Multiple states in the US currently allow recreational marijuana or medicinal use of cannabis and multiple more states may be following suit in upcoming elections.

Even those who support the legalization have concerns over driver safety and how to determine if one is impaired.

Breathalyzers are currently being developed and tested but are not ready for roadway spot checks.  Moreover, breathalyzers may have difficulty accurately detecting both inhaled and ingested marijuana.

California law enforcement officers are piloting road-side saliva tests but objective data is still lacking regarding the accuracy of oral fluid tests.

Currently when law enforcement tests an impaired driver for marijuana use, a urine test can be performed which only looks for a metabolite called THC-COOH.    Despite its abbreviation it is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, as opposed to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC), which does cause euphoria.  Hence the shortcoming to this testing method are twofold, as the non active THC-COOH isn’t even the correct metabolite to measure intoxication and it can linger in the body for weeks, hence not allowing an adequate quantitative measure to determining one’s impairment.

Two medical students, however, figured out what needs to be tested and how.  Graham Lambert and Charles Cullison, both entering their third year at Touro University Nevada, performed research for an American College of Legal Medicine (ACLM) poster contest.

One of the lead researchers and osteopathic medical student Graham Lambert said, “This is an issue because it’s non-psychoactive. It stays in the body for long periods of time, long after any psychoactive effects.” Their research lead them to conclude that testing should instead look for an alternate THC metabolite, 11-OH-THC.

Why?  Let’s break this down.  Now both delta-9-THC and 11-OH-THC are psychoactive compounds that can be tested in the blood.  However law enforcement has to determine whether euphoria was present and a factor in one’s unlawful driving.  Both delta-9-THC and 11-OH-THC crosses the blood brain barrier, a semi-permeable endothelial cell barrier that helps decide what substances can enter and leave the brain.  But 11-OH-THC’s is more readily active and can bind to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors tighter, lasting longer and causing more of a psychoactive effect.

Additionally, 11-OH-THC is a metabolite also seen in high quantities after ingesting marijuana edibles.





In 2012, Sharma et al found the 11-OH-THC to last twice as long in the blood than delta-9-THC, which would make sense due its strong binding properties.  Yet the psychoactive 11-OH-THC will rapidly be metabolized to an inactive form hence its presence on a test will signify activity rather than just “hanging around”.

Once Lambert and Cullison determined this, they went to Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, who is Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.  Yeager helped sponsor a bill, AB135 that would convert marijuana testing for drivers from the inaccurate urine test to a blood test that would look for specifically 11-OH-THC.

Also lead researcher and osteopathic medical student, Charles Cullison said, “Blood alone accurately shows the levels of hydroxy (11-OH-THC) and marijuana.”

In regards to getting the bipartisan law passed through the State Senate with a “Veto-less” majority,  Cullison stated, “We couldn’t have done this without the help of many people.”

After Nevada lawmakers passed AB 135, Governor Brian Sandoval signed it into law. The antiquated urine testing will not be used to test drivers pulled over for possible DUI but a blood test instead.


The legal limit of marijuana that is measured in nanograms per milliliter ng/ml would be 2 ng/ml for delta-9-THC and 5 ng/ml for 11 Hydroxy-THC.  This does not change with passage of AB135, nor do the circumstances surrounding when to test, as current protocols are in place once a person fails his sobriety test.

-- / Medical Spanish made easy.


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is 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 News & Information

The views and opinions expressed below are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the GCN Live newsroom. A guest editorial follows.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to check for thyroid health is the ‘Basal Thermometer Test’ developed by Dr. Broda Barnes, one of the first physicians to recognize the importance of thyroid health when it comes to overall wellness.  He wrote the classic book on hypothyroidism called “Hypothyroidism, The Unsuspected Illness” in the 1970’s and he was of the opinion that numerous health issues including heart disease, cancer, depression, arthritis, diabetes, frequent colds or infections, tonsillitis, ear infections, PMS and other female health issues as well as skin disorders, were all caused by a poorly functioning thyroid. Barnes thought that hypothyroidism affected more than 40% of the American population, which is much higher than most doctors at the time.  However, that is changing as hypothyroidism is becoming more and more recognized as a health problem.

The test, which is sometimes called the ‘Barnes Basal Thermometer Test’ is done by placing a thermometer in the armpit for 10 minutes, first thing in the morning.  This is important.  If you move around and start your day before testing your results won’t be accurate, so you want to do the test as soon as you wake up, while you’re still in bed.  Because temperature for women is a bit lower on the first day of menstruation, Barnes advised women on their periods to avoid testing themselves until their second or third day. 

Personally, I would suggest women wait until they’re done with their periods entirely just to be sure.  You want to test your armpit temperature for three consecutive days and then determine the average.   According to Barnes, if you’re below normal body temperature which is 97.8 degrees, this can be indicative of hypothyroidism, especially if you have other symptoms.  On the other hand, a reading over 97.8 degrees, according to Barnes, could indicate hyperthyroidism, again especially if there are other symptoms present.

If it turns out you’re suffering from hypothyroidism, and nearly 10 percent of Americans are, it’s unlikely that using iodine supplements will make much of a difference.  I’m not saying that iodine is not an important mineral; it is, particularly for glandular health and for the production of thyroid hormone.  If you are blatantly deficient you may notice some benefits, but most hypothyroid patients are not suffering from a lack of iodine.  The same goes for thyroid hormone drugs (levothyroxine) which may or may not provide the hypothyroid body with a little hormone activity but will not do anything to correct the condition.

Hypothyroidism is typically the result of digestive health issues, blood sugar problems and chronic stress (adrenal) gland activity.  That means the best strategy for dealing with hypothyroidism is the same strategy used when dealing with any other health challenge:

  1. Work on digestive health (using digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar with meals, eating fermented foods, using probiotics and eliminating problem foods).
  2. Stabilize blood sugar by eating less starchy and processed carbs (cereal, as well as sweets and desserts), using supplements like selenium and sulfur chromium, vanadium and the B-vitamins (among many others) and enjoying fiber-rich veggies with all meals.
  3. Focus on adrenal health with relaxation strategies, reducing sugar intake, deep breathing and nutritional supplementation including zinc, Vitamin C, the B-complex and magnesium.  Progesterone cream may help, likewise pregnenolone and DHEA.
Published in News & Information
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 19:58

Allergies to Marijuana on the Rise

In 2015 Dr. Thad Ocampo and Dr. Tonya Rans published a paper looking at cannabis allergies that ranged from eczema to asthma to anaphylaxis.


Daily Mail now reports 36 million Americans could be allergic to marijuana, stating 73 percent of the 50 million people who react to pollen also have issues with cannabis – and the figure is rising. This comes as no surprise as marijuana is a plant that carries pollen. Those exposed to second hand cannabis may be at risk as well. In 1971, a 29 year old woman claimed to have smoked marijuana for the first time when she went into a full anaphylactic reaction, being unable to breath.


Cannabis sativa is one of the more common strains of cannabis used and its hypersensitivity could cause one to have any of  the following:














Runny eyes, conjunctivitis


Difficulty breathing





Image from Positive Vibrations


Cannabis indicia is the other more common strain, whose leaves are wider and may pose allergic risks as well. Dr. Ocampo and Rans also discusses cannabis seed encrusted seafood which caused an anaphylactic reaction in a patient who was not allergic to seafood.


EpiPens could provide support for those suffering reactions and may need to be on hand for those who smoke or are exposed to marijuana smoke.


Allergic reactions occur when an allergen enters the body and the immune system tries to reject it. This defense mechanism, however, could cause many symptoms, including bronchoconstriction, preventing one from being able to breathe.  EpiPens provide epinephrine opening up the bronchioles and therefore allowing air exchange. / Medical Spanish made easy.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is 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 News & Information
Monday, 22 May 2017 17:15

Caffeine Can be a Killer

In April, a South Carolina high school student collapsed in class and later died.  The coroner’s report, revealed this week, cited caffeine as the cause.  The caffeine induced a cardiac arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythm,  and 16-year old Davis Allen Cripe tragically died within an hour.

What’s shocking is the amount of caffeine he ingested was not very high.  According to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts, Cripe drank, within a two hour period, a large Mountain Dew, an energy drink, and a cafe latte from McDonald's. The teen had no medical problems or family history of heart issues.

A large Mountain Dew contains 54 mg per 12 fluid oz.  So a 20 oz drink would be close to 100 mg caffeine.

Energy drinks, depending on the brand, contain approximately 80 mg of caffeine per can.

A cafe latte from McDonald's, medium size, contains 142 mg of caffeine.

This in total would equal approximately 320 mg of caffeine ingested within a two hour period.

The lethal dose of caffeine in adults range from 150-200 mg/ kg body weight.  So a 70 kg adult could consume a toxic level of caffeine at 10 grams (10,000 mg).

So 320 mg of caffeine is well below the toxic level.  But what caffeine could do could be the more dangerous part.

Caffeine has been known to induce arrhythmias.  It’s a stimulant, hence it can affect the heart’s electrical conductivity that manages the organ’s pumping  action.  Once the electricity is disrupted, the heart muscle fails to have a predictable, rhythmic stimulation, hence cannot pump effectively.

Caffeine also causes vasoconstriction, so blood flow to the heart could be compromised, potentially inducing a heart attack.

In 2014, researchers from Barcelona found energy drinks to be linked to rare cases of heart attack and arrhythmia.

A cup of coffee averages 95mg of caffeine whereas an energy drink contains 80mg.  But the latter is consumed much quicker than a hot cup of Joe that needs to be sipped, hence the consumer takes in a larger load of caffeine in a shorter amount of time.  This could be too much too fast for the heart.

The following is a chart of average caffeine content in common drinks: / Medical Spanish made easy.

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


Published in News & Information

During my commute home, listening to 105 The Vibe as I always do, I learned that more than 40 percent of all litter and 28 to 33 percent of all litter in America is cigarette butts. That’s 1.69 billion pounds of non-biodegradable, toxic trash, and over 65 percent of cigarette butts end up littered. I was immediately disgusted because while I now know cigarette butts account for more than 40 percent of all litter, there’s still a couple billion pounds of litter on top of those cigarette butts.

Thankfully, tax increases have been effective in decreasing the number of smokers in America, from roughly 21 percent of the adult population in 2005 to 15 percent in 2015. The same approach should be taken with litterers.

Littering is bad for everyone. No one wants to live in a dump, so why do people leave garbage on the streets and sidewalks? Well, because no one likes to carry trash with them. I have a solution, though, that would end America’s litter problem once and for all. Littering should be added to the list of federal misdemeanors, and litterers should be fined an exorbitant amount or forced to do an unreasonable amount of community service picking up litter.

Think about it. Littering literally affects everyone in the nation and world. We all breathe the same air and share the same water, so making littering a federal offense makes sense, especially if 81 percent of all littering is done with intent. If tampering with mail is a federal offense, littering can be a federal offense, too. Littering would also be more likely to be enforced if it was a federal offense rather than a municipal ordinance or state statute.

Cities and states don’t issue enough littering citations and don’t collect nearly enough in fines for littering. While Maryland has a maximum fine of $30,000 for littering, that’s for over 500 pounds of litter. I guess that would apply if you left a broken-down car on the side of the road. Very few states have minimum fines in place. In Colorado the minimum fine is just $20. In Delaware it’s $50. In North Dakota and Utah it’s $100. In Alabama the minimum fine is $150.

State and municipal littering laws are all well and good if enforced, which they’re not. The one time I’ve seen them enforced was on the night of my friend’s 21st birthday. With his sober girlfriend driving, he saw a cop car drive by and screamed the lyrics to a popular N.W.A. song out the window, and followed that up by throwing a gallon of water out the window. Well, the very next car (and the one after that as a matter of fact) was a cop car. We got pulled over, and my friend did his best not to puke on the hood of the cop car. He was issued citations for littering and...littering and….invalid registration. I think he said the littering ticket was $20, and he got out of the registration ticket because he renewed it immediately.

But how many people would litter if they were required to pay a $500 fine to the federal government on top of the state’s fine or do an equivalent amount of community service cleaning up litter along interstate highways? I’d venture to guess you’d rarely see someone flick a cigarette out of a moving car or throw a fast food wrapper on the ground. Even though cops can’t be everywhere at once, just the idea of paying for a DUI keeps people from driving drunk. Why would littering be any different?

You might be thinking the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Well, there are a lot of punishments that don’t fit the crime in this country. In Minnesota, a seatbelt violation can cost you over $100, and that’s a law enforced to protect you. Why should a law enforced to protect your health be any different? Both laws are technically improving the safety of all Americans.

If you’re a smoker littering is probably a part of your DNA at this point. You don’t put your cigarette butts back in the pack to throw away later, which is exactly what you should do if you’re not near a trash can or ash tray. You should treat every street in every part of the world like a trail in a national or state park. If you don't litter in a national or state park, why should any other place be any different? Just because a national or state park has natural beauty that hasn’t been destroyed doesn’t mean you should destroy the places lacking natural beauty. One way to get around this is to start rolling your own cigarettes. Unlike pre-rolled cigarettes, roll-your-owns are biodegradable and filter-less. Cigarette filters pose the biggest risk to our environment. If you’re worried about tar and need a filtered cigarette, just get a few reusable filters. TarGard makes good products. I’ve tried them, and they work. They also make the cigarette filter made famous by Hunter S. Thompson.

Most smokers have a specific brand, though, and getting them to change is like asking them to stop smoking. I have a friend who has been smoking Camel filters for over a dozen years, and he couldn’t tell you why. It was just the first cigarette he tried.

There are items that can keep you from covering your community in litter, though. The Bell automotive “Butt Bucket” is a cigarette butt receptacle that looks a little too much like a coffee cup, but it keeps butts off the streets. My friend has one of them in his truck, and the smell is surprisingly subtle.

So if you’re going to smoke, please make sure your butts end up in the trash. Gutter butts collect in storm drains and then into waterways, and can clog storm drains and sanitary sewer systems, leaving the streets covered in toxic, cigarette-smelling water. Worse yet, that toxic water kills the transparent crustacean Daphnia, a planktonic animal that occupies a key position in aquatic ecosystems.

Basically, until everyone stops smoking, we have to stop littering cigarette butts, because it’s the easiest way to nearly cut the litter in half.


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, Free Talk Live

Published in News & Information
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 19:39

Vaping Linked to Bladder Cancer

Dr. Sam Chang of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, reported in an American Urological News release, “We’ve known traditional smoking raises bladder cancer risk, and given the surge in popularity of e-cigarettes, it’s imperative we uncover any potential links.”

Chemicals in cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, such as nicotine, are excreted through the urine. Researchers examined the urine of e-cig users vs. those of non-smokers and found 92% of those who vaped had at least two of the five chemicals tested.

The University of Minnesota in 2015 identified chemicals commonly found in e-cig vapor to include:

Formaldehyde (human carcinogen)

Acetaldehyde (carcinogen related to alcohol drinking)

Acrolein (highly irritating and toxic)

Toluene (toxic) NNN, NNK (tobacco carcinogens related to nicotine)

Metals (possible carcinogens and toxicants)

In a second study, researchers looked at bladder tissue to see what nicotine and some of the chemicals in vapor could do. They found nicotine, nitrosamines and formaldehyde not only damaged lining but blocked the DNA repair, hence increasing risk of bladder cancer.

Although exact causes of bladder cancer are unknown, tobacco smoke has been the single greatest risk factor.  Other risk factors for bladder cancer include diets rich in fried foods, arsenic, radon, occupational exposure to aromatic amines in textile, rubber and paint plants, and some medications such as pioglitazone used in diabetes. Being exposed to a worm causing schistosomiasis can also put one at risk for bladder cancer.

Symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine (hematuria), difficulty urinating due to obstruction, pain/burning with urination (dysuria), and sometimes no symptoms at all.

Bladder cancer is treated by surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.  The earlier it's diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

According to the American Cancer Society they project for 2017:

  • About 79,030 new cases of bladder cancer (about 60,490 in men and 18,540 in women)

  • About 16,870 deaths from bladder cancer (about 12,240 in men and 4,630 in women)

How many of these being related to electronic cigarettes is unknown. / Medical Spanish made easy.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00am-2:00pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00pm (Central) at GCN.

Published in News & Information

Obesity is an epidemic in America. Overall, 38 percent of U.S. adults are obese and 17 percent of teenagers are obese, the Center for Disease Control reported in 2016. More than two-thirds of Americans are at least overweight. There is a difference between obese and overweight, though.

The obese are less likely to be physically active or are physically unable to be physically active, which is why this complete nutrition guide is for the immobile. You can lose weight without exercising. Use the following tips to start losing weight without knowingly altering your calorie intake and without exercising.

Week One: Change the Way You Eat

When overcoming obesity, you have to start somewhere, and if you have trouble moving, you have to start with the way you eat. I’m not talking about a diet or counting calories. There are things you can do before, during and after consuming food that will help keep you from overeating.

America’s obesity problem stems from increases in portion size since the 1980s, and those portions continue to grow as body weights increase. It’s corporate food taking advantage of an addiction it created, much like the tobacco industry. Don’t be a pawn in their game.

Know Your Serving Sizes

A serving of meat is three ounces, which is the size of a bar of soap. A hamburger serving is the size of a hockey puck. A serving of pasta is the size of your fist. A serving of vegetables is the size of a baseball, and a serving of fruit is the size of a tennis ball. A serving of peanut butter is the size of a ping pong ball. If you guide your portions based on the recommended serving sizes, chances are you’ll end up consuming less and losing weight. If you use smaller plates, you’ll also end up eating fewer calories, and research shows that people eat less off red plates than white or blue plates.

Plan Your Meals for the Week

Plan what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for an entire week. Having a plan keeps you from replacing potentially nutritious meals with fast food and puts you in control of your nutrition goals instead of some high school kid inside a drive-thru window. Having a plan will also help you avoid skipping meals, which isn’t good for you either. I log my meals for the next day using the MyPlate app from Livestrong. Logging meals a day in advance gives me an idea of my calorie, fat, sugar and sodium wiggle room for snacks throughout the day. It also helps me save money because I’m less likely to eat out when my meals are already planned.

Make a Grocery List

Impulse buying contributes to the American obesity epidemic. If it never seems like the healthy foods are on sale, it’s because they seldom are. But if you enter the store with a list of foods you know you need, and you don’t waver from that list, you’ll leave having saved some calories and some money.

Drink More Water

Drink a glass of water before every meal and more water in general. Are you drinking half a gallon of water each day? Chances are you’re not. The daily recommended water intake is eight, eight-ounce glasses. With one before every meal that’s just three per day, so be sure to stay hydrated. It’s literally the easiest way to lose weight.

Prepare Your Eating Environment

Eating in the proper environment can help prevent overeating. A study conducted by a Cornell researcher found that people eating in fast food restaurants where the lighting was dimmer and the music more soothing ate 175 fewer calories than those who ate in the same place with the lights brighter and the music louder. And don’t eat in front of the television, as you’ll be more likely to forget how much you’ve eaten.

Eat Slower

It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you’ve eaten enough, so eat slower and you’ll be less likely to overeat. And chew your food thoroughly.

Eat a Big Breakfast

People who eat more in the morning and less at night lose more weight, and starting your day with warm food high in protein helps you feel fuller and less hungry later. Consume 350 to 400 calories and 25 grams of protein every morning and you’ll be on your way to losing weight.

Eggs are my go-to breakfast food because they’re cheap, quick to make, high in protein and are delicious when mixed with vegetables. Non-fat Greek yogurt is also a great breakfast food if you’re on the go. Mix it with granola and fruit for the perfect parfait.

If you have a blender, a plant-based, protein shake is a great way to get a serving of fruits and vegetables along with protein without the fat. I use hemp-based protein because it improves heart health, and put together multiple lists of delicious shake recipes here and here so you never get sick of them. If you can push back your breakfast to later in the day, it lowers the amount of time you’ll have to eat throughout the day, too. This way you’re less likely to consume too much in one day.

Eat More Frequently but Eat Smaller Meals

Another reason obesity is a problem is the amount of time Americans have to actually sit down and eat. It’s very important that you sit down to eat, and that you actually eat more often. You just want to tone down the size of your meals and spread them out throughout the day so your metabolism stays high and you burn fat throughout the night. Eating smaller meals more frequently also keeps your appetite in check so you don’t wake up starving. Try to eat five smaller meals per day instead of three large meals.

Eat More Satisfying Foods

Eating foods that satisfy your hunger is a key to eating fewer calories and overcoming obesity. WebMD put together a chart with examples of satisfying foods, as well as unsatisfying foods. I bet you can guess where Twinkies, Snickers, potato chips, cheese puffs and french fries fell. A turkey sandwich on wheat bread topped the list of satisfying foods, with oatmeal on its heels and bean burrito coming in third. A vegetarian refried bean burrito is an even healthier option.

Don’t Avoid a Midnight Snack

Avoiding food before bedtime can actually keep you from losing weight. Just don’t overeat before going to bed and make sure you’re consuming protein instead of carbohydrates and fat. Your body burns more calories digesting protein than carbs and fat. Another protein shake is perfect before bed because it might boost your metabolism, according to a Florida State study. Adding a cup of rooibos tea could reduce stress hormones that trigger fat storage and hunger. Some of the best midnight snacks are turkey and cottage cheese, because they’re both high in protein and contain tryptophan, the amino acid that puts you to sleep on Thanksgiving. Speaking of sleep…

Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep

Fitbits wouldn’t monitor sleep quality if it wasn’t important to fitness. It’s incredibly important to get at least seven hours of sleep each night because people who get more sleep have the proper balance of leptin and ghrelin hormones that help control appetite. If you create a routine that you do an hour before sleep each night, like brushing your teeth and then reading for an hour, your body will be better prepared to sleep, and you won’t be counting sheep.

If you can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes, leave the bedroom and do something unstimulating. That doesn’t mean watch television or stare at your phone or tablet. Looking at a screen before bed not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but can make you more tired and less alert in the morning. If you still struggle sleeping or can’t seem to breathe while sleeping, get checked for sleep apnea. Oh, and the colder you can handle the bedroom while sleeping, the more calories you’ll burn in your sleep.

If you’re looking to overcome obesity and aren’t physically able to be physically active, week one of the “Overcoming Obesity” nutrition guide for the immobile can help you become mobile. We still won’t advocate exercise in week two, either, because you don’t need to exercise to lose weight. Week two of the “Overcoming Obesity” program will focus on nutrition -- not a diet.


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, Free Talk Live

Published in News & Information

Three people have died, and nineteen suspected to be infected with Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the outbreak of Ebola after receiving reports of a cluster of cases.

The first case occurred April 22nd when a 39 year old symptomatic male traveled a great distance to reach a medical facility who tested him for Ebola.  By the time the results came back he was deceased and had exposed multiple people who assisted him with his travel and then medical care.  According to the CDC, six others had fallen ill in the same village and were taken care of by individuals who most likely did not wear protective gear.

The DRC had not seen any cases since 2014.  The West African Ebola epidemic spanned  from the end of December 2013 to 2016 infecting over 28,000 people and killing over 11,000.  The epidemic was one of the worst in Ebola’s history and its high mortality rate took countries such as Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia by surprise. A vaccine was not available, and medications such as Zmapp were experimental and not in great supply.  Hospitals were not stocked with protective clothing able to prevent the minutest of exposure to the deadly virus.  Travel bans were difficult to institute and top that off with a lack of education on what we were dealing with and it was unfortunately the perfect storm for one of the deadliest outbreaks in recent history.

Ebola however emerged far before this.  Ebola was named after the Ebola River in Zaire and was first recognized in 1976 when it caused two outbreaks affecting 318 and 284 people respectively .  Multiple small outbreaks occurred since then according to the CDC:

1995           Democratic Republic of Congo          infected 315

2000           Uganda                                             infected 425

2007          Democratic Republic of Congo           infected 264

And multiple smaller sporadic cases occurred in the years between.

In January 2016 health officials declared the Ebola outbreak had ended, however cases continued to smolder.

Why this occurs is the virus may not leave the body completely.  Its been found to live in semen up to a year and some survivors can suffer a reinfection months later.  For example, in 2015 Dr. Ian Crozier successfully fought Ebola but two months after discharge, suffered a severe eye infection which turned out to be Ebola lurking in his eye.

A study in 2015 found Ebola be able to survive outside a human body for days and longer if within a liquid such as water or blood.   Mosquitoes are not known to transmit the virus however it can live in bats as well as monkeys and apes.  Pets have not been known to contract Ebola from  their sick owners put its been postulated that pigs could if in contact with a victim.

Ebola is a virus from the Flavivirus family that causes a hemorrhagic fever with symptoms of sudden fever, myalgias, headache and sore throat and then progressing to nausea and vomiting, liver and kidney issues and internal and external bleeding. / Medical Spanish made easy.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00am-2:00pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00pm (Central) at GCN.



Published in News & Information

In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers from Hebrew University and the University of Bonn discovered that daily marijuana use could help prevent the “slowdown” that occurs in our brains as we age.


THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, was found to boost memory and learning, cognitive function, in older mice.


In the study, researchers gave THC daily to groups of mice who were 2 months old, one year old and 18 months old. Then the mice solved a water maze.  The older mice who were not given the THC  had difficulty recognizing familiar objects and navigating  the maze. But those who were given THC scored similarly to younger vibrant mice, and did so for a month after the dosing stopped.


Now the younger mice given the THC appeared to score poorly compared to younger mice not given the THC. The study authors believe the THC is stimulating the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which is a biochemical pathway that slows down with aging.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?


It’s a system within the brain and spinal cord and peripheral nervous system with receptors that help regulate a variety of actions including memory, mood, appetite, and pain.  The body makes its own “cannabinoids” which work at the synapse where neurotransmitters are released.  Our own cannabinoids (endogenous cannabinoids, hence endocannabinoids) help regulate what is being neurotransmitted.  Exogenous (outside) THC that is inhaled/ingested competes with a body’s own cannabinoids for these receptors causing changes in what signals get released.

This isn’t the first time marijuana has been found  to improve brain health.


Previous studies found cannabis to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protecting brain cells and stimulating new cell growth. In 2008 a study in mice found THC to improve memory in older rats as well as decrease brain inflammation.


However in 2016 a study published in Nature found cannabinoids to activate CB1 receptors within the mitochondria of hippocampal neurons, which resulted in memory loss.  Their study suggested that chronic use of marijuana permanently affected the brain cell’s mitochondria, thereby causing long term memory loss.


So is marijuana good for the brain or not?  Studies in mice conflict however, researchers are slowly narrowing down why it helps and why it hurts.  Give it more time before placing any bets…. / Medical Spanish made easy.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00am-2:00pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00pm (Central) at GCN.


Published in News & Information

How clean is the air in your home?  Noxious chemicals build up very quickly in one’s house.  These include:


Carbon monoxide (from heaters, fireplaces).


Radon (from soil, drains, pipes).


Formaldehyde (from tobacco smoke, new wood furniture, flooring and cabinets, and glue, cosmetics and detergents).


Volatile Organic Compounds/benzene/trichloroethylene, (from plastics, rubber, detergents, degreasers).


Ammonia (from detergents, cleaners).


Xylene (from cigarettes, paint and car exhaust).


These chemicals have been linked to a variety of illnesses from “sick building syndrome” which includes fatigue, myalgias, asthma, headache, palpitations and possible nosebleeds to cancer and possibly death.

Household plants can help eliminate these from the air that you and your family breathe.


The following 12 household plants may come in handy:


Aloe Vera -- helps reduce benzene and formaldehyde.


Spider Plant -- reduces carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.


Boston Fern -- removes formaldehyde.


Snake Plant -- removes benzene and formaldehyde.


Areca Palm -- removes most of the above mentioned chemicals and has been rated, “Most efficient air purifying plant” by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America. (Pictured above).


Lady Palm -- removes formaldehyde and ammonia.


Bamboo Palm -- removes benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.


Peace Lily -- removes benzene, ammonia and formaldehyde.


Golden Pothos -- removes most of the above chemicals.


Dragon Tree -- removes xylene.


English Ivy -- removes formaldehyde and mold.


Chinese Evergreen -- multi-talented as well eliminating much of the above chemicals. / Medical Spanish made easy.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00am-2:00pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00pm (Central) at GCN.



Published in News & Information

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