The new findings add to the consensus of previous studies that suggested cocoa — particularly dark chocolate — is yummy as well as good for the heart muscle. The new findings shed light on atrial fibrillation for the first time.
“Our study adds to the accumulating evidence on the health benefits of moderate chocolate intake and highlights the importance of behavioral factors for potentially lowering the risk of arrhythmias,” said Elizabeth Mostofsky, instructor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard.
The study included 55,502 men and women participating in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Heath Study.
“Despite the fact that most of the chocolate consumed by the study participants likely had relatively low concentrations of potentially protective ingredients, we still observed a significant association between eating chocolate and a lower risk of AF,” Mostofsky said.
In Florida’s quest to keep people from smoking medical marijuana, the state Department of Health ordered an operator to stop selling “whole-flower” products to be used in vaporizers, according to the News Service of Florida.
The Health Department sent a cease-and-desist letter to Trulieve after news reports in the last few days about the sales of the whole flower marijuana in pre-made cups to be used in its volcano vaporizing device.
Whole-flower is the natural form of the marijuana plant, the buds that recreational smokers traditionally have used for decades.
The fear among some was that the cups could easily be dismantled and the whole-flower marijuana smoked in pipes, bongs, or joints — not allowed for patients under Florida’s current medical-marijuana laws.
Only those with a doctor’s approval and on the state’s list can buy from Trulieve, which sells other cannabis products for vaping that is not whole-flower marijuana. It has five stores throughout the state and is one of a handful operating medical marijuana dispensaries currently.
“Licensed dispensing organizations have a responsibility to ensure their product is not one that can easily be transitioned into a smokable form. Therefore, whole flower products are not permitted,” state Office of Compassionate Use Director Christian Bax wrote to Trulieve on Monday.
“Given the above facts, Trulieve is hereby ordered to immediately cease and desist sale of its Entourage product,” Bax wrote.
This all comes in front of the backdrop of the Legislature’s failure the last session to come up with a law to implement a constitutional amendment establishing medical marijuana in Florida approved by 72 percent of the voters last year.
The Health Department has to come up with rules governing new medical marijuana dispensaries by mid-summer and implemented by October.
Lawmakers have come up against smoking medical marijuana, saying it is unhealthy but John Morgan — the Orlando trial lawyer who largely bankrolled what was known as Amendment 2 — has pledged to sue the state over the smoking issue.
Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, in a statement, said the company was surprised by the letter but is “immediately and completely complying with the department’s wishes while evaluating our options.”
Rivers told the News Service last week she believed the product was legal and that her company had been selling whole-flower products for nearly a year.
Advocates, including Rivers, says vaping whole-flower marijuana creates an “entourage” effect that is better medicinally.
The benefits of medical cannabis include relief for chronic pain and muscle spasm. It relieves nausea during chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients. It also has been used for the treatment of Tourette’s syndrome, anorexia, arthritis, migraines, and glaucoma.
Other states, of course, allow the sale of whole-flower medical marijuana.
To read the whole News Service of Florida story click here.
A new study shows people who drink diet sodas may be more at risk for stroke and dementia.
Have a Diet Coke and stroke.
Diet sodas — one of Americans favorite caffeine delivery systems — appears to be just as unhealthy as its sugary cousins
The Washington Post reports that a new study refutes that diet drinks are a better option than those made with sugar or corn syrup.
The new study in the journal Stroke says people who drink diet soda are three times as likely to have a stroke or develop dementia.
“This included a higher risk of ischemic stroke, where blood vessels in the brain become obstructed and Alzheimer’s disease dementia, the most common form of dementia,” Matthew Pase, a Boston University School of Medicine neurologist told The Washington Post.
Paseo is the lead author of the study.
He stressed the study showed just a correlation and not a causation but that diet pop simply “might not be a healthy alternative.”
The study of 2,888 individuals age 45 and overlooked for the development of a stroke and 1,484 participants age 60 and older for dementia over a 10 year period.
There was no association with stroke or dementia found in a parallel study of sugary drinks.
The diet sodas used by those in the study contained the artificial sweeteners saccharin, acesulfame-K, and aspartame.
“So, the bottom line is, ‘Have more water and have less diet soda,” Christopher Gardner, director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, said in an American Heart Association news release. “And don’t switch to real soda.”
He added: “Nobody ever said diet sodas were a health food.”
The American Beverage Association said low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well-established fact.
“While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not — and cannot — prove cause and effect,” the beverage association noted.
To read the whole Washington Post story click here.
As marijuana moves towards legalization throughout the country, the Drug Enforcement Administration took action this week against the dangerous designer products pretending to be a pot substitute — called cannabinoids — sold at some gas stations, convenience stores and head shops.
Drugs that mimic the natural plant of marijuana have been popping up in the last decade under the brand names Spice, K2 and a dozen others. Now the DEA has temporarily added six more analogs of the THC – the drug found naturally in pot — to Schedule I list, which includes heroin.
One of the new banned substances, MDMB-CHMICA, is believed to have attributed to 42 overdoses and 29 deaths in Europe. Another, ADB–FUBINACA,is found in K2.
Synthetic marijuana is akin to the bath salts that have caused so much havoc, a chemical goop cooked up in labs. The Palm Beach Post took a look at bath salts last year. Read the story by clicking here.
The major concern is these substances are being targeted to adolescents. The DEA said it is not aware of any currently accepted medical uses for these substances in the United States.
Synthetic cannabis was developed to assist in the research of AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy, resulting in 450 synthetic cannabinoid compounds, according to The Daily Beast.
The pro-pot website, Herb, praised the DEA for its move, saying the hundreds of synthetics that act on the same receptors in the brain as natural marijuana are not equal because they affect the brain in different ways.
“This makes their potency range from tens to ten-thousands magnitude higher than THC, and with different effects,” according to Herb. “Synthetics are to real THC as rubbing alcohol is to vodka.
Recently, I had moved on from my Newport cigarettes to cigarillos but was now up to three a day. And the grief – as any traditional smoker can attest – from family members about the smell was growing to a deafening din. My wife said it was her No. 1 “turn-off.” Ouch.
Now two weeks into vaping, I can tell you that I haven’t picked up a traditional tobacco product. I haven’t even wanted to smoke a cigarillo. My cigars in my humidor have gone untouched.
Still, this passion-in-the-making hasn’t been without its pitfalls. And it’s been quite a learning curve for a 50-year-old someone as clumsy as me.
First of all are the safety concerns from health officials, including our own Dr. Alina Alonso at the Health Department in Palm Beach County. She fears vaping is appealing to kids because the e-juice used to vape comes in as many flavors as there are in a candy store.
As addressed in my vaping culture story, the warnings are said to be suspicious by the vaping industry considering health officials in England has endorsed electronic cigarettes as a much better alternative to smoking traditional tobacco products.
The ingredients in “e-juice” of propylene glycol, glycerin, water and nicotine seem pretty straight-forward. Last I checked, there are 599 different additives to cigarettes. Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association says these additives have an anti-depressant effect on the smoker and that this is the real reason why they are harder to kick than heroin.
The vaping industry is not corporate – or at least not nearly as corporate – as traditional tobacco.
Vapinig proponents say everyone is losing money to the upstart industry: the government through taxes, tobacco companies through the sale of cigarettes, and pharmaceutical companies from the sale of cessation products such as patches or gum.
The Food and Drug Administration is set to clamp down further on the industry, possibly even driving it out of business. Which would be an interesting, because it is – like I reported previously – an amazing mom-and-pop American entrepreneurial story. So either the U.S. government is about encouraging small businesses or it is all just button-pushing rhetoric.
Then, there is that learning curve.
First off. It’s not cheap. At least, not to get started.
There is the vape, there is the e-juice, there is figuring out what kind of e-juice you like and purchase of rechargeable batteries. Then there are the replacement parts that make the vape work. I’ve easily spent close to $300 in the last month getting this thing up and running — after some missteps — and I’m still far from perfecting it.
But if you are the obsessive-compulsive type, vaping will fit right into your lifestyle. Besides flavor choices, there are as many types of vapes and e-cigarettes as there are stars in the sky. Figuring out what apparatus to buy is daunting.
I bought an e-cigarette type device that was not to my liking. I thought it would be closest to cigarettes but didn’t fit the bill. I then settled on a vape sold by Smok, an AL85, with a tank called the “Baby Beast” for its efficiency.
Immediately, I couldn’t figure out how to make it work and had to head back to the store to find out how to set it up. My first embarrassment, but not my last.
I bought some tobacco-flavored juice and something called Mr. Brunch, which aims to taste like stuffed French toast in blueberry syrup. I had to get familiar with e-juice terms such as the PG/VG ratio which dictates flavor, vapor production and harshness – what vapers call throat hits.
I also had to settle on my nicotine level. I found that 12 mg was too harsh. Some juice I bought was nicotine-free and was a waste of money. It was supposed to taste my black-and-mild cigarillos. Not exactly.
Now my mind was racing. What was the best juice for me? I got a pumpkin pie flavor one and another called Bacon Maple Sin, which was delicious.
I had to learn how to put the vape together properly so it didn’t leak. I lost a lot of liquid at first.
But that was only part of my education.
The liquid is heated by an atomizer, which – guess what? – comes in many different sizes and configurations for my device. The atomizer is inside a tank, which holds the liquid.
The heating element is the coil. Some coils are better for taste. Some are better for producing vapor – or clouds.
The cotton or wick surrounding the coil burns out and when that happens the sweet spot you get with your vape evaporates like – well you know what – and it tastes awful.
The coil dilemma has been the most frustrating part. I learned the hard way – actually still learning –that you had to prime your wick so as not to burn the cotton that surrounds right away.
Also, it is not unusual to get a bad coil and I got a few of them just by bad luck. Two in one pack right off the bat – not discounting operator error.
Those who really like flavor use “drippers,” atomizers where the e-juice is dripped in a little at a time. They take some work but aficionados swear by them.
So right now I’m waiting to see if the third coil from the pack does the job and delivers the flavor I was experiencing just yesterday. It is steeping.
But there is no doubt I’m obsessed. And now some millennial vapers are thinking “what a tool” but the fact is I haven’t smoked a cigarette or cigarillo in two weeks.
There is indeed a tight vaping community at the many little stores that have popped up over the nation. The local ones have been more than willing to help me and to discuss all issues vape.
And, finally, the family reaction has been positive for the most part. The wife is not happy about the money outlay to get this thing started. But there is no longer the endless criticism about “my cigar smell.”
And it is a stress reliever, an oral fixation once fulfilled by the cigarette – something I was skeptical it could replace. I’ve even entertained my youngest lately by struggling to blow vape rings.
Who needs fancy scanners, blood tests and X-rays to tell us if we have cancer. Soon, if an Alabama company has its way, all we will need is to chew a stick of gum.
Volatile Analysis is developing the product that can determine if a person has cancer. The gum works by having the wad absorb what are called “volatiles” in the saliva as it is chewed, according to a story on Fox News Health.
The gum then will be analyzed to see if it contains certain chemicals that are produced when a person has the deadly disease.
And last year there were 1.5 million new cases of cancer.
“Over the last 15 years there have been a lot of attempts with different products and processes for early detection of cancer,” Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said.
Breath samples, urine samples and even dogs that might be able to smell cancer have been tried recently. “None of these efforts are proven to detect cancer early,” Lichetenfeld said.
The gum is in the testing stage but Volatile Analysis plans to have the gum available to doctors and patients sometime in 2018.
Read the whole Fox News Health story by clicking here.
The women were injected in their eyes with a cell preparation derived from her own fat tissue.
Ophthalmologist Dr. Thomas Albini of the University of Miami, who examined the women, said one woman is totally blind and the others legally blind. He said all suffered detached retinas.
“These women had fairly functional vision prior to the procedure … and were blinded by the next day,” Albini said.
The clinic’s method hasn’t been proven effective or tested for safety in people, he added.
“It’s very alarming to us as clinicians that somebody would do this to both eyes at the same time,” said Albini.
Elizabeth Noble, one of the women said she was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration that blurs the central vision. The former educator said she heard about the treatment at the clinic for a research study described on ClinicalTrials.gov, a website run by the National Institutes of Health.
The former educator said she heard about the treatment at the clinic for a research study described on ClinicalTrials.gov, a website run by the National Institutes of Health.
“It’s very easy to register studies on ClinicalTrials.gov and essentially use a government website as a marketing device,” Leigh Turner, a bioethicist at the University of Minnesota, told BuzzFeed News.
Noble went to the clinic in June 2015 where staff took fat from around her belly button, extracted those cells and mixed them with Noble’s blood plasma. They then injected it into both her eyes for $5,000, according to a story in Buzzfeed.
In an editorial accompanying the Journal’s report, stem cell expert Dr. George Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School, called the clinic’s treatment careless.
“This report joins a small but growing medical literature highlighting the risks of such wanton misapplication of cellular therapy,” he wrote. Providing such treatments for profit outside a proper research setting “is a gross violation of professional and possibly legal standards,” he said.
Buzzfeed reports this isn’t the first time experimental procedures at a clinic have gone awry.
In 2010, for example, a woman with the autoimmune disease lupus died after her own bone marrow cells were injected into her kidneys at a clinic in Thailand.
In 2013, the Florida Department of Health revoked the medical license of Zannos Grekos over the death of a 69-year-old woman. He had extracted material from her bone marrow, filtered it, and then infused it into the arteries feeding her brain. The woman had a stroke.
Treatment for age-related macular generation is at the center of the Medicare fraud trial in West Palm Beach of Dr. Salomon Melgen, who happens also to be tied to a bribery scandal involving a U.S. senator.
Alcohol, in general, is responsible for about 4 percent of cancer cases worldwide. Researchers believe that the ethanol metabolizes into acetaldehyde, which damages DNA and prevents DNA repair.
A team of researchers from Harvard and Brown universities looked into alcohol consumption and cancer among 210,252 people. The study found that each drink of white wine was associated with a 13 percent increase in melanoma.
Again the culprit is acetaldehyde, which has a higher concentration in white wine and a lower concentration of antioxidants.
Malignant melanoma is a type of cancer that is associated with exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or other sources. Melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
If you drink white wine, you might want to consider reserving it for special occasions. And you may want to sample a few reds as well.
So since we are all getting cancer one way or another, here’s Joe Jackson singing his song “Cancer.”
The manufacturer of a “smart vibrator” agreed to pay customers $3.2 million after a lawsuit was filed that alleged the sex toy tracked the owners’ use without their knowledge.
We-Vibe agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle the class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois federal court. The vibrators advertised that it would allow users to “turn on your lover” via a Bluetooth connection, according to The New York Times.
“The usage information collected by Standard Innovation through We-Connect is extraordinarily intimate and private,” according to court documents from the plaintiffs. The lead plaintiff said she bought a $130 We-Vibe Rave and downloaded the app but was never warned her use would be tallied, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Among problems with the device, reported in The Guardian, the app that controls the vibrator had security and privacy vulnerabilities, allowing anyone with a bluetooth range to seize control of the device.
Data that was sent back to We-Vibe’s owner – Standard Innovation – included the temperature and intensity of the device.
Standard Innovation said in a statement it takes customer privacy and data security seriously.
“We have enhanced our privacy notice, increased app security, provided customers [with] more choice in the data they share, and we continue to work with leading privacy and security experts to enhance the app.
Now if we can just get President Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway to again explain to us about those microwaves.
Some experts say marketing may be overtaking medical wisdom since it’s unclear how long the immunity imparted by the vaccine lasts, particularly in seniors.
An early flu shot is better than no flu shot at all, but the science is uncertain how long your immunity will last if you get the shot in late summer as opposed to early fall. Flu season generally peaks in mid-winter or beyond.
“If you’re over 65, don’t get the flu vaccine in September. Or August. It’s a marketing scheme,” said Laura Haynes, an immunologist at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging.
Tom Charland, founder and CEO of Merchant Medicine, said medical services on demand appeals to millennials but when it comes to late summer flu shots, “It’s a way to get people into the store to buy other things.”
Read the whole debate on the issue at CNN by clicking here.