Health & Wellbeing

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How to Grow an Endless Supply of Ginger Indoors

By Meredith Skyer

Ginger is the perfect herb to grow indoors. It’s very low-maintenance, loves partial sunlight, and you can use parts of it at a time, leaving the rest in the soil to continue growing. Besides, it’s delicious! Really, what’s not to love about growing ginger inside?

A bit about ginger

Ginger takes 10 months to mature and it doesn’t tolerate frost. If you live in a place where it gets chilly in the winter, you’d be better off growing ginger in a pot indoors and bringing it outside in the summertime.

Ginger is one of those miraculous plants that grows well in partial to full shade, which makes it ideal for growing in your home, where most people don’t have full sun pouring on their windows all day long.

Little bits of the ginger root can be removed while it continues to grow. A little bit of ginger goes a long way, so these pieces can be used for cooking, brewing tea or for herbal remedies.

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Nanotechnology found in popular foods, despite repeated denials by regulator

Nanoparticles of silica found in Maggi's Roast Meat Gravy.

Popular lollies, sauces and dressings have been found to contain nanotechnology that the national food regulator has long denied is being widely used in Australia's food supply.

For many years, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has claimed there is "little evidence" of nanotechnology in food because no company had applied for approval. It has therefore not tested for nor regulated the use of nanoparticles.​

Frustrated at the inertia, environment group Friends of the Earth commissioned tests that found potentially harmful nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and silica in 14 popular products, including Mars' M&Ms, Woolworths white sauce and Praise salad dressing.

"FSANZ kept saying there's no evidence of it, we're not going to do any testing. But all 14 samples came back positive, indicating widespread use of nanoparticles in foods in Australia," said the group's emerging tech campaigner, Jeremy Tager.

"​Everybody would want to think food is tested and assured to be safe before it hits supermarket shelves. FSANZ is conducting a living experiment with people. It has inexcusably failed in its role as a regulator."

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Federal Court to EPA: No, You Can’t Approve This Pesticide That Kills Bees

On Thursday, a federal appeals court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency's approval of a pesticide called sulfoxaflor. Marketed by agrichemical giant Dow AgroSciences, sulfoxaflor belongs to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which have been implicated by a growing weight of evidence in the global crisis in bee health. In a blunt opinion, the court cited the "precariousness of bee populations" and "flawed and limited data" submitted by Dow on the pesticide's effects on beleaguered pollinating insects.

Before winning approval for sulfoxaflor back in 2013, the company hyped the product to investors, declaring that it "addresses [a] $2 billion market need currently unmet by biotech solutions," particularly for cotton and rice.

US beekeepers were less enthusiastic—a group of national beekeeping organizations, along with the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, quickly sued the EPA to withdraw its registration of sulfoxaflor, claiming that the EPA itself had found sulfoxaflor to be "highly toxic to honey bees, and other insect pollinators."

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Major health benefits of music uncovered

In the first large-scale review of 400 research papers in the neurochemistry of music, a team led by Prof. Daniel J. Levitin of McGill University’s Psychology Dept. has been able to show that playing and listening to music has clear benefits for both mental and physical health. In particular, music was found both to improve the body’s immune system function and to reduce levels of stress. Listening to music was also found to be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety prior to surgery.
 
“We’ve found compelling evidence that musical interventions can play a health care role in settings ranging from operating rooms to family clinics,” says Prof. Levitin. “But even more importantly, we were able to document the neurochemical mechanisms by which music has an effect in four domains: management of mood, stress, immunity and as an aid to social bonding.”

Indeed, the information gathered as part of this first large-scale review of the literature showed that music increased both immunoglobulin A, an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity of the mucous system, and natural killer cell counts (the cells that attack invading germs and bacteria). Levitin and his postgraduate research fellow, Dr. Mona Lisa Chanda, also found that listening to and playing music reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.

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Monsanto Kicked Out of Greece and Latvia: GM Bans Sweep Through Europe

First Scotland and Germany booted GMOs from their countries, citing fear of GMO crops contaminating their food supplies and concern over putting their food and beverage industries in jeopardy. Now, Greece and Latvia are telling Monsanto exactly what they can do with their genetically modified crops. The tide is turning. A tipping point just became evident through the actions of two additional European countries who have had enough of the Biotech strong arm.

Latvia and Greece have opted out of GMOs, as are Germany and Scotland, as part of the new allowances indicated in legislation that recently passed for EU countries.

The geographical opt-outs specifically target Monsanto’s MON810 GM Maize, which countries may choose to grow or refuse in the next several months. This is currently the only genetically modified crop allowed to be grown within the EU at present – but only when countries give specific permission.

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In Turkey, Sufi music is used to decrease patient stress

The intensive care unit of Istanbul Memorial Hospital looks like any modern hospital anywhere. But it definitely doesn’t sound like one.

Dr. Bingür Sönmez, a cardiac surgeon for more than 30 years, plays traditional Sufi songs on the ney flute for his patients.

"What we are doing in intensive care, we are playing Sufi music to our patients to calm down, to make them feel much better,” he said.

Sufism is a mystic branch of Islam whose traditional music is popular among Turks. Sönmez said five centuries ago when Europeans were burning people alive for having mental illnesses, healers in the Ottoman Empire had a different approach.

“In this country, in Ottoman Empire times, we used to treat psychiatric patients with music in hospitals, in local hospitals,” Sönmez said. “So what we are doing is the same.”

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There Might Be Fracking Wastewater on Your Organic Fruits and Veggies

Irrigation water appears to be a major loophole in the USDA's organic food safety program.

The US Department of Agriculture's organics standards, written 15 years ago, strictly ban petroleum-derived fertilizers commonly used in conventional agriculture. But the same rules do not prohibit farmers from irrigating their crops with petroleum-laced wastewater obtained from oil and gas wells—a practice that is increasingly common in drought-stricken Southern California.

As I reported last month, oil companies last year supplied half the water that went to the 45,000 acres of farmland in Kern County's Cawelo Water District, farmland that is owned, in part, by Sunview, a company that sells certified organic raisins and grapes. Food watchdog groups are concerned that the state hasn't required oil companies to disclose all the chemicals they use in oil drilling and fracking operations, much less set safety limits for all those chemicals in irrigation water.

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Roundup Damages Earthworms and Soil Biota, Contributes to Nutrient Pollution

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2015) A study published in Scientific Reports has found that glyphosate, the controversial and toxic active ingredient in Roundup, reduces activity and reproduction in two species of earthworms and increases soil nutrient concentrations to dangerous levels. Earthworms are excellent indicators of soil health, and provide vitally important ecosystem services by aerating the soil, cycling nutrients, and increasing soil fertility and microbial activity. The findings are especially alarming because this herbicide has been used globally for decades, and its use has grown exponentially. Earlier this spring, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as Group 2a “probable” human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in laboratory animals.

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New Study: Pesticides a “Major Cause” of Infertility, Male Erectile Dysfunction

And this isn't the only study coming to these conclusions

Male fertility is declining, and for years researchers have been trying to figure out why. The numbers may seem shocking, but between 60-80 million couples around the world are having a difficult time conceiving, and there is a likely culprit, especially considering evidence arising from the latest study published at Science Direct.

Titled, “Potential pathways of pesticide action on erectile function – A contributory factor in male infertility,” the study shows that along with heavy metals, radioactivity, and poisonous fumes of organic chemicals, pesticides are largely contributing to erectile dysfunction and the downfall of male fertility. Of course there are numerous “psychological, physiological, pathological, social, environmental, and nutritional factors (plus others), at play.

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Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets

No wonder people are skeptical about science. You can forget about any objectivity when "science" is used as a propaganda tool...

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. To help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.

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