WYSONG HEALTH LETTER
Dr. R. L. Wysong
June 1992
*
 
Government By Business
    The most powerful force in our country is not the Presidency, or the Congress, the Supreme Court, the IRS, or the FDA.   It is also not the citizen through the influence of votes.  It is business.   Why business?  Because business controls the flow of money in our country.
    What is money?  Money is that commodity which permits action.  It is a currency which facilitates bartering.   Instead of us having to barter with everyone in our society we wish to receive goods and services from, we use the vehicle of money.  Thus, if I perform a certain amount of work or give certain commodities to another, I receive a written IOU in the form of money currency, rather than them giving me eggs, clothes, or automobile service which I may not want or need right now.  I then can use that currency to obtain services and goods from another.
    The cumulative total of these transactions within a given society is a measure of that country’s economic success. Essentially, nothing happens in our society without the flow of these IOU’s, in other words, without the transfer of money.  People do not perform services for others or produce goods for others without expecting something in return.  Without creating services for others or goods for others, we would change from a society of national and international commerce to one of isolated homesteading.  You don't need to barter or have money if you are totally self sufficient.
    When we speak of power, we can only speak of it relative to others.  Ultimately, the power of one over another is reducible to economic advantage.  The more money, the more land which can be owned, resources controlled, manpower employed, and politicians influenced.
    Although we would like to believe that our political leaders boldly serve because of rational ideals and conviction, evidence does not bear that out.  Although the business-political power connection may be evident when we see Lee Iacocca traveling to Japan with the President, or note that many who can afford to run for political office have first of all been successful in business, lying at the base of all political power is the undercurrent of business where numbers of dollars are a measure of influence upon society.
    This is not to suggest that there is anything inherently wrong with power being controlled by business.  It is wrong only if such power is misused, resulting in abuse of citizen’s rights, health, or the environment.
    Much of modern business, however, is entirely power (money) driven.  The profitable end of almost any corporate act justifies any means.  The result has been a mindless predation of our planet to capture as much money (power) as possible in as short a time as possible, regardless of the long term consequences to the planet or its citizens’ health.   The fouling of our air, water, and land has been an irresponsible act of corporate leaders who smugly claim that whatever they do is worthy as long as it leads to profitability.
    Schaef and Fassel wrote, in the book The Addictive Organization, how closely American corporations mimic drug addicts in their behavior.  Addicts first lie to themselves, then they lie to their families or their organizations, then they lie to the world around them.  The last lie is what we call advertising.  So if advertising lies, then we know the other two components of addictive behavior are present also.   Corporate addicts, like street addicts, cannot feel the world around them, and thus all irresponsible behavior becomes possible.  As Paul Hawken recently wrote in Inc.: “Business is the only socially sanctioned addiction, the addiction to fame, wealth, and power.”  He argues that businesses have brought our world to the edge of disaster through socially and environmentally degrading practices.  He says, “Either we see business as a restorative undertaking, or we business people will march the entire race to the undertaker.”
    Rather than seeing the power derived from successful business as an opportunity for improving our world, it usually simply becomes an opportunity to further feed the glut.  Hawken wrote, “We can continue as businesses to lie and gull and wheedle and fudge the facts using sex, power, vanity, and rock-and-roll to convince our customers we’re adding value to their lives,” or we can marshal in a new “restorative economy.”
    American businesses by-and-large treat consumers as if they were stupid nincompoops.  It is cheaper to simply use slick advertising to convince consumers that value is present, rather than to actually innovate and create it.  That's why more money is spent on the 21,000 commercials we’re subjected to each year than on secondary education.
    This reminds me of the mail order ad for a miniature bronzed copper bust of President Lincoln, sculpted by craftsmen, commissioned by the U.S. Government, for only $25.  When you open the package you will find a penny. 
    America has slipped, is slipping, and will continue to slip until business and its political hand see product value and social and environmental responsibilities as the only proper justification for action.  Marketing fluff may have worked for a while, may even have amassed fortunes for a few, but will not permit effective U.S. competition in a world economic market, nor will it sustain a livable environment.  Mergers, buy-outs, stock manipulations and other games with money simply transfer wealth with no true improvement in quality or innovation.  The flow of money must enhance the human condition, not encourage endless unnecessary consumerism or simply amass fortunes for a few.
    That’s the down side of the way our modern businesses have gone.  There is hope, however.  There is increasing awareness that our world is perishable, and we must be good custodians if we and our children are to survive.  Understanding where power truly lies within our society—within business—helps us to understand its potential role in influencing direction.  Businesses, no matter how small, have an exciting opportunity to make a significant contribution to the future.  Seen in this light, businesses are a serious, even solemn, responsibility.  Influence upon employees, the community, the nation, and the users of products or services, is an opportunity to make a contribution toward a better world.  It is not simply a chance to be profitable, but to be human.
    Consumers who recognize that their dollars, through purchases, either support companies which act responsibly, or money mongers who are leading us to the brink of disaster, also have an important role to play.   Employees can let their voices be heard in the workplace to affect corporate change, and also to make sure that they are making a quality contribution in their work environment, and not simply burdening employers with wage and benefit demands in return for simply showing up at work.  (It is said that many, once they get a job, stop looking for work.)  True, corporations can pro-duce poor quality products and support them with lies, but so too can an employee create  poor quality and only pretend their value to the company.
    Hope for the future lies in each of us taking seriously our responsibility to make a significant contribution.   Something for nothing is an American fantasy, and is not only distracting and counterproductive, but unethical and even immoral in terms of sustainable balance.   Understanding that dollars are power creates new hope for each of us to effectively influence the future and provides hope that real change can occur.
 
Living Forever Now
    We recently received a letter from a subscriber asking for any information we might have on how recent genetic research might extend life span.  His letter was likely prompted by news releases regarding the human genome project.  This ambitious program intends to map the entire human genome.  Aside from perhaps identifying specific genetic frailties which may predispose us to certain diseases, this reader wondered about the possibility of identification of the “aging gene” which might be altered to permit the extension of our lives.
    Genetic advances in this area are by no means to the point where we can tamper with life span.  Although genetic knowledge is important and may reveal many clues to making life better in the future, it is by-and-large a technological distraction.  It is similar to focusing on vaccine research for AIDS, a more effective radiation therapy for cancer, or an enhanced immunological suppressing drug for organ transplants.  As we mentioned last month in the Health Letter, focusing on these technologies simply assures the continuation of the disease.  The promise of cure removes the hope of elimination of disease.  We think about fixing rather than preventing, and thus disease continues.
    We have it within our power right now to eliminate much of cancer and heart disease and many other degenerative conditions, and thus produce the most effective cure of all — the absence of disease.   This can come through appropriate diet, life style, and environmental alterations.   We also have the ability now to practically live forever.  By forever, I mean simply living out to the genetic potential that we have, which is believed to be 115 - 120 years of age.  That would almost double the present average life span.  This could be accomplished by the same means as preventing degenerative conditions: life style, diet, and environmental care.
    By dreaming about splicing a “live forever” gene into our chromosomes, we ignore the real reasons for shortened life.  
    The capability for eliminating incredible amounts of disease and suffering, as well as shortened life, lies within our grasp.  Let technology advance, and with it our dreams of a new world.  But in the meantime, let’s not ignore the flowers blooming at our feet, the tremendous potential we have for making things better right now.  Better to live wisely aiming toward vibrant health for more than 100 years, than to live foolishly hoping that genetic engineers can pull off a miracle.
 
Are We Healthier?
    In previous Health Letters the concept of “squaring the vitality of life curve” was discussed.  (See Health Letter July and August, '90).    By this we mean that the real objective of health care and of each of us personally should be to increase the vital, active, healthy portion of life, rather than simply focus on extending the amount of time a person can remain alive in a hospital bed.   We need to put life in years, not simply years in life.  Vitality plotted against age should be a more horizontal line until death, rather than a continuously downward sloping one.
    The pyrotechnics of modern medical technology tend to convince us that we surely must be healthier today than our ancestors who lived in huts and treated illness by incantations to the moon.  We in America can be particularly dazzled by our technology and smugly assume that we are surely healthier than other less-advanced (which we consider all of them to be) countries around the world.
    The following graph helps to sober us up from our euphoria.  This is data compiled from an international data base maintained by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.  It compares the U.S. to several other countries in terms of the percent of life that is spent active, as opposed to the time spent being disabled.  Notice we are not on top of the pile.  We are at the bottom of it.
    For those of us who are healthy, being infirm seems far removed, perhaps even unbelievable.  For those who have fallen victim to disabling degenerative diseases, it is often too late.  
    If we don’t know we’re in jail we won’t know how to break out.  This data should help make us aware that our approach to health care in this country needs dramatic revision.  It should help us realize that it would be highly unwise to simply live our lives without regard for our individual responsibility to pursue and maintain health.  We must not   simply rest in the inappropriate belief that if our health fails, U.S. medical technology is there to heal us.
    Reference:
        1. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Supplement, June, 1992: 1196-1202
 
Making Half-Truths the Law
    To damper the enthusiasm of food marketeers increasingly trying to put health messages on their labels, the FDA is drafting labeling regulations to set a straight and narrow standard.
    Only four health/food messages have been proposed by the FDA for permissible inclusion on labels.  Interestingly, each of these messages contains only half-truths.  Rather than moving people toward more understanding and self-sufficiency, and consequently better health, the regulations entrench faddish nutritional misconceptions.  These proposals include:
    1.  Labels can discuss the link between calcium and osteoporosis.
    As we discussed last month in the Health Letter  the link is not between calcium and osteoporosis but between meat glut and osteoporosis.  You can increase the calcium all you want in the diet but if the level of meat products still remains high, there is no effect on preventing or reversing osteoporosis.
    2.  The claim that sodium is related to hypertension.
    There is no clear evidence that sodium is either an etiological agent in hypertension or a promoter of it.  Some evidence, in fact, argues that it is chloride, not sodium, that is the culprit. (Sure, chloride is in salt but not nearly at the dose consumed in municipal treated water supplies.) Other evidence would argue that it may be the use of refined, additive-laden modern salt which may be linked to this problem, and then probably only on a secondary basis.  The implication is that salt is bad for you.       There is considerable evidence that natural salt, containing a variety of trace minerals and being additive-free, may be in fact a healthy adjunct to the diet.  We’ll discuss this more in a future issue.
    3.  The claim that there is a link between fat and cardiovascular disease.
    True.  But what is the link and what kind of fat are we talking about?  As we have discussed at length in previous Health Letters, it is what food processing does to fats and oils that makes them dangerous, not natural fats and oils as a part of fresh, whole natural foods.
    4.  The claim that there is a relationship between fat and cancer.
    True, but again — what kind of fat?  Natural fats as a part of natural whole fresh foods are not the problem.  It is what happens to fats as a result of processing, especially their oxidation, that is the culprit.
    We continually hear talk about fiber, fat, calories, sodium, and calcium as if the proper manipulation of these isolated ingredients in the diet will somehow bring health.  This reductionistic mindset causes everyone to look at trees and forget the forest.  It is what we are doing to food— the petrochemical farm, the modern food processor—that is the problem, not parts of foods which have been in the natural diet of life throughout the millennia.
 
Sonogram Dangers
    About half of all pregnant women now receive ultrasound sonograms.  These are used to spot birth defects, ectopic pregnancy, identify sex, or for the sheer entertainment of watching an unborn child yawn or suck its thumb while swimming in amniotic fluid.
    There is ongoing debate about the safety of this procedure, but it has been by-and-large ignored.  Physicians are increasingly directing pregnant women to have the procedure done.  Some obstetricians recommend sonograms for all pregnant women.
    Do we really know what sonograms do?  No.  We know that they are high frequency sound waves, and we know that they can generate enough energy to destroy cells.  Ophthalmologists, in fact, use ultrasound to destroy drainage angular cells in eye tissue for treating glaucoma.  Ultrasound has a variety of industrial uses, and is often used in medical facilities, for example, to clean hard-to-reach surfaces on surgical instruments.   This cleaning effect is a result of ultrasound’s ability to create microscopic bubbles.  But such microscopic bubbles can also occur within living tissues subjected to the sonogram.
    New machines are using even higher energy waves in order to produce sharper images.  Yet initial studies, proving safety, have been based on the older, weaker machines and may no longer be relevant.
    Some studies have suggested that there might be a relationship between dyslexia, a learning disability in children, and the early use of sonograms. It is now speculated that there may be other damage which masks itself under other causes appearing later in life.  Anything that is done to an embryo or fetus must be highly suspicious and should fall under the wisdom of “assume it is dangerous until it is fully proven otherwise.”   Since tissues in the embryo and the fetus are, so to speak, precursor stem tissues to those of the adult, a small amount of damage early can potentially result in a lot of damage later in the adult organism.
    It would seem, then, that there is some scientific evidence and certainly a philosophic basis for questioning this procedure.  Even the Food and Drug Administration has advised that sonograms should not be used at all unless there is a specific medical problem that needs to be addressed.
    Sonograms cost about $250–$350.   The pregnant consumer should apply caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware.”   It should not be assumed that simply because a professional recommends a procedure, or because it is commonly performed, or you know others who have had it performed without apparent consequence, that it is without danger.
    Reference:
        Science News, April 4, 1992: 218-219
 
Weakling Foods
    Why do we need food?  Two reasons: one, to provide the energy of life; and two, to provide structural building blocks.
    The energy we receive from foods is indirectly the energy that has been harnessed from the sun through photosynthesis.  We obtain that energy by eating plants directly, or indirectly by eating animals which have taken in plants.  Plants take in carbon dioxide from the air, and the sun's energy builds long chains of carbons, harnessing the sun's energy in the carbon bonds.  Fats and starch are such carbon chains.  When these carbon chains are consumed, and the bonds broken through our biochemical processes, energy is released for us to utilize.
    Our physical structure also must come from foods.  Although carbon chains are also used to build up our protein, fat, and carbohydrate composition, many other elements are also necessary.   Magnesium, sulfur, selenium, fluorine, silicone, sodium, iron manganese, zinc, copper and so on — for an almost endless list of elements — are also utilized and necessary for life.  These elements are not only used structurally, such as calcium and phosphorus for bone structure, and iron as a part of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the blood, but are the regulators, the protectors, the facilitators of various biochemical functions and processes which constantly occur and without which healthy life is not possible.  They cannot be synthesized in the body so they must be consumed.
    Modern agriculture provides us plenty of carbon-chain energy.  We get it in our breads, our cereals, our cookies, cakes, pretzels, corn chips, potatoes and sweetened beverages.  But where are all the other parts, the structural elements that are necessary to body composition and physiological processes?  About the only thing we hear about minerals is that we should drink milk for calcium, or to prevent osteoporosis; drink plenty of municipal water so we get fluoride to prevent cavities; or avoid salt if we are hypertensive.
    In the last century the scientist Leibig observed that the greatest proportion of the ash after seeds were burned was composed of potassium and phosphoric acid.  This provided the basis for today's fertilizer practices.  Thus, we have the modern NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) fertilizers that are poured over agricultural lands at the rate of 250 lbs. per person in the U.S. per year.  We treat the land like we treat our own bodies.  We drug ourselves, we drug the land with herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic NPK fertilizers.   We try to compel our bodies — beat them into submission with drugs.  We do the same to our croplands.
    Plants have been hybridized to take to this new form of myopic fertilization.  Crops can be grown on the same land, year after year without allowing the land to lie fallow or to be rotated with crops that will replenish the soil, such as with nitrogen-fixing plants.
    But each crop that is raised on the soil not only takes up the nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, but also takes up the many other minerals which are necessary for its metabolism.  The crops are harvested, are transported all over the word, eaten, and their remains scattered somewhere other than back on the farmland to replenish what was lost.  If the plants become weakened as a result of impoverished soil, new hybrids are selected which thrive better on the NPK drugging.
    Although the plants may survive and even swell with crops yielding high poundage per acre, the nutritional value of these crops has continued to diminish through the years.  If we are eating these crops, we too are being diminished.  Our bodies thirst for the balances of nature from which we are derived.  This means having available in our daily food supply dozens of trace minerals.  But think about it.  Not only are the crops impoverished to begin with, but they are further stripped of their nutritional value by milling (at least 24 nutrients are removed when white bread is produced and only three, B1, B2, and iron, are replaced to “fortify” the result), and processing.
    When we think of fertilizer we usually think in terms of manure and nitrogen.  Manure that is produced by animals which have consumed plants grown on mineral-rich soil is one thing.   Petrochemical-produced nitrogen is another.  Nitrogen can also be replenished to the soil by the plants themselves, gathering the nitrogen from the air and incorporating it into their tissues.  Minerals, on the other hand, cannot be replenished unless the plant dies in place or the manure created after the consumption of the plant is used to replenish the soil.
    The starting point of all soil is the ground created by the weathered rocks of Mother Earth.  This nonorganic substance provides the substrate from which life can spring, given adequate supplies of water.  That is why deserts can bloom once water is available and the reason for the fertility of the Nile. This notoriously fertile water does not contain organic nitrogenous substances, but rather rich trace mineral silt originating from rocks.
    An interesting book, entitled “Bread from Stones,” by Dr. Julius Hensel, discusses the fertilizing value of ground stones, particularly granite, and how natural fertilizer has been obscured by the modern petrochemical fertilizer industry.   This eye opening book is available in the Wysong Library catalog of books.
    The Wysong product Chelamin has been developed based on the above understandings.  Chelamin is a 74 trace mineral product mined from ancient geologic formations.  Its distribution of elements is essentially identical to that of the Earth itself.  Not only can Chelamin be used as an effective fertilizer, but it is also a beneficial nutritional supplement.  It is incorporated into several Wysong products such as Wysong Whole Salt, Wysong Potato Chips, all of the various animal diets and supplements, and is available in pill form as a direct nutritional supplement for humans or animals.  In animal studies, increased feed efficiency and weight gain have been reported and we have many anecdotal accounts from individuals who describe beneficial results from the product, including relief from arthritic conditions to increased energy and vitality.
    This is mentioned not to toot a commercial horn, but to emphasize the healthful possibilities which can result when proper nutritional balances are restored.  By that, I don’t mean the naive balances dictated by nutritional boards, such as those of the NRC, but the holistic balances existing within nature itself. 
    The value of the spectrum of elements within nature is one of the reasons organic agriculture should be supported.   Organic agriculture does not just mean what is not done —  that synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers are not used — but rather that the soil is naturally rotated and restored with replenishing elements — which create a healthy, holistically balanced soil — which in turn can create your healthy, holistically balanced food —  which in turn can create a healthy, holistically balanced human or animal.  True, you are not going to be able to identify such subtle differences on a label or by looking at an apple or carrot.  But our minds must lead us to the understanding that such properly nurtured crops and foods are one of the best investments we can make in our long-term health.
 
Transfusion Dangers
    Blood is viewed as a critical, life saving substance in modern hospitals.  It seems obvious enough.  If surgery is performed and blood is lost during the procedure, which it always is, then shouldn't the blood be replaced?  But as is often the case, what seems like a simple solution at first glance is not quite so simple after all.
    Blood is taken from people with unknown histories and placed into the body of another after being type-checked as if it were a simple, innocuous saline solution.  It is given in procedures where there is dramatic blood volume loss and in other cases as more of a “pick-me-up.”
    But blood is far more complex than saline, and is not matched by simple blood typing.  It is probably the most complex of antigenic substances.  Therefore, transfusion is, in effect, a dramatic organ transplant since the blood perfuses every tissue in the body.   You can expect the body to react to such an antigenic overload by an immune response.  This stress, coupled with the stress of the existing surgery or disease for which the blood is being given, may result in adverse consequences.  Although the literature describes many such sequelae, it is a procedure that is so ingrained that adverse reactions other than to blood type mismatching are by-and-large ignored.
    Aside from the antigenic shock of transfusion, there is the matter of contagion.  Many individuals owe their AIDS condition to receiving transfused blood from AIDS-positive individuals.  Supposedly blood became safe once methodologies were in place to properly screen all blood for AIDS.   However, a recent report indicates that AIDS may even be transmitted from blood that has been screened negative for antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus.
    Few individuals would chose to drink the blood of another human.  Fewer would choose to drink the blood from a large contingent of people who, for lack of money, give their blood to blood banks.  If you could meet your donor, see where they live and observe the hygiene they practice, it is unlikely you'd like their blood in your veins.  That intuitive sense of revulsion should not necessarily be set aside simply because blood is given intravenously.   Blood of another individual given directly into the vascular system in an apparently sterilized modern medical setting does not neutralize the cannibalistic nature of what is actually being performed. 
    There is debate about the wisdom of the use of blood transfusions in many instances.  Few, however, realize these dangers because of the commonly held simplistic view that blood loss needs to be replaced.  It is forgotten that the body has incredible adaptability reserves in terms of blood loss, making most transfusions (some say all) totally unnecessary.  It is a procedure fraught with serious risks which should be viewed with extreme discretion.
    Reference:
        The New England Journal of Medicine, May 28, 1992: 1499-1500
 
Iron Deficiency
    One third of all women and children in underdeveloped countries, and as many as 20% of women of child-bearing age in Western countries, suffer from iron deficiency.  It is often not recognized because of its subtle symptoms, including pallor, listlessness, fatigue, and depressed immunity.   It can, however, result in severe illness and even death.  Although some vegetable-based foods, such as cooked soy beans, corn flour and whole wheat bread are fairly good sources of absorbed iron, meats such as steak far surpass such vegetable-based products in terms of iron availability.  For example, steak and spinach contain similar amounts of iron on a per weight basis but that absorbed from spinach is only 1.4%, where that absorbed from the steak is 20%.  Some would argue that this is evidence against the suitability of a pure-vegetarian diet.  On the other hand, there are those who counter that thousands of people have lived long healthful lives from most of our modern degenerative conditions on a vegetarian emphasized diet.  Iron supplementation (preferably as part of a natural multiple mineral supplement) may even be required in some individuals.  Using cast iron cookware also adds iron to the diet.   On the other hand, caution must be exercised because iron is a potent oxidant, and in excess can promote free-radical pathology.
    Reference:
        Scientific American, October, 1991: 46-52
 
Disposable Medicine
    The advent of disposability in medicine was heralded as a powerful weapon against contagion.  Repeated consumption and disposability, however, is an enormous opportunity for profit for companies, and as a result almost every product used in medical care has become disposable.  The result is that over 51 million pounds occupying 14 million cubic feet of waste is created per year just from five common surgical procedures.  It is estimated that by simply using such things as reusable linen products, and engaging in recycling methods presently available, that over 93% of the volume of modern medical waste could be eliminated without affecting the quality of care at all.
    Reference:
        Journal of the American Medical Association, May 27, 1992: 2765-2768
 
Colorectal Cancer in Italy
    A study of almost 1000 patients and controls in Italy demonstrated (again) that a fiber-rich, vegetable-rich diet, low in refined, starchy foods, fat-rich foods, and meat products has a positive, protective effect against colorectal cancer.
    Reference:
        International Journal of Cancer, 1992;50: 223-
 
More on Cholesterol Oxides
    For many years we have argued that cholesterol is not the culprit of disease.  It is what we do to cholesterol that makes it a potent toxin.  (See Health Letter Vol. 3, No. 1.)  We have alluded to many recent scientific studies which have supported our thesis.  A new study now demonstrates that the ability of low density lipoprotein (LDL carrying cholesterol) to resist oxidation in vitro is directly related to the severity of coronary atherosclerosis.  This study was conducted on 35 young men who were survivors of myocardial infarction.  The LDL was isolated from their plasma and tested for resistance to oxidation.  Those individuals prone to atherosclerosis were shown to have LDL fractions that were much more susceptible to oxidation than controls.
    Reference:
        The Lancet, May 16, 1992: 1183-1186
 
What the Traffic Will Bear
    Two years ago it was found that a combination of fluorouracils combined with Levamisole was effective in the treatment of colon cancer.  Levamisole has been used for many years in veterinary medicine as an effective anthelmintic (wormer).  The cost for a cancer patient to use Levamisole for one year is approximately $1500, whereas a farmer is able to purchase a year’s worth of the same amount of Levamisole for $14 for his livestock.
    Reference:
        Charles G. Mortel, The American Society of Clinical Oncology in San Diego, 28th Annual Meeting
 
CNS Neurons Divide
    Scientists have discovered that central nervous system mammalian neurons have apparently a latent capability to heal themselves or divide following injury or disease.  They have identified a protein known as Epidermal Growth Factor, which seems to have this stimulatory effect.  This is, of course, counter to the prevailing dogma that CNS neurons do not have the capability for healing or replacement.   This is more testimony to our knowledge being a drop, our ignorance a sea, and that there is always hope in the restorative capabilities of the body.
    Reference:
        Science News, April 4, 1992: 212
 
Home Workout Dangers
    In 1990 over 25,000 individuals were admitted to Emergency Rooms with injuries caused by exercise equipment.  This is a 400% increase over 1982 figures.  Over half of these cases involved children less than 15 years old.   Exercise bikes were involved in 55% of the accidents, usually resulting in finger or toe amputations, and jump ropes accounted for 25% of the injuries.  Remarkably, some of the victims of the jump ropes were strangled to death by the rope. 
In most cases, these children were allowed to play with the equipment unsupervised.  Don’t assume that because exercise equipment can enhance health that it is not a danger if not used properly, or if children are left with it unsupervised.
    Reference:
        Science News, May 23, 1992: 355
 
Dangers Lurk Within Hospitals
    A study of 2.7 million patients discharged from New York hospitals in 1984 revealed that over 27,000 of them experienced an adverse event involving negligence.
    Reference:
        The New England Journal of Medicine, February 7, 1991: 370-
 
25 Eggs a Day and Normal Cholesterol
    An 88-year-old man who lived in a retirement community complained only of loneliness since his wife’s death.  He was in excellent health, articulate, well educated, and ate 20-30 soft-boiled eggs a day, as he had done for the past 15 years.  His blood cholesterol levels measured between 150 and 200 mg/deciliter.  He had evidently quite efficiently adapted to this diet.   Blood cholesterol is regulated by a variety of factors, including the efficiency of intestinal absorption, the rate of cholesterol biosynthesis by the body itself, the LDL receptor activity, secretion of cholesterol in the bile, and hepatic conversion of cholesterol into bile acids, the chief metabolic end-product of cholesterol.  As we have mentioned before in the Health Letter, (see Vol. 3, No. 1; Vol. 3, No. 7; Vol. 4, No. 3; and Vol. 4, No. 7)  cholesterol has been a part of the diet of animals and humans for millennia.  It is not likely the consumption of cholesterol that is the culprit in the modern plague of cardiovascular disease, but rather what we do to the cholesterol before we eat it.
    Soft-boiling eggs essentially protects the cholesterol within the yolk from oxidative changes.  It is the oxidation of cholesterol such as occurs in scrambling eggs, baking them, dehydrating them, and so forth, that can cause free-radical damage to vessels.
    Reference:
        The New England Journal of Medicine, March 28, 1991: 896-899
 
It’s Raining Lasso
    This was the headline in a Des Moines newspaper, describing how showers in Iowa contained alachlor, an herbicide commonly known as Lasso, as well as other agricultural chemicals.  It is one thing to worry about the 845 million pounds of pesticides sprayed annually on American farmland produce, it’s another to worry about it being in the rain.
    A U.S. geological survey report showed that pesticides sprayed on farmlands evaporated and returned to Earth in Spring and Summer rains and fog. They are also in dust blown by the wind from monocultured uncovered fields, as well as being present in the water shed.
    Think about a farmer in the field breathing this stuff, or his family inhaling as they sleep with the windows open to the once-refreshing country air.  The organic farm movement deserves our support.   Pesticide usage has tripled in the last 30 years, ostensibly because it is the only way crops can be protected and a burgeoning world population can be fed.  Sounds good, but not true.  Actually, the proportion of crops lost to pests has increased nearly 20% since chemical pesticides came on the scene around 1945, and ever-increasing amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are required to achieve the same result each harvest.  If this spiraling problem is not addressed by the farmer, it must be by the consumer. Demanding organic produce will force a rethink by the nation’s producers.
 
Probiotics in Animal Foods
    The use of probiotics in animal feeds is becoming more widespread as evidence of  effectiveness increases and pressure to exclude feed additives mounts.  Live yeast, for example, when fed to ruminants increases cellulolytic bacteria, moderates ruminal pH, increases feed intake and milk production.  Studies of live versus killed yeast (used in most feed rations) showed living yeast was essential for a beneficial response.  Adding a killed yeast to diets, or proceeding to kill a live yeast during processing of the food product, are both, therefore, likely to be ineffective.
    Reference:
        Journal of Dairy Science, 70:  2063-
        Journal of Animal Science, 69: 3016-
        Journal of Animal Science, 68: 3392