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Major class of fracking chemicals no more toxic than common household substances

from Colorado.edu

The “surfactant” chemicals found in samples of fracking fluid collected in five states were no more toxic than substances commonly found in homes, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Fracking fluid is largely comprised of water and sand, but oil and gas companies also add a variety of other chemicals, including anti-bacterial agents, corrosion inhibitors and surfactants. Surfactants reduce the surface tension between water and oil, allowing for more oil to be extracted from porous rock underground.

In a new study published in the journal Analytical Chemistry, the research team identified the surfactants found in fracking fluid samples from Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas. The results showed that the chemicals found in the fluid samples were also commonly found in everyday products, from toothpaste to laxatives to detergent to ice cream.

“This is the first published paper that identifies some of the organic fracking chemicals going down the well that companies use,” said Michael Thurman, lead author of the paper and a co-founder of the Laboratory for Environmental Mass Spectrometry in CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. “We found chemicals in the samples we were running that most of us are putting down our drains at home.”

Imma Ferrer, chief scientist at the mass spectrometry laboratory and co-author of the paper said, “Our unique instrumentation with accurate mass and intimate knowledge of ion chemistry was used to identify these chemicals.”  The mass spectrometry laboratory is sponsored by Agilent Technologies, Inc., which provides state-of-the art instrumentation and support.

The fluid samples analyzed for the study were provided through partnerships with Colorado State University and colleagues at CU-Boulder.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a technique used to increase the amount of oil and gas that can be extracted from the ground by forcing fluid down the well. Fracking has allowed for an explosion of oil and gas operations across the country. In the U.S. the number of natural gas wells has increased by 200,000 in the last two decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Among the concerns raised by the fracking boom is that the chemicals used in the fracking fluid might contaminate ground and surface water supplies. But determining the risk of contamination—or proving that any contamination has occurred in the past—has been difficult because oil and gas companies have been reluctant to share exactly what’s in their proprietary fluid mixtures, citing stiff competition within the industry.

Recent state and federal regulations require companies to disclose what is being used in their fracking fluids, but the resulting lists typically use broad chemical categories to describe the actual ingredients.

The results of the new study are important not only because they give a picture of the possible toxicity of the fluid but because a detailed list of the ingredients can be used as a “fingerprint” to trace whether suspected contamination of water supplies actually originated from a fracking operation.

The authors caution that their results may not be applicable to all wells. Individual well operators use unique fracking fluid mixtures that may be modified depending on the underlying geology. Ferrer and Thurman are now working to analyze more water samples collected from other wells as part of a larger study at CU-Boulder exploring the impacts of natural gas development.

Thurman notes that there are other concerns about fracking—including air pollution, the antimicrobial biocides used in fracking fluids, wastewater disposal triggering earthquakes and the large amount of water used—that are important to investigate and ameliorate. But water pollution from surfactants in fracking fluid may not be as big a concern as previously thought.

“What we have learned in this piece of work is that the really toxic surfactants aren’t being used in the wells we have tested,” he said.

From Colorado.edu

Vitamin D Is Great, But Some Supplements May Not Be

Vitamin D is one of the most researched vitamins in the human body. Science has found many things that are affected by having too little or too much or even from what source a body’s Vitamin D comes. Vitamin D has been linked to asthma, the immune system, brain function, diabetes, and more.

Yet not every source of Vitamin D is great. Some people find that some supplements, for example, are not as good as others. Scientists also warn that the primary source of Vitamin D, sunlight, can become detrimental when we overdo it, leading to skin cancer.

Over-supplementation of Vitamin D, for example, is linked with general fatigue, appetite loss, headache, and sometimes vomiting, says Food World News. It’s also linked with pregnancy problems, kidney disease, hardened arteries, and a lot of other not-so-great things.

Read more at Inquisitr.

New Study Correlates Autism Disorder Increase and Human Fetal DNA in Vaccines

A new study published in the September 2014 volume of the Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology reveals a significant correlation between autism disorder (AD) and MMR, Varicella (chickenpox) and Hepatitis-A vaccines.

Using statistical analysis and data from the US Government, UK, Denmark and Western Australia, scientists at Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute (SCPI) found that increases in autistic disorder correspond with the introduction of vaccines using human fetal cell lines and retroviral contaminants.

Even more alarming, Dr Theresa Deisher, lead scientist and SCPI founder noted that, “Not only are the human fetal contaminated vaccines associated with autistic disorder throughout the world, but also with epidemic childhood leukemia and lymphomas.”
Their study comes on the heels of recent breaking news that the CDC deliberately withheld evidence of the significant increase in autism among African-American boys who were vaccinated prior to 36 months of age.

So it should come as no surprise that the FDA has known for decades about the dangers of insertional mutagenesis by using the human fetal cell lines and yet, they chose to ignore it. Instead of conducting safety studies they regulated the amount of human DNA that could be present in a vaccine to no greater than 10ng.

Unfortunately, Dr. Deisher’s team discovered that the fetal DNA levels ranged anywhere from 142ng – 2000ng per dose, way beyond the so-called “safe” level.

“There are a large number of publications about the presence of HERV (human endogenous retrovirus – the only re-activatable endogenous retrovirus) and its association with childhood lymphoma,” noted Dr Deisher. “The MMR II and chickenpox vaccines and indeed all vaccines that were propagated or manufactured using the fetal cell line WI-38 are contaminated with this retrovirus. And both parents and physicians have a right to know this!”

Certainly these discoveries by SCPI should generate an immediate investigation by FDA officials, if not an outright ban on the use of aborted fetal cell lines as substrates for vaccine production. There are numerous other non-human FDA-approved cell lines that can and should be used.

Study is available at: http://academicjournals.org/article/article1411048618_Deisher%20et%20al.pdf

Milk Allergy Associated with Decreased Growth in Children

A recent study correlates decreased growth with milk allergies in children. The study involved 6,189 children aged 2 to 17 years as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey among a diverse selection of the U.S. population. About 1.1 percent of those responding had a cow’s milk allergy. These children had a significantly lower mean weight, height and body mass index (BMI) compared to children with other food allergies. Decreased tricepts skin folds was also experienced in children with a milk allergy.

Read more at PeanutAllergy.com.

Two Medical Journals – Two Different Stories

A few months ago, a debate on the use of statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) in healthy individuals, and the risks of side effects associated with such therapy reached the headlines of many news media.

One of the points raised was that doctors can inflict harm to their patients by exaggerating potential adverse effects of statin drugs. This might lead to a patient’s unwillingness to accept treatment that is of potential benefit.

What followed was a heated discussion about the responsibility of medical journals and their peer review process, how erroneous statements should be corrected and when scientific papers should be retracted.

Read more here.

Look Healthier After Breast Cancer

from Breastcancer.co

Most of those diagnosed with breast cancer go through three basic stages once they’ve accepted the diagnosis and begin treatment. Those stages are fear, depression, and surviving. The last of these stages is surviving the aftermath of the treatment ordeal and a big part of that is recovering your sense of beauty and personal vanity.

It may sound odd, but a woman’s sense of self is intimately tied to her perception of her own good looks. Although it’s nice to say the truth that “All Women Are Beautiful!” that platitude does not repair the injured vanity of the self-conscious breast cancer survivor who’s feels she’s lost her beauty thanks to the ordeal she’s been through.

Luckily, restoration of outer beauty is relatively simple and goes a long way towards restoring inner beauty as well.

Begin by visiting Look Good.. Feel Better, a project of the American Cancer Society at LookGoodFeelBetter.org. This program offers hair, makeup, and other tips that can help the cancer patient going through treatment and the aftermath of that treatment. It can also steer you towards specialists and volunteers in the beauty business who are happy to help.

For some women, a trip to the salon to restyle their returning hair, or perhaps the fitting of new wigs to replace those worn during treatment, is all that they need. For others, makeup might be added. Or perhaps a full spa treatment to go with it all.

All women, however, can benefit from a few things that aren’t so focused on false vanity. Makeup and hair can do a lot, of course, but they are temporary measures.

Long-term beauty and a feeling of inner vitality comes from nutrition and exercise. After surgery, for example, WebMD recommends that you boost protein intake through protein shakes, an increase in dairy product intake, and eating nuts. For the longer-term, once surgery and recovery are complete, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fresh foods is a must.

Nutritionists recommend a diet that includes low-fat proteins (fish, chicken), a diet heavy with vegetables and fruits, and whole grains like brown rice. This diet will help you lose weight and feel much healthier. Cutting back or eliminating alcohol and soda also boosts energy and reduces water retention and skin wrinkling.

Exercise, especially low-impact cardio like walking, gardening, etc. can improve both your mood and your physical well being. Avoid overworking yourself in a mad effort to lose weight or tone your body and focus instead on combining exercise with stress relief and natural surroundings.

These basic life changes in nutrition and lifestyle can mean a far more beautiful you from the inside out. Even after cancer surgery.

Vitamin D supplementation improved airway function in patients with asthma

from Healio

Patients with asthma who were treated with vitamin D and asthma controllers had significantly improved airway function after 24 weeks compared with patients treated with asthma controllers alone, according to recent study results.

Researchers studied 130 patients, aged 10 to 50 years, with mild to moderate persistent asthma during a 24-week period in Tehran, Iran. Patients were randomly assigned to intervention (n=64; mean age, 24.4 years; 57.8% females) or control groups (n=66; mean age, 28.64 years; 63.6% females). Asthma controllers (budesonide or budesonide plus formoterol) were given to both cohorts, based on disease stage, and vitamin D supplementation (100,000-U bolus intramuscularly plus 50,000 U orally weekly) also was given to the intervention cohort.

The researchers assessed patients’ BMI, asthma stage, serum total IgE, history of allergic rhinitis, food allergy and urticaria.

Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity and serum vitamin D measurements were obtained before intervention and at 8 and 24 weeks after therapy.

At 8 weeks, both cohorts had improved FEV1 (P<.001, intervention group; P=.001, controls), while no significant difference was found between groups at baseline or beyond 8 weeks. The intervention cohort showed significant improvement of FEV1 in the final 16 weeks of the study, and at 24 weeks, it displayed better FEV1 compared with controls (P<.001).

“According to our findings, vitamin D supplementation may lead to a better and prolonged response to asthma controllers,” the researchers concluded. “For this purpose, it is better to use vitamin D for at least 24 weeks.”

The Science Publishing Complex – 1% publish 41% of all papers

from WUWT

Erik Stokstad in Science (AAAS) writes: Publishing is one of the most ballyhooed metrics of scientific careers, and every researcher hates to have a gap in that part of his or her CV. Here’s some consolation: A new study finds that very few scientists—fewer than 1%—manage to publish a paper every year.

But these 150,608 scientists dominate the research journals, having their names on 41% of all papers. Among the most highly cited work, this elite group can be found among the co-authors of 87% of papers. Read the rest of this entry »

Molecular ‘fingerprint’ for depression, anxiety found, study says

from PsyWeb

Professor Alon Chen and Dr. Orna Issler of the Weizmann Institute investigated the molecular mechanisms of the brain’s serotonin system and believe they’ve found specific molecular markers in those suffering from depression and anxiety. Their research focused on the microRNA molecules in the nerve cells that produce serotonin. These tiny non-coding RNA molecules regulate various cellular activities and the researchers found that in those with depression or anxiety, miR135 (one of the microRNA molecules) and two proteins can affect serotonin production.

The findings were published in Neuron last month. The scientists noted an increase in miR135 molecules in serotonin-producing areas of the brain when antidepresants were introduced. After engineering mice to produce higher-than-average amounts of this microRNA, the found that they were more stress resistant, taking longer to develop chronic stress behaviors. This is in contrast to mice with low levels of the microRNA molecule, which showed higher levels of stress-related behaviors under the same pressures.

Using human blood samples, the researchers followed the rodent-based research in the lab with tests to find the markers. The miR135 levels in subjects who suffer from depression were low. Closer inspection of the genome showed that the genes which produce miR135 are located in the same areas as those known to be associated with risks for bipolar disorders.

Professor Chen believes that this molecule could become a blood test for depression and related disorders and as a target for further pharmaceutical research.

Researcher who pioneered gluten sensitivity reverses own findings

from PeanutAllergy.com

Professor Peter Gibson at Monash University in Australia conducted a pioneering study in 2011 that gave credence to the idea of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is often-cited in the current gluten-free diet craze and food industry.

Gibson, however, was not convinced that his study had been conclusive and set out to create a new, more controlled study.

That new study has now concluded, and it counters the findings of his 2011 study. In this study, which included patients in a completely controlled nutritional setting with a high level of rigor, Gibson found that gluten sensitivity (non-celiac) is almost certainly either psychological in nature, as no physical or nutritional reason could be noted, or due to fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs). Patients reported the same level of discomfort and symptoms when given a placebo diet as they did a gluten-rich one, but did report general improvement when given a low-FODMAP diet.

The study was very complex and well-conceived. The study removed nearly all of the possible external triggers (non-gluten) for gastrointestinal distress and once it did so, a low-gluten diet did not necessarily mean lower levels of gastro-distress. This very conclusively shows that “gluten intolerance” without celiac disease does not exist and points to psychological or FODMAPs as the more likely culprit.

Read more here.