What’s Going On? April 19-23

I think it is important that we stay on top of what is going on in the world. This is the first installment of a new series entitled What’s Going On?, which will strive to bring you the latest interesting (and sometimes outlandish) headlines in medicine, healthcare and healthy living. 

Reuters reported that a potentially dangerous airborne fungus has infected people in the pacific northwest. Cryptococcus gattii, “usually only infects transplant and AIDS patients and people with otherwise compromised immune systems…” Apparently, this strain is more virulent and has infected healthy people. Most docs share the sentiment that people with healthy immune systems are immune to fungal problems. However, it is common, well documented knowledge that stress can play a role in immune system vitality. Could our nation of chronically overstressed men and women be more susceptible to yeast, mold and mildew problems than we think? Regardless, as Doug always says, an incredible science has been totally overlooked; maybe this outbreak will force researchers to take another glance.

Sugar is now the culprit in high cholesterol. A number have studies have confirmed that excess sugar in the diet puts consumers at risk for a number of cardiovascular complications. This is in stark contrast to the food pyramid and every other governmental dietary recommendation. All those carbs at the base of that pyramid – guess what they convert to immediately during digestion? Sugar! That sugar that is now responsible for heart problems. That grass fed steak is looking better and better.

Speaking of steak, another book railing on factory farms is coming out. David Kirby’s Animal Factory sheds some light on the disgusting practices of the mega-huge CAFO’s and how they are poisoning our meat and environment. Between Mr. Kirby, Michael Pollan (a personal favorite of mine) and documentaries such as Food, Inc., hopefully some meaningful legislation is just around the corner. If you want to do your part (and experience some wonderful health benefits), seek out local farmers who raise their animals humanely and feed them food they are designed to eat. It may be a little more expensive, but the health benefits and the environmental impact (or lack thereof) merit the extra money. 

Not all is terrible or malevolent in mainstream medicine; a team of doctors in Spain have completed a nearly full-facial transplant to a victim of a terrible accident. From hairline to neck, the patient has a received a totally new face. Aside from being totally awesome and cool, procedures like this give hope to victims who in past years would have to live with terrible deformities for the rest of their lives. 
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