Tag Archives: health

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.

The Fight Against Alzheimer’s to Get Much Harder

By 2060, expect the number of cases of Alzheimer’s to have tripled unless some unlikely events happen, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here's some signs to see if someone you know might have Alzheimer's. By the way, do you notice a misspelled word. Photo from share.upmc.com
Here’s some signs to see if someone you know might have Alzheimer’s. By the way, do you notice a misspelled word. Photo from share.upmc.com

As of 2018, over 5 million people are currently battling the common form of dementia  in the United States alone. That means that out of 100 people you know, one of them will most likely have contracted Alzheimer’s in their lifetime. With those chances it is still difficult to determine who is going to develop the disease, and as life expectancy increases, so too do cases of Alzheimer’s.

In a statement to NBC news, the CDC said that “CDC researchers predict that Hispanic Americans will have the largest projected increase due to population growth over the projection period.”

The CDC also stated that the people aged 65 years or older in the United States are expected to have doubled by the year of 2060. Their report was published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The population with the highest current percentage of Alzheimer’s are African Americans, with 13.8 percent of people older than 65 affected by the disease. Hispanic Americans are a close second with 12 percent, and whites have over 10 percent affected.

As of now, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, which has become the fifth most common cause of death for Americans over the age of 65. Indeed, the neurologically-degenerating disease does not even have treatment methods to slow its progress. However, the slow and long process to even begin treatment is going on in labs across the nation.

Time will only tell if there’s any progress on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

FDA Proposes Crackdown on Flavored E-cigs

There have always been jewels and diamonds in the air for Juul, the e-cigarette company that is trendy for young adults that want to look cool, just without the health problems. One problem: e-cigarettes are causing a new generation to become addicted to nicotine. On Wednesday, the FDA responded that they might take away the “jewel” from Juul.

Juul e-cigarettes may be in trouble; photo from time.com
Juul e-cigarettes may be in trouble; photo from time.com

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared the use of e-cigarettes by teenage users to be of “an epidemic proportion” and has given the makers of e-cigarettes 60 days to prove that they are able to keep their products away from minors. If not, companies like Juul will no longer be able to sell their products and they could face civil and criminal charges if they allow bulk sales through their websites.

Juul and e-cigarette companies weren’t the only ones to get the hammer on Wednesday as the FDA sent out letters to over 1100 stores across the nation, warning of what could happen if they sold e-cigarette products to minors. The FDA also issued 131 fines for selling e-cigarettes to minors, ranging from under $300 to over $10,000.

In a press briefing to reporters, the FDA’s commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said that over 2 million students going to either middle or high school were regular users of e-cigarettes and the flavors that come with them.

While it is true that e-cigarette users inhale fewer chemicals than the normal cigarette smoker, studies show that e-cigarette users get more addicted to nicotine due to the high amounts of it found in e-cigs.

Juul wrote a statement in an email to the New York Times about the FDA’s decision, saying, “Juul Labs will work proactively with FDA in response to its request. We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people.”

The FDA has also threatened to ban all flavors associated with e-cigarettes. Smoking e-cigarettes can also be called “vaping,” depending on what you believe constitutes vaping and what doesn’t.

As more information comes out about e-cigarettes, the FDA continues to place more sanctions and limits on companies like Juul. There could be a time where e-cigarettes get banned, but since the actual cigarette hasn’t been banned, then most likely the e-cig is likely here to stay.

If you are dealing with substance misuse or you know of someone here on campus dealing with substance misuse, please get in contact with SAVES, located in the lower level of Tyler Hall. You can call them at (540)-831-6031 to set up an appointment or you can walk in. All information will be kept confidential.

Deaths Caused by Cancer to be Near 10 Million

The World Health Organization’s cancer research agency said on Wednesday that at least 9.6 million people will died from cancer in 2018. This will account for 1 in 8 deaths in men and 1 in 11 deaths in women.

WHO also stated that at least 18.1 million will be diagnosed with cancer this year. This number is up from 14.1 million in 2012 when the last survey was published.

WHO also wrote in their study that the rising numbers of cases and deaths were determined by a number of factors that included social and economic development and the increasing populations.

The deadliest cancer in the world for this year is lung cancer, which also has 2.1 million new cases. Lung cancer is mainly caused by smoking but can also be caused by second-hand smoke as well. Breast cancer also has the same amount of new cases as well.

The third most commonly diagnosed cancer is bowel cancer followed by prostate and stomach cancers.

Of course, the best way to prevent cancer from spreading is to get a check-up once every 3 months depending on your age, along with having healthy habits.

“Stop-smoking” programs, screenings and vaccines may have helped reduce some cancer rates in certain areas such as lung cancer in Europe and North America.

Though some programs are working, WHO added that most countries still face an overall rise in the number of people diagnosed and treated for cancer.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

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.