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Study found more germs and a wider variety of bacterial types in houses with dogs
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) — Man’s best friend may bring millions more microscopic pals into the average human home, a new study suggests.
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Colorado found that homes with dogs have more bacteria than other homes, including germs rarely found in households without dogs.
“We can tell whether you own a dog based on the bacteria we find on your television screen or pillowcase,” study co-author Rob Dunn, associate professor of biology at NC State, said in a university news release.
The researchers involved 40 homes. Dunn and his colleagues wiped nine of the common surfaces in these residences — TV screens, kitchen counters, toilet seats, refrigerators, pillowcases and door handles — with sterile swabs to determine the types and amount of bacteria present.
The researchers found more than 7,700 types of bacteria in the homes, with unique groupings of bacteria depending on the location tested. For instance, bacteria found in refrigerators, on kitchen counters and on cutting boards were usually similar since they all related to food. The bacteria on doorknobs, pillowcases and toilet seats were also similar, but came more often from humans.
“We leave a microbial ‘fingerprint’ on everything we touch,” Dunn explained. “Sometimes those microbes come from our skin, sometimes they’re oral bacteria and as often as not they’re human fecal bacteria.”
But what about differences between houses? “The biggest difference we’ve found so far is whether you own a dog,” Dunn said. “For example, there are bacteria normally found in soil that are 700 times more common in dog-owning households than in those without dogs.”
The study showed bacteria in homes can be grouped into three “habitats” or categories: places people touch, places touched by food and places that collect dust. The researchers pointed out the bacteria found on pillowcases in two different homes is likely more similar than bacteria found in the same home but in another “habitat.”
“This makes sense,” Dunn added. “Humans have been living in houses for thousands of years, which is sufficient time for organisms to adapt to living in particular parts of houses. We know, for example, that there is a species that only lives in hot-water heaters. We deposit these bacterial hitchhikers in different ways in different places, and they thrive or fail depending on their adaptations.”
The study was published May 22 in the journal PLOS ONE. The researchers plan to conduct a larger study involving another 40 homes as well as samples from a national survey of 1,300 homes across the country.
“The larger sample size will help us better understand the range of variables that influence these microbial ecosystems,” Dunn said. “Does it matter if you have kids or live in an apartment? We expect the microbial populations of homes in deserts to be different from the populations of homes in Manhattan, but no one knows if that’s true. We want to find out.”
AUSTIN, Texas |
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The Powerball jackpot Saturday night could be even higher than the record $ 600 million being advertised, possibly rivaling the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, a Texas Lottery official said on Saturday.
“Oftentimes, the advertised amount is lower than what the actual jackpot ends up being,” said Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Lottery. “It’s entirely possible this $ 600 million jackpot will end up being a bigger jackpot.”
The Powerball record in November was advertised at $ 550 million, but ended up being $ 587.5 million when the winning numbers were drawn, thanks to last-minute sales.
Powerball officials told participating states on Saturday they would not be raising the advertised number for the drawing, Cripe said.
There had been speculation the advertised amount for the lottery would be increased to surpass $ 656 million – the largest jackpot in U.S. history, set by the Mega Millions jackpot in March 2012. The lottery is offered in 43 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
That prize was split between winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.
Chances of winning the Powerball on Saturday were one in 175 million, Cripe said.
If the drawing yields no winner, all records will be shattered as the jackpot for Wednesday would go to $ 925 million.
But players across the country weren’t pushing their luck, shelling out bills for the nighttime drawing.
“It’s only a couple bucks for a small daydream,” said Russell Williams, 35, a salesman in Austin, Texas.
In New York City, talent acquisition agent Michelle Amici was playing the “if I win” game.
“Not sure that I’d buy anything,” she said. “Rather, I’d attempt to quench my wanderlust by traveling the world. I’d also donate a large portion to education reform.”
El Paso, Texas, mom Bonnie Carreno rarely plays but was taking a chance on this one. “I only ever buy a ticket when I see the amazing numbers in the headlines,” she said.
For Austin marketing professional Becky Arreaga, the odds are not so long that she was discouraged about her chances.
“As long as the odds are 1 in anything, I’m in,” said Arreaga, a partner at Mercury Mambo marketing firm. “I truly believe I could be the one.”
“Just takes one ticket to win,” echoed Tela Mange of Austin.
The popular lottery has not had a winner in two months.
The $ 2 tickets allow players pick five numbers from 1 to 59, and a Powerball number from 1 to 35. The numbers will be drawn Saturday at 10:59 p.m. EDT (02:59 GMT on Sunday) in Tallahassee, Florida.
(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Greg McCune, Doina Chiacu)
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Erik | May 16, 2013 | Comments 0
Tommy Chong, who is undoubtedly one of the most iconic people in the entire cannabis community, has recently made a proclamation that legalizing marijuana on a federal level could save the country from its financial dire straits.
“Look at the situation we’re in now, sequesters, cuts, everything cut across the board. Now, the government is tapped into the biggest cash crop in the world,” Chong explained. “There’s little manufacturing cost. You don’t have to do anything except watch it grow and get a couple of hippies to cut it and then put it in a bag.”
Tommy also has a very strong, Jack Herer-type passion when he talks about how the re-legalization of hemp crop cultivation in the United States and in other countries around the globe may perhaps be the solution to protect the planet from perishing by the hand of our fellow man.
“Hemp itself is going to save the world,” Tommy affirmed.
Cheech Marin, the shorter half of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, was asked about the probability of marijuana being legalized on a national level. He approximates that it will become legalized within a few years due to the growing number of states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal dedications.
“The tipping point is 24 states to legalize medical marijuana, so it’s coming soon,” Marin avowed.
These two guys have been making a mockery of the federal government’s drug policy in their movies and stand-up routines for decades, it would be nice to see it legalized at a national level during their lifetime.
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New York University Study Shows Marijuana Cannabinoids Could Hold The Key To Helping Post–Traumatic Stress Disorder
When the lives of America’s young people are put in jeopardy, and sent off to war by the very politicians that refuse to care for them when they return. Claiming that medical marijuana has no role in helping those that suffer from post–traumatic stress disorder, because of a lack of scientific evidence saying so. While at the same time working hard to prevent the very research the DEA wants. It becomes a struggle not to be a cynic –seeing the glass as “half-empty.”
So it was with stunned amazement when I noticed this headline this morning…
“Marijuana Like Compound Could Lead To First-Ever Medication For PTSD.”
As I choked down my first bong hit of the morning – some chronic Obama OG. I was now confused and uncertain of whether or not I was awake, and actually reading this… or just stoned and in need of my glasses? Not that this is shocking news to us in the 420 community…but it’s certainly nice to see science catching up with what ‘we’ already know. Marijuana is medicine!
Thanks to the curious – marijuana minded researchers over at New York University’s Langone medical center, a groundbreaking link between marijuana’s active cannabinoids and post–traumatic stress disorder have recently been identified.
The researchers’ findings pave the way for the development of the first every medication designed explicitly to treat trauma – something, they say, is desperately needed.
“The first line of treatment (for PTSD patients) is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which is a class of medication generally used with good effects in people with depression,” lead author Dr. Alexander Neumeister, director of the molecular imaging program in the departments of psychiatry and radiology at NYU School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “These medications do not really do the job for people with PTSD, so clinicians use anything else that is legally available on the market. They often use different classes of medications developed for things like depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, and overall there’s consensus that these do not work.”
Affecting nearly 8 million Americans each year, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is developed after an individual experiences a dangerous or painful life event – such as a sexual assault, a tragic accident, surviving an act of extreme violence or the experience of fighting in a war. Of the 1.7 million American men and women in the military who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, approximately 20 percent have been diagnosed with PTSD.
During the past decade, Neumeister and his team have studied the impact PTSD has on the brain’s physiology and have found that exposure to severe trauma can considerably alter how the brain functions. With this knowledge in mind, the researchers decided to examine CB1 receptors in the brain due to a common trend observed among PTSD patients: Marijuana use. In an attempt to cope with their symptoms, many PTSD patients end up using and abusing cannabis, which helps to temporarily relieve them of their incapacitating episodes.
According to Neumeister, PTSD patients often report that smoking marijuana works better for them than any other legal medication, leading the researchers to believe that the manipulation of CB1 receptors in the brain may have a beneficial impact on trauma symptoms.
“About 8 years ago, the first animal study was published showing that everybody has endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, in the brain – meaning this substance is in the brain of every person,” Neumeister said, noting that endocannabinoids act like cannabis, binding to CB1 receptors to help extinguish traumatic memories. “Animal studies have suggested that increasing cannabinoids in the brain helps them to forget painful events and form new memories, so they start to learn to digest what they went through and get over it. We thought this may be relevant to PTSD.”
To test this idea, the researchers performed positron emission tomography (PET) imaging on the brains of 60 participants who had been divided into three groups – those with PTSD, those with a history of trauma, but no PTSD, and those with no history of trauma or PTSD. Each participant was injected with a harmless radioactive tracer, which was designed to travel to the CB1 receptors in the brain and illuminate them under the PET scan.
The images revealed what the researchers had expected. The individuals with PTSD had higher levels of CB1 receptors in areas of the brain associated with fear and anxiety than the volunteers without PTSD. Those with PTSD also had lower levels of the neurotransmitter anandamide, an endocannabinoid that binds to CB1. Neumeister explained that lower levels of anandamide prompts the brain to compensate by increasing the number of CB1 receptors, resulting in an imbalanced endocannibinoid system.
Because CB1 receptors help regulate mood and anxiety, the scientists advised against creating medications to destroy them in the brain, as that would lead to depression. Instead, Neumeister said their PTSD medication would rely on promoting CB1 equilibrium.
“We want to increase the concentration of these endocannabinoids,” Neumeister said. “So we are currently working on the methods to do this, and we have developed a compound that is able to increase the concentration of endocannabioniods without attacking the receptors. It helps restore a normal balance of this chemical in the brains of those with PTSD.”
Neumeister claims the compound is very safe and does not come with the added health problems caused by chronic marijuana use.
“Very soon, we will be able to start clinical trial of this medication in people,” Neumeister said. “It’s the first medication developed for people with PTSD, so I hope that it will open up a new generation of treatment for people.”
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
ROME (Reuters) – The thought of eating beetles, caterpillars and ants may give you the creeps, but the authors of a U.N. report published on Monday said the health benefits of consuming nutritious insects could help fight obesity.
More than 1,900 species of insects are eaten around the world, mainly in Africa and Asia, but people in the West generally turn their noses up at the likes of grasshoppers, termites and other crunchy fare.
The authors of the study by the Forestry Department, part of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said many insects contained the same amount of protein and minerals as meat and more healthy fats doctors recommend in balanced diets.
“In the West we have a cultural bias, and think that because insects come from developing countries, they cannot be good,” said scientist Arnold van Huis from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, one of the authors of the report.
Eva Muller of the FAO said restaurants in Europe were starting to offer insect-based dishes, presenting them to diners as exotic delicacies.
Danish restaurant Noma, for example, crowned the world’s best for three years running in one poll, is renowned for ingredients including ants and fermented grasshoppers.
As well as helping in the costly battle against obesity, which the World Health Organization estimates has nearly doubled since 1980 and affects around 500 million people, the report said insect farming was likely to be less land-dependent than traditional livestock and produce fewer greenhouse gases.
It would also provide business and export opportunities for poor people in developing countries, especially women, who are often responsible for collecting insects in rural communities.
Van Huis said barriers to enjoying dishes such as bee larvae yoghurt were psychological – in a blind test carried out by his team, nine out of 10 people preferred meatballs made from roughly half meat and half mealworms to those made from meat.
(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; Editing by Philip Pullella and Mike Collett-White)
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