PEMA issues advice for flash floods

PEMA issues advice for flash floodsOn the heels of devastating floods which hit North Dakota last month, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has issued safety recommendations to residents who live in areas prone to flash flooding.

The agency’s website offers downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates.

Stressing the importance of preparing in advance, PEMA Director Robert P. French says, "[Residents should check their] insurance policies to ensure appropriate coverage including content and flood insurance, since it normally takes 30 days for new policies to become effective."

According to French, basic survival tips include memorizing more than one evacuation route, regularly reviewing a family’s emergency plan so that everyone knows where to go when flash flooding occurs and where to reunite afterwards.

Each household should also have an emergency preparedness kit and keep it within easy reach in case of an evacuation.

It is also important to understand the difference between a flash flood warning and a flash flood watch.

The latter means flooding may occur, so residents should stay alert and watch rivers and streams.

By contrast, flood warning is issued when flooding is under way, and residents should move immediately to high ground.


Assault on offshore assets begins

Assault on offshore assets begins The Justice Department has asked a federal court to allow the IRS to obtain information about taxpayers who use offshore accounts, and Swiss banks have announced they will be scaling down their discreet banking services.

Banks such as UBS are acting in response to the crackdown on tax evasion which has intensified since the recent G-20 meeting in London.

"UBS is currently conducting a review of its policy and compliance framework for its international wealth management offering," said the bank’s spokeswoman as she announced a worldwide travel ban for wealth management client advisors.

Meanwhile, The Department of Justice has asked a federal court in Denver to approve service of a John Doe summons on First Data Corporation.

"John Doe" summonses allow the IRS to obtain information about U.S. taxpayers whose identities are not yet known to help the authorities identify merchants who use offshore accounts to evade U.S tax liabilities.

"Some U.S. taxpayers are evading billions of dollars per year in taxes through the use of offshore accounts," says John DiCicco, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

"The Department of Justice will ensure that the IRS obtains all the necessary information to identify these taxpayers, whether they are individuals or businesses," he adds.

Despite this, representatives of the so called ‘tax havens’ gathered at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad have vowed to lobby President Obama against the crackdown.


Vitamin D may be linked to chronic pain

Vitamin D may be linked to chronic painAccording to a new study, chronic pain may be associated with inadequate levels of vitamin D.

This study conducted at the Mayo Clinic found that patients who were prescribed narcotic pain medication, and who also had inadequate levels of vitamin D, required medication doses nearly twice as high as those who had adequate levels.

Moreover, it found a correlation between increasing body mass index – a measure of obesity – and decreasing levels of vitamin D.

"Vitamin D is known to promote both bone and muscle strength," says Dr. Michael Turner, lead author of the study and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at the Mayo Clinic.

He adds that the deficiency is "an under-recognized source of diffuse pain and impaired neuromuscular functioning," and that by recognizing this fact, physicians can substantially improve their patients’ quality of life.

Recent research has also found that in addition to the benefits of strong muscles and bones, vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system, helping fight inflammation and certain types of cancer.

Report reveals many health benefits of soy foods

Report reveals many health benefits of soy foods According to the April issue of the Journal of Nutrition, soy products play an important role in promoting heart and bone health.

This conclusion is based on a comprehensive review of available medical literature which was presented at the 8th International Soy Symposium recently held in Tokyo.

It details studies which have shown soy protein reduces total and LDL cholesterol by approximately 5 percent, which is associated with a reduction in the risk of heart disease from 10 to 15 percent.

"The cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein are similar to those of soluble fiber and certainly relevant from a public health perspective," says Dr. Mark Messina, professor of nutrition at Loma Linda University and author of the report.

"Integrating a variety of heart-healthy foods – like soy, beans, nuts and certain vegetables – together into a healthy lifestyle is really the best approach to heart health," he adds.

Other research discussed at the symposium provided evidence that soy foods promote bone health.

One study, conducted in Italy, found women taking soy extract experienced an 8 to 9 percent increase in spinal and hip bone mineral density, whereas those a placebo saw their bone density decrease at those sites by an average of 10 percent.

According to the article, the bulk of research on the health impact of soy has been inspired by the low rate of hip fractures among Asians, a population known to have a high rate of soy consumption.


Government Seeks to Grab Guns to Aid Mexico

A lucrative criminal enterprise is growing in Mexico and being exported across the border in the United States.

No, it’s not the sale of drugs, although that activity continues unabated despite the running battles between drug cartels and the Mexican government. Battles that are growing so intense that Mexican officials—like mayors and police chiefs—are beginning to live across the border in Texas to stay safe.

The new enterprise is kidnapping, and the incidents are growing in frequency and becoming more and more violent by the day.

According to the Stratfor Global Security and Intelligence Report, Mexican gangs have begun targeting people in different socio-economic levels: from the very wealthy to the common man or woman, and even foreign tourists. And just as the targets vary, the reasons for the kidnapping vary as well.

Some are kidnapped by drug gangs to intimidate, to extract information or just to “have fun” at the expense of a rival drug gang through torture and murder. Still others hold the victims for weeks in order to extract large ransoms. And sometimes the thugs just grab and hold a victim off the streets—whether a Mexican citizen or a foreign tourist—long enough to use his ATM card to clean out the bank account.

It’s gotten so bad that Stratfor calls Mexico the kidnapping capitol of the world, and gangs are beginning to use something called a virtual kidnapping: calling people and telling them they have kidnapped a family member and collecting a ransom without actually having kidnapped anybody.

And it’s begun to spill across the border with reports of kidnappings for ransom or murder—usually illegal immigrants so far—occurring in Texas and Arizona.

So how does the administration of President Barack Obama respond? Attorney General Eric Holder called for a ban on so-called assault weapons. Holder said in a February news conference that such a ban would help cut down the flow of guns going across the border.

But the types of weapons that would be banned are not the type commonly being used by gangs and drug cartels. In their battles with police the criminals are employing fragmentation grenades, fully automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. After a recent battle in which five cartel gunmen were killed and several more wounded, police even recovered a 60-mm mortar—all weapons that are unavailable to average citizens in the U.S. under existing laws.

Yet Holder believes that disarming Americans, as violent drug cartels battle along the border and kidnapping gangs sneak into America, is the right course of action.

And Holder and Obama aren’t the only ones trying to disarm U.S. citizens. Currently in Congress is H.R. 45 which will “prohibit a person from possessing a firearm unless that person has been issued a firearm license under this Act or a state system certified under this Act and such license has not been invalidated or revoked.”

In Albany, NY, lawmakers are considering legislation that would tightly regulate the sale of all ammunition. The new law would require anyone “buying rounds or shells, even .22s, would have to show identification, declare the gun and have its serial number registered with the ammo seller. The buyer would have to state his intent of use, and could be refused the purchase. The ammo seller, at the same time, would be required to keep records for 10 years.”

Never mind the Second Amendment, which guarantees that the right to keep and bear arms will not be infringed. Never mind the 10th Amendment, which restricts the U.S. Government from taking over powers not specifically enumerated by the Constitution.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that those in Government who have taken an oath to defend the Constitution are more interested in shredding it to remove any obstacles to their seizing more and more power.

Officials release Bush-era memos, rule out prosecutions

Officials release Bush-era memos but rule out prosecutionsThe Department of Justice released four previously undisclosed Office of Legal Counsel opinions yesterday that were issued to the CIA in 2002 and 2005 to guide the treatment of prisoners apprehended in connection with the war on terrorism.

According to Bloomberg, the documents show that Justice Department lawyers authorized CIA to use techniques such as sleep deprivation, slapping, nudity and waterboarding.

Attorney General Eric Holder said officials who acted in good faith based on the legal advice from the Justice Department, and conformed their conduct to that advice, would not be prosecuted.

"It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department," Holder said.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed a lawsuit earlier this year to obtain the memos, said in a statement that those who "gave legal blessings to acts of torture" should be prosecuted.

Amnesty International, while welcoming the release, expressed a similar opinion to that of ACLU.

In the view of executive director Larry Cox "The Department of Justice appears to be offering a get-out-of-jail-free card to individuals who … were involved in acts of torture."


Anti-gun rally marks second anniversary of Virginia Tech shooting

Anti-gun rally marks second anniversary of Virginia Tech shootingOn the second anniversary of Virginia Tech shooting yesterday, students and advocates rallied at State Capitol in Austin, Texas, to call for a ban on guns on America’s campuses.

The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus and Students For Gun-Free Schools organized the rally during which they also accused gun advocates in Texas and other states of exploiting the tragedy to push for expansion of the law allowing concealed weapons on college campuses.

House Bill 1893 is expected to come up for vote in the state legislature at any time, while the senate version remains in committee.

"The gun lobby is trying to hijack higher education in Texas, and across the country, to force public universities, against their will, to permit armed students to carry hidden guns in college classrooms," said Andy Pelosi, executive director of the Campaign.

"This is one of the most dangerous legislative agendas we have ever seen, and it needs to be stopped," he added.

The protest comes against the backdrop of a new poll which has found that the opposition to stricter gun laws is falling in America.

In 2001, some 54 percent favored stricter regulations, but the number has fallen to 39 percent today, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

On April 16, 2007, a gunman who turned out to be a student opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech killing 32 people before committing suicide.

Vitamin and minerals mix may have extended anti-cancer benefits

Vitamin and minerals mix may have extended anti-cancer benefitsA study has found that people who took a nutritional supplement called Factor D had a lower gastric cancer rate for at least 10 years after they ceased taking it.

Vitamins and minerals found in Factor D include selenium, vitamin E and beta-carotene.

Chinese scientists first drew this conclusion based on long-term follow-up data from the General Population Nutrition Intervention Trial in Linxian, China.

The trial followed 29,584 adults between the ages of 40 and 69 years who took the dietary supplement from 1986 to 1991.

After the initial results showed a significant reduction in risk of gastric cancer and overall mortality in individuals taking factor D, a 10-year follow-up study confirmed the results by estimating the continuing 5 percent reduction in overall mortality and an 11 percent reduction in gastric cancer mortality.

The follow-up study was recently reviewed by Dr Philip R. Taylor of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and reported in the March issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"The persistence of risk reduction for up to 10 years … is consistent with an emerging new paradigm in cancer [research], namely that prevention may be achievable with short-term as opposed to life-long treatment," the authors write.


Osteoporosis & Heart Disease Linked

Studies show an inverse correlation between bone mineral density and calcification of the arteries—a major contributor to heart disease. This means that if our bone mineral density is low, the calcification of our arteries is high. This makes osteoporosis and heart disease twins.

What is the common thread between osteoporosis and heart disease? It’s vitamin D and vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K is commonly known for its ability to activate blood clotting factors, but it is equally important and responsible for the activation of two other important proteins: osteocalcin, which is involved in the mineralization of bone matrix, and matrix Gla protein (MGP), which protects soft tissues from calcification. Vitamin D is also necessary for proper bone mineralization. Vitamin K is needed in smaller amounts than vitamin D to abate toxic effects of soft tissue calcification.  Bone health requires both vitamins D and K.

Clinical trials show that vitamin K supplementation increases the activation of osteocalcin, decreasing bone loss and increasing bone mineral density. Gone is osteoporosis and calcification of the arteries.  Calcification of the arteries is a clinical predictor of heart disease. And studies show that those with the highest intake of vitamin K have less severe artery calcification.

Can vitamin D and vitamin K reverse artery calcification? There is no evidence that they can but they could stop further calcification. My choice to clean out calcification is oral EDTA chelation.

Warfarin (a blood thinner) does its work by inhibiting vitamin K recycling, causing soft tissue calcification. Those on this drug might consider talking to your doctor about switching to fish oil and cod liver oil, the best natural blood thinners. Otherwise you might change the effect of your prescribed blood thinner. So don’t take them both. It’s vitamin K or Warfarin.

The best vitamin K that I know of is by Standard Process. It is an oil based chlorophyll complex (perle) product containing A, K, E and F. Chlorophyll is the essence of the life-supporting nutritional pattern of the planet earth. Cooking our green foods destroys the chlorophyll content. Most chlorophyll supplements sold are water soluble and mostly void of any nutrition.

Fewer Americans support gun control laws, poll says

Fewer Americans support gun control laws, poll saysGiven the recent spate of deadly shootings from coast to coast, some have found it surprising that American’s preference for stricter gun control laws has been declining.

In fact, while in 2001 some 54 percent favored stricter regulations, the number has fallen to 39 percent today, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

However, only 15 percent want gun laws that are less strict while almost half of those polled prefer to see them unchanged.

Some believe the sudden drop has to do with the new administration’s recent suggestions that stricter regulations and stronger gun laws enforcement may be in the offing.

The economy, however, may also be playing a role.

According to a recent article in Time Magazine, the nation is seeing a boom in gun sales. Quoting SportsOneSource, a research firm that tracks the sporting goods industry, it says firearms sales in large retail outlets have increased by 39 percent this year.

"The economy played a large part in my decision," Jacquita Baker, a new gun owner from Kentwood, Michigan, told Time. "When people don’t have jobs, they might go breaking into people’s homes. I want to be safe in my home."


Retirement survey finds plummeting confidence

Retirement survey finds plummeting confidenceThe 19th annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) has found that many people expect to work longer as hopes for a comfortable retirement are fading.

Only 13 percent of those polled this year were able to say they were very confident of having enough money to live comfortably in retirement, according to the survey released by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The number of those feeling very confident about retirement has fallen by 50 percent in the last two years.

Moreover, due to the worsening economy, many workers say they expect to work longer (28 percent), and more of them say they are planning to supplement their income in retirement by working for pay (72 percent versus 66 percent in 2007).

"Given the uncertainties that exist about economy, it is no surprise the downward trend has continued," says Jack Van Derhei, research director at EBRI which co-sponsored the survey with Mathew Greenwald & Associates, a research firm.

"By any measure, the two-year results amount to a very significant drop in workers’ and retirees’ confidence in their retirement prospects," he adds.

The survey also found that many employees are not sure how much they need to save for retirement, with only 44 percent of those polled admitting they or their spouse have tried to calculate that.

Allergy symptoms may be relieved with natural remedies

Allergy symptoms may be relieved with natural remedies Before reaching for antihistamine drugs to relieve the sneezing and the watery eyes, it may be worth considering so some natural options that can minimize the unpleasant symptoms as the allergy season gets underway in parts of the country.

Protective clothing, including masks and gloves, while gardening and washing hands and changing clothes afterwards can go a long way, suggests Dr Ewen Tseng, otolaryngologist at Baylor Medical Center at Frisco.

"An alternative to wearing a mask is nasal irrigation with saline (saltwater) to rinse allergens from the nose – it’s like cleaning your own air filter," he adds.

Allergic gardening enthusiasts may also create an "allergy-proof" yard by selecting plants that pollinate through insects rather than by releasing pollen.

There is also many herbal supplements and remedies to choose from.

They include quercetin, a plant-derived bioflavonoid, that helps stabilize mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine, according to

Quercentin can be found in citrus fruits, onions, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce and wine, but – according to the source – allergy sufferers will most likely need to use nutritional supplements to build up enough of the compound to protect against attacks.

3 Shots Is All It Took

Isn’t it amazing how quickly, how decisively, and how effectively our armed forces can act, when they’re given the right orders and are allowed to do their job?

Congratulations to everyone involved in the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, who had been held hostage by a ragtag band of brigands off the coast of Somalia. After days of fruitless negotiations failed to win his release, a team of Navy SEALs were dropped near the USS Bainbridge. They took up position on the rear of the ship and used night-vision goggles to watch developments on the pirate boat.

Their commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama, had authorized them to use deadly force if it appeared that Phillips’ life was in danger. When one of the pirates pointed an AK-47 at the captain’s head, the sharpshooters didn’t hesitate. Three shots rang out and three pirates fell to the deck, dead. Within moments, the fourth pirate was in custody and Phillips was safely on the deck of the Bainbridge.

You could feel the jubilation as the media reported the good news. The rescue was one of the proudest moments we’ve had in quite a while. But the burning question is, what happens next?

The pirates, who have been allowed to operate with impunity from the anarchistic disaster known as Somalia, immediately vowed that they would retaliate. One of the pirates boasted to the Associated Press, “In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying. We will retaliate for the killings of our men.”

In the next 48 hours, pirates attacked five ships and took four of them hostage. They currently hold more than a dozen ships; some 200 crewmen remain captive, as they wait for the multi-million-dollar ransoms to be paid.

What will it take to end this madness? Increased military patrols will help. But there is no way enough ships can be stationed in the Horn of Africa to protect every ship that passes through. We are talking about an area of 1.1 million square miles — four times the size of Texas. Some 30,000 ships transit those waters every year. There is no way the 60 military vessels on station there now can guarantee their safety. Six times as many wouldn’t be enough.

Nor does it make sense to arm the crews, in the hopes that they can defend themselves. As the rescue of Captain Phillips proved, such actions should be left to the experts.

What then should be done?

Until now, piracy in these waters has been a very low-risk, high-reward operation. Let’s turn that around. Ship owners should be urged not to pay any more ransoms. If they won’t comply, let’s close U.S. ports to them.

But far more important, the war against the pirates must be taken to their home ports. Their sanctuaries must be invaded; their hostages rescued; their leaders arrested; and their boats and weapons seized or destroyed.

I applaud President Obama for authorizing the actions that led to the rescue of Captain Phillips. Now the question is will the United States and its allies use the same determination to end the threat of piracy along the coast? Or will a band of brigands be allowed to continue their criminal ways?

It’s time for the civilized world to say, “no more!”

Natural compound shown to relieve menopause symptoms

Natural compound shown to relieve menopause symptoms Taiwanese scientists have discovered that a component found in soybeans may be useful in promoting better health during menopause.

The research, conducted at the National Chiayi University in Taiwan, suggests that the compounds called soy aglycons of isoflavone (SAI) may act to lower cholesterol and increase the anti-oxidative properties of the liver.

That would make them a powerful weapon against cardiovascular diseases, including coronary heart disease, whose risk increases in post-menopausal women.

SAI may also be useful in preventing degeneration of the vaginal lining.

"SAI has weak estrogenic properties and we’ve shown here that menopause-related syndromes can be prevented or improved by dietary supplementation with the compounds it contains," says Dr. Robin Chiou, who leads the research team.

The researchers also expressed hope that soy supplements may provide an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and blood clots.

There are many natural therapies that can be helpful in minimizing hot flashes, headaches, insomnia, weight gain and fatigue associated with menopause. They include regular exercise, massages and reflexology treatments.

Anti-tax protesters hold ‘tea parties’ around the country

Anti-tax protesters hold 'tea parties' around the countryConservatives from coast to coast are expressing their dissatisfaction with the course of Obama’s economic policies.

Protest have been held in Boston, Washington DC and many other cities under the banner of the National TEA Party Day, which stands for "taxed enough already," according to

"These are moms and dads, teachers and students, businessmen and women who are concerned for their country," said Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, quoted by

"They are worried that our nation is quickly being taken in the wrong direction by politicians who are more concerned about the next election instead of the next generation," he added.

The organizers have called on citizens to march against politicians who "are spending trillions of borrowed dollars, leaving a debt our great-grandchildren will be paying" and want to redistribute hard-earned wealth.

Among other messages they hope to send are opposition to government-controlled healthcare and to carbon tax as well as refusal to accept the flow of millions of illegal immigrants into the country.

Meanwhile, the White House spokesman has sought to counter the protests by reminding Americans that the president cut taxes in the stimulus package.

Obama’s immigration plan fires up debate on jobs, economy

Obama's immigration plan fires up debate on jobs, economyThe administration’s announcement regarding planned immigration reform is pitting supporters and critics once again in a debate about the impact of an amnesty on American economy and the job market.

President Obama revealed that the key component of his comprehensive immigration reform will center around putting the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now living in the U.S. on the path to citizenship.

Predictably, the move has caused mixed reactions.

During an event hosted by the Immigration Policy Center, economic and labor experts discussed the benefits of bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and creating a level playing field for all workers.

In their opinion, this will lead to better worker protection, higher salaries – by eliminating the "trap door" that artificially lowers wages – and spur economic growth.

However, many have expressed a different view.

"[While]Americans are being thrown out of work and families are struggling everywhere, how could this administration convince anyone that flooding the labor market with more foreign laborers is going to help open up or create jobs for American workers?" asks Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

As Obama’s immigration concept matures before a bill is introduced this summer, the dispute is sure to continue unabated.

How Much Salt is Safe?

“An increasing body of evidence indicates that we should reduce the amount of salt in our diet. The American Medical Association (AMA), the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Dietetic Association (ADA), and the National Institutes of Health have begun a campaign to cut the salt intake of Americans by one-half."

Sounds like another big pharma/government propaganda campaign to feed big pharma more bodies. When that many government agencies all come out against salt, you had better get the debate from the other side.

What crass and base nonsense! And yes, the American people will follow and their general health will enter a new downhill direction. Heart doctors already have their patients off salt. This started 60 years ago.

The following salt information was taken from the book, Obesity, Cancer, Depression by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. It is a discussion about sea salt, not refined table salt.

As a rough rule of thumb, Dr. Batmanghelidj recommends one-fourth teaspoon of sea salt per quart of water. Exceptions are those with kidney failure or other medical reasons which call for a doctor’s consultation.

The government agencies listed above who set the direction for our "medical welfare" should take note that when we get sick and land in the hospital, they immediately give saline (salt) intravenous (IV) drip with 0.9 percent concentration of salt. This figure translates to 9 grams of salt per liter of water. However, it is prudent to take only a third as much salt on a regular daily basis. And these silent injections of salt cost the insurance companies more than gold costs.

The following are direct quotes from Dr. Batmanghelidj’s book: Salt: Some of Its Hidden Miracles:

  • Salt has many functions other than just regulating the water content of the body.

Here are some of its additional important functions in the body:

  • Salt is a strong natural antihistamine. It can be used to relieve asthma: Put some on your tongue after drinking a glass or two of water. It is as effective as an inhaler, without the toxicity. You should drink one or two glasses of water before putting salt on the tongue.
  • Salt is a strong anti-stress element for the body.
  • Salt is vital for extracting excess acidity from inside the cells, particularly brain cells. If you don’t want Alzheimer’s disease, don’t go salt-free, and don’t let them put you on diuretic medications for long!
  • Salt is vital for the kidneys to clear excess acidity, passing it into the urine. Without sufficient salt in the body, the body will become more and more acidic.
  • Salt is essential in the treatment of emotional and affective disorders. Lithium is a salt substitute used in the treatment of depression. To prevent suffering from depression, make sure you take some salt.
  • Salt is essential for preserving the serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. When water and salt perform their natural antioxidant duties and clear toxic waste from the body, essential amino acids, such as tryptophan and tyrosine, will not be sacrificed as chemical antioxidants. In a well-hydrated body, tryptophan is spared and gets into the brain tissue, where it is used to manufacture serotonin, melatonin, indolamine and tryptamine—essential antidepressant neurotransmitters.
  • Salt is a vitally needed element in the treatment of diabetics. It helps balance the sugar levels in the blood and reduces the need for insulin in those who have to inject the chemical to regulate their blood sugar levels. Water and salt reduce the extent of secondary damage associated with diabetes.
  • Salt is vital for the generation of hydroelectric energy in all of the cells in the body. It is used for local power generation at the sites of energy needed by the cells.
  • Salt is vital to the communication and information-processing of nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work—from the moment of conception to death.
  • Salt is vital for the absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract.
  • Salt is vital for clearing the lungs of mucous plugs and sticky phlegm, particularly in asthma, emphysema and cystic fibrosis sufferers. Salt makes mucus fluid loose and ready to ‘disconnect’—by changing the physical state of its structure (the process is called charge-shielding).
  • Salt on the tongue will stop persistent dry coughs; water will enhance this effect.
  • Salt is vital for clearing up catarrh and sinus congestion.
  • Salt is vital for the prevention of gout and gouty arthritis.
  • Salt is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps.
  • Salt is vital to preventing excess saliva production to the point that it flows out of the mouth during sleep. Needing to constantly mop up excess saliva indicates a salt shortage.

Major osteoporosis is the result of salt and water shortages in the body. More than 20 percent of the salt reserves of the body are stored in the shaft of the long bones, giving them their strength. When the diet is short of salt, the stored salt in the bones is released to osmotically balance the content of salt in the blood.

New direction in Cuban policy brings mixed reactions

New direction in Cuban policy brings mixed reactionsPresident Obama has announced he would lift restrictions on Cuban-Americans’ travel and transfer of remittances to the island, a move that has attracted both praise and criticism.

According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, Obama has also set out to promote free information among Cuban people and with the outside world as well as facilitate humanitarian aid.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her support for the decision saying, "The Cuban people deserve free and fair elections and basic human rights [but] I believe this can be achieved without dividing families and denying many Cuban Americans a chance to see their loved ones."

However, not everyone agrees with this approach.

Representative Connie Mack, a Republican from Florida, has blasted Obama for acting unilaterally and preventing Congress from debating one of the most sensitive issues in American foreign policy.

"The Castro brothers’ iron grip on Cuba continues to be a clear example of a totalitarian regime that is determined to control the thoughts, hearts and actions of the Cuban people," he said, adding that the Cuban regime is one of the most brutal in the world.

The president’s decision represents a significant shift in U.S. policy, although the nearly five decade-long economic embargo remains in place.

GI patients may benefit from herbal remedies

GI patients may benefit from herbal remediesNew research suggests that gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders that do not respond to conventional therapies may be successfully treated with herbal medicines.

Japanese scientists reviewed data on Japanese herbal medicines and found they were effective in reducing the symptoms of GI disorders such as dyspepsia, constipation and postoperative ileus.

Some of the products they analyzed included Rikkunshi-to, effective in reducing discomfort caused by functional dyspepsia, and Dai-Kenchu-to, a mixture of ginseng, ginger and zanthoxylum fruit, that is beneficial for constipation in children and patients who had a surgery.

Another herbal medicine, hangeshashin-to, was found to reduce the severity and frequency of diarrhea caused by anti-cancer drugs.

The importance of the findings stems from the fact that many traditional drugs are ineffective in GI disorders, may cause unpleasant side effects and some have even been withdrawn from the market.

Lead researcher Hidekazu Suzuki, associate professor at the Keio University School of Medicine, says Japanese herbal medicines have been a staple of oriental medicine for thousands of years.

The study was published in the journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility.


How to survive an earthquake

How to survive an earthquakeAfter last week’s earthquake which devastated central Italy, it may be a good idea to review basic survival procedures associated with this type of natural disaster.

The powerful tremor that hit the Abruzzo region and killed more than 200 people measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis suggests it is generally good practice for inhabitants of seismically active regions to anchor heavy objects, such as bookcases, mirrors or cabinets to walls.

Heavy objects should never be placed over beds and should be kept lower than head height of the shortest member of family.

The center further advises that once an earthquake begins it is best to crouch under a desk or table, or stand in a stout doorway, away from windows or glass dividers.

If you are outdoors, stay away from buildings, trees, telephones and electrical lines. If on the road, drive away from underpasses and overpasses, stop in safe area and stay inside the vehicle, it suggests.

For those who live in earthquake-prone areas of the U.S., preparing for a disaster through family, school or workplace drills is crucial, and every household within the danger zone should have emergency supplies for at least 72 hours (three days) and a 10 day supply of water, food and medicine.


Alternative medicine may ease nausea from cancer treatment

Alternative medicine may ease nausea from cancer treatmentNew research has demonstrated that acupressure wristbands relieve nausea associated with radiation treatment in a significant number of cancer patients.

The study, conducted by scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), suggests that targeting wrists as anti-nauseas points – an idea that is one of the basics of Chinese acupuncture medicine – may lead to a safe, low-cost supplement to use in the treatment of chemotherapy and radiation-related nausea.

In the trial, the researchers analyzed 88 people who reported some degree of nausea after receiving at least two radiation treatments. They found a 23.8 percent decrease in symptoms for the patients who wore wristbands as compared to 4.8 percent decrease in those who did not.

What is more, there was no difference between the patients who knew of previous research suggesting a placebo effect and those who were not aware of it.

"In this study we attempted to manipulate the information we gave to patients, to see if their expectations about nausea could be changed," says Dr. Joseph A. Roscoe, research associate professor at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at URMC.

"As it turned out, our information to change people’s expectations had no effect – but we still found that the wristbands reduce nausea symptoms," he added.

Chinese medicine practitioners believe that stimulating specific points on the wrist with a needle or the pressure of an elastic band unblocks the flow of universal chi energy.