Archive for January, 2015

Heroin deaths up for 3rd year in a row

Many more people are dying from heroin overdoses than in previous years, according to the latest available statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An analysis of those numbers and what might be responsible for the uptick in heroin deaths appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

In general, drug overdose deaths have been on the rise for the past two decades, but the number of deaths from heroin use is up by 39%.

That means 5,927 people died after using heroin in 2012 and that number jumped to 8,260 deaths in 2013. Those are the latest numbers available.

This is the third year in a row that heroin deaths have increased.

The silver lining, if there is such a thing in a report about drug fatalities, is that deaths from prescription drug abuse have remained fairly stable from 2011-2013; that’s after those deaths peaked in 2010.

For perspective: The number of people dying after abusing drugs is higher than the number of people killed in traffic accidents.

About half of all drug overdose deaths are related to the abuse of prescription drugs.

The majority of the pharmaceuticals people abuse are opioids, common powerful painkillers like oxycontin and vicodin.

It’s estimated 25 million people abused prescription opioids, according to the New England Journal of Medicine analysis. That’s for the years between 2002 and 2011.

Federal, state and local governments have been cracking down on illegal prescription drug sales with some success, according to the Journal study. That may have a connection to the rise in problems with heroin.

Law enforcement has shut down many pill mills. Governments have created rules that tighten prescription practices. Drug manufacturers have been creating more abuse-deterrent versions of their drugs.

All this effort to stop prescription drug abuse has made it much more of a challenge for addicts to get their drug of choice.

That may mean they turn to heroin, a drug that gives users a similar kind of high, but can be cheaper and now may be easier to get, according to the Journal study.

Opiate pain medications cost the uninsured about $1 per milligram, so a 60-milligram pill will cost $60. You can obtain the equivalent amount of heroin for about one-tenth the price.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost half of young people who use heroin today started with prescription opioids.

In the 1960s, heroin users were usually men who started using around an average age of 16. They were most likely from low-income neighborhoods, and when they turned to opioids, heroin was their first choice.

Now, more than 50 years later, a study from The Journal of the American Medical Association paints a very different picture.

Today’s typical heroin addict starts using at 23, is more likely to live in the affluent suburbs and was likely unwittingly led to heroin through painkillers prescribed by his or her doctor.

As the opioid supply becomes more limited, abuse and overdose death rates related to these painkillers seem to go down, according to the Journal report. The authors of the study saw this in looking at six prescription drugs — oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydropmorphone, fentanyl, morphine and tramadol — in the RADARS system, operated by the Denver Health and Hospital Authority. The system tracks the availability, abuse and diversion of these drugs.

The study authors found the supply of these drugs increased greatly in the 1990s through 2010, and then stabilized from 2011 to 2013.

They saw the parallel increase in heroin-related deaths in this same period.

Repost From: Jen Christensen, CNN

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Bacteria from Artic waters key to developing new antibiotics ?

Researchers are searching for the next generation of antibiotics. In these sea organisms, they hope, are new bacteria to become those drugs.

Researchers working for PharmaSea project, an EU-funded initiative to bring research groups together around the world in search of new antibiotics. The World Health Organization says antibiotic resistance is a growing health crisis around the world, calling it “an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society.”

It is not cost-effective for pharmaceutical companies to search for new antibiotics. On average, it costs a pharmaceutical company more than $2 billion to bring a new drug to market. In the case of antibiotics, the drug is only taken for a short time, and could eventually develop resistance. That’s why large-scale focus has moved away from antibiotics research in the past 30 years. In the meantime, bacteria have evolved, adapted, and become resistant to many current antibiotics.

The key is finding new chemistry. Bacteria can’t be resistant to a drug if they’ve never seen anything like it before. Extreme environments are providing new places to look.

According to Marcel Jaspers, the founder of is the founder of “In the past, bacteria and fungi have been the main sources for new antibiotics.” “In fact, about 70% of our antibiotics still come from nature, normally from sediment samples and soil samples from land. But now, by looking at the ocean, we hope to find new life forms which give us new chemistry that might be able to treat bacterial infections.”

Source: CNN Health

His team has identified the icy waters of the Norwegian Arctic as a potential breeding ground of new bacteria. In this extreme environment, the sea organisms have been forced to adapt over time.

Source: CNN Health

Foods to increase heart health

Here are the top ten whole foods to add to your diet and promote heart health. Including these foods into your diet on a regular basis with help keep your heart healthy and your body happy and strong!

1. Salmon. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart and brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for protecting the heart and blood vessels for optimal health and wellness. Making a meal with this nutrient-dense food just a couple times a week can help promote a healthy heart, without having to worry about supplements or fish oil capsules.

2. Oatmeal. Oatmeal is filled with plenty of nutrients and minerals, such as soluble fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate and niacin. These minerals are adept at protecting the heart and blood cells, as well as regulating various bodily systems.

3. Kidney and Black Beans. Beans are important for helping to keep digestion moving and healthy, but they are also a heart healthy food as well. Both black and kidney beans contain B-complex vitamins, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium and more.

4. Nuts. Walnuts and almonds are a great snack and also happen to promote heart health. Raw, unsalted nuts are easy to carry on the go and contain high levels of Vitamin E, mono and polyunsaturated fats, plant omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols.  All of which are powerful heart-healthy super stars!

5. Tomatoes. Tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus, they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help get rid of “bad” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and lower your risk for heart attacks. And because they’re low in calories and low in sugar, they’re a great addition to a balanced diet.

6. Pomegranate. Pomegranates contains numerous antioxidants, including heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins, which may help stave off hardening of the arteries. One study of heart disease patients found that a daily dose of pomegranate juice, over three months, showed improvements in blood flow to the heart.

7. Blueberries. Filled with plenty of antioxidants, blueberries are another perfect heart healthy snack. They contain carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols and Vitamin C. Blueberries are also a great source of potassium and fiber for healthy digestion and regularity.

8. Spinach. A dark green color is an indicator of lots of minerals and vitamins. Spinach contains lutein, B-complex vitamin, calcium, fiber and much more. This healthy leafy green vegetable contains plenty of other nutrients and can be added to salads, sandwiches and plenty of other dishes for a large dose of nutrients.

9. Oranges. Best known as a good source of Vitamin C, oranges are also full of carotenoids, fiber, potassium and other nutrients to keep your immune system – and heart healthy and strong.

10. Dark Chocolate. Dark chocolate is bursting with antioxidants, resveratrol, and cocoa phenols. This food has been proven to lower blood pressure and detoxify the body. Choose dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content, or higher to reap the amazing benefits.

A few ways to strengthen your DNA

1. Do yoga. Studies have proven that yoga and meditation both repair DNA damage and lengthen telomeres.

2. Eat your way to a younger body. Incorporate bean sprouts and green sprouts (such as sunflower sprouts)as part of your regular diet.

3. Add some intervals to your workouts. If you run, add some sprints to your regimen. This helps increase telomere length.

4. Laugh more. Laughter is an immune booster, which protects your cells. It truly is the best medicine.

5. Come on, get happy. Studies have shown that your mood impacts your DNA directly.

6. Get a little closer. Healthy intimacy encourages an optimal state of wellbeing.

7. Sleep. DNA and cellular repair happen while you are sleeping so get those zzz’s.

Healthy and chemical free homemade conditioner for damaged hair

Causes Behind Hair Damage

  • Applying direct heat on your hair (i.e. straightening curling tools or even hair dryers)
  • Too much exposure to sun
  • Bleaching
  • Perming
  • Highlighting and Colouring
  • Over brushing or not brushing enough
  • Over shampooing
  • Use of extensions and weaves

1. Avocado and banana conditioner:

banana mashThings that you will need: 

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method:1

  • Firstly take an avocado, peel and cut it into half (you can also use one full avocado depending on the length of your hair) and smash it until it becomes a paste.
  • Then take half a banana and add about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Mix it well with the avocado paste.
  • Then take an egg and mix with the banana and avocado mixture in a blender until it is soft.

How to apply:

Firstly make sure your hair is dry. Start applying the avocado and banana conditioner from the top section of your hair. Ensure not to apply the conditioner on your scalp. Then work your way down and concentrate mainly on the hair tips as the tips are more likely to be damaged. Leave the conditioner for about 10 mins and rinse it off with water. You will see that your hair becomes soft and shiny.

Benefits of the conditioner:

  • Banana nourishes your hair and prevents the hair from getting frizzy.
  • Avocado  helps in hair growth and conditions and moisturizes your hair.
  • Olive oil makes your hair healthy and shinier.
  • Honey adds sheen to your hair and it can also be used to lighten your hair.

This is a pack that you will listed in many places as the best homemade conditioner for damaged hair.

2. Vinegar egg conditioner:

Vinegar egg conditioner 

Things that you will need

  • Eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice

Method

Firstly start with 2 – 3 egg yolks and whisk it thoroughly, then add about 4oz of vinegar, about 5 oz of lemon juice and mix it; simultaneously add about 8 oz of olive oil and 2 – 3 tbsp of honey. Mix it well in a blender. You will be left with a thick and whipped paste.

How to apply

Take the vinegar and egg conditioner paste and apply it on hair tips. After applying, leave the conditioner for about 10 – 15 min and rinse it off thoroughly with cold or normal water.

Benefits of the conditioner

  • Eggs act as a good conditioner and add shine to your hair.
  • Olive oil makes your hair stronger and also healthier.
  • Honey can be used to lighten your hair and it also provides moisture.
  • Vinegar helps in treatment for hair loss.

3. Banana Hair Mask:

Banana Hair MaskBananas are great for damaged hair, even better when it is made into a healthy hair mask. Try this recipe which works wonders in repairing damaged hair

Things you will need

  • Banana
  • Egg
  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Olive oil

Method:
Mix one banana, one egg, three-tablespoon honey, three tablespoon milk and five tablespoon olive oil into a smooth paste.

How to apply

Apply the paste on hair and leave it in for 15 to 30 minutes and then wash off.

4. Yogurt Hair Mask:

Yogurt Hair MaskYogurt works great and is the best conditioner for damaged hair when mixed with egg white. This hair pack relieves your tresses of damage.

Things you will need

  • Egg
  • Yogurt

Method
Beat an egg white until it is nice and smooth, add five to six tablespoons of yogurt to this mixture, and blend again.

How to apply

Massage into your hair and keep it covered in a shower cap, leave the homemade conditioner mask for 15 to 30 minutes and wash with a mild shampoo.

Easy way to cure and prevent infections and diseases

When consumed together, lemon and parsley can eliminate bacteria and help heal infections and disease.

Parsley is a real source of health which helps in treating inflammation, swollen feet, rheumatism, bone pain, angina… In ancient Egypt, people used parsley to treat kidney diseases.

Lemon is a fruit with antibacterial and antiviral properties.

By adding some honey and olive oil to this combination, you will get an amazing remedy for every bacteria that may attack your body.

You need 9 oz/ 250 grams of parsley, 9 oz/ 250 grams of lemon (do not peel), 9 oz/ 250 grams of honey and 1 cup/ 2 deciliters of olive oil.

Blend all the ingredients for 3-5 minutes, or until you get a nice and smooth texture. Keep the mixture in a jar and store it in the fridge.

Consume a tablespoon of the remedy before your breakfast and dinner.

For Homeless Women, Getting Their Period Is One Of The Most Difficult Challenges

I thought this article was very interesting! This is public health and this is a public health problem!

Article originally written by: Eleanor Goldberg and published on: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/14/homeless-women-tampons_n_6465230.html

Check it out below:

Homeless women typically know where to find a safe place to sleep or a hot meal to eat. But when it comes to taking care of their feminine hygiene needs, they often have nowhere to turn.

Tampons and sanitary pads usually top the list of needs at shelters, since they’re pricey and supporters don’t often donate them, social workers told Al Jazeera. Compounding the issue is the fact that clean showers are also scarce, and not washing during menstruation can lead to infections.

It’s a desperate situation that many homeless women feel resigned to accept.

“I’ll never be clean,” a young woman living on the streets of San Francisco once told Doniece Sandoval, the entrepreneur behind Lava Mae, a mobile shower program, according to Nation Swell.

Maribel Guillet, 36, is all too familiar with that despondent feeling.

Guillet, who lives in a Bronx, New York, homeless shelter, typically menstruates for about 10 days and experiences heavy bleeding, she told Al Jazeera. But because of the shelter’s strict restrictions, she can’t always use the restroom as often as she needs to.

The fact that menstruation is a taboo topic to begin with, means that people who are able help, often aren’t even aware that such a vast need exists.

While donating clothes to a homeless day center in Camden, New Jersey, back in 2009, Joanie Balderstone and her partner, Rebecca McIntire, asked the women there what else they really needed.

The overwhelming consensus was pads and tampons, the couple wrote on their organization’s website.

That interaction is what spurred the pair to found Distributing Dignity, a nonprofit that donates bras and feminine hygiene products to women in need.

A few months later, they hosted their first “Mardi Bra” party, according to Philly.com.
Guests donated 80 new bras and hundreds of feminine products that the founders distributed to shelters in Camden.

They’ve since expanded to help shelters throughout South Jersey and Philadelphia.

Gaining access to such an everyday item has proved to be invaluable to the women Distributing Dignity helps.

When residents at Camden County Women’s Center, which supports survivors of domestic abuse, recently got shipment of sanitary napkins, they were thrilled to see that the box contained pads of varying sizes.