FDA Warns Dollar Store About Tainted OTC Drugs

Nov. 15, 2019 — Dollar Tree has been sent a warning letter for selling over-the-counter (OTC) drugs made by foreign companies with serious, multiple violations of federal manufacturing laws, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The drugs include Dollar Tree’s Assured Brand OTC drugs and other drug products sold by Dollar Tree Co., which operates stores under the Dollar Tree and Family Dollar names.

The contract manufacturers used by Dollar Tree to make the OTC drugs have received warning letters from the FDA for violations such as not testing raw materials or finished drugs for pathogens and quality.

In its warning letter to Dollar Tree, the FDA outlines a number of corrective actions the company needs to take, including a system to ensure that they do not import impure drugs.

Dollar Tree said that it is cooperating with the FDA and plans to meet with the agency, CNN reported.

“We are committed to our customers’ safety and have very robust and rigorous testing programs in place to ensure our third-party manufacturers’ products are safe,” Randy Guiler, vice president of investor relations at Dollar Tree, said in a company statement.

“Each of the items referenced in the report are topical, and not ingestible, products. As always, we are cooperating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]. We plan to meet with the FDA in the near future and expect that our plans will satisfy their requirements in all regards,” the statement said, CNN reported.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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What to Know About the 10 Panel Drug Test  

Given the wide range of drugs and substance abuse prevalent in today’s world, a reliable drug test comes handy for law enforcement agencies, employers and organizations. A 10-panel drug test is one such procedure used to determine the presence of drugs in an individual’s body as well as figure out what drug is exactly present. Can you find out any drug in the system through this method? As the name indicates, it checks for 10 drug varieties and other drugs closely associated with these varieties, which is a step-up from the previously used 4-panel drug test.

Basically, a 10-panel drug test uses urine as the source for checking the presence of potential legal and illegal drugs. As mentioned earlier, it would be nearly impossible to check for all the drugs except the few ten that the person has abused prior to driving, seeking employment or being involved in a criminal offense. However, in some cases, the result may show false positive where the test detects the drug even when the individual is drug-free.

Since the administering of 10 panel drug tests is as simple and straightforward as it comes, many places use this as a standard procedure for vetting the person in question. Some employers are still stuck to the use 4 or 5 panel drug test to detect or eliminate the presence of alcohol in a potential employee.

What Exactly is a 10-panel Drug Test?

As the name indicates, the test uses the individual’s urine sample to check for drug residues. It looks for the 10 most commonly used drugs that the individual may be abusing. These drugs include five popular prescription medications as well as five illegal street drugs. It is known that urine can be used to detect drugs easily compared to other test forms like saliva test. And urine test is simple to perform compared to more sophisticated blood or hair test. For this and many other reasons, urine test is considered to be accurate and apt for drug testing.  Although, they are beatable with the use of synthetic urines.

What Drugs Can Be Detected?

The 10 panel drug tests can be used to find the following drugs to name a few.

1) Marijuana – All type of marijuana and its resins can be detected with a 10-panel drug test. Other drugs like hashish, THC oil, glass and wax can also be uncovered through this method.

*How to Pass a Marijuana Drug Test  – this is one of our most read pages.

2) Cocaine – Crack cocaine, freebase and other drugs containing cocaine can be detected using a 10-panel drug test.

3) Opioids – Morphine, codeine, smoked opium, oxycodone, hydrocode and heroin are some of the prescription and illegal drugs whose presence can be detected with a simple 10-panel drug test.

4) Benzos – Some of the most common drugs that this test can detect easily include but not limited to Valim, Xanax and Ativan, which are all collectively called benzos or benzodiazepines. These are prescription medications that the doctors may have prescribed for certain illnesses like anxiety, pain or mood disorder. However, there are possibilities of the patient abusing these drugs which have the same side effects or consequences as those of illegal drugs.

5) Amphetamines – Another category of drugs that the test can detect is amphetamines. This include meth, speed and ADHD medications such as Adderall and Ritalin.

6) Barbiturates – Barbiturates may be picked up by a 10-panel drug test. Some of the drugs belonging to this group are phenobarbitol, secobarbital and amobarbital.

Drug Screening, Detection Time And Results

A 10-panel drug test is used for screening individual drugs as well. Methodone, Methaqualone and propoxyphene screening are being done successfully using this test. Detection time for any drug means the amount of time it usually takes for the body to eliminate the drug and its byproducts. This time varies from one drug to another. The detection time may also vary depending on the amount of drug the person has used or abused as well as his or her metabolism rate. Unfortunately, the test will not determine whether or not the person is currently on drug. This is because urine contains only the byproducts of the drug and not the drug itself.

testing for drugsThe Test Procedure In Detail

A 10-panel drug test kit can be found online and at retail stores and clinics. Although ordering online is cost-effective and convenient, most employers and organizations require that the candidates get the test done through a physical laboratory or doctor’s office. With online ordering and through a few stores, the test can be done at home and the kit sent to designated labs. However, this option may be tricky and subjected to errors and tampering.

Most test providers will work directly with the laboratory in analyzing the test results. Here, the company or the organization will require that the person take the test to check for random drugs by giving a 48-hours prior notice. During the prior 24-hours, the person is required to stay in empty stomach or avoid drinking excess water.

The environment where the test is conducted may vary from one provider to another. In case where urine samples are needed, the administrator may ask the individual to get the sample from a particular bathroom specially designed for drug testing. These bathrooms come with toilet water filled with dye or tap water switched off as a precaution for potential tampering. The individual is asked to collect the urine in a collection cup, mid stream and cover the container with a lid before handing it over to the test administrator.

The test administrator will then transfer the sample to the designated lab, in-house or outside the facility to test for the mentioned 10 different drugs. Once the sample is submitted, it may take anywhere between a week to two weeks for the results to come in.

Busting Some Drug Testing Facts & Myths

The results are then analyzed for the possibility of the presence of drugs. If the result is positive, it means the individual had detectable amount of a particular drug mentioned on the report in his or her system. That drug may be one or more combination of the drugs listed far above. A positive result in fact is an indication that the byproducts of the drugs were present in small, medium or large quantity as analyzed. This finding suggests that the person is certain to have used that drug recently.

The health service administration for substance abuse notes that all federal employees as well as those in the security fields are required to take more than one test, even when the outcome of the first test is positive. This is to weed out any false positives and to make sure that the individual is protected from disciplinary actions as a result of possible misdiagnosis.

When the test results show negative, it means the drug in question is either absent or present but not high enough to be detected. Drug testing facts & myths stories have it that the person is drug-free. The truth is, this result will not tell whether or not the person has used the drug previously or will use in the future. Sometimes, the test may show as inconclusive. This is due to a number of causes such as lab equipment malfunctioning, sample tampered with a foreign substance or simply that the test is unsuccessful. In all these cases, the laboratory may test the sample again or delegate the task to another agency. Note that a negative or inconclusive test should not be taken lightly especially when the individual is a subject of a criminal offense, DUI or other serious cases.

If you are in a situation where you are looking to pass a drug test of any sort, please visit our recommended vendor to see a product list that we have full confidence in (as do our many readers) to assist you in passing various tests.

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

Nurse Pens Powerful Post About Flu Shot

Oct. 11, 2019 — “The flu shot is NOT always about you. It’s about protecting those around you, who cannot always protect themselves.”

A nurse’s Facebook post is going viral after she penned a powerful statement urging everyone to get a flu shot.

Amanda Bitz writes that we shouldn’t just get vaccinated to keep ourselves healthy. Instead, it’s “for the grandparents, whose bodies are not what they used to be, and they just can’t kick an illness in the butt like when they were young. For the 30 year old, with HIV or AIDS, who has a weakened immune system. For the 25-year-old mother of three who has cancer. She has absolutely zero immune system because of chemotherapy.”

Bitz goes on to build her case, citing heart-wrenching example after example, before concluding that everyone needs to do their part to keep others safe. “I have been in the room as a patient has passed away, because of influenza. I have watched patients struggle to breathe, because of influenza,” she writes. “Herd immunity is a thing. Influenza killing people is a thing. You getting the flu shot, should be a thing.”

As of Friday afternoon, the post had been shared more than 82,000 times and had more than 1,200 comments.

The flu can be deadly and cause serious illness, but vaccination rates remain low. Last season, 45.3% of adults 18 and older received flu vaccinations, according to the CDC. The rate was higher among children 6 months through 17 years: 62.6%.

A recent CDC study found that roughly two-thirds of pregnant women in the U.S. don’t get vaccinated against the flu — which puts them and their babies at risk. When pregnant women get the flu shot, it reduces their newborns’ risk of being hospitalized due to the virus by an average of 72%.

The agency recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated — if their health allows — and says vaccination is especially important for people with a high risk for serious complications, including young kids, adults over the age of 65, people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, and pregnant women.

Last year’s flu season lasted a whopping 21 weeks — the longest in a decade. But health officials aren’t sure how long this one will last or how bad it will be. Each flu season varies, but it usually starts in October, peaks between December and February, and lasts as late as May.

While flu activity is still low in the U.S., the CDC warns that Australia experienced an early start to its 2019 flu season and that, because influenza is unpredictable, circumstances can change very quickly.


Facebook, Amanda Catherine Bitz, Ocober 7, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Flu Symptoms & Diagnosis.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Update: Influenza Activity — United States and Worldwide, May 19–September 28, 2019, and Composition of the 2020 Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Flu Treatment.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Low Rates of Vaccination During Pregnancy Leave Moms, Babies Unprotected.”

CDC, “Update: Influenza Activity in the United States During the 2018–19 Season and Composition of the 2019–20 Influenza Vaccine.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The Flu Season.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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New Finding Challenges Old Notions About Dyslexia

THURSDAY, Oct. 10, 2019 — The cerebellum does not affect reading ability in people with dyslexia, according to a new study that challenges a controversial theory.

The cerebellum is a brain structure traditionally involved in motor function. Some researchers have suggested in the past that it plays a role in dyslexia-related reading problems.

This new study disputes that theory and could lead to improved treatment of dyslexia, according to scientists from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“Prior imaging research on reading in dyslexia had not found much support for this theory … but these studies tended to focus on the cortex,” explained study first author Sikoya Ashburn, a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience.

“Therefore, we tackled the question by specifically examining the cerebellum in more detail. We found no signs of cerebellar involvement during reading in skilled readers nor differences in children with reading disability,” Ashburn said in a Georgetown news release.

In the study, the researchers used functional MRI to monitor brain activation in 23 children with and 23 children without dyslexia while they read. The results showed that the cerebellum is not engaged during reading in typical readers and does not differ in children who have dyslexia.

“The evidence for the cerebellar deficit theory was never particularly strong, yet people have jumped on the idea and even developed treatment approaches targeting the cerebellum,” said senior study author and neuroscientist Guinevere Eden, She is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Georgetown and director of its Center for the Study of Learning.

The study was published Oct. 9 in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

The findings could help refine models of dyslexia and assist parents of children who are struggling with reading to make informed decisions about which treatment would be best for their children, the researchers said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on dyslexia.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019 – Daily MedNews

Second Thoughts About That Tattoo? Here’s Some Advice

FRIDAY, Sept. 20, 2019 — If it’s time for that tattoo to go, here’s some advice from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Lasers removal of tattoos has become safer and more effective, but the results depend almost entirely on the person doing the work.

“For the best results and to reduce your risk of serious side effects, such as scarring, burns and other wounds, it’s important to make sure the person treating you is a physician who is extremely skilled in using lasers and has in-depth knowledge of the skin,” said New York City dermatologist Dr. Marie Leger.

“After that, it’s also important to properly care for the treated skin between sessions, as your skin needs time to heal and flush out the ink,” Leger added in an academy news release.

After each treatment, wash the treated area twice a day with water and a gentle cleanser. Use a clean cotton swab to apply petroleum jelly to the area to help keep the skin moist so it doesn’t dry out or form scabs. To prevent infection, cover the treated area with a dressing until the skin heals.

The treated skin is more susceptible to sun damage, so you should protect it from direct sun exposure. When outdoors, wear protective clothing, such as a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants and a wide-brimmed hat, Leger advised.

After the treated skin heals, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that contains zinc oxide. Zinc deflects the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Don’t pick at any flaking, peeling, blisters or scabs that form, and don’t pop any blisters. Doing so can cause infection.

After a laser tattoo removal session, it’s normal to see some redness, swelling and blistering as your skin heals. However, if you notice signs of an infection, such as increasing redness and pain, swelling or pus, see a doctor.

“Tattoo removal requires many treatments, with weeks between sessions,” Leger said. “For the best results, follow your dermatologist’s instructions for at-home care, and keep all of your appointments for laser tattoo removal, as each treatment removes more ink.”

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on tattoo removal

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019 – Daily MedNews

Ask a Stoner: Should I Be Worried About Mold in My Weed?

Dear Stoner: Is mold really that big of a problem? Are there any DIY testing methods to avoid smoking moldy weed?

Dear Mushy: According to a report from the state Marijuana Enforcement Division in 2018, around 15 percent of flower samples submitted to lab testing failed microbial (mold and yeast) testing that year. Add in the fact that the majority of cannabis recalls over the past eighteen months have been for microbials, not pesticides, and we’d say that mold and mildew are quite a problem for legal pot.

Buddies Wellness had plants riddled with mites and mold in July 2017, according to the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

Buddies Wellness had plants riddled with mites and mold in July 2017, according to the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

Denver Department of Environmental Health

Methods used by state-certified testing labs aren’t procedures you can exactly duplicate at home, but a solid microscope can spot the hard-to-find microbials and spider mites that the naked eye won’t. Your eyes alone can spot a variety of fuzzy molds and discolored forms of bud rot, though. Such glaring contaminants are uncommon in Colorado’s licensed market nowadays, but that doesn’t mean the cannabis is necessarily clean. We’ve seen a handful of suspect ways to burn off or conceal mold and mildew from testing samples, and there are even state-approved machines that “decontaminate” cannabis that fails microbial testing.

Marijuana Deals Near You

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Toke of the Town

5 Myths about Growing Cannabis in a Greenhouse

Many countries are legalizing cannabis lately. This has increased the commercial value of cannabis, and more farmers are enthusiastic about growing it on a large scale. But, many people who have a shortage of space are growing cannabis in their gardens and backyard. Some of them even want to grow in their greenhouses, but they fear it will affect the growth and quality of their crop. Well, it will not. There are lots of myths about growing cannabis in greenhouses, and today you’ll learn the truth behind them.

1. Light deprivation helps cannabis growth better

If someone told you this, they have no idea about greenhouses and cannabis. Light deprivation means you are stopping natural light from entering the greenhouse using a blackout curtain. While it may work for a few plants, it is certainly not helpful for cannabis. On the contrary, you should arrange for lights even at night. Compare some of the best led grow light sets before installing one in our greenhouse. You can attach them horizontally or vertically for faster growth.

2. Specific greenhouse designs that help cannabis growth

This is a common misconception among many farmers. Whether it is a high-tech greenhouse or a regular greenhouse, if you take care of the plants, they will grow as they should. You need to focus on the growing technique and not the design of the greenhouse.

3. Light can substitute heat in the greenhouse

Many people think that the lights inside the greenhouse generate enough heat to support cannabis growth. No, they don’t. The lights are substitutes for sunlight, but they don’t have enough warmth to replace the heating effect that the sun offers. The 12 hours at night should get sufficient heat if you want quick and healthy growth. Ideally, the greenhouse must have a heater, especially if the conditions are cold outside. With an optimum temperature inside the greenhouse, your produce will experience faster growth.

4. Greenhouses are expensive than a warehouse

The cost to build or purchase a greenhouse is significantly less than growing cannabis in a warehouse. Building a warehouse involves a lot of operational costs, labor costs, and maintenance costs. Plus, you need to find a suitable plot that also adds to the total expense. On the other hand, you can install a greenhouse in your backyard or garden. Those who have spacious gardens are utilizing the space efficiently by developing a greenhouse. You don’t have to think of so many expenses upfront.

5. Expect high ROI if you have a cannabis greenhouse

Since cannabis in greenhouses gets more care, many people claim that the return of investment is very high from the first year. It isn’t necessarily true. Your ROI depends on various factors like promotional channels, the amount you spend initially on the greenhouse, your location, and the quality of the cannabis. While some may experience high ROI, not many will have the same luck.

Now that you are aware of the most common myths, it is high time you avoid such tips from others. Know the facts and then enter the cannabis world.

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

But most teens have never sent or received a sex text, the new study found. It focused on about 5,600 students in American middle and high schools, ages 12 to 17.

By Kayla McKiski
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Parents of budding teens can breathe a little easier: A new study says adolescent “sexting” is not an epidemic.

On the other hand, it’s not disappearing, either, despite campaigns to curb it.

“Sexting is perceived as an epidemic because the news highlights extreme cases that involve tragic outcomes, and because it goes against standards of morality and decency that are historically entrenched,” said study author Sameer Hinduja, a professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University.

But most teens have never sent or received a sex text, the new study found. It focused on about 5,600 students in American middle and high schools, ages 12 to 17.

Of those, about 14% had ever sent a sexually or explicit image or had received one.

For this study, researchers defined sexting as the exchange of nude or semi-nude photos or videos via text or private messaging on social media.

Other researchers have included sexually suggestive or explicit texts. Hinduja said his team didn’t include those, because they can’t lead to sextortion, child pornography charges or related fallout.

About 11% of the students said they had sent a sext to a boyfriend or girlfriend — and about 64% did so when asked to, the study found. But only 43% complied with a request from someone who was not a current romantic partner.

Boys were much more likely to have sent and received a sext from a current partner, but boys and girls were equally likely to receive them from others.

About 4% said they had shared an explicit image sent to them with someone else, without permission — and about as many suspected this had happened to them.

Hinduja said though dishonest responses were removed from the findings, “it is possible that the frequency of sexting among middle schoolers and high schoolers across the United States may be underrepresented in our research.”

While teen sexting is not rampant, the numbers have remained steady over the years, prompting many to question the effectiveness of campaigns to prevent it.


“Teens sext for a variety of reasons — the most popular are sexual exploration, fun, flirtation and to communicate sexual intent,” said Michelle Drouin, a psychology professor at Purdue University-Fort Wayne in Indianapolis. “In some ways it is part of sexual exploration in a digital age. Many teens do it — it’s not a ‘bad kid’ issue.”

Nonetheless, sexting has been linked to psychological trauma among adolescents.

“The young adults I survey sometimes feel distress about the nude or nearly nude photos they have sent,” said Drouin, who wasn’t involved with the study. “I think the only way to curb teen sexting is through targeted education. Sexting should definitely be a standard component of sex education.”

Hinduja said efforts to discourage sexting should not aim to stifle sexual development. Instead, they should focus on the seriousness of potential consequences — legal, financial, reputational, social or otherwise, he said.

For future research, his team is interested in exploring the best ways to deter teens from sexting.

“Are there any messages that resonate more powerfully so that they second-guess taking and sending a nude?” Hinduja said. “Do the consequences they hear about concern them at all? Do they have an invincibility complex about these sorts of things?”

In the meantime, letting teens know that a relatively small proportion of their peers engage in sexting may be a deterrent, he said.

“It underscores that it is not as normal, commonplace, or widespread as they might believe,” Hinduja said in a Florida Atlantic University news release.

The study was published recently in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. It was co-authored by Justin Patchin, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Patchin and Hinduja are co-directors of the Cyberbullying Research Center.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., professor of criminology and criminal justice and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter; Michelle Drouin, Ph.D., professor, psychology, Purdue University-Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and senior research scientist, Parkview Research Center, Fort Wayne;Archives of Sexual Behavior, July 15, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

FAQ: All About Ticks 2019

July 2, 2019 — No matter where you are in the U.S., expect to find ticks.

The blood-suckers are in every state – even Alaska and Hawaii.

Ticks are in more places than they’ve ever been before,” says Thomas Mather, PhD, known as “The Tick Guy,” director of the University of Rhode Island’s TickEncounter Resource Center. “Not necessarily more ticks, but in more places. This leads to more people having an encounter.”

Cases of tick-borne diseases have been increasing in the United States for the last 25 years; in 2017, state and local health departments reported a record number to the CDC. Lyme disease in particular has exploded, increasing by 300% in the Northeast and 250% in North-Central states.

Here’s what else you need to know about ticks:

Q. What’s the forecast for ticks this year?

That depends on where you live and a variety of other things, including the number of host animals that the ticks  feed on (such as deer), temperature, rainfall, and humidity. Some types, like the black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick — the one that carries Lyme disease), thrive in humid conditions. Others, like the Lone Star and American dog ticks, prefer a dry climate. The life cycle for disease-spreading ticks can be 2 to 3 years, so last year’s weather conditions matter, too.

Q. How many types of tick are there?

In the United States, nine different species are known to transmit diseases to humans. Recently a 10th species, the Asian longhorned tick, was found here for the first time. In other countries, it has made humans and animals seriously ill.

Q. Is their territory expanding?

Each species of tick claims a different area of the country, with plenty of overlap. For some types, their reach is growing. For instance, the Lone Star tick, which carries diseases like ehrlichiosis, which causes flu-like symptoms, originated in the southeastern U.S. It has expanded into Northern and Midwestern states. And the black-legged tick, which transmits Lyme, has more than doubled its range over the last 20 years. One species, the brown dog tick, is found in every state except Alaska.

One reason for the black-legged tick’s expansion is the spread of white-tailed deer. They act as the reproductive host for the tick, and they’ve been found in more urban settings — even in New York City.

Climate change also affects tick activity. Milder winters mean that fewer disease-carrying ticks die in the winter, while hotter, more humid summers give them more time to find hosts and feed.

Q. Can ticks live indoors?

Yes. If you have a pet that lives indoors and out, ticks can catch a ride into your home and stay there.

Depending on the species, they may last for 24 hours or up to several days.

Q. Can ticks survive cold weather?

Yes. Think about it: If ticks die when the temperature drops below freezing, where would next year’s ticks come from?

In fact, black-legged ticks can emerge in a winter thaw — and they’ll be looking for a meal.

Q. What diseases do ticks transmit?

Those nine species carry a dozen different diseases, and disease cases from tick bites have doubled in the United States over 12 years. Over the past 2 decades, scientists have identified another seven tick-borne germs that can make you sick.

Lyme disease is by far the most common. In 2017, there were more than five times as many cases as the next most common, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis. Others include spotted fever rickettsiosis, babesiosis, and tularemia.

Q. How do ticks transmit disease?

It sounds gross, but they spit germs into your body. Ticks eat blood to survive. They wait on the tips of grasses and shrubs until a human or animal host brushes by, then scramble aboard. From there, the tick seeks out a safe spot and inserts a feeding tube into the skin, which may have barbs to keep it attached, or the tick may secrete a cement-like substance to hold it there. That’s when the tick starts sucking blood, which can go on for several days. While it’s sucking, it’s also spitting saliva. If the tick is carrying a disease, the saliva carries it into your body. The longer the tick stays attached, the greater your risk.

Q. How small can ticks be?

Over the course of their life cycle, ticks come in three sizes. Among the ones that bite humans, black-legged ticks are the smallest. Their larvae are tiny, nearly microscopic, but they don’t transmit diseases — they pick them up from host animals while feeding. The next stage, nymph, is about the size of a poppy seed. They’re hard to see on your body, which may be why nymph black-legged ticks are most likely to transmit Lyme disease to humans. Adult ticks can also give you Lyme, but they’re bigger, about the size of a sesame seed, so they’re easier to spot and remove before they can pass along the bacteria.

Q. How do ticks compare to fleas?

They’re both small, and they both bite humans, but fleas mostly just make you itch. They can carry plague, a potentially deadly disease, but only 89 cases were reported in the United States between 2004 and 2016.

More common — but still unlikely — is murine typhus, which mostly happens in the southern U.S., particularly Texas and California.

Q. How do ticks reproduce?

Most ticks that transmit disease mate while on a host’s body. (Yes, that can mean they’re getting it on, on you.) After feeding on a host animal’s blood, the adult female lays eggs — from 1,500 to as many as 5,000. Those eggs hatch several months later, and the life cycle starts again: larva, nymph, adult, eggs.

Q. Where do ticks lay eggs?

Not on you! Once the adult female is full of blood, she’ll drop off to lay her eggs somewhere sheltered.

Q. What do baby ticks look like?

Larvae are very small dots, barely visible. But if you look at them under a microscope, you’ll see six legs. Nymph ticks, the next stage, have eight.

Q. Will you feel it when a tick bites?

Probably not. When they’re attaching themselves to a host, ticks secrete saliva that acts like an anesthetic. So if they’re in a hard-to-see spot on your body, you may not notice.

Q. What should you do if you find a tick on your body?

Remove it as soon as possible. But don’t just yank; use a pair of pointy-tipped tweezers. They’ll give you the control you need to grab the tick as close as you can get to the skin. Pull straight up, steadily, without twisting or jerking. The idea is to remove the whole tick in one go, without leaving any of its mouth parts behind.

Once it’s gone, thoroughly clean the skin and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

Because it can take a while for a tick-borne disease to emerge, it’s a good idea to hold on to the tick, says Mather. The TickEncounter Resource Center offers “TickSpotters,” a crowdsourcing tool that helps you identify what type of tick you found. “We can’t help you if it doesn’t have a picture,” he says. “Put it in a Ziploc bag. It doesn’t take much space, you can write on it, and you’ll have it if you want to get it tested.”

Q. How can you avoid being bitten?

Ticks can’t jump or fly — they start from ground level and climb. If you never brush up against grasses or shrubs, you should be fine. But for most of us, that’s easier said than done. When you’re walking through an area with heavier brush, take extra precautions: Tuck your pants legs into your socks, so the tick can’t get to your skin. And if you know you’re in a tick-infested area, wear clothing — especially shoes, socks, and pants — treated with permethrin, which repels and kills ticks. Insect repellents containing DEET, which you put on your skin, add more protection, but DEET alone is nowhere near as effective as permethrin.

Once you get home, check your body for ticks: under your arms, in and around your ears, inside your bellybutton, behind your knees, between your legs, around your waist, and on your hairline and scalp.


Thomas N. Mather, PhD, director, University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its TickEncounter Resource Center.

CDC: “Tickborne Disease Surveillance Data Summary,” “Lyme and Other Tickborne Diseases Increasing,” “Geographic distribution of ticks that bite humans,” “Climate Change Increases in the Number and Geographic Range of Disease-Carrying Insects and Ticks,” “How Ticks Spread Disease,” “Tickborne Diseases of the United States,” “Illnesses on the Rise,” “Tickborne Disease Surveillance Data Summary,” “Vital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016,” “Ticks,” “Tick Bites/Prevention.”

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Tick-Borne Disease Working Group: 2018 Report to Congress.”

Emerging Infectious Diseases: “Enhancement of Risk for Lyme Disease by Landscape Connectivity, New York, New York, USA.” “Tick Larvae: They’re Early, They’re Tiny, They’re Everywhere,” “Protect Yourself,” “Permethrin,”

Medline Plus: “Typhus.”

Alaska Department of Fish and Game: “Watching for Ticks.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Cell Mapping Provides New Insights About Asthma

THURSDAY, June 20, 2019 — In an effort to improve the lives of millions of people with asthma, researchers say they’ve completed the first mapping of lung and airway cells, which may lead to new therapies for the common lung condition.

The mapping reveals differences between airways in people with and without asthma, and in how lung cells communicate with one another, the study authors said.

Understanding the cells and their signals could help efforts to find new drug targets to treat asthma, according to the report.

The investigators also discovered a new cell state that produces mucus in asthma patients.

For the study, the team analyzed more than 36,000 cells from the nasal area and from three areas of the lung from 17 people without asthma. This revealed which genes were active in each cell and identified specific cell types.

The researchers then analyzed cells from six asthma patients. That analysis uncovered distinct differences in the cells and how they communicate with one another, compared to people without asthma.

“We have generated a detailed anatomical map of the respiratory airways, producing the first draft human lung cell atlas from both normal and asthmatic people,” said study co-author Felipe Vieira Braga of Wellcome Sanger Institute, in Hinxton, England.

“This has given us a better definition of the cell types in asthmatic lungs, and allowed us to discover an entirely new cell state in asthmatic patients that produces mucus,” Braga explained in an institute news release.

Study co-author Martijn Nawijn, of University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, added that, normally, all kinds of cells communicate with each other to keep the airways functioning well.

“But in asthma patients, almost all of those interactions are lost,” Nawijn said. “Instead of a network of interactions, in asthma the inflammatory cells seem to completely dominate the communication in the airways.”

A better understanding of the types of cells in the lungs of asthma patients, and how those cells communicate, could lead to new drugs to prevent cells from responding to inflammatory signals.

The researchers also found that cells in different areas of the lung have very different activities. That could also aid efforts to develop new asthma drugs.

Asthma, which affected more than 350 million people worldwide in 2015, is caused by swelling of the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs, making it difficult to get enough oxygen.

The study was published June 17 in the journal Nature Medicine.

More information

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

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019 – Daily MedNews

Regina Pessoa Talks About Her Annecy Prize-Winning Short ‘Uncle Tomas’

Regina Pessoa’s latest animated short Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days, a co-pro between Ciclope Filmes (Portugal), NFB (Canada) and Les Armateurs (France), won the Best Animated Short Jury Award at the Annecy Festival this past Saturday. The talented Portuguese animator, whose other acclaimed shorts include Tragic Story with Happy Ending (2005) and Kali the Little Vampire (2012) spoke to us recently about the making of her new project:

Animag: Congrats on your fantastic new shows. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration and the making of this project?

Regina Pessoa: It’s been a while since I first decided to make a film from my childhood memories based on the peculiar personality of my uncle. I had a special affection for him because it was with him that I started drawing on the walls of my grandmother’s house, where he lived. I also like the fact that he was considered a “marginal” person, who was not “celebrated” and he did not follow what’s considered standard behavior for a man —  “family, work, competition.” But he was a good man who was always kind and generous towards nephews. Everything in this film is true, all these scenes really happened: When I was a little girl, I used to draw next to Uncle Thomas while he was doing his calculations; I used to draw with him on the walls with charcoal from the fire place. That bike ride really took place in the month of May, long time ago.

He had had misfortunes in the family and that had broken him, accentuating his obsessive character. It was a sad truth that he was not respected. I said to myself, “Why couldn’t my Uncle Thomas be celebrated as he was? Many of the people we all admire are sometimes so mean… And my Uncle, he was good. I want to show that it is not necessary to do extraordinary things to be important in our lives. That became my moto.

How long did you work on it?

There were 22 months of effective production. But before that, there was a long period before we got all the necessary funds and co-productions.

What was your budget?

I have to check with Abi Feijó, my producer, but I think it was close to 400000 euros.

How was the animation produced?

R: This film is a co-production between: Ciclope Filmes – Portugal; NFB-Canada and Les Armateurs – France. We also had the fundamental participation of Phil Davies (Peppa Pig) as our exec producter. The various artistic stages of the film were in fact executed in each country involved in the Co-production: a part of the animation in France – in the Ciclic; all preparation, animation, final art and compositing in Portugal and finally, the soundtrack, color balance, online, sound mixing, FTP were done in Canada.

What tools do you use to create the animation?

R: I used mix media for this film: I wanted to keep developing my personal animation 2D style but I also wanted to animate some scenes with real drawings on the walls and to make some stop motion as well, animating the notes, diaries, objects and the material I had kept from Uncle Thomas. So, my ambition was to combine all this different techniques and visuals and create an aesthetic coherence between all these media. I used Photoshop for all the 2D animation and also for its integration with the stop motion scenes.

What would you say was the toughest part of making this short?

Technically and artistically, the biggest challenge was managing to combine all this different techniques and visuals and create an aesthetic coherence between them. Emotionally, the biggest challenge was to be able to find a narrative and cinematographic structure from the autobiographical material I had and not disappoint or embarrass myself and honor my uncle’s memory.

Of course the big challenge is what any animator faces: keeping the strength and perseverance for all the hard work, overcoming the obstacles and disappointments, finding solutions and getting the movie finished.

What do you hope audiences will take away from the short?

I once heard someone say, “we all have a half-crazy uncle.” I suppose many will recognize their own loved ones in this portrait, although my short focuses my unique and singular Uncle Thomas. The moto that accompanied me and motivated to make the film could be felt and lived: I wanted to show that it is not necessary to do extraordinary things to be considered important in our lives.

What do you love most about working in animation?

I love the stage of research and development, where everything is possible and impossible, when one seeks, one loses and execution finds oneself, one dreams. Then, I hate the long, exhausting step of execution …And I like it when the film is over and one is happy with the result.

What was the animated film/short/TV show that changed your life?

R: I grew up in a small village in Portugal, in the 1970s, without a television, no cinema, very far from any kind of moving image. Then, when I was four years old, a mysterious man appeared in a car with a projector. He installed it in the local village theater which was close to my house. It was free and the entire village came to see. The film he showed was in black and white like the huge faces that uncle Tomás used to draw. In the film, there was a house balancing on the edge of a cliff, then the main character ate his own boots with such relish that I whispered to my sister: “It’s chocolate!!” It was the first film I saw and will never forget it: It was Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, and it was a very good introduction to cinema!

You can watch the trailer for the short here:

Regina Pessoa

Regina Pessoa

Animation Magazine

Carl Jones and Brian Ash Chat About Their New Show ‘Sugar & Toys’

Whatever happened to the poorly animated Saturday morning TV shows of the ‘80s and ‘90s?  An irreverent new series called Sugar & Toys puts a mad spin on those toons, offering timely culture parodies, commercial spoofs and PSAs, and even satirical live-action bits. The 10 x 30-minute series, which is created by Carl Jones and Brain Ash of Black Dynamite and The Boondocks fame will debut this month on Fuse TV. Bookended by segments featuring rapper/actor Kyle (The After Party), Sugar & Toys promises to bring a lot of timely absurdist humor to the toon table.

Carl Jones, who is also exec producer on the new Adult Swim show Lazor Wulf, says the origins of the show go back years ago, when he and a network executive where talking about Saturday morning cartoons. “We were wondering what happened to those old cartoons which disappeared because people became more aware of the problem of childhood obesity,” he says. “The only reason these cartoons existed was because these big companies wanted to sell their sugar-coated cereals and candies and toys to children on TV. Even the toys they sold were toxic. So Brian and I started kicking around this idea of doing a parody cartoon block which had the aesthetics of the cartoons from the ’80s and ’90s, but with an adult audience in mind.”

Ash says he and Jones have always been driven to shows that serve up hard-hitting humor and social commentary. “Mad Magazine was a big influence on us,” he notes. “It’s the kind of humor that if you get all the cultural references, you get rewarded. But even if you’re young and don’t get them all, you discover a lot of cool things about culture via these parodies.

Sugar & Toys

Sugar & Toys

Fast, Furious and Funny

Jones and Ash point out that because the way animation is consumed online these days, it’s easier to produce and deliver fast-moving byte-sized parodies. “We can jump all over the map,” says Jones. “We also had this fun notion of mixing in live-action segments with the cartoon parts, so we can explore all kinds of possibilities. We have spoofs of commercials and have these quick bits, just like Chappelle’s Show. We’re also lucky to have segments featuring Kyle, directed by Nich Goossen.”

While having so many different moving parts, Sugar & Toys has been a very fast-and-furious production. The team only began work on the series over a year ago. “In the beginning, we thought we were only doing a pilot,” recalls Ash. “But then we got the greenlight for six episodes, which then got extended to ten. Fuse got behind our show in a big way and let us go to town. We hit the ground running. We wrote the pilot in October, and we’re airing in June. We’re used to longer development time. The Boondocks took 18 months to two years to do, so this has been incredible.”

The show’s animation is being handled by a St. Petersburg, Florida-based studio Echo Bridge, led by Esteban Valdez. “They’re the best kept-secret in the world of animation,” says Jones. “They do Flash, Toon Boom Harmony, even some CG, and fit the needs of our show perfectly. The overall style of the show is old-school Hanna-Barbera Saturday Morning show, and Echo Bridge does a great job with it.”

Overall, about 70 percent of the show is animated and the remaining parts are live-action. A typical 21-minute show features about 12 to 13 fast-paced sketches. The longest sketch is called “Lost Dreamers” and follows the misadventures of a Latinx character who is deported on Cinco de Mayo, and has to time travel to escape ICE, ending up in ancient version of San Bernadino, Calif.

“It’s like a taster’s menu at a restaurant,” says Ash. “Some sketches come back because we have more to say, and we have the production experience, building and rigging of the characters. It’s a lot like Saturday Night Live with a much more truncated schedule. The beauty of a sketch show is that if you have a favorite bit that is funny, it will probably come back. And if there’s something that you don’t like, well, it only lasts a minute or two, and you’ll be enjoying a new sketch in no time!”

Sugar & Toys

Sugar & Toys

Jones and Ash have learned a lot during this process. “It almost feels like we’re going two shows at once—one animated and the other live-action,” says Jones. “It’s quite a task to navigate as there are lots of moving pieces. But we’re very proud of the entire team cross the board. You are producing these really short form originals, and you may never see these animated characters again. We also have an amazing ensemble cast handling all the voices, and Fuse has been very supportive of our creative vision. The content is going to be definitely disruptive. It’s going to shake things up and cause a lot of conversation. We are presenting very honest material, and it’s amazing that they let us do what we do!”

Ash agrees. “One of the challenges of the format is to address youth and hip hop culture and to stay relevant,” he notes. “We want to speak to what is going on around us, and speak to this culture in a contemporary way. Over the last few years we’ve had this renaissance of rappers doing some interesting work. We run into these young talented people who grew up watching Boondocks and Black Dynamite. There’s this audience whose conversation is informed by things we’d done before. And their work is informing what we are doing with this show. To influence and be influenced by these young people is very important to us. We do come from a sincere place, so even when do shocking humor, these things matter to us. Animation and comedy let us expose some uncomfortable truths around us.”

The creative producers are also both quite pleased with what animators of colors have been able to achieve over the past few years. “I feel really good about it overall, but we still have a long way to go, “ says Jones. “It was so refreshing to see the new Spider-Man movie. It just blew me away, because I never imagined I would see the Spider-Man brand contextualized that way. There are so many talented, writers, directors, animators and people of color in this space who haven’t had the opportunity or voice or platform. But to see so many people of color at Comic-Con or on a panel, for example, is wonderful. It’s great for young people to see that and have all this original content speak to the directly. That’s moving the culture forward.”

He also mentions that there still needs to be a lot more visibility for women of color in the animation world. “There’s more to be down for women of color,” adds Jones. “There are some amazing storytellers and artists out there that are not being recognized. Many of these women are working on male-drive shows. We need to see the floodgates opened for more. These characters are universal, and they speak to everyone.”

Sugar & Toys airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on Fuse TV.

“The content is going to be definitely disruptive. It’s going to shake things up and cause a lot of conversation.”
— Exec producer Carl Jones

“To influence and be influenced by these young people is very important to us. We do come from a sincere place, so even when do shocking humor, these things matter to us. Animation and comedy let us expose some uncomfortable truths around us.”
— Exec producer Brian Ash

Carl Jones (left) and Brian Ash (right)

Carl Jones (left) and Brian Ash (right)

Animation Magazine

CU Boulder Study and Wana Athletes Counter Stereotypes About Lazy Stoners

Are stoners lazy? Not according to a recent University of Colorado Boulder study that questions the “lazy stoner” stereotype. Overseen by Angela Bryan, a professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, as well as the Institute for Cognitive Science, the study looked at a possible link between cannabis use and exercise behaviors.

“If we think about the typical ways you think of cannabis, it’s making you more relaxed and maybe not as motivated to get out of the house, and as an exercise researcher, that’s concerning,” says Bryan. “On the other hand, there’s some really good longitudinal data that shows that long-term cannabis users have lower weight, lower risk of diabetes, better waist-to-hip ratio, and better insulin function. It’s kind of a scientific quandary, so we thought we should do investigations to see whether there really is a problem that might be happening, or if cannabis could even be a benefit to physical activity.”

Of the 600 adult marijuana users surveyed in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, 82 percent reported using cannabis within one hour before or up to four hours after exercising; 67 percent used cannabis both before and after exercise. Of that 82 percent, 70 percent said cannabis made exercise more enjoyable, 78 percent said it helped with recovery after exercising, and 52 percent said it increased their motivation to exercise.

And not only were the cannabis users consuming cannabis in conjunction with healthy exercise behaviors, but they were exceeding the recommended amount of physical activity in comparison to those counterparts who did not consume.

Marijuana Deals Near You

While few scientific studies have examined the effects of cannabis use on exercise, there was already a substantial amount of “anecdotal data” available, Bryan notes. “We know, just anecdotally, that some athletes say that they use cannabis,” she says. “For example, ultramarathoners will say they use it for a long training run, to make it less boring and to help them complete these long training sessions.”

Flavie Dokken is one such ultramarathoner. A former bodybuilder, the Colorado-based Dokken knows firsthand how cannabis can be used for muscle recovery and pain relief. “I started using cannabis for training and recovery when I was bodybuilding,” she says. “I used it for recovery, but I also consumed before a training session. Cannabis increased my focus. Then, when I was in the U.S. Army, I had a few stress fractures. When I got back, doctors were giving me opioids for the pain, but I found that cannabis was the best way to address pain and help me heal.”

Dokken during her time with the U.S. Army.

Dokken during her time with the U.S. Army.

Courtesy of Flavie Dokken

Dokken has partnered with Wana Brands, an edibles producer, as a Wana Athlete brand ambassador, to raise awareness of the positive role of cannabis in athletic activity. “Wana is trying to break out of the stoner cliché,” she explains. “I think that is the way to break the stigma, to show another side of people that are partaking.”

Dokken says she favors sativa-leaning capsules for long-distance runs, so she can sustain her energy without resorting to coffee or an energy drink. For lifting, she recommends any sativa variety of edibles, to increase her focus for a shorter duration of time. After a workout, she prefers the products with a 2:1 ratio of CBD to THC. Because CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory, it helps her body bounce back from a tough workout faster, she explains, and reduces the inflammation of the scar tissue around her older injuries.

Wana’s newest Wana Athlete brand ambassador, yogi Martha Triantafillides, also favors high-CBD products, but with less THC, such as a 10:1 CBD to THC ratio. “For athletes, the way I can connect with them is the recovery part,” says Triantaifillides, who participated in the CU Boulder study. “For me, the combination works a lot better than just CBD; it’s a great tool in recovery, to allow your heart rate to go back to normal, to allow your muscles to relax, to allow you to surrender into the healing process that the body takes. I like the CBD because it works a little faster and a little deeper into my muscles, but there are times that, if I’m doing something a little more active, I’ll probably just use THC.”

While high-CBD gummies can be great for recovery, Triantafillides prefers a more sativa-leaning, THC-dominant product for strength training or creating a new sequence. “It really sparks my creativity and makes me try new things,” she says.

While the CU Boulder study and Wana’s Wana Athlete program are both helping to disprove the stereotype that cannabis use leads to decreased physical activity, many organizations that govern professional competitive sports are still against cannabis, for a very different reason. The World Anti-Doping Agency, for example, still bans THC for competitive athletes because it considers it a performance-enhancing drug.

Martha Triantafillides on one of her yoga retreats.

Martha Triantafillides on one of her yoga retreats.

“There doesn’t seem to be any evidence, either from people’s self-reports or from the few carefully controlled studies that have been done, that cannabis has any impact in terms of enhancing performance,” Bryan notes. WADA recently relaxed its ban on cannabis to allow CBD but not THC, she points out, adding that she believes other sports organizations will move in that direction.

Dokken, however, thinks that the feds will have to legalize cannabis before sports organizations officially permit cannabis use.

By inspiring more research, the CU Boulder study could help pave the way. “What we hope to be able to do is to look more carefully at people using cannabis recreationally and what that does to their exercise behaviors,” says Bryan. “So does it make it better, does it make it worse, does it not matter? But then also working toward understanding more physiologically what’s happening, both in terms of the impact of cannabis on things like enjoyment and motivation, but then also on recovery. Because those were the points that people were self-reporting to us where they felt like cannabis was beneficial. So we’re doing work on inflammation and pain, and trying to understand physiologically how that recovery effect might happen. This study gives us some evidence that we probably need to start looking at cannabis specifically in the context of exercise.”

They also need to expand the research pool, Bryan suggests, because this study’s participants were not only from states where recreational marijuana is legal, but where residents are more physically active in general. But the results have already gone a long way toward negating the “lazy stoner” stereotype.

While lack of enjoyment, lengthy recovery times and poor motivation are common reasons people give for avoiding exercise, the study shows that cannabis use could actually encourage exercise…or at the very least remove an excuse or two.

Toke of the Town