Diet sodas may be tied to stroke, dementia risk

(CNN) Gulping down an artificially sweetened beverage not only may be associated with health risks for your body, but also possibly your brain, a new study suggests.

Artificially sweetened drinks, such as diet sodas, were tied to a higher risk of stroke and dementia in the study, which published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke on Thursday.
The study sheds light only on an association, as the researchers were unable to determine an actual cause-and-effect relationship between sipping artificially sweetened drinks and an increased risk for stroke and dementia. Therefore, some experts caution that the findings should be interpreted carefully.
No connection was found between those health risks and other sugary beverages, such as sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit juice and fruit drinks.
Are diet sodas dangerous to your health?

Are diet sodas dangerous to your health? 04:19
“We have little data on the health effects of diet drinks and this is problematic because diet drinks are popular amongst the general population,” said Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the new study.
“More research is needed to study the health effects of diet drinks so that consumers can make informed choices concerning their health,” he said.
The new study involved data on 2,888 adults older than 45 and 1,484 adults older than 60 from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. The data came from the Framingham Heart Study, a project of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University.
In the older-than-45 group, the researchers measured for stroke and in the older-than-60 group, they measured for dementia.
“The sample sizes are different because we studied people of different ages,” Pase said. “Dementia is rare in people under the age of 60 and so we focused only on those aged over 60 years for dementia. Similarly, stroke is rare in people aged under 45 and so we focused on people older than age 45 for stroke.”
How diet soda confuses your body

How diet soda confuses your body 01:52
The researchers analyzed how many sugary beverages and artificially sweetened soft drinks each person in the two different age groups drank, at different time points, between 1991 and 2001. Then, they compared that with how many people suffered stroke or dementia over the next 10 years.
Compared to never drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks, those who drank one a day were almost three times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, caused by blocked blood vessels, the researchers found.
They also found that those who drank one a day were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia.
Those who drank one to six artificially sweetened beverages a week were 2.6 times as likely to experience an ischemic stroke but were no more likely to develop dementia, Pase said.
“So, it was not surprising to see that diet soda intake was associated with stroke and dementia. I was surprised that sugary beverage intake was not associated with either the risks of stroke or dementia because sugary beverages are known to be unhealthy,” Pase said.
Unhealthy sugary drinks

In response, Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association, issued a statement from the group that said low-calorie sweeteners found in beverages have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities.
“The FDA, World Health Organization, European Food Safety Authority and others have extensively reviewed low-calorie sweeteners and have all reached the same conclusion — they are safe for consumption,” the statement said.
“While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not — and cannot — prove cause and effect. And according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), many risk factors can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing stroke and dementia including age, hypertension, diabetes and genetics. NIH does not mention zero calorie sweeteners as a risk factor,” the statement said. “America’s beverage companies support and encourage balanced lifestyles by providing people with a range of beverage choices — with and without calories and sugar — so they can choose the beverage that is right for them.”
Separate previous studies have shown an association between the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and adverse health effects, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and possibly even heart failure.
“This article provides further evidence though on artificially sweetened beverages and their possible effects on vascular health, including stroke and dementia,” said Dr. Ralph Sacco, professor and chair of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, about the new study.
Sacco was a co-author of an editorial published alongside the study in the journal Stroke on Thursday.
“We believe the pathways of which artificially sweetened beverages would affect the brain are probably through vascular mechanisms,” Sacco said.
“When the authors controlled for hypertension and diabetes and obesity the effects diminish, which implies that some of the effects of artificially sweetened beverages could still be going through a vascular pathway,” he said about the new study. “Many strokes are caused by hardening of arteries; and the risk of dementia is also increased by the hardening of arteries in large and small vessels. So, I believe the mechanisms may be through vascular disease, though we can’t prove it.”
Heather Snyder, senior director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association, called the new study “a piece of a larger puzzle” when it comes to better understanding how your diet and behaviors impact your brain.
“It’s actually really more of your overall diet and overall lifestyle that is linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk, and we do know that heart disease and diabetes are linked to an increased risk of dementia,” said Snyder, who was not involved in the new study.
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“We know that sugary and artificially sweetened beverages are not great for us. This study adds strength to that, and also says they may not be great for your brain, specifically,” she said. “There are alternatives — things we can all do everyday to keep our brains and our bodies as healthy as we can as we age.” Alternatives such as regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates heart rate and increases blood flow and doing puzzles and games to activate and challenge the mind. These are recommendations from the Alzheimer’s Associations list of 10 lifestyle habits to reduce risk of cognitive decline.

Why you ate the whole bag: Salt makes you hungry, not thirsty, study says

These pretzels are making me…hungry?

Answering the age-old question of why you can’t have just one chip, a new study shows that salty snacks don’t make you thirsty at all. Instead, they stimulate appetite.

An international group of researchers simulated a mission to Mars and put the conventional wisdom that salt initiates thirst (leading to drinking more water and producing more urine) to the test. The simulation provided an environment in which everything a person consumed could be controlled and measured.

Not Released (NR)

These pretzels are making me … hungry? A new study shows that salt makes you hungry, not thirsty


Two separate groups of 10 male test subjects were sealed in a cosmonaut-like environment – one group for 105 days, the other for 205 – and had identical diets except for their levels of salt. The results, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that a salty diet caused the test subjects to drink less. Evidently, salt triggers a mechanism in the kidneys to hold onto water and produce urea – a process which eats up enegery, causing hunger, not thirst.

Gin speeds metabolism: study

“Nature has apparently found a way to conserve water that would otherwise be carried away into the urine by salt,” said Prof. Friedrich C. Luft, MD, one of the study’s co-authors.

Not Released (NR)

Evidently, salt triggers a mechanism in the kidneys to hold on to the water it has.


Previously, scientists assumed that salt grabbed onto water molecules in the body and dragged them out via urine, causing a person to feel that thirst and drink more. This study discovered, however, that salt was expelled through urination while water moved backwards into the kidneys and body.

For researchers, the results have implications for understanding urea, heretofore thought to be a waste product in urine, as well as how a body achieves water homeostasis, or proper balance. You can read about it here.

But for you, it means eating that whole bag of Cheetos is totally ok. Because science.

Let all who are hungry come and eat: Mormons (White Freemasons, White Idiots) make model seders

In the weeks before Passover, Mormon university students in Utah learn about the holiday through a unique event — the Brigham Young University Passover Seder Service.

“The best word is ‘simulation’ of a Jewish Passover seder for members of the community in Utah, which has an admittedly small Jewish presence,” said BYU professor Jeffrey Chadwick, who runs the event. “We expose our own community and student body to Jewish traditions and the richness of the Passover experience.”

Chadwick, who teaches Jewish studies, leads students through the haggadah, the book of ritual texts that guide the seder, as they learn Hebrew prayers, enjoy a glatt kosher meal and sing “Chad Gad Ya” and “Dayenu.”

“The event is big,” Chadwick said. “We have three or four a year, with 200 people [at each] and 800 to 1,000 served every spring.”

The seders take place at the Wilkinson Student Center on BYU’s Provo campus. They are a 41-year tradition at BYU. When they began in the late 1970s, Chadwick said, “It became an enjoyable event, so popular we had to schedule multiple sessions of it, which is not normally done in Jewish culture.”

However, he said, “it’s a learning experience. We do not attempt to present as a Jewish-sponsored experience, [but as] an educational experience.”

‘We do not attempt to present as a Jewish-sponsored experience, but an educational experience’

This year, 175 students and community members attended the first seder on March 10. The March 24 event drew a capacity crowd of 250.

“Our general experience is that people absolutely love it,” said Chadwick, who said the third and final seder on April 7 has already sold out. Passover begins on April 10.

“We have [the seders] around the actual night of the seder,” Chadwick said. “We generally prefer Friday night, which is a better night for people in the community and college students. It involves three, three and a half hours in the evening.”

Professor Jeff Chadwick leads the BYU Passover Seder Service, March 11, 2016. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

Professor Jeff Chadwick leads the BYU Passover Seder Service, March 11, 2016. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

“We want to be very careful that what we’re doing is not [something] pretending to be the real Jewish Passover… We enjoy it very much, but we don’t want to make the Jewish community in Utah think we’re trying to usurp them,” he said.

In the spirit of the holiday

Many Mormons identify with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which founded BYU and provides support and guidance for students, according to the university website.

But, Chadwick said, “We want to be very specific. We do not Christianize Passover.” Instead, he hopes to show links between the Old and New Testament, Judaism and Mormonism.

The BYU seder began in the late 1970s under professor Victor Ludlow, a scholar of Judaism and Isaiah with a PhD in Jewish studies from Brandeis University.

After his studies at Jewish-founded Brandeis, Ludlow “felt an interest in having the Mormon community… understand the Passover experience better,” Chadwick said. This led to an educational seder.

Students attend Brigham Young University's model seder, March 11, 2016. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

Students attend Brigham Young University’s model seder, March 11, 2016. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

Ludlow would “take five minutes [to explain] how it wraps into the story of the Last Supper of Jesus, or the Book of Acts,” said Chadwick. “[Students would say] ‘Oh my goodness, very interesting.’”

“Most Christians, including Latter-day Saints, are very surprised to learn that Jesus was a practicing, for his time rather normative, Jewish teacher, attending Jewish festivals named in the four Gospels — Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Hanukkah and Passover annually,” Chadwick added. “His arrest and death occurred at Passover. He dies after he himself [held an] early Seder with his 12 apostles.”

‘Most Christians are very surprised to learn that Jesus was a practicing, rather normative, Jewish teacher’

“Most Christians have no idea the Lord’s Supper has elements of the original Passover, the matzah and Passover wine… Students and others alike are delighted to learn the origins of Christian tradition are very tied to Jewish tradition.”

Mormonism offers additional parallels with Judaism, scholars say.

“Mormons feel a greater connection to and continuity with ancient Israel than do most Christian groups today,” said BYU adjunct religion professor Jacob Rennaker.

“For instance, the Book of Mormon claims to contain the writings of ancient Israelites who fled from Jerusalem prior to the Babylonian exile and who, through divine guidance, traveled to the Americas. There, they established a society founded upon the teachings of the Hebrew Bible and their own subsequent divine revelations.”

Exodus II

Mormon history contains another exodus. After its founder, Joseph Smith, was killed in Illinois in 1844, Brigham Young, who succeeded him as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, led church members to Utah, earning the nickname “American Moses.” There he helped found the University of Utah and the university that bears his name.

Aerial view of the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah. (Mark A. Philbrick/BYU)

Aerial view of the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah. (Mark A. Philbrick/BYU)

Mormons “see their forced exodus from the US into what was then Mexican territory in Utah as similar to the Exodus of the Hebrew scriptures,” said Harvard Divinity School professor David Holland.

Holland’s father, Jeffrey Holland, is a former BYU president and a current member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the governing bodies in the Church of Latter Day Saints.

“Even the landscape of Utah — the salt sea, the freshwater lake, and the River Jordan between those [two bodies of water]… These are real powerful markers of identification,” added Holland.

The connections go back to Mormonism’s earliest days.

‘From the very beginnings of the church, Mormons had a need to understand Hebrew culture and language’

“Joseph Smith hired the leading Hebraist in America, Joshua Seixas, a Sephardic Jew whose family was very prominent in early America, to the Mormon settlement, where he taught the leaders Hebrew,” Holland said.

“From the very beginnings of the church, Mormons had a need to understand Hebrew culture and language. It has ebbed and flowed over the years. [But throughout] Mormon history, there’s been some natural flowering, and the seed is always present in Mormon thought.”

Sometimes, though, there have been tensions.

“Mormons have a practice of baptizing people who passed away by proxy, seeing it as an extension of love that is appropriate for people who have gone before,” Holland said.

“The practice of baptizing Holocaust victims became a huge controversy. Elie Wiesel and others responded. They asked the church to desist… These were persons who died for their Jewish identity.”

Elie Wiesel in his office in New York, September 12, 2012 (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Elie Wiesel in his office in New York, September 12, 2012 (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

There have also been attempts to generate understanding. After attending a BYU seder as an undergraduate in 2005, and another at BYU’s Idaho campus the previous year, Rennaker said that “both of these seder events helped me to better understand Jewish religious practices and through them, I gained a sense of holy envy for the religious lives of my Jewish neighbors in a way that my academic studies haven’t provided.”

Keeping the tradition alive

When Ludlow retired in 2011, the BYU Seder in Utah’s fate was uncertain. “The desire of the administration and university was that [they] would really like to do this,” Chadwick said.

So Chadwick stepped in, bringing experience from Israel. He spends one-quarter of each year teaching at BYU’s Jerusalem Center on Mount Scopus, and is a senior field archaeologist at Tell es-Safi, or Gath, home of the biblical Goliath.

An archeological dig at Tell es-Safi. (Courtesy of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project)

An archeological dig at Tell es-Safi. (Courtesy of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project)

“I’m familiar with the American Jewish experience, and also the Israeli Jewish experience,” Chadwick said. “[The way] I will present the seder would be slightly more Orthodox than Vic’s was. His experience was more American Reform. I would say [mine is] a very Modern Orthodox, from experiencing the seder with family and friends in Israel on numerous occasions.”

The purpose remains educational. “We’ll start out with 20 minutes to give the basic background of Passover from the Torah and explain what occurred in Exodus,” Chadwick said. “We help them correlate it with their own religious courses.”

“One of the things that many of them comment on is the symbolism of the marror, the bitterness of bondage in Egypt,” Chadwick noted. “I get a lot of comments from the eating of some of that horseradish. I always advise [to eat] just a little bit, in a Hillel sandwich, with charoset and matzah. It’s not the most flavorful experience.

A page from the 14th century Wolff Haggadah, at the National Library, showing a Medieval Jew holding bitter herbs (photo credit: Ilan Ben Zion/Times of Israel staff)

A page from the 14th century Wolff Haggadah, at the National Library, showing a Medieval Jew holding bitter herbs (photo credit: Ilan Ben Zion/Times of Israel staff)

“When they taste that, it’s very interesting. Some say, ‘you really remember the heritage of your ancestors if you have something to remind you of the difficulty of the experience,’ with a wry smile.”

‘You really remember the heritage of your ancestors if you have something to remind you of the difficulty of the experience’

Attendees are two-thirds students and one-third community members. Several Jews from Provo come every year.

“They grew up in the eastern US and look forward to it, even if it’s not on the night of the actual seder,” Chadwick said.

There is one more seder opportunity this year on April 7.

“[Students say] how interesting it was to learn about Jewish traditions and the ancient Passover,” Chadwick said. “You grew up Christian, Mormon, you would hear about the Scriptures in the Old and New Testaments, and you don’t know what it is. It’s just great to learn what this is.”

Safety of Houston drinking water causing growing concern

HOUSTON – The safety of drinking water is causing growing concern in Houston’s neighborhoods after a series of Channel 2 investigations.

In November, we exposed high levels of a cancer-causing chemical — chromium 6 — in the city’s drinking water.

“The city of Houston’s water ranks third in the country in terms of high levels of chromium 6,” said Bill Walker, managing editor at the Environmental Working Group.

Chromium 6 is the chemical made infamous by the movie Erin Brockovich.

INTERACTIVE MAP: View counties/cities containing where chromium 6 has been detected

In Houston, Alief is ground zero. Now, angry residents are confronting the city.

In the last couple of months, the city has been hosting capital improvement project meetings. The meetings are meant to address items like drainage concerns and park projects.

But annoyed residents like Pamela Boneta decided to let the city know what they think about chromium 6.

“It’s a level that can make people get cancer and all other kinds of illnesses,” Boneta said.

“Ma’am, our drinking water is safe,” Carol Haddock, with Public Works, said. “I want everybody in this room to hear and understand that our drinking water is safe.”

Boneta replied, “Legally it’s safe, but ethically it is not safe, and people are going to die from it.”

Barbara Quattro, president of the Alief Super Neighborhood, also spoke at the CIP meeting.

“There are four groundwater wells. We want each one of those wells tested to find the source,” she said.

Now, Channel 2 Investigates is getting into the action.

Council member Steve Le, who was at the CIP meeting, is promising change.

“We’ve instructed our water department to see what the cause is to study specifically for chromium 6 in that water reservoir,” Le said.

He’s met with Public Works and asked officials to test different levels of the aquifer.

“Looking at the depth of the study, comparing surface water to middle water, deeper water, and seeing if there’s any difference in the chromium 6 between those levels,” Le said. “Maybe we can alter the way (we) can tap this water to make sure there’s less chromium 6 coming into the supply.”

Le will also ask the state Health Department to study any cancer clusters in the area.

“Anything studying the environment has to come from the state,” he said. “It’s not actually a local situation. That’s the reason why we want to reach out to the state first to see if they’ll help us in studying an environmental issue that could be impact(ing) pretty much all of Texas. It may have been more prominently locally, but this could be more widespread in the state of Texas.

Channel 2’s health reporter, Haley Hernandez, asked Le, “If you’re willing to do that, then you’re willing to admit there’s a valid concern for residents in your area?”

“I’ve always admitted that,” Le said. “The thing is, I want to look at the science behind that, though. So to me, chromium 6 has been shown to cause cancer. The question is, what is the level?”

Just how bad is the water in Alief?

In California, health agencies said cancer rates start to rise at a concentration of 0.02 parts per billion(ppb).

According to city water tests, rates of chromium 6 in Alief were as high as 6.7 ppb.

Right now, the EPA doesn’t regulate chromium 6, just total chromium.

After our first story, Congressman Al Green asked the EPA to investigate what’s happening in Alief.

“We are close to something, in my opinion,” Green said. “It’s similar to what the tobacco industry was experiencing when they were in denial about a carcinogen.”

Green said he wants a congressional hearing.

We reached out to the Houston Public Work’s Department. The office has met with the Super Neighborhood’s president and council members.

The director would not sit down for an interview for this story, but a spokesperson wrote, “The city’s drinking water currently meets or exceeds all federal and state standards and is safe.”

Q: What is the Public Works department doing to address residents’ specific inquiries made at the CIP meetings?
A: Public Works & Engineering (PWE) has met with the Super Neighborhoods president for the area, council members and attended meetings in the community to understand residents’ specific inquires. Our department has given detailed information to Channel 2 on chromium 6, posted information in multiple languages to the city of Houston’s website and provided an on-camera interview with our senior assistant director of drinking water operations. The facts on our water quality have not changed.

Q: Residents asked for continued testing of chromium 6, not just total chromium. When will the city test again for chromium 6?
A:The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) mandates testing for total chromium. The TCEQ establishes the timing of the tests and pulls the samples, which they split with us. Currently, we are required to monitor for total chromium at entry points (where treated water enters the distribution system) annually for surface water plants and every three years for groundwater plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and TCEQ have not established a standard for chromium 6 and we do not test for it separate from our testing for total chromium levels. However, it is important to note the results of our testing showed the levels for total chromium are below the enforceable level established by the state of California for chromium 6 of 10 parts per billion. We are in compliance with the current EPA and TCEQ standards. We continue to be actively engaged in discussions with our water supply colleagues, the TCEQ and EPA. If changes are required by regulation, we will respond accordingly.

Q: Citizens also requested testing of the aquifer. When will that happen?
A: The city’s drinking water is in compliance with EPA and TCEQ standards for total chromium, which includes chromium 3 and chromium 6. Therefore, we don’t plan to sample the aquifer.

Q: Citizens asked the city to exceed EPA standards. Will you do that? Why or why not?
A: The city’s drinking water currently meets or exceeds all federal and state standards and is safe. Information on the city of Houston’s water quality, including current and prior years Consumer Confidence Reports, can be found at:

Big Strike Brewing Against Trump: Coalition of More Than 300,000 Food Workers to Join May Day Showdown

A network of more than 300,000 farmworkers, servers, cooks and food-manufacturers, including a large local chain of the Service Employees International Union, is joining a May 1 nationwide strike “to stop the relentless attacks of the Trump administration and its allies in corporate America.”

Issued by the Food Chain Workers Alliance and the California-based Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW), the announcement is the latest sign that momentum is growing for the day of “no work, school, or shopping,” timed for International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day.

“My coworkers and I had to make a choice: wait around for Trump to disrupt our livelihoods and families or stand united to fight,” said Ricardo Flores, a food manufacturer member of Brandworkers, a Long Island City, New York, workers’ center for food manufacturing laborers. “We chose to struggle until the end because it’s better to have a chance at justice than suffer guaranteed misery.”

Movimiento Cosecha, or Harvest Movement, has spent months organizing for Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes (A Day Without Immigrants) on May Day. The organization ultimately hopes to build toward a one-week strike of five to eight million undocumented workers to win the “permanent protection, dignity, and respect of immigrants.”

“We’ve been talking to a lot of unions and members of the immigrant rights movement, and it’s clear that there’s a lot of alignment over a May Day strike,” Carlos Rojas Rodriguez, an organizer with Movimiento Cosecha, said in an interview with AlterNet. “The organizations are responding to the energy they are hearing from their bases. This is an opportunity to move to the left.”

Cosecha will be joined by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Campaign director Andrea Cristina Mercado told AlterNet, “The National Domestic Workers Alliance is mobilizing domestic workers across the country for a general strike and consumer boycott on May first. For all of us who can participate, it’s imperative to show that movements across the country are united against raids, against racism, and in support of decent work.”

Maurice Mitchell, an organizer with the Movement for Black Lives, explained, “It’s our assessment that now, more than ever, it’s critical that movements from different communities find ways to collaborate. We think that May Day presents a particular opportunity for people across different sectors and communities to find common cause.”

The Movement for Black Lives is planning to escalate political education and mobilizations from April 4 until May Day, pivoting off of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Riverside Church speech, in which he condemned the three evils of poverty, racism and militarism. Mitchell underscored to AlterNet, “my hope is that May Day will build on the momentum of the past few months and continue the momentum past May Day.”

‘Striking for a World Where Human Rights and Equality Are Respected’

AlterNet spoke with Efren Diego Epifanio, a mushroom harvester in Avondale, Pennsylvania, who originally hails from Toluca, Mexico. A member of the Kaolin Workers Union and El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA), Epifanio said, “CATA is promoting the national strike of all workers because there have been so many uncertainties among our community—those documented and undocumented immigrants alike. We wanted to be part of the movement to create a big impact on the president in response to the ways that he has been threatening communities of workers.”

There are 4,000 workers in CATA’s network, and organizer Jessica Culley said she expects members in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey to participate. According to Epifanio, “Right now we don’t have a clear idea of [the] exact number of members who will participate, but we hope we will add up to the majority.”

CATA is part of the 300,000-strong Food Chain Workers Alliance, whose co-director Jose Oliva told AlterNet, “The vast majority of our folks are going to be out. The idea is that on May 1, we will have an economic impact. We are asking our members not to shop and not to send their kids to school as well. We are striking for a world where human rights and equality are respected.”

David Huerta is president of SEIU-USWW, which represents more than 40,000 janitors, airport service workers and other service workers across California. He recently told Buzzfeed, “We understand that there’s risk involved in that, but we’re willing to take that risk in order to be able to move forward in this moment, while the most marginalized are in the crosshairs of this administration.”

‘Not Ordinary Times’

As some of the lowest-paid and most vulnerable workers in the United States prepare to walk out of work, Oliva acknowledged that his coalition is asking members to take risks. According to news reports, at least 100 people were fired from their jobs for participating in the February 16 nationwide immigrant strike to protest Donald Trump’s deportation policies.

“These are not ordinary times,” said Oliva. “This is superseding anything that any of us in social movements, or as individuals, have seen before. If we are going to be able to spark something that will ultimately lead to the society we want, without the discrimination and low wages and race to the bottom, we need to be able to take some risks.”

“The reality is that if folks don’t take the risk, we know what the consequences will be,” Oliva continued. “There will be more escalation of the policies this administration is already putting forward. We know that doing nothing is giving them a blank check. The only thing we can do is to demonstrate our power through the economic reality we live in.”

Oliva said that his network is already preparing for the “inevitable retaliation that will follow,” by starting a strike fund and coordinating legal support.

Epifanio noted that plans are in motion on the local level to “support workers who might be disciplined in some unfair way for participating in the strike.” He said that workers are hoping to negotiate with their employers ahead of the strike.

‘What Resistance Looks Like’

The May Day mobilization comes on the heels of numerous strikes and coordinated mobilizations. On February 13, thousands of Wisconsin residents stayed home from work or school and closed their businesses to take part in a state-wide Day Without Latinxs, Immigrants and Refugees.

Similar actions took place on February 16 for a nationwide immigrant strike to protest Donald Trump’s deportation policies. In addition to walkouts from school and work, and the shuttering of businesses, mass demonstrations swept cities and towns across the country, including San Francisco, Chicago, Raleigh, and Austin.

On January 28, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance called a one-hour strike on pickups from John F. Kennedy International Airport to protest Trump’s ban targeting travelers from Muslim-majority countries. “Drivers stand in solidarity with thousands protesting inhumane & unconstitutional #MuslimBan,” the alliance said on Twitter.

On March 8, people took to the streets, walked out of their workplaces and staged direct actions in towns and cities across the world to take part in an International Women’s Day protest against the gender-based violence inflicted by neoliberalism, war, and poverty. In the U.S., the coordinated mobilizations took aim at Trumpism, and at least three school districts shut down due to the work stoppages.

Meanwhile, there is a growing movement to boycott companies that do business with the Trump family.

Cosecha looks back further for precedent to the May 1, 2006 Day Without Immigrants to protest hardline anti-immigrant laws. Organizers say they expect the May Day strikes to be the largest yet in the post-Trump era.

“Today, there is alignment around the idea of a strike on May Day and we are seeing organizations listen to the call to action from their members,” said Rojas Rodriguez. “We have an opportunity to shape an opposition movement in the street that anchors the left and shows what resistance looks like.”

San Francisco woman dies after drinking poisonous tea

A woman is dead after drinking tea containing a lethal poison that she unwittingly bought from an herbalist in San Francisco’s Chinatown, public health officials announced Monday.

The woman, whose identity was not released, became sick within an hour after sipping tea in February, according to Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The woman, who was in her 50s, immediately developed weakness and abnormal heart rhythms, which required resuscitation. The San Francisco resident was hospitalized for weeks. She died Saturday, Kagan said.

A man in his 30s, who also drank the tea, suffered the same health ailments. He became critically ill and was hospitalized. The San Francisco resident has since recovered and was released on March 12, she said.

According to the health department, the patients purchased tea leaves at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company in Chinatown. They bought different blends of medicinal teas with several ingredients. The teas were mixed at the shop, health officials said.

Laboratory tests were performed on the patients and tea samples, and a plant-based toxin, aconite, was found in both. Health officials are testing ingredients in the patients’ tea blends.

Aconite is a wild plant and extremely toxic, according to the Journal of Clinical Toxicology. Commonly called monkshood, Wolf’s bane, helmet flower, “chuanwu,” “fuzi,” and “caowu,” the plant is used in Asian herbal medicine to treat bruises, pain and other conditions.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the roots are used only after they are processed to reduce toxicity, according to the journal. When high doses of aconite are consumed, patients can experience numbness, weakness, palpitations, chest pains, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The toxin attacks the heart and can be lethal, Dr. Tomás Aragón, health officer for the city and county of San Francisco, said in a written statement. According to health officials, there is no antidote for aconite poisoning.

After the tea poisoning, environmental health inspectors visited the herbalist and removed the leaves consumed by the patients from the shop. The shop’s owner is working with the health department to find the source of the toxin.

“Anyone who has purchased tea from this location should not consume it and should throw it away immediately,” Aragon said.

It is unclear how the poisonous plant got mixed up with the tea leaves, Kagan said.

“We don’t know what happened,” she said. “Something went wrong in this case.”

Chemical Agents in Water and Food Supply Feminize Human Population
By Russ Winter of The New Nationalist

The Crime Syndicate — or what some call the “New World Order” — do much more than culturally attack masculinity. A critical element of their crackpot plan and assault is to put or allow toxic agents into the environment that cause demasculinization.

metrosexual male circa 2005

For those who live in the U.S., this is manifested in what I would call the metrosexual or fem look. I first became aware of it in about 2000. At first, I thought it was just dress and changing cultural norms, but gradually I realized it was more. This has mostly emerged in the Millennial/Y generations, meaning people born between 1981 and 2000. It is a bit less pronounced in Europe, at least as you go east. It’s demonstrated in the first photo (at right). Clearly a male but just a tad low on testosterone. Sitting around using electronic devices may also contribute to a lack of male muscle mass. The agents may also contribute to the softness and flabbiness of older males as well.

Welcome to the Future

The front end of Generation Z, or Boomlets (starting in 2000, many in their pubescent years), are truly becoming freakish in terms of gender appearances. The photo to the left is of Cover Girl’s first-ever male model. Note the all-seeing eye on his T-shirt.

All Species Becoming More Feminized

The herbicide atrazine is one of the most liberally applied pesticides in the world. As a result, atrazine is the most commonly detected pesticide contaminant of ground, surface and drinking water. It’s also a potent endocrine disruptor that is active at low concentrations.

National Academy of Science studies demonstrate the reproductive consequences of atrazine exposure in adult amphibians. Atrazine-exposed males were both demasculinized (chemically castrated) and completely feminized as adults. Ten percent of the exposed genetic males developed into functional females that copulated with unexposed males and produced viable eggs. Atrazine-exposed males suffered from depressed testosterone, decreased breeding gland size, demasculinized/feminized laryngeal development, suppressed mating behavior, reduced spermatogenesis and decreased fertility.

Explosion in Unisex or Intersex Fish

If that isn’t enough, a nine-year study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey discovered an abundance of intersex fish in American rivers. Overall, 44 percent of the large-mouth and small-mouth bass dissected turned out to be intersex, but at some sites 91 percent of the male large-mouth bass were affected. Biologist Jo Ellen Hinck’s team found intersex males at 34 of 111 sites in eight of nine major river basins, including the Columbia, the Colorado and the Mississippi. The southeastern U.S. was hit hardest.

Scientists claim to be uncertain about the culprit. Previous research indicates that wastewater treatment plants flush endocrine-disruptive compounds (EDCs), including pharmaceuticals, pesticides and hormones, into rivers. Even minuscule amounts of EDCs can trigger powerful hormonal shifts that deform male fishes’ reproductive organs. Synthetic estrogen used in birth-control pills added to closed lakes collapsed the entire fish population.

An even more likely culprit is rain runoff with waste that is laden with hormones excreted from millions of chickens and cattle. And lo and behold, both food sources are picking up EDC compounds in the environment. One is called phthalates, which possess anti-androgenic properties. This means that they alter the natural expression of male androgen hormones, which are responsible for male characteristics. Accordingly, pregnant women whose fetuses are exposed to this agent end up reproducing males with smaller or deformed genitalia. An increasing amount of our males are experiencing delayed puberty, falling sperm counts and a rise in gender confusion as boys are increasingly feminized.

Tips for Aging Men to Maintain Male Hormones

  • Avoid Statins
  • Avoid Painkillers – Use healthy alternatives such as turmeric for pain
  • Avoid Fragrance – Fragrance often contains EDs, use essential oils
  • Dust & Vacuum – Use vacuum with HEPA filter
  • Clean Regularly – Clean with vinegar, borax, baking soda
  • Clean Indoor Air – Large-leaf houseplants filter toxins from air
  • Avoid Thermal – Don’t take receipts or, if must, wash hands immediately after touching
  • Sweat To Detoxify – Exercise regularly

TNN Takeaway

This topic goes on and on, and we could write a 5,000-word article full of just-the-facts citations. But of particular note is the lack of concern and the “what, me worry?” attitude of the Monsanto lobby, trans-humanists, transgender- and homosexual-infested health and governmental agencies running the show. Not much shows up in the lugenpresse on this development either. TNN submits it is all by design.

This article originally appeared on The New Nationalist and was republished here with permission.

Renegade Editor’s Note: As alarming as the preceding information is, it is likely not nearly as disruptive as all of the sex steroids found in animal products, which have incredibly high concentrations of actual animal estrogen, with a huge culprit being milk. Does it really do a body good?

Company recalls 21,000 pounds of frozen pizza sold at Walmart over potential listeria

A California-based company is recalling more than 21,200 pounds of frozen pizza sold at Walmart retail stores in 11 states due to potential listeria contamination. RBR Meat Company Inc. issued the recall for its Marketside Extra Large Supreme Pizza after possible listeria was discovered during routine sampling.

The product was available for purchase in Walmart store locations across California, Colorado, Nevada, Washington state, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii. According to a news release on the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) the products were produced on Feb. 23 and are packaged in a 50.6-ounce corrugated box containing one shrink-wrapped 16-inch pizza with lot code 20547.

According to FSIS, no illnesses tied to the recall had been reported as of March 15. However, consumers who have the product in their freezer or who have purchased it are urged to discard of it or return it for a refund.

Virtual reality has moved beyond science fiction to become a very real part of people’s lives. What advances will help VR go ma…

The recall comes amid a deadly listeria outbreak linked to a New York-based creamery that has resulted in at least six illnesses and two fatalities. Consuming foods contaminated with listeria could cause fever, muscle aches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, diarrhea or other stomach issues. Pregnant women who are exposed to listeria may suffer miscarriage, stillbirths or premature delivery. Those with compromised immune systems are also considered at an increased risk of health complications after exposure.

Consumers with additional questions may contact FSIS at or 1-888-674-6854.

Bacon, soda, and too few nuts tied to a big portion of US deaths

CHICAGO — Gorging on bacon, skimping on nuts? These are among food habits that new research links with deaths from heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.

Overeating or not eating enough of healthful foods and nutrients contributes to about 45 percent of US deaths from these causes, the study suggests.

‘‘Good’’ foods that were under-eaten include: nuts and seeds, seafood rich in omega-3 fats including salmon and sardines; fruits and vegetables; and whole grains.

‘‘Bad’’ foods or nutrients that were over-eaten include salt and salty foods; processed meats including bacon, bologna, and hot dogs; red meat including steaks and hamburgers; and sugary drinks.

The research is based on US government data showing there were about 700,000 deaths in 2012 from heart disease, strokes, and diabetes and on an analysis of national health surveys that asked participants about their eating habits. Most didn’t eat the recommended amounts of the foods studied.

It may sound like a familiar attack on the typical American diet, and the research echoes previous studies on the benefits of heart-healthy eating. But the study goes into more detail on specific foods and their risks or benefits, said lead author Renata Micha, a public health researcher and nutritionist at Tufts University.

The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Micha said 10 foods and nutrients were singled out because of research linking them with the causes of death studied. For example, studies have shown that excess salt can increase blood pressure, putting stress on arteries and the heart. Nuts contain healthful fats that can improve cholesterol levels, while bacon and other processed meats contain saturated fats that can raise levels of unhealthful LDL cholesterol.

In the study, too much salt was the biggest problem, linked with nearly 10 percent of the deaths. Overeating processed meats and undereating nuts and seeds and seafood each were linked with about 8 percent of the deaths.

The Food and Drug Administration’s recent voluntary sodium reduction guidelines for makers of processed foods and taxes that some US cities have imposed on sugar-sweetened beverages are steps in the right direction, Micha said.

A journal editorial said public health policies targeting unhealthful eating could help prevent some deaths, while noting that the study isn’t solid proof that ‘‘suboptimal’’ diets were deadly.

The study’s recommended amounts, based on US government guidelines, nutrition experts’ advice, and amounts found to be beneficial or harmful in previous research:

‘‘Good’’ ingredients

 Fruits: three average-sized fruits daily

 Vegetables: 2 cups cooked or 4 cups raw vegetables daily

 Nuts/seeds: 5 1-ounce servings per week — about 20 nuts per serving

 Whole grains: 2 ½ daily servings

 Polyunsaturated fats, found in many vegetable oils: 11 percent of daily calories

 Seafood: about 8 ounces weekly

‘‘Bad’’ ingredients

 Red meat: 1 serving weekly — 1 medium steak or the equivalent

 Processed meat: None recommended

 Sugary drinks: None recommended

 Salt: 2,000 milligrams daily — just under a teaspoon.

Children suffer severe throat burns after drinking apple juice at restaurant


Richard Zaragoza, Jr. and his half-sister, Ginaya Mendoza, were hospitalized after they drank tainted apple juice and suffered burns to their throats at an all-you-can-eat buffet on Friday, according to WPMT.

According to Richard’s father, Richard Zaragoza, Sr., both children were out to dinner with their mom, Virginia Davis, at the Star Buffet and Grill in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to celebrate Richard Jr.’s 10th birthday at the time of the incident.

“It was my son’s birthday so I decided to let him go with his mom, you know celebrate for a little while,” said Zaragoza. “So they decided to go to Star Buffet. That’s where he wanted. His restaurant of choice. His favorite place to go.”

Both Ginaya, 4, and the birthday boy ordered apple juice and the server brought it to them in cups — a move that the family said was uncharacteristic of the restaurant, which they’d been going to for years.

“Any other time that they brought the apple juice to us they would bring a styrofoam cup with ice and a separate drink so you can open and pour it if you want to,” said Zargoza. “You know this time they brought it already made.”

According to their parents, both children fell critically ill almost immediately after drinking the tainted beverage.

“As soon as they took a sip of it, they were throwing up and there was blood you know, and all that stuff,” Zaragoza told WPMT.


The kids were rushed to Hershey Medical Center and spent Saturday night in intensive care with severe burns of the mouth and throat, according to Lancaster Online.

Zaragoza said that although both children are in stable condition, he is still very concerned for them — especially for his son, who is still sedated with an intubation device.

“He has cystic fibrosis and diabetes, so the concerns are a lot worse,” he said.

WPMT learned from the owner of the restaurant that they had purchased the apple juice from a local supermarket.

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Although the source of the contaminants still remains to be determined, Zargoza told Lancaster Online that a test from the Hershey Medical Center revealed that methanol was at least one of the substances present in the tainted beverage.

Perhaps the most outrageous factor of all, however, is that according to Zaragoza, no one from the restaurant has bothered to contact him.

“Still open for business, which is mind-baffling to me,” the irate father said. “You know I haven’t, usually when something like that happens you would think the health inspectors would go and there’d be a full blown investigation.”