1. Soda can cause brain damage

    Sugary drinks can damage brain proteins

    Sugar is brain rot -- but if you have even a little piece of your own brain left, you don't need me to tell you that.

    Just about every study NOT conducted by snack industry stooges has shown time and again how sugar, especially soda, is toxic to the brain. And now, we've got one more study to add to the mix -- one that shows in great detail how sugar alters hundreds of critical proteins inside the brain.

    Outwardly, it's what leads to the "sugar high" -- the hyperactive behavior some people (especially kids) show when they've glugged a soda or gobbled down a candy bar.

    But that's nothing compared to what's going on inside, because many of these damaged and altered proteins play a key role in major diseases of the brain, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, schizophrenia and even cancer.

    In the study, some rats were given plain water while others were given sugar water with the same concentration of sweet stuff found in soda and other soft drinks. After nearly a month of this, the researchers compared rodent brains -- looking specifically at the orbital frontal cortex.

    Of the 1,373 proteins they identified, 290 had been altered in rats given the sugar. And 30 percent of those proteins are involved in the diseases and conditions I just mentioned.

    Don't be distracted by the word "rats" here. We're not rats, but what's toxic to them and their brains is usually toxic to us (which is why we can experiment on them, not people, PETA be darned).

    The researchers say they need to do more research on this to see if the sugar itself is the real cause of those changes, but don't wait around for the results of that one. If you have a sugar habit -- whether it's soda, candy, pastries or all of the above -- quit while you still can.

  2. Antipsychotic drug could be killing people

    Antipsychotic drug could be killing people

    A new study has linked the use of "atypical" antipsychotic drugs to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. I wish I could say that I was shocked by this finding, but the fact is that I've written to you before about the potential risk of atypical antipsychotic drugs, and I think it's unfortunate that it took a study to find out that these drugs are actually killing people.

    Atypical antipsychotic drugs make up the second generation of antipsychotics, which were developed in the 1990s. The "typical" antipsychotic drugs were developed in the 1950s are actually known to increase the risk of sudden cardiac death. For years, it's been thought that atypicals were much safer than typicals, but this new study shows this is not the case.

    A team of researchers from the division of pharmachoepidemiology at Nashville's Vanderbilt University School of Medicine found that the risks for patients taking atypical antipsychotics was 2.26 greater than those not taking the drugs. The higher the dose, the higher the risk.

    The potential dangers of these drugs include obesity, blood lipid imbalances, and adult- onset (type II) diabetes. All of these conditions can increase the chance of developing heart disease, or cause a greater risk of heart attack and stroke. So the fact that these drugs also seem to boost the risk of sudden cardiac death seems obvious.

    These new findings are particularly disturbing because three atypical antipsychotic drugs - risperidone, quetiapine, and olanzapine - racked up a staggering $14.5 billion in international sales in 2007. These are three of the top 10 selling drugs on the planet. And that means a lot of people are at risk.

    But the greater problem here is that these drugs are being prescribed more and more for conditions other than their intended use. And unfortunately, seniors are the ones who are most likely to suffer from this practice.

    Risperdal is the most frequently prescribed antipsychotic drug in the U.S. And while the FDA has approved it for the treatment of schizophrenia, it's being prescribed to other patients "off label" for dementia patients.

    Antipsychotics are also given to Alzheimer sufferers to curb "aggressive behavior" - in spite of the fact that a 2006 study found that antipsychotic drugs provided NO SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT over placebos in treating the delusions and aggression that accompanies that disease.

    Really, that's the double-whammy here: these widely prescribed drugs often don't even work, and yet they pose a massive health risk to the patients they're meant to help.

    Study leader Wayne A. Ray, Ph.D said, "I think off-label use should be undertaken very cautiously, and its frequency should be much less than it is currently."

    The researchers concluded that under most circumstances, atypical antipsychotics should be used as a last resort after other safer drugs are tried first. And even then, atypicals should be used sparingly. "Absolutely the lowest dose that works should be used, because we found a strong dose response," Ray says.

  3. Antipsychotic drugs make dementia patients worse

    A 2006 study of Alzheimer's patients found that antipsychotic drugs provided no significant improvement over placebos in treating the delusions and aggression that accompanies that disease.
  4. New feline study proves I'm not crazy after all

    According to research, anyone who has been exposed to toxoplasma - which, potentially, might mean anyone who has pet cats - could have a greater chance of developing schizophrenia.

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