Kava: The NFL’s newest and safest painkiller

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ESPN)

 

Kava: The NFL’s newest and safest painkiller

“With the opioid crisis, there is a big need for other options,” former NFL player Matthew Masifilo says of kava. “I think it has the potential to help address this painkiller problem we have in football and many other sports.” Courtesy of Matthew Masifilo

Matthew Masifilo was a sophomore defensive lineman at Stanford in 2009 when he tore the MCL in his knee. The swelling and pain were horrible, he says. To lower his discomfort, and get him back on the football field, team doctors did what they often do in those situations. They prescribed Vicodin.

“I wouldn’t take it,” Masifilo said. “I always reacted badly to it. So I stuck with the old ways.”

The “old ways” featured regular consumption of kava, a ceremonial drink at the center of Polynesian culture. Made from the root of a native plant, kava is viewed largely as a social lubricant that delivers a calming, mellowing effect. But Masifilo considers it a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent, as well, a substance that is far less dangerous than opioids and doesn’t carry the legal hurdles of marijuana.

After retiring from a five-year NFL career in 2015, Masifilo has employed his Stanford engineering degree to deliver kava to football players — and anyone else — who want natural options amid the national opioid crisis. He invented a shaker bottle, which he calls an AluBall, to simplify the preparation process and encourage individual use at a time when kava consumption is spiking around the country.

“With the opioid crisis, there is a big need for other options,” said Masifilo, who was born in Hawaii but is of Tongan descent. “The doctors used to think I was crazy when I said I wanted to treat my injuries with kava. But it helped me, and I think it has the potential to help address this painkiller problem we have in football and many other sports.”

Thomas Keiser, for one, can provide powerful testimony. Masifilo introduced him to kava at Stanford, and Keiser said he “truly embraced it for pain management” during his second year in the NFL. As a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers in 2012, Keiser suffered a series of injuries that sound like they were caused by a car accident rather than football.

First, he endured an impact injury on his leg that required a sizable piece of flesh to be removed. The area got infected, causing pitting edema and then swelling throughout the leg. As he played through it, with the help of painkillers, he then tore the UCL in his left elbow when a collision pushed his arm backward. Braced and taped, he continued playing in that game — until he tore the UCL in his right elbow while trying to protect the left.

With a swollen leg and two torn UCLs, Keiser said he was “on lots and lots” of painkillers.

“One day I was like, ‘This is probably not a good path to be going down,'” said Keiser, who retired after the 2015 season. “Kava was absolutely a better alternative for me. To this day, it’s still part of my routine. I’ve taken painkillers and I’ve used kava. To me, opioids weren’t as much about relieving pain as they were almost just getting you high to take your mind off of the pain. Whereas, to me, kava feels like the actual addressing of pain.”

There is little clinical research on kava as a painkiller or anti-inflammatory, according to Dr. D. Craig Hopp, the deputy director of the division of extramural research at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Research does suggest, however, that kava works as an anti-anxiety agent — what Hopp called “herbal Xanax.”

Can diminished anxiety contribute to less pain? Perhaps.

“If you’re more calm or relaxed,” Hopp said, “if you aren’t stressed about the pain you’re under, that might help indirectly with the perception of its benefit. There isn’t much direct evidence of it as a pain reliever, but that might be an indirect link.

There are no clinical indications of addictive properties, and Hopp said: “But I think kava is much safer alternative in most circumstances than opioids.”

And while opioids are addictive and can destroy organs, there is little clinical concern for the safety of kava. In 2002, the Federal Drug Administration issued a consumer advisory that warned of possible liver damage. But those concerns have subsided, Hopp said, amid uncertainty about whether kava caused liver damage during research or if another substance did.

In recent years, in fact, kava bars — public establishments where kava is served instead of alcohol — have popped up around the country. The company Kalm with Kava has tracked the opening of 82 such bars in the U.S. Keiser said that many of the people he meets at kava bars say they are recovering opioid addicts. Indeed, Kopp said, “The things I’m aware of suggest that kava usage is the highest that it’s ever been.”

That’s a trend Masifilo will continue to try to bring to NFL locker rooms. Between the two of them, Masifilo and Keiser played for four different franchises. At one point or another, all of them had a group of players who would sit in the locker room after practice, drinking kava and talking. Kava helped alleviate the pain from the physical grind of the season, but the team-bonding benefits were just as significant, Keiser said.

Kava is a legal substance, according to U.S. law and NFL policy. Masifilo said some players have tried to keep their use “hush-hush,” but by all accounts, it has been welcomed by team officials who have noticed it.

Among them is New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who in 2014 counted 18 players drinking kava in the locker room after a late-season practice. That team included two prominent players of Polynesian descent, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui and defensive lineman Sealver Siliga. Kraft credited the kava gatherings with helping to build unity on a team that went on to win Super Bowl XLIX.

“It was late afternoon,” Kraft said, “and they were just joshing around and having fun. It was really special.”

It is no secret that NFL players are desperate for pain relief, both during their career and afterwards. Keiser, who played in a total of 40 NFL games, deals with the aftereffects of not only the elbow injuries but also ankle and knee ligament tears, along with herniated discs in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical parts of his spine.

“I have major pain issues from the various injuries of my career,” he said, “I absolutely drink kava now and love it for the pain. It’s also a social drink, and it’s nice to get together with your boys and drink it for the social aspect of it.

“The big thing is that painkillers are far too common in football. This is a far better alternative to all the opioids. I can definitely speak from experience on that.”

The Unneeded Poor WILL BE Exterminated

The Unneeded Poor WILL BE Exterminated

 

In this article today I am going to write it as a proverbial ‘Devils Advocate’. What I mean by this is that this is not something that I want to happen yet I am making the argument to you that it is very much a possible reality as the human race continues to degenerate.

 

When it comes to politics I am an ‘Independent’, neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I believe that both of those major parties are about as crooked at the top levels as they can find a way to be. When you are a person like Hillary or Bill Clinton or a Trump or a Bush I believe that they have proven themselves to be the type of people who will do anything to win or to enrich themselves. In the past day or so thousands of documents dubbed the ‘Paradise Papers’ have surfaced showing how the super wealthy cheat their country and their people out of tax revenues. Last year the same type thing happened with the ‘Panama Papers.’ These documents show that not only are many of the ‘super wealthy’ cheating on their taxes, they also show how intertwined they are with world leaders, government officials, and the super huge global companies as they all seek to scratch each other’s backs in their efforts to get even richer.

 

Back in the mid-1970’s you used to hear people talking on the radio and TV how with the ‘new technologies’ how people were only going to be only having to work 4 day weeks because the machines will allow us to get as much done in 4 days as was currently being done in the 5 day work week. How foolish these ‘talking heads’ were. If you are the employer why would you give up the chance to make an extra 20% each week by giving your employees an extra day off? Especially if your company is on the Stock Exchange, your stockholders would quickly replace you. The business world, especially those on the Stock Exchange are only concerned about one thing, higher profits. If you have ever paid any attention at all to the stock market, you should have noticed how little these people think of the people who are actually making the products. When two companies merge the value of the stock goes up. Why, because the next thing that will happen is the new Board of Directors will be getting rid of many ‘unneeded’ employees. Doing this means that the company will take those wages as pure profit, increasing the value of its stock. When a company decides to get rid of employees, the stock value goes up. When a company breaks a Union, the stock value goes up. During these events, you should also have seen that the Board of Directors salaries and bonuses go up. When a company moves their production factories to a ‘third world’ country where they can fire all of their American workers and get child slave labor to do all the production, stock values, and executive compensation goes up.

 

The world as you know has a population growth that is unsustainable yet at this same time machines and robots (AI) are taking more and more jobs away from workers. From a business standpoint, having machines replace human workers is a very wise thing to do, and it increases your stock value and the bosses salaries and compensation. If they invest in machines they can get rid of the overhead cost of having human employees. Think about it, no more salaries to pay, no benefit packages to pay like Workers Comp, vacation pay, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid sick days, you can’t be sued by a computer, no OSHA regulations to adhere to. Folks, the list goes on and on.

 

Our planet has about seven billion people on it right now, look at the slave labor around the world right now, from Africa to Asia to the Middle-East and yes, here in the U.S. also. Is slave labor legal in a lot of these countries? No, but it still goes on. You may say why, why does it still go on but the answer is simple, pay as little for the labor as possible to increase the profits at the top and to the stockholders. You may say now wait a moment, slaves don’t cost anything but this is not totally true. Slaves still have to get some food and some water or they will die or become too weak to do the work. The more slaves you have in the ‘waiting room’ the less you have to supply to each one each day. Why, because it is in your financial best interest if all of the ‘extras’ die. If the ‘extras’ aren’t dying fast enough on their own, you assist them.

 

If the Earth has seven billion people but can only sustain six billion people because there is no way to produce enough food, what happens to the extra billion people? Who do you think are going to be the ones that are starved to death? Hint, it is not going to be the super rich who basically own everything, it will be the poorest of the poor who will be eliminated. During the early Republican Primaries last year a former ‘Speaker of the House’ Newt Gingrich spelled out the perfect Republican ‘wish list.’ As you probably know the majority of the Republicans in the Congress and the Senate, and this President wants to cut the national deficit by cutting programs like food stamps to the poor and cutting way back on Medicare, Medicaid, meals on wheels, school lunch programs and Social Security. Folks, who need these programs the most? Mr. Gingrich in a TV program last year went even further. Mr. Gingrich consider all of these programs to be ‘welfare’, yet he went further, he called military retirement pay, VA disability compensation and the VA itself ‘welfare’ programs and he said that all of these ‘Welfare’ programs need to be eliminated. There was one thing that he did not include in his list of welfare programs, that was Congressional, Senate, and Presidential retirement pay and benefits, go figure. He has been receiving taxpayer-paid benefits for decades, but I guess that doesn’t count.

 

Back in the 1950’s the top end national tax rate was 90%, during that time the U.S. was able to build city infrastructures, a National Highway program unequaled in the whole world as well as thousands of new bridges and dams. Now, our roads, bridges, dams, and cities are falling apart, why is this? Now the top end tax rate has been 35% and the President is pushing a top end tax rate of 20%. This is at the same time that corporations are swimming in cash and as they say, with nowhere to spend it. About six months ago, I think it was on CNN, that they reported that U.S. companies have about 13 Trillion Dollars sitting in offshore accounts. So, what do these Republican lawmakers want to do, take even more money out of the economy and give it to these same folks who are destroying our country from the inside? It is also these same benefactors who are filling the pockets of these same evil politicians.

 

Back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s in China Chairman Mao put a starvation policy in place against the citizens of China. The reason was simple, 500 million people are easier to control than one billion people. Folks, these are just things that I have seen, heard, and read throughout my 60+ years. You don’t have to agree with anything that I have written in this article today, but I hope that I have been able to at least get you to think about these issues.

 

 

 

 

 

Biggest Opium Pushers In U.S. Are: U.S. Politicians & AG Jeff Sessions

In the United States, we have been hearing a lot about the drugs that are made from this plant over the past few years. I admit to those of you who don’t know me that I am neither a scientist, psychotherapists nor a medical doctor. I am just an average 61-year-old person who reads a lot and who pays attention to reality the best that I can. Even though I am not the smartest person in the U.S. I am a person that strives to be bluntly honest about everything even if I don’t personally like the results of the answer. Truth has ‘no spin’ to it! I have said a few times before on this website that there really is only one real Truth, and that is ‘God’s’ Truth. When you/we/I have an argument concerning any issue, if we can honestly say that we would stand before our Creator, look Him in His eyes and tell Him that we are speaking the Truth, then that argument would be the Truth, to the very best of our personal knowledge anyways. Either that, or we would be acting like a total idiot and or a fool because we would be condemning our own self on purpose.

I have a question for each of us, do we/you/I believe that the politicians in D.C. are looking out for our best interest or their own best interest? Do you believe that your Congressman/woman, Senator or President cares more about you, or about the lobbyist who is funding their next campaign and or their personal lifestyle? Now, before I get into the meat of this article on the Opium issue I will tell you up front that Marijuana legalization is something that I totally agree with. I believe, excuse me, I know, that Marijuana helps with nerve pain, I am 100% sure of that. Back when I was in the U.S. Army I was directly struck by a lightning bolt. Even Social Security says I am disabled even though the VA doesn’t agree that the lightning has anything to do with me being disabled no matter what the non-VA Doctors and other experts have to say about it. As most of you know the Federal Government and the crooked ignorant putz AG Jeff Sessions say that Marijuana is just as or even more dangerous than Heroin and they class Marijuana as a class one narcotic, just like Heroin. To believe the Federal Government’s argument a person would have to be either clueless just plain ignorant or ‘on the take.’ The Feds say that Marijuana has no medical value even though that is totally contrary to all of the scientific evidence that says the Feds are lying.

So, the argument comes down to, why does the Fed’s keep lying? Or, do you really believe they are simply that ignorant? As long as the Federal government continues this policy the VA is not allowed to prescribe Marijuana to the service-connected disabled Veterans. The VA has no problem pumping many billions of taxpayer dollars worth of pills into the disabled Vets every year whether we need them or not but they refuse to allow the Veterans to use God’s given Herbs for pain relief. What is even worse is that if the VA in one of their blood or urine test finds THC from Marijuana in your system, they will cold turkey you off of the drugs they are giving/selling to you. This is even though doing this to people on some of these medications can easily kill a person. Why would any remotely honest or caring person do that to people? The answer to this is simple folks, its money.

For those of you who don’t believe me, I am going to offer you some cold hard facts as to why I used the title of this article. Even if you are a person who says they would never ever smoke Marijuana, does that mean that you have any right to insist that others cannot, no matter what? I am going to use last November’s Elections in Arizona as a perfect example. This example shows just how dirty big Pharma is, I am going to show you just how much they want people to die from Opium use and the reason is simple, money!

Within everyone’s brain, there is what is called an MU Opioid Receptor. This is something that Opium sticks to in a person’s brain. Morphine is an Opioid drug, just like Heroin is so I am going to use them in this example. Even though Pharma made drugs like Morphine and Oxycontin are very expensive even on the street drugs like Heroin are amazingly cheap. Yet there is another man-made drug called Fentanyl, a synthetic form of Heroin that is even cheaper and easier to make than regular Heroin. Trouble is this that this street drug Fentanyl is about 100 times more powerful than Heroin and it is very deadly even to come into contact with very much of it at all. Fentanyl has become a major problem for first responders, EMS and Police as they do come into contact with it many times every day. These days Ambulances and Police Vehicles are being required to carry the ‘antidote’ for their own safety’s sake.

This ‘antidote’ is called Narcan and Narcan is a drug that is big Pharma made and distributed. Concerning Opium products like Heroin and Morphine the antidote, Narcan works quite well at knocking the Opium off of the MU Receptor yet it does very little to help get the Fentanyl off of the MU Receptor. Don’t get me wrong, people are still dying every day from Opioid overdoses also. The Fed said that Opioid overdoses are up more than 400% here in the U.S. since the year 2000. The big Pharma company’s who make Narcan know this fact very well, so do the politicians yet they prove to all of us that they do not care about all of these thousands of people who are dying nor their families, nor even the First Responders.

Now back to the 2016 Elections in the State of Arizona. The facts show that in the States that have made recreational Marijuana legal that Opioid overdoses and deaths are down about 50%. On a side note, in these states alcohol sales are down about 25%, think of how many people aren’t getting into car accidents because of drinking and driving. Also, think of how many domestic violence deaths aren’t happening in those States and how many fatal ‘bar fights’ aren’t happening. Yet the reality is that big Pharma companies make billions from their pharmacy-made drugs so just like last November in Arizona they pumped in many millions of dollars in false advertisements to try to get the people of Arizona to vote down making Marijuana legal in their State. The sad part is, they were successful in Arizona. The big Pharmaceutical companies have been pushing hard to get Narcan into every ambulance, police car, school, and home in America. There is only one reason for this and that is money, to heck with people’s lives, the only thing that really matters is a company’s profits. These Pharmaceutical companies know that Marijuana is a natural painkiller but they aren’t making any money off of a plant that anyone can grow in their own garden. Now, you do understand why I said that the politicians and people like AG Jeff Sessions want to keep Marijuana illegal don’t you? The answer is very simple, campaign contributions from these big Pharma Companies and because of many who own stocks in these same big Pharma Companies.

 

Here are some of the companies who put huge amounts of money into last November’s ‘anti-pot’ vote in Arizona. I got this information from (The Guardian, US News And World Report, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and from Equities.com News.)

These companies are:

Chandler Pharma

Insys Therapeutics

Pfizer Inc

Walgreens Boot’s Alliance Inc

Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc

Mylan N.V.

Opnet Technologies Inc

 

Federal Judge Says DOJ Must Answer For Marijuana Being Classed As A Class 1 Drug

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘FLORIDA MARIJUANA.NET)

 

For the very first time in history the United States Government will have to answer to the judiciary about the scheduling of cannabis and its unconstitutionality.  Jeff Sessions, the DEA, and the DOJ will all have to stand trial according to the judge overseeing their case.  This is the first time that a trial to legalize cannabis has proceeded past the normal attempts at dismissal.  All of the defendants will have to get recorded depositions.  This is great news for the plaintiffs in the case which include Army combat veteran, Jose Belen, former NFL player Marvin Washington, 11 year old Alexiss Bortell who uses cannabis to treat her epilepsy, Jagger Cotte.

alexis bortell medical marijuana

The developments are also welcome news for cannabis advocates around the country.  If this lawsuit is successful, it would mean the scheduling of cannabis will be ruled unconstitutional and completely de scheduled federally.  Some of the best quotes from the 80+ page filing in federal court can be found below.Marvin Washington medical marijuana

“Despite the relatively recent stigmatization of cannabis in the United States as a supposed ‘gateway drug’ used primarily by ‘hippies’ and minorities, there is a long and rich history of people from virtually every part of the world using cannabis for medical, industrial, spiritual, and recreational purposes,” the suit reads. “Indeed, those who have cultivated, encouraged the cultivation of, and/or used cannabis include, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — an assortment of the most intelligent and accomplished statesmen in American history.”

 

jose Belen cannabis jeff sessions

“Jose’s treatment providers at the Veterans Administration informed Jose that they are unable to prescribe medical cannabis because it is illegal under the CSA,” reads the suit, referring to Belen, the military veteran.

“We are seeking a ‘declaration’ to that effect, and also a permanent injunction restraining enforcement of the CSA as written, as it pertains to cannabis,” said Lauren Rudick, one of the plaintiffs attorneys. “The classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug deprives individuals of basic constitutional rights, including Due Process and the fundamental right to travel. Some of these individuals, such as Alexis Bortell and Jagger Cotte (both plaintiffs in the action) are patients who seek cannabis as a means of life-saving medication. The government has a federal patent on cannabis, and has recognized the medical efficacy of cannabis in a variety of ways, yet Sessions is trying to reverse policy on cannabis use and contend that it has no medical use. It’s hypocritical.”

 

One thing is for sure, Jeff Sessions and the federal government will not go down without a fight.

jeff sessions medical marijuana

 

Our neighbors to the north in Canada only had their rights recognized after challenging medical marijuana as a right through the courts.  It appears this is how the Jeff Sessions legacy is about to be written.  Instead of doing the right thing, his Justice Department will be forced to recognize the rights through the court system.

Please share this with your friends and make sure everyone keeps up to date on the developments in the case.

Veterans Overwhelmingly Favor Medical Marijuana

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘TASK & PURPOSE’)

 

Veterans Overwhelmingly Favor Medical Marijuana. When Will VA And Lawmakers Get On Board?

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An overwhelming majority of U.S. military veterans and veteran caregivers support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, according to a new national poll by Five Corner Strategies conducted on behalf of the American Legion — and veterans aren’t going to stop until the Department of Veterans Affairs starts taking medical marijuana research seriously.

The poll found that while 82% of respondents supported the legalization of medical cannabis, a whopping 92% supported expanded research into the medical benefits of the drug. And that attitude cuts across political boundaries: 88% of respondents who self-identified as “conservative” and 90% of self-identified “liberals” supported a federal legalization effort.

Medical cannabis is currently only legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia; yet, it is unlawful for VA doctors to prescribe it since marijuana remains a Schedule 1 substance — forcing vets to use medical cannabis at their own risk or not at all. Further, shortfalls in funding, restrictive eligibility criteria for a recently approved federal study specific to vets, and little support from the VA has prevented any policies from moving forward in Washington, despite a growing acceptance of marijuana to mitigate pain and mental-health issues.

RELATED: LAWMAKERS ARE URGING THE VA TO TAKE MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR VETERANS SERIOUSLY »

According to the American Legion’s new poll, one in five veterans surveyed consume marijuana “to alleviate a medical or physical condition.” Ironically, the majority of those using medicinal pot are over the age of 60, despite support for the practice declining among older respondents, where 100% of 18-30-year-old respondents favored federally legalized medical marijuana, only 79% of sexagenarians agreed.

Following the release of the poll, conducted by national PulsePoint IVR on 802 self-identified veterans (513 respondents) and veteran caregivers (289) between Oct. 8 and Oct. 10, 2017, on Capitol Hill on Nov. 2, the American Legion, in conjunction with members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, called upon Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin to push for new research despite an increasingly obstinate approach to legalization by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“In order to keep veterans safe, we need to listen then,” Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat from California and vice ranking member on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, told the assembled crowd. “When a majority of veterans say medical cannabis has the potential to provide relief, we need to listen to them … If the VA’s research confirms that medical cannabis can be effective, it can have a transformative effect of veterans care while preventing veterans from lipping into the trap of opioid addiction.”

veterans medical marijuana research

The poll is the culmination of a growing push to change the federal government’s approach to veterans and medical marijuana. In a Oct. 26 letter to Shulkin, lawmakers on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs called on the VA to initiate renewed research into the medical benefits of legal cannabis, citing both a rising chorus of veterans advocacy organizations like the American Legion and the opioid epidemic that the Trump administration declared a national health emergency the same day.

While the VA has done little to move the needle on medical marijuana research, Shulkin has personally said he’s open to exploring alternative therapies, including medicinal weed, if they benefit veterans and their care.

“We are acutely aware of the work that’s going on around the country, particularly in states that have legalized medical marijuana,” Shulkin toldTask & Purpose in a June 12 interview. “And we are observing very closely work that’s being done that may be helping veterans, and we are open to any ideas and therapies that may be effective.”

VA Secretary David Shulkin on Medical Marijuana For Vets
In an exclusive sit-down interview with Task & Purpose June 12, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin made clear his department would pursue any emerging therapy with promise for disabled or troubled veterans — including medical marijuana. Here’s what he said.

National attitudes toward marijuana legalization have come a long way in recent years: According to an Oct. 25 Gallup poll conducted around the same time as the American Legion survey, a majority of registered Republicans are in support of marijuana legalization for the first time in a half-century. But even with public support for recreational marijuana legalization at an all-time high, only 64% are in favor of ending the federal prohibition on the substance — well below the levels of support detailed among veterans and military families in recent surveys.

While many veterans and doctors are already working to circumvent the VA’s existing medical marijuana policies, as Task & Purpose reported in October, it’s those changing attitudes among military and VA officials that will shape the course of medical marijuana research.

RELATED: HOW VETS AND THEIR DOCTORS ARE GETTING AROUND THE VA’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA POLICY »

“As we researched, we came across veterans who said that the only reason they were alive today and didn’t commit suicide was because they found medical cannabis,” Lou Celli, the American Legion’s national director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation, said on Nov. 2. “But you and I know we can’t change policy based on anecdotes. We need facts in order to have a meaningful discussion. And in order to get evidence and facts, we must do clinical research.”

WATCH NEXT:

VA Secretary Shulkin: ‘I’ll Have The Veterans’ Backs’
In an exclusive interview with Task & Purpose June 12, VA Secretary David M. Shulkin emphasized the importance of keeping a strong VA — and not privatizing all its services — to foster deeper trust between service members and the nation they serve.

 

Jared Keller is a senior editor at Task & Purpose and contributing editor at Pacific Standard. Follow Jared Keller on Twitter @JaredBKeller
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Support for marijuana legalization reaches record high, even majority of Republicans back it

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

Support for marijuana legalization reaches a record high — and even a majority of Republicans back it

marijuana protestA man holds up a joint during a rally to support the legalization of marijuana on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 24, 2017. Smoking pot in public remains illegal everywhere in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

  • 64% Americans support marijuana legalization
  • It’s a record high since the question was first polled in 1969
  • A majority of Republicans support legalization for the first time 

Support for legalizing marijuana just reached a record high, with the vast majority of Americans favoring legalizing the drug, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday.

64% of Americans support legalizing marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use, the highest support since Gallup first asked the question in 1969. To put that in perspective, only 12% of Americans supported legalization that year.

The poll also marks another milestone: It’s the first time the majority of Republicans support marijuana legalization, with 51% indicating that they’d like to see the end of federal prohibition. When the question was polled last year, only 43% of Republicans indicated they were in favor of legalization.

Gallup marijuana pollGallup

As for Democrats, 72% support legalization, up from 67% when Gallup polled the question last year, and 67% of independents support legalization as well.

However, support for legalization among independents actually fell by three percentage points since last year, when 70% indicated they were in favor of legalization.

Legal marijuana now has equal support to gay marriage among Americans, Gallup notes.

“The trajectory of Americans’ views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades. On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64% favor each,” Gallup writes in its analysis of the poll.

Gay marriage had vast public support before any action was taken on the federal level. The Supreme Court ruled to legalize gay marriage nationwide in 2014.

Activists from within the marijuana-legalization community celebrated the poll results.

“Marijuana legalization is far more popular than Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump and will survive them both,” Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement.

“Instead of wasting limited law enforcement resources trying to stop successful state-level legalization initiatives, US officials should listen to the clear, bipartisan message the public is sending them, and support federal marijuana reform as well,” she added.

MarijuanaMarijuana plants are seen in an indoor marijuana plantation. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, a cannabis advocacy group, told Business Insider in a statement that it would be “politically disastrous,” for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to initiate a crackdown on state-legal marijuana businesses.

“Despite threatening rhetoric from some Trump administration officials, Americans’ support for regulating marijuana like alcohol only continues to rise year over year,” Angell added.

Morgan Fox, the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement Americans are “tired” of wasting resources arresting individuals for using marijuana.

“In the five years since the first states made marijuana legal for adults, it has become increasingly clear that — unlike prohibition — regulation works,” he added.

Sen. Cory Booker, the New Jersey Democrat, introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in August to end federal marijuana prohibition.

Sessions, an outspoken opponent of legal marijuana, said during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he thinks there should be “healthy competition,” among growers of medicinal-grade marijuana for research, though he has hinted at cracking down on state-legal marijuana enterprises.

Marijuana, both medicinal and recreational, is considered an illegal Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. 29 states, however, have legalized some form of medical marijuana and allow doctors to prescribe the drug to patients.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions could find himself out of step with his own party if the current trends continue,” Gallup noted.

Robert Mugabe Removed From WHO Ambassador Position

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe may be one of the longest-serving leaders, but his stint as a goodwill ambassador was anything but.

Days after the World Health Organization named him as a goodwill ambassador, a move that angered and stunned human rights activists, it rescinded the appointment.
“I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns, and heard the different issues that they have raised,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“It is my aim to build a worldwide movement for global health. This movement must work for everyone and include everyone.”
Tedros said he consulted the Zimbabwean government and concluded it’s in the organization’s best interests.
The public health agency announced the appointment last week, saying the African leader would focus on noncommunicable diseases on the continent such as heart attacks and strokes.
A public outcry ensued. Angry tweets took aim at Tedros and the public health agency.
“The government of Robert Mugabe has brutalized human rights activists, crushed democracy dissidents and turned the breadbasket of Africa — and its health system — into a basket case,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which monitors the performance of world body.
WHO is part of the United Nations and focuses on international public health. Mugabe has long been criticized for corruption and abuse of power.

Zimbabwe's society struggles under Mugabe's rule

Zimbabwe’s society struggles under Mugabe’s rule 02:43
In making the appointment, Tedros, an Ethiopian andWHO’s first African director-general, had said Mugabe would use his role to ensure other leaders make noncommunicable diseases a priority.
“Zimbabwe … places universal health coverage and health promotion at the center of its policies to provide health care to all,” he said.
At 93, Mugabe is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders and has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 with little opposition.
Along with his inner circle, he has been under US sanctions since the early 2000s over human rights abuses and the erosion of democratic institutions. President Barack Obama extended sanctions for another year before leaving office in January.
In 2009, Mugabe’s ruling party spent more than $250,000 on a lavish birthday party for the leader despite an ongoing food shortage and cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's President celebrates as people suffer

Zimbabwe’s President celebrates as people suffer 02:08
Goodwill ambassadors for WHO are public figuresappointed to two-year terms by the director-general. They work closely with UN officials to raise awareness of global health issues.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was named a global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases last year.

Breast Cancer Deaths Drop Nearly 40% In the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Breast Cancer Deaths Drop Nearly 40% In the U.S.

12:04 PM ET
TIME Health
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Efforts to improve screening and access to treatment for breast cancer are making a difference nationally, according to the latest figures from the American Cancer Society.

From 1989 to 2015, deaths from the disease dropped by 39%, which translates to 322,600 lives saved from breast cancer. The latest numbers continue a steady downward trend for breast cancer deaths over the past few decades.

In some states, the death rates from breast cancer among white women and black women are equalizing, suggesting that access to screening and treatments are more evenly distributed in those parts of the country.

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But the data still show that black women have the highest death rates from breast cancer nationally. Among black women, the death rate was 42% higher than among white women from 2011 to 2015. Other studies have documented that black women tend to be diagnosed with more advanced-stage cancers, which are harder to treat and have higher mortality rates. Aggressive triple negative cancers that are deadlier are also more common among this group of women.

MOREI Treated Breast Cancer for Years as a Doctor. Then I Was Diagnosed

The overall drop in mortality is a positive sign suggesting that wider mammogram screening and improved treatments for the disease are helping women survive breast cancer. Yet in the U.S., breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women and the second deadliest. During her lifetime, a woman has a one in eight chance of developing the disease. Ensuring that more states start to equalize access to screening and treatments is critical to sustaining the decline in deaths, say the authors.

So, Apes Gave Early Humans Herpes?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Herpes has been around a long time, to say the least.

Ancient chimpanzees genetically passed oral herpes (herpes simplex 1, or HSV-1) to the earliest humans millions of years ago when our lineage split. And we almost missed out on catching that other scourge, genital herpes (HSV-2) — almost. Unlike HSV-1, HSV-2 didn’t make the leap to early humans on its own.
Unfortunately for modern humans, millions of years ago, an early human ancestor was in the right place at the right time to catch HSV-2. And it might not have happened if it weren’t for that meddling hominin species Paranthropus boisei, according to a new study in the journal Virus Evolution.
Standing at about 4 feet tall, boisei had a small brain and a wide, dish-like face. It is most well-known for having big teeth and hefty chewing muscles. One skull was nicknamed “Nutcracker Man” for these traits.
Boisei acted as the in-between agent for genital herpes to make the species jump from primates to humans, researchers say.
Ancient chimpanzees, boisei and Homo erectus were all in Africa between 1.4 million and 3 million years ago, in an area where the evolution of modern humans would occur. It would be easy for them to come into contact with each other around water sources.
HSV-2 itself was evolving at the time, and it could be spread orally.
The researchers believe that the circle of life caused this transmission, which would have to happen through fluid exchange. Chimpanzee bites or scratches would transfer the virus through sores.
So what about the human bloodline? According to the researchers, transfer could have happened through sexual intercourse or Homo erectus consuming boisei — or both.
“We can ‘blame’ our ancestors for eating other hominins/great apes, this has been the source of other primate-to-human infections such as HIV,” Charlotte Houldcroft, senior study author and virologist at the University of Cambridge Department of Archaeology, wrote in an email. “Eating other species closely related to oneself has risks, because pathogens adapted to species genetically similar to us will find it easier to jump the species barrier.”
The most genetically diverse strains of HSV-2 come from Africa, and the amount of worldwide HSV-2 genetic diversity points to an out-of-Africa migration, according to the researchers.
“Essentially, when humans migrated out of Africa, they already carried HSV-2, and wherever humans went, their viruses went too,” Houldcroft said. “HSV-2 infects for life and can be passed from mother to baby or between sexual partners, which made sure it successfully spread wherever humans did.”
But making this determination when there are gaps in the fossil record required more than just an analysis of old bones.
“It’s a really interesting question that is invisible to archaeology,” Houldcroft said. “Why wouldn’t you want to try and solve the mystery?!”
The study brought together a virologist, an engineer and a researcher of human evolution to apply and develop a model to meld their areas of expertise.
They used Bayesian network modeling — a graphical model using probability, random variables and conditional dependencies — to combine data of ancient climates, herpes DNA and fossils and determine the probability of HSV-2 and how it might be transmitted.
“We can use data from diseases to reconstruct events that are completely invisible to the archaeological and fossil records,” Houldcroft said. “The signals in the HSV-2 virus are records of direct contact between the ancestors of us and chimps that we can tangibly now ‘see’ and gives us direct insight into the daily lives of our ancestors.”
The researchers said the biggest surprise was not the findings themselves but rather the discovery that their diverse backgrounds informed a different way to look at a problem and solve it creatively.
“Their combined use of bayesian models and AI to fit climate and environmental data with hominin fossils is insightful,” Angelique Corthals, forensic anthropologist and assistant professor at the City University of New York, wrote in an email. “It allows the research to redefine the jump of HSV-2 from from chimpanzees to humans.”
“The methods of this paper have strikingly important implications for the study of pathogen transmission and the appearance of potential epidemics, as it is able to predict, given a specific set of environmental and demographic/population-based data, a jump from wildlife disease to human,” she wrote. “Better yet, it is able to predict potential intermediate hosts, within the context of the evolutionary history of both the hosts and the pathogens.”
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Corthals, who was not involved with the new research, said caution should be taken to ensure that the probability isn’t overcomplicated because of the huge data set and amount of possible variables.
“Should the methods stand further scrutiny and data-modeling, (this) will have serious implications in how we model and prevent pandemics,” Corthals said.
The research builds on a study from 2014 on the origin of human herpes viruses.
“We found that HSV-2 likely jumped from the ancestor of chimpanzees into a human ancestor, but we left it at that,” wrote Joel Wertheim, assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego Department of Medicine and lead author of the 2014 study, in an email. “This study continues our research through an unexpected avenue, looking at the prehistorical forest geography. This is not a line of inquiry I would have anticipated, but it provides a textured layer to the story of HSV origins.”
The researchers are now working with colleagues in South Africa and the United States to learn how other ancient conditions, like human pubic lice, transmitted to modern humans.
“The usual obstacles of not enough fossils and archaeological preservation are always present, but also contribute to making the subject such a compelling one,” Houldcroft said.

San Diego: Hepatitis A Outbreak: At Least 421 Sickened And 16 Dead So Far

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE EPOCH TIMES)

(Epoch Times is based in New York City and mainly focuses on China news)

 

At least 421 people have been sickened and 16 have been killed during an outbreak of Hepatitis A in San Diego as of Sept. 12, 2017.

Some 292 people of the 421 were hospitalized due to the illness, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency’s latest figures, released Tuesday.

“This is an outbreak of unprecedented proportion, and we have not seen an outbreak of this nature as relates to hepatitis A before,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health director, CNN reported.

Most of the infections—65 percent—are occurring among homeless people, those who use illegal drugs, or both. Another 23 percent of cases occurred in people who associate with homeless people, Wooten explained to the news network.

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“Basically, if an individual is infected with hepatitis A and they use the bathroom and don’t wash their hands, and then they can spread or contaminate the environment: door handles, ATMs or whatever they touch,” Wooten said.

Symptoms of the illness—which can be “mild to severe”—can include “fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine, and jaundice,” according to the World Health Organization.

Wooten was forced to declare a state of emergency in the county on Sept. 1.

“The local emergency was declared to increase and heighten awareness of the seriousness of the outbreak,” she said.

As NPR reported, San Diego officials started washing down sidewalks down with bleach to kill off the bug. The areas sprayed down with bleach are frequented by homeless people.

Mike Saag, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, told the broadcaster that San Diego’s bleaching approach is a reasonable one.

Geographic distribution of Hepatitis A prevalence — Red: High : prevalence higher than 8%; orange: Intermediate : between 2% and 7%; grey: Low : less than 2% (Wikipedia)

“If there’s a sanitation problem, then the thing to do is clean up the area, and bleach is probably the best disinfectant that we have for this type of viral infection,” he said.

Wooten, meanwhile, added that more than 21,000 people have been vaccinated.

According to the World Health Organization, the risks are higher where there is:

  • poor sanitation;
  • lack of safe water;
  • use of recreational drugs;
  • living in a household with an infected person;
  • being a sexual partner of someone with acute hepatitis A infection; and
  • travelling to areas of high endemicity without being immunized.

According to San Diego officials, here is how it’s transmitted:

  • Touching objects or eating food that someone with HAV infection handled.
  • Having sex with someone who has a HAV infection.
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