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Apple Watch app could save your life by detecting irregular heartbeat, study says – CNN

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Inside vaccine court, where the US government pays millions to people who say they were harmed by vaccines – INSIDER

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  • Vaccine court in Washington, DC was established in 1988 after a series of unfounded lawsuits threatened to erase the national supply of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT) vaccines.
  • The court is a no-fault system where injured people can have their cases heard, and everyone’s attorneys are compensated through a special fund.
  • A 75¢ cent tax on every childhood vaccine and flu shot in the US pays for the program.
  • But it’s extremely difficult to prove that vaccines cause harm. Most successful verdicts in vaccine court are awarded for bad needle jabs that prompt shoulder injuries.
  • Over 80% of vaccine court cases settle without making any scientific conclusions about what caused the injury.

Just a two minute walk from the front door of the White House, on the eastern edge of leafy Lafayette Square, sits the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, a 9-story red brick structure with dark, narrow windows. Inside, federal judges oversee a mix of cases and appeals involving patent disputes, veteran benefits, oil spills, private claims against the government, and much more.

Eight of those judges belong to the Office of Special Masters, a small unit within the much larger Court of Federal Claims. For more than two decades, these legal minds have applied a meticulous understanding of medical science — including neurology, rheumatology, and pediatrics — to one of the most contentious corners of the legal system.

This is vaccine court, whose staff adjudicate cases brought by individuals who claim vaccines harmed them or their children. The tribunal administers the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which Congress established in 1986 and funded with a 75¢ tax on every childhood vaccine sold in America. Since its inception in 1988, the program has awarded more than $4 billion in damages.

Every year, the court’s special masters, who are appointed by the president and approved by the US Senate, receive around 500 petitions for monetary damages. Much like a lawsuit, each petition is a legal accusation from someone who says they’ve been hurt by a prick in the arm or jab in the thigh. For each one, the special masters must answer a medically tricky, but legally straightforward, question: Was the plaintiff injured by a vaccine?

Demonstrators gathered in Lafayette Square on February 18, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

In 2016, vaccine court awarded $230 million to patients who said they were wronged by vaccines, and paid over $22 million in attorney fees. (The courts pays those fees even when the petitioner loses their case — a significant deviation from standard practice that experts believe is unique to vaccine court.) The system has existed for more than three decades to serve a single, and very important, purpose: keeping life-saving vaccines on the market.

“It is a no-fault compensation program designed to encourage vaccination, encourage vaccine manufacturers to continue making vaccines, and to compensate the small but significant number of people who are injured by a vaccine they receive,” the former head of vaccine court, Chief Special Master Denise Vowell, explained in a 2015 video.

This doesn’t mean that vaccines are inherently dangerous. More than 80% of the claims the court receives are settled, without concluding that a vaccine caused any injury at all. But the existence of the court, and the history behind its creation, illustrate the complicated realities of modern medicine — and the consequences, positive and negative, of its efforts to eradicate disease.

Costly litigation laid the groundwork for vaccine court

A technician in an incubator at the virus laboratories of Chas. Pfizer & Co. nurtures cells to serve as hosts for live virus needed for the measles vaccine.
AP Photo

The origins of vaccine court can be traced to the 1970s, when parents began filing lawsuits against doctors and vaccine manufacturers over allegations that vaccines for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT shots) posed a dangerous risk to children. One of the first lawsuits to succeed was brought by the parents of Kevin Toner, after he was vaccinated in Idaho in 1979.

“Kevin Toner, then a three-month-old infant, was vaccinated with Tri-Immunol”— a DPT vaccine since discontinued in the US — “and suffered a rare condition of the spine known as transverse myelitis, the cause of which is unknown,” court documents state. “As a result of the affliction, Kevin is permanently paralyzed from the waist down.”

Family lawyer Kenneth Pedersen remembers that as a young attorney in his early 30s at the time, winning the case helped launch his own budding legal career. “The argument was that the vaccine could’ve been safer,” he told Business Insider. “It was a scary proposition, taking on a huge drug company. We had to prove that’s how he got hurt.”

A jury of six Idahoans awarded the Toners $1.3 million in their case against vaccine maker Lederle Laboratories. Toner later graduated from college and settled down in Salt Lake City with his wife and their children. He currently works for a major bank.

The Toner verdict arrived amid a national debate over the safety of DPT shots. Shortly before the family’s case made its way through the court system, a documentary called “Vaccine Roulette” aired on NBC, scaring parents across the country about the dangers of the vaccine.

The American Academy of Pediatrics denounced NBC, saying the documentary’s “total lack of balance of scientific fact [caused] extraordinary anguish and perhaps irreparable harm to the health and welfare of the nation’s children.”

Still, the number of DPT injury lawsuits skyrocketed, from what had been one single case in 1978 to 73 lawsuits in 1984. The cases got more expensive, too. As Dr. Alan Hinman noted in a 1986 JAMA Pediatrics article, “the average amount claimed per suit has risen from $10 million to $46.5 million.”

Pedersen believes it would have become much harder to win tort cases like Toner’s once more scientific literature started coming out about vaccine safety. “The medical literature kind of turned on us,” he said.

Vaccines are extremely safe, and the evidence continues to grow stronger

A comprehensive review of DPT shot safety, published in 1991, determined the shots do not cause autism or other dangerous and chronic conditions like attention deficit disorder or juvenile diabetes. The study found a few notable exceptions where children developed allergies or inflammation, and a different study documented a handful of instances in which children were diagnosed with neurological damage after receiving a pertussis shot. But such instances are extremely rare, and it’s very difficult to prove the shot was the culprit.

These anomalies are best understood in the broader context of vaccine safety. The vast majority of vaccines work as promised and do not cause any serious or permanent side effects. As the 1991 paper put it, “next to clean water, no single intervention has had so profound an effect on reducing mortality from childhood diseases as has the widespread introduction of vaccines.”

Nevertheless, the financial impact of the DPT lawsuits in the 1970s and 80s caused a nationwide vaccine shortage and threatened to shutter the manufacture of DPT vaccines altogether. Before long, doctors, public health experts, and drug companies began lobbying the federal government to do something about the rising costs of litigation.

Jonas Salk, who invented the first polio vaccine, was one of the experts who testified before lawmakers. Before his vaccine went into widespread use in 1955, polio outbreaks caused more than 15,000 cases of paralysis in the US every year.

“The live polio virus vaccine now in general use causes more than the two cases per year of vaccine-associated paralysis,” Salk told lawmakers. “Such cases occur to the extent of about 6 to 10 cases per year.” He encouraged vaccine-makers to focus on administering more of the killed polio virus vaccine, which did not cause any paralysis.

“In the case of vaccine-associated injuries, it is clear that it would be far more desirable to avoid them,” Salk said. “In the event that compensation is necessary, it seems to me that the kind of legislation that you are proposing would be desirable.”

Two years later, the House passed the bipartisan National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. Sen. Edward Kennedy later folded its provisions into a larger health bill already moving through the upper chamber. President Ronald Reagan signed the amended bill into law that November, despite his “mixed feelings” and “reservations” about how the plan might compensate people who wouldn’t need to prove any wrongdoing on the part of vaccine-makers.

That made the job of defending lawyers like Pederson much easier. “They got rid of the causation thing, and you didn’t have to prove fault,” he said. “Overall, I think a lot of people got compensation who wouldn’t have … Congress responded ‘let’s not go to court, let’s take care of these kids.'”

Today, the special masters hear complaints about alleged injuries from 15 of the most common childhood vaccines, plus the flu shot. “It absorbs vaccine injury controversies and keeps them from becoming lawsuits that could result in large damage awards from juries, which could threaten production and availability of vaccines,” legal expert Anna Kirkland, author of “Vaccine Court: The Law and Politics of Injury,” told Business Insider in an email.

Vaccine court exists, in part, to address the fact that research and lawsuits move at different speeds. “We know that the pace of science and publishing is often slower than the pace of litigation,” Kirkland said. “Some of those claims could have become massive class-action lawsuits that could have caused manufacturers to exit the vaccine market.”

Legitimate scientific studies have never shown a link between vaccines and autism. But it takes a long time to gather and analyze the amount of data those studies require. The latest study refuting the vaccine-autism link, published by the Annals of Internal Medicine in early March, was based on the medical histories of more than 650,000 Danish children collected over a period of 14 years.

At the same time, scientific authority can be exploited by bad actors. The first peer-reviewed paper to indicate a connection between vaccines and autism, published by the medical journal The Lancet in 1998, turned out to be a fraudulent study whose principal author fudged the underlying data.

Yet it wasn’t until 2010 that The Lancet completely retracted the paper, after the journalist Brian Deer published a lengthy exposé. In the twelve intervening years, the study sent vaccination rates plunging in the U.S. and U.K., and provided a fertile ground for vaccine-related conspiracy theories.

This dynamic occasionally extends to the vaccine court itself. Anti-vaccine groups have said its very existence shows vaccines are hazardous, and offered the $4 billion in court payouts as proof of widespread harm — even though the majority of the money was awarded in settlements where the court did not determine the precise cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The court’s relative obscurity, and the understandable difficulty of parsing the dense legal and medical jargon of its proceedings, likely contribute to the inaccurate perception that the federal government considers vaccines a major risk.

News coverage about vaccines hasn’t always helped, either. In 1994, the Atlanta Constitution, the New York Times, and the Associated Press all reported that Miss America had gone deaf because of a bad reaction to a DPT shot. It took over a week for the Times to correct the record, pointing out that pageant queen Heather Whitestone was deaf from a case of meningitis, something (ironically) we now have a vaccine for.

Drug companies might not make vaccines if they had to deal with injury lawsuits themselves

Vaccines are not the most profitable things that drug makers can manufacture: estimates suggest it can cost from $135 to $500 million to develop a vaccine, and it takes anywhere from months (in the case of an annual flu vaccine) to well over a decade to perfect a vaccine formula. When it’s all over, most vaccines are administered just once or twice, providing a lifetime of protection from debilitating and deadly diseases at a typical price of around $30 per dose (without insurance).

Not vaccinating can be deadly. It can also be costly. One unvaccinated six year old in Oregon recently got tetanus when he cut himself while playing on a farm and had to be airlifted to the hospital. His final medical bill totaled near $1 million. Tetanus vaccines, on the other hand, typically cost less than $30 (without any insurance), and have been around for nearly 100 years.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Vaccines are meant to put our bodies on alert by triggering immune reactions to weakened and killed versions of the diseases they protect against. But in extremely rare cases, people can develop allergic reactions or auto-immune responses to vaccines that are dangerous. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but temporary disorder that prompts the immune system to attack the nervous system, resulting in anything from mild to life-threatening paralysis. In rare cases, a flu shot can increase a person’s risk of developing GBS, upping a person’s odds of developing the syndrome by 1 in 100,000.

One such case was that of Wilma Gundy from Colorado. She told Congress that she was vaccinated for swine flu on November 26, 1976. “Three weeks later,” she said in her testimony, “my feet, legs, arms, hands and the left side of my f1ce and tongue began to turn numb. I felt as if I had been injected with Novocaine. Besides the numbness, I felt extremely exhausted and weak.”

So far this month, the court has decided five different Guillain-Barré cases, all related to the flu vaccine. One was dismissed for insufficient proof, and the other four received lump sum payments in a range from $150,150.58 to $255,829.99. The highest award the court ever gives out for any kind of pain and suffering, including death, is $250,000, but this doesn’t include expenses and lost earnings, which means the highest total compensation vaccine court has ever given out amounts to $9.1 million.

The most common reason people go to vaccine court: because someone pricked them the wrong way

The Special Masters work in DC, but often travel to meet clients and witnesses in courtrooms around the country.
United States Courts/YouTube

Most legitimate vaccine cases the federal court sees aren’t about the extremely minimal risks of vaccines. The vast majority are prompted by people who’ve been jabbed the wrong way with a needle. The court calls this a Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA), and these claims account for half of all cases vaccine court sees.

More dubious claims stem from fears that vaccines cause autism— which, to be clear, is false — or result from people who’ve been injured by something other than a vaccine coming forward to claim cash.

“They’re hard cases to deal with because you are dealing with people who are almost 100% of the time undeniably injured, the issue is just what caused that injury,” Vowell said.

Recently, the court has started cracking down on some of the most egregious complaints. Take autism, for example. Last year, in a decision rejecting an autism-related petition originally filed in 2002, Special Master Brian Corcoran argued that “it is no longer reasonable for Program attorneys to bring such claims. If they do so, they certainly should not expect compensation for work performed on them.”

“This matter has required nearly fifteen years to resolve,” Corcoran explained. “In that time, no non-Table claims asserting autism as a vaccine injury have succeeded. Absent a shocking and unanticipated scientific research result that upends what is presently understood about the lack of a relationship between vaccines and autism, none are likely to in the future.”

Kirkland says the vaccine court continues to fill a vital role: providing both people and vaccine makers with an extra layer of security in a teetering and perilously expensive health care system.

“We otherwise do so little for people with disabilities and those without a safety net for injuries and healthcare costs,” Kirkland said. She believes that vaccine court wouldn’t be needed if the US had a better health care system, because people with disabilities and injuries would simply receive the care they need, regardless of what caused their injuries in the first place.

“Vaccine court payments,” she said, “are an unusual point of generosity in our otherwise very pinched and cruel system.”

FDA WARNING: FDA says certain antibiotics could rupture main artery | WSOC-TV – WSOC Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – They’re certain antibiotics, known as fluoroquinolones. Popular brand names include Avelox, Cipro, and Levaquin.  

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says these antibiotics “can increase the occurrence of rare but serious events of ruptures or tears in the main artery of the body,” the aorta. The FDA says these ruptures “can lead to dangerous bleeding or even death.”  

[ALSO READ: FDA plans to ease OTC approvals for some prescription drugs]

The FDA is requiring drug makers to add a new warning to the packaging, saying “fluoroquinolones should not be used in patients at increased risk unless there are no other treatment options available.”

The FDA says those patients are ones with “a history of blockages or aneurysms” of blood vessels, high blood pressure, certain genetic disorders and the elderly.  

[ALSO READ: RECALL: FDA recalls common heart medicine]

For years, Sherry Reiver has been claiming that’s what happened to her father, Louis Hellman. She says in 2011 doctors thought her father had pneumonia and gave him a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. She says he died from a ruptured aortic aneurysm. He was 93 years old. “I miss his sense of humor. He had a really dry sense of humor. And he always told me, ‘Don’t worry, be happy.'”

Action 9 asked Reiver what she thought of the FDA’s latest warning about fluoroquinolones.  “Vindicated, validated that I had been right,” she said. “I’ve told so many doctors that [those medicines] cause [aortic ruptures] and they look at me as if I have 10 heads.” 

[ALSO READ: FDA issues worldwide recall of common blood pressure medication]

Rachel Brummert helped push the FDA over the years to issue other warnings about these medicines. She lives here in Charlotte.  “I was not surprised by this latest warning.  This was something that advocates had been pushing for for a long time,” she said.  

Dr. Charles Bennett also saw it coming. He runs the only state-sponsored pharmaceutical watchdog program in the country, which happens to be in South Carolina. “What we do is look for fatal or near-fatal side effects of billion-dollar drugs,” he told Action 9.  

He called this latest warning “a huge deal. It’s a game-changer, I think.”

[ALSO READ: FDA recalls common heart drug over cancer concerns]

But Brummert and Bennett both worry that patients, and even doctors, don’t know the risks.  

These antibiotics can be lifesaving against infections. And the pros can outweigh the cons. Roughly a dozen companies make these drugs, including the generics and the brand names. One of them, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, told Action 9 “our first priority is the well-being of the people who use our medicines,” that its antibiotic “has been used for more than 20 years,” and that its “safety profile remains well-known and established.”


This is the latest warning about fluoroquinolones.

In 2015, some patients and doctors blamed the antibiotics for devastating side effects, including ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even death.

In 2016, the FDA required drug makers to include warnings the drugs could have disabling effects on tendons, muscles, joints and nerves.

Later that year, the FDA added more warnings about the risks of mental health side effects and serious blood sugar disturbances.


Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Political commentator dies in San Diego, contracts H1N1 flu and meningitis – 10News

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San Diego (KGTV)- We’re learning more information about the seemingly healthy political commentator who dies suddenly in San Diego over the weekend.

26-year-old Bre Payton contracted the H1N1 flu virus, also known as swine flu, and meningitis. On Friday, a friend posted on twitter she found Payton unconscious. She was rushed to the hospital where she later died.

The San Diego County Health Department says the So-Cal resident contracted both illnesses before arriving in San Diego.

Meningitis causes inflammation in the brain and spine. A recent outbreak was reported at San Diego State University, but it is unclear if the strain Payton had was bacterial, like the SDSU cases, or if it was viral.

In a report released last week, there were over 1,300 influenza cases in San Diego County between July and December. Almost 200 of those cases were the H1N1 flu.

Health officials say, young adults, like Payton, are more likely to get the flu virus than kids and older adults. Middle age adults are not regularly exposed to the virus, and they have the lowest vaccination rates.

News of her death is hitting hard to her family. Her parents released a statement to ABC News saying:
“Bre was a brilliant, determined and beautiful girl from day one. She could silence a room with her beauty, and at the same moment impress everyone with her articulate reasoning. We miss her dearly, and our hearts are broken.”

This Simple Mindset Shift May Help You Achieve Your Ultimate Healthy Diet – mindbodygreen.com

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There is a wealth of evidence that focusing on food’s sensual pleasure actually can help you find a healthful balance. And to get the most pleasure from food, I recommend slowing down while you eat rather than shoveling it in. Remove distractions like the phone and television, so you can eat mindfully.

Be sure to use all your senses to fully experience your food. Appreciate colors, textures, aromas, and presentation. Notice every flavor you are tasting while chewing thoroughly. Studies show that when people eat more slowly, they tend to take in fewer calories and feel just as satisfied. You’ll also digest your food better and absorb more nutrients.

Instead of trying to avoid foods I enjoy, I find it more effective to stop labeling certain foods (and myself) as “bad.” I’m relabeling “forbidden foods” as “fun foods” instead. Since making this mindset shift, I’ve noticed that I crave my fun foods much less, and when I do partake, I enjoy them so much more.

For me, eating a balance of nutrient-rich health foods, coupled with some fun foods, is the ultimate healthy diet. And healthy pleasure is something we can all agree on for dinner. Cheers!

New brain pacemaker may help treat epilepsy, Parkinsons – Times Now

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brain pacemaker, epilepsy, Parkinson's

New ‘brain pacemaker’ may help treat epilepsy, Parkinson’s&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspThinkstock

Los Angeles: Scientists have developed a wireless device that can stimulate the brain with electric current, potentially delivering fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s. The neurostimulator, named the WAND, works like a “pacemaker for the brain,” monitoring the brain’s electrical activity and delivering electrical stimulation if it detects something amiss, said researchers at the University of California, Berkeley in the US.

These devices can be extremely effective at preventing debilitating tremors or seizures in patients with a variety of neurological conditions, according to the study published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

However, the electrical signatures that precede a seizure or tremor can be extremely subtle, and the frequency and strength of electrical stimulation required to prevent them is equally touchy. It can take years of small adjustments by doctors before the devices provide optimal treatment.

WAND, which stands for wireless artifact-free neuromodulation device, is both wireless and autonomous, meaning that once it learns to recognise the signs of tremor or seizure, it can adjust the stimulation parameters on its own to prevent the unwanted movements.

Since it is closed-loop — meaning it can stimulate and record simultaneously — the device can adjust these parameters in real-time.

“The process of finding the right therapy for a patient is extremely costly and can take years,” said Rikky Muller, assistant professor at University of California, Berkeley.

“Significant reduction in both cost and duration can potentially lead to greatly improved outcomes and accessibility,” Muller said.

“We want to enable the device to figure out what is the best way to stimulate for a given patient to give the best outcomes. And you can only do that by listening and recording the neural signatures,” he said.

WAND can record electrical activity over 128 channels, or from 128 points in the brain, compared to eight channels in other closed-loop systems. To demonstrate the device, the team used WAND to recognise and delay specific arm movements in rhesus macaques.

Simultaneously stimulating and recording electrical signals in the brain is much like trying to see small ripples in a pond while also splashing your feet — the electrical signals from the brain are overwhelmed by the large pulses of electricity delivered by the stimulation.

Currently, deep brain stimulators either stop recording while delivering the electrical stimulation, or record at a different part of the brain from where the stimulation is applied –essentially measuring the small ripples at a different point in the pond from the splashing.

In order to deliver closed-loop stimulation-based therapies, which is a big goal for people treating Parkinson’s and epilepsy and a variety of neurological disorders, it is very important to both perform neural recordings and stimulation simultaneously, which currently no single commercial device does, researchers said.

Is Cold Weather Exercise Healthier? : Shots – Health News – NPR

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Winter swimmers enjoyed an icy dip in Poland’s Garczyn lake last February. Recorded air temperature was around 14 degrees Farenheit, and a large ice hole had to be cut to allow the lake bathing.

NurPhoto/Getty Images


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NurPhoto/Getty Images

Winter swimmers enjoyed an icy dip in Poland’s Garczyn lake last February. Recorded air temperature was around 14 degrees Farenheit, and a large ice hole had to be cut to allow the lake bathing.

NurPhoto/Getty Images

When Scott Carney first saw the photo of a nearly naked man sitting comfortably on a glacier in the frigid cold, he was skeptical.

The man — Wim Hof — is a Dutch athlete who claims to control his body temperature in extreme cold through sheer force of will. Exercising in the cold, Hof argues, makes people healthier.

“I actually flew out there with the intention of debunking him as a fraud,” says Carney, a Colorado-based journalist, author and senior fellow at Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.

But after learning Hof’s methodology — a combination of meditation, breathing exercises and immersion in icy cold water — Carney became a believer.

“In a matter of a few days, I was meditating on the bank of a snowy river in Poland in ridiculous, freezing winter, and melting the snow around me with my body temperature,” Carney says.

Carney details that experience in his book, What Doesn’t Kill Us, which was released in 2017 and recently came out in paperback.

Carney points out that humans dealt with cold temperatures for much of their evolutionary history. Introducing a bit of chill into our daily life now, he says, stimulates muscles and tissue in a good way.

“Our bodies need to be in constant variation,” Carney says. “That’s what keeps us healthy and fit.”

But how does that translate to the way most of us exercise?

Is jogging in the cold this winter any better than hitting a treadmill in a warm gym? How about jumping into a frigid ocean for a swim?

We asked some leading physiologists to weigh in.

Burning extra calories

Many of the purported benefits of cold hinge on brown fat, sometimes referred to as “good” fat. Long known to exist in human infants, brown fat burns calories and generates heat.

Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, a researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School, was among the first scientists to document the existence of brown fat in very small amounts in adults in the mid-2000s.

People can increase their levels of brown fat by being in mildly cold environments, Kahn says, though the effect on the number of calories they burn will be relatively small.

“The average person will burn an extra 100 to 200 calories a day when brown fat is activated,” Kahn says. “But if you go eat half a muffin, forget it.”

And that “100 to 200 calories” figure is for someone who’s chilly all day long, he says. Most people experience cold for only short periods of time.

“When you activate brown fat, it may stay active for a few hours,” Kahn says. “Not permanently.”

Kahn also warns that Hof’s call for exposure to the extreme cold could be overkill.

“What it takes to activate brown fat is very mild degrees of cold,” Kahn says. “If I put you in a room at 60 or 62 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re dressed in very light clothing, that’s enough to do it.”

A second way that people can burn extra calories when they’re cold is through shivering. But Kahn doesn’t suggest that strategy, either, because shivering makes most of us miserable.

“It’s a way to burn extra energy,” Kahn says. “But I don’t think there’s any data to say that this is a good way to lose weight … because it’s not comfortable.”

Furthermore, people often warm up when they exercise, notes John Castellani, a research physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. Since you have to feel cold to burn those extra calories, Castellani says, people who exercise outside might not actually be burning any more calories than those who are in a warm room.

Exercising the blood vessels

A side effect of exposure to the extreme cold that Hof calls for is vasoconstriction. When you’re subjected to extreme cold, the muscles surrounding many of your blood vessels cause them to contract — sending more blood to your core, where it can stay warm.

Carney says that because modern humans live in temperature-controlled environments, “all of that musculature is weak.” Exercising those muscles through cold exposure, he claims, has “a huge impact on circulation and arterial health.”

Castellani says the theory is interesting but still untested.

“In terms of using [cold] as a way of … ‘training the blood vessels?’ To my knowledge there’s no data to support that claim,” says Castellani.

Additionally, Dr. Aaron Cypess, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health worries that cold-induced vasoconstriction could have negative consequences for some people, including spikes in blood pressure.

“We were looking at someone in one of our mild cold studies, and his blood pressure went really high,” Cypess says. “That’s not a good thing.”

Training the immune system

One of Wim Hof’s more startling claims — that he could consciously control his immune system — drew the attention of Matthijs Kox, a researcher at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

“At first we were a little bit reluctant, but then we started to look up all the remarkable feats he had pulled off,” explains Kox. “So we decided to give him a chance to prove his claim.”

To put Hof to the test, Kox and his team injected Hof with a solution containing pieces of E. coli bacteria. Since the injection didn’t contain live bacteria, it couldn’t actually make Hof sick. But in most people, these bacterial compounds would fool the body into believing it is being attacked, triggering a temporary immune response that includes fever and inflammation. If Hof could indeed suppress his immune system, then the injection would have no such effect.

Sure enough, Hof’s body showed little reaction to the injection.

“He had virtually no symptoms — which was remarkable,” Kox says.

Kox followed up, repeating the test on a group of individuals whom Hof had trained. Just as with Hof, people in the study who had received the training showed little reaction to the injection. But untrained control subjects experienced fevers, headaches and chills. Kox and his research team published their results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in 2014.

Suppressing your own immune system may be possible, those results suggest — but for many of us, this may seem counterproductive. Why would we risk getting sick?

Carney thinks that sort of suppression might benefit patients who are suffering from autoimmune disorders — such as forms of arthritis that are linked to the body’s immune system essentially attacking itself. If people could suppress their immune system as Hof does, Carney contends, some could potentially cure themselves of those diseases.

Kox is cautiously optimistic that this could, indeed, someday be a treatment strategy.

“We still have to test it, but it might be beneficial in conditions associated with an overactive immune response,” Kox says. “But we need more work — more proof — to see whether this is really beneficial.”

But which component of Hof’s training contributed to the outcome? Was it the cold exposure, or the breathing exercises and meditation?

Kox says he can’t tell from his findings, but he is currently supervising an experiment to find out. He expects those results to be published within the next couple of years. Until then, the value of cold exposure as a treatment for autoimmune disease remains largely unproven, if promising.

The case for cold?

The bottom line is, there is little evidence so far to suggest that training in cold weather makes you healthier, or that you can burn significantly more calories. The physiologists Shots talked to all agreed on one thing: There simply hasn’t been enough research to say one way or another.

Cypess says he isn’t ready to dismiss the potential benefits. But until he sees more compelling data, he’s not likely to suggest it as a therapy. He has a bigger priority.

“The most important thing is to get the person to exercise,” Cypess says. “There is no obvious added benefit to exercising in the cold.”

Paul Chisholm is a freelance science writer in Rapid City, S.D. You can reach him on Twitter: @PaulJChisholm.

Five popular hangover cures, reviewed by experts – CBS News

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trứng tốt cho sức khỏe
mỗi ngày ăn hai quả trứng điều kỳ diệu gì sẽ xảy ra?

 Sally Adams is a lecturer in Health Psychology at University of Bath in the U.K. Craig Gunn is a PhD Candidate at University of Bath.


It’s a common misconception that hangovers are mainly the result of dehydration. An evening of heavy drinking can lead to inflammation of the stomach and intestines, poor-quality sleep and the production of toxic substances that lead to vomiting, sweating and an increased heart rate. Research also suggests that hangovers can hamper the ability to concentrate and remember information.

What research has not given us, though, is credible evidence for a “hangover cure.” The revels of New Year’s Eve will leave many bleary-eyed and reaching for a remedy, so here’s the evidence behind what works – and what doesn’t.

1: Water

Dehydration is one of the most frequently reported symptoms of hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic – in other words, it makes us urinate more often. Having around four drinks can eliminate between 600 and 1,000mL of water from your body.

How much water do you really need to stay healthy?

Heavy alcohol consumption can also cause sweating, vomiting and diarrhea, which also cause the body to lose fluids. As a result, dehydration leads to symptoms including thirst, weakness, dry mouth and light-headedness.

Drinking water may relive some of these symptoms, but dehydration is also typically accompanied with electrolyte imbalance. A combination of water and an electrolyte supplement can therefore tackle some of the symptoms of your hangover – but by no means all of them.

2: The old-fashioned fry-up

Perhaps one of the most traditional remedies for a hangover is a plate of greasy bacon and eggs. But is the fry-up the holy grail of cures it promises to be? Foods such as bacon, eggs and even broccoli contain an amino acid called cysteine, which scientists claim can decrease the amount of the toxic chemical acetaldehyde, which is produced as your body metabolizes alcohol.

bacon and eggs

Getty Images/iStockphoto


Acetaldehyde contributes to hangover symptoms such as increased heart rate, nausea and vomiting, but there is very limited research supporting the benefits of certain foods as hangover cures. That said, eating a meal with protein, fat and carbohydrate before alcohol consumption has been shown to slow the absorption of alcohol, so as the old saying goes it may good to “line your stomach.”

3: Caffeine

One of the reasons we feel so awful after drinking is down to the effects that alcohol has on our sleep. Alcohol-induced sleep can be shorter and poorer quality, but the tiredness you feel can be reversed by the nation’s favorite stimulant – caffeine.

Evidence suggests that people who regularly drink caffeine develop a physical dependency to the drug, which explains why some people need their morning fix. But for these people, a cup of tea or coffee during a hangover may not be enough to address the deficits in thought processes and reaction times.

There’s also evidence to suggest that people who don’t usually have caffeine do not have the same effects of improved performance and alertness seen in regular users.

4: Hair of the dog

During a hangover, many people will say “I’m never drinking again” – but others swear by the “hair of the dog” to relieve their symptoms. The fact is, drinking during a hangover can be downright dangerous. Vital organs such as the liver need time to repair the damage caused by a session of heavy drinking. In the U.K., government guidelines recommend avoiding alcohol for 48 hours after a heavy drinking session.

What’s more, using alcohol to “cure” a hangover could be indicative of an alcohol use disorder. Evidence suggests that getting more frequent hangovers is associated with an increased likelihood of developing problems with alcohol. It’s not clear whether the hangover itself is what causes the problem drinking, or repeated heavy alcohol use. Regardless, as far as hangover cures go, this one is not recommended.

5: Medicine

Recently it seems more and more pharmaceutical products are being marketed to drinkers which claim to relieve hangover symptoms. These products often claim to work by increasing the speed at which one’s body gets rid of the toxic chemical acetaldehyde. They also claim to reduce inflammation and address the chemical changes in our brain causes by alcohol that can impact our thought processes.

It should hardly come as a surprise that there is currently no evidence that any conventional or complimentary medicine can cure a hangover. It is unclear whether this is because these cures do not work or because their effectiveness has not been fully tested.

So, although these popular remedies may offer some relief from the symptoms of hangover, there’s no evidence-based treatment or “cure.” A hangover is a complex combination of physical and psychological symptoms, which are caused by several different processes in the body and brain.

What’s more, few hangover treatments address impairments in concentration, memory and reaction times, or the low mood and increased anxiety frequently reported by sufferers. The only surefire way to avoid “the morning after the night before” is to drink alcohol in moderation – or not drink it at all.

The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Study points to increased risk of harm from cannabis across Europe – Medical Xpress

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Diabetes type 2 – the ‘single best food’ to AVOID high blood sugar symptoms – Express

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Diabetes affects around 3.7 million people in the UK, and 90 per cent of all cases are caused by type 2 diabetes.

The condition is caused by the pancreas not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or the body not reacting to insulin.

Without insulin, the body struggles to convert sugar in the blood into useable energy.

But you could avoid diabetes symptoms by eating more carrots, it’s been revealed.

Carrots are a type of non-starchy vegetable, which could be the single best type of food for diabetes patients, said medical website Diabetes.co.uk.

They contain plenty of vitamins and soluble fibre, which work to lower blood sugar levels.

Eating more carrots, and other non-starchy vegetables, could also help to avoid some complications of diabetes, including heart disease.

“There are certain foods that provide huge health benefits for people with diabetes,” said Diabetes.co.uk. “They are often known as ‘diabetes superfoods’.

“Non-starchy vegetables are perhaps the single best food type for people with type 2 diabetes.

“They contain lots of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Non-starchy vegetables are also a source of soluble fibre, which lowers blood glucose levels and reduces levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.

“Studies have consistently linked non-starchy vegetables to lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.

“The American Diabetes Association recommends covering at least half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables at meal times.”

Other types of non-starchy vegetables include cabbage, lettuce, spinach, courgette, broccoli and mushrooms.

You could also lower your risk of diabetes symptoms by eating more berries, said the medical website.

Berries contain anthocyanins, which could reduce insulin resistance, while also increasing insulin sensitivity.

Hanging your blood sugar levels is crucial for diabetes patients, as they’re more at risk of some complications, including heart disease and strokes.

But many people could have the condition without even knowing it, as the symptoms don’t necessarily make you feel unwell.

Common diabetes symptoms include feeling very tired, passing more urine than normal, and having blurred vision.

Speak to a doctor if you’re worried about the signs or symptoms of diabetes, or if you think you may be at risk.

A simple blood test should be enough to reveal whether you have diabetes.