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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Cannabis: The Plant that Stops Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become an out-of-control problem in our world, as doctors and leading health officials know too well. For over 100 years, Western Rockefeller Medicine and Big Pharma have been conjoined twins attached at the hip; you cannot have one without the other. Western medicine has fully embraced the drugs, radiation and surgery model, and ever since the invention of drugs like penicillin and methicillin, it has been throwing synthetic chemicals at its patients to “cure” them.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and meanwhile, Life itself has found a way to counterbalance the effect of antibiotics overuse in the form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Some such as MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), MDR TB (Multidrug-Resistant Mycobacterium Tuberculosis) and CRE (Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae) are especially virulent superbugs against which Western Medicine has no defense.
The reason for this situation, of course, is that antibiotics are like the proverbial sledgehammer or cannonball to the mosquito, and by wiping out the human body’s entire bacterial presence in a certain area, you are wiping out the beneficial bacteria which keep the harmful ones in check. Our body literally depends upon this bacterial balance as the foundation of immunity and health.
(For more, please see: Who’s Living Whom? Bacterial Cells vs. Human Cells in the Body.) 

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria a Grave Problem Across the World

Recent reports have highlighted the massive problem. This quote is from a report entitled State of the World’s Antibiotics, 2015 by CCDEP (Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy), a US-India health research organization:
“Now, however, once-treatable infections are becoming difficult to cure, raising costs to healthcare facilities, and patient mortality is rising, with costs to both individuals and society. Decreasing antibiotic effectiveness has risen from being a minor problem to a broad threat, regardless of a country’s income or the sophistication of its healthcare system. 
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that antibiotic resistance is responsible for more than 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the United States, at a direct cost of $20 billion and additional productivity losses of $35 billion (CDC 2013). In Europe, an estimated 25,000 deaths are attributable to antibiotic-resistant infections, costing €1.5 billion annually in direct and indirect costs (EMA and ECDC 2009). Although reliable estimates of economic losses in the developing world are not available, it is estimated that 58,000 neonatal sepsis deaths are attributable to drug- resistant infections in India alone (Laxminarayan et al. 2013). Studies from Tanzania and Mozambique indicate that resistant infections result in increased mortality in neonates and children under five (Kayange et al. 2010; Roca et al. 2008).”
The WHO (World Health Organization), despite being part of the Rockefeller UN (United Nations), acknowledges the massive problem in its October 2015 fact sheet:
“Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. New resistance mechanisms emerge and spread globally every day, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. A growing list of infections—such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhoea—are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.”
Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the Assistant Director General for the World Health Organization’s Health Security department, is reported to have said
“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era … common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill.”
Bacteria are intelligent enough to outwit antibiotics through various means, as this study mentions:
“In bacteria, genes can be inherited from relatives or can be acquired from nonrelatives on mobile genetic elements such as plasmids. This horizontal gene transfer (HGT) can allow antibiotic resistance to be transferred among different species of bacteria. Resistance can also occur spontaneously through mutation. Antibiotics remove drug-sensitive competitors, leaving resistant bacteria behind to reproduce as a result of natural selection.”

Meet the Plant that Can Defeat Some Strains of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Although Nature (and Man) has created a problem, Nature has also created a solution. It turns out that there may be an answer to the problem of antibiotic overuse and antibiotic-resistant bacteria: cannabis. Although it was demonized in the 1930s-1950s because of its threat to the oil, timber, clothing, fuel and pharmaceutical industries, the scientifically proven truth has emerged that cannabis (aka marijuana, hemp, weed or pot) has amazing medical properties that we are just beginning to understand.
In an earlier article Cannabidiol (CBD): The Cat’s Out of the Bag with This Cure-All, I highlighted how just one cannabinoid out of more than 100 (namely cannabidiol or CBD) was responsible for so many wonderful and astounding health benefits, such as being anti-carcinogenic, neuro-protective, anti-psychotic and anti-inflammatory. Well, now you can add another great medical property to the list: anti-bacterial or anti-microbial, and not just against any ordinary bacterium. A 2008 study entitled Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure-Activity Study found that cannabinoids have powerful anti-bacterial ability, including against MRSA:
“All five major cannabinoids (cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabigerol, ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabinol) showed potent activity against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains of current clinical relevance.”
“All compounds showed potent antibacterial activity … Activity was exceptional against some of these strains, in particular the multidrug-resistant (MDR) SA-1199B, which has a high level of resistance to certain fluoroquinolones. Also noteworthy is the potent activity demonstrated against EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16, the major epidemic methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains occurring in U.K. hospitals. These activities compare highly favorably with the standard antibiotics for these strains.”

Conclusion: The Cannabis Plant is a Highly Evolved Organism

The authors of the study state that “everything points towards these compounds having been evolved by the plants as antimicrobial defenses that specifically target bacterial cells … “ which suggests that we need to find the answer to our problems in Nature, not in a laboratory, and further reinforces the idea that plants are incredible organisms upon which the literal survival of mankind depends. Clearly, the cannabis plant is a highly evolved organism if it has developed phytochecmials that can outwit and defeat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the most virulent of superbugs. The authors conclude:
“Given the availability of C. sativa strains producing high concentrations of nonpsychotropic cannabinoids, this plant represents an interesting source of antibacterial agents to address the problem of multidrug resistance in MRSA and other pathogenic bacteria. This issue has enormous clinical implications, since MRSA is spreading throughout the world and, in the United States, currently accounts for more deaths each year than AIDS.”
What better proof could there be of the utter backwardness of our world that marijuana is still classified by the US Government as a Schedule 1 drug — meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use” and “high potential for abuse” — yet it may hold the key for unwinding the devastating harm done to the world by Big Pharma and its antibiotic overuse?
Article sources:


Childhood antibiotic treatments reduce diversity and stability of intestinal microbiota

The DIABIMMUNE project followed the development of 39 Finnish infants from birth to the age of three. Half of the children received 9-15 antibiotic treatments during the research period, and the other half did not receive any such treatments. Stool samples were collected from the children monthly between the ages of 2 and 36 months, for a total of 1069 samples. The study involved researchers from Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, Helsinki University Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
'We found that the microbial community of antibiotic-treated children is less stable and less diverse. Interestingly, this is most noticeable on the strain level, where children who received multiple antibiotic treatments had many more single-strain species, whereas children who never got any antibiotics had more diverse species, with multiple strains for each species' explains Dr. Moran Yassour, a postdoctoral fellow at Professor Ramnik Xavier's group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Yassour.
The problem of unnecessary antibiotic treatments

With every passing generation, important species of intestinal bacteria seem to be disappearing due to the effects of antibiotics. The discovery of antibiotic compounds has transformed the medical practice, and antibiotic treatments save lives on a daily basis. At the same time, antibiotics are still being unnecessarily prescribed to children, for example against viral infections, and this study highlights the consequences of repeated antibiotic treatments on the developing infant gut microbiome.
'Treatments, such as antibiotics, that have an effect on early childhood microbial populations can make children prone to long-term illnesses that manifest themselves later on, such as asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, diabetes and obesity. Antibiotic treatments should in future be more precisely focused against the infections preceding the treatment,' says Professor Mikael Knip from the Children's Hospital and the University of Helsinki, who is leading the DIABIMMUNE research project.
The type of birth also affects the development of a child's intestinal microbiomes. The intestinal microbiomes of children born by caesarean (C) section are usually not as diverse of those that undergo a vaginal birth, and are characterized by the lower abundance of various Bacteroides species in the first 6 months of life. The microbiomes also significantly develop and establish themselves during a child's first months of life, with the composition of microbiota taking its stable adulthood composition during the child's third year. The intestinal microbiota has a significant effect on the development of a child's immunity. A healthy, diverse, and stable microbiota have been shown to promote health: they promote absorption of nutrients, support the metabolism and protect from infections.
'Like in previous studies, we also observe a very strong impact of delivery mode on the infant gut microbiome. The gut microbial signature of children born by C-section is very unique, as none of the Bacteroides species are detected in the first 6-18 months of life. Surprisingly, 20% of vaginally born children displayed a similar 'low-Bacteroides' signature, an observation that has not been previously reported. We have searched extensively for clinical variables that may explain this observation, yet the numbers are too small to find statistically significant direct associations.' Dr. Yassour notes.
In the long-term, the microbial diversity of all children with the 'low-Bacteroides' signature remained lower, regardless of their delivery mode.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Often-repeated antibiotic treatments given during early childhood interfere with the development of the intestinal microbiota and lead to the development and possible spread of antibiotic-resistant microbe populations. Researchers observed a rapid increase in antibiotic resistance genes--genes that convey bacterial resistance to antibiotics--after antibiotic treatments. This increase was usually short-term, followed by a rapid decrease in the abundance of the resistance genes in the following month. On the other hand, resistance genes found on mobile elements - that transfer more easily between bacteria - sometimes remained in the intestines for significantly longer periods of time.
'If the intestinal microbiota is healthy, the resistant bacteria are not usually able to multiply because they do not find a niche in the ecology. However, during antibiotic treatment other bacteria are killed and resistant bacteria can proliferate freely. There is also the risk that certain pathogens gain resistance implicating that the diseases caused by them will become very hard to treat. This is what is being referred when people talk of hospital bacteria,' explains doctoral candidate Tommi Vatanen from the Aalto University Department of Computer Science and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, USA.
'The strength of this study lies in its unique combination of longitudinal monthly samples coupled with deep metagenomic sequencing. These were key for both the identification of strains, and quantification of antibiotic resistance genes,' Dr. Yassour emphasizes.
The study has been funded primarily by the EU (7th framework programme), the Finnish Academy and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The research results have been published in the internationally recognised publication series Science Translational Medicine, and were featured on the issue's cover.
Source:Aalto University

What effect does oral aloe vera have on diabetes?

A meta-analysis of studies in people with diabetes and pre-diabetes has shown that oral aloe vera use was associated with significant decreases in both fasting blood glucose (FBG) and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). The data indicate that people with a FBG >200 mg/dL may benefit the most, according to an article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free for download on The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine website until July 29, 2016.
In the article "Reduction of Fasting Blood Glucose and Hemoglobin A1c Using Oral Aloe Vera: A Meta-Analysis," William Dick, Emily Fletcher, and Sachin Shah, David Grant Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, CA and Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA describe their analysis of data from nine studies to assess the effectiveness of oral aloe vera consumption in diabetes. They report significant reductions in FBG and HbA1c of 46.6 mg/dL and 1.05%, respectively, and review the proposed mechanisms that could account for these anti-diabetic effects.
Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Not blowing smoke: Research finds medical marijuana lowers prescription drug use

Athens, Ga. - Medical marijuana is having a po sitive impact on the bottom line of Medicare's prescription drug benefit program in states that have legalized its use for medicinal purposes, according to University of Georgia researchers in a study published today in the July issue of Health Affairs.
The savings, due to lower prescription drug use, were estimated to be $165.2 million in 2013, a year when 17 states and the District of Columbia had implemented medical marijuana laws. The results suggest that if all states had implemented medical marijuana the overall savings to Medicare would have been around $468 million.
Compared to Medicare Part D's 2013 budget of $103 billion, those savings would have been 0.5 percent. But it's enough of a difference to show that, in states where it's legal, some people are turning to the drug as an alternative to prescription medications for ailments that range from pain to sleep disorders.
Because medical marijuana is such a hot-button issue, explained study co-author W. David Bradford, who is the Busbee Chair in Public Policy in the UGA School of Public and International Affairs, their findings can give policymakers and others another tool to evaluate the pros and cons of medical marijuana legalization.
"We realized this question was an important one that nobody had yet attacked," he said.
"The results suggest people are really using marijuana as medicine and not just using it for recreational purposes," said the study's lead author Ashley Bradford, who completed her bachelor's degree in sociology in May and will start her master's degree in public administration at UGA this fall.
To obtain the results, they combed through data on all prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013, a total of over 87 million physician-drug-year observations.
They then narrowed down the results to only include conditions for which marijuana might serve as an alternative treatment, selecting nine categories in which the Food and Drug Administration had already approved at least one medication. These were anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity.
They chose glaucoma in particular because while marijuana does decrease eye pressure caused by the disease by about 25 percent, its effects only last an hour. With this disorder, they expected marijuana laws--as a result of demand stimulation--to send more people to the doctor looking for relief. And because taking marijuana once an hour is unrealistic, they expected to see the number of daily doses prescribed for glaucoma medication increase.
They were not disappointed. While fewer prescriptions were written for the rest of categories--dropping by 1,826 daily doses in the pain category and 265 in the depression category, for instance--the number of daily doses for glaucoma medication increased by 35.
"It turns out that glaucoma is one of the most Googled searches linked to marijuana, right after pain," David Bradford said. "Glaucoma is an extremely serious condition" that can lead quickly to blindness. "The patient then goes into the doctor, the doctor diagnoses the patient with glaucoma, and no doctor is going to let the patient walk out without being treated."
Marijuana is classified federally as a "Schedule 1" under the Controlled Substances Act. With its placement in this most restrictive of drug categories, it means that the federal government has determined it has high abuse potential, no medical use and severe safety concerns. Several states don't agree with this assessment, and, in 1996, California became the first to legalize it for medical purposes, followed by Alaska, Oregon and Washington in 1998. As recently as June of this year, Pennsylvania and Ohio passed laws allowing its medical use.
Each of the 25 states plus the District of Columbia with a medical marijuana law has different guidelines for its use and possession limits. Also, physicians in these states may only recommend its use; it remains illegal for them to prescribe the medication.
Patients also can't walk up to their neighborhood pharmacy to pick up a marijuana prescription; they have to either go to a dispensary or grow it themselves--and the legality of having marijuana plants differs by state. This lack of patient oversight by a trained health care profession, in particular, worries David Bradford.
"Doctors can recommend marijuana and in some states can sign a form to help you get a card, but at that point you go out of the medical system and into the dispensaries," he said. "What does this mean? Do you then go less frequently to the doctor and maybe your non-symptomatic hypertension, elevated blood sugar and elevated cholesterol go unmanaged? If that's the case, that could be a negative consequence to this."
The researchers will explore these consequences further in their next study, Ashley Bradford said, which will look at medical marijuana's effects on Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs and typically serves an older population.
They expect the cost savings seen in their current study to be repeated when they look at Medicaid, saying their findings suggests a more widespread state approval of medical marijuana could provide modest budgetary relief. Their current study suggests total spending by Medicare Part D would have been $468.1 million less in 2013 if all states were to have adopted medical marijuana laws by that year, an amount just under 0.5 percent of the prescription drug benefit program's spending.
Source:University of Georgia

Immune System Can Affect Human Personalities And Social Behavior

The human immune system has surprising effects on your social life. It has more to do with neurological system and related conditions like autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia than previously thought.The human immune system has surprising effects on your social life. It has more to do with neurological system and related conditions like autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia than previously thought.’Scientists conducted the immune system experiments in mice. They blocked the interferon gamma molecule through genetic engineering. When the immune system molecule was blocked, they became immunocompromised and the brains of the mice became 'hyperactive'. They no longer displayed interest in socialization with their cage mates, something that mice are usually prone to do. A reduced interest in socializing might actually be a way of protecting an organism from infections that it can no longer fight off very well. It was concluded that manipulation of the immune system had a direct effect on behavior. When scientists discontinued the blockage of the immune system molecule, allowing it to once again operate freely in the brain, the mice calmed down and returned to their normal, social behavior. This shows that that the immune system - personality connection does exist. Researchers have postulated that the connection may actually be an evolutionary mechanism built in to help a species survive. The linkage exists, encouraging social creatures to interact and yet boosting our immune systems at the same time to protect both the individual and the group.

"Our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of social dysfunction in neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and may open new avenues for therapeutic approaches," said Vladimir Litvak, assistant professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS).

One of the study's authors, Johathan Kipnis, chair of the University of Virginia's Department of Neuroscience said "The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as a sign of pathology." He added, "And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behaviour traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens."

The research published in the journal Nature states that it may be possible that people who suffer from various neurological and psychiatric disorders actually have malfunctioning immune system and that to fix their psychological problems they may need to fix the underlying medical problem first by restoring the immune system to full function. As of now, the immune system experiment has only been conducted on mice. This might mean for autism and other specific conditions further research is required.


Mindfulness Meditation Can Boost Attention and Reduce Stress

Meditation is a way to feel more at peace. But research from a Texas Tech University faculty member shows it can significantly improve attention, working memory, creativity, immune function, emotional regulation, self-control, cognitive and school performance and healthy habits while reducing stress.Yi-Yuan Tang, the presidential endowed chair in neuroscience and a professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, has developed a novel method of mindfulness meditation called Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT).
Source:Texas Tech University


Are you a tabloid loving, pop culture obsessed, meme and GIF intrigued person? Do you like sensational novels to pass the time?According to a new study published in the  Journal of Business Administration in May 2016, your love for “light reading,” and web-based aggregators like Reddit, Tumblr and BuzzFeed may not be doing you any good.
The researchers concluded that what students read in college directly affects the level of writing they achieve. In fact, students who pick up academic journals, literary fiction, or general nonfiction wrote with greater syntactic sophistication than those who preferred the former options. Furthermore, the highest scores came from those who resorted to academic journals, and the lowest to solely web-based content.
But then again, “good writing” is often subjective. What we’re really talking about here is whether our overall ability to convey what we want to say comes across well to the masses.

Why You Need To Start “Deep Reading”

As opposed to light reading, which involves little more than comprehending and decoding words, deep reading involves reading that is slow, immersive, emotional, and morally complex. When you are deep reading, you are absorbing language rich in detail, allusion, and metaphor. This style of reading works to engage the part of the brain regions that allow the reader to feel as though they are experiencing the event.
It’s thought of as an exercise that promotes brain health — boosting your levels of empathy because you practice reflection, analysis, and personal subtext. Light reading lacks these meaningful attributes. Online blogs, for instance, are said to lack a genuine voice, viewpoint, and analysis that provokes deeper thoughts. Essentially, you’ll likely forget what you read in mere minutes.
Likewise, Stanford University researchers concluded the benefits of deep reading as opposed to light reading. They found that close literary reading gives your brain a workout in multiple complex cognitive functions. And while simple pleasure reading increases blood flow to different areas of the brain, deep reading proves more of an effective brain exercise.

Why You Should Read Poems

An article published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies reported that more emotionally charged writing works to arouse several regions in the brain that respond to music. When comparing reading poetry and prose, researchers found that poetry activates the posterior cingulate cortex and medial temporal lobes — both of which are linked to self-analysis.
For the study, volunteers also read their favorite poems, which stimulated parts of the brain associated with memory. These areas of the brain, predominantly located on the right side, had already been shown to provoke “shivers down the spine” as a result of an emotional reaction to music.

Why You Should Read Literary Fiction

Recent experiments have revealed that reading literary fiction makes way for better performance on tests of affective theory of mind, or understanding others’ thinking and wellbeing.
The study published in the International Journal of Business Administration found that this type of reading enhances theory of mind, which may be influenced by a higher amount of engagement with real works of art as opposed to reading magazine articles, interviews, and online nonfiction reporting.

Pick Deep Reading Over Watching Television

When you turn on the TV, you’re signaling your brain power to shut down. Likewise, reading lightweight material for entertainment simply doesn’t fire up your writing brain to help you become a better writer. So, rather than turning on the tube or scrolling through articles on Facebook, spend more time deep-reading literary fiction and poetry.

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