Destroying Nature Unleashes Infectious Diseases – The New York Times

“A critical example is a developing model of infectious disease that shows that most epidemics — AIDS, Ebola, West Nile, SARS, Lyme disease and hundreds more that have occurred over the last several decades — don’t just happen. They are a result of things people do to nature.

Disease, it turns out, is largely an environmental issue.”

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Thriving Gut Bacteria Linked To Good Health

“What we’re only now beginning to realize is that there’s very close interaction between the bacteria within GI tract and human health and disease,” says Ilseung Cho, a gastroenterologist at NYU School of Medicine.

Beneficial bacteria do a lot for us, says Cho. They help with digestion, help our bodies make vitamins, and also likely help support a strong immune system.

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Allergies linked to baby’s birthplace, gut bugs

Where and how a baby is born might affect its chances of getting allergies and asthma growing up, suggests a new study.

Researchers found that babies were more likely to harbor a certain kind of bacteria in their intestines if they were born in the hospital, and especially by cesarean section – and those gut bugs were tied to a kid’s chances of later getting allergies or asthma.

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Dirtying Up Our Diets – New York Times

Autoimmune disease affects an estimated 50 million people at an annual cost of more than $100 billion. And the suffering and monetary costs are sure to grow. Maybe it’s time we talk more about human ecology when we speak of the broader environmental and ecological concerns of the day. The destruction of our inner ecosystem surely deserves more attention as global populations run gut-first into the buzz saw of globalization and its microbial scrubbing diet.

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How Meditation Makes You More Rational

A new study suggests that people who regularly practice Buddhist meditation make decisions in a more rational way.

“But the meditators’ brains reacted quite differently, activating brain areas associated with interoception — the representation of the body’s internal state. In fact, the researchers found very little overlap in the two groups’ neural responses.”

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