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E-CIG EMERGENCY?

Hundreds sick nationwide as the number of dead ticks higher.

Why this new invention is raising such alarm.

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E-CIGS 101

  • E-cigs work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that is inhaled.
  • The liquid “vaped” includes substances like nicotine or THC (ingredient in marijuana).
  • A majority of e-cig users also smoke traditional cigarettes.
  • FDA began regulating e-cigs in 2016.
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THE LATEST

  • CDC & FDA opened investigation because of illness & deaths connected to “vaping.” As of this writing, 500+ people sick, 8 dead.
  • Various symptoms reported (coughing, fever, fatigue, nausea).
  • Those sickened range in age, region.
  • Gov’t advises people to stop using e-cigs until they figure out what’s going on.
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BOTTOM LINE

  • E-cigs were created as an alternative to tobacco, which kills over 8M people a year globally.
  • E-cigs are not confirmed to be less harmful than tobacco cigarettes; long-term health effects are unknown.
  • No particular inhaled product connected to illness; cause remains a mystery.
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Meanwhile ... while the feds mull what to do, Michigan just joined New York banning flavored e-cigs. San Francisco also passed a ban. Nearly 30 countries ban the sale of all types of e-cigarettes.

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SEEKING BETTER SLEEP?

New research says one of the best remedies for getting a good night’s sleep…doesn’t require a prescription.

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THE BASICS

  • A Univ. of Texas graduate student who had trouble sleeping discovered taking a bath often helped him rest.
  • He wondered if science could prove why, and analyzed existing sleep studies to find out.
  • Conclusion: A hot shower or bath can lead to a better night’s sleep, but probably not for the reason you might think.
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HOW IT WORKS

  • Take a shower or bath 1-2 hours before bed.
  • Ideal length: at least 10 minutes
  • Ideal temp: 104-109 Fahrenheit
  • The Theory: Your bedtime body temperature needs to be cooler for sleep. Taking a warm bath allows your body temp to rise and then quickly release heat, cooling your core and allowing you to get to sleep faster and better.
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WHY IT MATTERS

1 out of 3 Americans don’t get enough sleep.

4% of Americans – or 9M – take sleep aids.

“I’d rather tell my patients, ‘why not just take a hot bath or shower?'”

Dr. Sarah Stolz, Sleep Medicine program, Swedish Hospital in Seattle
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The biomedical engineers behind this analysis are now working on inventing a mattress that will help regulate your body's optimal temperature to maximize your chances for a good night's rest. Would you buy a mattress with that technology?

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CONCUSSION CLUE?

How a drop of blood may tell you lifesaving info about a hit to the head.

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New Research

  • New study of 450 people using Abbott Laboratories invention.
  • Handheld device collects a few drops of blood from patient, measuring proteins in the bloodstream released when a brain injury occurs.
  • Within 15 minutes the device can predict if a patient has a traumatic brain injury or concussion.
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Why It Matters

“One of the hardest parts about treating concussions today is in diagnosing them. We have to base a diagnosis on the ‘clinical’ picture: how a person or child behaves and their symptoms. So, it would be wonderful to have a simple test that could definitively diagnose it.”

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, ER doctor, mother of 2 and author of "Mom Hacks."
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Data shows upwards of 1/2 of all concussions go undiagnosed. The Dept of Defense helped fund the research on this device which could be used in war zones. It's currently already in use in Europe to diagnose heart attacks.

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Will Red Or White Meat Make You “Blue”?

 

New study shows white meat is no healthier than red meat when it comes to your cholesterol.

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About The Study:

  • Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • 113 participants split into two groups: diets high or low in saturated fats & spent a month eating red (lean beef or pork), white (chicken or turkey) and nonmeat (plant-based) proteins with regular diet periods in btwn.
  • Periodic blood tests measured cholesterol levels.
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“When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have a more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat, but we were surprised that this was not the case – their effects on cholesterol are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent.”

Dr. Ronald Krauss, study author, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and professor at the University of California at San Francisco.
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The Takeaways:

  • Of the three diets examined in the study, only the plant-based diet was associated with healthy blood cholesterol levels.
  • Eating red or white meat impacted LDL (bad) cholesterol the same, even when all groups ate equal levels of saturated fat.
  • Fish, processed meats, & grass-fed beef not included in study.
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This small study challenges gov't dietary guidelines promoting white meat as a healthier option to red meat. Red meat consumption has declined in recent years in connection with health concerns.

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Can Man’s Best Friend…
Save Us From Cancer?

 

 

 

Hundreds of dogs are testing a cancer vaccine in the largest clinical trial of its kind.

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What’s Happening:

  • Prof. Stephen Johnston, Arizona State Univ. Center for Innovations in Medicine, has worked on a cancer vaccine for over a decade.
  • Human trials = very expensive & difficult to get approved.
  • Johnson partnered w/a veterinarian (Colorado State Univ).
  • 800+ dogs are testing a vaccine that aims to prevent or delay a variety of cancers.
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“Cancer is actually the leading cause of death in adult dogs. They develop these tumors spontaneously as a result of old age in a way that’s very, very similar to the way humans do.”

Veterinarian & cancer survivor, Dr. Doug Thamm, Colorado State University's Flint Animal Cancer Center. Dogs get cancer at nearly the same rate as humans. If this vaccine lowers cancer rates or delays the onset in dogs, it could be a promising sign in the quest to vaccinate against cancer in humans.
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Other cancer drugs have been tested successfully on dogs before humans. However, a vaccine is different than a typical drug - it works to help the human immune system identify a potential danger and fight it. Cancer is notoriously tricky to identify.

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A Coffee “Cap”? 

 

 

A recent study says drinking six or more cups a day may negatively affect your heart health, BUT drinking too little may also do the same.

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The Study

  • Researchers at the University of South Australia examined health data of nearly 350,000 adults ages 37 – 73 and focused on a caffeine-metabolizing gene.
  • RESULTS:  People who drank 6 or more daily cups of (caffeinated) coffee had a 22% increased risk of heart disease vs. those who drank 1 – 2 cups daily.
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More or Less Java?

Compared to those who drank 1 – 2 cups of caffeinated coffee daily, researchers found:

  • Non-coffee drinkers had a 11% increased risk of heart disease
  • Decaf coffee drinkers had a 7% increased risk of heart disease

[1 cup = 8 fluid ounces]

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“Most people would agree that if you drink a lot of coffee, you might feel jittery, irritable or perhaps even nauseous … but it is also likely to suggest that you may have reached your limit for the time being. We also know that risk of cardiovascular disease increases with high blood pressure, a known consequence of excess caffeine consumption.”

University of South Australia professor Elina Hyppönen
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Also Worth Noting …

  • A study released in 2018 of nearly 500,000 British adults found that coffee drinkers were 10 to 15% less likely to die (compared to non-coffee drinkers) during a 10-year follow-up period.
  • A 2017 University of Colorado study found that coffee drinkers are 7% less likely to develop cardiovascular failure compared to non-coffee drinkers.
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The average American drinks more than 1 cup each day, according to the most USDA recent information. A venti ice coffee from Starbucks is 24 ounces -- that's three cups.

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TIPPING THE SCALE?

New study shows most parents underestimate how much their child weighs (and so do their doctors).

Why This Matters

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THE NEW STUDY

  • Researchers looked at data focusing on nearly 25,000 children between 0-19 years old.
  • RESULTS: 55% of parents underestimated how overweight their child was; more than 1/3 of children did the same.
  • Physicians *appeared* to have a “tendency” to also underestimate, according to researchers.
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“Identifying weight problems in childhood & adolescence is a unique window of opportunity to have a lifetime impact on health.”

Lead researcher Abrar Alshahrani, University of Nottingham, UK who says parents used words like "big boned" or "solid" to describe their children to avoid using a term like "overweight" or "obese."  Researchers say not having frank conversations about weight could lead to a lack of treatment.
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Why It Matters:

  • Overweight or obese children have increased worldwide.
  • Nearly 1 out of 5 children in the U.S. are obese. Obesity readings differ by age groups, but a higher percentage of children qualify as obese as they get older.
  • Impact of obesity isn’t just physical. New research shows a link between obesity in children to anxiety & depression.
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Does this study sound familiar? It did to us too. Turns out we covered a story about pet owners in America ignoring obesity in their pets! Researchers in both studies don't explain WHY we don't have accurate images.

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THE NEW MARIJUANA?

 

 

 

Why some cities (and states) want to make “magic mushrooms” easier for their citizens to consume.

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Word To Know:

“psilocybin”

  • hallucinogenic ingredient in some mushrooms.
  • federally banned “controlled substance” like peyote & heroin.
  • Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Initiative – would decriminalize the use of “magic mushrooms.”
  • Iowa, California, & Oregon have or will consider similar laws.
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Why?

  • Supporters make similar arguments to those advocating for easier access to marijuana: potential health benefits, and saves police (& therefore, taxpayers) time & money arresting people for non-violent drug offenses.
  • Opponents say there’s too many unknowns, for the well-being of the individual and the community.
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“It’s really unprecedented in medical history to see effects for depression that are caused by a single medication.”

Matthew Johnson, Ph.D, who found a single dose of psilocybin can benefit someone suffering from depression or anxiety for months. However, he also believes medical supervision is necessary, saying "bad trips...can lead to dangerous behavior when out in the wild."
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Even if states or cities vote to decriminalize mushrooms, like marijuana, it remains a federal crime. Denver's initiative, which appears likely to fail, wouldn't technically make "shrooming" legal, but it would make crimes of use and possession a low priority for police.

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FEELING STRESSED?

Scientists discover a 20-minute treatment they say will significantly improve your well-being.

And it’s free.

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“NATURE PILL”

“Nature Pill” = a dose of nature.

  • Univ. of Michigan researchers started with this thought: We know nature can decrease stress levels, but how much nature do you need to make a difference?
  • Study: 36 people took *at least* a 10-min “nature pill” anytime they wanted 3x a week for 8 weeks.
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WAIT A SECOND…

  • How do you measure stress? Saliva samples allowed researchers to check cortisol (“stress hormone”) levels.
  • What determines “nature”? No hard fast rule. Anything that gave participants a “sense of nature.”
  • A Catch! Sitting on a park bench & texting didn’t count! No reading, social media, internet, phone calls or aerobic exercise (walking = ok).
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“Thirty minutes is the ideal time for the greatest stress reduction. But 20 minutes is sufficient. Start with five minutes and see where it takes you.”

Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, lead study author and associate professor at the University of Michigan, who said the study provides the first ever evidence of how nature can improve our stress levels during our regular routine.
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Researchers said they hope this study provides a catalyst for more research on how to prescribe "nature pills" based on age, gender, or even the season.

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“Forced” Vaccinations?

In a rare move, NYC requires vaccinations in one neighborhood plagued by measles, as the nation hits the second-highest number of cases in nearly 20 years.

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Important Context:

  • What is an “outbreak”? CDC defines it as 3 or more cases.
  • 7 active outbreaks – linked to outside travelers visiting areas with low vaccination rates.
  • As of Monday, there are 465 cases in 19 states.
  • 2019 = the second-highest number of measles cases in America since disease thought eradicated in 2000.
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“There’s no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declaring a public health emergency in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, requiring vaccinations for those who live and/or work in a predominately Orthodox Jewish neighborhood where a measles outbreak started in October and has yet to be contained. Williamsburg has 228 confirmed cases of measles since October; 26 cases over the last week.
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“I don’t think it’s up to the city to mandate anything. We all have constitutional rights.”

A local Brooklyn mother in the area impacted giving only the name of "Gitty" to the New York Times for fear of retaliation. The NY Civil Liberties Union criticized the city's "forced vaccinations." While public officials are not physically forcing anyone to be vaccinated, those without vaccination records may face penalties/fine. There are no federal laws on vaccinations. States set vaccination requirements.
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Rockland County, NY recently declared a public health emergency outlawing those unvaccinated from visiting public places; A judge temporarily halted the order. Officials worry about further spread of measles as Jewish families gather next week to celebrate Passover.

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Does Your Gender Determine When Your Diagnosed?

 

 

A New Study Says Yes.

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THE STUDY

  • University of Copenhagen researchers examined medical records of nearly 7 million Danish adults over two decades.
  • Compared when males and females suffering from the same diseases were diagnosed.
  • Why It Matters: Earlier diagnosis leads to earlier treatment.
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THE RESULTS

  • For the 770 diseases examined, women were diagnosed on average 4 years later than men suffering from the disease.
  • Example: Women diagnosed with cancer on average 2.5 years later than men.
  • Exception: For osteoporosis, women generally diagnosed ahead of breaking a bone, but the opposite was true for men.
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‘It has been surprising to see that there is such a big difference between the diseases that affect men and women and between their patient care…”

Lead study author, David Westergaard. The study does not explain WHY the diagnosis discrepancy might be happening. Some suggest gender bias. Others say men tend to go to the doctor less frequently than women, making their symptoms more severe/obvious when they are seen.
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“Since this study was just of people hospitalized, it’s tough to know if the later diagnosis for women was due to later onset of disease, or actually taking longer to diagnose it, but it does raise some important questions and observations.”

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD, mom & author of the book "Mom Hacks."
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Although a 2001 CDC study found that women are more likely to go to the doctor than men, a more recent study found that overall Americans go to the doctor less than we used to. In 2010, the average American adult made approx. 4 doctor visits (vs. 5 in 2001).

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THE SECRET SAUCE?

A first of its kind study says your genes may hold the key to a happy marriage.

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YALE STUDY

  • Focus of the research: a genetic variation on the gene receptor for oxytocin.
  • Oxytocin = hormone often linked to “greater empathy, sociability, and emotional stability.”
  • Study found as long as one person (man or woman) had this genetic variation the couple overall had higher marital satisfaction.
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“This study shows that how we feel in our close relationships is influenced by more than just our shared experiences with our partners over time.”

Lead author Joan Monin, Yale School of Public Health, who also noted the study found those WITH the genetic variation were less "anxiously attached" to their partner, one potenital factor in a happy marriage.
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Something To Consider:

What if we don’t have it? The study isn’t saying this genetic variation guarantees a happy marriage, but it does indicate that the correlation is interesting enough to study further.

Study Limitations: Only 178 married couples studied. Researchers say a larger study, with a greater diversity of couples is needed to look more closely at this association.

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Want to check your genetic compatibility? Companies Instant Chemisty & Gene Partner offer a dive into your relationship DNA. Do you think this is helpful or hurtful information for a couple?

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