Health

Kroger recalls steaks, beef over possible E. coli contamination

Meat lovers were notified of another recall affecting rib-eye steaks and ground beef products over possible E. coli contamination. Consumers in the greater Cincinnati area who purchased Kroger bone-in rib-eye steaks, boneless ribeye steaks and in-store produced ground beef are encouraged to check the label before eating the product. All affected meat was produced between April 23 and June 7, but the company is concerned that consumers may have stored affected products in the freezer. Kroger said it has not received any reports of adverse reactions related to the recall. E. coli infections vary from patient to patient, but it often produces severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some patients may develop a fever, but most symptoms are resolved within five to seven days, although others may be sickened for up to 10. About five to 10 percent of cases result in a potentially life-threatening condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which requires hospitalization for kidney issues. On Friday, Kroger issued a recall of some of its frozen berries over a possible Hepatitis A contamination. The items included Kroger’s Private Selection Frozen Triple Berry Medley (16 oz) and Private Selection Frozen Triple Berry Medley (48 oz). The Private Selection Frozen Blackberries (16 oz) were also subject to the recall.

 

Opinion/Analysis: CBD oil is the new rage among millennials. But, as a doctor, here’s what I worry about

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is the new rage among millennials and is gaining popularity with all generations, especially in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. In dozens of states, health food stores, pharmacies, and even supermarkets are carrying CBD products. CVS just announced this week that it will be carrying CBD creams, sprays and lotions in eight states. Marijuana contains both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD, and these compounds have different effects on our body and mind. The well-known “high” from smoking or eating marijuana comes from THC. This is because THC is metabolized when it is exposed to heat and consumed by the body. CBD works differently. Cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants and can be eaten, inhaled and even applied to the skin. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive, meaning that CBD does not alter a person’s state of mind. However, CBD does produce significant changes in the body, and emerging research suggests that it has some medical benefits. The body and mind contain two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. THC attaches to the CB1 receptors in the brain which effect coordination and movement, pain, mood, appetite and other functions. CBD was originally thought to attach to the CB2 receptors throughout the body, but evidence is suggesting that it doesn’t attach at all. Instead, it directs the body to use more of its own intrinsic cannabinoids. Although the evidence is clear that CBD has FDA-proven benefits for treating epileptic seizure disorders and can now be prescribed by a physician, the research is still sparse regarding many other touted health claims. One of the most common uses CBD is being sought for is as an anti-inflammation treatment. Small studies conducted on mice and rats did in fact show significant reduction in systemic inflammation. This gives hope to treating chronic inflammation and pain, especially arthritis and injuries. Other conditions caused by inflammation that are being looked at for CBD treatment are acne, type 1 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease. There is additional evidence suggesting CBD may have anti-cancer properties, although the studies on this are finite. We are a long way from adding CBD to cancer regimens, but with nearly 2 million people in the United States being diagnosed with cancer every year, it is essential to continue researching any and all methods of treating this group of devastating diseases. Additionally, small studies have also suggested that CBD can help with anxiety, PTSD, depression and addiction. With all of these potential benefits, what could be wrong with using it? The problem is, we don’t know yet. Many small-scale studies show that adults tend to tolerate a wide range of doses with the most common side effects being fatigue and diarrhea. But there is still no data on long-term safety and no studies involving children. One of the biggest concerns I have regarding CBD and many other holistic remedies is that there are some disease processes that require science-driven treatment. I urge everyone to follow their medical doctors’ recommendations regarding treatment of ailments. Although CBD may be a promising supplement, it will not be the sole treatment for many conditions. In fact, CBD may interfere with and even hinder the effects of proven treatments, so it should only be used as a supplement to treatment under a doctor’s supervision. Let’s remember that when cigarettes first emerged on the market people used them to treat lung conditions and encouraged smoking. And we can’t forget the crisis that the once-promised long-acting, “less-addicting” opioids produced. Although the limited and short-term data on CBD oil is promising, I reserve caution until the long-term data proves it is more than a fad.

Fair enough..  Our thanks to Dr. Nicole Saphier, MD, for that common sense analysis.  Dr. Saphier is a practicing physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, active in health care legislation, and a medical contributor and frequent guest anchor for Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network speaking on various medical and health policy issues. Follow her on Twitter @NBSaphierMD and Instagram @nicolesaphier_md    🙂

Early birds have more sex, make more money and sleep better than night owls, study finds

If you’re energetic and confident, enjoy cooking and believe in love at first sight, new research shows you’re probably an early bird. A look into our sleeping habits revealed some interesting differences between those who stay up late and those who rise early, from our personality traits, hobbies, and even our sex lives. The survey of 2,000 Americans, split evenly between self-identified early birds and night owls, found that early birds have more sex per week, on average than their late-night counterparts. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sleepopolis in advance of World Sleep Day on March 15, the survey gave insight into our personalities and relationships by examining our sleeping style. Night owls were found to be shy and sarcastic, more likely to use Instagram and to believe in ghosts and cryptids. They were also more likely to be single, whereas early birds were more likely to be married and have children living in the house. To find love, early birds are also more likely to have tried online dating. Early birds were found to earn more money and were more likely to work in an office — though surprisingly, they were also more likely to report always being late for work. Additionally, early birds were 10 percent more likely to identify as happy, while night owls identified more strongly as loyal. There was also found to be a difference in gender: Men were more likely to be early birds, while women identified more heavily as night owls. Those who consider themselves early birds were found to have more active hobbies; they were more likely to enjoy walking and hiking, playing sports and exercising in a gym. Hobbies for night owls were more laid-back, however, and included reading and sleeping. (Regardless of what they were into, respondents reported spending just less than three hours a hobby in the average day.) There wasn’t a major difference in the amount of sleep people received — an average of six hours a night for night owls versus seven hours for early birds — but the survey did find some interesting differences in how we sleep. Early birds were more likely to be light sleepers and always feel well-rested in the morning. They were also more likely to identify as clean and organized, and it shows — early birds were more likely to make their bed in the morning than night owls. They were also more likely to dream, and to always remember their dreams upon waking. Night owls, on the other hand, were more likely to have trouble falling asleep, and then perhaps unsurprisingly, were less likely to report high-quality sleep. “More important than being a night owl or an early bird is making sure to have a consistent sleep schedule and get enough rest,” said Logan Block, the director of content at Sleepopolis. “With World Sleep Day approaching, it’s a nice time to reflect on our sleeping habits.” On the subject of sleep, early birds were also more likely to talk, snore and move around in their sleep, and were also more likely to prefer sleeping with music on or window open. On the other hand, night owls were more likely to prefer having a fan on, and enjoyed sleeping with a pet or a significant other in the bed with them.

Fascinating!  For more, click on the text above, and see if their analysis applies/is accurate for you.     🙂

Survey: Americans Spend Nearly Half Their Waking Hours Looking At Screens

For all the studies that tell us how important it is to limit screen time, does it sometimes feel that no matter where we are or what we do, there’s a screen in front of us one way or another? Perhaps it’s no surprise then that Americans spend nearly half of their waking hours looking at screens, according to a survey of 2,000 adults. More specifically, the survey found that 42% of the time Americans are awake, their eyes are fixated on a television, smartphone, computer, tablet, or other device. Supposing the average American slept eight hours a night (not even close to the case for most adults), the researchers calculated that people spend about six hours and 43 minutes a day staring at a screen. Over a typical lifespan, that’s 7,956 days. And the problem is only getting worse. Of those surveyed, 79% said their screen time has increased over the past five years, with four in ten admitting it’s grown “a lot.” Three in four participants believe they simply spend too much time in front of screens. In fact, 53% take breaks from the computer — by checking their phone. Another 27% admits to watching TV and looking at their phone at the same time. “We live in a digitally-connected world and these survey results show how digital devices have completely transformed our lives, no matter our age,” said Dr. Michele Andrews, an optometrist with contact lens manufacturer CooperVision, the company that commissioned the survey. “Digital eye fatigue is faced by millions of Americans every day because of this non-stop screen time.” Researchers found that the respondents were generally able to last about four hours before dealing with eye discomfort and requiring a break, but the average person still takes three breaks a day for relief. Of course, many people don’t have a choice, with three-quarters of respondents required to use a computer at the office. Yet despite the growing problem, only half of those surveyed felt that society as a whole has become more digitized and screen-focused over the past five years. The survey also found, likely to no one’s surprise, that millennials were most attached to their digital devices. Age plays a substantial role in the amount of time people spend on digital devices, with millennials being more screen-oriented than other generations. A whopping 92% of the 18 to 35 age group checks their phone immediately after waking up, compared to just 51% of those over 55. About three in five millennials also admit feeling “anxious and irritated” if they can’t check their phone, while only one in five baby boomers feel the same way. Meanwhile, as a whole, 73% say that all the screen time they log makes them feel lethargic, and 64% feel happier after getting a significant break from a screen. The survey was conducted by market research firm OnePoll.

A sign of the times…

Dr. Marc Siegel: Pot and your health – Here’s what a physician wants you to know about marijuana

Alex Berenson’s new book, “Tell Your Children; the truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence,” is coming out at the right time, as more and more states are legalizing marijuana. Currently marijuana recreational use is legal in ten states (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Michigan, Vermont, Mass, Maine, and Wash D.C.) Medical marijuana is now legal here and in an additional 23 states. There is more public support for marijuana law reform than ever before. The latest polls show that more than 50 percent of people favor marijuana legalization while at the same time the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) believes marijuana should be decriminalized and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Berenson himself is not in favor of recreational use, in part because of links to mental illness and violence that he explores in the book, though he is in favor of decriminalization. As a physician, I want marijuana users and addicts to be treated as patients – and not criminals – while at the same time I am very aware that regular marijuana use carries significant health risks. I believe we should treat habitual users aggressively and warn them of the associated risks. My job is to let you know that there is no free lunch medically with marijuana or any drug. Even if a state or a society decides that it is wise economically and politically to make marijuana legal, at the same time we must be prepared for the health consequences even more than the legal ones. It’s clear to me that there is enough scientific evidence out there for me to discourage regular marijuana use for most people. Legal marijuana (both medical and recreational) is turning into a multibillion-dollar industry. Sales were expected to hit $10 billion nationwide in 2017 and grow with the legalization of marijuana in California at the start of this year. In a report issued before Sessions’ announcement of a change in federal policy – the effect of which is not yet determined – BDS Analytics forecast that marijuana sales in California alone could total $3.7 billion in 2018 and $5.1 billion in 2019. In addition, states stand to collect billions of dollars in tax revenue from legalized marijuana sales, and much governmental money will be saved by not prosecuting sales and use of the drug. Colorado has already collected over $500 million from taxing legal marijuana. But what about the associated medical risks from increasing usage? This is a critical question we must not ignore. My first concern is traffic accidents, since marijuana is known to impair judgement. Statistics from Colorado since recreational marijuana was legalized show a doubling of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the substance in marijuana that gets users high – in the blood of those involved in fatal car accidents. This is concerning. And though alcohol impairs a driver much more, THC stays in the bloodstream longer. If the two are combined, as they sometimes are, the risk is magnified. A recent study from the Columbia University School of Public Health found that while alcohol increased the risk of causing a fatal car crash five times, testing positive for pot increased it by 62 percent. Those drivers who had both pot and alcohol in their blood at the time of a fatal crash were six times more likely to have caused the accident. Another area of concern is pregnancy. Many pregnant women suffer from morning sickness. But the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends against using marijuana while pregnant – no matter what. And the Centers for Disease Control warns that “marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health.” Why? The CDC points to research showing low birth weight in infants, along with developmental and attention problems in children born to mothers who smoke pot regularly during pregnancy. Unfortunately, pot smoking among pregnant women is on the rise and it is bound to rise even more. A study released from Kaiser Permanente in California in 2018 and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 7 percent of pregnant women surveyed smoked pot, including almost 20 percent of those below the age of 24. The number of pregnant women using marijuana will only increase now that recreational marijuana is legal in California. Berenson focuses on mental health in his book and in fact, when it comes to adolescents and adults, long-term marijuana use has been associated with decreased school and job performance, memory loss, and psychiatric disorders including anxiety and depression. With the increase in edible marijuana comes a dramatic increase in Emergency Room visits from overuse, especially among adolescents, who may be getting more THC than they realize. Symptoms include acute anxiety, rapid heart rate and paranoia.

Get the picture?  Thanks to Dr. Marc Siegel, M.D. for this sobering, fact-based, report.  Dr. Siegel is a professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center.   For more, click on the text above.

Elizabeth Warren on Drugs

Elizabeth Warren is grasping. Having failed in her gambit to establish minority status, the 2020 presidential contender is now following the path of her competition. As Kamala Harris did with the housing crisis, Warren has picked a very real issue — the expense of generic drugs — and decided to address it with a bill that is unlikely to achieve much except gain her personal accolades for “doing something.” And should it pass, it could inhibit efforts to actually resolve the problem, because “something has been done.” Senator Warren debuted her plan before the holidays in the Washington Post, with the title “It’s time to let the government manufacture generic drugs.” Perhaps the senator thought this would generate buzz and capture attention before she officially launched her bid for the presidency on New Year’s Eve. Given that she followed this announcement with a botched attempt to out-Millennial Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an online video, though, perhaps it isn’t going as she desired. Here’s the real problem Warren is trying to address: There were 356 drug shortages in 2012, up from 154 in 2007 — and strikingly, most of these drugs are no longer under patent. That tells us that the critical problem is not one of manufacturing capacity, for any medical company with the capability to produce these medicines could simply do so, using the relevant formulas. The normal behavior of the market, when there is a shortage of a product, is for a new entrepreneur to start providing that product. The fact that this is not happening suggests there must be some barrier in the way of it. For each new generic drug, the manufacturer must submit an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA), whose very name reveals that it is itself an improvement on an older process. Before 1984’s Hatch-Waxman Act, new generics had to go through the full clinical trials required of a new medicine, even though they were simply a new source of the very drug that had already been chemically approved. The ANDA pathway is quicker and cheaper, requiring a manufacturer to show that the generic is “bioequivalent” to the brand-name product and that it meets manufacturing standards. Even so, the ANDA pathway is an expensive process, and its cost has increased from about $1–2 million in 2005 to $15 million in 2015. The process isn’t limited to new providers, either. Should an existing manufacturer want to supply more of its approved medicine, it must go through the approval process again for any new production lines or factories. As a result, it can be too costly to make up the shortfall in supply. The issues don’t end there. Sometimes, even if a generic manufacturer is willing and able to take on all the costs of this process, brand-name manufacturers can effectively put a stay on generics by preventing generic manufacturers from obtaining samples. In other cases, brand-name drug manufacturers will pay generic manufacturers to stay out of the market. The fact that some critical yet out-of-patent drugs have only a single generic manufacturer has created an opening for speculators who buy decades-old basic medicines and raise the prices dramatically — most infamously in the case of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which purchased the rights to a $13 pill and immediately raised its price to $750. This behavior is not the market in action; it is the manipulation of a regulatory regime for financial gain. Clearly, something is very wrong. A solution is necessary. But rather than tackle the dense and boring problems that are holding back access to essential drugs, which can’t really be boiled down to a stump-speech line, Warren proposes that the United States government start producing generic drugs under the auspices of a new “Office of Drug Manufacturing,” which would pass off its products to cooperating private companies. In effect, assuming that the office operates at least as well as the average private manufacturer (unlikely though that is), this would simply mean the creation of a new drug company, albeit one with a public imprimatur. This new company, however, would run into the same hurdles that are faced by private actors — the text of the bill does not lay out a regulatory exemption for this new state-run firm, after all.

Do you have Netflix face? How the blue light from your phone, laptop and iPad is ruining your skin

Look away now, because blue light from your mobile phone, laptop and other devices could be causing damage, premature aging and hyperpigmentation to your skin. According to experts, spending hours each day online could be having a drastic impact on the health of our skin – and it’s all to do with blue light. How long do you spend each day looking at a screen? From mobile phones to staring at our computer screens and tablets, we’re clocking up hours upon hours of time exposing our skin to blue light (otherwise known as high-energy visible light). According to Glamour, it’s having a detrimental impact on our skin, with 79 percent of us checking our smartphones before bed. Added to that, 28 percent of us will reach for our phones in the five minutes before we turn out the lights and over half of us check our devices within 15 minutes of waking up. According to Dr. Sweta Rai, a spokeswoman for the British Association of Dermatologists, light from your screens can “cause some pigmentation problems.” “They can give you a falsely aged appearance, we see that often in darker skin people,” she explained. “If you look at a pristine face and put brown spots on it it will look aged from sun damage. “There is some truth to the fact that blue light penetrates deeper into the skin compared to UV light. “And that is being studied at the moment as to what effect it does have.” The effect of blue light on our skin has led to several beauty brands launching blue light-fighting products. Earlier this year, dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at New York University Shari Marchbein, told Allure: “Visible light, especially in the blue wavelength, has become a hot topic in skin care, as there is mounting evidence that supports its contribution to photo-aging, including wrinkles, worsening skin laxity, and hyperpigmentation.” And it seems other practicing dermatologists have noticed a growing trend in accelerated hyperpigmentation. Dr. Engelman, consulting dermatologist for Elizabeth Arden told Glamour: “Women in their early twenties come into my office with heightened pigmentation.

Wow..  I guess we’re all screwed.  For more on this depressing article, click on the text above.