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Why Are People Turning to CBD For Help with Their Health?

CBD is just one of the 104 chemical compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Unlike other compounds of the plant, CBD is non-intoxicating and non-hallucinogenic. It is believed to have many therapeutic benefits that promote health and wellness in the body and mind.

CBD products have no intoxicating effects on the mind. It does not cause a high or euphoric feeling making it safe to use on a regular basis. The therapeutic effects of CBD have been studied by researchers and have been corroborated by consumers who swear that it helps them with everything from chronic pain to insomnia and anxiety.

There is an uptrend to using CBD nowadays, and people are making the CBD choice. The following are just some of the reasons why people are turning to CBD for help with their health.

1. CBD Provides Relief from Chronic Pain and Inflammation

Fibromyalgia is a condition wherein there is widespread muscle pain. Along with the pain are fatigue, memory, and mood issues. People who use CBD find that they get massive relief from fibromyalgia. CBD also helps keep the nervous system from further degeneration.

Chronic inflammation is bad for the body, and it can promote the development of more serious diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and type 1 diabetes. CBD decreases inflammation and can be seen as giving the body protection against serious illnesses.

2. CBD is seen as an alternative to Ibuprofen

People who do not use CBD Oil use NSAIDs for their pain management. NSAIDs are also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and are available without a prescription. Examples of NSAIDs are Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. However, NSAIDs have side effects. Regular use of NSAIDs can damage the kidneys and can cause heart attacks and strokes.

CBD has the same effects as NSAIDs in relieving pain symptoms but without the negative side effects.

3. CBD is an effective cure against epilepsy

Some people have drug-resistant epilepsy, and CBD is seen as an alternative medication that can help control seizures. In 2018, a drug, Epidiolex, was prescribed to people who are suffering from two particular types of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS). These two types of epilepsy don’t respond well to anti-seizure medications, but CBD has been proven to help control it.

4. CBD helps treat mental and behavioral disorders

Anxiety and other neuropsychiatric conditions is a growing health problem worldwide. Many health professionals will advise against the use of cannabis to treat mood and mental disorders because it will only exacerbate it. However, CBD has non-psychoactive properties and is non-hallucinogenic, making it safe to use. CBD can be used to treat a lot of mood and behavioral disorders such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), General anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Social anxiety disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Substance-abuse disorders.

5. CBD can help treat heart ailments

Heart disease is a global problem and is one of the main causes of death. Having a healthy lifestyle, which includes proper diet and adequate exercise, can help stave off this disease. CBD is also an effective therapy against heart disease, according to studies. CBD has preventive factors against the buildup of oxidative stress and inflammation, which is the main cause of heart diseases.

In a study, a group of participants was given a placebo while the other group was administered with cannabidiol. The cannabidiol group had significantly lower blood pressure compared to the placebo group prompting researchers to conclude that CBD’s stress-fighting features are effective.

6. CBD helps with skin conditions

The beauty world has embraced CBD and has infused it in various creams, serums, and gels to help promote healthy skin. CBD is known to treat acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles due to its antioxidative properties. CBD also helps in treating serious skin conditions such as eczema. CBD regulates oil production on the skin by lowering the production of sebum.

7. CBD can help people with withdrawal symptoms

People who have been addicted to a substance will have withdrawal symptoms, which include nausea, pain, insomnia, and mood disorders. People who have opioid, cocaine, and other psychostimulant addictions will find that using CBD can vastly improve their recovery.

Smokers who smoke regular nicotine are also smoking less when they use inhalers with CBD.

Final Thoughts

CBD is a safe and natural way to heal many ailments, and its popularity has a reason: it does work. Unlike other medications, CBD is said to have fewer side effects. CBD has many therapeutic benefits, and more research should be done to exploit the many features and benefits of CBD further so people can use this substance not only for recreational but also for medicinal use.

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

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

What Happened to People With Half a Brain Removed

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continued

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

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

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information

The American Heart Association has more about atrial fibrillation.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

People Turn to Social Media to Diagnose STDs

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The HIV test came back positive and the patient, full of fear and denial, took to the STD forum on the popular social media site Reddit.

“I’m really scared because they said my results showed ‘HIV-1 Confirmation.’ I have to go back and get another test but I’m wondering is the doc wrong, do you think I have HIV?” the person wrote.

People worried that they have a sexually transmitted disease are more often turning to social media to receive a diagnosis, according to a report published Nov. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nearly 3 of every 5 posts to Reddit’s STD forum is seeking a “crowd diagnosis” of a suspected infection, often with an accompanying photo of affected genitalia, said senior researcher John Ayers. He’s an associate professor with the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego.

Worse, 20% of people requesting an STD crowd diagnosis through Reddit specifically sought a second opinion after receiving a diagnosis by a health care professional.

“One in 5 people that went on here was already told by a doctor what their condition was,” Ayers said. “They go on social media to refute that diagnosis.”

He said the phenomenon is disturbing, and not just because it takes the dreaded office question, “Does this look normal?” to a global scale.

There’s a good chance that people are being given misleading or wrong information, which increases the risk of spreading the infection to others, Ayers said.

“We’re undergoing an STD epidemic right now, and in part that epidemic may be fueled by people’s reliance on social media for health care,” he said.

Ayers cited the frightened HIV-positive patient as an example. That post received a reply within an hour, researchers found.

“They go online and they get told they don’t have HIV, which means that person is going to go now and infect more people,” Ayers said.

Rising rates of STDs

The rates of new HIV diagnoses in the United States have remained stable in recent years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but infection rates for other STDs are skyrocketing:

  • Chlamydia infections are up 19% since 2014, and now stand at 1.8 million.
  • There’s been a 63% increase in gonorrhea cases during that time, to more than 583,400.
  • Primary and secondary syphilis are up 71%, with more than 35,000 cases.
  • Congenital syphilis passed from mother to baby has increased 185%, with more than 1,300 cases.

Continued

Ayers and his colleagues noted that people are increasingly turning to social media for information about STDs and other illnesses.

“Remote care” and “telemedicine” are concepts that have been kicking around for some time, but doctors may be surprised by the extent to which people already are participating, Ayers said.

“People are already doing remote care. They’re just doing it in the wrong setting. They’re doing it on social media,” he said.

To gain some understanding, the researchers focused on Reddit, a social media website with 330 million active monthly users. The site hosts more than 232 health forums, also called “subreddits,” including one focused on STDs.

“None of them are dedicated to diagnosis,” Ayers said. “They’re all about sharing information and social support. But the reality is they all turn into a forum for crowd diagnoses.”

Ayers and his team gathered posts on Reddit’s STD forum from its start in November 2010 through February 2019, nearly 17,000 in all.

The monthly number of posts have been steadily increasing over the years, with 908 appearing in January and February 2019.

Researchers drew a random sample of 500 posts to see how many were seeking crowd diagnoses.

About 58% of posts requested a crowd diagnosis. Nearly one-third of those requests included a photo of the person’s physical symptoms, “which basically meant they were sexting, for want of a better word,” Ayers said.

One example involved a person who posted a photo and asked: “Is this ingrown hairs or genital warts?”

“I went to the doc a few days ago and he said it’s genital wart,” the post continued. “I’m floored because I always use condoms. I recently shaved so the doctor could be wrong and they’re ingrown hairs? Here’s a pic. I’d appreciate a second opinion. If it is warts, I may try apple cider vinegar first.”

Nearly 9 out of 10 requests for a crowd diagnosis received a reply, and many received multiple replies, Ayers said. Some posts received a reply in less than a minute.

“Crowd diagnoses are becoming popular because strangers are so willing to try to help,” Ayers said.

Continued

He noted that 79% of requests were answered in less than a day. “Try getting a doctor’s opinion in that time,” Ayers said.

Can health care take advantage of social media?

Dr. Stacey Rizza is an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who reviewed the findings. She said she’s alarmed that people are turning to social media rather than doctors to deal with their STDs.

“In my opinion, I don’t think that’s the appropriate way to diagnose anything,” Rizza said. “But in infectious diseases, it’s not just that one person. Other people will be impacted, too.”

While it is concerning, Dr. Amesh Adalja sees opportunity in the trend, as well.

“This phenomenon should be seen as an opportunity for health care providers to engage with patients on social media to ensure accurate diagnosis and advice is being given,” said Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center on Health Security in Baltimore who also reviewed the study. “Exploiting the ease of social media inquiry will likely become an increasingly important way to interact with patients.”

Ayers agreed. He said public health officials and organizations should partner with social media platforms to improve the information being shared and make sure people are turning to their doctor for a proper diagnosis.

He noted that Reddit’s forum on suicide is staffed by volunteers who encourage people to seek qualified help.

“If that existed for the STD forums, maybe we could get more people to engage with the professional help they need and actually get better,” Ayers said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: John Ayers, Ph.D., M.A., associate professor, Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, University of California, San Diego; Stacey Rizza, M.D., professor, medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.;  Amesh Adalja, M.D., senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center on Health Security, Baltimore;Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 5, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Why Do People Vape CBD Oil and Juice?

So many health benefits are associated with the use of a CBD vape juice or oil. It is true that you can enjoy the same benefits by using CBD as a topical solution or digesting it. But, still, you there is a huge fan base for CBD vape oils. It all comes down to personal preferences. Some people enjoy the sensation of inhaling the compound, and they like it because vaping allows rapid absorption of CBD so there are almost instantaneous results.

There are some other reasons too. For instance:

  • A great thing about CBD vape oils is that they are available in different flavors. Many people enjoy earthy flavor, which is usually the result of the oil being derived from hemp. However, some people don’t, so manufacturers have come with different techniques to mask the flavor with mint, vanilla or fruit or something more pleasant.
  • The ease of use is yet another reason why people prefer vaping instead of eating or applying it topically. It seems the perfect choice if you’re already into vaping. All you have to do is add a few drops of the oil to your cartridge and inhale slowly to experience its effects.

Because of its ability to offer fast-acting relief, so many people suffering from pain caused by serious illnesses prefer vaping. But, you should also bear in mind that although inhaling CBD oils offers quick relief, they are usually quite short-lived, especially compared to other types of CBD-based products.  In most cases, the effects wear off in about a couple of hours. Therefore, you may have to vape more often, which often makes people ask another question.

Can CBD vaping get you too high?

The truth is that if you’re buying from a quality manufacturer and they source their CBD oil from hemp, you don’t need to worry about getting too high. Reliable sellers use oils obtained from industrial hemp that contains higher levels of CBD but very low concentrations of THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.  You’re likely to get a high if CBD oil you use contains high levels (5%-20%) of THC, which usually happens if the oil comes from marijuana not hemp. So, knowing the source of the oil is of paramount importance.

Even if you’re taking CBD oils with lower concentrations of THC, your personal body chemistry will play a role in how you feel. Your body weight can change the equation too. However, some studies have shown that you should do fine if you take anywhere between 1mg and 6mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. Still, it is a good idea to stick to the lowest dose in the beginning and find out how it affects you.

Whether you enjoy vaping CBD because it helps you relax, even get a little high or want to try vaping for its medical benefits, it’s good to know there are options to make it more palatable and to help talking it fit into everyday lives. In all honesty, as long the THC levels in your vaping oil stay low, it’s pretty difficult to get stoned on a vape. In most people it produces more of a gentle buzz, like the inner warm glow you’d get from a scotch or couple of glasses of wine.

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

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Daily Low-Dose Aspirin May Help Some People

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Debate over the benefits and drawbacks of daily low-dose aspirin has flared in recent years, with guidelines now generally urging against the regimen to prevent a first heart attack or stroke in healthy people.

But some people with good heart health still might benefit from taking daily low-dose aspirin, a new study from New Zealand argues.

About 2.5% of women and 12% of men would likely benefit from daily aspirin during a five-year period, based on an analysis of more than 245,000 heart-healthy New Zealand residents.

“In our study, we were able to predict for each individual, by taking into account their personal characteristics, their propensity to benefit from or be harmed by aspirin,” said lead researcher Vanessa Selak, an epidemiologist with the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

“Using this personalized approach enabled us to identify specific individuals who were likely to benefit from aspirin after weighing up aspirin’s effects on both cardiovascular events and serious bleeding,” Selak continued.

That would seem to contradict new guidelines issued earlier this year by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

The two groups concluded that for older adults with healthy hearts, the risk of bleeding that comes with aspirin therapy outweighs any heart benefit.

“We used to say aspirin generally yes, occasionally no. Now we say aspirin generally no, occasionally yes,” said Dr. Amit Khera, who served on the ACC/AHA committee that wrote the guidelines.

However, Khera feels this new study actually supports the new guidelines.

“This modeling exercise confirmed it’s a very small group of the population that potentially could be eligible for aspirin,” said Khera, a professor of cardiology with UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

These guidelines are not for people who’ve had an emergency regarding their heart health. Those people do derive overall benefit from aspirin, he said.

“If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, continue to take your aspirin,” Khera said.

But clinical trial data that emerged in 2018 showed that daily aspirin taken by people in good heart health only reduces their risk of heart attack and stroke by 11%, but increases their risk of dangerous bleeding by 43%, he added.

Continued

“I want to be clear that I’m not talking about nosebleeds,” Khera said. “I’m talking about needing a transfusion, being hospitalized, bleeding in the brain. Big stuff.”

To take a closer look at the potential benefits of aspirin, Selak and her colleagues studied hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders without heart disease who had their heart health risk calculated between 2012 and 2016.

The net effect of aspirin was calculated for each person by subtracting the number of heart emergencies the person was likely to have over five years from the number of major bleeds aspirin could cause.

After personalizing the risk-versus-benefit calculation, the researchers found that a select group of people would have a net benefit from aspirin if one heart health emergency that led to hospitalization or death was considered equal to one major bleed that led to hospitalization or death.

The percentages increased to 21% of women and 41% of men if a heart health emergency was considered equal to two major bleeds, the findings showed.

“This research suggests that decisions regarding the use of aspirin among people who have not already had a cardiovascular event should be made after undertaking a personalized prediction of cardiovascular benefits and bleeding harms from aspirin,” Selak said.

That’s already standard procedure under the U.S. guidelines, Khera said.

“No one is saying aspirin doesn’t help. It just doesn’t help as much as we used to think, and you have to appreciate the bleeding penalty,” Khera said. “Some people are more concerned about heart attack risk and are willing to pay the bleeding penalty, especially if they’ve never had any bleeding problems. It’s still OK for them to consider it.”

Both Selak and Khera recommended that people talk with their doctor about the risks and benefits before starting to take daily aspirin. Calculators are available that help physicians weigh your risk of heart attack and stroke against the risk of bleeding.

“In many ways, people think of aspirin as this benign thing because it’s been around for centuries. Anybody can get it over the counter,” Khera said. “But if you’re going to take it every day for the next couple of decades, there are definite penalties to it.”

The new study was published online Sept. 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Vanessa Selak, Ph.D., epidemiologist, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Amit Khera, M.D., professor, cardiology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Sept. 17, 2019,Annals of Internal Medicine, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Transgender People Pressured on ‘Conversion Therapy’

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) — More than one in 10 transgender people say they’ve been pressured by a professional counselor to accept their birth sex.

So finds the largest survey to date on the issue.

Nearly 14% of transgender people say that some sort of professional — a psychologist, counselor or religious advisor — urged them to identify only with their sex assigned at birth, the survey revealed.

That amounts to more than 180,000 people across the United States who’ve been potentially subjected to a form of conversion therapy, said lead researcher Dr. Jack Turban. He is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, in Boston.

Major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, oppose such conversion efforts, deeming them ineffective and unethical, Turban said.

“State legislators have argued that these attempts to change gender identity don’t happen in their state, and they’ve used that as an argument against passing legislation that would make it illegal to try to change a person’s gender identity,” Turban said.

The percentage of transgender people who experienced conversion efforts ranged from a low of 9% in South Carolina to a high of 25% in Wyoming, the researchers found.

The survey “shows just how pervasive conversion therapy still is,” said Amy Green, director of research for The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning) young people.

“Conversion therapy is dangerous, and The Trevor Project is proud to work with local coalitions and national organizations to end the discredited practice in all 50 states,” Green continued. “We know that with support, transgender and non-binary youth are resilient in the face of such harmful practices.”

Transgender conversion therapy was most commonly reported from a cluster of western states that include Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota, the survey showed. These efforts also were common in Nevada, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Alaska.

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey involved more than 27,700 transgender people, with representation from all 50 states, the researchers said. As part of the survey, participants were asked if a professional had ever tried to make them stop being transgender.

Continued

Data have shown that conversion therapy can increase a person’s risk of suicide and psychological distress, Turban and Green said.

“In our latest survey, youth who reported having undergone conversion therapy attempted suicide at more than twice the rate as those who did not,” Green said. “In addition, more than half of transgender and non-binary youth surveyed seriously considered attempting suicide.”

Turban said, “We hope that these findings will provide inspiration for state legislators to outlaw gender identity change efforts. We also hope that parents and individuals will be less likely to seek out such modalities as we build public understanding that being transgender isn’t a disease that needs to be cured.”

The survey was published recently in the American Journal of Public Health.

These results are not surprising because there is not across-the-board agreement on how to deal with gender dysphoria in children, said Clinton Anderson, director of the American Psychological Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Office.

There’s widespread agreement that adults who declare themselves transsexual be assisted in making the transition to whatever extent they want, be it simple appearance or hormone therapy or surgery, Anderson said.

Adolescents who are transsexual also tend to be automatically accepted and assisted. “Increasingly, as they get older, it becomes clearer there is no likelihood that person will ever be able to accept their gender, except as a transgender person,” Anderson said.

But there’s ongoing debate over how to approach gender dysphoria in younger children, he added.

“Some people are hesitant about affirming completely a transition for that child, when you’re not sure if that transition is going to be what they will want when they are 15 or 25,” Anderson said.

On the other hand, such hesitancy is seen by some as being unsupportive or even opposed to a child’s exploration of their gender.

“Some people perceive that being anything less than affirming as being conversion therapy and, therefore, as being unethical and being bad,” Anderson said. “Sometimes that does get perceived by some people as being undermining to a child’s sense of themselves or of controlling their own destiny or autonomy.”

Continued

The term “conversion therapy” originally was coined to talk about efforts to change people’s sexual orientation, Anderson explained. But the term has been broadened in recent years to also refer to efforts to change a person’s gender identity.

“They’re two distinct parts of a person’s sexuality,” Anderson said of sexual orientation and gender identity. “They’re not the same.”

Turban recommends that parents of a child questioning their gender identity “keep an open, supportive stance toward your child. Remind them that you love them no matter what. Let them explore their gender identity, and don’t try to force them one way or another.”

He added that “research continues to show that shame and rejection drive most of the mental health problems in this population.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Jack Turban, M.D., M.H.S., child and adolescent psychiatrist, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Amy Green, Ph.D., director, research, The Trevor Project; Clinton Anderson, Ph.D., director, American Psychological Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Office; Aug. 15, 2019,American Journal of Public Health, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Many Doctors Refusing Care of People Prescribed Opioids

THURSDAY, Aug. 15, 2019 — Folks taking opioids for chronic pain may run into trouble if they need to find a new doctor.

A new “secret shopper” survey of 194 Michigan primary care clinics found that as many as four out of 10 primary care doctors would turn away patients who have been taking the pain-killing medications (such as Percocet) long term. And that’s true even if those physician practices said they are open to taking new patients.

“This is a prevalent problem — more so than we expected,” said study author Dr. Pooja Lagisetty, from the University of Michigan Medical School and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

For the study, researchers called physician practices, posing as a potential new patient. The “patients” explained that they were taking opioids for chronic pain and said they had either Medicaid or private health insurance.

Lagisetty said she hopes the study gets health care systems thinking about this problem.

“I hope it gets physicians thinking, ‘What can we do better?’ By closing doors on patients, we’re not helping anybody,” she said. “We need to dig into this problem to find out what’s driving it.”

Lagisetty said there are probably multiple reasons that doctors turn certain patients away.

“Stigma is probably a component, and another big component is probably the administrative burden that comes with prescribing opioids. It’s not a trivial amount of work to manage someone on opioids safely. I suspect some clinics may be a little overburdened,” she said.

Dr. Noel Deep, a spokesman for the American College of Physicians, suspects the problem is less about stigma and more about the regulatory burden related to prescribing opioids.

“Physicians have to think twice when prescribing opioids, and if you’re in a small, rural practice, it gets difficult. Physicians can also be targeted for overprescribing,” he said.

Dr. Yili Huang, director of the pain management center at Northwell Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., agreed that opioid regulations might make physicians hesitant to take on a patient who’s using them, even if that patient doesn’t have an issue with addiction.

While people taking opioids are at a very high risk of misuse or abuse, Huang said about three-quarters of people who take them don’t misuse them and about 90% don’t develop an addiction. He did note, however, that many people can have their pain successfully managed without opioids.

But for those who do need them, the increased scrutiny and potential risk to a doctor’s license and livelihood may keep them from taking on these patients.

So, what can happen if people treating chronic pain with opioids can’t find a doctor?

Lagisetty said patients could be left with uncontrolled pain, and may have withdrawal symptoms. If they attempt to see several doctors for opioids, they may be labeled as a “drug-seeker” and have difficulty accessing their pain medications.

For those who are abusing the opioids, in some states they won’t have access to the medication that can reverse an overdose. They also won’t get a referral for addiction treatment.

Deep said, “Patients have to come first. If patients can’t get medications, there can be very bad outcomes.” He noted that patients might end up driving long distances to seek pain relief. Some might even use illicit drugs.

All three experts said there’s a need for increased addiction education, as well as some flexibility in prescribing guidelines.

The news from the study wasn’t all bad, Lagisetty pointed out. While around 40% of doctors turned chronic opioid users away, 60% were willing to see them.

Huang added, “Despite increasing regulatory scrutiny, many providers continue to care for patients on chronic opioids.”

The study found no difference in whether doctors would see patients based on the type of insurance they had.

“This suggests that there may not be any financial or discriminatory incentive behind these actions, and instead [turning these patients away] is driven solely by fear of policy repercussions and lack of education,” Huang explained.

The study was recently published online in JAMA Network Open.

More information

Learn more about pain treatment options from the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Keto CBD Gummies for Fitness Minded People

Does anyone else think the CBD industry is confusing? First, it’s tough to tell why anyone would need to go pay their state for a medical marijuana card since all of the benefits of CBD seem to be the same as medical cannabis. After the federal government passed the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is now available online and can get dropped off at your front door by the United States Postal Service with no medical card necessary. Second, it’s tough to see CBD as a wellness product since many companies infuse it into high sugar candies or fattening edibles. Shouldn’t there be keto CBD gummies or something so that health conscious people out there can try CBD out too?

Why CBD is so Confusing?

Consumers are really struggling to understand CBD products which is shaking their confidence.

The lack of regulations in the CBD industry has allowed many of these CBD companies to cut corners. Customers are pushed to look for third party lab tests to verify the contents of CBD products. You cannot find any sort of comprehensive dosing instructions for CBD either. How are you to know whether you need a CBD 25mg or 10mg dose? What’s better; vaping CBD, eating CBD or taking sublingual CBD? Have you ever heard of bioavailability? What’s this about CBD not actually connecting with our endocannabinoid system? Should you actually think that while you scarf down a high-sugar fattening cookie infused with CBD that you are really looking out for your health? Why are there reports of people failing drug tests and getting arrested for possessing CBD?

How Does CBD Work?

It turns out that CBD does connect with some receptors in our bodies, like TRPV1 receptors, that have a big impact on how our brain perceives pain. But, instead of connecting with endocannabinoid system receptors like CB1 & CB2 receptors, CBD stops other molecules from connecting with the receptors. It’s why CBD can counter the effects of THC. CBD stops THC from binding to our receptors slowing its psychoactive effects. Without more in-depth peer reviewed research though, scientists are still trying to understand the full health benefits of CBD along with the repercussions, if there are any.

What is Bioavailability?

Bioavailability is how much of the CBD we are putting into our bodies actually makes it to the regions that need it. If you eat CBD baked goods, the CBD needs to go through the digestive process and get metabolized before we can feel the effects of it. A lot of CBD is lost during the digestive process relative to vaping CBD or dripping CBD oil under the tongue. The type of oil is also a serious consideration. Olive or avocado oil is very thick and is slower at carrying CBD through the body, so many companies will use a thin MCT oil derived from something like coconuts to help carry CBD better through the body.

Why Are So Many CBD Products Unhealthy?

Companies are filling unhealthy products with CBD which does not make much sense considering CBD is a health and wellness product.

The hardest thing to wrap your mind around though is when a CBD company chooses to offer full fledge candy infused with CBD, or a website promotes a recipe for CBD brownies that are high in saturated fat and sugar. If CBD is a wellness product that does not get people stoned, what is the point of putting it in an unhealthy products. If CBD is the primary medicinal compound found in the cannabis plant, then aren’t the people that would be most interested in purchasing it the ones with medical problems or focused on living a healthy lifestyle? If someone is simply looking to get stoned, then yeah, put THC into whatever tastes good. But, CBD is being marketed like it’s a supplement as if we are taking a vitamin.

CBD for Strict Diets

Health conscious people typically follow strict diets like the South Beach diet or the Keto diet. They hit the gym on a regular basis and measure their body fat. They measure out their meal portions and bring it to work with them so they can count calories. They also feel joint pain and muscle fatigue and typically aren’t interested in taking acetaminophen that might damage their livers. The natural CBD alternative with no side effects is something that appeals to them but not if their only options are something outside their diet plan. Why aren’t more companies focused on things like keto CBD edibles or a low-calorie, low-sugar CBD oil that still tastes good too? These are the sort of CBD products the fitness junkies and athletes of the world might actually consider.

It only makes sense to make products like keto CBD gummies since so many of the people that need the benefits of CBD follow strict diets.

Those people struggling with severe medical conditions are often on strict diets as well. Maybe they are recovering from major surgery, maybe they have a food allergy or are even diabetic. This group of people are likely to desire a tasty CBD product that provides them pain and anxiety relief along with tasting good too. They must hear all about the CBD benefits that could quell their stomach and gut issues and wonder when the hemp derived CBD product will come along for them does not taste like dirt. It’s as if the most obvious customer base for CBD products are being entirely ignored. Maybe the industry is still trying to figure things out. Maybe they just switched out marijuana THC infused edibles with CBD edibles because that would be the easiest thing and they plan on fixing it later.

Conclusion

It seems that there is a whole lot of due diligence required by the customers to find the right CBD products. Here is a quick item checklist for customers shopping for their perfect fit.

  • Look for a third party lab test certificate of analysis to verify the contents of a product

  • Read customer CBD oil reviews

  • Decide what is the best delivery method for you:

    • Vape CBD

    • Sublingual CBD oil

    • CBD edibles

  • What sort of carrier is being used

  • Is there a lot of sugar or saturated fat?

The potential of CBD is remarkable to say the least. While regulatory bodies try and figure it all out and the bad players get weeded out, hopefully this guide can help you find the right CBD product for you.

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

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

1 In 5 People In Conflict Zones Is Mentally Ill

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — About 22% of people who live in conflict areas suffer from mental health problems, a new study review finds.

Common problems include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, according to the World Health Organization. About 9% have a moderate to severe mental health condition.

These conclusions are based on a review of 129 previously published studies. The numbers are significantly higher than the global estimate of 1 in 14 in the general population.

Researchers said earlier studies underestimated how living in war zones and other conflict areas affects mental health. They found that depression and anxiety increased with age, and said depression was more common in women than men.

Mild mental health conditions were the most common (13%). An estimated 4% of conditions were moderate, and 5% were severe.

The report was published June 11 in the journal The Lancet.

“I am confident that our study provides the most accurate estimates available today of the prevalence of mental health conditions in areas of conflict,” lead author Fiona Charlson said in a journal news release. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Washington in Seattle.

Conflict areas today include Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

In 2016, the number of wars was at a historic high — with 53 ongoing conflicts in 37 countries and 12% of the world’s population living in an active conflict zone, the study found. Almost 69 million people worldwide have been displaced by violence and conflict, the most since World War II.

Researchers said the complexity of collecting data in conflict areas may result in faulty estimates. Cultural differences in how conditions are diagnosed may also affect the findings, they added.

Cristiane Duarte, a professor of child psychology at Columbia University in New York City, wrote an accompanying editorial that called for greater attention to mental health in conflict zones.

“Notwithstanding its limitations, current estimates warrant greater investment in prevention and treatment of mental disorders in conflict-affected populations,” she wrote.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE:The Lancet, news release,  June 11, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Bones Help Black People Keep Facial Aging at Bay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Why do so many black adults continue to look youthful as they age?

A new study says it’s in their bones.

Researchers found that the facial bones of black adults retain a higher mineral content than those other races, which makes their faces less likely to reflect their advancing years.

The new study is the first to document how facial bones change as black adults age, and may help guide plastic surgeons’ work.

“It is important for plastic surgeons to understand how the facial aging process differs among racial and ethnic groups to provide the best treatment,” said study author Dr. Boris Paskhover. He is an assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in Newark.

For the study, his team looked at medical records of 20 black adults from 1973 and 2017. The study patients had at least two face scans taken 10 years apart.

Although all of the faces changed over time, they showed only minor changes, compared to similar studies on the aging white population.

“This finding reflects other studies that show black adults have higher bone mineral density, decreased rates of bone loss and lower rates of osteoporosis as compared to the general population,” Paskhover said in a university news release.

Facial aging results from a combination of changes to the skin, muscle, fat and bones.

As people age, the loss of mineral density causes bone loss. Bone loss can affect the shape of the nose, lower jowl area, cheekbones, and middle and lower areas of the eye sockets, the researchers explained.

“As bones change, they affect the soft tissue around them, resulting in perceived decreases in facial volume,” Paskhover said. “Treatment should consider the underlying bone structure.”

The report was published online recently in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: Rutgers University, news release, June 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Expert Panel Backs PrEP for People at High HIV Risk

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A daily pill that can block transmission of HIV should be prescribed to people at high risk of infection with the AIDS-causing virus, according to a highly influential panel of experts.

The treatment — called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) — has proven highly effective at preventing HIV spread in clinical trials, an evidence review by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has concluded.

The task force gave PrEP its highest-level recommendation, a grade A, which means that the potential benefit of the treatment is substantial and backed by strong medical evidence.

Best known as the two-drug combo pill Truvada (emtricitabinetenofovir), the medication prevents HIV from establishing a permanent infection in people exposed through sex or injection drug use, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Even though HIV is not in the media as much as it used to be, it’s still a major public health problem in the U.S., with almost 40,000 people getting HIV every year,” USPSTF Chairman Dr. Doug Owens said. “These are quite effective interventions that can help reduce new HIV infection.”

An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and more than 700,000 have died of AIDS since the first cases were reported in 1981, the task force said.

The grade A recommendation should help expand insurance coverage of the pricy medication and get it into the hands of people who need it, experts said.

The USPSTF regularly issues evidence-based guidance on preventive health practices, and the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) obliges insurance companies to cover preventive measures that receive strong task force recommendations.

“We have seen firsthand at our clinics how the scale up of PrEP can dramatically decrease the rates of new HIV infection, and improve the quality of life for those individuals who have access to this intervention,” said Dr. Antonio Urbina. He is an associate professor of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Continued

“Besides near-perfect protection against HIV, PrEP is a good gateway for young adults to access preventive and primary care services,” Urbina added.

With the task force’s “bold” recommendation, “the elusive goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the U.S. now seems possible,” Urbina said.

But obstacles remain. The only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for PrEP, Truvada, currently costs $ 20,000 a year, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“The real challenge with PrEP isn’t how good it works once you take it,” Walensky said. “We know it’s over 90% effective in people who are taking the drug.”

Instead, people who should be taking PrEP face a number of barriers, not the least of which is its cost, she said.

“The challenge with PrEP’s value in HIV prevention is the number of people who walk in the door and get it, the number of prescribers who are willing and able and knowledgeable to give it, and the ability of people willing to take it reliably once they’re prescribed it,” Walensky said.

The task force emphasized that PrEP is not for everyone. Groups at high risk of HIV infection who should be on PrEP include:

  • Men who have sex with other men and are in a relationship with an HIV-positive person; who use condoms inconsistently; or who have had a sexually transmitted disease within the past six months.
  • Heterosexual women or men whose sex partner is HIV-positive; who use condoms inconsistently with a partner whose HIV status is unknown; or who have contracted syphilis or gonorrhea within the past six months.
  • People who inject drugs and regularly share needles.

PrEP prescriptions are most often written in the Northeast and the West, “but we also know the epidemic is in the South,” Walensky said.

Southern states are least likely to have expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, preventing insurance access to many, and people at high HIV risk in the South also face social stigma in seeking out PrEP, she added.

“This is a really bold and wonderful step forward that needs to be applauded, but I also don’t at all think we can let down any sort of guard to say this is going to be the answer,” Walensky said. “It probably doesn’t do all of the heavy lifting for the patients who need it most.”

The task force recommendation was published online June 11 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Doug Owens, M.D., M.S., chairman, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; Antonio Urbina, M.D., associate professor of infectious diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Rochelle Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., infectious disease specialist and co-director, Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston;  June 11, 2019,Journal of the American Medical Association, online

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(”); });

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WebMD Health

Bones Help Black People Keep Facial Aging at Bay

TUESDAY, June 11, 2019 — Why do so many black adults continue to look youthful as they age?

A new study says it’s in their bones.

Researchers found that the facial bones of black adults retain a higher mineral content than those other races, which makes their faces less likely to reflect their advancing years.

The new study is the first to document how facial bones change as black adults age, and may help guide plastic surgeons’ work.

“It is important for plastic surgeons to understand how the facial aging process differs among racial and ethnic groups to provide the best treatment,” said study author Dr. Boris Paskhover. He is an assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in Newark.

For the study, his team looked at medical records of 20 black adults from 1973 and 2017. The study patients had at least two face scans taken 10 years apart.

Although all of the faces changed over time, they showed only minor changes, compared to similar studies on the aging white population.

“This finding reflects other studies that show black adults have higher bone mineral density, decreased rates of bone loss and lower rates of osteoporosis as compared to the general population,” Paskhover said in a university news release.

Facial aging results from a combination of changes to the skin, muscle, fat and bones.

As people age, the loss of mineral density causes bone loss. Bone loss can affect the shape of the nose, lower jowl area, cheekbones, and middle and lower areas of the eye sockets, the researchers explained.

“As bones change, they affect the soft tissue around them, resulting in perceived decreases in facial volume,” Paskhover said. “Treatment should consider the underlying bone structure.”

The report was published online recently in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

More information

Harvard Medical School has more about facial aging.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Can People in Heart Failure Safely Reduce Diuretics?

By EJ Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Heart failure is a common ailment afflicting older Americans, and many take drugs called diuretics to rid the body of excess fluid buildup that can impede breathing.

Now, a team of Brazilian researchers say that, in some cases, it’s safe for patients with stable heart failure to stop taking diuretic drugs.

“Patients don’t like using diuretics because they feel they have to stay at home to use the bathroom and they get cramps,” noted study principal investigator Dr. Luis Rohde, of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

“Patients would welcome being able to stop this medication,” he said, and the new study suggests it can often be done safely.

One U.S. expert who reviewed the new findings stressed that diuretics are key to heart failure care.

Congestive heart failure is one of the most common chronic ailments in the United States, characterized primarily by volume (fluid) overload,” explained Dr. Mohammed Imam. In heart failure, a damaged or weakened heart fails to pump blood as efficiently as it should.

“The mainstay of treatment for decades have been diuretics,” said Imam, who directs cardiothoracic surgery at The Heart Institute at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. Diuretics help patients with heart failure reduce excess fluids that can cause shortness of breath, swollen legs, coughing and weight gain.

However, the Brazilian team noted that prior studies have also found long-term diuretic use to be linked with worse patient outcomes.

So, can diuretic use be safely reduced? To find out, Rohde’s team tracked outcomes for 188 outpatients in Brazil with stable chronic heart failure who were taking the diuretic furosemide.

The patients were randomly selected to either keep taking the drug (the “maintenance” group) or to start taking an inactive placebo instead (the “withdrawal” group). The patients did not know if they were still taking furosemide or not.

Over the next 90 days, there was no difference between the two groups in patient-reported shortness of breath, the team reported.

Continued

Also, 72 patients (75%) in the withdrawal group and 78 patients (84%) in the maintenance group did not require furosemide reuse during the 90-day follow-up, the study authors said. The findings were reported this week at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, in Athens, Greece.

“Heart failure patients have many pills to take for their heart failure and for [other illnesses], such as diabetes and hypertension,” Rohde said in a society news release. “Withdrawing one drug when it is no longer necessary should make it easier to take the ones that are needed,” he added.

According to study senior author Andreia Biolo, “The results show that patients with stable heart failure who stop diuretics do not have more (shortness of breath) than those who continue taking the drug.” Biolo is also with the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

“Withdrawal also does not lead to increased reuse of diuretics — [only] around 20% of patients in both groups needed a top-up, presumably for symptom relief,” Biolo noted in the news release.

Overall, the study also found that “patients can be followed-up in the usual way,” she said. “And, as we do now, patients should be educated to seek medical help if they become breathless, get edema [swelling], or have sudden weight gain, which indicates fluid retention.”

But Imam wasn’t convinced that diuretics can be eliminated so easily.

In his experience, “even if patients miss diuretics for a few doses, they get recurrent symptoms and feel better almost immediately on resuming them, even in patients with stable heart failure,” he said.

Imam believes the study “is a radical diversion from traditional thinking and most clinicians would … continue using diuretics to treat stable congestive heart failure.”

But another U.S. heart failure specialist was more encouraged by the Brazilian findings.

Dr. Marrick Kukin directs heart failure care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He agreed that “diuretic withdrawal in heart failure patients is an important goal.”

Kukin said, “If it can be done safely, patients are more comfortable (less urination), and there is less jeopardy to the kidney.”

Continued

But the new study involved a relatively small number of patients, so a larger trial may be needed to settle these questions. Findings presented at medical meetings are also considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

In the meantime, a more nuanced approach to diuretics may work best, Kukin believes.

“In my practice, with savvy patients who can recognize symptoms and take their weight daily, I empower them to make daily diuretic decisions,” he said.

While a long-term “fixed” dose of diuretics might not be necessary, the Brazilian trial did not give patients the flexibility “to make daily adjustments” to the dose of diuretic they might require, Kukin noted. For many heart failure patients, that may be the best course to take, he suggested.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Mohammed Imam, M.D., chair, cardiothoracic surgery, The Heart Institute, Staten Island University Hospital, New York City; Marrick L. Kukin, M.D., director, heart failure, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; European Society of Cardiology, news release, May 26, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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