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Archive for the ‘Hormone Physician’ Category

CHP’s Dr. Stoepker helping to change the landscape of accessible health care for LGBTQ infividuals | – theberkshireedge.com

Lee When Ray Garnett moved to the Berkshires five years ago, finding a primary care physician was at the top of his to-do list. I was looking for a specific model of care, he explained in a recent phone interview. Garnett, who identifies as a transgender individual, was looking for hormone replacement therapy via informed consent, which, in many places in the country, trans people can access at Planned Parenthood. There is no Planned Parenthood in Great Barrington, where Garnett lives and works, and the closest equivalent Tapestry Health did not provide this service. So he went to Springfield to have his medical needs met.

Ray Garnett, founder of Berkshire County Trans Group. Photo: Ashley Shade

Good LGBTQ care is really just good care, is how Dr. Jeremy Stoepker sees it. In creating an open, nonjudgmental, collaborative environment where the standards of care are met no matter who you are, what your background is, or what your disease process or screening requirements may be. Its just good care, he said in a recent phone interview. Stoepkers arrival to the Berkshires, just six months ago as a provider, is changing the landscape of accessible health care for individuals who identify as LGBTQ, despite the fact that ones sexual orientation and gender identity should be moot points when it comes to accessing health care.

From the very beginning, I had role models and inspiration for how it can be done well seeping into my little brain, said Stoepker, who was 7 years old when his father was diagnosed with HIV.I dont remember the journey so much as I remember the players, he added, and they were amazing. Stopeker remembers his fathers doctors as loving and caring, supportive and nonjudgmental. And really up-to-date, he added in a nod to his fathers participation in the first clinical trial for the first HIV medication and survival for 20 years following his diagnosis. This remains Stoepkers inspiration in his day-to-day work: caring for his patients while honoring his fathers legacy.

Stoepker is realistic about the examples of bad care that abound in any discipline of medicine, particularly primary care. As to how this manifests in the LGBTQ community? People just arent up to speed with the type of screening that is recommended, he said.Take the triple swab (or triple-site) testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia in men who have sex with men. A lot of providers do not even know what that is or what that means, said Stoepker, who explained that, potentially, one should be tested in the rectum, urethra and the back of the throat. Not getting the standard of care to which a patient is entitled is how this looks in its most benign form; in more upsetting instances, it is doctors saying they do not feel comfortable treating patients or openly shaming patients and being accusatory. Which, unfortunately, happens to lots of patients, including those in the LGBTQ community, Stoepker.

Alex Reczkowski of Pittsfield. Photo: Hannah Van Sickle

Alex Reczkowski of Pittsfield experienced this with his former primary care physician. It started with a routine conversation at his annual physical, one sparked by a startling statistic Reczkowski had heard: that 50 percent of men of color who have sex with men are estimated to be diagnosed with HIV before they die. This number made him pause. As a single, gay man, he decided to look into PrEP pre-exposure prophylaxis, a one-a-day pill to prevent HIV infection. Reczkowski was looking for peace of mind, even if the medication was not necessary, and wanted to explore his options. His doctor assured him this was not necessary. After a second appointment, for the express purpose of getting a PrEP prescription, Reczkowski was denied.The conversation turned to shaming and the need to include a specialist on infectious disease, which didnt feel great. Needless to say, the appointment deteriorated. If you cant meet my needs, I think we are done here, is how Reczkowski left it.

Reczkowski ultimately made his way to Community Health Programs, where he connected with Dr. Stoepker, who relocated from New York City in June to join the primary care team at CHPs Lee Family Practice. In addition to a prescription for PrEP, Reckowski got the most up-to-date information about the HPV vaccine, previously available only for those under 27 years of age. Stoepker knew that the FDA had just approved the vaccine for anyone under the age of 45, and he listened to me, he didnt lecture me and wasnt interested in giving advice for someone else he was really interested in me, which, Reczkowski feels, really speaks to the vision of CHP: It values an inclusive culture that champions patient-centered care. I feel like that is exactly what I experienced, he said. Exceptional, compassionate health care.

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law says about 4.5 percent of U.S. adults 11 million people identify as LGBT; about 1.4 million people identify as transgender. Massachusetts law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation and HIV status. But as Garnett puts it, there is friendly, and there is competent. If [a doctor] is not putting out that they are [trans] friendly, Im not even going to call or show up, he explained. And Stoepker understands this. Not getting up-to-date care is [a persistent problem] in all arenas: If it only affects 10 percent of the population, there are going to be some doctors who are up to speed and some doctors who arent, he said. He calls this one of the big problems with medicine. Once you have that end of residency, the training requirements are incredibly flexible; what you do to educate yourself as a physician is highly variable, he said. While LGBTQ-specific training and separate clinics specifically dedicated to providing quality care to those who identify as LGBTQ are being incorporated into medical schools and residencies, there is an underlying truth: Its going to be a generation of physicians before its truly a frame shift, Stoepker said.

From Reczkowskis perspective, it boils down to education. Cultural competency training [is necessary] so we can understand how other people perceive the world and how we can best interact [and] live together; this is what the medical institutions need to be doing as well, he said. In fact it is imperative at the doctors office. In a separate incident with a different provider, Reczkowski ran into trouble with regard to a prostate exam, one of which could be done in the office, rendering it immediate and not very expensive, while the other had expensive lab costs associated with it. Reczkowskis doctor was so uncomfortable, he would not do the prostate exam. It is [the doctors] job to make me feel comfortable about something that can be awkward; now you are making me feel more awkward because you feel uncomfortable and dont have the cultural competency to understand [my position]?

This is part of the ongoing conversation Garnett is facilitating as founder of the Berkshire County Trans Group. I think any time a person makes an effort to say, I am friendly, I am willing to learn, that is great. Health care is a hot topic at monthly meetings across the county,where informal lists of recommendations abound. Dr. Stoepker currently tops this list as one of the only openly LGBTQ-supportive providers in the area. Its the first thing you do when you move to a new area: Who is your doctor? Who is your dentist? Garnett said. Its difficult to see a new provider when you dont really know [what you are walking into], Garnett added, even when the issue for which you might need support is not trans- or LGBT-related. Garnett addressed the topic of labels, often seen as divisive. The value of labels comes when they are self-chosen, he explained. We choose them so we are not alone; having labels helps us find each other; it helps us to hear about someone elses experience, and it helps us to put our own experiences in context with other people.

This is not a local problem. Stoepker recalls his practice in New York City (he moved to the Berkshires 18 months ago but spent a year communing to the city). Every day I was seeing a new patient who said, This is New York City and it boggles my mind, but I was not getting affirming, supportive care at my PCPs office. So I Googled around and found you, which is why he has worked to create a safe zone in his office by providing informed, compassionate medical care to LGBTQ patients not individuals living with HIV or AIDS, who are under the care of specialists, rather individuals seeking good primary care. Its what keeps him motivated in his work: The privilege of doing what I do is amazing, and Im excited about it every day; the ability to honor my dads memory, and the tradition of amazing doctors he had that I was inspired by. But mostly its just because, when you do something the right way and people appreciate it, it feels really good.

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CHP's Dr. Stoepker helping to change the landscape of accessible health care for LGBTQ infividuals | - theberkshireedge.com

January Is Thyroid Awareness Month: Mount Sinai Doctors Offer Unique Procedures for Thyroid Nodules and Stress Importance of Early Detection – PR Web

NEW YORK (PRWEB) January 10, 2020

January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and physicians from the Hilda and J. Lester Gabrilove Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease and the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the Mount Sinai Health System are emphasizing the importance of being aware of symptoms that may be related to thyroid disease.

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck and under the voice box. It produces hormones that help the body control the rate of metabolism, and regulate the production and consumption of energy. When thyroid function is accelerated, the condition is called hyperthyroidism; when slowed, it is called hypothyroidism. Imbalances in thyroid function may be a result of environmental, autoimmune, or genetic factors. Additionally, thyroid issues may lead to cancer.

Thyroid disease affects roughly 200 million people worldwide, and thyroid cancer is on the rise, with roughly 52,000 new cases diagnosed in 2019, according to the American Cancer Society. Three out of four thyroid cancer diagnoses are made in women. Data from the American Thyroid Association shows that more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime, and the cause of these problems is largely unknown. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease and up to 60 percent of them dont know they have it, so they go undiagnosed and untreated. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid issues, and one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder. People with a family history of thyroid disease and/or thyroid cancer, and exposure to high doses of radiation, are also at increased risk, said Terry Davies, MD, Co-Director of the Mount Sinai Thyroid Center at Union Square and Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

How to Perform a Thyroid Neck Self-Exam:

Symptoms and Facts about Thyroid Disease

Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy Pregnant women should be aware of changes to their thyroid gland, which can be affected by different levels of pregnancy hormones. The thyroid hormone greatly contributes to the development of a healthy baby, and it is important that expectant mothers be properly diagnosed with and treated for thyroid disease. Otherwise, they could be at higher risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery, and their children may have developmental delays. For that reason, thyroid function is routinely checked in pregnant women.

When it comes to thyroid cancer, a large number of women develop this during their reproductive age. Since thyroid cancer tends to be mediated by hormones in the body, it tends to grow faster when patients are pregnant. There is no special cancer screening recommendation for pregnant women.

Mount Sinai Is a Leader in Noninvasive Thyroid Treatment

Radiofrequency Ablation for Thyroid Nodules Mount Sinai West is one of only two hospitals in New York State offering a minimally invasive procedure to treat non-cancerous thyroid nodules that are symptomatic and would have otherwise required invasive surgery for removal. The procedure is called radio-frequency ablation (RFA). It offers eligible patients a much quicker recovery, less pain and risk of infection, and no scarring. With RFA, surgeons use guided ultrasound to deliver radio-frequency current to heat up and shrink the thyroid nodule. RFA can be done on patients with large non-cancerous nodules that cause swallowing, voice, breathing, and neck discomfort.

Patients who undergo RFA can return to normal activity the day after the procedure and can exercise within several days. Additionally, they are extremely unlikely to require permanent thyroid hormone medication. Patients who have standard thyroid nodule surgery typically cant resume normal activity for at least a month and 20 to 30 percent of these patients require thyroid medication.

Radiofrequency ablation for thyroid nodules has been performed in Korea for over a decade and throughout Europe and their outcomes are excellent. The published data shows impressive nodule shrinkage rates of more than 80 percent with RFA that is maintained over years of follow-up, explained Catherine Sinclair, MD, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of Head and Neck Surgery at Mount Sinai West. Thyroid nodules are very common and, although many people will never require any intervention for their nodules, there is a significant minority who will seek treatment due to symptoms. I expect RFA to be a terrific new option for these patients.

Ethanol Ablation for Thyroid NodulesAnother noninvasive procedure, performed at Mount Sinai-Union Square, ethanol ablation is when an alcohol solution is injected into thyroid nodules, killing cells and causing the masses to slowly shrink. The procedure leaves only a small scar and is performed in office with local anesthesia.

The candidates for RFA and ethanol ablation are very similar, says Maria Brito, MD, Co-Director of the Mount Sinai Thyroid Center at Union Square. Dr. Brito and Michael Via, MD, both Associate Professors of Medicine (Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, are two of only a handful of physicians in the New York metropolitan region to perform ethanol ablation.

The procedures will not necessarily eliminate the nodule completely, and patients will still need to have ultrasound follow-ups to monitor the nodule, Dr. Brito says. But in appropriate cases, they are a terrific option. They make it very easy for the patient.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics in the 2019-2020 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology, Mount Sinai St. Lukes and Mount Sinai West are ranked 23rd nationally for Nephrology and 25th for Diabetes/Endocrinology, and Mount Sinai South Nassau is ranked 35th nationally for Urology. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and Mount Sinai South Nassau are ranked regionally.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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January Is Thyroid Awareness Month: Mount Sinai Doctors Offer Unique Procedures for Thyroid Nodules and Stress Importance of Early Detection - PR Web

How to Keep a Sunny Outlook During the Dreary Days of January – Healthline

Theres a feeling that sweeps over many people this time of year, and it might be summed up best with a twist on a famed quote from the cult movie classic Office Space.

Looks like somebodys got a case of the Januarys.

January is the time of year when the combination of less daylight, colder weather, less activity, and a letdown from the holiday vibe can lead to feelings of isolation, sadness, and in extreme situations, depression.

Why does it happen?

Experts point to a combination of things.

Its almost a perfect storm of seasonal happenings, according to Marna W. Brickman, LGSW, a psychotherapist with Spectrum Behavioral Health in Annapolis, Maryland.

There are the shorter days, the colder weather that means people are isolating themselves more, the less physical activity that can come with this time of year, and seasonal affective disorder, she told Healthline.

A combination of some or all of these factors, Brickman said, can lead to that January blues vibe and even depression.

Leigh Leader of Michigan knows the January feeling.

The mother of two in her early 30s battles a case of the Januarys each year.

You know what it feels like when you look out your window sometimes and just see that dull, snow, cold, gray world? Thats what it feels like, she told Healthline. Some days I wake up and just want to stay under the covers and not move. But I have two small daughters, so I have to.

Phyllis Perkins, a mother of teens also from Michigan, fights the feeling as well.

Before I realized I could take action, all I wanted to do this time of year was get the kids from school, cook dinner, and then go to bed, she told Healthline.

For a while, Perkins thought she was physically ill. But after a panel of tests by her physician showed no physical issue, she said they began to put the pieces together and find a way to help her improve her January mood.

So whats a person like Leader or Perkins to do?

There are steps you can take now, and proactively in years to come, to better your frame of mind and mood in the winter months.

Brickman points to elevated fatigue, oversleeping, isolating yourself, and a sense of helplessness as symptoms people should be aware of.

She says they should take note if they experience any or all of them.

What could be causing those symptoms and what pushes it over to depression?

There is an underlying neurological basis for major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern, in which people have difficulty regulating the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is responsible for balancing mood, Dr. Ash Nadkarni, associate psychiatrist and director of wellness at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, told Healthline.

Nadkarni explained that people may also have difficulty with overproduction of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland that responds to darkness by causing sleepiness.

In the winter, melatonin production increases, causing sleepiness and lethargy, she said. Both decreased serotonin and increased melatonin impact circadian rhythms, or the bodys internal 24-hour clock, which responds to light-dark changes that occur daily and throughout each of the seasons, she said.

In people with depressive disorders, she said, the circadian signal that indicates a seasonal change in day length has been found to be timed differently, challenging the bodys ability to adjust.

In other words, our bodies crave warmth, sun, and light.

There are steps you can take now if youre feeling blue, said Brickman.

Find natural daylight. Find the sun if you can, she said.

Brickman also suggests investing in a light box, in particular one that treats mood disorders and not skin disorders.

One added suggestion: change your diet.

Even healthy eaters can shift to a looser dietary pattern in the holidays and in cold, dark January eating that way can magnify sad feelings.

High-fat, sugary diets are tough on the mind, Brickman said. People dont think enough about food and how it impacts all of this.

She also suggests looking at using eating and food in a positive way by making plans and meeting up with friends for meals.

Eat socially, she said. Everything is better with company.

Perkins uses light therapy. Her physician suggested replacing her kitchen lights with bright 75 watt bulbs and shes found that helped.

She also has another suggestion: pick up or reclaim a hobby. For her, crafting does wonderings.

Its sounds so silly but something simple like this really can help, Perkins said. For me, crafting keeps my mind occupied and makes me feel useful, inspired and busy.

Its also important to report your symptoms to your physician or therapist and take any medical action they may deem necessary.

Seeking treatment is important, said Nadkarni. Antidepressants, light therapy, vitamin D to replete any deficiency, and psychotherapy have all been found to be evidenced-based options for treatment.

Brickman agrees.

Talk therapy is a great treatment for this, she said. Antidepressants, if needed, can also be a fix for 90 days or until the days extend and weather changes.

Leaders physician does something Brickman suggests ups her dosage of vitamin D for this time of year.

Its funny, she said. I never really believed something like that would make a difference until I tried it. It really helps.

Signs that you may sink into a case of January seasonal affective disorder or actual depression may begin to show months before, Nadkarni said.

When major depressive disorder has a seasonal pattern, it most often tends to be associated with an increase in symptoms in October or November, when light patterns first begin to shift, she said.

What to do?

Nadkarni says pay attention to the signs and be aware of them possibly showing up in your life.

When you see one or more, proactively battle those feelings with these suggestions.

How is one to be motivated to do that?

Both Perkins and Leader say people should simply try to avoid the painful sadness theyve fought in the past.

Leader has one more tip: just do it.

I have two small children, so I really have no choice but to try to stay ahead of this and focus on not having it drag me down, she said. Having two little kids to get out of bed and take care of every day is motivation to be mentally healthy for that.

For people without children, she urges them to find a place and a way you are needed.

That makes it all so much more important, and that makes it get your focus, she said.

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How to Keep a Sunny Outlook During the Dreary Days of January - Healthline

All About Epinephrine: What It Does in a Reaction, How Long It Lasts, When It Gets Hot or Cold – Allergic Living

One of the nerve-racking parts of living with severe allergies is having to make the call about if and when an allergic reaction is anaphylaxis. A shot of epinephrine can save a life, but having to inject ourselves or our child with a needle is something we did not sign up for.

However, mistakes in the critical areas of recognizing and responding to anaphylaxis can mean the difference between life and death. Plus, studies are showing that prompt administration of epinephrine can simply reduce the chance that a food allergy reaction moves from relatively mild to severe anaphylaxis.

Over the years, Allergic Living readers have raised many questions related to epinephrine: from when to give it, to when a person needs a second dose, to issues such as how much heat or cold an epinephrine auto-injector can take, whether antihistamines mask anaphylaxis symptoms and more.

We asked Gina Clowes, the nationally known food allergy educator and parenting coach and consultant at AllergyMoms.com, to help us create a go-to epinephrine resource with answers to these vital questions.

Ginareached out to Dr. Julie Brown, anemergency medicine physician at Seattle Childrens Hospital, for her expertiseon the topic. Dr. Brown works closely with the food allergy community and has acontinuing research interest in epinephrine, auto-injectors and anaphylaxis. AsGina says, Were so grateful to Dr. Brown for agreeing to answer commonepinephrine questions. I find her insights and answers fascinating, and knowtheyll be helpful to a lot of people.

Following you will find written answers about epinephrine in a handy Q&A format. Plus, we include a podcast featuring Gina and Dr. Brown that offers further elaboration on some of the key answers.

Allergic Livings Epinephrine Q&A

Dr. Brown explained that epinephrine is adrenaline, the same hormone that is formed in the body in the fight or flight response. But it also has a very important role, probably by design, in turning off allergic reactions.

In the allergy context, she says epinephrine acts on a number of different receptors on cells in the body, and seems to reverse fairly pointedly all of the things that are happening in allergic reactions.

The reason is, the earlier you give epinephrine, the better outcomes are, says Dr. Brown. The longer one waits, the more likely the reaction is to progress and require multiple doses of epinephrine.

If we wait, were more likely to get sicker and have much more significant symptoms, she says. We are more likely to need multiple doses of epinephrine or need to stay in the hospital.

She reminds us that patients can start off having very mild symptoms, and then turn very quickly to getting very sick. What we want to do is to treat before things get serious. Sadly, most patients who have died from anaphylaxis had delayed treatment with epinephrine.

Dr. Brown generally recommends between 5 and 15 minutes as a reasonable timeframe between doses to determine if the epinephrine has taken effect. She says that if you have someone who looks like they are not breathing, they are turning blue, they are passed out, you would shorten the time window.

In such a case she says it may be reasonable to give a second dose, just to make sure that youve got a good amount of epinephrine circulating while awaiting an ambulance.

All About Epinephrine Podcast with Dr. Julie Brown and Gina Clowes

After the death of a U.K. teenager, whosecase involved getting two injections of epinephrine in the same thigh, therewas some suggestion that a second dose should have been given in the oppositethigh.

Thesuggestion was that this might increase the circulation of epinephrine in thebody. However, Dr. Brown does not seea concern with injecting a second dose in the same thigh. As this is such a largemuscle, she says you are highly unlikely to inject in the exact same location.

However, she agrees that there is no problem with injecting a second dose in the opposite thigh (to the first dose) if there is no barrier to doing so.

Ina severe anaphylactic reaction, Dr. Brown says there is a lot of fluid leakage fromthe blood vessels internally, which makes it hard for your body to pump enoughblood through your heart. Its often helpful for a person to lie down with feetelevated when suffering from a serious reaction.

Youare helping them to circulate their blood the best if theyre lying down,she says. And after youve given epinephrine, youre helping to circulatethat epinephrine the best if theyre lying down.

Shediscussed U.K. research into cases of patients who had died from anaphylaticshock. Some patients worsened after they stood up quickly or were propped up duringtheir extreme reactions. The lack of blood flow to the heart may have led to aheart attack, which contributed to the fatal outcome.

Dr.Brown recommends that patients experiencing active anaphylactic symptoms shouldlie down, if possible. However, I certainly see lots of kids who aresitting comfortably for hours in our emergency department, and they dont allneed to be lying down. She says this recommendation is probably mostimportant when a patient feels faint or light-headed or early in a reactionthat is progressing rapidly.

Importantly, she says, not everybody is going to be best off lying down. Dr. Brown gives the example of someone whos having respiratory distress as a symptom. If its upper airway difficulty, with what we call stridor the kind of noise where youre having trouble breathing in that person often needs to be sitting up and leaning forward. This is a position that allows your airways to be the most open.

In addition, she says that individuals who are vomiting should be lying on their side to reduce the chances of choking.

This is an issue of concern particularly in schools. The teacher should never send a kid in school on their own to the nurses office, says Dr. Brown. You dont know how the disease is going to progress between the classroom and the nurses office.

She recommends sending someone with the student, at a minimum, so they can monitor and advocate for the child or teen if needed. If the child is feeling faint, then help should be brought to the child, rather than sending the child to get help.

According to Dr. Brown, studies have shown there is epinephrine in your system for at least 6 hours. Its at a higher level for about an hour, and it peaks around 5 minutes. Theres a pretty decent amount [circulating] for 40 minutes.

Shesays people often think epinephrine only lasts 15 minutes because thats whenyoure suggested to take a second dose if needed. But it doesnt mean that thereisnt medication still on-board from the first dose.

Evidenceshows most people only need one dose of epinephrine, says Dr. Brown. One reasonis that it lasts for the duration of most reactions. A second reason is thatepinephrine stabilitizes mast cells, making them less twitchy, aneffect that may last even after the epinephrine is gone.

She says a third factor is that, even for patients who dont get epinephrine, a lot of these reactions will burn out on their own. Thank goodness for that, because everybody [with food allergies] has a first reaction where they arent carrying epinephrine! she says. Of course, you never want to count on it burning out on its own, so you should always treat anaphylaxis early with epinephrine.

Thegood news is: There are a number of studies that have looked at what happenedto epinephrine when you freeze it. Theyve shown that both refrigerating andfreezing epinephrine does not degrade epinephrine. So it maintains high levelsof epinephrine.

Dr. Brown and colleagues have further investigated what happens to auto-injector devices when frozen. Dr. Brown was senior author of a study [by Alex Cooper et al] in which 104 EpiPens were frozen for 24 hours, then thawed while their mates [from EpiPen 2-Pak cartons] were left at room temperature. The frozen-then-thawed devices fired a similar amount of epinephrine to their never-frozen paired device. When another 104 frozen-thawed devices were opened unfired, there was no damage to the syringes or other device parts.

This research didnt find any evidence of adverse effects to the device of having been frozen for 24 hours. It looks like freezing has pretty minimal effects on EpiPens, said Dr. Brown. She cautions that this research looked only at EpiPens, not other auto-injectors, and the impact on other devices could be different.

Dr. Brown explains that heat is much more problematic than cold. Previous research has shown that you can definitely see the degradation of epinephrine itself with high heat. She says temperatures in a car on a hot, sunny day can exceed 194 degrees F, and a device exposed to this sort of heat could have degradation of the epinephrine.

The device itself can also be negatively impacted by heat. Her teams ongoing research [lead investigator Samuel Agosti] is examining the impact of high heat, and exposing EpiPens and EpiPen Jrs to 183 degrees F for 8 hours. In this study, Dr. Brown reports, were seeing differences in the amount of epinephrine fired from heated-then-cooled devices compared with their unheated pairs [from EpiPen 2-Paks]. We are also having trouble getting some devices out of the cases.

Sherecommends replacing a device that has had significant heat exposure. Shecautions if it feels hot to the touch, I would say thats pretty suspect that thedevice is not reliable anymore. Theres a risk there.

Dr. Brown doesnt think so. She says that in the United States, we have safe devices that have really maximized needle lengths for serving a wide range of population and different-sized people. Longer needles might be more suitable for some extremely large patients, but those longer needles might be long enough to reach bone in many normal-weight patients.

She notes that the goal is to get the medicine into the thigh muscle, and the device mechanism that pushes the drug out also plays a role. So needle length isnt the only factor. Although there will always be challenges to meet every patients needs, Dr. Brown believes the options available the devices in the U.S. are probably doing a reasonable job, all things considered. She notes there is even a third dose option now, the Auvi-Q device for infants.

Dr. Brown had no concerns about airport scanners. Shes not aware of any specific research in this area, but doubts an airport scanner would have any ability to impact your dose of epinephrine or the functioning of the device.

Her team [led by investigator Andrew McCray] has researched this easy mistake to make and the news is not good for an EpiPen that has gone through the laundry. While prescribing information does not address what to do if the device is submerged in water, the EpiPen website says the carrier tube is not waterproof and that a submerged device should be replaced. However, Dr. Brown said: I still thought that they would do pretty well because it looks like a robust device that was based on a design developed for the military. But our results are not encouraging.

She reports that water gets lodged in the outer layer of the device, and more importantly the amount of drug that fires appears to be impacted. She recommends following the advice to replace an auto-injector that has gone through the washing machine.

Epinephrinedevices do continue to maintain a high level of the labeled dose of epinephrineas they age. While Dr. Brown recommends keeping current, unexpired deviceswhenever possible, she has little concern about the four-month expiration dateextension that the FDA issued on certain lot numbers during periods of shortage.

However, as Dr. Brown explains, the amount of epinephrine is only part of the story. There are epinephrine metabolites that occur as the medication ages. The safety or toxicity of these metabolites in the body in expired medication is unknown. While the theoretical risk of these metabolites shouldnt prevent use of a potentially life-saving medication in an emergency, it is a good reason to keep a current device on hand.

Shes aware that many allergy families keep older auto-injectors in case of emergency, but cautions that the level of epinephrine is getting pretty low after two years, and the level of metabolites is probably getting fairly high. Two years is probably a reasonable limit for keeping back-up devices. After that, its really time to just toss them in your med recycling bin.

With heat, light exposure or over time after expiration, epinephrine is degraded and metabolites begin to increase. Epinephrine metabolites can exceed FDA recommended levels well before the medication shows any discoloration, says Dr. Brown. However, some pharmacists still perpetuate the notion that as long as the medication is clear, its OK to use.

If the epinephrine has been exposed to heat, it can have a fairly significant increase in epinephrine metabolites and not be discolored. You cant rely on color tell you whether or not your device is safe to use, she cautions.

If it is discolored, it is unsafe. But if it was exposed to heat and is clear, it could still have significant degradation.

Although Dr. Brown acknowledges the concern of Benadryl masking anaphylaxis, she says that is giving antihistamines way more power than they have in allergic reaction. Her view is that if a reaction is going to be an anaphylactic one, an antihistamine wont stop it. There is no argument that epinephrine is the drug of choice to treat anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. But for a mild symptom, such as a mild runny nose or slight rash, she says its fine to give an antihistamine. Youre not going to mask anything. As long as youre still keeping a watchful eye for symptom progression.

She shares two caveats, though. Dr. Brown is among a growing number of experts who prefer a non-sedating antihistamine, such as Zyrtec, rather than Benadryl, as the latter is more sedating. She recommends this to avoid confusion between drowsiness from the medication and drowsiness related to anaphylaxis.

The second caveat is that if an antihistamine has been given for a single symptom, such as hives, you would still count that symptom as one system affected, even if the symptom resolves. She explains that if youve treated hives with an antihistamine and theyve improved, but half an hour later you go on to start vomiting, now youve hit two systems. According to most care plans, you would meet criteria for using epinephrine.

Interestingly, research shows conflicting benefits of corticosteroid medication in anaphylaxis. First, Brown explains there is a misconception that steroids take a long time to work, but theres some evidence that steroids actually can work within 30 minutes.

However, research from Canada suggests that steroids given prior to admission into the hospital increased intensive care admissions. She notes that its unclear if that truly was an effect of the steroids, or if perhaps steroids were being used instead of epinephrine.

There is also a notion that steroids decrease the risk of a biphasic or secondary reaction. But a review of cohort studies suggests that steroids are not having an impact on biphasic reactions. Brown concludes that theres really not a lot of great evidence to support that steroids are doing anything in anaphylaxis.

There are many other drugs and supports that can help a patient recover from an anaphylactic reaction such as fluids, oxygen, antihistamines, albuterol and other asthma medications. The additional drugs and monitoring available are why it is so important to seek medical care during an anaphylactic reaction.

Thefirst thing to remember is that [patient emergency anaphylaxis] care plans havea very low threshold for giving epinephrine. Often you are giving epinephrinebecause you meet this two-system criteria for giving epinephrine, Dr. Brownexplained.

Thatthreshold for using epinephrine by a lay person, who is not in a medicalsetting, is lower than it would be in a hospital. In the emergency departmentBrown notes:

The physician has the advantage of having you on monitors, of knowing your vital signs, what your exam is like, what kind of a timeframe were talking about. Time is very important in anaphylaxis, and thats not something that is incorporated into emergency care plans. The doctors will incorporate all that information into the decision-making about whether or not its appropriate to give more epinephrine at that time, whether or not they want to do something else, or whether they just want to watch further.

All of those may be safe and appropriate options in the emergency department setting, while you might make very different decisions if youre in the community and following your care plan.

Dr. Brown cautions that its important to understand that there is no rhyme or reason to food allergy reactions and that any reaction can become the bad reaction. You can have had very mild reactions all of your life, and then your next one can be really severe.

At the same time, it is wise to be aware that if youve had very life-threatening reactions in the past, then that may increase your chance of having one again, she says.

While our individual histories are things we cant necessarily change or impact, co-factors are things that we can be aware of. Dr. Brown explains that co-factors are things like exercise, heat, alcohol consumption, illness and menstruation. All of those can exacerbate your allergic reaction.

So if youre having a mild allergic reaction and you go out for a jog, that may really flare up that reaction. Or if youre having a bit of a reaction and you go take a hot shower, that may really activate all your masts cells and you may come out of the shower just covered in hives. Some people are exacerbated by cold, so they might go out on a very cold day and find that that sets them off. Illness certainly decreases peoples threshold for reaction. So they may find that they can tolerate a food pretty well most of the time, and then when they are ill have a decreased threshold for reacting to that food. Some women find around their menstruation theyre much more likely to react to certain foods, she says.

Dont be afraid of epinephrine. It is unfortunately so hard for so many people to get past the mental idea of giving themselves [or a child] a shot, but it invariably makes you feel so much better when youre having an allergic reaction, says Dr. Brown. It only does good things, it only keeps you safe. It really is a wonder drug in anaphylaxis.

She puts it succinctly: Dont be afraid to use it yourself. Dont be afraid to use it for your child. Youre only going to make things better.

Allergic Living and Gina Clowes extend our appreciation to Dr. Julie Brown for her generous time in helping to create this go-to resource for the food allergy community. Dr. Brown is an emergency medicine physician and co-director of emergency medical research at Seattle Childrens Hospital, with study interests in epinephrine, auto-injectors and anaphylaxis. Gina is the founder of AllergyMoms.com.

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All About Epinephrine: What It Does in a Reaction, How Long It Lasts, When It Gets Hot or Cold - Allergic Living

Is It Normal to Want Sex All the Time? How to Tell If You’re an Addict – AskMen

Does Wanting A Lot of Sex Mean Youre Addicted? Experts Explain

You might be familiar with the statistic that claims men think about sex every seven seconds.

That statement has garnered plenty of skepticism from gentlemen thatve heard it, and not just because theres no research to back it up. After all, its difficult to see how someone could get anything accomplished if they thought about getting it on 500 times an hour (thats 8,000 times a day).

RELATED: Dealing With Porn Addiction

So lets ask the question on everyones mind: Is it normal to think about sex all the time?

According to a 1995 survey conducted by the Kinsey Institute, 54 percent of men said they think about sex several times a day, and 43 percent said its on their mind a few times per week or just a few times per month. Only 4 percent reported thinking about it less than once a month. Its worth noting that the Kinsey Institute survey included men of all ages, meaning their sex drives varied.

But when it comes to thinking about sex, at what point do all of those racy thoughts become problematic, going as far to interrupt your regular day-to-day routine?

The line between a typical horny guy and sex addict can get pretty blurry. To figure this out, AskMen spoke with three experts to clarify the difference.

Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, asserts that sex drive can vary greatly among men, with age being one of the key factors that impact it. Still, even within the same age range, its very difficult to define whats normal.

Younger men (17-30), with more testosterone production on average will have stronger sex drive than older men, he explains. However, environmental and biological factors can impact that significantly. We see men in their 20s with moderate drive and men in their 50s with a strong drive. Sexual experience, social norms, learning history and expectations (i.e. how much sex theyve had in the past) all affect the degree of sexual drive.

Klapow also notes that life circumstances can have an effect on sex drive. For example, stress, grief, anxiety, and sleep deprivation can all come into play in terms of your sexual interest and activity.

Dr. Dawn Michael, clinical sexologist founder of TheHappySpouse.com, states that every man has his own unique sex drive.

Sex drive can be dependent on a mans pattern of masturbation and sexual release (orgasm), she says. If a man orgasms every day, his body gets used to that pattern.

Given that the Kinsey Institute study included participants within such a wide age range, its difficult to discern any norms for particular groups from the findings. However, Dr. Leslie Beth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert and author of Training Your Love Intuition, points at a 2016 study from Ohio State University as a more reliable source due to its focus on men between the ages of 18 to 25.

Researchers gave participants a counting machine, which they used to track their thoughts about sex. On average, participants had explicit thoughts about 19 times per day (or once every 1.26 hours). This may come as no surprise, but the men thought about food almost just as often (18 times per day).

In other words, even if youre thinking about sex about once every hour or two, youre right in line with the average for young men. How do you know if its becoming a problem? According to Klapow, if youre preoccupied with thoughts of sex to the point that they interfere with your ability to work, study, maintain relationships or have a social life, thats a red flag.

Experts agree that the definition of sex addiction is nuanced and delicate in fact, theres no official medical diagnosis for it.

We have to be careful to label someone as having a sex addiction, says Michael. The label sex addiction is very complicated and misused often. Some men are labeled sex addicts by their partners who may simply not have the same sex drive.

That said, there are some tell-tale signs that can suggest youre experiencing compulsive sexual behavior. Below, youll see some of the most common indicators of addiction via Klapow and Wish:

Wish states that sex addiction is often marked by a constant need to expand your sexual activities. Its not unlike a drug addiction, where you need to continually increase your dosage of the substance to experience the same pleasurable effects. For example, you might feel compelled to incorporate more elements of danger into your sex life for more of a thrill, or need to seek out increasingly hard-core pornography in order to reach an orgasm.

Our brain and body like variety, she adds. Imagine if you had to eat your favorite meal three times a day, every day. This loss of pleasure creates a compulsion for something new. Regardless of the next choice, that choice, too, most likely will stop being as satisfying, and, as a result, men get trapped in an endless cycle.

Even if some of the aforementioned signs sound familiar, all experts agree that sex addiction isnt something that should be self-diagnosed.

Wish points out that you could be overlooking a medical issue, such as a mental health disorder or hormone imbalance, at the root of your addiction. Additionally, Michael notes that past traumatic experiences may be contributing to this behavior, and those are best worked through with a professional such as a licensed counselor or therapist.

Ideally, consult a mental health professional who specializes in sexual addictions, advises Klapow. The key is to recognize that if you see yourself as having a sexual addiction, you are not likely to be able to modify your behavior on your own. Its important to contact a mental health professional as sexual addiction is not by itself a diagnosis and often is a problem that presents with other psychiatric problems (i.e. bipolar disorder, OCD, mania, etc.)

If you cant find a licensed professional who specializes in sexual addictions in your area, contact a licensed mental health professional, or talk to your primary care physician.

The bottom line? If your sexual thoughts and activities are negatively impacting your life in any way, then it may be time to figure out what you can do to address those compulsions. If they arent, take a deep breath and know that those frequent naughty thoughts are totally normal in fact, its just points at a healthy, active sex drive.

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Is It Normal to Want Sex All the Time? How to Tell If You're an Addict - AskMen

Patients and Doctors on Different Pages for Acromegaly Symptoms – Medscape

Clinicians who treat patients with acromegaly commonly show a lack of awareness of the severity and pattern of patient symptoms that can occur even when treatment suggests the condition is under control, according to new research.

"Compared with patients, medical providers tended to report fewer acromegaly symptoms and injection site reactions, and rated general health higher [than patient reports]," write the authors of the study, recently published in the journal Pituitary.

Acromegaly, an endocrine disorder characterized by changes in facial appearance and enlargement of the hands and feet, is typically treated with somatostatin receptor ligands (SRLs).

However, even when the over-production of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) that cause the disorder are brought to normal levels with the medication, patients may continue to experience symptoms.

In the first study of its kind to evaluate concordance regarding symptoms, treatment satisfaction, and general health between clinicians and patients with acromegaly, Eliza B. Geer, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, and colleagues, conducted an online survey with 47 pairs of patients with acromegaly who were on a stable dose of SRLs and their medical providers. Patient self-reports were compared with those of their physician.

The patients and clinicians in the cross-sectional study were recruited by the US-based Acromegaly Community, a patient support group, through social media and at clinical practices in the United States. The study was funded by Chiasma, which is developing an oral formulation of maintenance therapy for adults with acromegaly.

Nicholas Tritos, MD, DSc, who was not involved in the study, told Medscape Medical News the new research points to the need for a heightened focus on communication in the treatment of acromegaly.

"The findings of the present study are intriguing and suggest that there may be lack of sufficient communication between patients with acromegaly and their healthcare professionals at least in some cases," said Tritos, an associate professor in the Neuroendocrine and Pituitary Clinical Center and Neuroendocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston.

"Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, however," he said. "The use of validated symptom scores may help improve communication between patients with acromegaly and their healthcare professionals."

In acromegaly, a rare but severe disease that is often diagnosed late, morbidity and mortality rates are high, particularly as a result of associated cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory disorders and malignancies.

Of the adult patients surveyed, 83% were women and the mean age was 49 years. Patients had a mean duration of acromegaly of 10 years, and 47% were being treated with octreotide and 53% with lanreotide, with most receiving low to middle doses.

Their mean medical provider-reported IGF-1 level was 0.85 upper limit of normal (ULN), with 79% of patients having an IGF-1 level of 1 ULN or lower.

For the online survey, patients were asked about disease characteristics and management, and they also completed the Acromegaly Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire (Acro-TSQ). The latter is an acromegaly-specific patient-reported outcomes assessment of symptoms and gastrointestinal interference, treatment satisfaction, injection site interference, emotional reaction, and treatment convenience.

The medical providers were interviewed about their practices and perceptions of the patients' symptoms, level of control, and general health, and they also completed relevant sections of the Acro-TSQ.

The most common symptoms reported by patients were "acro-fog,"described as a general forgetfulness or short-term memory loss, and joint pain (81% for both), soft tissue swelling (79%), fatigue/weakness/tiredness (77%), and headache (72%).

However, the most common patient symptoms reported by medical providers differed, led by fatigue/weakness/tired (92%) followed by joint pain (75%)and headache (62%).

Symptoms most often viewed by patients as severe were joint pain (described as severe by 34%), headache (29%), fatigue/weakness/tired (28%), and acro-fog (26%).

With the exception of carpal tunnel syndrome, clinicians were less likely than patients to rate any of the other symptoms as severe.

In addition, although patients specified a worsening of multiple symptoms toward the end of the treatment cycle, clinicians commonly reporting being "not sure" of when patients experienced symptoms.

Patients and clinicians both reported various injection site reactions; however, the medical providers reported fewer injection site reactions than patients and were often unaware of the severity of the reactions.

The largest discrepancies involved nodules (43% reported by medical providers vs 68% by patients) and pain during injection (66% vs 90%).

When asked about their general perception of symptom control, 38% of patients indicated their symptoms were "well controlled,"43% reported they were "partially controlled,"and 17% reported they were "not controlled."

Comparatively, 28% of medical providers indicated their patient's symptoms were well-controlled, 64% said they were "partially controlled,"and 6% said they were "not controlled."

Although the patient and clinician differences were not evaluated for statistical significance, the authors note that "the low kappa statistics reflect the generally poor agreement between medical providers' and patients' responses of symptom frequency, severity, and pattern."

Current treatment guidelines recommend that when patients receiving SRLs achieve IGF-1 levels of 1 ULN or less, adjustments to treatment are not necessary, and data are lacking on whether SRL dose titration can reduce symptom burden when IGF-1 levels are 1 ULN or less.

However, thenew results suggest "these patients are still symptomatic and that the frequency and severity of symptoms is often unrecognized by their treating physician," the authors write.

"This suggests an unmet need," they state.

Tritos told Medscape Medical Newsthe current study has some limitations. In addition to the relatively small sample size, he cited the use of social media in patient selection.

"These observations may limit the external validity (generalizability) of the findings reported in the present study," he noted. "Larger studies in unselected populations of patients with acromegaly would be helpful to confirm and extend these findings."

In the meantime, efforts to prevent symptoms early on could be beneficial, he said.

"Earlier detection and treatment of acromegaly before complications ensue may be helpful in mitigating the development of such symptomatology," he said.

"Clinicians should spend sufficient time eliciting the extent and severity of patient symptomatology," Tritos added.

"Use of validated symptom scores in patient care and clinical research (including clinical trials) may improve both routine care and the evaluation of investigational therapies," he concluded.

Pituitary. Published December 5, 2019. Full text

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Patients and Doctors on Different Pages for Acromegaly Symptoms - Medscape

What you need to know about hCG, the ‘pregnancy hormone’ – INSIDER

Known as the "pregnancy hormone," human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a type of hormone that is produced in large amounts during pregnancy, with levels peaking during the first 8 to 11 weeks of pregnancy, and can be detected in the urine of pregnant women with at-home pregnancy tests.

However, pregnant women aren't the only ones who produce it. Certain cancers and other medical conditions can lead non-pregnant women and men to produce moderate to high levels of hCG.

Here's what you need to know about hCG, whether you're pregnant or not.

"HCG in its regular form is produced almost exclusively by a pregnant woman by special cells which become a part of the placenta, called the syncytiotrophoblast which is why we see it in such high levels in pregnancy," says Dr. Kristina Mixer, MD with Spectrum Health.

She explains that during pregnancy, hCG's primary role is to support the production of the hormone progesterone by the ovaries until the placenta is sufficiently formed and can produce adequate amounts of progesterone on its own, typically by 10 weeks gestation.

That's important because progesterone is absolutely vital for healthy reproduction. It's responsible for facilitating the successful attachment of the embryo within the uterine cavity, modulating the immune system to prevent miscarriages, and for suppressing uterine contractions. In certain situations of recurrent pregnancy loss, healthcare providers will sometimes prescribe progesterone or hCG as a way to support the pregnancy early on.

Once you've conceived, the body begins to produce hCG as soon as a fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, and it typically takes another 8 to 14 days before the hCG levels rise enough to be detected by an at-home pregnancy test. Most urine pregnancy tests will detect a pregnancy at the time of your first missed period.

A woman can exhibit elevated hCG levels after a molar pregnancy, as well. Molar pregnancy happens after an egg is fertilized, but the tissue that usually grows into the placenta forms an abnormal growth, instead. So the egg never develops into an embryo.

Women often have the molar tissue removed, but sometimes it can return and develop into a uterine tumor. This can lead to certain types of cancer like choriocarcinoma and malignant gestational trophoblastic disease. Since these tumors involve the same cells that produce hCG, women with these conditions often have elevated hCG levels, as well, even though they're not pregnant.

"In non-pregnant women or men, levels are usually very low and do not play an important role in daily hormone function," Mixer says. However, there are some situations that could lead to moderate to high hCG levels in a non-pregnant woman or man, such as:

"All of these conditions should be discussed with and managed by a physician or healthcare provider," says Mixer.

In addition to medical conditions that could lead to elevated hCG levels, some cases of high hCG are the result of hCG injections. "We often see this in male athletes in an effort to boost testosterone production," Mixer says. This occurs because hCG is very similar to the pituitary hormone LH, which stimulates the production of testosterone in the testes.

HCG can also be used as an identifying marker during pregnancy to detect Down's Syndrome. "A certain subtype of hCG can be measured to predict the likelihood of Down Syndrome affecting the fetus," Mixer says.

Certain types of cancerscan produce higher-than-normal levels of hCG in both men and women. The types of cancers that can lead to elevated hCG levels include:

Measuring hCG levels in the above types of cancers can help identify tumors in the body, diagnose cancer, or evaluate how well a cancer treatment is working.

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What you need to know about hCG, the 'pregnancy hormone' - INSIDER

Sleepless nights: Some naturopathic solutions that may help relieve insomnia – TheHealthSite

You will feel better in the morning if you had a good night sleep. But it wont be a good morning if you dont get inadequate amount of sleep. Dear busy people! Take your sleep quality seriously. Because sleep disorders may lead to health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.

Many people suffer from insomnia, which may be due to psychiatric and medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances, and/or certain biological factors. Lifestyle changes may help lessen the severity of insomnia. But several naturopathic solutions have also been found effective in lessening the severity of insomnia. If youre also having sleepless nights, these below naturopathic approaches may help you get the sleep you need.

It is an age-old healing practice of traditional Chinese medicine and inserting very thin needles through the skin at specific points in the body. Its primarily used to relieve pain but also used for a wide range of other complaints. In a study, acupuncture treatment helped participants recover their normal sleep patterns.

Many studies have suggested that taking valerian extract help fall asleep easier and get better quality sleep. A study also found a combination of valerian and lemon balm as effective as the prescription sleeping pill Halcion.

In a study, older adults who drank eight ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day were able to sleep 90 more minutes per night. Researchers explained that compounds that give the cherries their colour increased the availability and inhibited the degradation of L-tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that interacts with brain chemicals that are important to sleep and the timing of our biological clocks sleep-wake cycle.

Inhaling the aroma of lavender oil before bedtime may help you sleep better. Onset of menopause may cause sleep disturbances. If you are near your menopause, lavender aromatherapy may help improve your sleep. The positive effects of lavender oil have been shown in studies.

Taking melatonin supplement under the supervision of an experienced naturopathic physician may also help sleep well at night. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in your natural sleep-wake cycle. Researchers suggest that melatonin supplements might help provide some relief from insomnia.

Published : January 8, 2020 3:14 pm | Updated:January 8, 2020 3:16 pm

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Sleepless nights: Some naturopathic solutions that may help relieve insomnia - TheHealthSite

What we need to know about gallstones – INQUIRER.net

Professor Ed Tadem and Dr. Victor Philip Delos Reyes after the laparoscopic surgery at the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City, Philippines. CONTRIBUTED

I stared at the computer monitor looking at my organs my gall bladder, kidney, spleen, pancreas and uterus. I never thought of myself as a walking set of organs. I had always detached myself from the things I loved to eat papaitan (cow innards), bopis (cows lungs) and those sweet meats my Ilocano grandfather cooked for us. The surgeon interrupted my reverie.

This is your gall bladder and that is a gallstone, he pointed at the sac-like image.

How big is the stone? I asked him.

It is 2.37 centimeters, he said as a matter of fact.

My 2020 seemed bleak.

Routine check-ups

Ive been in and out of the hospital since October due to various ailments. On December 10, I had bronchitis. I was in medication for 10 days. After two days, I had difficulty urinating. I was back to the hospital for a series of tests. I got kidney stones, but very minute, just 0.31 millimeter. I was given antibiotics to flush this out. My attending physician recommended an Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) for further evaluation. IVP is an x-ray exam that uses an injection of contrast material to evaluate kidneys, ureters and bladder and helps diagnose blood in the urine or pain in the side or lower back. I fasted for 48 hours, and given an enema before the procedure. After waiting for more than 6 hours, the result showed a mass located in my bladder.

An ultrasound was scheduled on the 27th of December. The mass is actually a large gallstone.

Gallstone and its symptoms

My doctor, a Thai specialist and a surgeon at PorPhat 2 Hospital in Nakhon Ratchasima, explained that the presence of a gallstone does not always manifest in patients. Usually it is discovered during routine check-ups.

Out of 100 people with gallstones, only 16 people showed symptoms, and those are the ones needing operations, he explained.

At the same time that I was in the hospital, Ed Tadem, a retired University of the Philippines professor of Asian Studies was also at the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City. Unlike me, Professor Tadem showed symptoms.

I had intense abdominal pain and a bloated tummy. There were about twenty-five tiny stones found in my gall bladder, Prof. Tadem says.

According to the Bangkok Hospital website, Gallstones are one of the most common digestive diseases which small stones are formed in the gallbladder. If a gallstone lodges in a bile duct and causes a blockage, it eventually results in severe life-threatening complications such as bile duct inflammation and infection, pancreatitis or cholecystitis (an inflammation of gallbladder).

I am quite lucky because I only have one. Some people can have several tiny pieces. Gallstones can also be as large as a golf ball!

Bangkok Hospital categorizes three types of gallstones. The cholesterol type is very common. It is chalk-white or greenish-yellow due to undissolved cholesterol as the main component. Pigment gallstones are dark brown or black containing bilirubin, which is caused by liver diseases. Mixed gallstones are a mixture of both cholesterol and pigment gallstones with a sticky mud-like appearance. This is due to secondary infection of the biliary tract, liver and pancreas.

Gender, diet and gallstone

As part of the routine questions, the doctor asked about my diet. Like most Filipinos, my diet is high in fat. Fortunately, I do not feel discomfort when I eat even fatty foods and dairy products.

Professor Tadem admits having had a high-fat and oily diet when he was younger. Though in the past ten years he has been diet-conscious; but the damage has been done.

Gender plays a role in the formation of gallstones. More females age 40 and above are prone to develop gallstones. It is attributed to medications that contain estrogen, or to hormone replacement therapy. Drastic weight loss and obesity are also factors. Family history is also considered. My grandmother had her gallbladder removed in her 40s.

Since the diagnosis came during the holidays, I promised my doctor to have a healthy diet after New Year. I was not given any medication. After four months, I will have an ultrasound again.

Alternative cure?

Upon posting my ultrasound result, well-meaning friends sent messages to me not to go under the knife. A friend shared how she flushed out three large gallstones by drinking radish juice before going to bed. Eating apples and drinking a particular apple juice brand are also recommended. Sambong (Blumea balsamifera) is also a known herbal medicine endorsed by some doctors. But its efficacy is only tested for kidney stones.

My Thai doctor did not recommend any drugs or alternative medicine since it is dangerous if the gallstone moves out of the bladder due to its size.

The authors lower abdominal ultrasound. CONTRIBUTED

Professor Tadem did not try herbal medicine either.

I was advised by my doctor that these are not effective, he says.

Gallstone removal procedure and costs

At this stage, my doctor does not advise me to undergo laparoscopic gallbladder surgery because the stone does not bother me yet. He further mentioned that usually, surgery is performed when the stone is 2.5 cm or larger.

According to Healthline, laparoscopic gallbladder surgery or(cholecystectomy) removes the gallbladder and gallstones through several small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon inflates the abdomen with air or carbon dioxide in order to see clearly. This type of surgery takes lesser time to recover. After 12 hours, the patient can be discharged. Usually, the patient can go back to normal activities after a week or two. No special diet is required. But I guess, when a part of you is taken out, you have to think twice before eating particular foods again.

In the Philippines, after Philhealth insurance and Senior Citizens discount, Professor Tadem spent 190,000 pesos ($3,700) for laparoscopic cholecystectomy at the Capitol Medical Center.

Dr. Victor Philip de los Reyes, my surgeon was trained at the World Laparoscopy Hospital in New Delhi. He performed a complicated surgery, which took one hour instead of the normal 30 minutes, Professor Tadem says.

Professor Tadem shares that complications arose because of other factors such as the blood thinning medication he was taking, adhesion of previous operation, and the gall bladder was thicker than normal that it stuck to his intestine.

In Thailand, surgery costs around $3,000, with insurance, tests, medications included. Under the Social Security (SS) or PhraGansangkhom, members can avail of medical benefits such as hospitalization (in accredited hospitals), maternity benefits, cremation, and repatriation. I have been paying SS for the past seven years.

Ive always considered myself healthy. My cholesterol level is within the normal range. I exercise every day. But my diet may not be really healthy. I look at the mirror, seeing my abs, shoulders, and arms developing into muscles. I look better than 10 years ago. At this stage, I am not really healthy. But I will not allow myself to get sick.

Meanwhile, Im contemplating whether to eat the sisig (pork cheeks) I ordered last week. It is still sitting in the freezer.

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What we need to know about gallstones - INQUIRER.net

Eat This, Not That: To Combat Stress and Anxiety – AskMen

How good does it feel to reach for chocolate or fast food after a particularly stressful day? We cant deny the instant satisfaction of biting into a greasy burger but that instant gratification may be doing more harm than good.

According to Dr. Anna Cabeca, physician and Amazon #1 best selling author of "The Hormone Fix," when we are first under some sort of stress in our fight, flight or freeze mode, our body releases cortisol (our stress hormone). Over time with the chronic persistent state of "fight, flight or freeze" our body produces very high amounts of cortisol. This results in a feeling of disconnection and burnout and inflammation, which only worsens with sugar and fat.

RELATED: How Famous Men Fight Stress

So how do we reverse and prevent burnout and the disconnect that comes with it while satisfying our urge to grab a snack after a long day? We spoke to health and nutrition experts to get their thoughts on the best foods to fight stress and dont worry, (some!) chocolate is actually OK.

While coffee may be your first inclination during a particularly stressful afternoon at the office, you may want to swap out the hard stuff for something a little more green. Green tea is one of the best foods/drinks for fighting stress and anxiety while increasing focus due it's L-Theanine content, explains Forrest Przybysz, MBA and owner of Nootropics Resource. L-Theanine is a natural amino acid found primarily in green and black teas that has been linked to several health benefits including reduced anxiety, lower stress levels, increased focus and better sleep quality.

According to Jared Heathman, MD, meals high in carbohydrates and sugar spike glucose, which initially gives us a rush of endorphins, which is why those greasy burgers are so satisfying after a long day. This can feel good initially, but the resulting crash can leave us feeling fatigued and irritable, explains Heathman, when our mind feels fatigued and irritable, it can't adequately cope with stress levels. This can lead to a worsening in our mood and anxiety. Eating high fiber foods like vegetables with each meal can assist in maintaining glucose uptake in a slow, steady fashion.

Organ meat from pasture-raised animals aresome of the most nutrient-dense foods you will find Beef Liver and heart especially, says Erik Levi, functional nutritional therapy practitioner, They are loaded with brain-healthy nutrients like B-Vitamins, choline, and omega 3, and high-quality protein.

Yes, plain old water may just be the key to feeling less stressed throughout your day. Dehydration leads to both mental and physical stress. Your body literally needs water to survive and when it doesn't get enough, metabolic processes begin to shut down and this can affect your well-being. Levi recommends getting at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces per day.

RELATED: Foods That Affect Your Bedroom Performance

See? You can still get your chocolate fix without sacrificing your mental wellbeing.Studies have tied the polyphenols and micronutrients in cacao to both stress relief and lower instances of cardiac disease keep your heart rate low, keep stress low. Look for at least 70 percentcacao, with low to no sugar chocolate for this effect.

This is one of the highest sources of good fats you're going to find. Although fat has been demonized for years, modern research has found that fat-rich foods like butter deliver lots of vitamin A-retinol, which is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes in the body, says Levi. Its also a good source of butyrate, which is a small-chain fatty acid made in the colon that helps your body's immune system and overall digestive health, which both help physically keep your stress level low.

This is another food that has been demonized through the years, but according to Levi, eggs from pasture-raised chickens who eat a real chicken diet and not grains are one of the best sources of choline you can find. Choline helps make dopamine in the brain, which you need more of to mentally deal with stress. You also get lots of omega-3 and B12. explains Levi.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which fish like salmon are excellent sources of, actively work to suppress the development of stress hormones, as well as feelings of depression. According to Jamie Bacharach, licensed medical acupuncturist and health expert, this is thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids, which in supplement form have been proven to provide a 20 percentreduction in anxiety versus placebo groups. As salmon possesses high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, it only needs to be enjoyed once a week or so in order to take advantage of its anti-stress benefits.

Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal can help to promote serotonin production, directly boosting feelings of happiness and diminishing feelings of stress, explains Bacharach. Unlike regular carbohydrates, a complex carb like oatmeal won't cause a spike in blood glucose, which can lead to a rise in feelings of stress or tension.

It's not a coincidence that turkey has a reputation for making people feel fatigued or relaxed. Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid which helps to regulate the production of serotonin a bodily chemical that promotes feelings of happiness and calm, says Bacharach. Tryptophan supplements in and of themselves have demonstrated in scientific studies that they can make people more agreeable, or less argumentative, helping to diminish feelings of anger or stress.

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Eat This, Not That: To Combat Stress and Anxiety - AskMen

7 Reasons to Commit to a Booze-Free January – EDGEOnTheNet

Saturday Jan 4, 2020

(Source:Getty Images)

By January, many people are saturated with the parties, get-togethers, and drinking that comes with the holidays. Odds are at some point in the 2019 holiday season you had a bit of a hangover from too much champagne, egg nog, or cocktails.

In comes the dry-January trend to help bring in the new year by putting a brake on alcohol for the whole month. EDGE turned to NYC neuropsychologist, Dr. Sanam Hafeez, for insight into the benefits of taking a month-long booze-free challenge for a fresh start to the new year.

1. You Save Money On Alcohol.

According to Fortune magazine in 2018, overall price averages for alcoholic beverages increased thanks to craft cocktail trends. The same can be expected for 2019. A survey by OnePoll last year estimated that Americans' social spending around the holiday season more than doubles and alcohol is part of that spending. So if your wallet has felt the alcohol as much as you have this season, the math could be reason enough to pause the drinks and close your tab for a month.

"Think of the stress you could take off your back by cutting back on the money you spend on alcohol during January," says Dr. Hafeez. "An average person could hit the bar twice a week, spending about $30-$75 dollars depending on what drinks you are purchasing. Add tip, and your expenses for a night of drinking could reach or surpass $100 easily. Throughout a single month, this could cost you a good chunk of change." Add more money saved if you're also a weekend social drinker. Add way more money if you are inclined to purchase bottles in the VIP section for hundreds of dollars.

2. In The Absence of Alcohol, Your Skin Rejuvenates.

While alcohol consumption doesn't directly cause acne, it destabilizes hormone levels and immune functions, which lead to dull skin, breakouts, flushed complexion, and puffiness. If you like to "ros all day" or consume mixed drinks with more sugars, syrups, and other additives, you can start seeing the toll of these habits on the texture and tone of your skin. "A part of being successful when reducing alcohol intake is the compliments you receive, the energy you feel, and the changes you see in the mirror. These can all be fuel to help you live a healthier life in the new year," says Dr. Hafeez.

(Source:Getty Images)

3. Get A Headstart on Your Weight Loss Resolution.

Research in the Journal of Obesity says people who don't drink, eat less, simply because alcohol heightens the senses and numbs reasoning. It makes the sauce and cheese on a pizza or those late-night tacos tastier. When you remove alcohol intake, it diminishes the calories you consume.

Think about three beers or glasses of wine at about 150 calories each. Those calories add up. Dr. Hafeez explains that "any person seeking help with weight management has heard the advice 'don't drink your calories,' alcoholic beverages are some of the drinks that most easily overwhelm your caloric consumption. Drinking less, or not at all for a month, will leave you with improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels and help optimize your organ function, which will help you be more active and in a better mental state."

4. More Energy, More Creativity, More Endurance

The last thing you want is to be tired into the new year. "One great benefit of going alcohol-free is renewed energy. You will not be giving up your day to recover from last night's drinking. Waking up earlier will help you establish better morning habits that prime your brain for productivity and creativity," says Dr. Hafeez. "You will also see improved concentration and endurance as the day goes on because your energy level will not be in a deficit before the day even begins," she says.

5. Less Alcohol Can Lead to Improvement in Depression.

Depression is a mood disorder that can cause feelings of sadness, rage, grief, and emptiness. More than 16 million Americans suffer from Major Depression Disorder while anxiety disorders affect about 40 million adults according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of American.

"The problem comes when depression and anxiety, even at the mild levels, begin to be alleviated momentarily with alcohol. This can become dangerous because it will work in a negative cycle. Alcohol intake will get worse which will heighten the depression which will cause the person to drink more," explains Dr. Hafeez. The NYC psychologist explains that alcohol is actually a depressant and it affects the neurotransmitters in the brain.

"Seratonin is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel joyful and stabilizes our mood. Drinking alcohol can temporarily boost serotonin levels, therefore making you feel upbeat, but the long-term excessive consumption of alcohol can actually lower serotonin levels, and therefore either cause or worsen depression," she says.

6. Better Sleep

Alcohol affects your sleep pattern by inhibiting your REM sleep and affects your circadian rhythm. "REM sleep is incredibly important to the quality of your rest. When blocked by alcohol, you could lose out on the most restorative part of your sleep, which can affect the way you think, concentrate, and process information the next day," explains Dr. Hafeez. Another issue with alcohol is that it makes you wake up during the night to go to the bathroom.

"Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning an agent that prompts the passing of urine. This means that at nighttime, instead of sleeping throughout the night, you may need to get up repeatedly to relieve yourself. This will make it even harder to get the rest you need. In the absence of alcohol, your sleep is more comfortable and energizing," says Dr. Hafeez.

7. More Time for Yourself and New Friends

"It is important to note that when our friendships and relationships rely on social drinking, a booze-free month can affect how those interactions happen. While we have more time and energy, we might need to invest it in ourselves or new friends. This is not to say that you have to break up with your friends when you pause the alcohol, but it means you can try new activities and endeavors with new people and plant new friendships as well," explains Dr. Hafeez.

The NYC psychologist also talks about the opportunity to focus on you, explaining that "self-care is important yet often neglected over a good night out for drinks. Suddenly, happy hour is not an option, but a fitness class after work is, or a workshop on a topic that interests you. The time will add up, and you can use it to promote your self-confidence and personal development.

A Cautionary Note From The Expert.

"One thing to consider is that people who label themselves "social drinkers" may feel these improvements within days. Meanwhile, people who battle with alcoholism can often cause harm to themselves if they decide to stop drinking cold turkey. If you are a frequent/binge drinker, speak with your physician before abruptly ceasing alcohol consumption.

Committing to going without alcohol may reveal there actually is a bigger issue going on. "If someone can't last the week without alcohol and feels physical repercussions like nausea, headaches, night sweats, and tremors, or insomnia, consulting a doctor would be an important next step," cautions Dr. Hafeez.

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This Is Your Body On Intermittent Fasting – msnNOW

erdikocak via Getty Images Intermittent fasting is a widely practiced diet plan that people use to lose weight, feel healthier and more.

Its no surprise that intermittent fasting is one of themost popular types of eating plans. You dont need to measure out food or buy any prepackaged shakes. There are no required weigh-ins or calorie counting. All you really have to do is not eat during certain hours. Its pretty simple.

There are different ways to go about it, of course. Most people do the 16:8 diet, in which you fast for 16 hours and then eat within an eight-hour window. Theres also the 5:2 diet, where you drastically cut back on calories just two days a week, and there are 24-hour fasts, where you dont eat anything one day each month.

Regardless of the method, significantly restricting when you eat can throw your body for a loop and cause a handful of odd side effects. Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone. (People with a history of disordered eating, for example, should definitely avoid it.)

Its important to know what to expect before you jump into any new eating habit.Heres what happens to you mentally, physically and emotionally when youre fasting intermittently.

Many health experts, including personal trainerJillian Michaels, say that intermittent fasting actually isnt that great for weight loss. Thats because youre not necessarily eating less or cutting back on calories. There are just longer gaps in your day when youre not eating at all.

That said, many people do lose weight because they consume fewer calories during those restricted food hours.

Eating for only eight hours a day also makes it less likely that youre having a big meal right before bedtime.Our metabolism goes down when we sleep and we burn fewer calories.Nighttime eatinghas been linked to both obesity and diabetes.

Intermittent fasting really does keep you from doing some really bad things, which is to eat a big meal before you go to bed, said Dr.John Morton, a bariatric surgeon with Yale Medicine. Big meals before bed are probably the worst thing you can do when it comes to weight loss, he added.

A lot of people who fast experience hunger pangs, mainly when they start the program. Thats because our bodies are accustomed to using glucose a sugar that comes from the food we eat for fuel throughout the day. When its deprived of food (and, therefore, glucose), the body will essentially send signals saying, Hello, arent you forgetting something here?

Once your body gets into the groove of fasting, it will start burning stored body fat for energy rather than glucose. And as you spend more time in a fasted state, your body will get increasingly efficient at burning fat for energy.

In short, those hunger pangs should dissipate and your appetite will level out, Morton said. He added that fasters will ultimately have fewer cravings and hunger pangs the more consistently they fast.

In the meantime, that hungry feeling may drive some people to overeat. The natural tendency is when you havent eaten breakfast, you go, Since I didnt eat breakfast, Im going to eat more [for lunch], Morton noted.

If the hunger pangs are bad enough to interfere with your daily life, get something to eat. The idea is not to starve yourself.

Research has shown that fasting can cause some people to feel fatigued, dizzy, irritable and depressed.

In the beginning, your energy levels might be low because youre not getting the proper nutrients that you need, saidSharon Zarabi, a registered dietitian and bariatric program director at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

As your body gets used to intermittent fasting, your energy levels will pick back up. Your body becomes more efficient at using energy and this helps improve mood, mental ability and long-term performance, Zarabi said.

Theres even some evidence that suggests intermittent fasting can ultimately help fight depression and anxiety. The body releases a hormone called ghrelin when youre hungry or fasting, which in high amounts has been associated with an elevated mood.

Many people who partake in intermittent fasting note improved gut health. Fasting gives your gut a chance to rest and reset as your digestive system doesnt have to deal with uncomfortable effects of eating like gas, diarrhea and bloating.

Anytime you fast, youre giving your body a break from trying to metabolize what you just ate, Zarabi said. By fasting, we let the gut microbiome refresh, which in turn improves our overall digestive pathway.

Intermittent fasting has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseaseslike diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According torecent researchfrom Mount Sinai, this is because fasting reduces inflammation and reducing inflammation helps our bodies battle various chronic inflammatory diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases. Researchers are still working to figure out how and why this happens, but the evidence so far suggests that the fasting body produces fewer of the subset of monocytes, a kind of blood cell, that are known to damage tissue and trigger inflammation.

This is a big reason why people who fast intermittently may live longer and stay healthier.

Intermittent fasting can help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides the type of fat in our blood thats associated with heart disease. That is, if you lose weight in the process.

As long as youre losing weight, youre going to improve all those things, Morton said.

Before you start an intermittent fasting program, health experts recommend meeting with a dietitian or physician. Theres a critical distinction between fasting and starving, and if you ignore that, you could wreck your organs and immune system.

The bottom line: pay attention to your body and eat in a way that works best for you.

Related Video: In a 24/7 Food Culture, Periodic Fasting Gains Followers (Provided by The Associated Press)

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If you need to fidget whereas working, this harmful illness can occur – OBN

If you need to fidget whereas working, this can be a harmful illness .. In such an individual, contemplating it as weak spot of the physique, ignores it. Many instances it occurs that whereas performing some work, abruptly the individual's hand begins to tremble or typically whereas holding one thing mild, the individual's arms begin trembling. In such a scenario, the individual considers it a weak spot of the physique and ignores it. If your arms additionally tremble like this whereas working or whereas holding one thing, dont make the error of ignoring it even after forgetting it. That is as a result of it isnt due to weak spot in your physique however it may be one thing else.

For your data, inform me that the rationale for trembling arms and ft cant be the one weak spot.

->So today we are going to let you know about some such particular causes for trembling arms and ft, realizing about which youll be shocked. So, allow us to now clarify these causes intimately.

1. Significantly, trembling of arms could be a symptom of diabetes. For your data, inform me that when the quantity of sugar within the physique begins lowering, then the stress of the human physique will increase. Due to which the individual's arms tremble. So if potential, hold management of your sugar.

2. Apart from this, many instances an individual doesnt eat nutritious meals in his life. Yes, an individual doesnt eat such meals in his life, in order that the dearth of blood in his physique will be fulfilled. Due to which theres a scarcity of blood within the individual's physique. Significantly, as a consequence of anemia on this scenario, arms begin trembling.

3. Significantly, one of many predominant causes for shaking arms will be that your blood stress is just not regular. Yes, to your data, inform me that when BP abruptly will increase or decreases, even in such a scenario the arms of an individual begin trembling. Now its apparent that when your blood stress is just not underneath management, then trembling arms is certain to occur.

4. It is vital to notice that because of the improve of the hormone cartisol current within the physique, the stress of an individual will increase considerably. Now its apparent that when an individual is underneath stress in thoughts and physique, then its essential to have vibrations in his arms and legs. Please inform that as a consequence of this, the individual's arms begin to tremble.

However, in case your arms begin to tremble on a regular basis as an alternative of trembling, then you must instantly go to the physician, as a result of to disregard such a scenario means to play with your personal physique. That is why we are going to say that in case you ever see such a symptom in your self, then dont delay in going to the physician in any respect, as a result of later you might have to bear the implications.

Born to a PIO businessman, Parmesh loves travelling and writing about everything related to technology, entertainment, sports and business. He is from Istanbul and loves his Falafels and Hummus. Parmesh also has an expensive taste in wine and writes for various food magazines in Europe.

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If you need to fidget whereas working, this harmful illness can occur - OBN

Looking ahead: Hormone-altering chemicals threaten our health, finances and future – Environmental Health News

I'm the founder and chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit launched in Charlottesville, Virginia, that publishes Environmental Health News and engages in scientific research and outreach to help the public and policy makers understand that we have many opportunities to prevent diseases and disabilities that are afflicting our families, friends and neighbors today.

We can accomplish this by acting upon today's scientific understanding that chemical exposures are contributing to those problems.

I'm going to let you in on a scientific reality that is going to transform the chemical enterprise and upend today's unscientific approach to figuring out what's safe and what is not. The safe dose of one of the biggest volume chemicals in the world bisphenol A (BPA)will have to be reduced by at least 20,000-fold.

This calculation is based upon data the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) obtained in an ambitious, roughly $30 million collaborative program called CLARITY-BPA. CLARITY was designed to reconcile differences between traditional regulatory science as practiced by the FDA and results obtained by independent academic scientists funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Many significant effects were observed at the lowest dose tested, including data obtained by the FDA.

That means: Take today's FDA reference dose and divide by at least 20,000.

That's the highest exposure that would be considered safe if regulated according to existing scientific understanding. The chemical would disappear from any uses that bring it into contact with food or drinking water, human skin, or result in it evaporating into the air or melting into water.

And the same would hold for many other chemicals that disrupt hormone signaling, that is, endocrine disrupting chemicals, which have been linked to multiple health impacts including prostate cancer, breast cancer, infertility, diabetes, ADHD and autism.

Maybe not all EDCs would require a 20,000-fold reduction. Perhaps only a 1000-fold. But there are at least several hundred endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in use today that could follow this pattern. All would see greatly heightened restrictions on their uses.

And that represents an existential threat to the chemical industry.

3M made headlines this year for their manufacture and use of PFAS chemicals, which are contaminating water supplies across the U.S. (Credit: Holger.Ellgaard/Wikimedia Commons)

I am not anti-chemical, nor anti-chemist. We need chemicals, including plastics, to make modern civilization work. What we need, however, is to do a much better job at designing the next generation of inherently safer materials, safer than the mix we have today, which has been deployed with far too little attention to its inherent toxicity.

I've spent a significant part of my work over the last decade helping chemists design safer chemicals. I want to help them grab market share in the booming demand for safer materials. I want to help them make money.

Some people claim that chemical regulations stifle innovation. Just the opposite is true. It will require tremendous innovation to move away from hazardous chemicals and toward materials that are safer. It can be done. The scientific knowledge we possess today about what causes chemical harm is deep and wide, so much better than what we knew when hazardous materials in widespread use today were designed. Let's use that knowledge to innovate.

What's the long-term landscape? A series of events and scientific discoveries over the last two decades are revealing that not only have long-standing chemical industry practices harmed people's health, investors taking positions in chemical companies may be exposing their wealth to unexpected and large financial risks.

These risks arise from a core reality of the business of establishing what is safe and what is not: Chemicals are not thoroughly testedif at allfor safety before being released into the market, resulting in widespread if not universal exposure, including to highly vulnerable populations like babies still in the womb. Serious harmful effects often are not detected until decades later.

All too often, as effects are discovered the responsible partywhich made the initial mistake to incorporate a poorly understood chemical in products and take them to global scaledoubles down in efforts to hide or dismiss concerns about safety, using toolkits to manufacture doubt developed by the tobacco and lead industries.

Internal memos obtained through legal discovery reveal that the companies, sometimes decades earlier, had ignored or hidden scientific evidence that raised safety concerns. Three prominent examples emerged in in the past few years alone: Monsanto/Bayer with the Roundup herbicide, Johnson & Johnson with asbestos in its talc baby powder, and 3M and DuPont with their manufacture and use of perfluorinated Teflon-related "forever" chemicals, PFAS.

Thousands of lawsuits are being heard against those companies now. Shareholder values plummet as juries reach decisions. Billions of dollars are at stake. And there will be more.

Monsanto had earned a bad rap for misbehavior with its chemicals for decades. But Johnson and Johnson, 3M and DuPont didn't. They had been widely regarded as good corporate citizens. If even they have laundry this dirty in their past, how many other companies have pursued similar practices? Unquestionably many.

But with the practices so widespread, perhaps the pertinent question is, can any company within this sector be presumed innocent? It's just too common a business practice. It's standard operating procedure.

Another example: Bill Moyers' 2001 documentary Trade Secrets unveiled an early 1970s conspiracy by several seemingly respected chemical companies to hide devastating scientific discoveries about the health risks of vinyl chloride, one of the most important chemicals for the plastics industry. The conspiracy involved Conoco, BF Goodrich, Dow, Shell, Ethyl and Union Carbide, some of the founding fathers of the chemical revolution.

A new weapon against these bad practices has emerged and matured since the tobacco settlements of the late 1980s: the creation of large, searchable databases of internal documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits, showing what the companies knew and when they knew it, and also how they conspired with federal agencies to derail needed safety regulations.

The two biggest databases are the Chemical Industry Documents Library at the University of California San Francisco, and ToxicDocs, a similar database of 20 million internal documents dating back as far as 1920, hosted by Columbia University and City University of New York. The UCSF library now includes a large set of documents released by the Attorney General of Minnesota upon settlement of an $850 million suit against 3M last February.

The lawsuits currently underway against Monsanto/Bayer, 3M and Johnson & Johnson will undoubtedly add additional documents that provide yet more evidence of cover-ups that commenced long ago. It already is a positive feedback loop, as new documents add to the body of evidence, which then stimulate more lawsuits.

Financial risks arise for chemical industry investments from a different direction as well: the advance of science demonstrating harm, and the evolution of science to determine what is safe.

The discovery of harm can be slow arrivingsometimes decades after a chemical is first put on the marketbut impacts of harm can nonetheless be devastating.

For example, 3M's and DuPont's forever chemicals (perfluorinated compounds, or PFAS, which degrade very slowly in the environment, if at all) were first used in products in the 1940s. Scientific concerns about them started to appear in the 1990s, although internal documents indicate the companies had known decades earlier. Most of the concerns have been about cancer, low birth weights, immune system function and birth defects.

Last year, a science team in Italy unveiled results revealing a new, different set of adverse impacts, this time on male reproduction. They include decreased penis size, reduced sperm count and structural changes in the reproductive tract, classic signs of endocrine disruption. And the team's research confirmed that the contaminants interfere with testosterone action.

Even without the penis effect, 3M settled that $850M suit with the State of Minnesota. DuPont settled a case in West Virginia for $671 million in 2017 and this month the film Dark Waters starring Mark Ruffalo tells the story of the company's decades-long treachery. New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York have ongoing lawsuits.

As of the end of 2019, research by the U.S. military, the Environmental Working Group and others have documented PFAS contamination in more than 400 sites around the U.S. According to one analysis, 110 million Americans have drinking water contaminated by unsafe levels of these chemicals. This estimate is likely to grow substantially with the discovery of PFAS in artificial turf and leaching therefrom into surface water, and the haphazard disposal of untold tons of artificial turf once it wears out and must be replaced.

Many other suits will unquestionably be filed. And that's just in the U.S. These chemicals have already created furors about public health in Australia and Canada.

Lab materials from the lab of Cheryl Rosenfeld, a University of Missouri professor and researcher who studies BPA. (Credit: Cheryl Rosenfeld)

But if there is an existential threat on the horizon for the chemical enterprise, it's the compelling evidence that two of the most basic assumptions used by regulatory agencies to determine what is safe and what is not are flat out wrong. One assumption is that it's sufficient to examine chemicals one at a time. The second bedrock assumption is that high dose testing can be used to detect low dose effects. These assumptions have underpinned literally every single risk assessment (what's safe and what's not) of a chemical that has ever been done anywhere in the world.

"One at a time" fails because it doesn't acknowledge that no one is ever exposed to just one chemical at a time. We are exposed to hundreds if not thousands.

What does every physician ask a patient for whom the doc is about to prescribe a drug? What medicines are you already taking? That's because chemicals interact. One of the most ridiculous uses of this assumption is perhaps in testing pesticides. The EPA tests the "active" ingredient of a pesticide. Yet the pesticide that is available for purchase is a mixture of dozens of chemicals, many of which are added to the product sold explicitly to ENHANCE THE IMPACT OF THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT.

How can you assess pesticide safety without considering the whole product, not just the active ingredient? You can't.

"High dose testing" falls on the sword of what endocrinologists call "non-monotonicity." Many syllables, but a simple concept: Hormones, and chemicals that behave like or interfere with hormones, do different things at different doses. There are many examples of this in the scientific literature of endocrinology, the study of hormones. This is an anathema to traditional and regulatory toxicology, because that "science" maintains that "the dose makes the poison," which the regulatory agencies interpret to mean "higher doses have bigger effects."

EHN recruited a reporter, Lynne Peeples, to investigate the FDA's execution of the roughly $30 million project to reconcile their conclusions with the work of 14 independent academic labs showing harm at low levels for over a year. The investigation found that the FDA worked to ignore or discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings. Key to their conclusions was rejecting statistically significant non-monotonic patterns in their own data, because, they asserted, the non-monotonic findings were not biologically meaningful. In other words, non-monotonic patterns aren't real.

"The dose makes the poison" seems like common sense, but common sense has failed us many times in the past. Think about quantum physics or plate tectonics. Our understanding of the modern world depends upon the practical implications of those discoveries. Non-monotonicity isn't nearly as revolutionary as those scientific fields, but it is profoundly important for human health. And it is a standard, widely accepted concept in endocrinology and pharmacology. In 2012, the then-Director of NIEHS, Linda Birnbaum, editorialized that non-monotonicity should be the default assumption in the study of EDCs.

While there are multiple molecular mechanisms leading to non-monotonicity, the easiest (but incomplete) way to think about it is this: Hormones and endocrine disrupting compounds turn on one set of genes at one dose, and another at higher. Sometimes the higher dose turns on genes that shut down the genes that were stimulated by the low dose. In this case, the effect of the low dose is not visible when using high doses. It's analogous to the way a thermostat works. If the room is cold, the furnace is on. But when the temperature hits the desired temperature, the thermostat turns the furnace off.

Sometimes the high dose is so high that instead of turning on genes it becomes overtly toxic. Here's an example: doses of one part per billion of a specific endocrine disrupting chemical delivered to an infant rat causes morbid obesity as the animal matures. This is research by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. In contrast, a dose of the same compound 1,000 times higher causes weight loss.

The vital piece of information needed to understand why this invalidates today's chemical safety testing requires understanding how the regulatory tests are performed. The lab doing the safety testing starts at high doses and then delivers lower and lower doses to different test groups. Once they find a dose that no longer causes a difference between the exposed and the control animals, testing stops. They use a series of safety factors, usually dividing that no effect dose by 1,000, to estimate the safe dose.

Seems logical. Seems common sense. If dose X doesn't cause an effect, dose X divided by 1,000 is surely safe. But endocrinology doesn't work that way. That might defy common sense, but it is scientific reality.

And unfortunately, because it seems so logical, the regulatory agencies in standard mode NEVER test at the estimated safe dose. 1,000-fold below? Why bother.

To save money and time, they assume that the dose 1,000-fold lower is safe.

Unfortunately, many published scientific papers now show that doses way below the "no effect" dose can cause serious adverse effects. It isn't that the high doses are safer. They, too, cause problems. It's that the effects are different. The low dose effects are serious toolike morbid obesity and reduced fertility.

Here's the one very practical implication I mentioned at the beginning: If the FDA were to acknowledge statistically significant non-monotonicity in their test of BPAwhich analysis by independent scientists has confirmedthe safe dose of would be reduced by a factor of more than 20,000-fold. BPA would become virtually unusable.

For a webinar from Carnegie Mellon University featuring four of the world's leading experts on BPA explaining this calculation, go here. This webinar contains four presentations all focused on the FDA-NIEHS collaboration called CLARITY-BPA. The presentations work through why CLARITY was launched, what was found by the FDA 'guideline' study (conducted like a standard regulatory test but including low doses), what was found by 14 independent academic laboratories who also were part of CLARITY, and analysis of what it means.

Bisphenol A is one of the plastics industry's most important molecules. Incredibly cheap to make, incredibly abundant in production, incredibly important to the bottom line. Alsoincredibly dangerous to human health.

Removing that one molecule alone would send tectonic signals throughout the chemical enterprise. And yet BPA is but one of at least a hundred or more molecules that have non-monotonic patterns. The replacement chemicals for BPA currently touted as 'BPA-free' are likely to be among them, although many have not been tested. 'BPA-free' does not mean 'safe.'

Non-monotonicity is truly an existential threat to today's chemical enterprise. If that enterprise is to become sustainable, it must embrace this basic endocrinological reality.

Embracing it is a path to reversing today's epidemics of chronic diseases that are driven, at least in part, by chemical hacking of the hormone messaging system by endocrine disrupting compounds.

Pete Myers, is board chair and chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences. He is also the founder of EHN, though the publication is editorially independent.

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Looking ahead: Hormone-altering chemicals threaten our health, finances and future - Environmental Health News

Benefits of Meditation100 Ways Meditation is Good for Your Health – Parade

As we race from task to task and juggle lifes responsibilities, many of us strive to calm our minds and feel centered. Practicing meditation and mindfulness can help get us therein fact, the benefits of meditation are plentiful.

Meditation helps people hit the pause button, helping them become more present in a given moment, says Spring Washam, meditation educator and author of A Fierce Heart.

Its like the TV is blaring, and then we turn it off for a moment, and we just take a breath, she says. Meditation is a way that we gain that a sort of calmness and a centeredness and we connect with ourselves in that moment.

Whether its five minutes or 20 minutes, finding time to meditate throughout the day can help you feel happier and more at peace. And, your mind and body will thank you. Meditation offers a wealth of benefits to improve your physical health and well being.

Related: 10 Ways Meditation Can Fix Your Life

1. It lowers cortisol levels. Research shows that mindfulness meditation lowers levels of cortisol, the hormone that causes stress. Reducing cortisol can decrease general stress, anxiety and depression.

2. You can better deal with stress. Meditation brings a sense of calm to the mind and body that can reduce stress, Washam says.

When the mind relaxes and lets go, the body follows, she says. We want our adrenaline and our nervous system to take a break at times, to unplug, to recycle, to rejuvenate.

3. It eases anxiety. Meditation is literally the perfect, portable anti-anxiety treatment, says health coach Traci Shoblom. Taking just a few minutes to close your eyes and do breathing exercises can turn off the mechanisms in your brain that cause anxiety.

4. It reduces depression symptoms. Depression is a series mental health condition often triggered by stress and anxiety. Research suggests meditation can change areas of the brain, including the me center and fear center, that are linked to depression. People who meditate also show increased gray matter in the brains hippocampus, responsible for memory.

5. Youll get a mood boost. Meditation helps you deal with stress, anxiety and difficult situations, which makes you happier and feel better. Were just able to deal with difficult things without letting it affect your mood, Washam says.

6. You can retrain your brain. The brain tends to develop as its used. Meditation may retrain the brain to use the prefrontal cortex, known as the me center, to regulate the amygdala, or fear center, says researcher and author Bracha Goetz.

This means that when faced with a stressor, when we are not meditating, we will have gotten in the habit of using our prefrontal cortex to direct our minds back to think more calmly and clearly focus, rather than letting our impulsive reactions direct us, Goetz says.

7. Its good for your heart. Research shows meditation can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, says Chirag Shah, physician and founder of online healthcare platform Push Health. Meditation positively impacts blood pressure, heart muscle effectiveness and general cardiovascular mortality.

8. It lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure affects about 30% of U.S. adults and is considered a worldwide epidemic that heightens the risk of stroke and heart attack. Meditation may improve blood pressure naturally, without medication, research shows.

9. It enhances serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical produced in nerve cells that works as a natural mood stabilizer. When you meditate, youll increase serotonin levels, which Washam says acts like a natural anti-depressant.

10. Youll break bad habits. Whether its smoking or shopping too much, meditation brings awareness to your actions in that moment and help you break the cycle of a bad habit, Washam says.

Most habits form unconsciously, she says, and, Over time, (meditation) brings awareness to what were doing, so were not acting out unconsciously. Mindfulness interrupts the habit.

11. Youll strengthen relationships. Good communication, empathy and respect are the hallmarks of a strong relationship, and meditation helps improve all of those qualities. Creating a deeper connection with yourself makes relationships easier and more fulfilling, Washam says.

The moment I become present, Im available to my partner, to my friends, to myself, she says.

12. It boosts concentration. When so many things are racing through our minds at any given time, it can be tough to concentrate on tasks at work or even hobbies like reading a book. Meditation centers your mind so you can focus on what you need to get done.

13. It helps build inner strength. Weve all been stuck in traffic or in a long, boring meeting and couldnt wait to escape. Practicing meditation and mindfulness helps build inner strength and endurance to calmly get through these situations, Washam says.

It creates an ability to be in the moment no matter how it is, she says. Were just able to be with difficult things without unraveling or letting it affect you.

14. Youll learn to be present. Research shows meditation can decrease brain activity in the default mode network (DMN), the part of the brain that wonders, worries and overthinks, helping us stay in the present, says Adina Mahalli, relationship expert and mental health professional at Maple Holistics.

Meditation promotes being in the present moment and focusing our thoughts, Mahalli says, explaining that meditation works the brain like a muscle. The more you meditate the more easily youre able to snap out of DMN mode and into the present.

15. Youll become comfortable in stillness. These days, most of us are always on the go and rarely take the time to calm down. Meditation can make you feel comfortable with stillness, says Josee Perron, life coach and yoga and meditation teacher.

Weve become accustomed to needing to be on the go all the time, Perron says. But, so much running around doesnt leave any time for stillness, which is the gateway to connecting with your deeper inner self.

16. It helps with brain fog. If you struggle with concentration, forget things easily and have a hard time focusing, you might have brain fog. Its often caused by stress, and a meditation practice can calm your mind and let you focus on your breath so you feel more present.

Meditation cuts through the fog because were waking up in that moment in a way, literally, Washam says. Were stopping the habitual distraction, which has effects in the brain long term.

17. Youll better handle anger. Getting angry is a natural feeling when dealing with difficult people or situations. If you act impulsively, you could make things worse, however. When you meditate, you train your brain to focus on the present, and this can help you learn to control and process your emotions in the moment.

Maybe youre upset, but you slow down and just feel your emotions, Washam says. Just that simple act of turning toward your breath creates a kind of relief in the mind.

18. You can work through grudges. Holding onto anger and reliving past wrongs in your mind takes a toll on the mind and body. To calm these feelings, Washam suggests using STOP, a mindfulnessbased meditation technique, which stands for stopping in the moment, taking a breath, observing your internal feelings and proceeding with your day.

19. Youll live in the moment. Learning to focus and live in the moment is important benefit of meditation, but its easier said than done. Often, our thoughts turn to past events or things we need or want to do in the future, and we seem to forget about the here and now.

20. It helps you cope with pain. Meditation activates areas of the brain that are associated with processing pain, so mindful breathing can help people manage chronic pain, says Megan Junchaya, health coach and founder of Vibe N Thrive. Research shows that even a short amount of meditation can boost pain tolerance and reduce pain-related anxietyand, it could possibly alleviate the need for opioid pain medication.

21. Meditation helps you relax. Learning to simply relax and keep calm under pressure are huge mental and physical health benefits of meditation. Practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and lower blood pressure so youll feel more relaxed.

22. Youll sleep better. Most Americans dont get enough sleep, and its tough to get through the day when youre exhausted. Its also bad for your health. When you meditate, you may find yourself drifting off to sleep more easily and getting better quality sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Related: 5 Mental Health Influencers Explain Why Meditation for Sleep Really Works

23. It helps with insomnia. If you have a sleep disorder, like insomnia, meditation can be especially helpful. It reduces anxiety and retrains the brain to slow down and respond differently to stressors.

24. But, you may not need as much sleep. Meditation is not a sleep replacement, and we all need our eight hours. But, when long-term meditation practitioners spent several hours meditating, they experienced a significant drop in sleep time compared to those who dont meditate, according to a 2010 study published in Behavioral and Brain Functions.

25. Meditation teaches you to self-soothe. You will learn to work through anxiety, anger and other problems so that you dont turn to unhealthy behaviors, like drugs or alcohol, to self-soothe.

26. Youll become your own cheerleader. Meditation acts as a support system to help you through a rough time. Youll realize the value of celebrating your strengths and successes and not worrying so much about any faults or mistakes.

27. It reduces inflammation. Meditations ability to help reduce stress is well known. But, chronic stress creates inflammation in the body, which is linked with heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity, says Paul Claybrook, a certified nutritionist.

28. It adds balance to your life. Finding balancewhether its juggling work and home life, dealing with stress and taking some down timeis vital for our mental health and well-being. Practicing mindfulness and learning to center your thoughts will get you there.

29. Youll be more productive. Bringing more awareness to your day-to-day focuses you on the task at hand, rather than jumping around from one project to anotherand, this increases productivity, says Cory Muscara, founder of Long Island Mindfulness Center.

When were going through our day on autopilot, we miss those quick transition moments from working on a project to scrolling through our friends cat pictures on Facebook, he says. The quicker we catch these transitions, the quicker we can come back to the task at hand, and the more we can get done.

30. It boosts the immune system. Among the many health benefits of meditation is an immune system boost, says Mick Cassell, clinical hypnotherapist and founder of wellness app ThinkWell-LiveWell. Research shows that mindfulness lowers blood pressure and enhances the immune system, making you feel better and maybe even live longer.

31. It improves mental functioning. Practice meditation regularly and youll see a chain reaction that leads to better mental functioning, Cassell says. That can include becoming more relaxed, sleeping better and improving concentration, reasoning, performance and productivity.

32. Youll feel more creative. Meditation helps you dial up your creativity, which you can extend to your daily life, Cassell says. Creativity offers benefits like problem-solving, adaptability and self-confidence.

33. It makes you kind. We all need a little more kindness in our lives, and meditation can do the trick. A type of meditation, called Metta, focuses on a feelings-related practice that promotes kindness, says Stella Samuel, wellness coach at Brandnic.com.

34. It improves memory. Meditation enhances cognitive function, which can be a mood-booster and help prevent memory loss, says Brittany Ferri, occupational therapist and founder of Simplicity of Health.

35. Meditation prevents burnout. As we work longer hours and continue to add to our load of responsibilities, its easy to burn out. Practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction could actually shrink the part of the brain that causes worry and fear, and strengthens the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for personality development, research suggests.

36. Youll have a spiritual awakening. Meditation takes us to a place deep inside ourselves, which can bring feelings of love and peace. For some, that could lead to a spiritual awakening.

37. Meditation builds resilience. Focusing on all emotionshappiness, failure and regretlets you observe these feelings and experience a seat of awareness, says Sherrell Moore-Tucker, author and wellness educator.

While sitting with those feelings and experiences, inner strength is cultivated and resilience emerges, she says.

38. Your sex life will heat up. Mindfulness lets you tap into a more authentic, compassionate and honest relationship to sex, says Shauna Shapiro, clinical psychologist and author of Good Morning, I Love You. Studies show practicing mindfulness increases sexual arousal and overall sexual satisfaction, because it enhances your connection with your body.

39. It promotes mindful eating. Our relationship with food can be a complex one, and dieting or overeating can be harmful to our physical and mental health. Mindfulness helps counter your consciousness and reactivity around food, adding to the enjoyment of eating while recognizing hunger cues, Shapiro says.

As we eat mindfully, we are able to listen to the messages of our body, recognizing what foods our body wants, as well as appreciating when we feel hungry and when we become full, she says.

40. Youll become more in tune with your body. Many of us go through the day with a constant dialogue running through our minds. Meditation facilitates a direct experience, or wordless experience of pure sensation, says Brooke Nicole Smith, mindful eating expert and integrative wellness and life coach. This lets you learn to check in with the body.

41. It helps you deal with uncomfortable situations. Getting out of your comfort zone builds strength and leads to personal growth. Meditation teaches you to experience discomfort without freaking out about it, opening the door to new possibilities, where youll feel more comfortable asking for a raise, having a tough conversation or tackling anything else youve been avoiding, Smith says.

42. It could alter gene expression. Research shows that mindfulness-based meditation can lead to molecular changes in the body, which may reduce levels of pro-inflammatory genes. That means you could recover more quickly from stressful situations.

43. Meditation could help fight addiction. Practicing mindfulness lets you better control emotions, thoughts and behaviors, giving you greater control over subconscious habits and addictions, Junchaya says. Research suggests mindfulness-based interventions could treat addictions, including alcohol, smoking, opioids and other drugs.

44. Meditation fosters accountability. Self-exploration leads to self-awareness. Meditation teaches you to own up to actions and behaviors, and stop living in denial or lying to yourself about issues in your life, says Fran Walfish, family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent.

45. Youll make better decisions. Being constantly on the go means we often make impulsive decisions. Since meditation helps you slow down, you can make better decisions and fewer mistakes in your home and work life, says Sadi Khan, fitness research analyst at RunRepeat.

46. It boosts self-esteem. Meditation helps quell negative thoughts, calms the mind and reduces anxiety, helping you feel good about yourself and the decisions you make.

47. Meditation eases loneliness. A study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity showed older adults, who took part in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program, saw a decrease in pro-inflammatory gene expressionand, this reduced feelings of loneliness.

48. It improves memory. Brief meditation training has been shown to improve visuo-spatial processing, working memory and executive functioning, according to a study published in Consciousness and Cognition. After just four days of meditation training, people showed a stronger ability to pay attention longer.

49. It can alleviate PMS. Headaches, cramps, hot flashes and water retentionmeditation has been shown to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and change how you perceive period pain, according to a study published in Mindfulness.

50. Meditation may improve arthritis symptoms. Several studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction can help manage chronic pain, which is welcome news for people living with arthritis. Embracing meditation can help lessen the intensity of pain, enhance functionality and improve mood and quality of life.

51. It changes how the body responds to stress. Stressful situations happen, but meditation helps you manage your reactions to stress. Not only is this good for your health, it can also diffuses stressful moments so they dont escalate.

52. Meditation encourages movement. Meditation fosters a mind-body connection that will encourage you to get up and move. Combined with yoga, tai chi or a casual walk, meditation focuses on being present in your own body and expanding awareness during physical activity, says Lisa Ballehr, an osteopathic physician.

53. It helps you focus. Having trouble focusing on a specific task? Meditation can change that. It could be the simple act of sitting down to a good meal or pushing through a workout session, but the intent is to focus on simply that task at hand and not letting the mind wander, Ballehr says.

54. Youll become more self-confident. Once you learn that you are not your thoughts, you can finally let go of your fears, says Lucile Hernandez Rodriguez, a yoga teacher and holistic health coach. Focusing on your meditation practice helps you find stability, peace of mind and self-acceptance.

55. It promotes emotional stability. Meditation lets you focus on your mind and identify thought patterns, so that you can address them, Rodriguez says. Youll discover healthy ways to deal with your emotions and repressed feelings.

56. Youll perform better. So much focus is on productivity and getting as much done as you can in a day. Meditation can improve performance in all areas of your life. Meditation is commonly used by high-performers in every discipline, as it helps you find your state of flow and truly excel in a task, Rodriguez says.

57. Youll get in touch with your inner voice. When we calm the overactive mind through meditation, we open ourselves up to new feelings and experiences. We are able to tune into and listen to that voice within, our intuition, versus the confusing chitter chatter of our minds stories, says Tara Skubella, an earthing and meditation expert and founder of Earth Tantra.

58. Youll learn to focus your breathing. Breathing is a natural function of the body, of course, but how often do you truly focus on each breath? Meditation provides a space for us to slow and deepen our breath for more oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, Skubella says.

59. Youll make a mind-body connection. How often do we actually give ourselves permission to feel even the most subtle sensations within the body? Skubella asks. If we listen, our body will let us know what needs to be healed.

Practicing meditation provides a chance to stop and build a relationship with the body.

60. Meditation keeps your brain younger. When you focus on your breath during meditation, youre also giving the brain a boost, says Tara Huber of Take Five Meditation. Research published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement shows that regular mindfulness meditation can even slow the aging process and reverse brain aging.

61. It helps you cope with trauma. The death of a loved one or recovering from past abuse can mean dealing with trauma and grief on a daily basis. Meditation can provide emotional safety and focus, so that you can process these feelings, says meditation teacher Colette Coleman.

62. It keeps distractions away. The need for constant multitasking can have our minds scattered. A mindfulness practice pushes away distractions so that you can tackle your to-do list in a calculated way.

63. Youll simplify your life. Living peacefully in the moment not only helps you feel more present, but it relieves the pressure of having to do so much. After we adjust to the challenges of quieting ourselves and letting go of restlessness, we can feel the relief of not having to constantly do, says Connie Habash, psychotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher, and author of Awakening from Anxiety. This realization lets you simplify your life and find joy.

64. Youll feel more alert. Fighting drowsiness and brain fog may be a daily occurrence. Mindfulness training can improve your ability to stay continually alert over a longer period of time, says Keiland Cooper, neuroscientist at the University of California. Research shows that meditation increases activation of the prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotion and attention, and decreases activity in the amygdala, which controls fear.

65. Youll become more patient. Patience is truly a virtue, especially dealing with difficult people. Meditation allows you to become more adept at dealing with mental distractions, maintaining calm in moments of chaos, improving patience levels, increasing your tolerance of others (and yourself), and responding thoughtfully instead of reacting emotionally throughout your day, says Amber Trueblood, a marriage and family therapist and author.

66. Youll be more tolerant of others. It may be tough to see eye-to-eye with difficult co-workers or relatives with differing political views. A regular meditation practice will keep you calm in these instances so you can embrace tolerance. Its an important part of building relationships.

67. Meditation enhances your metabolism. Practicing meditation will likely inspire you to move more or take up yoga or another fitness routine. Research has also shown a link between mindfulness and an enhanced metabolism.

68. It improves digestion. The mind-body balance and reduced stress that youll experience from meditation is great for your digestive system. It could relieve symptoms of indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and other health issues.

69. Youll have more energy. Maintaining a mind-body connection and reducing stress will give you an energy boost. Meditation helps you feel less weighed down by your emotions and ready to move or take on new projects.

70. Youll have better impulse control. Through practicing mindfulness, youll learn to center your mind and focus on your breath, which helps you control your emotions and impulses.

71. Meditation releases endorphins. The practice of meditation releases endorphins and lowers cortisol levels, making you feel happier and more energetic.

72. Meditation helps curb food cravings. The self-control and stress management that you learn through practicing mindfulness could help curb food cravings and break unhealthy eating habits. It lets you tap into whats driving you to specific foods, Amber Stevens, integrative nutrition health coach and author of Food, Feelings and Freedom.

Meditation lets you master your own mind, so you can pause and ask yourself, Why is this ice cream important, and allow your mind to connect dots, she says, adding that youll be open to explore, not critique, your eating habits.

73. Meditation reduces instances of binge eating. Mindfulness meditation can decrease binge eating and emotional eating, according to a study published in Eating Behaviors.

74. Meditation could help you lose weight. Research has linked meditation to more mindful eating, a boost in metabolism and increased energy levels, which suggests that it could help with weight loss.

75. Youll better understand hunger cues. If you tend to feel peckish in the afternoons, mindfulness could help you get in touch with the real reason why. It may not be actual hunger, says Pamela Hernandez, personal trainer and health coach.

Mindfulness helps get sense how hungry they are and other emotions they are feeling that might lead them to overeat, she says. It creates a more mindful state, which gives you a better chance of pushing away from the table before you reach the stuffed feeling of overeating.

76. It helps you forget about past wrongs. Rather than letting the past define (you), fully surrender to the now and embrace your journey in its entirety without shame or guilt, says AnushaWijeyakumar, wellness coach and meditation and mindfulness educator.

Meditation helps you leave the past in the past and drown out the noise thats preventing you from experiencing inner peace, she says. Youll sever any attachment to past wrongs and move forward.

77. Youll quiet negative thoughts. Learn to let go of the past and crush negative thoughts, which may be holding you back. Replace those negative thoughts with something positive.

Change I am not good enough into I am more than enough, Wijeyakumar says.

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Benefits of Meditation100 Ways Meditation is Good for Your Health - Parade

Should You Try Intermittent Fasting in 2020? – Psychology Today

Always consult your doctor before undertaking a new diet or fasting routine.This is not medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your physician or nutritionist.

Fasting has become extremely popular as a tool for weight loss, anti-aging, and longevity, and for its benefits to mental and physical health.

All this can take its toll on your energy levels, affect your mood, and of course, make it more likely youll gain weight.

You may not choose to try intermittent fasting during the holidaysI get it. But its worth a reminder, as we enter the season, that paying attention not only to theWHATof your diet, but also theWHEN, matters for sleep, as well as for your mood, cognitive performance, and overall health.

What is intermittent fasting?

When you practice intermittent fasting, you designate regular, specific times to eat nothing or to consume very few calories. When your body goes into a fasting mode, your digestive system quiets. Your bodyuses this timetorepair and restore itself at a cellular level. Fasting also triggers the body to use its stored fat for energy, making it a potentially effective strategy for weight loss.

The period of nightly sleep is a natural fast we undertake every night, most of us without even realizing thats what were doing. Indeed, a waking fasting state and a sleep state share several characteristics, including a body with cells engaged in repair, and a body that is taking a rest from the demanding work of digestion.

How does intermittent fasting work?

Creating a fasting routine isnt complicated. (But you should always talk with your doctor about making changes to your diet, and before you begin a fasting regimen.) There are a number of routines that are commonly used with intermittent fasting.

Its worth noting that despite all the attention its getting, fasting isnt a new practice. People have used fasting for thousands of years as a cultural, religious, spiritual and health practice.

The health benefits of fasting

A growing body of research shows the potentialbenefits for health and disease protection from intermittent fasting. Fasting can result in weight loss, according to research. Studies showfasting can improve insulin sensitivity, lower inflammation, and improve markers for heart disease including lowering levels of unhealthful LDL cholesterol. Intermittent fasting has been shown to have the potential totreat some cancers, as well asneurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimersand Parkinsons. Theres also evidence that fasting may help reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Time-restricted eating can improve immune function and enhancethe bodys ability to repair cellsand DNA. Fasting induces a cellular process known asautophagy, which is when the body clears itselfof damaged cells, spurring the growth of new, healthy cells. Autophagy is one way the body maintains more youthful, functional cells and protects against disease, by eliminating aged cells that behave dysfunctionally and clearing the body of toxins that build up in older cells.

Intermittent fasting increases the bodysnatural production of human growth hormone. Human growth hormone encourages fat burning and protects lean muscle mass, aids in cellular repair, and may help to slow aging. Fasting can reduce unhealthful inflammation and boost the bodys ability to protect itself against oxidative stress, which is one significant contributor to aging and disease.

The science of fasting and sleep

Eating and sleeping are two fundamental processes that are also deeply entwined. Both are essential for survival. Both are regulated by internal, homeostatic drives and also by circadian rhythms. Many people know circadian rhythms play a big role in regulating sleep. But eating, hunger, and digestion have their own circadian rhythmicity.

Eating and sleeping arent just influenced by circadian rhythms. They alsoexert influences back on those rhythms themselves. An irregular sleeping routine can de-synchronize a well-timed circadian clockand throw daily rhythms off course. Thetiming of meals also affects our circadian clocks and the function of circadian rhythms that exert a powerful influence over our sleep.

A growing body of research indicatesfasting has a strengthening effect on circadian rhythms, helping tokeep circadian clocks synchronized. Because circadian rhythms exert a strong influence over nearly all the bodys processes (as well as most of our behavior), a more robust, synchronized clock has profound effects on health. Well-synchronized clocks support healthy metabolic activity, stronger immunity, andbetter, more restful and restorative sleep-wake cycles. Disrupted circadian clocks are closely linked to aging and disease. Keeping the bodys master bio clock in sync is one criticalway to slow biological aging and potentially extend lifespan.

Other recent research has demonstrated theeffects thatfasting can have directly on sleep, and also on conditions that affect sleep. For example, one study in mice found that a24-hour fasting period, followed by a meal, led to deeper levels of non-REM sleep. Research has shown that fasting may help toreduce chronic pain,elevate mood and decrease inflammationall conditions to which improvements will also benefit sleep.

A lot of people turn to intermittent fasting and to calorie restriction as a means to lose weight. Studies indicate periodicfasting can help with weight loss,including helping to push beyond a weight loss plateau. Its important to note that researchincludingthis 2018 studyshow that even when fasting doesnt lead to weight loss, it canimprove underlying cardiometabolic health,increasing insulin sensitivity, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, lowering inflammation, bringing appetite under control (including reducing cravings for sugar). Maintaining a healthy weight, protecting cardiometabolic health, and adhering to a healthful diet will all translate into more restful, plentiful, high-quality sleep.

Whether you explore fasting as a practice with the guidance of your doctor or begin to pay more mindful attention to your daily eating patterns, a greater awareness of thewhenof your eating will make you feel and sleep better, right through the holidays and beyond.

Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., DABSM

The Sleep Doctor

http://www.thesleepdoctor.com

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Should You Try Intermittent Fasting in 2020? - Psychology Today

This Is Your Body On Intermittent Fasting – HuffPost

Its no surprise that intermittent fasting is one of the most popular types of eating plans. You dont need to measure out food or buy any prepackaged shakes. There are no required weigh-ins or calorie counting. All you really have to do is not eat during certain hours. Its pretty simple.

There are different ways to go about it, of course. Most people do the 16:8 diet, in which you fast for 16 hours and then eat within an eight-hour window. Theres also the 5:2 diet, where you drastically cut back on calories just two days a week, and there are 24-hour fasts, where you dont eat anything one day each month.

Regardless of the method, significantly restricting when you eat can throw your body for a loop and cause a handful of odd side effects. Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone. (People with a history of disordered eating, for example, should definitely avoid it.)

Its important to know what to expect before you jump into any new eating habit. Heres what happens to you mentally, physically and emotionally when youre fasting intermittently.

You might lose weight.

Many health experts, including personal trainer Jillian Michaels, say that intermittent fasting actually isnt that great for weight loss. Thats because youre not necessarily eating less or cutting back on calories. There are just longer gaps in your day when youre not eating at all.

That said, many people do lose weight because they consume fewer calories during those restricted food hours.

Eating for only eight hours a day also makes it less likely that youre having a big meal right before bedtime. Our metabolism goes down when we sleep and we burn fewer calories. Nighttime eating has been linked to both obesity and diabetes.

Intermittent fasting really does keep you from doing some really bad things, which is to eat a big meal before you go to bed, said Dr. John Morton, a bariatric surgeon with Yale Medicine. Big meals before bed are probably the worst thing you can do when it comes to weight loss, he added.

You could get super hungry.

A lot of people who fast experience hunger pangs, mainly when they start the program. Thats because our bodies are accustomed to using glucose a sugar that comes from the food we eat for fuel throughout the day. When its deprived of food (and, therefore, glucose), the body will essentially send signals saying, Hello, arent you forgetting something here?

Once your body gets into the groove of fasting, it will start burning stored body fat for energy rather than glucose. And as you spend more time in a fasted state, your body will get increasingly efficient at burning fat for energy.

In short, those hunger pangs should dissipate and your appetite will level out, Morton said. He added that fasters will ultimately have fewer cravings and hunger pangs the more consistently they fast.

In the meantime, that hungry feeling may drive some people to overeat. The natural tendency is when you havent eaten breakfast, you go, Since I didnt eat breakfast, Im going to eat more [for lunch], Morton noted.

If the hunger pains are bad enough to interfere with your daily life, get something to eat. The idea is not to starve yourself.

jakubzak via Getty Images

Your energy levels and moods will fluctuate.

Research has shown that fasting can cause some people to feel fatigued, dizzy, irritable and depressed.

In the beginning, your energy levels might be low because youre not getting the proper nutrients that you need, said Sharon Zarabi, a registered dietitian and bariatric program director at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

As your body gets used to intermittent fasting, your energy levels will pick back up. Your body becomes more efficient at using energy and this helps improve mood, mental ability and long-term performance, Zarabi said.

Theres even some evidence that suggests intermittent fasting can ultimately help fight depression and anxiety. The body releases a hormone called ghrelin when youre hungry or fasting, which in high amounts has been associated with an elevated mood.

Your gut health may improve.

Many people who partake in intermittent fasting note improved gut health. Fasting gives your gut a chance to rest and reset as your digestive system doesnt have to deal with uncomfortable effects of eating like gas, diarrhea and bloating.

Anytime you fast, youre giving your body a break from trying to metabolize what you just ate, Zarabi said. By fasting, we let the gut microbiome refresh, which in turn improves our overall digestive pathway.

Maskot via Getty Images

You could cut your risk for chronic diseases.

Intermittent fasting has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According to recent research from Mount Sinai, this is because fasting reduces inflammation and reducing inflammation helps our bodies battle various chronic inflammatory diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases. Researchers are still working to figure out how and why this happens, but the evidence so far suggests that the fasting body produces fewer of the subset of monocytes, a kind of blood cell, that are known to damage tissue and trigger inflammation.

This is a big reason why people who fast intermittently may live longer and stay healthier.

Your heart health could improve.

Intermittent fasting can help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides the type of fat in our blood thats associated with heart disease. That is, if you lose weight in the process.

As long as youre losing weight, youre going to improve all those things, Morton said.

Before you start an intermittent fasting program, health experts recommend meeting with a dietitian or physician. Theres a critical distinction between fasting and starving, and if you ignore that, you could wreck your organs and immune system.

The bottom line: pay attention to your body and eat in a way that works best for you.

Continued here:
This Is Your Body On Intermittent Fasting - HuffPost

Battles, scandals, and #MeToo: The riveting and riotous news that made headlines in 2019 – New Times SLO

From fights over cannabis, groundwater, and wastewater to tackling homelessness, politics upped the ante on all sides of the debates that raged in San Luis Obispo County this year. The SLO Police Department, Chief Deanna Cantrell, and the city dealt with some scandals that will continue into 2020, and the long-ranging battle over dust at the Oceano Dunes isn't letting up anytime soon. Highway 101 south of Arroyo Grande's left turns were closed to most likely never open again, and the sale of vaping products is starting to get banned in cities along the coast. We don't have the space to touch on everything, but here's a look back at some of the year's highlights.

Camillia Lanham

Rural residents pushed back against cannabis farming in 2019, as San Luis Obispo County slowly began issuing more cultivation land-use permits throughout the year. Several county-approved grows were appealed and/or challenged in court by lawsuits, injecting bad blood and distrust into the process for both sides. Meanwhile, cannabis applicants continued their complaints about the county's slow, cumbersome, and expensive permitting process. By year's end, the conflict brought a new political leader to the fore: Paso Robles vineyard owner Stephanie Shakofsky, who's behind two lawsuits against cannabis projects and is now looking to unseat 1st District SLO County Supervisor John Peschong in the 2020 election.

The nearly decade-old debate over how to best manage the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin continued this year, culminating in the December adoption of a 20-year sustainability plan to satisfy the state's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The basin, a 684-square-mile aquifer, services much of SLO County's agricultural industryso the Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District's exclusion from the Cooperative Committee had many farmers upset. While North County supervisors placed an emphasis on pumping cutbacks in the plan, the ag industry complained about a lack of other solutions. The debate peaked in September when the California State Board of Food and Agriculture sent a letter to the county that echoed the concerns of some farmers. In 2020, the state Department of Water Resources will decide whether to approve the plan.

The city of Morro Bay went through more than 50 public meetings and 17 possible locations for its anticipated Water Reclamation Facility before it finally pinned down the site on South Bay Boulevard and Highway 1. Amid opposition from a group of city residents, the California Coastal Commission gave Morro Bay its stamp of approval in July. That didn't stop the Citizens for Affordable Living from petitioning against the city's decision to purchase the project site. The petition stopped the city from buying the land, but it's not stopping the project from moving forward with construction.

The dust still hasn't settled on the controversy over the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, and debates regarding the issue in 2019 were no less contentious than in years past. In July, the California Coastal Commission considered imposing regulations that would have limited off-highway vehicle riding in some portions of the Oceano Dunesactivities that are thought to increase potentially dangerous dust particles emitted by the park. The proposed conditions were reluctantly voted down by the commission after hours of impassioned public comment and State Parks Director Lisa Mangat's repeated promises to commit to dust reduction efforts. But months later in November, after State Parks' failure to complete an adequate work plan for dust mitigation, an Air Pollution Control District hearing board voted to hold State Parks to a slightly more stringent stipulated abatement order. In December, State Parks fenced off 48 acres of riding area in the park to adhere to the new order.

South County was host to uproarious debate for several months in 2019 when 5 Cities Homeless Coalition and Peoples' Self-Help Housing announced plans in March to purchase Hillside Church in Grover Beach and replace it with a homeless services facility. The projectit would have included a housing navigation center and offices, transitional housing for youth, and permanent housing unitsfaced vehement opposition from neighbors to the property, who voiced concerns over safety and transparency. "Right idea, wrong location" was the rallying cry among opponents of the project, and in May, one such rival filed legal documents calling into question the ownership of Hillside Church. Peoples' Self-Help Housing and 5 Cities quickly moved on, purchasing office space at another location in Grover in August and space for supportive housing facilities in Pismo in October.

For nearly seven months, James and Becky Grant, with the help of the community, fought to close the El Campo Intersection on Highway 101 after the death of their son Jordan Grant. The first-year computer science student was killed in a motorcycle crash at the intersection in October 2018. The Grants advocated for the elimination of left turns at four intersections along Highway 101 between Los Berros Road and Traffic Way. After a comprehensive study completed by the San Luis Obispo Council of Governmentsthat brought together the California Highway Patrol, the city of Arroyo Grande, and San Luis Obispo CountyCaltrans agreed to the closures.

In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt stopped in SLO during his famous presidential tour of the West and delivered a short speech in what today is Mitchell Park. While his visit was brief, some locals view it as the birth of the city's environmental movement, and so a group led by former City Councilmember John Ashbaugh hatched a plan to put a statue of Roosevelt in the park. But, by the start of 2019, backlash emerged against the statue. Native tribal groups and political leaders like Mayor Heidi Harmon came out against the idea, condemning Roosevelt's views and policies toward indigenous peoples. The clash spilled onto social media platforms and newspaper opinion pages, with the City Council finally voting in July to amend its public art policy to prohibit any statues of individuals on public property. The council has yet to finalize the policyso stay tuned for that in 2020.

Last year was when most of the Central Coast decided to join Monterey Bay Community Power, a multi-city and multi-county agency based in Monterey that procures power on behalf of residents as an alternative to PG&E. While the cities of SLO and Morro Bay started the wave in 2018, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara County all jumped on board this year. The transition (which starts this month for the cities that joined in 2018 and won't occur until 2021 for those that joined in 2019) marks the region's first foray into community choice energy, a public electricity model that promises cheaper and cleaner power to consumers. Monterey Bay Community Power formed in 2018 to serve the residents and businesses of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties and their cities.

San Luis Obispo set one of the most ambitious net-zero emissions targets for a city in the country this year, vowing to take dramatic steps to pursue carbon neutral status by 2035. City staff says the goal is only about 70 percent achievable, but that hasn't stopped elected leaders like Mayor Heidi Harmon from pushing for it. "People won't do small things for small goals," Harmon said recently. "But they will do big things for big goals." SLO's path to net-zero involves a variety of new policies and systemic changes, some of which had already generated controversy in 2019. A new proposed building code to promote all-electric development and disincentivize natural gas infrastructure drew protests from gas workers as well as some residents and policy skeptics. The code is currently on hold pending an investigation into a conflict-of-interest allegation against City Councilmember and local architect Andy Pease, stirred up by the SoCalGas workers' labor union.

Cities throughout San Luis Obispo County saw an increase in their recycling program rates due to an international policy change. China's National Sword policy, which took effect at the beginning of the year, imposes a strict limit on contaminated recyclables. The country's policy change affects what can be tossed in the blue bins across the United States, specifically mixed paper and some plastics that are now labeled as contaminates. The local increase in fees comes from a rise in the number of employees who sort through recycled material. The policy change and increased fees prompted cities to work with local garbage companies to educate residents about what can and can't be recycled.

At the beginning of 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) started looking at the potential of opening up federally-owned land to oil and gas drilling and fracking. By the end of the year, the BLM announced that fracking would cause minimal harm and opened up about 120,000 acres in the county to new oil and gas leases. Meanwhile, at the state level, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on new oil wells that use certain enhanced drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing. The rule will not affect any future proposals for the Arroyo Grande Oil Field currently operated by Sentinel Peak Resources. In 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency finally granted Sentinel Peak the aquifer exemption it needed to potentially expand oil drilling operations in Price Canyon.

It was a rough second half of 2019 for the SLO Police Department, starting in July with Chief Deanna Cantrell leaving her gun behind in the bathroom of El Pollo Loco. A 30-year-old Los Osos man took it home, right before a 10-year-old went in. Cantrell apologized to the community, and the city issued her a two-day suspension and mandatory firearm safety training. A few weeks later, news emerged that on the day the gun went missing, police conducted a warrantless search of a home in pursuit of a lead on Cantrell's weapon, relying on a database that mistakenly showed that the house's owner was on probation. The search resulted in no gun, but in the arrests of the owners on unrelated charges, drawing further scrutiny for the department. In September, a SLO Police Department officer shot and killed a dog in the driveway of its owners' apartment. Police were responding to a false alarm burglary call at the unit when a patrol officer fatally shot 7-year-old Bubs. The incident sparked public outcry and activism that remains ongoing.

Regional water quality regulators finally closed the book on a 20-plus-year investigation into how a cancer-causing chemicaltrichloroethylene (TCE)ended up in the wells of more than a dozen properties near the SLO County Airport. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board blamed a decades-old local machine shop. The shop denied it and pointed to other possible sources. Airport area residents, meanwhile, berated water board officials for failing to conduct a timely investigation. In 1998, the agency dropped the case for "unknown reasons," picking it up again in 2013. To end the year, residents in the same region got the news that two additional toxic chemicalsperfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)were detected in the groundwater at unsafe levels.

Shocking security camera footage unearthed in April showed an off-duty SLO city building inspector knocking out a Santa Maria woman and attacking her male friend in an Avila Beach bar. The employee, Chris Olcott, committed the seemingly unprovoked assault in 2016but he remained employed by the city through most of 2019. Public outrage in response to the video led to more facts coming to light: In 2018, a jury declined to convict Olcott of a felony, and one juror was reportedly overheard making a racist comment about the victim. The city didn't investigate or discipline Olcott until the video's release, and Olcott ultimately accepted a misdemeanor plea deal and served his two-month jail sentence at a pay-to-stay facility in Southern California. The city announced in September that Olcott was no longer a SLO employee.

In May, Velia Talamantes, Veronica Olivares, and Eulogio Espinoza filed a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and 200 current and former tenants of the Grand View Apartments against the owners, Ebrahim and Fahimeh Madadi, and property manager, Nicolle Davis. The suit accused the property of being insect- and vermin-infested for at least the past four years, having severe mold problems, and dangerous gas and electric lines that render the property uninhabitable. The SLO County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order protecting the tenants of Grand View by requiring the owners to make the complex habitable, refrain from retaliating, and refrain from collecting rent. After eight months of hearings, tenants get their security deposits back and a deadline to leave the premises, as the owners are taking the property off the rental market due to an estimated $2.5 million in repairs. Tenants are now forced to find housing in a city with a vacancy rate of less than 2 percent.

After major spikes in the popularity of vaping among teens, local politicians buckled down on the issue in 2019 despite inaction at the state level. In May, a bill that would have banned flavored tobacco products in California entirely stalled out, but local anti-tobacco programs in Santa Barbara and SLO counties continued pushing for flavor bans locally. Still not a whole lot was accomplished until after June, when the first vaping-related deaths and injuries were reported across the U.S. Both Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande passed ordinances banning the sale of e-cigarette and vaping products on Nov. 12, and Arroyo Grande's ban included a controversial law making it illegal for individuals under 21 to possess e-cigarette products. San Luis Obispo is still considering its own ban on vaping, as is SLO County as a whole.

For years SLO County had only one known physician providing gender-affirming carenoninvasive medical services that transgender and nonbinary individuals sometimes go through to align their bodies with gender identities. Nonbinary residents reportedly waited for months for their initial appointments. That all changed in June 2019, when Planned Parenthood offices on the Central Coast started offering hormone replacement therapy. Then in December, Cal Poly announced it too would offer gender-affirming care to students as a basic medical service covered by student health fees. Both moves were applauded by the local LGBTQ community, which surveys show have disproportionately high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, and unmet needs locally. "It literally saves lives," Cal Poly student Autumn Ford told New Times.

Since President Trump took office in 2016, with a campaign promise of enforcing immigration laws to protect American communities and jobs, the border discussion has loomed over the country. Locally, Latinos have felt the effects of being seen as immigrantsregardless of their citizenship statusbut advocacy groups such as Allies for Immigration Justice and other organizations have stood by the community. The nonprofit aided a woman and her son that fled their country and sought asylum in the United States. The community support continued when former Grover Beach resident Neofita Valerio-Silva was deported in 2018 and barred from returning to the U.S. for 10 years. Cambria resident Courtney Upthegrove's husband Juan Murguia was also barred from returning to his home and she is routinely traveling with their son to visit Murguia in Tijuana, Mexico.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a pair of bills into law in September that would create oversight of medical exemptions for vaccines required by schools and day care centers throughout the state. Senate bills 276 and 714 were written to crack down on doctors who write faulty medical exemptions for children. The statewide legislation met with local opposition from a group of San Luis Coastal Unified School District parents who describe themselves as ex-vaxxers. They asked the San Luis Coastal school board to speak out against the bill. The district must adhere to the law, district representatives told New Times.

Stalking, physical and emotional abuse, outright threats to killJosiah Johnstone has developed quite the list of accusations. At least six separate individuals have been granted restraining orders against Johnstone in SLO County. Some have filed charges, and nearly 30 individuals claim to have been stalked, harassed, or worse by the Atascadero native. Johnstone, who was arrested in 2017, pleaded no contest to a count of stalking and a count of criminal threats in May 2019, caused when he no-showed a sentencing hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. A bounty hunter tracked Johnstone down and found him in Nevada, where he was apprehended by law enforcement and brought back to SLO County. During a hearing on Oct. 17, he was ordered to a 90-day mental health evaluation and his sentencing hearing was rescheduled for Jan. 28, 2020.

In November, Mountainbrook Church, a nondenominational community church that's part of the Association of Vineyard USA, sent an email to its congregation announcing that Lead Pastor Thom O'Leary and his wife Sherri O'Leary are on a leave of absence until February 2020. A week later, the church board informed the community that the pastor was on leave due to "credible allegations" of inappropriate behavior and they launched an investigation with a third-party. On Dec. 8, the all-male church board spoke to the congregation to ask for prayer and continued patience during the investigation. In an email to New Times, board member John Waddell stated that new allegations had been raised and the board couldn't disclose any new information.

Lyft is involved in a complaint that claims the ride-hailing company misrepresented the safety of its rides to women and the general public. The complaint filed on July 24, on behalf of three Jane Does (one of whom is a San Luis Obispo local) against Lyft. Inc. and Lompoc resident Jason Fenwick, alleges that the company falsely claimed that its rides were safe and its drivers properly screened. Fenwick (a Lyft driver) was arrested for sexual assault and battery charges after assaulting a female passenger. Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez, an Uber driver and Santa Maria resident, is facing 12 felony charges in multiple incidents where women across the Central Coast say they were sexually assaulted and stolen from while nearly or completely unconscious. A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 7.

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Battles, scandals, and #MeToo: The riveting and riotous news that made headlines in 2019 - New Times SLO

‘Abortion reversal’ treatments are dangerous and can cause life-threatening bleeding: Study – MEAWW

Treatment to reverse the effect of an abortion pill is bad news. Such a treatment may put patients at risk for life-threatening bleeding, according to a recent study that tried to evaluate its safety and efficacy. The findings come at a time when many US states have signed an abortion reversal legislation.

The research team had to pull the plug on the study, after seeing that the treatment was endangering women. "I feel really horrible that I could not finish the study. I feel really horrible that the women had to go through all this," the lead researcher Mitchell D. Creinin from the University of California, Davis, told Washington Post.

Abortion pill reversal, which claims to reverse abortion, is unproven. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "claims regarding abortion 'reversal' treatment are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards".

All of the evidence that we have so far indicates that this treatment is not effective, Daniel Grossman, an OB-GYN and the director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, a research group at the University of California San Francisco, told Vox.

But this has not stopped many organizations around the country to offer the procedure. What is worse, governors in North Dakota, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas, have signed the abortion reversal legislation. The laws are currently blocked or enjoined in Oklahoma and North Dakota, according to the Washington Post.

"These laws mandate that women who receive mifepristone be informed that it may be possible to reverse the effects of the first abortion pill if they change their minds," write the authors of the study in a commentary.

In 2012, Dr. George Delgado, a family medicine physician in San Diego, California, came up with a method to reverse abortion. His treatment is aimed at women who have had their first dose of medical abortion: a procedure that uses medications instead of surgery to end a pregnancy -- but have changed their minds.

Normally, women can terminate abortion by taking two pills. The first one called mifepristone is taken at the doctor's office. After a couple of hours or days, women are asked to take the second pill called misoprostol. This treatment is most effective during the first trimester of pregnancy, claim experts.

A total of 862,320 abortions were provided in clinical settings in 2017, according to the Guttmacher Institute, about 39% of which were medication abortions.

Women who have had mifepristone alone can go back to being pregnant by taking the hormone progesterone, according to proponents of abortion reversal treatment. To prove that his treatment works, Dr. Delgado published a study that included six patients, who were given progesterone injections after taking mifepristone. According to him, four women were able to continue their pregnancies.

In response, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that Delgados 2012 paper, involving just a handful of patients, was not scientific evidence that progesterone resulted in the continuation of those pregnancies. They add that mifepristone is not a standalone treatment to end a pregnancy, as half of patients continue to remain pregnant after taking the drug.

However, say experts from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, when patients combine mifepristone with misoprostol, the procedure works to end a pregnancy about 95-99% of the time. They think that Delgados patients who remained pregnant may have been so, even if they did not receive progesterone injections.

Further, there is no data to prove that taking progesterone after mifepristone or throughout pregnancy is safe, as reversal patients are sometimes advised to do.

To paint a clear picture on the safety and efficacy of the abortion pill reversal treatment, Creinin and his collegaues carried out the study in 40 women who had voluntered to have surgical abortions.

All the women in the study received the first abortion pill, mifepristone. Following this, some women received progesterone, while others were given a placebo, or a control pill. Of the 12 women who enrolled in the study, three of them required ambulance transport to a hospital for treatment of severe vaginal bleeding. The team could not complete the study, as it was too dangerous to put these women through the trails.

Cremin points out that not completing the medical abortion regimen -- taking both pills -- can be dangerous. According to the authors, taking the first pill -- mifepristone -- alone, can lead to complications, including hemorrhage and transfusion.

Its not that medical abortion is dangerous, Creinin tells NPR. It is not completing the regimen, and encouraging women, leading them to believe that not finishing the regimen is safe. That is really dangerous.

The study raises safety concerns but could not prove whether the treatment was effective or not. Creinin tells NPR, "Does progesterone work? We do not know. We have no evidence that it works."

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'Abortion reversal' treatments are dangerous and can cause life-threatening bleeding: Study - MEAWW

Everything you need to know about the keto diet – INSIDER

Compared to the low-fat craze in the '90s, the ketogenic diet seems to go against all diet logic. Because instead of cutting out fat, you eat large amounts of it for every meal.

And research shows that this diet can be effective and help fight diseases related to obesity. That said, the keto diet is not for everyone. Here's what you need to know.

The ketogenic diet was first introduced in the 1920s as a way to treat epilepsy, a seizure disorder. Medical professionals used the diet for two decades until modern epilepsy drugs were developed and it fell out of favor by the 1950s.

That was it for the keto diet for over half a century. Then, about 15 years ago, the diet reemerged. This time as a treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

But even people who are not obese or have type 2 diabetes have adopted the ketogenic diet at some point, including celebrities like Halle Berry, Vaness Hudgens, and LeBron James.

The way it works is that you eat mostly fat and very few carbohydrates. A typical ketogenic diet consists of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Compared to the average American diet which is 33% fat, 16% protein, and 51% carbs. On keto, common foods include:

When you follow the keto diet, your body stops relying on carbs as the main source of energy, which sends your body into ketosis. Ketosis is when your metabolism changes to burn fat for energy instead. This can lead to a loss of body fat, which can help prevent or improve medical conditions related to obesity like type 2 diabetes.

That's because, on keto, your body may also become more sensitive to insulin, a hormone that helps balance your blood sugar. A 2017 review of nine studies found that people with type 2 diabetes on a low-carb diet generally could control their blood glucose levels better than diabetes patients on either a normal or high-carb diet.

When following the keto diet, weight loss can vary from person to person, says Jeff Volek, a registered dietitian and professor at Ohio State University. "When people with excess weight start a ketogenic diet, they typically lose about 6 to 8 pounds the first week, then about 1 to 2 pounds per week thereafter," Volek says.

However, some people who go on keto reportedly suffer from some initial side effects including:

The initial weight loss is partly due to losing water weight because you tend to retain less water on a low-carb diet. And some studies suggest that you may not continue to lose weight on keto long-term. Some call this the "keto plateau" which is when you stop losing weight altogether.

Volek says that the keto diet is safe for many people to try and that it may mimic the way early humans ate. However, Volek says that in some cases, you should proceed with caution. "If you have diabetes and are using diabetes medications to control blood sugar, you should work closely with your physician in order to adjust medications appropriately."

The keto diet can be very restrictive and may be difficult for people to stick to, says Little. "The average 'healthy' person probably does not need to follow a keto diet but they could probably benefit from reducing their intake of refined/processed carbohydrates."

Keto isn't necessarily for everyone. Take kids, for example. Nutritionists recently told Insider that putting children or teens on the keto diet or basically any restrictive diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies and eating disorders.

Moreover, keto isn't great long-term if you have, or are at risk of, heart rhythm problems. A large 2019 study, published by the American College of Cardiology, that involved medical records of nearly 14,000 people reported that people who don't consume many grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables for years at a time, are at a higher risk of developing a heart condition called AFib.

Even if you're otherwise healthy, long-term keto could lead to vitamin B and C deficiencies, since many foods rich in these vitamins like beans, legumes, and fruit are also high in carbs. And if you're not getting the right nutrients, keto may actually lead you to gain weight, not lose it.

Bottom line: The keto diet is not for everyone and you should speak with a certified nutritionist before starting it, especially if you have a medical condition that the diet may affect.

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Everything you need to know about the keto diet - INSIDER

Sugar-Related Headaches Are Real Heres How It Happens – POPSUGAR

A sugar stat to swallow: along with acne, weight gain, and mood swings, sugar can also play a part in triggering painful headaches.

You might assume they're triggered by too much sugar at one time (and you're actually right), but consuming too little sugar can also contribute to the problem, Dr. Anisha Patel, DO of Medical Offices of Manhattan, explains.

"Sugar-related headaches come from a rapid swing in your blood sugar level," Dr. Patel notes. "So it's not actually the sugar itself that causes the headache but the quick change in consumption."

That could explain why you might have experienced a headache after, say, intermittent fasting or eating a large bowl of ice cream with plenty of fudge topping.

According to Dr. Patel, glucose level fluctuations affect your brain more than any other organ, and it's normal for someone without a medical condition to experience a headache under these types of conditions.

Sugar-related headaches could also be symptoms related to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, which Dr. Patel says aren't diseases themselves but rather symptoms or indicators of a larger health problem.

Blood sugar dropping too low is known as hypoglycemia, which "can be caused by sugar withdrawals caused by very strict dieting (especially when the diet involves skipping meals), and delayed or irregular meals," Dr. Eric Ascher, DO, Family Medicine Physician at Northwell Health, explains.

"You may experience fatigue, moments of confusion, lightheadedness, and weakness, and many will complain of a headache sometimes migraine-like in nature. Although rare, if your body experiences hypoglycemia for too long, you are at risk for coma and death."

Dr. Patel adds that hypoglycemia is often associated with diabetes treatment and can also be a side effect although rare of medication, alcohol consumption, severe liver illnesses, or hormone deficiencies.

"If you think you're experiencing a hypoglycemic attack, you should go to the doctor immediately," Dr. Patel says. "Those with diabetes or hormone deficiencies should consult their physicians about long-term symptom relief plans, which generally include a structured diet."

Then there's a condition called "reactive hypoglycemia," more informally dubbed as "the sugar hangover."

"When we eat a carb-heavy or sugar-overloaded meal especially if our body is unfamiliar with that much glucose, our body will supply a rush of insulin to help combat all that excess sugar that is shocking our bodies," Dr. Ascher explains. "Sometimes this may cause glucose levels to abruptly drop really low. This may cause hypoglycemia-like symptoms. Perhaps that is why you feel drained after a meal that concludes with a rich and heavy dessert."

On the opposite side of the sugar spectrum is hyperglycemia, which could also result in headaches. "Hyperglycemia occurs when the body is not producing or using enough insulin, the hormone that absorbs glucose into cells to be used for energy," Dr. Patel says. She adds that this is typically seen in diabetics.

However, Dr. Ascher says if your headaches are associated with increased thirst, increased urination, and blurred vision, you should speak with your doctor so they can monitor your blood glucose levels.

It's important to note that Dr. Ascher says that nondiabetic individuals normally have ebbs and flows in glycemic levels, as the body has capabilities to deal with these fluctuations; however, those with diabetes need extra support with medication.

If you think you have a sugar headache that is related to diabetes, hypoglycemia, or hyperglycemia or simply deal with these headaches often you should reach out to your doctor.

It's also important to take into consideration what else you ate prior to this headache popping up.

"Some people find that certain foods cause headaches, like chocolate and caffeine," Jeff McGrath, RD at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, says. "Foods containing chocolate and caffeine often have added sugar, and one might falsely accuse the added sugar of being the headache-causing agent."

If you do have a headache due to too much sugar, McGrath says to stop eating sugar for the rest of the day and to consider limiting your daily sugar intake moving forward.

"Experts recommend limiting your sugar intake to less than 10 percent of your daily caloric allowance (15 grams of sugar provides 60 calories, for reference). Otherwise, to reduce headaches, try to stay hydrated and limit alcohol consumption, especially at your holiday parties and gatherings."

Click here for more health and wellness stories, tips, and news.

Image Source: Getty Images / PeopleImages

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Sugar-Related Headaches Are Real Heres How It Happens - POPSUGAR

Winter Is Coming: How People with Cancer Can Prevent Slips and Falls – Curetoday.com

Falls are a risk for everyone during slushy winter months, but the risk is especially high for people with cancer. Memorial Sloan Kettering physical therapist Jillian Hobson walks readers through what they can do to minimize the chance of falling.

Why are people with cancer prone to falls?Older adults with a history of cancer have anywhere between a 15% and 20% greater risk of falling compared to the general population of adults age 65 or older. Thats because cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can cause side effects that increase the risk of falls. These include weight loss, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in the feet, dizziness, changes in eyesight and fatigue. When you lose sensation in your feet, for example, its harder to find your balance during challenging situations, such as walking on a slippery sidewalk. Its harder to know how to find your center of gravity.

Are there warning signs that a person may be at a greater risk for a fall?There are several behaviors that suggest a person with a history of cancer may be at a greater risk for falling. The person may rely on furniture and walls for support when walking around the house. They may trip or have times when they almost fall. Someone who has fallen in the past or is at risk for falling may also avoid crowded environments, such as busy sidewalks, the grocery store or other peoples homes. At MSK, outpatient physical therapists ask every patient, regardless of age, Have you fallen in the past 12 months? If they say yes, we try to prevent it from happening again.

What steps can people take to minimize their risk of falling?There are many. First, secure throw rugs to the floor with nonslip backing. Clear hallways of clutter, and consider installing handrails in the bathroom or for outdoor stairs. Formulate a plan for snow removal during the winter, preferably before snow starts. During the winter, wear boots with good traction. People who are concerned about falling or have fallen in the past should speak to their doctor to see if physical therapy could help.

What should someone do in the event of a fall?Today, there are many smartphone apps that can signal a fall to emergency responders. Some smartwatches also have an alert system that can tell when a fall has taken place and can call 911 for you if you are unable. Its important that your cell phone stays with you at all times and stays on in case of an emergency.

In the event of a fall, people should contact their medical team immediately to determine if they need follow-up care or a referral to physical therapy. If physical therapy is recommended, the physical therapist will identify exercises that promote improved balance, strength and stability. And because falls are not entirely preventable, a physical therapist will also teach strategies for safely getting up from the floor if a fall occurs.

Information provided by MSK (Information) is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an educational aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition. Use of the Information is further subject toMSKs Website Terms and Conditions.

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Winter Is Coming: How People with Cancer Can Prevent Slips and Falls - Curetoday.com

Everything you need to know about the keto diet – Business Insider

captionChildren, teens, and people at risk of heart rhythm problems should not try the keto diet.sourceBURCU ATALAY TANKUT/Getty Images

Compared to the low-fat craze in the 90s, the keto diet seems to go against all diet logic. Because instead of cutting out fat, you eat large amounts of it for every meal.

And research shows that this diet can be effective and help fight diseases related to obesity. That said, the keto diet is not for everyone. Heres what you need to know.

The ketogenic diet was first introduced in the 1920s as a way to treat epilepsy, a seizure disorder. Medical professionals used the diet for two decades until modern epilepsy drugs were developed and it fell out of favor by the 1950s.

That was it for the keto diet for over half a century. Then, about 15 years ago, the diet reemerged. This time as a treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

But even people who are not obese or have type 2 diabetes have adopted the keto diet at some point, including celebrities like Halle Berry, Vaness Hudgens, and LeBron James.

The way it works is that you eat mostly fat and very few carbohydrates. A typical keto diet consists of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Compared to the average American diet which is 33% fat, 16% protein, and 51% carbs. On keto, common foods include:

When you follow the keto diet, your body stops relying on carbs as the main source of energy, which sends your body into ketosis. Ketosis is when your metabolism changes to burn fat for energy instead. This can lead to a loss of body fat, which can help prevent or improve medical conditions related to obesity like type 2 diabetes.

Thats because, on keto, your body may also become more sensitive to insulin, a hormone that helps balance your blood sugar. A 2017 review of nine studies found that people with type 2 diabetes on a low-carb diet generally could control their blood glucose levels better than diabetes patients on either a normal or high-carb diet.

When following the keto diet, weight loss can vary from person to person, says Jeff Volek, a registered dietitian and professor at Ohio State University. When people with excess weight start a ketogenic diet, they typically lose about 6 to 8 pounds the first week, then about 1 to 2 pounds per week thereafter, Volek says.

However, some people who go on keto reportedly suffer from some initial side effects including:

The initial weight loss is partly due to losing water weight because you tend to retain less water on a low-carb diet. And some studies suggest that you may not continue to lose weight on keto long-term. Some call this the keto plateau which is when you stop losing weight altogether.

Volek says that the keto diet is safe for many people to try and that it may mimic the way early humans ate. However, Volek says that in some cases, you should proceed with caution. If you have diabetes and are using diabetes medications to control blood sugar, you should work closely with your physician in order to adjust medications appropriately.

The keto diet can be very restrictive and may be difficult for people to stick to, says Little. The average healthy person probably does not need to follow a keto diet but they could probably benefit from reducing their intake of refined/processed carbohydrates.

Keto isnt necessarily for everyone. Take kids, for example. Nutritionists recently told Insider that putting children or teens on the keto diet or basically any restrictive diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies and eating disorders.

Moreover, keto isnt great long-term if you have, or are at risk of, heart rhythm problems. A large 2019 study, published by the American College of Cardiology, that involved medical records of nearly 14,000 people reported that people who dont consume many grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables for years at a time, are at a higher risk of developing a heart condition called AFib.

Even if youre otherwise healthy, long-term keto could lead to vitamin B and C deficiencies, since many foods rich in these vitamins like beans, legumes, and fruit are also high in carbs. And if youre not getting the right nutrients, keto may actually lead you to gain weight, not lose it.

Bottom line: The keto diet is not for everyone and you should speak with a certified nutritionist before starting it, especially if you have a medical condition that the diet may affect.

See more here:
Everything you need to know about the keto diet - Business Insider

Not All Trans People Have Access To Freezing Embryos. I Am One Of The Lucky Ones. – HuffPost Canada

The first time I held my niece, it confirmed something I had been unsure about for over two decades: I wanted to become a parent. I was 31. The average age of first-time mothers in Canada is about 30. Nothing very out of the ordinary, right?

But, I had medically transitioned years ago. I had been on testosterone injections for seven years and had masculinizing chest surgery. My transition felt complete. Perhaps this is why I could begin to envision myself as a parent a father.

Kinnon MacKinnonMy fertility preservation journey took almost two years just to get started.

In theory, I could probably become physically pregnant if I discontinued testosterone, but it wasnt something I felt very open to though plenty of incredible men do carry their own children.

Fertility preservation seemed like a good option for me. I was about halfway into a PhD program and didnt want to take a parental leave. To give myself some more time and options, I decided to freeze my eggs.

I had also just learned that the Ontario Ministry of Health was funding fertility preservation for trans people through the Ontario Fertility Program (OFP). But I had reservations would my eggs still be good after all those years of weekly testosterone injections?

I made a visit to my family doctor, who specializes in trans care. She assured me that there is no clear evidence that testosterone negatively impacts egg reserve or egg quality. A recent study seems to confirm this, but more research is needed.

My doctor recommended a few fertility clinics in Toronto that had good reputations for working with LGBTQ people. I was referred to the Mount Sinai Fertility Clinic. I felt hopeful.

I was 31 when I had my initial consultation. By the time my name made it to the top of the list for funded fertility preservation, I was nearly 33.

For some trans people, fertility preservation is an important component of transition-related care. Psychologist and professor Dr. Damien Riggs believes that fertility preservation is a reproductive right for trans people.

A 2017 survey found that 97 per cent of trans people living in Toronto felt that they should be offered fertility preservation prior to beginning hormone therapy. The same survey found that only three per cent had banked sperm or eggs.

The most common barrier noted: Cost.

Ontarians receive provincially funded fertility preservation, while those who live in Nova Scotia (my home province) are on their own coverage varies by province. This inconsistent access to care simply isnt fair.

In regions lacking coverage virtually everywhere outside Ontario out-of-pocket expenses for egg retrieval and its associated medications often exceed $10,000. This price tag skyrockets when the procedure needs to be repeated to retrieve the number of eggs statistically likely to result in a live birth.

UniversalImagesGroup via Getty ImagesCosts for egg retrieval are out of reach for many Canadians. Stock image.

Tax credits are available in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Quebec, but the services must be paid for up front. This constitutes a major financial barrier for the majority of Canadians who would not have a $10,000 (or more) rainy day fertility fund.

On the surface, freezing sperm seems more manageable (under $1,000). But paying storage fees, whether for eggs or sperm, adds up. Yearly storage fees can vary and are not covered by the OFP. I paid $300 in 2018. I paid another $300 in 2019.

These costs are out of reach for the many trans Canadians, who live in poverty due to rampant employment discrimination.

When I first started transitioning nine years ago, I remember my university health clinic physician encouraging me to think about fertility preservation options. This is considered standard medical practice with trans people who are considering hormone therapy or lower surgeries today.

At the time, delaying starting testosterone by another several months for egg retrieval felt impossible. For trans people beginning medical transition, this can feel like having to choose between fertility or transition.

Im fortunate that going off testosterone to prepare for egg retrieval was not difficult for me, emotionally, psychologically or otherwise. I knew it would be time-limited, and it was for a worthwhile cause.

However, its good practice to assume that discontinuing hormone therapy may be hard for myriad reasons, even when self-motivated by the idea of one day becoming a parent. Health-care providers should be mindful of, and responsive to, this reality, and the many other challenges that LGBTQ people experience with respect to fertility.

Once my ovulation cycle resumed, my fertility treatment resembled that of a cisgender female. I began medications that stimulated my ovaries. I also had regular bloodwork and ovarian follicle tracking to see how many follicles were growing.

Many people report symptoms of hormonal mood issues when taking fertility drugs. This was not the case for me. I did have a difficult time with the daily subcutaneous injections into my stomach, however. After years of weekly testosterone injections, I was confident they would be a total breeze. I was wrong.

The actual egg retrieval was the hardest part of the entire experience. I anticipated discomfort it was agony. I was right to shy away from pregnancy. I was not built for the pain of childbirth! But the procedure was over quickly. Thankfully, my partner was at my side the whole time. Relative to the procedure, the recovery was simple and painless.

Despite seven years of testosterone, the eggs we retrieved went on to produce high-quality embryos. We now have several frozen embryos rated AA, the best possible score, ready for whenever we are.

UniversalImagesGroup via Getty ImagesWith high-quality embryos frozen for preservation, my partner and I have more options to start a family. Stock image.

So, to transmasculine people out there: do not let concerns about testosterone treatment deter you from egg retrieval. Age, overall health and genetic factors might be better predictors of egg quality and fertility.

For me, egg retrieval was largely a positive experience. But this didnt happen through luck alone. It started with Ontarios policy decision to fund fertility preservation procedures, and continued through to the trans-inclusive medical care I received at my primary care provider and the fertility clinic.

I asked Nurse Practitioner Eileen McMahon, who coordinated all aspects of my fertility care at Mount Sinai, what the clinic did to improve their capacity to work with trans people like me. She told me they had created a trans community advisory committee who made several suggestions. Following the advisory committees lead, the clinic provided trans-inclusion training to all staff; revised clinic intake and consent forms; and updated their website and patient handouts to be inclusive of diverse gender identities, bodies, sexualities and relationships.

This is the kind of care and attention that trans people need and deserve in fertility clinics and, more broadly, in all health and social services.

As a patient on the receiving end, I couldnt help but wonder how things could have turned out differently if I had wound up at a clinic that hadnt been so sensitive to my needs. If I had been misgendered upon arrival at the clinic, could I have seen the process through to the end? While I dont have a clear answer, I do feel grateful for the experience that I did have.

After completing egg retrieval and creating embryos, my partner and I now have more options to eventually start a family one day.

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Not All Trans People Have Access To Freezing Embryos. I Am One Of The Lucky Ones. - HuffPost Canada

Constructeur automobile presse sp cialis e – Cialis sales online – What is the significance of the two bathtubs in the cialis commercials – Laughlin…

December 24, 2019 Cover

The Laughlin resorts offer a variety of dining and entertainment specials for New Years Eve.

Long before there was Motown, several black groups in the early 1950s struggled to make a difference on the music scene. To a world dominated by white artists, the deep soulful harmonies and soaring vocals of R&B were a little unsettling. The powerful music couldnt be ignored for very long, simply because it was that good. Proving that point on every level The Platters.

When Jazzin' Jeanne Brei decided to call her group The Speakeasy Swingers, it seems appropriate for the kind of vintage song and dance shows they deliver, or so one would think.Yet people in a younger age bracket didnt know what a speakeasy was, while others idea of swinging had nothing at all to do with dancing. A speakeasy used to mean an illicit establishment that sold illegal alcoholic beverages mostly during the Prohibition era in the 1930s, when the music was usually jazz-tinged and the dancing and fashion was considered a bit risqu for the time.

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons are still in high demand. Even in their soaring Sherry days, Valli and his Seasons werent stars of Broadway and subjects of a marquee show in Vegas. But thanks to the musical Jersey Boys, Valli and the Four Seasons have become cultural icons and subjects of art as well as artists themselves.There is a tribute show making a return visit for a series of shows Thursday-Monday, Dec. 26-30 (8 p.m.) at Harrahs Laughlin that goes after some of that Four Seasons magic in the form of a tribute show called Oh What A Night!

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