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In the coming years, a genetically engineered tomato may be your first line of defense against high blood pressure. Biotech company Sanatech Seed has developed and commercialized a tomato variety called the Sicilian Rouge High GABA and began taking orders from Japanese consumers on September 15.

The crop is engineered to produce higher levels of Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is naturally found in tomatoes and widely consumed as a supplement to help manage hypertension. Unlike many of the natural-health products available online...

Those delightful calories we swallow are broken down as we chew them up, further dissolved with acids in the stomach, which then releases them to our intestinal tract, where we absorb the nutrients and send the rest to our microbiome. The various taxonomic groups within the microbiome convert our leftovers into additional nutrients that we can absorb – the “payment” for their efforts is to eat the rest for themselves. New studies suggest that some of the microbiome charge more for their services than others. As a result, the composition of our microbiome can influence how readily we can lose weight. 

What constitutes obesity remains ill-defined. Characterizing the...

A lot of digital ink is being directed at the socioeconomic factors that impact our health. In fact, Kaiser Health News reports that lawyers are being added to primary care clinics to help sort out housing issues. But for all those words, we often overlook a vital member of any hospital care team, the social worker. 

“The social work craft is invisible on Chicago Med. It’s invisible on most television shows and most of our popular culture. When social workers are shown, they’re often depicted in cardboard ways: As naïve secular saints. Or as overworked, well-meaning, but incompetent bunglers. Or as malevolent bureaucrats who take children away.”

From the wonderful Incidental Economist, ...

Kombucha’s Origin Story

For many millennia, fermented foods have increased food security and safety by extending the shelf-life of foods well past the harvest season by inhibiting the growth of spoilage and harmful microbes. Kombucha, the product of fermentation of tea and sugar, originated in China around 220 BC. The beverage was called the “Divine Che” and noted for its detoxifying and energizing properties. Doctor Kombu brought it to Japan in 414 AD to cure the digestive ailments of the emperor. It was later introduced to Russia by traveling merchants and then moved, with them, Europe in the early 20th century. Its popularity waxed and waned throughout the century. It is now the fastest-growing ‘functional’ beverage and a trending low-alcoholic...

What is PFOA?

As discussed previously, PFOA is one chemical in a larger group, polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), characterized by containing linked chains of carbon and fluorine. These chemicals have been nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they persist in the body and environment.

PFOA first came to the public’s attention in 2001 after it was found in drinking water in Ohio and West Virginia in a DuPont facility used in the manufacture of Teflon. Next, even though PFOA was not actually in Teflon, came scary stories about the health effects of Teflon. PFOA is used in fire-fighting foams and several household products, such as stain- and water-repellant fabrics and cleaning products. 

PFOA have been found in groundwater...

After denying that the federal government could mandate COVID vaccines less than two months ago, the Biden Administration reversed course on Thursday. “President Joe Biden has announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans,” ABC reported, “in an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant.”

The president added, “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” arguing that the unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.” The proposal requires...

When we argue over genetically engineered crops and pesticides in the developed world, the outcome of the debate doesn't determine whether or not we go hungry. Restricting and banning the technologies farmers utilize can have very serious repercussions, but we've yet to experience many of these; most of us live within minutes of multiple grocery stores stocked full of almost any food we could want. We have so much to eat that even the poorest among us are battling obesity. [1]

This isn't the case in many countries around the world. Restricting farmer access to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, for example, can limit their production and cause serious food shortages as a result. Sri Lanka is living through this...

Just because we're still in the throes of a global COVID pandemic doesn't mean that other critical public health issues should be ignored. No sir, nothing gets by us. So, let's put aside delta for a while and focus on "dealt it," as in "he who smelt it..."

Before we get started ... who amongst us hasn't been at the dinner table during a time of gastrointestinal turmoil and been faced with the following decision regarding the expulsion of gas:

 

  1. Do I hold it in?

-or-

  1. Do I just let it rip and hope no one notices or the blame falls elsewhere?

There are both up-and downsides to each option. So it is only fitting that ACSH, a pro-science organization by any measure, examines these...

“Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store….” Michael Pollan

Researchers and policymakers have tried everything to “improve” our food choices, taxes on sugary beverages, price reductions or subsidies for fruits and vegetables, and now, product placement in markets. 

The study is a pilot, meaning it was designed to give researchers guidance on their research, not hard and fast statistical answers. It involved six UK supermarkets, over a year (pre-pandemic), in neighborhoods that were the most socio-economically deprived. (You have to love the English and their choice of words, we use lower socio-economic, their word...

 

 

Russia continues its climb out of the middle; it is a BRIC country (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and towards the economic top fueled by oil and wheat. It is supplying oil to Europe, but the price remains controlled by the cartel we call OPEC. Often, Russia acquiesces to the needs of other OPEC members, particularly Saudi Arabia that needed a price change to balance its budget. (Odd how everyone kowtows to Saudi Arabia)

It currently supplies about 20% of the world’s wheat, spread out to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It is a growing source of currency, both real and diplomatic, for Russia. And of course, the wheat and other grains can be used...