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25 Feb 2012 09:43


U.S.: New study links medical marijuana laws to lower suicide rates

  • 11% reduction in the suicide rate of men ages 20-29
  • 9% reduction in the suicide rate of men ages 30-39 source
  • » Who would have guessed that getting high reduces stress? While the study stopped short of conclusively saying that medical marijuana was the direct cause of the lower rates, the authors did note that, when used in moderation, cannabis acts as an anti-depressant. The authors also found that states with medical marijuana programs saw a reduction in alcohol consumption by young men, and note that alcohol is a known depressant. Read the full results of the study here.

16 Feb 2012 19:11


Culture: Study: Common sweetener in organic food tied to high arsenic levels

  • the research Extremely high levels of arsenic have been found in food products such as infant formulas, organic cereal bars and energy shot drinks. These are foods that use organic brown rice syrup (a common substitute for high fructose corn syrup) as a sweetener and main ingredient. The impact of such concentrated levels of arsenic might cause more damage to babies than scientists realize.
  • the damage Arsenic has been known to cause cancer, chronic diseases and developmental defects. According to the article, “one of the infant formulas tested contained twice the inorganic arsenic allowed in drinking water … one cereal bar contained 12 times the legal limit for drinking water.” Research has been done for arsenic levels in drinking water, but little is known about levels found in food. source

16 Feb 2012 12:28


Politics, U.S.: Obama’s health care plan benefited tens of millions in 2011

  • 54 million people benefited from the Affordable Care Act in 2011 source
  • » Approximately one-sixth of Americans received one or more additional preventive care services in 2011, as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a newly released report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Over 20 million adult women received an additional service, as well as 14 million children, and just under 20 million adult men. Of the 50 states, Wyoming had the fewest patients (102,000) receive a new service while California took the cake with more than 6 million patients, over 2 million more than 2nd place Texas, receiving at least one new preventive service last year.

30 Jan 2012 23:27


U.S.: Dentist heading to jail over botched paper clip root canal

  • cause In 2005, Massachusetts dentist Dr. Michael Clair performed a root canal. He used sections of a paper clip during the procedure in order to save money, something he had done on multiple occasions. This was not a good idea — it made the patient’s tooth turn black, and the tooth had to be removed.
  • effect As a result of this, along with allegations of illegal prescriptions and intimidating witnesses, Clair received a one-year jail sentence Monday. Prosecutors asked for more jail time, but Clair received a shorter sentence due to a lack of criminal record and “certain mental health issues.” source

05 Jan 2012 14:39


U.S.: U.S. cancer death rates on the decline

  • 1.8% decline in cancer deaths for men in the U.S. from 2004 through 2008
  • 1.6% decline in cancer deaths for women in the U.S. over the same period source
  • » The march of medical advancement: That’s what’s being touted as the cause for this heartening reversal of trend, as reported by the American Cancer Society’s annual report. The news isn’t entirely as rosy as it might be — some less pervasive types of cancer, such as pancreas, kidney, liver and esophageal have seen their incidences rise. The most common types — lung, breast, colon, and prostate — all saw declines, however, with black and Hispanic men demographically showing the most improvement in avoiding the lethal diseases.

20 Dec 2011 19:43


U.S.: U.S. Government: Don’t let homemade version of bird flu get beyond lab

  • It’s very important research. As this virus evolves in nature, we want to be able to rapidly detect … mutations that may indicate that the virus is getting closer to a form that could cross species lines more readily.
  • National Institute of Health science policy director Dr. Amy Patterson • Discussing a lab-produced version of bird flu that NIH officials have warned should not get out of said labs. The reason? It apparently can spread very easily among mammals — leading to fears that terror groups could get a hold of the virus and use it for biological warfare. Which of course is exactly the kind of thing non-sciencey folks love hearing. The NIH, however, says that releasing reports in scientific journals on the disease could ultimately help us understand more about the disease in the long term. We’re seeing flashbacks of this Dustin Hoffman movie in our heads right now. source

19 Nov 2011 18:55


U.S.: Study: Drug usage, high childhood IQs may go hand-in-hand

  • Don’t be lulled by your kid’s good academic performance to think that they are not experimenting with drugs. It is commonplace with peers and it is naive to think that because you have a good, smart kid that they will not be curious.
  • Glen Oaks, N.Y., substance abuse official Bruce Goldman • Discussing a study that shows a connection between high childhood IQ and drug abuse. The study of 8,000 people showed that those who had high IQ scores when they were younger were more likely to use some illegal drugs at age 16 and at age 30. Despite this study, we still think kids should try their hardest in school; this isn’t some kind of crazy, blank check endorsement to dumb kids down even more. source

14 Nov 2011 23:21


World: Just in case we needed another reminder to exercise once in a while

  • 552 million people could have diabetes by the year 2030 source
  • » That’s 1 in 10 people worldwide. The World Health Organization says that the rise in diabetic adults will most likely be due to an aging world population, not the increasing rate of obesity. Most cases are Type 2 and come from “weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle.” Count this number as inspiration for 2012’s resolutions.

18 Oct 2011 00:33


U.S.: CDC: America goes big or goes home when it comes to vices

  • $150B the yearly burden to society caused by lazy people who don’t exercise
  • $193B the yearly burden to society caused by smokers; *cough* *cough*
  • $224B the yearly burden to society caused by  “binge drinking,” our nation’s pasttime source

13 Oct 2011 00:53


U.S.: Vitamin E: Um, you should be careful with that one, guys

  • If you have normal levels, the vitamin is probably of no benefit, and if you take too much, you can be harmed.
  • Dr. Eric Klein of the Cleveland Clinic • Discussing the potential benefit of taking Vitamin E supplements — for most people, there is none. But there is a major downside. A recent study showed that men who took vitamin E supplements (which have very high levels of the vitamin) were 17% more likely to get prostate cancer — even once they stopped taking the supplements.  Lesson of the day: Take vitamins in moderation.  source