Archive | The Body Electric

Diet soda may be tied to strokes, dementia

Been saying this for a long time. By the way, Trump drinks a dozen Diet Cokes a day:

(CNN)Gulping down an artificially sweetened beverage not only may be associated with health risks for your body, but also possibly your brain, a new study suggests.

Artificially sweetened drinks, such as diet sodas, were tied to a higher risk of stroke and dementia in the study, which published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke on Thursday.

The study sheds light only on an association, as the researchers were unable to determine an actual cause-and-effect relationship between sipping artificially sweetened drinks and an increased risk for stroke and dementia. Therefore, some experts caution that the findings should be interpreted carefully.

No connection was found between those health risks and other sugary beverages, such as sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit juice and fruit drinks.
Are diet sodas dangerous to your health?

“We have little data on the health effects of diet drinks and this is problematic because diet drinks are popular amongst the general population,” said Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the new study.

When in doubt, drink water!

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Brazil gives prisoners powerful psychedelics as part of the rehabilitation process

Ayahuasca Ceremonies

Some of Brazil’s violent offenders are being offered the opportunity for radical rehabilitation via the powerful psychedelic experience of the ayahuasca ceremony. Rather than the system of continued abuse and alienation many modern prisons employ, some of Brazil’s prisons are starting to offer holistic services to encourage rehabilitation in inmates. Continue Reading →

Spending time alone can unlock your creativity

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Living like a solitary hermit can be unhealthy if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons -but newly-published research shows that not all forms of societal withdrawal are equal. In fact, the findings published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences by a University of Buffalo psychologist suggest that one form of social withdrawal, referred to as unsociability, has some negative outcomes, but is also linked positively to creativity. Continue Reading →

High blood pressure is redefined as 130, not 140

Eastshore One Hand Palm Digital Blood Pressure Monitor with Battery and Charger (LARGE ADULT CUFF 32-44cm (12.6-17.3 inch )) Review

High blood pressure was redefined Monday by the American Heart Association, which said the disease should be treated sooner, when it reaches 130/80, not the previous limit of 140/90. “High blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 mm Hg and higher for the systolic blood pressure measurement, or readings of 80 and higher for the diastolic measurement,” said the guidelines. Continue Reading →

The mystery of a 1918 veteran and the flu pandemic

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By Ruth Craig, Emerita Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dartmouth College. Beds with patients in an emergency hospital in Camp Funston, Kansas, during the influenza epidemic around 1918. National Museum of Health and Medicine., CC BY Vaccination is underway for the 2017-2018 seasonal flu, and next year will mark the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed roughly 40 million people. Continue Reading →

Scientists may have found a cause of dyslexia

dyslexia is real. But ayye shout out to all Bob's

A duo of French scientists said Wednesday they may have found a physiological, and seemingly treatable, cause for dyslexia hidden in tiny light-receptor cells in the human eye. In people with the reading disability, the cells were arranged in matching patterns in both eyes, which may be to blame for confusing the brain by producing “mirror” images, the co-authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Continue Reading →

An ethical dilemma for doctors: When is it OK to prescribe opioids?

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For patients with chronic pain, the answer isn’t simple.
Chris Post/AP Photo

Travis N. Rieder, Johns Hopkins University

America’s opioid crisis is getting worse. The role of prescription opioids has both the medical establishment and the government justifiably worried.

In response, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released an official report on the crisis earlier this year. And, on September 21, the National Academy of Medicine released a special publication calling clinicians to help combat the crisis.

As a bioethicist working on the ethical and policy issues regarding prescription opioids, I am grateful to the National Academy of Medicine for inviting me to serve on this publication’s authorship team, and for taking seriously the ethical component of the prescription opioid crisis. The opioid epidemic is shot through with ethical challenges.

There are many discussions we could have, but I will here focus on just one of them: the issue of morally responsible prescribing. Should prescription opioids be used at all? And if so, how? The question is obviously important for clinicians, but the rest of us – patients – should understand what our doctors and nurses owe us regarding our care.

Two public health crises

One of the central challenges of the opioid epidemic is figuring out how to respond without harming pain patients.

If opioids prevent significant suffering from pain, then the solution to the prescription opioid problem cannot simply be to stop using them. To do so would be to trade one crisis (an opioid crisis) for another (a pain crisis).

The data suggest, however, that pain patients’ interests will not always run counter to the goal of curbing the opioid crisis. The evidence favoring opioid therapy for chronic, noncancer pain is very weak, and there’s some evidence that opioid therapy can actually increase one’s sensitivity to pain.

Opioid therapy also comes with significant costs – the risk of addiction and the potential for drowsiness, constipation, nausea and other side effects.

As a result, more of the medical community is realizing that opioids are simply not good medications for chronic, noncancer pain. Getting patients off long-term opioid therapy may well improve their lives.

Should we use opioids at all?

It would be nice if we could simply stop using opioids. But the situation is rather more complicated than that.

Even if opioid therapy shouldn’t be first-line (or even second-line) treatment for chronic pain, that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for anyone. Patients are individuals, not data points, and risks of opioid therapy – as well as the risks of not providing pain relief – are not the same for everyone.

This is important because debilitating chronic pain can lead to a life that seems not worth living, and sometimes even to suicide. In the face of life-destroying pain, if we run out of other options, it’s not clear that we should avoid using a third-line treatment in the hopes of saving a life.

Those who have been on high doses of opioids for years or decades pose another serious challenge. Many of these patients are concerned about the backlash against opioids. Some believe that the opioids are saving their lives. Others may be terrified of going into withdrawal if their medication is taken away.

If we move away from opioid therapy too abruptly, physicians may abandon these patients or force them to taper before they are ready. Tapering, under the best of circumstances, is a long, uncomfortable process. If it’s badly managed, it can be hell. The health care system created these patients, and we don’t get to turn our backs on them now.

Finally, opioids are important medications for acute, surgical and post-traumatic pain. Such pain can require long-term treatment when a series of surgeries stretches out for months, or when a traumatic injury requires a long, painful recovery. In these cases, opioids often make life manageable.

Although calls to limit opioid prescriptions generally don’t target these patients, we might reasonably worry about shifting attitudes. If medical culture becomes too opioid-phobic, who will prescribe for these patients?

Responsible prescribing

Fighting the epidemic with nuance will require constant vigilance. In the new National Academy of Medicine publication, we suggest a number of ways that clinicians can work toward responsible prescribing and management of opioids.

In short, clinicians must prescribe opioids only when appropriate, employing nonopioid pain management strategies when indicated. Evidence supports the use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen, as well as physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture, meditation and yoga.

Clinicians must also be willing to manage any prescriptions they do write over the long term. And, at every stage, prescribers should collaborate with others as needed to ensure that patients receive the necessary care.

Although clinicians shouldn’t be “anti-opioid,” they should be justifiably wary of prescribing for chronic, noncancer pain. And when a prescription is appropriate, the clinician should not write for more than is needed.

Patients should go into opioid therapy with a rich understanding of the risks and benefits. They should also have a plan of care, including an “exit strategy” for getting off the medication.

A role for nonclinicians?

The suggestions above may seem straightforward, and perhaps even obvious. So it’s important to point out that this work is time-consuming and sometimes – as in the case of high-risk patients – challenging. Counseling, advising and trying to avoid unnecessary opioid use is much more difficult than writing a quick prescription.

Although this difficult work is still the clinician’s responsibility, the rest of us can make it easier for them to do their job well. After all, no one likes to experience unnecessary pain. Our expectation of powerful pain relief is part of the cultural backdrop of the epidemic.

The ConversationThat expectation is going to have to change. Moderate acute pain from injury, dental procedures or whatever may have yielded a prescription for Percocet or Vicodin in the past. And when we are the ones in pain, we might still prefer that doctors hand out such medication like candy. But the opioid epidemic is teaching us that we don’t, in fact, want that to be clinicians’ standard practice. We shouldn’t demand exceptions for ourselves.

Travis N. Rieder, Research Scholar at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Cigarette smoke from clothes can damage brain, liver

Evolution of smoking...

My parents both smoked, and I always complained it was making me sick. My mother accused me of “just wanting attention!” Yeah, I wanted her to pay attention and stop making me sick.

“Medical Daily is pleased to announce it will soon be part of Newsweek. There, you will find the same stories on the latest news about health, fitness, nutrition, and relationships to enhance your life.” Cigarette smoke seeps into everything—clothing, furniture, rugs. Now, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, suggest that even this third-hand smoke (THS)… Continue Reading →

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