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TV Binges, Video Games, Books and Sports Taking Toll on Sleep

SUNDAY, Nov. 10, 2019 — Nearly nine in 10 American adults lose sleep to binge watch TV, a new survey finds.

The more than 2,000 U.S. adults who took part in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) poll in September ranked sleep as their second-highest priority, with family being first.

But despite considering sleep important, 88% said they’d stayed up late to watch multiple episodes of a TV show or streaming series.

The rate was highest (95%) among 18- to 44-year-olds. Many also delay bedtime to play video games, read and watch sports, the survey revealed.

“It’s encouraging that Americans rank sleep as one of their highest priorities, but choosing to binge on entertainment at night instead of sleeping has serious ramifications,” AASM president Dr. Kelly Carden said in an academy news release.

Younger adults (aged 18 to 34) were more likely than those 35 and older to have stayed up late to play video games (72% versus 38%), and men were more likely to do so than women (59% versus 42%).

Two-thirds of respondents said they’d lost sleep to read. Women were more likely to do so than men (71% versus 61%), the survey found.

Nearly 60% of adults lost sleep to watch sports, including 75% of men and 45% of women. Adults between 25 and 54 years of age were more likely than those in other age groups to have stayed up late for overtime or extra innings (54% versus 51%).

That lost shut-eye can have serious consequences, Carden said.

“Sleep is essential to health, well-being and safety, and chronic insufficient sleep can lead to an increased risk of health problems, mood disorders and motor vehicle accidents,” she pointed out.

Losing sleep due to streaming, reading or playing video games can also lead to negative feelings. For example, 24% of respondents admitted feeling frustrated after delaying their bedtimes.

Feeling bad was most common for those in Generation Z (born in 1997 or later), who said that staying up late caused frustration (32%), worry (23%) and guilt (19%).

Such feelings can make it harder to drift off, especially if a person tries to make up for the lost sleep, according to the AASM.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points and a confidence level of 95%.

More information

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

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Stress of U.S. Politics Taking Mental, Physical Toll on Americans

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25, 2019 — U.S. politics has been incredibly divisive in recent years, and will likely only grow worse as President Donald Trump faces possible impeachment over the Ukrainian scandal.

So it’s no wonder the stress of ugly national politics has started to affect the emotional and physical health of some citizens, as a new study suggests.

Nearly two out of every five Americans say politics is stressing them out, and one in five are sleepless or have had friendships damaged over politics, the researchers found.

“A surprisingly large number of American adults perceive their engagement in politics as having negative effects on their social, emotional and even physical health,” said lead researcher Kevin Smith, chair of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House of Representatives will begin impeachment inquiries, accusing Trump of a “betrayal of his oath of office” in asking Ukraine’s newly elected president to investigate a Democratic rival for the U.S. presidency.

Things only intensified Wednesday when the Trump administration released a memorandum of his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump pressed his counterpart for an investigation of presidential candidate Joe Biden and offered U.S. assistance for such a probe.

The new survey of 800 people nationwide, conducted prior to these latest revelations, indicated that politics are creating a burgeoning public health crisis in the United States, Smith said.

Many report politics stresses them out in several ways

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • More than one in 10 people felt politics had adversely affected their physical health.
  • Nearly one-third said they’d been driven crazy by media outlets that promote views contrary to their personal beliefs.
  • Three in 10 Americans said they’d lost their temper over politics.
  • A quarter of people said that politics has led them to hate some people, and to think seriously about moving away from their community.
  • About 22% said they care too much about who wins and who loses.
  • About 15% said they wish they would have restrained themselves more in political conversations or have posted things online that they later regretted.

These results mirror a 2017 “Stress in America” survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), said Lynn Bufka, the APA’s associate executive director for practice, research and policy.

In that earlier study, she said, two-thirds of Americans said the future of the nation is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, even more so than usual stressors like money or work. More than half said they consider this the lowest point in U.S. history they can remember.

Political stress appears to be taking a greater toll on people from the left side of the political spectrum, potentially tied to the controversial 2016 election cycle and Trump’s confrontational style of governing, Smith said.

However, it is possible that this politically driven stress has been around since before Trump, but no one asked the question, Smith and Bufka said.

“We don’t know what people would have reported with previous presidents,” Bufka said, noting that other researchers have cited former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama as “very polarizing presidents themselves.”

“It could be there has been a fair amount of polarization and stress associated with politics that’s been increasing over the past decades, but it’s hard to say,” Bufka said.

Political concerns coming up in therapy sessions

Dr. Michelle Riba, a past president of the American Psychiatric Association, said that anecdotally at least it appears people are coming to therapy more often with political concerns on their mind.

Prior to the Trump administration, patients troubled by current events usually wanted to talk about recent tragic events like the 9/11 attacks or the Columbine shootings, said Riba, a professor of psychology with the University of Michigan.

Now, people tend to bring the day’s political concerns to their therapist’s couch.

“It depends on what’s going on that day, but people are bringing in some of the issues into sessions more than I can remember in a long time,” Riba said.

What can be done? One option is disengaging yourself from politics, but Smith is reluctant to endorse that.

“The people who seem to be least affected by this are the people who are not politically interested or engaged,” Smith said. “As a political scientist, it runs against my grain to even hint that people should back off from civic engagement.”

But a bit of civility might help reduce stress levels related to politics, Smith offered.

“If people were willing to engage in political disagreements a little more civilly, be a little less quick to attribute malevolent intent to people who have different political views from you, I think that would certainly cool the temperature a bit,” Smith said.

Ways to counter stress of highly charged political climates

People driven to distraction by politics can undertake some proven methods of stress relief like exercise, eating right, getting good sleep, and enjoying time with family and friends, Riba suggested.

And if it all gets to be too much, it is OK to take a break from the constant news feed, Bufka added.

“It’s important for individuals to give themselves an opportunity to take a break from social media and the news, from where they’re getting information that they find stressful,” Bufka said. “We live in an era where you can get information all the time, so you have to be fairly intentional to give yourself a space to get away from that.”

In any case, people feeling stressed by politics should absolutely take steps to lower their anxiety, Bufka said.

“Ignoring it is not going to make it better, so being more active and thoughtful about how to manage what is causing us stress will lead us to better health in the long term,” Bufka said.

The new study was published Sept. 25 in the journal PLOS ONE.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about coping with stress.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Planting and Taking Care of Cannabis Seeds – A Short Guide

We all love cannabis, right?

Most of us who live in legal areas smoke marijuana regularly. But how many of us have ever wondered about how these sweet, heart-melting green fluffs of heaven are made?

It is quite easy to take the marijuana bud, crush it, grind it, and smoke it. But if you go behind the scenes and try to find out how much goes into growing a healthy cannabis plant, you will be surprised.

Don’t worry!

We aren’t here to write long paragraphs and bore you!

We are just going to tell you a little about how to grow marijuana yourself at home. It’s not rocket science, but you should have basic knowledge before you jump into it and start the journey yourself.

So where should you start?

First!

You need marijuana seeds. Getting high-quality seeds is easy if you know where to look. Make sure you don’t buy seeds from dodgy people around your neighborhood.

There are so many different marijuana seed banks that ship to the USA. Just order whichever strain you like from them, and they will make sure it gets delivered safely to your doorstep.

Easy, yeah?

So now that you have cannabis seeds, you will need to germinate them. Generally, the germination process can take two days for marijuana seeds.

But how would you know that the seed is germinating?

Basically, you notice that small sprouting happens through your cannabis seeds. Once these sproutings are between ½ and ¾ inch in size, you can consider it as germination phase end.

The newborn sprout should be white in color. Make sure you handle it with care and transfer it into a growing medium.

You find growing mediums online if you want or you can use a mixture of sterile soil and compost. Another great sprouting medium is a rooting cube. These are usually made out Rockwool and are great as they hold both water and air inside it.

Still with us? Don’t worry! It will be worth it. READ ON.

Keep this medium moist at all times as your cannabis seed loves a moist environment.

Now it will time to plant these seeds inside the soil. Make sure that the soil is fluffy and airy. We don’t want a huge rock-solid lump of soil.

Without touching the sprouts with bare hands, take them, and gently put them in the soil. You can use sterilized tweezers to do the transferring.

Make sure you don’t keep the germinated seed in the open air for too long, do this step quickly and carefully.

Pre-digging smalls holes in your soil will help you place the seeds directly into it.

Pretty easy stuff, huh?

Cover these seeds with a layer of soil no more than ¼ inch. Anything more and the sprout may struggle to come out the soil. We need a very bare minimum layer of soil on the seed.

Now you need to wait and keep an eye on the soil. It should not get dry, keep spraying water very lightly and keep it moist.

This is the delicate part!

Shortage of moisture will make the seed die, and too much of moisture will drown it. Make sure it all in balance.

Light watering once or twice a day is generally enough, but this will change depending upon your environmental conditions.

The small marijuana seedlings don’t like sunlight, so make sure you don’t give them direct sunlight. Although, you can place them in a cool light and warm atmosphere.

When the seedlings start to grow and change into a small plant, we would call it vegetation plant phase.

In the vegetation phase, you would need specific lighting conditions, nutrition input, and environment. We would not bore you will all the details right now, but after the vegetation stage, you plant will beout of danger zone.

A little bit of caring will make the plant grow vigorously and go into flowering stages and give you those awesome cannabis buds at the end.

See, didn’t we tell you? It’s not rocket science! XD

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

FDA Warns of Problems for Some Taking Hep C Drugs

By Robert Preidt        
       HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Taking the hepatitis C drugs Mavyret, Zepatier or Vosevi can trigger rare cases of severe liver problems or liver failure in patients who already have moderate-to-severe liver impairment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday.

The agency has identified 63 cases of worsening liver function, some resulting in liver failure or death, among patients taking the drugs.

While the medicines are safe and effective in patients with no or mild liver impairment, the same cannot be said for those with moderate-to-severe liver impairment, the FDA said.

“Hepatitis C virus remains a significant public health issue, but effective therapeutic options have helped patients to receive important curative treatments,” said Dr. Debra Birnkrant, director of the FDA’s Division of Antiviral Products at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Chronic hepatitis C, or HCV, is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to serious liver problems if left untreated. Hepatitis C medicines reduce the amount of HCV in the body by preventing it from multiplying and eventually curing a patient of HCV,” Birnkrant explained in an agency news release.

Health care providers should continue to prescribe Mavyret, Zepatier or Vosevi as indicated, but should not give these medicines to patients with signs and symptoms of worsening liver function, the agency advised.

Dr. David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y., noted that these medications “are safe and effective when properly prescribed.”

Bernstein said that “most hepatitis C patients do not have impaired liver function, so these therapies should be safe.”

And he added that other hepatitis drugs such as Harvoni and Epclusa are safe for patients with impaired liver function because they do not contain the agent that can threaten liver function.

Patients should not stop taking these medicines without first talking to a health care professional, and those with liver disease should talk with a health care professional about the benefits and risks of the medicines, the FDA said.

In many of the 63 cases, liver failure occurred in patients who should not have been prescribed these medicines, according to the FDA news release.

In some cases, patients had no cirrhosis (liver scarring) or cirrhosis with mild liver impairment, but did have indications of advanced liver disease or risk factors for liver impairment. In most of the patients, symptoms improved after they stopped taking the potent medicines.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: David Bernstein, M.D., chief, hepatology, Northwell Health, Manhasset, N.Y.; U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, Aug. 28, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Does Taking Screens Away Help Sleep-Deprived Teens?

MONDAY, May 27, 2019 — Cutting teens’ evening screen time can improve their sleep in just one week, a new study finds.

Research shows that exposure to too much light in the evening — particularly blue light from smartphones, tablets and computers — can affect the brain’s clock and production of the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in reduced sleep time and quality.

It’s believed to be a bigger problem among kids and teens than among adults. This study by researchers in the Netherlands zeroed in on how screen time affects teens’ sleep.

On average, teens who spent more than four hours a day looking at a screen took 30 minutes longer to fall asleep, woke up 30 minutes later and had more signs of sleep loss, including moodiness, fatigue and poor concentration, than teens with less than an hour a day of screen time, the study found.

Researchers then assessed how blocking blue light with glasses and forbidding screen time during the evening affected sleep patterns of 25 frequent screen users.

After just one week, the teens had fewer signs of sleep loss — and they were falling asleep and waking up 20 minutes sooner.

“Here we show very simply that these sleep complaints can be easily reversed by minimizing evening screen use or exposure to blue light,” study author Dirk Jan Stenvers said in a society news release. “Based on our data, it is likely that adolescent sleep complaints and delayed sleep onset are at least partly mediated by blue light from screens.”

He’s a clinical fellow in the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Amsterdam UMC, a medical and research center.

The next step is to determine whether reducing screen time improves sleep over the long term, and whether adults get the same benefits.

“Sleep disturbances start with minor symptoms of tiredness and poor concentration but in the long-term we know that sleep loss is associated with increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” Stenvers said. “If we can introduce simple measures now to tackle this issue, we can avoid greater health problems in years to come.”

The study was presented May 19 at the European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting in Lyon, France. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more on teens and sleep.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

FDA: Don’t Suddenly Stop Taking Your Rx Opioid

By EJ Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Because of the danger of “serious harm” to patients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising doctors not to suddenly stop patients from taking opioid painkillers, or drastically lower the dose.

In a statement released Tuesday, the agency said it is adding a warning about sudden discontinuation of use to the prescribing information of opioid painkillers such as OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone), morphine and other drugs.

“Rapid discontinuation can result in uncontrolled pain or withdrawal symptoms,” the agency explained. “In turn, these symptoms can lead patients to seek other sources of opioid pain medicines, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse. Patients may attempt to treat their pain or withdrawal symptoms with illicit opioids, such as heroin, and other substances.”

The new guideline is meant to help doctors allow patients who no longer require an opioid to safely wean themselves off the drug — cutting their risk for withdrawal symptoms.

The United States is currently in the grip of an epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction. According to 2017 statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 1.7 million people in the United States are thought to have opioid use disorder and more than 47,000 died from an opioid overdose.

But simply cutting a patient off from his or her prescription opioid may not be helpful, the FDA warned doctors.

Instead, “create a patient-specific plan to gradually taper the dose of the opioid and ensure ongoing monitoring and support, as needed, to avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, worsening of the patient’s pain, or psychological distress,” the agency advised.

And for patients, you “should not suddenly stop taking your medicine without first discussing with your health care professional a plan for how to slowly decrease the dose of the opioid and continue to manage your pain,” the FDA said. If pain, withdrawal symptoms or mood changes still occur, reach out to your doctor for help.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, statement, April 9, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Why cannabis users could benefit from taking CBD

We hear a lot about the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), the most valuable non-psychoactive component of cannabis. However, these mostly concern how the cannabinoid can be used to treat various medical ailments, such as epilepsy, chronic pain and inflammation. People also take wholesale CBD products for endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulation, which is key to managing bone health, mood, the body’s sleep-wake cycle and more.

But less focussed on is the possible benefits that CBD can have for recreational cannabis users, during and after their experience. Considering the recently discovered complexity of the marijuana plant, and the significant changes in its compound profile over recent decades, this is certainly an issue that warrants attention.

How cannabis has changed

The identification of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD cannabinoids has paved the way for all of the major discoveries that have been made in cannabis science. Knowing that THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects has helped the recreational industry to flourish, and also for researchers to look into non-psychoactive products concentrated around CBD.

Today’s recreational strains are subsequently much more potent than their predecessors – this is achieved by cultivating the plant to bolster its THC content, which has been done several times over. Furthermore, levels of non-intoxicating CBD have been reduced. This means that the ratio between THC to CBD has never been higher, which allows recreational users to enjoy the strongest cannabis possible. For some, THC can exacerbate anxiety and paranoia, because of its psychoactive effects, which temporarily alter a person’s reality. In these cases, a dose of calming and anxiolytic CBD can be the perfect tonic.

But crucially, what is not fully understood is the long-term effects of disrupting the chemical composition of cannabis in this way. Humans have a relationship with marijuana that dates back thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of years, but never before have people been taking in such large amounts of THC.

We know that cannabinoids complement each other from the studies on the ‘entourage effect’, which look at the synergistic interactions between the chemicals in cannabis. But what ramifications could there be of regularly using strains that are heavily slanted toward THC?

The risks of too much THC

In 1998, a study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience which revealed the neurotoxic effects that THC can have on the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for formation and consolidation of both short and long-term memory. Cannabis critics often point towards the link between heavy consumption of marijuana and memory loss, and it is apparent that THC can cause shrinkage in the hippocampus.

Whether this was an issue with natural, less potent strains of cannabis is less clear. But since there is also evidence that certain non-psychoactive cannabinoids have an opposite, neuroprotective reaction to THC on the hippocampus, there is an argument that it was not. The hippocampal regrowth that can be spurred on by the likes of CBD and cannabichromene (CBC) is of interest to those studying neurodegenerative disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease in particular. In those cases, a treatment that just consists of neuroprotective cannabinoids and no THC may yield the best results for the patients.

Exploring CBD’s protective effect on the brain

Interestingly, long-term cannabis users may also benefit from CBD-facilitated hippocampal neurogenesis, according to a 2018 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

The research found that CBD can have a “restorative effect” on various hippocampal subfields, producing particularly good results for those who have had a “greater lifetime exposure to cannabis.” Patients were treated with 200mg per day for 10 weeks, bringing their total intake to 14,000mg, all of which was taken orally.

This study is certainly intriguing, and shows that CBD may reverse memory loss problems caused by chronic cannabis use, and perhaps even help those suffering from depression. But the researchers also pointed out that this was the first study of its kind, and that a much larger investigation would be needed to validate their findings. Moreover, it may be possible to refine the treatment plan to provide even better effects for patients.

Final thoughts

As a safe and non-addictive cannabinoid, people can feel confident about experimenting with CBD for various issues, and this applies to those who feel they have been adversely affected by long-term consumption of high-strength cannabis. While CBD should not yet be considered a medicine for this problem, the cognitive benefits that the likes of CBD oil wholesale can have makes it worth taking as a supplement.

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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

Greek minister caught taking a puff tells EU official to butt out

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s deputy health minister has told the European Union’s top health official to butt out after getting a reprimand for smoking in public.

FILE PHOTO: Greek Deputy Health Minister Pavlos Polakis (L) and Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Terens Quick arrive for a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, Greece July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo

Deputy minister Pavlos Polakis was caught on video footage this week holding a cigarette while dancing in a club. He had also been photographed smoking at a news conference in 2016.

It drew a rebuke from EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who was in Athens to mark World Cancer Day.

Andriukaitis said the practice was “shameful”.

Polakis, who is also a surgeon, said he was dealing with more pressing issues at the ministry than smoking. “Learn before you speak,” Polakis wrote on his Facebook account in a post addressed to Andriukaitis.

“I’ll decide when to stop smoking, on my terms,” Polakis said.

Greece has the highest smoking rate in the European Union. It bans smoking in indoor public spaces, such as the nightclub where Polakis danced as red napkins fluttered around him.

The EU official, who was questioned by a daily newspaper frequently critical of the outspoken minister, also complained the health ministry smelt of cigarettes and that nobody wore ties.

“That’s a lie … the security guard at the entrance wore one. I don’t. It’s the suits which passed through here who bankrupted our country,” Polakis said.

His boss, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, also eschews ties. He briefly wore one last year after brokering an agreement with the country’s lenders on debt relief for the nation, which required three bailouts between 2010 and 2015.

Greece emerged from the bailout in August.

Reporting By Michele Kambas, Editing by William Maclean

Reuters: Oddly Enough

AHA: Taking Medicine for a Cold? Be Mindful of Your Heart