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Posts Tagged ‘Flu’

Nine Health Myth Busters

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011



  • Drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water every day. This rumor was started by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board back in 1945. It’s important to keep your body hydrated, but keep in mind that we get plenty of water from the foods we eat and other fluids such as coffee, tea and milk.

  • Stress can make you go gray. A little stress is great for motivation, a lot of stress means it’s probably time to start taking it easy, but is there such thing as enough stress to actually make your hair turn silver?  Doctors agree that excess stress does have an aging effect on the body by releasing stress hormones and free radicals, but the jury’s still out on it’s ability to change your hair color.
  • Reading in dim light will ruin your eyesight. Actually, the worst it will do is give you a bit of a headache and some worry lines from squinting. No permanent damage has been linked to extended period of reading in less-than-bright conditions.
  • Stop drinking coffee. Sure, a little too much of anything can be detrimental to your health, and it’s common knowledge that too much caffeine can make you feel nervous, anxious and even paranoid.  Taken in moderation, though, coffee can be a great antioxidant.  Plus, it gets you out the door in the morning.

  • Feed a cold, starve a fever. Nope.  Ask any medical practitioner today and they’ll tell you the same thing:  colds, viruses, fevers, flus – they go away when they’re good and ready.  You can treat the symptoms – nothing soothes a scratchy throat like a steaming bowl of chicken soup – but nothing we do has any impact on how long the cold or virus lasts.
  • Fresh veggies are better than frozen. Actually, open-air produce loses quality and vitamin content the longer it sits in the sun, while frozen fruits and vegetables retain their original nutritional essence.
  • Eggs are high in cholesterol. Turns out the real culprits behind heart disease are saturated and trans-fats, while an egg a day is a good source of lean protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.
  • You can catch cold from being cold. Well, not exactly. Most people catch colds from exposing themselves to a virus.  Stay warm enough to avoid hypothermia, but don’t blame your next cold on whoever left that window open all night.
  • Lipstick had lead poisoning. No more lead than your average candy bar.  Lots of things contain minuscule amounts of lead, says the American Cancer Society, but serious lead poisoning is more likely linked to faulty plumbing.


Huffington Post


Ian Britton

Depressed? Could be the flu.

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

A new report by Vanderbilt University reveals a link between depression and inflammatory infection in the brain. Published in the December 2010 issue of Neuropsychopharmacology,  these new findings, scientists hope, will bring us closer to understanding the correlation between mental illness and influenza.

Says Dr. Randy Blakely, PhD, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Molecular Neuroscience, “Many people exhibit signs of lethargy and depressed mood during flu-like illnesses.  Generally these have been treated as just a consequence of being physically ill, but we think there is likely to be something more brain-centric at work here.”

As part of the Vanderbilt University experiment, rats were injected with inflammatory “flu” cytokines, a chemical which is produced when the body is under attack by influenza. Inflammatory cytokines trigger serotonin transporters (SERT), which inhibit the production of serotonin.

As a result of the diminished level of serotonin affected by increased SERT levels, test rats exhibited behaviors suggesting extreme anxiety and despair. Conversely, rats who were given the cytokines who did not carry the SERT gene showed no change in behavior at all.

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac and Zoloft are prescribed to patients who suffer from severe depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders.  These findings suggest that flu viruses might counter SSRI’s ability to regulate serotonin levels in treating depression.

Scientists hope to use this information to reverse cytokine production during the flu season.

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