Keep your glass half full if you want to live longer

We’re now more sure than ever that being optimistic can help you live longer. A new study published in PNAS confirms what we and many others have said for a long-time, that people who live the longest tend to be the most optimistic. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare and Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health have found that the more optimistic you are the more likely you are to achieve “exceptional longevity”, living to age 85 or older. Using data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (NAS), optimism was rated using the Life Orientation Test–Revised in NHS and the Revised Optimism–Pessimism Scale from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 in NAS. The new study underlines the importance of positivity, of having a sense of self and finding your purpose in life (known as ‘ikigai’ in Japan). Being optimistic along with making positive changes to what you eat, how and when you move, how you sleep and manage stress means you absolutely can stay healthy as you age and live to a ripe old age!

UK report exposes health threat from polypharmacy among the elderly

If you’re aged over 65 in the UK, you could be one of the two million people locked into polypharmacy, in which a person is on 5 or more drugs at the same time. A new report ‘More Harm than Good’ from Age UK found 20% of UK pensioners now take at least 7 different prescription medicines, with 39% on at least 5 medications. The report warns the continued medicalisation of older people is putting them at of risk of severe and sometimes life-threatening side effects. The report slams the over-prescription of increasingly complex regimens of powerful, new-to-nature, synthetic pharmaceutical drugs in unsafe combinations, without anyone having a comprehensive idea of how such combinations may interact. Rather than trying to ‘cure’ people in older age we need to focus on creating health early on to promote healthy ageing so we can enjoy a full and active life and experience “exceptional longevity”.

More Big Pharma revolving doors exposed

A Mail Online exposé reveals the extent to which ties to industry by those promoting new drugs is hidden. This became painfully apparent after links in the USA between Big Pharma and doctor’s promoting a new anti-depression ‘wonder’ drug, esketamine, positioned for treatment of so-called treatment-resistant depression (TRD), were revealed. Astonishingly UK regulations do not require such disclosures to be made, instead leaving it up to the individual as to the level of transparency they wish to promote. Despite concerns that the drug has been overhyped and could do more harm than good in the long run it has been approved by the FDA. There has long been concern over industry influence on the results of clinical trials along with the hiding of often severe side effects in order to profit. In short, research funded by those with financial interests in the product are far more likely to yield positive outcomes. Many are the studies that lie unpublished due to negative results. By rushing such drugs to market without clear evidence of efficacy or safety we run the risk of inflicting serious harm to those who need them most.

Where food and environmental sustainability meet - in Cambodia and the UK!

The ground-breaking IBIS Rice project is launching its environment conserving jasmine rice in the UK. The story began when a pair of giant ibis, thought to be extinct in Cambodia, were found. In order to protect the birds, along with 50 other endangered species, the IBIS Rice project was born. Working with 1,000 rice-growing families the project now protects around 500,000 hectares of forest and wetlands. By using agroecological practices the project benefits not just the families who live and farm there, but the surrounding environment. ANH founder Rob Verkerk PhD remarked, “It’s some of the tastiest rice I’ve ever consumed – made all the more delicious in the knowledge of the good it brings to endangered Cambodian wildlife”. Even more amazing is the bounce back of the giant ibis, with more than 300 now being recorded in the area.

Harms from smart devices exposed

Following a recent investigation, The Chicago Tribune has exposed levels of radiofrequency radiation emitted from smart phones above legal safety limits. Of the 11 phones tested the worst performer was the iPhone 7 at more than double the radiation of that reported to federal regulators. The Federal Communications Commission is reported to have launched an investigation into the findings. As the health risks associated with smart devices continue to be debated, US fighter pilots are calling for earlier cancer screenings due to an increase in deaths suspected to be linked to radiation emitted from cockpit devices. With the advent of 5G bringing yet more exposure to electromagnetic frequencies now is the time to fully inform yourself and take whatever action possible to minimise your exposure and those most vulnerable to it. 

Opioid kingpin convicted in USA

The world’s biggest pharma company, Johnson & Johnson, has been convicted of creating a “public nuisance” through its misleading marketing of opioids. That “public nuisance” contributed to hundreds of thousands of opioid-fuelled deaths. A fine of $572m (£468m) has been imposed on the Pharma giant. Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals were also being sued by the State of Oklahoma, but both settled out of court earlier in the year leaving Johnson & Johnson as the sole defendant. In an appalling revelation, a Politico report discloses the missed opportunity of the US government to prevent the opioid crisis after top US scientists detected the emerging crisis in 2006. Despite initial efforts to warn health officials and the public of the coming storm, nothing was done. Once again, the revolving doors between government and Big Corporates have been laid bare exposing the drive to put profits before patients’ health.