Category Archives: Health

Legislation Introduce to Raise the National Legal Age of Smoking

It is very possible that the smoking age across the United States will be raised to 21 very soon. This announcement has pushed the agenda forward.

Last Thursday, Sen. Mitch McConnell announced that he will introduce legislation aimed at raising the national smoking age to 21, from 18.

This bill, which will be introduced next month, will cover all tobacco products including vaping devices.

McConnell, R-Ky.,  made the announcement in his home state, which is one of the nation’s largest tobacco producers. He noted that Kentucky has some of the highest cancer rates in the country. From 2012-16, lung cancer made up 66 percent of all cancer deaths in the state, according to the American Cancer Society.

Under the legislation, it will remain the responsibility of retailers to verify the age of anyone buying tobacco products just like it is right now with alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first try smoking cigarettes by 18.

McConnell said vaping devices pose the “most serious threat,” especially to middle school and teenage students, and raising the age to 21 will present fewer opportunities for children to access these devices.

More than 3 million U.S. high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018, up 78 percent from the year before, the CDC found in its annual National Youth Tobacco Society.

Those numbers, however, have been reported to be as high as 5 million when counting middle schools too.

However, the bill will have an exemption for men and women who serve in uniform, according to McConnell who is currently the Senate Majority Leader.

“I hope my legislation will earn strong, bipartisan support in the Senate,” McConnell said. “I’m confident many of my colleagues will agree that protecting our young people from starting tobacco use at an early age can have remarkable, long-term health benefits for Kentucky and the country.”

Tobacco giant Altria, which is the maker of Marlboro and other brands of cigarettes, said it “strongly supports raising the legal age of purchase for all tobacco products.”

“This is the most effective action to reverse rising underage e-vapor usage rates,” the company said in a statement.

Currently, there are eleven states — Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Utah — that have already enacted laws that set 21 as the minimum age to buy tobacco products.

Three other states — Delaware, Maryland, and New York — are on the verge of enacting similar standards as well, according to the anti-smoking group Tobacco Free Kids.

Looking To Make Money Lying In Bed For 60 Days?

Are you thinking about different ways to pay for your college? Well, how about lying in a bed for 60 days to pay off most of your tuition? It seems like a good idea, but is it good for your body?

Scientists are looking for women to stay in bed for 60 days to help them study how weightlessness affects the human body. The reward for participating in this study will pay about $18,522 or most of the tuition needed for your studies here at Radford.

Of course, it will be looking at astronauts and when they are in space. The weightlessness that is caused by the microgravity changes their body. That results in reduced physical stress in their bodies, which over time leads to muscles and bones to break down and body fluids to shift towards their heads.

This info is from the German Aerospace Center, which was commissioned by NASA and the European Space Agency to conduct this study.

NASA has previously done a similar study, though it was much shorter. Continue reading Looking To Make Money Lying In Bed For 60 Days?

Popular Mobile Game Takes a Shot at Anti-vaxxers

Some of the biggest health news headlines have been about the rise of anti-vaxxers in the United States as more and more parents are not getting their children vaccinated. Now, there’s one game known as a sickness simulator that’s adding in anti-vaxxers as a cause of the end of humanity.

Plague Inc., which was created by Ndemic Creations, will be adding anti-vaxxers into the game by popular demand after a fan petition was started on Change.org and asked Ndemic to consider adding anti-vaxxers into the game if the petition reached 10,000 signatures. As of press time, the petition has reached over 20,000 signatures.

Edward Gabrian was the person behind the creation of the petition and his reason for the petition was: “Anti-vaxxers are stupid.”

Plague Inc. was first released for mobile devices in 2012 as a free game with microtransactions for any special diseases to use in-game and it has been a popular game for all mobile users since. The game is so popular that it has since been ported to PC, and Ndemic Creations released the game as a board game after a successful Kickstarter in 2016.

The game is realistic to the point that in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control invited the developer, James Vaughan, to their headquarters in Atlanta to talk about how the game can be used as an educational tool for people.

There is no information about when the update to the game will happen or any official response from any anti-vaxxers about this news.

 

Facebook May Hide Pro-Anti Vaccination News Because of False Info

For years now, a battle has been brewing between anti-vaxxers and everyone else. Whether or not, vaccines cause mental disabilities like autism. Now, with a measles outbreak going on in the United States, Facebook has taken steps to limit the outbreak and the anti-vaxxers opinions from being released.

After a rough year of dealing with tons of fake news and being criticized for not being able to control the news, Facebook has stepped up to the plate and decided to control the spread of false news relating to anti-vexxers.

Back in September, the Pew Research Center reported that at least two thirds of Americans get their news on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Starting this year as well, the World Health Organization has declared people deciding not to vaccinate as a world crisis and the CDC has noted the increasing number of children that are not getting vaccinated.

This has resulted in a measles outbreak in Washington state where over 50 kids, mainly those who have not been vaccinated, have gotten measles. It has gotten to the point where the state may force parents to vaccinate their children.

The paper that was published by the disgraced doctor has been debunked multiple times now. Seriously, there’s no reason for anyone not to have a vaccine. We aren’t in the middle ages now, we have the power to stop diseases like polio and measles, and yet this subject remains a debate.

Link Between Breast Implants and Cancer According to FDA

For some people in the United States, plastic surgery is a way to make yourself feel “better” or more “perfect” in some ways. However, the risks always come ahead of the rewards. In this case, the risk is not worth it.

At least 457 women have been diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which is a rare type of cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that nine people have died since being diagnosed with this type of cancer that affects the cells of the immune system. They can be found around the breast implant area.

The FDA has issued multiple warnings in letters to those in the medical field explaining the link between the cancer and one of the most popular forms of plastic surgery. The letters state the warning signs of the cancer, which could be new lumps, pain and swelling around the breast area.

FDA has also asked for medical providers to report all cases to them in order to gather numbers, which could result in a halt on certain types of breast implants.

However, most of the cases that have occurred have to do with textured implants rather than smooth implants. The good news is that the cancer is slow growing and easily treatable if caught early.

There’s only a small number of women who have cancer out of the estimated 10 to 11 million women who have breast implants in the world, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Foundation.

This isn’t the first time that the FDA has brought this to our attention as in 2011, they presented the possibility of cancer but mentioned that it was a small chance that it could happen.

Now, new information has arisen. While 457 may seem to be a small amount, it’s a big enough number to where patients should be getting themselves checked for cancer, so if it is found, then it can be treated as soon as possible.

 

Photo from NPR

Want To Get Rid Of Bugs? Well, Bug Bombs Aren’t The Way To Go

Some of us, as college students, have dealt with bugs occasionally, especially living in Muse Hall, which may have more rodents and bugs than students at any given time. However, a new study suggests that some ways of killing bugs don’t work.

In a study that occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina and will appear in BMC Public Health, researchers found that bug bombs do not help kill off bugs; even when the residue is left behind for months, it will not kill the bugs.

In the study, when researchers set off bombs in 30 infested houses, the cockroach population did not increase but did not decrease either.

However, research did find that with certain types of bait, the population of roaches dropped in these houses, with one bait decreasing the population by over 75 percent over a month period.

While this may not mean a lot to you as of right now, it may mean a lot to your parents who may have dealt with a roach issue or fruit flies.

Also, another thing to consider is the chemicals in the bug bombs don’t disappear for a while, so the chemicals that aren’t killing the bugs are actually killing you. By that time, the chemicals would had spread to where you prepare your dinner for the night and what not.

It would do you better if you created your own bug bomb that’s natural for your household rather than kill yourself and others for bugs that won’t just die.

 

 

U.S. Withdraws From Nuclear Arms Deal With Russia

President Donald Trump has made questionable decisions throughout his presidency that have had people wondering, “Why would he do that?” Well, this decision may be questioned by many as well.

It was made official on Saturday that the Trump Administration was pulling the United States out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. This action is only the beginning of a six-month formal withdrawal process that will allow both sides time to change their minds if they want to.

Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, made the official announcement for the U.S. yesterday, citing Russia’s numerous violations of the treaty in the 30 years that it has been in effect.

The end of the treaty is most likely going to result in the production of more nuclear weapons from both sides, which has multiple countries around the world worried about another nuclear arms race between the former Cold War rivals. Continue reading U.S. Withdraws From Nuclear Arms Deal With Russia

Time to Cut Out the Bacon and Alcohol, Research Says

For most of us, bacon is one of our favorite meats to eat. It can go with anything and everything in our meals. The same can be said about alcohol, once you have turned 21 and you drink responsibly. But research says it may be time to cut out both alcohol and bacon from your diet.

In a study that sampled data from 51 million people, The World Cancer Research Fund found that even a small amount of processed meats and alcohol can increase the risk of a number of different types of cancer by at least 40 percent.

Their study also found that obesity will overtake smoking as the “number one risk factor for cancer” within decades.

We have known from previous studies that obesity is becoming a worldwide health epidemic as more and more people look for ways to cut time preparing food and buy pre-made foods as a result.

Studies have also shown that obesity is linked with at least 12 different cancers, which include breast, liver, and prostate, to name a few.

The results of the findings will be presented to the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, Scotland at the end of April.

The recommendations from the fund are to drink mostly water and to reduce intake of all processed foods, which include fast food and foods high in fat.

 

Eating Fried Chicken Daily Linked to Increased Death Risk

We know that we are granted three things in life: birth, death, and taxes, but as all of us are on the road to finding a way to live longer, one thing has been ruled out: fried chicken.

In a study done in older women, it was found that a daily serving of fried chicken will increase your risk of death from basically anything but cancer.

The study, which was published on January 23 by the medical journal, BMJ, found that those who were to eat fried chicken daily would have a 13% increase of death compared to those who do not eat fried foods. Women who eat daily servings of fried seafood saw a 7% increase in death.

It was highlighted by the authors of the study that if people were to lower their consumption of fried foods, in particular, fried chicken and fish, it could increase the health quality of the public.

It was found in 2017 study that daily consumption of fried potatoes doubled the risk of death compared to those who avoid them.

An assistant professor at the University of Iowa, Wei Bao, along with his team, looked at food habits of over 100,000 women between the ages of 50-79 in records from the 1990s. They were followed up for an average of 18 years.

Bao was able to use daily food records that were recorded by the test subjects to come up with his data, which proves that if you eat a healthy and balanced diet, then more likely than not, you will have a longer life expectancy.

US Life Expectancy Drops Due to Multiple Factors Caused by Humans

The life expectancy in the United States has always been one of the top in the world for the longest time. It helps that we are a first world country, but in return, we have to deal with first world issues like drug addictions and suicide.

This has resulted in a decrease in the country’s life expectancy, which of course shows that women will most likely outlive men. This is common in most countries in the world, but the average age of life expectancy in the United States will drop to 78.6 years.

That is a decrease of 0.1 years since the previous year. This may seem small to most as we are looking for our next meal at the local grocery store or fast food place, but it has the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) worried.

The CDC noted that overdose deaths have reached an all-time high while the suicide rate has increased by 3.7% since last year.

However, the top ten causes of death have not been affected by these increases and are expected to stay the same unless there is a drastic change.

This information should worry us. Life is getting more stressful and drugs are easier to get than a Juul in California. It is going to take work from us and our government to help prevent suicides and drug overdoses.

 

Trump Administration Releases Report on Climate Change

A new report on climate change released by the U.S. Government shows not only that climate change is very real but it is also going to have dire effects on our economy.

The report, which was released on Friday, was due in December but was released early as Americans were distracted by family, friends, shopping, and good food.

The report states that if the United States was unable to change its course, the economy could lose over 10% of its GDP in a worst-case scenario.

This report only comes days after a tweet from the President asking what happened to global warming after most Americans across the nation experienced record-breaking cold weather.

However, as explained in most reports, a “record-breaking weather event” like the one on Thanksgiving is nothing compared to the yearly average, which shows humans are dealing with warming conditions.

As of right now, the top countries in the world, better known as the G20, are not reaching climate targets, according to research done by Climate Transparency.

Without any serious prevention or attempts to reduce our greenhouse emissions, the average global temperatures will rise over 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century.

We know that rising temperatures can have negative effects on our farming production and our health. We will be unable to work some days due to temperatures being too high, which will result in deaths to the lack of food and water.

We have been taught this many times in science class, and it is up to us to make sure that our children have a planet to live on by 2100.

FDA Issues Another Recall on Romaine Lettuce

Was there something that you missed while shopping for this year’s Thanksgiving meal? Well, if it was romaine lettuce for the salad that you were planning on serving, then don’t feel too bad. Romaine lettuce was recalled once again for an E-Coli outbreak.

Two days before Thanksgiving, the FDA ordered stores across the nation to remove all romaine lettuce from shelves due to an E-Coli outbreak that is believed to have started in California, according to a tweet sent out by FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb.

32 people across 11 different states were sick by the time the recall was issued and this only comes less than 6 months after the first e-coli outbreak involving romaine lettuce that got hundreds sick and killed five people. That outbreak orignated in the Yuma, Arizona region.  FDA did note that the current outbreak was not related to the one from Yuma.

Another 18 people in Canada have also gotten sick from the same e-coli outbreak that is affecting the United States.

Common symptoms of e-coli include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody.  However, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, they usually disappear after a week.

For those who enjoy eating a salad, you might have to deal with spinach leaves until this newest outbreak has been contained.

 

 

Study of Cellphone Use Finds a Link to Cancer

We have been debating for a long time whether or not cellphone use can cause cancer. On Thursday, the National Toxicology Program, a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, concluded what experts called the world’s largest and most expensive experiment to determine whether or not cell phones are a cause of cancer.

The study began during the Bill Clinton Administration and it cost over $30 million and involved over 3,000 rats. The experiment ended on a positive note but found that some types of cell phones raise the chances of brain cancer developing in male rats.

John Bucher, a scientist with the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement to the New York Times that there is a link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats.

He did warn us that the exposure levels and durations that the rats endured are far greater than what humans typically encounter and that this study could be used in comparison to the human’s experience.

Experts, however, are arguing that even a small demonstrated rise in cancer risk could be devastating, with billions using cell phones on a daily basis.

The lowest level that was used in the study was equal to the maximum amount of radiation allowed by the government, and that level rarely occurs in typical cell phone use. The highest level was four times the limit allowed.

So, in the end, the study was very beneficial to our futures, as we do need to know how much radiation is too much for human use. Hopefully, we can create a more powerful phone with less radiation, but that will be determined by the government regulations and what we want in our phones.

Despite Pleads and Warnings, FDA Approves a New and Powerful Opioid

The opioid crisis is stronger than ever. Just last year in the United States, there were 72,000 drug overdose deaths, and over 49,000 of those people died of opioid overdoses.  Despite a bill that was signed by President Trump to help tens of thousands battling opioid addictions, the FDA has approved a new opioid which is one of, if not the most, powerful opioid ever to be produced.

The drug, which is called Dsuvia, is the tablet form of sufentanil, a synthetic opioid that has been used since the 1980s. It is 10 times stronger than fentanyl, a parent drug that has often been used in hospitals. Fentanyl has been illegally produced in different ways, which has led to tens of thousands of overdose deaths in recent years.

Even though the FDA’s advisory committee approved the drug in a 10 to 3 vote, the panel’s chairman, Dr. Raeford Brown, wrote a letter to officials that expressed deep concern about allowing the drug to be used by the public.

In the letter, Dr. Brown predicted that the new opioid will lead to abuse and death within a few months of availability on the market. The letter questioned if the FDA would succeed in the enforcement of restrictions on the drug if it were to hit the market.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, gave the drug final approval and released a statement that defends the decision, stating that Dsuvia will only be allowed for use in hospitals and other medical settings. He also stated that the drug is ideal for serious situations and that more soldiers wounded in the battlefield would have died without the strong painkiller.

Now it is up to hospitals and the FDA to prevent this opioid from hitting the market. If they fail, it could be very bad news for addicts and families.

 

Halloween is Near….So, What to Do With Trick or Treating?

Halloween is this Wednesday, but you would not have known it by the way Radford students have been celebrating it the past two weekends.

Anyhow, the hunt for candy is always the best part of Halloween and it is one that cannot get you in trouble (unless you are trick or treating). But for those who have dietitian needs then Halloween is more of a trick than a treat. Look out for candy that may have peanuts or tree nuts. Someone with a nut allergy will know which candies they cannot eat but as someone who is passing out candy, make sure that you have an alternative like Air Heads or gummies.

Typically, the most popular candy has some type of chocolate base like Reese’s, Snickers, or Hershey’s. If you do pass out candy, passing out candies like those three will make you much more popular than the random guy down the hall who is passing out toothbrushes.

Remember to not give out too much candy. You want to make sure that everyone gets candy but also make sure that people do not get sick from eating too much.

Lastly, just remember to have fun as that is always the goal in mind. Another goal to keep in mind is to stay safe on this Halloween.

Australia is on Pace to Eliminate Cervical Cancer

Most people may have heard about certain vaccines that have come close to eradicating diseases, such as Smallpox. Cancer, however, has long been a different story. While cancer is technically considered a disease, it is more accurately described as runaway cellular reproduction with no known cure as now. One country, however, may have found a way to eliminate a certain type of cancer through vaccines.

In a new study released by the Lancet Public Health, it was found that by 2028, only 4 in every 100,000 women could be diagnosed with cervical cancer annually in Australia, which would eliminate the disease as a public health issue, and by 2066, researchers say that less than one woman per year could receive the bad news.

The reason for results like these is because of a government program encouraging parents to get a vaccine for the cancer-causing human Papillomavirus (HPV) for their children.

Karen Canfell, the Director of Cancer Research at Cancer Council NSW, the organization which has produced the findings, said to the New York Times, “I think this shows the way forward for other countries.”

Australia started the vaccination program in 2007 as a three-dose course for teenage girls that was cost-free to families. In 2013, the program was expanded to school-age boys. Though relatively unaffected, boys can be carriers and transmit the disease to others. Boys can also develop other forms of cancer if they have HPV.

This has led to a 77% reduction in the types of HPV that are most responsible for cervical cancer.

While the success of the vaccine has resulted in reduction of cases involving cervical cancer, it is still the fourth most common form of cancer in women in the world today and an additional 570,000 cases are expected in just this year.

In the United States, the rate of teens that are vaccinated is only 49%, while countries like Japan are far, far fewer thanks to fear campaigns like those that say that autism comes from vaccines, which has been proven wrong quite a few times now.

The best way to think of this is that if you are young enough to get a vaccination, you should. It will reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancer and improve your life span.

Flu Kills; CDC Announces That 80,000 Died From Flu Last Year

We know that influenza, commonly known to us as the flu, is a very deadly illness that kills a number of people every year. But last year was no ordinary year.

information about the flu; photo from uab.edu
information about the flu; photo from uab.edu

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday that over 80,000 people died from the flu last year, the highest death toll in decades. It was also announced by the CDC that over 900,000 people were hospitalized because of the flu.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, revealed the numbers in an interview to the Associated Press (AP).

Most experts and people knew that last year’s flu season was going to be bad, but nobody had expected to see numbers this high. An average flu season can claim any from 12,000 to 56,000 deaths, which of course depends on how bad a flu season is. However, this past year exceeded those estimates.

CDC’s flu division director, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, told NBC News that while the numbers were very high, it was consistent with what happened last year.

The Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams, flat out said in a news conference that the reason the flu had killed 80,000 people was that “they got it from someone. Someone gave them the flu.”

Adams noted that most of the people who had died did not have a flu shot.

The CDC does not count exactly how many adults die from the flu, but they do count how many children die from it. It was found that 180 children died from the flu last year, another high number of deaths.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot and also tell your friends and family to get one as well. Just because you got your flu shot does not mean that you cannot get the flu.

If you do get sick from the flu, try to avoid people that are vulnerable to getting the flu. This includes children, elderly, and those who get sick easily. Lastly, do expect to go to the hospital if you get the flu. It can and will kill you if you do not prepare for it enough.

 

Ebola Crisis, Part II: Virus Likely to Spread to Uganda, says WHO

Most of us remember when Ebola made its way to the United States, infecting four citizens. One of them, Thomas Eric Duncan, a visitor from Liberia, ended up dying from the lethal disease. Since the scare, most have forgotten about the deadly virus and the main area it comes from.

An image of what Ebola looks like; photo from cdc.gov
An image of what Ebola looks like; photo from cdc.gov

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the Ebola crisis has a very high chance of moving from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Uganda. However, WHO did state that the risk of Ebola spreading globally remains very low.

The reason for the rise in Ebola cases is the result of the actions of local militias. These militias have slowed down WHO and other health organizations that are making an effort to treat the outbreak that started in the Congo back in August.

Uganda, which is noted as a poor country, does have a well-organized health care system. Since the beginning of the decade, there have only been three confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, lower than the numbers in the United States.

But the Congo does not have the same benefits. A health crisis has resulted due to not only fighting, but people affected by the virus refusing treatment.

Ebola is a virus that spreads through direct contact with body fluids, normally blood. It can take weeks before symptoms and signs appear, but after that, it will only take days before a person dies from it. The only carrier of the disease that can not be affected by the illness is a fruit bat, a relatively large bat.

The craziest thing about Ebola is after a person recovers, their semen or breast milk will carry the virus for several weeks or months.

For those that are worried about the virus, do not be worried about it for now. Just keep a eye on what is going on in Africa and hope for the best for those battling the virus.