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House, Apartment Renters Keep Getting Good News

Prices have been falling but it’s the markets where costs have gone down that might be the biggest piece of news.



Prices have been falling but it's the markets where costs have gone down that might be the biggest piece of news.

If the real estate market has been through a rough few years, those navigating the rental market have even more stories -- from the Phoenix homes now renting for as much as similar properties in the Bay Area to the New Yorkers who, after getting a deal during the pandemic, saw their rent raised by as much as 65%.

Many of these stories come down to high demand and decades of underbuilding. Locations such as Phoenix, Miami, and certain parts of North and South Carolina were particularly popular destinations for those leaving urban centers during the pandemic. They were, as a result, subject to some of the most drastic increases.

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment nationwide, meanwhile, was $1,454 in December 2022. This is a 4.2% increase from 2021 but also a 1.4% drop from a month ago -- a clear sign that real estate prices cannot rise indefinitely as cities with overinflated markets start to self-correct.

What's Going On With Rental Prices In Many Small Cities?

According to's monthly rental report, the city with the steepest drop in monthly rental prices was Riverside, California. In November 2022, the rent price for an average of apartments ranging from a studio to a two-bedroom was $2,071 -- a 5.5% drop from the year before.

The city of 320,000 is an hour's drive away from downtown Los Angeles and was particularly popular for those looking for a less dense alternative. This flurry of activity quickly spurred developer interest and a rush of new construction that, local agents report, was too ambitious for the city's long-term prospects.

"People started to move back to big cities," Jiayi Xu, an economist for, said in a statement. "During the [COVID-19] pandemic, people were moving to the Sun Belt areas like Florida. Now, when we look at data from Boston and Chicago, demand there is up."

The other two cities among Realtor's top three all have a population above 500,000 people -- the year-over-year drop in rent prices in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Sacramento, California was a respective 4.9% and 4.8%.

While neither of these places tells the same "urban exodus and then return" story, Las Vegas and Sacramento both saw high numbers of newcomers during the pandemic. Prices in both cities soared in the double-digits between 2020 and 2022 but, as the interest wanes, the market is now in the process of correcting itself from overly-inflated prices.

This Is Where You Should Be Investing

"Many newly remote workers left the pricey Bay Area and moved to Sacramento, where real estate prices and the cost of living were significantly lower," writes of the latter. "[..] But now that the influx of new residents is ebbing and locals are getting priced out, prices have begun coming back to earth."

In fact, Riverside was the only smaller city to make the list -- others in the top ten include Louisiana's New Orleans, Arizona's Phoenix, and Georgia's Atlanta.

This news is undeniably good for renters who have been hit hard by increases in the above-mentioned cities -- the shuffling pushed some long-time residents to look elsewhere amid an influx of higher earners from out of town.

For those looking to invest, the largest cities on this list are likely to continue to bring in steady returns -- demand is still very strong and the drop is largely a correction from the disproportionate increases seen in the last two years.


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How COVID Vaccine Could Harm Your Gut, Leading To Brain Fog And Autoimmune Disease

How COVID Vaccine Could Harm Your Gut, Leading To Brain Fog And Autoimmune Disease

Authored by Marina Zhang via The Epoch Times (emphasis…



How COVID Vaccine Could Harm Your Gut, Leading To Brain Fog And Autoimmune Disease

Authored by Marina Zhang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Diarrhea, constipation, and bloating are common problems that plague two-thirds of Americans.

(Christoph Burgstedt/Shutterstock)

While gut problems are often written off as caused by poor diet and lifestyle habits, they may also be a sign of damage from infections such as COVID-19 and from COVID vaccination.

Internal medicine physician Dr. Keith Berkowitz, who has treated 200 COVID-vaccine-injured patients, told The Epoch Times that he found gut problems widespread among long-COVID and post-vaccine patients. However, patients often fail to bring up these issues.

Also, people may not be aware that symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog could be driven by gut problems, internist Dr. Yusuf Saleeby told The Epoch Times.

The Gut Is Linked to Everything

Poor gut health is associated with a vast range of diseases, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, dementia, cancer, infections, autoimmune diseases, and even reproductive diseases.

The gut’s health often depends on its microbiome, comprised of 100 trillion microbes inside the large intestine.

A healthy microbiome has a diverse population of microbes with many beneficial bacteria. These microbes produce chemicals necessary for metabolism, nutrition, immunity, and communication within organs. They also help maintain the mucous layer in the gut, preventing infections from entering through the gut cells.

Poor diet, poor sleep, environmental toxins, alcohol and drugs, infections, and chronic diseases can damage the microbiome by depleting it of beneficial bacteria, leaving pathological bacteria in its place.

Loss of Bifidobacteria in Gut After COVID Vaccination

Infections with the COVID-19 virus have been shown to damage the gut microbiome and are associated with compromised integrity of the gut’s mucous layer, causing gut dysbiosis—a microbiome imbalance.

Reports have also shown that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is linked to reduced biodiversity in the microbiome. 

A gastroenterologist and the CEO of genetic research lab ProgenaBiome, Dr. Sabine Hazan has found that test results of many vaccine-injured patients a month after vaccination show a lack of the probiotic Bifidobacteria. Dr. Hazan’s laboratory was the first to report the whole genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus using patient fecal samples.

Bifidobacteria are a group of bacteria under the Bifidobacterium genus and are among the first microbes to colonize the gut. They are believed to benefit their host’s health and are among the most common probiotics.

Right now, we’re seeing a persistence [of Bifidobacteria loss] in some patients, not a lot of patients,” Dr. Hazan said. “But if people are suffering after the vaccine, they need to be looked at. They can enter a clinical trial right now ... We have markers that we’re developing to identify those patients that are vaccine-injured, and we’re trying to find a signature microbiome in vaccine injuries.”

Her research team has since been following 200 vaccine-injured patients. She has observed drastic losses of Bifidobacteria and other species in some patients. However, there have also been rare cases where Bifidobacteria increased.

Dr. Hazan believes that the spike proteins coating the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, made in human cells after vaccination, kill Bifidobacteria, much like the virus can infect and kill good bacteria.

Like the COVID-19 virus, loss of beneficial microbes like Bifidobacteria may cause gut dysbiosis, directly linked to poor gut health and associated diseases.

However, gut dysbiosis is poorly defined in clinical diagnosis.

“In the clinical research looking at patients, we don’t have that definition yet,” Dr. Hazan said. “There is no guidelines to say gut dysbiosis is equal to this (specific thing).

Dr. Hazan’s earlier works in COVID patients showed that Bifidobacteria abundance is linked to the severity of COVID-19 disease. Patients with more Bifidobacteria in their gut tended to have mild or asymptomatic disease, whereas patients with low or no Bifidobacteria developed severe disease.

Treating COVID-19 Injuries Could Start in the Gut

Many factors must be considered when restoring the microbiome. Doctors must ensure the right microbes are cultivated, that this happens in the right place, that it will not disturb other microbes, and that the gut can support the new microbes being colonized, Dr. Hazan said.

Restoring microbes in an unhealthy gut environment could be like growing an apple tree in the sand.

“It’s forensics of the gut microbiome,” she said.

For Dr. Saleeby, helping patients with COVID-19 injuries often starts with the gut since the gut is what allows patients to absorb prescribed drugs and nutraceuticals.

He gave the example of low-dose naltrexone, a common staple used among doctors treating long COVID and vaccine injuries.

Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) will help the inflamed bowel and will help with Crohn’s disease and/or ulcerative colitis, and in exchange, when you start repairing the gut, you’ll find out that the LDN is absorbed better. So it may change the dose of LDN,” he said.

In gut dysbiosis, a person may develop small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which can interfere with treatment. Patients may also feel worse after starting therapy. This is because many of the first-line therapies used in treating COVID-19-vaccine injuries work by clearing spike protein and increasing the body’s ability to flush pathogens, Dr. Saleeby said. This can lead the immune system also to attack the overgrowth of bacteria in the gut, resulting in a sudden and massive accumulation of dead microbes in the body.

The body sees these dead pathogens as a threat, which triggers a sudden inflammatory reaction, causing more symptoms to flare up.

Reducing the treatment dosage and supplementing with anti-inflammatory therapies like hydration therapy, saunas, and Epsom salt baths can make these reactions more tolerable, said Dr. Saleeby.

Dr. Berkowitz also has patients who cannot tolerate typical postvaccine therapies. His patients, however, tend to exhibit signs of an overactive nervous system, which he suspects is linked to neurotransmitter depletion from the loss of beneficial bacteria.

These patients also become much more tolerant of postvaccine treatments once they are given hydration therapy and nutraceuticals that help calm the nervous system and rebuild the gut microbiome.

Damaged Gut: Neurological Problems

Research has shown that the gut and the brain are linked through their nervous system, and Drs. Saleeby and Berkowitz believe that the damaged gut could contribute to the brain fog, fatigue, and other problems seen in their patients.

Gut problems have long been linked to neurocognitive impairments.

For instance, some people develop severe brain fog “within 30 minutes” of eating a piece of bread because they’re gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease, Dr. Saleeby said.

Neuroinflammation driven by the gut could explain why patients with gut problems often develop neurocognitive problems. The brain and the gut are extensively linked through the gut-brain axis. When patients suffering from gut problems eat particular foods or chemicals that trigger disease, the gut may produce inflammatory chemicals that can penetrate the brain.

Another reason cause of neurocognitive impairment is the depletion of neurotransmitters. Many microbes in the gut use dietary nutrients to make neurotransmitters. Some of these microbes are lost in dysbiosis, and the gut becomes less capable of absorbing nutrients for use.

Therefore, neurological and cognitive problems may manifest. The neurotransmitters used in the brain are also made in the gut. Ninety-five percent and 50 percent of serotonin and dopamine are made in the gut, respectively.

Most neurotransmitters made outside the brain cannot cross the blood-brain barrier or be utilized by the brain. Yet research suggests a direct link between mental and cognitive health and microbiome health.

Dr. Berkowitz has noticed what he considers a depletion of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which can be made by bacteria in the gut, including Bifidobacteria. He believes the lack of GABA in the brain—an inhibitor to calm the nervous system—is why many patients display signs of an overactive nervous system.

He treats these patients with magnesium and melatonin, both of which stimulate GABA, and bovine colostrum, a milky fluid that seeps from cow udders the first few days after they give birth. Bovine colostrum has had promising results in repairing gastrointestinal damage in both animals and humans. Using these therapeutics, Dr. Berkowitz found that patients’ overactive nervous systems seemed to calm down, improving their symptoms.

“People describe their system going 100 miles an hour,” he said, and when you calm that down, the body can then repair itself. “Repair doesn’t happen when the body’s in a stress state … [since all the body’s] resources are focused on just survival.”

Damaged Gut: Autoimmune Conditions

Gut problems have also long been associated with autoimmune diseases, and doctors treating vaccine-injured patients have reported similar findings.

Autoimmune problems typically manifest in leaky gut, often medically referred to as increased intestinal permeability. In a leaky gut, the mucous layer protecting the gut from microbes is broken down, and microbes can then infect the gut lining and nearby blood vessels.

If [the gut lining] is disrupted, it’s kind of like [breaking down] a castle wall,” Dr. Saleeby said. “If it gets breached, then the enemy can get in.”

During this stressful time of invasion, if a virus or bacteria makes it in, infection occurs. If the invader is harmless, like a piece of peanut or a benign chemical, an allergic reaction manifests instead. The body starts attacking these foreign yet benign antigens and, in doing so, may harm itself, leading to autoimmune disease.

Dr. Berkowitz has found that many of his patients with overactive nervous systems and gut problems also test positive for autoantibodies, signaling a potential autoimmune disease.

“Nerve pain, fatigue, muscle and joint issues are probably the most common issues [with these patients],” he said. Many also report skin problems such as rashes.

However, once prescribed treatment for their guts and nervous systems, the patients’ symptoms improve, and their antibody levels decline.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/17/2023 - 21:25

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Beyond COVID vaccines: what else could mRNA technology do for our health?

The goal of mRNA technology is to harness the power of the cell to potentially prevent infections and treat diseases.





Many people first became familiar with the term “mRNA” when Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID vaccines were rolled out. In the simplest terms, mRNA, which stands for messenger ribonucleic acid, is a type of genetic material that gives cells in our bodies instructions to make specific proteins.

More recently the 2023 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman from the University of Pennsylvania for their discoveries in mRNA biology.

These scientists’ work has underpinned multiple successful COVID vaccines, which undoubtedly shifted the course of the pandemic. But their discoveries have likewise opened the door to a range of possible therapeutics which, until recently, remained elusive.

Read more: Nobel prize in medicine awarded to mRNA pioneers – here's how their discovery was integral to COVID vaccine development

The promise of mRNA

Within each of our cells are ribosomes, micro-machines that manufacture proteins, which in turn make up everything from muscle and bone to enzymes and hormones.

mRNA is the intermediate chemical “message” that carries the genetic code locked in the chromosomes of our DNA to the cytoplasm, the fluid that fills our cells and where proteins are made.

The ability to deliver genetic information directly into a cell has been one of medicine’s most obstinate challenges. While mRNA was theoretically the most attractive way to achieve this, it was of little use as a therapy. This is because our immune system mistakes the foreign RNA as being an invading virus, mounting a powerful and toxic immune response. Injecting naked mRNA therefore can make you very sick.

So it was pivotal when Karakó and Weissman pioneered a technique to “cloak” mRNA from the immune system, alongside lipid nanoparticles to protect the RNA and allow it to be delivered safely to our cells.

A health-care worker drawing up a vaccine.
COVID vaccines have shown us the potential of mRNA technology. Siyanight/Shutterstock

This paved the way for mRNA COVID vaccines which instruct our cells to make spike proteins, proteins on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID). This is turn primes our immune system to make anti-spike antibodies that then block SARS-CoV-2 from infecting our cells.

Their discovery has opened up new possibilities for how we treat common infectious illnesses as well as genetic diseases that have previously defied treatment.

Flu vaccines

Influenza kills up to 650,000 people globally each year. At the moment, seasonal vaccines need to be made annually once the main circulating strain has been identified. Manufacture takes about six months, by which time the original flu strain may have evolved. At best the seasonal vaccine is about 60% effective.

We need a better vaccine and mRNA technology offers the potential of a universal influenza vaccine, with multiple candidates currently undergoing human clinical trials. A vaccine, if successful, could replace the current seasonal shots.

The mRNA vaccines are based on a specific part of the influenza protein, called hemagglutinin, teaching the cells to recall it and therefore inducing broad immunity across many influenza strains. In this vaccine, hemagglutinin is the equivalent target the spike protein is in the COVID vaccines.

Read more: 3 mRNA vaccines researchers are working on (that aren't COVID)

Cancer treatments

Targeting cancer is another promising avenue for mRNA technology, with mRNA-based cancer immunotherapies already at the trial stage.

One technique uses mRNA to mimic “neoantigens” (short bits of tumour proteins on the surface of the tumour cells) identified from an individual patient’s tumour cells. Once delivered to the patient’s immune system, their body should produce powerful killer cells called cytotoxic T cells, eliciting a strong anti-tumour immune response.

A person with a bald head sitting on a bed.
mRNA technology has a number of possible applications in cancer treatment. fizkes/Shutterstock

Chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) therapy is a form of cancer immunotherapy currently in use around the world to treat certain forms of leukaemia. It uses immune cells called T cells that are genetically altered in a lab to help them locate and destroy cancer cells more effectively.

Traditionally CAR-T therapy has required a patient’s T cells to be harvested from white blood cells, modified, and then injected back into the patient. With mRNA technology the time consuming and most expensive steps are could be eliminated by delivering the CAR gene directly to T cells in the bloodstream.

Genetic diseases

mRNA technology is also transforming our response to some genetic diseases. Hereditary angioedema is a rare and potentially fatal genetic disorder where patients suffer severe and repeated attacks of swelling in their organs and tissues.

Scientists had discovered that a specific liver gene called KLKB1 prompts these swelling attacks. Researchers developed mRNA as a system to genetically edit and in turn “silence” the offending gene, with initial results positive for patients.

A similar trial using mRNA to edit the liver gene transthyretin alleviated symptoms in patients suffering a life-threatening hereditary condition called ATTR amyloidosis which affects the nerves and heart.

The path ahead

Therapeutics based on mRNA technology are still in their infancy and hurdles remain. For example, mRNA is short-lived in cells and protein is only made for a short time. Increasing the life-span of mRNA in cells would reduce the amount of mRNA required (the dosage). Scientists are working on this and a couple of methods have shown promise.

These caveats aside, the ability to deliver genetic information directly into cells could be a new frontier for medical therapeutics.

John Fraser receives funding from Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Wellcome Leap R3 Consortium for RNA.

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Physicists create new form of antenna for radio waves

University of Otago physicists have used a small glass bulb containing an atomic vapor to demonstrate a new form of antenna for radio waves. The bulb was…



University of Otago physicists have used a small glass bulb containing an atomic vapor to demonstrate a new form of antenna for radio waves. The bulb was “wired up” with laser beams and could therefore be placed far from any receiver electronics.

Credit: University of Otago

University of Otago physicists have used a small glass bulb containing an atomic vapor to demonstrate a new form of antenna for radio waves. The bulb was “wired up” with laser beams and could therefore be placed far from any receiver electronics.


Dr Susi Otto, from the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, led the field testing of the portable atomic radio frequency sensor.


Such sensors, that are enabled by atoms in a so-called Rydberg state, can provide superior performance over current antenna technologies as they are highly sensitive, have broad tunability, and small physical size, making them attractive for use in defence and communications.


For example, they could simplify communications for soldiers on the battlefield as they cover the full spectrum of radio frequencies, rather than needing multiple antennas to cover different frequency bands, and are super sensitive and accurate to detect a wide range of critical signals. The ability to eliminate the need for multiple sensors also makes them useful in satellite technology.


Importantly, compared to more traditional sensors, Rydberg sensors can function without any metal parts, which can scatter the radio frequency field of interest and the atomic sensor is accessed via laser light, replacing the need for electric cables.

The Otago group’s new design is portable and can be taken outside the laboratory. In a first out-of-lab demonstration, the sensor was able to efficiently measure fields in a distance of 30m using a free-space laser link. This adds important flexibility to Rydberg-atom based sensing technologies.


They envision these developments will make quantum sensors more robust and cost-effective, enabling them to move out of labs and into the real world.


A paper on the creation was recently published in Applied Physics Letters.


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