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One result of the widespread fear surrounding cholesterol is the meteoric increase of prescriptions for a type of cholesterol-lowering medication called statins. If you’re still a few decades away from being prescribed one, chances are you’ll find a bottle in your parents’ medicine cabinet. It’s clear what they are because their chemical names all end in – statin. An estimated twenty million Americans take statins, making them the most widely prescribed class of drug in the world. The most commonly sold variant is rosuvastatin, which regularly makes it to number one on the list of topselling drugs in the United…

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It is impossible to overstate the importance of sleep. In my clinical practice, if a patient comes to me with a goal of weight loss or body recomposition and is sleeping fewer than seven full hours a night, I will say, in not so many words, that she is wasting her money if she’s not also committed to improving sleep duration and quality. Recent studies, since replicated, have confirmed that sleep deprivation (which means fewer than six hours of sleep) for a single night leads to an unintentional ingestion of an extra 400 to 500 calories the following day, and…

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When patients and I get to know each other, I often conduct my visits while walking with the patient in New York City’s Central Park. The movement and constantly changing scenery helps the patient remember my advice, and helps me remember the encounter! Optimizing Norepinephrine Norepinephrine can sometimes work against us. Unlike in our distant past, stressful stimuli today don’t always require our immediate focus and attention. And yet, the physiological mechanisms remain to guide our attention when a threat is perceived, real or otherwise. The media often exploits this fact—something I know well, having worked in TV. “If it…

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The paradigm under which statins were originally studied, and for which the strongest data in support of their use exists, was secondary prevention—preventing a heart attack after you’ve already had one. The indication for their use was expanded to primary prevention (preventing a cardiovascular event in someone who’s never had one) through drug company–funded studies, essentially labeling millions of Americans who had never had a heart problem as now having the “disease” of hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol. But that’s good, right? We are saving lives! The key concept here, however, is that most of those people put on a statin…

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The symptoms of foodborne illness range from mild to severe gastroenteritis, to life-threatening disease. Foodborne disease is commonly acute, but also can become chronic with long-term sequelae including organ failure, paralysis, neurological impairment, blindness, stillbirths and death. Although foodborne infections have been recognized as a major cause of human illness for many years, the true incidence often remains unknown (Motarjemi and Käferstein 1997; Clark et al. 2000) or the attribution of illness to specific sources is a challenge. As a consequence, the attributable risk is 1.6 Surveillance and Trends in Foodborne Illness 18 difficult to quantify too. In Canada and the US,…

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The problem of classification arose when it came to describing the regulatory aspects of composting food processing waste. Solid, agricultural and/or industrial wastes were of great concern, as well as the marketability of composted materials. The impact of CAA on food processing waste operations identified yeast manufacturing, cellulose food casing manufacturing and vegetable oil production as target industries for future specific regulations (Walsh et al., 1993). Dairy industry A large portion of the chemicals used in the dairy industry has been traditionally discharged in the dairy wastewater. The type and quantity of chemicals used, and the method of wastewater treatment…

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Once initiated, the HPA axis begins in the brain structure known as the hypothalamus—the H in HPA. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus (aside from its role as a metabolic master controller) is to link the brain to the body’s hormone system via the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus sends out some corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) to the pituitary gland—the meat in the HPA sandwich. After receiving word of turmoil from the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland then secretes something c a l l e d adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into circulation. (Recall that hormones are long-range messengers, which differ from…

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In adults, growth hormone, or GH, is known primarily for its role as a repair hormone. Athletes have been known to use GH for its performance-enhancing qualities, namely its ability to accelerate repair of connective tissue. But GH, which is secreted by the brain’s pituitary gland, is also a powerful cognitive modulator, shown to improve many aspects of brain function, including processing speed and mood. In older adults, GH replacement therapy has been shown to boost cognitive function in patients with mild cognitive impairment (pre-dementia that often leads to Alzheimer’s disease) and in healthy controls after just five months. 17…

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Sleep can also negatively affect another hormone involved in hunger called leptin. Leptin is the “satiety” hormone that helps regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger, and it plummets with sleep deprivation. Leptin’s job is to control energy expenditure through its action on the hypothalamus, the brain’s master metabolic regulator. Because leptin is secreted by fat cells, the more fat cells one has, the more circulating leptin. The brain interprets higher levels of leptin as permission to open up the throttle a bit on the rate at which our bodies burn calories—after all, food is seemingly plentiful! But as with insulin,…

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Crew Anatomy textbooks are not updated too often these days. After the advent of the microscope, physiologists were quick to slice, dice, stain, map, and draw every square millimeter of the human body—and within a few short decades, there was seemingly nothing left to explore. So it was a major geek-out moment for biology lovers when Jeffrey Iliff and his team at the University of Rochester discovered what could rightly be called an uncharted organ —th e glymphatic system. This system forcefully pushes cerebrospinal fluid through the brain while we sleep, providing a free power-wash for our brains every single…

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