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Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found potentially harmful concentrations of contaminants in many New England wells. Arsenic exceeded federal safety standards for public drinking water in 13 percent of tested wells; manganese in more than 7 percent; and radon exceeded EPA’s proposed standards in 33 percent of wells.

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John BagnuloJohn Bagnulo is a naturalist and nutritionist. With a master’s in public health and a doctorate in food and nutrition sciences, he has a nutrition practice in Belfast and has taught nutrition for the past 12 years. He lectures widely on nutrition and health and has helped hundreds of patients reverse chronic diseases through a diet of whole foods. We asked Bagnulo about nutrition, health and farming practices. Here are his responses, edited for length.

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Tufts University suggests that plant foods may help preserve muscle mass in older people; study shows that eating raw (but not cooked) cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, etc.) just three times per month cuts the risk of developing bladder cancer by 40%.

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Four articles: In Norway, children's hyperactive disorders are linked to milk; in England, four good behaviors prolong life; diet soda is correlated with metabolic syndrome; compounds in fruit kill cells of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Five articles: Some organic foods are more nutritional than their non-organic counterparts; diets rich in organic produce might benefit from garlic as well; eating cooked dry beans helps lower total cholesterol levels; researchers have found that people with high folate and low B12 status have more anemia and cognitive impairment; recommendations for calcium, 1,000 mg per day for those aged 19 to 50 years, and 1,200 mg per day for those 51 or older, may be too high.

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Is there anything we can do to lower our risk of getting Alzheimer's disease? This question was far from my mind a decade ago when I wrote in these pages about the pleasures of growing winter-hardy chicories in my Sanford, Maine, garden. But a decade ago my mother hadn’t been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and my life hadn’t changed forever.

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Laboratory animals that were fed berry extracts and then treated to accelerate the aging process were protected from damage to brain function, according to research at Tufts University in Boston and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

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Getting higher – or at least adequate – dietary levels of choline is related to lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, according to research at Tufts University, Harvard School of Public Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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While thinking about a fence relocation project at MOFGA, it occurred to me that the potential of injury could be quite high, such as cuts while handling wire, etc. I checked the Internet on “tetanus” and found that there are about 50 cases a year in the United States. Not really an impressive stat, unless you happen to be one of the fifty!

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Nearly 95% of people in the United States are not getting desirable intakes of vitamin E from foods and beverages. More than half aren’t getting enough magnesium, about 40% aren’t getting enough vitamin A, and nearly one-third aren’t getting desirable intakes of vitamin C from the foods and beverages in their diets.

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Between 1981 and 1997, the amount of time U.S. children aged 6 to 8 played outdoors decreased by four hours per week, while the amount of time they spent indoors in school increased by almost five hours per week.

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Evidence is mounting of a connection between various stages of depression and low blood levels of the B vitamin folate, according to research funded by the Agricultural Research Service.

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Is a dietary deficiency of vitamin A or B6 linked to autism? Can nutrient deficiencies cause some cases of bipolar disorder? Can Tourette syndrome symptoms be triggered by mold in homes and schools, by offgassing of formaldehyde from building materials, or by flashing lights? These are some of the questions that editor Sheila Rogers addresses in the quarterly publication Latitudes, which covers “new and complementary approaches to attention disorders/hyperactivity, autism, behavior disorders, learning disabilities, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Tourette syndrome.”

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Fatty acids are straight chains of carbon (C) atoms that have hydrogen (H) atoms attched. The beginning of the fatty acid is a methyl (CH3) group, and the end is a carboxyl (COOH) group. The carbon atoms are numbered from 1, at the beginning, to n, at the end.

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Toki Oshima drawingRegular yard work can help prevent osteoporosis, says Dr. Lori Turner from the University of Arkansas. She and her team of researchers have found that women aged 50 and older who garden at least once a week have stronger bones than their peers.Digging holes, pulling weeds, pushing a mower, moving buckets and bags of compost – all of these provide opportunities to strengthen muscles and bones.

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Human body cells are constantly barraged with chemical signals that pester them to respond. Miraculously, they do a pretty good job of filtering out the “noise” and staying focused on their purpose. But some cells lose the ability to regulate these signals, and they react before they should. Researchers now believe this loss contributes to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

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More evidence that vitamin K helps maintain strong bones comes from a new look at data from 888 elderly men and women participating in the Framingham Heart Study between 1988 and 1995. The study is reported in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Here’s a piece of biology that struck me as profound: In an interview with percussionist and performer Layne Redmond in New Dimensions (July-Aug. 1999), Redmond said, " … all the eggs a woman will ever have form in her ovaries by the time that she is a four-month-old fetus."

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