Síle Lane is a scientist who works as director of international campaigns and policy at Sense about Science, which is a charity organization that endeavors to challenge misrepresentations of science and scientific evidence. She advocates for honesty and transparency in scientific research.
It is reported that much information and data related to clinical trials is deliberately being withheld from the general public.1 The data costs not only money and time, but human lives, too. This means that not all medications that are approved and placed on the market for consumption are safe. The health and wellbeing of the general public relies on decision makers composed of physicians, regulators and researchers. However, the effectiveness of decision-making can be compromised if some decision-makers have access to only 50% of the results of clinical trials. In the 1980s a drug called Lorcainide was tested in clinical trials both in the United States and in Europe. Although the findings indicated that individuals who took the medication during the clinical trial were more likely to die than those who were not given the medication, these results were not published until more than 10 years after the drug had been authorized to go on the market. As a consequence, approximately, 100,000 people died from it. Another case involved Tamiflu, an anti-flu medicine. A government regulator in the United Kingdom recommended that the government should buy the drug, based on findings from clinical trials. The government bought it at about £473 million to prepare for a possible flu pandemic. But investigations and analyses of clinical trials about the same drug by an independent research network known as Cochrane found that it was ineffective.
As a response to this alarming scenario, the European Union has passed, which will go into effect in 2018 in which it will be required that all clinical trials conducted within the Union be registered on public databases even before they begin. This way, interested individuals will be able to follow the trials as they unfold. Within one year after the trial is completed, a summary of its findings will be required to be posted on the database. There are also organizations and movements that are springing up such as AllTrials composed of researchers, patients and other stakeholders demanding that policy makers and sponsors of clinical trials publish the findings before they are destroyed. In 2016, the United Nations released a report asserting that all clinical trials results should be published and available to whoever wants to have access to them. Being informed is being armed with power to make appropriate decisions from a position of authority. Ignorance in such cases is not bliss.
Lane, S. (2017). The hidden truth about our prescription medications. Science. IDEAS.TED.COM Accessed from http://ideas.ted.com/the-hidden-truth-about-our-prescription-medications/
The resurrection of Jesus is a pivotal event in human history. This momentous event has fascinated believers and skeptics throughout the ages from the time it took place. Actually, it is one of the most investigated and researched event in the history of humanity. Amazingly, from the time of its occurrence, skeptics have set their minds on investigating it for the purpose of repudiating its historicity. But most of them have ended up being believers themselves and have become its vehement advocates. Thousands of manuscripts and books have been written about it by both believers and non-believers. But it has withstood the test of time. It remains the central pillar of the Christian faith because it true, and truth has a way of defending itself.
Early one Sunday morning over 2 millennia ago, some women who had witnessed the gruesome crucifixion of the Lord came to the tomb where He had been buried hastily because of the approaching Sabbath hours. They came with spices to anoint His body only to find it empty and the stone that had covered its entrance rolled away. The angel told them Jesus had risen from the dead and was on His way to Galilee to meet with the disciples just as He had promised. Matthew says that a great earthquake took place as the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, stepped down on earth, rolled the stone away and sat on it. Those who had been stationed to guarded the tomb were so frightened of the radiance of this celestial being that they “became as dead men,” (Matt. 28:1-4). The most glorious event of all time became a frightful event for its enemies. It continues to be so to this day. Satan and his emissaries fear the resurrection of Jesus because it de-fanged them. It shifted the balance of power from their hands to the rightful Owner and His followers. The opponents of the resurrection of Jesus have used different tactics to try to debunk it to no avail. This is not surprising because the resurrection marks a new beginning for the entire human race. The resurrection is the foundation of Christianity and of everything in our lives. It is inseparable from the destiny of mankind. We are the reason for the resurrection. It was for us. No wonder the Christian faith continues to grow and has now become a universal faith.
The angel did not come to roll the stone in order to allow Jesus to exit the tomb. Jesus is God. He could have come out of the sealed tomb without struggling with a single stone. He walked through walls made of stone after His resurrection. He is Master of nature, always and forever. He walked on water. At one time He commanded the wind to stop its gale-force. The wind recognized His voice and obeyed.
The angel rolled the stone to usher us into a new life; a life Jesus has given us for eternity by his death and resurrection. The empty tomb beckons us to come see what God has done not only for His Son but for us as well. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, human history has been re-written by the blood of the eternal covenant. It glows triumphantly against the darkness of this world as a confirmation that the gates of paradise have swung open for us, this time for eternity. We have become restored as the family God forever, never to be separated from Him again. As long as the Lord’s tomb remains empty, it remains a testimony to the resurrection of believers. Death’s sting has been broken. The empty tomb gives us access to healing. Because of the resurrection every believer looks forward to an eternal weight of glory. We have become inseparable from Christ. We have inherited a new DNA (2 Cor. 5:17). Our shame, guilt, disillusionment, fears have found their antidote in this historical event.
The resurrection is not an Easter story only. It is a daily affirmation of the depths of God’s love and grace, and should be celebrated every day. Each morning we wake up, every night we retire to bed, every task we engage into, every breath we take, every prayer we offer, every glimmer of hope we experience, is made possible by this momentous event whose luster will never fade, ever. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we are indeed more than conquerors in Christ.
At the heels of the Human Genome Project came the National Institutes of Health Common Fund Human Microbiome Project aimed at encouraging and generating research resources for characterization of the human microbiota and the part they play in and on the bodies of both healthy and diseased individuals.
In a discipline called metagenomics, scientists are sequencing and analyzing the DNA of complex and uncultured microbial samples from different microbial communities. The human microbiome is a collection of microbes that inhabit the human body. Each human body is teeming with variant microbes belonging to a variety of species. They are so numerous that they outnumber the cells of the entire body by 10 to 1. This means that there are 10 microbes to one human cell. These microbes have about 100 times more genes than our genome!!! Your stomach and mine have each 100 billion bacteria for every one gram of their matter.1 The human body hosts all these microbes and many more, forming something of a microbial ecosystem. An assortment of microbes resides in the oral cavity, alimentary canal, nose, skin etc…
Scientists working with the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) are analyzing microbial genetic information in order to understand the role microbes play in etiology of disease. Each person’s microbiome is unique to them; as unique as their finger prints. Each individual can host different microbial communities on and in different sites of their body.
Scientists claim that each microbial community can be used to predict the body’s susceptibility to diseases, and other characteristics. For instance, by studying the microbiome of an individual, scientists can tell whether the person was breastfed as a child, and even their level of education. By sequencing and studying microbiomes from individuals with different diseases, they are able to establish associations between human microbiomes and disease. This is critical for identifying new diagnostic and treatment regimens.2 However, not all microbes are disease causing. Some microbes do a lot for us such as digesting food, and synthesizing vitamins.
Microbes from different sites of the body can also be predictive of other communities. This means that by examining microbes from a given site of the body, say, the mouth, we can tell what kind of community is in the person’s alimentary canal, too. This helps in the study of risk of diseases in people, and can lead to discovery of efficacious personalized therapies.
As for taking antibiotics, one has to be very careful as this can be similar to applying herbicides to the ecosystem. Sometimes, this can destabilize the system to our detriment. It can also become breeding ground for super-bugs.
Heather Kathryn Ross (2014). Is the Forest of Bacteria Inside You Your Most Precious Resource? Accessed from http://www.healthline.com/health/microbiome-discover-your-trillions-of-bacteria
Vincent B. Young, Robert A. Britton, & Thomas M. Schmidt (2008). The Human Microbiome and
Infectious Diseases: Beyond Koch. Accessed from Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume, Article ID 296873, doi:10.1155/2008/296873
Preventive health is a health strategy that is significantly cost effective and can be adopted by anyone. Prevention costs nothing, but the benefits are priceless. The etiology of cancer of any form is complex since there are numerous factors that can exacerbate its development including genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The article below is timely and to the point. Its guidelines have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer and where cancer has already developed, they have the potential to delay its progression.
Your diet is one such factor that you can tweak to help lessen your risk of developing cancer down the line. In fact, of the nearly 569,500 cancer deaths that occurred in 2010, it’s estimated that one-third were related to physical inactivity, poor nutrition, obesity or being overweight (also often diet related), and therefore could have been prevented.1
You’ve probably already heard the advice to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, or at least five servings a day, to help fight chronic illnesses like cancer. But, just as important as knowing which foods to eat to help prevent cancer is knowing which foods to avoid.
The Top Cancer-Causing Foods to Avoid
In order to use your diet as a strategic “weapon” against cancer, one of the easiest things you can do is make sure the following foods are not a part of your regular diet.
1. Processed Meats
You may love hot dogs, lunch meat, bacon and sausages, but these meats are among the worst of the worst for your health. When you eat processed meats, you’re almost assuredly consuming sodium nitrite (or sodium nitrate), which is added to processed and cured meats as a preservative, flavoring, color fixative and antimicrobial agent.
Unfortunately, nitrites can be converted into cancer-causing nitrosamines in your body, which may explain why numerous studies have linked processed meat consumption to cancer. For instance:
- People who eat a lot of processed meat may be 50 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who eat the least.2
- Increased consumption of processed meat is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.3
- Eating a lot of processed meat is linked to a 68 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer compared to eating only a small amount.4
- Red Meat
While some red meat can safely be included in your diet (for instance, grass-fed beef, which contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that may help to fight cancer),5 there is evidence that eating a lot of red meat can increase your cancer risk. One such study found that eating red meat daily for 10 years (in an amount equivalent to a quarter-pound hamburger) increased men’s risk of dying from cancer by 22 percent, and women’s by 20 percent.6
Separate research has also linked red meat consumption to an increased risk of breast,7 colon and prostate cancers.
3. Charred and Well-Done Meats
The way you cook your meat may actually make a big difference in the cancer risk it poses to you, with well-done and char-grilled meats among the worst offenders.
Many studies have shown a correlation between eating well-done meat cooked at high temperatures and an increased risk of cancer, and at least part of that risk is likely due to toxic cooking byproducts.
For instance, when amino acids and creatine (a chemical found in muscle meats, including beef, pork, chicken and fish) interact with high cooking temperatures, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed. At least 17 different HCAs have been identified that may increase cancer risk,8 including colon cancer, stomach cancer and others.
Further, a review of 30 epidemiological studies found that 80 percent showed a link between eating well-done meat and cancer.9 A separate study also found a link between charred meat and pancreatic cancer, with those eating the most very well done meat at a 70 percent increased risk compared to those who ate the least.10
4. French Fries and Potato Chips
Potato chips and other snack chips and French fries may contain high levels of acrylamide, another carcinogenic substance that forms when foods are heated at high temperatures, such as during baking or frying.
Animal studies have shown the substance increases the risk of several different types of cancer, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer states that acrylamide is a “probable human carcinogen.”
Generally speaking, acrylamide may be found in any food heated to a temperature above 248 degrees Fahrenheit, but potato chips and French fries have been found to contain the highest levels among foods tested.11
5. Sugar -Particularly Fructose
You may have heard the notion that sugar feeds cancer cells, and although all cells, even healthy cells, use glucose to grow, cancer cells use sugar more efficiently, and in greater quantities, than healthy cells. Research shows a strong connection between sugar consumption and cancer, so much so that you may want to limit or at least moderate your intake to reduce your cancer risk. For instance:
- Women who ate the most high-glycemic-load foods were close to three times more likely to develop colorectal cancer.13
- High blood sugar levels, caused by health conditions like diabetes along with eating too many sugary foods, have been linked to cancers of the pancreas, skin, uterus, urinary tract and breast. Further, women with the highest blood sugar levels were found to have a 26 percent higher risk of developing cancer than those with the lowest.14
- Women with the highest carbohydrate intake (62 percent of their diet or more) were more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those with a lower carb intake (52 percent or less).15
One recent study also found that fructose — found in soda and many other processed sweets — may feed cancer cells even more than glucose.16
The researchers “fed” both glucose and fructose to pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and found that although the cells thrived on glucose, they used fructose to divide and increase proliferation. The researchers even suggested that limiting the intake of refined fructose may disrupt cancer growth.17
Cancer is currently the second most common cause of death in the United States (heart disease is first), accounting for nearly one of every four deaths.18 While it may be impossible to eliminate your risk entirely, cutting back on, or eliminating, these cancer-causing foods from your diet is one simple way to stay healthy and help keep your cancer risk as low as possible.
Again, eliminating cancer-causing foods is only one way to use your diet to lower your cancer risk. Stay tuned for an upcoming newsletter on the best foods to eat more of to help keep cancer away.
- American Cancer Society Facts & Figures 2010
- Journal of the American Medical Association (2005); 293(2):172-82.
- Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2006), 98(15):1078-87.
- Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2005), 97(19):1458-65.
- Cornell University Department of Animal Science, The Bauman Research Group, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Studies.
- Archives of Internal Medicine (2009); 169 (6):562-571.
- Archives of Internal Medicine (2006); 166: 2253-2259.
- National Cancer Institute, “Heterocyclic Amines in Cooked Meats” September 15, 2004.
- Nutrition Reviews 2005 May; 63(5):158-65.
- ScienceDaily.com April 22, 2009.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. World Health Organization. Summary report of the 64th meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), February 8-17, 2005.
- National Cancer Institute “Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk.”
- Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2004); 96(3):229-233.
- Diabetes Care, Vol. 30, No. 3, March 2007: 561-567.
- Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention (2004); 13, 1283-1289.
- Cancer Research (2010); 70: 6368.
- Reuters.com August 2, 2010.
- American Cancer Society Facts & Figures 2010.
Article: Courtesy of The Cancer Nutrition Centers of America (CNCA) Health: http://www.cncahealth.com/explore/learn/cancer-awareness/cut-your-cancer-risk-avoid-these-top-five-cancer-causing-foods#.VLljMXtRSfI
Recently scientists’ interest has been directed toward the neurobiology of sleep and wakefulness, among other things. Although the two phenomena seem to be somewhat inter-related they still exhibit distinct differences in the neurochemical systems that are involved in their functions. Sleep-wake disorder is becoming one of the most commonly reported health disorders in the United States. Currently, the prevalence of sleep-wake disorders is between 50 to 70 million in the United States alone. At global level sleep disorders constitute an epidemic that affects 45% of the world population. It is no wonder that research is increasingly being directed toward the neurophysiology of sleep and wakefulness in order to try and understand the mechanisms that are involved in regulating these behaviors. The potential roles played by pathways, transmitters as well as receptors is being rigorous examined and analyzed by scientists. One of the components of the sleep-wake regulatory process is the influence exerted by the circadian rhythm. Scientists have discovered that the sleep structure of an individual is mediated by the interaction between circadian and the sleep-wake-dependent oscillatory processes. The circadian pacemaker is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus or the SCN which functions as the motor that drives the circadian program. As such it is known as the brain’s master clock. Any damage to the SCN, particularly damage in the form of lesions of the retinohypothalamic tract (RHT) of the SCN can significantly throw off the sleep pattern of the organism involved. A healthy circadian rhythm gives the organism the necessary flexibility to adapt to environmental fluctuations as well as to physiological cycles of environmental cues. This is what establishes the pattern of sleep-wakefulness that is optimum for the organism’s health needs. There have been claims that the disruption of the circadian rhythm may be linked to a myriad of diseases that include DNA damage responses and abnormal cellular metabolism because scientists posit that specific genes that control the circadian rhythm interact significantly with regulators of the cell cycle. Such types of physiological damages may require the affected individual to seek biomedical evaluation and treatment regimens.
Other times though, insomnia can be caused by spiritual problems. Believers should accept sleep as a gift from God. This is not to say one should live to sleep for the Bible itself cautions us against loving too much sleep because it leads to poverty (Proverbs 20:13). However, it also cautions against depriving ourselves of healthy sleep. There are individuals who feel guilty about sleeping because they believe it takes away the time they need to push themselves to achieve their goals. For such people this is what the Word of God says “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:2). A concerted of spiritual leaders and biomedical experts can provide the necessary care and restore a healthy sleep pattern.
To learn more about what the Bible says about your health, get yourself a copy of The Perfect Prescription by Reigh Simuzoshya from Amazon.com
Daniel Duffs conducted a cohesive research on the topic, “The Study of the Bible as an Effective Tool for Academic Success” in which he synthesized other researchers’ findings about the same topic. Clearly the Bible has emerged as one of the most puissant forces in the world. People have used it to further some twisted agendas. But others have also used it to counter those same twisted agendas. The bequest of the Judeo-Christian tenets continues to be the scaffold on which most moral decisions in the lives of millions of people across the world stand. Some social scientists insist that the salient teachings of the Bible continue to have a great influence on the behavioral choices of most people across cultures. It is also claimed that students who study the Bible have the highest GPA and the most improved behavior. In 2010 William Jeynes also conducted a meta-analysis of previous research studies with the aim of assessing the relationship between Bible literacy and behavioral and academic outcomes among individuals living in urban areas. He used three research questions to guide the study. The first research question about conducting an analysis that included determining effect sizes for the Bible literacy variable from all relevant studies that examined either behavioral or academic outcomes. The second research question was about examining and analyzing the relationship between Bible literacy and behavioral outcomes. The third research question was on the relationship between Bible literacy and academic performance. The number of participants in the studies that qualified for this meta-analysis was 50,000. Jeynes adopted a weighting procedure to calculate the average effect size across all the variables of comparison and then calculated the 95% confidence intervals.
The results of the effect size were as follows: The effect size for Bible literacy as related to research question number 1 (the relationship between Bible literacy and behavioral and academic outcomes) was .33. The effect size for research question number 2 (association between Bible literacy and behavioral outcomes achievement) was .32. Research question 3 analyzed the relationship between Bible literacy and academic performance. This effect size, .73, was greater than the one found in research questions 1 and 2. Overall, the results of this meta-analysis indicate that Bible literacy is associated with positive behavior as well as academic performance. The Bible is a mine of wisdom. Therefore, it should not surprise us that individuals who have significant Bible literacy should demonstrate remarkable behavioral outcomes. The believer knows that he/she is created for a purpose, and that God is the only One who can empower his/her brain to decode and accomplish that purpose. Although most scientists and indeed lay people liken the brain to a computer there is nothing that has been made by a human being that can match the intricacies of the human brain with its 200 billion cells that communicate with each other through trillions of synapses to guide the activities and responses of the entire human body! Marian Diamond, a brain researcher and professor of neuro-anatomy at the University of California at Berkley claims that “This mass of protoplasm has the capacity to think and classify information in the memory beyond what man can understand…No other organ can store more information for 100 years to the degree the brain can. With the intricacies and original creation of ideas that come from the human brain, it is unquestionably the most esoteric functional mass of Earth,” (Hopson, 1985, pp. 22). “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63). The Word of God revitalizes the intellect of the believer every time it is studied by imparting fresh life to it.
To learn more about the overall benefits of biblical principles, get a copy of the Perfect Prescription by Reigh Simuzoshya from amazon.com
Administrators and other authorities in academia continue to conduct research aimed at finding viable techniques that can be applied as tools to improve students’ academic performance. One research study’s findings revealed that there is a significant association between religiosity and academic performance. Although the Bible is fast being relegated to the background as an archaic book whose reliability is fast becoming questionable, it is impossible to study the history of modern civilization without encountering its principles in the documents the govern myriad polities of our time. Sometimes these principles have been etched into stone at the entrance of public buildings. Other times they have graced the units of our currency. Furthermore, these principles function as scaffolds of some of the world’s greatest legislative and judicial systems. For example, the influence of the Bible on the Constitution of the United States is unequivocal and this same Constitution has served as a model for 175 constitutions of other nations around the world! The Bible has even shaped some of the idioms incorporated in everyday verbal exchanges. Listen to what Charles McGrath, a former atheist editor of the New York Times had to say in 2011 about the historical place and influence of the Bible in the United States: “The influence of the King James Bible is so great that the list of idioms from it that have slipped into everyday speech, taking such deep root that we use them all the time without any awareness of their biblical origin, is practically endless: sour grapes; fatted calf; salt of the earth; drop in a bucket; skin of one’s teeth; apple of one’s eye; girded loins; feet of clay; whited sepulchers; filthy lucre; pearls before swine; fly in the ointment; fight the good fight; eat, drink and be merry.” A study of randomly selected students showed that students who had “the highest level of Bible literacy also had the highest GPA, the highest ranking in test and grade results, and the best school behavior…” (Jeynes, 2009). Conversely, students who had the lowest Bible literacy had significantly lower grades and worse behavioral traits than their counterparts. Is it the Bible that is archaic or maybe as William Lane Craig aptly puts it, it is just that there is a need to present biblical tenets in a manner that fosters “a cultural milieu in which the gospel can be heard as a viable option for thinking people”?
To read more about the Bible and its influence in everyday life get a copy of the book, The Perfect Prescription, from amazon.com