flat lay photography of three tray of foods

DAILY DOSE: OTC antihistamines may keep cancers in check; Sustainable eating can be hard to pull off.


With the world dealing with the Delta and Omicron strains of Sars-CoV-2, civil society is teetering on the precipice of chaos. For the most part, it’s not that people are bad or don’t recognize the benefits of mitigation efforts. It’s just that they’re really worn out. Per the Associated Press, “New restrictions, or variations on the old ones, are cropping up around the world, especially in Europe, where leaders are at pains to explain what looks like a failed promise: that mass vaccinations would mean an end to widely loathed limitations. ‘People need normality. They need families, they need to see people, obviously safely, socially distancing, but I really think, this Christmas now, people have had enough,’ said Belinda Storey, who runs a stall at a Christmas market in Nottingham, England.” Fair enough. Unfortunately, it feels as if the virus is winning. https://bit.ly/31knEka


Can over the counter antihistamines like Benadryl protect against cancer? That’s what a recent study suggests. Per The Scientist, “A paper published today (November 24) in Cancer Cell reports that high levels of histamine—best known for being released in response to allergens—and one of its receptors are associated with tumor resistance to immunotherapy drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients with a range of cancer types. In tumor cells, immune checkpoints are proteins expressed to evade surveillance; by inhibiting them, checkpoint therapy boosts antitumor defenses. The study also shows that patients who happened to be taking antihistamine treatment responded better to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy than those not on antihistamines. Using tumor cells and mouse models, the authors further uncovered details on the mechanism behind this effect.” If the study’s findings prove to be true, I can at least thank my allergies for something. https://bit.ly/3G6fuuO

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There is a lot of environmental focus on countries that use and discard the most plastic. The Philippines is the largest contributor to ocean plastic pollution. However, the plastic needs to be produced somewhere. A recent article takes a look at the United States and the role they play as the world’s leading plastic producer. Per the Associated Press, “America needs to rethink and reduce the way it generates plastics because so much of the material is littering the oceans and other waters, the National Academy of Sciences says in a new report. The United States, the world’s top plastics waste producer, generates more than 46 million tons (42 million metric tons) a year, and about 2.2 billion pounds (1 million metric tons) ends up in the world’s oceans, according to the academy’s report. If the current rise in plastics pollution continues, the world by 2030 will be putting 58.4 million tons (53 million metric tons) into the oceans each year, or about half the weight of the fish caught in seas, the report said.” https://bit.ly/3DtQ5tv


Anyone who has tried to eat better while still doing a small part for climate change has run into a conundrum. How can you eat well but not destroy the world because of unsustainable farming or transportation. An article in Nature explores the clash of values. “More than 2 billion people are overweight or obese, mostly in the Western world. At the same time, 811 million people are not getting enough calories or nutrition, mostly in low- and middle-income nations. Unhealthy diets contributed to more deaths globally in 2017 than any other factor, including smoking. As the world’s population continues to rise and more people start to eat like Westerners do, the production of meat, dairy and eggs will need to rise by about 44% by 2050, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That poses an environmental problem alongside the health concerns. Our current industrialized food system already emits about one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. It also accounts for 70% of freshwater use and 40% of land coverage, and relies on fertilizers that disrupt the cycling of nitrogen and phosphorus and are responsible for much of the pollution in rivers and coasts.” https://go.nature.com/3daU03u

There are many ways to fight for a cause and activism can assume any number of forms. One artist in China is using the combination of music and location as tools of protest. Per Sixth Tone, “Chinese artist Nut Brother has spent much of 2021 on a truly surreal music tour. Over several months, he staged heavy metal gigs at a series of unusual locations, including a remote lake, a zinc plant, and a yak pasture on the Tibetan Plateau. The obscure venues were spread across northern China, but they had one thing in common: They all suffer from severe heavy metal pollution. The artist aims to use the unconventional gigs to focus public attention on an environmental problem that still plagues China’s post-industrial heartlands. ‘It’s heavy metal against heavy metals,’ Nut Brother, who is quoted under his pseudonym to protect his privacy, told Sixth Tone.” https://bit.ly/3DgPPhd

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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