Category Archives: Safety

Opiod Users Switch To Cannabis For Pain Treatment 

By: Kat McCue

Patients are ditching opioids and instead using cannabis to treat pain, anxiety, and depression mostly in states where pot is legal, according to a new study.

Published in the Journal of Pain Research, the results show that 46 percent of people who used cannabis at least once within the previous 90 days used it as a substitute for prescription drugs that treat pain, anxiety, and depression. The investigators surveyed nearly 3,000 respondents from all over the United States (as well as participants from Canada and Europe). The findings serve as the latest bit of news demonstrating a growing trend of medical cannabis use for conditions traditionally treated with prescription medications.

Survey participants responded to the following question: “Have you ever used cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs (yes/no)?” Upon answering “yes,” respondents listed the medications that they replaced with cannabis in additional space provided. The results? The most commonly replaced drugs were painkillers (narcotics and opioids) at a nearly 36 percent substitution rate, while anxiety medications (anxiolytics and benzodiazepines) and antidepressants each were replaced with cannabis approximately 13 percent of the time.

Although there has yet to be any definitive medical consensus regarding the effectiveness of cannabis to treat pain, anxiety, and depression, it seems to function as an adequate replacement for prescription medications among medical cannabis users with these conditions.
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Separate Experts Conclude Ocean Temperatures Continue Rising 

By: John Abraham of The Guardian

As humans put ever more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the Earth heats up. These are the basics of global warming. But where does the heat go? How much extra heat is there? And how accurate are our measurements? These are questions that climate scientists ask. If we can answer these questions, it will better help us prepare for a future with a very different climate. It will also better help us predict what that future climate will be.
The most important measurement of global warming is in the oceans. In fact, “global warming” is really “ocean warming.” If you are going to measure the changing climate of the oceans, you need to have many sensors spread out across the globe that take measurements from the ocean surface to the very depths of the waters. Importantly, you need to have measurements that span decades so a long-term trend can be established. 
These difficulties are tackled by oceanographers, and a significant advancement was presented in a paper just published in the journal Climate Dynamics. That paper, which I was fortunate to be involved with, looked at three different ocean temperature measurements made by three different groups. We found that regardless of whose data was used or where the data was gathered, the oceans are warming.

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Putin Provides Specific Instructions To Support Trumps Presidency 

Compliments of CBS 

A report Friday morning claims Russian President Vladimir Putin gave direct instructions to help elect Donald Trump president.

According to a Washington Post investigation, former President Obama received a secret CIA report in August.

That report “captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives – defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.”

CBS News confirmed last year that U.S. intelligence officials knew that the Russian government operation to interfere in the U.S. election had been approved by Putin himself, but they were reluctant to reveal how much they knew out of concern that sources and methods could be compromised, CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues reports.

The Post reports that U.S. intelligence agencies had sourcing deep inside the Russian government capturing Putin’s direct instructions in the operation.

The Post also reports that before he left office Mr. Obama set in motion a secret program that authorized the deployment of “implants” in Russian networks – digital bombs that could be triggered in a retaliatory cyberstrike in the event of Moscow aggression – and that it would be up to President Trump to decide to use the capability.

CBS News confirmed that Obama officials felt that their effort to expel Russian diplomats in retaliation was undermined by the incoming administration.

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Google Scrubs Medical Records and Other Personal Information From Its Results 

By: Samuel Gibbs of The Guardian 

Google has started removing private medical records from its search results, after adjusting its policy regarding personal information.

The change was made on Thursday to include the “confidential, personal medical records of private people” in the bracket of information Google may remove unprompted from search results. Other examples of such information include national or government issued identification numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers and images of signatures.

The leaking of private medical records can be extremely damaging to the victims, both financially and emotionally, with future prospects affected and private lives of the vulnerable exposed. Given that Google’s indexing system will capture anything that’s publicly accessible on the internet, leaks such as those created by an Indian pathology lab which uploaded more than 43,000 patient records in December, including names and HIV blood test results, can be particularly damaging.

The last change to the removal policy was made in 2015 with the addition of “nude or sexually explicit images that were uploaded or shared without your consent” to cover so-called revenge porn.

The new addition to Google’s scrubbing policy marks a change from the search company’s traditional hands-off, algorithmic approach which resists attempts at censorship. This has come under scrutiny over the last few years due to the spread of fake news and misinformation. Google recently adjusted its search results to down-rank contested information such as fake news.

For many Google has become the gateway to the internet, meaning that removal from the company’s search results effectively scrubs them from the internet. While the information will still be accessible via other search engines or directly, other associated actions including the European right to be forgotten have seen being removed from Google’s search results as good enough to affect change.

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PA Judge Rules Police Dash Cam Videos Are For Public Access 

By: Peter Hall

In a decision that opens up public access to police videos, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled state police dashboard camera footage of the aftermath of a car crash must be released under the state’s Right-to-Know Law.

Although it recognized there may be situations when police videos cannot be released because they are part of investigations, the Supreme Court found there’s no blanket rule against releasing such recordings.
Bucking state police arguments to keep the videos out of the public realm, a 5-2 majority found decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis on whether exceptions for investigative material apply, and police have the burden to show why a video is exempt from release.

Public record watchdogs called the court’s decision a significant victory for access to police records at a time when there’s a growing demand for information about how police do their jobs.

“Citizens should care because it gives them the ability to access police dash camera video, which will help them understand police interaction in the community and provide accountability,” said Melissa Melewsky, who filed a friend of the court brief in the case on behalf of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

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Study Shows Yoga Can Substitute For Physical Therapy And Painkillers 

By: Allison Aubrey 

If you’re tired of popping pain medicine for your lower back pain, yoga may be a good alternative.
New research finds that a yoga class designed specifically for back pain can be as safe and effective as physical therapy in easing pain.
The yoga protocol was developed by researchers at Boston Medical Center with input from yoga teachers, doctors and physical therapists.
During the class, trained instructors guide participants through gentle poses, including cat-cow, triangle pose and child’s pose. Simple relaxation techniques are part of the class as well. More difficult poses, such as inversions, are avoided.
A guidebook that details the poses taught during the class is freely available, as is a teacher training manual.
The findings, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, are in line with new guidelines for treating back pain from the American College of Physicians. The group recommends that people with back pain should avoid pain medicines if possible, and instead opt for alternatives such as tai chi, yoga and massage. As we’ve reported, those guidelines are aimed at people with run-of-the-mill back pain, rather than pain due to an injury or other diagnosed problem.
Who was in the study? Researchers recruited 320 racially diverse, predominantly low-income participants in the Boston area, all of whom had chronic low back pain. The study lasted one year.
What did participants in the study do? Participants were divided into three groups. One group was assigned to a weekly yoga class for 12 weeks. Another group was assigned 15 physical therapy (PT) visits. The third group received an educational book and newsletters. For the remainder of the year — roughly 40 weeks — participants in the yoga group were assigned to either drop-in classes or home practice. The PT group was assigned to either “PT booster sessions” or home practice.

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Clear Divisions In Trump Administration As 12B Dollar Qatari Arms Deal Clears Days After POTUS Acuses Region Of Funding Terrorism

By: MARGARET BRENNAN, KYLIE ATWOOD of CBS 

While President Trump berates Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, he is simultaneously authorizing the country to purchase over $21 billion of U.S. weapons. 

One portion of that deal — $12 billion for 36 F-15QA fighter jets — was inked on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., when Qatar’s Defense Minister met with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis. 

“We are pleased to announce today the signing of the letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets, with an initial cost of $12 billion dollars,” read the Qatari Defense Minister’s statement on Wednesday afternoon. “We believe that this agreement will propel Qatar’s ability to provide for its own security while also reducing the burden placed upon the United States military in conducting operations against violent extremism.”

The Qatari ambassador to the U.S. tweeted a photo of the signing. 

The State Department describes this sale as fermenting U.S. efforts to “strengthen the security and defense architecture of the region.” They point out that it does not directly conflict with the current regional dispute as it will take years to complete and fill the sale in full. 

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New Broccoli Pill Reduces Blood Sugar In Diabetics 

By: Andy Coghlan of New Scientist

Doctors frequently tell us to eat our greens, but soon they could be prescribing broccoli. A powder that contains concentrated extract from the vegetable could prove indispensable to people with type 2 diabetes. The extract reduced blood sugar levels by up to 10 per cent in people with the disease.

Type 2 diabetes usually develops around middle age, often in people who are overweight. Their body stops responding to insulin, which controls the level of glucose in the blood. Abnormal insulin regulation causes a rise in blood sugar levels, which can raise people’s chances of heart attacks, blindness and kidney problems.

People with the condition are often prescribed metformin, which helps to lower blood glucose. However, as many as 15 per cent cannot take this therapy because of kidney damage risks.

“More research is needed to see if this repurposed drug can be used to treat Type 2 diabetes, as it was only tested in a small number of people and only helped a subset of those who are taking it,” says Elizabeth Robertson, of the charity Diabetes UK. “For now, we recommend that people continue with the treatment prescribed by their healthcare team.”

Clever greens

A chemical called sulforaphane, found in broccoli sprouts, has previously demonstrated an ability to reduce glucose levels in diabetic rats. Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and his colleagues wondered whether the same might be true for humans. To test the theory, his team gave 97 people with type 2 diabetes a concentrated dose of sulforaphane every day for three months, or a placebo. All but three people in the trial continued taking metformin. Those who didn’t take metformin were able to control their condition relatively well without it.

The concentration of sulforaphane given was around 100 times that found naturally in broccoli. “It was the same as eating around five kilograms of broccoli daily,” says Rosengren.

On average, those who received the broccoli extract saw their blood glucose reduce by 10 per cent more than those on the placebo. The extract was most effective in obese participants with “dysregulated” diabetes, whose baseline glucose levels were higher to start with.

“We’re very excited about the effects we’ve seen and are eager to bring the extract to patients,” says Rosengren. “We saw a reduction of glucose of about 10 per cent, which is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood,” he says.

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Active Shooter Targets Republicans in Virginia  

By: Char Adams of People 

One Congressman has been critically wounded in a mass shooting after a gunman opened fire on a group of GOP lawmakers and aides practicing for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, early Wednesday.

House Whip Steve Scalise from Louisiana was shot in the hip and is in critical condition, MedStar Washington Hospital Center tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Three other victims were wounded as well, including two Capitol Police agents and one congressional staffer, a federal law enforcement official told PEOPLE. The official added that another staffer may have been injured, but it is unclear how the injury occurred.
Williams confirmed his aide, Zachary Barth’s, injury in a tweet, writing that Barth was shot but is expected to make a full recovery.

“I now can confirm that Zack Barth, who is a legislative correspondent in my office, was shot this morning at baseball practice,” he tweeted.

Barth too confirmed his injury in a Twitter post, writing, “I got shot this morning at the baseball fields but I am in the hospital and okay.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan sent well wishes to the injured, identifying the victims as Scalise, Barth, Matt Mika, Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Krystal Griner.

“We are united. We are united in our shock,” he said. “We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

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5 Officials To Be Charged With Manslaughter For Flint Water Crisis 

By: Oona Goodin-Smith of Mlive 

 Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has charged five water officials — including a member of Gov. Rick Snyder’s cabinet and a former emergency manager — with manslaughter related to their alleged failure to act in during the Flint Water Crisis.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith and former district supervisor Stephen Busch will all face involuntary manslaughter charges related to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis, Schuette announced in a release on Wednesday, June 14.

Involuntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine.

The manslaughter charges are connected to the death of Robert Skidmore, who died Dec. 13, 2015, due to the area’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

Charges against Lyon were authorized early on Wednesday, June 14, by Genesee District Judge David Guinn.Earley, Croft, Busch and Shekter-Smith have all previously been charged in connection to the water crisis.

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