A Special Tomatoes can Help Parkinson’s Patients


Researchers found a way to put a key chemical that helps Parkinson’s patients into tomatoes. The amino acid L-DOPA helps people process dopamine, which in turn, helps alleviate the troubles which Parkinson’s brings. Currently L-DOPA is delivered synthetically (through a pill) and this can cause severe side effects, whereas delivering it “naturally” in an organic vessel reduces the likelihood of side effects. Maybe this will lead to other pills being converted to delicious foods!

The scientists’ research focused on turning tomatoes into a sort of factory to produce Levodopa (L-DOPA), a major Parkinson’s therapeutic. L-DOPA has been the gold standard drug for the management of PD symptoms since 1967, but it is typically obtained from synthetic sources. There are serious concerns about a shortage of the drug as incidences of PD rise. Turning tomato plants into factories to make this natural compound carries several benefits over synthetic versions or having L-DOPA synthesized naturally by other plants. 

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Thanks to Neva!

A Soap Company That Fights For a Better America

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps are known for their cleaning power, but are increasingly getting known for their political power. The CEO of the company is a good example of a leader that practices what he believes – and leverages the company to ensure his thoughts are shared. In one example, David Bronner, has capped all executive pay at his company to be five times the lowest paid employee.

He’s in getting news right now for his support of labelling genetically modified organisms sold in stores. In the past, he also took the government to court over their insane anti-hemp laws. One interesting fellow and company!

Limiting executive pay and spending virtually nothing on advertising left a lot of extra cash for improving the products and funding social campaigns—which have often gone hand-in-hand. For years, the soap had included an undisclosed ingredient, caramel coloring. As the new CEO, Bronner wanted to remove it for the sake of purity, but feared that die-hard customers would assume the new guy was watering down the product. So he decided to incorporate hemp oil, which added a caramel color while also achieving a smoother lather. But there was a hitch: A few months after he’d acquired a huge stockpile of Canadian hemp oil, the Bush administration outlawed most hemp products. “Technically, we were sitting on tens of thousands of pounds of Schedule I narcotics,” Bronner recalls.

Rather than destroy the inventory, he sued the Drug Enforcement Agency to change its stance on hemp, which comes from a nonpsychoactive strain of cannabis. Adam Eidinger, who now heads the company’s activism efforts in Washington, DC, served DEA agents at agency HQ bagels covered with poppy seeds (which, in theory, could be used to make heroin) and orange juice (which naturally contains trace amounts of alcohol). In 2004, a federal court handed Bronner a victory, striking down the ban and allowing him to keep his stores of hemp oil.

Read more at Mother Jones.

Peru bans GMO foods

Due to the unknown effects that genetically modified plants can have and the intellectual property issues around them (basically Monsanto sues everyone), Peru has joined other counties in banning GMO foods. This good to see since there are so many unknowns around growing and consuming GMO products.

Peru has said “no” to genetically modified foods — a 10-year ban on GMO foods takes effect this week. Peru’s ban on GMO foods prohibits the import, production and use of genetically modified foods. The law is aimed at safeguarding the country’s agricultural diversity and preventing cross-pollination with non-GMO crops. It will also help protect Peruvian exports of organic products.

Peru isn’t the first country to ban GMO foods or place restrictions on their use. Earlier this year, Russia suspended imports of Monsanto’s GMO corn after a French study linked the corn to cancer; France also has a temporary ban on the corn. Ireland has banned the growing of GMO crops since 2009. Japan and Egypt also ban the cultivation of GMO crops. In 2010, Switzerland extended a moratorium on genetically modified animals and plants, banning GMOs until 2013.

Read more here.

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