A flu epidemic will hit England within a fortnight, if current trends continue, according to latest figures showing more than eight million people now suffering symptoms.
The new data shows a “significant excess” of deaths among over 65s in England, and among those in all age groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Across England, flu levels are currently approaching high levels, the statistics from Public Health England show, with a 2.5 fold rise in cases in the last two weeks.
If current trends continue, it means England will reach epidemic levels within a fortinght.
The latest report estimates that more than 15 per cent of people have been left suffering influenza like-illness in the past week – equating to more than 8.3 million people.
Health officials said levels were highest among those aged 45 to 64.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “General practice continues to face huge winter pressures with a significant increase in patients presenting with influenza, and high numbers of patients continuing to present with other common winter illnesses.
“Wintertime always brings challenges for the health service, and GP practices have prepared well in order to deliver the best possible care for patients. But patients can also help in keeping themselves safe and well during the cold weather.
“The best prevention for flu, other than observing good hygienic practices, such as regular hand washing, is for people, particularly those in at-risk groups, including patients with long-term conditions and pregnant women, to get their flu jab. It is not too late to receive some benefit from vaccination.
“If someone does have the flu, unfortunately there is no cure, but patients can assist their own recovery through taking plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids as it is easy to become dehydrated. Fevers and muscle ache, which are often symptoms of flu can also be improved with paracetamol or ibuprofen, if appropriate.
“We do encourage patients who are ill to think hard about whether they do need to see a GP – not just in terms of reducing pressures on the NHS, but to minimise the possibility of passing viruses, such as flu, to other people, particularly in at-risk groups, such as those with long-term conditions or pregnant women.”
Cold and flu season is just around the corner and it’s a statistical certainty that millions of people will be affected. Naturally, we all know, getting the flu feels horrible – but, especially for immune-compromised older people, this condition can become life-threatening with over 300,000 Americans hospitalized in one year alone, according to U.S. government statistics.
The common cold is no fun either. Caused by any one of 200 different viruses – this ailment can also take its toll on our health. Yet, even as the ‘cold and flu season’ approaches, Western medicine tends to robotically downplay the value of natural medicine to support immunity and play up the ‘need’ for toxic medications.
Thankfully, according to natural health experts like Rachel Fresco, PhD, there are many safe (and highly-effective) herbal remedies available to help eliminate the symptoms caused by bacterial and viral infections.
Discover an herbal protocol designed to eliminate the threat of colds and the flu – quickly and safely. On the next NaturalHealth365 Talk Hour, Jonathan Landsman and Rachel Fresco, L. Ac., Ph. D., an expert on botanical medicine, talk about the role of herbal antimicrobial formulas in addressing microbiome imbalances and its ability to support the immune system. If you are interested in building the ultimate herbal medicine kit – at home – don’t miss this informative program.
A healthy microbiome is essential for preventing cold and flu symptoms
The microbiome, the community of bacteria that live in the intestinal tract, plays a powerful role in our health – with beneficial bacteria helping the body absorb vitamins; eliminate toxins; create anti-inflammatory compounds; and even regulate the emotions. But, when the balance between beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms is disturbed, a condition known as dysbiosis can cause serious health problems.
Dysbiosis has been linked with a wide range of illnesses, including autism, leaky gut syndrome, Candida infections and IBD. And – as over 80 percent of the immune system is located in the gut – many researchers believe that dysbiosis can set the stage for systemic infections as well.
In response to this problem, Dr. Fresco developed a broad-spectrum herbal antimicrobial program designed to address microbiome imbalances and systemic immune challenges. Some of the key ingredient – in this powerful program – include, echinacea, goldenseal and garlic extracts. (to name just a few)
By the way, researchers (and healthcare providers) are impressed with the formulas designed by Dr. Fresco. For example, Martin Lee, PhD, former director of Genova Diagnostics, credits the herbal remedies designed by Dr. Fresco with being “the most broadly acting and powerful agent of all the substances evaluated.”
Don’t miss the next NaturalHealth365 Talk Hour – to learn more about bio-botanical medicine and natural ways to effectively eliminate the symptoms associated with colds and the flu.
Olive leaf extract is a powerful ally against viral infections
Dr. Fresco has designed many products to address systemic immune challenges. And one of those products – which we will talk about in depth on the next NaturalHealth365 Talk Hour – uses olive leaf extract as one of its main ingredients.
Olive leaf, scientifically known as Olea europaea, contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, and its therapeutic powers have long been recognized by natural healers. In fact, crushed olive leaves were used in the nineteenth century to lower fevers. Olive extracts have also been employed to lower blood pressure and control diabetes.
However, olive leaf’s main “superpower” could be its ability to fight bacterial and viral infections, due to its content of a compound called oleuropein.
Oleuropein has been found in studies to be strongly antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, with the ability to combat candida infections, pneumonia, and tuberculosis – along with the viruses that cause influenza and respiratory tract infections.
Although oleuropein makes up 6 to 9 percent of the dry weight of olive leaves, other compounds are present as well. They include secoiridoids, flavonoids, and triterpenes – and these could also play a role in the herb’s therapeutic powers.
For more valuable botanical medicine tips designed to help you overcome bacterial and viral infections – join us on the next NaturalHealth365 Talk Hour. (details below)
Discover the safest way to destroy bacterial and viral infections naturally – Sun. Oct. 15
This week’s guest: Rachel Fresco, L. Ac., Ph. D., botanical medicine expert
Rachel Fresco, L. Ac., Ph. D. is the president and CEO of Bio-Botanical Research, Inc. She received her Master’s Degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University in Santa Cruz, CA, and her Doctorate in Natural Health Sciences from the University of Natural Medicine.
A licensed acupuncturist, Dr. Fresco has extensive background in medical herbology, functional medicine and clinical nutrition. She is a member of the American Academy of Advancement of Medicine, the American Holistic Medical Association, the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and the US Autism and Asperger Association. And, for the past 30 years, Dr. Fresco has been educating doctors on the use of plant-based medicine, and frequently speaks on biofilms, microbiome balance and systemic microbial challenges.
The director of Common Weal, a pro-Scottish Independence think tank, told RT that recent events unfolding in Catalonia are a wakeup call for the EU. If it wants to “survive,” it must take into account the political, cultural and ideological differences between its member states.
Catalonia, a wealthy autonomous region in the north-east of Spain, voted last week in an illegal, non-binding independence referendum, in which 90 percent of voters chose to break away from Spain.
The vote was marred by violence, as Spanish police attacked polling stations and protesters.
Robin McAlpine said Catalonia’s crisis is indicative of a wider trend across the EU, where various geopolitical entities are pursuing self-determination to break free from centralized governments.
Disputing the claim that Scotland and Catalonia’s autonomy movements are one and the same thing, he said: “Why do people assume that self-determination will always look the same? It doesn’t,” he said, pointing out the varying political, cultural and ideological triggers.
“The significance [of the Catalonia referendum] is for Europe and its nation states, who eventually will have to understand that it cannot repress discussion in regions that forsake self-determination forever,” McAlpine said.
So although it is hard to distinguish clear ties between the two countries’ independence movements, it seems like they were triggered by the same attempt by the EU to ignore its member states’ thirst for freedom.
McAlpine suggested, in fact, that the Catalan referendum is more of a stark reminder that not everything in the EU can be “symmetrical” and that in order for the bloc to survive it must recognize the distinctness of each and every political movement across its union.”
“You cannot impose that level of uniformity on that diverse a continent,” said McAlpine.
“Unless the EU can understand that there are different people in different places and with different priorities, it will never represent the diversity of citizens’ hopes and aspirations.”
Scotland held its own, binding independence referendum in 2014, which saw a majority (55 percent) voting to remain a part of the United Kingdom.
However, there has been widespread speculation in recent months about a second vote taking place in the near future. Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon would like to see a repeat once the terms for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU are hammered out.
As almost 900 people were injured during clashes with the extra 4,000 national police officers deployed by Spain in the aftermath of the Catalan vote, McAlpine said Scotland “feels an enormous human solidarity” with Catalonia.
While Madrid responded with physical violence, the British government responded to the Scottish referendum in 2014 with a raft of existential threats, widely referred to at the time as “Project Fear.” London warned that banks, companies and businesses would withdraw from Scotland if it chose to go it alone.
The EU too, McAlpine said, threatened to “throw” the country out of the bloc if it saw through its plans for independence.
McAlpine’s views are echoed by Mike Small, editor of the political magazine Bella Caledonia, who told RT that Spain and Britain’s attempt to clamp down on liberation struggles in more than half their regions cannot be sustained much longer.
He compared the differing responses of central government in London and Madrid. While acknowledging Spain’s reaction was “overtly violent,” he called the UK’s “a far more insidious response,” as it was based on “large-scale propaganda and misinformation.”
“Both centralized states face a total crisis and I don’t see how it is possible to repress over a long time country, regions and nations, half of whom don’t want to be part of Spain or Britain,” Small remarked.
Small believes a second independence referendum could be on the cards for Scotland when the detrimental effects of Brexit surface in a couple of years’ time.
“Brexit is an economic disaster for almost everybody and it will cause shockwaves through Britain in a way that is barely recognized yet,” Small said.
One thing both Scotland and Catalonia hold in common, therefore, is that their future as independent nations could rest in the hands of the EU and its willingness to accommodate the continent’s regional diversity.
The programme could help patients receive medication early to manage the disease.
Researchers have created an artificial intelligence (AI) programme that can detect signs of Alzheimer’s disease up to ten years before symptoms appear.
Developed by a team at the University of Bari, in Italy, the computer system scans the brain for “tiny structural changes” that indicate the early stages of the disease, reports Engadget.
The AI was fed 38 MRI scans from Alzheimer’s patients, and 29 from healthy patients, the website says, to help it learn common patterns in neurological activity and the symptoms of the disease.
Researchers then used the programme to “process brain scans from 148 subjects”. The AI was able to correctly detect Alzheimer’s, with a success rate of 86% – and it could also identify “mild cognitive impairment” 84% of the time.
That suggests the programme could be used to find the disease “almost a decade before the appearance of clinical symptoms”, says International Business Times.
Although there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, early diagnosis and treatment can slow down the progression of the disease.
This isn’t the first study that involves using “cutting-edge technology to help diagnose Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases”, reports Digital Trends.
Scientists at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam have also been using MRI brain scans to try to achieve earlier Alzheimer’s diagnoses, the website says, while an AI programme being developed by researchers from several universities in California may soon be able to detect the disease through an eye test.
Yoga is a practice that has long been associated with a relaxed body and mind. New studies have suggested that yoga may help relieve the symptoms of depressions as well, especially when utilized as a complement to traditional therapy. These studies were presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) held in Washington, D.C., according to ScienceDaily.com.
One of the studies, led by Lindsey Hopkins from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center in California, focused on the effects of hatha yoga on male veterans. Hatha yoga is a branch of yoga that places emphasis on physical exercises, breathing exercises, and meditation, and is considered to be ideal for beginners. The 23 participants attended twice-weekly yoga classes for a period of eight weeks, then were tasked with ranking their level of enjoyment on a scale of one to 10.
The average enjoyment rating was 9.4, and veterans who had elevated depression scores prior to the program experienced a significant reduction in depression after the eight weeks had passed. All of the participants stated that they would recommend hatha yoga to other veterans.
The researchers behind a different study looked into the efficacy of Bikram yoga, a widely practiced system of yoga based off hatha yoga. In this study, conducted by Sarah Shallit from Alliant International University, 52 women between the ages of 25 to 45 were split into two groups. The first group was made to participate in twice-weekly Bikram yoga classes for eight weeks, while the second group or control group was told they were placed on the waiting list.
The depression levels of each participant were tested during weeks one, three, six, and nine of the study. Compared to the control group, the Bikram yoga group experienced significantly reduced depression symptoms.
In addition to its positive impact on depression, another study has suggested that yoga may be just as beneficial for people with chronic or treatment-resistant depression, stress, and anxiety. Nina Vollbehr of the Center for Integrative Psychiatry in the Netherlands enrolled 12 participants in nine weekly yoga sessions that lasted two-and-a-half hours each. The participants, who had been experiencing depression for an average of 11 years, had their levels of depression, anxiety, stress, worry, and rumination measured prior to the yoga sessions, after the nine weeks had passed, and four months later.
The researchers discovered that the participants’ depression, anxiety, and stress levels decreased over the course of the yoga, and remained that way well after the sessions had concluded. Although rumination and worry levels showed no changes during the program, the follow-up showed a reduction in both of these areas. (Related: Yoga improves mood, reduces anxiety and depression)
Vollbehr co-authored another study that involved 74 university students with mild depression. The students were taught either yoga or relaxation by an instructor during a 30-minute session, and were tasked with performing the same exercise for eight days with the aid of a 15-minute instructional video.
Based on results taken directly after the eight-day period, both yoga and relaxation were shown to have positive effects on the participants’ depression. At the two-month follow-up, however, the group that had received yoga instruction scored much lower on depression, stress, and anxiety than the group that had been taught relaxation.
Speaking about the findings of the various studies, Vollbehr commented: “These studies suggest that yoga-based interventions have promise for depressed mood and that they are feasible for patients with chronic, treatment-resistant depression.”
The researchers acknowledged that yoga may not be the ultimate to depression, but that it can serve as a possible treatment option for individuals responding poorly to modern therapies.
“At this time, we can only recommend yoga as a complementary approach, likely most effective in conjunction with standard approaches delivered by a licensed therapist,” said Hopkins. “Clearly, yoga is not a cure-all. However, based on empirical evidence, there seems to be a lot of potential.”
According to a revolutionary new study, a drug discovered more than a century ago may hold the key to combating the symptoms of autism. After just one dose, parents of the children in the study watched their kids make incredible improvements, with some speaking for the first time.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Robert Naviaux of the San Diego School of Medicine is an internationally known expert in human genetics, inborn errors of metabolism, metabolomics, and mitochondrial medicine. He is the discoverer of the cause of Alpers syndrome — the oldest Mendelian form of mitochondrial disease — and the developer of the first DNA test to diagnose it. Naviaux is, by far, one of the most qualified people in the world to conduct this study.
During his research, Naviaux noted the transformative results of the drug suramin which was first developed in 1916 and used as an anti-parasitic drug for treating African sleeping sickness and river blindness. After giving a single dose of suramin to boys with autism, between the ages of five and 14, Naviaux recorded something incredible — their symptoms were significantly alleviated.
“After the single dose, it was almost like a roadblock had been released,” he said. “If the future studies show that there’s continued health benefits, this could be a game-changer for families with autism.”
The study was published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. During the study, five children were given suramin, while the remainder were given placebos. Included in the group were four non-verbal children, two 6-year-olds, and two 14-year-olds.
“The six-year-old and the 14-year-old who received suramin said the first sentences of their lives about one week after the single suramin infusion,” Naviaux told the UC San Diego Health website. “This did not happen in any of the children given the placebo.”
One parent, who noted that her son had not spoken a full sentence in more than a decade, said, “Within an hour after the infusion, he started to make more eye contact with the doctor and nurses in the room. There was a new calmness at times, but also more emotion at other times.”
“He started to show an interest in playing hide-and-seek with his 16-year-old brother. He started practicing making new sounds around the house. He started seeking out his dad more.”
Naviaux’s expertise led him to the theory that there is a fundamental metabolic problem in all people with ASD — namely, that cells in affected people experience abnormal levels of something that Naviaux has termed the “cell danger response” (CDR), according to Seeker.
The CDR, Naviaux explained to Seeker, happens when a cell responds to external stressors or toxins. He describes this process as the cell hardening its membranes, ceasing interaction with neighbors, and withdrawing into itself until the danger has passed.
Naviaux believes that the CDR process gets stuck in children with autism, and that it can permanently alter how the cells interact with their external environment. When this happens in early child development, Naviaux believes it results in the development of autism and various other chronic childhood disorders.
The trial aimed to “un-stick” the CDR cycle using an infusion of an old drug called suramin, which was first developed in 1916 to treat parasitic diseases, including African sleeping sickness (trypanisomiasis) and river blindness (onchocerciasis).
Suramin is also the only drug used in humans that can “inhibit extracellular ATP signaling,” Naviaux said, giving cells that are stuck in the CDR cycle the “all-clear signal” that they need to continue with their normal development.
“Suramin produced the most dramatic improvement in autism symptoms that we have ever seen with anything we have tried,” one parent of a child in the study wrote.
“Nothing has come close to all the changes in language and social interaction and new interests that we saw after suramin,” said another.
Naturally, the sample size of this study leaves room for speculation and even the study’s supporters are quick to note this.
“We would have loved to have done a much larger trial,” said John Rodakis, the founder and president of N of One: Autism Research Foundation, which supported the trial. “We just didn’t have the funding for it.”
Naviaux’s study was entirely funded by grassroots efforts and from autism parents and advocates. They received no federal funding.
It is important to note that while this study is highly encouraging, there is also grounds for caution — which is also grounds for more funding and a larger study.
The first drawback to the study is that the effects of suramin — the remarkable positive cognitive and emotional improvements — are only temporary. Another worrisome aspect of the study is that all the children who received suramin experienced a rash.
Despite these issues, the incredible response by those who were administered the drug definitely warrants further research, and the parents of the children who received it agree.
For now, the next challenge is funding. “This work is new and this type of clinical trial is expensive,” Naviaux said. “We did not have enough funding to do a larger study. And even with the funding, we were able to raise, we had to go $500,000 in debt to complete the trial.”