Listed below are some of our most popular articles, and links to various studies & reports … Additional articles of interest can be easily found elsewhere on our website by using the Search Box located at the top right corner of every page.
You can view our archives by clicking on these archives links
B.C. poultry industry warned to halt use of antibiotic
Level of drug-resistant bacteria spikes in grocery-store chicken
The Public Health Agency of Canada is warning B.C. poultry farmers and veterinarians to stop using a bovine antibiotic on chickens.
The agency believes the practice is behind a significant spike in drug-resistant Campylobacter bacteria found in chicken tested from grocery stores.
The bacteria are resistant to an antibiotic commonly used to treat respiratory infections in human beings and cattle.
The dramatic spike in the bacteria was first noticed during routine sampling of B.C. chicken from grocery stores in 2009. Levels have remained stubbornly above normal in this province ever since.
Positive tests for the resistant strain of Campylobacter in retail chicken have ranged as high as 40 per cent in B.C. and 28 per cent in Saskatchewan compared with an average of less than four per cent in the other provinces monitored by the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance. Campylobacter is the most common food-borne pathogen in Canada; it is usually associated with substandard food handling and consumption of undercooked chicken.
The rate of human Campylobacter poisoning in B.C. has been about 30 per cent above the national average during the past 10 years, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. People who contract drug-resistant Campylobacter from contaminated food can become more severely ill with diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain than those who get typical Campylobacter, the bulletin stated.
Thorough cooking kills the bacterium.
A total of 1,750 cases were reported in B.C. during 2009, but it is not known whether any of those cases were antimicrobial resistant.
CIPARS is comparing Campylobacter from human cases in B.C. and Saskatchewan with the bacteria from retail poultry to determine whether the same pathogen is infecting people who eat poultry.
A recent bulletin to be released to the web this week by CIPARS attributes the increase in drug-resistant Campylobacter in B.C. chicken to use of the antimicrobial drug fluoroquinolone. The agency says veterinary fluoroquinolones labelled for cattle are being used “off-label” to prevent salmonella in chicken in breeder flocks.
Antibiotics are sometimes used in crowded, large-scale chicken rearing to prevent fast-spreading illnesses from infecting entire flocks.
Health Canada requires fluoroqui-nolone-based veterinary drugs for cattle to carry a warning not to use them in any other species. Public health authorities want to curb the use of flu-oroquinolone in chicken because the risk of spreading drug-resistance to those medications could render them ineffective in human medicine.
It is not unusual for veterinarians to use antibiotics labelled for one species on another animal species, but steps are being taken within the poultry industry to stamp out the practice.
However, veterinarians are approved to prescribe veterinary and human drugs according to the recommendations of Health Canada or off-label at their discretion, according to John Brocklebank, deputy registrar of the College of Veterinarians of B.C.
B.C.’s poultry farming association has issued a warning written by agriculture ministry veterinarian Bill Cox in July instructing producers not to use prescription drugs on their flocks except under veterinary supervision and not to use any drug without a veterinary diagnosis.
Chicken Farmers of Canada executive director Mike Dungate said anti-microbial resistance is one of the industry’s “critical” concerns.
Chicken producers are required to report all medications given to their flocks to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency before they are sent for processing. That information is verified by government veterinarians, according to CFC safety program manager Steve Leech.
The CFC and CIPARS are developing a national on-farm surveillance program designed to record antimicrobial use and pinpoint the sources of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.
The CFC hopes the program will explain B.C.’s persistently higher incidence of antimicrobial resistant Campylobacter and correlate that with on-farm practices,” Leech said. The CFC maintains there is no conclusive use of veterinary drugs on farms with the drug-resistant bacteria detected in samples taken from chicken in B.C. grocery stores.
But drug-resistant pathogens in food are known to pass to humans, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. A spike in the incidence of Salmonella Heidelberg found in chicken tested from grocery stores in Quebec in 2003 and 2004 was accompanied by a rise in human cases of the same drug-resistant Salmonella in humans.
Although CIPARS doesn’t have the authority to collect data about veterinary antibiotic use at the provincial level, researchers learned from industry sources that 70 per cent of hatchery operators in Quebec were using the antibiotic ceftiofur on healthy birds to prevent E. coli infections, according to Rebecca Irwin, director of the surveillance division of the Laboratory for Foodborne and Zoonoses at the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The incidence of the drug-resistant strain subsided in both humans and chickens after Quebec hatchery farmers voluntarily stopped using the anti-biotic, she said.
firstname.lastname@example.org © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Hydrogen Peroxide Provides Clues to Immunity, Wound Healing, Tumor Biology
Madison, Wisconsin – Hydrogen peroxide isn’t just that bottled colorless liquid in the back of the medicine cabinet that’s used occasionally for cleaning scraped knees and cut fingers.It’s also a natural chemical in the body that rallies at wound sites, jump-starting immune cells into a series of events.
A burst of hydrogen peroxide causes neutrophils, the immune system’s first responders, to rush to the wound to fight microorganisms, remove damaged tissue and then start the inflammation process.
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers now have discovered the molecular sensor that detects wound-induced hydrogen peroxide and orchestrates the marshalling of neutrophils and other immune cells, or leukocytes, including those that affect tumors.
Published in the Nov. 20, 2011, advanced online version of the journal Nature, the findings have broad implications for cancer biology as well as wound healing and the way the body fights infections.
“Our findings suggest that in the future we might be able to manipulate the new pathway we’ve found to make immune cells go where we want them to,” says lead author Dr. Anna Huttenlocher of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH).
A tumor is a type of unhealed wound, says Huttenlocher. Tumors and wounds both generate high levels of hydrogen peroxide, and immune cells responsible for inflammation seek out wounds as well as tumors. But inflammatory cells can often be detrimental. The cells can contribute to a tumor’s ability to grow and invade other tissue, and they can cause chronic inflammation at wound sites.
“We now speculate that the recruitment of immune cells for wound healing and tumor growth involves a different molecular pathway than recruitment of immune cells for fighting infections,” says Huttenlocher, a professor of pediatrics and of medical microbiology and immunology in the School of Medicine and Public Health.
The researchers used transparent zebrafish larvae in a model they have developed to study immunity to watch neutrophils move to wounds in the tails of fish larvae.
They found that hydrogen peroxide modified a protein called Lyn, and that the modification let neutrophils go to wound sites along a specific cellular pathway.
“If we blocked Lyn, it’s possible cells could still get to infection sites, where they could be helpful, but not to wounds or tumors, where they could be harmful,” Huttenlocher says.
Sa Kan Yoo was first author on the paper; Taylor W. Starnes and Qing Deng were co-authors.
The experiments showed clearly that Lyn activation was dependent on hydrogen peroxide after tissue injury, and that blocking Lyn reduced the recruitment of neutrophils to wounds. Lyn is expressed specifically in leukocytes as a sensor for hydrogen peroxide.
Lyn is also a member of a powerful class of proteins known as Src family kinases (SFKs). Many of these kinases have been identified as cellular oncogenes, or precursors to cancer.
“Lyn bridges SFKs and the new pathway we have identified, broadly linking wound healing and immunity to changes in cell behavior in cancer,” says Huttenlocher. “That connection may help move us forward with a better understanding of wound healing and cancer.”
Lyn’s connection to hydrogen peroxide should also elevate the chemical’s status from the back of the medicine cabinet to a position of much greater interest.
Date Published: 11/21/2011 Website link: http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/news/hydrogen-peroxide-provides-clues-to-immunity-wound-healing-tumor-biology/32917
~ The importance of Water for the Body ~
Common Contaminants in your Tap Water
Antibiotic Use Increased in 2010 Food Animal Production
by Helena Bottemiller | Nov 01, 2011
Sales of antibiotics intended for domestic food animals increased from 2009 to 2010, according to new data released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Pew Health Group analyzed the numbers in the report, the second-ever issued by FDA, which showed a boost of 6.7 percent, from 28.8 million pounds in 2009 to 30.6 million pounds in 2010.
If ionophores, which are used exclusively on animals, are excluded from the analysis, the increase is 8.6 percent.
Pew points out that the increase in antimicrobial sales is greater than the 1.3 percent increase in meat production, which was up by 1.2 billion pounds to 92.1 billion pounds.
Laura Rogers, project director for the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming said the report backs up their calls for reforms.
“This report confirms what we already know: industrial farms are using antibiotics on a massive scale that far exceeds what doctors are using to treat sick people,” said Rogers. “As a result, infections are becoming more difficult and expensive to treat. The time for the Administration to protect our health is long overdue.”
Ron Phillips, vice president for legislative and public affairs for the Animal Health Institute, which represents the animal pharmaceutical industry, said the numbers do not necessarily illustrate a trend.
“In the eight years that AHI voluntarily collected and released this data, we saw many year-to-year changes — both up and down — in this range,” said Phillips. “These two limited data points are not sufficient to draw any conclusions.”
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the only microbiologist serving in Congress, continues to push for a bill that would restrict farmers from using seven classes of antibiotics, deemed important for human health, unless needed to treat sick animals. In the Senate, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced similar legislation last summer.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER AND HUMAN HEALTH
“I’m dying of thirst!”
Well, you just might. It sounds so simple. H20. Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. But this substance better known as water, is the most essential element, next to air, to our survival. Water truly is everywhere, still most take it for granted.
Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body, and without it, we would die in a few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. (Are you having trouble reading this? Drink up!) Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. An estimated seventy-five percent of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration. That’s a pretty scary statistic for a developed country, where water is readily available through the tap or bottle.
Water is important to the mechanics of the human body. The body cannot work without it, just as a car cannot run without gas and oil. In fact, all the cell and organ functions made up in our entire anatomy and physiology depend on water for their functioning.
In addition to the daily maintenance of our bodies, water also plays a key role in the prevention of disease. Drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it can potentially even reduce the risk of breast cancer. And those are just a few examples! As you follow other links on our website, you can read more in depth about how water can aid in the prevention and cure of many types of diseases, ailments and disorders that affect the many systems of our bodies.
Since water is such an important component to our physiology, it would make sense that the quality of the water should be just as important as the quantity. Drinking water should always be clean and free of contaminants to ensure proper health and wellness.
HEALTH RISKS OF HEAVY METALS
Like heavy metal? Think again.
Weâ€™re not talking Ozzy here, but in fact heavy metals that can be very harmful to your health if found in your drinking water.
Severe effects include reduced growth and development, cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, and in extreme cases, death. Exposure to some metals, such as mercury and lead, may also cause development of autoimmunity, in which a person’s immune system attacks its own cells. This can lead to joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and diseases of the kidneys, circulatory system, and nervous system.
The young are more prone to the toxic effects of heavy metals, as the rapidly developing body systems in the fetus, infants and young children are far more sensitive. Childhood exposure to some metals can result in learning difficulties, memory impairment, damage to the nervous system, and behavioural problems such as aggressiveness and hyperactivity. At higher doses, heavy metals can cause irreversible brain damage. Children may receive higher doses of metals from food than adults, since they consume more food for their body weight than adults.
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
Toxic metals can be present in industrial, municipal, and urban runoff, which can be harmful to humans and aquatic life. Increased urbanization and industrialization are to blame for an increased level of trace metals, especially heavy metals, in our waterways. There are over 50 elements that can be classified as heavy metals, 17 of which are considered to be both very toxic and relatively accessible. Toxicity levels depend on the type of metal, it’s biological role, and the type of organisms that are exposed to it.
The heavy metals linked most often to human poisoning are lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Other heavy metals, including copper, zinc, and chromium, are actually required by the body in small amounts, but can also be toxic in larger doses.
Heavy metals in the environment are caused by air emissions from coal-burning plants, smelters, and other industrial facilities; waste incinerators; process wastes from mining and industry; and lead in household plumbing and old house paints. Industry is not totally to blame, as heavy metals can sometimes enter the environment through natural processes. For example, in some parts of the U.S., naturally occurring geologic deposits of arsenic can dissolve into groundwater, potentially resulting in unsafe levels of this heavy metal in drinking water supplies in the area. Once released to the environment, metals can remain for decades or centuries, increasing the likelihood of human exposure.
In addition to drinking water, we can be exposed to heavy metals through inhalation of air pollutants, exposure to contaminated soils or industrial waste, or consumption of contaminated food. Because of contaminated water, food sources such as vegetables, grains, fruits, fish and shellfish can also become contaminated by accumulating metals from the very soil and water it grows from.
Difference between Organic and Inorganic Minerals
We hear day in and day out that we need more minerals. “Vitamins and minerals” are words that go hand in hand when promotion healthy diet items and supplements. In fact, the body needs about 70 different minerals to carry out all the functions a body is required to do. But many may not realize there are two types of minerals: organic and inorganic. Between those two types, it may be easy to recognize which one does a body good. Ever hear people tout the benefits of an inorganic diet?
Here is a brief overview of the differences between these two:
Organic minerals– these are once living, or are living and can bring life to cells. These contain carbon, and their electrons spin clockwise, just like those of the human body. Additionally, these cells can form an ionic bond with the body and can easily break down into materials to help with bodily function, such as tissue repair.
Inorganic materials– these were never living, without carbon and cannot bring life to cells. The body treats these metals like toxins and are tightly held together; they cannot be easily broken down. And, their electrons spin counterclockwise, out of sync with the rest of the body.
Let’s look further at what negative effects inorganic minerals have. Inorganic minerals are removed from water during nature’s water cycle, that is, during evaporation from the sun, only the water itself is removed, with the inorganic chemicals behind. The distillation process is one filtering process that mimics what nature does on its own. So, why are these minerals removed from pure drinking water?
Inorganic minerals are picked up as the water supply runs through the ground. These inorganic, or non-living, minerals cannot be utilized by humans or animals. However, plants can. And, they are the organisms that turn them into the organic minerals we can use through photosynthesis. But, the inorganic minerals that pass into our drinking water cannot help us and can in fact, harm us.
This is because inorganic chemicals cannot absorb as nutrition into the cell walls and thus gets deposited elsewhere into the body. This can cause arthritis, joint pain, kidney and gallstones and even clogged arteries. Lime (calcium carbonate) is one of these minerals. Just think about what that does to your bathtub! Yeah- takes a special cleaner and a lot of elbow grease to scratch the surface of those deposits. (Remember- this is the main ingredient in cement!) In fact, some people suffer from such high concentrations of lime that their hands and fingers can become massively disfigured.
Dr. Norman W. Walker, who wrote a book on this area of water, says that of a person drinks two pints of water a day in a 70-year life span, it will total 4,500 gallons. If it is not distilled, Dr. Walker estimates this water will include 200 to 300 pounds of rock, including lime, magnesium and other mineral deposits that the body cannot use. He does note that much of this will be collected by the body’s water, blood and lymph systems to be eliminated through excretory channels. However, some of will stay in the body, causing those problems mentioned above.
Does your water contain these inorganic minerals? Fill up a pot and let it evaporate. As note above, the water cycle only takes the hydrogen and oxygen from the liquid and leaves behind what else is left. If you’ve got mineral deposits in your pot, you may want to look into getting only distilled water or getting a reverse osmosis filtration system.
According to recent news and reports, most tap and well water in the U.S. are not safe for drinking due to heavy industrial and environmental pollution. Toxic bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals routinely penetrate and pollute our natural water sources making people sick while exposing them to long term health consequences such as liver damage, cancer and other serious conditions. We have reached the point where all sources of our drinking water, including municipal water systems, wells, lakes, rivers, and even glaciers, contain some level of contamination. Even some brands of bottled water have been found to contain high levels of contaminants in addition to plastics chemical leaching from the bottle.
WATER AND PETS
You’ve seen it; even probably done it. Drinking bottled water, or filtered water from the refrigerator while your cat, dog or other pet’s water bowl is filled from that, ugh, tap. Why should our furry (or scaly) companions drink lower quality water than us?
We all know that public water systems can contain certain levels of bacteria. But we knew that- that’s why we are drinking the “safe” water. Still, many continue to feed fill pet bowls with tap water. Animals, like humans, need water to survive. And, like humans, animals are about 80% water. So, most animal experts will agree that pets should be given the same quality water as humans: bottled and/or filtered. As stated earlier, municipal and well water can contain many harmful things, even parasites. And, they don’t discriminate between pets and people!
One of these parasites is Giardia, a single-celled organism that ends up living in the mucous lining of the intestines. This parasite can cause diarrhea in animals as well as humans. If a puppy or kitten is suffering malnutrition, the effects of Giardia can be worse. Treatment in the form of antiprozoal drugs can be administered to infected animals.
There are also things in water that can cause cancer- just like in humans. (Fluoride, for one.) Giving a pet filtered water will remove a potentially sickness-causing organism or metal from being ingested.
Cats and dogs, the two most common pets, need fresh water and plenty of it. On a side note, cats are very finicky about their water; they like it fresh. The longer the water sits out, the more oxygen it loses.
Fish, who live in water, can be greatly affected by water with high levels of chlorine or ammonia; chemical used in some treatment plants. A certain pH value is needed in tank water for fish to have a proper living environment. Also, poor quality water can be more prone to ‘bad’ algae. Check with your aquarium retailer for specifics.
For amphibians and more “wet” pets, they do not drink water, bit absorb it. Frogs, salamanders and others in this category need water to absorb through their skin and the higher that quality, the longer they will live. If one finds a tadpole and wants to keep it as a pet, it is best to not use tap water; they are very sensitive to water quality.
One more note of interest. It doesn’t really matter what type of water is used in a pet’s bowl if the bowl is not cleaned frequently. Bacteria can grow from mold in the air in your pet’s bowl. (That’s what those growths are!) So, clean the bowl often and keep it filled with fresh, filtered water. Additionally, drinking more water can also reduce urinary tract disorders in cats and dogs.
With water being a crucial part of a pet’s health, it is no wonder that many pet supply manufacturers offer water fountains, water filters, special bowls, special dispensers and more. When it comes down to it though, a normal stainless steel or glass bowl filled with water from a home-filtration system works well.
Take a Moment to Appreciate Farmers and Ranchers:
We all take the supply and safety of our food for granted, without really thinking of how it got to our grocers. Please take a moment to view these videos to gain a true appreciation for all those dedicated, hard-working folks who take their responsibilities seriously to keep us fed, well-nourished, and healthy.
And here are some interviews and insights from local ranchers and farmers: