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What Happened to People With Half a Brain Removed

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many people think of their brain as an overstuffed attic. Every square-inch is either crammed with information or working overtime to help the body function properly. So is it even conceivable that a person be normal with just half a brain?

Yes, apparently it is, according to a new analysis that assessed brain health among six adults who had undergone a hemispherectomy as children. The highly invasive surgery, which entails removal or severing of half the brain, had been part of a pediatric epilepsy treatment to reduce seizure risk.

“The people with hemispherectomies that we studied were remarkably high-functioning,” study author Dorit Kliemann said in a statement. “They have intact language skills. When I put them in the [brain] scanner, we made small talk, just like the hundreds of other individuals I have scanned,” she explained.

“You can almost forget their condition when you meet them for the first time,” added Kliemann, who is a post-doctoral scholar in cognitive neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena.

Kliemann and her team noted that the six patients in the study had all struggled with relentless epileptic seizures from a very early age, with one patient initially struck by seizures just minutes after birth.

Hemispherectomies are typically performed as a means to bring such “intractable” epilepsy under control, the team explained. The aim is to isolate whichever half (or hemisphere) of the brain is affected by the disease. That can mean either actual removal of the problematic half of the brain or a cutting off of all physical connections between the two halves.

All of the patients had undergone full removal of half their brain. The youngest patient was just 3 months old at the time of surgery, while the oldest had been 11. Four involved excision of the right side of the brain, while two had the left side removed.

Now in their 20s and 30s, the six patients agreed to undergo functional MRI brain scans while awake at the Caltech Brain Imaging Center.

Continued

Brain activity was tracked in areas tasked with regulating vision, movement, emotion and thought processes.

Results were then stacked up against those of six healthy adults who also underwent scans, and with data previously collected on nearly 1,500 healthy adults (average age of 22).

Because brain networks devoted to a single regulatory function often span both hemispheres of the brain, the team expected to see weaker neural activity among the hemispherectomy patients. That was not the case.

In fact, scans revealed normal in-network communication and activity function. And communication running between different regulatory networks was actually found to be stronger than normal among hemispherectomy patients.

The findings were published online Nov. 19 in the journal Cell Reports.

Dr. Joseph Sirven, a professor of neurology with the Mayo Clinic in Florida and editor-in-chief of Epilepsy.com, said the findings did not strike him as entirely surprising. He said he often sees patients functioning at a very high level post-hemispherectomy.

“But what surprises me is the degree of compensation that was noted,” added Sirven, who was not part of the study team.

“And if we could figure out the way that the brain compensates in this dramatic setting, and harness this compensatory mechanism for patients affected by stroke, traumatic brain injury or other conditions, that would be a very big deal,” Sirven noted.

That thought was echoed by Kliemann. “As remarkable as it is that there are individuals who can live with half a brain, sometimes a very small brain lesion — like a stroke or a traumatic brain injury or a tumor — can have devastating effects,” she noted.

That is why it’s so important to get a better understanding of exactly how the brains of hemispherectomy patients managed to reorganize and compensate for the loss of half a brain, Kliemann said. Because doing so could eventually lead to new “targeted intervention strategies” to help other types of patients struggling with the debilitating effects of a variety of brain injuries, she theorized.

Caltech’s Brain Imaging Center supplied this video showing MRI scans of the brain of one patient who underwent hemispherectomy. Scan “slices” from the top to the bottom of the brain are shown:

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Joseph Sirven, M.D., professor, neurology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla., editor-in-chief, Epilepsy.com and former vice chair, epilepsy section, American Academy of Neurology; Nov. 19, 2019,Cell Reports, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Recalls of Blood Pressure Med Took Toll on Patients’ Health

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 20, 2019 — Emergency room visits for high blood pressure surged following last year’s recall of the popular heart drug valsartan, Canadian researchers report.

Within the first month of the recall, there was a 55% increase of people coming to Ontario-area emergency departments complaining of high blood pressure, said lead researcher Cynthia Jackevicius. She is a senior scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, in Toronto.

Some of these patients likely were valsartan users who stopped taking the blood pressure med after seeing scary recall news citing a potential carcinogen found in some lots of the drug, Jackevicius said.

“Nine out of 10 did have an alternative replacement” for valsartan within three months. “However, that means that one out of 10 did not,” Jackevicius said.

“That’s a little bit concerning, that some of these patients may have either been confused or concerned, and decided not to switch to another medication,” she added.

The recall occurred in July 2018 in both Canada and the United States, after generics maker Mylan Pharmaceuticals detected trace amounts of a probable cancer-causing chemical called N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) in valsartan meds.

It was an unusually large recall that involved intense media interest, and Jackevicius and her colleagues wondered how it might have affected the drug’s users.

So they turned to Canadian prescription and medical records to track how valsartan users responded to the crisis.

Dr. Mary Norine Walsh, a past president of the American College of Cardiology and a cardiologist at St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana, said, “It’s really interesting data, because my assumption would have been in Canada and the U.S. that substitution was made pretty much instantly.”

That’s what happened — mostly.

Within one month, 85% of patients had a new prescription for an alternative to their generic valsartan, Jackevicius said. By three months, 90% had a prescription for a different blood pressure drug.

But that left 10% of patients with recalled valsartan who hadn’t been prescribed an alternative, Jackevicius noted.

“Maybe they heard about the recall on the news and never went to their physician or clinician to get a substitution,” Walsh said.

“When there’s a recall like this, is there a patient lack of trust in the system? Do they not get back on drugs because they’re afraid? I don’t know,” Walsh asked.

In the immediate aftermath of the recall, people swarmed Ontario emergency departments for blood pressure treatment, the researchers found.

Many of these folks likely were people who were afraid to take their valsartan and went to the ER for a replacement drug when they couldn’t reach their doctor, Jackevicius suggested.

“That’s not really the best place to go” when your drug is recalled, she said. “Going to the emergency department is not a good use of the resources there, and it’s not a good use of the patient’s time.”

However, there were also probably quite a few who stopped taking the drug altogether and suffered symptoms related to high blood pressure, Jackevicius and Walsh said.

According to Walsh, “People did worse if they came off it, which is not surprising because the primary reason they were prescribed it was for hypertension.”

Jackevicius said the incident revealed holes in medicine’s response to major drug recalls.

Empowering pharmacists to reach out to patients and prescribe alternatives could be one way to improve the response to a recall, Jackevicius said.

Pharmacists have direct knowledge of the specific drugs handed out to patients that their doctors don’t, she explained.

“It would make sense that they take more responsibility and be given the authority to substitute common medications, to be a point person in the event of a recall,” Jackevicius said. “They are accessible and would know similar medications that might be OK for that condition.”

Public health officials also could help by promptly creating a consensus list of approved alternative medications, so doctors and pharmacists could quickly and efficiently move patients onto a new prescription, she added.

Jackevicius presented her study last weekend at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting, in Philadelphia. The work was also published recently in the journal Circulation.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about blood pressure drugs.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Why Vaping Is the Best Way to Trick Yourself Into Quitting

Smoking is, by far, one of the toughest habits to kick. While the nicotine contained in cigarettes is a highly addictive substance, the habit itself becomes a type of addiction. It’s easy to become dependent on cigarettes and to feel like your day won’t be complete without them. They can feel like a nice treat after lunch or at the end of a long day at work. It’s even tempting when you’re sitting on a patio and enjoying a cold beer or a glass of wine. Many people who have tried going ‘cold turkey’ have found it almost impossible to maintain.

Because smoking is such a physical act (you go outside, light up, and have a few minutes to yourself), it’s hard to quit the habit. But then, if you’re looking for an alternative that gives you the same feeling and type of experience, vaping may be a great option for you to try. Vaping can also be a much cheaper option, as you won’t be buying pack after pack. Instead, you simply recharge your device and top up the liquid capsules or pods every so often.

The benefits of vaping are endless. You’ll start to feel yourself breathing with more ease in just a few days. If you had a cough, this should also disappear. You may also notice that your senses, such as your sense of smell, return to normal. You won’t have to worry that you and your clothes always smell like an ashtray. In fact, lots of people who have made the switch say that they actually find the smell of smoke repellent since they started vaping. Plus, you’ll still get to enjoy going outside for a moment to yourself.

In addition to all of these positives, there are a lot of stylish, easy-to-use vapes on the market. The most popular of these is probably JUUL. With its sleek and unobtrusive design, it’s easy to see why JUULs are dominating the e-cigarette marketplace.

JUUL vapes require pods, which contain nicotine salts and come in a wide range of flavors, including mint, vanilla, and berry. They are designed to give you peak nicotine hit in five minutes. This is roughly the same as a regular cigarette, so when you’re vaping, you shouldn’t get any niggling cravings for a ‘real’ cigarette. Start by trying the JUUL Starter Kit, which comes with everything you need to get started. You’ll be provided with the vape itself, four different flavored pods, and the JUUL magnetic, fast-charging USB cable, so that you can try it out immediately.

Once you’ve successfully switched from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, you can start to ration yourself down. Hopefully, in time, you’ll no longer feel the need to vape at all. For now, it’s a perfect way to make the transition to a smoke-free life in no time. Plus, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by giving up cigarettes in the meantime!

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Philippine students turn littered dog poo into bricks

MANILA (Reuters) – A group of secondary school students in the Philippines has found a way to convert poo from stray dogs into a mixture for bricks, aiming to rid city streets of excrement and potentially even lower construction costs.

As part of a research project, eighth graders in the Payatas district north of the capital Manila gathered and air-dried dog faeces, which were then mixed with cement powder and moulded into rectangular “bio bricks”.

“Our streets will really be cleaned up,” Mark Acebuche, the students’ science class adviser, told Reuters. He hoped local government or corporations would sponsor the students’ research to help upgrade production.

Dog ownership in the Philippines is unregulated and rules on taking care of pets are only loosely implemented, leading to a large number of stray dogs.

The students say their “bio bricks” are ideal for sidewalk pavements or small structures like backyard walls. Each brick contains 10 grams of dog poo and 10 grams of cement powder, and has a faint odor that the group says will fade with time.

Reporting by Ronn Joshua Bautista; Writing by Neil Jerome Morales; editing by Richard Pullin

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Umbilical Cord ‘Milking’ Dangerous for Preemies

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Squeezing the last drops of blood from the umbilical cord has been touted to help preterm babies get more of the nutrients they need, but it may be dangerous, a new study finds.

When umbilical cord blood is forced into the baby’s abdomen, the pressure can cause tiny blood vessels in the brain to rupture. This is especially dangerous for the most preterm infants, the researchers said.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was stopped due to the heightened risk of internal bleeding.

In the study, researchers wanted to see if so-called “cord milking” was a good alternative to delayed cord clamping. Delayed clamping lets cord blood flow into the infant at a natural pace.

“Most doctors try delayed cord clamping when they can, and they occasionally will do the cord milking,” said lead researcher Dr. Anup Katheria, a neonatologist at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns, in San Diego, Calif.

Babies who get cord blood aren’t just getting blood, he said.

“These babies are getting stem cells and other cells that might help them develop a little bit better than babies that don’t receive this extra blood,” Katheria said. “They also get iron, which is a potent nutrient for brain development, and there’s probably other things in the blood that might help these babies.”

But, given these findings, he that said cord milking should be avoided in extremely preterm babies, those born at 23 to 27 weeks of pregnancy.

For the study, Katheria’s team recruited women who were pregnant for less than 32 weeks and were at risk for preterm delivery. They were randomly assigned to umbilical cord milking or a 60-second delay in cord clamping.

The team had planned to enroll 1,500 infants (750 in each group). Because the study was cut short, only 474 babies were included, according to the report.

Among infants who had cord milking 12% died or developed severe brain bleeds, compared with 8% in the delayed-clamping group. The researchers said this difference wasn’t statistically significant.

Continued

Neither was the death rate at 7% in the cord-milking group and 6% in the delayed-clamping group.

But the rate of severe brain bleeding was significantly higher among babies who had cord milking (8%) versus those who had delayed clamping (3%), the findings showed.

The greatest risk for severe brain bleeding was among infants born in the 23rd to 27th weeks of pregnancy, the study found. All 20 babies in the cord-milking group who suffered brain bleeds were born at this stage of pregnancy.

Among infants born at 28 to 32 weeks, none in the cord-milking group had bleeding, compared with three in the delayed-clamping group, which was not a significant difference, the researchers said.

Because the risk of brain bleeding was seen only in extremely preterm infants, Katheria’s team is continuing to compare cord milking to delayed clamping in babies born at 30 to 32 weeks’ gestation to see if either procedure will affect development as they grow. The infants will be evaluated at 2 years of age.

An earlier study of preemies delivered by cesarean section suggested that cord milking benefited preemies’ brain development.

Dr. Saima Aftab is medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. She said, “The current recommendation is that for preterm infants, delayed cord clamping is safe and should be done.”

This study shows that cord milking isn’t safe and “people should abandon that practice,” Aftab added.

The report was published Nov. 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Anup Katheria, M.D., neonatologist, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns, San Diego, Calif.; Saima Aftab, M.D., medical director, Fetal Care Center, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami; Nov. 19, 2019,Journal of the American Medical Association

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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As Disease Outbreaks Tied to ‘Anti-Vaxxers’ Rise, States Take Action

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2019 — Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases are on the across rise in the United States, often fueled by “anti-vaxxer” parents reluctant to immunize their kids.

However, states are countering these trends with laws to boost childhood vaccination rates and safeguard children, a new study finds.

“Vaccines are our best public health tool for controlling many childhood diseases,” said lead author Neal Goldstein of Drexel University, in Philadelphia.

“Seeing an uptick in legislation aimed at cutting vaccine exemptions following disease outbreaks suggests that media coverage may raise public awareness and advocacy and response from legislators,” Goldstein said in a university news release.

“While it is unfortunate it took outbreaks of preventable disease to spawn legislative action, it further affirms the widespread support of this life-saving intervention,” he added. Goldstein is an assistant research professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in Drexel’s School of Public Health.

Recent outbreaks of illnesses such as measles or whooping cough in California (2015) and New York (2019) led lawmakers in those states to ban all non-medical vaccine exemptions.

To see if that trend was widespread, Goldstein’s team analyzed 2010 to 2016 state data on outbreaks of 12 childhood vaccine-preventable diseases, including hepatitis A and B, flu, measles and whooping cough.

The investigators also examined 2011 to 2017 data on state bills introduced the year after the start of an outbreak that would tighten or ease vaccination requirements for these diseases.

Each state reported an average of 25 vaccine-preventable diseases per 100,000 people per year, but there was significant year-to-year variation.

Of the 175 state vaccination-related bills proposed during 2011 to 2017, about 53% made it easier to get an exemption from vaccine requirements, while 47% made exemption more difficult.

While there were more anti-vaccine bills than pro-vaccine bills introduced overall, further analysis showed that increases in vaccine-preventable diseases were followed by increases in the number of proposed bills that restricted vaccine exemptions.

There was no association between decreases in vaccine-preventable diseases and proposed bills that made it easier to get vaccine exemptions, according to the study. The results were published Nov. 18 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Legislation to reduce vaccine exemptions is needed in the United States, the study authors said. Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but there were 695 cases in 22 states in April 2019, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on vaccines.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

How Can CBD Help You Lose Weight?

CBD, as is well known, teeters back and forth between scientific insight and mass attention and popularity. Research is limited and regulations are loose, so distinguishing between fact and fiction, especially when so much contradiction exists, is like wading through a swimming pool full of grains of salt. CBD is pretty great, that much is fairly well established. It has shown promise treating anxiety, depression, pain, restlessness.

But what about weight loss? The connection between the most popular wellness trend was bound to catch up with our collective concern for small waistlines eventually, wasn’t it? Can CBD help boost your metabolism and reduce your weight? If so, the consequences are far from vain – CBD could help with health concerns associated with obesity, like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Let’s take a closer look at the facts, the fictions, and what we know about CBD to help figure out if CBD can help us lose weight. If so, what are the best methods to maximise its weight loss potential? We’ll give you a useful guide.

How Does CBD Interact With Our Bodies?

Of course by now we all know what CBD is (and what it isn’t – THC), so the first step to unpacking whether or not it can help with weight loss is to take a closer look at how it interacts with our bodies. Although this is probably pretty common knowledge as well, we can put a weight-loss specificity on our explanation.

CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for, as much as we have determined so far, overall homeostasis. It’s a regulator, and if something is irregular, the ECS will help to get things back to normal. It has a role in promoting balance throughout our bodies and brains, and has proven to help regulate mood, pain, memory, sleep… and appetite. The ECS responds to compounds in the body through receptors: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found mostly in the brain and central nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors are present throughout our bodies.

As a cannabinoid, CBD can stimulate these receptors to promote homeostasis as well, and does so indirectly, promoting the ECS to function more effectively on its own. The very interesting thing to note here is that, in people with obesity, CB1 receptors become more far reaching and take up residence in fatty tissues throughout the body. So, the train of thought goes: if CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors and CB1 receptors are more prominent in fatty cells, CBD should be able to interact with these fatty cells somehow.

What’s CBD’s Weight Loss Potential?

Based on this information, then, what is CBD’s potential when it comes to weight loss? Well, lucky for everyone involved, there’s at least a few ways that CBD could potentially help us slim down, both directly and more indirectly, because as we know, there are both direct and indirect causes for weight gain in the first place. I humbly present these to you now:

Increased Motivation

Maybe a less considered option, but CBD’s propensity to help relieve anxiety, boost mood, regulate sleep, and decrease pain could have another subsequent effect: motivation. If we are well rested, less anxious, and in less pain, it only follows that we may be in a much better mood, both mentally and physically. Better moods lead to more motivation to do the things that are important to you, and if one of those things is losing weight, well, there you go. And, of course, anxiety and stress lead to stress eating, something we all know too well.

CBD Affects Mitochondria

More targeted and direct, then, CBD can affect the body’s mitochondria, which convert molecules like sugars into energy. CBD has been shown to increase the number and activity of mitochondria (which increases our ability to burn calories) within our bodies. We can’t really get any more direct than that!

CBD Promotes Brown Fat

Leading on from mitochondria, but indeed linked to it, CBD has been shown to promote the production of brown fat. Brown fat is good fat, so don’t get scared away by the ‘f’ word. Brown fat converts food, or energy, into heat, helping to use up calories. CBD, it has been shown, promotes white fat to turn into brown fat. Mitochondria take brown fat and allow it to burn, literally burning your fat away.

CBD Can Suppress Appetite

It’s easy to think otherwise, I know. With CBD’s association with THC and the notorious munchies, it’s easy to be skeptical. However, studies have found that rather than promoting appetite, CBD might actually help to curb our hunger. The hunger associated with cannabis comes solely from THC, and research has even suggested that CBD may help decrease the hunger pangs so typical of ingesting this substance.

But even more than this, CBD might be able to help combat the fringe deficits that obesity can cause to our health, namely by regulating blood sugar levels and lowering blood pressure. These maladies are caused in part from obesity, stress, and of course poor diet and lack of exercise. CBD can lower blood pressure by decreasing stress and anxiety levels and by acting as a vasodilator, which widens the arteries, allowing for better circulation.

In terms of blood sugar levels, the major cause of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, CBD may have a helping hand to offer. Both types of diabetes, although caused from different sources, both boil down to having too much glucose circulating around our blood. The body needs insulin to regulate blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance as it is demonstrated in type 2 diabetes basically indicates that the body no longer responds to insulin, primarily caused by obesity and lack of exercise.

Not only has CBD shown promise regulating blood sugar levels, but also shows promise with quelling inflammation, which is known to impact the development of insulin resistance and, therefore, type 2 diabetes. And, indeed, this is already one of the most popular reasons people use CBD to date.

Use CBD to Help You Lose Weight

How To Use CBD to Help You Lose Weight

So what kind of CBD should you be taking to help with weight loss, and how should you be taking it?

Try A Sublingual (under the tongue) Application

This hits the bloodstream faster, and begins to work more quickly. It also doesn’t get absorbed through the stomach and liver, like edibles, and therefore will prove more potent and potentially more effective.

Look for Quality Products

We would recommend a good quality, lab tested full-spectrum CBD oil or supplement. Edibles may be full of extra calories you are most likely trying to avoid, and topicals don’t actually hit your bloodstream, so the effects are quite different to those of oils and capsules.

Don’t Jump The Gun

Don’t assume that downing a bottle of CBD oil will result in instant results, the dosage requirements are there to help. CBD works subtly, and it needs time, sometimes up to 6 weeks to notice a difference. If it doesn’t show life-changing results right away, persevere. It’s not really meant to be a miracle cure but more of a helping hand.

Incorporate CBD Into a Healthy Lifestyle

Taking CBD should, of course, not be your only means of losing weight, but should rather be incorporated into a routine of exercise and healthy eating.

CBD and Weight Loss: What’s the Verdict?

So, although much research needs to be conducted to fully substantiate these early findings, it seems that CBD may just be able to help not only with fighting weight gain, but fighting the less seen, auxiliary effects of such. Not only does CBD offer a natural alternative to prescription medications, it does not at present have any known adverse side effects. Of course we would also suggest conversing with a medical professional before attempting this. It might not turn us into supermodels overnight, but might be able to help us get a better grip on a healthier lifestyle, and all the benefits that go with it.

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Studies Confirm HPV Shot Is Safe

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The HPV vaccine gives parents a chance to prevent their children from developing some types of cancer, and two new studies reaffirm what past research has found — the vaccine is safe.

The two studies included millions of doses of Gardasil 9 vaccine, the only vaccine currently used in the United States for the prevention of HPV-related cancers.

“The data from our study was very reassuring. We saw nothing unexpected or surprising. With Gardasil 9, we can now prevent a large portion of cervical, oropharyngeal [mouth, tongue and throat] and other cancers,” said one of the studies’ lead author, Dr. James Donahue. He’s an epidemiologist with the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin.

The studies and an accompanying editorial were published Nov. 18 in the journal Pediatrics.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus. It’s estimated that 79 million people in the United States are already infected with HPV. Around 14 million new infections with HPV occur every year. About half of those are teens and young adults, according to the editorial. Sometimes these infections get better on their own, but many do not.

HPV is responsible for more than 33,000 cancers each year — 20,000 in women and 13,000 in men. Routine use of the Gardasil 9 vaccine could prevent about 90% of these cancers, the editorial said.

Yet editorial author Dr. H. Cody Meissner, from Tufts University Medical Center in Boston, noted that the rates of immunization with the HPV vaccine remain low.

He said there are a number of reasons why people are vaccine-hesitant overall, and those issues are compounded because this vaccine prevents a sexually transmitted infection.

“Sexuality is a difficult topic for pediatricians and many parents, and this vaccine got designated as a way to prevent sex-transmitted infection. But what’s far more important is that it prevents a common deadly cancer,” Meissner said.

Some people worry that giving a child a vaccine for a sexually transmitted infection might encourage their child to be more promiscuous, but Meissner said studies have shown that isn’t true.

Continued

Additionally, he said, “People may be misinformed or misunderstand safety issues surrounding the vaccine. No vaccine is absolutely safe, but aspirin isn’t safe and people take it. The likelihood of complications is very low, and there’s an enormous upside to this vaccine.”

Dr. David Fagan, vice chair of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., wasn’t involved in the studies, but reviewed the findings.

“What the public may not and clearly needs to know is that there are systems in place to monitor for vaccine safety. Both of these studies confirm what we as physicians already know, that vaccines are safe and specifically that the HPV vaccine is safe,” Fagan said.

Donahue’s study involved near real-time surveillance of vaccine safety data from 2015 to 2017. During the study period, nearly 839,000 vaccine doses were given. Researchers didn’t find any new safety concerns.

The second study, led by Dr. Tom Shimabukuro from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at a three-year period and included about 28 million vaccine doses given. In that large group, approximately 7,200 people had an adverse reaction.

More than 97% of the adverse events weren’t serious, that study found. These events included headache, dizziness, fainting and injection site irritation.

Fagan said he frequently points out to parents that the HPV vaccine prevents cancer.

“If you had the choice to prevent your child getting cancer by immunizing them with a vaccine that is safe, wouldn’t you do that for your child?” he said.

The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for males and females between the ages of 9 and 26. Two doses are recommended between the ages of 11 and 12, though they can be given as early as age 9. If someone hasn’t been given the HPV vaccine by their 15th birthday, they’ll need three doses of the vaccine.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: James Donahue, D.V.M., Ph.D., epidemiologist, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Marshfield, Wisc.; H. Cody Meissner, M.D., professor, pediatrics, Tufts University Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston; David Fagan, M.D., vice chair, pediatrics, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Nov. 18, 2019,Pediatrics

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Could Short People Have an Advantage When It Comes to A-Fib?

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2019 — Tall folks might be able to reach that high top shelf, but there’s a price — they may be more likely to develop a potentially dangerous abnormal heart rhythm than shorter folks.

New research finds that a person’s risk of atrial fibrillation (a-fib) increases by about 3% for every inch over the average height of 5-foot-7.

Further, it appears that certain genes linked to height also are associated with a-fib, said lead researcher Dr. Michael Levin, a cardiology fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Atrial fibrillation is a quivering or irregular heartbeat that increases a person’s risk of stroke fivefold. It also raises risk of blood clots, heart failure and other heart-related diseases, the American Heart Association says.

Knowing that tall folks are at increased risk of a-fib could help prevent deaths and disease related to the heart condition, Levin said.

“While we can’t change your height, we may be able to modify other risk factors for a-fib in taller individuals and be more aggressive about controlling blood pressure or diabetes or cholesterol,” Levin said.

For this study, Levin and his colleagues analyzed genetic data from two international databases.

They looked specifically at genetic variants associated with height in one group of more than 700,000 people, and then identified mutations associated with a-fib in another group of more than 500,000 people.

Statistical analysis revealed that genetic variants linked with height were also strongly associated with a-fib, the researchers found.

Taking it a step further, they then analyzed medical data on nearly 7,000 individuals enrolled in a biobank at the University of Pennsylvania.

They found that height — and the genetic variants associated with height — are both strongly associated with an increased risk of a-fib.

However, they’re still at a loss for an explanation why, Levin said, and the study did not prove cause and effect.

One theory has held that tall people have larger hearts, and the size of the heart might increase a-fib risk, he said.

“We were able to adjust for that, and it doesn’t seem to be related to heart size,” Levin said.

Even without an easy explanation, the identification of genes associated with both height and a-fib opens up new doors for future research, said Dr. Michael Valentine, who reviewed the findings. He is immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology and a specialist in cardiac rhythm.

“I thought it was fascinating when they separated all other genetic factors, that height turned out to be a positive factor in the development of atrial fib,” said Valentine, a senior cardiologist at the Stroobants Cardiovascular Center of Centra Health in Lynchburg, Va.

“With the epidemic of a-fib we see in the world and an aging population, we’re going to need earlier and more effective genetic markers to determine where we can have impact on the disease earlier in life,” Valentine said.

The findings were presented this weekend at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting, in Philadelphia. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about atrial fibrillation.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

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Why You Should Invest In Marijuana Stocks

Individuals who are constantly on the lookout for new investment opportunities may find the venture that they need in marijuana stocks. Though still a relatively new vehicle, especially compared to other, older stock options, there are numerous advantages that individuals can look forward to when they consider their marijuana stock options. Investing in marijuana stocks should always be done as carefully as possible, especially if you are just starting out and need guidelines to follow. If you are not sure whether or not it is right for you, however, consider some of the following advantages that you can look forward to with this investment option.

Undervalued Opportunities

As the market currently stands, there is a large amount of risk and hesitation when it comes to investment, even from the most prominent investors in the industry. Between the social taboos that were once associated with the crop and the inherent hesitation when it comes to a rising new investment opportunity, there is currently very little clamoring and competition to drive up prices for those who are interested in taking a look at the market for themselves. If you are looking to pioneer a new investment option while also enjoying the freedom that comes with such opportunities, marijuana stocks can be one of the best vehicles for you to explore.

Rapidly Growing Market

Although many changes are yet to be determined as more and more legal issues start to fade away, the fact of the matter is that marijuana as an industry is poised for a tremendous burst of growth. Based on shifting social attitudes and the rise of new technological and medical advancements, marijuana stocks promise to be among the fastest climbing investment opportunities available. As such, it is vital for investors to plan ahead according to what companies seem the most promising. In such a relatively untapped market, paying attention to the competition can allow for more informed investments.

Global Legal Wave

In addition to its growth opportunities in the United States, the entire global market seems to be in the midst of a legal wave overturning previous restrictions on the crop. From Canada to Thailand, countries all over the world are legalizing marijuana and paving the way for less legal issues in all fields of business, including investment. This means that investing now can provide individuals with more diverse yields in the future, as there will be an entire global market to consider. Like with any other such changing landscapes, however, it is vital to pay attention to the geopolitics in order to make the most of your investments.

Penny Stock Opportunities

Though market projections for the future growth of marijuana stocks are impressive, the fact remains that, currently, it is a risky venture for those who are not planning on investing in more widely known companies. This could, however, provide individuals who like high-risk and high-reward plays to explore their options regarding penny stocks. There are hundreds of marijuana penny stocks available that individuals can research to determine where their most lucrative investments may be most readily available. For those who are not interested in doing such extensive research, however, there may be risk barriers to overcome, at least until the most prominent marijuana stock opportunities solidify themselves further.

Stock Versatility

Not every company that is based in marijuana is exclusively set in its marijuana-based products. Though the majority of such companies will allow investors to focus their efforts in marijuana stocks, the fact of the matter is that there will be other factors in determining the stock growth based on what else the company does. Many companies invest in marijuana growth and product development to diversify their revenue. There are many marijuana companies that are already investing in other industries, such as general plant care and clothing manufacturing. Do your research to invest in the most savvy companies so that you can have more irons in the fire.

Like any other such investment opportunities, it is absolutely crucial for you to pay attention to your other avenues of investment as well. Be sure to diversify your investments, in terms of both stocks and individual instruments, in order to hedge your liabilities and enjoy a more lucrative investment process.

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

‘The ducks have won’: French court says they may keep on quacking

Ducks are pictured at the home of Dominique Douthe, whose neighbours took her to court over her ducksÕ loud quacking, in Soustons, France, November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Regis DuvignaŸ

DAX, France (Reuters) – The ducks on a small French smallholding may carry on quacking, a French court ruled on Tuesday, rejecting a neighbor’s complaint that the birds’ racket was making their life a misery.

The court in the town of Dax ruled that the noise from the flock of around 60 ducks and geese kept by retired farmer Dominique Douthe in the foothills of the Pyrenees, southwestern France, was within acceptable limits, broadcaster France 3 said.

“The ducks have won,” Douthe told Reuters after the court decision. “I’m very happy because I didn’t want to slaughter my ducks.”

The complaint was brought by Douthe’s neighbor who moved from the city around a year ago into a property about 50 meters (yards) away from the enclosure in the Soustons district where Douthe keeps her flock.

The dispute is the latest in a series of court cases that have pitted the traditional way of life in rural France against modern values which, country-dwellers say, are creeping in from the city.

In a court ruling in September, a rooster named Maurice was allowed to continue his dawn crowing, despite complaints from neighbors who had also moved in from the city.

The neighbor in Soustons, about 700 km (430 miles) south-west of Paris, who filed the complaint about the quacking has not been publicly identified.

The neighbor’s lawyer said the noise exceeded permissible levels, and prevented the plaintiff enjoying their garden or sleeping with their house windows open.

The neighbor had asked for immediate steps to reduce the noise, and for 3,500 euros in damages, according to French media reports.

Reporting by Regis Duvignau; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Gareth Jones

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Trump Backs Off Flavored E-Cigarette Ban

Nov. 18, 2019 — U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge in September to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes to stem the rise in vaping among young people appears to be weakening.

Two months after he made the promise, Trump has yielded to pressure from lobbyists and political advisers and not taken any action on vaping, saying only that he wants to study the issue, The New York Times reported.

The proposed ban on flavored vaping products had wide support from health officials and others as an outbreak of severe vaping-related lung injuries has added to concerns about the teen vaping crisis.

On Nov. 11, Trump tweeted that he would be “meeting with representatives of the vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the vaping and E-cigarette dilemma.”

However, one senior White House official said no such meeting had been scheduled, The Times reported.

In the absence of federal government action on vaping, several states have moved to ban flavored vaping products. That’s led to legal challenges from the industry and lobbying of lawmakers and the White House to prevent new rules that would affect adults’ use of e-cigarettes, The Times reported.

WebMD News from HealthDay

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Muscle in Middle Age Might Help Men’s Hearts Later

MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2019 — Middle-aged men who maintain their muscle mass may lower their risk of heart disease as they get older, a new study suggests.

Beginning in the mid-30s, muscle begins to decline by about 3% each decade. Previous studies found that muscle mass is associated with heart attack/stroke risk, but those studies focused on people with heart disease.

In this new study, the researchers wanted to examine if muscle mass in middle age might be associated with long-term heart health in people without heart disease.

The study included more than 1,000 men and women, aged 45 and older, who were followed for 10 years. During that time, 272 participants developed heart disease, including stroke and minor stroke.

People with the most muscle were 81% less likely to develop heart disease than the least muscular. Those with the most muscle had the lowest rates of risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, the investigators found.

Further analysis showed that muscle mass was significantly linked to lower heart disease risk among men, but not women.

Possible reasons for this gender disparity include age-related hormonal differences and the fact that the men had more muscle to start with, according to the study authors. Their findings were published online Nov. 11 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Because this was an observational study, it can’t establish cause and effect. Even so, the findings “point to the importance of [skeletal muscle mass] preservation in relation to [cardiovascular disease] risk,” the authors wrote in the report.

Regular physical activity, including resistance training, and a diet rich in protein may help preserve lean muscle mass as people get older, the researchers suggested.

Demosthenes Panagiotakos, a professor in the School of Health Science and Education at Harokopio University in Athens, Greece, led the study.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about exercise.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

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Cheap, Older Gout Drug Could Be a Lifesaver After Heart Attack

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Nov. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A cheap drug that’s been around for centuries as a gout treatment might also shield heart attack survivors from future heart crises, new trial results show.

The drug, colchicine, is derived from a plant called the autumn crocus, researchers explained Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, in Philadelphia.

In the new trial, colchicine reduced by as much as 34% a heart attack survivor’s combined risk of either dying from heart disease or having cardiac arrest, a heart attack, a stroke or angioplasty.

Experts described the study as a “landmark” effort.

“These results provide confirmation that inflammation management reduces cardiovascular risk, and it was an example of a successful repurposing of a broadly available and relatively safe generic drug for a new application,” said Dr. Aruna Pradhan, a preventive medicine doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Colchicine currently is used to treat gout and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart’s lining), two conditions caused by inflammation, said lead researcher Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, director of research at the Montreal Heart Institute.

“You just give a few tablets of colchicine and the pain, the warmth, the redness, all the inflammatory signs go away,” Tardif said.

Tardif and his colleagues reasoned that colchicine might be able to reduce the risk of future heart problems by lowering inflammation in heart attack patients.

The trial involved more than 4,700 heart patients, with about half given daily low-dose colchicine taken by mouth and the rest provided a placebo. Nearly all patients also received the drug regimen normally prescribed to heart attack survivors — aspirin, blood thinners, statins and/or beta blockers.

Three years later, results showed that people on colchicine fared significantly better than those taking a placebo.

Besides the 34% reduction in all adverse heart events, the trial also found that patients taking colchichine had a 74% reduction in stroke risk, and a 50% reduction in their likelihood of being rushed to hospital for angioplasty/stenting after suffering chest pain.

The drug also appears to be safe. The most concerning side effect appears to be an increased risk of pneumonia, which affected about 1% of colchicine patients. Pradhan said pneumonia risk might be affected by the drug’s effect on inflammation.

Continued

Tardif said his research team is proceeding with a second trial focusing on heart risk among patients with type 2 diabetes.

Based on these findings, heart doctors will be thinking long and hard about adding colchicine to the drug cocktail prescribed to heart attack patients, said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“When you have a safe drug that is easily available, it’s going to be hard to hold this back,” Lloyd-Jones said.

The trial was funded by the provincial government of Quebec and received no drug company funding. However, colchicine’s new promise already appears to be affecting its sticker price, even though it’s a generic drug, Lloyd-Jones added.

He said that he recently saw a patient with gout on Thursday who complained that his colchicine prescription costs had unexpectedly skyrocketed.

“He told me that just in the last month, his colchicine out-of-pocket costs went from $ 50 to $ 270 a month in Chicago,” Lloyd-Jones said. “I really wonder whether there’s some gaming going on here, and I do not want to see that.”

Tardif expressed shock, given colchicine’s low cost in Canada.

“There’s something wrong with a system where 90 minutes away you get a drug for 50 times less what others are paying,” Tardif said, referring to what his patients pay in Montreal, an hour-and-a-half flight away.

The results were also published Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Aruna Pradhan, M.D., MPH, preventive medicine doctor, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Jean-Claude Tardif, M.D., director, research,  Montreal Heart Institute; Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., ScM, chair, preventive medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Nov. 16, 2019,New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 16, 2019, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Philadelphia

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Gene Test Might Someday Gauge Your Cardiac Arrest Risk

MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2019 — Sudden cardiac death is terrifying because it’s exactly that — one minute you’re fine and the next you’re facing death, with no warning and no prior symptoms.

Now, new research shows the secret to who’s at risk for cardiac arrest and who isn’t could lie in people’s genes. And a gene test might someday help predict who’s most endangered, according to a study presented this weekend at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Researchers said they have identified a group of 14 gene variants that appear to be linked to sudden cardiac death.

People carrying any of these variants had a more than triple the risk of dying from cardiac arrest, said lead researcher Dr. Amit Khera. He’s associate director of the Precision Medicine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Genomic Medicine.

“This really lays the groundwork to say these are important mutations, and what’s exciting is if we can identify them, we have treatments for the conditions to which they are tied,” Khera explained. “My goal now is to use genetic variation as a tool to empower people to overcome whatever risk they might have been born with.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is responsible for 325,000 adult deaths in the United States each year — about half of all heart disease deaths, the Cleveland Clinic says. It strikes most often in adults in their mid-30s to mid-40s, and affects men twice as often as women.

There are four major reasons a person might fall prey to sudden cardiac death, Khera said: a weakened heart muscle, a heart attack, an abnormal heart rhythm, or a dilation or tear in the aorta (the main artery leading out from the heart).

“We know each of these diseases tends to run in families and there are genetic variants that cause each of these conditions,” Khera said.

To find out more, his team pulled together data on 600 people who’d been felled by sudden cardiac death and matched them against 600 “controls” who hadn’t.

They then performed genetic sequencing on the entire pool of 1,200 people to look for genes previously linked to heart or blood vessel disease, with no knowledge of which were victims of sudden cardiac death.

The researchers found 15 people who carried at least one of 14 different genetic mutations tied to heart health. After that, they took a step back to see which of the people had died of sudden cardiac death and which were controls.

“All 15 of these people had actually dropped dead [of cardiac arrest],” Khera said. “Zero of them were in the controls.”

As a next step, the researchers tracked a group of more than 4,500 healthy people for a median 14 years, to see whether those who carried one of these genetic variants would fall from sudden cardiac death.

The team identified 41 people — about 1% — as carrying one of these disease-causing genetic variants.

“We were able to show that from 2002 to 2017, they were at more than triple the risk for dying from sudden cardiac arrest,” Khera said.

Khera’s hope is that one day doctors will use these genes to screen for folks with hidden heart risk, and then treat them to lower the risk using therapies and drugs.

He’s already started this work, digging through Massachusetts General Hospital’s biobank of 100,000 patients to look for people carrying one of the 14 variants.

“We’ve already started calling them back, saying you have these variants, do you want to learn about it?” Khera said.

Still, Khera thinks it’s 5 to 10 years from the point where people could receive such genetic screening in their doctors office.

Dr. Kim Eagle, a cardiologist with the University of Michigan Medicine, said such a test could be even further off.

“I think you have to view this as preliminary,” he said of the new study. “Clearly, we’re still grappling with the challenge of taking the human genome and what we know about it and applying it to day-to-day practice in a cost-effective method.”

There’s still so much unknown about genetic variants that they are easy to find but hard to judge, Eagle said.

“If you talk about screening the general population for rare but potentially important genetic defects, you’re going to find a lot of people that have a variant but you don’t know how important it is,” he said.

A test could result in a lot of false-positive results that scare patients to no good purpose, Eagle believes.

He shared the story of a male patient who’d frequently asked him for a genetic screen to find his potential risk factors. When Eagle demurred, the patient took the initiative to get a genetic screening from one of the new companies that have sprung up to provide this service.

He came back to Eagle very upset, pointing out that they found a couple of genes with important variants that could really affect his health.

“I said, ‘You know what’s really interesting? Both of these genes identify diseases that only happen in women,'” Eagle said. “Here’s an example of the result of a false-positive — a guy who doesn’t understand, who’s scared to death that he’s got a rare genetic disorder, and it only happens in women.”

The study was also published Nov. 16 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For more information:

The Cleveland Clinic has more about sudden cardiac death.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

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