Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Study shows how air pollution fosters heart disease

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uowh-ssh052316.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Study shows how air pollution fosters heart disease
10-year project revealed air pollutants accelerate plaque build-up in arteries to the heart
University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, but the biological process has not been understood. A major, decade-long study of thousands of Americans found that people living in areas with more outdoor pollution -- even at lower levels common in the United States -- accumulate deposits in the arteries that supply the heart faster than do people living in less polluted areas.

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Now, direct evidence from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air), a 10-year epidemiological study of more than 6,000 people from six U.S. states, shows that air pollution -- even at levels below regulatory standards -- accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis. The condition, also called hardening of the arteries, can cause heart attacks. Researchers repeatedly measured calcium deposits in the heart's arteries by using CT scans. They also assessed each person's exposure to pollution based on home address.

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Results were strongest for fine particulate matter and the traffic-related pollutant gases called oxides of nitrogen. The study found that for every 5 µg/m3 higher concentration of PM2.5, or 35 parts per billion higher concentration of oxides of nitrogen -- about the difference between more and less polluted areas of a U.S. metropolitan area -- individuals had a 4 Agatston units/year faster rate of progression of coronary artery calcium scores. This is about a 20 percent acceleration in the rate of these calcium deposits.

"The effects were seen even in the United States where efforts to reduce exposure have been notably successful compared with many other parts of the world," Kaufman said. Exposures were low when compared to U.S. ambient air quality standards, which permit an annual average PM2.5 concentration of 12 µg/m3. The participants in this MESA-Air study experienced concentrations between 9.2 and 22.6 µg/m3.

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/nch-bfd052416.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Babies fed directly from breast may be at less risk for ear infections
Breast milk may also thwart diarrhea in first 12 months of life
Nationwide Children's Hospital

Feeding at the breast may be healthier than feeding pumped milk from a bottle for reducing the risk of ear infection, and feeding breast milk compared with formula may reduce the risk of diarrhea, according to a recent study by researchers at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

"We certainly don't want women to stop pumping because there are not adequate data or guidelines about whether pumped breast milk is an equivalent substitute for feeding at the breast, so more research needs to be done," said Sarah Keim, PhD, senior author of the study and principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's.

After accounting for demographic and other related factors, researchers found that one month of feeding at the breast was associated with a 4 percent reduction in the odds of ear infection, and they found a 17 percent reduction in the odds for infants fed at the breast for six months of infancy Among infants who were fed only breast milk, either at the breast and/or pumped breast milk from a bottle, for the first six months, the odds of experiencing an ear infection increased by approximately 14 percent for infants fed pumped milk for 1 month and by 115 percent for infants fed with pumped milk for 6 months.

"While it is not completely clear why ear infections may be related to bottle feeding, it could be because bottles can create a negative pressure during feeding. This negative pressure is then transferred from the bottle to the middle ear of the infant during feedings, which may precipitate ear infections," explained Dr. Keim.

Infants fed with breast milk by either mode for six months had an approximately 30 percent reduced risk of diarrhea. Diarrhea risk was reduced by 25 percent for infants fed any breast milk for six months, and by 26 percent for infants fed at the breast for 6 months, while infants fed formula for 6 months had a 34% increased risk of experiencing diarrhea.

According to the researchers, this finding suggests that the substance fed, rather than the mode of feeding, may underlie differences in risk of diarrhea.

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US prison camps demonstrate the fragile nature of rights, says author

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uoia-upc052416.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
US prison camps demonstrate the fragile nature of rights, says author
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The U.S. has been a leading voice for human rights. It's also run prison camps, now and in the past, that denied people those rights.

A. Naomi Paik wanted to explore that contradiction - finding out why these camps were organized, how they were justified, how prisoners have been treated and their response to that treatment.

The result is her book "Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps since World War II," published in April.

Paik, a University of Illinois professor of Asian American studies, looks at the detention of three different groups at different times: Japanese-Americans during World War II (their detention redressed in the late 1980s); HIV-infected Haitian refugees at Guantánamo, Cuba, during the 1990s; and suspected enemy combatants from the War on Terror, also at Guantánamo, since 2001.

"The point for me in looking at the United States is that we believe ourselves to be the world's champion of civil rights and human rights, but nevertheless the U.S. still creates these populations of rightless people and makes sure they stay rightless," Paik said.

The U.S. has not been the only democratic nation to do this, or to justify it out of fears of enemies, disease or terror, with racism a central factor, Paik said. Shades of rightlessness can be seen today in the plight of many Syrian refugees, she said.

"I think we have this kind of misconception that we're all born with this thing called human rights, and that rightlessness is produced when we are deprived of those rights - but I don't think that's, in fact, the case," Paik said. It's less a matter of rights being taken away and more a matter of losing the political community that will guarantee them, she said.

"At that very moment that you need this thing called human rights, you find out you don't have them," Paik said. You find "you don't have the right to have rights," as one Guantánamo detainee described it in a postcard to his family. You're either isolated from the community that can ensure your rights, or that community lacks the will or power to ensure them.

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Paik argues that the example of these camps demonstrates that our concept of universal human rights is flawed. "I think the way that we've conceived of it now is not in fact universal, that it's actually very particular, and it's left out whole swaths of people who we presumed should have been included, but in fact historically have not been," she said.

To change that will require political imagination, but that potential for change first requires understanding the present, Paik said. "I wanted to understand where we are right now really thoroughly so that we can get to the place where we can imagine something else."

Paik said she sees prison camps as "intense laboratories of rightlessness," but thinks we also need to see rights on a spectrum, with all of us aware that we can become rightless, even when it seems unimaginable.

"I'm trying to look at how the concept of rightlessness might help us see how our fates are connected with the fate of the Guantánamo detainee or the Haitian refugee. We need to see ourselves as sharing a kind of condition."

Vitamin A may help improve pancreatic cancer chemotherapy

I would not be including this in my blog if it were only about results in mice, since such research sometimes does not turn out to behave the same way in humans. But results also showed up in cell cultures, making it a stronger result.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/qmuo-vam052416.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Vitamin A may help improve pancreatic cancer chemotherapy
The addition of high doses of a form of vitamin A could help make chemotherapy more successful in treating pancreatic cancer, according to an early study by Queen Mary University of London.
Queen Mary University of London

Around 8,800 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. It is known as the UK's deadliest cancer, with a survival rate of just 3 per cent. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy alone are relatively unsuccessful in treating the disease, and while surgery to remove the tumour offers the best chance of survival, most patients are diagnosed when the cancer has already spread to other organs. A different approach is therefore needed to target the cancer more effectively.

Cancer cells are surrounded by other cells called 'stromal cells', which can make up 80 per cent of pancreatic cancer tissue. These relatively normal tissue cells communicate with the cancer cells and play a major role in cancer progression, and could offer a new target for treatment.

The study, in cell cultures and mice, tested a new approach of targeting stromal cells and cancer cells simultaneously. By using 'gemcitabine' chemotherapy to target cancer cells, and a form of vitamin A to target the surrounding stromal cells, the combined approach led to a reduction in cancer cell proliferation and invasion.

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The new approach is now being tested in a clinical trial, STARPAC, led from Barts Cancer Institute's Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine. The trial hopes to establish a safe combination of two chemotherapy medications with a stromal targeting agent and is currently recruiting participants.

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Exercise, future anticancer therapy?

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uomh-efa052016.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Exercise, future anticancer therapy?
First international clinical trial evaluating the effect of intense physical exercise to improve survival of men with advanced prostate cancer
University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM)

At age 70, Alfred Roberts plays hockey twice a week. Nothing special, right? Except that for three years he has had advanced prostate cancer, which has spread to his bones. "I've always been active. Hockey keeps me in shape and keeps my mind off things. I've got friends that have played until age 80, and my goal is to beat them!" said the veteran stick handler.

Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of exercise to improve the quality of life of people with cancer. But Dr. Fred Saad, urologist-oncologist and researcher at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), goes further. He believes that physical exercise has a direct effect on cancer, as effective as drugs, for treating patients with prostate cancer, even in advanced stages of the disease.

"Typical patients with metastases often become sedentary. It is thought that this affects cancer progression," he said. Together with Robert Newton, professor at the Edith Cowan University Exercise Medicine Research Institute in Australia, Dr. Saad is leading the first international study which aims to demonstrate that exercise literally extends the life of patients with metastatic prostate cancer.

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Poverty marks a gene, predicting depression

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/du-pma051916.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Poverty marks a gene, predicting depression
New study of high-risk teens reveals a biological pathway for depression
Duke University

A long line of research links poverty and depression. Now, a study by Duke University scientists shows how biology might underlie the depression experienced by high-risk adolescents whose families are socio-economically disadvantaged.

The study, published May 24, 2016 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, combined genetics, brain imaging and behavioral data gathered as adolescents were followed for more than three years as part of a larger study.

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Adolescents growing up in households with lower socioeconomic status were shown to accumulate greater quantities of a chemical tag on a depression-linked gene over the course of two years. These "epigenetic" tags work by altering the activity of genes. The more chemical tags an individual had near a gene called SLC6A4, the more responsive was their amygdala -- a brain area that coordinates the body's reactions to threat -- to photographs of fearful faces as they underwent functional MRI brain scans. Participants with a more active amygdala were more likely to later report symptoms of depression.

"This is some of the first research to demonstrating that low socioeconomic status can lead to changes in the way genes are expressed, and it maps this out through brain development to the future experience of depression symptoms," said the study's first author Johnna Swartz, a Duke postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Ahmad Hariri, a Duke professor of psychology and neuroscience.

Adolescence is rarely an easy time for anyone. But growing up in a family with low socioeconomic status or SES -- a metric that incorporates parents' income and education levels -- can add chronic stressors such as family discord and chaos, and environmental risks such as poor nutrition and smoking.

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Study finds childhood fitness reduces long-term cardiovascular risks of childhood obesity

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uog-sfc052416.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Study finds childhood fitness reduces long-term cardiovascular risks of childhood obesity
University of Georgia

A new study from a group of international researchers has identified a potentially effective tool to reduce the long-term health risks of childhood obesity--aerobic exercise.

In a study published in the early online edition of the International Journal of Obesity, researchers at the University of Georgia, the Menzies Institute for Medical Research in Hobart, Australia, and the George Institute for Global Health at Oxford University found that higher aerobic fitness in childhood, independent of abdominal fat, reduced the risk of developing metabolic syndrome in early adulthood by 36 percent compared to those with lower childhood fitness levels.

Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of key cardiovascular disease risk factors and is associated with an increased risk of subsequent coronary artery disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

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More than a myth: Drink spiking happens

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/apa-mta052316.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
More than a myth: Drink spiking happens
Sexual assault a main motive, but not only one, study finds, noting limitations of the research
American Psychological Association

Google the term "spiked drink," and you'll get more than 11 million hits, directing you to pages that describe being slipped a mickey, tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and even kits to test drinks for illicit drugs. So is drink spiking a growing problem or are these tales of people who just drank too much? Or is this phenomenon merely an urban legend?

A research team led by Suzanne C. Swan, PhD, of the University of South Carolina, sought to answer some of those questions. Their study, published by the American Psychological Association's journal Psychology of Violence, sought to determine the prevalence of drink spiking by looking at survey data from 6,064 students at three universities.

What the researchers found was 462 students (7.8 percent) reported 539 incidents in which they said they had been drugged, and 83 (1.4 percent) said either they had drugged someone, or they knew someone who had drugged another person.

"These data indicate that drugging is more than simply an urban legend," Swan said.

The study found significant gender differences. Women were more likely to be the victims of spiking and reported more negative consequences than men, the study found, although men comprised 21 percent of the victims. Women were also more likely to report sexual assault as a motive while men more often said the purpose was "to have fun." Other, less common reported motives included to calm someone down or make someone go to sleep.

"Even if a person is drugging someone else simply 'for fun' with no intent of taking advantage of the drugged person, the drugger is still putting a drug in someone else's body without their consent - and this is coercive and controlling behavior," Swan said.

Given the nature of the subject, there were clear limitations to the study. "We have no way of knowing if the drugging victims were actually drugged or not, and many of the victims were not certain either," the researchers wrote. "It is possible that some respondents drank too much, or drank a more potent kind of alcohol than they were accustomed to." Additionally, many common drugs, including over-the-counter medications, can interact with alcohol. And victims often don't remember what happened when they were drugged, the authors noted.

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Given their findings, the researchers said interventions should be developed to target those doing the drugging, not just victims. "Because many of those who drug others believe that the behavior is fun and minimize the risks, interventions could provide information about the dangers of overdosing," Swan said. "They could also target the issue of consent. Just as people have a fundamental right to consent to sexual activity, they also have the right to know and consent to the substances they ingest."

Low hormone levels linked to obesity in teens

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/tes-lhl051916.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Low hormone levels linked to obesity in teens
Study is first to examine how the hormone spexin may contribute to weight gain in children
The Endocrine Society

Obese teenagers already show signs of hormonal differences from normal-weight peers that may make them prone to weight gain, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The study found obese teenagers have lower levels of a hormone potentially tied to weight management than normal-weight teens. Studies of adults have found that the hormone, called spexin, is likely involved in regulating the body's fat mass and energy balance.

"Our study is the first to look at levels of spexin in the pediatric population," said one of the study's authors, Seema Kumar, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. "Previous research has found reduced levels of this hormone in adults with obesity. Overall, our findings suggest spexin may play a role in weight gain beginning at an early age."

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Researchers divided the teenagers into four groups based on their spexin levels. Among the participants with the lowest levels of spexin, the odds of having obesity were 5.25 times higher than in the group with the highest levels of the hormone. Unlike what has been noted in adults, there was no association between spexin levels and fasting glucose.

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NPR earning its corporate donations during Democratic convention reporting


July 26, 2016

I'm glad the NPR commenters finally stopped critiquing Hillary and let us listen to the Democratic convention. I guess they have to please their corporate donors, making put downs of Hillary and other Democrats. I don't remember them doing that during the Republican convention. Eg., conservative columnists David Brooks said President Obama didn't accomplish much during his second term, w/o any mention of the fact of the massive Republican blocking of his policies and nominations.

The Failure of Term Limits in Florida

http://upf.com/book.asp?id=DEPAL001

Synopsis of book by Kathryn A. DePalo
Foreword by David Colburn and Susan MacManus

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In 1992, Florida voters approved an amendment to the state's Constitution creating eight-year term limits for legislators--making Florida the second-largest state to implement such a law. Eight years later, sixty-eight term-limited senators and representatives were forced to retire, and the state saw the highest number of freshman legislators since the first legislative session in 1845.

Proponents view term limits as part of a battle against the rising political class and argue that limits will foster a more honest and creative body with ideal "citizen" legislators. However, in this comprehensive twenty-year study, the first of its kind to examine the effects of term limits in Florida, Kathryn DePalo shows nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, these limits created a more powerful governor, legislative staffers, and lobbyists. Because incumbency is now certain, leadership races--especially for Speaker--are sometimes completed before members have even cast a single vote. Furthermore, legislators rarely leave public office; they simply return to local offices where they continue to exert influence.

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http://florida.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.5744/florida/9780813060484.001.0001/upso-9780813060484

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(abstract of the book by Kathryn A. DePalo)

Forced turnover has facilitated more competition but only when a seat initially opens. Term limits have not dramatically increased the number of women and minorities elected to office as proponents envisioned. Politicians elected under term limits are shown to have significant elective experience coming into the Legislature and continue to vie for elected positions when they exit, certainly not the “citizen” legislators proponents preferred. Legislative process knowledge is not the important criteria for leadership selection under term limits; the ability to fundraise and campaign for fellow party members is now the key criterion. The Senate has become the repository of institutional memory and gained an advantage over the less experienced House. The legislative branch is severely weakened under term limits with the governor, staff, and lobbyists filling the void. While term limits remain a popular idea in Florida, the effect on the legislative institution has not been a positive one.

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http://www.gainesville.com/news/20160212/dave-denslow-term-limits-have-failed-florida

Dave Denslow: Term limits have failed Florida
Feb 12, 2016

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how have we fared under term limits? Kathryn DePalo of Florida International University answers that question in her new book "The Failure of Term Limits in Florida." Term limits have given us fewer tested leaders in the House for heading committees and serving as speaker. The Senate fares better, since many members trained in the House. Term limits have also polarized the House, with candidates motivated more by ideology than by public service careers.

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http://askew.fsu.edu/current/masters/actionreport/fa2006/Joe%20Waczewski%20-%20Analysis%20of%20the%20Impact%20of%20Term%20Limits.pdf

The Florida State University
“An Analysis of the Impact of Term Limits on the Florida Legislature”

An Action Report Submitted to the Faculty of the College of Social Science in Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Public Administration
The Florida State University
“An Analysis of the Impact of Term Limits on
the Florida Legislature”
An Action Report Submitted to the Faculty of the College
of Social Science in Candidacy for the Degree of Master of
Public Administration
By Joe Waczewski
Tallahassee, December, 2006

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While in Florida legislative term limits seem to be a popular and practical concept, they have not been an ideal solution to the problems they were intended to fix: political careerism, ineffectiveness and increased corruption in the legislative process; issues which require profound changes in both campaign finance and electoral systems, not simply “feel good” quick fixes like term limits. Term limits hinder the legislative and political processes in Florida in numerous ways: They do not necessarily curb the political aspirations of politicians; increase the possibility of corruption in the legislative process by interest groups attempting to influence a growing number of new and inexperienced legislators, and accelerate tension in the relationship between the legislative branches, as recent legislative sessions have shown.

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[Details of the results of term limits begin on page 23 of the pdf]

These trends suggest term limits hinder the legislative process in some ways:

1) Term limits do not necessarily curb the political aspirations of politicians ...
2) Term Limits do not necessarily weaken the interest groups-legislators linkage. ...
3) Term limits force legislators to focus more on the power structure of the legislature and less on the needs of their particular district ...

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http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/Truth-Term-Limits.html

by Alan Greenblatt | January 2006

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Steven Rowe is a big proponent of early childhood interventions. He believes they can help reduce rates of mental illness, learning disability and, ultimately, criminal behavior. While serving as speaker of the Maine House six years ago, Rowe translated his ideals into a specific program, sponsoring legislation that expanded child care subsidies, provided tax breaks to businesses offering child care help to their workers and created a statewide home visitation network. ... his package passed by an overwhelming margin. It may have been Rowe's most important accomplishment as a legislator. It was also one of his last. After eight years in the House, including two as speaker, he was forced out of office by the state's term limits law. Rowe is now Maine's attorney general--a good job, but one that doesn't give him much leverage over the program he created. His cosponsors on the child care law aren't in the legislature anymore, either. They have been term-limited out as well.

In the absence of Rowe and his child care allies, funding for the package has already been slashed by a third, with more cuts likely to come. Plenty of programs have lost funding in recent years as Maine, like so many states, has suffered from fiscal shortfalls. But Maine, along with other term limit states, is experiencing an added phenomenon: the orphaned program, vulnerable to reduction or elimination because of the forced retirement of its champions. "We're probably seeing more neglect because legislators aren't there to babysit their own legislation," says Renee Bukovchik Van Vechten, a political scientist at the University of Redlands, in California. "We're seeing laws that need updating, and that's the least sexy part of the job."

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It shouldn't come as a surprise that short-term legislators aren't prone to engage in long-term thinking. It's happening in all 15 of the states where term limits have gone into effect. In Arkansas several years ago, members of the legislature negotiated a solid waste fee to underwrite future environmental cleanups. After they all left office, a new group, not appreciating what the money had been set aside for-- or probably not even knowing--dipped into it, disbursing the funds into a newly favored program of their own.

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almost everyone involved in the legislative process sees governors as big winners under term limits. In addition to their constitutional authority to sign and veto bills, governors in term- limited states control many top-level state jobs that legislators facing short stints will soon want. Whether it is a question of job ambitions, a shortage of information or sheer inexperience, the reality seems to be that legislators do a far less effective job of competing with governors for power once term limits take effect.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Sugar substitutes may cut calories, but no health benefits for individuals with obesity: York U

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/yu-ssm052416.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Sugar substitutes may cut calories, but no health benefits for individuals with obesity: York U
The study suggests that the bacteria in the gut may be able to break down artificial sweeteners, resulting in negative health effects
York University

Artificial sweeteners help individuals with obesity to cut calories and lose weight but may have negative health effects, according to researchers at York University's Faculty of Health.

"Our study shows that individuals with obesity who consume artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, may have worse glucose management than those who don't take sugar substitutes," says Professor Jennifer Kuk, obesity researcher in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science.

Normally, weight loss is associated with several improvements in health. Artificial sweeteners are often used to help individuals cut calories and manage their weight as they are not digested by the body. However, the recent study suggests that the bacteria in the gut may be able to break down artificial sweeteners, resulting in negative health effects.

"We didn't find this adverse effect in those consuming saccharin or natural sugars," says Kuk. "We will need to do future studies to determine whether any potentially negative health effects of artificial sweeteners outweigh the benefits for obesity reduction."

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Internet addiction and school burnout feed into each other

Internet addiction and school burnout feed into each other

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Internet addiction and school burnout feed into each other
Academy of Finland

xcessive internet use contributes to the development of school burnout. School burnout, in turn, may lead to excessive internet use or digital addiction. Mind the Gap, a longitudinal research project funded by the Academy of Finland, has established a link between digital addiction and school burnout in both comprehensive school and upper secondary school students. The results of the Finnish study were published in May 2016 in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

The findings show that via school burnout, adolescents' excessive internet use can ultimately lead to depression. Exposure to digital addiction is most likely to happen if the adolescent loses interest in school and feels cynicism towards school.

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Higher salt intake may increase risk of CVD among patients with chronic kidney disease

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/tjnj-hsi052016.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Higher salt intake may increase risk of CVD among patients with chronic kidney disease
The JAMA Network Journals

In a study appearing in the May 24/31 issue of JAMA, Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D., of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, and colleagues evaluated more than 3,500 participants with chronic kidney disease (CKD), examining the association between urinary sodium excretion and clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. The study is being released to coincide with its presentation at the 53rd European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA) Congress.

Chronic kidney disease affects approximately 11 percent of the U.S. population and is associated with increased risk of CVD and all-cause mortality. Greater than 1 in 3 U.S. adults has CVD, and it is the leading cause of death in the United States. A positive association between sodium intake and blood pressure is well established. However, the association between sodium intake and clinical CVD remains less clear, and this relationship has not been investigated in patients with CKD.

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The researchers found a significantly increased risk of CVD in individuals with the highest urinary sodium excretion independent of several important CVD risk factors, including use of antihypertensive medications and history of CVD. The cumulative incidence of CVD events in the highest quartile of calibrated sodium excretion compared with the lowest was 23.2 percent vs 13.3 percent for heart failure, 10.9 percent vs 7.8 percent for heart attack, and 6.4 percent vs 2.7 percent for stroke at median follow-up.

Findings were consistent across subgroups and independent of further adjustment for total caloric intake and systolic blood pressure.

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Living near a landfill could damage your health

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/oup-lna052316.php

Public Release: 24-May-2016
Living near a landfill could damage your health
Oxford University Press

According to research published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology, health is at risk for those who live within five kilometres of a landfill site.

Researchers in Italy evaluated the potential health effects of living near nine different landfills in the Lazio region, and therefore being exposed to air pollutants emitted by the waste treatment plants. 242,409 people were enrolled in the cohort from 1996 to 2008.

The results showed a strong association between Hydrogen Sulphide (used as a surrogate for all pollutants co-emitted from the landfills) and deaths caused by lung cancer, as well as deaths and hospitalizations for respiratory diseases. The results were especially prominent in children. The annual average exposure levels of Hydrogen Sulphide was 6.3 ng/m3, compared to people living close to larger landfills in Rome whose levels averaged 45.ng/m3. At the end of the follow-up period there were 18,609 deaths.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Behavioral activation as effective as CBT for depression, at lower cost

I think a combination would be even better. Those who are self-aware could learn to do this on themselves, w/o necessarily needing the expense of a therapist, although a good therapist could probably help the process.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/uoe-baa072116.php

Public Release: 22-Jul-2016
Behavioral activation as effective as CBT for depression, at lower cost
University of Exeter

A simple and inexpensive therapy is equally as effective at treating depression as the "gold standard" of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a largescale study has concluded.

Behavioural Activation (BA) is relatively simple, meaning it can be delivered by more junior staff with less training, making it a cost-effective option. It is around 20 per cent cheaper than CBT, meaning it could help ease current difficulties in accessing therapy, and could make it more realistic to deliver for a wider range of countries worldwide. BA encourages people to focus on meaningful activities driven by their own personal values as a way of overcoming depression.

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Behavioural activation is an 'outside in' treatment that focusses on helping people with depression to change the way they act. BA helps people make the link between their behaviour and their mood. Therapists help people to seek out and experience more positive situations in their lives. The treatment also helps people reduce the amount of times they avoid difficult situations and helps them find alternatives to unhelpful habitual behaviours.

In contrast, CBT is an 'inside out' treatment where therapists focus on the way a person thinks. Therapists help people to identify and challenge their thoughts and beliefs about themselves, the world and their future. CBT helps people to identify and modify negative thoughts and the beliefs that give rise to them.

A year after the start of treatment, BA was found to be non-inferior (not worse than) than CBT, with around two-thirds of participants in both groups reporting at least a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms. Participants in both groups also reported similar numbers of depression free days and anxiety diagnoses, and were equally likely to experience remission. Cost of delivery for BA therapy was found to be around 20% cheaper than CBT.

In line with other trials of a similar nature, drop-out rates were around 20% and around a third of participants in both groups did not attend the minimum number of therapy sessions.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Colonoscopy prep may improve with some solid foods

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/ddw-cpm051716.php

Public Release: 23-May-2016
Colonoscopy prep may improve with some solid foods
'Low-residue' diet yields better bowel preparation, higher patient satisfaction
Digestive Disease Week

There's good news for patients who dread the clear-liquid diet before a colonoscopy. A new study finds that patients who ate certain solid foods, considered "low residue," were better prepared for their colonoscopies than individuals who followed the conventional liquid diet. Additionally, researchers saw that these patients who ate foods such as eggs, white bread, cheese, white rice and chicken breast the day before their screening were more comfortable during the 24 hours leading up to the test than individuals who could only have apple juice, chicken broth, coffee and similar clear liquids.

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In this study, the clear-liquid diet group could drink only broth, black coffee, tea and other clear liquids. The low-residue diet group was allowed small portions of protein, carbohydrate and fat at three meals. For their day-before diet, LRD patients could choose from foods such as eggs, yogurt, certain cheeses, breads, butter, rice, lunch meat, chicken breast and ice cream. Both groups then drank standard bowel-cleansing liquid on the night before and the morning of the procedure.

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With the low-residue diet group, researchers found a "significantly higher" number of adequate bowel preparations, the cleansing process that is critical to the timely, successful completion of the procedure. This group also expressed a considerably higher satisfaction level for the diet -- 97 percent -- compared to the clear-liquid diet group's 46 percent. In addition, the individuals on the low-residue diet reported "significantly lower" hunger scores on the evening of the prep process, as well as lower fatigue scores on the morning after.

Dr. Samarasena said the low-residue diet contains foods that easily liquefy and do not interfere with the colonoscopy procedure. Researchers also hypothesize that solid foods stimulate bowel movements before the purgative, making the final cleansing process easier. Dr. Samarasena said researchers think the solid foods in the low-residue diet gave patients a higher energy level, possibly making them more tolerant of the entire process. Patients on clear-liquid diet often miss a day of work because of the "fasting" requirement, while the low-residue diet may enable patients to carry on more normal activities since their diets the day before the colonoscopy are less drastic, he added.

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Exposure to common flame retardant chemicals may increase thyroid problems in women

These chemicals have already shown a link to the increase in the rate of hyperthyroidism in cats.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/htcs-etc051916.php

ublic Release: 23-May-2016
Exposure to common flame retardant chemicals may increase thyroid problems in women
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Women with elevated levels of common types of flame retardant chemicals in their blood may be at a higher risk for thyroid disease--and the risk may be significantly higher among post-menopausal women, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The new paper is the first to suggest a link between polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and increased risk of thyroid problems in post-menopausal women in a nationally representative sample of women in the U.S. Thyroid problems include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, goiter, or Hashimoto's disease.

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The study was published online May 23, 2016 in the journal Environmental Health.

"These chemicals are just about everywhere, from the blood in polar bears to eagles to humans on every continent," said Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard Chan School and the study's lead author. "This near ubiquitous exposure means we are all part of a global experiment on the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals on our bodies."

PBDEs have been used as flame retardants for decades, largely in furniture, in quantities up to 20% of the weight of the product. Over time, they migrate out of the furniture into the air, settle into dust in homes, schools, offices, and the outdoors, and accumulate in people's bodies. Previous research has shown that these chemicals accumulate in fatty tissue and interfere with hormonal functions, including interference with thyroid hormones. Because it's known that estrogen levels regulate thyroid hormones, researchers theorized that post-menopausal women may be particularly vulnerable to PBDE-induced thyroid effects.

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The researchers found that, overall, women were about five times more likely than men to have a thyroid problem. The percentage ranged from 13-16% among women, compared with 2-3% among men.

Women with the highest flame retardant concentrations in their blood were significantly more likely than those with lower concentrations to have a thyroid problem. The effect size was doubled in post-menopausal women.

"To our bodies, these flame retardant chemicals look and function exactly like endogenous hormones our bodies produce. Should we be surprised that we see downstream health effects for women with higher body burdens of these chemicals? I think no. This is all too predictable and preventable," said Allen.

One limitation of the study is that it couldn't determine effects from newer flame retardant chemicals because they are not currently reported by NHANES.

Flu vaccination associated with lower dementia risk in patients with heart failure

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/esoc-fva052116.php

Public Release: 23-May-2016
Flu vaccination associated with lower dementia risk in patients with heart failure
Risk was halved in those vaccinated more than 3 times
European Society of Cardiology

nfluenza vaccination is associated with a lower risk of dementia in patients with heart failure, according to a study in more than 20 000 patients presented today at Heart Failure 2016 and the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure by Dr Ju-Chi Liu, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Taipei Medical University - Shuang Ho Hospital, in New Taipei City, Taiwan.1

"Previous studies have shown that there is link between impairment in cognitive function and heart failure," said Dr Liu. "Some reports have also suggested that inflammation after getting the flu might contribute to dementia.

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The study included 20 509 patients with heart failure. Of those, 10 797 received at least once vaccination against influenza and the other 9712 were not vaccinated during the 12 year follow-up period.

After adjusting for factors that might influence the association, the investigators found that heart failure patients who had received the flu vaccine were 35% less likely to develop dementia than those who had not been vaccinated. Those who had been vaccinated more than three times had a 55% lower dementia risk.

"We think that the flu virus can activate the immune response and cause inflammation which may injure the brain cells," said Dr Liu. "Respiratory infection during flu can induce changes in blood pressure and heart rate, referred to as an unstable haemodynamic status, which may also harm the brain tissue."

"These effects of the flu could play a role in the development of dementia, particularly in heart failure patients who already have impaired circulation in the brain," added Dr Liu.

He continued: "Vaccination reduces the chance of getting the flu, which means that the associated immune activation, inflammation and unstable haemodynamic status do not occur. This could explain the reduced risk of developing dementia. The more vaccinations patients received, the less chance they had of getting the flu, which might be why they had an even lower risk of dementia."

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When they examined the association by age, the researchers found that vaccinated heart failure patients had a 44% lower risk of dementia if they were over 70 years old and a 26% lower risk if they were between 60 and 69 years old. Vaccinated male heart failure patients had a 40% lower risk of dementia while vaccinated female heart failure patients had a 31% lower dementia risk.

Dr Liu said: "The risk of dementia increases with age. Therefore, the difference in risk between the vaccinated and nonvaccinated groups is more obvious in older patients."

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Public Release: 23-May-2016 Extreme beliefs often mistaken for insanity, new study finds Researchers say new term offers more precise definition of non-psychotic behaviors University of Missouri-Columbia

Sounds like the same kind of thinking that leads to wars, cults, etc.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uom-ebo052316.php

In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.

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"Sometimes people think that violent actions must be the byproduct of psychotic mental illness, but this is not always the case. Our study of the Breivik case was meant to explain how extreme beliefs can be mistaken for psychosis, and to suggest a new legal term that clearly defines this behavior."

Breivik, a Norwegian terrorist, killed 77 people on July 22, 2011, in a car bombing in Oslo and a mass shooting at a youth camp on the island of Utøya in Norway. Claiming to be a "Knights Templar" and a "savior of Christianity," Breivik stated that the purpose of the attacks was to save Europe from multiculturalism.

Two teams of court-appointed forensic psychiatrists later examined Breivik. The first psychiatric team diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. However, after widespread criticism, a second team concluded that Breivik was not psychotic and diagnosed him with narcissistic personality disorder. Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

"Breivik believed that killing innocent people was justifiable, which seems irrational and psychotic," said Rahman, who also conducts forensic psychiatric examinations but was not involved with the Breivik case. "However, some people without psychotic mental illness feel so strongly about their beliefs that they take extreme actions. Current clinical guides, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, offer vague descriptions of alternative reasons a person may commit such crimes. Our suggested term for criminally violent behavior when psychosis can be ruled out is 'extreme overvalued belief.'"

Rahman defines "extreme overvalued belief" as a belief that is shared by others and often relished, amplified and defended by the accused. The individual has an intense emotional commitment to the belief and may act violently as a result of that belief. Although the individual may suffer from other forms of mental illness, the belief and the actions associated with it are not the result of insanity.

"In courts of law, there are not clearly defined, standard methods of diagnosing insanity for legal purposes," Rahman said. "This new term will help forensic psychiatrists properly identify the motive for the defendant's criminal behavior when sanity is questioned."

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"Certain psychological factors may make people more vulnerable to developing dominating and amplified beliefs," Rahman said. "However, amplification of beliefs about issues such as immigration, religion, abortion or politics also may occur through the internet, group dynamics or obedience to charismatic authority figures. We already warn our youth about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, teen pregnancy and smoking. We need to add the risk of developing extreme overvalued beliefs to that list as we work toward reducing the violence often associated with them."

Even light and non drinkers should watch for fatty liver disease

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/ku-eld052316.php

Public Release: 23-May-2016
Even light drinkers should watch for fatty liver disease
Kumamoto University

People who have reduced enzyme activity to breakdown active aldehyde, i.e., those who become easily inebriated, are more likely to develop fatty liver disease even if they do not drink alcohol. This discovery was made by a clinical research team from Kumamoto University in Japan.

It is generally understood that fatty liver is triggered by alcoholism or heavy drinking. Recently, however, the number of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a type of liver function disorder caused by increasing neutral fat in the liver that is caused by overeating and lack of exercise, has increased.

NAFLD is easily overlooked because of the lack of associated symptoms, and it is often only found when it has progressed to an advanced stage, such as cirrhosis., It is therefore important to detect it early so that preventative measure may be implemented.

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Teens who lack sleep at greater risk for depression, suicide, warns GMU research

I know from experience that sleep deprivation makes a person more susceptible to depression.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/gmu-twl052016.php

blic Release: 20-May-2016
Teens who lack sleep at greater risk for depression, suicide, warns GMU research
George Mason University study
George Mason University

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Winsler and his students, along with collaborators from Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School, gathered data from the Fairfax County Youth Survey in Virginia. This assessment given to all Fairfax County students in grades 8, 10 and 12 examines behaviors, experiences and other factors impacting children's health and well-being. The team focused on sleep times reported by an ethnically diverse sample of 27,939 middle- and high-school students. And the numbers were troubling.

While the National Institutes of Health recommends teenagers get around nine hours of sleep a night, only 3 percent of Fairfax County students reported getting that much sleep, and 20 percent said they got five hours or less of sleep per weeknight. On average, respondents reported getting only six-and-a-half hours of sleep each weekday night.

The consequences of skipping sleep can be dire. Accounting for variables such as family composition and income, gender, and ethnic and community-level differences, Winsler determined each hour of sleep lost was associated with a 38-percent increase in feelings of sadness and hopelessness among teens, a 23-percent increase in substance abuse, a 42-percent increase in suicidal thoughts and a 58-percent increase in actual suicide attempts.

But does a sleep deficit cause depression, or does persistent sadness cause sleep disturbances? While Winsler said his correlational data do not firmly provide an answer, he said prior research leads him to conclude that it goes both ways, but there's a stronger correlation showing that a sleep deficit can cause depression.

Many U.S. high schools have tried to help by implementing later school start times. Skeptics may believe kids simply stay up later when start times are delayed, Winsler said, but it turns out that isn't true.

"Communities that have done this find teens get more sleep, do better in school, reduce driving accidents, and all kinds of good things happen."

Fairfax recently became one of those communities, moving back its high school start times by 40 minutes this year. A full hour would have been better, Winsler said, as his research shows just one hour more of sleep can bring about noticeable changes in depression outcomes. Still, it's a step in the right direction, and one Winsler wishes his own children, who were Fairfax County students, could have benefited from.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Affordable Care Act premiums are lower than you think

http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2016/07/21-affordable-care-act-premiums-are-lower-than-you-think-adler-ginsburg?rssid=LatestFromBrookings

July 21, 2016
By: Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg

Since the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces first took effect in 2014, news story after story has focused on premium increases for certain plans, in certain cities, or for certain individuals. Based on preliminary reports, premiums now appear set to rise by a substantial amount in 2017.

What these individual data points miss, however, is that average premiums in the individual market actually dropped significantly upon implementation of the ACA, according to our new analysis, even while consumers got better coverage. In other words, people are getting more for less under the ACA.

Covered California, that state’s marketplace, just announced premium increases averaging 13.2 percent. But even if premiums increase by the 10 or 15 percent overall that some are predicting for 2017, they will still be far lower than premiums otherwise would have been in the absence of the law. Moreover, this analysis does not include the effects of premium and cost-sharing subsidies that serve to make ACA marketplace plans more affordable for many people.

2014 Premiums In the ACA Marketplaces Were 10-21 Percent Lower Than 2013 Individual Market Premiums

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Indeed, many of the ACA’s new rules do have the anticipated effect of increasing premiums, such as:

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However, many features of the ACA push in the opposite direction and save consumers money. The individual mandate and federal subsidies greatly expanded the number of people purchasing coverage in the individual market, pushing premiums down both by increasing the sheer size of the market – the bigger the market, the lower the prices – and including many healthier people who previously went uninsured. In addition, the ACA created relatively transparent marketplaces where insurers must compete on premiums for products standardized by actuarial value, allowing competition to drive down prices.

Together, by creating a much larger and more competitive market, these changes placed strong downward pressure on insurance premiums, outweighing the factors pushing in the opposite direction. Stronger rate review and minimum requirements for how much an insurance plan must spend on actual health care expenses furthered this downward pressure on prices.

According to our analysis, average premiums for the second-lowest cost silver-level (SLS) marketplace plan in 2014, which serves as a benchmark for ACA subsidies, were between 10 and 21 percent lower than average individual market premiums in 2013, before the ACA, even while providing enrollees with significantly richer coverage and a broader set of benefits. Silver-level ACA plans cover roughly 17 percent more of an enrollee’s health expenses than pre-ACA plans did, on average. In essence, then, consumers received more coverage at a lower price.

Affordable Care Act premiums are lower than you think

http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2016/07/21-affordable-care-act-premiums-are-lower-than-you-think-adler-ginsburg?rssid=LatestFromBrookings

July 21, 2016
By: Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg

Since the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces first took effect in 2014, news story after story has focused on premium increases for certain plans, in certain cities, or for certain individuals. Based on preliminary reports, premiums now appear set to rise by a substantial amount in 2017.

What these individual data points miss, however, is that average premiums in the individual market actually dropped significantly upon implementation of the ACA, according to our new analysis, even while consumers got better coverage. In other words, people are getting more for less under the ACA.

Covered California, that state’s marketplace, just announced premium increases averaging 13.2 percent. But even if premiums increase by the 10 or 15 percent overall that some are predicting for 2017, they will still be far lower than premiums otherwise would have been in the absence of the law. Moreover, this analysis does not include the effects of premium and cost-sharing subsidies that serve to make ACA marketplace plans more affordable for many people.

2014 Premiums In the ACA Marketplaces Were 10-21 Percent Lower Than 2013 Individual Market Premiums

•••••

Indeed, many of the ACA’s new rules do have the anticipated effect of increasing premiums, such as:

•••••

However, many features of the ACA push in the opposite direction and save consumers money. The individual mandate and federal subsidies greatly expanded the number of people purchasing coverage in the individual market, pushing premiums down both by increasing the sheer size of the market – the bigger the market, the lower the prices – and including many healthier people who previously went uninsured. In addition, the ACA created relatively transparent marketplaces where insurers must compete on premiums for products standardized by actuarial value, allowing competition to drive down prices.

Together, by creating a much larger and more competitive market, these changes placed strong downward pressure on insurance premiums, outweighing the factors pushing in the opposite direction. Stronger rate review and minimum requirements for how much an insurance plan must spend on actual health care expenses furthered this downward pressure on prices.

According to our analysis, average premiums for the second-lowest cost silver-level (SLS) marketplace plan in 2014, which serves as a benchmark for ACA subsidies, were between 10 and 21 percent lower than average individual market premiums in 2013, before the ACA, even while providing enrollees with significantly richer coverage and a broader set of benefits. Silver-level ACA plans cover roughly 17 percent more of an enrollee’s health expenses than pre-ACA plans did, on average. In essence, then, consumers received more coverage at a lower price.

Affordable Care Act premiums are lower than you think

http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2016/07/21-affordable-care-act-premiums-are-lower-than-you-think-adler-ginsburg?rssid=LatestFromBrookings

July 21, 2016
By: Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg

Since the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces first took effect in 2014, news story after story has focused on premium increases for certain plans, in certain cities, or for certain individuals. Based on preliminary reports, premiums now appear set to rise by a substantial amount in 2017.

What these individual data points miss, however, is that average premiums in the individual market actually dropped significantly upon implementation of the ACA, according to our new analysis, even while consumers got better coverage. In other words, people are getting more for less under the ACA.

Covered California, that state’s marketplace, just announced premium increases averaging 13.2 percent. But even if premiums increase by the 10 or 15 percent overall that some are predicting for 2017, they will still be far lower than premiums otherwise would have been in the absence of the law. Moreover, this analysis does not include the effects of premium and cost-sharing subsidies that serve to make ACA marketplace plans more affordable for many people.

2014 Premiums In the ACA Marketplaces Were 10-21 Percent Lower Than 2013 Individual Market Premiums

•••••

Indeed, many of the ACA’s new rules do have the anticipated effect of increasing premiums, such as:

•••••

However, many features of the ACA push in the opposite direction and save consumers money. The individual mandate and federal subsidies greatly expanded the number of people purchasing coverage in the individual market, pushing premiums down both by increasing the sheer size of the market – the bigger the market, the lower the prices – and including many healthier people who previously went uninsured. In addition, the ACA created relatively transparent marketplaces where insurers must compete on premiums for products standardized by actuarial value, allowing competition to drive down prices.

Together, by creating a much larger and more competitive market, these changes placed strong downward pressure on insurance premiums, outweighing the factors pushing in the opposite direction. Stronger rate review and minimum requirements for how much an insurance plan must spend on actual health care expenses furthered this downward pressure on prices.

According to our analysis, average premiums for the second-lowest cost silver-level (SLS) marketplace plan in 2014, which serves as a benchmark for ACA subsidies, were between 10 and 21 percent lower than average individual market premiums in 2013, before the ACA, even while providing enrollees with significantly richer coverage and a broader set of benefits. Silver-level ACA plans cover roughly 17 percent more of an enrollee’s health expenses than pre-ACA plans did, on average. In essence, then, consumers received more coverage at a lower price.

Pseudo-Patriots - 7/9/2014 added link to video

The sheet music is available free at

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B70WsnjzVKW-ZmM5NDM2N2UtNGZlZC00YjJhLTg5NDEtYzkzNzJmODU5ZGE4&hl=en_US


Video at following link.
http://new.livestream.com/OMPlive/events/3166017/videos/55988446

The instrumental created from the program that created the sheet music is available at
http://www.reverbnation.com/patriciashannon


Pseudo-Patriots
copyright Patricia M. Shannon 1996

They say that they are patriots because they love to wave the flag,
but they throw their trash along the road, and pour used oil down the drain.
They say that they are patriots because the pledge they love to say,
but they never bother to turn out the lights when they go home for the day.

How can we be patriots and not do all we can
to protect the earth upon which all our lives depend?
How can we be patriots and not help our fellow men?
What else is a country, but its people and its land?

They say that they are patriots because, they will always choose
to vote to build more prisons, while cutting funding for our schools.
They say that they are patriots, Star Spangled Banner they do sing,
but to their big gas-guzzlers they selfishly do cling.

How can we be patriots and not do all we can
to prevent the earth from turning into barren sands?
How can we be patriots and not lend a helping hand?
What else is a country, but its people and its land?

They say that they are patriots, because it fills them with such glee
to send our young folks overseas to be killed by enemies.
They say that they are patriots, but they would never think
to tutor some poor kids to help them stay out of the clink.

A country's not a piece of cloth, or words we say by rote;
a country's not a song we sing before we watch a sport.
And love's not just a feeling, it's something that we do,
every day, in every way, in everything we choose.

Even frail, older adults could benefit from intensive blood pressure reduction

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uouh-efo051816.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
Even frail, older adults could benefit from intensive blood pressure reduction
University of Utah Health Sciences

Adults with hypertension who are age 75 years and older, including those who are frail and with poor overall health, could benefit from lowering their blood pressure below current medical guidelines. The multi-institutional investigation was published online in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and presented at the American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting on May 19

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Detailed analysis of SPRINT participants age 75 and older now shows that the major benefits of lowering blood pressure carry over to this age group, including the medically fragile. Intensive blood pressure lowering resulted in 33 percent fewer cases of cardiovascular events (3.85 vs. 2.59 percent) and 32 percent fewer deaths (2.63 vs. 1.78 percent). Grouping the study population by frailty status showed that while the most frail patients have higher rates of heart disease and death, these rates were similarly lowered by tighter blood pressure control (3.9 vs. 5.8 percent for heart disease and 2.95 vs. 4.28 for death).

Further, intensive blood pressure treatment did not significantly increase risk for injurious falls and other serious side effects among the frail group.

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Can a healthy lifestyle prevent cancer?

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/tjnj-cah051716.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
Can a healthy lifestyle prevent cancer?
The JAMA Network Journals

A large proportion of cancer cases and deaths among U.S. individuals who are white might be prevented if people quit smoking, avoided heavy drinking, maintained a BMI between 18.5 and 27.5, and got moderate weekly exercise for at least 150 minutes or vigorous exercise for at least 75 minutes, according to a new study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States.

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A "healthy lifestyle pattern" was defined as never or past smoking; no or moderate drinking of alcohol (one or less drink a day for women, two or less drinks a day for men); BMI of at least 18.5 but lower than 27.5; and weekly aerobic physical activity of at least 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity. Individuals who met all four criteria were considered low risk and everyone else was high risk.

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The authors calculated population-attributable risk (PAR), which can be interpreted as the proportion of cases that would not occur if all the individuals adopted the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.

The authors suggest about 20 percent to 40 percent of cancer cases and about half of cancer deaths could potentially be prevented through modifications to adopt the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group.

The authors note that including only white individuals in their PAR estimates may not be generalizable to other ethnic groups but the factors they considered have been established as risk factors in diverse ethnic groups too.

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Intake of dietary fat in adolescence associated with breast density

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/aafc-iod051616.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
Intake of dietary fat in adolescence associated with breast density
American Association for Cancer Research

Bottom Line: Consuming high amounts of saturated fat or low amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fats as an adolescent was associated with higher breast density in young adulthood. Breast density is a risk factor for breast cancer.

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Will more snow over Antarctica offset rising seas? Don't count on it

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uow-wms051816.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
Will more snow over Antarctica offset rising seas? Don't count on it
University of Washington

Many factors related to warming will conspire to raise the planet's oceans over coming decades -- thermal expansion of the world's oceans, melting of snow and ice worldwide, and the collapse of massive ice sheets.

But there are a few potential brakes. One was supposed to be heavier snowfall over the vast continent of Antarctica. Warmer air will hold more moisture and thus generate more snow to fall inland and slightly rebuild the glacier, according to climate model projections.
Not so fast, says a University of Washington study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The authors looked at evidence from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide ice core to get a first clear look at how the continent's snowfall has varied over 31,000 years.

"It's allowed us to look at the snow accumulation back in time in much more detail than we've been able to do with any other deep ice core in Antarctica," said lead author T.J. Fudge, a UW postdoctoral researcher in Earth and space sciences. "We show that warmer temperatures and snowfall sometimes go together, but often they don't."

For example, the record includes periods before 8,000 years ago, as Earth was coming out of its last ice age, when the air temperature went up by several degrees without any boost in the amount of snowfall.

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Support from family and friends important to helping prevent depression in teenagers

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uoc-sff051916.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
Support from family and friends important to helping prevent depression in teenagers
University of Cambridge

The importance of friendships and family support in helping prevent depression among teenagers has been highlighted in research from the University of Cambridge. The study, published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, also found that teenagers who had grown up in a difficult family environment were more likely than their peers to be bullied at school.

Adolescence is a key time in an individual's development, and is a period where some teenagers begin to show signs of major depression. One of the major risk factors for depression in adolescence is childhood family adversity, such as poor parenting and lack of affection, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, family financial problems or the loss of a family member. Another major risk factor for depression is bullying by peers -- and the combined experience of childhood family adversity and peer bullying is associated with increased severity of depression symptoms.

Studies suggest that friendships and supportive family environments may help protect adolescents from depression if they have experienced peer bullying and childhood family adversity.

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71 percent of hip fracture patients not told they have osteoporosis

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/nh-s7o051616.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
Survey: 71 percent of hip fracture patients not told they have osteoporosis
1 in 4 would reject class of bone-building medications even if prescribed
Northwell Health

More than 7 in 10 older adults who suffer hip fractures aren't told they have the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis - despite the fact that hip fractures nearly always signify the presence of this potentially debilitating condition, according to revealing new research by Northwell Health physicians.

Geriatric fellow Mia Barnett, MD, led a telephone survey of 42 hip fracture patients ages 65 and older that showed a startling level of misinformation and mismanagement surrounding osteoporosis among both clinicians and patients. A majority (57%) of patients reported their hospital physicians had not suggested osteoporosis medication after their hip fracture, and 25% said they would reject taking such prescribed drugs.

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"You can die after a hip fracture, and you're at great risk of prolonged complications," said Dr. Wolf-Klein. "You can also be left as an invalid, a fear of many older adults. When we think about how preventable hip fractures are, the fact that most patients aren't told or understand they have osteoporosis - a disease that can be treated - is an enormous problem."

Meaning "porous bone," osteoporosis affects more than 10 million people in the United States, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. But while a quarter-million Americans sustain a hip fracture each year, the estimated treatment rate for osteoporosis after a hip fracture - a fracture nearly always indicating osteoporosis in older adults - ranges from only 2% to 25%.

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Only 12 %of patients reported having a family history of osteoporosis, which will cause about 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over age 50 to break a bone. But "self-reported family history from these patients is notoriously unreliable, and when it is there, they still can get it wrong," Dr. Weinerman explained. "We do know that if a mother had a hip fracture, that doubles her daughter's risk of future hip fracture."

Additional results indicated that 57 %of patients reported their hospital physicians had not suggested taking prescription osteoporosis medication after hip fracture, and 36% hadn't received a prescription for such medication. For most of the 64% who had been taking so-called osteoporosis "treatment," this consisted of calcium and vitamin D - a combination the Northwell study authors deemed "useless" at preventing osteoporotic fractures.

On the other hand, effective prescription osteoporosis drugs - which maintain bone density and lower the risk of a fracture - are available in many forms to accommodate patients' needs and wishes, including twice-yearly infusions or weekly pills, they said.

After hip fracture, 38% of study participants sustained a fall within a year, and 44% of these patients suffered an additional fracture.

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What the New York Times gets wrong about PTSD

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/du-wtn051916.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
What the New York Times gets wrong about PTSD
Drexel University

Believe it or not, both the public and policy-makers often get their ideas from the media. When those ideas are formed about something as serious and impactful as posttraumatic stress disorder, it's important for the media to tell the story in the right way.

With that in mind, Drexel researchers examined how the country's most influential paper, the New York Times, portrayed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the year it was first added to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1980) to present day (2015).

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Between 1980 and 2015, 871 news articles mentioned PTSD. In their American Journal of Orthopsychiatry paper, Purtle and his co-authors, Katherine Lynn and Marshal Malik, pointed out three specific issues in the Times' coverage that could have negative consequences.

"New York Times portrayals of populations affected by PTSD do not reflect the epidemiology of the disorder."

The Drexel team found that 50.6 percent of the Times' articles focused on military cases of PTSD, including 63.5 percent of the articles published in the last 10 years.

In actuality, Purtle's past research showed that most PTSD cases are related to noncombat traumas in civilians. The number of civilians affected by PTSD is 13 times larger than the number of military personnel affected by the disorder.

Occurrences are also much more likely in those who survive non-combat traumas, which include sexual assault (30-80 percent of survivors develop PTSD), nonsexual assault (23-39 percent develop it), disasters (30-40 percent) and car crashes (25-33 percent), among other causes. Veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have just a 20 percent occurrence of PTSD.

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"PTSD was negatively framed in many articles."

Self-stigma attached to PTSD has been identified as a strong barrier to seeking treatment.

As such, with fewer and fewer articles over the years mentioning treatment options (decreasing from 19.4 percent of all PTSD-focused articles in 1980-1995 to just 5.7 percent in 2005-2015), it is particularly harmful when articles focused on negative portrayals of those with PTSD.

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"Most themes in the New York Times PTSD articles pertained to proximal causes and consequences of the disorder."

Most articles in the study's 35-year focus centered on the traumatic exposure that led to PTSD, as well as the symptoms that result from the disorder. They rarely told stories of survivors and prevention.

Although nearly three quarters of articles mentioned a traumatic cause of PTSD, concepts such as risk/protective factors or prevention were barely mentioned. Risk/protective factors were only mentioned in 2.6 percent of articles and prevention was only mentioned in 2.5 percent.

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What can help dropouts?

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/du-wch051916.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
What can help dropouts?
Certain life experiences can worsen the negative effects of dropping out, but some interventions and treatments can help change the odds for dropouts
Duke University

Certain life experiences can worsen the negative effects of dropping out of school, but interventions and treatments can improve the odds for dropouts, a new study finds.

The study, available online today in the June edition of Journal of Adolescent Health, followed 585 children from age 5 to age 27. It looked at what factors elevated children's risk of dropping out, how high school dropouts fared later in life and what factors prevented negative outcomes.

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Researchers found that, compared to high school graduates, the dropouts were three times more likely to have been arrested by age 18 and four times as likely to need government assistance by age 27. They were also twice as likely to be fired from a job two or more times, to have used drugs in the past six months and to report poor health by age 27.

In addition, most dropouts faced multiple hardships as adults, not just one. Researchers found dropouts were 24 times more likely than high school graduates to experience four or more negative outcomes by age 27.

However, researchers found the risk for negative life outcomes for dropouts - such as getting arrested, needing government assistance, being fired or having poor health -declined if they received treatment for behavioral, emotional or drug problems by age 24.

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Researchers also found dropouts suffered more problems in later life if they were rejected by classmates in elementary school or became parents themselves at a young age. Improving peer relationships in elementary schools and reducing teen pregnancies are thus worthy investments and may even help reduce the drop-out rate, the authors suggest.

Trump’s tax plan would mean a $7.1 billion reward for his family — and cost taxpayers $10 trillion

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/trumps-tax-plan-would-mean-a-7-1-billion-reward-for-his-family-and-cost-taxpayers-9-5-trillion/

Bethania Palma Markus
21 Jul 2016 at 14:28 ET

It seems like Donald Trump has at least one policy idea as president that would benefit — Donald Trump.

According to an analysis by Third Way, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, Trump’s proposed elimination of the federal estate tax would be a $7.1 billion boon for his family. Along with proposed breaks on capital gains and income taxes, Trump’s plan would benefit mostly the wealthy and add $9.5 trillion to the national debt in 10 years.

“His proposal would cut taxes at all income levels, although the largest benefits, in dollar and percentage terms, would go to the highest-income households,” The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center notes in its analysis. “The plan would reduce federal revenues by $9.5 trillion over its first decade before accounting for added interest costs or considering macroeconomic feedback effects. The plan would improve incentives to work, save, and invest. However, unless it is accompanied by very large spending cuts, it could increase the national debt by nearly 80 percent of gross domestic product by 2036, offsetting some or all of the incentive effects of the tax cuts.”

According to The Hill, the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the bill to tax payers for the break would be $10 trillion over 10 years.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Donald Trump Turned Down 94.4 Percent of American Job Applicants, Applied for Hundreds of ‘H’ Visas Instead

Note that the National Review is a conservative news source.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/431908/donald-trump-immigration-hypocrite-who-ignores-american-workers

by Charles C. W. Cooke February 25, 2016

Surprise! Donald Trump is a rank hypocrite on immigration. Per the New York Times:

Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach describes itself as “one of the most highly regarded private clubs in the world,” and it is not just the very-well-to-do who want to get in.

Since 2010, nearly 300 United States residents have applied or been referred for jobs as waiters, waitresses, cooks and housekeepers there. But according to federal records, only 17 have been hired.

In all but a handful of cases, Mar-a-Lago sought to fill the jobs with hundreds of foreign guest workers from Romania and other countries.

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he has also pursued more than 500 visas for foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago since 2010, according to the United States Department of Labor, while hundreds of domestic applicants failed to get the same jobs.

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When Disney behaved like this, there was a loud and sustained outcry from . . . well, no less than Donald Trump himself. In an interview with Breitbart, Trump argued that Disney should be forced to rehire any Americans it had overlooked or replaced. Trump also said this:

If I am President, I will not issue any H-1B visas to companies that replace American workers and my Department of Justice will pursue action against them.

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And yet, by Trump’s own logic, the H-2B program that he so heavily used is even more egregious than the H-1Bs system that Disney took advantage of. Why? Well, because unlike H-1Bs — which can in theory be used to recruit skilled workers — H-2Bs are aimed directly at the bottom of the economic ladder. Here’s the Times again:

“You almost have them as indentured servants,” said Danny Fontenot, director of the hospitality program at Palm Beach State College. “And they affect everyone else’s wages. You can make a lot of money by never having to give your employees raises.”

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http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431933/donald-trump-foreign-workers-american-workers-arent-good-enough

Donald Trump Thinks American Workers Aren’t Good Enough for the Trump Organization
by Ian Tuttle February 25, 2016

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In the early 1980s, Donald Trump was a thirtysomething real-estate up-and-comer embarking on what would, for a while, be the tallest all-glass structure in Manhattan, and what remains the centerpiece of the Trump architectural empire, his Vanity of Vanities: Trump Tower, on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. According to Barbara Res, the then-31-year-old who Trump selected to oversee Trump Tower’s construction, the Donald humbly referred to Trump Tower as “The Most Important Project in the World.”

Apparently, the first leg of the project was too important to entrust to American workers. In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court, members of House Wreckers Local 95 alleged that, to avoid paying union employees their pension and welfare benefits, Trump (and the contractor he used for the job, Kaszycki & Sons) brought in some 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish the Bonwit Teller building that then occupied the site of the future Trump Tower.

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“Testimony established that Donald Trump visited the 57th Street site and observed Kaszycki’s Polish workers, noting that they were ‘good hard workers,’” the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote in its opinion in 1991. “Workers also observed Trump visiting the job site of the Bonwit Teller demolition job.” And it’s likely that he would have been able to distinguish between union and non-union workers: “The Polish workers were obvious not only in numbers but also in appearance. In contrast to the union workers the non-union, Polish workers were distinguished by the fact that most of them did not wear hard hats. In addition the Polish workers staged several very visible work stoppages because they were not being paid their wages.”

There were other good reasons to disbelieve Trump. Daniel J. Sullivan, a labor consultant and FBI informant who had advised Trump on the demolition, testified that Trump told him about undocumented workers at the site.

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Some three decades later, nothing has changed. Last year, the Washington Post reported that Trump is using undocumented workers in the construction work on his much-feted project to convert Washington, D.C.’s Old Post Office Pavilion into a luxury hotel. “Interviews with about 15 laborers helping renovate the Old Post Office Pavilion revealed that many of them had crossed the U.S-Mexico border illegally,” the Post’s Antonio Olivo wrote in July, “before they eventually settled in the Washington region to build new lives.”

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Reuters reviewed Department of Labor data last August, and reports that Trump-owned companies have tried to import 1,100 workers on temporary visas since 2000. Jobs “that Americans won’t do” include waitress, cook, vineyard worker, golf-course superintendent, hotel manager, banquet manager, and maid. Additionally, American women apparently are not attractive enough for Donald Trump; the Trump Model Management and Trump Management Group LLC have sought to import 250 fashion models from overseas.

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The effects of laxatives may provide new clues concerning Parkinson's disease

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/w-teo051916.php

Public Release: 19-May-2016
The effects of laxatives may provide new clues concerning Parkinson's disease
Wiley

In a recent retrospective analysis, investigators discovered that the year-on-year increase in rigidity found in Parkinson's disease flattened off with the regular use of laxatives to manage constipation.

The findings lend support to previous research indicating that changes in the gut--and perhaps an imbalance in the microbes that reside there--may affect aspects of Parkinson's disease. The group is planning further research to confirm the precise mechanisms involved.

"That the apparent effect of regular laxatives appeared in those who had never received drugs for Parkinson's disease points to modification of an underlying disease process," said Dr John Dobbs, co-lead author of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology analysis. "Different aspects of Parkinson's disease may, of course, have different drivers," added co-lead author Dr Sylvia Dobbs. "For example, our controlled trial of eradicating Helicobacter from the stomach showed a beneficial effect on the diminished movement characteristic of Parkinson's disease."

Shameless hypocrisy at the Republican convention


Incredible the way the Republicans blame others for what they have done. Eg., ranting about veterans needing a better deal when the Republicans were the ones who cut back on veteran benefits. Declaiming against inequality & low wages when they are the ones who blocked efforts to raise the minimum wage, passed laws to disable unions, and blocked efforts to expand overtime pay to allow for the effects of inflation. Railing against the elites, when they are the ones that lowered taxes on the super-rich and passed tax benefits & loopholes for them. Declaring that they need to control who gets selected for the supreme court, when it is the Republicans on the supreme court who have continually favored business & the elites against the interests of the rest of us.

L.L. Bean water bottles recalled for high levels of lead

http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/ll-bean-water-bottles-recalled-for-high-levels-of-lead/ar-BBuyKfi?li=BBnb2gg

Thousands of children’s water bottles sold at L.L. Bean have been recalled due to a violation of lead standards. The recalled bottles were made by GSI Outdoors, Inc., of Spokane, Washington.

According to a news release by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, high levels of lead were found in the solder at the base of the bottles.

About 6,700 units of the 13.5-ounce capacity insulated water bottles are affected. The bottles have the following color prints: Dino Bones, Flower Power, Orange Grid camo, Purple Tie Dye Butterfly and Robo Shark. The item identification number 297684 is printed on a sticker on the bottom of the bottle. Also printed on the sticker are “PO#844” and “BB2D2-LLB-R45-0413.” The bottles were sold exclusively at L.L. Bean retail stores, online at llbean.com, and in L.L. Bean catalogs from July 2015 through May 2016 for about $20.

Consumers with the affected bottles should immediately cease use and contact L.L. Bean at 800-555-9717 for a full refund.

The recall comes months after officials in Flint, Michigan, confirmed that the blood levels of children in the city rose after the city changed its drinking water source. Children are especially vulnerable to lead toxicity.

Kris Kristofferson's Lyme disease misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kris-kristofferson-misdiagnosed-alzheimers-has-lyme-disease/

By Mary Brophy Marcus CBS News July 20, 2016, 2:19 PM

Actor and songwriter Kris Kristofferson and some of those closest to him are speaking out about his health problems and their surprising cause.

Kristoffferson struggled with memory problems in recent years and was told he had Alzheimer's disease, but it appears he was misdiagnosed and all along has actually been suffering from the tick-borne illness Lyme disease.

Articles in Rolling Stone and the entertainment magazine Closer Weekly reveal that the 80-year-old -- whose songs have been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and Elvis Presley -- has struggled through a years-long medical odyssey.

Kristofferson and his wife Lisa told Rolling Stone that for years, doctors had been telling him that his increasingly debilitating memory loss was due to either Alzheimer's or to dementia brought on by blows to the head from boxing and playing football and rugby in his teens and early twenties.

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Earlier this year, though, a doctor decided to test Kristofferson for Lyme disease, which can cause neurological problems, including memory issues and what some describe as "brain fog," as well as a broad range of other symptoms. The test came back positive.

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"He was taking all these medications for things he doesn't have, and they all have side effects," she told the magazine. After the Lyme diagnosis, he dropped those medications and went through three weeks of treatment for Lyme.

"It's like Lazarus coming out of the grave and being born again," Kristofferson's friend, Nashville singer-songwriter Chris Gantry, told Closer Weekly.

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While Lyme disease can sometimes mimic Alzheimer's with dementia-like symptoms, there are effective treatments available for Lyme, including antibiotics -- unlike Alzheimer's, for which there is currently no cure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are about 329,000 cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year. Only about 30,000 are officially confirmed and reported to the CDC.

Doctor's often look for a hallmark bulls-eye rash around a tick bite, but not everyone infected has an obvious mark. Symptoms may include a fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Other severe problems sometimes linked to Lyme include heart and brain issues and can appear months or even years after being bitten by an infected tick.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fish can adapt some to warmer ocean waters, but not necessarily to extreme heat

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/nuos-fca051816.php

Public Release: 18-May-2016
Fish can adapt some to warmer ocean waters, but not necessarily to extreme heat
Plastic floors and concrete ceilings define a fish's metabolic limits when it comes to climate change.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Fish can adjust to warmer ocean temperatures, but heat waves can still kill them, a team of researchers from Sweden, Norway and Australia reports in an article published this week in Nature Communications.

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In other words, Jutfelt said, the fish are living very close to their lethal limit.

"They have a very small safety margin to their lethal temperature," he said.

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If this finding holds true for other fish species, he said, then fish living in northern lakes or the ocean may appear to be healthy even as water temperatures climb. But if waters warm too much, from a strong heat wave, the apparently well-adapted fish populations might die, he said.

"We think this might be important in fish (overall), the fact that they might not be able to adjust their tolerance to maximum levels," he said. "We think that might be the bottleneck for survival."

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