CDC claims flu shots reduce deaths in the elderly; so why have mortality rates substantially increased along with increases in vaccine uptake?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged six months and up, including pregnant women, get an annual influenza vaccine. The two fundamental assumptions underlying the CDC's policy are that vaccination reduces transmission of the virus and reduces the risk of potentially deadly complications. Yet multiple reviews of the scientific literature have concluded that there is no good scientific evidence to support the CDC's claims. Notwithstanding the science, to increase demand for the pharmaceutical companies' influenza vaccine products, the CDC makes use of fear marketing, asserting as fact that tens of thousands of people die each year from the flu, even though the CDC's numbers are actually estimates that are controversial because they are based on dubious assumptions that appear to result in a great overestimation of the negative impact of influenza on societal health....

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Regular exercise may keep your body 30 years ‘younger’

The muscles of older men and women who have exercised for decades are indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds. The muscles of older men and women who have exercised for decades are indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds, according to an uplifting new study of a group of active septuagenarians. These men and women also had much higher aerobic capacities than most people their age, the study showed, making them biologically about 30 years younger than their chronological ages, the study's authors concluded. ...

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Happy hormones: Goat yoga – the greatest of all time or a passing fad?

We have had anti-gravity yoga, laughter yoga and doga. Now goats are getting in on the action, too. The main difference between yoga and goat yoga: while you are holding your best downward dog, a goat might stand on your back. It is a growing trend that started in Oregon in the US, and has been embraced by celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian. Donna McCheyne, who has been teaching goat yoga classes on a farm in Devon for the past two years, believes the appeal lies in the calming effects the animals have on participants and the laughter their antics inspire. "We connect with the animals. It helps to release any cortisol that's in the body. It also increases your happy hormones," McCheyne says. Carolyn Cowan, a yoga instructor from London, says: "Having to work harder with a creature moving...

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FLASHBACK: Key to longevity, according to the third oldest Icelander: no health foods, vegetables or fruit

Various different miracle diets have been promoted as the key to a long and healthy life, but none of these hold any appeal to one of Iceland's oldest persons. Guðrún Straumfjörð, who celebrates her 105th birthday today, claims that the key to longevity is to stay clear of all health foods and shun fruits and vegetables. Guðrún is the third oldest Icelander alive. ...

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Electrical stimulation of the brain can ‘significantly’ improve mood, depression

New research shows that deep brain stimulation can tackle treatment-resistant depression. Stimulating a brain area called the orbitofrontal cortex led to "significant" improvements in mood for people with moderate to severe depression. Major depressive disorder affects over 16 million adults per year in the United States and is the "leading cause of disability worldwide." A significant proportion of people who are living with major depression do not get any relief from existing treatments. In fact, up to 30 percent of those affected by depression have an intractable form of the condition. Recently, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as a potential therapy that may succeed where other treatments have failed. In DBS, specialists surgically implant stimulating electrodes in the brain to send electrical currents to targeted areas. ...

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SOTT FOCUS: The Health & Wellness Show: Chronic pain: Is it all in your head?

Do you have low back pain? Do your joints ache? Do you experience the persistent pins and needles feeling of neuropathy? Or maybe you have fibromyalgia and hurt all over? If you do, you're one of the 39 million Americans who suffer from persistent pain. Being on the pain train is bad enough without the added insult of being told that it's 'all in your head'. But what if it is -- at least partly? There are some types of pain that are obviously linked to an actual physical insult and other types that cannot be traced to an easily identifiable medical condition. Research is now showing us that some pain really is in the brain. Join us for this episode of The Health and Wellness Show where we'll discuss different types of pain and their co-factors, treatment modalities, the...

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How does our diet affect circadian rhythms?

Over the past hundreds-to-thousands of years, peoples around the world have thrived on a wide variety of diets. Food has changed a lot seasonally, geographically, etc. What hasn't changed? The 24-hour light/dark cycle to which our circadian rhythms are constantly entrained. Circadian "Phase" Shifts In general, your circadian phase is based on the 24 hour day, roughly 12 hours in the light, 12 hours in the dark (varies seasonally and geographically). Many hormonal and biochemical effects are influenced by this. Light, darkness, and food are what, in part, determines your circadian phase. ...

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Immune system-boosting nutrients we’re in more need of during fall and winter

During the darker and colder months of fall and winter, it is tempting to hunker down in our warm homes with big blankets and comfort food. Who doesn't want to cozy up with a big cup of hot tea, comfy slippers, and a good book? Hibernating works for bears, bees, and bats, but unfortunately, is not ideal for humans. We require sunlight, year-round physical activity, and a steady supply of seasonal nutrients. Fall and winter bring with them many joys (no more mosquitoes! the holidays are coming!), but they also bring with them conditions that make staying healthy a bit trickier. For many of us, the shorter, colder days of fall and winter mean less sunlight exposure, less exercise, and less access to fresh produce. We tend to get sick more often during fall and winter, but there are things...

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Cancer treatments linked to cognitive decline and significant DNA damage

Cancer treatments can lead to declines in cognitive function a few later, research suggests. A study published in the journal Cancer looked at a cohort of 94 women who had undergone radiation treatments and chemotherapy for breast cancer between three and six years earlier, and found significant damage to their DNA, including to the repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromosome, known as telomeres. In one sense, this finding was not surprising. Standard cancer treatments work by damaging the DNA of tumour cells, and collateral damage to normal cells is often unavoidable. Reduced telomere activity and loss of DNA vigour are also markers of biological ageing. ...

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All in your head? Fibromyalgia linked to extensive brain inflammation

Fibromyalgia, characterized by chronic, widespread pain is an often-debilitating condition that primarily affects women. While as many as 10 million Americans have fibromyalgia, its cause remains a mystery. Brain scans of fibromyalgia patients have offered hard evidence that the pain they experience is indeed real - mainly because their threshold for tolerating pain impulses is substantially lower than that of most individuals. But the mechanism causing this lowered pain threshold is still unknown. Some experts, such as Dr. Frederick Wolfe, the director of the National Databank for Rheumatic Diseases and the lead author of the 1990 paper that first defined fibromyalgia's diagnostic guidelines, believe fibromyalgia is mainly a physical response to mental and emotional stress. ...

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