Excess sugar linked to Alzheimer’s: Study finds a ‘tipping point’

There’s yet another reason to ditch the sweet stuff: scientists have found Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by excess sugar.

A new study has established a “tipping point” link between the blood sugar glucose and the disease, meaning people with high sugar diets could be at a greater risk of developing the degenerative neurological condition.

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About 70 per cent of the estimated 413,000 Australians with dementia have Alzheimer’s, and more than 240 new cases of dementia are diagnosed each day, according to Alzheimer’s Australia.

Research from the University of Bath found excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stage of the disease.

Abnormally high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycaemia, is a well-known characteristic of diabetes and obesity.

Diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, where abnormal proteins aggregate to form ‘plaque’ and ‘tangles’ in the brain.

It was already known that glucose and its breakdown products can damage proteins in cells through a reaction called glycation.

But now scientists have unravelled the specific molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer’s disease.

Studying people both with and without Alzheimers, they found in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, glycation damages an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor).

MIF plays a role in immune response and insulin regulation, and glycation limits its powers.

So researchers believe that inhibition and reduction of MIF activity may be the “tipping point” in disease progression.

As the disease progresses, the glycation of these enzymes increases.

Professor Jean van den Elsen, from the University of Bath’s department of biology and biochemistry, said: “We’ve shown that this enzyme is already modified by glucose in the brains of individuals at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The next step is to see if similar changes can be detected in blood.

Dr Omar Kassaar, from the University of Bath, said excess sugar was “well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer’s disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets.”

The work is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

More than 6.4 million Australians will be diagnosed with dementia in the next 40 years, at a cost of more than $1 trillion, unless significant medical breakthroughs are made, Alzheimer’s Australia’s recent Economic Cost of Dementia 2016-2056 report forecasts.


House GOP plans to keep some Medicaid expansion — and steer money to states that never bought in

Congressional Republicans have been struggling for months to resolve one of the most vexing problems in their tortuous effort to replace the Affordable Care Act: What to do about the generous federal funding for states that broadened their Medicaid programs under the law, while not shortchanging the 19 states that balked at expansion?

Now, as the House begins to hone details of its legislative proposal, a possible compromise has emerged. It would temporarily keep federal dollars flowing to cover almost the entire cost of the roughly 11 million Americans who have gained Medicaid coverage but would block that enhanced funding for any new participants.

At the same time, the GOP approach would open a fresh spigot of aid for the states — all but one of which has a Republican governor — that eschewed the additional Medicaid money because of their elected officials’ antipathy to the law. This extra aid would probably go to hospitals with a large share of poor and uninsured patients.

The Solomon-like strategy is an attempt to calm fears of Republican governors in expansion states that abolishing the 2010 law would cost them hugely, while also satisfying new demands for equity from other GOP governors who opposed the expansion. ­Details of how the plan’s dual elements would be implemented, including their specific time frames and funding totals, are still coming together in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Within the context of the GOP’s broader repeal effort — and this week’s tumultuous town hall meetings around the country, at which lawmakers have been confronted by constituents scared of losing their health coverage — Republicans’ ideas for Medicaid’s future have drawn less public attention. Yet their proposals would significantly remake one of the nation’s largest entitlement programs, which serves more than 74 million lower-income Americans and accounts for half the additions to the insurance rolls that the ACA has brought about.

A similar approach is under consideration in the Senate. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is working toward a compromise to protect the roughly 700,000 Ohioans with Medicaid coverage ­under the ACA, said he is open to either a temporary extension or another way to subsidize their health insurance. “It’s necessary to figure out how to provide coverage, and that’s going to cost money,” he said Thursday.

The House committee also is moving forward with a plan to convert the rest of Medicaid to a system in which states would get a fixed sum of federal money for every resident who is enrolled. Such per capita funding, outlined by the chamber’s Republican leaders earlier this month, would be more restrictive than the way Medicaid has functioned since its birth as part of the Great Society legislation of the 1960s.

However, the allotments would be less rigid than block grants, which have been advocated for years by many conservatives and decried by liberals for their potential to reduce spending over time, prompting states to cut benefits or eligibility, or both. (Block grants might still emerge from Congress as an alternative that states could choose.)

This picture of the House’s ­behind-the-scenes work is based on interviews with several people familiar with the thinking of the Republican leadership. All spoke on the condition of anonymity since no plans have been announced.

The deliberations on Medicaid expansion are further along than other components of the law­makers’ thinking about how to shift government health policies in a more conservative direction, according to these individuals. The basic outline emerging from the Energy and Commerce Committee would “grandfather in” the adults currently on Medicaid-­ expansion rolls in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Still to be decided is whether the extra dollars for their coverage would last a specific length of time or continue as long as a beneficiary remained eligible.

As for non-expansion states, the extra money they would ­receive might come through an increase in “disproportionate share” payments the federal government has long given hospitals that treat a lot of poor patients. Or the government could increase its payments for Medicaid’s very poorest patients — a boost to Republican-led states across the South with large low-income populations.

The only Democratic-led state that has not expanded its Medi­caid program is Virginia, where Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been unable to overcome the resistance of the GOP-controlled legislature.

It’s unclear whether the plan would accomplish its goal of satisfying a range of the 35 GOP governors now in office, no matter the stance each has taken on expansion.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, said at an event at The Washington Post on Friday that GOP governors are working closely with both lawmakers and the administration to determine how to transition those living above the poverty line off the expanded Medicaid rolls.

“Maybe I’m foolish, but I thought Medicaid is for people living in poverty,” Walker said.

But Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), who discussed health-care reform Friday with President Trump in the Oval Office, said in an interview that he considered the current compromise inadequate.

“I don’t think that paying hospitals for uncompensated care results with a healthier population,” he said, adding that expansion has provided resources for those struggling with addiction and mental illness. “Where are they supposed to go?”

The House Ways and Means Committee is doing parallel work on overall ACA replacement. But according to the several people familiar with the House leadership’s approach, a central idea under consideration there — new health-care tax credits — hit a snag this week when congressional budget analysts reported privately to the committee that the credits would cost the government a lot of money and would enable relatively few additional Americans to get insurance.

Those tax credits would replace subsidies the ACA provides people with incomes of up to 400 percent of the poverty level to help them afford health plans through marketplaces created under the law. The credits would be available to everyone who buys coverage on their own, wealthy or poor. But the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the credits, as conceived at the moment, would be too small to help low-income people afford health plans. They also wouldn’t make much difference to affluent people, according to the CBO, since most of them already are insured.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), an influential member of the Budget and Appropriations committees, said that while CBO models are not precise indicators of a bill’s actual fiscal impact, the new estimate should remind Republicans that they “should err on the side of being cautious, rather than make grandiose claims.”

Democrats fell into that trap when passing the ACA, he said. “We should not be overselling.”

When the ACA passed a polarized Congress in 2010, the idea was that about half the Americans who would gain health coverage would do so through the law’s insurance marketplaces. The other half would come through Medi­caid, which was to grow nationwide to include adults earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level. The federal government would pay the full cost of expanded coverage for the first three years, then a decreasing amount before settling at 90 percent by 2020.

In 2012, though, in a case brought by ACA critics who unsuccessfully challenged the law’s constitutionality, the Supreme Court ruled that each state had the latitude to choose whether to expand Medicaid. Nearly all ­Democratic-led states said yes; most with Republican governors opted out.

The latest polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released Friday morning, shows that Medi­caid expansion enjoys strong public support. Nationally, 84 percent of respondents — and 87 percent in the 16 expansion states with GOP governors — said it is important to preserve the greater federal funding provided by the ACA.


California officials and the marijuana industry are ready to fight a federal crackdown

Warned of a possible federal crackdown on marijuana, California elected officials and cannabis industry leaders said Friday they were preparing for a potential showdown in the courts and Congress to protect the legalization measure approved by state voters in November.

The flashpoint that set off a scramble in California was a news conference Thursday at which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the administration had no plans to continue the Obama administration’s permissive approach in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” he said, adding that the administration would continue to allow states to regulate the sale of marijuana for medical use.

The latest development could force California officials and marijuana industry leaders into an unusual alliance against the federal government, with billions of dollars in profits for businesses and taxes for state coffers at stake.

The state agency responsible for drafting regulations said Friday it was going ahead with its plans to start issuing licenses to growers and sellers in January.

“Until we see any sort of formal plan from the federal government, it’s full speed ahead for us,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

In Congress, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) plans to introduce legislation that could blunt Spicer’s threat by preventing the Department of Justice from enforcing federal laws against the recreational use of marijuana in states that have legalized it, a spokesman said Friday.

And industry officials warn that any federal crackdown in California and other states will result in many growers and sellers continuing to operate, but on the black market.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra says he is ready to safeguard the rights of the 56% of voters who approved Proposition 64, which allows California adults to possess, transport and buy up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

“I took an oath to enforce the laws that California has passed,” Becerra said in a statement Thursday after Spicer’s comments. “If there is action from the federal government on this subject, I will respond in an appropriate way to protect the interests of California.”

State lawmakers also say California should do what it can to preserve Proposition 64.

“We will support and honor the laws that California voters have democratically enacted,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), an author of legislation creating the licensing system for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Becerra would likely be joined in any defense of the state’s marijuana policy by attorneys general in other parts of the country. Recreational use has also been legalized in Washington state, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, home to a combined 68 million Americans.

Washington Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson, who has worked with Becerra on opposing President Trump’s travel ban, said he and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee last week asked for a meeting with U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to discuss how the recreational marijuana use system is working in their state.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading supporter of Proposition 64, took a similar approach, sending a letter Friday to Trump urging him not to carry through with threats to launch a federal enforcement effort.

“I urge you and your administration to work in partnership with California and the other … states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use in a way that will let us enforce our state laws that protect the public and our children, while targeting the bad actors,” the Democrat wrote.

If the Justice Department starts arresting licensed marijuana sellers, the multibillion-dollar industry would join forces with the states that issue permits to challenge the action in court, said Amy Margolis, an attorney whose law firm has more than 200 clients in the marijuana industry, including businesses in California.

“This industry is so mature and it’s so far along that I have no doubt that if the Department of Justice started true enforcement actions against cannabis businesses, that they would go to court,” Margolis said. “I see joint actions between the states and the industry hoping to prevent those type of actions.”

Margolis would argue that it is a states’ rights issue.

“The argument would be that this is a situation where the states have the right to regulate and tax an industry the way they want,” she said, adding that states are gaining tax revenue to pay for government programs.

Although federal law does not outline a medicinal use for marijuana, Trump administration officials have made public statements indicating they recognize that such a benefit exists, which could help the industry in a potential court case, Margolis said.

However, the states may find their hands tied legally if they try to keep federal agents from raiding and shutting down marijuana growing and sales operations, according to Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law.

“I imagine that California will mount a legal challenge to any crackdown on recreational marijuana,” Winkler said. “Yet there is not much California can do. Federal law is supreme over conflicting state law. Federal agents are entitled to enforce federal law anywhere in the country, including California.”

He said there are limits to federal power, but the courts have held that the federal government does have the authority to enforce federal drug laws.

Aaron Herzberg, an attorney for the industry, agreed that the state would face a tough fight. He cited the 2005 case Gonzales vs. Raich, in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress may criminalize the production and use of homegrown marijuana even if states approve its use for medical purposes.

“Let’s face it: If the federal government wants to shut down recreational marijuana they could quite easily accomplish it using federal law enforcement and taxation tools,” Herzberg said.

Others say one basis for legal action would be an argument that enforcing laws against marijuana would damage states that have put regulations in place and are depending on hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to pay for government programs.

States are too far down the path of regulating, licensing and taxing those who are making big investments in the sanctioned marijuana industry to pull the rug out now, said Richard Miadich, an attorney who co-wrote Proposition 64.

Updates from Sacramento »

“Given the strict regulatory structure set forth in Proposition 64, that medical and adult-use regulations are being developed in concert, and that public opinion is squarely on the side of states’ rights on this issue, I think it is impractical for the federal government to reverse course now,” he said. “Not to mention the potential for great harm to individual states.”

Supporters of Proposition 64 say there is also a potential political solution.

In recent years, Rohrabacher and Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) won congressional approval of a rider to the federal budget that prohibited federal funds from being used to prosecute medical marijuana businesses that are in compliance with state laws.

Rohrabacher plans to introduce legislation that would expand the protection to businesses that comply with state laws allowing the growing and sale of marijuana for recreational use, according to spokesman Ken Grubbs.

The congressman is planning the legislation “because recreational use is an issue of individual freedom and should be dealt with legally according to the principle of federalism, a bedrock conservative belief,” Grubbs said.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) is also “reviewing options to counteract whatever the Trump Administration’s plans” are for state marijuana laws, said Lieu senior advisor Jack d’Annibale.

Another option, though a long shot, would be for Congress to attempt to change the federal Controlled Substances Act to decriminalize the use of marijuana nationally.

Herzberg said reinstituting federal raids would be “a major setback for the industry.”

But the state could still go ahead with a licensing system for medical marijuana growing and sales in spite of a federal crackdown on recreational use, according to Hezekiah Allen, head of the California Growers Assn.

“A vast majority of California growers and cannabis business owners would choose to participate only in the medical marketplace if given the option, and some would choose to avoid licensure entirely if they were unable to distinguish themselves from adult-use businesses,” Allen said.

Because Spicer did not provide details on what an enforcement effort might look like, many in the industry hope it will focus on the illegal exporting of marijuana to other states, leaving alone state-licensed firms that grow and sell pot.

“The biggest crackdown we may see is on the increase of cannabis being illegally exported out of recreational states,” said Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Assn.

State Sen. Mike McGuire (D-San Rafael) said any change in federal enforcement policy on states that have legalized recreational use would be misguided.

“You can’t put the genie back into the bottle — marijuana regulation and enforcement can’t and shouldn’t go backwards,” he said.

Research Proving Cannabis Safely Kills Cancer Cells Has Been Suppressed Since 1974


Renegade Editor’s Note: Isn’t it interesting that Israel is conducting ongoing research on this topic, but their findings are not reported on in America’s jewish-owned press? Whilst there is a big push for “legalization” and “medical marijuana”, which gives money and control to government, any real honest talk of cannabis cures would prove to be a big loss for the powerful pharmaceutical companies and their lucrative cancer “cures”, like radiation and chemotherapy with their incredible fatality rates.

By Organic and Healthy

Remember the hassles Rick Simpson went through in his Canadian Nova Scotia town trying to bring the cannabis oil cures he and others used to cure themselves of various cancers? Rick assumed the world was ready for him to share the good news from his and his townspeople’s experiences.

After several attempts to get cannabis oil allowed through the court system with many testimonials from those who had been helped, Rick realized this important harsh reality: The cancer industry does not want a cure for cancer.

He was growing the hemp on his land, making the cannabis oil, and sharing it without cost to those who had needed it after curing his skin cancer and a fiercely intense neurological post concussion disorder from a head injury that pharmaceuticals only exacerbated. The townspeople were cured of several disorders, including lung cancer. All of them had been failed by mainstream medicine.

Rick removed himself from Canada and exiled himself to Amsterdam, Netherlands, at first. Now he tours the world spreading the wonders of cannabis healing to whomever is willing to listen. You can view his full length documentary below.

In 1974, the NIH (National Institutes of Health) funded the Medical College of Virginia to prove that cannabis hampers the immune system and destroys brain cells. This was research ammunition that the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), initiated under the Nixon administration to further justify throwing pot smokers into prison.

Unfortunately for the DEA and the war on drugs, the researchers came upon some interesting results with their lab rats. They discovered that cancer cells were getting destroyed, not healthy cells. The immune systems were enhanced, not impeded. Well, that was the end of that research.

Their funding was canceled at the behest of the DEA, and the research documents were destroyed. In 1976, president Gerald Ford halted all research on cannabis except for Big Pharma’s attempts at creating synthetic THC. In 1983, other college research centers who were privy to copies of the Virginia research documents were urged by the Reagan administration to destroy them. The memory hole mission for cannabis curing cancer was complete, almost.

The Virginia medical college applied for research grants for further inquiry into cannabis’ healing potentials in 1996 and 2006, both denied. Their 1974 studies were ignored by the mainstream media except for one short mention of it in the Local Section of the Washington Post.

The documents went into such a memory hole that researchers in Madrid, Spain’s 2000 huge breakthrough study of cannabis TCH cannabinoid effects on cancer couldn’t get them for their paper. Madrid’s lead researcher, Dr. Manual Guzman commented: “I am aware of the existence of that research. In fact I have attempted many times to obtain the journal article on the original investigation by these people, but it has proven impossible.”

This statement was made when an independent investigative journalist got document copies from a California university and faxed them over. By then, the Madrid study was completed.

But even the Madrid breakthrough research on rats was ignored by virtually all of our mainstream media. Not only did this study prove efficacy on reducing brain cancer tumors in rats, they also tested healthy rats with THC to see if there were any harmful effects. They found no harmful effects on normal brain tissues.

Currently, two large hospitals in Israel, Sheba and Abarbanel, are doing successful clinical studies and treatments on humans with cannabis for several maladies, funded by the Israeli government. But our mainstream media can’t touch that.

Rick Simpson got more favorably objective TV media coverage in Canada when he was trying to bring cannabis curing cancer to the attention of everyone in circa 1999. By the way, he wasn’t trying to “cash in” with any patents.

Anyone who views alternative health information on the internet isn’t blocked by mainstream media’s lack of exposure. There have been many anecdotal recoveries from terminal cancer recorded by people as old as 80. Kudos to Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN for doing a public 180 reversal on his previous anti-cannabis stance while covering cannabis healing among extremely epileptic children.

Obviously, cannabis is both effective and safe. It induces apoptosis on tumor cancer cells. Apoptosis is cellular programmed cell death (PCD) that’s part of normal cells die-off and replacement from new cells. But cancer tumor cells don’t do apoptosis. They just keep on going and expanding. Cannabinoids also curb angiogenis, which tumors use to develop blood vessels that supply glucose for their metabolism.

So cannabis induces apoptosis to kill cancer cells and inhibits angiogenis to cut off their food supplies. And as the Madrid study proved and anyone who has used or uses cannabis can testify, healthy cells are not harmed. That’s what standard oncology’s treatments do.

Cannabis caveats: Smoking is the least effective for curing. Using a vaporizer or “vaping” is better. Ingesting cannabis oils or pastes is the best approach. But – ignoring lifestyle and diet habit changes can reverse what’s gained from any alternative cancer treatments.

Here’s an example of a baby who was cured of brain cancer without being subjected to the cruelties of surgery, radiation, or brain cancer. Instead, he was given cannabis oil via his pacifier. The baby was completely cured within eight months. After two months of observed progress, the pediatric oncologist who had given the diagnosis called off any future treatments that would cause more damage, calling him a miracle baby.

This short video report of that “miracle baby” is complete with brain scans showing progress and recovery, which only the Huffington Post reported within what’s considered mainstream media.

For those who demand scientific studies, there is a list of many here and others here as well.

Further Resources

CBD-Rich Hemp Oil: Cannabis Medicine is Back

Marijuana Killed My Cancer and Is Keeping Me Cancer Free

This article originally appeared on Organic and Healthy.

How Uganda got results in its fight against Aids

Uganda’s response to HIV/Aids is immediately apparent in the capital, Kampala.

Billboards dominating the roadsides advocate testing for children and protected sex and highlight the importance of taking ARVs – drugs that prevent the progression of the virus.

A marketplace sign indicates its support for communities living with HIV. Brightly wrapped condoms can be seen at intervals between vendors’ stalls of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Though Ugandans still ask whether HIV will ever be totally eradicated, the situation has vastly improved over the past 25 years.

In the early 1990s, HIV/Aids reached a peak in Uganda – 14 per cent of the population was infected with the virus.

However, rapid action by Ugandan-founded NGOs such as the Aids Support Organisation (Taso), as well as the Ugandan government’s public campaigns promoting abstinence, monogamy and condom usage, brought the rate to 8 per cent by 2000.

Figures for 2015 show a slight further reduction to 7.1 per cent.

Harriet (43) became a widow at 24 when her husband died after contracting HIV.

It was 1997 and the antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) were not yet widely available in Uganda.

Her husband had been in jail in Mombasa for a year. When he came back he was sick.

She says he never told her exactly what happened in jail.

Harriet later tested positive for HIV and herpes and was left alone with three children to care for.

Death sentence

“A few years before the advent of ARVs, having HIV was actually a death sentence. People had given up,” says Taso’s executive director, Dr Michael Etukoit.

“There were many people at that time who had even distributed their own property, their own wealth, land and even houses knowing they were going to die,” he recalls.

“People left their workplaces, which sometimes were far away, and moved to the villages to wait to die near home and family to minimise the expense of moving a dead body from somewhere far.”

Taso was formed in 1987, before there was any official response in Uganda, by those affected and infected with the virus.

At the time, the stigma of HIV was so bad that many doctors refused to treat HIV-positive patients. Many of the founding members of Taso died due to a lack of treatment options.

“I vividly remember what the picture was at the clinic,” Etukoit says of the year 2001.

“Somebody who did not see that picture cannot understand the significant transformation that the ARVs have brought.”

The widespread arrival of antiretroviral drugs signified the dawning of a new era. People accessed the treatment and were no longer dying in staggering numbers.

Harriet credits ARVs with her own survival. She began taking them three years ago and they have been so effective that the virus is no longer detectable in her system.

This does not mean that she is HIV-negative, simply that the viral load has decreased significantly.

“I’m doing well,” she says. “I thank God for that because there are so many people who died before and I hope to live.”


Still, increased survival rates have brought their own challenges. Being HIV-positive is no longer viewed as a death sentence, but concern is growing that it is also not now recognised as a life-altering virus.

Many no longer go for testing. Kampalans say if it isn’t fatal, they don’t want to know their status – knowing they are HIV-positive would make them sick from stress anyway.

“With ARVs, the survival rate increases, so the message gets distorted either out of ignorance or deliberately,” Etukoit says. “There are ARVs available, so it is a ‘cure’.”

Modern treatments continue to clash with older versions; messages are spread that certain procedures are a substitute for medication – which Etukoit stresses they are definitely not.

One common belief is that circumcision stops the spread of the virus, whereas in reality the procedure can actually spread of the virus when carried out by untrained individuals using unsterilised instruments.

In rural areas, traditional healers often encourage people to end their treatment. Certain religious groups advocate prayer as a cure.

For those taking antiretroviral drugs, the biggest challenge is often hunger. Taking ARVs on an empty stomach is difficult.

Some children say the effects are so severe that they are tempted not to take the drugs because they interfere with their schooling.

They find going to the hospital to collect their drugs frightening in case any of the locals see them and realise they are HIV-positive.

Can’t cope

Robinnah, a Kampalan who has been positive for 27 years, is a keen advocate of antiretroviral drugs in her community.

“When you take it as the doctor prescribed, you don’t get problems,” she says. “If you don’t take them, well, you can’t cope.”

It is actually hard to find someone who will admit to not taking their drugs. Most speak to me with a medical healthcare professional present, and will not admit it.

Overall, the situation has vastly improved. Uganda has been praised for the manner in which it has sought to control the HIV/Aids epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.

Increased complacency is simply another challenge in Uganda’s journey towards achieving its aim of a HIV-free generation.

Series concluded. This article was supported by a grant from the Simon Cumbers Media Fund Student Scheme.

Your workout could be killing your sex life


Could your CrossFit workout take a toll on your sex life?

A study from the University of North Carolina published this month in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that men who exercise intensely may have a lower libido than men who exercise moderately or lightly.


Researchers polled more than 1,000 active men on both their workouts and sex lives. Participants were split into groups by duration of exercise, intensity of exercise and libido levels. When the groups were compared, researchers found that those who reported light or moderate workouts were more likely to report moderate or high libidos than those who reported intense workouts.

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Authors caution that the study was self-reported — which means the data relies on participants to be truthful and self-aware — and doesn’t show that exercise causes a low libido, but rather that the two are correlated.


But they did tell the New York Times that heavy exercisers may be too tired to get it on after a long workout, or may experience a post-exercise drop in testosterone.

Exercise is believed to be better for your sex life — and healthier overall — than no workouts, but if you’re finding yourself so worn out from the gym that you can’t perform in the bedroom, it may be time to tone it down.

Click for more from The New York Post.

25% of all overdoses are from heroin

(CNN)America’s opioid epidemic continues: The latest numbers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, released Friday, show that one in four drug overdoses in 2015 was related to heroin. In 1999, just 6% of all overdoses were related to the drug.

When looking at overdoses overall, opioid-related deaths represented the majority. In 2015, overdoses involving opioids represented 73% of all overdose deaths, a significant jump from 57% in 2010. Opioids include heroin as well as drugs with a similar chemical structure, such as oxycodone and illicit synthetics like fentanyl.
Dr. Holly Hedegaard of the National Center for Health Statistics, who co-authored the study, also noted that this was the first time the number of overdose deaths in the United States exceeded 50,000. In 2010, there were 38,329 overdose-related deaths, and by 2015, that number had climbed to 52,404. By comparison, in 2015, there were 36,252 total firearm-related deaths across the country.
As with heroin, there was also a significant increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, the drug that was blamed for pop star Prince’s death. In 2010, these types of drugs were involved in just 8% of all overdose deaths, and by 2015, they were involved in 18% of all overdose deaths.
While there were increases in heroin and synthetic drug-related deaths, there was a drop in overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioid analgesics, including prescription drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Although these drugs were involved in 29% of drug overdose deaths in 2010, they represented 24% of all drug overdose deaths in 2015.
This shift in numbers may in part be due to a change in user habits, with some starting out with prescription drugs and moving on to heroin because of cost and crackdowns on illegal use of prescription drugs. However, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Brandeis University’s Opioid Policy Research Center, said that switching is only part of the story.
“Starting in 2011, overdoses involving heroin has really skyrocketed. There’s a really good chance the increase involving heroin has to be involved with fentanyl,” he said.

Search for solutions

In an attempt to stem the tide of opioid-involved deaths, state and federal governments have implemented new laws and regulations directed at the epidemic. This month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a law that would limit initial prescriptions of opioids to just five days. In Arizona, a similar law limits prescriptions to seven days.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has listed a number of fentanyl variations or analogues as schedule I, drugs that have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
Dr. Larissa Mooney, director of the University of California Los Angeles Addiction Medicine Clinic, said the new study highlighted the need for opioid addiction treatment. “We need to improve access to treatment and remove barriers,” she said.
When Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act last year, it also dedicated $1 billion toward fighting the epidemic, including expanding buprenorphine treatment, a medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependency.
Unlike methadone, which can be administered only in specific settings, buprenorphine — commonly used under the brand name Suboxone — can be provided outside a clinical setting, which can make it more easily accessible.
But while medical-assisted treatment is considered the gold standard, as with any treatment, it isn’t 100% effective.
A study published this week in the journal Addiction found that 43% of all buprenorphine users filled an opioid prescription during treatment and that another 67% filled an opioid prescription after treatment. However, buprenorphine can also be prescribed to deal with chronic pain, and the study wasn’t able to determine which users were trying to treat their dependency versus to treat pain.

Medically assisted treatment

“The bottom line: It’s no surprise that some people receiving buprenorphine are also receiving prescriptions of other opioids, but we were surprised by the number of patients receiving buprenorphine and other opioids,” said study author Dr. Caleb Alexander. Alexander is Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Alexander pointed out that the study did not aim to assess the effectiveness of buprenorphine but rather “raises (the) question about how we can improve the quality and continuity of this treatment. “
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The study looked at 38,096 buprenorphine users between January 2010 and July 2012, with an average treatment length of 55 days.
“When prescribed appropriately,” Kolodny said, “more than 75% of patients do very well” on buprenorphine. He noted that success from buprenorphine treatment was based on long-term use of at least a year.
In addition, since 2012, awareness of the opioid epidemic has been visibly increased. Last year, the CDC issued new guidelines to physicians on prescribing opioids, including recommending against using narcotics as a first-line therapy for chronic pain.

Study sees U.S. life expectancy falling further behind other countries

Life expectancy in the United States is already much lower than most other high-income countries and is expected to fall even further behind by 2030, new research published today predicts.

According to the most recent government figures, life expectancy at birth in the United States is 76.3 years for men and 81.2 years for women.

Using a number of forecasting models, researchers from the U.K. predict life expectancy in the U.S. will improve to 83.3 years for women and 79.5 years for men by the year 2030.

But despite these modest gains, the United States is still lagging behind other developed countries.

“The USA has the highest child and maternal mortality, homicide rate, and body-mass index of any high-income country, and was the first of high-income countries to experience a halt or possibly reversal of increase in height in adulthood, which is associated with higher longevity,” the authors write.

The United States also lacks universal health coverage available in other high-income countries and has the largest share of unmet health care needs due to financial costs.

The study, published in The Lancet, predicts and ranks life expectancy for 35 developed countries across Asia, North and Latin America, Australia, and Europe.

The findings predict life expectancy is likely to be highest for women in South Korea at 90.8 years, France at 88.6 years, and Japan at 88.4 years. For men, life expectancies will be highest in South Korea at 84.1 years, and Australia and Switzerland, both at 84 years.

The researchers say other nations, particularly the United States, could take lessons from these countries when it comes to improving life expectancies.

“For example, South Korea projected gains may be the result of continued improvements in economic status which has improved nutrition for children, access to health care and medical technology across the whole population,” study author James Bennett, PhD, of Imperial College London, told CBS News. “South Korea has lower disease risk factors — for example, they appear better at dealing with high blood pressure and have low rates of obesity. A very equitable society means that the whole population has benefitted from improvements.”

Unlike other studies, which typically rely on a single model to predict life expectancy, the researchers used a statistical technique used in weather forecasting to develop 21 models to predict life expectancy in the countries studied.

Studying life expectancy is important, the authors say, because increasing life expectancies will have major implications for health and social services and countries will need to adapt and create new policies to support healthy aging. This may include increase investment in health and social care and possibly changes to retirement age.

“As recently as the turn of the century, many researchers believed that life expectancy would never surpass 90 years,” lead author Prof. Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, said in a statement. “Our predictions of increasing lifespans highlight our public health and health care successes. However, it is important that policies to support the growing older population are in place. In particular, we will need to both strengthen our health and social care systems and to establish alternative models of care such as technology-assisted home care.”

In addition to calculating life expectancy at birth, the study authors projected how long people aged 65 years in each country were likely to live in 2030. They found that in 11 of the 35 countries studied, 65-year-old women were likely to live an additional 24 years, while 65-year-old men were likely to live an additional 20 years in 22 of the countries. This suggests that older populations are likely to continue to grow across developed countries.

The authors note that the study cannot take into account certain changes within countries that could impact life expectancy, including the possibility of major political upheaval that can affect social and health care systems.

Dr. Ailiana Santosa, of the Center for Demographic and Aging Research at Umeå University in Sweden, says that a crucial point the study is missing is whether or not a longer life also translates to better health.

“People will live longer in the future, but do they live longer and healthier? I think this point is really important to explore further,” she told CBS News. “Our population is aging, but are they healthier?”

In an accompanying editorial, Santosa emphasizes that universal health coverage is key to maintaining populations that continue to live longer.

“Forecasting life expectancy at birth and at age 65 years can help governments and health services to make the right investments in health, such as averting deaths due to infectious diseases and reducing maternal and child mortality,” she writes. “Achieving universal health coverage is worthy, plausible, and needs to be continued.”

Citizens can also do their part by living a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, exercise, and avoidance of smoking.

“For individuals, extra years of life expectancy does not necessarily mean extra years of healthy life,” Bennett said. “Individuals need to take care to remain healthy so as to remain disease free into older ages.”

As Bee Population Continues Decline Scientists Introduce Robobee



By Brandon Turbeville of Activist Post

As the bee population in the United States continues to decline, some scientists are working on a backup option which many people are calling the Robobee.

A recent announcement coming out of the journal Chem, in an article by Eijiro Miyako, a chemist that the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan, involves the combination of a drone and a gel to create a robot version of the endangered pollinators.

Miyako and his team used a four-propeller drone to which they attached horse hairs in order to mimic the fuzzy body of a bee. They coated the horse hairs with the gel so that pollen would stick to the horse hairs which would then be carried from one plant to another.

Miyako said he doesn’t believe that the drones would replace bees but that it could help bees with their pollinating duties. He said that the drones will need to become smarter, more energy efficient and have better maneuverability as well as better GPS and artificial intelligence before they can be realistically used.

While working on a project designed to pick up the slack of a declining bee population is obviously not a bad thing, it would be much more prudent for the U.S. Government to immediately investigate and act on what exactly is causing the population to decline to begin with.

Of course, this would involve cracking down on Big Ag and toxic pesticides that are overwhelmingly responsible for such a steep decline. Unfortunately, the U.S. Government seems to be moving in the opposite direction with the Trump Administration having halted the addition of the rusty patched bumble bee to the endangered species list.

While it is of course a good idea to prepare for the worst, a world that depends on vulnerable technology to do the work of what once was simply done as an act of nature is a frightening one indeed. Most people would not want to see a world of tiny drones buzzing about fields and gardens instead of bees, but it seems that is the direction in which the world is heading.

This article originally appeared on Activist PostImage: © Dr. Eijiro Miyako

Dad Writes Heartbreaking Tribute To Wife Who Is Carrying Baby Without Brain To Term


An Oklahoma father paid tribute to his pregnant wife’s selflessness in a beautiful viral post.

On Feb. 17, Royce Young posted a photo of his wife, Keri, on Facebook. The photo shows Keri, who is seven months pregnant with their second child, sleeping peacefully on their couch.

In the long caption, Royce explained why his wife is so inspiring to him and shared the tearjerking details of this pregnancy.

Keri is pregnant with a baby girl, whom she and her husband have decided to name Eva. Tragically, the couple learned at their 19-week ultrasound that their daughter did not have a brain. Royce described that moment in his Facebook post.

“Somehow through full body ugly crying, Keri looked up and asked, ‘If I carry her full term, can we donate her organs?’ … There I was, crestfallen and heartbroken, but I momentarily got lifted out of the moment and just stood in awe of her. I was a spectator to my own life, watching a superhero find her superpowers. In literally the worst moment of her life, finding out her baby was going to die, it took her less than a minute to think of someone else and how her selflessness could help. It’s one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced. In the eight years we’ve been married (and 15 years together) I’ve had a lot of moments stop me in my tracks where I thought, “holy crap, this woman I’m married to, lucky me.” But this one was different. It hit me that not only am I married to my very best friend, but to a truly remarkable, special human being.”

Royce, who writes about basketball for, noted in the post that he went to New Orleans for NBA All-Star Weekend and met an “awesome” kid named Jarrius, who needs a liver transplant. Royce said meeting Jarrius inspired him to post the photo of his wife and his thoughts about her strength.

“Keri has been in the trenches the entire time, feeling every little kick, every hiccup and every roll,” he wrote. “She’s reminded every moment of every day that she’s carrying a baby that will die. Her back hurts. Her feet are sore. She’s got all the super fun pregnant stuff going on.”

He added, “But the light at the end of her nine-month tunnel will turn into a darkness she’s never felt before a couple hours or days after Eva is born. She’s the one that is going to deal with all that comes with having a baby ― her milk coming in, the recovery process, etc, but with no snuggly, soft, beautiful newborn to look at to remind you that it was all worth it.”

Ultimately, Royce wrote, they take comfort in knowing that their daughter can be a “miracle” for another family in need of an organ donation for their baby ― just as Jarrius and his family are hoping for their own miracle.

Royce and Keri have a 2-year-old son named Harrison.

Royce and Keri also have a 2-year-old son named Harrison. “Whenever Harrison gets hurt, or has to pull a bandaid off or something, Keri will ask him, ‘Are you tough? Are you BRAVE?’ And that little boy will nod his head and say, ‘I tough! I brave!’” Royce wrote at the conclusion of his post.

“I’m looking at Keri right now and I don’t even have to ask,” he added. “She’s TOUGH. She’s BRAVE. She’s incredible. She’s remarkable.”

Royce’s post received over 9,000 likes. He told The Huffington Post he did not think anyone other than friends and family would read it and has been shocked and overwhelmed by the response.

The dad said he wrote it as a journal entry of sorts ― and a tribute to his wife. “I love her, and watching her courage and strength is just something that’s inspires me,” he explained.

“Keri, like me, is pretty private, and it’s hard to be vulnerable and expose your emotions,” he added. “But this is a unique situation, and throughout everything we’ve talked about trying to minimize regret. And I don’t want to look back years from now and think about how I missed an opportunity to tell people about how terrific Keri is handling this. We want to live in the present with this, and have something tangible to remember it with as we get older. “

Royce said he also wants to shed light on another aspect of reproductive freedom ― that “choice” does not exclusively refer to termination but can mean choosing to bring their baby into the world and letting her life save others.

“We love seeing the impact our little girl is having,” the dad told HuffPost, adding that parents love to talk about their kids and this is their chance to do that with Eva.

“We won’t get to brag about her grades or how pretty her hair is,” he said. “This is what we get to tell people about, and we want to take advantage of it.”

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