Health campaigners have uncovered the full extent of Coca-Cola's dirty tricks campaign to deflect concerns about its products contributing to the obesity epidemic.
It created and entirely funded an 'independent and scientific' group, the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), which targeted key people with its message that obesity was the result of a lack of exercise or 'energy balance'.
It funded scientists and academics to head up the organisation, including Simon Singh's Sense About Science, which was handed $25,000. In return, they would endeavour to change the public debate about obesity and deflect attention away from its sugary drinks.
The US organisation, Right To Know, has discovered that Coca-Cola targeted policy-makers, healthcare professionals, health journalists and bloggers in a cynical attempt to protect profits. It also created a website and social media platforms to spread the message and looked to establish partnerships with global groups that might be sympathetic to the 'energy balance' idea, such as the American Society for Nutrition.
GEBN was portrayed as 'a credible honest broker' although in private communications Coca-Cola described it as "a weapon" to change the conversation and adopt tactics that would change policy and improve profits. The scientists who were recruited played their part, and one went on record to state there was "no compelling evidence" that fast food and sugary drinks contributed to obesity when the very reverse was true.
GEBN was closed down in 2015, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine handed back a $1m grant from Coca-Cola to help set up the organisation. It is not known whether Sense About Science returned its pay-out.
Shortly before GEBN was disbanded, the Harvard school of public health had accused it and its supporters of spreading "scientific nonsense".
Right To Know likened the creation of GEBN to the tobacco industry's Merchants of Doubt campaign, which questioned the idea that second-hand smoke could contribute to disease.
Are you highly sensitive to your surroundings? Is someone you know easily affected by physical or social ambience? High sensitivity to the environment can be defined as acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to one’s external (environmental, social) stimuli.
A friend of mine once told me how she was highly sensitive to bright light, loud sounds, crowded places, and even eye-contact in social situations. These challenges not only affected her day-to-day activities but negatively impacted her love life with her romantic partner.
1. Feels uncomfortable when exposed to bright lights, loud sounds, or certain strong scents.
2. Startles easily by sudden noises, fast traffic, or other unpleasant surprises.
3. Feels uncomfortable in large public crowds, in a room full of people talking, or with too many things occurring simultaneously.
4. Often feels awkward in group situations (especially with casual acquaintances or relative strangers). Feels uneasy/not being able to be oneself.
5. Often feels upset when watching or reading negative news in the media. Dislikes “shock” entertainment (i.e. intensely scary or violent shows).
6. Often feels unhappy when following people’s posts on social media.
7. Often feels anger or resentment about situations in life or in a society which seems unjust, aggravating or simply annoying.
8. Frequently feels physical symptoms (i.e. stress, headache, or fatigue) when exposed to unpleasant environmental stimuli.
9. Frequently feels emotional symptoms (i.e. discomfort, apprehension, anxiousness, or avoidance) when exposed to unpleasant environmental stimuli.
10. Feels self-conscious in romantically intimate situations. Excessively worry about partner’s approval. Unreasonably afraid of being judged or rejected by a romantic partner.
Again, while some highly sensitive individuals may be acutely affected by just one or two of the traits above, others may be over-stimulated by more on the list.
For many highly sensitive people, the key to managing oversensitivity is to utilize emotional immunity and sensory immunity strategies (see references below), to smartly calm and alleviate over-stimulation. For those who live or work with highly sensitive individuals, effective communication skills are a must to foster positive and constructive relationships.
South Americans have used maca root for years to boost fertility and sex drive. Now, research
has confirmed these benefits and discovered many more.
This healthy root is usually available in powder form. Even though it is considered safe, you shouldn’t consume large amounts. Start with one teaspoon daily. And as time goes by, increase your intake to 2-3 teaspoons a day. Add it to smoothies, coffee or take it in capsule form.
Here is how maca root may improve your health.
1. Maca may increase libido
People of all genders can benefit from this herb. Research shows that maca can increase sexual desire in adults.
But don’t expect to see instant results. Studies show that this root increases libido after consuming it regularly for at least six weeks.
2. Maca may enhance your mood
People who struggle with depression and low energy can benefit from maca root. One study found that postmenopausal women experienced less anxiety and more energy after taking maca root.
It’s believed that the flavonoids in maca may be responsible for improving mood.
3. Maca may increase fertility in men
Research shows that maca root can increase fertility in men. It was shown to increase sperm quality and quantity in both fertile and infertile men.
If you consume maca root for at least four months, your sperm count may increase. Maca is also said to boost testosterone levels.
4. Maca may reduce menopause symptoms
As you may know, menopause comes with a lot of hormonal changes, which cause sleep problems, vaginal dryness, slow metabolism and irregular periods.
Well, research shows that maca root can reduce some of these symptoms. This studyfound that maca reduced night sweats and sleep problems in menopausal women.
5. Maca may protect your skin
Exposing your skin to the sun may cause damage and increase risk of skin cancer. Well, evidence shows that applying maca powder on your skin may protect it from UV radiation.
Note that maca only protects your skin when used topically, not when eaten. This benefit is attributed to the high amounts of polyphenol antioxidants found in the plant.
6. Maca may improve your memory
Animal studies show that maca can help improve brain function. I may note that black maca has been found to be most beneficial.
7. Maca may increase bone density
As you may know, bone loss increases the risk of osteoporosis. So it’s important to maintain strong and healthy bones as we age.
This study found that maca can increase bone density and consequently lower risk of osteoporosis in menopausal women.
You may want to add maca to your diet, especially if you have a family history of osteoporosis.
As WDDTY has been pointing out for years, cholesterol becomes more important as we age—and a new study underlines the point by noting that elderly people who have high cholesterol levels are also the least likely to suffer from dementia and mental decline.
Those whose cholesterol levels had increased since middle-age were, on average, 32 percent less likely to suffer from dementia, Alzheimer's and memory loss, say researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine, who studied 1,897 people aged between 75 and 94 years.
The correlation between cholesterol levels and mental ability became most marked when the person reached the age of 85, and it continued to have a protective effect for a further nine years, the oldest age the study tracked.
Not surprisingly, those with the highest cholesterol levels weren't taking statin drugs, which lowers levels, the researchers noted.
The researchers said they were "perplexed" by the paradox—except there is no paradox. LDL cholesterol—the supposedly 'bad' type—protects the brain as we age, and the rising use of statins can, in part, explain the increase in rates of dementia and Alzheimer's.
The PSA screening test for prostate cancer isn't fit for purpose. It isn't saving lives, and it's even missing cancers that are potentially lethal, a major new study has concluded.
The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is a simple blood test that men over the age of 50 are invited to have—but plans to make it a routine test for all over-50s will probably be shelved following the damning review from the University of Bristol, funded by Cancer Research.
Of the men who developed prostate cancer during the study, those whose cancer was detected by PSA were no more likely to be alive 10 years later than those who didn't have the test, the researchers discovered. The number of men diagnosed in either group was roughly the same, as was the 10-year survival rate.
The researchers tracked 189,386 men who had one PSA screening and compared their progress with 219,439 men who hadn't been screened but had a simple medical examination.
But it wasn't always picking up aggressive cancers that might be lethal, and sometimes it was 'seeing' cancers that weren't there—known as false-positives—or being unable to distinguish between aggressive cancers and those that were low risk and would not threaten the person's life. Nonetheless, the results still caused anxiety and even unnecessary treatment.
Lead researcher Prof Richard Martin said: "The results highlight the multitude of issues the PSA test raises, causing unnecessary anxiety and treatment by diagnosing prostate cancer in men who would never have been affected by it and failing to detect dangerous prostate cancers."