Category Archives: Health

E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Lettuce from Arizona

While the salmonella outbreak in the Eastern half of the U.S. is almost over, there has been another outbreak, this time in Arizona and Alaska.

The Center for Disease Control sent out a warning not to eat any romaine lettuce from Arizona after more than 50 people got sick due to an outbreak of E. coli that has spread to 16 states across the country.

This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salad mixes that may contain romaine, the CDC said in their warning.

The romaine lettuce that is causing the E. coli outbreak is from the Yuma, Arizona area but a common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has not been identified as of now.

The CDC is telling people they shouldn’t eat lettuce if they don’t know if the lettuce is “romaine” or not and instead should just throw it away.

This is the second outbreak in months that deals with romaine lettuce. However, the CDC didn’t release a warning to consumers which in return led to them getting criticized by Consumer Reports.

An infection from E. coli can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody stool, and vomiting. The bacteria can also be spread by contaminated water (always boil if unsure), animal manure, or uncooked beef.

It is not certain if we have seen the last of the E. coli outbreak with romaine lettuce, but you should take precautions right now when it comes to romaine lettuce. If you are unsure about the lettuce in the fridge, throw it out.

 

Why Sugar is so Hard to Quit and How to Quit It

We all love our different types of chocolate, ice cream, and sodas. They all taste so good, but they also have another thing in common…they all have high amounts of sugar.

Over time, people have used many different methods to lose weight such as juicing, fasting (the worst thing to do to your body), and cleansing. These diets are just the way they sound – they don’t do your body any good. So how does a sugar detox/cleansing do the opposite?

Sugar has been described as a “legal drug.” It doesn’t look much better when according to Robert Lusting, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, at least 10% of Americans have a sugar addiction. Research from the National Center of Biotechnology Information found that sugar has traits related to those of addictive drugs.

So, with sugar being more or less, a drug, how can we quit it? According to Brooke Alpert, the co-author of “The Sugar Detox: Lose the Sugar, Lose the Weight — Look and Feel Great (no, this is NOT an advert to buy this book), we should quit sugar… cold turkey.

After 3 days, an apple should be very sweet to you and you “should” start to lose weight after a few days to a week.

Sugar is very addicting and for those who don’t have a problem with sugar addiction should maybe still look into kicking out sugar from their lives. Your body will thank you with youth and good looks.

PSA: this article does not promote any lifestyles or diet. However, based on different studies, sugar can be compared to an “addictive drug.”

 

Featured Image from the BC Dairy Association

Interstitium: The New Human Organ

They say that we learn something new at least once a day. Well, that includes scientists, who found a new organ in the human body. And no, this is not a late April Fools joke.

The Interstitium is a very unique part of the body that is now an organ; photo from nbcnews.com

The Interstitium had been under scientist’s noses for years now since this “new” organ is already a part of our tissues in the body. Scientists had to examine the body in a new way to determine that the Interstitium was indeed a part of the human body.

In a study published in the journal “Scientific Reports,” the Interstitium is defined as a network of dense connective tissues and fluid-filled compartments. That would make the Interstitium, a full-fledged organ, a group of tissues with a unique structure that is performing a task (just like the heart or liver).

The human body is two-thirds water and most of the water contains cells. Much of the rest of the body contains fluid which is called “interstitial,” a Latin word combining “inter” or “between” and “sistere.”

The fluid and tissues connect to make the Interstitium which is found all throughout the body. You can find it below the skin and in the digestive, respiratory, and urinary systems.

The question that scientists have to figure out now is: Is the Interstitium an actual individual organ or is it a part of a system?

Along with that, the “new” organ could be particularly significant in diagnosing diseases like cancer and tracking them as well. This is because the Interstitial fluid is the source of lymph which dispatches white blood cells (they fight off disease) to wherever they are needed in the body. A panel of scientists in 2016 did report that the immune system could be key in finding very effective treatments for cancer.

Whether or not this organ is an “actual organ,” we could be going down the path towards finding a cure for cancer.

The First of its Kind, Oxygenation of the Brain

So, most of you may not watch WWE but if you do, you may have noticed that Daniel Bryan (real name: Bryan Danielson) was cleared to return to the ring. What you may not know is that his recovery is history in the making.

Daniel Bryan's return is history in the making for all with a history of concussions; photo from denofgeek.com
Daniel Bryan’s return is history in the making for all with a history of concussions; photo from denofgeek.com

Bryan has had a history of concussions. Over the course of his wrestling career, Bryan has had over 10 documented concussions along with many others that they couldn’t count in his 16-year career. So in 2016 after another concussion, multiple tests were done and the worst came true; Daniel Bryan had to retire from the WWE.

Flash forward to 2018 and after multiple tests were done, Bryan was cleared by Joseph Maroon, WWE and Pittsburgh Steelers doctor. So how was it possible for Bryan to get his brain into the shape that the brain is supposed to be in?  He was able to oxygenate his brain in a scientific procedure.

During his efforts to be cleared, Bryan was using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) which has you inside a pressurized chamber, breathing in oxygen.  Bryan in 2017 praised the treatments saying that “it’s way better than nuclear spec scans of the brain.”

In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration noted HBOT has not been clinically proven to cure or be effective in treatment of cancer, autism, and diabetes among many other illness and diseases.

It is cleared that the FDA still won’t be approving the treatment anytime soon. It’s clear that HBOT might be a blueprint in concussion recovery. Even Dr. Maroon only saw a “15% chance” that Bryan would be cleared.

Now, tens of thousands of athletes across the world will be watching Bryan’s return to see if he will be back for an extended period of time.

If Daniel Bryan is successful in the long return after HBOT treatments, many of those athletes will be looking to explore HBOT in the hopes of returning to their respected sport or even just their normal health.

The 2018 flu epidemic has intensified

It is just one of those years where the flu just wants to kick our rears and send us to our beds or to the hospital. This epidemic while not as bad as the one in 1918, is currently the worse one since 2009’s swine flu.

A medicine that can treat the flu but is to expensive for long treatment; photo from truemedcost.com
A medicine that can treat the flu but is to expensive for long treatment; photo from truemedcost.com

Multiple schools across the nation have canceled school because how bad the flu has affected children this year. Since October 1st, there has been 37 flu-related deaths in children, confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 40 states and Puerto Rico are currently experiencing high activity of influenza- like illness, this number is according to the recent report from the CDC.

One of the known medicines to treat the flu, Tamiflu is running low while families across the nation try to fight away the sickness. Walgreens, one of the nation’s top drugstore chains has had to deal with a sudden surge in demand for Tamiflu and they are out of the medicine is some versions. They do expect to have a new shipment in the next few days.

According to ABC News’ chief medical expert, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Tamiflu is some what effective in treating the flu but actually is more effective when used to prevent the flu. Ashton did say that it is “not feasible” to take the medicine from October to May, the length of the flu season.

And she is right, the drug over a five day period will cost you over $100 and in just one month for prevention will hit your wallet very hard at a cost of $600.

Of course the cheapest way to prevent the flu is to get your annual flu shot but there is some people who will refuse to get the shot or people who shouldn’t get the shot like people who are severely allergic to eggs.

For more information about how to treat the flu or to prevent it, go to the CDC’s website or look at the information channels that are all over the campus here at Radford.

PSA: Don’t eat Tide Pods

You would think that the title up above would be enough to stop someone from eating a “Tide Pod” but no… Just because your favorite YouTuber attempted the challenge doesn’t mean you should and here’s why.

DON"T EAT THEM... YOU WILL GET SICK; photo from huzlers.com
DON”T EAT THEM… YOU WILL GET SICK; photo from huzlers.com

Tide Pods are more or less, laundry detergent in a convenient pod that you throw in your laundry machine. Chemicals like polyvinyl alcohol (you will find this in your glue), Denatonium benzoate (this chemical will burn every tissue in your body), Fatty acid salts (soap), Alcoholethoxy sulfate, Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate (long word here, which means its not something to eat), and Mannanase.

If you can’t pronounce most of these words or all of them, maybe you should think twice before eating them. As a old saying goes “If you can’t say a word that’s in your food, maybe you shouldn’t eat it.”

Without the challenge, Tide Pods are still a major problem. Over 10,000 people were hospitalized last year and since 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed them as a “serious health threat” to children under the age of 5 and adults with dementia.  In 2015, the companies selling the laundry pods added a coated chemical that made the pods “taste nasty” before someone bit into them and made the outside container without showing the pods.

These changes have not worked and actually the number rose to a peak of 12,594 in 2015 before dropping back down to 10,570. The pod still looks like a piece of candy to the young child or adult with dementia. In 2018, in just 25 days (date of the article) over 37 teens have eaten the pods with half of them being intentional.

The makers of Tide Pods, Proctor & Gamble have release statements and even had NFL Tight End for the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski do a video telling teens not to eat the pods.

Well people, we have reached a point in our lives where we need to go back in time to the laundry detergent in the bottle and to forget these pods for good. (Maybe when people start to grow-up, we can have nice things). Well if not because of the teens, maybe stop selling them to look like candy. No need for them to look more appetizing than actual candy.

Artificial Intelligence that Can Find Cancer in Seconds

We have seen the wonders that artificial intelligence can do in software development, and now Japanese researchers have unveiled an AI that can find cancer in less than one second.

The AI that is being used to find the cancer has been demonstrated in a colonoscopy. The system was revealed during the United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain.

The ribbon for colon cancer awareness; photo from zazzle.com
The ribbon for colon cancer awareness; photo from zazzle.com

The system uses a magnified view of a colorectal polyp to study features and to compare it with over 30,000 endocytoscopic images. The AI learns more about the pictures by using them in studies.

The researchers said they were able to test the polyp and predict the pathology with a 86% accuracy. Out of 300 polyps, the AI was able to find cancer in 258 polyps.

Dr. Yuichi Mori, one of the researchers (and the study lead) from Showa University in Yokohama, Japan, was impressed with the results of the test.

“The most remarkable breakthrough with this system is that artificial intelligence enables real-time optical biopsy of colorectal polyps during a colonoscopy, regardless of the endoscopists’ skill set,” Mori said.

Now he wants to develop and work on a broader study aimed to creating a system that can find cancer automatically.

In a growing world of technology, artificial intelligence leads the way. The advances that AI can accomplish in so little time as led to people like Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook discussing the many benefits that can have.

Others , such as Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, feel that the government should have say and control over the AI’s building process. Musk feels that AI should only be used to prevent global disasters.

Artificial Intelligence has so much potential and value to the medical world that Musk’s beliefs are far from universal, and only time can tell what freedoms and restrictions will be placed on such advancements by the governments of tomorrow.

Does younger blood help Alzheimer’s patents

Can some “fresh” blood from a younger person reverse the damage of Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers are currently trying to answer the question but they did find, the treatments are safe.

The team of researchers at Stanford University in California found that the infusions of plasma from healthy young men didn’t hurt the 18 Alzheimer’s patents who got the treatment.

A few of the patents did seem to do little better with their everyday skills but their memory did not improve.

This does not mean that blood transfusions are the cure to Alzheimer’s Disease, the researcher stated. However, future testing is possible.

The difference between a normal brain and an Alzheimer's brain; photo from healthlifemedia.com
The difference between a normal brain and an Alzheimer’s brain; photo from healthlifemedia.com

“This does show it’s worth going forward with more tests,” said Dr. Sharon Sha, the lead researcher.

“We need to do the next steps to understand what is in the young plasma,” Sha said.

Plasma is the liquid part of blood without the red cells and immune cells.

The research was based off another research also done at Stanford, in the lab of Tony Wyss-Coray. He found by infusing young human plasma into old mice, the blood would perk them up.

This work made national headlines and launched a company, Alkahest. They are working on developing young human plasma into treatments for aging-related diseases. They have plans to move forward with clinical trials as they currently have 40 volunteers for next year.

The test done this year only had 18 people volunteer for the plasma transfusions.

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and the number is expected to grow in the next few decades. There’s no cure and the treatments have looked promising but have ultimately failed when in the big trial.

Joe McCracken, the vice president for development at Alkahest says the company is working to figure out what is in the plasma that might just affect aging and disease but they will not use whole plasma.

 

 

A history of Daylight Savings Time

November 5th is Daylight Savings Time, and yes, you get to catch up on your sleep as clocks move back one hour—but that’s not the only thing Daylight Savings Time does.

Ben Franklin had proposed the idea centuries before it was implemented . This was after Franklin woke up at 6 a.m. and saw the morning sun. He repeated this for three days and found the same result.

photo from wallpup.com
photo from wallpup.com

Franklin’s idea for Daylight Savings was to save money and with this, expensive candle use would be cut down with free light from the sun but it wasn’t until 1895 before the idea was heard from again.

George Hudson from New Zealand saw the idea as a way to have more after-work sunshine to do things. His proposal was to have a two hour shift but again this didn’t happen

Seven years later, William Willett, a builder from Britain thought of the idea while riding his horse. He would take his idea to Parliament where he had support from Winston Churchill but the British Parliament rejected the idea.

Willett would argue for the idea until his death in 1915, he’s now known as the great-great grandfather of Chris Martin, frontman  of Coldplay.

A year after Willett’s death and two years into World War I, the idea was brought up by the German government. They needed to save energy, and with that Daylight Savings Time was utilized. Soon after, every country that was fighting in WWI followed suit and with just moving back the clocks, energy was being saved.

After WWI, the idea was dropped and picked up again during World War II.

After the war, the idea again was abandoned. However in the 1960’s, Daylight Savings Time was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, helping the country though the Energy Crisis in the 1970’s.

In today’s age, Daylight Savings is no longer useful in the United States and doesn’t save energy. However, some areas around the world need the change to  survive.

Just relish in the fact that on November 3, you get to have that extra hour of sleep but only to lose it in March of next year.

Is it time for window blinds to get rid of cords

A recent study shows that companies should think about getting rid of their cords on window binds. Well, to state the obvious here, they should be.

photo from cpsc.gov
photo from cpsc.gov

Between 1990 and 2015, over 17,000 children have been injured by the cords which can tangle around your throat and choke you. Even through this doesn’t happen to older people, it does happen very often to a young child.

Even through the injuries to the 17,000 were minor, almost 300 kids have died due to strangulation from the cords.

A mother of one of the victims, Linda Kaiser says “this should be a wake-up call to the public, retailers, manufacturers, and the parents of young children all over the nation to really see how hazardous the cords are.” Kaiser’s one year old daughter in 2002 died because she got caught up in the cords and strangled to death. The cord that she strangled on was a hidden cord that was looped like a noose.

A spokesperson for the Window Covering Association says that stores and retailers will not be able to sell the window binds once new regulations are passed. However, you will be able to still buy the window binds from a custom order.

The regulations are awaiting approval from the American National Standards Institute and once approved they will be put in to regulation by late 2018.

However, this will only stop 80 percent of window bind order as another 20 percent will be allowed under regulation.

The study also looked at medical journals as far back as 1945 that show that children were in danger of choking after studying two accidental hangings that the children survived.

The study was published on Monday, December, 3 in the journal Pediatrics

 

NOTE: the image above is a simulation of a doll that is the size of a young child choking on a bind. This image is only used for story purposes only.

 

Is President Trump in bad health right now?

Being President of the United States of America comes with a lot of responsibility and stress, and it’s not surprising to hear that President Trump is one of many who have undergone this stress.

President Trump; photo from money.cnn.com
President Trump; photo from money.cnn.com

A new report from the New York Times finds out about Trump’s daily eating habits and most of them are not healthy at all.

The president has 12(yes, twelve, a dozen, a ton of) cans of Diet Coke everyday. According to Harvard T.H Chan’s School of Public Health, you should limit your consumption of diet soda to the “occasional” drink or in layman’s terms, once-in-a-blue-moon.  Drinking too much diet soda can cause you to gain weight, but it’s useful when trying to quit regular sodas.

The president also has a very unhealthy habit of watching TV (a fact that he frequently disputes).  If you watch his Twitter, you will see him constantly tweet out attacks against CNN and MSNBC while praising FOX News.

According to the Times, the president constantly watches between 4 to 8 hours of TV and the only people that can touch his remote are him and his technical support staff. An average American will watch 34 hours of TV per week but there are not the president. According to a British study, for one hour of TV watched, you will lose 22 minutes on your life.

Most people probably knows  about Trump’s love for McDonald’s, KFC, and pizza, and according to a book written by Trump’s top aides, “Trump Force One had four major food groups,” and it had all of those named above and of course, Diet Coke.

Not a lot of people currently like the president but he is currently your president as of right now. You do have to worry about the shape he could be in and how it can and will affect you in the future. A worn-out, unhealthy, stressed-out president is not good for anyone.

 

Who’s smarter, Cats or Dogs?

The ages old argument, who’s smarter… Garfield or Odie… Well if you ever read the comic strip, it’s definitely Garfield but according to science, it’s actually Odie.

photo from pinterest.com
photo from pinterest.com

An international team of scientists who work at universities and zoos around the world have found that dogs are indeed smarter than cats. Their findings will be published in the Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.

The report found that dogs’ brains have double the amount of cortical neurons (the cells linked to learning) than cats’ brains.

The team actually studied eight different carnivorans, a large class of mammals that have teeth and claws that can allow for them to eat other animals. (This class is NOT the same as carnivore class, a much larger class that includes bears, raccoons, and seals.)

Suzana Herculano-Houzel, an associate professor of psychology and biological sciences at Vanderbilt University was one of the researchers on the team. Vanderbilt was the school that developed the method to court the amount of neurons.

“I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state,” said Herculano-Houzel.

The research did account for physical brain size along with assessing the number of cortical neurons and it turns out that dogs do have more sheer brainpower than animals like African lions and brown bears (Who knew that Odie could be that smart if just used his brain).

Why could a dog be smarter than a lion or a bear, well as the paper explains: the bigger you are, the more energy you need.

Well Odie, you are smart. I think its time to kick Garfield off the couch and take your rightful spot as smartest pet.

 

 

Do concussions last longer for girls?

A study published October 2nd in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association revealed that girls playing in sports can have concussions that last longer than boys.

Concussion symptoms can linger twice as long for teenaged girls in comparison to boys. Dr. John Neidecker, a sports concussion specialist in Raleigh, NC who was the lead researcher in this study had his fears confirmed in this study.

“These findings confirm what many in sports medicine have believed for some time”, said Neidecker.

Previous research done showed girls may have underlying issues caused by concussion that are more prevalent. This includes migraines,  depression, anxiety, and stress.

Neidecker and his colleagues pointed out that this is why girls need more recovery time and why it takes longer for recovery for a girl.

It’s often at the age of a teenager for a concussion to be misdiagnosed and labeled off as just a headache. Concussions usually set in after the fact, leading to a long road to recovery.

In 2008, a report came out with 29,167 high school soccer girls with a concussion compared to 20,929 boys soccer players.

photo from ussportscamps.com
photo from ussportscamps.com

Neidecker and his research team focused on 102 girls and 110 boys aged between 11 and 18, with first time concussions.  Symptoms would last for a median 28 days for females and 11 days for boys.

Symptoms would clear up in three weeks in 75% of boys and 42% of girls.

Neidecker knows teenagers can be resisted on talking about their issues but as long as he talks, he can get it out of them.

Neidecker encourages doctors to always check their patient history to make sure there is no complications in recovery.

How to Handle the Black Friday Rush

It’s the best time of the year to find those deals and to get away from the family during the Thanksgiving Break; it’s Black Friday (or Black Thursday, just depends on the store). Here are some ways to make your shopping more enjoyable.

Make your spending budget right now!

You can’t just go into the store and buy whatever you want. You’ve got to remember that you are either taking care of a family or going to college (hopefully it’s here at Radford).  You don’t have the pockets of Bill Gates or of our current president, Donald Trump. So get what you really want for yourself or what you need to finish the Christmas list (put the Christmas list first, Mom and Dad will love your gift of a new coffee machine).

Maybe just stay on the sidelines and wait until Cyber Monday

Black Friday is not good for your health, especially with all of the tramping on people and that good stuff. So, staying at home doesn’t look all that bad. Especially when you can get the same deals on Amazon and you  don’t have to travel to Walmart to get tramped on.

Get ready to see these crowds on Black Friday; photo from fortune.com
Get ready to see these crowds on Black Friday; photo from fortune.com

If you go out to the stores, create a plan

If you are one of those brave souls that goes out to the stores on Black Friday, may I for one, wish you good luck. The second thing would be to create a game plan and practice (Practice? We talkin about practice- Allen Iverson) your plan. Okay, you don’t have to practice but try to create a plan to avoid the crowds as much as you can.

It’s not the end of the world if you miss out on Black Friday

If you do miss out on the madness, no worries. You still have Cyber Monday and deals before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Of course, you will miss out on doorbusters but you will still find great deals throughout the holiday season. Don’t forget to support your local businesses on Saturday, the day after Black Friday.

Finally, just remember to take your wallet to the store and have fun shopping for that TV that’s going to be outdated in two months.

:)

 

 

Frustration in a Small Coal Mining Town

West Virginia, the home and deathplace of coal mining. Coal mining has been dying out for the past twenty years due to the studies on the health of miners and the people who live near by.

Three different lungs, one of a normal lung, one of a older person and finally, a coal miner's lung; photo from thecilo.com
Three different lungs, one of a normal lung, one of a older person and finally, a coal miner’s lung; photo from thecilo.com

Yes, it’s known to cause lung cancer and to give those who mine the coal black lung. If you have never seen a photo of a coal miner’s lungs, it’s not a pretty sight. However, our current president, Donald Trump had promised in his campaign to ramp up on the production on coal. Yes, that means forgetting about the health of men and women who go into the mines just to make a living.

One town in the Appalachia region has felt the pain of studies getting canceled, at this point they are even surprised at the aspect of a canceled study.  In Glen Daniel, W.Va. it’s just another day.

Chuck Nelson worked years in the mines and he knows in order to make a living it costs him his health. He blames the well water at the mine for his kidney and liver diseases and his wife’s  severe asthma on the coal particles and dust on mines near their home.

Some of Nelson’s neighbors agree with him and say that the mining near the mountains has been the main culprit for the various health issues. Some completed studies agree with them but when finished, the studies usually held the same result: inconclusive.

A new federal study was supposed to provide the most comprehensive report to date but only three months into the study, the Trump administration canceled the study, citing budget issues. The current administration is noted to be known supporters of the coal industry.

The end of the study doesn’t surprise Nelson and his neighbors anymore. It’s a part of daily life for them now. “If a study comes out negative against the coal industry, it gets swept under the rug, and the funding’s stopped by these politicians who cater to the coal industry,” Nelson said.

The people know why they have these health problems and the government does too. They don’t know when the government will answer to the problems of coal mining and they might not be here to see the day but when the day comes, Nelson and his neighbors will be ready and by telling their story, the day might come soon.

 

 

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.