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Everything posted by KHashmi317

  1. LET THE SUN SHINE [COVER STORY] For years, we were told to slather on sunscreen to prevent skin cancer . But does blocking out the sun do us more harm than good? Linda Geddes investigates 16 March 2019 | NewScientist | 29 SLIP! Slop! Slap! As public-health campaigns go, Cancer Council Australia's dancing seagull telling people to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat must rank among the stickiest in history. Launched in 1981, it prompted many a devoted sun worshipper to reconsider whether a "healthy tan" was virtuous, or a herald of premature skin ageing and cancer. It seems to have been effective: after increasing in the general population for decades, rates of the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, are now falling among Australians under the age of 40. "These are people who will have been exposed to the [Slip, Slop, Slap] message for pretty much their whole lives," says Heather Walker of Cancer Council Australia. But has this come at a cost? In Australia and worldwide, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is increasing - and sunscreen has taken much of the blame. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with weaker bones and teeth, infections, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases including multiple sclerosis. And although vitamin D supplements have been touted as a solution, so far they don't seem to have the effect that was expected. Now evidence is accumulating that sun exposure has benefits beyond vitamin D. All of this has prompted some to label sunscreen "the new margarine" - a reference to health advice in the 1980s and 90s to switch from butter to hydrogenated vegetable oil to protect heart health, only to discover that the trans-fats found in many margarines were potentially more harmful. Could sunscreen face a similar fate? And if sun exposure is necessary, how do we reap the benefits without getting skin cancer? The Ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all recognised that sunlight could be harnessed to promote health. Hippocrates, for instance, believed that it was beneficial in the treatment of most ailments. But medical interest in sunlight truly took hold at the turn of the 20th century, following observations that it kills bacteria and that a deficiency is associated with rickets, a condition that affects bone development during childhood. By the late-1920s, sunlight was being touted as a cure for pretty much every illness under the sun, and a suntan had become an emblem of health and status. Soaking up rays It was also around this time that scientists identified one of the key mechanisms by which sunlight promotes health. When the ultraviolet (UV) B rays in sunlight hit the skin, they spur the synthesis of vitamin D3. This circulates in the blood before being further metabolised into the active form of vitamin D elsewhere in the body. Bone and muscle cells use vitamin D to regulate levels of calcium and phosphorus, keeping them strong and healthy - but it is also important for certain immune cells, which spew out an antimicrobial in response to it. Indeed, last month a study found that giving vitamin D supplements alongside antibiotics could speed up treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the lungs. Of course, sunlight also has a dark side. This was recognised in 1928 by British researcher George Findlay, who exposed mice to regular irradiation with UV light and observed that tumours developed on their skin. Since then, many more studies have shown that UV light triggers DNA mutations in our skin cells, potentially leading to cancer. Sunscreen, in combination with other sun avoidance measures, reduces that risk. Today, the sunscreen industry is booming. Global sales of sun-care products totalled around $15.8 billion in 2015 and are projected to reach $24.9 billion by 2024. There is also a trend towards ever higher sun protection factors, even SPF100, although they don't necessarily provide much extra protection (see "Sunscreen myths", page 29). Combined with the fact that most Westerners spend a lot of time indoors - in the US it is, on average, 90 per cent of their lives - this has prompted concerns that, at least at high latitudes, many people aren't storing enough vitamin D to see them through winter. The fear is that their bones, muscles and possibly other tissues are suffering as a result. -You don't need to sizzle in full sun to make vitamin D --- About 10 per cent of people in the UK have insufficient levels of vitamin D during the summer, rising to nearly 40 per cent during the winter months. For this reason, in 2016, the UK's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommended that everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements during winter, because there is good evidence that they can make a difference to bone and muscle health. The trouble is, in recent years the list of illnesses associated with vitamin D deficiency has grown to include cardiovascular disease, infections and even infertility, but for many of these, supplements don't seem to lead to better health. Several recent studies actually associated high doses of vitamin D with an increased risk of falls in older people. According to a recent review of trials, apart from bone-related conditions,there is good evidence for only two things: that vitamin D can prevent upper respiratory tract infections and stop existing asthma from getting worse. Ongoing trials may yet find additional benefits, but it is unlikely vitamin D will be a panacea for our many modern health challenges. Vitamin D isn't the only way sunlight affects our health, however. UV light itself may also help marshal our immune system via the largest organ in the body: our skin. Long thought to be simply a protective barrier that provides a way to sense our environment, it turns out our skin may also be a vital part of the immune system. The outermost layer contains cells called keratinocytes that absorb UV light, then send signals to regulatory cells that help to keep the immune system in check. If there is plenty of UV light, these dampening signals are transmitted to the rest of the body, suppressing its immune responses. One idea for why, as daytime creatures on this sunny planet, we evolved this response to the sun is that it is a way to tolerate our own cells, rather than misidentifying them as "foreign" and destroying them. By getting sunlight, we boost that tolerance of self, which is essential for preventing autoimmune diseases, says Scott Byrne, an immunologist at the University of Sydney. Protection factor Byrne has been working with Prue Hart at the University of Western Australia to investigate whether UV light could help people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune condition that is more common at higher latitudes. Hart has shown that exposing mice to UV doses equivalent to a brief stint in the midday sun can prevent them from developing a form of MS. Now she and Byrne are looking into whether UV exposure from specialised lamps could slow, or even prevent, the development of MS in people. However, sunlight's effect on immune suppression also has a big downside: "Probably the reason why skin cancers grow is because the immune system is dampened and less efficient," says Hart. Even so, immune suppression can't explain all the effects of sunlight on health that we have seen. Consider the perplexing finding that people with high sun exposures have higher life expectancies, on average, than sun avoiders - despite facing an increased risk of skin cancer. That was the discovery of a large Swedish study into the risks associated with melanoma and breast cancer. In 1990, nearly 30,000 women were interviewed about their health and behaviour - including their sun habits. They were then interviewed again 20 years later. When Pelle Lindqvist at the Karolinska Institute and his colleagues crunched that data, they found that, on average, women who spent more time in the sun lived one to two years longer than sun avoiders, even after adjusting for factors such as disposable income, education level and exercise. That suggests it wasn't simply about having a more healthy lifestyle overall. The researchers found this reduced life expectancy among sun avoiders was mostly due to a greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other non-cancer-related illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease or chronic lung disease. What could be going on? Richard Weller at the University of Edinburgh, UK, thinks he has the answer. Like most dermatologists, Weller started his career believing that sunlight is terribly bad for you. He still wouldn't dispute that it is a major risk factor for skin cancer. However, his discovery that we produce and stockpile vast quantities of nitric oxide - a potent dilator of blood vessels - in our skin, which can be activated by sunlight, made him think again. He wondered if this UV-activated nitric oxide was why people's blood pressure readings are lower in summer than in winter, and whether it may help to explain why cardiovascular disease is more prevalent at higher latitudes. If that were the case, it would also help to explain the puzzling results of the Swedish study. What he found pointed in that direction: his experiments showed that if you expose somebody to the equivalent of about 20 minutes of UK noontime summer sunlight, they experience a drop in blood pressure that continues even after they step indoors. This sunlight-activated nitric oxide may have other functions as well. Separate studies have revealed that mice fed a high-fat diet that has been shown to promote weight gain and metabolic dysfunction can be protected against these effects through regular exposure to UV light, but not if nitric oxide production is blocked. Nitric oxide is implicated in wound healing, not to mention achieving and maintaining an erection. It also seems to be another substance to which regulatory immune cells respond. ---" People with high sun exposures have higher life expectancies, on average, than sun avoiders"---- More evidence will be needed to convince the wider dermatology community to step back into the sunlight. "The only established benefit of solar exposure is vitamin D production; others are still controversial," says Antony Young, who studies the effect of solar UV on the skin at King's College London. Even so, he believes there may be something to Weller's findings: "UV has an awful lot of effects at a cellular and a molecular level, and it would certainly not be surprising if these had been exploited by evolution to get some advantages." All of this leaves health policy-makers with a dilemma. Most still believe that the need to protect skin from sun damage outweighs the risk of vitamin D deficiency, given repeated findings about skin cancer. For example, getting sunburnt once every two years has been found to triple a person's risk of developing melanoma. Cancer Council Australia now emphasises the importance of the UV index - a measure of how strong the sun's UV rays are on a scale of 1 to 11 - in dictating when sunlight should be avoided. Together with other Australian medical bodies, it recommends staying indoors when the UV index is 3 or above, or following the modified Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide message if you are outdoors for more than a few minutes (the latter two were added in 2007, to emphasise the importance > of seeking shade and sliding on sunglasses). Sunscreen is a last resort. "You should use clothing to cover up," says Walker. "That offers the most reliable protection. Only use sunscreen on the parts of your skin that are uncovered." During autumn and winter, though, the council encourages people living in Southern Australia, where vitamin D deficiency is more of a risk, to head outside with some skin uncovered in the middle of the day, when the UVB rays needed to synthesise vitamin D are at their strongest. That won't work in countries at higher latitudes, such as the UK, because the sun doesn't rise high enough during winter for the UVB rays to reach ground level. Populations in these countries are dependent on the vitamin D they stockpile during sunnier months, supplemented by that obtained from foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and some breakfast cereals, or taking vitamin D tablets. You don't need to spend hours sizzling in the summer sun to ensure you synthesise adequate vitamin D for the year (see diagram, page 31). "We still don't know the minimal dose requirement [of sunlight] for adequate vitamin D production, but whatever it is, it is very much lower than is necessary to have a sunburn," says Young. You can even manufacture some vitamin D while wearing sunscreen - although the amount you make will be reduced. But preliminary studies by Weller suggest that sunscreen inhibits both the release of nitric oxide and vitamin D. ----Smearing on sunscreen should be a last resort after covering what you can with clothing ----- So, what does he tell his patients? "I am conflicted," Weller says. "Sunlight is good and bad." Both he and Young stress the importance of knowing your skin type: people with darker skin will need to spend longer in the sun to generate vitamin D and nitric oxide, and it also takes longer for them to burn. Possibly, though, there is a way of getting the best of both worlds. Weller and his colleagues have recently patented an ingredient that could be added to sunscreen, and which releases nitric oxide into the skin when sunlight hits it. He has had little interest from sunscreen manufacturers, though, possibly because it makes things more complicated. "They have spent years and years - as has the dermatology community - saying sunlight is bad: avoid it," says Weller. "Now we're coming along with a more nuanced message." ¦ Linda Geddes is a New Scientist consultant and the author of Chasing the Sun: The new science of sunlight and how it shapes our bodies and minds =================== Infographic: How much sun? The number of minutes you need in the sunshine to get your daily dose of vitamin D depends on your skin colour, where you are and the time of year ==================== ----------- SUNSCREEN MYTHS 1 Being in the sun is safe if you are wearing sunscreen "Sunscreen is a screen, not a block," says Heather Walker, chair of Cancer Council Australia's national skin cancer committee. "There will always be some UV that gets through." SPF30, for instance, allows 3.3 per cent of UV through. With SPF50 it is 2 per cent, and with SPF100 it is 1 per cent. However, that assumes you are applying it properly: using roughly a teaspoon for each limb, plus one each for the front and back of the torso, and another for the face and neck, and reapplying every 2 hours. Most people apply less than three-quarters of this amount, and don't reapply often enough. And the SPF rating applies only to UVB rays, not to UVA rays, which also damage skin. For decent UVA protection, look for sunscreens labelled "broad spectrum protection"; with a symbol of UVA in a circle or with a high UVA star rating. --- SUNSCREEN MYTHS 2 I get plenty of sun exposure walking to and from work - I can't be vitamin D deficient To make vitamin D, you need exposure to UVB rays, which peak around noon. You make relatively little vitamin D in the morning and late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. "If you want to top your vitamin D up, the best thing to do is just get a few minutes [of sun exposure] at noon," says Antony Young at King's College London. There are still benefits to getting outdoors during the morning and afternoon however: exposure to bright daylight helps to strengthen our circadian rhythms. These 24-hour cycles in our biology and behaviour help us to feel sleepy and alert at the right time, among other things. ------ SUNSCREEN MYTHS 3 You can make vitamin D by sitting next to a window Not if the window is shut, because UVB rays struggle to penetrate glass. You can burn, however, because some UVA rays can get through and these can cause skin damage. -----------------------
  2. KHashmi317

    Coffee Revisited

    Interesting video--nicely produced and edited, at least. Not sure about any tangible bennies based on the those papers. My own coffee consumption habits--since commencing CR in late 1999-- have varied. Including many consecutive years with no consumption. For the past 3 years, consumption has been two cups French press light roast ( with 1T soy milk/cup), upon awaking in the morning. Coffee helps with mood , suppresses appetite, and ups thermogenesis (a nice warmup on cold days). That's my bottom line.
  3. Statisticians' Call To Arms: Reject Significance And Embrace Uncertainty! "A recent study that questioned the healthfulness of eggs raised a perpetual question: Why do studies, as has been the case with health research involving eggs, so often flip-flop from one answer to another? ... An entire issue of the journal The American Statistician is devoted to this question, with 43 articles and a 17,500-word editorial ..." Article and NPR podcast here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/20/705191851/statisticians-call-to-arms-reject-significance-and-embrace-uncertainty
  4. An important miss in the NewSci article is importance of protecting eyes from sunshine. Don't forget the shades!
  5. About that Swedish longevity study (as with almost ANY health study), I'm not sure how you could "adjust [...] for factors such as disposable income, education level and exercise..." E.g., being outdoors on a sunny day has positive psychological effects (lifts your spirits, etc). There may be MANY other unaccounted-for factors.
  6. Aubrey de Grey seems to have had some spare time last year .... for math ... (Saul may appreciate this) ... https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.02385
  7. The cover story of the latest Science News claims : "Vitamin D supplements aren’t living up to their hype-- Recent studies say taking extra amounts of the nutrient may not be a boon for every body" Maybe the new findings don't apply much to CR folks, who need added amounts due to dietary restriction ??? In any case, vitamin D has been discussed extensively during the Mailing List days. And, IIRC, it was one of Michael Rae's "Tier 1" supplements. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/vitamin-d-supplements-lose-luster
  8. By "common illness", I mean common cold or "average" flu. Most seriously-committed and/or long-time practitioners of CR have reported suffering from fewer colds/flu. And when the rare bug does bite, the symptoms are mild. I, personally can count on one hand the number of disabling common-illness events I've experienced since starting CR in late 1999 (four events, TTBOMK). By disabling, I mean requiring committed bed rest and a few days away from common routine. I just took a few days rest from a mild flu. Symptoms were mid-grade fever, body aches, mild nausea, loss of appetite, loss of energy, and diarrhea. It lasted 3 days with symptoms waxing and waning. Loss of appetite was of concern because I'm pretty hard-cored. I used Tylenol to reduce fever. On the main list, there have been discussions about common illness potentially being amplified because a CR'd indiv. does not have enough reserves to fight the infection. Also, the question of increasing calorie intake during illness has been raised. Other questions and issues: Does one require extra calories during common illness? An active fever is analogous to thermogenesis. But what if one can control fever via meds? If one has diarrhea, is one losing calories because the food is being improperly digested? Personally, the psychological aspect changing my diet to accommodate illness, is what I find most challenging. Long-time, hard-core CR takes years of discipline. Even adding a few cups of applesauce can be challenging ;-) ============================= BTW, you may be curious to know about other mild (i.e., not disabling) illnesses I've experienced while on CR : Once or twice/year, I'll come down with a very mild under-the-weather cold or other infection. Mild fever, runny nose or irritated throat. While mild -- symptoms last 24 hrs -- the symptoms may "flare up" at a reduced level several days later ...and further reduce in a crazy "harmonic" pattern as analogized here:
  9. "Carnivore Diet: Why would it work? What about Nutrients and Fiber?" A new video that SEEMS to have some "research" legwork behind it--or is it confabulation, cognitive dissonance or "fake news" or FEPO (for entertainment purposes only)? ?
  10. It seems that long-standing default body temp for the general (non-CR) population is on the high side. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/normal-body-temperature-is-surprisingly-less-than-98-6/
  11. Back in the CRS mailing-list days, Nestle got some airplay wrt her Food Politics book. She has written a few others since, and is currently out on book tour for her latest project.
  12. KHashmi317

    98.6 F (37.0 C) is old school

    I've never been able to get really spectacular CR bios like testosterone, body temp, etc. At 1400 cal/day, 6 ft tall, and 115-20 lbs, my CR is (and has been) pretty hard-core -- for almost 19 years now..
  13. KHashmi317

    98.6 F (37.0 C) is old school

    I've always used a mouth thermo. I've never measured anything below 96.8F, even at some of my lowest body weight (108 lbs, back in mid 2006). At my std. 115-120lbs, BT usually hovers around 97.1 to 97.5 F. EDIT: I'm 6 ft. tall.
  14. KHashmi317

    CR vs. common illness

    There is also a feeling of "feverishness" that has no temp. component. I think it is formally defined as MALAISE. In my pre-CR days, when I had cat allergies, it FELT like the flu, with "feverishness". I never took my temp, though.
  15. KHashmi317

    CR vs. common illness

    One of the reasons for creating this topic (re: COMMON illness) was to turn up any correlation between common illness (cold/flu) and longevity. (Anyone know?!) I researched the topic years ago and came up with almost nothing. There are some general reports of male vs female longevity ... e.g., women get more colds and live longer: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/1999/mar/02/healthandwellbeing.health5 (Correlation, but hardly a causation) There is also "Coley toxins." Say you have some early-stage (undetected) cancer cells, and they will ultimately become dangerous. You get the flu and have fever. The cancer cells also experience fever, and at that higher temp., they begin metabolizing dirty, emitting "smoke signals". So, MAYBE, once-in-a-while fever may be a good thing for immune system to detect cancer. I think I have posted on Coley before.
  16. KHashmi317

    CR vs. common illness

    Saul: Glad you're okay. Mine was not a " cold"; rather the "flu" per the usual definition: there was a very mild fever (off and on, for most of the duration). Also, in the first day or two of illness, there was there some loss of energy and sore throat. Unlike you (Saul), I'm rarely in the company of others. So I might be missing some "herd immunity".
  17. KHashmi317

    CR vs. common illness

    Out of a sense of Kantian obligation 😉 I should update this thread. Well, back in Oct., I had an almost fax of the very mild illness I reported on last year. Very mild, flu-like symptoms. It lasted about month -- off and on. After meals, exercise, or activity, symptoms almost completely disappeared. Some days symptoms were worse than others, but the illness never became disabling -- daily activity and exercise were carried out as usual. Also like last year, after the initial recovery there was a period of about 3-4 weeks total asymptomism, and then an even milder relapse. It's as if all the unkilled bugs went in hiding, and thought they could have another go at it. I'm slightly symptomatic now and predict recovery in a week or two. The pattern of on/off and mildness is "typical" of prev. years. And it's largely manageable. To relive some symptoms, I use OTC meds like Tylenol or aspirin, but at 1/2 min. dosage.
  18. The article is not online yet, but you can download the full-length TruPDF Discover oct 2018 mag here: http://www.mediafire.com/file/q6am6a9kj7on4bb/2018-10-01_Discover.pdf/file Of all the major USA pop-sci rags, Discover has, perhaps, been the kindest and most supportive of CR. Back in 2000, some of you may recall Discover's Roy Walford feature (web article is missing the several photos of RW in his Venice, CA home). Discover is revisiting CR again, with (I must admit) a decent synthesis of CR in 2018. From the latest article, something new to me was a before/after image of RW (the b/w image in the new Discover article is actually from a 2002 Journal of Gerontology paper about CR in Bio 2). The b/w (above) shows senior author [of 2002 paper] (R. Walford) after 15 months residence inside Biosphere 2 (on the left: weight 119 lb or 54 kg), and 18 months after exiting Biosphere 2 (on the right: weight 150 lb, or 68 kg; normal weight when on an ad libitum diet) 150 lbs -- in my book -- is not "CR", esp. for his avg. height. So, RW did weight cycle a bit. Yup ... CR is difficult to maintain in the long term ... and the new article alludes to this : Refs: http://discovermagazine.com/search?q=calorie+restriction https://thepaleodiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/2002-Walford-Calorie-restriction-in-biosphere-2.pdf
  19. One point the video in the OP seems to hit the mark on is fiber consumption vs. bowel motility. Bottom line: you can claim that fiber will make you more regular. But if you consume more fiber, that in itself will make you #2 more often.
  20. YouTube is full of stuff like this ... hence ... one reason for posting the video was to demonstrate possible motivations/intentions for making the video (as well as vlogger's credentials -- or, in this case, lack of). I could find no further info about the vlogger to legitimize him ... e.g., lack of LinkedIn page (or link to it), etc. The vlogger has a large subscribership as well as a Patreon plug. So, definite financial interest for created content -- legitimate or entertaining or somewhere on that continuum. The vloggers use of multiple Journal refs, and other "authoritative" references (video lectures/seminars) may initially APPEAR impressive. But these techniques have been used for decades ... e.g., LEF and its supplement magazine. It's possible that vlogger actually, really believes in some/all of his claims ... hence the initial motivation (and subsequent effort ) for making the video. Finding counterpoint (on YT , of course!!) is not hard. E.g., the vlogger's claim about the Inuit Paradox is countered by another vlogger, also armed with an arsenal of Journal bites:
  21. Note that paper is based on " all inhabitants of Italy aged 105 and older between 2009 and 2015 (born 1896–1910), a total of 3836 documented cases. " So, some geographic/ethnographic factors ... Mediterranean diet, etc.??? The Sciencemag audio podcast, with author, condenses the new "plateau" paper (but reveals more details than Abstract). It is here: http://www.sciencemag.org/podcast/increasing-transparency-animal-research-sway-public-opinion-and-reaching-plateau-human Podcast reveals some details: By far, most of the 3836 "cases" (>3400!!) are women. Men kick off earlier. Other animal subjects also reveal plateaus.
  22. Even if you're familiar with the myriad shortcomings (to outright frauds) of the journal/paper "industry", this not-too-long refresher course is worth watching: Be sure to also check out the below-video Comments. At least Al's a bit curious on the issue ;)
  23. Way back in the Mailing List days, supplementing with lithium orotate was sometimes brought up. A brief mention in pop-sci (Discover magazine, May 2018) alluded to some possible benefits, as per this study: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2649277? Note the relatively large sample population (> 800,000). Conclusions and Relevance Long-term increased lithium exposure in drinking water may be associated with a lower incidence of dementia in a nonlinear way; however, confounding from other factors associated with municipality of residence cannot be excluded.
  24. FYI: The creator of that video, YouTube vlogger potholer54, is former writer for New Scientist, Peter Hadfield. Also worth checking out are his numerous videos on climate change.
  25. Haven't checked in in a while so apologies in advance for any topical redundancy. About two months ago Canada's Govt.-owned CBC (news service) uploaded this story: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-march-24-2017-1.4038259/cellphone-in-your-pocket-cbc-s-marketplace-investigates-why-you-might-reconsider-1.4038287 If you use your smartphone a lot, and/or keep it in a pocket, watch the short documentary. I know that several previous scientific studies have disputed potential hazards. But I think this new information makes the topic worthy of re-investigation.