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Twins Are Becoming Less Common in U.S., for Good Reasons

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, OCT. 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — No, you’re not seeing double as often these days: After decades of rising, twin births are declining in the United States.

Twin birth rates had been on the rise for 30 years, but dropped 4% between 2014 and 2018, health officials said in a new U.S. government study. That’s the lowest level in more than a decade. In 2018, there were 32.6 twins for every 1,000 U.S. births.

So what’s going on? Experts suspect the decline probably stems from improved techniques for assisted reproduction.

“We know from other sources that there have been improvements in fertility-enhancing therapies, in particular in reproductive technologies,” said Joyce Martin, an epidemiologist for the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With these new methods, fewer women are having more than one embryo implanted, she explained. It used to be that several embryos were implanted, leading to the surge in twins and triplets.

“So you’re seeing the decline among older moms, who are more likely to have these therapies, and among white moms, who are also more likely to have these therapies,” Martin said. She’s the lead author of the study published Oct. 3 in the CDC’s NCHS Data Brief.

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of twins born in the United States dropped about 2% a year, the study found. Nearly 124,000 twins were born last year.

Though twin birth rates fell by 10% or more for mothers starting at age 30, the decline was greatest among women 40 and older, and it was only seen in white women, the researchers found. Twin birth rates for black and Hispanic women were unchanged.

Despite these declines, the birth rate for twins is still way above what it was in 1980, when 1 in every 53 births was a twin.

Having twins can be problematic, Martin said. Many are born preterm, so they weigh less.

“Twins are seven times more likely to be born too early and three times more likely to die within the first year of life,” she said.

Continued

Martin predicts the twins’ birth rate will continue to decline as assisted reproductive technologies improve.

For the study, her team used data from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System.

It revealed that twin births nationwide peaked in 2007 at nearly 139,000.

Between 2014 and 2018, the data showed significant declines in twin birth rates in 17 states and significant rises in three: Arizona, Oklahoma and Idaho.

In 2018, twin birth rates ranged from 24.9 per 1,000 in New Mexico to 36.4 in Michigan and Connecticut. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia had twin birth rates of 30 per 1,000 (3%) or more.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, chief medical health officer at the March of Dimes, agreed that better reproductive technology explains the trends.

“Fewer embryos transferred result in fewer multiple births,” he said. “I hope that one of the reasons is that we are getting to the point where a single embryo is transferred.”

Gupta said the decline in multiple births among older women is a positive development. He noted that women in their 30s and 40s are more likely to develop complications during pregnancy such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

These problems, along with chronic health conditions such as obesity, can increase the risk to both mother and baby, Gupta said. To reduce the chances for a bad outcome, he recommends women should be in their best physical shape before they get pregnant.

Gupta advised women who are considering assisted reproduction to ask their doctor about single embryo implantation and other updated technology to improve their odds for a healthy outcome.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Joyce Martin, M.P.H., epidemiologist, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rahul Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical health officer, March of Dimes; CDC’sNCHS Data Brief, Oct. 3, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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It Takes Less Weight to Trigger Diabetes in Minorities Than Whites

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — One of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes is excess weight. But you don’t have to be overweight to have the disease — and new research revealed that some racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to have diabetes at lower weights.

“Patients who belong to one of the high-prevalence racial or ethnic groups may be at risk for diabetes or prediabetes even if they are not overweight or obese,” said Dr. Assiamira Ferrara, senior author of the new study. She’s associate director at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

“This study suggests that along with screening patients who are overweight and obese, minorities should probably be screened even if they have a normal body mass index, particularly as they get older,” Ferrara said. Body mass index (BMI) is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. Any measure over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese.

The researchers found rates of diabetes in normal-weight people were:

  • 18% in Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders,
  • 13.5% in blacks,
  • 12.9% in Hispanics,
  • 10.1% in Asians,
  • 9.6% in American Indians/Alaskan natives,
  • 5% in whites.

Why might certain groups be more likely to develop diabetes at a lower weight?

Ferrara said the reasons aren’t yet clear, but an individual’s body composition and physiology likely play a role.

“For instance, it has been shown from previous studies that Asians have a higher percentage of visceral fat [fat that accumulates around abdominal organs] than whites at a given body mass index,” and visceral fat can affect how the body metabolizes blood sugar, she explained.

The observational study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, just an association. But the findings suggest the importance of looking beyond obesity to other causes of type 2 diabetes, Ferrara noted.

The study included 4.9 million people. The group was diverse. Fifty percent were white; 21.6% Hispanic; 12.7% Asian; 9.5% black; 1.4% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; and 0.5% American Indian/Alaskan native. Just over 4% were multiracial or unknown.

Continued

There were slightly more women — 55.7% — in the group. The average BMI was almost 29.

“Greater attention needs to be paid to the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes even among underweight people for racial and ethnic minorities at high risk,” said lead author Yeyi Zhu, a Kaiser Permanente research scientist.

Dr. Louis Philipson, president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, reviewed the study and said it “strongly reinforces” what diabetes specialists have known — that some non-white individuals may get diabetes at a lower weight. He said he hoped that message would get out to primary care doctors.

“The implication is that they need to be testing earlier in non-Caucasian people who are not obviously overweight,” Philipson noted.

The study was published Sept. 19 in the journal Diabetes Care. It was funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Assiamira Ferrara, M.D., Ph.D., associate director and senior research scientist, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, Calif.; Yeyi Zhu, Ph.D., research scientist, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, Calif.; Louis Philipson, M.D., president, medicine and science, American Diabetes Association, and professor, medicine, University of Chicago Medicine;Diabetes Care, Sept. 19, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Bathing a Baby Less Scary Than It Sounds

FRIDAY, Aug. 9, 2019 — Every parent remembers the first time they bathed their newborn, terrified they might accidentally drop or harm their tiny bundle of joy.

But one dermatologist says the task is easy if parents follow some basic steps.

“While it may seem intimidating at first, bathing your baby is simple and only needs to happen two to three times a week, as long as the diaper area is thoroughly cleaned during each diaper change,” according to Dr. Kalyani Marathe, a dermatologist in Washington, D.C.

“The first thing to remember is to start off with sponge baths until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off and heals,” Marathe said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.

For a sponge bath, you’ll need a bowl of lukewarm water, a washcloth and a mild, fragrance-free baby soap. Lay your baby down on a comfortable, flat surface. Keep your baby warm by wrapping him or her in a towel and only exposing the part of the body that you’re washing. Keep one hand on your baby at all times.

Dip the washcloth into the water and gently wipe your baby’s face and scalp. It’s safe to gently clean over the baby’s soft spots. Remember to wash neck creases and behind the ears, Marathe said.

Clean the rest of your baby’s body. Soap is needed only when washing dirty areas, typically the diaper area and the neck. Rinse off soap afterwards.

“Once your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, switch to traditional bathing,” Marathe said. “However, start slow — if your baby seems to hate getting a regular bath, revert to the sponge bath method for another week or longer.”

For a traditional bath, you can use a sink or small plastic tub. Use lukewarm water and place your baby into the water feet first. Most of the baby’s body should be well above the water. Use a washcloth to gently wash your baby’s face and scalp. Use baby shampoo once or twice a week to clean your baby’s hair.

Clean the rest of your baby’s body and use soap only in dirty areas.

“After bathing, immediately wrap your baby in a towel for warmth and consider applying a bland, fragrance-free moisturizer, such as petroleum jelly,” Marathe said.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines how to prepare for the arrival of your newborn.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

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Sexting May Be Less Common Among Teens Than You Think

FRIDAY, July 26, 2019 — 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.

More information

KidsHealth from Nemours has more advice for parents about teens and sexting.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

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Astronauts: Exercise More in Space, Faint Less on Earth

FRIDAY, July 19, 2019 — As Americans mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and man’s first steps on the surface of the moon, a new study offers a solution for a vexing problem that many astronauts experience on their return to Earth.

All the time that astronauts spend floating weightless can trigger fainting and dizziness when they once again feel Earth’s gravity, but the new research finds that a two-hour daily workout while in space might eliminate the problem.

The fainting is due to changes in blood flow and pressure caused by being in low gravity, the study authors explained.

“One of the biggest problems since the inception of the manned space program has been that astronauts have fainted when they came down to Earth. The longer the time spent in a gravity-free environment in space, the greater the risk appeared to be,” said study senior author Dr. Benjamin Levine. He is a professor of exercise sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

“This problem has bedeviled the space program for a long time, but this condition is something ordinary people often experience as well,” Levine said.

The study included 12 astronauts (eight men and four women) who spent about six months in space. All of them did endurance and resistance exercise training for up to two hours a day during their time in space. They also received saline IV fluids when they returned to Earth.

The astronauts’ blood pressure was monitored before, during and after their space missions. The findings showed that they had minimal changes in their blood pressure and none of them had dizziness or fainting while doing routine activities during the first 24 hours back on Earth.

The findings were published July 19 in the journal Circulation.

“What surprised me the most was how well the astronauts did after spending six months in space. I thought there would be frequent episodes of fainting when they returned to Earth, but they didn’t have any. It’s compelling evidence of the effectiveness of the countermeasures — the exercise regimen and fluid replenishment,” Levine said.

This was a small study, so the researchers want to conduct one with a larger number of astronauts, and those who spend longer than six months in space.

“Understanding the physiology of space flight can be helpful for understanding many conditions experienced by non-astronauts. For example, the exercise program our lab developed for the space program is already helping people with a fainting condition known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS),” Levine said in a journal news release.

“As we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, it’s exciting to think of how our exploration in and of space can lead to important medical advances here on Earth,” he added.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on fainting.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

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How to Make Your Child’s Hospital Stay Safer, Less Stressful

THURSDAY, July 18, 2019 — More than 3 million kids are hospitalized in the United States every year. Whether it’s for a planned test or surgery or an injury or other emergency, knowing how to be involved in your child’s care can help you get through what’s often a stressful event.

The single most important thing you can do is be an active member of your child’s health care team, taking part in every decision, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Learn as much as you can about your child’s condition and needed tests and treatments from the medical staff and other reliable sources. Ask if the doctor’s recommendations are based on the latest scientific evidence.

Get to know all the members of the care team, especially the lead physician, and make sure each has all of your child’s important health information — from allergies to what vitamins and prescription drugs, if any, he or she takes.

If you have a choice, use a hospital with a lot of experience in the procedure or surgery your child needs — research shows that this leads to better results.

While your child is in the hospital, don’t be afraid to speak up if you see something out of the norm or even if health care workers neglect to wash their hands, an important way to prevent the spread of infections.

Ask why each test or procedure is being done, how it can help and when results will be available so that you’re not stressed over how long it’s taking. If your child is having surgery, make sure that you, your child’s doctor and the surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done. On the other hand, be prepared to answer the same questions over and over — it may seem tedious but it helps prevent mistakes.

Before your child goes home, ask the team to go over his or her care plan, including any needed medication and/or restrictions on their activities. Speak up if you have any questions. Take notes or ask a loved one to do it for you.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more tips on preventing hospital errors to help parents safeguard their children.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

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CPR Less Likely for Poor Black Kids Study Finds

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Cardiac arrest is rare in children. But a new study finds that if it does happen, kids are less likely to get life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if they’re black and living in a poor neighborhood.

In fact, these kids were much less likely to receive CPR from a bystander than white children living in any type of neighborhood, the research showed.

Children in other racial groups were also less likely to receive bystander CPR than white children, the study authors said.

Although cardiac arrest in children is far less common than in adults, each year about 7,000 children in the United States experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. Cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart stops beating properly.

Often, bystanders who know CPR techniques can rise to the rescue. Prior studies have tracked bystander CPR rates in adults, but the researchers said they believe this is the first study to focus on how race and class might affect CPR rates among children.

The team from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia analyzed data on nearly 7,100 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occurred in children between 2013 and 2017. Of those, 61% involved infants, 60% were boys, 31% were white kids, 31% were black kids, 10.5% were Hispanic kids and 3% were other races/ethnicities. Ethnicity was unknown in about one-quarter of the cases.

Overall, 48% of the children did receive bystander CPR. However, compared to whites, bystander CPR was 41% less likely for black kids; 22% less likely for Hispanic kids and 6% less likely among other ethnic groups.

And compared to white children, black children in majority black neighborhoods with high unemployment, low education and low median income were nearly half as likely to receive bystander CPR (nearly 60% versus 32%, respectively), the investigators found.

The study was published online July 10 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The findings suggest there’s a crucial need for CPR training programs in poor, non-white, lower-education neighborhoods, said study lead researcher Dr. Maryam Naim. She is a pediatric cardiac intensive care physician at the hospital.

“As most bystander CPR is provided by family members, lower response rates are likely due to a lack of CPR training and recognition of cardiac arrests,” she said in a journal news release.

Teaching CPR to parents before a newborn is released from the hospital, or during pediatrician visits, would be good opportunities for such training, Naim suggested.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE:Journal of the American Heart Association, news release, July 10, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

How To Set Up A Home Grow Operation On A Budget Of Less Than $1,000

Consuming marijuana can be an expensive undertaking. Some every day ask themselves is it worth the costs to buy weed. Some may think, but what if they grow it, would it be cheaper? We, the people at www.420finmgmt.com where we try to get you the best bang for your green, crunched the numbers for you.

A gram of flower, which most stoners wouldn’t consider much, goes for about $ 3 for some swag to about $ 15+ for the dank stuff. A more seasoned smoker, buying an ounce would be paying around $ 100 – $ 300 for flower. An entrepreneurial smoker, as I hope we have a few here, would it make sense not to buy from your local dispensary or dealer, but rather to grow your own? What would this kind of endeavor take? Let’s dive into the costs and see if becoming a farmer is in your future.

Space to Grow

First thing first, do you have some free space either indoors or outdoors to grow. Let’s assume you have an extra closet or small bedroom available and want to start a grow operation in there. What would you need to start?

Electricity

One thing about growing it is very energy intensive. A lot of rooms like a closet or spare bedroom may lack any outlets, or if it does have an outlet, it is on the main circuit breaker line. This overload causes problems because of the amount of energy need for the ventilation system, and lighting could trip the breaker.

I would recommend hiring an electrician to bring in electricity directly from your main fuse box so that the grow room is on its own circuit. An electrician usually costs about $ 50 to $ 100 an hour and depending on your home’s layout this operation make take a few hours. In states where marijuana is still illegal, it is also plus if you know a trustworthy electrician for this kind of job as there are not too many other needs for this kind of work. Don’t want to raise any red flags before you grow.

Water

Water, the giver of life, surely water would be free. Sadly no. You will most likely be billed for your water usage by your town or city. In drier climates, like Las Vegas and San Diego, typically have higher water usage rates than places like Seattle and Portland, where the average annual rainfall is much higher. Low rainfall can drive up water prices in certain areas. Given the wide range of water prices across the United States, it is too hard to give a ballpark price, but your plants will need it unless they grow on brawndo.

Ventilation

If you remember your introduction to biology class from Freshman year, you’ll recall that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The leaves of the plants are a plant’s lungs, if they become clogged with the poisons pushed out during transpiration, they will die. Dead leaves mean dead marijuana plants. This is why it is important to have air flowing through your room with your plants.

Make sure during your planning phase you layout an extraction route. Hot air rises so make sure put your extractor fan on the top of the room. Use some flexible tubing to “aim” the exhaust to a safe area. For example, away from a nosy neighbor house. If you have a grow tent of 40’’ by 40’’ in your grow room or space, you will need a 6? exhaust fan, which will cost you about $ 100. The larger your grow tent, the larger exhaust fan you will need.

Growing medium

Most new growers make the mistake of limiting themselves to only using soil to grow cannabis plants. In fact, many cannabis growers prefer other growing mediums such as hydroponics, perlite with soil mixes, or coco. Let’s assume your mission is to keep your costs low and grow using some quality topsoil which will set you back about $ 20 bucks a bag.

Lighting

There are many different types of lighting you can use to grow your marijuana plants. The big three are CFL, HID and LED. Again assuming a grow tent of 40’’ by 40’’ you need about the equivalent of a 400 HID grow light. This goes for about $ 300 on Amazon. I prefer LED to HID for several reasons. An equivalent LED light would cost about $ 200, so you would save on bulb cost. The biggest cost other than the bulb is your electric bill. It can be almost 50% to 75% cheaper using LED vs. HID. LED also have no filaments meaning they can go for longer without needing a replacement light. Also LED generate no heat, this can allow you to have a smaller exhaust fan system.

Nutrients

Feeding schedules can be specifically developed for the different stages in the marijuana plant growth. These schedules will make the difference in the amount of bud produced, so it is important to feed your plants right.

The basic elements a plant needs are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, and calcium. Water brings in the rest with hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. However, not all elements are created equally. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium or in the periodic element symbols N, P, K are the most important. When you purchase a bag of nutrients, you will often see the N-P-K ratio listed on the bag. During the growing cycle, this balance of N-P-K will change. Cannabis requires a higher nitrogen ratio during the vegetative and early flowering stage as it is the main component for growth. During flowering, you want a lower nitrogen and higher phosphorus N-P-K fertilizer ratio.  I am not going to get into all the details here as I am not farming expert by any means but to give you a rough idea you will need about two bags of the difference blends for each stage which will run about $ 15 a bag so $ 30 total.

Cannabis Seeds

There are many online seed banks around the world you can purchase seeds from all over. In many nations, it is easy to buy seeds online because the laws are friendly. But alas we live in the draconian United States of America. There are roughly 30 states that allow either medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, but marijuana remains a controlled substance at the federal level.

If you live in the US and attempt to purchase cannabis seeds online, you run the risk of having your seeds seized by Border Patrol. If this happens, most, but not all overseas online seed banks will send you another shipment to replace those that were seized.

It is actually more dangerous to send seeds within the United States. Recreational marijuana is legal in both Colorado and Washington, but there could be legal consequences if caught using the mail to send them from state to state. The safest course of action if you are in a state with legal recreational weed or medical marijuana is to buy marijuana seeds from a seed bank within your state.

These seeds are not cheap either. To buy cannabis seeds, It cost almost $ 10-12 per seed, meaning a dozen seeds will cost you about $ 144. You could buy 25 pumpkins seeds for $ 5, but come on how you going to smoke a pumpkin.

Conclusions: What’s the final cost? Grow vs. Buy

According to the TheCannabist.com, the median spend by an average customer was $ 647 annually. It is important to note that this study was done in Washington state based on legal users of cannabis.

Assuming you have a spare room to set up your grow area we are looking at a setup cost of $ 200 for the electrician to install a separate line, $ 100 for the exhaust fan, $ 20 for soil, $ 200 for LED lighting, $ 30 for fertilizer and $ 144 for seed. Toss in the support for the plant pots, pots and plastic tent cover for another $ 100 for a grand total set up cost of $ 794. That is just for the initial setup, you need to factor in the operating expenses of water, electricity and additional soil and fertilizer as ongoing expenses.

So, in conclusion, it may make sense if you can afford the upfront cost to set up your own grow operations versus buying recreational weed as normal and in the long term, your costs would be lower than as a consistency consumption.

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.

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Early Risers May Be a Little Less Likely to Get Breast Cancer

THURSDAY, June 27, 2019 — If you’re a woman who greets the early morning with a smile, new research delivers good news — you have a slightly reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

For night owls and people who tend to sleep more than the usual seven to eight hours nightly, the analysis suggested a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.

“Sleep does impact health,” said study co-author Caroline Relton, a professor at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

“The study found evidence for a protective effect of morning preference on breast cancer risk,” she said.

What the study team couldn’t tease out from the data was exactly why your sleep type — early bird or night owl — could affect your risk of breast cancer.

Eva Schernhammer, author of an editorial accompanying the study, said “one possible mechanism could relate to the misalignment between internal and external clocks.” She is chair of epidemiology at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria.

The disruption of a normal circadian rhythm can impact how the body functions. An example is the normal variation of melatonin levels, Schernhammer said in her editorial. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone.

Dr. Daniel Barone, a sleep specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, said that melatonin is a powerful antioxidant.

“If you’re reducing melatonin, that could potentially lead to an inflammatory response in the body,” he said. (Inflammation has been linked to cancer and other health conditions.)

Both Barone and Schernhammer pointed out that night-shift work has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Diet may be one reason why. He said it’s harder to find nutritious food options at night, and night-shift workers may get food from places like vending machines. Diet can impact heart disease and breast cancer risk.

The new analysis looked at two large groups of data, which included about 400,000 women altogether.

Previous studies had asked women about their sleep type — whether they preferred morning or evening, how long they slept, and whether or not they had insomnia.

But these researchers controlled the data to account for other factors that can affect breast cancer risk, including obesity, family history of breast cancer, alcohol use and smoking.

Women who said they were “morning people” were slightly less likely to develop breast cancer. The researchers said that early birds had about one less case of breast cancer per 100 women than did night owls.

So, should night owls be worried?

Maybe not just yet, said breast cancer surgeon Dr. Alice Police.

“This study suggests that there may be a lower incidence of breast cancer in ‘morning people,'” she said, but noted that the data in the study is “vague.”

“Until we understand other correlations, such as obesity rates and exercise rates in morning people versus night owls, I do not think definitive conclusions can be drawn,” Police added. She’s the Westchester regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

Relton agreed that more research is needed, particularly to figure out the underlying reason why morning people seem to have a reduced risk of breast cancer.

In the meantime, she said it’s possible that changing your sleep times to become more of a morning person might change your risk, though more research is necessary before doctors could make a specific recommendation.

If you’d like to try to get some shuteye earlier in the night, sleep expert Barone said the best change you could make is to limit “blue light” at night.

“Any screen you can look at without an additional light on is blue light, and blue light tells our brains that the sun is out and we should shut off melatonin production. Shut off blue light a good hour or so before bed to help keep the body more in tune with what it’s designed to do,” he said.

If you have trouble sleeping, taking a melatonin supplement a half-hour or so before bed can help, Barone noted.

If you’re wondering what else you might do to reduce the risk of breast cancer, editorial author Schernhammer said, “A woman should be more concerned about other, more established, breast cancer risk factors.”

Relton agreed, explaining that risk factors such as alcohol intake and obesity increase the risk of breast cancer much more than your sleeping pattern might.

More information

Learn about preventing breast cancer from the American Cancer Society.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

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Study: Less Sleep For Teens = More Unsafe Sex

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Parents, here’s another reason your teenager should get enough sleep: A new study suggests tired teens may be more likely to have unsafe sex.

Researchers analyzed data collected from 1,850 teens in Southern California between 2013 and 2017. The participants were 16 in 2013.

Teens who consistently did not get enough sleep at any time during the week were nearly twice as likely to engage in unsafe sex — such as not using condoms or having sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs — than those who slept an average of 3.5 extra hours on weekends.

The study was published June 3 in the journal Health Psychology.

“Teens who were short weekday [average of 6.35 hours a night] and short weekend sleepers [average of 7.8 hours a night] were not getting adequate sleep during the school week and were not catching up on sleep on the weekends, and thus were chronically sleep-deprived,” said study author Wendy Troxel in a journal news release. She’s a senior behavioral and social scientist at RAND Corp., a nonprofit research institution.

“Insufficient sleep may increase the potential for sexual risk-taking by compromising decision-making and influencing impulsivity,” Troxel added.

Sleep quality had no effect on risky sexual behavior, according to the study.

The study findings add to growing evidence about a link between teens’ sleep and risky behaviors, according to the researchers, though it only found an association.

“Sexual risk-taking in adolescence poses serious health concerns, such as an increased potential of getting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV,” Troxel said.

“Teens by and large are not getting the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, due to a number of reasons, including biological changes in circadian rhythms, early school start times, balancing school and extracurricular activities and peer social pressures,” Troxel noted.

She said teen sleep is a difficult challenge for parents, clinicians and policymakers.

“On one hand, we should encourage sleep routines for teens because regularity is important for maintaining healthy sleep and circadian rhythms,” Troxel said.

“However, for most U.S. teens, whose weekday sleep opportunities are constrained due to early school start times, maintaining consistency in sleep-wake schedules throughout the week may not only be unrealistic, but also may be unhealthy if it perpetuates a pattern of chronic sleep deprivation,” she added.

“Our recommendation is for parents and teens to find a middle ground, which allows for some weekend catch-up sleep, while maintaining some level of consistency in sleep-wake patterns,” Troxel said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE:Health Psychology, news release, June 3, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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A Less Invasive Fix Works Well for Abdominal Aneurysm

THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 — Bulges (aneurysms) in the abdominal aorta can pose real danger, but research suggests a less invasive method may be as good a fix for the problem as traditional surgery.

The less invasive procedure is called endovascular repair. There are a number of short-term benefits to this less invasive fix, such as shorter hospital stays and faster recovery. But until now, it wasn’t clear if long-term survival was as good.

“Endovascular repair is durable, and mortality is similar to open surgery,” said study co-author Dr. Julie Freischlag, chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dr. John Osborne, an American Heart Association spokesperson and director of cardiology at State of the Heart Cardiology in Dallas, Texas said this is a very important study and the long-term data “clearly swings the balance in favor of endovascular repair.”

Traditionally, repair of a bulge — or aneurysm — in the abdominal aorta required a large incision from the chest to the belly button, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Left untreated, such an aneurysm can burst, creating a life-threatening emergency.

Endovascular repair is done by threading a catheter from the groin to the aneurysm. Then, a stent graft (a flexible tube with metal support) is place in the weakened area of the aorta to strengthen it and lessen pressure on the aorta walls.

Freischlag said there are a number of benefits to the endovascular repair, such as fewer deaths during the procedure than in open surgery, shorter hospital stays and less pain. People also recover faster after endovascular repair.

“Patients who have endovascular graft repair go back to work quicker, usually within a month. With open, it can be three to six months,” Freischlag said.

The study included almost 900 people who needed abdominal aorta aneurysm repair. They were undergoing elective surgery, not emergency surgery.

Slightly more than half (444 patients) were randomly selected to undergo endovascular repair. The other half had open surgery (437 patients). The researchers tracked patients’ health for up to 14 years.

During that time, 68% of those in the endovascular group died, compared to 70% of the open surgery group.

There were 12 deaths related to aneurysms (2.7%) in the endovascular group and 16 (3.7%) in the open group.

More patients in the endovascular group had to undergo second procedures, the study found. Freischlag said this is a known concern with endovascular repair. In fact, people who’ve had endovascular repair have to go back at least yearly to have the repaired area checked (via imaging, such as ultrasound, CT or MRI).

Not everyone who has an abdominal aneurysm is a candidate for endovascular repair. Freischlag said a patient has to have “good anatomy,” which essentially means that surgeons need a good area to place a stent.

Both Freischlag and Osborne said that endovascular repairs for abdominal aneurysms have been done for about 20 years now, so most vascular surgeons should be experienced in doing the procedure.

Both also said that the long-term survival rates might be even better if the study were started today because the grafts have improved and surgeons are now more experienced.

Risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysms include older age, being male, having high blood pressure or ever smoking more than 100 cigarettes. “That’s how much smoking increases the risk. That’s just five packs of cigarettes,” said Osborne, who wasn’t involved with the study.

While abdominal aortic aneurysms are considered a “white male disease,” Freischlag said that women can get them, and that anyone who has a family history of aortic aneurysms should let their doctor know because about a third of people who have a family history will also have the condition.

People who have an increased risk need to be screened with abdominal ultrasound, Osborne said.

“It’s important to find these aneurysms before they rupture,” he noted.

The findings were published May 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

More information

The Society for Vascular Surgery offers more about endovascular repair.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Poor, Minorities Get Less Help For Opioid Addiction

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — When it comes to opioid addiction treatments, money and race matter, researchers say.

White, wealthy Americans are much more likely to receive medication for their addiction than minorities and the poor, the new study found.

Racial and financial differences have only grown wider as the opioid crisis in the United States has worsened, even though opioid addiction rates are similar among whites and blacks, according to Dr. Pooja Lagisetty, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, and her colleagues.

The new analysis of 2012 to 2015 data found that for every appointment where a black patient received a prescription for the opioid addiction medication buprenorphine, there were 35 such appointments for white patients.

There was a large increase in the overall number of buprenorphine prescriptions written at outpatient clinic visits over the previous decade, but a decrease in the percentage of those visits where the patients were black, the investigators found.

The percentage of those visits paid for by cash or private insurance grew far faster than the percentage paid by Medicaid, which covers low-income people, and Medicare, which covers people with disabilities and adults over age 65, the findings showed.

Between 2012 and 2015, patients paid cash for nearly 40% of outpatient visits where buprenorphine prescriptions were written, while private insurance covered the cost of 34% of the visits, a significant increase from just under 20% a decade earlier.

Medicare and Medicaid, which provide medical coverage to 30% of all Americans, accounted for just 19% of such visits, according to the researchers.

For patients who pay cash, a single prescription of buprenorphine can cost several hundred dollars, the study authors noted in a university news release.

More than 2.3 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, but less than half are receiving medications approved to treat the disorder. Medication is the only treatment that has years of evidence showing it can help patients recover from opioid addiction.

In the early 2000s, just 0.04% of all outpatient visits in the United States included a prescription for buprenorphine. That rose to 0.36% by the mid-2010s, or about 13.4 million visits.

Continued

The study was published May 8 in JAMA Psychiatry.

The differences in rates of buprenorphine prescriptions at clinic visits suggests inequalities in access, Lagisetty noted.

“We shouldn’t see differences this large, given that people of color have similar rates of opioid use disorder,” she said.

“As the number of Americans with opioid use disorder grows, we need to increase access to treatment for black and low-income populations, and be thoughtful about how we reach all those who could benefit from this treatment,” Lagisetty added.

“Cash-only buprenorphine clinics have proliferated in recent years, which may be expanding access for those with the means to pay in certain regions. But the high costs may be prohibitive for those who cannot afford to pay. In addition, we know that patients do better when they remain on the medication long-term. Paying hundreds of dollars per month can be a major barrier to staying engaged in care,” Lagisetty said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, May 8, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Smokers Who Roll Their Own Less Likely to Quit