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More Reasons Why You Must Manage Your Stress

MONDAY, Nov. 4, 2019 — If you’ve ever experienced an immobilizing sense of panic when faced with a difficult or threatening situation, you’re not alone. It turns out that the well-documented fight-or-flight instinct for self-preservation isn’t a guaranteed reaction.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that stress can actually lower your ability to effectively assess new threats because it can distract you, leading you to pay less attention to what’s going on around you and impair your ability to react in your own best interests.

Furthermore, a study in the Journal of Neuroscience found that stress can keep you from making positive changes in your life by holding you back, as though your feet were stuck in mud. It can color your thinking, making situations seem worse than they really are. So, for instance, just when you should be taking steps to get out of a difficult situation, you end up doing nothing.

If stress has you paralyzed, it’s important to take steps to “un-freeze” your thinking. While relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, can help you refocus in moments of high stress, everyday actions can work together to lower daily low-grade stress levels. Specifically, find ways to exercise more — physical activity redirects your energy. To keep blood sugar on an even keel, limit your intake of sugary foods. If caffeine gives you the jitters, cut back on the amount you drink. And watch alcohol consumption since booze can also increase anxiety levels.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more on these and other tips to manage stress.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Colorado’s Hemp Program Must Change to Fit USDA Rules

Most hemp farmers across the country got a big boost when the United States Department of Agriculture released its first round of industrial hemp regulations earlier this week; the new rules took effect today, October 31.

“I applaud the USDA for moving forward on hemp rulemaking and recognizing hemp production as an agricultural activity,” Senator Cory Gardner said in a statement after the regulations were announced. “Legalized hemp has the potential to be a major boon to agricultural communities across Colorado, giving farmers another viable and profitable option for their fields.”

But for farmers in states like Colorado, where hemp has been an established crop for almost five years, the new rules might not seem so progressive.

The language of last year’s Farm Bill, the measure that legalized hemp, permits states to submit plans for their own hemp regulations, follow the USDA’s regulations, or ban hemp production altogether. While the Colorado Department of Agriculture has indicated that it will submit a new hemp plan to the USDA in 2020, the state ag department had already implemented its own plan long before hemp was legalized federally late last year, and under that plan, Colorado became of the largest hemp-producing states in the country.

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Shawn Hauser, a hemp attorney with Vicente Sederberg, says that Colorado will have to alter some of its hemp regulations to align more closely with the USDA regulations, and that could mean tighter rules for this state’s farmers. Under the new, USDA-approved regulations, Colorado hemp farmers are likely to face stricter testing requirements for THC levels, she says, and have less opportunity to mitigate hot hemp, or plants that test above the federal government’s maximum allowable level of THC (0.3 percent) in industrial hemp.

“The way the federal regulations are set up, they’re going to affect every state significantly. Testing and sampling, specifically, are different from what most states have in practice,” Hauser explains. “Federal rules are pretty strict with requiring hot hemp to be destroyed by a DEA agent. There is no opportunity for remediation or correction.”

The new FDA rules do allow a “measurement of uncertainty” for farmers, which could let plants reach as high as 0.5 percent THC and still be considered acceptable by the USDA. However, industry supporters and farmers alike have been pushing for a 1 percent THC limit for some time.

Colorado farmers are currently given a couple of weeks to lower plants’ THC levels if they test too high, but hemp’s legalization and close connection to marijuana has spurred concerns of increased black market marijuana activity among law enforcement in certain states. Hauser suggests that states like Colorado and Oregon — both of which have legal and established marijuana industries — are better prepared to deal with such concerns, but she adds that more evolved markets are better prepared to roll with federal changes, too.

“Colorado and other states, because they’re mature and have gone through these trials, kind of understand there is a need for remediation,” she adds. “But because Colorado has one of the most mature industries, some of the hemp markets have anticipated these changes.”

Federal hemp regulations that mandate 100 percent of hemp harvests to undergo THC testing would likely require more CDA staff, Hauser says, as this state’s agriculture department only has enough bandwidth to test about 25 percent of hemp crops right now. Further, the USDA rules call for such testing to take place at labs certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration — and there aren’t many.

And if hemp farmers lose their crops because of high THC levels, there’s little that could help them in the form of insurance, as the new federal crop insurance program for hemp isn’t likely to cover high THC levels, according to industry representatives.

Although the USDA rules are officially implemented today, the rules are only for the interim and will be replaced in two years; states have a year to either comply or send in their respective proposals for hemp regulations. The CDA’s Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan (CHAMP), a committee created by Governor Jared Polis to advance hemp policy in Colorado, will send the state’s hemp proposal to the USDA within the next few months in hopes of fully complying with the USDA by the 2020 farming season, according to Hauser.

“There are some areas for improvement, especially around testing, disposal and sampling,” Hauser says. “There is a public comment period — it’s incredibly significant for legalized hemp farmers — so it’s more important than ever to engage with the industry.”

One of Colorado’s largest hemp brands doesn’t see the USDA’s changes as a hindrance, welcoming the long-awaited federal guidance. According to Derek Thomas, vice president of business development for Veritas Farms, the USDA’s regulations will usher in a more defined and legal marketplace nationwide, which in turn will help Colorado’s hemp industry grow.

“Inside of the Colorado ecosystem, not much is going to change. Colorado has had a very robust legislative framework from the onset, and a lot of states have replicated that model,” he says. “Not a lot in Colorado will change too much. However, outside of Colorado, things like interstate commerce will see a lot less restriction from the federal government.”

With the USDA nearing completion of its hemp regulations, Thomas says the next domino that must fall is held by the Food and Drug Administration, the federal body responsible for regulating products with CBD and other cannabinoids derived from hemp. Currently, the FDA views CBD as an illegal ingredient for products meant for human and animal consumption, but admits that the agency lacks resources to enforce the policy as the largely unregulated CBD industry booms.

Veritas has deals with national drugstore chains to sell its CBD-infused lotions and topicals (products that are legal under FDA standards), but Thomas says that finding national carriers to sell its CBD tinctures and edibles is much harder in the current landscape.

“The big piece that is lingering now from the federal government is the FDA,” he says. “Most national chains are sticking to the wait-and-see model for guidance form the FDA, but we’ve seen a lot of regional retailers take interest in CBD ingestibles as we wait.”


Toke of the Town

Swimming Lessons a Must for Everyone

SUNDAY, July 14, 2019 — Swimming lessons can lower the risk of drowning, but black kids often miss out on learning this lifesaving skill, a leading pediatricians group says.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to learn to swim,” said Dr. Kyle Yasuda, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

“This is an essential life skill for children, teens and adults. It’s an important part of the ‘layers of protection’ that families and communities can put in place to protect children and teens around water,” Yasuda said in an AAP news release.

Not everyone has the same access to swimming lessons. Historically, black Americans have faced barriers to learning to swim, and black teen boys have the highest drowning risk of any age group, according to the academy.

Rates of drowning among children aged 11 to 12 are 10 times higher for black kids than for whites, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Dr. Nia Heard-Garris, “This is a problem we can solve.” She is chair of the AAP Section on Minority Health, Equity and Inclusion.

“Some communities have created innovative solutions to provide free or low-cost swim lessons, and others have developed culturally sensitive lessons, and lessons for children with developmental disabilities or special health care needs. All children should have access to these potentially lifesaving skills,” Heard-Garris said.

In 2017, nearly 1,000 children in the United States died of drowning, the leading cause of injury-related death among children aged 1 to 4.

Overall, black children have the highest drowning fatality rates, followed by American Indian/Alaskan natives, whites, Asian American/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics.

Dr. Benjamin Hoffman is chair of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence & Poison Prevention. He said, “Drowning is fast, silent, and can happen even when it is not swim time. It happens to real families, families with good, attentive parents who never thought it could happen to them. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have many layers of protection to prevent drowning.”

Along with learning to swim, those layers of protection include close and constant supervision of children when they’re in and around water, pool fencing, learning CPR, and wearing life jackets when in open water or on watercraft, the AAP says.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on drowning prevention.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

FDA: Mammographers Must Report Breast Density

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Women with dense breasts who get mammograms must be told of their higher risk for breast cancer under new rules proposed Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA would also tighten its regulation of mammogram facilities, giving the agency the power to notify patients if problems are found at a center so that repeat mammograms can be done at another certified center.

“The steps we are announcing today are intended to modernize breast cancer screening and help empower patients with more information when they are considering important decisions regarding their breast health care,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said during a Wednesday morning media briefing.

Not only is dense breast tissue a risk factor for breast cancer, but mammograms can be difficult to interpret because dense tissue can obscure signs of breast cancer, Dr. Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner at the FDA, explained during the briefing.

“For women with dense breasts, they should talk with their health care provider about their high breast density and how it relates to breast cancer risk and their individual situation,” Abernethy said. “Given that more than half of women over the age of 40 in the United States have dense breasts, helping to ensure patient access to information about the impact that breast density and other factors can have on the risk for developing breast cancer is an important part of a comprehensive breast health strategy.”

However, one breast cancer expert noted that many women are already being informed about their breast density.

“The FDA’s proposed amendment is in keeping with the 37 states and District of Columbia, which currently require that patients be informed about breast density,” said Dr. Laurie Margolies, section chief of breast imaging at Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City.

Mammography has been proven to save lives,” Margolies added. “Supplemental screening finds additional cancers in women with negative mammograms. Hopefully, the FDA regulations will mandate [insurance company] payment for supplemental screening so those women who want the extra screening can avail themselves of it.”

Continued

Another breast cancer expert welcomed the proposed rules.

“Mammography is regulated by the federal government as it should be, and the fact that new guidelines and standards are being asked for is a very good thing in my opinion. It is probably overdue,” said Dr. Alice Police, Westchester regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

“Improvements in technology have made mammography better, and no patient should be stuck with inferior equipment or techniques,” Police said.

The new rules mark the first time in more than 20 years that the FDA has proposed changes to key regulations for mammography facilities.

Another proposed rule meant to provide more information to health care providers would add three additional categories for the assessments of mammograms, including one called “known biopsy proven malignancy,” which would alert health care providers about cases where cancer being evaluated by mammogram for treatment is already known and identified.

Under the proposed changes, patients and health care providers would also be given more detailed information about the mammography facility they use, the FDA said.

Proposed changes meant to update mammography quality standards and better enable the FDA to enforce regulations and take action against violators include giving the agency the power to “directly notify patients and their health care professionals, should facilities be unwilling or unable to do so, that mammography at a facility did not meet quality standards and that reevaluation or repeat of the mammogram at another certified facility may be needed.”

The proposed changes are available online at www.regulations.gov for public comment for 90 days after publication.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women and the second leading cause of death. About 12.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. It said that in 2018, more than 260,000 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,920 women died of the disease.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: March 27, 2019, media briefing with: Scott Gottlieb, M.D., FDA Commissioner, and Amy Abernethy, M.D., FDA principal deputy commissioner; Alice Police, M.D., Westchester regional director, breast surgery, Northwell Health Cancer Institute, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.;  Laurie Margolies, section chief, breast imaging, Mount Sinai Health System, New York City; U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, March 27, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

Court Rules EPA Must Ban Sales of Pesticide

Aug. 10, 2018 — The Environmental Protection Agency must remove the pesticide chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days, a federal appeals court ordered Thursday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the Trump administration put public health at risk by reversing an Obama administration decision to ban the pesticide. Chlorpyrifos was created by Dow Chemical and is widely used on citrus fruits, apples and other crops, the Associated Press reported.

Even tiny levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos can damage babies’ brains, research shows.

Last year, a coalition of farmworkers and environmental groups launched a legal challenge after then-EPA chief Scott Pruitt scrapped plans to ban chlorpyrifos. The attorneys general for California, New York, Massachusetts and a number of other states joined the case against EPA, the AP reported.

In the decision Thursday, the court said Pruitt violated federal law by ignoring the conclusions of EPA scientists that chlorpyrifos is a health threat.

“Some things are too sacred to play politics with, and our kids top the list,” said Erik Olson, senior director of health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the AP reported.

“The court has made it clear that children’s health must come before powerful polluters. This is a victory for parents everywhere who want to feed their kids fruits and veggies without fear it’s harming their brains or poisoning communities,” Olson said.

The EPA is reviewing the court ruling, agency spokesman Michael Abboud said. It could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, the AP reported.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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California Coffee Shops Must Post Cancer Warnings

Friday, March 28, 2018 — Coffee sellers in California must post warnings that coffee may pose a cancer risk, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle’s verdict came after an eight-year legal battle between a small nonprofit group and the coffee industry, the Associated Press reported.

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics sued to force the industry to either remove a known carcinogen called acrylamide from coffee or to warn consumers about the chemical that’s produced when coffee beans are roasted.

The industry argued that the level of acrylamide in coffee isn’t harmful and that any risks are outweighed by benefits, the AP reported.

In his ruling, Berle said the coffee industry didn’t make a strong enough case.

“While plaintiff offered evidence that consumption of coffee increases the risk of harm to the fetus, to infants, to children and to adults, defendants’ medical and epidemiology experts testified that they had no opinion on causation,” Berle wrote in his proposed ruling.

“Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving … that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health,” he stated.

The defendants, which include Starbucks and 90 other companies, have a few weeks to challenge the ruling before it is final. Many coffee shops in California have already posted warnings saying that acrylamide is cancer-causing chemical found in coffee, the AP reported.

The coffee companies have said it’s not feasible to remove acrylamide from coffee without affecting taste, but the lawyer who led the lawsuit said that’s not true.

“I firmly believe if the potato chip industry can do it, so can the coffee industry,” said Raphael Metzger said, the AP reported. “A warning won’t be that effective because it’s an addictive product.”

Potato chip makers were forced to remove acrylamide after the Council for Education and Research on Toxics sued them years ago.

While there is no firm evidence on whether coffee is good or bad for you, the World Health Organization removed coffee from its “possible carcinogen” list in 2016, the AP reported.

Research shows that coffee is unlikely to cause breast, prostate or pancreatic cancer, and it may lower the risk of liver and uterine cancers, according to the WHO. There is not enough evidence to ascertain the relationship between coffee and dozens of other types of cancer.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Lobsters must be comfortably numb before cooking: Swiss government

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland has banned the common culinary practice of throwing fresh lobsters into boiling water as part of an overhaul of its animal protection rules.

“Live crustaceans, including the lobster, may no longer be transported on ice or in ice water. Aquatic species must always be kept in their natural environment. Crustaceans must now be stunned before killing them,” say the rules adopted by the government on Wednesday that will take effect in March.

The regulations also aim to crack down on illegal puppy farms, outlaw automatic devices that punish dogs for barking, spell out conditions for putting down sick or injured animals, and make organizers responsible for animal welfare at public events.

The Swiss are not alone in trying to protect lobsters from what activists call cruel treatment in the kitchen.

Neighboring Italy’s highest court ruled in June that lobsters must not be kept on ice in restaurants because it causes them unjustifiable suffering before they head for death by fine dining.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Most Seniors Think Flu Shot a Must for Nursing Home Staff

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 3, 2018 — With the flu season in full swing, a new poll shows that almost three-quarters of Americans over the age of 50 think all nursing home employees should get a flu vaccine every year.

“We’ve finally gotten to the point in the last few years where most inpatient hospitals require their staff to get vaccinated against the flu, or at least strongly promote it,” poll director Dr. Preeti Malani said in a University of Michigan news release.

“These results suggest that other types of care facilities should do the same to protect vulnerable patients — or potentially risk losing business,” Malani added. “I encourage everyone to ask nursing homes and other long-term care facilities about their vaccination policies.”

Malani is a professor of internal medicine, with a specialty in infectious diseases and geriatrics, at the University of Michigan’s Medical School.

The survey, which was published Jan. 3, was sponsored by the university and AARP. More than 2,000 men and women between the ages of 50 and 80 participated.

More than 60 percent of respondents said that all patients residing in a nursing home and/or an assisted living setting should get vaccinated as well.

And 70 percent said that if they knew that one-third of the staff at a nursing home wasn’t vaccinated it would make them less likely to reside there.

Most respondents also said that the flu vaccine should be offered to workers for free, and that those who don’t avail themselves of the vaccine should be required to stay at home whenever they get sick.

Many experts advocate a widespread vaccination approach to disease control based on the notion of “herd immunity.” The idea is to prevent chinks from developing in the overall vaccination armor.

That said, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that less than seven in 10 long-term care workers routinely get vaccinated against the flu. This is despite its recommendation that everyone over the age of 6 months do so. By comparison, roughly nine in 10 hospital workers get the flu vaccine each year.

More information

There’s more on the flu vaccine at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: January 2018

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Italian court says lobsters must not catch cold before cooking

Italy’s highest court ruled on Friday that lobsters must not be kept on ice in restaurant kitchens because it causes them unjustifiable suffering before they head for death by fine dining.

Judges accepted a complaint by an animal rights group against the owner of a restaurant near Florence who kept live crustaceans on ice, ordering him to pay a 2,000 euro fine ($ 5,593) and a further 3,000 euros in legal fees.

Upholding a sentence by a lower court, the Cassation court ruled that the fact that lobsters are usually cooked while still alive does not mean they can be mistreated beforehand.

“While the particular method of cooking can be considered legal by recognizing that it is commonly used, the suffering caused by detaining the animals while they wait to be cooked cannot be justified in that way,” the judges wrote.

Rather than keeping lobsters and other crustaceans refrigerated, the court said it was already common practice in high-level restaurants and even supermarkets to keep them in oxygenated water tanks at room temperature.

($ 1 = 0.8939 euros)

(Reporting by Isla Binnie. Editing by Jane Merriman)


Reuters: Oddly Enough

Is Annual Eye Exam a Must for Type 1 Diabetes?

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) — People with type 1 diabetes face the risk of developing a disease that can cause blindness, so treatment guidelines have long called for annual eye exams.

But new research suggests this one-size-fits-all advice is costly and ineffective, because people with a low risk may need less-frequent screenings while people at high risk may need to be seen more often.

Diabetic retinopathy can damage the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye and trigger full vision loss, the researchers explained. Screening can catch this disease before irreparable damage is done, but not every person with diabetes faces the same risk.

“For example, patients with no or minimal eye changes and good blood sugar levels might not need their next examination for another four years,” said study author Dr. David Nathan.

“On the other hand, if the patient already has developing eye disease and their blood sugar control has not been in the recommended range, they might need a repeat examination in as soon as three months,” he added.

Nathan is the director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.

Current guidelines suggest getting an annual eye screening within three to five years of a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce any insulin.

To assess that advice, the investigators focused on type 1 diabetics (aged 13 to 39) who had enrolled in a large, national diabetes trial between 1983 and 1989.

The latest analysis involved 24,000 eye exams conducted over 30 years among roughly 1,400 people with type 1 diabetes.

Retinal photographs were taken every six months until 1993, and then — in a follow-up study — once every four years until 2012. The study participants’ vision, advanced retinopathy status and general diabetes history were tracked for an average of nearly 29 years.

The researchers determined that those participants who had an average blood sugar level of 6 percent, but no signs of retinopathy, could forgo the annual screening in favor of just one exam every four years. Similar people with mild retinopathy should be screened once every three years, the team concluded.

Continued

By contrast, those with severe or moderate retinopathy would do well to get screened every three to six months, respectively, the study authors reported.

People with higher blood sugar levels (8 to 10 percent) might also need to be screened more often, the researchers cautioned.

On average, the new recommendations for people with type 1 diabetes would likely cut the need for eye exams in half over a two-decade period. That would translate into an overall savings of $ 1 billion, while ensuring that those facing the highest risk got more timely treatment, the researchers said.

The findings were published in the April 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Nathan described the results as “definitive.” However, he said the jury is still out as to “whether the individualized frequency of eye examinations will be implemented by physicians” and followed by people with type 1 diabetes.

“The risk is that physicians may find it easier to schedule an annual eye examination compared with the new individualized schedule, which may be more difficult for physicians and patients to remember,” he acknowledged.

“However, most physicians and ophthalmology offices use computer programs — including reminder programs — for scheduling, so we think that this potential barrier should not be a substantial obstacle,” Nathan added.

Courtney Cochran, senior manager of media relations for the American Diabetes Association (ADA), noted that the ADA issued updated guidelines for retinopathy screenings in February.

The new recommendations now state that people with type 1 diabetes should start annual screenings within five years of their diabetes diagnosis. But those who remain free of retinopathy for a year or two may “consider” the option of less-frequent exams.

However, the ADA also said that if and when “any level” of retinopathy is detected, annual screenings are a must, while those with progressing retinopathy will require even more frequent screenings.

Dr. Jamie Rosenberg, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study, suggested the new recommendations reflect “a trend toward reducing unnecessary screening for eye diseases.”

“The upside to this new screening protocol would be significant money saved for the health care system, in addition to time saved for both patients and doctors,” said Rosenberg, who is an associate professor of clinical ophthalmology and visual sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City.

Individualized schedules will make tracking patients more difficult, Rosenberg agreed. But, “this new screening protocol has great potential if adherence to the examination schedule could be assured.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: David Nathan, M.D., director, Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Jamie Rosenberg, M.D., associate professor, clinical ophthalmology & visual sciences, and associate professor, clinical pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and attending physician, Montefiore Health System, New York City; Courtney Cochran, senior manager, media relations, American Diabetes Association; April 20, 2017, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Insurance Company Must Cover Cost of MMJ, Judge Rules

Judge Ingrid L. French, a state administrative law judge from New Jersey, handed down a rather thought-provoking decision to start the New Year. Judge French ruled that Andrew Watson’s insurance company is obligated to cover the costs of his voter-approved medical marijuana. Theoretically establishing a sweet-smelling precedent for patients in The Garden State, Andrew Watson’s […]
Marijuana

Why We Must Legalize, Not Just Decriminalize, Marijuana

I recently had a conversation with a friend who works for the Republican Party. This friend is genuinely conservative, but unlike many people who claim to be conservative, they were not against decriminalizing marijuana. That said, they were against legalization.

Coming from a somewhat libertarian perspective, this person believed that legalization would: 1. Increase the size of government by making it regulate marijuana, and 2. Open up the market for a major corporate marijuana investment (think Marlboro or Monsanto). While I struggled to combat these arguments at first, I have now remembered why I consistently support legalization over decriminalization.

Black markets

If marijuana is decriminalized and not legalized, the effect will be the continuance of marijuana black markets. If the only way to get marijuana is through a doctor, which is more difficult in some states than others, people will continue to sell marijuana on the street. The effect of that is the furthering of violence and other problems presented by many groups that currently sell marijuana illegally.

Big Marijuana is coming

While the thought of a pack of Marlboro Mary Janes makes me cringe, I fear it’s coming no matter what. That said, the scenario that would make that possible isn’t necessarily bad. While we can expect major companies to get involved in the marijuana industry once it’s legal nationwide, the most important thing to focus on is keeping small operations healthy and prevalent across the country.

Just like there is a Budweiser but there is also a ton of craft breweries and home beer brewers, the regulations around the marijuana industry must protect home growers and small marijuana companies. As long as it’s not too difficult for me to start growing 10-20 plants at home and sell what I don’t want for profit, then I think we’re in a good place.

Small government isn’t always the answer

While I do sympathize with some libertarian ideals, like not growing the government needlessly, I think there are certain areas where we need a decent-sized government involved. If we have to expand our current regulatory agencies a bit to include legal marijuana in the mix, I’m pretty okay with that. A regulated marijuana industry will be safer, more fair and more legitimate overall. Let’s not pretend everything is better when an industry behaves like it’s in the Wild West.

[Photo by Justin Henry/Flickr]

The 420 Times

3 Diabetes Tests You Must Have

By Kimberly Goad
WebMD Feature

Mike Ellis was fly fishing when he first noticed a change in his vision. Ellis, an avid angler, had so much trouble focusing he struggled for 20 minutes before he was finally able to get a fly on his hook, something he’d done countless times over many years of fly fishing. Then, after casting his line, he was unable to see his lure on the water. 

“I thought I’d scorched my eyeballs from being out in the sun too much,” says Ellis, 63, a retired mechanical engineer in Denver.

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Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause debilitating nerve pain.

Here’s some helpful information:

© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

An eye exam the following month revealed an equally unsettling reality: Ellis had type 2 diabetes, the most common type of the disease. Years of going undiagnosed had taken a toll on his eyesight. He had diabetic retinopathy. The blood vessels in the back of his eye were damaged, a problem that often comes with the condition.

“Diabetes damages every blood vessel in your body, including the ones in your eyes,” says Robert Rizza, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. “Similar damage can also occur in your heart, your head, and your kidneys. But if you take care of yourself — if you control your blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure — the chances of bad things happening to you are very low.”

Certainly, that’s the case with Ellis. With the help of three basic tests, he has his diabetes in check. These tests can help you, too.

Hemoglobin A1c Test

A simple blood test, the A1c (your doctor may call it “glycosylated hemoglobin”) is done on a sample of blood taken from a finger-stick or from a small vial of it drawn from your arm. Not to be confused with the daily at-home monitoring that allows some people with diabetes to measure their blood sugars in the moment, the A1c test paints a picture of your average blood sugar level for the past 3 months.

If you can keep your hemoglobin A1c in the range of about 7%, you’re much less likely to have complications in your eyes, your kidneys, and your nerves, Rizza says.

WebMD Health

Ohio man must spend two days in jail for petting zoo cougars

An Ohio man who posted a video of himself petting cougars at a Columbus zoo appealed no contest to a trespassing charge on Wednesday and has to spend two days in jail and pay more than $ 200 in fines, court documents said.

Joshua Newell, 35, jumped an outer fence to gain access to another fenced-in enclosure and called the cougars to him in order to pet them, the documents said.

Newell then posted a nearly two-minute video of the encounter on YouTube where he enticed the animals by calling “Here, kitty, kitty” and “That’s a good kitty.”

Newell was charged last week with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to four days in jail, with two days suspended.

A representative for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was not immediately available for comment.

This is the second time this year that a zoo patron in the state was charged with trespassing. In June, Michelle Schwab was sentenced to a year of probation for a similar charge after dropping her two-year-old son into a cheetah exhibit at the Cleveland zoo in April.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Andrew Hay)


Reuters: Oddly Enough

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