Category Archives: Health

Air Pollution Linked to More than Global Warming

Air pollution is not good for you or me. Our current elected officials may say otherwise, but global warming is real and we can thank air pollution for that. And now we can thank it for the diseases it can cause.

The Donora Smog in 1948 ;Photo from www.post-gazette.com
The Donora Smog in 1948; Photo from www.post-gazette.com

In 1948, a little town in Pennsylvania awoke to an unusually sooty sky. This area was notable for its daily haze coming from the nearby zinc and steel plants. This was the price to be paid for feeding your loved ones. The next day, the smog was so bad that the local high school quarterbacks couldn’t pass the ball to the receivers.  For five days, Donora, Pa. was filled with so much smog that 20 people were killed, one-third of the town was sick, and another 50 died in the coming months. After the tragedy, the federal government began clamping down on pollutants, leading to the Clean Air Act in 1970, 22 years after the events in Donora.

Air pollution can lead to heart disease. The American Heart Association in 2010 updated their stance on air pollution, finding it consistent with morbidity and mortality. It also leads to weight gain. Frank Gilliland, an environmental epidemiologist at the University of Southern California became intrigued when studies suggested that pollutants interrupt the actions of hormones, leading to weight gain. At first, Gilliland said of the claims: “I was very skeptical.” He would go on to study 3,000 children across California and found an association to the claims, although they couldn’t rule out other explanations. Gilliland explained, “Maybe the kids aren’t getting exercise because there’s a lot of traffic out.”

The newest study linked ozone concentrations in the air to diabetes.  Children who live in neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of nitrogen dioxide have experienced great decline in insulin sensitivity. People with diabetes have trouble producing insulin.  Radford has an army ammunition plant that releases those same chemicals in open burns that can cause diabetes. The plant has been controversial for years now because of the open burns. Recently, however, the plant had a drone test the air quality in the open burn sites to “exchange public fears for facts.”

Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, VA; photo from www.wsls.com
Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, VA; photo from www.wsls.com

Whatever the case may be, the evidence is there. Air pollution can cause more than global warming; it could affect your life.

 

No, the World Didn’t End on Saturday

Yes, the world is going to end one day; we just don’t know when. That hasn’t stopped people from professing their belief that the world is going to end on a certain date.

We have been obsessed with “The End” of our bedtime stories of humanity. The latest nut-job is David Meade, a self-described specialist when it comes to the end of the world.  He predicted the Rapture, as foretold in the Book of Revelations, will begin on Saturday. (Wait a minute, it’s Sunday and we are still alive. What a shocker.)

David Meade – Photo from The Sun

There was no evidence supporting Meade’s claims of a Planet Nibiru or “Planet X” on a crash course towards Earth. That didn’t stop Meade from making claims. There are several ways in which the world can end. As long as someone can press the magical “red” button, nuclear war is the most likely way the world will end.

Of course, you might have a giant asteroid hit your house and car but the odds of that happening are 1-in-100 million in any given year. Those poor dinosaurs had a very bad year.

Then you might have climate change or global warming ruining your day, but it is doubtful this would lead to the end of the world. How about the over population of the world? Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has stated that we only have until 2100 before we would have to find a new home that is suitable for humans. In 2100, the population is estimated at over 11 billion, but most people alive today would be dead.

Then you have black holes that are never full after eating many stars and planets, but the odds of that happening are so small that we don’t have numbers for it. Another event that could happen is a supernova – the closest one to us is Betelgeuse, a part of the Orion constellation.

A more likely event is a global pandemic like the flu and smallpox killing off the majority of the planet and a biological weapon launched by terrorists and maybe another country. Maybe a super- volcano or robots take us out.

Finally, we have survived everything but one thing: Father Time. The sun runs out of fuel and expands to engulfing Mercury, Venus and possibly the  Earth. The planet will be so hot, no life will be possible. So enjoy life on Earth right now; we only got a billion more years to go.

What is CTE and Why is it a Problem

Most people by now have heard of a neurodegenerative/brain disorder called CTE: chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This disorder is very common with those who have competed in contact sports like football.

Aaron Hernandez, former tight end for the New England Patriots and convicted murderer who committed suicide back in April, was found to have had stage 3 CTE after his brain was studied by Boston University. At the young age of 27, Hernandez is one of the youngest people to have the disorder since CTE’s discovery.

This news doesn’t take away from the fact that Hernandez murdered one person and may had killed two more. Hernandez however, is now one of the 112 former football players to have their brains studied post-mortem. Out of the 112, 111 had some type of CTE. That means that most likely, 99% of former, current, and future NFL players will have some type of CTE.

Don’t forget that football isn’t the only sport to have a issue with CTE.  Soccer, Hockey, MMA and Professional Wrestling like WWE have had former athletes posthumously diagnosed with CTE. Even MLB had a player diagnosed with CTE after his suicide in 2012.

Currently, there are multiple lawsuits dealing with concussion settlements. However, those who had played in high school and college but didn’t make it to the professionals don’t have a lawsuit. It can affect a high school student after a few years of participation in the sport. In 2010, 17-year-old Nathan Stiles died after playing in a football game in which he took several blows to the head. He would be diagnosed with CTE, the youngest reported case to date.

The doctor who discovered CTE, Dr. Bennet Omalu, once said that he wished he had never met Mike Webster, legendary NFL center and first person to be diagnosed with the disorder. Many players after hearing about the effects of CTE have retired, and those include Jake Locker and Patrick Willis. Some even regret playing the sport and even the great Bo Jackson discourages his children from playing the sport that made him famous.

Talk about CTE will never stop, but football and wrestling aren’t just going to stop tomorrow. It is encouraged to know about the effects of CTE before playing a contact sport and know most likely, you will have some type of it. That is the price of chasing riches and fame.

Flu Vaccine Linked to Early Miscarriages

Experts are stunned and puzzled over a study that may link the flu vaccine to early miscarriages.

Getting your regular flu vaccine – Photo from Healthline

The study paid for by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention did not find a conclusive result in the study but did link 17 women who had miscarriages with a vaccine. It’s too early to say that the vaccine is the culprit but it’s a troubling signal that they will follow up on.

In the meanwhile, pregnant women are urged to get their annual flu shot because they and their unborn babies are at a higher risk of getting the flu. That statement has been studied and proven with the study of tens of thousands of women.

“We don’t want people to panic over this headline,” states Dr. Laura Riley, an obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She ended with, “Get your flu shot. It’s safe.”

This is a very tricky situation the medical community has gotten into as anti-vaccine communities may be reinvigorated. Their support is still very small as they believe the government, researchers, and even journalists are colluding to cover up the “dangers” of vaccines. The proof of one small study can elevate one of these groups. Senior Advisor for Vaccines at the CDC, Dr. Amanda Cohn, says the open release of the information shows there is no cover-up and proves that public health agencies are watching out for the safety of vaccines and humans.

The news of this may make you think about changing your mind on getting a flu shot this year. No blame here; there is a good reason why. However, it is advised that you get your shot. Besides, would you want to be laid up in bed all day, spending hundreds of dollars on medicine to help you or get a vaccine and call it a day?

 

National Coffee Day: So Here’s Some Health Benefits Coffee Gives You

Sept. 28th was National Coffee Day in the United States which meant it was the perfect day to get that cup-of-joe. However, there are health benefits that should give you more reasons to pick up that cup more often.

Coffee can be more than a drink; photo from http://metronomecoffee.com/
Coffee can be more than a drink; photo from http://metronomecoffee.com/

Besides waking you up… Coffee actually makes you smarter because of a stimulant called caffeine which most people associate with energy but actually blocks a neurotransmitter in your brain. When this happens, the other neurotransmitters like dopamine increase to make up for the lost one. This in return improves your memory, mood, awareness, energy levels, general functions and your reaction times.

Got to lose some weight… Drink some coffee. Once again the important ingredient here…is caffeine. Studies have shown that caffeine can boost your metabolism but will decrease it over time if you drink coffee constantly. Also, not everyone’s metabolism will be boosted, so base it on your dietary needs.

Happiness in a Cup-Of-Joe… Coffee can help you fight depression. A 2011 study by Harvard University found women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day are 20% less likely to have depression, and the drink also reduces the risk of suicide. Once again, not everyone will feel this effect and if you are battling depression, you should contact the counseling services here at Radford University.

You might live longer… By drinking coffee daily, you have a lower risk of death over an 18-24 year period. Coffee will lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, strokes, and brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. All those diseases lowered by drinking a cup-of-joe – you might want to sign up, but wait a minute.

Photo from nationaldaycalendar.com/
Photo from nationaldaycalendar.com/

Coffee has been proven to do miracles for your body, but not everyone will experience the same things the subjects did. Exercising, eating a healthy diet, and drinking a cup of coffee will help you live for a long time.

 

 

Maybe the Weather is Getting Better for Short People

Finally, shorter people get the last laugh, and it is in regards their health.  For the longest time, people who are shorter than 5’7″ have been the cow’s rear of jokes, and even a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research states that tall people are happier than shorter people. Now, new studies from CBS  News show that shorter people are less likely to develop DVTs or deep vein thrombosis than taller folks.

Photo from dailyexpress.com

A DVT is more or less a blood clot but they are very dangerous to your health as they start in your legs and they travel up to your lungs, raising the risk of a stroke. They sometimes occur after a long flight on an airplane and are referred to as “economy class syndrome”.  Why do shorter people have an advantage?  Well, according to Dr. Bengt Zoller, it starts with leg veins. Taller people have longer veins which means there are more areas for trouble to start.

Over 600,000 people in the United States develop some type of blood clot each year, according to the American Heart Association. There are many different types of risk factors that contribute to blood clots like surgery and cancer. Even through there is no official link yet as to why taller people get more blood clots there was a 40+ years research project in Sweden that studied sibling pairs of male soldiers and pregnant women. This study threw out genetic and environmental factors and found that men who are shorter than 5’3″ are 65 percent less likely to develop a blood clot than men who are 6’2.” Life gives its roses and sometimes its lemons. Dr. Zoller stated in a journal that “height is not something we can do anything about” and of course we can not do anything about our heights as it is a part of our genetics. Height is something we have to live with. It does not matter if you are 6’7″ or 4’5″; we are all human and that’s something that will connect us no matter what.

Opinion: Global Warming and A Note to Rush

This was the final straw; I have had it.  What Rush Limbaugh said about hurricane forecasts being “liberal conspiracies” so scientists can advance their “agenda” on global warming was completely erroneous.  Mr.  Limbaugh, hurricanes have been going on for thousands of years now and as matter of fact, the deadliest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean was in the 1700’s. That hurricane killed over 20,000 people. Now, you want to say hurricanes are conspiracies – they are a part of the earth’s natural weather cycle! What’s next, are blizzards completely fictional storms from Frosty the Snowman or do we take tornados too seriously; they ain’t that bad, they’re just spinning clouds? Even that wasn’t the low blow. You tucked your tail between your legs and “evacuated” from Florida.  Oh come on Rush, you said yourself that Irma was not even that bad of a storm; it was blown out of proportion to advance an agenda. Wait, you changed your mind; you want to live so you can keep spitting out the same old crap that you have been saying for years now.

A mugshot of Rush Limbaugh; photo from The Smoking Gun
A mugshot of Rush Limbaugh; photo from The Smoking Gun

Nothing is going to change the fact that Irma is not a normal hurricane; that’s why Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has tried to beat into everyone’s head that they need to evacuate from the vulnerable areas in Florida. Then what Limbaugh said most likely led to thousands of his “followers” staying put while he goes and hightails it out of Florida.  How can you believe in what you say, then retract it by leaving yourself? That’s just being a hypocrite, and I hate them; I hate to even use that word. That word is only used for special occasions when you catch someone in a lie. I’m not here to defend or support liberals but I’m not here on the conservatives’ side.

Rush, I hope you pass by this page and read this article; I will gladly give you the link to Science Magazine’s website and a history lesson in science on the studies of weather.  Most likely you will start talking bologna on that “talk show” of yours. Who knows, maybe you might say sorry to the people whose lives that you risked with your comments. I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

P.S. I hope you like the mugshot. I didn’t forget and neither should you.

 

New App That Finds Clean Bathrooms

I know, going to a public bathroom sucks. I hated going to a bathroom and seeing someone’s number two just because they were too lazy to flush the damn toilet. No more of that nonsense as we now have an app (Apple does at least; Android will have to wait until next month), that helps you find a clean bathroom. This, however, is only available in the San Francisco area; you will have to wait until next year for the app in New York.

The founder of Good2Go and CEO Fran Heller said in a statement, “We believe that technology can serve people’s everyday needs.”

The business model is highly attractive as people want to go in a nice, clean public bathroom if they need to go at some point. Stores will have to support the app which means they will pay the company to promote their bathrooms as user-friendly.

The main question people will be asking is why the app will cost $19.99 for monthly use and $2.99 for daily when bigger companies like Procter and Gamble run watered down versions for absolutely free. For a year’s use of Good2Go, you would be spending $240 just to use a clean bathroom and even then someone could be lying just to make their business look good.

I guess that’s the price for living in California. Maybe next time just use the bathroom with the unflushed crap in the toilet. At least it won’t cost you a dollar in the long run.

The brain connectivity of LSD and “ego dissolution”

When individuals take the psychedelic drug Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), they may feel as though the limits that isolate them from everything have disintegrated, as though they are connected with the rest of the world. A study has discovered a neural mechanism behind this occurrence, called “ego dissolution.”

According to the researchers, the study’s results, published April 13 in the journal Current Biology, suggest that further research on LSD and other psychedelic drugs could provide important insight into how the human brain works.

Ego dissolution is not a universally positive or negative experience, said Enzo Tagliazucchi. Tagliazucchi is  a neuroscientist at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam and co-author of the story. According to Tagliazucchi, depending on the experience of the trip and ego dissolution, it can be too overwhelming and lead to anxiety, panic and what is normally dubbed a “bad trip”.

Ego dissolution is at the core of the treatment of anxiety related to the fear of death in such patients. According to Tagliazucchi, for terminal-stage cancer patients, ego dissolution “can be a positive and transformative experience, leading to peace, acceptance, a new perspective on things.”

According to Tagliazucchi, the findings additionally propose that taking LSD may cause an improved sharing of data among various brain regions that reinforces a more powerful connection between an individual’s sense of self and their sense of everything else.

This is your brain on LSD. Graphic from Imperial College London.

In the study, the researchers examined the brains, through scanning, of 15 healthy individuals twice — once after they took a placebo, and once after the individuals took LSD.

The researchers discovered that, when the individuals were high on LSD, different regions of their brains had a stronger link to each other, when compared with the placebo’s effect on the individuals. The more connected these brain regions were in these individuals, the higher their sense of ego dissolution was.

According to the researchers, the results of the study suggest that individuals on LSD can experience ego dissolution because these brain regions become heavily interconnected.

According to Tagliazucchi, ego dissolution does not automatically occur every time someone takes LSD. The experience of this phenomenon may depend on the dose of the drug they take. When ego dissolution happens, it doesn’t last longer than the other effects of LSD, which typically last about 10 hours.

According to Tagliazucchi, he is planning to investigate how other psychedelic drugs modify consciousness by using neuroimaging and other methods.

Gucci model judged ’unhealthily thin’

According to NDTV, the United Kingdom has banned the Italian fashion brand Gucci from using their advertisement containing what the ASA, Advertising Standards Authority, claims to be a “unhealthily thin” model. The ASA created the rule when the fashion house’s new “The Cruise 2016” campaign appeared in Britain in December of 2015.

Gucci model in ad. Photo from bragmybag.com

The ASA claimed that the model in the ad, Avery Blanchard, who is seen in one scene from the video leaning against a wall in a long-sleeve printed dress, her torso is visibly thin, which according to the New York Times, is “way too think in the way it was presented.” In now way should the model be blamed for this, however. She was simply doing what she was told, dressing and looking how the modeling industry wants her to, in order to live her dream and work as a model.

The fashion house continues to defend the video says it was created for an older, sophisticated audience and the debate of whether or not Blanchard is too thin was an interpretation meant for the individual reader.

Gucci continued to try and defend themselves by saying that nowhere in the ad were any of the model’s bones showing and that “their makeup was natural rather than heavy.” They added that the lightening use in the ad was “warm to ensure there were no hollows caused by shadows and their clothes were not revealing.”

However, like most viewers confused as to how those points have anything to do with the unhealthily thin model, the ASA was not convinced. They viewed the model’s middle section and arms says they were “quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body.” The ASA decided that because of those reasons, they can’t agree or allow the ad to play in the UK, saying that the ad is “irresponsible.”

Many advertising agencies over the years have stated that models who are way too skinny to be healthy are giving young girls a bad idea of what it means to pretty, in turn, lowering their confidence and encouraging an unrealistic expectation of what a girl’s body should look like.

The broken heart syndrome phenomenon

According to Time magazine, an immense amount of research has shown that a death or the loss of a person close to you can not only break your heart metaphorically, but it can also cause physical damage that can lead to serious heart problems.

A new study published by Dr. Simon Graff finds that people who experience a partner dying are a much higher risk for atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, and the effects are life-long.

Having a broken heart is more than just a metaphor. Graphic from Pinterest
Having a broken heart is more than just a metaphor. Graphic from Pinterest

For many years, researchers have studied the phenomena of the broken heart syndrome, or stress cardiomyopathy. This occurs when a highly stressful event, such as the death of a spouse, results in a person feeling like they’re having a heart attack. The symptoms include the same ones that occur when having a heart attack: shortness of breath and chest pain.

When an emotional event happens, researches suspect a surge of stress hormones are released which cause this feeling of having a heart attack.

Researchers looked at citizens in Denmark who were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Out of the 88, 600 people, 41 percent of them who lost a partner were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation within the first month of their partner’s death compared to those who hadn’t lost anyone. The researchers also discovered that the risk is higher in younger people, especially when a partner as died suddenly or unexpectedly.

A cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, Harmony Reynolds, states that “We can’t stop stressful situations from coming up in our lives but there may be ways to change the way stress affects our bodies.” She says regular exercise, things like yoga, meditation, and even deep breathing can increase the parasympathetic nervous system which increase our body’s ability to handle stress. However, these activities won’t be able to reduce the risk completely.

This study, as large and somewhat thorough as it is, can’t completely confirm that the feelings of grief or loss are directly related to atrial fibrillation. “Right now our work can only point to an association, but we hope to help make a shift in society’s mindset—that a time of grief is not only a mental state but maybe also physical,” says Graff, the author of the study.

Nothing’s strange about wearing earplugs to a concert?

According to Everyday Hearing, “the most common cause of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss.” A common misconception about noise-induced hearing loss is that it takes a lifetime of going to concerts to cause any damage, but that’s incorrect. You can damage your hearing with just one concert or one event. In fact, 26 million Americans have noise-induced hearing loss that could have been prevented.

Normal, everyday conversations reach up to 65 decibels loud. Concert music, however, can extend up to 100 to 120 decibels loud. Hearing loss can begin at a level of 110 decibels and would only take two minutes to set in.

Concerts can be very loud. It's good to prepare. Graphic from Alf Img
Concerts can be very loud. It’s good to be prepared. Graphic from Alf Img

Like anything damaging, the longer you’re exposed to it, the more damaging it will be. If you plan on attending a two hour concert, your risk of hearing loss is significant. Now imagine going to an all-day festival. Your hearing could potentially be gone all together. Extremely loud music at concerts can cause serious permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, which is is ringing or buzzing in the ears.

Not only can loud music cause hearing loss, but the hearing loss itself can cause a major decline in your overall quality of life. Hearing loss can lead to lower cognitive function, depression, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of falling.

With all of these terrible side effects considered, you should most definitely wear earplugs to concerts in order to protect your hearing. However, in order for the earplugs to correctly protect your hearing, you need to find the right ones.

If you’re going to a concert, it obviously important that you find earplugs that allow you to hear the music with good quality, and don’t sacrifice the clear quality of the music you’re there to enjoy in the first place. Choosing the generic foam earplugs will lower the music quality, making it softer and muffled. Leave the drug store earplugs for sleeping.

If you’re attending a concert, you’re best option is to choose high fidelity earplugs. These allow you to hear the music clearly while also lower the sound making it safer to listen to. You can also get some custom made if you’d like but, naturally, they would be more expensive.

Musicians today are even wearing earplugs around their own music because they understand the effects loud music can have on their ears. If the musicians are wearing the earplugs, the fans should too.

Are public restrooms dangerous?

At the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s annual meeting, a study was presented by scientists who had taken samples from a variety of public restrooms. They discovered that the amount of illness-causing bacteria located in the public restrooms was too large to even measure.

According to the website Sani-Seat, a company that makes the plastic or paper toilet covers, 60 percent of Americans say they refuse to sit down on a toilet seat in a public restroom. However, experts say that the fear of sitting on the average toilet seat is exaggerated.

Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and diagnostic immunology at New York University Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City says that a huge portion of the bacteria that inhabit toilet seats are “fecal-borne bacteria,” which includes E. coli, a bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea or abdominal cramps, streptococcus, a the bacteria that causes strep throat, and S. aureus, a bacteria linked to serious skin problem and pneumonia.

bathroom
“The amount of illness-causing bacteria located in the public restrooms was too large to even measure.”

However, even though these bacteria exist on the toilet seat, it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically make you sick. Your skin acts as an extremely effective barrier which keeps all those nasty germs out, unless you have an open wound on your butt.
Dr. Tierno says “If the toilet seat is dirty, don’t use it. Use common sense. In general, however, you’re unlikely to pick up anything from a toilet set.”


Germs are found in more places than just on top of a toilet seat. Lots of organisms are found on the underside of the toilet seat because it doesn’t get cleaned as often as well as the fact that when you flush you bring up the contents of the toilet. It’s not just your germs, it’s germs from other people,” says Tierno.  
According to an ABC News investigation, the places in public bathrooms with the most germs have about 2 million bacteria per square inch. They says “if you carry a purse or shoulder bag, avoid putting it down on the floor while you’re in the bathroom — hang it on the back of the door if possible.”


Dr. Tierno states that the most dangerous part of public bathrooms is picking up the germs and carrying them around with you. In order to avoid that, wash your hands with tons of soap and water after using the bathroom.

Tattoos are a sign that you’re healthy

According to the American Journal of Human Biology, a new study suggests people with more than one tattoo have better immune system responses to new tattoos than those who are getting tattooed for the first time.

The research states that the act of getting a tattoo activates the immune system in a way that can be compared to getting a vaccination, making one less susceptible to future illnesses. Although the study is small and needs some development, it does enlighten us to how the body can be trained to react to stress over time.

covered in tattoos
“The research states that the act of getting a tattoo activates the immune system.”

The study included researchers from the University of Alabama, who retrieved saliva samples from 29 different volunteers before the received tattoos and after they were given. Nine of the 29 volunteers were first-time tattoo recipients. The researchers analyzed the saliva samples for “immunoglobulin A, which is an antibody that lines the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems, and cortisol,” a stress hormone known to lower immune response.

After analyzing the data, the researchers discovered that the volunteers who had never received a tattoo had a much lower immunoglobulin A level than those who have had tattoos before. This could suggest that people who have had more experience with tattoos have an immune system that is more prepared for stress of that caliber.

“They don’t just hurt while you get the tattoo, but they can exhaust you,” Lynn, one of the lead researchers, said in the release. “It’s easier to get sick. You can catch a cold because your defenses are lowered from the stress of getting a tattoo.”

Lynn says that someone getting a tattoo for the first time is like an out-of-shape person exercising at the gym. One’s muscles are sore at first, but the pain reduces after one exercises enough.

Although there are some problems with this study, the fact that some people could simply have better immune systems than others or the fact that getting a tattoo can be dangerous if one goes to a tattoo shop which is careless with their instruments,causing infection, Lynn hopes the study can reduce the stigma that surrounds getting tattoos and hopes others won’t judge so harshly when viewing a person with tattoos.

New nicotine vaccine could help smokers quit

According to data collected by the American Cancer Society, 70 percent of smokers want to quit altogether, 7 percent actually succeed at quitting smoking their first time, and 3.5 percent quit smoking cold turkey. These statistics are already extremely unsettling. Even though 40 percent of smokers tried to quit in 2015, half of smokers will relapse into smoking while intoxicated with alcohol.

Graphic from http://rcnky.com/
50 percent of smokers will not succeed in quitting on their first try. Graphic from http://rcnky.com/

These statistics even come into play with individuals who are underage. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control, 80 percent of smokers began smoking before the age of 18, while 90 percent began smoking before the age of 21. 3,900 teens begin smoking each day, totaling 600,000 teens each year. What’s disturbing is that 11 percent of middle school students reported having smoked. That means 11 percent of pre-teens between the ages of 11 and 14.

A successful vaccine to assist individuals in quitting smoking for good has been difficult to discover. According to a report in ACS’s Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, a new vaccine for quitting smoking has been designed.

Over half of smokers who want to quit will not succeed in quitting their first time. There are several ways to quit smoking available. Smokers can quit cold turkey, use behavioral therapy, nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, spray, and lozenges), and medicine like Zyban and Chantix. These tools are readily available, but aren’t always effective, and may even have undesirable side effects.

This new vaccine design would target the nicotine molecule directly. Two individuals participated in a clinical study of the vaccine which ultimately failed. However, the clinical study provided worthwhile pieces of information, that scientists could improve upon.

The trials indicated that the individuals who produced the most elevated amounts of anti-nicotine antibodies were more likely to refrain from smoking for more than six months. Kim D. Janda, Ph.D., and fellow researchers from The Scripps Research Institute wanted to expand on this discovery.

The team designed a new vaccine that could raise the amount of antibodies that could attach to nicotine molecules.

While testing in mice, they discovered that the vaccine deferred the effects of nicotine after injection within the initial 10 minute period. Additionally, they discovered that the mice treated with the vaccine had lower concentrations of nicotine in their brains, which is where nicotine has its effects. The team expressed that their future endeavors will concentrate on further perfecting the formula of the vaccine to prepare it for potential clinical studies.

How to make it through allergy season

Spring allergy season is upon us and with so many irritants that make day-to-day life miserable, it’s necessary to prepare yourself now before it gets worse. This list should provide some help with this itchy, sneezy, and sniffly allergy season.

1. Go to your local grocery or drugstore

Over-the-counter decongestants help in relieving your stuffy nose; antihistamines help in reducing sniffles, runny nose and itching. If your allergies are severe, visit an allergist who will be able to prescribe you medications that are long-lasting. You can even consider immunotherapy shots for long-term relief.

2. Get relief from drowsiness from allergy pills

If you don’t like the way your allergy medicine makes you feel drowsy and tired, try a saline nasal rinse — through a spray neti pot — to clear away pollen from your nasal membranes and minimize symptoms. You can even gargle with salt water to aid in soothing your itchy or sore throat.

Take your allergy medicine (look into a 24-hour allergy pill) before you go to sleep. Since many take one to two hours to kick in, it’ll start working while you sleep and when you wake up you won’t feel the drowsy side effects of the pill.

3. Stay indoors as much as possible

sneezing
“This list should provide some help with this itchy, sneezy, and sniffly allergy season.”

Check the pollen count online at weather sites, watch morning news, or download pollen count apps on your phone. You can also check pollen counts at aaaai.org, the site of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. It’s best to stay inside if the pollen count is high.

Pollen counts in the morning are generally the highest, so you should exercise in the afternoon. Check them before you head out on a walk, run, or an errand. If pollen counts are high, you should try to stay inside and do at-home workouts, or head to the gym. Don’t wait too late, however, because pollen counts are also higher in later hours.

4. Keep allergens out of your home

Take off your shoes and work clothes right when you go home. Take a shower right when you get home, or before you get into bed — to wash off any lingering pollen on your hair or body.

If you have an outdoor dog or cat, wipe their paws and fur off when they come into the house. Keep them off of your bed, just in case, to keep any lingering pollen from getting into a place where you spend most of your time at home.

Close your windows and keep them closed. Run your air conditioner to keep the air circulating throughout your house. It’s a good idea to change your filters often to remove any pollen, dust, and mold. If your allergies are more severe, try getting an air purifier with a HEPA filter to clear any allergens in your home.

5. Take your allergy symptoms seriously.

Allergy symptoms can lead to several detrimental effects on your health. Drink lots of water and rest whenever you can. Overdoing it when you feel miserable will only make you feel worse and will take a toll on your well-being.

A new study definitively finds binge-drinking leads to a longer life

Here’s some news that you can drink to. An extra cheers to the weekend that ends on Sunday and starts back up again on Tuesday here at Radford University, and several colleges across the nation. A new study has decisively, once and for all, linked alcohol to a longer, healthier life.

Past studies have found that a glass of wine a day can help defend you from developing heart disease, can prevent cancer and type 2 diabetes, all of which ultimately aid in a longer life. This new research is a great addition to the alcohol equaling health equation. Let’s all toast to our health and long lives!

From http://www.3quarksdaily.com
From http://www.3quarksdaily.com

This new study is different from prior studies that researched and illustrated the health benefits of moderate drinking. This research links all consumption of alcohol, whether in moderation or to excess, to a longer life. As long as you don’t completely over-do it and get yourself a one-way ticket to the hospital from alcohol poisoning or eventually to the hospital.

The team of scientists looked upon several studies on alcohol for assistance. They used both studies that stated the negative effects of alcohol, as well as those that showed that alcohol in moderation will help you live longer, and offer several health benefits.

The researchers then designed their own study. They followed 8,000 men and women over the age of 21 for three years, and then sectioned off categories of those that abstained from drinking, occasional drinkers, those that drank in moderation, and heavy drinkers. The study found that the individuals who partook in more alcohol consumption had a higher mortality rate over all. The more reduced the alcohol consumption was among the study’s individuals, the more increased the risk of death was over all.

Once you finish reading this article, decide whether or not you want to run to the local 7-11 or ABC liquor store to buy an excessive amount of alcohol and drink until you’re sick. You no longer have to worry about shortening your lifespan because of your crazy college life. Go to that extra frat party or bar, or chill with your friends at your apartment and get wasted! Need a reason to drink? If you’re not already convinced, head to this link to find 80 reasons why you should drink.

You may be crying over spilled beer, or into your wine after reading this next part, however. Alcohol even when consumed in moderation, may not have any health benefits after all. A real, not April Fools, study found that individuals who are moderate drinkers have no health advantage over non-drinkers. Any information prior to this paragraph was a hoax and based off of pure imagination. Sorry!

The cause of junk food cravings

A new study suggests that if you crave junk food after a manic day, it might be because you’re lacking sleep. The study found that sleep deprivation may lead to increased appetite and a love of unhealthy foods.

More than a third of adults in the United States don’t get enough sleep (7 or more hours per day) regularly and approximately the same amount are obese (having a BMI of more than 30.0), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Erin Hanlon, a University of Chicago research associate and study author, intended to link these two widespread issues.

Sleep deprivation increases hunger, which can be dangerous because of the fragile stability separating the expenses in energy of remaining awake and the nourishment ingested — these normally do not change if you’ve had or haven’t had enough sleep.

Hanlon’s study which was published in the journal Sleep, measured data between 14 generally healthy young adults with four normal nights of sleep (8.5 hours) against data of those who had four restricted nights of sleep (4.5 hours). Every day, the two groups of participants were given healthy meals. On the last day, study subjects were provided with a carefully prepared meal, accompanied by unrestricted freedom at a snack bar that contained plenty of junk food. The young adults who had four nights of restricted sleep gravitated to snacks with almost double the fat and protein and added carbohydrates.

chips
“Sleep deprivation increases hunger.’

Previous research by the University of Chicago team indicated that sleep deprivation influenced endocannabinoid levels, chemicals in the brain that are associated with managing and regulating appetite.

The researchers calculated the concentration of 2AG, a particular endocannabinoid, in the young adults’ blood. The team then correlated the young adults’ 2AG concentration levels with their hunger and food intake.

The young adults who had four nights of normal sleep, had a 2AG concentration that progressively rose in their blood throughout the day. The concentration of 2AG peaked in the early afternoon that was accompanied by the emergence of a craving for food.

Hanlon’s team recorded a higher concentration of 2AG that continued later on into the evening in the participants who slept less. Subjects were also more hungry and had a higher probability of eating junk food.

According to Hanlon, the study is a single step in comprehending how sustaining sufficient sleep can boost our health.