Insight News

Jul 02nd


Will eating garlic and onions help prevent cancer?

Will eating garlic and onions help prevent cancer?Dear EarthTalk: Given the preponderance of carcinogenic chemicals out there today, is it true that eating certain foods like garlic or onions can actually help prevent cancer?    -- M. Stone, Boston, MA

Natural healers have extolled the cancer-preventing virtues of garlic and onions for years, but only recently do we have enough scientific research to draw some conclusions. Several animal studies showing promising results using garlic and other members of the allium family (onions, leek, shallot, and chive) to prevent tumors have led to hundreds of studies involving human garlic eaters. While it is near impossible to pinpoint a direct link between garlic consumption and cancer prevention, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that “several population studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast.”

Understanding mental disorders

When I was in graduate school learning to become a psychologist, it quickly became apparent to me that one of the goals of our training program was to teach us how to quickly and accurately label people with various types of mental health disorders.  I distinctly remember one lecture where the professor put the word “disease” on the board by spelling is as “Dis-Ease” as a way of emphasizing that folks who suffer from various types of mental illnesses experience discomfort with their symptoms.  Later, we learned that not everybody who has a mental health problem experiences a discomfort or a lack of ease with his or her problems.

Being thankful and learning optimism

When my mother was alive, we used to go home every Thanksgiving.  It was a family tradition.  Even when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, we would rent a hotel and the manager would give us a free room for our family dinner. I remember our last Thanksgiving with her and how we sat around after dinner singing spirituals and gospel songs.  Even though she was dealing with memory issues, lung cancer and only had a couple of months to live, my mother sang and held our hands and kissed us all on our cheeks, our hands, and our foreheads.  In that room, we all became kids again.  We laughed, acted silly, played jokes and would even do the occasional “pop” on somebody’s head before running away—hoping to be chased and caught.

Don’t lose sight of diabetic eye disease

Don’t lose sight of diabetic eye disease Thousands of American adults are at risk of losing their vision as a result of complications from diabetes

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million people in the United States. In addition, another 79 million people are estimated to have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts people at increased risk for diabetes. All people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, are at risk for diabetic eye disease, a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

Are diet sodas unhealthy?

Are diet sodas unhealthy?Dear EarthTalk: I drink diet soda but I’m told it’s bad for me and linked to health problems. Is this true and if so can you suggest any healthier alternatives?    -- Mitchell James, Ronkonkoma, NY

While rumors have circulated for years that diet sodas are unhealthy, researchers have found no direct links between such drinks and specific human health problems. Aspartame (also known as NutraSweet) is the sugar-alternative of choice for most diet soda makers. It’s 180 times sweeter than sugar but contains no significant calories and does not promote tooth decay. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved aspartame in 1974, though health advocates held up its widespread use for over a decade.

Garden of Truth: The prostitution and trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota

Garden of Truth: The prostitution and trafficking of Native Women in MinnesotaThe Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition and Prostitution Research & Education have released the landmark report, Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota, the first study to detail the personal experiences of Native women who have been prostituted and trafficked in the state, as well as the specific resources and support they need to escape prostitution and trafficking. The report follows on earlier studies by Amnesty International and the US Justice Department which found that Native women experience the highest rates of sexual assault in the US.

Coping with the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching.  I mean really, we just finished Halloween and I am already seeing Christmas decorations.  Somewhere in between there are a turkey, dressing, and some pumpkin pie just waiting to be recognized as a Thanksgiving dinner! 

As we approach the holiday season, many of us face difficulties.  Some of the problems that arise around holidays are experiencing losses of loved ones and special memories from the past.  The holidays bring up times of reminiscing special moments and traditions.  For those of us who are isolated and alone, they also bring up even more pronounced experiences of loneliness and loss.  Consequently, the holiday season is one of the most critical ones in terms of experiencing symptoms of depression.  It is said that perhaps up to 10% of the population suffers from holiday depression to some degree or another.  Additionally, people who suffer from stress related disorders prior to the holidays seem to see an increase in their symptoms.  According to the American Institute of Stress, more than 110 million Americans take medication for stress related causes each week.  When the holidays come along, people already predisposed to stress can find themselves feeling blue and more stressed out than usual.

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