Report: Smoking May Kill 8 Million per Year by 2030

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco will kill nearly 6 million people this year — including 600,000 non-smokers — due to the lack of governmental intervention in preventing both smoking and second-hand smoke exposure. The report goes on to theorize that by 2030, the total number of tobacco-related deaths will rise to a staggering 8 million. The United Nations has urged governments worldwide to sign up to and implement its tobacco control treaty in an attempt to curb tobacco use worldwide.

Emotional Health: How to Block Negative Thoughts

Every one of us knows what it’s like to be plagued by an unpleasant or unwanted thought. It could be a nagging self-doubt, a disturbing story from the evening news or the humiliation of being recently rejected by a potential love interest. Try as you might to block it out, the image or feeling pops up over and over again. It makes you miserable and leaves you feeling very much a virtual prisoner of your own cruel mind.

Fraudulent Organics from China Spell Safety Hazards for U.S. Consumers

Three years ago, Chinese baby formula tainted with Melamine caused the death of six infants and over 300,000 serious injuries. After initially suppressing the information, the Chinese government made a grand gesture of eradicating the problem. The company was shut down. Some executives were even put to death. The epidemic, however, was not. The scandal reared its head earlier this year, when the product line was placed back into circulation in China.

Nuclear Crisis Reborn: Typhoon May Spread Fukushima Radiation

Downgraded from a tropical storm, former Typhoon Songda is en route to bring strong winds and torrential rainfall to the Fukushima area. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, has openly apologized for not being prepared to face the storm. Due to lack of progress in preparing the crippled plant for the onslaught of the typhoon, radioactive material may be carried into the air. Depending on the reach of the storm, this could mean some serious health consequences for surrounding areas.

Estrogen, Mimicked in Many Plastics, Linked to High Blood Pressure

While recent studies have shown long-term exposure to estrogen can be a danger to women – overturning physicians’ long-held beliefs that the hormone was good for their patients’ hearts – the process by which estrogen induces high blood pressure was unclear. In a new study, Michigan State University researchers found long-term estrogen exposure generates excessive levels of the compound superoxide, which causes stress in the body.

Folic Acid During Pregnancy May Reduce Baby’s Cancer Risk

Recalling painful memories while under the influence of the drug metyrapone reduces the brain’s ability to re-record the negative emotions associated with them, according to a study published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The study by a team of University of Montreal researchers at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital challenges the theory that memories cannot be modified once they are stored in the brain.

The Motivational Power of Self-Compassion

The number-one reason people give for why they aren’t more self-compassionate is the fear that they will be too easy on themselves. Without constant self-criticism to spur myself on, people worry, won’t I just skip work, eat three tubs of ice cream and watch Oprah reruns all day? In others words, isn’t self-compassion really the same thing as self-indulgence? Before answering that question, it’s first worth considering whether self-criticism is really the great motivator it’s cracked up to be.

Mercury, PCBs Found in Coastal Fish

A new study of sportfish along the California coast shows mercury and PCBs in several popular species, some above state health thresholds but none high enough to trigger changes in fish-eating guidelines for Southern California. The study, part of a multi-year effort to examine fish in the ocean as well as inland waters, found mercury and PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenals, cancer-causing chemicals often used in electrical transformers before they were banned in 1979.

Research Shows Local Honey may Halt Allergies

Honey has been considered an alternative allergy treatment for many years, with many allergy sufferers swearing by its anti-allergenic properties. Until recently, however, there had not been much research into whether or not local honey truly played a role in diminishing allergy symptoms, or perhaps even halting allergies altogether. A recent study found that the use of local honey resulted in a 60 percent reduction in symptoms for birch pollen allergy sufferers.

Arizona Sues Justice Dept. Over Medical Marijuana

Arizona officials are taking the state’s own medical marijuana law to court. Attorney General Tom Horne late Friday sued the U.S. Justice Department and other defendants on behalf of the state and Gov. Jan Brewer. The suit asks a federal judge to rule on whether strict compliance with the Arizona law provides protection from federal prosecution or whether the Arizona measure is pre-empted by federal law.

Obesity Linked to Working Conditions

Now you can blame your job for something other than stress. New research estimates that, every day, Americans are burning at least 100 fewer calories at work than they did in the 1960’s; in other words, our jobs are making us fat. The authors of the new study are blunt in their conclusion: “Over the last 50 years in the U.S. we estimate that daily occupation-related energy expenditure has decreased by more than 100 calories.

This Type of Factory Produces 100 Times More Waste than the Entire US Population Combined

If you thought you were a major contributor to pollution, just wait until you hear this. Factory farms produce 100 times more waste than every single person in the United States combined. The amount of waste produced by these factories is in such mass quantities that it is virtually impossible to clean up properly. Much of this waste is dumped into the water supply, drastically increasing overall water pollution as well as contributing to the pollution found in drinking water.

Brazil Does Away with Rainforest Protection Law

Despite the hard work of environmentalists, scientists, and ten former environment ministers, Brazil’s formerly-protected rainforests will soon be at the whim of the nation’s powerful agricultural sector. The bill, now approved by the lower house of Congress, was originally intended to further protect Brazilian rainforests. Farm-based economic interests, however, were successful in re-shaping the bill to remove key restrictions that were implemented in 1965 to curb deforestation.

Vermont Moving Toward Single-Payer Health Care

Vermont became the first state to lay the groundwork for single-payer health care on Thursday when its governor signed an ambitious bill aimed at establishing universal insurance coverage for all residents. “This law recognizes an economic and fiscal imperative,” Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin said as he signed the bill into law at the State House. “We must control the growth in health care costs that are putting families at economic risk and making it harder for small employers to do business.”

Grapefruit Molecule may Lower Bad Cholesterol, Treat Diabetes

A little bitter with a little sweet, in the form of a nano-complex dietary supplement taken before meals, can result in a substantial reduction of fat and sugar absorption in the body, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Harvard University researchers have found. The researchers previously showed that naringenin, the molecule responsible for the bitter taste in grapefruits, could potentially be used in the treatment of diabetes, arteriosclerosis and hyper-metabolism.

Drug Abuse Costs Rival those of Chronic Diseases, Report Says

Illicit drug use cost the U.S. economy an estimated $193 billion in 2007 — a figure that comes close to the annual costs related to diabetes and other chronic diseases, according to a government study released Thursday by the National Drug Intelligence Center. The report looked at the most recent year in which data was available and examined expenses associated with crime, health and medical treatment, and lost productivity related to the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of pharmaceuticals.

Would Primary Care Improve from these Suggestions from Experts?

Many people either receive over-treatment, unnecessary treatment, or the completely wrong treatment due to hasty medical decision making and negligence. Antibiotics are given out like they are candy and screening tests are routinely being implemented into people’s lives for little reason. So what could be done on a health physicians part to reduce the number of unnecessary treatments?