FDA Says Decongestants Don't Work
Phenylephrine has been declared ineffective for nasal congestion
🧼 Dangerous VOCs in Common Household Cleaners
A new study has shed light on the potential harm caused by common household cleaning and air freshening products.
Researchers evaluated a total of 28 glass and multipurpose cleaning products as well as two air fresheners for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs are human-made chemicals that can be emitted as gases into the air, and are found in various products, including cleaners.
The study, which was peer-reviewed and published in the journal Chemosphere by the nonprofit activist organization Environmental Working Group, found that many of these products emit hundreds of dangerous chemicals, some of which have the potential to cause cancer and toxicity to reproductive systems.
However, the study also found that products labeled as “green” and fragrance-free were potentially less harmful than their conventional counterparts, emitting fewer VOCs at lower rates.
Researchers defined “green” products as those that are advertised as healthier and free from harmful chemicals or have third-party safety or environmental certifications. The study emphasizes the importance of selecting “green” and fragrance-free products to reduce exposure to hazardous VOCs.
The American Cleaning Institute, a trade group representing makers of cleaning products, criticized the study, calling the criteria for evaluating products arbitrary and stating that “green” is a marketing term, not a scientific one.
However, the study authors maintain that their findings demonstrate the potential risks associated with these products and urge consumers, researchers, and regulators to be more aware of the dangers.
🧠 Near-Death Experiences “Not Hallucinations,” Says New Study
A fascinating new study examines the phenomenon of near-death experiences, in which people feel that they are observing themselves from outside their bodies while others try to save them.
Researchers studied 567 hospital patients from 25 hospitals in the US and UK who had received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) between May 2017 and March 2020. The patients’ hearts had stopped during their hospital stay, but only 10% were discharged from the hospital.
The study found that nearly 40% of the patients had some degree of consciousness even while they were seemingly unconscious and dying.
Of those, over 21% had a lucid recall of their experience. These experiences included a perception of separation from the body, observing events without pain or anguish, and a meaningful evaluation of life.
Lead researcher Dr. Sam Parnia, an intensive care physician and associate professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City, said that these lucid experiences could not be considered a trick of a disordered or dying brain. Rather, they were unique human experiences that emerged on the brink of death. The study found that these experiences of death were different from hallucinations, delusions, dreams, or CPR-induced consciousness.
In addition, the researchers tested for hidden brain activity during this time and found spikes of brain activity up to an hour into CPR. These included gamma, delta, theta, alpha, and beta waves. Some of these brain waves typically happen when someone is conscious and performing higher mental functions, including thinking, memory retrieval, and conscious perception.
The study suggests that human consciousness may not stop completely around the time of death, but further research is needed.
🩸 New Test Can Diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a disabling condition that affects millions of people in the US, can now be diagnosed using a new and highly accurate blood test.
Developed by researchers at the University of Oxford, the new test is 91% accurate in identifying the condition. It can also differentiate between mild, moderate, and severe cases of the illness 84% of the time.
Currently, it is extremely hard to diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with an estimated 9 out of 10 people who have the condition being unaware of it.
The current diagnostic process involves self-reporting symptoms, questionnaire responses, and other subjective measures.
The new test, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze vibrations in a single blood cell caused by a laser, is a breakthrough in identifying the illness. The technology used is called Raman spectroscopy, which can “interrogate individual cells,” according to the authors of the research published in the journal Advanced Science.
The cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is still unknown, but it is characterized by fatigue lasting for more than 6 months, along with other symptoms such as problems with thinking and sleep, muscle aches, and light sensitivity.
The new test could help differentiate between other conditions that have similar symptoms, such as fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and long COVID.
The research also found that about 7 in 10 people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are women, and about 3 in 4 cases include a report of an infection of some type before the disease starts. The debilitating nature of the illness can make it difficult or impossible for people to hold a job, attend school, or take part in family activities.
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