Archive for health issues

Study: Medical marijuana could reduce painkiller abuse


legalize pot marijuana smaller

Hey, you know that whole marriage equality wave of support America has experienced recently? There appears to be a similar trend when it comes to legalizing marijuana. That's not only good news for my many friends who appreciate the effects of recreational pot, it's also great news for those who benefit from using medical marijuana.

But wait! The good news gets even better! There's a new study that shows that using medical marijuana could actually reduce the number of overdoses by those who use and/or abuse legal drug pushers' Big Pharma's vast array of painkillers. Per the Los Angeles Times:

The new research, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, finds that deaths associated with the use of opiate drugs fell in 13 states after they legalized medical marijuana. Compared to states with no formal access to marijuana, those that allowed certain patients legal access to cannabis saw a steady drop in opiate-related overdoses that reached 33%, on average, six years after the states' medical marijuana laws took effect. [...]

The results showed that after a state began to implement a medical marijuana law, the rate of its non-intentional opiate overdose fatalities fell compared to those of states without such laws.

And that comparative decline picked up steam over the first six years after the laws went into effect. On average, the statistical analysis showed, states passing medical marijuana laws saw annual reductions of roughly 25% in their opioid-related death rates compared to states with no such laws.

The other upside is economic. Doritos and Oreos sales will soar.

yummy stuff smaller


As children suffer, meningitis cases confirm need for FDA reform



You may have read about meningitis outbreaks at college campuses, in some instances resulting in deaths . Today's guest post is by someone whose name you may very well recognize, Dr. Julianne Malveaux. She makes a good case for urgent FDA reform:

Meningitis Cases Confirm Need for FDA Reform
by Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.

It is virtually impossible to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on anything healthcare related these days. Even issues that everyone can agree on - like covering Americans with pre-existing conditions and keeping young adults on their parents' health plan - become political footballs.

But while Congress continues to debate healthcare policies, they are missing opportunities to genuinely effect Americans' health. There is common ground to be found, including ensuring our nation is properly expediting life-saving vaccines for a deadly disease.

Recent scares at Princeton University and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) have highlighted a sluggish, reactive approach to disease prevention and that the consequences of this leadership vacuum, particularly at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, could be deadly.

Last spring, a Princeton University student was diagnosed with Meningitis type B (MenB), a highly contagious and life-threatening bacterial infection known to strike college campuses. By November, officials made national headlines by confirming an eighth case.

Just as Princeton was taking steps to protect its students against this deadly disease, UCSB confirmed that MenB had stricken four of its students. One young man – a lacrosse player, Aaron Loy – had to have the lower portion of both legs amputated.

As a former college president, I can assure you that no university is prepared for this kind of crisis. This is particularly true because many college administrators believed they had protected their campuses by requiring incoming freshmen to be vaccinated against meningitis. But it turns out that immunizations cover every meningitis type except for MenB, which accounted for more than 30 percent of meningococcal cases last year.

Because FDA has not approved a MenB vaccine for use in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been scrambling to respond to public health crises like those at Princeton and UCSB. Rather than proactively immunizing susceptible college students before or immediately after a meningitis outbreak occurs, the CDC can only administer “Bexsero” – a MenB vaccine that is currently in use for all ages in European Union, Australia, and Canada – weeks after students have already fallen ill.

FDA’s ad hoc approval for Bexsero means that it takes months for the vaccine to reach college students, rather than days. In the case of Princeton, CDC and FDA launched a vaccination program more than two months after university officials requested special permission to administer the vaccine. Just last week UCSB began immunizing students, some three months after the first case of MenB was confirmed. As one CDC official told CNN, “You don't go online and order 10,000 doses and get next-day delivery of this vaccine. It takes time.”

That statement underscores the need for full U.S. approval of Bexsero -- quickly. A country that has long been the world leader in developing and deploying life-saving medicines should not have to depend on partners in the EU or Canada.

Moreover, other college campuses should be afforded the opportunity to vaccinate their students proactively, well before a disease like MenB strikes their campus. But this option for college administrators, state health officials, and parents is not possible so long as Bexsero remains unapproved in the U.S.

If Congress isn’t yet convinced that there is an urgent problem, perhaps they should listen to the parents of affected students.

"It's absolutely devastating to have Aaron, in the prime of his life, be stricken,” Mike Loy said. “We hope that Aaron's horrific illness brings increased awareness and rapid approval by the FDA of the vaccine.”

I've also heard one mother whose healthy daughter contracted MenB at college and she died within 30 hours of entering the hospital with a headache. She said the FDA would be moving a lot faster if they had to watch their children suffer the way she did.

Improving efficiency at FDA is an issue that should find bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Our system’s continued failure on the MenB vaccine is just one example that illustrates that there’s too much at stake for FDA reform to turn into the partisan fight du jour, or worse yet, be ignored by Congress altogether.


Third Marlboro Man Icon Dies A Smoking Related Death



As a boy growing up and through my early adulthood, there were billboards galore that expounded the manliness of smoking. During later years, TV advertisements for cigarettes ultimately were banned, but the iconic images and slogans related to the smoking industry stayed with me. There was the Lucky Strike anagram on the bottom of each pack: LSMFT (Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco). And in trying to reach a female demographic, there was Virginia Slims campaign, "You've Come a Long Way, Baby."

When it came to cigarette slogans, the airwaves were filled with ads for Winston Cigarettes: "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should;" Camel Cigarettes:  "I'd walk a mile for a Camel;" or L&M: "Just what the doctor ordered."

But none of them were as iconic or enticing to men AND women as the lure of becoming or being or being made love to by the Marlboro Man. He was macho personified. Their commercials, their billboards, their slogan appealed to all: "Come to where the flavor is. Come to Marlboro country." It was the benchmark by which smoking itself was measured.

Over the years there have been a number of "cowboys" chosen to be the iconic face of this brand. During the 1970's it was Eric Lawson. He appeared in print and TV ads as “The Malboro Man.” In case you are too young or can't put his name to his face, here's one of his memorable commercials:

Eric Lawson, died yesterday from respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), at the age of 72. In case you weren't aware, that's a most common smoking related cause of death, often reported as lung cancer. You might say his passing from smoking, which his wife claims he did heavily until his death, was coincidental.

I call it ironic. Especially when you factor in that two other Marlboro Men, Wayne McLaren, who appeared in Marlboro print ads, died of lung cancer in 1992, and David McLean, who appeared in print and television spots, died of lung cancer in 1995.

Make no mistake about it. cigarettes kill. Yet to draw an analogy from the NRA who claim guns don't kill, people do, we might be able to make the same argument that cigarettes don't kill, people do. But that's wrong. And even if you buy that, doesn't it make you wonder why cigarettes are so heavily regulated while guns aren't?

Come on. It does make you think, doesn't it?


Coming Soon, Epidemic of Lettuce Smokers -- Congressman Buyer


insane asylum

Oh, boy, where to start? When the nuts in the crazy house start bringing up analogies, you're sure to have some outrageous statements that only serve to reinforce why we need to clean house in Congress. For too long, we've been committing the insane to the big domed building on Capitol Hill and not the institutions for the mentally challenged or handicapped in their own state. And they shouldn't mind. With the ACA, pre-existing conditions will now be covered.

Take Rep.Steve Buyer, R-Ind. With a name like Buyer, you might think this guy was a dope dealer. Only half right. The first half. He's a dope.

Steve Buyer

In debating whether or not eCigs, the tobacco-less smoking vaporizing devices are harmful and should be regulated as tobacco, Buyer goes off on a tangent that only someone high on Marijuana could make sense of. I'm not saying he's a pot head -- I'm just saying his logic is about as sound as someone who's been on a non-stop Kush smoking binge for a few days --  if not since college.

I'm neither for nor against eCigs. But when you take to the floor of Congress to fight for one side of the other, don't some unprepared. It shows.

Buyer's argument harkens ineffectively to guns don't kill people, people do. In his argument cigarettes don't kill, only people who smoke them do. Of course he forgets the thousands, if not millions who've died from second hand smoke. But Dealer isn't all that bright and his arguments would give an aged Swiss Cheese a run for it's money in the content holes department.

So he goes on -- not quitting when he had half a valid argument to go on. His amped up argument reaches to smoking lettuce.

smoking lettuce

LETTUCE. That green, leafy stuff you make a salad with. He's proposing that drying and smoking lettuce is analogous to smoking marijuana or tobacco.

See for yourself. This real Congressional moment wouldn't need a bit of punch-up to become a classic SNL sketch. It's right up there with the Sarah Palin parodies and the "more cowbell" sketch with Christopher Walken.