Reproductive medicine explains: Social Freezing is an active life choice

More and more women are not fulfilled until late in their desire to have children. The own eggs to freeze can be for some a good way. The Munich-based specialist in Reproductive medicine, Jörg Puchta explains in this Interview, the most important questions about the treatment.

All the world is talking about currently, of Social Freezing. But since when is actually that women leave their eggs to freeze for later?

Since the end of the 90s, we have frozen eggs with the help of liquid nitrogen at minus 196° C, so far, however, with the method of Slow Freezings. The cells are cooled to 0.3 degrees per Minute down. Since 2007, we work with the so-called Flash Freezing, which means a cooling of 30 000 degrees per Minute.

A Problem of the high water content of the eggs. The process of cooling takes too long, ice Crystals form, the cell of which bears, under certain circumstances, damages. The shock frozen egg cells look under the microscope like pearls. Beautifully, perfectly.

So perfect that you advise women, already in young years of a certain stock?

I rate nothing. I’m just telling you what is possible. The Slow-Freezing was a stopgap. Above all women before chemotherapy came to us, in order to secure the possibility of a future pregnancy. However, the fact is: over 50 percent of the cells have not survived the process of preservation.

Today, the vitality rate is 95 percent – which means, of course, that 95 percent of the eggs can fertilize and use. The latter also depends on the age of the woman and the quality of the sperm cells. But I assume that on average half of the preserved oocytes, good quality embryos can be. This is a super value. With a view to artificial insemination, we can say, based on the current data situation: cells in the first place and then to return better results for mother and child provides freezing.

That sounds like frozen vegetables, the also a often higher, vitamin content is attributed as the supposed fresh vegetables from the Market.

That vitrivizierte eggs are so fit and it will stay that way – there is virtually no ageing processes, the egg is stored virtually in perpetual youth is, for me, in fact, the biggest Surprise of my career.

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How many women take advantage of that and create a stock to avoid, that the desire to have children fails one day, on the posthumous fertility?

To do this, I know of no survey. For our center, and we were the first in Germany to have offered Social Freezing, I can say that in our cooling tanks store more than ten thousand eggs. So far, we have 117 pregnancies from Social Freezing. 73 children are born, as of today,. For the next few years, I’m of a Boom. More and more colleagues are starting to put their skepticism.

Critics say the Social Freezing will put women under pressure in your work, it could subliminally be expected, the family planning to delay. Apple and Google to offer employees free of charge to freeze your eggs.

Clear horror scenarios one can draw. However, I see it more pragmatic and think of how it was, as in 1976, the artificial insemination was invented. Soon children are the glasses only in test tubes, feared a lot. Mankind was bred à la Aldous Huxley in the factory. And as it is today? The IVF is applied to five percent of all women. She is a super opportunity and may help in individual cases incredibly. But it remains the exception.

As I see it with the Social Freezing: It can be a possibility. Personally, I would advise women to live up to 30 in any case your life is relaxed. But the women who want to have early 30s, no children and no Partner, or professionally, just don’t go back, should be allowed to consider whether the method is not suitable for you.

Ultimately, Social Freezing is an active life choice that has little to do with material aspects, and a lot to do with the fact that we are today, just older. Phases of life are shifting. The proportion of over 40-year-old primipara has quadrupled since 1991. Should you find that frightening? I don’t think so. I say: The 40-Year-olds of today are different than 20, 30 years ago. You seem young, and are in fact often also physically fitter. For me, this shows how adaptable the person is.

There are borders? When would you want a woman with no ova more?

If I have the feeling that pregnancy would strain the body too much. But something is not a number. I can’t deny a lump sum of all 45-Year-old the return of their ova, when thousands of women in this age are still in a natural way pregnant! The majority of pregnancies of women in this age, we have had so far, have worked well.

What is the Social Freezing?

I always say: Expect you for collection and Freezing with 2000 euros, so with the cost of a holiday. And for storage with 25 Euro per month, the four boxes of cigarettes. Cigarettes: I say this quite deliberately. Because the greatest risk for an early menopause so that women can prematurely’t have any more children Smoking.

Exosomes ‘swarm’ to protect against bacteria inhaled through the nose

Bacteria are present in just about every breath of air we take in. How the airway protects itself from infection from these bacteria has largely remained a mystery—until now. When bacteria are inhaled, exosomes, or tiny fluid-filled sacs, are immediately secreted from cells which directly attack the bacteria and also shuttle protective antimicrobial proteins from the front of the nose to the back along the airway, protecting other cells against the bacteria before it gets too far into the body.

A research team from Massachusetts Eye and Ear describes this newly discovered mechanism in a report published online today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI). The findings shed new light on our immune systems—and also pave the way for drug delivery techniques to be developed that harness this natural transportation process from one group of cells to another.

“Similar to kicking a hornets nest, the nose releases billions of exosomes into the mucus at the first sign bacteria, killing the bacteria and arming cells throughout the airway with a natural, potent defense” said senior author Benjamin Bleier, MD, a sinus surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. “It’s almost like this swarm of exosomes vaccinates cells further down the airway against a microbe before they even have a chance to see it.”

The JACI study was motivated by a perplexing previous finding from Dr. Bleier’s lab a few years ago. In studies of sinus inflammation, researchers found that proteins in the cells of the nasal cavity were also present in patients’ nasal mucus. The team wanted to know why and how these proteins were moving from the cells into the nasal mucus, hypothesizing that exosomes had something to do with that process.

The new findings described in the JACI study shed light on this process. When cells at the front of the nose detect a bacterial molecule, they trigger a receptor called TLR4, which stimulates exosome release. When that happens, an innate immune response occurs within 5 minutes. First, it doubles the number of exosomes that are released into the nose. Second, within those exosomes, a protective enzyme, nitric oxide synthase, also doubles in amount. As a well-known antimicrobial molecule, nitric oxide potently arms each exosome to defend against bacteria.

The exosome “swarm” process gets an assist from another natural mechanism of the nose—mucocilliary clearance. Mucocilliary clearance sweeps the activated exosomes over to the back of the nose, along with information from cells that have already been alerted to the presence of bacteria. This process prepares the cells in the back of the nose to immediately fight off the bacteria, arming them with defensive molecules and proteins.

In their experiments described in the JACI report, Dr. Bleier’s team sampled patients’ mucus and grew up their own cells in culture. They then simulated an exposure to bacteria and measured both the number and composition of the released exosomes. They found a doubling of both the number of exosomes and of antibacterial molecules after stimulation. The team then confirmed this finding in live patients and further showed that these stimulated exosomes were as effective as antibiotics at killing the bacteria. Finally, the team showed that the exosomes were rapidly taken up by other epithelial cells, where they were able to “donate” their antimicrobial molecules.

Along with this new understanding of the innate immune system, the authors on the JACI paper suggest that their findings may have implications for new methods of delivering drugs through the airway to be developed. More specifically, as natural transporters, exosomes could be used to transfer inhaled packets of therapeutics to cells along the upper airway—and possibly even into the lower airways and lungs.

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Why modest goals are so appealing: Achieving a small incremental goal is perceived as easier — and more satisfying — than maintaining the status quo

Thanks to a quirk in the way our brain evaluates goals, people feel it’s easier to achieve a small incremental goal than to maintain the status quo, when both goals are assessed in isolation. This is especially true if the context is seen as unfavourable.

This finding, which contrasts with the popular belief that no change is easier than any change, is the fruit of research led by marketing professors from INSEAD, IE Business School and Pamplin College of Business.

“When evaluating goal difficulty, our brain first considers the gap between the starting point and the desired state. Usually, the bigger the gap, the more difficult the goal. However, if there is no gap to speak of, as in the case of a status quo goal, the brain starts scanning the context, anticipating potential reasons for failure,” said study co-author Amitava Chattopadhyay, Professor of Marketing and the GlaxoSmithKline Chaired Professor of Corporate Innovation at INSEAD.

For example, if your goal is to keep the same weight this year, you may start considering the odds of you regularly eating out due to a high workload, the number of your upcoming business trips, the fact that a new donut shop has opened in your neighbourhood, etc.

“Our assessment of context is peculiar in the sense that it is greatly impacted by a negativity bias,” says Antonios Stamatogiannakis, Assistant Professor of Marketing at IE Business School. Our brain has evolved over the millennia to be more sensitive to bad news than good news. Most of us instinctively give more weight to potential reasons for failure than reasons for success.

When a status quo goal is directly compared to one that involves a modest improvement, objectivity prevails: The absence of a gap makes the status quo goal seems easier, as logic would dictate. Nevertheless, in such a direct comparison scenario, study participants still preferred to pursue a small incremental goal over a “maintenance” goal, as they expected this achievement to be more satisfying.

These results are described in “Attainment versus Maintenance Goals: Perceived Difficulty and Impact on Goal Choice,” a paper co-authored by Chattopadhyay, Stamatogiannakis and Dipankar Chakravarti, Professor of Marketing at Pamplin College of Business. Their paper was published in the November 2018 issue of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

A two-step process

Across six studies, Chattopadhyay and his study co-authors showed that the brain assesses goal difficulty using a two-step process. First comes the size of the gap to be bridged. But if that gap is zero, the brain defaults to the second step, which is the context in which the goal is to be achieved. Context assessment usually triggers negativity bias, which is why, when judged in isolation, a maintenance goal is deemed more difficult than one involving a small increment.

In the first studies, participants were split into groups that each evaluated the difficulty of a particular goal type. While the difficulty of the goal was generally correlated to the gap size, goals that involved a modest increment were rated as easier than those involving the status quo (rated separately). When asked to explain their ratings, participants evaluating status quo goals were quick to mention all the obstacles that could crop up. In later studies, participants were more interested in pursuing a modest-attainment goal than to maintain the status quo, even when real money was in play.

Implications

Managers setting goals such as sales quotas should be aware that status quo goals are less attractive than ones involving a slight increment. This may be especially true if the economy is in a downturn, as a status quo goal will precisely draw the staff’s attention to the negative context and have a demoralising effect.

“Marketing-wise, promotions requiring consumers to achieve modest attainment goals, such as a small increase in a customer’s account balance in the case of a bank, may prove more popular than promotions involving no such goal,” says Chattopadhyay.

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Trainer Erin Oprea on the 'Huge Honor' of Leading the First All-Female Marine Corps Platoon

Erin Oprea is best known these days as the trainer behind some of the fittest bodies in country music. But before she was spending her days taking Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini and more through high intensity workouts, she was a trailblazer in the United States Marine Corps, making her mark as the leader of the first all-female platoon.

The PEOPLE Health Squad trainer joined the Marines in 1997, after the movie G.I. Jane inspired her to serve. Leaving her two young sons was already tough, but the challenge only grew when her dad died the day before she was supposed to leave for her first tour in Iraq in 2003.

“At my going away party the day before I was to ship out, my father had a massive heart attack and died right after we were all playing volleyball,” she tells PEOPLE. “He had never had any heart trouble before — just walked into the kitchen and died. His death changed my life in ways I hadn’t imagined.”

Oprea was given another week to be with her family, but then she had to ship out.

“There was so much to come to grips with including leaving my kids and losing my dad that what got me through it was focusing on the job in front of me. I believe that’s the only thing that kept me sane.”

And while she was there, Oprea’s strength stood out. After the first invasion of Fallujah in 2003, the Marines created the first all-female platoon attached to the infantry in a war zone, and asked her to lead. Oprea says being the first was an important, but difficult position to be in.

“Women Marines had a tough time of it, really. We were constantly being told what we weren’t capable of doing and what we weren’t allowed to do,” she says. “Being part of the first all-female platoon in the Marines was a huge honor, then to be in charge of it added a layer of responsibility to that honor. We had to do our jobs, sure, but more than that, we had to do them better. We had to be aware of our actions all the time. If one of us slipped up, it reflected badly on all of us, much more than it did for the men. We were a small group of women, but ALL women Marines were being judged by how we performed. It was a massive responsibility and one that I reminded my Marines of every single day.”

The position weighed on Oprea, then just in her mid-twenties.

“Of course I worried that our actions would have negative consequences for other female Marines and even women in other branches of service,” she says. “But, my biggest worry was for the safety of my unit. I was kind of a kid myself and I had all these women’s lives in my hands. I was worried that I would make a mistake that would cost them their lives.”

And just after Oprea was shipped home, her unit was hit. “It haunts me even now,” she says.

Oprea went to counseling for PTSD after her first deployment, and learned about ways to manage her condition and stress. One of those methods was exercise, and it became a huge part of her life, along with a way to remember her dad.

“I have always believed that exercise is a great way to deal with stress; so, yes, I worked out a lot myself when I first came back, but I had always been really active growing up,” she says. “I played soccer and was always running around everywhere. I became a certified personal trainer when I was just 18 because I really love fitness and my dad did, too.”

And her dad’s death taught Oprea more about what it means to be healthy.

RELATED VIDEO: Erin Oprea Shares Her Tips for Great Legs

“He appeared to be perfectly healthy and fit, but he wasn’t,” she says. “After his death, I became more interested in nutrition and in the power of the foods that we put into our bodies. Just because we look fit doesn’t mean we are. So, I started reading up on nutrition and learning about how we hurt our bodies with bad food choices.”

From there, she developed the nutrition and workout plans that she uses with the top country stars and her clients. But Oprea emphasizes that there’s no secret to their bodies — just hard work.

“Hit songs don’t get you great legs. Conscious effort does,” she says. “These women — and the men I work with — hold themselves accountable. They live balanced lives, sure! You gotta have a glass of wine and a doughnut every now and then, but they make sure those things are treats, not habits. And they work hard to get those pretty muscles.”

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11 myths about beauty: what you need to know to stay attractive?

The contents

The beauty myth No. 1: every day makeup is not

The beauty myth No. 2: moisturizers do not protect from wrinkles

The beauty myth No. 3: marked “hypoallergenic” is suitable for all

The beauty myth No. 4: facial gymnastics will protect against facial wrinkles

The beauty myth No. 5: from the creams there is addictive

The beauty myth No. 6: to remove moles can not

The beauty myth No. 7: you need to drink plenty of water to avoid wrinkles

The beauty myth No. 8: you need to wipe the face with ice

The beauty myth No. 9: hair Postrigan helps them to grow faster

The beauty myth No. 10: even tan speaks of a healthy skin

The beauty myth No. 11: nail Polish harmful to your nails

Beauty, as we know, requires sacrifice. To remain attractive, the girls go to different tricks. But not always, these measures are justified, experts say. Besides, there are plenty of myths about beauty. Today we will talk about these and help you to understand how to make in order to remain attractive.

The beauty myth No. 1: every day makeup is not

It is believed that daily makeup hurts my face. But in fact, negative consequences can arise because of the makeup, and because of the reluctance to wash off makeup before going to bed. As you know, the skin needs oxygen to stay attractive and young. Day cosmetics Vice versa will be useful. Because its composition is a moisturizing and protective components that help to protect against harmful UV rays and environmental stress.

The beauty myth No. 2: moisturizers do not protect from wrinkles

Who invented this myth, he is not versed in the intricacies and are not familiar with modern cosmetology. Perhaps once it was. But the beauty industry is not standing still. At this time, a huge number of moisturizing creams and other means that prevent the formation of wrinkles and allow you to stay attractive for a long time. How to understand which tool to buy? In its composition must be UV-filters and vitamins with antioxidants.

The beauty myth No. 3: marked “hypoallergenic” is suitable for all

If the cream is marked “hypoallergenic”, it will fit anyone, think girls. But in fact it is not. Most often such tools are not part of common ingredients-allergens. Cosmetics based on natural components is not suitable for everyone. Therefore, you should get acquainted with the squad before buying a cream or shampoo.

The beauty myth No. 4: facial gymnastics will protect against facial wrinkles

Facial muscles are attached directly to the skin. Therefore regular exercises for the face does not help to get rid of facial wrinkles, which is already on the skin. Therefore, to remain attractive, it is necessary to solve the problem in the complex, including at the expense of proper nutrition.

The beauty myth No. 5: from the creams there is addictive

No, no and no again. Cream does not can be addictive and cease to operate on the skin. Respectively, and change them every month also should not be. On the contrary, the skin is under stress from the new cream. The choice of tools should take into consideration only the time of year. After the summer it is advisable to use the cream to maintain optimal pH, and in winter — nourishing and moisturizing.

The beauty myth No. 6: to remove moles can not

A mole is a pigment in the skin, they can be different shapes and colors, respectively, and species. Most moles are completely harmless, but under the influence of different factors develop into melanoma. Why doctors even recommend to get rid of them. But before you do this procedure, you must obtain expert advice.

The beauty myth No. 7: you need to drink plenty of water to avoid wrinkles

Indeed, water can help slow down aging of the skin. But there are no guarantees that a huge amount of liquid has a beneficial effect on her condition. Want to stay attractive? Just drink water as much as you want.

The beauty myth No. 8: you need to wipe the face with ice

Unfortunately, this procedure has its contraindications. Wipe the face with cold items can be dangerous for those who have very sensitive and dry skin. This can lead to the disruption of blood flow, formation of edema and spider veins, loss of elasticity. It is better to use other cosmetic products in order to remain attractive.

The beauty myth No. 9: hair Postrigan helps them to grow faster

Often podstrigach, telling barbers to make hair grow faster. Although well aware that this is nothing more than a ploy to lure customers. Hair grows with the same speed is always about a centimeter per month. A haircut is only useful to remove split ends.

The beauty myth No. 10: even tan speaks of a healthy skin

Tan is a protective reaction of the skin to various injuries. If you have it smooth and good, then most likely, it suggests that she tries something to defend. Besides not the fact that constant tanning allows you to remain attractive, because it show signs of aging, wrinkles.

The beauty myth No. 11: nail Polish harmful to your nails

It is believed that the varnish does not allow the nails to breathe. But nails are dead cells that do not take the oxygen. If the nails need to breath, the paint simply wouldn’t hold on because of high humidity. So varnish will only make you attractive, and with proper care it will not harm your beauty and health.

Want to stay attractive? Follow these four tips that will help to preserve the beauty.

AHA: Defibrillators Can Help Kids Survive Cardiac Arrest, Too

FRIDAY, Nov. 9, 2018 (American Heart Association) — Sudden cardiac arrest — when the heart stops beating — is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. To help save lives, automated external defibrillators, which shock the heart back into a regular beat, have been placed in many public places.

Now, these portable AED devices may improve the chance of survival among children and teens, according to a new study presented Sunday at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago.

The researchers analyzed statistics in a national database on 971 cardiac arrests in children ages 18 and under that occurred outside a hospital between January 2013 and December 2017. An AED was used 10.3 percent of the time, but rates varied across age groups. For infants, defibrillators were used to help 2.3 percent. But AED use became more common as children got older: 8.3 percent among kids ages 2 to 5; 12.4 percent among those 6 to 11; and 18.2 percent among 12- to 18-year-olds.

Older kids may be more likely to have a bystander use a defibrillator because they may be more likely to go into cardiac arrest in a place, such as a school, that has an AED, said the study’s lead researcher Dr. Heather Griffis, director of the Healthcare Analytics Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Bystanders might also be afraid to use a defibrillator on infants and preschool-age children out of fear of injuring them, said the study’s senior researcher Dr. Joe Rossano, a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“If a child has an arrest, it’s a scary thing,” Rossano said. “People don’t want to do something wrong. But anything you do is going to be helpful.”

Children treated with an AED by a bystander had a survival rate of 29.1 percent, compared to 23.7 percent for children who were not. The rates varied by age and race, with children who were 12 to 18 years old or white having better outcomes than younger children or those who were black or Hispanic. Griffis said similar racial differences also are seen in adults.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re still seeing these disparities across race, ethnicity and neighborhoods,” Griffis said. “But this is a great opportunity for education and to increase availability” of AEDs in neighborhoods that don’t yet have them.

More than 350,000 Americans — including about 7,000 children — experience cardiac arrests outside of the hospital each year. AEDs come with step-by-step instructions that make it possible for people without specialized training to use them.

Dr. Alson Inaba directs pediatric advanced life support classes at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu and said the study added important new information on the use of AEDs in children.

Inaba, who was not involved in the research, said that bystanders should start CPR on a cardiac arrest victim of any age after calling 911.

“The bottom line is that starting CPR immediately is your first priority,” Inaba said. “Don’t be afraid.”

Then, send someone to get a defibrillator. “When you combine CPR with an AED, the survival rates increase,” he said.

Indeed, a separate study published earlier this year in the AHA journal Circulation found that survival rates doubled when bystanders used a defibrillator to help an adult who had experienced cardiac arrest before emergency responders arrived.

“Defibrillators work,” Rossano said. “It’s something anybody can do, and the more that are available, the more opportunities there are to save lives.”

Posted: November 2018

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High fat diet has lasting effects on the liver

Consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet causes a harmful accumulation of fat in the liver that may not reverse even after switching to a healthier diet, according to a new study by scientists from Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

For the study, published Oct. 3 in Science Translational Medicine, the investigators developed a nanosensor that can detect and noninvasively track the accumulation of fat in the liver. They used the sensor to assess the effects of a high-fat, high-sugar diet on the livers of mice. They then evaluated the outcomes when the mice returned to a healthy diet. Unexpectedly, the researchers found that, while the fat accumulation decreases after returning to a healthy diet, some residual fat remains in certain liver cells long afterwards.

“Going on a short-term unhealthy diet binge is a bad idea,” said senior author Dr. Daniel Heller, an associate professor in the Pharmacology and Physiology, Biophysics and Systems Biology program at the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and head of the Cancer Nanomedicine Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “The liver remembers.”

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects up to 30 percent of people in the United States, where a high-fat, high-sugar diet is common. Patients with NAFLD develop an accumulation of excess fat in their livers. The condition can progress to a more serious disease involving inflammation, scarring and even liver cancer (called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH). People who accumulate fat inside liver cells called Kupffer cells, specifically a part of these cells named lysosomes that act like cellular garbage collectors, appear more likely to progress to serious liver disease.

“Fatty liver disease is a growing concern in the clinic and has rapidly become one of the top causes of liver disease in the United States and Europe,” said co-author and hepatologist Dr. Robert Schwartz, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and an assistant professor in the Physiology, Biophysics and Systems Biology program at the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. “Currently, we have no medical therapies for fatty liver disease. We tell our patients to eat better and to exercise more, which, as you can imagine, is not very effective.”

Currently, some imaging tools like ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging can help identify people with fatty livers, but these techniques often provide less detailed information. Dr. Heller’s nanosensor is the first to noninvasively detect fat in the lysosomes of the Kupffer cells, potentially identifying those most at risk of progressing.

The tiny sensor is about 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and made of single-stranded DNA wrapped around a single-walled carbon nanotube. Fat accumulation in the lysosomes changes the color of light emitted by the nanosensor, and was first observed in live cells in Dr. Heller’s lab by MSKCC research associate Prakrit Jena and Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences student Thomas Galassi, the first author of the paper.

When the nanosensors are injected into a mouse, the liver filters them out of the blood and then are consumed by the organ’s lysosomes. Shining a near-infrared flashlight-like device on rodents injected with these nanosensors causes the sensors to glow. The color of the light corresponds to the fat content in the liver, allowing Dr. Heller and his colleagues to measure fat non-invasively using the device.

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Cocaine Cut With Anti-Worming Drug May Cause Brain Damage

THURSDAY, Nov. 8, 2018 — Cocaine is often cut with the anti-worming drug levamisole — and the combination is linked to brain damage, Swiss researchers report.

“We can assume from our findings that it is not just cocaine that changes the brain, but that the adulterant levamisole has an additional harmful effect,” said research leader Boris Quednow, from the University of Zurich.

“The sorts of cognitive impairment often exhibited by cocaine users may therefore be exacerbated by levamisole,” Quednow said in a university news release.

Cocaine is the second-most used illegal substance worldwide after marijuana. Local anesthetic agents, painkillers, caffeine and other substances are often added to street cocaine, the researchers said in background notes.

In Europe and the United States, levamisole is a common additive, possibly because it may increase or prolong cocaine’s effects, Quednow and his colleagues suggested.

The researchers analyzed hair samples to determine levels of cocaine and levels of levamisole in study participants. They ended up comparing 26 cocaine users with low levamisole exposure, 49 cocaine users with high levamisole exposure, and 78 people using no drugs.

In tests of mental and thinking skills, regular cocaine users scored worse on attention, working memory, long-term memory, and other mental functions compared to people who didn’t use cocaine. But those whose cocaine was cut with levamisole performed worst of all, according to the study.

Moreover, brain scans linked higher levamisole levels with impaired thinking and a thinned prefrontal cortex. This indicates levamisole has a toxic effect on the brain, the researchers concluded.

Although the study didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship, the authors called on public health officials to expand their drug-checking programs.

“Such programs mean users can have their drugs tested for purity and therefore avoid taking cocaine that has very high levels of levamisole,” Quednow said.

The findings were published recently in Translational Psychiatry.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about cocaine.

Posted: November 2018

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Study finds alcohol advertising rules may fail to protect Australian kids

Regulations introduced to restrict the placement of alcohol advertising are unlikely to reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing in Australia, new research led by Curtin University has found.

The research, published in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal, critically reviewed the placement rules added to the industry-run Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Scheme in November 2017 and evaluated their ability to effectively regulate the placement of alcohol marketing in Australia.

Co-author Ms Julia Stafford, from the Alcohol Programs Team at the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA (PHAIWA) based at Curtin University, said the placement rules do not meet the criteria for effective self-regulation and do not appear to have introduced any additional safeguards for young people.

“The placement rules were introduced to put some restrictions on where alcohol companies could market their products. The rules include requiring advertisers meet other industry codes that apply to the placement of alcohol advertising, market their products to audiences that are at least 75 per cent adults, and ensure alcohol advertising is not placed within programs aimed at minors,” Ms Stafford said.

“We found that they are unlikely to reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing as they are very narrow in scope, exclude key forms of promotion, and place minimal restrictions on marketers. All but one of the 24 placement-related determinations published in the first six months of the placement rules were either dismissed or found to be ‘no fault’ breaches.

“The rules allow alcohol advertising to be broadcast during televised sport on weekends and public holidays, and do little to limit outdoor advertising. Alcohol ads placed in shopping centres, at sports stadiums, on public transport vehicles, and at bus stops or train stations outside of a 150m radius of a school are all consistent with the placement rules.”

First author Ms Hannah Pierce, also from the Alcohol Programs Team at PHAIWA, said the review also identified substantial flaws in the regulatory processes of the placement rules.

“The alcohol and advertising industries were heavily involved in the development of the rules, but there was no evidence of consultation with other stakeholders. There are also no penalties for marketers who breach the rules,” Ms Pierce said.

“Our findings support existing evidence that industry-managed systems fail to effectively regulate alcohol marketing and government intervention is needed if young people’s wellbeing is to be a priority.

“It has now been 12 months since the placement rules were introduced and our research shows that a comprehensive, independent review of the ABAC Scheme is needed.”

The research was also co-authored by researchers from the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA and the School of Psychology at Curtin University and Cancer Council WA.

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This 1 Hack Completely Saves My Sanity While Traveling With My Kids During the Holidays

Holiday travel is always crazy, but it’s especially chaotic and stressful when you have kids. The traffic, the crowded airports, the rest-stops, the long lines, and did I mention the traffic? No matter how you get around during the holiday season, it’s usually never entirely pleasant. When I was a kid, it was all about long road trips to visit family. And since I never enjoyed being in the car for long stretches of time, my mom came up with a genius idea to keep me entertained; every hour — if my brothers and I behaved — we would each get one mystery bag with some little activity inside that would hopefully keep us occupied until the next bag, and the next, until finally, we’d arrive at our destination. While I give my mom full credit on this one, I’m far too lazy to make individual bags for each of my kids for every hour we’re in the car, so I came up with my own hack to keep them happy: road trip baskets.

My family and I mostly travel up and down the East Coast by car, but this one big travel hack could work for planes and trains as well. It keeps my kids occupied, keeps me from hearing the dreaded “Are we there yet?” question a thousand times, and ultimately keeps me sane on the usually dangerous roads full of other holiday travelers. Each child gets one basket, and inside are crafts, books, activities, and snacks to keep them busy for hours. I put them in an easy-to-reach spot and my kids can take out whatever they want whenever they want without having to ask me. The first time I used these baskets on a six-hour road trip with two kids, it was the easiest trip we’d ever taken. Since that trip, I’ve made countless baskets and am currently working on a few for the upcoming holidays.

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