Grilling, high-temperature cooking linked with high blood pressure

Repost from Harvard! Original article:

Routinely eating grilled or well-done beef, chicken or fish may raise the risk of developing high blood pressure, according to preliminary research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The findings, which were presented on March 21, 2018 at an American Heart Association (AHA) meeting, were based on 12-16 years of data from more than 100,000 participants in three long-term studies—the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

Among those who reported eating at least two servings of red meat, chicken or fish each week, the risk of developing high blood pressure was:

  • 17% higher in those who grilled, broiled, or roasted their food more than 15 times per month, compared with those who did so less than four times per month
  • 15% higher in those who prefer their food well done, compared with those who prefer rarer meats
  • 17% higher in those estimated to have consumed the highest levels of heterocyclic aromatic amines—chemicals formed when meat protein is charred or exposed to high temperatures—compared with those who consumed the least

“Our findings imply that avoiding the use of open-flame and/or high-temperature cooking methods may help reduce hypertension risk among individuals who consume red meat, chicken or fish regularly,” said Gang Liu, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead author of the study, in a March 21, 2018 Today article.


The Children Treating Gunshot Wounds on Chicago’s South Side

Repost from VICE; Here’s the original article:

In a city home to a staggering amount of gun violence, Ujimaa Medics is teaching kids how to save lives.

Chicago is the center of America’s gun violence epidemic, home to 3,457 shooting victims in 2017 alone. Slow ambulance response times, a shortage of hospitals, and a police force that isn’t required to administer first aid leave shooting victims with slim chances for survival—but one grassroots organization is fighting to change that.

We met up with the activists behind Ujimaa Medics, a group teaching local kids how to treat gunshot wounds in Chicago’s South Side. We followed along as children as young as 12 learned how to bandage a wound, control crowds, and interact with the cops—including one young woman who used her training to save a life.

For more info please check out  Ujimaa Medics at

Researchers unclear why suicide is increasing among black children

Repost from The Chicago Tribune by: Justin Wm. Moyer, The Washington Post

Here’s the original link:


After 11-year-old Rylan Thai Hagan hanged himself with a belt from his bunk bed three days before Thanksgiving, people wanted to know why he did it.

He was a model sixth-grader at Perry Street Prep in northeast Washington, where he received a stipend to tutor other students. He was a basketball player whose team had just qualified for a tournament at Walt Disney World. He played the trumpet.

Standing in the room where her only child had taken his life less than two months earlier, that question tortured Nataya Chambers. The apartment, where she had not slept since his death, was in disarray, belongings spilling out of boxes as she prepared to search for a new start.

“He was the perfect son,” she said. “Very smart. He was happy. So far as I know of.”

Rylan appears to be the youngest person to take his own life in Washington since at least 2013, though data for last year isn’t available, and the idea that a child so young would commit suicide is unfathomable to most. But in January this year, another African-American child, 12-year-old Stormiyah Denson-Jackson, apparently hanged herself in the dormitory of her charter school in southeast Washington.

In a city that records a preteen suicide about every other year, two such deaths weeks apart were particularly jarring.

Nationwide, suicides among black children under 18 are up 71 percent in the past decade, rising from 86 in 2006 to 147 in 2016, the latest year such data is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In that same period, the suicide rate among all children also increased, up 64 percent.

Researchers aren’t sure what has fueled the slightly larger rise for black children. Some speculate that those affected by racism might be at greater risk. Another factor could be the notion that suicide isn’t a problem in the black community, hindering prevention efforts.

Among the youngest children, suicide for those 13 and under rose 114 percent from 2006 to 2016. In a bright spot for black youth, the rate of growth in this age group rose more slowly, at 30 percent.

Chambers was on the phone with her son on Nov. 20 not long before he ended his life. She was getting a Thanksgiving donation basket at the Salvation Army when Rylan told her he was frustrated with a malfunctioning printer at their boxlike, one-bedroom apartment where they shared a room.

When she called his phone again, he didn’t answer. When she entered the apartment, she called his name, and he didn’t answer. She looked in the bathroom – he wasn’t there. Then she went into the bedroom.

She tried loosening the belt – first with her hands, then with her teeth. She ran into the kitchen, got a knife and cut him down.

Her neighbor, Cerrina McArthur, heard the screams and ran into the bedroom. Rylan was lying on his back, eyes closed, hands purple, foam around his mouth. She started CPR and kept at it until the ambulance arrived.

“I didn’t know he was gone,” McArthur said.

A police report says little, indicating officers responded about 1:40 p.m. to the apartment.

“[Chambers] returned to the listed location and found [Rylan] in an unconscious state, inside the bedroom,” the report states. “[He] was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced.”

Police took Rylan’s laptop and phone – anything that might reveal why he took his life. He hadn’t left a note. Their investigation is ongoing, and the medical examiner hasn’t released results of an autopsy.

Without official information, Rylan’s family, friends, coaches and teachers looked for answers. They were hard to find.

Chambers wondered about the music her son listened to, such as rapper XXXTentacion, who posted a video to his Instagram account last year that appeared to show him hanging himself. Her son also played video games, interacting with other players online. Was he bullied in some way she’d overlooked?

She once asked him to do chores, and he reacted emotionally, unreasonably, saying he wanted to kill himself. Was this just acting out or a real warning sign? Her mother, Rylan’s grandmother, had struggled with depression. Was it hereditary?

“With children, it’s hard to tell,” Chambers said. “They smile, they don’t tell you what’s wrong, and they go back to being a child again.”

Researchers say it’s not clear why suicide is increasing among black children.

Rheeda Walker, a psychology professor at the University of Houston , said her research into African-American mental health shows possible links between perceived racism and suicide among black youths. And the perception that suicide isn’t a black problem makes it difficult for parents, teachers and others to spot warning signs.

“If there is a belief that black children do not kill themselves, there’s no reason to use tools to talk about suicide prevention,” she said.

Rylan’s home life wasn’t without challenges. His parents had a turbulent relationship and criminal records they were trying to put behind them.

They were together on and off and tell different stories about when and why they broke up. In 2016, his mother, an exotic dancer turned caterer who had pleaded guilty to sexual solicitation five years earlier, was living with Rylan in a shelter for about a month. They then moved to the subsidized unit.

“It was a starter kit to help us get going in the world,” Chambers said of the apartment.

The starter kit appeared to be working, as Rylan seemed unaffected by his stint in the shelter, his mother said.

Ronald Hagan, his father, was active in his son’s upbringing. Before Rylan’s birth, he served 10 years in prison for selling drugs, he said, and tried to steer Rylan toward a better path.

“My personal life didn’t affect him,” he said. “I knew, through all the mistakes I’ve made in my life, I wanted something better for him. In his life – daily, at the school, in sports – I wanted to make him better than me. That’s why I didn’t name him a Junior.”

When Hagan was homeless during the winter of 2016, he was with Rylan each day, picking him up from his mother’s house to take him to Perry Street Prep, then picking him up after tutoring to take him to football or basketball practice.

“I never seen the trigger – he was with me all the time,” Hagan said. “In school, he always put a smile on other kids’ faces.”

Angie Pearson, whose 12-year-old son, C.J., was close with Rylan, said Rylan often stayed at her house on weekends when she had a place in northeast Washington. In 2016, when Rylan’s mother and father were homeless, he stayed with her for two months, she said.

“We was like a safety spot,” Pearson said. “I knew he was happy, being with us. I wished he could be with me forever.”

Standing with his mother outside his school, C.J. said he was 3 when he met Rylan. Though Rylan was a year younger, they became inseparable. They played football in the same league. They “made their own fantasies,” C.J. said, pretending they were superheroes. C.J.’s favorite was the Flash; Rylan’s was Deadpool.

After C.J.’s family began staying in a shelter on the campus of the former D.C. General Hospital, he saw Rylan less often. The last time was in March.

“In my head, I kept thinking it was partly my fault,” C.J. said of Rylan’s suicide. “I thought it had to do with me not seeing him no more.”

C.J. isn’t sure why Rylan did it. Once, Rylan asked C.J. what suicide was, and C.J. told him. They watched a video online of people jumping off a bridge.

“I told him to stop – don’t look at it no more,” C.J. said. “We promised that we would never try it or attempt it. He agreed, until recently.”

Niyesha Coleman, who had Rylan in fourth and fifth grades at Perry Street, said he was consistently on the honor roll and was trusted to help other students in the computer lab. He sometimes called her “mom.”

“I loved him like my own child,” she said. “Anybody you talk to has nothing but great things to say about this kid.”

Sports were a big part of Rylan’s life, his father said. He’d started out unable to catch a football – Hagan recalled throwing him 100 passes until he picked up the skill. A week before his death, Rylan traveled to North Carolina and won a regional basketball championship, qualifying for a trip to Orlando, Florida, that he never took.

Hagan wants to start a foundation – one that focuses on the mental health of young people. He tried to reach out to Stormiyah’s family after the girl apparently hanged herself at SEED Public Charter School last month.

Patricia Denson-Jackson, Stormiyah’s mother, declined to comment on her daughter’s death, and autopsy results are pending. Media reports indicate her parents complained she was bullied at the school. The Washington Post doesn’t usually report on suicides, but Stormiyah’s death was widely covered in local media because of where it occurred. Rylan’s family discussed his death to promote suicide awareness.

At Stormiyah’s wake in January, the 12-year-old lay dressed in white as hundreds lined up to pay tribute. They circled in front of the casket, lingered a few moments, then walked away with tears in their eyes.

Mourners said she was a model student and a gifted dancer and singer. Vincent Gray of the D.C. Council said he would designate Stormiyah an honorary member. Some expressed skepticism that she had taken her own life, wearing “Justice 4 Stormy” T-shirts.

“I pray that we continue to surround this family with love,” said the Rev. Christopher L. Nichols.

National Institute of Mental Health director Joshua Gordon explains some of the latest research surrounding suicide rates in the U.S.

Jeffrey Bridge, director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said parents shouldn’t dismiss signs that a child might need help.

“Take it seriously,” he said. “Talk with a mental health professional. Definitely act on it. Talking to a child about suicide does not put the idea in their head.”

That’s a lesson that Tim Bryant, who coached Rylan in football and basketball, is grappling with. This was a boy he knew well – who was friends with his son and slept at his house many times. Rylan was a lefty, so Bryant taught him how to drive to the basket from the “wrong” side when everyone else on the court was driving from the right.

Whatever it was that led Rylan to take his life, Bryant didn’t see signs of trouble.

“It really opened up our eyes to pain,” he said. “Kids can be going through things . . . what do you do? It’s not like you want to put it on their mind. As adults, we think about prevention by not bringing it up.”

That strategy isn’t endorsed by experts.

“Minorities often don’t seek treatment,” said Erlanger Turner, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston who also studies race and culture. “What we know is that people at risk of suicide often suffer from some mood disorder or depression. If you’re not treated for these conditions, the risk is much higher.”

– – –

Preventing such a tragedy requires eternal vigilance, said Matt Brady, the Perry Street music teacher who taught Rylan to play the trumpet.

“You never know what one more hug, one more high-five, one more ‘Hey, Rylan, are you okay?’ – what it could have done,” he said. “For me, I’m just trying to make sure I check in as much as possible.”

All that’s left are artifacts.

Trophies and medals. An urn with ashes inside. Rylan’s green bike, sitting in the apartment his mother abandoned after his death. A private Instagram account that can’t accept follow requests. Two funeral programs – one created by his mother, one by his father – stuffed with photos.

Infant Rylan in a car seat. Rylan at a football game. Rylan eating ice cream. Rylan with a dog. Rylan underwater, swimming, wearing neon-green goggles.

“Rylan brought immense joy to everyone,” Hagan’s version of the program said. “He was a treasure whose smile captured your heart the moment you laid eyes on him.”

McArthur, who tried to revive Rylan, said he sometimes comes to her in dreams.

“I feel his spirit,” she said. But he doesn’t say anything. “He just smiles.”

It was time to move on. Rylan’s mother was cleaning the apartment, packing up for good.

“I had to finally come to grips and come home,” Chambers said. “I couldn’t stay here over the holidays. Some of this hasn’t been cleaned up since it happened.”

She already knows her next move: California, to open the catering business she planned before Rylan died. Like Rylan’s dad, she wants to start a foundation focused on young people’s mental health.

Weeks after her son’s death, she hadn’t yet bought her plane ticket but was sure of one thing.

“It’s gonna be a one-way,” she said.

To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging 741741.

Judge Temporarily Blocks Abortion Ban

Repost from CNN by Laura Ly! Here’s the original link:


Just one day after Mississippi’s governor signed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks, a federal judge issued an order temporarily blocking it. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday, blocking the law from taking effect for 10 days while the court considers further action. “The law threatens immediate, irreparable harm to Mississippians’ abilities to control their ‘destiny and … body,’ ” Reeves wrote, citing another ruling. “A brief delay in enforcing a law of dubious constitutionality does not outweigh that harm, and in fact serves the public’s interest in preserving the freedom guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”

House Bill 1510 was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant on Monday, making Mississippi the state with the earliest abortion ban in the nation. The same day, the nonprofit Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which had gone into effect immediately. It also asked the court to block the ban, a particularly urgent request because a woman was scheduled to have a 15-week abortion Tuesday afternoon.
Bryant called the temporary restraining order “disappointing.” “House Bill 1510 protects maternal health and will further our efforts to make Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child. We are confident in its constitutionality and look forward to vigorously defending it,” he said in a statement.
 The Center for Reproductive Rights maintains that the law violates “longstanding Supreme Court precedent.” “By banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the law violates decades of well-established, clear precedent under the U.S. Constitution. Courts have consistently struck down similar bans on abortion before viability as unconstitutional,” the center said in a statement.
 House Bill 1510 is also known as the Gestational Age Act. It makes exceptions only for medical emergencies or cases in which there’s a “severe fetal abnormality.” There are no exceptions for incidents of rape or incest. The law also requires doctors who perform abortions after 15 weeks to submit reports detailing the circumstances of each case. If they knowingly violate the law, their medical licenses will be suspended or revoked in Mississippi. If they falsify records, they will face civil penalties or be forced to pay fines of up to $500.
Mississippi is among a small handful of states with only one remaining clinic that provides abortion services: in this case, Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Although Mississippi was already among the states with a 20-week ban, until the enactment of this latest bill, the cutoff time for abortions at the Jackson clinic was 16 weeks.


Are your chakras blocked? Check out the pic below for signs of blocked Chakras


If so here are a few ways to heal and balance out your Chakras


STD cases reaching all-time highs in U.S., California

Repost! Author: Soumya Karlamangla Published:


Much to the worry of public health officials, new national data show that cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are climbing in the United States and have reached an all-time high.

A report released this week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that though rates of these sexually transmitted diseases fluctuated over the last five years, all three spiked in 2014. The center called the increases “alarming.”

“America’s worsening STD epidemic is a clear call for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention.

The volume of chlamydia cases last year was particularly staggering. Nationwide, there were about 1.4 million cases, which is the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to the CDC.

The picture in California is even bleaker. Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been steadily increasing here since 2010, while national rates sometimes stagnated or even dipped. In 2014, the rates for all three diseases were higher in the Golden State than in the nation overall.

The new data also show that among the more than 3,000 counties in the nation, Los Angeles County had the most cases of all three diseases in 2014. That’s partly because it’s home to more people than any other county, but also because of high rates of those infections.

Here’s how the prevalence of those diseases in 2014 in L.A. County and California compare with the rest of the country.

  • Chlamydia in the U.S.: 456 cases per 100,000 people
  • Chlamydia in California: 460 cases per 100,000 people
  • Chlamydia in L.A. County: 548 cases per 100,000 people
  • Gonorrhea in the U.S.: 111 cases per 100,000 people
  • Gonorrhea in California: 119 cases per 100,000 people
  • Gonorrhea in L.A. County: 153 cases per 100,000 people
  • Primary and secondary syphilis in the U.S.: 6 cases per 100,000 people
  • Primary and secondary syphilis in California: 10 cases per 100,000 people
  • Primary and secondary syphilis in L.A. County: 12 cases per 100,000 people

Neither California nor L.A. County had the highest rates for any of the diseases.

“STDs are a substantial health challenge facing the United States,” a CDC report summary says. “Each of these infections is a potential threat to an individual’s immediate and long-term health and well-being.”

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are common and curable diseases, but if not treated can cause serious problems such as infertility in women. Officials estimate that undiagnosed STDs cause 20,000 women in the country to become infertile each year.

More than half of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases are among people between the ages of 15 and 24. Officials recommend that sexually active women under 25 be tested annually for these diseases.

Syphilis, which is also curable, can lead to complications such as blindness if allowed to progress.

It has been of particular concern in California, where cases of congenital syphilis — in which a mother infects her child during pregnancy — surged between 2012 and 2014, with cases increasing from 30 to 100. Stillbirths caused by syphilis in California also rose from one case in 2012 to six in 2014.

Health officials recommend using condoms during sex to prevent the spread of these diseases.

In Fight to Save Young People, Brooklyn Doctor Treats Violence as a Public Health Issue

Author: David Gonzalez Published:

Dr. Robert Gore was stirred awake one morning in July by an urgent phone call from work. That was not unusual, given his job in the emergency department at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, a level-one trauma center that provides the highest level of care. Still, his years of skillful, coolheaded practice, of stopping bleeding and saving lives, had not prepared him for what he heard.

Young had been stabbed.

Young was Willis Young, 27, one of a small group of people Dr. Gore had enlisted to cool tempers and stop retaliation whenever a young person was brought to the hospital after being shot, stabbed or beaten. An argument with a friend had left Mr. Young critically wounded on a Brooklyn street. Days later, still in the intensive care unit, he died.

Dr. Gore recalled that grim summer day months later, as the leaves turned orange and the air chill. Other young men had died since then, despite his best efforts at the hospital. But that had not dimmed his dedication to what he sees as his duty — not just as a physician, but as an African-American man committed to his community — to find alternatives to violence. For him, that means continuing Mr. Young’s work, as well as redoubling his own efforts in working with almost 100 teenagers in a mentoring program called the Kings Against Violence Initiative.

“When he was stabbed, everything became more real about what we were doing,” Dr. Gore said of Mr. Young. “It personalized what we were doing. All I know is we have somebody doing violence intervention and all of a sudden he is not here. This was avoidable. It’s not a freak car accident. This is somebody who died at the hands of violence.”

Dr. Gore, 39, speaks not just from the perspective of his position at the trauma center. As a native of Brooklyn who has lived in Fort Greene and Bedford-Stuyvesant, he has a personal stake in the issue. And as the son of a schoolteacher and activist, he felt it was in his blood to not just bemoan a community’s misfortunes, but also to do something about them. His epiphany came during his residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago on a rainy day, when a fellow resident said he hoped that “something exciting” would happen.

“What he meant to say was he hoped we had some penetrating trauma,” Dr. Gore recalled. “When that comes in, there’s always a level of excitement, an opportunity to do something that can be lifesaving. Then I looked around the room and it was me, a nurse and a clerk who were the only people of color. That’s when you start looking at the problem from a different point of view because they look like me or one of my relatives. I started thinking, ‘What can I do to help this?’ ”

The result — put together over years of research and brainstorming — began to take shape in 2011, when Dr. Gore and some like-minded friends and professionals started what became the Kings Against Violence Initiative, which they at first financed on their own. For their mentorship program, they went to the old George W. Wingate High School in Brooklyn, which had been divided into a set of smaller schools, and offered to help students who were considered at risk or otherwise in need of guidance.


Today, the initiative and Dr. Gore work with young people whom they are trying to steer clear of trouble and into college. Dr. Gore likes to remind them that while conflict may not be avoidable, violence is. Many have learned to rely on one another, rather than drift to street corners where trouble awaits.

“Before, if I got into problems, I had more of a violent way to handle it,” Jude Bonney, a senior at the High School for Public Service, said. “Here I learned how that can be prevented in the first place, by being aware of my surroundings.”

The approach that Dr. Gore put in place has become part of a larger effort by the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, which has similar programs at Harlem Hospital Center in Manhattan and Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. The programs share a belief that law enforcement alone cannot eliminate violence among young people. A preventive public health approach is needed.

“If violence is a disease, you need a vaccination,” Erik Cliette, who directs the corporation’s Guns Down, Life Up initiative, said. “If you address violence the way we addressed smoking, the whole concept of how we look at violence will change.”

Dr. Gore had already come to that conclusion by the time he began working at Kings County. Some days he would stitch up someone he had known since childhood. Other days he would return to his Bed-Stuy block to hear that someone he knew from the neighborhood had been hurt.

He met Mr. Young not far from his home a few years ago, and was impressed by his curiosity. When he had the idea to have people intervene at the trauma center to stop the cycle of violence and retaliation, he found Mr. Young to be someone teenagers could relate to: He had dabbled in the street life, lost his father at an early age and had relatives who had had brushes with the law.

“He would know the people who came into the E.R.,” Dr. Gore said. “Brooklyn is big, but it ain’t that big.”

Mr. Young’s death made the borough feel a lot smaller, and emptier.

A grand jury has not handed up an indictment in Mr. Young’s death, although the man with whom he had the fatal confrontation, Chad Hollingsworth, has been charged with second-degree attempted murder, prosecutors said.

According to a complaint, Mr. Hollingsworth told the police he got into an argument over remarks Mr. Young made about a young woman. Mr. Hollingsworth said that Mr. Young had pushed him into a car and that in the ensuing struggle, a knife had fallen from Mr. Young’s belt. Mr. Hollingsworth picked up the knife.

Stephen Drummond, Mr. Hollingsworth’s lawyer, said his client — whom he described as having never had trouble before with the law — was not interested in a plea bargain, but was willing to cooperate with the authorities in the hope that he would be exonerated.

“It’s a very sad case, because these two gentlemen were friends,” Mr. Drummond said. “The evidence will establish that my client had absolutely no choice but to do that which he had to do to save his own life.”

The impact of Mr. Young’s death is still being felt. It has started heartfelt discussions among young people and driven Dr. Gore and his colleagues to consider how they can start addressing the larger social and economic issues facing the community.

“There’s a time to mourn, and we honor that,” Dr. Gore said. “At the same time, we have work to be done. This is still a part of our community’s reality. I can’t point fingers at who is responsible for doing what. This is my neighborhood, my hospital and I can’t expect others to take care of it if I’m not involved.”