How weed destroys teenagers’ minds: The earlier you try marijuana, the lower your IQ, study claims

first_imgDailyMail 7 October 2016Family First Comment: More evidence of the harmYoung teenagers who try marijuana dramatically lower their IQ and raise their risk of developing brain dysfunction, depression, and bipolar disorder, a new study claims.The younger the brain, the weaker it is as it grows and strengthens, scientists at Canada’s Western University warn.And their research shows marijuana can have a devastating affect on that development process.According to the study, published today, cannabis severely impaired teens’ visuo-spatial processing, memory, self-referential activity and reward processing.The study found that early marijuana use was also associated with lower IQ scores.And the younger they started using the drug, the worse their impairment was.Marijuana also did nothing to alleviate symptoms of depression in teens – despite claims by pro-legalization groups that this is a key benefit.In fact, in some regions of the brain, depressive symptoms worsened.READ MORE: read more

‘Transgender’ definition may be erased in the US

first_imgThe Sydney Morning Herald 22 October 2018Family First Comment:  Shock Horror!! Trump’s administration wants to base gender on biology and science… “The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable”. The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.” No wonder the Left hate Trump so much!The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a US government-wide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and healthcare, recognising gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.Now the US Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable”. The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by the Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognise themselves – surgically or otherwise – as a gender other than the one they were born into.READ MORE: up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

African Migrant Crisis: Scores Die of Starvation, Thirst In Niger’s Desert

first_imgThousands of African migrants travelling through Niger’s vast desert to reach North Africa and Europe are said to be at risk. According to the International Organization for Migration, a number of them may be dying of hunger and thirst in the Sahara during the crossing. The EU recently approved tough laws to stem the migrant crisis, but migrants continue to attempt dangerous and illegal crossingslast_img

Tunisian engineer invents new way to harness wind energy

first_imgA Tunisian engineer has invented a breakthrough method in the field of generating wind energy.Thirty-seven-year old Anis Aouni has spent over two years creating new ways of harnessing wind power, resulting in the creation of a bladeless wind converter known as ”Saphonian” or the ”Zero-blade Wind Converter.”last_img

British scientists make major Alzheimer’s breakthrough

first_img Share 28 Views   no discussions Tweet HealthLifestyle British scientists make major Alzheimer’s breakthrough by: – October 16, 2013 LONDON, England, Wednesday October 16, 2013 – A new British study has been lauded as a turning point in the search for a drug that could stop Alzheimer’s disease, following the pioneering use of a drug-like compound to halt brain cell death in mice.Published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the study was conducted at the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester and is thought to provide a major new pathway for future drug treatments.The drug-like compound blocks a faulty signal in brains affected by neurodegenerative diseases that shuts down the production of essential protective proteins, resulting in the gradual death of brain cells.Researchers tested the compound in mice with prion disease – the closest animal model of human neurodegenerative disorders – but said they were confident the same principles would apply in a human brain with diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.In brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the production of new proteins in the brain is halted by an accumulation of amyloids or “misfolded proteins.” This leads to an over-activation of a natural defence mechanism that stops essential proteins being produced. In the absence of these protective proteins, brain cells die, resulting in diseases like Alzheimer’s.In the study, the compound inhibited an enzyme, known as PERK, which plays a key role in activating this defence mechanism. In mice with prion’s disease, it restored proteins to protect brain cells, restoring some normal behaviours, arresting memory loss and “stopping the disease in its tracks.”“It’s a real step forward,” team leader Professor Giovanna Mallucci told Britain’s Independent newspaper. “It’s the first time a substance has been given to mice that prevents brain disease. The fact that this is a compound that can be given orally, that gets into the brain and prevents brain disease, is a first in itself… We can go forward and develop better molecules and I can’t see why preventing this process should only be restricted to mice. I think this probably will translate into other mammalian brains.”While the compound produced side effects in mice, including weight loss and mild diabetes, Mallucci said it would “not be impossible” to develop a drug that protected the brain without the side effects and that work towards doing so had been promising.The landmark study received an enthusiastic reception from scientists, who nonetheless cautioned that it remained a significant proof of principle and a possible basis for new treatments, rather than a guarantee of an Alzheimer’s cure in the near future. BBC Newscenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Sharelast_img read more

‘Sticky balls’ may stop cancer spreading

first_imgHealthLifestyle ‘Sticky balls’ may stop cancer spreading by: – January 7, 2014 Share Sharing is caring! Breast cancers can spread to other tissues in the bodyCancer-killing “sticky balls” can destroy tumour cells in the blood and may prevent cancers spreading, early research suggests.The most dangerous and deadly stage of a tumour is when it spreads around the body.Scientists at Cornell University, in the US, have designed nanoparticles that stay in the bloodstream and kill migrating cancer cells on contact.They said the impact was “dramatic” but there was “a lot more work to be done”.One of the biggest factors in life expectancy after being diagnosed with cancer is whether the tumour has spread to become a metastatic cancer.“About 90% of cancer deaths are related to metastases,” said lead researcher Prof Michael King.On the trailThe team at Cornell devised a new way of tackling the problem.They attached a cancer-killing protein called Trail, which has already been used in cancer trials, and other sticky proteins to tiny spheres or nanoparticles.When these sticky spheres were injected into the blood, they latched on to white blood cells.Tests showed that in the rough and tumble of the bloodstream, the white blood cells would bump into any tumour cells which had broken off the main tumour and were trying to spread.The report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed the resulting contact with the Trail protein then triggered the death of the tumour cells.Prof King told the BBC: “The data shows a dramatic effect: it’s not a slight change in the number of cancer cells.“The results are quite remarkable actually, in human blood and in mice. After two hours of blood flow, they [the tumour cells] have literally disintegrated.”He believes the nanoparticles could be used used before surgery or radiotherapy, which can result in tumour cells being shed from the main tumour.It could also be used in patients with very aggressive tumours to prevent them spreading.However, much more safety testing in mice and larger animals will be needed before any attempt at a human trial is made.So far the evidence suggests the system has no knock-on effect for the immune system and does not damage other blood cells or the lining of blood vessels.But Prof King cautioned: “There’s a lot of work to be done. Various breakthroughs are needed before this could be a benefit to patients.”By James GallagherBBC News Sharecenter_img Tweet 21 Views   no discussions Sharelast_img read more

Red wine health benefits ‘overhyped’

first_img Tweet Sharing is caring! Share Share Sharecenter_img HealthLifestyle Red wine health benefits ‘overhyped’ by: – May 13, 2014 33 Views   no discussions red wineRed wine contains resveratrol, but the amount varies with grape varietyRed wine may not be as good for you as hoped, say scientists who have studied the drink’s ingredient that is purported to confer good health.The team tracked the health of nearly 800 villagers from the Chianti region of Italy to see if their local tipple had any discernable impact.They found no proof that the wine ingredient resveratrol stops heart disease or prolongs life.Experts say more research is needed to get a definitive answer.The British Heart Foundation is carrying out its own resveratrol study.French ParadoxMany studies have sought to explain why there is a low incidence of heart disease in France, despite many of its inhabitants eating a high-fat diet.Some put it down to moderate drinking of red wine.Studies have shown that consumption of red wine, dark chocolate and berries reduces inflammation, leading researchers to speculate that their common ingredient, resveratrol, explains why.But Prof Richard Semba, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues found no evidence for this.They chose two small towns in Tuscany as their test ground, and 783 elderly people who were living there agreed to take part in their investigation.The volunteers gave details about their daily diets as well as urine samples for measurement of their resveratrol intake.During the nine years of the study, 268 of the men and women died, 174 developed heart disease and 34 got cancer.But urinary resveratrol was not linked with death risk, heart disease risk or cancer risk.Nor was it associated with any markers of inflammation in the blood.Prof Semba said: “The thinking was that certain foods are good for you because they contain resveratrol. We didn’t find that at all.“The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn’t stand the test of time.”He says any benefits of drinking wine or eating dark chocolate or berries, if they are there, must come from other shared ingredients. And it’s not clear how much you might need to eat or drink.“These are complex foods, and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol.”Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The results of this study, while interesting, will not change the dietary advice we provide. People should continue to eat plenty of fruit, veg and wholegrains.“We recognise the need to learn more about the action of resveratrol though, so are funding research into its reported disease-combating properties and how it affects the heart and circulatory system.“This research is vital as it could form the basis of future medicines.”BBC Newslast_img read more

16 health screenings all women need

first_img Share Sharing is caring! HealthLifestyle 16 health screenings all women need by: – July 21, 2014 60 Views   no discussions You feel perfectly fine – and maybe you are.But that’s not always the case, hence why health screenings – physical exams, tests and procedures used to detect disease early – are so important. From mammograms to colonoscopies and Pap smears, U.S. News talked with the experts about 16 screenings all women need.Gynecological healthAll women need regular check-ups with their OB-GYN, starting at age 13 to 15, says Shannon Clark, an associate professor in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at University of Texas Medical Branch Hospitals.Frequency varies until age 21, when appointments – which cater to preventive health services – should become annual. “It’s very important that all women establish care with an OB-GYN and be routinely seen,” Clark says.History and physical exam“History changes for everyone,” says Mary Rosser, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Montefiore Medical Center. An annual reassessment “may flag risk factors early, before they cause harm or lead to serious or chronic medical conditions.” In addition to reviewing changes in family history, doctors should inquire about menstrual history, sexual practices and orientation, social habits, and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The other component – the physical exam – is an opportunity to assess blood pressure, weight and body mass index, Rosser says.Clinical breast examDuring this physical exam, a doctor will look at and feel your breasts and under your arms for lumps or anything that seems unusual. CBEs should begin at age 20 and be repeated every one to three years for women ages 20 to 39, and yearly beginning at age 40, Clark says. Self-checks, meanwhile, are easy to do at home – and you ought to check for lumps every month or so.MammogramMammograms are key to the prevention – and early detection – of breast cancer, Rosser says. This is a low-dose X-ray exam of the breasts, and beginning at age 40, women should undergo yearly mammograms. If you’re at high risk – with a family history of breast cancer, for example – your doctor may recommend earlier mammograms.STD screeningAll women need to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases once they become sexually active, Clark says. Those 25 and younger should receive yearly gonorrhea and chlamydia screenings; after that age, screening depends on risk factors or symptoms. Screening “consists of a cervical culture or urine test for gonorrhea and chlamydia, and a blood test for HIV,” Clark says.Colorectal cancerA colonoscopy can lead to the early detection and treatment of colon cancer, which is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S. The screening should start at age 13 to 18 for those with pancolitis or who have a history of familial adenomatous polyposis – a genetic condition that’s diagnosed when someone develops more than 100 adenomatous colon polyps. Women ages 19 to 49, meanwhile, should be screened if they’re high risk – which includes having inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease. In general, women should undergo a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50, or age 45 for African-Americans, who have increased incidence and earlier age of onset.DiabetesBeginning at age 45, women should be screened for diabetes every three years, Rosser says – and earlier if someone is at high risk with factors such as obesity or family history. The disease is “the leading cause of heart disease and on the rise in the U.S. due to the obesity epidemic,” Rosser says. “Early intervention is crucial.”Testing is typically done via a fasting plasma glucose test or hemoglobin A1C test.Lipid profile assessmentThis panel of blood tests will assess your risk of developing heart disease, plus measure your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Start at age 13 to 44 if you’re at high risk – for example, obese or have a genetic predisposition. Routine screening, repeated every five years, starts at age 45, Rosser says. “There are dietary changes which may reduce these levels,” she adds. “Medications are available if diet changes aren’t working.”Hepatitis B and CWomen at high risk need to think about these screenings beginning at ages 13 to 18, Clark says. Hepatitis B risk factors, for example, include injection drug users, those born in countries where the prevalence of infection is 2 percent or greater, and HIV-positive people. And risk of hepatitis C increases if you’ve been exposed to an infected needle, perhaps via tattoo; your birth mother had the disease; or you had a blood transfusion before 1992. Screening frequency depends on your doctor’s recommendations.Pap smearDuring a Pap smear, cells are scraped from the opening of the cervix to screen for cervical cancer.Though annual screening is common, theUnited States Preventive Services Task Force recommends a Pap smear every three years, starting at age 21 and ending at 65. “Any mild irregularities will prompt an HPV test to check for the high-risk strains of the HPV virus,” says Keri Peterson, an internist based in.HPVHuman papillomavirus, the most common STD in the U.S., causes cervical and other types of cancer. An HPV test – often done at the same time as a Pap smear – is recommended every five years for women ages 30 to 65. Since HPV is so common in women under 30, and experts say it often goes away on its own, the test typically isn’t recommended for this age group unless there’s an abnormal Pap test result.Pelvic organ prolapseAbout one-third of women are affected by prolapse or a similar condition over their lifetime, which means one or more of their pelvic organs – bladder, uterus, vagina, small bowel and rectum – stop working properly. Beginning at age 65, women should be screened yearly, Peterson says. Often, patients are aware there’s a problem – and notice a change in bladder or bowel habits – but aren’t sure what it traces back to.Bone densityWomen ages 65 and up should have a bone density scan every two years, Rosser says. And if you have risk factors for osteoporosis – such as an eating disorder or sedentary lifestyle – your doctor may recommend the test at a younger age. During a bone density scan, X-rays measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are in a segment of bone; these tests often center on the spine, hip and forearm.Thyroid-stimulating hormone testingThis blood test checks for thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. It should begin as recommended between ages 19 to 49 in high-risk women – such as those with an autoimmune disease or family history – and every five years starting at age 50, Clark says.Skin cancerVisit a dermatologist for a thorough skin exam every other year, Peterson says – or sooner if you notice any suspicious spots. “Once a month, check for any new or unusual spots,” she says. “Remember A-B-C-D-E: asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven color, diameter bigger than 6 millimeters and evolving shape and size.”Visual acuityYou know this test: It measures the smallest letters you can read on a standardized chart held 20 feet away.The American Optometric Association recommends eye exams at least once every two years, Peterson says – though annual exams are suggested for anyone with current vision problems. After the basic test, you’ll likely look at an eye chart through a variety of lenses, which will help your doctor determine your glasses or contact lens prescription.Healthyliving.msn.comcenter_img Share Share Tweetlast_img read more

Too much jogging is ‘unhealthy’

first_img Tweet National guidelines suggest exercising for 150 minutes a weekToo much jogging may be as bad for you as not putting on your running shoes at all, a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says.Scientists studied more than 1,000 healthy joggers and non-joggers over a 12-year period.Those who jogged at a steady pace for less than two and a half hours a week were least likely to die in this time.But those who ran more than four hours a week or did no exercise had the highest death rates.‘Upper limit’Analysing questionnaires filled out by all the people in the Danish study, scientists concluded the ideal pace was about 5mph (8km/h) and that it was best to jog no more than three times a week or for 2.5 hours in total.People who jogged more intensively – particularly those who jogged more than three times a week or at a pace of more than 7mph – were as likely to die as those who did no exercise.Researcher Jacob Louis Marott, from the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, said: “You don’t actually have to do that much to have a good impact on your health.“And perhaps you shouldn’t actually do too much.“No exercise recommendations across the globe mention an upper limit for safe exercise, but perhaps there is one.”Scientists are not yet sure what is behind this trend – but they say changes to the heart during extreme exercise could contribute.‘Brisk walking’In their report, they suggest: “Long-term strenuous endurance exercise may induce pathological structural remodelling of the heart and arteries.”Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study shows that you don’t have to run marathons to keep your heart healthy.“Light and moderate jogging was found to be more beneficial than being inactive or undertaking strenuous jogging, possibly adding years to your life.“National guidelines recommend we do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week.“It may sound like a lot, but even brisk walking is good exercise. And if you’re bit of a couch potato, this is a good place to start.” 199 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring!center_img Share Share HealthLifestyle Too much jogging is ‘unhealthy’ by: BBC News – February 3, 2015last_img read more

PAHO calls on the role of nurses in primary health care to be expanded

first_imgHealthInternationalLifestyleNewsPrintRegional PAHO calls on the role of nurses in primary health care to be expanded by: – May 11, 2018 Tweet Share 43 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img Share Sharing is caring! Washington, D.C., 10 May 2018 (PAHO/WHO) — Expanding the role of graduate, primary health care nurses will improve access to health care, particularly in areas with limited numbers of health care professionals, reveals a new report from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), launched in the run-up to International Nurses Day on 12 May.“If we are to meet the needs of an aging population and subsequent increase in the number of non-communicable diseases, we must expand the role of nurses, who make up the majority of the region’s health-care professionals,” said James Fitzgerald, Director of the Department of Health Systems and Services at PAHO.The report – Expanding the Role of Nurses in Primary Health Care – reveals that nurses can play a crucial role in expanding access to primary health care, and in particular, in health promotion, disease prevention and care, without leaving anyone behind.It is estimated that in the Americas region, around 800,000 additional health care professionals are required in order to meet current needs. The region also has an inadequate distribution of health care professionals, the majority of whom are concentrated primarily in urban areas with greater economic resources. In the United States, for example, there are 111.4 nurses for every 10,000 citizens, whereas in Haiti there are only 3.5. In half of the countries of the region, the average number of nurses per 10,000 citizens is 10.4 or fewer.The PAHO report emphasizes that the implementation of new roles, such as Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs), would enable a broader range of primary health care responsibilities to be carried out in vulnerable parts of cities and in remote areas. This would contribute to better promotion of health, disease prevention and a reduction in mortalities.In countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Finland, nurses with four and five-year university degrees already carry out a broader range of responsibilities that enable them to meet patient needs.The concept of APN’s or nurse practitioners (nurses authorized to make diagnoses, request examinations and issue prescriptions), began in Canada and the United States during the 1960s. These nurses practice as autonomous professionals, without supervision from a doctor, and can work within health care services or as independent practioners.In Latin America, there is still no regulation or training for APNs in primary health care, and issuing prescriptions, one of the central elements of this advanced practice, is still prohibited in many countries. Recently, however, Mexico passed a law to enable nurses to prescribe medication in the absence of a doctor, but only during an emergency.Jamaica and Puerto Rico are the Caribbean countries with most developed training programs, regulation and professional integration of APNs.The report also highlights Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru as countries with a high level of access to postgraduate nursing programs that could, in the future provide the training necessary for APNs.These highly-trained nurses, with Masters and PhD-level degrees, would be able to carry out advanced duties in primary health care, as well as other activities such as diagnosis and medical treatment, all within the framework of the nursing practice model: prevention, awareness, holistic and patient-centered.“Broadening the role of graduate nurses is not about substituting or replacing another professional, but about complementing other professionals while increasing efficiency, improving results and reducing cost,” said Silvia Cassiani, Advisor on Nursing and Allied Health Personnel at PAHO.The report offers nine recommendations for expanding the role of advanced practice nurses in the Americas, and suggests that governments, professional associations, nursing schools, health institutes and other interested organizations debate, implement and broaden the role of nurses in line with the needs and context of each individual country.last_img read more