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Health and Fitness

Health and Fitness information for long distance backpackers. Physical and psychological effects of hiking and nature.

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Chinese Doc makes Genetically-Modified Humans


Re-Manufacturing Mankind

'CRISPR Babies' Scientist Just Defended His World-Shattering Research in First Public Appearance,
Science Alert, November 28, 2018.


“He Jiankui, the Chinese researcher who claimed this week to have helped produce the world's first genetically altered babies, said Wednesday there was another "potential pregnancy" involved in his study...”

“...he had successfully altered the DNA of twin girls while they were embryos to make them resistant to HIV infection, the Stanford-trained bioengineering professor said he felt "proud" of his work and its implications for public health in the face of nearly universal condemnation.”

“...31 embryos created through in vitro fertilization, and 70 percent were successfully edited.”

“...raised the prospect of a future in which parents produce "designer babies" with selectively improved traits such as intelligence or strength.”

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Nov 2018: Two on Ticks, Disease Numbers & Lives of Hungry Ticks


Two Research Articles

CDC Reports Substantial Annual Tickborne Disease Increase

Metabolic Adaptations of Tick Hunting Strategies Revealed




2016-2017 The Latest Data

Tickborne Disease Surveillance Data Summary,
CDC, November 9, 2018




Lyme Disease infections increased 17% between 2016-17.

36,429 to 42,743

Total Cases of Tickborne Disease increased 22% in the same period.

48,610 to 59,349


Since 2004


All Tickborne Diseases increased 163% between 2004-17

22,527 to 59,349





Press Report

Reported tick diseases hit all-time high,
UPI, November 15, 2018.



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Organophosphate Insecticides Unsafe at Any Level


Organophosphates Unsafe at Any Level

(but no worries, there're everywhere & on everything...)

Leading researchers call for a ban on widely used insecticides,
UC Davis, November 9, 2018.


“Public health experts have found there is sufficient evidence that prenatal exposure to widely used insecticides known as organophosphates puts children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.”

“...the researchers call for immediate government intervention to phase out all organophosphates.”

“...compelling evidence that exposure of pregnant women to very low levels of organophosphate pesticides is associated with lower IQs and difficulties with learning, memory or attention in their children,”

All of Them
“Although a single organophosphate — chlorpyrifos — has been in the national spotlight, our review implicates the entire class of these compounds. ”

Origin and Method
“...developed as nerve gases and weapons of war, organophosphates today are used to control insects at farms, golf courses, shopping malls and schools. They kill pests by blocking nerve signaling.”

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Tomorrow's Population will be Larger, Heavier and Eat More


Strapping on the Feed Bag as Ecosystems Crash

Tomorrow's population will be larger, heavier and eat more,
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, November 9, 2018.


“An average adult in 2014 was 14 per cent heavier, about 1.3 per cent taller, 6.2 per cent older, and needed 6.1 per cent more energy than in 1975. Researchers expect this trend to continue for most countries.”

"An average global adult consumed 2465 kilocalories per day in 1975. In 2014, the average adult consumed 2615 kilocalories."

“Globally, human consumption increased by 129 per cent during this time span. Population growth was responsible for 116 per cent, while increased weight and height accounted for 15 per cent. Older people need a little less food, but an ageing population results in only two per cent less consumption.”

"The additional 13 per cent corresponds to the needs of 286 million people."

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Genetics has Limited Influence on Longevity



Another Use of “Public” Genetic Databases

We’ve Got Your Number...&...What’s Your Number?

Family tree of 400 million people shows genetics has limited influence on longevity,
Genetics Society of America, November 6, 2018.

Main Points

Previous Estimates of 15 to 30%
“Heritability is a measure of how much of the variation in a trait--in this case life span--can be explained by genetic differences, as opposed to non-genetic differences like lifestyle, sociocultural factors, and accidents. Previous estimates of human life span heritability have ranged from around 15 to 30 percent.”

A Private, Corporate Effort…
“Ruby's employer, Calico Life Sciences, is a research and development company whose mission is to understand the biology of aging. They teamed up with scientists from the online genealogy resource Ancestry, led by Chief Scientific Officer Catherine Ball, to use publicly available pedigree data from to estimate the heritability of human life span.”

Their Object of Study
“Starting from 54 million subscriber-generated public family trees representing six billion ancestors...”

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Drug pollution concentrates in stream bugs, passes to predators in water and on land


Our Behavior is Equal to, or Worse than Pissing in our Own Drinking Water

Drug pollution concentrates in stream bugs, passes to predators in water and on land,
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, November 6, 2018.


Pharmacy in the Creek
“Sixty-nine pharmaceutical compounds have been detected in stream insects, some at concentrations that may threaten animals that feed on them, such as trout and platypus.”

Flying from Creek into Wider Ecosystem
“When these insects emerge as flying adults, they can pass drugs to spiders, birds, bats, and other streamside foragers.”

Global Drugging of Man & Nature
“Pharmaceutical pollution is present in surface waters globally. Drugs enter the environment because most wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to remove them from sewage. Septic tanks, aging pipes, and sewer overflows contribute to the problem.”

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Climate Change Triggering Return of New, & Eradicated Mosquitos & diseases


It’s Already Happening...

Could climate change trigger the return of eradicated mosquito-related disease?
University of Bath, November 5, 2018.


New Ranges
“The largest ever study of the mosquito evolutionary tree, going back 195 million years, suggests that present-day climate change could result in the spread and return of dangerous mosquito-borne diseases to new places or areas where they had previously been eradicated.”

Return of the Classics
“...– including malaria, Yellow fever, Zika virus, and Dengue fever – cause millions of deaths each year. While many of these diseases have been eradicated from Europe and are under control in other parts of the world, resurgence is always possible.”

Bonus for the Skeeters
They Like Heat AND CO2
“...the rate at which new species of mosquitoes evolve generally increases when levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are higher. This is concerning because the greater the number of mosquito species, the more potential exists for new ways of vectoring diseases, and perhaps for new variants of those diseases.”

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Health Effects of Dairy, Salt, Sugar, and Now Protein Consumption Revised-Clarified


Dairy, Salt, Sugar, and Now Protein Consumption Clarified

Researchers show that a high-protein diet does not affect kidney function,
McMaster University, November 5, 2018.


“...challenges the perceived dangers of a protein-rich diet, a notion first introduced in the 1980s which suggested processing large amounts of protein leads to a progressive decline in kidney function over time. ”

“Researchers analyzed data from 28 papers dating from 1975 to 2016, examining the effects of a low/normal protein intake versus higher protein diets on GFR in health individuals. ”

“...the impact of protein on kidney function is much more contentious, particularly its effect on the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is a test to measure how well the kidneys filter blood and remove waste. ”

Opposite is True
“ fact, the evidence shows the contrary is true: higher protein increases, not decreases, kidney function.”

"With these findings, we have shown that a higher protein diet is safe. In fact, it should be viewed as an important tool for muscle health across an entire lifespan."

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2016 Costs of Obesity Exceeded $1.7 Trillion


Destructive Consumption Destroying Mind & Body of Mankind

Economic impact of excess weight now exceeds $1.7 trillion,
Milken Institute, October 31, 2018.


“The prevalence of obesity in the U.S. population has increased steadily since the 1960s—from 3.4 percent of adults in 1962 to 39.8 percent in 2016”

Nation of Fatties
“In all, 180.5 million people—or 60.7 percent of the population ages 2 and over—were either obese or overweight.”

1.7 Trillion Dollar Overeating Problem
“The impact of obesity and overweight on the U.S. economy has eclipsed $1.7 trillion (a year), an amount equivalent to 9.3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, according to a on the role excess weight plays in the prevalence and cost of chronic diseases.”

"The estimate includes $480.7 billion in direct health-care costs and $1.24 trillion in lost productivity…" (2016)

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Picaridin Saving more Skeeters than it’s Killing?


Picaridin Saving more Skeeters than it’s Killing?

Widely used mosquito repellent proves lethal to larval salamanders,
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, October 31, 2018.


Chemical Defense
“Insect repellents are a defense against mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and West Nile virus.”

Natural Defense
“Salamanders provide natural mosquito control. During their aquatic juvenile phase, they forage on mosquito larvae, keeping populations of these nuisance insects in check.”

The Two Don’t Mix
“Chemicals in repellents enter aquatic ecosystems through sewage effluent and are now common in surface waters.”

More Skeeters?
“The paper is the first to suggest that environmentally realistic concentrations of picaridin-containing repellents in surface waters may increase the abundance of adult mosquitoes due to a decrease in predation pressure on mosquitoes at the larval stages.”

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Lyme disease predicted to rise in United States as climate warms


20% Higher in 30 Years

Lyme disease predicted to rise in United States as climate warms,
Carnegie Mellon University, October 31, 2018.


“...its incidence has risen sharply in the last decade. Since its progression depends on environmental factors, increases in daily temperatures, a manifestation of climate change, might be contributing to a rise in the number of ticks as well as a greater availability of hosts.”

Already Exploding
“The number of reported cases of Lyme disease in the United States rose from 10,000 in 1991 to about 28,000 annually in the past five years.”

Tick Distribution Mirrors Temp & Humidity
“...ticks spend most of their life cycle outside the host in an environment where temperature and humidity directly affect their development, activity, survival, and host-seeking behavior. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses the number of cases of Lyme disease as an indicator of climate change.”


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Long Term Mortality Stats Analyzed


Mortality Stats Analyzed

Young men more likely to die in summer, older people in winter despite local climate,
eLife, October 30, 2018.


“ analysis spanning nearly four decades...”

“In this study, we set out to comprehensively characterise the patterns of death over different time periods and geographical areas to understand when and where death rates are at their highest and lowest.”

“…data on 85,854,176 deaths in the US between 1980 and 2016...”

“...several distinct seasonal patterns in relation to age and gender:”
> Deaths from overall mortality (any cause of death) in men aged 45 years and older and women aged 35 years and older peaked in December, January or February, and were lowest in June to August

> Deaths from heart and lung diseases were highest in January and February and lowest in July and August regardless of age

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Study: reduced screen time for young highly recommended for well-being



Screen Time, Children, and Cell-Phonyism

New study: reduced screen time for young highly recommended for well-being,
San Diego State University, October 29, 2018.


“...time spent on gaming, smartphones and watching television is linked to heightened levels and diagnoses of anxiety or depression in children as young as age 2.”

The Idiot Screen
"...after only one hour of screen time daily, children and teens may begin to have less curiosity, lower self-control, less emotional stability and a greater inability to finish tasks."

"The National Institute of Health estimates that youth commonly spend an average of five to seven hours (per day!) on screens during leisure time."

2X Freeky-Creepy
“...adolescents who spend more than seven hours a day on screens were twice as likely as those spending one hour to have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression - a significant finding.”

Screen-Kid Effects

Less “Well”
"Moderate use of screens, at four hours each day, was also associated with lower psychological well-being than use of one hour a day.”

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California Democrats Must Stop Putting Oil Industry Over Water?


Democrats Poisoning our Land, Water, and People for Political Bribes & Power

California (Dem Appointed…) Water Officials Must Stop Putting Oil Industry Over Water,
Water Deeply, October 25, 2018.


Democratic” Bribery in Action
"State regulators have allowed the oil industry to dump waste fluid in unlined pits for decades. Even amid proof that this practice has polluted groundwater, officials continue to grant the industry a pass on cleanup requirements.”

Bribery Always Wins…
"Too often, protecting California’s precious groundwater clashes with the interests of the oil industry. Due to its outsized political influence, oil frequently wins out."

“ the Central Valley, where many oilfield operators are dumping their toxic oil-waste fluid into open, unlined pits.”

Dangers? Really!
"...risk contaminating the underlying groundwater with chemicals that make us sick. In fact, in 2015 an independent scientific panel recommended that California phase out the use of these disposal pits, citing their danger to groundwater."

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A Shitty HEALTH & FITNESS Situation: Microplastics Are Everywhere!


Microplastics Everywhere!

Microplastics Are Turning Up Everywhere, Even In Human Excrement,
NPR, October 22, 2018.


Most people are full of shit (especially NPR), and now we know their shit is full of plastic… It makes sense, if you think about it…

Thin, but Wide Sample
“...researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria, looked at stool samples from eight individuals in eight different countries: Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the U.K. and Austria. Every stool sample tested positive for up to nine different plastic types, with an average of 20 particles of plastic per 10 grams of stool.”

“...all eight stool samples contained polypropylene and polyethylene-terephthalate particles, which are major components of plastic bottle caps and plastic bottles.”

The Test
“...each person ate their regular diet and kept a food diary in the week leading up to their stool sampling. All participants were exposed to plastics by consuming foods that had been wrapped in plastic as well as beverages in plastic bottles. None of the participants were vegetarians, and six of them consumed wild fish.”

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Rural Kids Experiencing Digital Destruction?



Rural Kids Experiencing Digital Destruction?

Do It for the Kids?

Modern conflict: Screen time vs. nature,
North Carolina State University, October 22, 2018.


Rural Kids
"Even rural kids today spend more time in front of screens and less time outdoors, according to a new study of middle-school students in South Carolina."

"...asked about 550 rural students to report the amount of time they spend in nature (outdoor time) and the amount of time they spend using electronic media (screen time) over an average week. They found that screen time eclipsed outdoor time for most students, and that these gaps increased significantly in older youth."

Lost Natural World
“This is a problem because connection to nature plays a positive role in young people’s physical health and psychological development.”

Urban Nightmare
“Issues related to safety and access create barriers to outdoor recreation for diverse urban youth,...but this study shows that time in nature may be slipping even among rural students.”


Bottom Line

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BEER-O-POCOLYPSE? Barley Biting the Global Warming Dust?



Barley Biting the Global Warming Dust


Global warming will have us crying in what's left of our beer,
University of California - Irvine, October 15, 2018.


“On top of rising sea levels, stronger hurricanes and worsening wildfires, scientists project that human-caused climate change will result in one of the most dire consequences imaginable: a disruption in the global beer supply.”

“...concurrent droughts and heat waves, exacerbated by anthropogenic global warming, will lead to sharp declines in crop yields of barley, beer's main ingredient.”

"Our study showed that even modest warming will lead to increases in drought and excessive heat events in barley-growing areas."

(Results from the new (associated study) study reveal potential average yield losses ranging from 3% to 17%, depending on the severity of the conditions.)

No Beer for You
"Our results show that in the most severe climate events, the supply of beer could decline by about 16 percent in years when droughts and heat waves strike," he said. "That's comparable to all beer consumption in the U.S. Future climate and pricing conditions could put beer out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world."

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2018: Man Banned from Space by Radiation?


Man Banned from Space by Radiation?

Animal study suggests deep space travel may significantly damage GI function in astronauts,
Georgetown University Medical Center, October 1, 2018.


Cosmic Radiation
“Simulations with animal models meant to mirror galactic cosmic radiation exposure to astronauts are raising red flags...”

Serious Stomach Probs
“...deep space bombardment by galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) could significantly damage gastrointestinal (GI) tissue leading to long-term functional alterations. The study also raises concern about high risk of tumor development in the stomach and colon.”

Other Risks
“...previous work has highlighted potential impairment to brain tissue as well as accelerated aging on long space trips due to the effect of energetic heavy ions, which don't affect Earthlings due to the protective global magnetosphere.”

Current Situation
"With the current shielding technology, it is difficult to protect astronauts from the adverse effects of heavy ion radiation. Although there may be a way to use medicines to counter these effects, no such agent has been developed yet."

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How DEET Works

Scientists investigate how DEET confuses countless critters,
Rockefeller University, September 26, 2018.


“...shown that DEET acts not by repelling bugs, but rather by confusing them, messing with neurons that help the animals smell their surroundings. Moreover, the effects of DEET are not limited to insects: spiders, ticks, and many other pests also act strangely in the chemical's presence.”

“...DEET may be less of an insect repellent and more of an invertebrate confusant.”

“First developed in the 1940s, DEET can be found in most bug sprays used today. Research has shown that, in flies and mosquitoes, the chemical works by interacting with odor receptors that are unique to insects. This research, however, cannot explain how DEET exerts its effect on non-insect species.”

“The Vosshall lab previously demonstrated that DEET keeps mosquitoes away by interacting with odor receptors in a way that confuses the animals' sense of smell. ”

"The one common theme in all of these organisms is that DEET is doing something to affect odor perception--it's like sensory system sabotage.”


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Valley Fever Surging in Our Drying Climate

HEALTH & FITNESS: Crossing the Valley!

Valley Fever Surging in Our Drying Climate

With climate change, Valley fever spreads in California—and this year could be the worst yet,
CalMatters, September 25, 2018.


Rising Numbers
“...reported Valley fever cases set a record in California in 2016, with more than 6,000 infections. That number jumped to 8,103 in 2017, an increase of more than a third—growth many experts link to climate change. This year could be the worst yet.”

Record Year
“...through August this year more than 5,000 cases were reported in California, putting the state on pace for a new record.”

Growing Infections
“We’re seeing double and triple the cases. It’s a catastrophic change, and it’s getting worse.”

“...about 150,000 undiagnosed cases a year.”

Silent Killer
“The most dangerous manifestation is meningitis...and by the time they go to the hospital it’s too late, and I think a lot of people die from it without ever being diagnosed.”

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