The Effects Of Marijuana Use Still Puzzle Scientists, New Government Rules Allow Expanded Study Of Cannabis

Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug in the United States, at least for now. However, the federal government has recently loosened some restrictions allowing cultivation of the plant to help study the effects of marijuana use, but many scientists do not think the relaxed guidelines go far enough. While experts disagree about the actual health benefits of medical marijuana, none can understand the government’s resistance to safe research of cannabis. “I understand the cautious nature of the government, whose role is basically to protect its citizens, but it is disappointing that marijuana continues to be included on the DEA’s list of the most dangerous drugs,” says Dr. Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai. Under revised government rules, researchers will be able to expand studies on the effects of marijuana use. [Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]Even though over 20 states have legalized medical marijuana, scientists know very little about the drug. “It’s actually quite amazing how little we really know about something that has been used for thousands of years,” said Sachin Patel of Vanderbilt University. “We desperately need well-controlled unbiased large scale research studies into the efficacy of cannabis for treating disease states, which we have very little of right now.” Many scientists say the study of cannabis is not considered dangerous, and the government doesn’t need to make it more difficult, especially since many in the medical community think cannabis is a “very safe, well-tolerated medicine.” Researchers really just want the ability to study how patients may or may not benefit from its use. A recent Time article breaks down what scientists are really trying to find out about cannabis. Can marijuana help cancer patients? There are numerous reports from patients as well as clinical case studies that suggest cannabinoids may slow the growth of cancerous tumors. While these claims are unproven, researchers want the opportunity to study the possibility. If cannabis therapy turns out to be a real tumor fighter, scientists will further study how the effects of marijuana use alter specific cancer types. How does marijuana affect the brain? While it is clear cannabis does change the brains of weed smokers, researchers really do not know if the effects of marijuana use are good or bad. Some scientists automatically assume the brain becomes damaged from cannabis use, yet research needs to be done to determine if the changes are within “normal human variation.” A study done in 2014 suggested the effects of marijuana could also help people suffering from brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, and scientists want the opportunity to expand on that research. There is even a strong belief cannabis could slow or stop brain damage caused by a stroke or concussion. For medicinal purposes, is there a certain dosage or strain of marijuana that should be used? Before cannabis can be used as a standard medical treatment, studies need to be conducted to understand how much marijuana is needed to treat a condition and for how long. Researchers also want to know what side effects of marijuana use are expected and what strains of cannabis work the most effectively. Researchers need to work on isolating certain compounds in the plant that provide specific health benefits as well. Can the effects of marijuana use stop the abuse of opioids? The U.S. is in the middle of a severe opioid addiction epidemic and many health practitioners think marijuana could be used as an alternative to traditional painkillers. By recommending cannabis therapy alongside a painkiller prescription, a person can take a lower dose of opioid for a shorter time, according to Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Lester Grinspoon. A study done earlier this year revealed doctors wrote fewer opioid prescriptions in states where medical marijuana is legal. Some doctors think marijuana legalization can help end the opioid abuse epidemic in the U.S. [Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]What are the long-term concerns of cannabis use? Once a patient begins using medical marijuana, there is a possibility the treatment will be used for an extended period of time. Scientists would like to understand what THC, the chemical in cannabis that is responsible for the infamous mind-altering effects, does to the brain after months or years of use. This is crucial since some previous studies have indicated that exposure does have an effect on the brain years after weed is smoked. Even after countless requests to remove marijuana from the Schedule I drug list, the plant still remains as dangerous as heroin and LSD in the government’s eyes. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, cannabis is a Schedule I substance with no medical value, which prevents doctors from prescribing the drug or even monitoring the effects of marijuana use. This continued controversial classification leaves many states, researchers, and users feeling burned. [Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]

Too LITTLE Salt Found To Cause Heart Disease, Strokes And Death

Salt intake is a hot new topic in the world of health and medicine, but not for the reason you might think. For decades, doctors have told people that a diet high in salt could lead to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. However, now, a new study has actually determined that the opposite is true as well. A diet that is too low in salt could also lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and even death. Canada’s McMaster University was the location where the most recent salt study was conducted. The researchers looking into how salt affects diet not only determined that too little salt is extremely dangerous for individuals, they also determined that the only people that should worry about getting too much salt are individuals that suffer from high blood pressure. The study at McMaster University used 130,000 participants from almost fifty different countries from around the world. The crew of researchers examined the relationship between salt intake and heart diseases, as well as strokes and death. The study examined all types of individuals, including those with both high and low blood pressure. When the results were tallied, it was discovered that too low of a salt intake was highly dangerous to not only those persons with low blood pressure, but also those with high blood pressure. [Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]Andrew Mente, the lead author of the study from McMaster University commented on the results of the salt study. “These are extremely important findings for those who are suffering from high blood pressure. While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension, it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels.” Previous recommendations on the amount of salt intake per day were between 3.5 and 4 grams per day. Some guidelines had previously stated that individuals should lower their salt intake to 2.3 grams per day. However, after this new study, the researchers from McMaster University are now stating that consuming less than 3 grams of salt per day can greatly increase ones risk of heart disease and stroke. Mente commented on what seems antithetical to common sense – why too little salt can increase the risk of heart issues. “Low sodium intake reduces blood pressure modestly, compared to average intake, but low sodium intake also has other effects, including adverse elevations of certain hormones which may outweigh any benefits. The key question is not whether blood pressure is lower with very low salt intake, instead it is whether it improves health.” In their findings, published in the journal, The Lancet, the researchers said that their study adds to the current understandings between the intake of salt and its consequent health. Additionally, the researchers state that the study questions current guidelines that advise everyone to lower their salt intake. [Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]So why is salt so important to our bodies? Salt is important, in fact, it’s just as essential to our bodies as water or air. Each human body contains somewhere between four and eight ounces of salt. Salt assists in maintaining a normal amount of blood in the body and also maintains the correct balance of water within and surrounding tissues and cells in the human body. Salt also is essential in the proper digesting of food and is a key component to regulating a proper heartbeat. The result of not obtaining enough salt in our daily diets can result in muscle cramps, exhaustion, dizziness and even convulsions. Of course, after this new study, you can add heart disease and stroke to those symptoms of an insufficient salt intake. [Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]

Crohn's Disease: Cause Found, Cure Could Be On The Way

Of all the forms of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, Crohn’s disease is one of the most frustrating. Abdominal cramps, fatigue, fever, and mouth sores are only some of the symptoms of the chronic condition that affects nearly a million people in the United States. Worldwide stats are hard to find, but it’s probably safe to assume that there are at least another million Crohn’s disease sufferers around the globe, and each of them has reason to rejoice at the recent news that scientists have finally discovered the probable cause of the devitalizing disease. A cure for Chron’s disease may be on the way [Photo by ThinkStock/Getty Images] According to the American Society for Microbiology, researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have uncovered the probable cause of Crohn’s disease. Unlike previous opinion that blamed bacteria, genetics, and/or stress for the onset of the troubling condition, this week’s announcement by Mahmoud A Ghannoum, PhD explains that a fungus known as Candida tropicalis may work together with gut bacteria Serratia marcescens and Escherichia coli to cause the debilitating and sometimes fatal condition. The news that bacteriome and mycobiome interaction is likely responsible for Crohn’s means the world is closer to a cure than ever before. “We already know that bacteria, in addition to genetic and dietary factors, play a major role in causing Crohn’s disease. Essentially, patients with Crohn’s have abnormal immune responses to these bacteria, which inhabit the intestines of all people. While most researchers focus their investigations on these bacteria, few have examined the role of fungi, which are also present in everyone’s intestines. Our study adds significant new information to understanding why some people develop Crohn’s disease. Equally important, it can result in a new generation of treatments, including medications and probiotics, which hold the potential for making qualitative and quantitative differences in the lives of people suffering from Crohn’s.” A brief history of Crohn’s disease Inflammatory bowel disorders such as ulcerative colitis were first distinguished from typical infectious diarrhea around the time of the US Civil War. It was not until Doctors Burrill Crohn, Gordon Oppenheimer, and Leon Ginzberg gave it a distinct name in the early 20th century that the disease was described as a different entity altogether. At first, the doctors attributed intestinal cramping, fever, and weight loss to “regional ileitis.” In 1932, the disorder was renamed Chron’s disease. At the time, prevailing medical opinion held that disorders of the small intestine were caused by intestinal tuberculosis. Risk factors for Crohn’s disease Most people who develop the disease do so before the age of 30. Persons of Ashkenazi Jewish decent tend to be more affected by Crohn’s disease than other ethnic groups. Persons with a family history of Crohn’s are likelier to develop the disease than people whose families are unaffected. A high-fat diet with few whole foods may increase the risk of Crohn’s disease. Cigarette smoking is one of the most preventable causes of Crohn’s disease in young adults, says Mayo Clinic. If left unchecked, Crohn’s disease can cause a range of complications, including narrowing, scarring and obstruction of the bowel wall, ulcers in the digestive tract, anal fissures, and malnutrition. It is worth noting that although they do not cause Crohn’s, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and naproxen can exacerbate the condition. How Crohn’s disease is diagnosed When a person presents typical symptoms of weight loss, abdominal pain, and fever, a number of tests may be performed to rule out other causes before diagnosing a patient with Crohn’s disease. Endoscopy and X-rays may be used along with blood tests for anemia and infection. A stool sample may be examined for occult, or hidden blood. A narrow, flexible camera tube called a sigmoidoscope may be utilized to evaluate the inside of the intestine. Sometimes, this device includes a sampling tool that takes small portions of intestinal tissue for biopsy. Medicinal marijuana may help Crohn’s patients, says Mayo Clinic [Photo by ThinkStock/Getty Images] Medical marijuana and other treatment options According to Mayo Clinic, cannabis products may alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s and may be prescribed for patients who live in states where medical marijuana is allowed. Although there is currently no cure, many patients find cannabis therapy superior to standard treatment options that include steroid medications, immune suppressors, antibiotics, and surgery. [Featured photo by ThinkStock/Getty Images]

Weight Loss Study Says Losing Weight Reduces Proteins Associated With Cancer

Weight loss has a major impact on many diseases including cancer and diabetes. In the latest weight loss study, losing weight helps reduce the proteins associated with cancer. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reported that the new weight loss study came from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. What the new study revealed was that women who lost weight reduced the proteins related to angiogenesis, a process that involves the growth of blood vessels that has been linked to the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Catherine Duggan, Ph.D., principal staff scientist in the public health sciences division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center said that a sedentary lifestyle combined with obesity can cause cancer. “We know that being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle is associated with an increase in risk for developing certain types of cancer. However, we don’t know exactly why.” .@fitbit & @DanaFarber launching study to learn if exercise & weight loss help lower recurrence of #breastcancer. — DrLoveResearch (@DrLoveResearch) July 15, 2016 As previously reported in Inquisitr, weight loss actually has the power to reverse type 2 diabetes. The study revealed that the amount of weight loss it took to reverse the diabetes depended on the person. When patients lost the right amount of weight and then kept it off, the function of their pancreas returned to normal. Researchers were most concerned over whether or not the weight loss would reverse diabetes for good. The results showed that even those who had type 2 diabetes for 10 years or more cured their diabetes through weight loss. The weight loss study conducted by the Cancer Research Institute also discovered something else about health. For women who were similar sized and exercised regularly, but maintained their caloric intake and didn’t lose any weight, the study also showed the importance of diet and exercise in maintaining weight and overall good health. MT @AACR: Study suggests weight loss may reduce #cancer risk in women. via @HealthDayEditor — HealthDayNews (@HealthDayEditor) July 15, 2016 The Democrat Herald reported that weight loss might reduce the risk of cancer. The proteins involved, VEGF, PAI-1 and PEDF, led to the growth of blood vessels. This process helped the blood vessels to thrive. Researchers found that the more weight women lost, the greater drop in these proteins they had. Duggan said that weight loss reduces the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer by as much as 20 percent. Researchers weren’t clear whether or not the proteins actually caused cancer. They were only markers for cancer. The proteins increased as weight increased. Duggan said that these proteins simply made the environment favorable for tumor growth. “We can’t say these factors cause cancer, but we do think that these factors may make tumors grow. So if you reduce them, these dormant cancer tumors might not make the switch and start to grow, but we can’t say for sure.” Weight loss can lower protein level associated with cancer — SmartCooky (@switchtohealth) July 15, 2016 MPR reported that women who lost weight, with or without exercise, lowered their risk of cancer, and it reduced the proteins involved in the study published in Cancer Research. 439 post menopausal women, age 50 to 75, were used in the study. The groups included those who ate 2,000 calories or less and those who exercised for 45 minutes five days per week. Researchers took blood samples at the beginning and one year later. They also adjusted for weight, age, race, and ethnicity. The women in the diet and exercise categories had a weight loss of two to 11 percent compared to women who didn’t lose weight or exercise. The authors said they saw a reduction in proteins for those who dieted and exercised. “Weight loss is significantly associated with reduced circulating VEGF, PEDF, and PAI-1, and could provide incentive for reducing weight as a cancer prevention method in overweight and obese individuals.” [Photo by Pixabay]

Why Is Pubic Hair Trending On Facebook? Study Shows Pubic Hair Grooming Increases Risk Of STIs

Pubic hair grooming is currently trending on Facebook because a new study suggests people may want to think twice about grooming below the belt so often. A new study published in a journal called ually Transmitted Infections has revealed those who partake in regular pubic hair grooming are at a higher risk of developing ually transmitted infections (STIs) than someone who does not. Tools for grooming pubic hair [Image by 279photo Studio/ShutterStock] This new study surveyed 7,580 adults across the United States and asked questions about their grooming habits, their ual histories, and their medical histories. The study discovered that adults who practiced “extreme grooming” – which included removing all their pubic hair at least 11 times a year or adults who were “high frequency” groomers (meaning they groomed their pubic hair daily or weekly) – were anywhere from 3.5 to 4 times more likely to develop herpes, HPV, syphilis, and other STIs when compared to someone who never groomed their pubic hair. Does this mean if you are someone who tends to grow out your pubic hair for a few months of the year you have nothing to worry about? Not exactly. The same study also revealed individuals who practice “non-extreme” or “low-frequency” pubic hair grooming – which means you’ve groomed your pubic hairs between 1 and 10 times a year – double their risk of developing a lice infestation when compared to someone who never partakes in pubic hair grooming. After the researchers were able to control the age of the adults participating in the study and the number of ual partners they had, it was revealed the adults who partake in pubic hair grooming (at any frequency) are 80 percent more likely to develop an STI than someone who never grooms their pubic hair. Should you groom below the waist? [Image by Creatas/ShutterStock] The question is – why exactly does pubic hair grooming increase your risk of developing an STI? According to The Huffington Post, scientists are not really sure why a link was made between the development of STIs and pubic hair grooming. For this study, there is no way of knowing whether the adults contracted an STI before or after they started grooming their pubic hair. The study also never asked the participants questions about what – if any – safety measures they took when in engaging in ual acts. Some are speculating individuals who feel the need to spend time grooming their pubic hairs do so because they are more ually active and have more ual partners than someone who does not spend time grooming their pubic hair. With this speculation, it is possible the increased risk of STI development is simply because the individuals are more ually active. It may not have anything to do with pubic hair grooming. It could simply be a coincidence that these individuals liked to groom themselves beforehand. It is also possible being diagnosed with an STI causes a person to start grooming their pubic hair more thoroughly than they had been before they developed the STI. Another possibility that makes sense is after grooming pubic hairs an individual could have small cuts on the skin. Removing the hair and leaving small nicks behind could simply make the person more susceptible to STIs – even if protection is used. Pubic hair grooming has been linked to STI development [Image by cpinion/ShutterStock] At this time, more research is necessary to determine whether or not this is a link or a coincidence. An additional survey with more specific questions about safe practices and whether or not these individuals started grooming before or after they become ually active would need to be conducted to get more concrete results. Do you think grooming pubic hairs really could increase your risk of developing an STI? Share your thoughts on this health study with us in the comments section found below. [Featured Image by Olga Max/ShutterStock]

Black Students Less Likely To Get Mental Health Care Than White Students Says Study, Sparking Racism Concerns

A startling new study claims that black and Hispanic, children and young adults, are half as likely as white students to receive treatment for mental health problems. This study raises racism concerns because the racial and ethnic disparity exists despite the fact that both the minorities have a similar rate of mental problems as that of white students. The study, led by Dr. Lyndonna Marrast — who was with the Harvard Medical School when the research was initiated — for the International Journal of Health Services, is based on data collected from children under 18 and young adults in the age group of 18-34. The research study covered all the 50 states in the U.S. between the years 2006 and 2012. An abstract from the extensive study reads, We examined racial and ethnic disparities in children’s and young adults’ receipt of mental health and substance abuse care using nationally representative data from the 2006–2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. Blacks’ and Hispanics’ visit rates (and per capita expenditures) were about half those of non-Hispanic whites for all types and definitions of outpatient mental health services. Disparities were generally larger for young adults than for children. Black and white children had similar psychiatric inpatient and emergency department utilization rates, while Hispanic children had lower hospitalization rates. Multivariate control for mental health impairment, demographics, and insurance status did not attenuate racial/ethnic disparities in outpatient care. We conclude that psychiatric and behavioral problems among minority youth often result in school punishment or incarceration, but rarely mental health care. [Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images]Let’s take a look at the numbers reported by the study. A total of 49 percent of Latino children under-18 and 37 percent of black children made visits to the psychiatrist, compared to the non-Hispanic white children. Furthermore, 58 percent of Hispanic kids and 47 percent of black kids approached a mental health professional for treatment. Compared to the children, the racial disparities were higher among young adult in the age group of 18-34. A press release issued by Physicians for a National Health Program states, “Whites received about three times more outpatient mental health services than blacks and Hispanics in this age group. The substance abuse counseling rate for black young adults was strikingly low, about one-seventh that for whites.” Interestingly, the study reports that differences in income and insurance did not account for racial disparities in mental health care. Girl children got less mental health care than boys and the gender difference was reversed when it came to young adults, with women visiting the psychiatrist or a mental health professional more often than their male counterparts. The racism in health care continues: Half of Dermatologists Say They Weren’t Trained to Spot Cancer on Black Skin — Anandi A. Premlall (@AAPremlall) August 2, 2016 The authors of the study also comment that black children are subject to suspensions and expulsions starting at preschool ages. Minority teenagers are arrested more often than their white counterparts for nonviolent, low-level offenses such as drug possession, as well as for non-criminal misbehaviors such as truancy and curfew violations. Unfortunately, youthful transgressions by white children might result in referral for treatment. However, minority children get criminal sanctions instead. Moreover, black children are arrested more often than not, instead of being referred for treatment, for substance abuse. Marrast notes in the study, “It has become increasingly clear that minorities are over-represented in the criminal justice system and under-represented in the receipt of mental health care. We need to look closely at how equitably, our health care institutions are serving all segments of society.” This statement by Marrast actually sparks concerns of racism in health care. Adding weight to the racism concern, Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, the study’s co-author, highlights that punishing people for mental illness or addiction is both inhumane and ineffective. She concludes by emphasizing that the lack of care for minority youth is the real crime. In fact, racism in health care is not a new trend. A recent report had also suggested that half of the dermatologists weren’t trained to spot cancer on black skin. [Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Paleo Diet Is The Most Searched Diet Plan, Research Say Lose Up To 5 Lbs. A Week– Safe And Effective Weight Loss Method?

Researchers from Edith Cowan University recruited 39 women to test how much weight is possible following the Paleo diet. Half the women were assigned a typical diet, with no restrictions. The other half followed the Paleo diet. The results were astonishing. The Paleo diet proved why it is one of the best diet trends out there and solidifies that it could be an excellent way to jumpstart any weight loss plan. The Paleo diet consists of eating eggs, fruits, lean meats, nuts, and vegetables. Dairy, grains, and legumes are not allowed. The participants had to eat the diet plan for four weeks to measure accurate data. Spartan Pro, Faye Stenning is not a model for a strict Paleo diet. @calgaryherald — Spartan Race (@SpartanRace) May 29, 2016 The results were shocking–Paleo diet followers lost almost three times the weight of the participants that at a regular diet plan. The group that followed the regular none restrictive diet lost an average of 1.6 percent of their body weight. The Paleo followers lost an average of 4.6 percent of their body weight, University Herald reports. The focus group that ate a regular diet was told to increase their water, fruits, and vegetable intake, and eat plenty of whole grain foods. The scientist saw no difference in the cardiovascular effect of the two diets, despite reservations about the Paleo diet cutting out several food groups from the diet. People on the Paleo diet lose weight so quickly because they cut their calories down to an alarming amount. To compensate for a lower calorie intake, the diet calls for a much higher amount of protein to trick your body into not feeling hungry. The researchers have reservations about how safe Paleo would be long-term because of the lack of calories and the above average protein recommended by the plan. Paleo frittata will fill your breakfast cravings any time of day, via @PaleoHacks — POPSUGAR Fitness (@POPSUGARFitness) May 23, 2016 “There is much more to health than merely weight loss. That is why dietary patterns that prohibit entire food groups could possibly impact overall health due to a decrease in food selection. Therefore further research is necessary, in healthy subjects to evaluate the long-term health implications.” The Paleo diet is not a new diet–it’s been around for centuries. It has many names such as caveman diet, primal diet, and hunter-gather diet. If the food weren’t available for the cavemen to eat, it would be off-limits. It eliminates dairy, legumes, whole grains, and sugar from your diet. There have been many concerns about the plan, touting that it could lead to vitamin deficiency. The Paleo gurus maintain the diet plan is a safe and efficient manner, not only to lose weight but to eat for the rest of your life. “By following these nutritional guidelines, we put our diet more in line with the evolutionary pressures that shaped our current genetics, which in turn positively influences health and well-being.” Forget Paleo! There's a new diet that swears you'll lose weight when you give up THIS: — Eat This, Not That! (@EatThisNotThat) May 22, 2016 The problem with the Paleo diet is that the experts don’t agree about the benefits of the eating plan. Many of them cannot say for sure if the reason the cavemen were healthy was their diet. We have more disease than the cavemen had in their time, so it’s impossible to say if their style of eating could cure our diseases. One point all the experts agree on is that there needs to be more research done to determine if Paleo could cure high blood pressure, diabetes, and other weight-related diseases. One of the best advantages to beginning a Paleo diet plan is the resources available to it. Paleo is the most searched diet plan on the internet, and it has an unyielding community [online groups, social media, and meet-up groups]. It’s one of those plans that if you ever have a question, just post to your social media accounts, and soon, you will have an answer. Voice your opinion about the Paleo diet in the comments section below, and come back later for more diet tips and news. [Photo By Shutterstock]

Even More Evidence That Coffee Is Good For You

Coffee lovers around the world have even more reason to rejoice, indulge, and rejoice some more – even more scientific evidence has emerged that coffee is good for your health. According to MSN, the reasons to love coffee are far more than for its flavor. In fact, coffee might not only wake you up, it just might save your life. People who drink regular, moderate amounts of coffee (defined as five cups of java or less) are less likely to die from a large variety of diseases, from diabetes to heart disease. Diabetes and heart disease are two of the biggest killers of people aged 44 years and over, so that is very good news – however, the study also found that even heavy coffee drinking does not offset the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. So enjoy a large cup of joe, but do it without smoking. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images) Frank Hu, a professor from Harvard who helped conduct the research, says the benefits of coffee drinking are immense. “The main message is that regular consumption, meaning three to five cups of coffee a day, is associated with lower risk in total mortality and mortality from several causes like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and suicide. In previous studies on that issue, most of the coffee was caffeinated coffee. In our study, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee showed a lower mortality risk but there is no final conclusion yet. In our study, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee showed a lower mortality risk.” Hu and his colleagues looked at the coffee consumption habits of 200,000 doctors and nurses over the span of twenty years. Simply put, coffee drinkers were less likely to die over the span of two decades. The benefits were much less for smokers, but non-smoking coffee drinkers were up to fifteen percent less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers. Hu said that while it is good news, there are other factors to consider. “This is good news for people who drink coffee because the evidence is strong. Drinking coffee may be good for health outcomes.” However, as all researchers know, correlation does not equal causation. Hu said that they found that people who drink coffee are also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and eat red meat, all of which have been associated with disease and poor health outcomes. The other problem is that researchers did not separate the people who drank their coffee black from those who drank it with cream and sugar. Hu says by no means are researchers saying coffee is a magic cure that will stop disease development, but it is excellent fodder for further research. “We are not advocating coffee as a strategy for prevention of the chronic diseases because coffee drinking is individual behavior and there are other factors in the diet that have a bigger effect. People should also be aware of the amount of added sugar to coffee drinks which can become a problem.” [Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images for World Animal Protection] It is known that coffee is the number one source in American diets of antioxidants, the chemical compounds that are responsible for fighting cancerous cell formation and other pathological issues. It is now known that coffee lessens the risk of development of diabetes, liver cancer, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. While the mechanism is still somewhat unknown, the bottom line is that worry about drinking coffee should be permanently put to rest. There is no evidence to support that data, Hu says. Dr. Sharonne Hayes of the Mayo Clinic, who was not involved in the study, recommended that people heed the findings of the robust study as sound, because the large number of research participants and length of study make it a robust piece of scientific evidence. “This is probably the best study we are going to get because of the very large numbers, the inclusion of men and women, and the decades of follow-up. The main message is that people who enjoy drinking coffee should not worry about it being harmful for their health. Coffee may actually be beneficial to their health.” [Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Media Violence Study: Pediatricians Say Parents Should Limit Kids' Exposure To Media

A pediatrician’s group has recommended that parents limit their childrens’ exposure to media violence. The media violence study was released in response to the routine violence that children are exposed to on a routine basis. WBRC reported that the new policy statement came from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The Academy called for pediatricians to ask about childrens’ “media diet” to find out about their exposure to violence in television, online and in video games. The media violence study recommended that parents limit the amount of violent content that children are exposed to especially when it comes to video gaming. Its scary as its too late 2 find/study
Do violent games turn vulnerable kids into aggressive adults? Doctors say yes — AQ Mufti (@aqmufti) July 18, 2016 The policy statement shows a proven scientific connection between virtual violence and aggression in real life. Dr. Dimitri Christakis, who directs the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, said that aggressive behavior can include being rude, arguing or if the child is old enough, driving recklessly. “With children, actual physical violence is, thankfully, rare. Aggressive thoughts and feelings do precede violence.” Christakis said that the violence could turn children into violent offenders. “Let’s say 2 percent of the population behaves more aggressively after being exposed to violent media. Out of the 20 million people who see the latest violent blockbuster, that’s 400,000 additional acts of aggressive behavior.” News Article About Scientific Study Validates Local Man’s Preexisting Opinion — Aaron D. Ball (@ijk1) July 17, 2016 WCVB reported that the virtual violence is pervasive in prime time television and even G-rated movies. Based on a media violence study from 2009, the average American watches about five hours of television a day. It includes at least six different acts of violence. About 70 percent of childrens’ programs are considered violent, and about 91 percent of video games that are available for children under 10 contain violence. The statement said there was a link between virtual violence and aggression. “A sizable majority of media researchers both in pediatrics and psychology believe that existing data show a significant link between virtual violence and aggression.” The group who wrote the media violence study said that the amount of virtual violence that children are being exposed to is rising, and that’s it’s up to parents to limit childrens’ exposure. The AAP has made repeated appeals to the entertainment industry to curb the amount of violence that is being included in television, movies and video games. Researchers believe that the violence will further increase childrens’ stress. To the media: Please just stop it! Study: News Stories Often Wrongly Link Violence with Mental Illness: — Kathy Boehm ن‎ (@KathyBoehm) June 30, 2016 Pulse Headlines reported that a media diet is necessary in order for children to avoid much of this violence. Children who are overexposed to virtual violence tend to be more violent in the real world. The AAP has observed the effects of childrens’ exposure to violence on television and how it affects their well being. In the study preamble, the group said that based on a 1998 study, a typical child would have seen at least 8,000 killings and 100,000 acts of violence before the child reached middle school. A real world experiment that proves the results has not been conducted to prove the link between virtual violence and real world violence. For this reason, media violence studies are conducted in the lab. Other types of violence are used to prove the theory. In one study, children were given either a violent or non violent game to play. After playing the game, they had to do something to make someone else uncomfortable. Tasks they were given included making unpleasant sounds like nail scratching on a chalkboard. Children who played the more violent games made higher level sounds and for a longer time. [Photo by Alex Wong]

Type 2 Diabetes Drug Could Slow Parkinson’s Disease Progression, Human Trials To Begin Next Year, Says Researchers

Human trials are set to begin next year after researchers uncovered that drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes could be used to slow Parkinson’s disease progression, the Science Daily reports. Parkinson’s Disease is a “progressive disease of the nervous system,” effecting over 10 million middle-aged and elderly people in the world which seems to get worse over time, but scientists say there may be a breakthrough in medical science since levodopa, which is a drug created in the 1960s to treat Parkinson’s disease. In a recent study, scientists at the Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science in Great Rapids, Michigan found that MSDC-0160, which is an insulin sensitizer designed by Kalamazoo, a Metabolic Solutions Development Company, may be able to treat Parkinson’s disease. In 2012, Dr. Patrik Brundin, who is the “director of Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science, chairman of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s Linked Clinical Trials Committee, and the study’s senior author,” thought MSDC-0160 would be the perfect drug candidate because of its “mode of action, proven safety in people, local availability and the start-up company’s interest in collaborating on drug repurposing initiatives.” Diabetes #drug slows experimental #Parkinson's progression, human trials to begin next year @VAInstitute — Medical Xpress (@medical_xpress) December 7, 2016 After conducting research on the drug for four years, the outcome exceeded his expectations. Brundin said: “We hope this will be a watershed moment for millions of people living with Parkinson’s disease.” “All of our research in Parkinson’s models suggests this drug could potentially slow the disease’s progression in people as well.” The co-founder of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, Tom Isaacs, has been living with Parkinson’s disease for 22 years and says that “our scientific team has evaluated more than 120 potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease, and MSDC-0160 offers the genuine prospect of being a breakthrough that could make a significant and permanent impact on people’s lives in the near future.” “We are working tirelessly to move this drug into human trials as quickly as possible in our pursuit of a cure.” There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease and as the human lifespan continues to grow, scientists expect more people to be effected by the disease. However, if the human clinical trials are a success, this could mean that MSDC-0160 would be the world’s first therapy treatment to improve the quality of life and slowing Parkinson’s disease progression. Parkinson's Disease Cure Update: Diabetes Drug That May Slow Progression Is Being Readied For Trials – Medical Daily — Diabetes view (@Diabetesview) December 10, 2016 Those suffering from Parkinson’s disease will be less likely to experience frequent falls and cognitive decline. Brundin stated that MSDC-0160 may even “reduce or delay the need for medications that can have debilitating side effects.” It was also reported that the laboratory experiments suggested that the new drug may reduce neuroinflammation. Researchers say Parkinson’s disease and diabetes may seem like completely different diseases, but in fact, studies have shown that “some of the underlying molecular mechanisms share similarities.” “Whatever the outcome of the upcoming trial for Parkinson’s, we now have a new road to follow,” said Brundin. The drug used to treat type 2 diabetes have only been tested on mice and it seemed to show signs of improvement in “motor function, maintaining dopamine production, and protecting the cells lost in a number of models of the condition,” according to Claire Bale, who is the head of research at communications and engagement at Parkinson’s UK, which is a charity based in London. Diabetes drug shown to slow experimental #Parkinsons progression – being trialled next year! @VAInstitute — Cure Parkinson's (@CureParkinsonsT) December 8, 2016 There have been other drugs tested, but they often showed signs of serious side effects — the new drug, MSDC-0160, however, seems to have a “better safety profile.” Clinical trials on humans are set to begin next year but a specific date has not been released. Bale added that researchers are hoping to test “people in the early stages of the disease where the protective properties of the drug are likely to have the greatest impact.” [Featured Image By Zaretskaya/iStock]