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Top health issues of 2012

07:50 AM December 31, 2012

THIS year, the world happily welcomed the lucky date 12-12-12. Never again will it occur within a thousand years. Also, as our iPhone 5 non-Mayan calendar had predicted, the world did not come to an end on 12-21-12. And since we, including the perplexed survivalists, are all still here and able to witness the year 2012 coming to a close, let us review some of the top health issues of the past 12 challenging months.

Soft drinks: Very harmful
Those who consume any type of soft drinks (cola or uncola, diet or regular, caffeine-free or not), especially children, are prone to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions (obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack). As I have emphasized in  the health book, Let’s Stop “Killing” Our Children (website:, soft drinks, which I call “liquid candies,” are most unhealthy for everyone, especially for the kids. A study at the University of Miami/Columbia University showed that “the risk of heart attack and stroke was 43 percent greater among those who drank diet soda at least once a day.” Even the non-diet soft drinks, as we stated above, are harmful. Lately, a study showed that drinking soft drinks increases the risk for, and aggravates,
osteoarthritis, especially of the knees.

West Nile Virus Infection
There were more than 235 deaths among the total of 5,207 West Nile Virus infection, as of November 20, 2012, in the entire United States.  Fifty one percent of them were neuroinvasive (meningitis and encephalitis). Other countries, like the Philippines, also had their share of this viral infection.


Meningitis outbreak from steroid shots
Fungal meningitis that killed two dozen persons, who had steroid shots, was determined to be caused by contaminated injectable steroid prepared by the Massachusetts pharmacy compounder, the New England Compounding Center (NECC) near Boston. The company and its principal are facing criminal charges and multiple law suits from families of those victims, who got the shot for back pains and other non-serious illnesses.

E. Coli in organic spinach
E. Coli, germs found in human feces, were detected in Organic Spinach and Spring Mix blend salad
produced by State Garden of Chelsea, Massachusetts, which caused multiple outbreaks in the USA. This was confirmed by DNA “fingerprinting” of E. Coli bacteria by the US Food and Drug Administration in the
period between October 18th to November 3rd.  Of the 24 victims, two had hemolytic uremic kidney
failure. No deaths reported. August-September 2012 also witnessed the alarming cantaloupe contamination in the USA, which led to Listeriosis that sickened 55 and killed eight people in 14 States, who developed encephalitis and meningitis. The contaminated cantaloupes were traced to the Jensen Farm’s Rocky Ford brand from a Denver area store and from equipment and cantaloupes at the Jensen packing plant.

Green coffee? Or, tea?
Now competing with the popular health drink, Green Tea, is Green Coffee, which, the manufacturers claim, has Chlorogenic Acid, supposedly good for weight and blood sugar control. This acid is reduced greatly when coffee beans are roasted, according to these companies. I cannot find genuine scientific studies to confirm any of these claims. In the meantime, I will stick to my black coffee and green or red raspberry teas, and Bluetooth.

Carbs/sugar and brain damage
A Mayo Clinic study showed that “seniors who
consume lots of carbohydrates and sugars are at
increased risk (1.5 to 1.9 times higher) for mild
cognitive impairment, which includes problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment,” early signs of Alzheimer’s, compared to those with the lowest intake of carbs and sugars.
A new experimental drug, bapineuzumab (Pfizer and J&J), is unable to cure Alzheimer’s but shows promise in slowing down the amyloid plaque formation among these patients, “before the brain is actually damaged and memory loss has occurred.” Lily has a similar drug, called solanezumab. More clinical
investigations are ongoing.

Orchid Award for RP
The prestigious international Orchid Award was bestowed upon the Philippines, “for excluding the National Tobacco Administration from the official
delegation to the 5th Conference of Parties (COPS) to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which opened in Korea last month. Prior to this, the Philippines had been
perceived to be staunch supporter of the tobacco
industry. It’s about time for us to start being a healthier nation and help stop the senseless deaths from
tobacco-related illnesses.

Coconut oil is saturated fat
The Mayo Clinic listed coconut oil, along with red meats, palm oil, and dairy products as “major sources of saturated fats.” The following are some of the items loaded with killer trans-fats: deep-fried fast foods, bakery product s, packaged snack foods, margarines and crackers. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-salt, mainly fish, occasional lean meat, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruits, a diet good for the cardiovascular system to lessen the risk for heart attack and stroke. And cancer too!

Diabetes can be reversed
Great news: diabetes can be reversed! The recommendations for everyone and especially for those with borderline blood sugar level (pre-diabetics) are a low-carbohydrate, low cholesterol diet of low glycemic index foods, high-fiber, plant-based, vegetables, beans, some whole grains, nuts, some fruits, and fish and chicken breasts, instead of red meat. Daily exercise that makes you sweat, like brisk walking, biking, swimming, for half an hour, seven days a week, is essential. And so with weight control. This strategy has effectively reversed countless diabetes and has saved millions around the globe. All without medications. Just discipline and resolve.

Alzheimer’s: Type 3 diabetes?
As most people know, there are two types of diabetes, 1 and 2. But researchers are beginning to think Alzheimer’s could be Type 3 diabetes, since it is “marked by brain insulin resistance and corresponding inflammation,” according to a study at Rhode Island Hospital published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The insulin resistance prevents proper lipid metabolism, which results in lipid build-up in the brain, leading brain cell damage and dementia.


Red meats and cancer
Studies have shown that eating red meats (pork, beef, etc) and processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, hamburgers, etc) increases the risk for colorectal cancer, and barbequed red meats, especially with charcoal-burned parts of it, the risk for pancreatic cancer. The saturated fats in these meats raised blood cholesterol and the risk for heart attack anmd stroke. Even the death rate from all other diseases in general is higher among those who eat red meats regularly, compared to those who eat fish, vegetables, nuts, and fruits.
May my “prediction” that your new year will be filled with love, good health, peace, and prosperity come true!

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