A study finds patients don’t mind their ER doc’s body art.

Researchers from St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania surveyed emergency room patients who rated the providers on a five point Likert scale on their perception of competence, professionalism, caring, approachability, trustworthiness, and reliability in their doctor.  Their findings found patients had “no perceived difference” in the above metrics, “and assigned top box performance in all domains >75% of the time, regardless of physician appearance.”

So Can Medical Students Break out the Nose Ring?

 

No, not so fast.  Although body art is beautiful, and accessorizing with piercings can make our dreary scrubs pop, the average physician is fighting more and more these days to capture the faith of the patient who keeps turning to the web for medical advice.

The above study surveyed patients in emergency rooms….a setting in which patients are desperate to receive care in an emergency and are grateful, on most occasions. What about the oncologist who needs to give somber news about a patient’s cancer?  Would patients appreciate the skull and crossbones tattoo on his neck? Probably not.

 

 

 

Skull-and-Crossbones-Tattoo-Designs-Poison-Pirate.jpg

 

Piercings and tattoos make a statement, tell a story, or add character to the body on which they adorn.   And the attention they command is why I’m such a fan. So I agree that it has no bearing on one’s “competence, professionalism, caring, approachability, trustworthiness, and reliability.”  However, in many medical scenarios the patient needs to feel he is the main focus. Patients want to believe we providers wake up, eat, exercise to maintain our health, dress, and wash our hands for them.  And they’re right…we do. So our personal style, statements and stories are kept to a minimum at work.

It’s unfortunate because I was really hoping to get the following Lord of the Rings tattoo of Aragorn when hubby wasn’t looking….

 

artist--kristian-kimonides--aragorn-tattoo_18179093247.jpg

 

For more on the study see here.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

Published in Health

Canadian researchers report women who work 45 hours or more a week are at higher risk of developing diabetes.  Those who work 30-40 hours weekly, however, are not at increased risk.

In this study, published in the British Medical Journal Diabetes Research and Care, study authors looked at 7000 men and women, aged 35-74, who were working a variety of hours per week.  They found men more likely to develop diabetes, especially if they were obese, but women who worked greater than 45 hours/week were 62% more likely to acquire the disease than women who worked “normal working hours.”

This may shock many of us whose normal work week plus housework clocks in at 80-100 hours.  However, extra hours of work increases stress inducing hormones that may contribute to poor sugar metabolism.

Another theory is longer work days may induce more carbohydrate eating for energy.

Study author Peter Smith of the Institute of Work and Health in Toronto said, “If you look at time spent outside of work, women do more care of household members and more routine housework. The only thing women don’t do more of is watching TV and exercising.”

According to the CDC, 23.4 million people in the US have diabetes, and in total 100 million Americans suffer from prediabetes or diabetes.

Previously the 7th leading killer of Americans, diabetes affects so many people that it has now become third leading cause of death in the US. A study in 2017 found 12% of deaths in the US is caused by diabetes, trailing behind heart disease and cancer, ranked at #1 and #2.

What is Diabetes?

 

Diabetes is a disease in which the body doesn’t utilize and metabolize sugar properly.  When we consume food, its broken down into proteins, nutrients, fats, water, and sugar. These components are necessary for cell growth and function.  They get absorbed in the small intestine and make it to the bloodstream.   In order for a cell to utilize sugar, it needs the hormone insulin to help guide it in.  It’s similar to a key that fits in the keyhole of the “door” of the cell, opening it up so sugar can enter.  Insulin is produced in the pancreas, an organ that receives signals when one eats to release insulin in preparation of the sugar load coming down the pike.

Diabetes Explained



So I imagine our mouth like a waiting room, the blood stream like a hallway, and the cells of the body the rooms along the hallway.  Insulin is the key to open the cells’ “doors” allowing sugar to enter.  If the sugar does not get in, it stays in the bloodstream “hallway” and doesn’t feed the cell.  Weight loss occurs, and individuals may become more thirsty as the sugar in the blood makes it fairly osmotic, something the body wants to neutralize, reduce.  The kidneys are going to want dump the excess sugar, so to do so, one would urinate more, again causing thirst.  So when a diabetic loses weight, urinates more frequently and becomes thirsty, you now understand why.

Complications of Diabetes

 

Cardiovascular disease – Sugar is sticky, so it can easily add to atherosclerotic plaques.

Blindness – high sugar content draws in water to neutralize and small blood vessels in the eye can only take so much fluid before they burst.  Moreover, high blood sugar weakens blood vessels.

Kidney disease – the kidneys work overtime to eliminate the excess sugar. Moreover, sugar laden blood isn’t the healthiest when they themselves need nourishment.

Infections – pathogens love sugar. Its food for them.  Moreover blood laden with sugar doesn’t allow immune cells to work in the most opportune environment.

Neuropathy – nerves don’t receive adequate blood supply due to the diabetes-damaged blood flow and vessels, hence they become dull or hypersensitive causing diabetics to have numbness or pain.

Dementia – as with the heart and other organs, the brain needs healthy blood and flow.  Diabetes has been found to increase risk of Alzheimer’s as well.

Type I vs. Type II Diabetes

 

Type I Diabetes, previously called insulin dependent or Juvenile diabetes, occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, possibly from the immune system destroying the cells that produce the hormone. When this occurs there is rapid weight loss and death could occur if the cells don’t get the sugar they need.  Insulin has to be administered regularly.

Type II Diabetes, previously called non-insulin dependent or adult-onset diabetes,  occurs in those who began with a fully functioning pancreas but as they age the pancreas produces less insulin, called insulin deficiency, or the insulin produced meets resistance. This is the fastest growing type of diabetes in both children and adults.

What is insulin resistance?

 

Insulin resistance, if using our hallway and door analogy, is as if someone is pushing against the door the insulin is trying to unlock. As we know, those with obesity are at higher risk for diabetes, hence fat can increase insulin resistance. It’s also been associated with an increase in heart disease.

Blood sugar numbers

 

If your fasting blood sugar (glucose) is greater than 126 mg/dl, or your non fasting blood sugar is greater than 200 mg/dl, you may be considered diabetic. Pre-diabetes occurs when the fasting blood sugar is between 100 and 125 mg/dl.  If ignored, and the sugar rises, pre-diabetics may go on to develop diabetes.

 

dmp-blood-sugar-levels-chart

SOURCE DIABETESMEALPLANS.COM

 

Preventing/Controlling Diabetes

 

1/3 of American adults are currently pre-diabetic. Experts predict 1/3 of US Adults will be diabetic by the year 2050. Although genetics plays a big role, decreasing ones sugar intake and maintaining an active lifestyle can help ward of diabetes.

Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates increase one’s risk, so a diet rich in vegetables and lean meats is preferred.

For more information, visit http://www.diabetes.org/.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health

A study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that most of our meat purchased at the supermarket contains antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System tested bacteria on meat in 2015 and found them to be resistant to one of fourteen antibiotics. These “superbugs” were detected on:

 

  • 71% Pork Chops
  • 79% of Ground Turkey
  • 62% Ground Beef
  • 36% Chicken Breasts, Wings and Thighs tested.

Dr. Gail Hansen, a public health expert and veterinarian states, “Bacteria transfer their antibiotic resistance genes to other bacteria they come in contact with in the environment and in the gastrointestinal tract of people and animals, making it very difficult to effectively treat infections.”

The EWG provides a tip sheet on how to avoid superbugs in meat here.

What is a Superbug?

 

A superbug is a pathogen, most commonly bacteria, that can survive antibiotics that most species would buckle under. Its resistance could be caused by a variety of factors.  Maybe it has a mutation that makes it stronger. Maybe its genetic material shields it from the toxic medicine.  Maybe it’s luck. So shortly after it celebrates surviving the antibiotic assault, it divides to reproduce, making more bacteria. If this progeny bacteria maintain the same genetic material as its parent, or if included, mutation, they can be now be resistant to the antibiotics as well.

_68481070_c0131441-e._coli_bacterium,_tem-spl.jpg

DRUG RESISTANT E. COLI – IMAGE FROM BBC

 

According to the CDC: Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.

Why are superbugs growing on our food?

 

One theory is we give antibiotics to farm animals to keep them healthy, avoid disease and improve their growth.  These antibiotics may be used and consumed so frequently that bacteria learn how to overcome and create new, resilient progeny.

How do we avoid getting sick?

 

The following is a guide on temperature goals for various meats:

food temp.png

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

Published in Health

Although it's been long known that flight attendants are at higher risk of breast cancer and melanoma, new research has found an increase risk in the following additional cancers:

  • non-melanoma (basal cell and squamous cell)
  • thyroid
  • cervical
  • uterine
  • gastrointestinal

Researchers from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, led by research associate, Irina Mordukhovich, surveyed over 5000 flight attendants as part of the Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study (FAHS) and found a four-fold risk in non-melanoma skin cancer, a two-fold risk in melanoma, and a 51% greater risk of breast cancer, among other malignancy risks.

Those flight attendants with three or more children had even a higher risk of breast cancer.

TIME Magazine reported the following:

“Flight attendants are considered a historically understudied occupational group, so there is a lot we don’t know about their health,” says Mordukhovich. “What we do know for sure is the exposures that both pilots and flight attendants have—the main one being high radiation levels because of cosmic radiation at altitude.” That exposure may not be concerning for people taking individual flights, but for people whose jobs involve flying, that risk may have a negative effect on their health, as the study results suggest.

A 2007 study found an increase risk of heart attacks, respiratory illness, poor sleep, depression and anxiety in cabin crew.

What’s surprising is the average flight attendant does not smoke and maintains a healthy weight, hence thought to live a healthier lifestyle, decreasing heart and cancer risk.  So….

Why are flight attendants at increased risk?

 

Multiple factors can affect those who work high in the skies. These include:

  • cosmic ionizing radiation (radiation coming from outer space with higher levels in the upper earth’s atmosphere)
  • solar radiation from sun flares
  • disruption of their sleep cycle, circadian rhythm (long linked to cancer)
  • exposure to chemicals such as jet fuel, flame retardants and other chemicals.
  • constant exposure to pathogens and communicable diseases (link to cancer not yet determined)
  • not being able to maintain regular hydration and diet

 

airline.jpg

 

How can flight attendants protect themselves?

 

It’s difficult for those who staff airlines to alter their schedule, diet or uniform.  But what’s recommended is the following:

  • wear sunscreen
  • wear long sleeves and skirts/pants
  • maintain good hydration and a regular diet
  • try to ask for regular shifts that allow one to sleep regular cycles
  • if at higher genetic risk for some cancers (BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations) see your medical provider about recommended screening.

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Try to reduce your time working on very long flights, flights at high latitudes, or flights which fly over the poles. These are flight conditions or locations that tend to increase the amount of cosmic radiation the crewmembers are exposed to. You can calculate your usual cosmic radiation exposures. The FAA’s CARI program website allows you to enter information to estimate your effective dose from galactic cosmic radiation (not solar particle events) for a flight.

  • If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, it is important to consider your work exposures, including cosmic radiation. If you are pregnant and aware of an ongoing solar particle event when you are scheduled to fly you may want to consider trip-trading or other rescheduling actions if possible.

    • For flight attendants, a NIOSH study found that exposure to 0.36 mSv or more of cosmic radiation in the first trimester may be linked to increased risk of miscarriage.

    • Also, although flying through a solar particle event doesn’t happen often, a NIOSH and NASA study found that a pregnant flight attendant who flies through a solar particle event can receive more radiation than is recommended during pregnancy by national and international agencies.

  • Regarding solar particle events:

Are travelers at risk?

 

Experts have suggested that those who are frequent fliers are still at low risk of being exposed to “too much radiation”.  Traveller.au.com writes: Overall, the amount “is really inconsequential,” said Dr. Edward Dauer, director of radiology at Florida Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, adding that medical CT scans result in a much higher dose.

Read more:

 

Flight risk: how much radiation do planes expose you to?

 

Therefore medical professionals may suggest flying “in moderation” and checking in for regular check ups.

How can I check my radiation dose?

 

The American Nuclear Society provides a calculator, based on where one lives, how many x-rays, and how many hours one flies, here.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health

Since 2017 multiple states have declared outbreaks of the Hepatitis A Virus and now the Department of Heath in Ohio (ODH) has declared one as well.

Since the start of 2018, cases in Ohio have risen to 79, double the total number recorded for 2017 in the Buckeye state.

 

hepatitis A

IMAGE FROM CLEVELAND.COM

 

WTOL reports: Ohio’s hepatitis A outbreak cases appear to be primarily among people who use illegal drugs, those who have been incarcerated, people who have had contact with known cases, those also infected with hepatitis C, men who have sex with men, and people experiencing homelessness.

Per the CDC, the below states have reported the following number of cases:

  • California 704  (as of April 11, 2018)
  • Indiana 148  (as of June 21, 2018)
  • Kentucky 760
  • Michigan 846
  • Missouri 125
  • Utah 109 (2018) and 147 (2017)
  • West Virginia  248
  • Arkansas 40 since February, 2018

Last year Colorado reported a doubling of Hepatitis A cases since the previous year.

What is Hepatitis A?

 

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver.  Its caused by a virus (Hepatitis A virus) that is most commonly ingested. Poor hand washing and/or contaminated food are likely culprits. It’s transmitted by the fecal-oral route, where food or drink contaminated by fecal matter enters another person’s GI tract. Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A has been reported during activities involving oral-anal sex.

Hepatitis A can live outside the body for months, so unclean dining areas can be contaminated and transfer to food.

Those who are immunosuppressed run the risk of dying from the infection.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

 

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes

Fever

Abdominal Pain

Fatigue

Dark Urine

Joint Pain

Clay – looking stools

Diarrhea

Nausea

Vomiting

Loss of appetite

Hepatitis-A.jpg

 

What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

 

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.  Most hepatitis A infections resolve on their own.

We usually recommend rest, fluids, and offer medications to help with nausea and vomiting.

For liver injury we avoid medications and alcohol that can worsen liver damage. The liver will usually recover within months after hepatitis A infection.

There are vaccines for Hepatitis A included in the childhood vaccination schedule.  Those older who weren’t vaccinated as a child can get the vaccine from their local provider or health department.  Many states require all health care and food workers to be vaccinated.

The best form of prevention however is good hand washing, dining area hygiene, and cooking food thoroughly.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

Published in Health

Disney/Pixar may now include a warning for viewers that some scenes in their latest hit, Incredibles 2, may induce seizures at the request of the National Epilepsy Foundation. Some viewers found the strobe and flashing light scenes to be potential seizure triggers.

Veronica Lewis tweeted the following:

HEALTH ALERT I haven’t seen this mentioned in a lot of places, but the new Incredibles 2 movie (#incredibles2) is filled with tons of strobe/flashing lights that can cause issues for people with epilepsy, migraines, and chronic illness.

 

What is a seizure?

 

A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  If the electricity doesn’t conduct properly, brain function gets disrupted. This could lead to convulsions  (involuntary jerking movements), loss of muscle tone, changes in senses such as vision, hearing and smell, loss of bladder control, loss of consciousness and sometimes stroke, brain damage and death.

 

HGT0066_neurons-seizure-brain_FS.jpg

 

What is Epilepsy?

 

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

Photosensitive epilepsy, in which visual triggers can induce a seizure, occurs in 1 in 4000 of the population.

Can Movies Cause Seizures?

 

In December of 1997, a Pokemon cartoon aired in Japan resulting in over 700 children to the hospital with ailments ranging from dizziness to epilepsy.  It was determined that the rapidly strobing flashes of red and blue lights induced this “Pokemon Shock.”

 

pokemon1

 

A study from Prasad et al in 2012 found no increase risk of seizures with 3D movies than conventional television. They explain why seizures are induced here:

The mechanism in which TV and cinema movies trigger seizures in patients with photosensitive epilepsy is related to several factors including the light intensity, the environment and the frequency of picture frames per second. Normal 2D movies have a frame rate of 24 per second, which may pose a risk for patients with photosensitive epilepsy, but the light intensity in the cinema is very low and there are relatively a few reports of seizures precipitated in cinemas. In contrast, 3D movies project images at 48 frames per second aimed, by the use of colored or polarizing filters, at different eyes and resulting in 24 frames per second per eye. The polarizing effect of 3D films may reduce the light output by around fifty percent leading to a reduced risk to trigger a seizure to people with photosensitive epilepsy. Therefore, the risk of 3D movies to trigger a seizure is around fifty percent less than with conventional 2D movies. However if provocative material such as flashing light is presented the risk can be as high as that for normal 2D movies.

Although there is “insufficient evidence” to connect 3D movies to epilepsy, researchers agree with the need for more study.

Which makes us rely on anecdotal, or testimonial evidence such as the tweet from Veronica Lewis.

“Risky Movies”

 

The following have been suggested on moviehealthcommunity.tumblr.com to have strobe effects or flashing lights that may affect one’s photosensitivity risk of inducing a seizure:

 

  • Ocean’s 8 – fast-moving trains
  • Incredibles 2 - villain weapon
  • Solo, A Star Wars Story – laser fire and sparking electrical equipment
  • Speed Racer – bright headlines, racing cars
  • Deadpool 2 – gunfire, high-speed chase scenes
  • Hostiles -flashes from the gunfire
  • 300 – lightning scenes
  • Avengers, Infinity War – fight scenes, shaking cameras, laser based weapons
  • Iron Man series – strobe and flashing lights
  • Incredible Hulk, 2008 – strobe lights
  • Ready Player One – high-speed chase, shaky camera, flashing lights
  • Tomb Raider, 2018 – strobe lights, shaky cameras
  • A Wrinkle in Time – lightning storm
  • I, Tonya – fast speeds, quick camera shots
  • The Cloverfield Paradox – strobe lights

Although one of my favorite franchises, some of my listeners found the Transformer movies to have similar issues with high speed movements and strobe lights.

Many more movies are listed but the common thread are those with high action, high-speed, strobe lighting, storms, horror, and fast-moving race or fall scenes.

More can be found at moviehealthcommunity.tumblr.com.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health

For years, men have voiced frustration when their medical providers insisted on a cardiac workup prior to initiating an ED prescription.  Some thought it was because they’d have a heart attack during sex.  But it’s not.  Erectile dysfunction is a vascular issue, and if the vessels of the penis are compromised, how does one know his heart vessels aren’t as well?

Now in a recent study from John Hopkins School of Medicine found an increase risk of stroke, heart attack and cardiac arrests in those men who suffered from erectile dysfunction.  Study author, Michael Blaha, professor of Medicine, states, “Our findings suggest that clinicians should perform further targeted screening in men with erectile dysfunction, regardless of other cardiac risk factors and should consider managing any other risk factors — such as high blood pressure or cholesterol — that much more aggressively.”

Last December, a study published in the Journal of Vascular Medicine, found the same risk factors leading to erectile dysfunction are also culprits in heart disease.

Risk factors shared by both erectile dysfunction and heart disease include:

 

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Men over age 45
  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Family history of heart disease

Last year, researchers from Mount Sinai Medical Center, Florida International University and Baptist Health South Florida reviewed multiple studies and found a link between erectile dysfunction and compromised blood vessels whose endothelium (lining) demonstrated impaired vessel relaxation. This is necessary for both erections as well as blood flow to the heart and rest of the body.

Moreover carotid media-intima thickness, a marker of atherosclerosis, appeared to be correlated to erectile dysfunction as well.

Both studies remind us that if one bodily function is impaired, other organs may be quietly suffering the same impairment.

I like to credit the pharmaceutical companies that created erectile dysfunction drugs with saving millions of men’s lives as:

  1. Men who would refuse to come into any doctor’s office now had an incentive to, resulting in a long-overdue check-up
  2. Those who saw providers who required an EKG or diabetic screening, and unknowingly suffered from a serious cardiac risk factor, could now be diagnosed.
  3. ED drugs allowed those men who couldn’t enjoy sex to now get some much-needed physical activity

Young men aren’t immune to cardiovascular disease and need to be screened as well if they have issues starting or maintaining erections.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health

Each year 45,000 Americans take their lives. That averages to 123 people a day.  And each suicide affects everyone with whom the  person has regular encounters. So why is it so common?  Here are six reasons people choose to end their life.

They’re Impulsive

 

Many of us have been trained to act on a whim. We quickly reply to a text, pop some food in the microwave, flick the controller while playing a video game…and these quick, instinctive acts are becoming a part of our daily behavior.  So when one has a fleeting thought of suicide, they may be less likely to slow down and think it through.

They Can’t See Around the Problem

 

When tragedy strikes, whether it be an accident, break up, job loss, missed opportunity, some can’t see “the light at the end of the tunnel.”  Many think and navigate through life one step at a time, which may be productive when it comes to tackling tasks, but if they feel the obstacle in front of them is insurmountable they may believe their options are far and few between, with death being the only out.

They Fear Death

 

This is one of the least discussed reasons people commit suicide, but unfortunately more common than we think.  Although most of us fear death and dying, some pathologically can’t handle the thought of it happening out of the blue.  Those who need control and need to plan ahead, may find solace in the fact that they are planning their own death. They can’t control their birth but they can control their death, they believe, and for those who feel they have lost control of their life may find this tragic option welcoming.

They’re Depressed, Really Depressed

 

Hollywood stereotypes depression as a woman sitting on a couch eating ice cream to combat the tears and loneliness of a breakup.  But many have symptoms of severe depression and don’t know it.

 

  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • wanting to avoid others
  • poor appetite
  • lack of sex drive
  • apathy
  • anxiety
  • sadness
  • tearful
  • mood swings
  • poor memory
  • poor concentration
  • overeating

So many self medicate either by overeating, drinking alcohol, smoking weed, or taking pills, which when wears off, can sink one into a lower funk. Without psychological or medical intervention, one struggles to recover.

They Feel No One Cares About Them

 

Since so many people are undiagnosed when it comes to depression, family members and friends are unaware their loved one is struggling. Going about one’s business may be inferred as indifference by someone suffering from a mood disorder.  “They won’t even notice I’m gone,” pervades their thoughts and worsens their loneliness.

They’re Angry

 

If one feels they’ve been ignored, unheard or wronged, this could incite an “I’ll show ’em” attitude in which their suicide is plotted to be a form of psychological revenge.

Sadly many out there secretly hope they get help but don’t know how to ask for it. It’s up to us to seek them out and guide them to a medical professional who can listen, understand, and work with them.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health

There is new hope that states with adult-use and medical marijuana laws on the books and states considering legalization or decriminalization will finally be able to stop worrying about the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) commandeering their police officers and sheriff’s deputies to enforce federal marijuana prohibition. A bipartisan group of United States’ Senators and Representatives introduced the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States (STATES) Act on Thursday. It’s intent is to allow states to determine what marijuana laws are right for them.

Diff’rent Strokes for Diff’rent Folks

Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado and Democrat Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts introduced the bill in the Senate. Republican David Joyce of Ohio and Democrat Earl Blumenauer of Oregon are co-sponsors of the bill they introduced in the House of Representatives. Upon introduction of the bill, its creators emphasized that their legislation would not make marijuana legal throughout the country – as if the name of the bill and its acronym weren’t revealing enough.

The bill’s bipartisan group of writers wants everyone to know the STATES Act is a states’ rights bill and not a legalize marijuana bill for obvious reasons – the biggest being that legislation ending federal marijuana prohibition would never pass Congress let alone get the support of Donald Trump, who said he’ll “probably” back the bill. But any legislation even misrepresented as a marijuana legalization bill would do lasting damage to the cannabis movement that has seen economies, government budgets, infrastructure and education improve while crime, opioid overdoses, suicides and healthcare costs decrease in states with adult-use or medical marijuana laws.

STATES Act’s States’ Rights Focus Leaves Conservatives Little Wiggle Room

With the STATES Act, it will be nigh impossible for Conservatives to justify their opposition of the bill by calling it an endorsement of drug use. Politicians representing states that border states with adult-use or medical marijuana laws could claim the bill would only stretch their law enforcement and judicial budgets even thinner, but they couldn’t misrepresent the legislation to their constituents as an attempt to legalize marijuana. They could even request additional federal funding to address the increased law enforcement and judicial workload they anticipate, but they couldn’t vote “no” with the excuse of “I’m not about to legalize marijuana.” I mean, they could say that in their defense, but not without subjecting themselves to ridicule.

STATES Act’s States’ Rights Focus Appeals to Public Majority

Another reason the bipartisan crafters of the STATES Act are making cannabis a states’ rights issue is because it appeals to a majority of the public. A Gallup poll conducted in June 2016 found that 55 percent of Americans prefer government power to be concentrated at the state level instead of the federal level, and Republicans are are four times as likely to support state power.

Giving more power to the states appeals to Republicans, Libertarians and even some Democrats. Hell, I’m a Socialist, and I support small government because I know Socialism, like all forms of governing, works most effectively and efficiently in people’s behalf when the number of people it governs is small and when that population is concentrated in a governable geographic area. Why? The answer was provided by the late Alan Thicke back in 1978: “Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some.”

Those are, of course, the opening lyrics to the “Diff’rent Strokes” theme song, and a more true statement could not be uttered let alone sung. The United States is a vast country that spans the spectrum of both geography and demography, which makes it difficult to govern. Americans experience such differing circumstances that what might be right for you, may not be right for some. Hell, in my home state of Montana you can drive eight hours and never leave the state, but the geography and the people change immensely. What works in the West probably won’t work in the East and vice versa. Marijuana legalization might be right for Californians, but it may not be right for Nebraskans. The STATES Act would allow states to choose what cannabis laws work best for their residents.

STATES Act Not the First, Hopefully the Last of its Kind

This isn’t the first time a bipartisan bill has been introduced to strengthen states’ rights to adopt and enforce marijuana laws as they see fit. I was on Capitol Hill as a student lobbyist for Students for Sensible Drug Policy five years ago when H.R. 1523, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013, was before the 113th Congress. It too sought to allow states to decide the legality of adult-use and medical marijuana by altering the Controlled Substances Act to exclude persons acting in compliance with state marijuana laws.

We felt way back then that this would be our path to ending federal marijuana prohibition, and while we weren’t going to get federal legalization, it was a compromise we were willing to make to appeal to Conservatives and get the legislation passed. I left the reception held after our lobby day filled with hope after hearing Democratic Congressman from Colorado Jared Polis and famed Conservative Grover Norquist agreeing that cannabis was an issue for states to decide by and for their respective residents.

According to Congress.gov, that bill is still before Congress, lost and forgotten by the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations since April 30, 2013. It has 28 cosponsors in the House, six of which are Republicans. The House version of the STATES Act already has 14 cosponsors in the House plus the two Representatives who assisted in drafting the bill. Eight are Republicans, so the new bipartisan bill is already appealing to more Conservatives than H.R. 1523.

STATES Act Lets States Decide Cannabis Laws Right for Them

This bipartisan group has high hopes for the STATES Act given what’s occurred since H.R. 1523 was introduced. The STATES Act does what H.R. 1523 would have. It amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude persons acting in compliance with state and tribal marijuana laws. But it doesn’t eliminate all federal oversight. Distribution of cannabis at transportation facilities and rest stops would remain federally illegal and enforced. The STATES Act does a lot more than allow states to determine their own marijuana laws, though. It also addresses some of the issues that have resulted from states legalizing adult-use or medical marijuana, which should appeal to both sides of the aisle.

STATES Act Legalizes Hemp

Back in 2011, I wrote that cannabis would be America’s best cash crop ever – even bigger than tobacco. Marijuana consumption has already far surpassed my expectations upon its legalization for adult- and medical-use, but industrial hemp is what’s going to make cannabis America’s best cash crop ever. It grows like a weed if you’ll forgive the pun, and can be used for virtually anything. It’s a stronger fiber than cotton and can be used to make textiles that last longer so our clothes don’t fall apart in the wash. It will make stronger rope, hopefully saving mountain and rock climbers’ lives, and cowboys, cowgirls and sailors headaches. Hemp seeds are also rich in fatty acids, protein, fiber and other important nutrients. Hemp can even be used as fuel, which ExxonMobil will no doubt exploit given its investment into biofuels. All that algae research ended up being nothing more than a good PR campaign because hemp is a much less intensive biofuel to produce than algae. You can even build a house out of something called hempcrete, and cannabis can also relieve your pain without getting you high. That’s right, cannabidiol, better known as CBD, has been proven to have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties without the psychoactive effects of THC. So cannabis can clothe you, feed you, shelter you, transport you and your things, relieve your pain, and even save your life while creating jobs and improving our environment by oxygenating the air. Along with solar and wind energy industries, industrial hemp will be one of the biggest contributors to the health of America’s economy and environment for years to come.

STATES Act Makes Marijuana Transactions Federally Legal, Finally

The STATES Act would make cannabis transactions legal, allowing cannabis providers to take methods of payment besides cash and store that money in a bank. Cannabis providers have had a justifiable fear of depositing their profits in federal banks subject to federal law. The federal government could seize those assets like they seize vehicles used to traffic drugs. No criminal charges need to be brought against the cannabis providers for them to lose their money either, as asset forfeiture is a civil action, not criminal.

Since its legalization in Colorado, many cannabis providers have hired motorcycle couriers to pickup and deliver literal saddlebags of money to be deposited in a safe somewhere. One California dispensary owner reportedly delivers $40,000 in cash in the trunk of his car every month simply to pay his taxes. The STATES Act would make those trips a thing of the past and likely result in fewer instances of theft.

So is 2018 finally the year federal marijuana prohibition ends? Some people think so, but ultra-Conservatives could get in the way, just as they did on a cannabis bill for veterans just last week. The STATES Act probably won’t have many supporters from the religious right, which will be its biggest obstacle to overcome. But now more than ever before, Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle are going to be more willing to consider the end of federal marijuana prohibition given what we’ve all learned from the experimentation spearheaded by states. Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia could all adopt medical marijuana laws this year, and if that doesn’t surprise you consider where we were five years ago, when Maryland relaxing criminal penalties for seriously ill people using marijuana was considered a win for cannabis advocates.

Your Senators and Representatives are not experts on cannabis and need you to inform them on the issue, so here’s a guide on how to do so most effectively. You’ll want to appeal to the humanity in them. Politicians are not cold robots. When they hear a story about someone using cannabis to treat their chronic back pain that otherwise would keep them bedridden, they can probably relate to that. They especially want to know if cannabis helped you kick your opioid addiction. They have friends and family struggling with the same problems with which the rest of us struggle, so speak or write from the heart. The facts will only bore them to the point they tune you out.


If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Cannabis A to Z

Published in U.S.
Friday, 08 June 2018 18:06

Anthony Bourdain, dead at 61

Anthony Bourdain, the famous world traveler, chef and Parts Unknown host was found dead in his room at Le Chambard, a luxury hotel in eastern France. The cause of death was hanging and local prosecutor, Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel said there was, “no reason to suspect foul play.”

 

Another tragic loss to suicide. I did not know Mr. Bourdain personally, but like most folks, I knew all about his world travels from his really fantastic CNN show - Parts Unknown.

 

I certainly don’t know what haunted Mr. Bourdain enough to take his own life so I won’t speculate. He leaves behind him a daughter, family, friends and legions of fans. It’s odd to think, “But he seemed like he was so happy - on TV!” Right? We like to think that we know people because we see them on TV, or in films, or through social media. We don’t.

 

His death, it seems has shocked Mr. Bourdain’s friends and colleagues. Usually, there are warning signs of depression and / or other things before an apparent suicide attempt. It really sounds, from what I’ve read, that no one had any idea he was suffering from whatever it was that drove him to take his own life.

 

Mr. Bourdain’s long time girlfriend, the actress, activist Asia Argento released a quick statement saying he was, “my love, my rock, my protector … I am beyond devastated.”  Condolences seem to be coming in from all over the world which shows the vast reach of lives Mr. Bourdain has touched.

 

While suicide, or even a high suicide rate is nothing new in densely populated cities. In the US, the suicide rate has dramatically risen, with some states having an increase of 30% over previous decades. Nevada was the only state to report a decline (of 1%) while North Dakota reported a staggering increase of 57%. The report finds all sorts of factors as the cause - mental health, public health, addiction, alcoholism, economic hardship - to name a few. Just last week the fashion industry lost Kate Space who was unknown to me but was something of an icon in her field. And today we’ve lost Anthony Bourdain. Sadly, we all know it won’t be long before we lose someone else.

 

And suicide makes people - angry at the victim. And I understand. Bourdain’s long time friend, actress Rose McGowan broke down crying in a now deleted clip where she flat out screams at him that she’s “So mad at you.”  Suicide is selfish. And I would probably feel the same way if a close friend of mine committed suicide. But I find it hard to judge someone I don’t know. So all I feel about Mr. Bourdain’s suicide is a tinge of sadness at a life lost too soon. He was only 61 years old and he certainly had a lot more to offer the world. Or maybe he didn’t. We just don’t know the struggles people face.

 

And so I can only offer the exact thing that everyone else is offering. Words.

 

Anthony Bourdain - Rest in peace.

 

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The National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

 

Published in News & Information

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