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Want to lose weight? More sleep could help, doctors say

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Ian Patton has struggled with obesity his whole life. He’d lose weight, then put it on, going up and down like a yo-yo.

When he tries to pinpoint why, sleeplessness stands out.

“I think of times when I had significant re-gain or problems with my weight, it would often be tied to periods where I wasn’t sleeping well,” said Patton.

Patton, 35, says that as a child he was heavy but athletic, competing fiercely as a high school wrestler. Things changed in his university years. While pursuing his PhD in kinesiology, stress began to interfere with his sleep.

“I’d wake up and try to do work because I couldn’t calm my mind,” said Patton.

Ian Patton, public engagement co-ordinator for Obesity Canada, says his weight gain began in university during periods of sleeplessness. On the left, Patton is pictured with his son Declan in 2013. On the right, Patton is pictured in 2017. (Submitted by Ian Patton)

That’s when he started craving junk food, and found it harder to exercise. Over the years, he estimates his weight ballooned to 350 pounds, maybe more.

“Obviously, when I’m tired and I’m having poor sleep, I’m not all that motivated to get up and go to the gym or [go] running … it turns into kind of a vicious cycle.”

Canada’s obesity rates have doubled since the 1970s. Poor diet and insufficient exercise are generally blamed as the culprit, but health professionals say Canadians need to pay more attention to an oft-neglected cause of weight gain: lack of sleep.

Sleep deprivation and obesity

At a time when a third of Canadian adults get less than seven hours of sleep each night on average, according to Statistics Canada, our sleep-deprived state spells trouble for our collective weight.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput, an obesity specialist based at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, says there’s a strong link between sleep and body weight.

“We know that lack of sleep causes weight gain, in kids [and] in adults,” Chaput said.

Chaput says, by sleeping less, we have more time and more opportunities for eating. It adds up: Research suggests people who sleep less consumed on average 385 more calories every day compared to people who sleep more.

“If we sleep four hours per night, for example, we’re awake for 20 hours. We just have more time to go to the fridge, to go to the cookie jar,” says Chaput.

“We need some fuel, so it’s just normal for short-duration sleepers to eat more.”

When I’m feeling better about myself and exercising and doing all the things that I’m supposed to be doing, I definitely feel like I can sleep better.– Ian Patton

People tend to make poor food choices when tired, seeking out energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugar. Lack of sleep disrupts the balance of key hormones that control appetite, which is why after a rough night of sleep, people often reach for cookies, candies and chips.

“It’s a reward for the brain to snack and to eat more when we don’t sleep enough,” said Chaput.

Sleep-deprived people may also be too tired to exercise, which decreases the “calories burned” side of the weight-change equation.

‘Vicious circle’

Obesity also increases the risk of sleep apnea, an obstructive sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing at night.

Heavier people tend to have more tissue surrounding their airways, making them prone to obstruction — and apnea can contribute to weight gain, making the problem even worse.

“The more weight that you gain, the more likely you have this problem [sleep apnea]. And also by not sleeping enough, then you may gain weight,” Chaput said.

Jean-Philippe Chaput is concerned too many people view sleep as a ‘waste of time.’ (University of Ottawa)

“So, it’s tough to get rid of this vicious circle.”

Patton says he felt trapped in that cycle of weight gain, but things started to change when he was diagnosed with sleep apnea.

He paid more attention to his sleep routines and noticed his diet began to improve. In 2014, he also had a gastric bypass, a surgery which reduced the size of his stomach.

The results were dramatic: He now weighs about 240 pounds.

“When I eat better and when I’m feeling better about myself and exercising and doing all the things that I’m supposed to be doing, I definitely feel like I can sleep better,” said Patton, who now works as an advocate for the Canadian Obesity Network.

Dr. Chaput is concerned too many people view sleep as a “waste of time,” and says no one should be labelled as lazy or unproductive if they prioritize a good night’s sleep.

“We hear people like Donald Trump being happy to say, ‘I sleep four hours every night and therefore I’m very productive and I’m good.’ I think it’s not a good message,” he said.

“I think meeting the recommendations of seven to nine [hours of sleep] should be a better goal than being proud of sleeping four hours per night.”

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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