Improve sleep quality and boost heart health: 7 Reasons to eat nutrient-rich cherries – NaturalNews.com

(Natural News)
You know how the saying goes: Big things can come in small packages. This is especially the case for an often-overlooked superfood: cherries. Each cherry you pop into your mouth is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that can provide a multitude of health benefits.

Cherries on top

Cherries come in different varieties, many of which can be found all over the US in local supermarkets or even on cherry trees themselves. Some of the common cherry types you can find include sweet cherries (Prunus avium) and sour cherries (P. cerasus). Regardless of your cherry preferences, eating either of these types can help you enjoy the benefits found below. (Related: Cherries a superfood? Research confirms this well-known fruit tackles cancer, insomnia, high blood pressure and gout.)

Rich in nutrients

Cherries are chock-full of important vitamins, minerals and fiber that all contribute to overall good health. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture, a cup (154 g) of raw pitted sweet cherries provides:

These nutrients provide their own health benefits. Vitamin C, in particular, plays an integral role in maintaining the proper function of the immune system and promotes skin health. The fiber in cherries is great for keeping the digestive system in tip-top shape by providing fuel for the beneficial gut bacteria and promoting bowel regularity. Further, a study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition states that potassium is a needed nutrient for nerve function, blood pressure regulation and muscle contraction.

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Promotes heart health

Eating nutrient-dense foods like cherries is a fantastic (and delicious) way to keep your heart healthy. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that fruits have a protective role against cardiovascular disease. Cherries, in particular, were found to have a beneficial role in improving myocardial infarction, or heart attack.

Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds

This high concentration of various plant compounds is largely responsible for the health benefits of cherries. The high antioxidant content can help fight off oxidative stress, which is linked to a variety of chronic diseases like cancer. In fact, a review published in Nutrients found that eating cherries not only reduced markers of oxidative stress, but also reduced systemic inflammation.

In addition, cherries are packed with polyphenols, which are plant chemicals that fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Research has shown that diets rich in polyphenols can protect you from a wide variety of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, mental decline and certain cancers.

Boosts exercise recovery

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in cherries can also help relieve exercise-induced muscle pain, muscle damage and inflammation. Tart cherries, in particular, were found to be more effective at this function than their sweet counterparts. Tart cherry juice can accelerate muscle recovery and prevent strength loss in elite athletes like cyclists and marathon runners.

Improves arthritis and gout symptoms

The anti-inflammatory properties of cherries are also beneficial for people with arthritis and gout, which is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid that leads to extreme swelling and pain in the joints. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that two servings of sweet cherries after an overnight fasting session lowered levels of inflammatory markers and significantly reduced uric acid levels only five hours after consumption.

Improves sleep quality

Cherries contain a substance called melatonin, which helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Having high levels of melatonin in the body can improve overall sleep quality. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that those who drank tart cherry juice concentrate for about seven days experienced significant increases in melatonin levels, sleep quality and sleep duration compared to those who drank a placebo.

Easy to add to your diet

Considering the size and taste of this fruit, cherries are surprisingly easy to integrate into your everyday diet. Not only can you enjoy them as a snack on their own, you can also add them as ingredients in recipes for pies, salads, baked goods and salsa. Also, the abundance of related products like dried cherries, cherry juice and even cherry powder only add to the versatility of this superfood.

With a wide array of health benefits, adding cherries to your diet is a great way to boost your overall health.

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This content was originally published here.

CA Gov. Newsom wants to fund health care for illegal immigrant seniors

Last year, California passed a law that will offer government-subsidized health benefits for undocumented immigrants under the age of 26. The expansion took effect New Year’s Day and will cost $98 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Now Governor Gavin Newsom indicates he wants to expand the plan to include illegal immigrant seniors.

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a $222 billion state budget Friday that he said represents a snapshot of his priorities for California, including boosting funding for homelessness programs, paying for health care for undocumented-immigrant seniors and closing a state prison.

He repeatedly portrayed those plans as a rebuke of a federal government that he said is increasingly unwilling to help the state tackle its most pressing problems, as well as of “a California derangement syndrome going on in the popular media — that somehow our best days are behind us, that somehow California’s not hitting on many cylinders.”

“I’m very proud to be a Californian,” Newsom said during a news conference at the state Capitol. “I’m proud of this state, and I’m proud of the budget that we are presenting today, because I am not naive about the areas where we’re falling short.”

I would argue that he is clearly naive. Inasmuch as homelessness is still at crisis levels, we are threatened with serious public health issues, and our state’s infrastructure is pitiful. Giving away free stuff to non-citizens actually makes all of these situations worse.

However, supporters of this proposal are excited about the possibility. Read their explanation of support, and see where you can find the flaw in their logic tree:

Supporters of the expansion say covering seniors is the logical — and less costly — next step toward universal healthcare coverage, a policy goal central to Newsom’s campaign platform. One of the largest groups of uninsured Californians is immigrants in the U.S. illegally, with an estimated 1.5 million adults eligible based on income but excluded because of their immigration status.

The administration estimated last year that expanding Medi-Cal to all income-eligible adults regardless of age or immigration status would cost $2.4 billion a year.

These immigrants are not “Californians,” but citizens of another country who are here illegally. The good news is that the rest of the nation doesn’t have to pay for this travesty because the Affordable Care Act prohibits the use of federal dollars for covering such immigrants.

Wiser analysis concludes that this move will speed the exodus from California by the middle class.

“The state has taken numerous steps over the years to accommodate people who are in the country illegally,” says Ira Mehlman from the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

He says the program will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

“In Sacramento they continue to make choices that will further discourage the middle-class from remaining in California and further encourage more people to come and settle illegally,” says Mehlman.

Perhaps when enough taxpayers leave the state, Newsom will realize that he was fixing the wrong problems.

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International dentistry program at USC marks a milestone

The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC is celebrating a milestone.

Nearly 50 years ago, seven Cuban refugees were among the first class of students who graduated from the school’s international dentistry program.

Originally called the USC Special Student Program and later the International Student Program, the Advanced Standing Program for International Dentists (ASPID) was created in 1967 in response to the Cuban refugee crisis of the late ’50s and early ’60s when members of the professional class fled the country after Fidel Castro came into power. The United States government put out a call to schools to take in doctors and dentists to train them to practice here.

USC’s ASPID was the first program of its kind in the nation.

USC international dentistry: Diversity among students

These days, dentists from all over the world attend USC to acquire the skills taught in the United States.

“It’s well known that the U.S. has a very advanced dental education system, and oral health providers are very well trained in all specialty areas,” said Yang Chai, associate dean of research and an ASPID graduate, who came to the U.S. from China. “It is quite useful to be trained through the American system by attending a program like ASPID at USC.”

ASPID is a two-year program that begins with an intensive summer introduction to American dentistry. Afterward, students — who must have already completed National Dental Board Examination Part I to be accepted into the program — join their third-year colleagues in the regular DDS program. Following eight months of fundamental, technical and academic procedures training, their focus turns toward clinical training, where they begin working with patients in USC’s oral health clinics and community service programs.

“We get trained with the DDS students,” said ASPID student Amrita Chakraborty, who is from India. “I think that is a huge advantage for us because we get to learn a lot about the culture.”

Chai said ASPID’s diversity is an added bonus.

We not only learned from the professors at USC, but we also learned from our classmates. That was a really fun part of the program.

Amrita Chakraborty

“It’s a group of individuals who bring their unique backgrounds into the program,” he said. “We not only learned from the professors at USC, but we also learned from our classmates. That was a really fun part of the program.”

Melika Haghighi said her favorite procedure so far is learning about digital dentures, but one ASPID class in particular made a special impact.

“Cultural sensitivity was an amazing course,” she said. “There were lectures that made me cry, and they emphasized the importance of understanding different cultures. USC provides an environment that makes everyone comfortable.”

From Dubai to L.A.: USC international dentistry

Haghighi was born and raised in Iran, but she studied dentistry in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. After graduation, she practiced for a year but felt her environment was too limiting. So she started researching different countries to see how to take her skills to the next level. She moved to the United States and started volunteering at USC’s mobile clinic and the John Wesley Community Health dental clinic on Skid Row, which validated her decision to apply to ASPID.

“My experience working on Skid Row was amazing,” she said. “I witnessed the impact USC has on oral health and the community. I chose USC because, to me, it’s more satisfying to have that influential effect on the community rather than in private practice. I saw that USC would prepare me for that.”

USC international dentistry addresses cultural challenges

The challenges international dentists face in the United States are not only cultural. Since every country practices dentistry differently, dentists who want to earn a DDS need to learn all aspects of standard care.

“They need to learn the material,” said Eddie Sheh, an ASPID graduate and its current director. “They need to know the rules and the language. Everything. Just like if you are a doctor, and you want to practice in the U.S., you need to know how we do things.”

Sheh, who was a dentist in Taiwan, said his schooling was very different than the hands-on training USC provides to it students.

“USC is very strong in practicing how to do it in a simulation lab and then treating many, many patients until you graduate,” he said. “Not many other schools in other parts of the world are like that.”

In many countries, dental school starts right after high school and is a six-year program. In Taiwan, when Sheh was studying, fifth-year students were allowed to go to the hospital and observe faculty perform procedures.

“If you were lucky, you got to step in and do a few procedures. If not, you just watched,” Sheh said. “You might be doing a lot of pediatric dentistry because they’re busy, and they need your help. Or you’d just be watching someone do a crown preparation, and you didn’t get to touch it. In my case, I never actually completed a crown preparation or a denture. I just watched.”

What USC does is simply everything, according to Sheh. Students get clinical training in which they are actually treating multiple patients with differing procedures until they are perfected.

“You get to practice what you are trained in,” he said. “You know exactly what to do.”

Aiming for perfection

Chakraborty noted two chief differences between her schooling in India and with ASPID.

“No. 1, you are trained to become a perfectionist,” she said. “USC teaches you to not do work that is just passable. They teach you to strive to do really good work. Another would be professionalism — how to approach patients, how to explain treatments and basically how to treat a patient.”

Treatment planning is the major emphasis of the program, Chai said, and students spend a lot of time learning how to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for patients along with doing procedures.

ASPID accepts 34 students each year out of the more than 1,000 who apply. The ASPID Class of 2020 is 67 percent female; 63 percent of the class are international students requiring a student visa, 29 percent are U.S. citizens and 8 percent are permanent U.S. residents. One hundred percent of the class has earned a foreign bachelor of dental surgery, doctor of dental surgery or doctor of dental medicine degree.

Stay or go home?

Another obstacle international dentists face when they come here is the feeling of starting from square one. After completing years of schooling and practicing dentistry in their countries, often the only jobs they can secure in the United States at first is as dental assistants.

“You graduate from your own country, and you are called a doctor,” Haghighi said. “Then you come here and you have to repeat everything.”

As an ASPID alumnus, Sheh understands what the students go through.

“I understand what they have to endure. That’s the good thing — they know I graduated from the program, and I can tell them what to expect when they complete it.”

The majority of ASPID alumni stay stateside, Sheh said: “That is why they come here. Unless they have other reasons to go back, like for their parents, I would say 99 percent stay here. That was what the program was designed for.”

Whether students stay here or return to their countries, the training they receive with ASPID is unrivaled.

“USC has such a long history and very strong reputation in the community as one of the leading institutions for educating future dentists,” Chai said. “And, naturally, everyone who wants to learn how to practice the best dentistry possible will come to USC.”

This content was originally published here.

Family of Chinese man with new coronavirus flew to Manila – HK health minister | ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) —A Chinese man who tested positive for a deadly new coronavirus strain traveled to Manila with his family on Wednesday, Hong Kong authorities said.

In a press conference, Hong Kong Health Minister Sophia Chan confirmed that the patient and four other family members arrived in the country via Cebu Pacific 5J111, which landed in Manila at 1:20 p.m. Wednesday. 

Charo Logarta Lagamon, director of Cebu Pacific’s corporate communications department, told ABS-CBN News that no one on the flight was quarantined.

Hong Kong quarantined the 39-year-old man after the city’s first preliminary positive result in a test for the new flu-like coronavirus found in an outbreak in central mainland China, authorities said.

The tourist from Wuhan came to Hong Kong on Tuesday via high-speed rail from nearby Shenzhen and was detected having fever at the border. He was in stable condition in an isolation ward at Princess Margaret Hospital, Health Minister Sophia Chan said.

The outbreak has spread to more Chinese cities including the capital Beijing, Shanghai and Macau, and cases have been reported outside the country’s borders, in the United States, South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

Nine people in China have died.

“I urge citizens not to go to Hubei province, Wuhan city if not necessary,” Chan said in a news conference.

She said the isolated patient came to Hong Kong with four family members, who spent the night at a hotel in the busy Tsim Sha Tsui tourist district, before hopping on a flight to Manila earlier on Wednesday.

His family did not have any symptoms. The government was contacting train passengers who sat near him and they would be put under observation in isolation wards. A hotline was also set up for people worried they might have contracted the virus.

Chan could not immediately confirm local media reports of a second person with similar test results.

The Hospital Authority on Tuesday enhanced laboratory surveillance for pneumonia cases to include patients with travel history to all of mainland China, rather than just Wuhan.

Hong Kong had deployed temperature screening equipment at the airport and the high-speed rail station. Air passengers are required to fill in health declaration forms. Some 500 isolation wards at public hospitals were available, with more ordinary wards to be converted if necessary.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses named because of crown-like spikes on their surfaces. The viruses cause respiratory illnesses ranging from the common cold to the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Manila’s airport quarantine office said Wednesday night that based on thermal scanners, “no passenger was detected with high fever on that flight.” There was also no advisory or alert from Hong Kong health ministry. 
 
Nine people have died in mainland China while 400 have been affected of the SARS-like virus. Chinese cities Beijing, Shanghai, and Macau have confirmed cases of the virus. Patients who contracted the disease have also been confirmed in the United States, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. 

Several airports across the Asia-Pacific have tightened security measures for travelers, especially from China after authorities said the virus — which has infected some 440 people in Asia’s largest economy — could mutate and be transmitted through the respiratory tract. — With a report from Felix Tam, Reuters

This content was originally published here.

VACCINE BOMBSHELL as U.N. health experts admit toxic vaccine ingredients are harming children worldwide – see video, transcript – NaturalNews.com

(Natural News)
A Dec. 2, 2019 World Health Organization “Global Vaccine Safety Summit” video has been found and leaked to the world, revealing shocking admissions of the health hazards posed by vaccines and their toxic ingredients.

A first-wave compilation of some of the more damning quotes was created by Del Bigtree’s “Highwire” organization, which posted the video to YouTube. Knowing that video would quickly be banned, we posted it to Brighteon.com, where “Highwire” is expected to launch a channel very soon.

You can watch the full video at this link on Brighteon. For a related article that covers this, see this link at TheHighWire.com.

A full transcript of this video compilation is offered below. Watch the video here, via Brighteon:

Some of the highlights:

An admission that vaccine adjuvants increase cell death and damage to vaccine recipients:

Dr. Stephen Evans, Professor of PharmacoepidemiologyIt seems to me that adjuvants multiply the immunogenicity of the antigens that they are added to, and that is their intention.  It seems to me they multiply the reactogenicity in many instances, and therefore it seems to me that it is not unexpected if they multiply the incidence of adverse reactions that are associated with the antigen…

Warnings about long-term effects from vaccine adjuvants:

Dr. Martin Howell FriedeYou are correct. As we add adjuvants, especially some of the more recent adjuvants, such as the ASO1, saponin-derived adjuvants , we do see increased local reactogenicity… The major health concern which we are seeing are accusations of long term, long term effects.

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An admission that the W.H.O. is panicking over the fact that many doctors and nurses are finally starting to question the safety and vaccines and are becoming aware of the coordinated cover-up of vaccine injuries:

Prof. Heidi Larson, PhD, Director of the Vaccine Confidence ProjectWe have a very wobbly health professional front line that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. When the front line professionals are starting to question or they don’t feel like they have enough confidence about the safety to stand up to it to the person asking them the questions.  I mean most medical school curriculums, even nursing curriculums, I mean in medical school you’re lucky if you have a half-day on vaccines. Never mind keeping up to date with all this.

Also from Prof. Heidi Larson, PhDYou can’t repurpose the same old science to make it sound better if you don’t have the science that’s relevant to the new problem. So we need much more investment in safety science.

An admission that vaccine clinical trials are insufficient and that vaccines are approved without adequate safety data. Also admits that vaccines damage children far more than they damage elderly adults:

Dr. Marion Gruber – Director, Office of Vaccines Research and Review Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. FDAAnd again as you mentioned pre-licensure clinical trials may not be powered enough. It’s also the subject population that you administer the adjuvant to because we’ve seen data presented to us where an adjuvant, a particular adjuvant added to a vaccine antigen did really nothing when administered to a certain population and usually the elderly, you know, compared to administering the same formulation to younger age strata.

A warning about the lack of vaccine safety monitoring systems around the world:

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, M.D., Chief Scientist, W.H.O., PediatricianI think we cannot overemphasize the fact that we really don’t havevery good safety monitoring systems in many countries, and this adds to the miscommunication and the misapprehensions because we’re not able to give clear-cut answers when people ask questions about the deaths that have occurred due to a particular vaccine…

Here’s an admission that viral fragments don’t work as promised by immunization theory and that it’s the adjuvants which are responsible for the inflammatory response to vaccines. In other words, vaccine science as described by the vaccine establishment, is quackery:

Dr. Martin Howell Friede, Coordinator, Initiative for Vaccine Research, W.H.O.Without adjuvants, we are not going to have the next generation of vaccines.  And many of the vaccines that we do have, ranging from tetanus through to HPV require adjuvants in order for them to work. We do not add adjuvants to vaccines because we want to do so.

An admission that vaccine safety tracking systems don’t even exist and that efforts to build such systems are only just beginning:

Dr. Robert Chen, M.D. – Scientific Director, Brighton Collaboration[W]e’re really only in the beginning of the era of large data sets where hopefully you could start to kind of harmonize the databases for multiple studies. And there’s actually an initiative underway… Helen there may want to comment on it to try to get more national vaccine safety database linked together so we could start to answer these types of questions that you just raised.

Full transcript of what’s on this video – there’s a lot more yet to come

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: W.H.O Scientists Question Safety Of Vaccines

Prof. Heidi Larson, PhD, Anthropologist, Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project
There’s a lot of safety science that’s needed, and without the good science, we can’t have good communication. Although I’m talking about all these other contextual issues, and communication issues it absolutely needs the science as the backbone.  You can’t repurpose the same old science to make it sound better if you don’t have the science that’s relevant to the new problem. So we need much more investment in safety science.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, M.D., Chief Scientist, W.H.O., Pediatrician
I think we cannot overemphasize the fact that we really don’t have very good safety monitoring systems in many countries, and this adds to the miscommunication and the misapprehensions because we’re not able to give clear-cut answers when people ask questions about the deaths that have occurred due to a particular vaccine, and this always gets blown up in the media.  One should be able to give a very factual account of what exactly has happened and what the cause of the deaths are, but in most cases there is some obfuscation at that level and therefore, there’s less and less trust then in the system.

Dr. Martin Howell Friede, Coordinator, Initiative for Vaccine Research, W.H.O.
Every time that there is an association, be it temporal or not temporal, the first accusation is it is the adjuvant. And yet, without adjuvants, we are not going to have the next generation of vaccines.  And many of the vaccines that we do have, ranging from tetanus through to HPV require adjuvants in order for them to work.  So the challenge that we have in front of us is:  How do we build confidence in this? And the confidence first of all comes from the regulatory agencies (I look to Marion). When we add an adjuvant it’s because it is essential.  We do not add adjuvants to vaccines because we want to do so.  But when we add them, it adds to the complexity. I give courses every year on “How do you develop vaccines?”, “How do you make vaccines?” And the first lesson is, while you’re making your vaccine, if you can avoid using an adjuvant, please do so.  Lesson two is, if you’re going to use an adjuvant, use one that has a history of safety. And lesson three is, if you’re not going to do that, think very carefully.

Dr. Stephen Evans, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology
It seems to me that adjuvants multiply the immunogenicity of the antigens that they are added to, and that is their intention.  It seems to me they multiply the reactogenicity in many instances, and therefore it seems to me that it is not unexpected if they multiply the incidence of adverse reactions that are associated with the antigen, but may not have been detected through lack of statistical power in the original studies.

Dr. Martin Howell Friede
You are correct. As we add adjuvants, especially some of the more recent adjuvants, such as the ASO1, saponin-derived adjuvants , we do see increased local reactogenicity. The primary concern, though, usually is systemic adverse events rather than local adverse events. And we tend to get in the Phase II and the Phase III studies quite good data on the local reactogenicity. Those of us in this room that are beyond the age of 50 who have had the pleasure of having the recent shingles vaccine, will know that this does have quite significant local reactogenicity. If you got the vaccine, you know that you got the vaccine. But this is not the major health concern. The major health concern which we are seeing are accusations of long term, long term effects. So to come back to this, I’m going to once again point to the regulators. It comes down to ensuring that we conduct Phase II and the Phase III studies with adequate size and with the appropriate measurement.

Dr. David Kaslow, M.D. – V.P., Essential Medicines, Drug Development program PATH Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access (CVIA)
So in our clinical trials, we are actually using relatively small sample sizes, and when we do that we’re at risk of tyranny of small numbers, which is, you just need a single case of Wegener’s Granulomatosis, and your vaccine has to, solve Walt’s, How do you prove a null Hypothesis? …And it takes years and years to try to figure that out. It’s a real conundrum, right? Getting the right size, dealing with the tyranny of small numbers, making sure that you can really do it. And so I think one of the things that we really need to invest in are kind of better biomarkers, better mechanistic understanding of how these things work so we can better understand adverse events as they come up.

Dr. Marion Gruber – Director, Office of Vaccines Research and Review Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. FDA
One of the additional issues that complicates safety evaluation is that if you look at, and you struggle with the length of follow-up that should be adequate in a, let’s say a pre-licensure or even post-marketing study if that’s even possible. And again as you mentioned pre-licensure clinical trials may not be powered enough. It’s also the subject population that you administer the adjuvant to because we’ve seen data presented to us where an adjuvant, a particular adjuvant added to a vaccine antigen did really nothing when administered to a certain population and usually the elderly, you know, compared to administering the same formulation to younger age strata.  So these are things which need to be considered as well and further complicate safety and effectiveness evaluation of adjuvants combined with vaccine antigens.

Dr. Bassey Okposen – Program Manager, National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC). Abuja, Nigeria
I cast back my mind to our situation in Nigeria where at six weeks, ten weeks, fourteen weeks, a child is being given different antigens from different companies, and these vaccines have different adjuvants and different preservatives and so on. Something crosses my mind… is there possibility of these adjuvants, preservatives, cross-reacting amongst themselves? Have there ever been a study on the possibility of cross-reactions on from the past that you can share the experience with us?

Dr. Robert Chen, M.D. – Scientific Director, Brighton Collaboration
Now the only way to tease that out is if you have a large population database like the vaccine safety datalink as well as some of the other national databases that are coming to being worthy. Actual vaccine exposure is trapped down to that level of specificity of who is the manufacturer? What is the lot number? Etc..etc. And there’s an initiative to try to make the vaccine label information bar-coded so that it includes that level of information. So that in the future when we do these type of studies, we are able to tease that out. And in order to be – each time you subdivide them, the sample size gets becoming more and more challenging and that’s what I said earlier today about that we’re really only in the beginning of the era of large data sets where hopefully you could start to kind of harmonize the databases for multiple studies. And there’s actually an initiative underway… Helen there may want to comment on it to try to get more national vaccine safety database linked together so we could start to answer these types of questions that you just raised.

Prof. Heidi Larson, PhD
The other thing that’s a trend and an issue is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional front line that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. When the front line professionals are starting to question or they don’t feel like they have enough confidence about the safety to stand up to it to the person asking them the questions.  I mean most medical school curriculums, even nursing curriculums, I mean in medical school you’re lucky if you have a half-day on vaccines. Never mind keeping up to date with all this.

Watch the full video at Brighteon.com:

This content was originally published here.

The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) from the American Public Health Association (APHA) publications

In July 2013, a group of 12 experts in decision science, medicine, pharmacology, psychology, public health policy, and toxicology rated the relative harm of 12 nicotine-containing products by using 14 criteria addressing harms to self and others.1 The group concluded that combustible cigarettes were the most harmful and that electronic nicotine delivery systems (electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes) were substantially less harmful than combustible cigarettes. These results have been characterized and repeated in the popular media as e-cigarettes are “95% less risky” or “95% less harmful” than combustible cigarettes. However, as the authors noted in a sweeping statement regarding the shortcomings of their own work, “A limitation of this study is the lack of hard evidence for the harms of most products on most of the criteria.”1(p224)

Despite this lack of hard evidence, Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians endorsed and publicized the “95% less harmful” assertion.2,3 Senior Public Health England staff emphasized the “evidence” underlying the 95% figure, despite the evidence being lacking. Much has been written about the dubious validity of the “95% less harmful” estimate in 2014 to 2016, especially about the paucity of research on the health effects of e-cigarettes available in 2013. After six years of e-cigarette–focused research, which has yielded a growing body of hard evidence regarding harm (see Appendix A, available as a supplement to the online version of this article at http://www.ajph.org, for a nonexhaustive list), the time has come to re-examine that estimate.

TODAY’S ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES ARE DIFFERENT

There is ample evidence that the range of e-cigarette products available today is very different from that in July 2013. The differences are such that, even if the 2013 estimate was valid then, it can no longer apply today. For example, in addition to using different materials and more numerous heating coils, many e-cigarettes today can attain power output that exceeds that of most over-the-counter 2013 models by 10 to 20 times (i.e., up to and sometimes exceeding 200 watts). Greater power increases the potential harms of e-cigarette use because more aerosol is produced that exposes users to increased levels of nicotine and other toxicants. It also increases bystander exposure to any harmful aerosol constituents because users exhale more aerosol. In addition, greater power increases the potential for malfunction (e.g., the device exploding), which could harm users and bystanders.

Also, e-cigarette liquids have changed considerably from 2013, with widespread availability of thousands of flavors that use chemicals “generally recognized as safe” to eat but with unknown pulmonary toxicity. Perhaps the most striking change has been the pervasive marketing of liquids with protonated nicotine.4 Protonated nicotine (“nicotine salt”) is made by adding an acid to free-base nicotine, thus introducing another potential toxicant that was rare in 2013. Relative to free-base nicotine, aerosolized protonated liquid is less aversive to inhale, allowing users to increase the nicotine concentration of the liquid and likely increase their own nicotine dependence. Protonated nicotine e-cigarette liquids are available today in concentrations greater than 60 milligrams per milliliter, and these liquids have become very popular, sparking a “nicotine arms race.”4

ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES CAUSE HARM TO CELLS

There is ample evidence, unavailable in 2013, that e-cigarette aerosols contain toxicants and that these aerosols are harmful to living cells in vitro and in vivo. For example, thermal degradation of e-cigarette liquid constituents can produce volatile aldehydes, which, at concentrations generated by e-cigarettes, display a variety of cardiorespiratory toxic effects. E-cigarettes can produce carcinogenic furans in addition to other toxicants such as chloropropanols. Even at room temperature, e-cigarette liquids can be unstable, producing irritating acetal compounds carried over into the aerosol. Numerous studies demonstrate that cell function is compromised following exposure to e-cigarette aerosol. Similarly, animals that are exposed to e-cigarette aerosols show clear indication of adverse consequences, including in models related to cardiovascular disease.

ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES HARM USERS

Recent evidence reveals that e-cigarette users show evidence of harm. For example, in a sample of healthy young occasional cigarette smokers who used an e-cigarette with or without nicotine, airway epithelial injury was observed in both conditions, with the authors concluding, “Thus, [e-cigarette] aerosol constituents could injure the respiratory system or worsen preexisting lung disease through a variety of mechanisms.”5(pL716) Consistent with this report, wheezing, a symptom of potential respiratory disease, has been associated with e-cigarette use. E-cigarette use increases heart rate, blood pressure, and platelet activation, and decreases flow-mediated dilation and heart rate variability, effects that are prognostic of long-term cardiovascular risk. Indeed, a preliminary report indicates that e-cigarette users may be at increased risk for myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease.6

ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES INCREASE SMOKING RISK

Since 2013, numerous surveys have demonstrated that e-cigarette use is increasing among individuals who previously were naïve to nicotine and that these individuals are at increased risk for initiation of combustible cigarette smoking. As the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded, “There is substantial evidence that [e-cigarette] use increases risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes among youth and young adults.”7(p532) To the extent that initial e-cigarette use is a causal factor in subsequent combustible tobacco smoking for an individual who would have otherwise never initiated smoking, e-cigarette use could be considered to be as harmful as tobacco smoking for that individual.

ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE AEROSOL IS NOT HARMLESS

Differences in toxicant content between e-cigarette aerosol and cigarette smoke, by themselves, cannot convey lesser lethality because toxicity depends upon both the extent and mode of use. For example, propylene glycol (PG) is one of the primary constituents of e-cigarette aerosol and is generally recognized as safe when eaten but, when injected intravenously over a period of days, is toxic. E-cigarette aerosols containing propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, another common constituent, cause inflammation in human lungs, suggesting differing safety profiles for inhaled versus ingested propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Furthermore, as the toxicants in e-cigarette aerosol sometimes differ from cigarette smoke, so might any resulting e-cigarette–caused disease states. There is little doubt that exclusive e-cigarette users are unlikely to die from lung cancer that is caused by carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, toxicants largely absent from e-cigarette aerosols. What diseases they may die of—and if their deaths are hastened by their e-cigarette use—will be part of the much-needed evidence base upon which valid risk estimates can be built.

In sum, a 2013 evidence-lacking estimate of the harm of e-cigarettes relative to combustible cigarettes has been cited often. However, since 2013, e-cigarette devices and liquids have changed. Evidence of potential harm has accumulated. Therefore, the evidence-lacking estimate derived in 2013 cannot be valid today and should not be relied upon further. Future estimates of the harm of e-cigarettes should be based on the evidence that is now available and revised accordingly as more evidence accrues.

CALL TO ACTION

The “95% safer” estimate is a “factoid”: unreliable information repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact. Public health practitioners, scientists, and physicians should expose the fragile status of the factoid emphatically by highlighting its unreliable provenance and its lack of validity today, noting the many changes in e-cigarette devices and liquids, the accumulation of evidence of potential harm, the increased prevalence of use, and the growing evidence that e-cigarette use is associated with subsequent cigarette smoking.

This work was supported by the US National Institutes of Health (U54DA036105, U54DA036151, U54HL12016, R01ES029435) and the Center for Tobacco Products of the US Food and Drug Administration.

Note. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Food and Drug Administration. The sponsor had no role in the preparation of this work.

CONFLICTS OF INTERESTS

T. Eissenberg and A. Shihadeh are paid consultants in litigation against the tobacco industry and are named on a patent for a device that measures the puffing behavior of electronic cigarette users. In addition, as of September 2019, T. Eissenberg is a consultant in litigation against the electronic cigarette industry. S. Jordt reports receiving personal fees from Hydra Biosciences LLC and Sanofi SA and nonfinancial support from GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals outside the submitted work.

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6. Vindhyal MR, Ndunda P, Munguti C, Vindhyal S, Okut H. Impact on cardiovascular outcomes among e-cigarette users: a review from national health interview surveys. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019;73(9 suppl 2):11. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

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This content was originally published here.

‘It’s okay not to be okay’: Café offers mental health help, supports suicide prevention

CHICAGO — While the coffee is good, “Sip of Hope” serves up much more than a cup of joe on the Northwest Side.

Through a partnership with Dark Matter Coffee, the café donates 100% of its proceeds to mental health education and suicide prevention.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from… five out of five people have good days and bad days,” owner Johnny Boucher said. “It’s okay not to be okay.”

Nationwide, suicide rates are the highest recorded in 28 years. Boucher opened Sip of Hope in honor of those who will never get the chance to pull up a chair.

“I personally have lost 16 people to suicide and the overarching issue they all faced was silence,” Boucher said.

His antidote is a place to talk through dark moments without judgement, a cafe serving up a cup of joe and compassion.

“The goal is always to meet people where they’re at and not where we expect them to be,” Boucher said. “You can talk to our baristas because they’re trained in mental health first aid.”

And on top of that, the coffee is great.

Ryan Shannon is now a regular. The Navy veteran says to him depression equaled weakness.

“I came home and I wasn’t the same,” Shannon said. “My leg and traumatic brain injury really took a toll.”

The former collegiate athlete found himself not only unable to stand, but also unwilling to find his way back. He says he wrote a suicide note and had a plan, but it was his wife who saved him that day.

He said she saved his life simply by listening and showing him he’s not alone.

Since then, Shannon has gone on to clean up in adaptive sports, winning a gold medal in Warrior Games, silver in track and finish his MBA.

“I still have bad days but… I now understand you can climb back out of it. You’re not in a dark room alone. There’s a lot of people out there that care,” Shannon said.

And at Sip of Hope, there’s a seat for anyone in need of more than a strong cup of coffee to make it through their day.

“In a country where we talk about building more walls, we need to build more tables and seats,” Boucher said.

If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers crisis counseling free of charge every day of the year- at 1-800-273-8255, or text the word “home” to 741741.

This content was originally published here.

Elizabeth Warren: ‘Trans Youth Are More Likely…to Experience Mental Health Problems’

(Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) sent out a tweet on Thursday evening saying that transgender young people are “more likely” to have mental health problems.

“Trans youth are more likely to feel unsafe at school and to experience mental health problems,” Warren said in her tweet.

“They need and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not to be attacked by their state legislators,” she said. “As president, I’ll fight to ensure they have every opportunity to thrive.”

On her campaign website, Warren has posted a detailed plan for “Securing LGBTQ+ Rights and Equality” if she is elected president. The plan includes many provision for transgender youth.

“We need a president who will life up the voices of every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer, Two-Spirt and intersex person,” Warren says in her plan.

“We need a president who has the courage to stand up to discrimination, and fight back,” she says.

Warren vows that she will immediately use unilaterally presidential action—not congressionally enacted legislation—to advance LGBTQ+ rights.

“We can’t wait for Congress to act on LGBTQ+ rights,” she says. “In my first 100 days as president, I will use every legal tool we have to make sure that LGBTQ+ people can live and thrive free from discrimination.”

Warren also vowed to bring her battle for the rights of transgenders into schools—where it will effect such things as “dress codes” and “brining same-sex partners to school events.”

 “As president, I’ll fight to make sure every LGBTQ+ student has an equal opportunity to thrive,” she says. “I’ll start by amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to require school districts to adopt codes of conduct that specifically prohibit bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I’ll also direct the Education Department to reinstate guidance – revoked by the Trump Administration– on transgender students’ rights under federal law. And I’ll make clear that federal civil rights laws prohibit anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination like discriminatory dress codes, banning students from writing or discussing LGBTQ+ topics in class, or punishing students for bringing same-sex partners to school events.”

This content was originally published here.

Ontario sets official end date of July 1 for red-and-white health cards | CP24.com

TORONTO — Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians will soon have to say goodbye for good to their old, red-and-white health cards.

The Canadian Press has learned the government has set July 1 as the date the cards will no longer be accepted.

It comes more than 25 years after the province first announced those cards would be phased out.

There are still about 300,000 red-and-white health cards in circulation, representing about two per cent of all Ontario health cards.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says those cards are more susceptible to fraud than the newer cards, which feature a photo and a signature.

She says people who still have the old health cards will get notices this month, and after that they will get monthly reminders to get a new card.

“After July 1, the card will not be accepted for services,” Elliott said in an interview. “Hospitals, if someone attends with an emergency where they need medical attention right away, of course they won’t be denied care, but they will be receiving the hospital bill for those services.”

Anyone who has to pay up front for doctor’s office or hospital services will be reimbursed once they get a new health card, Elliott said.

Photo health cards can be obtained for free at ServiceOntario locations.

The province is also going to ask doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacists to remind anyone using a red-and-white health card about the imminent need to switch to a new one.

It was late 1994 when the then-NDP government announced that due to fraud and misuse, the cards — which were introduced just four years prior — would be phased out over three years.

When the photo ID cards were first announced in 1995, the government estimated the red-and-white cards were being used for $65 million in fraudulent claims a year. At the time, Ontario’s health cards had the least amount of printed information of any province, including only a name and no expiry date, according to a 2006 auditor general report.

There were about 300,000 more health cards in circulation than there were people in Ontario, the auditor said.

In the years before the photo ID cards were introduced, health officials warned that some cards had fallen into the hands of Americans and other non-residents, with fraudulent use the most prevalent in Ontario’s border communities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2020.

This content was originally published here.

U.S. health system costs four times more to run than Canada’s single-payer system

In the United States, a legion of administrative healthcare workers and health insurance employees who play no direct role in providing patient care costs every American man, woman and child an average of $2,497 per year.

Across the border in Canada, where a single-payer system has been in place since 1962, the cost of administering healthcare is just $551 per person — less than a quarter as much.

That spending mismatch, tallied in a study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, could challenge some assumptions about the relative efficiency of public and private healthcare programs. It could also become a hot political talking point on the American campaign trail as presidential candidates debate the pros and cons of government-funded universal health insurance.

Progressive contenders for the Democratic nomination, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are calling for a “Medicare for All” system. More centrist candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have questioned the wisdom of turning the government into the nation’s sole health insurer.

It’s been decades since Canada transitioned from a U.S.-style system of private healthcare insurance to a government-run single-payer system. Canadians today do not gnash their teeth about co-payments or deductibles. They do not struggle to make sense of hospital bills. And they do not fear losing their healthcare coverage.

To be sure, wait times for specialist care and some diagnostic imaging are often criticized as too long. But a 2007 study by Canada’s health authority and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the overall health of Americans and Canadians to be roughly similar.

Some Canadians purchase private supplemental insurance, whose cost is regulated. Outpatient medications are not included in the government plan, but aside from that, coverage of “medically necessary services” is assured from cradle to grave.

The cost of administering this system amounts to 17% of Canada’s national expenditures on health.

In the United States, twice as much — 34% — goes to the salaries, marketing budgets and computers of healthcare administrators in hospitals, nursing homes and private practices. It goes to executive pay packages which, for five major healthcare insurers, reach close to $20 million or more a year. And it goes to the rising profits demanded by shareholders.

Administering the U.S. network of public and private healthcare programs costs $812 billion each year. And in 2018, 27.9 million Americans remained uninsured, mostly because they could not afford to enroll in the programs available to them.

“The U.S.-Canada disparity in administration is clearly large and growing,” the study authors wrote. “Discussions of health reform in the United States should consider whether $812 billion devoted annually to health administration is money well spent.”

The new figures are based on an analysis of public documents filed by U.S. insurance companies, hospitals, nursing homes, home-care and hospice agencies, and physicians’ offices. Researchers from Hunter College, Harvard Medical School and the University of Ottawa compared those to administrative costs across the Canadian healthcare sector, as detailed by the Canadian Institute for Health Information and a trade association that represents Canada’s private insurers.

Compared to 1999, when the researchers last compared U.S. and Canadian healthcare spending, the costs of administering healthcare insurance have grown in both countries. But the increase has been much steeper in the United States, where a growing number of public insurance programs have increased their reliance on commercial insurers to manage government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

As a result, overhead charges by private insurers surged more than any other category of expenditure, the researchers found.

In U.S. states that have retained full control over their Medicaid programs, the growth of administrative costs was negligible, they reported. (The same was true for Canada’s health insurance program.) But in states that shifted most of their Medicaid recipients into private managed care, administrative costs were twice as high.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, a group representing private health insurance companies, said administrative practices shouldn’t be blamed for escalating the cost of care in the United States.

“Study after study continues to demonstrate the value of innovative solutions brought by the free market,” AHIP said in a statement. “In head-to-head comparisons, the free market continues to be more efficient than government-run systems.”

AHIP cited a recent report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent body that advises Congress. The report showed that Medicare Advantage plans — which are privately administered — deliver benefits at 88% of the cost of traditional Medicare.

Even so, the study authors concluded that if the U.S. healthcare system could trim its administrative bloat to bring it in line with Canada’s, Americans could save $628 billion a year while getting the same healthcare.

“The United States is currently wasting at least $600 billion on healthcare paperwork — money that could be saved by going to a simple ‘Medicare for All’ system,” said senior author Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, a health policy researcher at Hunter College and longtime advocate of single-payer systems.

That sum would be more than enough to extend coverage to the nation’s uninsured, she said.

This content was originally published here.

Antitrust Class Action Filed Against Invisalign Maker Over Alleged Dual-Market Competition Suppression

A Chicago dental practice has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Align Technology, Inc. in which it alleges the Invisalign maker has leveraged its dominance in both the aligner and hand-held digital dental scanner markets as a means to suppress competition.

According to the 30-page suit out of Delaware federal court, Align Technology’s anti-competitive conduct has allowed it to not only artificially boost and/or maintain its market share and power, but to artificially inflate prices in both markets. The defendant’s alleged conduct, the lawsuit says, essentially amounts to a de facto bundling of its aligners and intraoral scanners that offers no corresponding discount to purchasers.

Align’s Technology’s Invisalign-brand aligners are by far the dominant product in the overall aligner market, the case begins. The defendant reportedly pulls in “well over a billion dollars per year” selling Invisalign, according to the suit.

The plaintiff charges that the defendant knew from the outset that dental practitioners’ use of digital scanners would make them more likely to use its aligners in that “once a dental practice purchases a digital scanner, that practice would be more likely to order more aligners as a way to pay for the scanner.”

“The bottom line,” the complaint reads, “was that more iTero Scanners meant more Invisalign orders.”

Since at least March 15, 2015, the defendant, the case claims, had been able to charge high prices and keep its profit margins in the black for Invisalign due to protection from “a thicket of hundreds of patents” Align Technology has supposedly wielded aggressively to “protect its aligner monopoly.” As the lawsuit tells it, however, once some of Align Technology’s key patents expired in 2017, the company was forced to turn its attention to the outside influence of competitors while keeping one eye on the lofty expectations of its investors. To juggle its predicament, the defendant “responded with the anticompetitive scheme” over which the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff argues.

Moreover, the defendant’s possession of Invisalign-related patents, along with “other high barriers to entry” in the above-described markets, allegedly served as an effective deterrent for competitors looking to enter the market. 

“Instead of reacting to the advent of competition by improving its product or lowering its prices, Defendant worked to suppress that potential competition by using its dominance in the Aligner market to impair competition in the Scanner market, and then in turn using its dominance in the Scanner market to impair competition in the Aligner market,” the case reads.

With regard to the particulars of the defendant’s alleged competition-quashing scheme, the lawsuit says it came down to Align Technology’s production of both Invisalign and the tool with which dentists determine whether the treatment is right for a patient:

All this amounts to a de facto “closed system” that essentially makes it impractical for dental practitioners to order Invisalign aligners from other manufacturers, the case says. The defendant’s iTero scanner, according to the suit, does not accept scans in an industry-standard format nor from other scanners. The plaintiff stresses that this makes it more time-consuming and expensive for proposed class members to go outside of the framework set in place by Align Technology.

As of September 2018, Align Technology has “an over 80% share in the market for aligners in the United States and an over 80% share in the market for scanners in the United States,” the lawsuit says. With this much muscle, the defendant, the plaintiff alleges, has been able to leverage its position to inflate prices for its iTero dental scanners and Invisalign treatments.

The full complaint can be read below.

This content was originally published here.

This Was The Decade That Changed The Way We Think About Mental Health | HuffPost Life

When I first started writing about mental health in 2013, the landscape was also different. There was a glaring lack of coverage about these issues across the media, or worse, news outlets would prominently cover a celebrity’s or citizen’s “erratic behavior” as something that was “bizarre” or “entertaining.” A lot of suicide reporting was insensitive, glamorizing, salacious ― or all three.

A lot that can be attributed to both tragic and affirming events that have occurred since 2010. Below are just a few defining moments from the past decade, all of which influenced the way we talk about and view mental health today:

The public nature of celebrity deaths by suicide yielded to a more monumental conversation about mental health, according to Gregory Dalack, chair of the Michigan Medicine Department of Psychiatry and treasurer of the American Psychiatric Association. The tragedies “triggered greater awareness about the stigma around mental health and the importance of seeking help,” he told HuffPost.

Some of those tragedies can even be attributed to celebrity deaths, thanks to a phenomenon called suicide contagion, when media coverage and details about a prominent person’s death can lead others to take their own life.

“Despite all of the tragic deaths, the suicide numbers have increased each of the last 10 years,” Dan Reidenberg, executive director of the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, told HuffPost. “One would like to believe if this was really important to the public and the government, far more would have been done about it ― not just because of the large number of celebrities but the people that were connected to them.”

We can’t talk about the last decade without acknowledging the political chaos we’ve all experienced. The 2016 election, the barrage of negative news and the constant cultural turmoil have all had massive repercussions on how we think and feel.

In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that three political events (including the 2016 election and the 2017 inauguration) affected the mood of medical interns just as much as the strenuous first weeks of medical training. “This research reflects an overall trend showing that politics is in fact affecting people in both their personal and professional lives,” Dalack explained.

“At the same time, social media has some significant benefits such as it provides a wealth of resources and access to information that didn’t exist before. Social media can also provide huge numbers of connections to people who in turn can provide support, reassurance, help and care in times of crisis or need,” he added.

The rise of celebrity candor about their personal experiences has arguably been one of the most positive advances in mental health in the last decade. Public figures ― from the British royals to musicians to actors ― were more outspoken than ever about their mental health conditions, therapy, self-care and more.

“There have been tons of celebrities that have come forward, been brave and spoken about their own journey,” Leigh told HuffPost. “That is incredibly inspiring on my behalf because I can see people who have been willing to put themselves out there and ― judged or not judged ― just be open enough to share their struggles.”

There is still progress to be made, and experts hope to see more strides in the coming 10 years. The priority for both Dalack and Reidenberg is getting people the mental health treatment that they need.

“Over the next decade, I’d love to see improved access to mental health care across the nation,” Dalack said. “This will require efforts from insurance companies, physicians, as well as politicians. Those of us working in the field will need to continue to innovate new, cost-effective treatments that leverage technology and reach folks in remote and rural communities. We all need to be held accountable.

“In the most broad sense, I hope that in 10 years people will live understanding that mental health-related issues are no different than any other body or brain-related issues,” Reidenberg said. “If you aren’t feeling well, you have to talk to someone, regardless of the origin of the illness.”

As for me, I hope the landscape is once again different in a decade. I want to one day stop writing about suicide and stigma. Not because I’m not passionate about my job, but because the outcome has improved so much that there isn’t anything to write. That’s a 10-year challenge worth fighting for.

This content was originally published here.

Sedation Dentistry Options For Children – from 123Dentist

Types of Sedation

There are several levels of sedation your dentist may choose to use depending on your child and the procedure to be undertaken.

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is the lowest level of sedation. It is blended with oxygen and administered through a small breathing mask. It is non-invasive, and once your child stops breathing nitrous oxide then the drug will quickly leave their system, and they will return to normal. Nitrous oxide won’t put your child to sleep, but it will help them to relax.

Mild sedation is usually induced using orally administered drugs. Your child will remain awake and usually be able to respond normally to verbal communication, but their movement and coordination may be affected. Respiratory and cardiovascular reflexes and functions are not affected at all, so there is no need for any additional monitoring equipment or oxygen.

Moderate sedation will make your child drowsy, and although they will usually respond to verbal communication they may not be able to speak coherently. They are likely to remain a little sleepy after the procedure, and most children cannot remember all or any of the procedure. This type of sedation can be reversed easily and breathing and cardiovascular function are generally unaffected.

Deep sedation is induced using intravenous drugs and will mean that your child is fully asleep. They may move a little and make sounds in response to repeated stimulation or any pain, but they will be in a deep sleep. Recovery from this type of sedation takes a little longer, and it is highly unlikely that your child will remember anything that happened. Sometimes respiratory or cardiovascular function can be impaired using these types of drugs, so there will be an extra qualified person present to monitor your child throughout the procedure.

The deepest option is a general anaesthetic, also induced using intravenous drugs. During a general anaesthetic, your child will be completely asleep and unable to respond to any stimulation, including pain. Your child will not remember any of the procedure, and should remain drowsy for some time afterwards. During this type of sedation, your child would be monitored by an anaesthetist who is trained in taking care of people under general anaesthetic. Recovery time is a little longer after a general anaesthetic than the other sedation types, and your child may need assistance with breathing during the procedure.

When Is Sedation Required?

There are a few reasons why sedation might be necessary for your child during a dental procedure. First of all, the procedure may be painful, so sedation would be appropriate to avoid unnecessary discomfort. Depending on the type and length of the procedure required, any of the above types of sedation might be appropriate.

If your child is at all anxious about visiting the dentist, it is important to make their experience as smooth as possible to avoid worsening the problem. The level of sedation required will depend on the level of anxiety and the procedure. For mild anxiety, nitrous oxide or mild sedation would help your child relax. If your child is very young, then a higher level might be appropriate to prevent them from moving during the procedure. In more extreme cases of anxiety or phobia, higher sedation levels may be required.

Sedation is sometimes required for children with behavioural disorders or other special needs. It can be difficult, or impossible, to explain to these children why dental care is required. The whole experience can therefore be very frightening for them, so an appropriate level of sedation may be used to help them remain calm and still for the procedure.

Concerns and Contraindications

Sedation has been used in dentistry for a long time, and the drugs and methods used are constantly reviewed. Anyone recommending or administering sedation is specially trained to do so safely, and during deep sedation and general anaesthetic your child is monitored by a trained professional in the room solely for that purpose.

Sometimes sedation can result in side effects such as nausea, vomiting, prolonged drowsiness, and imbalance. These effects usually wear off by themselves. After a deep sedation or general anaesthetic your child should be closely supervised to prevent falling, choking if they vomit, or airway obstruction.

Sedation of children for dental procedures is a common and safe practice. It may be worrying when your dentist first suggests it, but it is important not to increase your child’s anxiety so that they can maintain excellent dental care throughout their lives.

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‘I’m slowly dying here’: ‘Sedated’ Assange tells friend during Christmas Eve call from UK prison as health concerns mount

Julian Assange sounded like a shell of the man he once was during a Christmas Eve phone call, British journalist Vaughan Smith told RT, noting the WikiLeaks founder had trouble speaking and appeared to be drugged.

Assange was allowed to make just a single call from the maximum security Belmarsh prison in southeast London for the Christmas holiday, hoping for a reminder of the world beyond his drab confines of steel and concrete.

“I think he simply wanted a few minutes of escape” and to revive “happy memories,” Smith told RT, adding that Assange had spent the holiday at his home in 2010. The brief conversation was far from cheerful, however, with Assange’s deteriorating condition increasingly apparent throughout the call.

He said to me that: ‘I’m slowly dying here.’

“His speech was slurred. He was speaking slowly,” the journalist continued. “Now, Julian is highly articulate, a very clear person when he speaks. And he sounded awful… it was very upsetting to hear him”

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Assange CANNOT be extradited because of treaty between US-UK argues legal team

Though Assange didn’t say it out loud during the call, Smith said he believes the anti-secrecy activist is being sedated, noting that “It seemed pretty obvious that he was,” and said others who visited Assange were of the same opinion.

Smith isn’t the first to raise this issue, but British authorities have so far refused to divulge whether Assange has been given psychotropic drugs in prison, insisting only that they aren’t “mistreating” him. But given that he is “being kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day,” with requests by numerous doctors to examine his physical condition denied, Smith said he has a hard time taking the officials at their word.

“Julian was extremely good company over Christmas in 2010,” the journalist said, but the man he talked to on the phone last week sounded like a different person. “I just don’t understand… why he’s in Belmarsh Prison in the first place. He’s a remand prisoner. He’s not a danger to the public.”

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Julian Assange will ‘disappear for the rest of his life’ inside ‘inhumane’ US prison, UN envoy warns… if he makes it that far

Belmarsh is a Category A prison – the highest level in the UK penal system – intended for “highly dangerous” convicts and those likely to attempt escape, typically befitting murderers and terrorists. While Assange meets none of those criteria and was initially locked up for a minor offense of skipping bail, he was nonetheless thrown in Belmarsh and punished as if he were a violent, hardened criminal. He now awaits proceedings for extradition to the US.

The explanation may be as simple as taking revenge against somebody who dared to speak truth to power, Smith believes, and to make an example for anyone who might follow Assange’s lead in fighting state and corporate secrecy.

“What is clear that what is happening to Julian is much more about vengeance and setting an example to dissuade other people from holding American power to account in this way,” he said.

[Assange] delivered a discussion, a debate about what transparency should look like in the digital age… The debate got quashed it never really happened, instead he’s being victimized… That’s’ why he’s in Belmarsh.

Going forward, Smith said it will be important to continue pressuring the British government to answer a litany of questions about Assange, his treatment in prison and his health, as well as to push for an “independent assessment” of the situation. Confined in one form or another since taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 and now denied the ability to defend himself in court, Assange should finally receive a fair hearing.

“This whole thing, really we need to be asking more questions. This needs to be held much more in the open… Julian has had his freedom compromised for nearly a decade now,” Smith said. “It’s completely disgraceful. This is bullying. He deserves better.”

This content was originally published here.

Health care in America is dysfunctional — but its lack of transparency is downright dangerous

Wow, you survived cancer? What’s your secret to health care?

As absurd as that sounds, it’s a question many Americans who get sick are still asking as we ring in the year 2020. Getting health care in this country is still so circuitous it often does feel like a secret — a maze deciphered in private that’s never quite mastered. The reward for solving it? Perhaps your life; perhaps the loss of your life savings. And that’s if you’re lucky.

Even with the Affordable Care Act, almost 30 million are without health insurance in the U.S. And if you’ve perused plans on the ACA marketplace, you’ll know why. They’re pricey, and a new year brings fears that insurance premiums are once again rising. (Who knew the inflation rates on a pap smear were that high?!) Meanwhile, 14 Republican-led states are still refusing to expand Medicaid as stipulated in the ACA, even though the federal government would pay for 90 percent of the cost. Why? Something about “repeal and replace” or “socialism.” It’s hard to keep track.

Even with the Affordable Care Act, almost 30 million are without health insurance in the U.S. And if you’ve perused plans on the ACA marketplace, you’ll know why.

I traveled to three states, each with their own unique health care access challenges, for my new MSNBC special “Red, White, and Who?” Between Texas, New York and Utah there are major differences in how easy it is to see a doctor without going bankrupt. But every single person I spoke with — regardless of job, socioeconomic status or even political affiliation — had one identical anxiety: healthcare in one of the most advanced countries in the world is ridiculously, hopelessly complicated.

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“I’m retired, but I feel like a have a job,” Larry Chiuppi told me sitting outside at an RV park in Houston, blocks from one of the top cancer treatment hospitals in the country. Larry has been caring for his wife Nancy Raimondi, who has blood cancer, for over a year. During that time, he himself was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Even with her Medicare and his private health plan under the ACA, navigating the billing systems for the endless hospital visits, specialists and tests — each with their own separate charges — requires a huge amount of time and vigilance. He tells me they once got a $14,000 bill for a stem cell transplant because someone forgot to link Nancy’s Medicare. Larry imagined many people would’ve just tried to pay it. And most Americans don’t have a retiree’s free time and Larry’s persistence to help them through the bureaucracy, an added burden of getting well.

When the political gets personal

We also don’t all have a mother like Sandra Stein. She and her family live in New York, a state where the uninsured population is less than five percent, and 6.5 million are on Medicaid. I met Sandra on a street corner in upper Manhattan, where activists were flyering for the New York Health Act, a bill that would give every New Yorker state-funded care. Sandra believes in single-payer healthcare because she has experienced the mind-numbing labyrinth that is the private insurance system firsthand.

When her son was nearly three, he developed a rare neurological disease that left him unable to walk or speak. At the time, she and her husband had private insurance, which was “relatively good insurance,” according to Sandra. But that didn’t make things easier. When they first went to the hospital in an ambulance, the doctors there didn’t take their insurance even though the hospital did. Her son ultimately stayed in three different hospitals over the course of 15 months.

“When we got home it was my job to figure out the pile of bills and the collections threats,” she told me. It’s been eight years, but Sandra’s voice cracked like the memory happened yesterday. I couldn’t imagine how hard it must’ve been to be afraid for your child’s life while collections agents breathed down your neck. Sandra says the billing department sought her out even while her son was in the ICU, and that there were so many billing errors that she ultimately asked for an audit.

And yet, Sandra, Larry and Nancy are the lucky ones. They have health insurance, and they have the time and resources to be able to make their way through the bureaucratic hall of mirrors and toward a fighting chance at getting well.

It’s this cruel opacity of the private insurance system, on top of the rising monthly costs of just having a plan, that can be the difference between life and death. And it keeps a surprising number of Americans away from the system altogether. Like a rodeo cowboy I met in Texas, whose story you’ll just have to watch (I’m not spoiling it all!). It’s also led Americans like Sandra to believe that a massive simplification of our health care system is far overdue.

For many, that simplification comes in the form of cutting out the profit motive and moving toward government-funded insurance, like Medicare for All, which Big Pharma’s enemy number one Sen. Bernie Sanders and I hashed out over bagels in a New York City deli.

Medicare for All and private insurance for none

Ultimately what became clear through my travels is that healthcare in America is often overpriced and even dysfunctional, but it’s the lack of transparency that can be the most insidious. You pretty much have to be a health care policy expert, or have a loved one who can quit their job to become one, in order to ensure proper help.

It’s also strange that in a country that loves the free market as much as we do, we the consumer have no idea how much anything costs when we walk into a hospital. Why would we? Our health is priceless, so we are simply at the mercy of an ineffective system. That is, unless we fight for something different.

“Red, White, and Who” premieres on MSNBC on Dec. 29 at 9 p.m. E.T.

This content was originally published here.

Mertz Family Dentistry

Prominent Longmont family dentistry relocates and updates facilities

Everyone knows those semi-annual trips to the dentist are crucial to preserving and perfecting your smile…but something to smile about? If you’re one of the many loyal patients with Mertz Family Dentistry, it’s not out of the question that you may actually look forward to your dental visits. That sort of anticipation tends to happen when those whose services you consult provide ongoing attentive care; they become practically family. What’s more, the team at Mertz Family Dentistry are truly invested in making your experience as enjoyable as possible. This goal has just gotten all the easier to accomplish, thanks to a new, brighter, airier, more spacious setting; one which they plan to show off at an upcoming Open House from 4 – 7 p.m. on June 15.

Formerly located on Terry Street, Mertz Family Dentistry recently made the move to 1325 Dry Creek Drive, Suite 304. The new, modern facility offers twice as much space, allowing the team to optimize their capacity to provide superior care to an expanded number of patients. It offers a few new perks in comfort, too, featuring heated massage chairs with patient-operated remotes and sunlit rooms that lend a spa-like feel not typically associated with the dentist’s chair. “Our previous location was a great facility from which to provide excellent dental care in the past,” Dr. Peter Mertz says. “But looking into the future, we couldn’t be more excited about the new location and its capacity to further service our community well into the next decades. I wanted to create a facility that gave us a platform to provide the best in dental care while utilizing the latest, most up-to-date, technology. It’s a very modern, bright, relaxing setting. It’s inviting.”

Founded in 1985 by Dr. Guy Mertz, Mertz Family Dentistry is family-focused and family-rooted. In 2000, Dr. Peter Mertz joined his uncle in the mission to provide the best, most comprehensive and technologically advanced dental health care possible. Dr. Brett Nelson, who is now approaching his one-year anniversary with the practice since joining the team, says the close-knit staff of 16 is like family. “The long-term staff really distinguishes this amazing practice,” says Dr. Guy Mertz.

High-tech and high-service meet at the new Mertz Family Dentistry location to provide patients with an overall pleasant experience.

“Everyone is very dedicated. We have several employees who have been here 20, 30 years.”

Dr. Peter Mertz, who now owns the practice, has been selected as a top dentist for more than a decade consecutively, recently receiving that designation for the 11th time this year. He has advanced implant, sedation, CEREC single-visit crowns, and the most up-to-date Solea® laser systems training available.

Dr. Guy Mertz began his esteemed career 33 years ago with the opening of his practice, and is dedicated to the Longmont community. He has extensive training in laser dentistry systems. Dr. Guy Mertz was also selected as a top dentist by 5280 Magazine for the past two years.

A second-generation dentist originally from Indiana, Dr. Brett Nelson is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Association of Endodontists, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and is a certified Invisalign provider. He is further certified in sedation dentistry. Dr. Nelson takes great care to practice what he refers to as ‘golden rule’ dentistry. “I treat all patients exactly as I would treat my closest friends and family members,” he says.

Prioritizing a personalized approach, doctors and staff at Mertz Family Dentistry take time to genuinely listen and understand the needs of each patient. And, the team does all they can to ensure they are equipped to meet those needs. They are highly skilled in pediatric dental care, and sensitive to the importance and personal means of helping children develop a positive relationship with healthy dental hygiene.

Throughout all ages and stages of life, Mertz Family Dentistry is invested in the wellbeing of its patients. “We’ve watched children grow up, go to college, and start their own families,” says Dr. Guy Mertz. “We have a great staff. We all enjoy each other, and we love our patients.” Dr. Peter Mertz attributes the notable, steady increase in patients the practice serves in great part to the warmth and dedication of his team. “We believe our staff is a big reason that our patients want to come back,” he says. “They each bring a high level of caring to their work.”

Bright new spaces have a spa-like feel, emphasizing relaxation and comfort for patients.

Alongside caring and understanding, Mertz Family Dentistry offers exceptional expertise. The wide range of services goes well beyond standard offerings, including sedation dentistry, Invisalign, and Laser Dentistry. Mertz’ cosmetic dentistry includes teeth whitening, porcelain veneers and crowns. Botox and Juvederm treatments are also performed on site. What’s more, all procedures are provided as comfortably as possible.

Mertz Family Dentistry has always been committed to investing in state-of-the-art, best practice technologies that provide the ultimate in dental care for patients. In fact, Dr. Peter Mertz is one of only a very few general dentists in the area to use a surgical microscope during dental procedures. “You can’t treat what you can’t see,” Dr. Peter Mertz says, stressing the significance of this technology. “The surgical microscope ensures the greatest accuracy possible.”

At Mertz Family Dentistry, three-dimensional X-rays provide the most thorough, comprehensive information for complex dental procedures. Such technologies further increase efficiency and ease for patients. “Utilizing our three-dimensional x-ray and scanner, we can have a guide fabricated for implants before the patient is even here, allowing for minimally invasive procedures,” Dr. Nelson says, explaining a few of the many benefits.

Mertz Family Dentistry was the first in Longmont to offer a special technology, which debuted 15 years ago- an advanced system that can create a crown or set of veneers in just a matter of hours. Each step is completed right in the office for same day fittings. Mertz Family Dentistry uses a detailed camera to map and measure the contours of the tooth. The remaining specifications are added into a chair-side computer, and the new piece is milled to tight specifications, increasing capability to closely match the new surface to surrounding teeth.

Skilled, caring professionals, cutting-edge technology, and a wide range of services offered-what more could one hope for in a dental office? How about painless visits? At Mertz Family Dentistry, the use of in-office lasers allows for anesthesia-free fillings, as well as other procedures to be completed without the use of shots. For all patients, and the youngest in particular, this is significantly reassuring.

Why not check out Mertz Family Dentistry for yourself? Stop by the new office at 1325 Dry Creek Drive on Friday, June 15, from 4- 7 p.m. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine, and the opportunity to visit with staff and tour the office. “We would love to extend an invitation to our whole community to join us, see the new space, and celebrate our grand opening with us,” Dr. Peter Mertz invites. “Come on by.”

This content was originally published here.

Christian health cost sharing ministries offer no guarantees

Eight-year-old Blake Collie was at the swimming pool when he got a frightening headache. His parents rushed him to the emergency room only to learn he had a brain aneurysm. Blake spent nearly two months in the hospital.

His family did not have traditional health insurance. “We could not afford it,” said his father, Mark Collie, a freelance photographer in Washington, North Carolina.

Instead, they pay about $530 a month through a Christian health care sharing organization to pay members’ medical bills. But the group capped payments for members at $250,000, almost certainly far less than the final tally of Blake’s mounting medical bills.

“Just trust God,” the nonprofit group, Samaritan Ministries, in Peoria, Illinois, said in a statement about its coverage, and advises its members that “there is no coverage, no guarantee of payment.”

More than 1 million Americans, struggling to cope with the rising cost of health insurance, have joined such groups, attracted by prices that are far lower than the premiums for policies that must meet strict requirements, like guaranteed coverage for preexisting conditions, established by the Affordable Care Act. The groups say they permit people of a common religious or ethical belief to share medical costs, and many were grandfathered in under the federal health care law mainly through a religious exemption.

These Christian nonprofit groups offer far lower rates because they are not classified as insurance and are under no legal obligation to pay medical claims. They generally decline to cover people with preexisting illnesses. They can set limits on how much their members will pay, and they can legally refuse to cover treatments for specialties like mental health.

“Nothing is guaranteed,” said Dr. Carolyn McClanahan, a physician who is also a financial planner in Jacksonville, Florida. “You have to depend on the largess of the program.”

The main requirement for membership is adherence to a Christian lifestyle. And the alternative sharing plans keep flourishing, especially now that the Trump administration has relaxed rules to permit alternatives to the ACA that don’t provide such generous coverage.

But state regulators in New Hampshire, Colorado and Texas are beginning to question some of the ministries’ aggressive marketing tactics, often using call centers, and said in some cases people who joined them were misled or did not understand how little coverage they would receive if they or a family member had a catastrophic illness.

On Monday, Washington state fined one of the larger health-sharing ministries, Trinity Healthshare, $150,000 and banned it from offering its product to state residents because it was operating as an unauthorized insurer.

In December, Nevada insurance regulators warned consumers to beware of these plans. “They may seem enticing because they may be cheap, look and sound like they are in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (‘ACA’), when in reality these plans are not even insurance products,” the department said.

The Texas attorney general brought a lawsuit last summer against Aliera Healthcare, which marketed Trinity’s ministry program, to stop it from offering “unregulated insurance products to the public.” The Houston Chronicle featured one couple who was left with more than $100,000 in unpaid medical bills. Trinity said most members are satisfied with its services.

Aliera, which says it has stopped offering its plans in Texas, said it is working with regulators to resolve their concerns. The company says it has taken steps to make sure its customers are not confused about what they are buying.

Because the groups are not technically considered insurance, they operate with no government oversight. “Regulators haven’t been willing to assert any control or regulatory authority over these plans,” said Katie Keith, who serves as a consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and teaches health law at Georgetown University. “They feel their hands are tied. At the end of the day, it’s not insurance.”

Families who have joined the groups recount winding up with medical bills not covered by the ministries, with no legal way to appeal decisions to reject coverage for care. Some groups ask their members to push hospitals and doctors to write off their bills rather than use members’ money to pay their expenses.

“These plans offer a false sense of security,” said Jenny Chumbley Hogue, who runs an insurance agency in north Dallas. She refuses to offer them to her clients.

Several states have taken action against one ministry they say has deceived people about what they are buying. “The nature of what we’re hearing from consumers around the state is absolutely heart breaking,” said Kate Harris, chief deputy insurance commissioner in Colorado, one of the states that is trying to prevent the ministry from operating there.

But health share ministries have become particularly attractive to people like the Collie family who don’t qualify for a federal subsidy and can’t afford an ACA plan. Even though premiums in the ACA market have stabilized, critics of the law insist people need alternatives. “That’s the real driver behind the growth,” said Dr. Dave Weldon, a former Republican congressman from Florida who is president of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, which represents the two largest groups.

When Dan Plato left his job to become self-employed as a consultant, he discovered that an ACA policy for 2018 would cost his family around $1,300 a month. “It was very expensive and beyond our needs,” he said. Membership in Liberty Healthshare, a ministry established by Mennonites in Canton, Ohio, was less than half the price, according to Plato, who blogged about his experience.

But some Liberty members reported trouble getting their medical bills covered. Plato says a small bill for flu shots went unpaid and ended up in collection. At the end of the year, he was left wondering if Liberty would be able to cover the family in the event of a serious medical emergency. “It’s not something we could trust in that situation,” said Plato, who switched to one of the plans offered by United Healthcare also exempt from the ACA rules for 2019.

Robyn Lytle, who works as an event planner in Chicago, joined Liberty for 2018, only to find that her daughter’s medical tests were never paid for. “It’s been a year and half, and I’ve been sent to collection,” said Lytle, who says Liberty had covered some of her family’s other expenses. She switched to an ACA plan for 2019.

Liberty Healthshare declined to comment.

Other people complain that the ministries can be vague about coverage. Greg Snider and his wife joined Medi-Share, the program offered by Christian Care Ministry. Based in West Melbourne, Florida. Medi-Share says it has more than 400,000 members across the country.

Snider said he had just dropped traditional coverage when his wife was diagnosed with a heart condition, but he says he was assured by Medi-Share that her care could still be covered. She underwent surgery last year to address an abnormal heart rhythm. “After the procedure, the bills start rolling in,” Snider said, including $177,000 for the surgery alone.

Snider says Medi-Share urged him to plead with the hospital after determining he would owe more than $100,000. He said he had assumed the $800 a month he paid into a pool would help cover the expenses. After he tweeted his frustrations, the ministry told him that he would owe only $1,500 for the surgery because the hospital had forgiven the rest, he said. He now owes thousands of dollars in related medical bills and is unsure of their status.

If Medi-Share decides not to pay, Snider knows he has little recourse: “It is completely and solely up to them.” He has since gotten a job where he is covered under his employer.

Medi-Share says that more than 80% of the $774 million it collected last year went to members’ medical bills. “We take great care to ensure prospective members understand what is considered a preexisting condition and what is eligible for sharing,” it said.

It does its part to reduce medical spending, it says, through negotiating with doctors and hospitals and claims it saved members more than $500 million last year. “We consider this process to be one way in which we contribute to the overall objective of reducing medical costs,” the ministry said in a statement.

Medi-Share says it has an extensive network of more than 700,000 providers. But even if a member goes to an in-network provider, the ministry may still decide not to pay the bill. “Fundamentally, we have found that there is often a lack of understanding of what is covered,” said Brendan Miller, an executive with MultiPlan, which arranges networks for Medi-Share as well as insurers.

That uncertainty has led some hospitals and doctors in the MultiPlan network to refuse to treat ministry patients rather than absorb unpaid costs.

Colorado is one of several states, including Washington, Texas and New Hampshire, that are trying to stop Trinity Healthshare, and its administrator, Aliera Healthcare, from operating in their states because they say the ministry is misleading its residents.

In a statement, Aliera said “it’s deeply disappointing to see state regulators working to deny their residents access to more affordable alternatives offered by health care sharing ministries.”

Trinity says its website makes clear that the ministry does not offer health insurance.

Regulators also worry about these plans siphoning off healthy individuals from the ACA marketplaces, leading to higher premiums for Obamacare policies.

“The ministries have been very concerned about bad actors invading this space,” said Weldon, the alliance president, who says his members are very clear that they are not insurance companies. “They all operate call centers, and they all bend over backward to inform people inquiring that it is not insurance,” he said.

In the case of Samaritan, which says it covers 271,000 people, the ministry pointed to its Save to Share program, where members can contribute extra to cover more of their bills.

With Blake’s bills likely to far exceed the cap — Collie has not yet tallied them yet — he created a GoFundMe account to help pay for his son’s care.

Collie says the ministry remains a viable alternative, noting it paid for numerous medical bills before his son’s hospitalization. “Every single person has prayed for me and my family,” he said. But he was enormously relieved when he found out recently his son qualified for Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program, and will cover the boy’s full medical care.

In some states, officials are starting to consider requiring the groups to register, to obtain more information for consumers.

Peter V. Lee, a former Obama administration official who now runs the California ACA marketplace, said ministries should be subject to some oversight, including disclosure of how much of the money collected is spent on care.

“There should not be a religious exemption for transparency — where the money goes and if it will be there if consumers need it,” he said.

California is also requiring brokers, who are paid hefty commissions by some of the ministries to enroll members, to make sure their clients understand they are not buying insurance.

Some ministries, like Samaritan, say they do not use brokers or agents. “We also have never, nor will we ever, use insurance agents or brokers to sell Samaritan because we don’t want people to confuse us with insurance,” it said.

This content was originally published here.

UNHCR - Turkey scholarship lets star Syrian student pursue dentistry dream

Since she arrived in Turkey six years ago, Syrian refugee Sidra has mastered a new language, worked in a factory to support her family and graduated top of her year in high school.

Her breakthrough came when she won a university scholarship. She is now in her second year of a dentistry degree, and fulfilling a life-long dream

“I am very passionate about education,” said the 21-year-old, who fled war-ravaged Aleppo with her family in 2013. “My dream was to go to university, and I studied very hard to achieve this dream.”

Her achievement reflects a single-minded determination to continue her education, even when it seemed she might not get the chance. She missed her final year of high school in Aleppo when fighting forced the closure of local schools, and when she first arrived in Turkey, she lacked the paperwork needed to enroll.

“The day I went back to school was beautiful.”

Unable to study, she took a full-time job packaging goods in a medical supplies factory while teaching herself Turkish in her time off from books and YouTube videos. A year later, when she secured the refugee documentation needed to resume her education, she vowed to make the most of it.

“The day I went back to school was beautiful,” she said. “The worst thing about war is that it destroys children’s futures,” she continued. “If children don’t continue their education, they won’t be able to give back to society.”

After graduating from high school top of her class with an overall mark of 98 per cent, Sidra then went one better to score 99 per cent in her university entrance exams. The results helped her to secure a vital scholarship from the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB).

While tuition fees at Turkish state universities have been waived for Syrian students, the scholarship provides Sidra with monthly support, enabling her to concentrate on her studies. Without this support she says she would not have been able to study her preferred subject of dentistry due to the extra cost of buying equipment such as cosmetic teeth to practice her skills.

Sidra practices her dentistry skills at home while her younger sister Isra looks on. © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez
Sidra attends a practical lesson at Istanbul University, where she is studying dentistry. © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez
Sidra stands outside her home in Canda Sok on the outskirts of Istanbul. © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez
Sidra spends time with a friend on the historical Galata Bridge in Istanbul. © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez
Once a week, Sidra teaches classical Arabic to Malak, an 8-year-old Turkish girl, at her home in Istanbul. © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez

“Without the scholarship, I would have had to choose a different major, different to dentistry, and to work to cover my university expenses,” she explained.

Sidra is one of around 33,000 Syrian refugee students currently attending university in Turkey. The country is host to 3.68 million registered Syrian refugees, making it the largest refugee hosting country in the world.

Since the beginning of the Syria crisis, YTB has provided 5,341 scholarships to Syrian university students, while a further 2,284 have received scholarships from humanitarian partners. This includes more than 820 scholarships provided by UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – under its DAFI programme.

Access to education is crucial to the self-reliance of refugees. It is also central to the development of the communities that have welcomed them, and the prosperity of their own countries once conditions are in place to allow them to return home.

Enrolment rates in education among refugees currently lag far behind the global average, and the gap increases with age. At secondary school level, only 24 per cent of refugee children are currently enrolled compared with 84 per cent of children globally, with the figure dropping to just 3 per cent in higher education compared with a worldwide average of 37 per cent.

In Turkey, this average has been raised to close to 6 per cent thanks to the priority attached to education, including higher education for refugees.

Efforts to boost access and funding for refugees in quality education will be one of the topics of discussion at the Global Refugee Forum, a high-level event to be held in Geneva from 17-18 December.

Turkey is a co-convenor of the event, which will bring together governments, international organizations, local authorities, civil society, the private sector, host community members and refugees themselves. The event will look at ways of easing the burden of hosting refugees on local communities, boosting refugee self-help and reliance, and increasing opportunities for resettlement.

“Successful people can support the country they’re living in.”

Sidra is convinced that education holds the key to her own future success, and is determined to live up to the nickname she has earned among her fellow students.

“People call me ‘çalışkan kız’ which means: ‘the girl who studies a lot’,” she explained. “With education we can fight war, unemployment and illiteracy. With education we can reach all our goals in life.”

“Successful people can support the country they’re living in,” she continued. “Turkey has given me a lot of facilities, and it honors me that one day I can give back to its people and be an active member [of society], to work and practice dentistry with their support. I take pride in this.”

This content was originally published here.

Michael Moore: US Pays More for Health Care, Doesn’t Call It a Tax

We continue our interview with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore about election 2020 and some of the major issues for voters. Long before Medicare for All became a rallying cry in the Democratic Party, Moore’s 2007 film “Sicko” diagnosed the shortcomings of the for-profit American healthcare system and called for a system of universal healthcare. “The real question never gets asked. They always want to pin them on how much is it going to cost in taxes,” Moore says of debate moderators who ask whether Democratic presidential candidates will raise taxes to pay for Medicare for All.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we spend the hour with the acclaimed filmmaker Michael Moore, who joined us in our New York studio just before Christmas. I interviewed him with Democracy Now!‘s Nermeen Shaikh. We asked him about one of the major issues of concern in this country, in 2020 and overall, and that’s healthcare, a topic Michael Moore tackled in his 2007 documentary Sicko.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We got an issue in America: Too many good docs are getting out of business; too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their — their love with women all across this country.

NARRATOR: When Michael Moore decided to make a movie on the healthcare industry, top-level executives were on the defensive. What were they hiding?

SECURITY: That’s not on, right?

MICHAEL MOORE: No.

SECURITY: OK.

LEE EINER: The intent is to maximize profits.

MICHAEL MOORE: You denied more people healthcare, you got a bonus?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When you don’t spend money on somebody, it’s a savings to the company.

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: I want America to have the finest healthcare in the world.

MICHAEL MOORE: Four healthcare lobbyists for every member of Congress. Here’s what it costs to buy these men and this woman, this guy, and this guy. And the United States slipped to 37 in healthcare around the world — just slightly ahead of Slovenia.

LINDA PEENO: I denied a man a necessary operation and thus caused his death. This secured my reputation, and it ensured my continued advancement in the healthcare field.

NARRATOR: In the world’s richest country…

MARY MORNIN: I work three jobs.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: You work three jobs?

MARY MORNIN: Yes.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic.

NARRATOR: Laughter isn’t the best medicine.

LAURA BURNHAM: I get a bill from my insurance company telling me that the ambulance ride wasn’t pre-approved. I don’t know when I was supposed to pre-approve it. After I gained consciousness in the car? Before I got in the ambulance?

NARRATOR: It’s the only medicine.

MICHAEL MOORE: There was actually one place on American soil that had free universal healthcare.

Which way to Guantánamo Bay?

GOV’T OFFICIAL: Detainees representing a threat to our national security are given access to top-notch medical facilities.

MICHAEL MOORE: Permission to enter. I have three 9/11 rescue workers. They just want some medical attention — the same kind that the evildoers are getting. Hello?

AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Sicko — right? — 2007, talking about healthcare in this country. I wanted to turn right now to the debate moderators, the news personalities on television, framing the question of healthcare as a question of “Will you increase our taxes?”

MARC LACEY: You have not specified how you’re going to pay for the most expensive plan, Medicare for All. Will you raise taxes on the middle class for pay — to pay for it, yes or no?

MARTHA MacCALLUM: It will drive up taxes to pay for healthcare. And not just the wealthy will pay for that, the middle class will also pay for it.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Look, OK, very good.

KRISTEN WELKER: What do you say to voters who are worried that your position on Medicare for All could cost you critical votes in the general election?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders has been candid about the fact that middle-class taxes are going to go up and most of private insurance is going to be eliminated. Will you make that same admission?

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s some of the questions debate moderators and news personalities — sometimes you might call them journalists — are asking of the presidential candidates when it comes to Medicare for All: “Are you going to increase taxes?” Talk about the framing of that.

MICHAEL MOORE: Well, these questions are asked by these moderators who work for news organizations that are owned by large conglomerates who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. So, the real question never gets asked in terms of — it’s all, yes, they always want to pin them on how much is it going to cost in taxes.

And the answer to that is, well, actually, we pay more taxes than any country on Earth, more than the Scandinavians, more than the French. And people: “What do you mean by that? No, we don’t. You can look at their tax rate and our tax rate.” And I say, “No, it’s because we lie. We don’t call — what they get for their taxes, we don’t call it a tax here. We call it tuition. We call it copayment. We call it, I mean, daycare, daycare fees.” You know, in France, in Norway, countries like that, they get those things for free or nearly free, because they pay taxes for it, and everybody gets it. If you’re qualified to go to the Sorbonne in Paris, you go there for free. You know, you pay for your books in France. Daycare in France is about a dollar, $2 — if you make a lot of money, you’ve got to pay $2 an hour for your daycare of your kids.

If you take the average of what people spend just on daycare, what you spend a week — let’s say you’re paying a couple hundred dollars a week in daycare, probably more for some people. Let’s say your college debt you’re paying off is a couple hundred dollars a month. Let’s say that during the year, through copays and deductibles — well, I know what that number is. The average American pays about $6,000 between things that aren’t covered or they have to pay part of their premium, copay, deductible. Add all that up, the $200 a month for the daycare and the $200 a month for the college. So that’s — you know, per year, it’s $2,500 for each of those, then now you’re at $5,000. Six thousand for the healthcare. Each American is paying about $11,000 that you don’t pay if you’re French or Spanish or Swedish. Yet we don’t call it a tax. We have all these other fake names for it. They just get this stuff, and they get a good version of it.

I mean, I got — when we were making this film, I don’t know, I came down — I had the flu or something or whatever. It was the middle of the night. I didn’t feel good. Our French producer said, “Oh, just get the doctor to come over.” I said, “It’s like 2 in the morning.” “Eh, no problem.” I said, “What? You mean doctors here make house calls?” He goes, “Yes. We will have to pay $50 when he or she gets here.” But if you’re French, you can turn that in and get the $50 reimbursed. So, at 2 in the morning, I had a doctor arrive where I was staying, and check me out and make sure the fever was OK, whatever. And they gave him 50 bucks. And I’m not going to get the 50 bucks back because I’m not French. But I couldn’t believe it.

And one of the women I interviewed, American ex-pats that live there, she said to me, “The reason we don’t have this stuff in the U.S. and the reason they have it here in France is because in France the government is afraid of the people. In the U.S., the people are afraid of the government.” And as long as you’re afraid of the government, as long as you’re afraid of losing your job — “I can’t lose my job. I need the benefits.” Nobody in France ever says, “I need the benefits.” The benefits are already there. It’s a human right. So you want to quit your job? You want to stand up? You want to start a strike? You want to try to unionize someplace that isn’t unionized? You’re not going to lose your job. And if you do —

AMY GOODMAN: You want to have mass protests in the streets all over France?

MICHAEL MOORE: Do it. Do it. And you will not lose your healthcare. You won’t. Your kids can still go to daycare. Your parents that are in the old age home, they’re taken care of. None of that’s coming out of your pocket. Wow! Think of the freedom, the absolute freedom, if you didn’t have to worry about how to pay for these things, and how much extra time you would have to get politically involved.

Our system is set up so you are struggling from paycheck to paycheck, where you don’t know what’s going to happen next. You’re constantly on the edge of “What if I lose my job?” What if you lose your job in France? The government will take care of you to find a new one. It’s like, “How do they have the money to do that? They must be taxing people!” Yes, they tax people, but they also — what’s their — their military, their GDP percentage, I don’t know what it is, but I am certain it’s in the single digits. Not this country. How much of your taxes go to some form of the military or homeland security? I’m sure it’s over 50% at this point. So, that’s how we choose to spend our money. What if we chose to spend it on the people? How much better it would be.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore, I want to thank you for being with us, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, his most recent documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9. His other films include Michael Moore in TrumpLand, Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine, Sicko, Capitalism: A Love Story, Where to Invade Next

MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, that’s a good one. I like that one.

AMY GOODMAN: Last week, Michael Moore witnessed the historic impeachment vote from the front row of the gallery, and he has just launched a new project, a podcast. It’s supposed to be weekly. It’s called Rumble with Michael Moore. But you’re doing it daily, Michael?

MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I’m just doing it through the holidays, mostly every day, just because I’ve never done this before. I mean, you had a radio show like forever, so you’re very used to this. I’m a filmmaker. So, I started last — a week ago, last Tuesday. And I am going to do it until New Year’s, pretty much on a daily basis. Yesterday, I did one from my dentist chair. I had this dental work done. I asked — the dentist is a very political dentist. I always talk to him about politics. I asked him, “Would you mind if I just recorded this?” So, you get both of us talking about Trump and Murdoch, and also you hear him drilling my two teeth. So, I know it will feel a little painful to have to listen to that drill. Nothing is more painful than what we’ve had to go through the last three years.

AMY GOODMAN: Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore, his most recent documentary, 11/9. He won an Academy Award for his film Bowling for Columbine. Michael Moore has just launched a new project, a podcast called Rumble with Michael Moore. We’ll talk more with him in the coming days about another major topic of this election: guns and gun control and war. That does it for today’s show.

This content was originally published here.

Many health care workers are refusing flu shots, endangering patients, regulators say – The Boston Globe

In response, Massachusetts regulators are now intensifying efforts to improve vaccination rates — sending reminder letters to dozens of facilities that failed to report their numbers, visiting dialysis centers to review their process for vaccinating workers, and even offering cash to nursing homes as an incentive to improve their rates.

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“First and foremost, health care personnel are directly interacting with residents and patients. They could be transmitting influenza to them and we want to prevent that from happening,” said Katherine Fillo, director of clinical quality improvement at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

High vaccination rates also help ensure that a large number of caregivers don’t fall ill during a flu outbreak, Fillo said.

State regulations require all health care facilities, as a condition of receiving a license, to provide free flu shots each year to all employees. Yet workers are allowed to decline the shot. Facilities must report to the state how many declined and how many cited medical reasons for opting out. They must also report how many workers had an unknown vaccination status.

A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that health care workers in the Northeast had the lowest flu vaccination rates in the United States. It also found that rates nationwide were lowest among those who worked in long-term care, such as in nursing homes.

In Massachusetts, among the 315 nursing homes that reported data to the state health department, roughly 16 percent of workers declined to be vaccinated. That’s down slightly from 18 percent in 2017.

Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, a trade association, said nursing home administrators are working diligently to increase rates but often encounter barriers.

“Some of our staff decline vaccination for religious or health reasons and others are concerned that the vaccine is ineffective or dangerous,” she said in a statement. “Our efforts to educate everyone in our facilities on the benefits of the flu vaccine are ongoing and a top priority.”

For nursing and rest homes that achieve at least a 90 percent vaccination rate this flu season, the state will reimburse the cost of renewing their license, which can run up to $1,000.

Among the 61 dialysis centers that reported vaccination rates, 83 percent of workers got a flu shot and roughly 9 percent declined. The rest cited medical reasons or their status was unknown.

Dr. Holly Kramer, president of the National Kidney Foundation and a professor of medicine at Loyola University Chicago, said patients receiving dialysis are at particular risk for serious complications from the flu because they often have a greatly weakened immune system.

“The health care workers need to be vaccinated because dialysis patients are more likely to develop severe influenza and need to be hospitalized and can die from influenza,” Kramer said.

Fresenius Medical Care North America, the largest dialysis center chain in Massachusetts with more than 35 centers, said in a statement that it has worked hard to educate patients and employees about the benefits of receiving a flu shot.

Fresenius said that about 86 percent of its workers in Massachusetts were vaccinated last flu season, higher than the industry average here of 83 percent.

“Our policy mandates that any health care provider working with patients in our dialysis centers receive a flu vaccine each season, and if an employee refuses, requires that employee to wear a face mask when near patients,” said Fresenius spokesman Brad Puffer.

“We continue to invest significant resources in reminding both employees and patients about the dangers of flu for people living with kidney failure, and we are committed to further improving these efforts,” he said.

For years, regulators focused on boosting flu vaccinations among hospital workers, which as recently as a decade ago was mired below 70 percent. The state health department started publishing a list of vaccination rates at each facility, and many hospitals started cracking down on workers who declined shots, making them wear masks for the entire flu season. A number of hospitals required caregivers to receive a flu shot each year as a condition of employment.

Rates slowly but steadily climbed, and for the last several years have been above 90 percent.

“Some health care providers use creative ways to ensure vaccination compliance, such as offering vaccinations on-site around the clock and allowing employees to use work time to be inoculated,” said Patricia Noga, vice president for clinical affairs at the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association.

She said the association strongly supports new policies to improve statewide rates, including requiring the entire health care workforce be vaccinated.

For now, regulators are turning their attention to the rest of the state’s health facilities with a goal of matching the success it had with hospitals.

“We hope and anticipate we will see this same trajectory in these other types of healthcare facilities,” Fillo said.

Kay Lazar can be reached at kay.lazar@globe.com Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar.

This content was originally published here.

Viral video shows British people shocked as they guess costs of US health care | TheHill

A now-viral video shows British people appearing shocked at the cost in the United States for essential health care services like delivering a baby or purchasing an inhaler or an Epi Pen. 

The U.K.-based political news site JOE shared the video on Twitter Tuesday and it has garnered over 15 million views and more than 50,000 likes. It shows one person going up to multiple British people and asking how much they think essential health services might cost on the U.S.

“Ambulance call out, how much do you think that costs?” the questioner asks one man.

“Zero payment,” the man responds.

“For real?” He asks after the questioner revealed that receiving medical care in an ambulance can cost $2,500.

The questioner asked one woman how much she thinks a single inhaler would cost. When the questioner told her it can cost $250 to $300 dollars, she responded “For an inhaler? Man, so if you’re poor you’re dead?” 

Ambulance call out? $2,500. Childbirth? $30,000.

Our NHS is not for sale, @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/q9z4r6Ni6g

— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK)

When he told the same woman that an Epi Pen cost more than $250, she responded “shut the fridge,” looking shocked when the questioner revealed that the life-saving medicine can cost more than $600.

“You have to pay to do that?” the woman asked after the questioner said hospitals can charge for skin-to-skin contact between a mother and baby after a person gives birth. “To hold my own child that I’ve been carrying inside of my womb?”

“I’m genuinely speechless,” she continued. When asked what she thinks about the people profiting off of the medical industry in the U.S., she responded, “You’re bastards.” 

Another woman looked aghast when the questioner revealed that giving birth in a hospital can cost $10,000, and an IUD contraceptive device can cost $1,300. The woman called the National Health Service in the United Kingdom “Literally the gift that keeps on giving.”

“Literally, literally people are so dumb for taking advantage of it, and I don’t want it to change,” she said. 

Earlier this year, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTop Democrat: ‘Obstruction of justice’ is ‘too clear not to include’ in impeachment probe Former US intel official says Trump would often push back in briefings Schiff says investigators seeking to identify who Giuliani spoke to on unlisted ‘-1’ number MORE walked back comments he made that the NHS should be included in trade talks between the U.S. and the U.K., telling Piers Morgan that he doesn’t “see it being on the table.”

Trump again told reporters Tuesday that “If you handed [the NHS] to us on a silver platter, we want nothing to do with it,” Fox News reported.

This content was originally published here.

Health officials warn Denver airport travelers of potential measles exposure after 3 children hospitalized

Three children visiting Colorado have been hospitalized with measles, leading health officials to warn people who traveled through Denver International Airport earlier this week that they are at risk for the highly contagious disease.

The children tested positive after traveling to a country with an ongoing measles outbreak. They did not have the MMR — or measles, mumps and rubella — vaccine, according to a news release from Tri-County Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers three or more cases of measles “linked in time and place” to be an outbreak. However, Tri-County Health spokesman Gary Sky said the department doesn’t consider this to be an outbreak because the patients are related.

Health officials said individuals who visited these locations may have been exposed to measles:

  • Denver International Airport between 1:15 and 5:45 p.m. Dec. 11
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Anschutz Campus Emergency Department between 1 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12

Local health officials have not said where the family was traveling from. But the news of the measles cases in Colorado comes the same day that health officials in California warned about exposure from patients who traveled through Los Angeles International Airport.

It’s unclear how many people are at risk of exposure.

Officials at Denver International Airport said they do not know how many people potentially came in contact with the children. Roughly 179,000 people passed through the airport via departing, arriving or connecting flights on Dec. 11, said airport spokeswoman Emily Williams.

Health officials are contacting people who are believed to be at risk for measles, including those who visited Children’s Hospital on Dec. 12. The Tri-County Health Department will likely contact “well over 100” people in its investigation, said Dr. Bernadette Albanese, a medical epidemiologist.

“We’re doing this investigation for a reason, and that reason is precisely to prevent secondary spread — and having a non-ideal vaccination rate in Colorado isn’t helping matters,” she said.

There is no ongoing risk of exposure at these two locations, however, travelers should be on the lookout for measles symptoms, which can develop seven to 21 days after contact, the news release said.

Measles has various symptoms including high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and a rash. The illness can lead to pneumonia and swelling of the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Measles is highly contagious and up to 90% of people close to a person with the illness become infected if they are not immune, according to the CDC.

Representatives of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Children’s Hospital Colorado declined to discuss the measles cases and deferred questions to Tri-County Health Department.

Several measles outbreaks have occurred across the United States this year, but until now there was only one case reported in Colorado. In January, a Denver resident was placed in isolation and treated for the respiratory illness.

But health experts have warned that Colorado’s low vaccination rate makes communities here vulnerable to an outbreak. The immunization rate for the MMR shot was 87.4% during the 2018-19 school year, meaning the state doesn’t meet the threshold needed to protect a community from a measles outbreak.

The state’s low vaccination rate has come under scrutiny this year and a bill to make it harder to opt out of such shots was debated by legislators before it failed. Gov. Jared Polis has said he’s “pro-choice” when it comes to vaccinations. He said believes the solution to raise the low immunization rate is through education and access rather than eliminating nonmedical exemptions.

If a person has symptoms that could be measles they should call their doctor’s office or a hospital first, the news release said.

Due to incorrect information from a health official, this story originally mischaracterized the measles cases at Denver International Airport as an outbreak.

This content was originally published here.

The Game Changers And You: Going Vegan for Our Health and Our Planet’s

Over the past month several friends have told me to watch the The Game Changers on @Netflix  produced by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger about vegan athletes. Intrigued by the concept of a plant based diet I sat down with my husband to watch the 90 minute documentary which was indeed a personal Game changer. And, I’m so glad I watched it because, not only did I learn about improving my health, I also learned how a change in diet can improve the planet. (For more on this read: The Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet)

The show is revelatory, and so much more than an examination of one’s diet. It truly is a movement and I can see why there is a huge following. Anyone interested in their personal health and the health of the planet should watch this and then decide whether to change their eating.

Not only is diet at issue, the planet is as well. What are you doing about climate change? Well, it turns out we can make a dent by giving up meat without giving up protein or health. As a matter of fact, we can improve our health at the same time.

There are so many outstanding examples of how we are devasting our planet through feeding of livestock to fuel our appetites. The case is made that we are a product of marketing and eating meat for strength is a fallacy.

The case is made not only for leaner and stronger bodies from a diet change, reduction of inflammation, even stronger erections for men, and more energy for all. A solid case is also made for a reversal of devastation to our land and water supply by reducing the demand for meat.

WATCH THIS OFFICIAL 2-minute Trailer…

I have never wanted to go vegan. It just seemed to me like another neurotic fad to be skinny unless you have digestive issues. Well, after watching this documentary, my mind has been changed.

My husband was way more skeptical and found the film to be a bit too much of an infomercial. I on the other hand saw it as a call to action.

Although I have been a non-red meat eater since 1976, and am bored by chicken and skeptical of fish these days, I had never really thought of making a “diet” around giving these proteins up as the alternatives seem complicated (i.e. complex recipes of beans, not easily findable on restaurant menus).

But, it was this lesson I learned from the documentary. My daily diet of eggs and cheese and yogurt as my go to proteins and some chicken and tuna, are not giving me the healthy protein boost I need. Apparently, I have been missing the point as the potency of the protein options is in the plants. This for me is a game changer.

But change is hard. I have been eating a poached egg for breakfast most of my life and it’s my comfort food. Giving up eggs seems impossible and my happy hour of wine without cheese equally empty. Because this plant based diet asks us to give up all animal products that means my beloved french butter must go as well.

My guess is, I will try to go vegan for a while or at least a few days a week to see if I can do it and test if I feel better. I am also motivated to do my bit to help the planet. Want to try it with me?

P.S. There are number of disclaimers about the accuracy of this documentary which are worth reading.

Here are a few take-aways from the documentary that Buzz Feed put together….

1. All protein originates in plants. The protein one gets from eating a steak or a burger are actually from the plants the animal ate.

2. The average plant-eater gets 70% more protein than they need.

3. Many meat-eaters get more than half of their protein from plants.

4. When you eat animals regularly, you begin forming plaques in the coronary arteries.

5. The plaque formation doesn’t just limit the function of the arteries, it can block blood flow and make it difficult for your heart to keep up with the demands of your body.

6. When animal protein is cooked, preserved, or digested by our gut bacteria, highly inflammatory compounds are formed and they corrode our cardiovascular system.

Click here to read more from Buzz Feed…

The post The Game Changers And You: Going Vegan for Our Health and Our Planet’s appeared first on Better After 50.

This content was originally published here.

Mental health professionals read Trump’s letter: A study in “the psychotic mind” at work | Salon.com

On Wednesday night, Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives. Trump will now — perhaps after some delay — be put on trial in the Senate, where he will then be acquitted by Republicans who have sworn personal fealty to him.

Trump’s impeachment is one of the few moments in his life when he has ever been held accountable for his behavior. Consequences are the enemy of Donald Trump. As such, in response to the Ukraine scandal, the Mueller report, the 2018 midterm elections and various other moments when Democrats and the public defied Trump’s authoritarian goal of becoming a de facto king or emperor, he has lashed out in the form of (another) temper tantrum.

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On Tuesday, Trump continued with this ugly and deeply troubling behavior in the form of a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fueled by exaggerated rage that Democrats had dared to impeach him. Reportedly co-authored by Stephen Miller, Trump’s white supremacist White House adviser, Trump’s letter continued numerous obvious lies about impeachment, the Ukraine scandal and other matters.

In keeping with his strategy of stochastic terrorism, Trump’s letter is an incitement to violence by his followers against the Democrats for the “crime” of impeachment.

Trump is possessed of the delusional belief that he (and by implication his supporters) is a victim of a “witch hunt” akin to the famous event in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. In keeping with his malignant narcissism, Trump’s letter, of course, boasts of his strength and fortitude against the Democrats and other enemies.

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In total, Trump’s “impeachment letter” to Nancy Pelosi is but one data point among many demonstrating that he is mentally unwell and a threat to the safety of the United States and the world.

To gain more context and insight into this ongoing crisis, I asked several of the country’s leading mental health experts for their thoughts on Trump’s impeachment letter and what it indicates about the president’s emotional state and behavior.

Dr. Bandy Lee, assistant clinical professor, Yale University School of Medicine and president of the World Mental Health Organization. Lee is editor of the bestselling book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”

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This letter is a very obvious demonstration of Donald Trump’s severe mental compromise. His assertions should alarm not only those who believe that a president of the United States and a commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military should be mentally sound, but also those who are concerned about the potential implications of such a compromised individual bringing out pathological elements in his supporters and in society in general. I have been following and interpreting Donald Trump’s tweets as a public service, since merely reading them “gaslights” you and reforms your thoughts in unhealthy ways. Without arming yourself with the right interpretation, you end up playing into the hands of pathology and helping it — even if you do not fully believe it. This is because of a common phenomenon that happens when you are continually exposed to a severely compromised person without appropriate intervention. You start taking on the person’s symptoms in a phenomenon called “shared psychosis.”

It happens often in households where a sick individual goes untreated, and I have seen some of the most intelligent and otherwise healthy persons succumb to the most bizarre delusions. It can also happen at national scale, as renowned mental health experts such as Erich Fromm have noted. Shared psychosis at large scale is also called “mass hysteria.”

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The president is quite conscious of his ability to generate mass hysteria, which is the purpose of the letter.

The book I edited, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” contained three warnings: that the president was more dangerous than people suspected; that he would grow more dangerous with time; and that ultimately, he would become “uncontainable.” We are entering the “uncontainable” stage because of shared psychosis.

Dan P. McAdams, chair and professor of the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, author of the forthcoming book “The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump: A Psychological Reckoning.”

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Venomous and vitriolic, obsessively focused on the self and nothing else, this letter is what we have come to know as vintage Trump. Had we been handed this document just three years ago and told it was once written by a president of the United States, we would have been aghast, and we would have considered it to be one of the most remarkable texts ever unearthed — worthy to be remembered as the antithesis of, say, the Gettysburg Address.

In terms of what we have come to expect from President Trump, the only remarkable thing about this letter is that it is so long — and that it contains a few big words, like “solemnity.” But in nearly every other way, the letter is like the vitriolic, grievance-filled tweets he sends out every day, full of falsehoods, hyperbole and hate. As an extended expression of who Trump really is, the letter shows you how his mind works and what his raw experience is like.

For over 50 years, Donald Trump has lived this way. Trump has fought ever day of his adult life as if he were being impeached by his enemies. And there have always been countless enemies, because his antagonism brings them out of the woodwork. To quote what Trump told People Magazine when asked to recite his philosophy of life, “Man is the most vicious of all animals and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat.” This is truly how Trump has always experienced the world. The letter merely reinforces his world view.

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Moreover, Trump is right about the Democrats.  Many of them have been wanting to impeach him since Day One. They recoil against him just the way countless others have recoiled against Trump going back to his real estate days in the late 1970s. Trump needs to hate Democrats. If suddenly all his enemies lay down as lambs and promised to cooperate with him, he might kill himself. He would have no reason to go on. He needs enemies as much as he needs air to breathe.

Dr. David Reiss, psychiatrist, expert in mental fitness evaluations and contributor to “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”

Content-wise it is the typical Trump distortions, outright lies, and exclusive focus on his feelings. For Trump, his feelings define reality.  It would be interesting if someone in the media was able to ask Trump, “What does the word ‘fair’ mean to you?” Because, objectively, Trump complains he is being treated “unfairly” anytime he does not get his way, his feelings are hurt, and/or others are not accepting what he says at face value and without question — even if it is contrary to proven fact or internally inconsistent.

Whoever actually wrote the letter, it accurately reflects Trump’s immaturity that has been obvious in public as long as he has been a public figure: insisting that his needs be met in a child-like manner; having very poor problem-solving ability; having an inability to take responsibility for anything and projecting his own negative attributes onto others; an inability to look at consequences of his statements or actions. Basically, acting as a frustrated or emotionally hurt toddler would react, looking for a parent to protect him and “make the bad people go away.”

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Dr. Lance Dodes, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry (retired), Harvard Medical School, currently training and supervising analyst emeritus at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He is also a contributor to “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”

Mr. Trump’s letter shows his incapacity to recognize other people as separate from him or having worth.

As he always does, he accuses others of precisely what he has done, in precisely the same language. When confronted with violating the Constitution he says his accusers are violating the Constitution. When others point out that he undermines democracy, he says they undermine democracy. Through these very simpleminded projections he deletes others’ selfhood and replaces who they are with what is unacceptable in himself.

The letter also has a remarkable list of boasts about what he says are his successes, stated as facts, with no acknowledgment that Speaker Pelosi has a vastly different view (about gun control, appointing judges who conform to his views, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement, etc). It is as if her independent views are unworthy of noting or existing. She is treated as invisible in his eyes.

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In reflecting his projecting (paranoid) view of the world and his primitive focus on himself with denial of the rights and feelings of others, the letter is consistent with what we already know about Mr. Trump.

Dr. John Gartner, co-founder of the Duty to Warn PAC and co-editor of “Rocket Man: Nuclear Madness and the Mind of Donald Trump.”

When you read excerpts of the Trump letter to Pelosi it doesn’t do justice to how unhinged, paranoid and manic it is in its entirety.

It shows the usual formal properties of a Trump rant: proclaiming himself the victim of an evil conspiracy, while projecting onto his critics everything bad he is actually doing.

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For example:

You are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy…

All blended seamlessly with outright lies:

Worse still, I have been deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process from the beginning of this impeachment scam right up until the present. I have been denied the most fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution, including the right to present evidence, to have my own counsel present, to confront accusers, and to call and cross-examine witnesses …

Dr. Justin Frank, former clinical professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical Center, and author of “Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President.”

When I first read Donald Trump’s six-page letter to Speaker Pelosi, I marveled at the ease with which he shared what goes on in his mind openly, and without reservation. His letter is the quintessential example of how professional victims actually think. They turn the prosecutor into the persecutor.

Trump’s letter is just such an expression of entitled, delusional grievance. He accuses Pelosi of injuring his family, but it is his nepotism that exposes his older children to public scrutiny and his teenager (to whom he refers as “Melania’s son”) to life in a fishbowl. More damning, in making her a public figure, he subjected the First Lady to humiliation. He knew full well he paid a stripper $130,000 not to talk about their affair and was surely aware that this and other unsavory behaviors would surface when he sought the presidency.

Trump is a con artist who succeeds by tricking his marks into not seeing the con. But the biggest mark — bigger than the GOP and his base — is himself. He believes the lies he tells, the delinquent traits he disavows. It’s what psychoanalysts call delusional projection. We see it the simple sentence he wrote to the speaker: “You view democracy as your enemy.” Trump confirms my findings published in “Trump on the Couch.” But now his defenses are writ large, because instead of changing in moments of crisis, people become more the way they are. Trump has reverted to the most familiar means to cope with fears of being caught, punished and humiliated.

Finally, the letter is a treasure trove for psychiatric residents who want to study the psychotic mind. Trump’s paradoxical sleight of hand makes him think he can hide in plain sight. But he can’t anymore. This is why he accuses Pelosi of hating democracy: It is he who hates a system that promotes the idea that no one is above the law.

This content was originally published here.

‘Stranger Things’ Character Wears Shirt from Mo. Orthodontist

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  • Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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  • Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Santa’s reindeer receive clean bill of health, cleared to fly on Christmas Eve

HERSHEY, Pa. (WJW) — Santa’s reindeer have been cleared for take-off!

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding, and State Veterinarian, Dr. Kevin Brightbill, met with Santa Claus and his nine reindeer at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane on Thursday to announce that they’ve received a clean bill of health and can fly on December 24.

The reindeer, answering to the names of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph received clearance to fly from Alaska’s state veterinarian.

“Not everyone knows what takes place behind the scenes to allow Santa and his nine reindeer to take flight on Christmas Eve,” said Agriculture Secretary Redding. “Thanks to Dr. Brightbill, his counterpart in the North Pole, and Santa’s due diligence, we can expect gifts under the tree Christmas morning.”

Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill holds up a clean bill of health for Santa’s nine reindeer, and that they’re cleared for take-off on December 24, at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane on Thursday, December 19, 2019. (Courtesy: Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture)

The reindeer received a certificate of veterinary inspection and permit to ship that allows them to fly from rooftop to rooftop for the purpose of toy delivery.

State officials said that for animals that travel between states, such certificates help ensure that contagious diseases are not spread.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture veterinarians supplied Santa’s reindeer with the certificate this year since they are residing at Hersheypark for the next few days.

“Hersheypark is honored that Santa trusts his nine reindeer to the care of our ZooAmerica team throughout the holiday season,” said Quinn Bryner, Director of PR at Hersheypark. “We’re the only place to see them all together in the Northeast through Jan. 1 so we wish them a magical flight before they come back to Hershey!”

Make sure to track Santa and the reindeer’s flight path on December 24 using NORAD’s Santa Tracker.

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Sedation Dentistry Options For Children

Children can often be apprehensive about dental treatment, but keeping oral health in good condition is important, especially at a young age. In certain situations, your dentist might recommend using a type of sedation during your child’s treatment. This can be a worrying concept, but the right information will help to put your mind at rest.

Types of Sedation

There are several levels of sedation your dentist may choose to use depending on your child and the procedure to be undertaken.

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is the lowest level of sedation. It is blended with oxygen and administered through a small breathing mask. It is non-invasive, and once your child stops breathing nitrous oxide then the drug will quickly leave their system, and they will return to normal. Nitrous oxide won’t put your child to sleep, but it will help them to relax.

Mild sedation is usually induced using orally administered drugs. Your child will remain awake and usually be able to respond normally to verbal communication, but their movement and coordination may be affected. Respiratory and cardiovascular reflexes and functions are not affected at all, so there is no need for any additional monitoring equipment or oxygen.

Moderate sedation will make your child drowsy, and although they will usually respond to verbal communication they may not be able to speak coherently. They are likely to remain a little sleepy after the procedure, and most children cannot remember all or any of the procedure. This type of sedation can be reversed easily and breathing and cardiovascular function are generally unaffected.

Deep sedation is induced using intravenous drugs and will mean that your child is fully asleep. They may move a little and make sounds in response to repeated stimulation or any pain, but they will be in a deep sleep. Recovery from this type of sedation takes a little longer, and it is highly unlikely that your child will remember anything that happened. Sometimes respiratory or cardiovascular function can be impaired using these types of drugs, so there will be an extra qualified person present to monitor your child throughout the procedure.

The deepest option is a general anaesthetic, also induced using intravenous drugs. During a general anaesthetic, your child will be completely asleep and unable to respond to any stimulation, including pain. Your child will not remember any of the procedure, and should remain drowsy for some time afterwards. During this type of sedation, your child would be monitored by an anaesthetist who is trained in taking care of people under general anaesthetic. Recovery time is a little longer after a general anaesthetic than the other sedation types, and your child may need assistance with breathing during the procedure.

When Is Sedation Required?

There are a few reasons why sedation might be necessary for your child during a dental procedure. First of all, the procedure may be painful, so sedation would be appropriate to avoid unnecessary discomfort. Depending on the type and length of the procedure required, any of the above types of sedation might be appropriate.

If your child is at all anxious about visiting the dentist, it is important to make their experience as smooth as possible to avoid worsening the problem. The level of sedation required will depend on the level of anxiety and the procedure. For mild anxiety, nitrous oxide or mild sedation would help your child relax. If your child is very young, then a higher level might be appropriate to prevent them from moving during the procedure. In more extreme cases of anxiety or phobia, higher sedation levels may be required.

Sedation is sometimes required for children with behavioural disorders or other special needs. It can be difficult, or impossible, to explain to these children why dental care is required. The whole experience can therefore be very frightening for them, so an appropriate level of sedation may be used to help them remain calm and still for the procedure.

Concerns and Contraindications

Sedation has been used in dentistry for a long time, and the drugs and methods used are constantly reviewed. Anyone recommending or administering sedation is specially trained to do so safely, and during deep sedation and general anaesthetic your child is monitored by a trained professional in the room solely for that purpose.

Sometimes sedation can result in side effects such as nausea, vomiting, prolonged drowsiness, and imbalance. These effects usually wear off by themselves. After a deep sedation or general anaesthetic your child should be closely supervised to prevent falling, choking if they vomit, or airway obstruction.

Sedation of children for dental procedures is a common and safe practice. It may be worrying when your dentist first suggests it, but it is important not to increase your child’s anxiety so that they can maintain excellent dental care throughout their lives.

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15 Doctors Fired From Chicago-Area Health System | Medpage Today

At least 15 physicians have been fired from Edward-Elmhurst Health as the suburban Chicago-based health system moves to cut costs, sources told MedPage Today.

The doctors, who worked across its seven “Immediate Care” or urgent care sites, will be replaced by advanced practice nurses, according to an email sent by hospital leadership that was shared with MedPage Today. The physicians were informed late last week that they would be terminated as of April 1, 2020.

A physician who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the doctors were “broadsided” by the news. While they harbored some concerns that a few of the slower urgent care sites might be turned over to non-physician clinicians, they weren’t expecting so many of the sites to be impacted and for such a large number of doctors to be let go.

In their email, hospital system CEO Mary Lou Mastro, MS, RN, and Chief Medical Officers Robert Payton, MD, and Daniel Sullivan, MD, pointed to patient cost concerns as the reason for eliminating the jobs: “Patients have made it very clear that they want less costly care and convenient access for lower-acuity issues (sore throats, rashes, earaches), which are the vast majority of cases we treat in our Immediate Cares.”

“Beginning in the spring of 2020, we will move to a delivery model in which care is provided by Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) at select Immediate Care locations,” they wrote.

Leadership also stated in the email that they are “working closely with these physicians to assist them with finding alternative positions within Edward-Elmhurst Health or outside our system,” but doctors noted that they face a saturated Chicago healthcare market and they’re likely to have to relocate.

When asked to confirm the layoffs, Keith Hartenberger, a spokesperson for Edward-Elmhurst Health, said in a statement: “We continue to assess our care delivery models in the interest of providing cost-effective care to our patients. We shared with physicians that we have plans to change the model next year at some outpatient sites and are working with anyone affected to find alternative placement.”

The move is becoming a more familiar one as some health systems try to save money by relying more heavily on non-physician clinicians.

Last year, 27 pediatricians at a chain of clinics in the Dallas area lost their jobs and were replaced by nurse practitioners — even though the chain subsequently changed its name to MD Kids Pediatrics.

Rebekah Bernard, MD, wrote in Medical Economics that she spoke with three of the pediatricians who were fired: “They told me that they and their physician colleagues were completely shocked by the sudden firing. ‘We thought we were going to retire from this place,’ one told me.”

Also in 2018, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Atrium Health ended a nearly 40-year contract with a 100-member physician group, signing up instead with Scope Anesthesia, which says it’s dedicated to forming partnerships with certified registered nurse anesthetists. Atrium said it too was looking to reduce patient costs.

“This trend of shuttering hospital departments and firing physicians to save money is dangerous and short-sighted,” Bernard wrote.

Purvi Parikh, MD, of NYU Langone Health in New York City, and a board member of Physicians for Patient Protection, which advocates against other healthcare providers replacing doctors, said that although non-physician clinicians “are vital members of the healthcare team, they are not trained to be substitutes of physicians and as a result diagnoses are missed and improper treatments and tests [are] prescribed.”

Parikh said patients “have the right to choose a facility that is physician-only or one with physician-led care. In Chicago, luckily there are other options among competitors.”

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This content was originally published here.

Tanya Talaga: Toronto is getting a new Indigenous health centre

Anishnawbe Health Toronto is getting close to the finish line — it’s just $3.5-million away from its $10-million goal in a fundraising campaign for a state-of-the-art Indigenous health facility that’s set to be built next year in a prime downtown location.

There are a lot of remarkable things about that sentence.

First, after 150 years of colonization, a new health centre that’s specifically designed for Indigenous people will finally be available in a city with an Indigenous population estimated to be at least 70,000. For years, AHT has run programs scattered across three locations, in outdated and overcrowded buildings that were never intended to house traditional Indigenous health care.

Second, the new health centre and community hub will be constructed on 2.4 acres in the West Don Lands, on land that was part of the Pan Am Games athletes’ village and purchased for a nominal fee from Ontario.

Third, the largest donors to come forward to date are Alexandra and Brad Krawczyk, who gave $2 million to the fundraising campaign. Alexandra’s father, the late Barry Sherman, campaigned to bring cheaply priced generic medicine to HIV patients in Africa and was the head of the multinational pharmaceutical firm Apotex.

Like her father, Alexandra has lived a life immersed in health care. She went to nursing school in Toronto but chose to do her residency in Fort Albany First Nation along the James Bay coast. The fly-in community was home to the notorious St. Anne’s Indian Residential School, where there was a homemade electric chair to punish the students.

Alexandra remembers when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission came to the community in early 2013 to listen to testimony from survivors and witnesses.

“I witnessed it for two days and I spent some time with Justice Murray Sinclair,” she said in an interview. The experience changed her.

So when Sen. Linda Frum reached out to let Alexandra know about the epic plans for a new Indigenous health centre, she and Adam Minsky, the CEO of UJA Toronto, reached out to AHT executive director Joe Hester. “We followed up, came down for a tour, met the staff, and we both said, ‘This aligns with our values entirely,’” she recalled.

It’s beyond inspiring to think that people from all walks of life are coming together to get this done, under the guidance of Andre Morriseau, the Anishnawbe Health Foundation board chair and Fort William First Nation member. Large funders for the centre are as diverse as Toronto, including the Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre, the Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada and the Toronto Diocese of the Anglican Church — not to mention a $100,000 gift from a former Anishnawbe Health client.

Canada has a woeful history of two-tier health care for Indigenous people, rooted in racism and dating back to the era of government-funded Indian Residential Schools, where 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were abused over the course of more than a century. Another arm of this genocidal act was the creation of segregated Indian hospitals, 22 of which existed by the 1960s.

The intergenerational trauma that resulted from them tore families apart and led to a host of health problems. We see the threads of trauma in the fact that nearly 90 per cent of Toronto’s Indigenous people live in poverty, are more likely than others to be homeless, unemployed or have not completed high school.

Anishnawbe Health says 65 per cent of Indigenous adults in Toronto have at least one chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, asthma, heart problems. Some suffer mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

But when Indigenous people try to access health care, they are often treated differently. One only needs to look at what happened to Brian Sinclair, the First Nations man who was ignored as he waited for 34 hours in a Winnipeg hospital emergency room. He died waiting in his wheelchair.

Having one health care centre to call our own should be the standard — a place where, when you walk in the door, where you are not judged.

People should be treated equally and with kindness. When you are sick, you need to be treated kindly, and if you are Indigenous, you need to be surrounded in traditional healing, where the spirit is treated along with the physical self.

The new centre will have a traditional sweat lodge, counselling space for sharing circles, and even a kitchen to teach healthy cooking skills.

It’s been a long and difficult road, Hester noted, and sometimes it felt like all the pieces weren’t going to come together.

But now they are, and in a part of the city that is seeing a rebirth, a reimagining of what Toronto could be.

Tanya Talaga is a Toronto-based columnist covering Indigenous issues. Follow her on Twitter: @tanyatalaga

This content was originally published here.

From Ancient Egypt to the Nazis: 16 Horrors of Dentistry Through the Centuries

Early man didn’t really have any tooth worries. Not only did the people in pre-agricultural societies not have any sugar or processed foods to worry about, the life expectancy was so low that you were often dead before tooth rot set in anyway. However, when mankind started to learn how to farm, tooth decay started getting real. Indeed, archaeologists have found evidence that people living more than 15,000 years ago were suffering from cavities. What’s more, they were also using flints to clean their teeth and to even knock rotting teeth out.

Shockingly, such primitive dentistry was to remain the norm for many centuries. While the people of ancient Egypt, Rome or Greece might have been pioneers in many fields, including maths, astronomy and even medicine, their knowledge of oral health was basic to say the least. And this approach to dental health continued right through the Middle Ages. In fact, it was only really with the Enlightenment that real, expert dentists started to emerge. But even then, treatments were carried out without any anaesthetics.

The history of dentistry, therefore, makes for some pretty tough reading. Going to the dentist could be bloody, gory, painful and often even fatal, as the below shows. So, here we present the history of dentistry, blood and all:

Simple bow drills were used to fix cavities more than 9,000 years ago. Ttamil.com.

Bow drills were used 9,000 years ago

Fear of the dentist’s drill is not a new phenomenon. In fact, archaeologists have discovered evidence that humans were facing the trauma of going under the drill some 9,000 years ago. Of course, the equipment used back them was far more primitive than today’s advanced tools. However, the general aim and method was the same – drilling into the tooth to address decay and prevent a cavity from growing any bigger.

The first evidence of ancient peoples using dental techniques goes as far back as 7,000BC. Archaeologists studying the ancient Indus civilization, who settled the Indus Valley between modern-day India and Pakistan, found bow drills they believe were used for primitive dental surgery. With the string of the bow pulled taught, the drill bit would go into the affected tooth and, it was hoped, drain all the infection out. Of course, all this was done slowly and carefully, and all without any anaesthetics to ease the considerable pain.

It’s widely assumed that these first dentists were actually primitive jewellers. During the ancient Indus civilization, jewellery was very popular and bow drills were used to bore holes in beads to make necklaces and bracelets. Since they had the necessary equipment, these beadmakers would also be employed as makeshift dental surgeons, though their excellent hand-eye coordination and precise technique would likely have made up for their lack of medical knowledge. And, of course, if these beadmakers were the first dentists, then their assistants would have been the first dental assistants. After all, at least two other people would have been required to hold the patient down during the painful procedure.

This content was originally published here.

BYU-Idaho no longer accepts Medicaid. Now students who can’t afford other health insurance say they might drop out of school.

(Photo courtesy of Casey Wilson) Pictured is Casey Wilson, holding her oldest son, Nordin, and standing by her husband, Tanner.(Photo courtesy of Kaleigh Quick) Pictured is Kaleigh Quick and her husband, Matt, holding their kids.(Photo courtesy of Tanner Emerson) Pictured is Tanner Emerson and his wife, Amanda, holding their daughter.(Photo courtesy of Jessica Knoeck) Pictured is Jessica Knoeck and her son.(Photo courtesy of Kris Lasswell) Pictured is Kris Lasswell and his wife, Naomi.(Photo courtesy of Andrew Taylor) Pictured is Andrew Taylor, a student at Brigham Young University's campus in Idaho.

Casey Wilson took some time off from school last year when she found out she was pregnant with her second baby boy.

The young mom had hoped to miss only a semester or two at Brigham Young University’s campus in Idaho. She was just a few credits away from earning her degree in art education and set a goal of finishing before Kelvin, who’s 4 months old now, started to talk.

But before Wilson could sign up for classes beginning in January, as she planned, the college announced it would no longer allow students to enroll with only Medicaid as their health insurance.

And now, she can’t afford to return at all.

“I am devastated,” Wilson said, choking back tears as her baby cooed in her arms. “I love school. I want to graduate. But we’re a struggling family, and we don’t have the money for [private insurance].”

The controversial decision from BYU-Idaho — a private school owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints — came as a surprise to students last week. School administrators announced the change in an email one day after Idaho received approval letters from the federal government for its Medicaid expansion plan, which voters in the state overwhelmingly supported last year.

As many universities do, BYU-Idaho requires students to have health insurance before they can register. Previously, Medicaid qualified as adequate coverage. But now, students with Medicaid as their primary insurance, the school said, would have to either purchase another health care plan on the private market or sign up for coverage at the campus’ Student Health Center.

Plans there — which are administered by Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators, established by the LDS Church — cost $536 per semester for an individual or $2,130 for a family. Medicaid is free or low-cost coverage for low-income people who qualify.

Wilson and her husband, Tanner, who’s also a student at BYU-Idaho, are both on Medicaid, as well as their two sons. Many college students who aren’t working while they finish school and who have families to support are eligible.

Without it, the 24-year-old Wilson said, they wouldn’t be able to see a doctor.

Already, they can barely afford the rent on their tiny apartment in Rigby. “And it’s infested with mice,” Wilson said. They scrimp on groceries, too, even with some help from family. But there’s nothing left in their bank accounts by the end of each month. And most of what they have to spend is from loans.

“There’s just not $500 sitting around for us to buy insurance from the school,” she added.

Tanner is getting his degree in software engineering and is slightly closer to finishing than Wilson (though the couple had hoped to graduate together). Now, Wilson said, it’s likely he’ll continue going to school while she stays home and watches their kids. That way, she and the boys can stay on Medicaid and they’ll only have to pay for Tanner to get the school’s health insurance.

They’re praying he can get a well-paying job when he’s done.

“We both came from poor families. And we wanted to go to school and get degrees,” she said. “I don’t want to be someone who has to rely on Medicaid my whole life.”

Many others at BYU-Idaho are facing a similar dilemma. So far, there aren’t a lot of answers.

The school, which sits in the small town of Rexburg, has largely refused to explain the change. When reached by The Salt Lake Tribune for comment, spokesman Brett Crandall said he is “not conducting any media interviews.”

Wilson has called the Student Health Center several times, too, and each time she was put on a list and never heard back from anyone. When The Tribune called there, a receptionist said they are not commenting. And the LDS Church referred all questions back to the school.

“This one I would defer to BYU-Idaho,” wrote spokesman Eric Hawkins in an email that inquired whether the policy was supported or encouraged by the faith’s leaders.

Meanwhile, BYU’s main campus in Provo is not instituting a similar policy — even with Utah pursuing its own Medicaid plan, which might end in a similar expansion. “We do not anticipate any changes,” said spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.

The faith generally encourages its members to obtain government help for which they qualify before asking the church for assistance. Some BYU-Idaho students told The Tribune that staff at the Student Health Center believed the Church Board of Education in Salt Lake City made the decision. Other students and church members have wondered on social media whether BYU-Idaho doesn’t support students using Medicaid coverage because it covers birth control, abortions in extreme cases and some services to assist transgender individuals in transitioning.

The church condemns “elective abortion for personal or social convenience” but permits the procedure in cases of rape or incest, severe fetal defects, or when the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy. Birth control is considered to be a matter between a couple and the Lord. But the faith holds that members are defined by their “biological sex at birth.”

BYU-Idaho is the largest private university in the state and has roughly 20,000 students. About a quarter, or 5,000, are married. Many of those are likely on Medicaid and more will qualify with the expansion. Coverage in January will stretch from those earning less than 100% of the federal poverty level to 138% of that amount.

After continued pushback from students, the campus in Idaho sent out a second email Wednesday, suggesting for the first time that the decision was based on the state’s Medicaid expansion and a concern that students would overwhelm health care providers in the area.

The email said: “Due to the healthcare needs of the tens of thousands of students enrolled annually on the campus of BYU-Idaho, it would be impractical for the local medical community and infrastructure to support them with only Medicaid coverage.”

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, though, disputes that reasoning.

While Rexburg sits in Madison County, which does have the highest concentration of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees in Idaho, the state has assured residents that providers have prepared for the expected wave of new patients. There are plenty of doctors in the region, said Niki Forbing-Orr, spokeswoman for the state health department.

“As far as we can tell, there shouldn’t be any kind of problems with access for those folks,” she added.

An estimated 91,000 residents statewide could qualify when Medicaid expansion takes effect in January; nearly 2,400 live in Rexburg. It’s a lower-income community in eastern Idaho with a population of nearly 30,000, where roughly 42% are considered as living in poverty, based on statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The college town has few job options for its predominantly white population. And many students choose to go to BYU-Idaho specifically because of the cheap tuition — which the university’s president, Henry J. Eyring, touted in his inaugural speech.

“The school prides itself on being affordable and not requiring students to get loans,” said Connor Pack, a 26-year-old there studying music education. “This policy just runs counter to those ideals.”

Pack, his wife Laura and their daughter use Medicaid. Laura graduated in 2017, but Pack’s still got three semesters left. They’ve stayed in Rexburg for him to finish, but now they’re wondering if they can afford it or if they should move elsewhere where there might be more opportunities.

“I’m definitely worried about finding the money,” Pack said. “We’re barely breaking even as is, and we’ve got another baby on the way.”

Pack has joined hundreds of students in protesting the change. They’ve called and emailed administrators. But they haven’t gotten responses. They’ve posted on the school’s social media pages. But those comments have been deleted. Now, they’re planning a sit-in for Monday outside the offices for executives at BYU-Idaho. And they’ve started a petition that has more than 7,000 signatures.

“What place do they have to tell me what insurance I can and can’t have? If my insurance is federally acceptable then it should be acceptable for the school, too,” said Tanner Emerson, a senior in civil engineering.

Many students have said they’re frustrated to have to pay for the school’s insurance when they’re already covered under Medicaid. Some have questioned whether the university or the church is trying to make more money from them. The BYU-Idaho plans might have seen a drop in enrollment as some newly qualified students switched over with the Medicaid expansion.

Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators, or DMBA, is a private, nonprofit trust that manages benefits for many church-owned enterprises. Since it’s not an insurance company, it doesn’t have to comply with federal requirements for coverage. Its health plans are not considered minimum essential coverage under the nationwide Affordable Care Act.

DMBA plans have a $370,000 annual cap on care — while limits such as that have been banned under federal plans. They don’t include care for pregnancies, which many of the families on Medicaid and going to the school need. And birth control is not covered either.

So some of the students who are signing up for the school’s plans don’t expect to use them.

“They can’t treat any single one of my medical diagnoses,” said Jessica Knoeck, 35, who said she has severe rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and lupus and planned to return to BYU-Idaho in January when she qualified for the Medicaid expansion. “Buying their medical plan makes no sense.”

Emerson and his wife, Amanda, have one child and are expecting another in April. He’s currently working 20 hours a week in maintenance to earn enough money to cover their rent, which is already subsidized by the government. And they’ve both got federal grants helping to pay for tuition.

“This imposes a financial burden that doesn’t really seem necessary,” he said. “It happened overnight, came out of nowhere and blindsided us.”

For Andrew Taylor, the extra expense is so high and so unexpected that he said he has to drop out of school. “We really can’t afford this.”

He and his wife are living paycheck to paycheck already — and they’ve missed their last phone bill and aren’t sure how they’ll cover their next rent payment. She’s close to graduating, but he’s just starting. Now, he’s looking for a job to help her get through school.

“This is a way that they are trying to discriminate against people of low socioeconomic status,” he believes.

Kaleigh Quick said that she and her husband, Matt, have already deferred a payment on their car so they could get their kids Christmas gifts. Now, they’re worried they’ll have to use that money for the insurance at BYU-Idaho so Quick can finish her last seven classes.

Kris Lasswell, a sophomore in earth science, hasn’t been to a doctor in four years because he hasn’t had insurance. He’ll qualify for the Medicaid expansion in January. But with his wife, Naomi, expecting a baby and rent going up, he said he can’t afford BYU’s $500 insurance on top of that.

“It would mean the difference of me being able to live here and go to school or not being able to go to school at all. It’s the difference of me being able to pay rent or be homeless,” he said.

Reclaim Idaho, a group that has pushed for Medicaid expansion in the state, condemned the school in a statement this week for its “unexplained decisions” to strip students of health care coverage.

“The vast majority of students and families we’re hearing from can’t believe the university would make such punitive decisions without explaining why,” said Rebecca Schroeder, the group’s executive director. “In one paragraph in a press release, they dropped a bombshell on hundreds, if not thousands, of students and are wiping their hands of the issue.”

Wilson said the lack of answers has been one of the most frustrating parts of the change. But she’s more disappointed that she won’t have a degree.

She wanted to show her sons that even though she grew up without much, she pushed herself through college. She’s not sure if that will happen any more.

This content was originally published here.

Pasco Man Accused of Practicing Dentistry Without License

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Jose Mas-Fernandez, 33, for allegedly practicing dentistry without a license.

“Why people would go to someone like this, we don’t know. We can only speculate, but it is against the law. You have to have a license,” said PSO Community Relations Director Kevin Doll. “You have to be licensed by the state, and this individual obviously did not have that.” 

The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Health.

Authorities said Mas-Fernandez offered to pull teeth for both an undercover detective and an undercover health department investigator. He reportedly offered to provide antibiotics for $150 and numbing medication for $20.

Inside Mas-Fernandez’s apartment, investigators found dental equipment and medication. Doll said he told detectives the supplies came from Cuba.

PSO’s documents state that after his arrest, Mas-Fernandez admitted to performing dental work, like teeth cleanings and extractions, out of his home. It’s unclear how many people he may have treated.

“Any medical doctor who’s not licensed working on your body can be very dangerous,” said Doll. “That’s why we suggest anybody who did see this individual to go to a real dentist and have their teeth checked out.”

Doll said Mas-Fernandez told detectives he worked as a dental assistant at Land O’ Lakes Dental Care. The office was closed Friday.

According to Brad Dalton, press secretary for the state health department, the DOH received 1,051 complaints of unlicensed activity during the fiscal year of 2018-2019. The department issued 593 cease-and-desist orders during that time.

Dalton said of those, 67 complaints and 36 cease and desist orders were related to the practice of dentistry. The DOH said Mas-Fernandez received one of those cease and desist orders.

The DOH reminds the public that being treated by an unlicensed medical professional could result in injury, disease, or death. License information for health care practitioners can be found at: www.flhealthsource.gov/ula.

This content was originally published here.

Researchers Reveal How Being Around Chronic Complainers Can Put Your Health At Risk

Misery loves company, and it may come in the form of chronic complaining.  Being around complainers automatically can put a damper on your day if you don’t take steps to distance yourself. Being surrounded by hard-to-please family, friends, or co-workers creates more than merely a negative atmosphere. Indeed, it legitimately causes health consequences for you and them.

Researchers reveal how being around chronic complainers can put your health at risk.

3 Types of Complainers

Have you ever wondered why people complain?  Why do some people often express displeasure while others only do so occasionally?  What is a complaint?

In Psychology Today, a complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction.  The real problem arises in how a person expresses their dissatisfaction and how often.  Most of us have a particular bar that must be reached to complain. However, some set that bar lower than others.

One of the biggest triggers for complaining is the individuals’ sense of control over the situation.  The more powerless a person feels, the more they will complain.   Other factors may be frustration tolerance, age, desire not to make a scene, or to “look good” to others.

Another factor may have nothing to do with the actual situation.  A negative mindset tends only to see adverse events.

The environment may also play a role. A study shows that individual(s) raised or surrounded by negative thinkers tend to become negative in thinking as well and, therefore, will complain more frequently.

Not every complainer is the same.

There are three types of complainers:

1 – Chronic complainers.

We all have known a chronic complainer or have been one ourselves. This complainer only sees problems and not solutions.  They tend to focus on how ‘bad’ a situation is regardless of its actual impact or consequence to their life.

They tend to be negative thinkers and have created a pattern of complaining, which some studies have shown may wire the brain to operate negatively. This affects their mental and physical health and impacts those around them. While called a chronic complainer, it does not need to be a constant, permanent condition.  People with this mindset can change, but they will have to choose it, and it will take work.

2 – Venting.

A complainer who vents focuses on displaying emotional dissatisfaction.  Their attention is on themselves and how they feel regarding what they deem to be a negative situation.  They are hoping to glean attention from those around them as opposed to finding a real solution to the problem.   When someone provides a resolution, they only see a reason it won’t work.

3 – Instrumental complaining.

This is akin to constructive criticism.  This complainer is seeking to solve an issue that has created dissatisfaction.  They will present the problem toward the individuals most likely to be able to solve the problem.

Effects of being around complainers

In the same article, which outlined how a complainer is wiring their brain for negativity through their words, also describes how being surrounded by complainers negatively impacts others.

1.      Sympathy turns to negativity

It turns out that our capacity for compassion, attempting to place ourselves in others’ shoes, also makes our emotions susceptible to experiencing the same anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction of the complainer.  The more often you are around the individual complaining, the more neurons are being fired to associate with the emotions.  Neurons that repeatedly fire in a pattern teach your brain to think in that manner.

2.      Stress-induced health issues

Being around others with a cynical viewpoint on events, people, and life in general triggers stress in your brain and body.  As your mind attempts to identify with the person complaining, you begin to feel the same emotions of anger, frustration, bitterness, and unhappiness. This interaction leads to stress that releases hormones to prepare you to act on the stress.  The hormone released is cortisol.

Cortisol works in tandem with adrenaline as your hypothalamus responds to a perceived threat and tells your body to release the hormones.  Adrenaline creates a rise in heart rate and blood pressure as your body prepares to “fight.”  This increases blood flow to the muscles and brain to prepare you for action.  Cortisol releases sugars to provide energy.

Over time, with a repeated pattern of this stress, you increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

3.      Shrinking your brain

In addition to the health problems created from stress, you are shrinking your brain when you expose it to repeated and constant levels of stress.

A study published in Stanford News Service demonstrated the effects of stress and stress hormones on wild baboons and rats.   What they found was that chemicals called glucocorticoids release over time as a response to chronic stress, which caused the brain cells in rats to shrink.

Later, another study was done after performing an MRI on participants.  This x-ray allowed scientists to compare hippocampi of people who have had long term depression with others of the same age, sex, height, and education but without depression.   It was discovered that the hippocampi were 15% smaller in those with depression.

The same study compared Vietnam veterans experiencing PTSD with combat veterans without a history of PTSD. They found that hippocampi were 25% smaller.

In those cases, researchers could neither prove nor disprove that glucocorticoids caused the shrinkage.  However, they did find this to be true in patients with Cushing’s disease, which made scientists believe they were on the right track with their studies in people with depression and PTSD.  Cushing’s syndrome is a brain disease in which a tumor is stimulating the adrenal glands to release of glucocorticoids.  In patients with Cushing’s Syndrome, scientists discovered the hippocampus was shrinking.

Your hippocampus is attributed to aiding the brain in memory, learning, spatial navigation, and goal-related behavior, among other necessary abilities.

Great ways to stay positive around complainers

  • Choose your daily friends wisely.

We can’t choose our family or co-workers, but we can choose our friends.  Surround yourself with people who are more positive than negative.

  • Be grateful.

Just as negative thoughts breed negativity, positive thoughts breed positivity.  Each day, or at minimum, a few times a week, handwrite what in your life you are grateful.  Consider that two items of gratitude can cancel out one negative.

  • Don’t spend energy trying to fix a chronic complainer.

While you may sympathize with a person who seems to be having a rough life, trying to fix their problems won’t change their complaining.  They currently can only see negativity and, therefore, will only find problems in your solutions.

  • When you must raise an issue of dissatisfaction, sandwich it.

Start with a positive statement, then give your concern or complaint.  End it with a desire for a positive result.

  • Use empathy

When you must work closely with someone who is a chronic complainer, remember they are seeking attention or validation. In the interest of keeping work moving along, express empathy, and then move them along to the task at hand.

  • Stay self-aware.

Pay attention to your behavior and thinking.  Make sure that you are not mirroring the negative people around you or broadcasting your negativity. Often, we complain without thought.  Pay attention to your words and actions, as well.

  • Avoid gossip.

It is pretty commonplace for a group of people to get together and complain about a person or situation.  That tends to encourage further complaining and dissatisfaction.

  • Exercise or find a

    method of releasing stress positively.

Pent up stress can create a negative outlook, which leads to complaining.  Go for a walk, workout at the gym, sit at the park or meditate.  Do something that distances you from the complainer or stressful situation that helps balance your emotions.

  • File your complaints wisely

When you feel the need to complain, make sure it is something that can be resolved or has a solution either you or someone you are speaking to can solve.

Final Thoughts on Dealing with Chronic Complainers

Being around negativity not only doesn’t feel right, but now researchers also reveal how being around chronic complainers can put your health at risk.  Complaining can become a lifestyle that can decrease your mental capability and increase your blood pressure and sugar production.  Do your best to either avoid or minimize your exposure to chronic complainers. In the end, you’ll find not only good for your state of mind but also improves your overall health.  So take your stress levels seriously and stay self-aware.

The post Researchers Reveal How Being Around Chronic Complainers Can Put Your Health At Risk appeared first on Power of Positivity: Positive Thinking & Attitude.

This content was originally published here.

Opinion | The American Health Care Industry Is Killing People – The New York Times

These costs are significantly higher than in most other wealthy countries. One study on health care data from 1999 showed that each American paid about $1,059 per year just in overhead costs for health care; in Canada, the per capita cost was $307. Those figures are likely much higher today.

Wouldn’t lowering overhead costs be an obviously positive outcome?

Ah, but there’s the rub: All this overspending creates a lot of employment — and moving toward a more efficient and equitable health care system will inevitably mean getting rid of many administrative jobs. One study suggests that about 1.8 million jobs would be rendered unnecessary if America adopted a public health care financing system.

So what if some of these jobs involve debt collection, claims denial, aggressive legal action or are otherwise punitive, cruel or simply morally indefensible in a society that can clearly afford to provide high-quality health care to everyone? Jobs are jobs, folks, as Joe Biden might say.

Indeed, that’s exactly what Biden’s presidential campaign is saying about the Medicare for all plans that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are proposing: They “will not only cost 160 million Americans their private health coverage and force tax increases on the middle class, but it would also kill almost two million jobs,” a Biden campaign official warned recently.

Note the word “kill” in the statement. That word might better describe not what could happen to jobs under Medicare for all but what the health care industry is doing to many Americans today.

Last week, the medical journal JAMA published a comprehensive study examining the cause of a remarkably grim statistic about our national well-being. From 1959 to 2010, life expectancy in the United States and in other wealthy countries around the world climbed. Then, in 2014, American life expectancy began to fall, while it continued to rise elsewhere.

What caused the American decline? Researchers identified a number of potential factors, including tobacco use, obesity and psychological stress, but two of the leading causes can be pinned directly on the peculiarities and dysfunctions of American health care.

The first is the opioid epidemic, whose rise can be traced to the release, in 1996, of the prescription pain drug OxyContin. In the public narrative, much of the blame for the epidemic has been cast on the Sackler family, whose firm, Purdue Pharma, created OxyContin and pushed for its widespread use. But research has shown that the Sacklers exploited aberrant incentives in American health care.

Purdue courted doctors, patient groups and insurers to convince the medical establishment that OxyContin was a novel type of opioid that was less addictive and less prone to abuse. The company had little scientific evidence to make that claim, but much of the health care industry bought into it, and OxyContin prescriptions soared. The rush to prescribe opioids was fueled by business incentives created by the health care industry — for Purdue, for many doctors and for insurance companies, treating widespread conditions like back pain with pills rather than physical therapy was simply better for the bottom line.

Opioid addiction isn’t the only factor contributing to rising American mortality rates. The problem is more pervasive, having to do with an overall lack of quality health care. The JAMA report points out that death rates have climbed most for middle-age adults, who — unlike retirees and many children — are not usually covered by government-run health care services and thus have less access to affordable health care.

The researchers write that “countries with higher life expectancy outperform the United States in providing universal access to health care” and in “removing costs as a barrier to care.” In America, by contrast, cost is a key barrier. A study published last year in The American Journal of Medicine found that of the nearly 10 million Americans given diagnoses of cancer between 2000 and 2012, 42 percent were forced to drain all of their assets in order to pay for care.

The politics of Medicare for all are perilous. Understandably so: If you’re one of the millions of Americans who loves your doctor and your insurance company, or who works in the health care field, I can see why you would be fearful of wholesale change.

But it’s wise to remember that it’s not just your own health and happiness that counts. The health care industry is failing much of the country. Many of your fellow citizens are literally dying early because of its failures. “I got mine!” is not a good enough argument to maintain the dismal status quo.

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GOP senator claims birth control and HIV testing is not ‘actual health care’

Sen. Martha McSally’s campaign attacked the health care services provided by Planned Parenthood.

GOP Sen. Martha McSally’s campaign is on the attack against Planned Parenthood Arizona, the state’s largest sexual health organization, saying it does not provide residents with “actual health care,” the Hill reported Friday.

McSally’s comments came in response to Planned Parenthood’s announcement that it would run ads in Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina about the Trump administration’s restrictions on health care funding that limit how doctors can interact with patients. All three of the states have closely watched Senate races in 2020.

“Senator McSally is focused on providing access to actual health care for women all across Arizona, while Planned Parenthood is only focused on protecting their business model,” Dylan Lefler, the Arizona Republican’s campaign manager, told the Hill.

Planned Parenthood Arizona serves more than 90,000 Arizona residents, according to its website, offering a wide range of real health care services, including annual well-woman exams, birth control consultation and supplies, HIV testing, emergency contraception, and pregnancy testing. Research from the Guttmacher Institute, a group focused on reproductive health, has shown that providers serving low-income patients, including Planned Parenthood, play a vital role in the public safety net, and may be the only health care available in some areas.

The Trump administration unveiled new rules earlier this year stating that federal funds from the Title X program can no longer go to organizations that either perform abortions or refer patients to facilities to receive abortions. Prior to the new rules, organizations like Planned Parenthood were already barred from using federal funds to perform abortions, but the new rule gagged the ability of health care professionals to even discuss the medical procedure.

After the rules went into effect, Planned Parenthood was forced to withdraw from the Title X program, the only federal program dedicated to providing family planning services, birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, and annual exams, to low-income Americans. Most of the patients who rely on Title X services are people of color, according to Planned Parenthood.

The ads aim to pressure lawmakers to overrule Trump and allow organizations like Planned Parenthood to once again participate in Title X and offer health care services to low-income people.

However, the McSally campaign identified Planned Parenthood as a “hysterical liberal special interest group” invading Arizona “with false, negative ads.”

McSally has previously voted to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds whatsoever. She also voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires health insurance companies to cover maternity and newborn care.

“Republican senators are attacking access to affordable birth control and other vital reproductive health services by standing with the Trump administration’s dangerous gag rule,” Sam Lau, Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s director of federal advocacy media, said in an email. “Congress has the power to take action, and the American people want them to stop putting politics over their health and protect access to affordable health care.”

The post GOP senator claims birth control and HIV testing is not ‘actual health care’ appeared first on The American Independent.

This content was originally published here.

The President, the US private health giant, and top NHS officials – special relationships? | openDemocracy

In the UK, we have a simple take on the US healthcare system as a for-profit, private system that fleeces its customers and fails the poor.

But here’s the secret: the US has its own ‘mini NHS’. Smaller than the UK’s system, but still a government funded, (mostly) publicly-run system that serves people according to their need. It’s called the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

And Donald Trump wants to privatise it.

What’s more, to set the reforms in motion, the firm that’s been appointed to create and expand new private networks within the Veterans health system is Optum, the profitable ‘healthcare services’ arm of America’s biggest private health insurer, UnitedHealth Group.

Optum and UnitedHealth are familiar names to anyone who has been following the silent takeover of the NHS by private healthcare firms in recent years, though aspects of their involvement are fully exposed here for the first time.

Health privatisation, US-style – sounds familiar?

But first, it’s worth a closer look at what’s been happening to the US’s own ‘mini-NHS’ – because there are some remarkable parallels with what’s happening on this side of the Atlantic.

The Veterans Administration has a budget of $70billion with which it provides healthcare for some nine million US military veterans. It has experienced serious capacity issues in the past, but a study last year found the quality of care it provides is the same, or significantly better than the private sector.

Regardless, Trump passed a law last year that allows extensive latitude for a significant proportion of this care to be outsourced to private healthcare corporations.

The President’s plan is backed by a small cabal of right-wing politicians and lobby groups on a crusade to talk down the care the Veterans Health Administration provides – and then to ‘fix’ it, through pushing veteran patients towards private providers. Trump began by replacing senior Veterans Administration officials that stood in the way and reportedly allowed his close political associates and donors to influence the reforms. All the while running a PR campaign, led by officials and their Koch-backed advisors, denying that funnelling billions of taxpayer dollars to private healthcare providers amounts to privatisation. On being appointed, Trump’s new VA secretary told senators: “I will oppose efforts to privatize the VA.”

Democrat Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the real beneficiaries of Trump’s reforms are “pharmaceutical companies, insurance corporations and, ultimately… a for-profit health-care industry that does not put people or veterans first.” If he really wanted to “fix the VA so badly,” she added at a packed rally earlier this year, “let’s start hiring, and fill up some of those 49,000 [staff] vacancies.”

All of this will sound eerily familiar to campaigners defending the National Health Service against privatisation: from chronic understaffing to legislative reform in the face of massive opposition, and all the while strenuously denying that the changes amount to privatisation at all.

We’re told one thing about NHS privatisation – health firm investors are told another

“There is no privatisation of the NHS on my watch,” Matt Hancock assured MPs earlier this year. Boris Johnson has since echoed his words: “We are absolutely resolved. There will be no sale of the NHS, no privatisation.”

Look at the message US private healthcare firms are giving their investors, however, and a different story emerges.

“We’ve been planting seeds and I would say that we’re strong with the NHS,” US healthcare executive, Larry Renfro told investors in 2016. Renfro was then chief executive of Optum – the very same US company that’s recently been awarded huge contracts to take over the US’s ‘mini NHS’.

“We’re strong with [the regulator] NHS improvement. We are getting stronger with the Minister of Health, as well as the Secretary of Health,” Renfro said. His colleague and Optum’s Executive Vice President, Jeffrey Berkowitz, spoke of the years Optum had spent building a “very strong foundation of work on the ground with the Department of Health”.

Investors and financial analysts were told this, but not the British public.

Official records show only that Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, held an ‘introductory’ meeting with Optum in March 2017 and that health minister Philip Dunne visited Optum in Boston and again, a couple of weeks later in London.

It is only because Renfro told investors that a health minister is “as we sit here today, with us… on tour”, that we know that Lord Prior, now chair of NHS England, also visited Optum at its headquarters in Minneapolis in October 2016.

Donald Trump, the private healthcare execs, and NHS senior officials

This was one of many visits in recent years made by politicians and senior health officials to Optum’s various US offices. This includes officials from NHS Digital – guardians of NHS patient data – whose head of data was given a tour of Optum’s capabilities at its Washington office in January 2018. As an Optum lobbyist said in 2014, the trips, some of which it paid for, are part of its efforts to “develop and mature” its relationship with the NHS.

It is also only through documents released under Freedom of Information law that we know that Ed Smith, the chair of the NHS’s powerful regulator NHS Improvement, held a series of ‘working dinners’ with UnitedHealth Group CEO, Stephen Hemsley – first in September 2016 and again in January the following year. Another ‘working dinner’ took place with Renfro in March 2017. The documents don’t reveal what these men discussed.

In February of that year, Hemsley visited the White House to meet Donald Trump [photos from the meeting: second right and slightly hidden here; leaning forward hands on table behind Mike Pence here]. The President tweeted: “Great meeting with CEOs of leading U.S. health insurance companies who provide great healthcare to the American people.”

Once declared the highest paid CEO in the US, Stephen Hemsley is now executive chair of UnitedHealth Group. He earned a reported $65m last year. Fortune described him as the “corporate chief who’s arguably created more wealth for shareholders… than any sitting CEO”.

The secrecy of these trans-Atlantic meetings matters. It has allowed the UK government to tell one story to the public, while quietly inviting a giant, for-profit US corporation, bent on overseas expansion, to embed itself in our NHS.

Optum’s parent company, UnitedHealth Group, which reported earnings in 2018 of over $220 billion, is opposed to efforts in the US to introduce a universal, public health system like the NHS. Its current CEO said Medicare for All, as the proposals are known, would “destabilize” the American healthcare system. It goes without saying, they would also eliminate its industry.

Healthcare markets – why are we looking to US firms to help shape our healthcare?

As support rises in the US for an NHS-inspired ‘Medicare for All’ system to replace the current broken model, in contrast, the Conservative Party has spent the past decade rushing to adopt a US model in its reform of the NHS. This has involved taking our national health system and breaking it up into mini healthcare markets (known as Accountable Care Organisations, or ACOs) to be run, increasingly, with technology and expertise supplied by companies like Optum.

Optum specialises in using data and algorithms to predict and make decisions about who gets what care, something it has honed in America’s private health insurance system, where the more insurers cut costs and ration care, the more money they make. Optum’s algorithm was also recently found to show dramatic biases against black patients.

“Nationally, there are various things going on with data and information and digital that we are actually working with them [the UK] very, very closely right now,” Renfro told investors in April 2017. The health secretary and a “subset of the NHS board” were due to visit, he added: “So things seem to be breaking a lose [sic] right now.”

All of which adds up to quite a different picture to the one used by the Conservatives to sell the reforms to the public in 2010. Health secretary Andrew Lansley’s pitch back then was that his changes were about handing GPs control of the NHS budget to spend locally as they saw fit.

Optum had been involved in discussions from the start in 2010, as revealed in Lansley’s diary (which was released only after a court ruling). Four years later and documents released under FOI showed Optum in prime position to pick up some of the first wave of contracts. In April 2017 – by which time the NHS had been divided into 44 regional areas, each with a plan for reforming its region – Renfo updated investors on “what we’re doing in the UK” and Optum’s UK “44 market strategy”.

“So in February, we won our first business…. with one of those [regions]…. that’s where you’re going to manage with an ACO process. And so we’re tying in everything we do in the States into that win that we just received.” According to Renfro, it was “very, very close” to picking up another two regions and the firm had moved people over to the UK to manage the projects.

Since then, it has been hired by NHS England to “accelerate” these reforms across the country. In the West Midlands, for example, Optum has advised the region’s GPs, hospitals and local councils on their plans. With its partner, PwC, it provided a 12 week programme of training for senior health officials across Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. It has also gone into partnership with GP “super-practice”, Modality.

Among the other regions receiving Optum coaching and support are: Cumbria; Cambridge and Peterborough; South East London, Staffordshire and Norfolk, Optum was also brought in to help remodel health services in the region spanning Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Yeovil Hospital, which has led the reforms in Somerset, said: “The ACO model born in the US market is new to the UK, and as such we have partnered with globally experienced Optum who are guiding our journey into this new world.”

At the same time, Optum has been on a hiring spree across the country of former NHS staff to undertake the work, led by former NHS England directors who have also passed through the revolving door. Ultimately, though, the man steering these reforms is Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England. He previously, spent a decade at the top of UnitedHealth Group as Executive Vice President and president of its expanding global health businesses.

The health secretary will still deny that privatisation is occurring on his watch. And Boris Johnson will continue to insist that the NHS is not for sale. Meanwhile, the seeds that Optum has been planting for a decade under the Tories are beginning to bear fruit.

openDemocracy approached the Department of Health for comment on the extent to which the public were being kept in the dark about the extent of the NHS’s engagement with private US health firms, specifically Optum, but they declined to comment, citing pre-election ‘purdah’ rules.

This content was originally published here.

Travelling to the U.S.? Watch out: Ontario is about to scrap out-of-country emergency health care coverage. Here’s what you need to know. | The Star

When Toronto resident Jill Wykes had a health scare over a racing heartbeat in Florida a few years back, the $3,000 hospital bill for a two-hour visit and three tests added insult to illness.

Fortunately, the seasoned snowbird had a comprehensive travel health insurance policy that paid the full tab.

But the incident, which turned out to be nothing serious, served as a reminder that medical emergencies can happen any time, anywhere.

Buying enough travel insurance to cover all eventualities becomes even more important for Ontario residents when the province scraps its out-of-country coverage of emergency health care expenses on Jan.1.

Until Dec. 31, OHIP will continue to pay up to $400 per day for emergency in-patient services and up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient and doctor services. Starting next year though, that coverage stops.

A new program will provide kidney dialysis patients with $210 toward each treatment — actual prices in the U.S. range from $300 to $750 — but travellers will be on the hook for everything else.

The province says it’s cancelling the existing “inefficient” program because of the $2.8-million cost of administering $9 million in emergency medical coverage abroad each year. OHIP’s reimbursements also tended to offset only a fraction of the actual expenses.

Without private insurance, travellers can face “catastrophically large bills” for medical care, warns Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen, who “strongly encourages” people to purchase adequate coverage.

YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN…

Health care south of the border, in particular, costs an arm and a leg. On average, fees in the U.S. are double those of other developed countries, according to the International Travel Insurance Group.

The insurance provider cites an array of costs, including: ambulance, $500 and up; ER visit, $150 to $3,000; hospital stay, $5,000 per day; MRI, $1,000 to $5,000; X-ray, $150 to $3,000; hip fracture, $13,000 to $40,000.

The monetary ouch factor can be especially painful for snowbirds, who are flocking to warm spots like Florida, Arizona and Texas in growing numbers as baby boomers reach retirement age.

But a significant number of vacationers of all ages are putting their financial health at risk.

According to a recent survey by InsuranceHotline.com, 34 per cent of Canadian respondents said they were unlikely to buy travel insurance, often in the mistaken belief their province would cover them. And 40 per cent had unrealistic expectations of health care costs, thinking, for example, that emergency medical evacuation would be under $2,000. In reality, the service can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Jill Wykes and her husband Pierre Lepage leave nothing to chance during winters in Sarasota, Fla., an annual trek since 2011 when she retired as a travel industry executive.

The couple, now in their 70s, purchase a multiple-trip plan with a 60-day top-up for their four-month sojourn, which includes driving there and back and flying home for two short visits. Her policy costs about $900 while his is $1,600, because he falls into an older age bracket. They’re each covered for up to $5 million.

Wykes, a blogger and editor of snowbirdadvisor.ca, calls it “foolish” to travel anywhere without health insurance and advises against thinking “you would just drive or fly home if you were sick.” The financial fallout from an accident or sudden illness “can quickly rise into six figures” in the U.S., she adds.

Anne Marie Thomas of InsuranceHotline.com, which provides free quotes for all types of insurance, echoes Wykes’s advice.

“Now, more than ever, you need travel insurance because there will be zero coverage (as of Jan. 1),” she says.

There’s no one-size-fits-all policy and insurance can cover everything from trip cancellation or interruption to lost baggage and medical costs, Thomas explains, so it’s important to match your needs and situation. A sunseeker driving south, for instance, wouldn’t need trip cancellation.

YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN…

As an example, Thomas says a 70- or 80-year-old flying to Florida would pay about $2,000 for all-inclusive insurance for 15 weeks with a $10-million limit on medical costs.

The non-profit Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) calls the government cuts “short-sighted,” predicting they’ll boost the cost of private insurance by an estimated 7.5 per cent.

The CSA has always “strongly recommended” purchasing adequate insurance prior to departure, president Karen Huestis reminded travellers last month.

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Fledgling snowbird Linda Lanteigne, who’s driving to Florida with her husband in mid-January for a two-and-a-half-month stay, is unhappy about OHIP’s cancelled program.

As a taxpaying Canadian, “I don’t think it’s right to take away our coverage,” says the Ottawa-area retiree who’d like to see the government cover the same amount of emergency medical care that people would get in Canada.

Lanteigne, a former operating room buyer in a hospital, shopped around before deciding on a travel policy with the Canadian Automobile Association that will give her $5-million coverage for about $500.

Octogenarian Mae Youngman is living proof that health emergencies can happen anywhere. She’s had three surgeries outside Canada after suffering an aneurysm in Fort Lauderdale, an appendectomy in Sarasota and broken elbow in Mexico.

“It would have been very, very expensive,” to cover the costs without insurance, recalls the retired owner of a travel agency near Windsor, Ont., who’s heading to Cuba for two weeks.

“I’d never leave home without it.”

How to make sure you’re covered

Experienced travellers and representatives from the travel and insurance industries offer these tips:

  • Retirement benefit plans and credit cards may provide health insurance, but read the policy for any limits or exclusions.
  • Compare apples to apples when shopping for a policy. The cost will also depend on your medical history, age and length of vacation.
  • Before purchasing coverage, be aware of your health status, including pre-existing conditions, which must be stable for the required period.
  • Complete the insurer’s medical questionnaire thoroughly and accurately, and let them know if anything changes pre-departure.
  • Always read the policy, including fine print, so you understand what is and isn’t covered.
  • Check travel advisories before you leave; ignoring warnings about an impending hurricane, for example, could cancel your medical coverage.
  • Your purchased insurance has a start and end date so if your holiday is interrupted and you plan on returning, notify your insurer.
Carola Vyhnak is a Cobourg-based writer covering home and real-estate stories. She is a contributor for the Star. Reach her at cvyhnak@gmail.com

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Influencer Said Kids Shouldn’t Learn About World War 2 Because It’s Bad For Their Mental Health

People have lashed out at the young influencer who spoke out and said that children shouldn’t learn about World War 2 because it negatively impacts their mental health.

As 22-year-old reality TV star and Instagram influencer Freddie Bentley claimed during his appearance at Good Morning Britain, learning about WWII had negative impacts on the mental health of millennials.

Stuart C. Wilson – Getty Images

While the young man said he didn’t want to be disrespectful to those who earned his freedom, he claimed that learning about the war has no value and should be replaced with more practical topics such as how to get a mortgage.

Good Morning Britain

“It was a hard situation, World War Two, I don’t want anyone to think I’m being disrespectful. I remember learning it as a child thinking ‘Oh my God it’s so intense,’” Bentley said.

“I don’t think encouraging death or telling people how many people died in the world war is going to make it better.

GETTY – CONTRIBUTOR

“There’s so many problems going on in the world, like Brexit, that’s not taught in schools. When I left school it hit me like a ton of bricks – I didn’t know anything to do with life.”

While the 22-year-old maintained he only had good intentions, viewers of the TV show were quick to confront him.

“They wouldn’t be here if these brave souls didn’t give/risk their lives for our freedom. Unbelievable. Selfish, deluded younger generation. Who think they are entitled. 1939-1945. A date to be remembered. What is happening to Britain?” someone responded.

Another one wrote: “ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH!!!!! Not talking about the war in school? Not educating them on what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again!? You need to learn respect young man.”

What are your thoughts on this matter? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to SHARE this post with your family and friends and follow us on Facebook for more news and stories!

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The post Influencer Said Kids Shouldn’t Learn About World War 2 Because It’s Bad For Their Mental Health appeared first on Small Joys.

This content was originally published here.

Enter For Your Chance to Win Invisalign For Your Child – SheKnows

When the final school bell rings and two months of unstructured free time stretch out before your kids, back-to-school season may feel like a lifetime away. But in reality, it’s just a few weeks, meaning now is the time to schedule all those late-summer doctors appointments. And if your child is one of the millions of kids in North America who will likely seek orthodontic help this year (according to the American Association of Orthodontists), you can add the orthodontist to that list.

With more than 6 million patients, parents and teens are increasingly choosing Invisalign treatment for everything from simple to complex cases. The clear aligners not only have the confidence-boosting benefit of being less noticeable, but because they are removable, they make it easier for teens to enjoy every type of food and care for teeth. They also are more convenient for teens who play instruments and safer for those who play sports. In fact, with Invisalign treatment, there are no emergency visits due to broken wires of brackets. If you want to learn more about Invisalign treatment, click here.

This summer SheKnows has partnered with the Invisalign brand to give parents a chance to win free Invisalign treatment for their child. Enter below for your chance to win. 

And once you’ve entered, follow the Invisalign brand on Instagram for more smiles. 

This post was created by SheKnows for Invisalign Brand. 

This content was originally published here.

Deeply unpopular Kentucky governor loses after attacking health care and teachers

With virtually all votes counted in Kentucky, Democratic challenger Andy Beshear leads incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin by more than 5,000.

Kentucky voters dealt a huge blow on Tuesday to Donald Trump and the state’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell, as they elected Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) over Gov. Matt Bevin (R), pending a possible recount. After declaring war on public education and working to undermine health care access, Bevin had tried to make the race about the impeachment of Trump.

According to Kentucky secretary of state’s office, Beshear has been declared the winner, though Bevin has thus far refused to concede. With all precincts reporting, Beshear had a 5,189 votes advantage, 709,577 to 704,388. The votes will likely be double-checked in the upcoming days. Kentucky has no automatic recount law, but Bevin could request one. Beshear has claimed victory.

Bevin ranked as the nation’s least popular governor for much of his term but ran with the strong support of both Trump and McConnell. Trump repeatedly talked up Bevin in the primary and general elections, calling him “one of best governors in U.S. [sic].”

Voters felt otherwise. Bevin ran on a promise to destroy Kentucky’s nationally acclaimed Obamacare system and has fought hard to do just that as governor, demanding onerous work requirements for Medicaid recipients that could cost tens of thousands of low-income Kentuckians their health care, and proposing to spend $270 million to do it. When teachers in the commonwealth went on strike to demand more funding for public schools, Bevin fought against them and accused them of enabling child molestation. He even complained during cold snaps that closing schools to keep kids safe if freezing temperatures was a sign that people are “getting soft.”

Bevin’s campaign included race-baiting ads claiming that Beshear “would allow illegal immigrants to swarm the state,” and repeated attempts to tie Beshear to the impeachment inquiry in Washington, D.C. — a process in which the Kentucky attorney general and governor typically have minimal involvement.

Trump’s 2020 campaign manager said Tuesday night that Trump had nearly reelected Bevin: “the President just about dragged Gov. Matt Bevin across the finish line, helping him run stronger than expected in what turned into a very close race at the end. A final outcome remains to be seen.”

But Trump had made the race a referendum on his own popularity in a state he won by about 30 points in 2016. He told Kentucky voters on Sunday that “we have to send a strong signal to Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left Democrats” by backing Bevin. His son Don Jr. held a poorly attended rally for Bevin in August. Mike Pence visited Kentucky the same month and praised Bevin’s handling of the opioid crisis.

Days before the election, Trump himself held a major rally with Bevin, where he explicitly warned his supporters, “If you lose, it sends a really bad message… and if you lose, they’re gonna say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. This was the greatest. You can’t let that happen to me.”

McConnell, who defeated Bevin in a 2014 Senate primary, also played a key roll in supporting Bevin this time around. With an approval rating no better than Bevin’s, the Senate majority leader could face a tougher than expected reelection next year.

Though an October poll showed a tied race, Bevin claimed days ago that he would win the race by between six and 10 points. “I think you’re going to be shocked at how uncompetitive this actually is,” he told the New York Times.

After the results were posted, Bevin suggested that he could have lost because of “irregularities,” and said he was not conceding the “close, close race” by any stretch. But given that Republicans simultaneously won other statewide offices, it will be hard for him to credibly argue that he was somehow cheated out of victory.

The post Deeply unpopular Kentucky governor loses after attacking health care and teachers appeared first on Shareblue Media.

This content was originally published here.

Arkansas Department Of Health Reports 9 Cases Of The Mumps At U of A In Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Nine cases of the mumps at the U of A in Fayetteville have been reported by the Arkansas Department of Health. Other possible cases are still being investigated.

Mumps. Photo Courtesy: MGN Galleries

The mumps is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. Coughing and sneezing can easily spread this disease infecting others. It can also be spread through shared drinking cups or vaping devices. There is no treatment for mumps and can cause long-term health problems.

The Arkansas Department of Health is asking that all children and adults get up-to-date with their MMR vaccine as it is the best way to protect against the mumps. While some people who get the mumps may not have symptoms, the symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, swollen glands under the ears or jaw. These symptoms usually last for about 7-10 days, but it can take a person up to 26 days to get sick after they have been infected. The ADH recommends to stay home for 5 days after swelling in the glands appear due to mumps still being present 5 days after the swelling disappears.

Below are the recommended doses of the MMR vaccine according to the Arkansas Department of Health:

• Your children younger than 6 years of age need one dose of MMR vaccine at age 12 through 15 months and a second dose of MMR vaccine at age 4 through 6 years. If your child attends a preschool where there is a mumps case or if you live in a household with many people, your child
should receive their second dose of MMR vaccine right away, even if they are not yet 4 years old.
The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after the first dose.

• Your children age 7 through 18 years need two doses of MMR vaccine if they have not received it
already. The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after the first dose.

• If you are an adult born in 1957 or later and you have not had the MMR vaccine already, you need
at least one dose. If you live in a household with many people or if you travel internationally, you
need a second dose of MMR vaccine. The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after
the first dose.

• Adults born before 1957 are considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to get the MMR
vaccine.

• Students that have never received an MMR vaccine will need to be excluded from class and
university activities for at least 26 days. However, they can return to class immediately once they receive a dose of MMR vaccine. They will need to receive a second dose of MMR vaccine 29 days after the first dose.

If symptoms are noticed, ADH recommends you contact your doctor’s office before going to a clinic since the doctor may not want you to sit in the clinic near others. They do not recommend going to work or public places in general.

Meanwhile, ADH is working closely with the U of A officials to stop the spread of mumps. They will be monitoring the situation closely and if the outbreak continues to spread, officials will keep you informed of any additional necessary steps taken.

ADH issued a health public health directive stating, “Any student not immunized with at least 2 doses of MMR according to University of Arkansas policy will either need to be vaccinated immediately or excluded from class/class activities for 26 days.” This directive is being issued up the authority of Act 96 of 1913, Arkansas State Board of Health Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Reportable Diseases.

For more information contact the Pat Walker Health Center at 479-575-4451

This content was originally published here.

‘Pay to breathe?’ ‘Oxygen bars’ hit New Delhi as India chokes under pollution & declares health emergency

A new fad sweeping India offers customers a breath of fresh air – literally. As pollution in New Delhi hits toxic levels, “Oxygen bars” are popping up in the city to help locals breathe easy, but some found the idea off-putting.

Officials in New Delhi were recently forced to declare a public health emergency over the city’s hazardous air quality after pollution levels soared to around 20 times what the World Health Organization deems safe, halting construction projects and closing schools across the capital. While the smog-choked air is inescapable for many, those with the cash may find a brief reprieve at their local oxygen bar.

Also on rt.com

© ANI via REUTERS
‘Theater of the absurd’: Delhi kids run mini marathon as city drowns in toxic smog (PHOTOS)

One such establishment is tucked in the corner of an upscale shopping mall in New Delhi, dubbed Oxy Pure, with bright lights and gadgets glowing through its clear glass storefront. Here, customers can pay between 299 and 499 rupees (around $4 to $7) for a 15-minute oxygen session, with their choice of several fragrances: orange, lavender, cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemongrass or peppermint.

Delhi: An oxygen bar in Saket, ‘Oxy Pure’ is offering pure oxygen to its customers in seven different aromas (lemongrass, orange, cinnamon, spearmint, peppermint, eucalyptus, & lavender), at a time when Air Quality Index (AQI) in the city is in ‘severe’ category. pic.twitter.com/dZuVnY03jn

— ANI (@ANI) November 14, 2019

“Air pollution is going to dangerous levels so people are coming here to breathe pure oxygen,” Oxy Pure owner Aryavir Kumar told The National.

Each winter, air quality suffers in cities around India as winds die down and farmers burn the remnants of crops to make room for the next harvest. This time around, Kumar says New Delhi’s worsening smog has driven a surge of business at his establishment.

“We would get 15-20 people a day [before]. Now we are getting 30-40 customers every day,” he said. “There is a tremendous increase in the numbers of customers in the last two weeks.”

Conjuring images of a pulmonary ward, the bars deliver O2 through a standard cannula device which customers hook up to their nostrils, cranked out of a “concentrator” machine that pulls clean oxygen out of the polluted air. While Kumar is careful to insist the “oxygen therapy” does not cure any diseases, he says the air can rejuvenate “like a spa.”

Oxygen bars are not all that uncommon.

It offers a ‘natural high.’ We’re not used to breathing air which is > 20% oxygen. So, when you take a hit of oxygen at an oxygen bar, you immediately start to saturate your blood with oxygen, which can heighten concentration.

— TheRudim3nt (@TheRudim3nt) November 18, 2019

Despite the potential for benefits, many online found the concept downright dystopian, suggesting a future in which only the wealthy can afford to breathe non-toxic air.

Delhi is #1 most polluted air of 1,600 global cities AND #2 richest city in India. 15 minutes in “Oxygen bar” costs ₹ 500. Negligible for the rich, out of reach for poor, migrants living on ₹ 1,134/ month. The sweet privilege of clean air, clean water #EnvironmentalJustice

— Trishna | तृष्णा (@TrishnaTweets) November 18, 2019

This is your future India. “Pay to breathe “. Oxygen bar. And if you still don’t realise what petty politics / divisive politics does to you , you have lost the cause already. #DelhiPollution #Emergency #AirPollution pic.twitter.com/W4QsOwDx8Z

— bhupendra chaubey (@bhupendrachaube) November 15, 2019

“Commodify oxygen already,” tweeted another frustrated user. “F–k it, Commodify EVERYTHING. Subscriptions to life. $1.99 a minute.”

Here we are, even breathing is now becoming a commodityhttps://t.co/wyND3xTXoS

— Giulia Guidi (@giuliaguidi) November 18, 2019

Even so, the naysayers are unlikely to put a stop to the trend anytime soon. With India home to 15 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, the country’s air quality woes are here to say for some time, perhaps pushing a greater number of Indians into oxygen bars like Oxy Pure – at least those who can afford it.

Also on rt.com

© Stewart Goldstein
‘You still owe us $1,400’: Woman dependent on oxygen tank dies after provider cuts off electricity

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This content was originally published here.

Dentistry Lacks Sufficient Research to Substantiate Many Procedures

The Trouble With Dentistry

by Dr. Joseph Mercola
Mercola.com

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92% of adults aged 20 to 64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. Interestingly, Caucasian adults and those living in families with higher incomes have had more decay, or at least have been treated for more cavities. Adults in the same age range have an average of 3.28 decayed or missing permanent teeth.

While many believe water fluoridation is an effective way of preventing tooth decay, supporting facts are just not there. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) data reported by the Fluoride Action Network, the U.S., which provides fluoridated water to 74.6% of community water systems, has higher rates of tooth decay than many countries that do not fluoridate their water, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.

If fluoridation were effective, you would expect to see higher numbers of cavities in communities without fluoridated water and the number of cavities to decline when fluoride is introduced. Instead, demographic studies have demonstrated fluoridated water has little to do with cavity prevention.,,

Instead, caries often follow demineralization of the tooth triggered by acids formed during bacterial fermentation of dietary sugars. Just as depression is not triggered by a lack of Prozac, dental caries are not caused by a lack of fluoride — a neurotoxic compound that has no biological benefits. Excess dietary sugar is the most significant factor driving dental decay.

Dentistry Lacks Sufficient Research to Substantiate Many Procedures

The American Dental Association (ADA) claims the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT) as their intellectual property. In 2000, the code was named as a HIPAA standard code set, and any electronic dental claim must use these procedural codes. According to the ADA, there are times when a code is not available and dentists are encouraged to request additions and revisions.

This process is different from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) based on data developed by WHO, which copyrights the information and publishes the classification. An adaptation of the classification for use in the U.S. is completed by National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and must conform to WHO conventions.

Oftentimes when expensive surgery or a regimen of pills is recommended, most seek a second opinion. However, the same is not true when you’re sitting in the dentist chair. A Cochrane review of dental studies finds many of the standard dental and cosmetic treatments are not substantiated by research.

For instance, they could not find enough evidence to support or oppose the surgical removal of asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth, to prove if antibiotic prophylaxis is effective or ineffective in those at risk for bacterial endocarditis before a dental procedure, and only three trials were found analyzing the efficacy of filling cavities in primary teeth, none of which were conclusive.

In other words, much of the research in the field of dentistry is sadly lacking. While the recommendations may be appropriate, they may also not be, and many simply do not have adequate evidenced-based science to warrant their use.

As noted in recent article in The Atlantic, “[W]hat limited data we have don’t clearly indicate whether it’s better to repair a root-canaled tooth with a crown or a filling.” Derek Richards, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry at the University of Dundee, commented on the gaping hole of evidence in the field of dentistry:

“The body of evidence for dentistry is disappointing. Dentists tend to want to treat or intervene. They are more akin to surgeons than they are to physicians. We suffer a little from that. Everybody keeps fiddling with stuff, trying out the newest thing, but they don’t test them properly in a good-quality trial.”

Anatomy of a Tooth

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, at least 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from sensitive teeth. They describe the sensitivity as being caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin, or the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel. When the fluid reaches the nerve, it causes irritation and pain.

These tiny tubules are exposed when your enamel is worn down or the gums have receded. This increases your risk of experiencing pain while eating or drinking hot or cold foods. The Cleveland Clinic lists some factors that may lead to sensitivity, including brushing too hard, gum disease, cracked teeth, teeth grinding and acidic foods.

The tubules branch throughout the tooth and are different between peripheral and the inner aspects. The branching pattern reveals an intricate and profuse system crisscrossing the intertubular dentin.

Studies demonstrate anaerobic bacteria and gram positive rods, as well as a large number of bacterial species, may be found within this tubule system in those suffering periodontal disease. The researchers concluded:

“It seems clear that, in more than half of the infected roots, bacteria are present in the deep dentin close to the cementum and that anaerobic culturing of dentin is more sensitive than histology to detect these bacteria.”

Further research finds a necrotic dental pulp may develop unnoticed for years and the course of the disease is modulated by the variance of the microbiota in the root canal space and the capacity of the individual’s immune system.

Another study found the environment of the deep layers of the endodontic dental area is anaerobic, favoring the growth of anaerobes, including Lactobacillus, Streptococcus and Propionibacterium.

Avoid Root Canals Whenever Possible

Root canals are not your only option. Teeth are similar to other systems in your body as they require blood supply, venous drainage and nerve innervations. Teeth that have undergone a root canal are dead and typically become a source of chronic bacterial toxicity in your body. In one study published in 2010, the authors wrote:

“Root canal therapy has been practiced ever since 1928 and the success rate has tremendously increased over the years owing to various advancements in the field. One main reason is the complete understanding of the microbiology involved in the endodontic pathology.”

If any other organ in your body lost blood supply and lymphatic drainage it would die. Your physician would recommend it being removed so necrosis and bacteria would not kill you. But dead teeth are commonly left in your mouth. Anaerobic bacteria thrive in your dentin tubes and the blood supply surrounding the dead teeth drains the toxicity, allowing it to spread throughout your body.

This toxicity may lead to a number of diseases, including autoimmune diseases, cancer, irritable bowel disease and depression. Dr. George Meinig has a unique perspective on the underlying dangers of root canal therapy as he was one of the founding members of the American Association of Endodontists, root canal specialists.

When he wasn’t filling canals, he was teaching the technique to dentist across the country. After spending decades practicing endodontics, he retired and began pouring over the detailed research of Dr. Weston Price. He was shocked to find valid documentation of systemic illnesses resulting from the latent infections lingering in the filled canals.

The result was his book “Root Canal Cover Up.” In an interview with me, Meinig describes the result of Price’s research findings and credible reasons why you should avoid a root canal. Price’s work demonstrated that many who suffered chronic degenerative diseases could trace the origins to root canals.

The most frequently reported conditions were heart and circulatory diseases. The next most common diseases were of the joints and those of the brain and nervous system. Meinig assumes all root filled teeth harbor bacteria and other infective agents, but not everyone is made ill since those with strong immune systems may be able to prevent bacterial colonies from taking hold.

Oral Health Inextricably Linked to Your Overall Health

However, Meinig cautions that over time, most who have undergone a root canal seem to develop some type of systemic symptoms. If you choose to have a dead tooth removed, just pulling the tooth is not enough. Price found bacteria in tissue and bone adjacent to the tooth’s root. Consequently, Meinig developed a protocol he describes in his book to ensure no bacterial growth is left.

Historically, dentistry and medicine were separated. It’s unfortunate how many fail to fully appreciate the influence oral health has on overall health. The delicate balance of bacteria in your mouth is as important to your health as your gut microbiome.

Periodontal disease, which affects the soft tissue and bone, is triggered by an increase in Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacteria that impairs your immune response. Dental caries have been causally linked to Streptococcus mutans. In turn, your oral health impacts the rest of your body and they have a significant impact on your risk of disease.

For example, Type 2 diabetes and periodontal disease are strongly connected, as are cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease. Research has demonstrated failing to brush on a daily basis may increase your risk of dementia by 22 to 65%, compared to brushing three times a day, and good oral hygiene may lower your risk of pneumonia by 40%.

When the bacteria causing tooth decay and gum disease enter your circulatory system, your body increases the release of C-reactive protein known to lead to many chronic diseases. Therefore it’s only common sense to pay attention to your oral health, and develop good habits that support your oral microbiome.

Seek Out a Biological Dentist for Care

One step toward achieving good oral health is to seek out a biological dentist, also known as a holistic or environmental dentist. These doctors operate according to the belief system that your teeth are an integral part of your body and, hence, your overall health. They recognize oral and dental health have a major influence on disease and any medical treatment takes this into account.

While I recommend using a biological dentist for all your dental needs, if you’re considering the removal of dental amalgams, it’s absolutely essential. Most conventional dentists are unaware of the dangers involved and lack the experience to remove amalgam fillings without placing your health at risk in the process. Another strategy biological dentist use is to check the compatibility of dental materials with your body.

What’s in Your Silver Fillings?

The silver fillings in your mouth are dental amalgam. As noted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dental amalgam has been used to fill cavities for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients around the world.

Amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of elemental mercury and a powdered alloy of silver, tin and copper, 50% of which is elemental mercury by weight. The FDA also admits amalgam fillings release low levels of mercury in vapor form that may be inhaled and absorbed in your lungs.

Mercury is a neurotoxin. How your health is affected will depend on the form of mercury, the amount in the exposure and the age at which you’re exposed. Additionally, how long the exposure lasts and your underlying health will determine symptoms you may experience.

Symptoms of prolonged exposure to elemental mercury may include emotional changes, insomnia, headaches and poor performance on mental function tests. In 2009, the FDA issued a final rule on dental amalgams reclassifying mercury from a class I (least risk) device to class II (more risk) and designated a special controls guidance document for dental amalgam.

The WHO found mercury exposure, even in small amounts, may trigger serious health concerns and can have toxic effects on lungs and kidneys, as well as the nervous, digestive and immune systems. It is considered one of the top 10 chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.

Daily Care May Protect Oral Health

As Meinig discussed in our interview, the only scientifically-proven way to prevent tooth decay is through nutrition. He related how in Price’s travels he found 14 cultural pockets of natives who had no access to “civilization” and ate no refined foods.

While their diets varied, they all ate whole, unrefined foods. Without access to tooth brushes, floss, fluoridated water or toothpaste, each group were almost all 100% free of caries.

For a discussion of how you may integrate holistic and preventive strategies, such as making your own toothpaste, flossing guidelines, and information on oil pulling and nutritional supplements to support your oral health, see my previous article, “Dental Dedication: Improve Your Oral Health.”

What’s Lurking in Your Silver Fillings?

It’s estimated that 75 percent of Americans are ignorant about that fact that amalgam fillings are actually 50 percent mercury, and this is no accident. The American Dental Association (ADA) popularized the deceptive term “silver fillings” so consumers would think amalgam is made mainly of silver when actually it has twice as much mercury as silver.

Mercury is an incredibly potent neurotoxin; it doesn’t take much to cause serious damage because it’s an absolute poison. If you were to take the amount of mercury in a typical thermometer and put it in a small lake, that lake would be closed down due to environmental hazards.

Yet, amounts much higher than that are readily put into your mouth if you receive a “silver” amalgam dental filling, as the majority of material in the filling is actually mercury. Download your free copy of “Measurably Misleading” and learn how the FDA and dental industry are misleading consumers and why that’s bad for American families and our planet.

Help Support Mercury-Free Dentistry

We believe in inspiring progress — and nowhere is the progress more evident than the work of Consumers for Dental Choice and its Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry. So consider donating your funds where you know it will get results.

Consumers for Dental Choice takes the Holistic Approach to Advocacy. You wouldn’t go to a traditional dentist who uses mercury amalgam fillings. So why would you go to a traditional activist to fight for mercury-free dentistry? That’s why so many people, including myself, support Consumers for Dental Choice’s holistic approach to advocacy.

Resources to Help You Find a Biological Dentist

The following organizations can help you to find a mercury-free, biological dentist:

Let’s Help Consumers for Dental Choice Get the Funding They Deserve

Consumers for Dental Choice and its leader Charlie Brown continue their full-court-press campaign to bring mercury-free dentistry to the U.S. and worldwide. If you wish to stay informed, I encourage you to follow them on Facebook; if you wish to stay informed by receiving their announcements, you can sign up by .

You can help stop dental mercury today! Please consider donating to Consumers for Dental Choice, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating mercury-free dentistry.

Read the full article at Mercola.com.

See Also:

Did Pennsylvania Mom Who Stood Up to Dental Bullying Uncover Massive Pediatric Dental Fraud Nationwide?

References

 National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Dental Caries in Adults 20 to 64

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Community Water Fluoridation

 Fluoride Action Network, Tooth Decay in F versus NF Countries

 European Journal of Oral Science, 1996; 104(4):452

 Caries Research, 1993; 27: 201

 Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 2002; doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0528.2000.028005382.x

 World Health Organization, Fluoride in Drinking Water

 American Dental Association, Frequent Questions Regarding Dental Provision Codes

 American Dental Association, Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature

 World Health Organization, Classifications

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ICD-10-CM

 Cochrane, Priority Reviews

 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, June 13, 2012

 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, October 9, 2013

 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, April 15, 2009

  The Atlantic, May 2019

 Academy of General Dentistry, Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

 Cleveland Clinic Tooth Sensitivity: Possible Causes

 Archives of Dental Biology, 1996;41(5)

 Journal of Endodontics, 2001;27(2)

 Virulence, 2015;6(3)

 International Endodontic Journal, 1990;23(1)

 Journal of Conservative Dentistry, 2010;13(4)

 American Association of Endodontists, AAE History

 Frontiers in Microbiology, 2016;7:53

 Microbiology Reviews, 1986;50(4):353

 Diabetologia, 2012;55(1):21

 Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, 2010;14(3):148

 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2012; doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04064.x

 Annals of Periodontology, 2003;8(1):54

 Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Disease, 1993;25(2):207

 Dr. Weil, Holistic and Biological Dentistry

 U.S. Food and Drug Administration, About Dental Amalgam Fillings

 Environmental Protection Agency, Healthy Effects of Exposure to Mercury

This content was originally published here.

The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they’ve worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.



via Diabetes Voice

“Four hundred million people are living with diabetes, the amount of insulin available is too low and the price is too high, so we really need to do something,” Emer Cooke, the W.H.O.’s head of regulation of medicines and health technologies, said in a statement.

Through a process called “prequalification” United Nations agencies, such as Doctors without Borders, will be able to buy approved generic versions of insulin.

The W.H.O. used similar tactics to make HIV/AIDS drugs more affordable.

In 2002, 7,000 Africans were dying every year due to AIDS because Western drug companies sold the life-saving drugs for around $15,000 a year. Now the drugs are made in countries with thriving generic drug industries and the medications cost only around $75 a year.

Rosemary Enobakhare the director of the Affordable Insulin Now campaign calls the new program “a good first step toward affordable insulin for all around the world,” but says it won’t do much to help the 30 million Americans with diabetes.

Any attempt to lower insulin prices would require “Congress to grant Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices,” she added.

Companies that made generic drugs have a hard time penetrating the U.S. market because the Food and Drug Administration imposes hefty fees for drug approvals.

Insulin is ten times cheaper in Canada because the government negotiates with manufacturers, a practice that’s illegal in the U.S.

This vial of insulin costs just $6 to manufacture.

At this pharmacy in Windsor, Ontario, it can be purchased for $32. Twenty minutes away, in Detroit, the same exact vial costs $340.

It is time for a government that works for the American people, not drug companies’ profits. pic.twitter.com/Uo2T8GG54T
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 28, 2019

Earlier in the year, the Trump Administration announced preliminary plans to allow Americans to import lower cost prescription drugs from Canada. Through the program, state governments, drug wholesalers, and pharmacies can create proposals to import the drugs that would then have to be approved by the federal government.

The catch? It would not include insulin.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders took a bus full of Americans to Canada earlier this year to call attention to the out of control cost of insulin.

“Americans are paying $300 for insulin. In Canada they can purchase it for $30,” Sanders said in a tweet. “We are going to end pharma’s greed.”

This family was able to save $10,000 buying insulin for their son in Canada, where the exact same insulin is one-tenth the price.

The profits the drug companies are making ripping off the American people is scandalous, it is outrageous and it has got to end. pic.twitter.com/Rew4ftIo0o
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 29, 2019

This content was originally published here.

Quick Bytes: Space Grease, Horse Dentistry, and Lab-Grown Brains

Grease Me Up, Scotty

The Milky Way is one of the most magnificent sights in the universe. In addition to housing our very own solar system, the Milky Way is extremely large, as it has been discovered that an entire trip across the galaxy would take, at light speed, a total of 200,000 years. Well, that’s not the only recent discovery about the Milky Way as, much like a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, it is large, beautiful, and covered in grease.

But how much of this “space grease” is out there gunking up the beauty of the universe? According to a recently published paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, it’s at the very least known that there’s enough grease that your spaceship would need a trip to the carwash.

Thankfully, due to the solar wind, experts don’t expect the grease to have any major effects on our own solar system. This is great news, as this solar system already has plenty enough grease in our restaurants, meals, and arteries.

Curing Colt Cavities

While we may always dread that occasional trip to the dentist, the practice of oral care has definitely improved over its long history. Dentistry itself dates back to 2600 BC, where the first-ever reference to dental work was made. However, we know what you’re thinking, “But when did horse dentistry get started?” Admit it, that’s exactly what you were thinking.

According to researchers, horse dentistry may have dated back to 3,200 years ago, when Mongolian pastoralists attempted to remove teeth from the animals in order to utilize metal bits. The researchers, who published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also made a connection between this discovery and the dawn of mounted battles and longer travel in certain Asian civilizations soon after.

You have to admit, it’s not often that you get the opportunity to read a story that teaches you the early history of equestrian dental hygiene. Well, now you have something to talk about at your next dinner party.

If I Could Only Grow a Brain…

To study the brains of Neanderthals, researchers have mainly focused on analyzing fossilized skulls to infer what they might have contained. However, a team at the University of California, San Diego is employing a new tactic: growing Neanderthal minibrains in a lab. At the UCSD “Imagination and Human Evolution” conference, geneticist Alysson Muotri, Ph.D., revealed that his team had used stem cells containing Neanderthal DNA and the genome editor CRISPR to create pea-sized lumps that could mimic the brain’s cortex.

For the experiment, the team focused on the protein-coding gene NOVA1, which likely helped produce more than 100 proteins in Neanderthal brains. It takes months to grow a minibrain from Neanderthal stem cells and the results have not yet been officially published. However, Muotri and his team think that the study could shed light on the links between the human and Neanderthal brain. Plus, many academics hope that this new brain-growing tactic could help Scarecrow achieve his dream of having a brain.

This content was originally published here.

According to a Study, Sleeping With a Snorer Can Take a Toll on Your Health

It’s hard to deny that living with a snorer can be challenging, especially if that person is someone you share the same room or bed with. But the consequences of second-hand snoring have recently been discovered and go far beyond being a simple nuisance.

We at Bright Side care about your well-being and here’s everything you need to know about the health risks of living with a snorer:

1. Insufficient sleep

This seems to be the most obvious consequence, but lack of sleep leads to health problems that we often don’t take seriously. Both the snorer and those who live with them can lose many hours of sleep, which are vital for the body to recover and fulfill biological functions, like memory consolidation and metabolism regulation.

It’s not just about getting enough sleep, but about doing it continuously. Spouses of people with sleep apnea tend to wake up almost as many times as they do, preventing all the phases of sleep from being completed and further damaging the biological mechanisms involved in that process.

In addition, a person who doesn’t get enough rest is prone to make more mistakes, think slowly, and lower their productivity. Another problem associated with this is constant irritability, which could have an effect on your relationships.

However, it has also been discovered that lack of sleep is a risk factor for anxiety and depression. And, beyond its psychological consequences, it also increases the chances of developing obesity or suffering from a stroke.

The fact that your partner’s snoring doesn’t let you sleep can erode the relationship little by little. Listening to a person snoring by your side every night and having to wake them up to stop them from making noise will only make them feel upset. Many even choose to sleep separately or get a divorce after trying to use earplugs or hearing aids to reduce the noise, without getting good results.

We’ve already talked about some consequences of not sleeping well, but if this is caused by your partner or a family member, they become the main reason for your bad mood and the primary target of your anger.

These conflicts impact your health in a bad way, since it has been proven that a negative atmosphere at home can cause stress, inflammation, and changes in appetite. The immune system is also weakened by constant arguing.

A study by Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, sought to evaluate the effects of snoring on both the snorers and their spouses. They selected 4 couples in an age range between 35 and 55, in which one of the members had severe sleep apnea.

The conclusion they reached was that the effect of the snoring sound didn’t affect the snorers as much. This is because the brain dampens respiratory interruptions during sleep. But 100% of their partners did suffer the consequences, especially in the ear that was exposed to snoring. The effect was equivalent to having slept for 15 years with an industrial machine.

The loud noises not only affect hearing, but they can also raise blood pressure to risky levels, especially for other diseases, according to research from the Imperial College of Science in London, which assessed the stress of people living near several European airports.

Their findings determined that, the higher the volume of noise, the greater the risk of hypertension. They realized that the body always reacted in the same way, regardless of whether the patient woke up with the noise or not.

They also discovered that these results could be transferred to any sound of more than 35 decibels, so people exposed to snoring were also at risk, since it can reach 80 decibels. Hypertension can lead to other diseases, such as kidney problems, dementia, and heart disease.

Dangers of second-hand snoring

Here are some possible consequences, direct and indirect, of sleeping near a person who snores:

How to prevent these problems

Sleeping with a snorer is an ordeal, especially when you have already tried everything to make your nights more bearable. If the headphones and earplugs no longer work, you could (if possible) go to sleep in another room and be with your partner at times that do not affect your rest.

smart pillow is being developed for the snoring partner, which will allow the snoring noise to be canceled out with an equal and opposite sound frequency. However, it has not yet reached the market, so this is a solution that you’ll only be able to use in the future.

You could also take a look at these tricks for those who want to stop snoring. They can be useful to regain harmony and, what’s most important, health in your home.

This content was originally published here.

The World Health Organization releases a new plan to drastically decrease the price of insulin

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they’ve worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.



via Diabetes Voice

“Four hundred million people are living with diabetes, the amount of insulin available is too low and the price is too high, so we really need to do something,” Emer Cooke, the W.H.O.’s head of regulation of medicines and health technologies, said in a statement.

Through a process called “prequalification” United Nations agencies, such as Doctors without Borders, will be able to buy approved generic versions of insulin.

The W.H.O. used similar tactics to make HIV/AIDS drugs more affordable.

In 2002, 7,000 Africans were dying every year due to AIDS because Western drug companies sold the life-saving drugs for around $15,000 a year. Now the drugs are made in countries with thriving generic drug industries and the medications cost only around $75 a year.

Rosemary Enobakhare the director of the Affordable Insulin Now campaign calls the new program “a good first step toward affordable insulin for all around the world,” but says it won’t do much to help the 30 million Americans with diabetes.

Any attempt to lower insulin prices would require “Congress to grant Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices,” she added.

Companies that made generic drugs have a hard time penetrating the U.S. market because the Food and Drug Administration imposes hefty fees for drug approvals.

Insulin is ten times cheaper in Canada because the government negotiates with manufacturers, a practice that’s illegal in the U.S.

This vial of insulin costs just $6 to manufacture.

At this pharmacy in Windsor, Ontario, it can be purchased for $32. Twenty minutes away, in Detroit, the same exact vial costs $340.

It is time for a government that works for the American people, not drug companies’ profits. pic.twitter.com/Uo2T8GG54T
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 28, 2019

Earlier in the year, the Trump Administration announced preliminary plans to allow Americans to import lower cost prescription drugs from Canada. Through the program, state governments, drug wholesalers, and pharmacies can create proposals to import the drugs that would then have to be approved by the federal government.

The catch? It would not include insulin.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders took a bus full of Americans to Canada earlier this year to call attention to the out of control cost of insulin.

“Americans are paying $300 for insulin. In Canada they can purchase it for $30,” Sanders said in a tweet. “We are going to end pharma’s greed.”

This family was able to save $10,000 buying insulin for their son in Canada, where the exact same insulin is one-tenth the price.

The profits the drug companies are making ripping off the American people is scandalous, it is outrageous and it has got to end. pic.twitter.com/Rew4ftIo0o
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 29, 2019

This content was originally published here.

U.S. Must Provide Mental Health Services to Families Separated at Border – The New York Times

“The question is,” he said, “what happens from here and can it be enforced? I assume the government will appeal and get the order stayed because it’s brand new. They’ll say the judge got it wrong.”

The family separations were a key part of the Trump administration’s effort to deter migrant families at the southwestern border, where they have been arriving in large numbers, most of them fleeing violence and deep poverty in Central America.

Under the zero-tolerance policy, those who crossed the border illegally were criminally prosecuted and jailed, a process that the government said could not be carried out without removing their children.

The federal government had reported that nearly 3,000 children were forcibly removed from their parents under the policy. An additional 1,556 migrant families were separated between July 2017 and June 2018, the government said last month.

President Trump suspended the policy in June 2018 amid a public outcry, and a federal judge in San Diego ordered the government to reunify the families.

But Judge Kronstadt found that the government had taken “affirmative steps to implement the zero-tolerance policy,” and that its implementation had caused “severe mental trauma to parents and their children.”

Mark Rosenbaum, a lawyer with Public Counsel, which brought the case along with the law firm Sidley Austin, said the judge had found that the separation policy violated the families’ constitutional rights.

“You cannot have a policy of deliberately trying to injure a family bond,” he said. “Cruelty cannot be part of an enforcement policy, and here it was the cornerstone of the policy.”

Government lawyers had argued that it could not be held liable for mental health problems that might occur in the future, and that there had been no proof of existing irreparable harm to any of those subjected to the policy.

Further, they said that any harm that might have occurred was quickly abated when families were reunited.

The government declined to comment on the court’s ruling.

The lead plaintiff in the case, a Guatemalan migrant identified as J.P., was separated from her teenage daughter at the border on May 21, 2018. For more than a month, the mother said, she had no idea of her child’s whereabouts. They spoke for the first time after they had been apart for 40 days, and only because a lawyer encountered J.P. during a visit to the detention center in Irvine, Calif., where she was being held.

Until then, no one had explained to her in a language she could understand — she speaks a Mayan language — what had happened to her daughter, according to her lawyer, Judy London, who is with Public Counsel. Her daughter, 16, had been sent to a shelter in Phoenix.

“Despite her obvious terror and inability to comprehend what was happening around her, no one made sure she had understood information about how she could contact her daughter,” Ms. London said in a declaration filed with the court.

“To the contrary, the guards insisted she needed no help and could on her own use phones to reach her daughter,” she said.

This content was originally published here.

The amazing health benefits of turmeric | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Turmeric, an orange-colored spice imported from India, is part of the ginger family and has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years.

In addition, ayurvedic and Chinese medicines utilize turmeric to clear infections and inflammations on the inside and outside of the body. But beyond the holistic health community, Western medical practitioners have only recently come on board in recognizing the health benefits of turmeric.

Here are some of the ways turmeric may benefit your body.

Blocking cancer

Doctors at UCLA found that curcumin, the main component in turmeric, appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer.

In that study, 21 subjects with head and neck cancers chewed two tablets containing 1,000 milligrams of curcumin. An independent lab in Maryland evaluated the results and found that the cancer-promoting enzymes in the patients’ mouths were inhibited by the curcumin and thus prevented from advancing the spread of the malignant cells.

Powerful antioxidant

The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also states that turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause.

While more research is necessary, early studies have indicated that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancer including prostate, skin and colon.

Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease

A study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry revealed that curcumin may improve memory and mood swings in people who suffer from mild cases of memory loss.

Researchers had a group of 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 take either a curcumin or placebo pill for 18 months. At the end, the memory and attention of participants who took the curcumin pill improved by 28%.

While the exact reason why turmeric can improve memory isn’t known, doctors believe it’s because the spice has anti-inflammatory properties. “It may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” Gary Small from UCLA told NDTV.

Potent anti-inflammatory

Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, wrote a paper for the American Academy of Pain Management in which he discussed the health benefits of turmeric.

“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” Horwitz states in the paper.

He went on to cite a University of Arizona study that examined the effect of turmeric on rats with injected rheumatoid arthritis. According to Horwitz, pretreatment with turmeric completely inhibited the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats. In addition, the study found that using turmeric for pre-existing rheumatoid arthritis resulted in a significant reduction of symptoms.

Some research shows that curcumin might ease symptoms of uveitis — long-term inflammation in the middle layer of the eye. Other research shows that taking turmeric daily
for several months may improve kidney function for people with kidney inflammation.

Turmeric's leaves(Curcuma longa) - but turmeric's health benefits come mainly from its root.Turmeric comes from the curcuma longa plant. (Photo: Skyprayer2005/Shutterstock)

Osteoarthritis pain relief

Turmeric may also be helpful with another type of arthritis. Some research has shown that taking turmeric extract can ease the pain of
osteoarthritis. In one study,
reports WebMD, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for relieving osteoarthritis pain.

Indigestion and heartburn aid

Curcumin works with the gallbladder, stimulating it to make bile, which may help with digestion. In Germany, turmeric can be prescribed for
digestive problems. Some research shows that turmeric may help upset stomach, bloating and gas. Turmeric may also help reduce the occurrence of irritable
bowel syndrome (IBS) in people who are otherwise healthy.

Heart disease

Studies have suggested curcumin may help prevent the buildup of plaque that can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Impact on diabetes

Early studies suggest that taking turmeric daily can cut down the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes.

Raw is best

Natalie Kling, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist, says she first learned about the benefits of turmeric while getting her degree from the Natural Healing Institute of Neuropathy. “As an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic, it’s a very powerful plant,” she says.

Kling recommends it to clients for joint pain and says that when taken as a supplement, it helps quickly. She advises adding turmeric to food whenever possible and offers these easy tips. “Raw is best,” she said. “Sprinkling it on vegetables or mixing it into dressings is quick and effective.”

If you do cook it, make sure to use a small amount of healthy fat like healthy coconut oil to maximize flavor. Kling also recommends rubbing turmeric on meat and putting it into curries and soups.

“It’s inexpensive, mild in taste, and benefits every system in the body,” Kling says. “Adding this powerful plant to your diet is one of the best things you can do for long term health.”

Quality matters

Turmeric is for sale at a market
Turmeric is for sale at a market. (Photo: ChiccoDodiFC/Shutterstock)

Safety can be an issue with turmeric, recent research finds. Turmeric is sometimes laced with pigments to enhance its brightness. In some cases those pigments can include lead, which contributes to cognitive issues and other serious issues. Lead is a neurotoxin that has long been banned from food for safety reasons.

Consumer Reports recently tested 13 turmeric products along with 16 echinacea products because these are the two most popular botanical supplements after horehound. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, sales of turmeric grew 30.5%. Of the 13 turmeric products tested, one had lead levels that exceeded Consumer Reports’ threshold standards and one had aerobic bacteria levels that exceeded the group’s set standards.

“Higher aerobic bacteria levels don’t necessarily make a supplement unsafe to take, but they can indicate that products were manufactured or processed in unsanitary conditions,” according to the report.

None of the products had lead levels that exceeded standards set by the nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), but one had lead levels that exceeded Consumer Reports’ stricter threshold. According to James E. Rogers, Ph.D., director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports, “No amount of lead is acceptable.”

Earlier this year, a Stanford University study found that the pigments added to turmeric in Bangladesh may contain lead chromate.

In the study, published in Environmental Research, researchers discovered that turmeric was likely the cause of blood lead contamination in Bangladeshis. They didn’t find evidence of contaminated turmeric outside of Bangladesh, and say that food safety checks are incentives for spice processors to limit the lead added to turmeric that will be exported.

However, the researchers caution, “the current system of periodic food safety checks may catch only a fraction of the adulterated turmeric being traded worldwide.” Since 2011, they point out, more than 15 brands of turmeric — distributed to countries including the U.S. — have been recalled due to excessive levels of lead. The research authors suggested that an “immediate intervention” was needed, bringing together producers and wholesalers to find solutions.

How to shop smart

Supplements like turmeric are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as food, not drugs. So they aren’t put through the same safety tests as medications. Therefore, it’s up to consumers to be vigilant about what they buy. Here are a couple of tips from Consumer Reports about how to be safe when buying them:

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement. Don’t rely on a pharmacist or health store employee for advice. Consumer Reports sent “secret shoppers” to 34 stores in seven states and in most cases the pharmacists were unaware of potential risks of supplements or reactions with prescription medications. Instead, ask your primary health care provider for advice.

Look on the label, but don’t rely on it. Many products have certifications that verify a supplement contains what is on the label. You can read about some of the verification labels here. But just because a product doesn’t contain heavy metals, pesticides or other contaminants, doesn’t mean the supplement is safe for you to take. It depends on your medical conditions and medications.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information since it was published in January 2012.

The amazing health benefits of turmeric
From reducing inflammation to warding off heart disease, turmeric has impressive healing properties.

This content was originally published here.

Cheesesteak destination Max’s shut down by Philly Health Department

One of Philadelphia’s most storied cheesesteak shops was closed for business over the weekend, disappointing both regulars and tourists who flock to the increasingly-famous North Broad Street destination.

Max’s Steaks, which was featured in Rocky sequels Creed and Creed II and recently made a cameo on NBC’s This Is Us, was temporarily shut down due to health code violations, according to a cease and desist sign on its front door.

Also shuttered were the adjacent Eagle Bar and Clock Bar, on Erie and Germantown avenues, respectively. The three locations share an owner and are connected to one another via basement passages, according to Rasul Haqq, who said he works as an assistant manager and security guard at Max’s.

“We never had any serious violations before,” Haqq told a reporter outside the shop on Saturday. “It’s probably been 10 years since this place closed.”

The interior of Max’s Steaks as health inspectors walked through Saturday afternoon

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Health officials could be seen inside the establishment, giving it a once-over after crews had come in to fix the issues and give the place a deep cleaning. “It took us 48 hours to do the whole thing,” Haqq said. “Everybody pitched in.”

He and other staffers gathered outside said they expected Max’s to reopen early on Saturday night after inspectors approved the cleanup, but a return visit around 8 p.m. found the gates still half-pulled over the windows and only a few people inside.

Several groups walked up to the locked front door, only to be disappointed. “That spot says it has cheesesteaks,” one teenager said to his friends, pointing to a sign directly across the street. “Nah, we don’t want those cheesesteaks,” came the dejected answer.

Calls to the Philly Health Department’s weekend dispatch center to discover which violations were still outstanding on Sunday were not immediately returned.

Eagle Bar next to Max’s, with newly-cleaned floor mats hanging out to dry

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

A Health Department report shows the cheesesteak shop at 3653 Germantown Ave. failed its regular inspection on Nov. 7, with the sanitarian in charge citing “imminent health hazards” like live rodents and lack of proper temperature care for opened food ingredients.

While reactions on social media included pearl-clutching about dirty environs, these kinds of violations aren’t that uncommon in a city with old infrastructure.

The Inquirer’s monthly report of Health Dept. violations shows at least 37 restaurants were shut down for being out of code last month, including a Federal Donuts, a Starbucks, and various other facilities ranging from corner groceries to goPuff delivery warehouses.

Once closed, these places usually reopen within days, so it’s a good bet that a newly sparkling Max’s will return to normal operation this week.

This content was originally published here.