olive oil may not be what the label claims: 100% pure olive oil. There’s a good chance the bottle on your pantry shelf has been mixed with other oils. Is that really such a big deal? It is if you’re allergic to peanut oil, which is commonly mixed with olive oil in an act of food fraud.
Maple syrup comes from sap from a maple tree. The sap is boiled and becomes the sticky stuff you know as maple syrup. Pancake syrup (also called table syrup) is not the same. Pancake syrup’s main ingredients are corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup
A few types of fish that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children should avoid due to mercury. Tilefish is one of them. Unfortunately, it’s easy to eat this fish and not realize it. Markets and restaurants sometimes swap it for more popular species such as red snapper and halibut.
Drugs in Your Honey
Food fraud isn’t the only reason some foods aren’t exactly what you think. Think about honey. It may benefit your health in many ways, sometimes as a wound dressing. It’s also a delicious natural sweetener. It may have plenty of contaminants, including traces of antibiotics that beekeepers use on their bee broods. They won’t make you sick, but they could add to the public health problem of antibiotic resistance.
There’s nothing natural about some of the “natural flavors” in packaged foods. Food companies make them in a lab to mimic the flavor of real foods. The FDA banned several synthetic flavorings in response to data that shows health risks in lab animals. If you want to eat healthier, stick with the original natural flavors: Found in real, whole foods.
Icky Side of Spices
The spice jars in your cabinet are filled with more than flavorful herbs. The FDA allows a certain amount of insect fragments, rodent hairs, and other gross things in every jar. For example, ground oregano can have up to 1,250 insect pieces per 10 grams before the FDA calls it “adulterated.” Most products are well below the standards allowed for these unwelcome additions.
It’s sweet and creamy. You can buy it in candy bar form or sprinkle chips of it into your cookie dough. But it’s not really chocolate. According to the FDA, chocolate has to have at least 10% chocolate liquor. That’s the cocoa butter and the solids you get when the cocoa bean is ground. The white kind is made of a mix of cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar no chocolate liquor.
Often, fruit juice is not 100% real fruit juice. Make sure you check the ingredients list. If it’s a long list, that can be a clue that what you’re buying isn’t actually all that it seems. Even if the label reads “100% fruit juice,” it might not be what you’re expecting. That just means everything in it came from either a fruit or a vegetable
Vanilla Flavoring vs. Extract
Vanilla flavoring — also called imitation vanilla — is not the same as vanilla extract. The extract is made with vanilla pods and a simple alcohol called ethanol. But this is expensive. Also, high temperatures destroy much of the flavor. The flavoring is made with synthetic vanillin. Food companies sometimes make this from castoreum extract, which is a secretion from the anal glands of beavers. Even so, it’s considered a natural flavoring because it comes from an animal source. But most of the time, it’s made from chemicals found in wood pulp.
Orange juice that’s “not from concentrate” is pasteurized. This takes the oxygen out of the juice. This also takes out many of the natural chemicals that give the juice its flavor. Also, the producer may store the juice for more than a year. So they hire other companies to make flavor packs to add to the juice to make it taste fresh. These packs are often made by the same companies that make perfumes. The added flavors won’t be listed as an ingredient because they’re made from orange essence and oil.
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Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings.
Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses. Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the stigma (negative attitudes and misconceptions) that surrounds mental illnesses. The month came about by presidential proclamation.
Common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include:
Excessive worrying or fear
Feeling excessively sad or low
Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
Avoiding friends and social activities
Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
Changes in sex drive
Difficulty perceiving reality
Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality
Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes
Thinking about suicide
Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions
Changes in school performance
Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
Frequent disobedience or aggression
Frequent temper tantrums
Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor.
If you or someone you know needs helps now, you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.
Research conducted at Harvard could disprove another major myth about cannabis fans. A study published in February in the Human Reproduction medical journal found that male cannabis smokers might actually carry higher sperm counts and concentrations when compared to men who have never used the botanical drug.
Findings were contrary to what we hypothesized at the start of the study,” study lead author Feiby Nassan, a post doctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said Tuesday. Experts found that men who reported to have smoked marijuana had an average sperm concentration of 63 million sperm per milliliter of semen.
“Those who had never used marijuana had 28 percent less potent semen.”
However, researchers also observed that people who stopped smoking tended to have slightly higher sperm counts than current pot smokers. One possible explanation could be that men who generally produce higher testosterone levels are more likely to use marijuana, rather than the implication that cannabis use itself affects sperm potency. Dr. Jorge Chavarro, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We were very, very surprised about this.” “It is well-documented that within normal ranges, high testosterone levels are associated with greater engagement in risk-seeking behaviors, including drug use,” Chavarro said. “Higher testosterone levels are also related to slightly higher semen quality and sperm counts.”
“We could have found what we thought we were going to find, and maybe wouldn’t have been as surprised and would have ended up writing a very different paper,” said Chavarro. “But the fact that we showed the exact opposite forced us to look very, very deeply into the marijuana health effects literature. There is not that much. We are operating mostly on assumptions and good intentions and hunches.” Stanford University researchers found a similar surprise in 2017. Male daily cannabis consumers had 1.3 times more sex per month (6.9 sex instances) than never-users (5.6 instances) as well as very infrequent users of cannabis (5.5 instances). Female daily cannabis consumers had sex about one more time per month (7.1 occurrences) than never-users (6.0 occurrences) as well as very infrequent users of cannabis (6.0 times).
Chagas disease, also termed kissing bug disease is an infection caused by a protozoan parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi) that can result in acute inflammatory skin changes (chagomas) and eventually may cause infection and inflammation of many other body tissues, especially those of the heart and intestinal tract. The disease was named after Dr. Carlos Chagas, who discovered the disease in 1909. The disease may have three phases in an individual: acute, with mild or no symptoms that may last weeks to about two months; intermediate or indeterminate phase that has few if any symptoms and may last 10-20 years or longer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 8-11 million people are infected in countries where the disease is endemic. The parasites are transferred to humans by the bite of blood-sucking triatomine bugs in the subfamily Triatominae, also termed “kissing bugs.” The disease has been diagnosed in the U.S., mainly in immigrants from South and Central America. Triatomine bugs have been detected in Texas, and recently the CDC communicated that the bugs have now been found in 28 states, including California and Pennsylvania.
Symptoms and signs
Swelling and/or redness at the skin infection site (termed chagoma)
Swollen lymph nodes
Headaches and body aches
Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
Treatment for Chagas disease
Treatment for Chagas disease depends on the phase of the disease. The prescription medications benznidazole (Ragonil) and nifurtimox (Lampit) may eliminate or reduce the number of parasites in the body. Some investigators suggest that drug-resistant parasites occur and others suggest these drugs of choice never eliminate all of the parasites. The CDC recommends drug treatment for “all people diagnosed with (Chagas) infection, congenital infection, and for those with suppressed immune systems, and for all children with chronic infection. Adults with chronic infection may also benefit from treatment.” The CDC cautions about treating adults over 50 years of age and recommends that treatment plans for older adults be individualized. Both of these anti-parasitic drugs are available in Central and South America. In America, however, the drugs can be obtained only through the CDC.
“The holidays generate both positive and negative emotions, and drinking is one of the methods that people often use to cope,” said Dr. Karen Miotto, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. “With habitual, heavy drinking, people tend to develop tolerance,” she said. However, “even if your speech is not slurred, alcohol may still be affecting your motor coordination there is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself or unwinding, listen to your body and stay safe.
What Happens to Your Body When You Stop?
Your Heart Gets Healthier
You might think that a regular glass of red wine or other alcoholic beverages might be good for your heart. True only for light sippers (less than one drink a day). If you use more than that, cutting back or quitting may lower your blood pressure, levels of fat called triglycerides, and chances of heart failure.
Your Liver Heals
Your liver’s job is to filter toxins. And alcohol is toxic to your cells. Heavy drinking — at least 15 drinks for men and eight or more for women a week — can take a toll on the organ and lead to fatty liver, cirrhosis, and other problems. The good news: your liver can repair itself and even regenerate.
Regular beer has about 150 calories, and a serving of wine has about 120. On top of those mostly empty calories, alcohol ramps up your appetite. It also makes you more impulsive. When you stay away from alcohol, the number on your scale may well start moving down.
Relationships May Improve
Alcohol socially in reasonable amounts can boost your mood and help you bond with others. But if you drink alone, or down multiple drinks a day, it could turn into an unhealthy habit. If you can’t control it, it may lead to a condition called alcohol use disorder. Giving up drinking may let you focus on your relationships, work, and health. It also may ease any depression and anxiety and elevate your self-esteem.
Sex Life Might Improve
Alcohol may make couples friskier. But anything more than a drink or so a day has the opposite effect, especially if you abuse or are addicted to alcohol. Men might have trouble getting and keeping an erection. Women’s sex drive might drop, and their vagina might get drier. Cut down drinking booze, and see if it stirs up the romance.
Lower Blood Pressure
If you drink a lot and your blood pressure is too high, you might be able to bring your numbers back down to normal by doing one simple thing: giving up alcohol. Even simply easing back on drinks can have a big payoff.
Clear Your Brain
Alcohol dependence can make it harder to think or remember things. Over time, heavy drinking can cloud your perception of distances and volumes, or slow and impair your motor skills. It can even make it harder for you to read other people’s emotions. But if you quit, your brain seems to be able to regain some of these abilities.
If you’re a heavy drinker, your body may rebel at first if you cut off all alcohol. You could break out in cold sweats or have a racing pulse, nausea, vomiting, shaky hands, and intense anxiety. Some people even have seizures or see things that aren’t there (hallucinations).
An investigation has been ordered into the research that led to the birth of twin girls earlier this month, Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology Xu Nanping told state broadcaster CCTV, the Associated Press reported. The work of a research team that claimed to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies is illegal and has been halted, the Chinese government said.
He Jiankui claimed to have altered the DNA of the twins to try to make them resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS virus. The research “crossed the line of morality and ethics adhered to by the academic community and was shocking and unacceptable,” Xu said.
There has been wide condemnation of the unproven claim by He, who appeared this week at an international conference on gene editing in Hong Kong. 14 leaders of the conference said it’s irresponsible to attempt gene editing on eggs, sperm or embryos, except in lab research, because not enough is known yet about its risks or safety, the AP reported. The conference leaders also called for independent confirmation of He’s claim.
He was scheduled to speak again at the conference on Thursday, but has left Hong Kong. Through a spokesman, He issued a statement saying: “I will remain in China, my home country, and cooperate fully with all inquiries about my work. My raw data will be made available for third party review,” the AP reported.
It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. Your face is also a window. Sometimes looking into the mirror may show something surprising. This blog post is designed to cover some of the many health symptoms that can show up on your face.
Yellow Skin, Yellow Eyes
Jaundice can indicate a viral infection like mononucleosis or hepatitis. If the infection is short-term, it is usually accompanied by other signs like fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. Jaundice can also signal problems with your pancreas, gallbladder, or liver. These include gallstones and pancreatitis. It may also be a sign of alcohol abuse.
Moles are spots or raised bumps of pigment on your skin. They are usually harmless, but unusual moles can indicate skin cancer. Remember ABCDE?
Asymmetrical: Is the shape irregular when comparing one side to the other? If you drew a line down the center, do both sides match? If not, it could be cause for concern.
Are the edges jagged or do they seem to “bleed” into the surrounding skin?
Color: Does the mole have a variety of colors, rather than just one? Cancers can present as various colors, including tan, brown, black, white, red, or even blue.
Diameter: Is the diameter of the mole bigger than the tip of a pencil eraser? Larger moles may be cancer.
Evolving: Does the spot evolve or change over time? Changes may include color, shape, size, or when a bump begins to crust, itch, or bleed.
Sometimes a sore is just a sore. But if its around the lips and mouth it could be a cold sore, which is caused by the herpes type 1 virus. Cold sores are very common.
Symptoms of oral herpes are usually mild. However for anyone whose immune system is weak, the symptoms can be more severe and can come on more frequently. There is currently no cure for cold sores.
Cracked and chapped lips are common under certain conditions. A cold winter can bring them on, as can a dry environments. Sometimes cracked lips indicate dehydration, which can cause dizziness, fatigue, and in extreme cases unconsciousness and even death. Cracked lips can also indicate an allergic reaction to medication. If you also have red, inflamed sores in the corners of your mouth as well, your chapped lips could be telling you that you have a condition called cheilitis, which can be caused by an infection. At other times it may be a sign of eczema, particularly for those who wear dentures.
A butterfly rash is something totally different. Butterfly rashes cover both cheeks, forming the shape of a butterfly. If you spot a rash like this in the mirror, you may have lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It causes the immune system to attack healthy body tissue. People with lupus often experience stiff and achy joints, fever, and fingers that turn blue when it’s cold.
Where Did That Hair Come From!
It’s not unusual to find hair in strange places as we get older. Older men find new hair growing in and around their ears, nose, and eyebrows. Aging women may find their facial hair growing coarser, particularly around the lips and on the chin. This hair growth is considered normal. When a young woman begins to develop facial hair, it can sometimes be a sign of a larger problem. Sometimes new facial hair growth is a sign of polycystic ovaries. A condition that affects about 20% of women. Makes pregnancy more difficult and has been linked with a higher risk for high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
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“We know the truth,” said Morgan, speaking Saturday evening (May 27, 2018) as part of a panel on mass incarceration and stereotyping. “We’re trying to present the truth to our community because we’re eager to serve. To whom much is given, much is owed.” Jerome Morgan puts it, “I went into prison at 17 and came out at 37.” He knew he was innocent the whole time, and it took 20 years before he was able to leave the penitentiary as a free and exonerated man .
Morgan’s 1993 murder case, in which the then 19-year-old New Orleanian was convicted of shooting dead a fellow teenager at a Sweet 16 party. Now freed, Morgan has joined with two other wrongfully and overly convicted men to preach the pitfalls of overzealous prosecution and how the image of black men as criminals worsens social, economic and racial marginalization. Reflecting on his experience, Jones, 44, told the roughly 100 attendees in the church about his decades at Angola – which he, likewise, called “a slave plantation” – stemming from a conviction related to a 1992 French Quarter crime spree that culminated in murder and landed him a life sentence. Like Morgan, Jones enlisted Innocence Project New Orleans to assist in convincing judges decades later that he had been wrongfully convicted, citing lack of evidence. Jones was released in January 2018 on his 44th birthday. Daniel Rideau, who was 19-years old at the time, was handed a life sentence in the 1994 shooting death of a man . He was released in 2003 after his conviction was dropped. The judge in Rideau’s appeal ruled prosecutors withheld information that could have helped his defense at trial back in 1995. “They don’t care if you’re innocent,” Rideau said. “They want that conviction.” “Being bitter holds you back,” said Jones, who endured the longest prison stint at 23 years. “I hold onto the positive things in my life. Hold onto the truth.” The trio opened a barbershop at the beginning of this year, called Real Gentlemen Barbershop. Since its opening, the shop has become more than just a place to get a good haircut: it’s emerge as a hub for positive youth mentorship and anti-mass incarceration activism in a city with a high incarceration rate. The barber shop serves as the meeting grounds for the nonprofit Free-Dem Foundations, which Morgan, Jones and Rideau co-founded earlier this year. Their aim is to show how young black man can contribute in positive ways to their community, despite hardships and mistakes. “I’m obligated to try to make a difference,” Rideau said. “It’s an everyday struggle.” What these three men all faced in the justice system did not persuade them to lose hope or stop a drive to improve their communities. Pt. 1
Insomnia is a condition characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep. There is no set definition of insomnia in terms of hours of sleep, and insomnia can have many forms. Some people with insomnia may have no trouble falling asleep but wake up too soon. Other people may have the opposite problem
Sleep Tip #1 Keep the room pleasant, comfortable, and get rid of clutter and distractions. Be sure to select the right bed and mattress for your needs.
Sleep Tip #2Avoid use of the bed for TV, working, eating, or any other activities; use the bed only for sleeping and sex.
Sleep Tip #3“Reconditioning” recommended as part of the treatment plan for insomnia. This means that you are “reconditioned” to associate the bed with sleep. If you are not able to sleep at all, get out of bed and move to another room, so that you do not associate the bed with wakefulness.
Sleep Tip #4 Naps in the afternoon should be limited and short (around 20 minutes).
Sleep Tip #5Limit your consumption of caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Don’t forget that chocolate, hot cocoa, and colas also are sources of caffeine.
Sleep Tip #6 Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages in the few hours prior to going to bed. Cigarette smoking can also worsen insomnia.
Sleep Tip #7 Avoid strenuous exercise right before bedtime. Exercise 4-5 hours before bed is preferred.
Sleep Tip #8 Heavy eating in the evening or eating just prior to bedtime can disrupt your sleep.
More than 6 million American citizens are unable to vote because of a past criminal conviction. As many as 4.7 million of these citizens live, work, and raise families in our communities. But because of a conviction in their past they are still denied this fundamental democratic right. These laws, deeply rooted in our troubled racial history, have a disproportionate impact on minorities. Across the country, one in every 13 voting-age African Americans have lost their right to vote, which is four times the rate for all other Americans.
Racism & Felony Disenfranchisement
The United States stands alone among modern democracies in stripping voting rights from millions of citizens on the basis of criminal convictions.
The United States stands alone among modern democracies in stripping voting rights from millions of citizens on the basis of criminal convictions! Lifetime felon voting ban lawsuit filed in Mississippi . Mississippi’s constitution bars its citizens from voting ever again after being convicted of felonies. “Once you’ve paid your debt to society, I believe you should be allowed to participate again,” said plaintiff Kamal Karriem, a 58-year-old former Columbus city councilman who pleaded guilty to embezzlement in 2005 after being charged with stealing a city cellphone. “I don’t think it should be held against you for the rest of your life.”
Voting age citizens convicted of a felony are barred from voting for some period of time. While many states restore voting rights to individuals automatically after they exit jail or prison, others permanently disenfranchise people with a past felony conviction or require they petition the government to have their right restored.
Voting rights retained while incarcerated for a felony conviction in: Maine and Vermont. Voting rights restored automatically upon release from prison in: The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Utah. Voting rights restored automatically once released from prison and discharged from parole (probationers can vote) in: California, Colorado, Connecticut, and New York.
Voting rights restored automatically upon completion of sentence, including prison, parole, and probation in: Alaska, Arizona ,Arkansas, Georgia , Idaho, Kansas , Louisiana Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas , Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Voting rights restoration is dependent on the type of conviction and/or the outcome of an individual petition or application to the government in: Alabama , Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada,Tennessee, and Wyoming. Voting rights can ONLY be restored through an individual petition or application to the government in: Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia.