Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The NYTimes is a Freakin' Idiot!

Hundreds and hundreds of peer-reviewed studies published in the world's top scientific and medical publications find that there is very, very little difference between wine, beer and spirits when consumed:

  • in moderation
  • with food.


Wine's biggest advantage is the way it is consumed.

There are probably some small, additional benefits to wine from its various organic compounds. But this NYTimes piece is simply a product of scientific ignorance ... and a lot of PR people from Welch's Grape Juice and your local NeoProhibitionist.

You can find out the scientific facts here:The French Paradox And Beyond.

September 23, 2008

The Claim: Grape Juice Has the Same Benefits as Red Wine


By now the cardiovascular benefits of a daily glass of wine are well known. But many teetotalers wonder whether they can reap the same rewards from wine’s unfermented sibling, or are they simply left out altogether.

Grape juice may not provide much buzz, but you can still toast to good health when it comes to its ability to avert heart disease. Alcohol in moderation can relax blood vessels and increase levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol. But the substances believed to provide much of red wine’s heart benefits — resveratrol and flavonoids — are also found in grape juice, especially the variety made from red and dark purple Concord grapes.

Independent studies have found that like alcohol, grape juice can reduce the risk of blood clots and prevent LDL (“bad” cholesterol) from sticking to coronary arteries, among other cardiac benefits. One, conducted by scientists at the University of Wisconsin and published in the journal Circulation, looked at the effects of two servings of Concord grape juice a day in 15 people with coronary artery disease. After two weeks, the subjects had improved blood flow and reduced oxidation of LDL. Oxidized LDL can damage arteries.

Other studies in humans and animals, including one last year in the journal Atherosclerosis, have shown that daily consumption may lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But beware: some varieties of juice have sugar and artificial ingredients.


Studies suggest that some kinds of grape juice may provide the cardiac benefits of red wine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Going veggie shrinks the brain

Article from: The Courier-Mail
September 12, 2008 07:45pm

SCIENTISTS have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain - with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage.

Vegans and vegetarians — such as Heather Mills — are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia and inflammation of the nervous system.

Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin.

The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87.

When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.


Brain scans of more than 1,800 people found that people who downed 14 drinks or more a week had 1.6 per cent more brain shrinkage than teetotallers.

Women in their seventies were the most at risk.

Beer does less damage than wine according to a study in Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Researchers found that the hippocampus - the part of the brain that stores memories — was 10 per cent smaller in beer drinkers than those who stuck to wine.

And don’t inhale, cannabis has been shown to have the same brain-rotting effect.


Being overweight or obese is linked to brain loss, Swedish researchers discovered.

Scans of around 300 women found that those with brain shrink had an average body mass index of 27

And for every one point increase in their BMI the loss rose by 13 to 16 per cent.

A BMI 25 to 30 is classed as overweight, above 30 is clinically obese. Calculate your BMI

Dr Deborah Gustafson of University Hospital in Göteborg says obesity increases the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, which are both thought to contribute to brain drain.

She adds: “Obesity may also increase the secretion of cortisol, which could lead to atrophy.”


The omega-3 oils found in fish reduce the risk of dementia and other mental disorders says Fernando Gómez-Pinilla of the University of California, Los Angeles.

He says they increase flexibility in synapses in the brain - the bits that transmit information - and boost memory and learning.

Friday, September 05, 2008

UK Publisher Buys Novel That Terrified Gutless Random House

Random House's craven unwillingness to defend free expression is an immoral abomination, a mercenary flight from courage, a gutless lack of respect for authors, writing, and the free exchange of ideas.

But one British publisher, on the other hand, has a backbone, ethics and a commitment for writing. Read on:

From the Guardian: Controversial 'child bride of Muhammad' novel finds UK publisher

British independent publisher Gibson Square has bought Sherry Jones's controversial novel about the child bride of Muhammad, which was dropped by Random House US following warnings that it could incite acts of violence from radical Muslims. Jones's The Jewel of Medina was also pulled from bookshops in Serbia last month after pressure from an Islamic group.

Gibson Square, which has previously published provocative works including Alexander Litvinenko's Blowing up Russia and House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger, paid what it described as a "compelling" advance to acquire The Jewel of Medina. It will publish it in October in Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

"In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear," said Gibson Square publisher Martin Rynja. "As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate. If a novel of quality and skill that casts light on a beautiful subject we know too little of in the West, but have a genuine interest in, cannot be published here, it would truly mean that the clock has been turned back to the dark ages. The Jewel of Medina has become an important barometer of our time."

Random House was told by security experts and academics that the novel, for which it paid a $100,000 advance, was potentially more incendiary than both Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses and the Danish newspaper cartoons of Muhammad. Random House said at the time that it decided not to publish the title "for the safety of the author, employees of Random House Inc, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the book". The publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988 saw attempts made on the lives of Rushdie's Italian and Norwegian publishers, while the Japanese translator of the book was killed.

Rynja said that as a small publisher, Gibson Square would be more capable of handling any controversy. "With a book that is controversial – and we've done a number – it is incredibly important that it is looked at from all sides. That is very difficult for a large publisher to do as they are looking at 200 titles a month so a controversial one is just one in the mix."

He said that he hoped that once people read the novel in its entirety there would be a "healthy discussion" about its content. "[Jones has] done very careful and detailed research for the novel – she's writing about this love story which even after 1,400 years we don't know much about."

Rynja struck the deal with Jones's agent Natasha Kern, who has also sold the novel to Editora Record in Brazil and is in discussions with small Danish publisher Trykkefrihedsselskabets Library (Free Speech Library).

Kern said that she and Jones decided on Gibson Square because they wanted a publisher who would commit to the novel and Jones's career, "as well as an editor and publisher who are passionate about bringing The Jewel of Medina to widest possible group of readers. We wanted to publish this book as quickly as possible so that all those who are interested can read the book and discover what a wonderful and inspiring love story Sherry has written."

Gibson Square also publishes John McCain, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Naomi Klein, Richard Dawkins and AN Wilson.