Later On

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Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

Adding Salt to Food Linked to Higher CVD Risk

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This seems like a dead simple idea: don’t add salt to your food and don’t eat salty food (highly processed food, cheese, bread, chips, restaurant food, fast food, pizzas, and so on). The first week, food will taste a little flat, but that can be overcome with (for example) squeezing a lemon over the food, Greek style, or using one of the salt-free herb-and-spice blends sold in the spice section of the supermarket. After a week, the food’s taste will bounce back as your taste buds become acclimated.

Still, what would cardiologists do if people simply followed good practices in diet and exercise? So to benefit the profession, most continue with the Standard American Diet (that’s what they call it “standard”) and avoid effort in all areas.

Sue Hughes writes in Medscape:

A lower frequency of adding salt to food is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly heart failure and ischemic heart disease, a new study has found.

The study analyzed the association of adding salt to food and incident cardiovascular disease risk in 176,570 adults participating in the UK Biobank database.

Results showed that a lower frequency of adding salt to foods was significantly associated with lower risk of total cardiovascular events after adjustment for covariates and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. 

Compared with the group who always added salt to food, those who usually added salt had a 19% reduction in risk of cardiovascular events; those who sometimes added salt had a 21% reduction; and those who rarely or never added salt had a 23% reduction.  


Participants who combined a DASH-style diet with the lowest frequency of adding salt had the lowest cardiovascular risk.


“Our results indicate an additive role of lower salt preference and a healthier diet in cardiovascular disease prevention,” the researchers, led by Hao Ma, MD, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, conclude.

“Adding salt to foods (usually at the table) is a common behavior in the diet of some Western countries and is modifiable through health education,” they note. “Our findings also indicate that behavioral interventions to reduce adding salt to foods may improve cardiovascular health, even in those with a DASH-style diet.”

The study is published in the December 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiologyavailable online on November 28.

The authors explain that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

1 December 2022 at 10:22 am

Fermented foods and fibre may lower stress levels – new study

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John Cryan, Vice President for Research & Innovation, University College Cork, writes in The Conversation:

When it comes to dealing with stress, we’re often told the best things we can do are exercise, make time for our favourite activities or try meditation or mindfulness.

But the kinds of foods we eat may also be an effective way of dealing with stress, according to research published by me and other members of APC Microbiome Ireland. Our latest study has shown that eating more fermented foods and fibre daily for just four weeks had a significant effect on lowering perceived stress levels.

Over the last decade, a growing body of research has shown that diet can have a huge impact on our mental health. In fact, a healthy diet may even reduce the risk of many common mental illnesses.

The mechanisms underpinning the effect of diet on mental health are still not fully understood. But one explanation for this link could be via the relationship between our brain and our microbiome (the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut). Known as the gut-brain axis, this allows the brain and gut to be in constant communication with each other, allowing essential body functions such as digestion and appetite to happen. It also means that the emotional and cognitive centres in our brain are closely connected to our gut.

While previous research has shown stress and behaviour are also linked to our microbiome, it has been unclear until now whether changing diet (and therefore our microbiome) could have a distinct effect on stress levels.

This is what our study set out to do. To test this, we recruited 45 healthy people with relatively low-fibre diets, aged 18–59 years. More than half were women. The participants were split into two groups and randomly assigned a diet to follow for the four-week duration of the study. . .

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Written by Leisureguy

30 November 2022 at 10:22 am

Highly Processed Foods ‘as Addictive’ as Tobacco

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Highly processed foods are detrimental to health, as has been demonstrated — but they are also highly addictive, which means they are lucrative: repeat customers are guaranteed. So it comes down to whether the economic structure of the society responds to health or to money. In the US, certainly, the driving motive of any company is purely profit, so for a corporation the choice is simple.

Becky McCall writes in Medscape:

Highly processed foods meet the same criteria as tobacco for addiction, and labeling them as such might benefit public health, according to a new US study that proposes a set of criteria to assess the addictive potential of some foods.

The research suggests that healthcare professionals are taking steps towards framing food addiction as a clinical entity in its own right; it currently lacks validated treatment protocols and recognition as a clinical diagnosis.

Meanwhile, other data, reported by researchers last week at the Diabetes Professional Care (DPC) 2022 conference in London, UK, also add support to the clinical recognition of food addiction.

Clinical psychologist Jen Unwin, PhD, from Southport, UK, showed that a 3-month online program of low carbohydrate diet together with psychoeducational support significantly reduced food addiction symptoms among a varied group of individuals, not all of whom were overweight or had obesity.

Unwin said her new data represent the first widescale clinical audit of its kind, other than a prior report of three patients with food addiction who were successfully treated with a ketogenic diet.

“Food addiction explains so much of what we see in clinical practice, where intelligent people understand what we tell them about the physiology associated with a low-carb diet, and they follow it for a while, but then they relapse,” said Unwin, explaining the difficulties faced by around 20% of her patients who are considered to have food addiction.

Meanwhile, the authors of the US study, led by Ashley N. Gearhardt, PhD, a psychologist from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, write that the ability of highly processed foods (HPFs) “to rapidly . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

30 November 2022 at 6:27 am

Even mild Covid is linked to brain damage, scans show

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Wear N95 masks when in public indoor spaces. If not, Benjamin Ryan of NBC News explains what can happen:

During at least the first few months following a coronavirus infection, even mild cases of Covid-19 are associated with subtle tissue damage and accelerated losses in brain regions tied to the sense of smell, as well as a small loss in the brain’s overall volume, a new British study finds. Having mild Covid is also associated with a cognitive function deficit.

These are the striking findings of the new study led by University of Oxford investigators, one that leading Covid researchers consider particularly important because it is the first study of the disease’s potential impact on the brain that is based on brain scans taken both before and after participants contracted the coronavirus.

“This study design overcomes some of the major limitations of most brain-related studies of Covid-19 to date, which rely on analysis and interpretation at a single time point in people who had Covid-19,” said Dr. Serena S. Spudich, a neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research.

The research, which was published Monday in Nature, also stands out because  . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 4:12 pm

Why it’s smart to wear a mask

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Full disclosure: I wear an N95 mask whenever I am in a public indoor space (e.g., grocery shopping). 

Chart showing how long it takes to get infected with covid when you and someone infected are using different mitigation levels. Example: if 1 of two persons is infected, if either one is wearing an N95 mask, the uninfected person is safe for 2.5 hours. If both are wearing N95 masks, the uninfected person is safe for 25 hours.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 11:03 am

Using guns to kill debate — and democracy

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The use of openly displayed firearms to intimidate and silence is particularly a problem in the US, which has more guns in civilian hands than it has civilians. Mike McIntire reports in the NY Times (no paywall):

Across the country, openly carrying a gun in public is no longer just an exercise in self-defense — increasingly it is a soapbox for elevating one’s voice and, just as often, quieting someone else’s.

This month, armed protesters appeared outside an elections center in Phoenix, hurling baseless accusations that the election for governor had been stolen from the Republican, Kari Lake. In October, Proud Boys with guns joined a rally in Nashville where conservative lawmakers spoke against transgender medical treatments for minors.

In June, armed demonstrations around the United States amounted to nearly one a day. A group led by a former Republican state legislator protested a gay pride event in a public park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Men with guns interrupted a Juneteenth festival in Franklin, Tenn., handing out fliers claiming that white people were being replaced. Among the others were rallies in support of gun rights in Delaware and abortion rights in Georgia.

Whether at the local library, in a park or on Main Street, most of these incidents happen where Republicans have fought to expand the ability to bear arms in public, a movement bolstered by a recent Supreme Court ruling on the right to carry firearms outside the home. The loosening of limits has occurred as violent political rhetoric rises and the police in some places fear bloodshed among an armed populace on a hair trigger.

But the effects of more guns in public spaces have not been evenly felt. A partisan divide — with Democrats largely eschewing firearms and Republicans embracing them — has warped civic discourse. Deploying the Second Amendment in service of the First has become a way to buttress a policy argument, a sort of silent, if intimidating, bullhorn.

“It’s disappointing we’ve gotten to that state in our country,” said Kevin Thompson, executive director of the Museum of Science & History in Memphis, Tenn., where armed protesters led to the cancellation of an L.G.B.T.Q. event in September. “What I saw was a group of folks who did not want to engage in any sort of dialogue and just wanted to impose their belief.”

A New York Times analysis of more than 700 armed demonstrations found that, at about 77 percent of them, people openly carrying guns represented right-wing views, such as opposition to L.G.B.T.Q. rights and abortion access, hostility to racial justice rallies and support for former President Donald J. Trump’s lie of winning the 2020 election.

The records, from January 2020 to last week, were compiled by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a nonprofit that tracks political violence around the world. The Times also interviewed witnesses to other, smaller-scale incidents not captured by the data, including encounters with armed people at indoor public meetings.

Anti-government militias and right-wing culture warriors like the Proud Boys attended a majority of the protests, the data showed. Violence broke out at more than 100 events and often involved fisticuffs with opposing groups, including left-wing activists such as antifa.

Republican politicians are generally more tolerant of openly armed supporters than are Democrats, who are more likely to be on the opposing side of people with guns, the records suggest. In July, for example, men wearing sidearms confronted Beto O’Rourke, then the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, at a campaign stop in Whitesboro and warned that he was “not welcome in this town.”

Republican officials or candidates appeared at 32 protests where they were on the same side as those with guns.  . .

Continue reading. (no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2022 at 4:01 pm

From lab to jab: Development time for vaccines

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Another chart from Conrad Hackett. (I’m following him on Mastodon:

Article and source of chart

Written by Leisureguy

25 November 2022 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Medical, Science

Per country: Health spending vs. longevity

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Conrad Hackett posts on Mastodon:

Here’s a scatterplot of health spending per capita (x axis) and life expectancy (y axis) in OECD countries. The lines represent averages.

One country sits alone in the bottom right quadrant due to its much higher health spending and below-average life expectancy.


Scatterplot showing averages by country of health spending vs. longevity. The trend is strongly that greater spending means greater longevity, with the US as outlier: great spending, low longevity.

Written by Leisureguy

25 November 2022 at 5:06 pm

How not to say the wrong thing

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Susan Silk and Barry Goldman write in the LA Times (no paywall):

When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan’s colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn’t feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague’s response? “This isn’t just about you.”

“It’s not?” Susan wondered. “My breast cancer is not about me? It’s about you?”

The same theme came up again when our friend Katie had a brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for a long time and finally got out and into a step-down unit. She was no longer covered with tubes and lines and monitors, but she was still in rough shape. A friend came and saw her and then stepped into the hall with Katie’s husband, Pat. “I wasn’t prepared for this,” she told him. “I don’t know if I can handle it.”

This woman loves Katie, and she said what she did because the sight of Katie in this condition moved her so deeply. But it was the wrong thing to say. And it was wrong in the same way Susan’s colleague’s remark was wrong.

Susan has since developed a simple technique to help people avoid this mistake. It works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.
Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie’s aneurysm, that’s Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie’s aneurysm, that was Katie’s husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan’s patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can . . .

Continue reading. (no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

25 November 2022 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Daily life, Medical

The Spoon Theory to explain the experience of illness

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Christine Miserandino has a good analogy and explanation of what it’s like to suffer a chronic illness:

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

At that moment, the spoon theory was born. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

25 November 2022 at 9:56 am

Intriguing approach to treating depression

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Paul Fitzgerald, a psychiatrist and the head of the School of Medicine and Psychology at the Australian National University, writes in Psyche:

Rachel gets out of bed slowly, very slowly, still troubled by the oppressive weight of depression that she has been carrying for the past six months. This, despite the therapist she sees, and despite the antidepressant pills she has been taking, seemingly forever. However, her treatment today is different. Instead of taking a pill, she puts a cap on her head – a futuristic-looking device containing electrodes that both read her brainwaves and pass a gentle electrical current across her scalp. She boots up her iPad and enjoys the distraction of a game while receiving her treatment: electrical stimulation to her brain that is driven and refined by ongoing recording of her neural activity. At the end, she rates how she is feeling. This and other data from her session, and her previous treatments, is fed into an algorithm that continually refines her ongoing course of treatment.

This might sound far-fetched, but is far from it. Beyond recognising and addressing the importance of social interventions to ameliorate the external conditions that can contribute to mental health problems, the treatment of depression is currently evolving in unexpected ways. This is based on a shift away from thinking about depression as a disorder of ‘chemicals in the brain’ to an understanding that depression is underpinned by changes in electrical activity and communication between brain regions.

Brain areas talk to one another by firing in rhythm together, at specific frequencies, forming complex networks that underpin important brain functions. For example, nerve cells in frontal and parietal areas of the brain oscillate in rhythm together (usually between 4 and 8 times per second) while we are actively trying to remember something. There is increasing evidence that depression is associated with changes in several of these networks, particularly those that connect multiple brain regions at long distance. One knock-on consequence is the overactivity of some parts of the brain and the underactivity of others.

Unbeknown to most of the public, there’s a new therapy, now established in clinical practice, called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) that can address some of these brain-based changes seen in depression. In TMS, a figure-8-shaped coil held over the head generates a magnetic field that stimulates localised brain activity and the strength of connections between multiple brain regions. To treat depression, the TMS pulses are usually targeted to the front of the left side of the brain, a region that is consistently underactive in patients with depression. Although several decades of clinical trials have established the effectiveness and safety of TMS, especially for patients who have not responded to standard antidepressant medication, an ongoing challenge is that it is time-consuming and inconvenient. Patients must attend a clinical setting on a daily basis, five days per week, for up to 6 weeks.

For this reason, efforts are underway to develop alternative forms of brain-stimulation treatment that could be administered in a patient’s home. Of these, the research is most advanced for transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), a surprisingly simple process, the ideas behind which are not new. People have experimented with the use of electrical currents to change brain activity since Scribonius Largus, physician to the emperor Claudius, applied a type of electric ray to the brain during the time of the Roman Empire.

Unlike TMS, tDCS doesn’t directly stimulate the nerve cells of the brain, but subtly shifts the likelihood that they will fire in the future. A weak electrical current passes in one direction between two electrodes held in sponges placed on the scalp. This produces changes in brain activity beneath the electrodes and, when applied repeatedly to an appropriate area of the brain, such as left frontal regions, there is evidence from more than 10 clinical trials that it can help patients with depression. The development of tDCS in depression is at an earlier stage than TMS, but it is progressing rapidly, especially since its simplicity makes it viable as a widespread home-based therapy.

On that front, in recent years, interest has also grown in a related but distinct form of electrical stimulation – transcranial alternating-current stimulation (tACS), which differs from tDCS in that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 November 2022 at 2:51 pm

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) and Cognitive Decline

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Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2022 at 5:37 pm

An Elon insight

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I came across this exchange:

I genuinely wish I could see inside Musk’s head or at least get an explanation for how he was thinking his plans would work out.

Like it’s clear now he is fantastically out of touch with reality but I still really wanna know like, to what degree. Did he think people would accept his ultimatum? Did he genuinely think it would only take like 300 people to keep Twitter running?

In response to that query numberonecatwinner posted this:

I was an intern at SpaceX years ago, back it when it was a much smaller company — after Elon got hair plugs, but before his cult of personality was in full swing. I have some insight to offer here.

Back when I was at SpaceX, Elon was basically a child king. He was an important figurehead who provided the company with the money, power, and PR, but he didn’t have the knowledge or (frankly) maturity to handle day-to-day decision making and everyone knew that. He was surrounded by people whose job was, essentially, to manipulate him into making good decisions.

Managing Elon was a huge part of the company culture. Even I, as a lowly intern, would hear people talking about it openly in meetings. People knew how to present ideas in a way that would resonate with him, they knew how to creatively reinterpret (or ignore) his many insane demands, and they even knew how to “stage manage” parts of the physical office space so that it would appeal to Elon.

The funniest example of “stage management” I can remember is this dude on the IT security team. He had a script running in a terminal on one of his monitors that would output random garbage, Matrix-style, so that it always looked like he was doing Important Computer Things to anyone who walked by his desk. Second funniest was all the people I saw playing WoW at their desks after ~5pm, who did it in the office just to give the appearance that they were working late.

People were willing to do that at SpaceX because Elon was giving them the money (and hype) to get into outer space, a mission people cared deeply about. The company also grew with and around Elon. There were layers of management between individual employees and Elon, and those managers were experienced managers of Elon. Again, I cannot stress enough how much of the company culture was oriented around managing this one guy.

Twitter has neither of those things going for it. There is no company culture or internal structure around the problem of managing Elon Musk, and I think for the first time we’re seeing what happens when people actually take that man seriously and at face value. Worse, they’re doing this little experiment after this man has had decades of success at companies that dedicate significant resources to protecting themselves from him, and he’s too narcissistic to realize it.

This post is long so I’ll leave you with my favorite Elon story. One day at work, I got an all hands email telling me that it was Elon’s birthday and there was going to be a mandatory surprise party for him in the cafeteria. Presumably Elon also got this email, but whatever. We all marched down into the cafeteria, dimmed the lights, and waited. Elon was led out by his secretary (who he hadn’t fired yet) and made a big show of being fake surprised and touched that we were there. Then they wheeled out the cake.

OK, so, I want you to imagine the biggest penis cake you’ve ever seen. Like the king of novelty sex cakes. Only it’s frosted white, and the balls have been frosted to look like fire and smoke. This was Elon’s birthday “rocket” cake.

For as long as I live, I will never forget the look on everyone’s face — in that dark room of mostly-male engineers — when he made a wish and cut into the tip.

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2022 at 7:11 am

A Soil Fungus That Causes Lung Infections Is Spreading Across the U.S.

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I don’t have a garden, but if I did, after reading this article I would definitely wear a face mask when cultivating the soil.

Written by Leisureguy

22 November 2022 at 5:47 pm

Protect your dog from Thanksgiving dangers

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Written by Leisureguy

21 November 2022 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Medical

Source of the problem

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Written by Leisureguy

21 November 2022 at 4:48 pm

Risk of contracting Covid through inhalation vs. touching a contaminated surface

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The risk for Covid infection is 1000 times greater after exposure to airborne virus particles than contact with a contaminated surface. Here’s the study.

Yet stores offer hand sanitizer while customers and staff go unmasked.

It makes you wonder, eh? (And it makes me stay out of stores when I can and always wear a mask when I’m indoors in a public space.)

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 2:33 pm

Medical School Culinary Medicine Programs Grow Despite Limited Funding

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About time, one must say. Kelly Ragan writes in Medscape:

Farshad Fani Marvasti, MD, MPH, is part of a growing movement to fundamentally shift medical education to include training on how to cook healthy meals.

The way he sees it, the stakes couldn’t be higher. He believes doctors need to see food as medicine to be able to stem the tide of chronic disease.

About 6 in 10 adults in the United States live with chronic diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, costing $4.1 trillion in annual healthcare costs. Adult obesity rates are rising, as are obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroketype 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

To turn the tide, Marvasti created a culinary medicine program in 2020 in collaboration with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and local chefs.

Marvasti, who is board certified in family medicine, graduated from the University of Arizona, Phoenix, where he serves as the director of the medical school’s Culinary Medicine Program.

The program offers an elective course for third- and fourth-year medical students, which introduces the evidence-based field of culinary medicine. Marvasti’s goal is for the course to teach students how to use this science and the joy of cooking to improve long-term health outcomes for their patients.

As part of Marvasti’s program, students learn cooking fundamentals through chef demonstrations and hands-on practice — to teach students how food can be used to prevent and treat many chronic diseases.

One of the dishes students learn to make includes a quinoa salad made with cucumber, onion, bell peppers, corn, cherry tomatoes, beans, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Another recipe includes a healthier take on dessert: Dark chocolate mousse made with three large, ripe avocados, dark chocolate powder, three tablespoons of agave or maple syrup, coconut cream, nondairy milk, salt, and vanilla. Marvasti and his team are set to build out the existing program to develop additional resources for medically underserved and rural communities in Arizona, according to a statement from the university. These plans will be funded by a $750,000 grant from Novo Nordisk.

“We’re going to develop an open education curriculum to share, so . . .

Continue reading. There’s quite a bit more.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 12:55 pm

Highly processed foods can be considered addictive substances based on established scientific criteria

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Ashley N. Gearhardt and Alexandra G. DiFeliceantonio have an interesting study at Wiley Online Library:



There is growing evidence that an addictive-eating phenotype may exist. There is significant debate regarding whether highly processed foods (HPFs; foods with refined carbohydrates and/or added fats) are addictive. The lack of scientifically grounded criteria to evaluate the addictive nature of HPFs has hindered the resolution of this debate.


The most recent scientific debate regarding a substance’s addictive potential centered around tobacco. In 1988, the Surgeon General issued a report identifying tobacco products as addictive based on three primary scientific criteria: their ability to (1) cause highly controlled or compulsive use, (2) cause psychoactive (i.e. mood-altering) effects via their effect on the brain and (3) reinforce behavior. Scientific advances have now identified the ability of tobacco products to (4) trigger strong urges or craving as another important indicator of addictive potential. Here, we propose that these four criteria provide scientifically valid benchmarks that can be used to evaluate the addictiveness of HPFs. Then, we review the evidence regarding whether HPFs meet each criterion. Finally, we consider the implications of labeling HPFs as addictive.


Highly processed foods (HPFs) can meet the criteria to be labeled as addictive substances using the standards set for tobacco products. The addictive potential of HPFs may be a key factor contributing to the high public health costs associated with a food environment dominated by cheap, accessible and heavily marketed HPFs.


There is evidence that an eating phenotype exists that reflects the hallmarks of addiction (e.g. loss of control over intake, intense cravings, inability to cut down and continued use despite negative consequences) [1]. Based on meta-analyses, approximately 14% of adults and 12% of children exhibit this addictive-like eating phenotype, commonly called food addiction [23]. Although some have questioned the utility of applying an addiction framework to food intake [47], food addiction is associated with mechanisms implicated in other addictive disorders (e.g. impulsivity, reward dysfunction and emotion dysregulation), as well as a lower quality of life and a poorer response to weight-loss treatments [189]. Controversy exists surrounding the role of the food in triggering this addictive-like eating phenotype. Some propose that it is the act of eating regardless of the type of food consumed that is addicting [10], or that while the type of food is important, it is impossible to classify food as addictive due to the complex nature of foods and the lack of a single addictive agent/compound [45]. Food is necessary for survival and a key evolutionary pressure that has shaped reward and motivation systems across species [1112]. Addictive drugs that deliver high doses of reinforcing substances through rapid delivery systems tap into these systems, potently activate them and can lead to maladaptive patterns of behavior [13]. Highly processed foods (HPFs) are evolutionarily novel products made possible through modern food technology that provide refined and rapidly delivered primary reinforcers, specifically calories in the form of refined carbohydrates and added fats [11416]. The debate that remains concerns whether a refined and optimized delivery system of calories can produce comparative effects to a refined and optimized delivery system of addictive drugs.

The ability to resolve the debate about whether certain foods are addictive is hindered by a lack of identified scientifically based criteria with which to evaluate the addictiveness of certain foods. In contrast, there is a general consensus around the criteria for identifying whether someone is exhibiting an addictive phenotype [17], which has allowed for clearer criteria to guide the investigation into whether certain individuals exhibit addictive-like eating [23]. There is no comparable standard for evaluating if a substance is addictive, which contributes to the conflicting explanations for why certain foods are (or are not) addictive [18].

To allow for progress on this debate, we propose a set of scientifically based criteria for the evaluation of whether certain foods are addictive. Specifically,  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 12:35 pm

The Psychopharmacology Of The FTX Crash

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Astral Codex Ten has an interesting post:

1: Was SBF Using A Medication That Can Cause Overspending And Compulsive Gambling As A Side Effect?

Probably yes, and maybe it could have had some small effect, but probably not as much as the people discussing it on Twitter think.

Milky Eggs reports a claim by an employee that Sam was on “a patch for designer stimulants that mainlined them into his blood to give him a constant buzz at all times”. This could be a hyperbolic description of Emsam, a patch form of the antidepressant/antiparkinsonian agent selegiline. The detectives at the @AutismCapital Twitter account found a photo of SBF, zoomed in on a scrap of paper on his desk, and recognized it as an Emsam wrapper.

Emsam is a brand of selegiline, a medication used since the 1960s to treat Parkinson’s disease. Selegiline is a MAOB inhibitor2. MAOB is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine3. If you inhibit it, you get more dopamine. So in a very broad sense, selegiline gives you more dopamine.4

Dopamine does many things in many brain systems. Here’s an oversimplified chart: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 November 2022 at 8:47 pm

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