Monthly Archives: September 2010

Organic Battery Breakthrough

A new discovery by a team of chemists has just shined a light on the possibility of highly efficient organic batteries taking the place of the current toxic and inefficient batteries currently in use.

Research by a team of University of Texas at Austin chemists led by Christopher Bielawski and Jonathan Sessler was published in Science. The scientists figured out how to get molecules to transfer their electrons back and forth in a way that had never been done before. “These molecules were effectively spring-loaded to push apart after interacting with each other,” explained Bielawski. “After electron transfer occurs, two positively charged molecules are formed which are repelled by each other, much like magnets held in a certain way will repel each other. We also installed a chemical switch that allowed the electron transfer process to proceed in the opposite direction.” “I would love it if my iPhone was thinner and lighter, and the battery lasted a month or even a week instead of a day,” said Bielawski. “With an organic battery, it may be possible. We are now starting to get a handle on the fundamental chemistry needed to make this dream a commercial reality.” “This is the first time that the forward and backward switching of electron flow has been accomplished via a switching process at the molecular scale,” added Sessler. View more here: Organic Batteries

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Vitamin B Prevents Alzheimer’s

Scientists have just anounced that B vitamins are linked to preventing the memory loss associated with Alsheimer’s disease.

Nearly 20% of people ages 70 or older suffer from mild cognitive impairment. About half of them go on to develop some time of dimentia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from Oxford University discovered that B vitamins reduce brain shrinkage by nearly half. Memory loss is associated with brain shrinkage. “It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease in many people who suffer from mild memory problems,” explained Professor David Smith of the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford University, a co-leader of the trial. “Today there are about 1.5 million elderly in UK, 5 million in USA and 14 million in Europe with such memory problems.” “These are immensely promising results but we do need to do more trials to conclude whether these particular B vitamins can slow or prevent development of Alzheimer’s. So I wouldn’t yet recommend that anyone getting a bit older and beginning to be worried about memory lapses should rush out and buy vitamin B supplements without seeing a doctor,” Smith said.

“These are very important results, with B vitamins now showing a prospect of protecting some people from Alzheimer’s in old age. The strong findings must inspire an expanded trial to follow people expected to develop Alzheimer’s, and we hope for further success,” added the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, which co-funded the study, Rebecca Wood. Here at we carry an excellent source of vitamin B called BFood by Nutriplex, a whole food supplement.

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BPA From Dental Work

As you are reading this the FDA is in the middle of an ongoing process to decide on how to classify the controversial chemical BPA (bisphenol A). While they are dealing with those tough decisions, new research continues to pour in. The latest study has just emerged showing that BPA is being found in the saliva of children up to three hours after they receive dental work.

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, led by Philip Landrigan, MD, Professor and Chair of Preventive Medicine, Dean for Global Health, and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai made the discovery. Their research has now been published in the current issue of Pediatrics. “These dental products are still safe and an effective way to promote good oral health, but dentists should take precautions to reduce potential absorption of this chemical and the negative side effects associated with it,” explained Dr. Landrigan. “BPA is commonly used in dental products, and while exposure from dental materials is much less common than from food storage products, we are still concerned.” BPA has been associated with the early onset of puberty, changes in behavior, as well as prostate and urinary tract development. The researchers added that they do not recommend pregnant mothers expose themselves to the chemical. “Further research is needed to fully grasp the impact of BPA in dental products, and to analyze all dental products that use this chemical,” added Dr. Landrigan. “However, the overwhelming benefit of these dental resins in oral health outweighs the brief exposure to BPA. Dentists should continue to use these products, but manufacturers should disclose specific information about the chemical structures of these products and search for alternatives.”

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Sleeping Pills Increase Chance of Death By 36 Percent

New research has just been published about the long term health risks associated with the regular use of medications to treat insomnia and anxiety.

These findings were made by Geneviève Belleville, a professor at Université Laval’s School of Psychology have been published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. The report concludes that consuming pills for anxiety or insomnia is associated with a 36% increase of death. “These medications aren’t candy, and taking them is far from harmless,” said Belleville. Researchers are not yet sure why these medications increase death rates, but because of this research the process of conducting more studies has been set in motion. “Given that cognitive behavioral therapies have shown good results in treating insomnia and anxiety, doctors should systematically discuss such therapies with their patients as an option. Combining a pharmacological approach in the short term with psychological treatment is a promising strategy for reducing anxiety and promoting sleep,” added Belleville. See Canadian Journal of Psychiatry here.

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High Cholesterol & Non-Stick Cookware

The latest bit of research about the chemicals used in non-stick cookware is connecting them to cholesterol in young people. Worse still is that the same chemicals found in Teflon style non-stick cookwares are also used in many different types of household fabrics. This new research was published this month in one of the JAMA  journals called Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers showed that the main chemicals of interest are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) which both effect cholesterol levels in young adults. According to the study, both good and bad types of cholesterol increase in youth exposed to materials containing these chemicals. “PFOA was significantly associated with increased total cholesterol and LDL-C, and PFOS was significantly associated with increased total cholesterol, HDL-C, and LDL-C.” The study is the first to make these connections and cannot yet prove absolute cause and effect, but the study clearly stated that “the consistently observed  associations between increasing PFOA and PFOS and elevated total cholesterol and LDL-C levels warrant further study.” Read More Here

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Teflon’s Toxic Legacy

Non-stick cookware has gained the reputation of being a possible source of chemical toxins amongst the general populous in recent years. What most people don’t know is that DuPont, the creators of the original non-stick material called Teflon, have known about its possible dangers for over fifty years.

Studies by some of DuPont’s own scientists conducted in the 1950’s showed Teflon to be a source of dangerous chemical particulate and gasses. [1] Multiple peer-reviewed studies over the years have delved into the health problems associated with Teflon.[2] Here is a list of the main gasses/particulates that can be released while using a non-stick Teflon type of product in your daily cooking:

  • Four chemicals that are considered highly toxic relative to most other industrial chemicals (PFIB, MFA, COF2, HF).
  • Two chemicals linked to cancer or tumors in laboratory studies (PFOA and TFE)
  • Two chemical warfare agents (PFIB and MFA) and a chemical analog of WWII nerve gas phosgene (COF2)
  • Four gaseous chemicals and some components of the particulate matter that are highly persistent environmental pollutants, that likely never break down in the environment (TFA, PFOA, CF4, PFB, and the perfluorinated particulate alkanes)
  • Two chemicals that are potent global warming gases (PFB and CF4)
  • At least two chemicals that have widely contaminated the world (PFOA and TFA), one currently undergoing a rigorous safety review at the Environmental Protection Agency (PFOA)

[1] Clayton, JW. 1967. Fluorocarbon toxicity and biological activity. Fluorine Chemistry Reviews 1(2): 197-252. [2] Blandford, TB., Seamon, PJ., Hughes, R., Pattison, M and Wilderspin, MP. 1975. A case of polytetrafluoroethylene poisoning in cockatiels accompanied by polymer fume fever in the owner. Vet Rec 96(8): 175-8.

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Study Finds Organic Farming Superior

A new study examining the differences between industrial and organic strawberry farming has just shown organic farming to be the all around best method.

A paper by scientists at Washington State University was published in the online journal PLoS ONE yesterday. “Our findings have global implications and advance what we know about the sustainability benefits of organic farming systems,” said John Reganold, of WSU and lead author of the paper. “We also show you can have high quality, healthy produce without resorting to an arsenal of pesticides.” “There is no paper in the literature that comprehensively and quantitatively compares so many indices of both food and soil quality at multiple sampling times on so many commercial farms,” explained Reganold. Some of the reported results were are follows: Organic Farming vs Industrial

  • The organic strawberries had significantly higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds.
  • The organic strawberries had more dry matter, or, “more strawberry in the strawberry.”
  • The organic strawberries had longer shelf life.
  • Anonymous testers, working at times under red light so the fruit color would not bias them, found one variety of organic strawberries was sweeter, had better flavor, and once a white light was turned on, appearance. The testers judged the other two varieties to be similar.

Organic farming is a rapidly growing practice around the world. Since 1990, the market for organic products has grown at a rapid pace, to reach $46 billion in 2007.

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Cranberries Prevent Drug Resistant Staph Infections

Scientists have discovered a critical new use for cranberry juice. The growing problem of fighting antibiotic resistant staph infections could end up being overcome simply by drinking cranberry juice.

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) presented their discovery at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Boston in August of this year. “Most of our work with cranberry juice has been with E. coli and urinary tract infections, but we included Staphylococcus aureus in this study because it is a very serious health threat,” explained Terri Camesano, chemical engineering professor at WPI. “This is early data, but the results are surprising.” Bacteria work by entering the body and then gathering together into groups known as biofilm. Once the biofilm is formed the infection can take hold and start to cause problems for the host. “What was surprising is that Staphylococcus aureus showed the most significant results in this study,” said Camesano. “We saw essentially no biofilm in the staph samples, which is very surprising because Staph aureus is usually very good at forming biofilms. That’s what makes it such a health problem.” Researchers at WPI now see that cranberry juice prevents the bacteria from forming, but there is no clear reason as to how the prevention is taking place. “These results do create more questions than answers,” concluded Camesano. “We believe this is an important new area to explore, and we are now thinking about how best to proceed.”

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