few 'green' brands were still a little cagey about their ingredients.”
The 'Wild West'
Cleaning products are largely unregulated, says Sutton, calling it a ''wild West'' situation.
"It's a largely self-policing industry," she says. One exception is that the EPA requires a product that is antibacterial to disclose the name of the antibacterial used, she says.
Sutton does see improvement. While the report was in progress, she learned that some companies are reformulating their products with an eye to health.
And some cleaning products did get high marks. Among the many products that received an A rating:
"It distorts information about products," Brian Sansoni says. "It could mislead people."
EWG Guide: Details
It took 14 months to compile the guide. EWG scientists compared the ingredients listed on the labels of cleaning products and manufacturers' web sites with information from toxicity databases from government, industry, and academic sources. They looked at medical literature on health and environmental problems linked with cleaning products.
Among the key findings, according to EWG:
Even some ''green brands'' could do better on disclosing ingredients, the report states. Among them: Earth Friendly Products and BabyGanics.
More Industry Feedback
"We are certainly addressing the issue [of label disclosure]," says Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, vice president of Earth Friendly Products.
"Our European labels already have the disclosures," she says. "The U.S. labels will have it by the end of the year."
Lindsay Joyce, a spokeswoman for BabyGanics, says it is unfortunate that the EWG has deemed their descriptions inadequate.
One problem, she says, is a lack of uniform industry standards. "All BabyGanics products contain ingredient statements, including our household, hand hygiene, diapering, skin care, sun care, and oral care solutions. The household product category remains the only one that still does not have a uniform set of industry standards."
In a statement, Sansoni of the American Cleaning Institute says: "It is a fact that anything can be safe or unsafe -- it all depends on the amount. Manufacturers work to ensure that they use levels of ingredients that are 'just right' -- in that they provide a benefit in the products, but at the same time are safe."
EWG Guide: How to Use
The cleaning products are categorized in the online guide into nine types.
Consumers can check out a product they already use, Sutton says. They can also use the guide to help them shop for less toxic choices.
Another option, Sutton says, is to make your own cleaning products from white vinegar and water, for instance.
The full report is online at www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners.
Rebecca Sutton, PhD, senior scientist, Environmental Working Group.
Brian Sansoni, spokesman, American Cleaning Institute.
Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, vice president, Earth Friendly Products.
WebMD Health News © 2012 Medscape, LLC
Eating low-carb is now being proven more effective than low-fat/calorie-restricted diets in regards to weight loss, lipid balance, and diabetic parameters. Eating low-carb is remarkably simple. The attached article is a wonderful survey of the topic....check it out!
Dr. Dielle Raymond, ND