File photo of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (2nd from right) with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia [PPIO]
Moscow decried US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the historic 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions with the Russian Foreign Ministry saying it is “deeply disappointed”.
“There are and there may be no grounds for undermining the JCPOA. The plan fully proved its efficiency. It effectively copes with all the goals set for it. Iran strictly sticks to its commitments, which is regularly confirmed by the IAEA. We are fully supporting and welcoming that,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s long-term nuclear programme.
Trump on Tuesday said the “Iran deal is defective at its core” and that “any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could be strongly sanctioned”.
Meanwhile, Russia had said it would back further cooperation within the parties that brokered the Iran deal.
Russia is one of Iran’s oldest allies. Both countries support Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and have provided support to his forces to defeat Islamist rebels in Syrian cities.
On Tuesday, Russia reiterated it’s support for dialogue and cooperation with Tehran.
Moscow’s stance was shared by European leaders as they pledged to keep the accord with Tehran alive.
“Together, we emphasize our continuing commitment to the JCPOA. This agreement remains important for our shared security,” the leaders of Britain, France and Germany said in a joint statement.
Germany has also said the US exit would not impact their commitment.
“We will try to keep alive this important agreement, which ensures the Middle East and the world as a whole are safer,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a televised broadcast.
This is not the first time the Trump administration has violated an international agreement and a UN resolution, breaking decisively with other world powers.
President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement in June last year, saying the deal would have adversely hit the US economy and killed American jobs.
Opioid addiction is at an all-time high in the U.S. — so much so, it’s been identified as a significant factor in unemployment among men,1 and opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.2 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the more than 63,600 Americans who died from drug overdoses in 2016,3,4 more than 42,000 were related specifically to opioids5 — a 28 percent jump in opioid deaths from the year before.
As if that’s not disturbing enough, recent research6 suggests opioid overdose deaths are being undercounted by 20 to 35 percent, due to drug omissions on death certificates.7 In many cases, the specific drug that contributed to the death isn’t listed on the death certificate, and it’s quite likely that many of the general “drug deaths” are actually due to opioids specifically. According to this paper, a more accurate count would probably put the opioid-related death toll at nearly 40,000 for 2015 and closer to 50,000 for 2016.
The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths are methadone, oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®),8 and evidence suggests opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, knew exactly what they were doing when they claimed opioids — which are chemically very similar to heroin — have an exceptionally low addiction rate when taken by people with pain.
In fact, the massive increase in opioid sales has been traced back to an orchestrated marketing plan aimed at misinforming doctors about the drug’s addictive potential. Remarkably, despite widespread discussion about the dangers of opioids and the high risk of addiction, and despite updated treatment guidelines for back pain that stress nondrug interventions over pain killers, doctors are still overprescribing these drugs.
Paying Doctors Who Prescribe Opioids May Be a Significant Part of the Problem
One of the reasons for this appears to be financial. As reported by CNN, “The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make.”9 According to an analysis by CNN and Harvard researchers, in 2014 and 2015, hundreds of doctors received in excess of $25,000 each from opioid manufacturers, and those who prescribed the most opioids received the largest payments.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, senior scientist at the Institute for Behavioral Health, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative and executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing told CNN, “This is the first time we’ve seen this, and it’s really important. It smells like doctors being bribed to sell narcotics, and that’s very disturbing.”
At least one doctor received more than $1 million over those two years. One of his patients, who is struggling with opioid addiction, was shocked when she discovered her doctor had received such large payments from the drugmaker. “Once I found out he was being paid, I thought, ‘Was it really in my best interest, or was it in his best interest?'” she told CNN.
Dr. Michael Barnett, assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health added, “I don’t know if the money is causing the prescribing or the prescribing led to the money, but in either case, it’s potentially a vicious cycle. It’s cementing the idea for these physicians that prescribing this many opioids is creating value.”
One-Quarter of All Doctors Prescribe Opioids to Medicare Patients and Receive Payments From Opioid Makers
To assess the link between drug company payments and prescription habits, the team reviewed data from two federal government sources — one that tracks drug company payments to doctors and another that tracks prescriptions made to Medicare patients. Of the 811,000 doctors who wrote prescriptions for Medicare recipients during 2014 and 2015, more than 200,000 prescribed opioids and received payments from the drug makers.
While a majority of them received only minor payments, ranging from $100 to $1,000, more than 31,400 of them received as much as $15,000, and nearly 4,000 of them received more than $15,000. As you’d expect with a kickback scheme, those who prescribed the most opioids received the most money. According to CNN:10
“On average, doctors whose opioid prescription volume ranked among the top 5 percent nationally received twice as much money from the opioid manufacturers, compared with doctors whose prescription volume was in the median. Doctors in the top 1 percent of opioid prescribers received on average four times as much money as the typical doctor. Doctors in the top 10th of 1 percent, on average, received nine times more money than the typical doctor.”
Does Your Doctor Have a Financial Incentive to Prescribe Opioids?
While it’s legal for drug companies to pay doctors for a variety of services, including speaking and consulting fees — and nearly half of all doctors get paid by drug companies each year — it’s illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs in exchange for kickback payments from the manufacturer. This investigation reveals the line is thin indeed between what’s legal and what’s illegal. Are doctors prescribing opioids with the expectation or promise of payment?
At bare minimum, the data provides additional proof that payments influence a doctor’s prescribing habits, even if it’s not wholly intentional. A number of previous studies have confirmed this trend, showing that regardless of what the payments are for, when a doctor receives money from a drug company, he or she is far more likely to prescribe that company’s drugs.
As noted by Dr. Daniel Carlat, a psychiatrist and former director of the Prescription Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts who writes about conflicts of interest in medicine:11“It’s not proof positive, but it’s another very significant data point in the growing evidence base that marketing payments from drug companies are not good for medicine and not good for patient care. It makes me extremely concerned.”
Did Fentanyl Maker Bribe Doctors to Overprescribe?
In one particularly disturbing case highlighted by CNN, a woman with Crohn’s disease was prescribed Subsys, an “ultrapowerful form of fentanyl” for her abdominal pain by a pain specialist in Greenville, South Carolina. Subsys is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, and while it eliminated her pain, the drug also put her in a “zombie-like state,” making her unable to care for her children. What’s worse, she couldn’t quit.
Skipping a day led to “uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting,” and when she asked her doctor for another option, “he became belligerent,” saying “it was Subsys or nothing.” As it turns out, this doctor received more than $190,000 from the maker of Subsys between 2014 and 2015.
A lawsuit is now pending in which she’s accusing her doctor of “setting out to ‘defraud and deceive’ her for ‘the sole purpose of increasing prescriptions, sales and consumption of Subsys to increase … profits.'” Incidentally, in October 2017, John Kapoor, the founder of Insys, which makes Subsys, was arrested and charged with bribing doctors to overprescribe the drug. Other Insys executives have also been arrested on racketeering charges.12
Other Research Shows Payments to Doctors Could be Fueling Opioid Epidemic
The investigation by Harvard and CNN is not the first to suggest drug company payments may be a driving factor in the opioid epidemic. According to a study13 published in August 2017, between August 2013 and December 2015, more than 375,000 non-research opioid-related payments were made to more than 68,000 physicians, totaling more than $46 million. This means 1 in 12 U.S. physicians collected payments from drug companies producing prescription opioids during those 29 months.
Here, fentanyl prescriptions, specifically, were associated with the highest payments, and many of the states struggling with the highest rates of overdose deaths, such as Indiana, Ohio and New Jersey, also had the most opioid-related payments to physicians. In other words, this study showed there’s a direct link between doctors’ payments and patient addiction rates and deaths.
Conflicts of Interest Abound Between Drug Makers and Government
Conflicts of interest that hurt the public also exist between drug companies and the U.S. government. As reported by STAT News,14 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had originally planned on sharing the cost of a $400 million opioid addiction research project with a dozen different drug companies. The goal of the project would be to develop new drug addiction medicines and alternative pain killers.
However, after ethics flags were raised by an advisory panel, the agency made a sudden turnabout, announcing it will not accept drug industry contributions after all. Instead, the project will be exclusively funded by taxpayers. STAT News writes:
“The agency has long pursued such partnerships on disease-specific research … Last year, the NIH announced a separate partnership on cancer immunotherapy, which relies on $55 million in funding from drug companies. On the issue of opioids, however, attitudes appear to be dramatically different — largely due to the role many pharma companies are seen to have played in the opioid crisis.
In its recommendations, the NIH advisory committee specifically cited Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt, two opioid manufacturers currently being sued for their opioid marketing tactics. ‘There’s so much controversy swirling around pharmaceuticals on the opioid issue,’ said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee on health …
Cole and others … also cited the ongoing controversy involving Dr. George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a unit within the NIH. STAT reported this month that Koob had discouraged research on the impact of alcohol marketing after working with beverage industry lobbyists to fund research promoting the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.”
Could Cannabis Curb the Opioid Epidemic?
In related news, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently published an open letter to U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions, in which he urges Sessions to change his stance on cannabis, saying “Not only can cannabis work for a variety of conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and pain, sometimes, it is the only thing that works … It is time for safe and regulated medical marijuana to be made available nationally.”
Gupta cites research from the Rand Corporation, which found a 20 percent decline in opioid overdose deaths in states that had legalized medical marijuana. “[T]hese data suggest that medicinal marijuana could save up to 10,000 lives every year,” he writes. Not only could cannabis treat the pain itself, lowering or eliminating the need for narcotics, but it can also ease symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. There’s also no risk of overdose or death using cannabis.
“[P]erhaps most important, the compounds found in cannabis can heal the diseased addict’s brain, helping them break the cycle of addiction,” Gupta notes, adding, “there is no other known substance that can accomplish all this. If we had to … design a medicine to help lead us out of the opioid epidemic, it would likely look very much like cannabis.”
Gupta also provides an example of an individual who received virtually no pain relief from opioids, taking an estimated 40,000 pills over the course of a decade, who suddenly was nearly pain-free after a single dose of cannabis. Indeed, in addition to underestimating opioid’s addictive potential, the drug’s effectiveness against chronic pain has also been vastly exaggerated, further heightening the potential for addiction. As noted in a 2016 paper by the CDC:15
“Most placebo-controlled, randomized trials of opioids have lasted six weeks or less, and we are aware of no study that has compared opioid therapy with other treatments in terms of long-term (more than 1 year) outcomes related to pain, function, or quality of life.
The few randomized trials to evaluate opioid efficacy for longer than six weeks had consistently poor results. In fact, several studies have showed that use of opioids for chronic pain may actually worsen pain and functioning, possibly by potentiating pain perception …”
Treating Your Pain Without Drugs
With all the health risks associated with opioid painkillers, I strongly urge you to exhaust other options before resorting to these drugs. Following is information about nondrug remedies, dietary changes and bodywork interventions that can help you safely manage your pain.
Medical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic and is now legal in 29 states. You can learn more about the laws in your state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.16
Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a plant remedy that has become a popular opioid substitute.17 In August 2016, the DEA issued a notice saying it was planning to ban kratom, listing it as Schedule 1 controlled substance.
Kratom is safer than an opioid for someone in serious and chronic pain. However, it’s important to recognize that it is a psychoactive substance and should be used with great care. There’s very little research showing how to use it safely and effectively, and it may have a very different effect from one person to the next. The other issue to address is that there are a number of different strains available with different effects.
Also, while it may be useful for weaning people off opioids, kratom is in itself addictive. So, while it appears to be a far safer alternative to opioids, it’s still a powerful and potentially addictive substance. So please, do your own research before trying it.
Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, originally developed in the early 1960s for the treatment of opioid addiction. When taken at very low doses (LDN, available only by prescription), it triggers endorphin production, which can boost your immune function and ease pain.
A primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric, curcumin has been shown in more than 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity. Curcumin is hard to absorb, so best results are achieved with preparations designed to improve absorption. It is very safe and you can take two to three every hour if you need to.
One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known, astaxanthin has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. Higher doses are typically required for pain relief, and you may need 8 milligrams or more per day to achieve results.
Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites, as it worked well for many of my former rheumatoid arthritis patients.
This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider eating some of the pulpy core when you consume the fruit.
Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain.
Cetyl myristoleate (CMO)
This oil, found in dairy butter and fish, acts as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation of CMO to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Evening primrose, black currant and borage oils
These oils contain the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea, or incorporated into fresh vegetable juice.
Dietary Changes to Fight Inflammation and Manage Your Pain
Unfortunately, physicians often fall short when attempting to effectively treat chronic pain, resorting to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs. While these drugs may bring some temporary relief, they will do nothing to resolve the underlying causes of your pain. If you suffer from chronic pain, making the following changes to your diet may bring you some relief.
Consume more animal-based omega-3 fats. Similar to the effects of anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs, omega-3 fats from fish and fish oils work to directly or indirectly modulate a number of cellular activities associated with inflammation. While drugs have a powerful ability to inhibit your body’s pain signals, omega-3s cause a gentle shift in cell signaling to bring about a lessened reactivity to pain.
Eating healthy seafood like anchovies or sardines, which are low in environmental toxins, or taking a high-quality supplement such as krill oil are your best options for obtaining omega-3s. DHA and EPA, the omega-3 oils contained in krill oil, have been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for pain relief.
Radically reduce your intake of processed foods. Processed foods not only contain chemical additives and excessive amounts of sugar, but also are loaded with damaging omega-6 fats. By eating these foods, especially fried foods, you upset your body’s ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty-acids, which triggers inflammation. Inflammation is a key factor in most pain.
Eliminate or radically reduce your consumption of grains and sugars. Avoiding grains and sugars, especially fructose, will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production, which contributes to pain.
While healthy individuals are advised to keep their daily fructose consumption below 25 grams from all sources, you’ll want to limit your intake to 15 grams per day until your pain is reduced. Eating sugar increases your uric acid levels, which leads to chronic, low-level inflammation.
Optimize your production of vitamin D. As much as possible, regulate your vitamin D levels by regularly exposing large amounts of your skin to sunshine. If you cannot get sufficient sun exposure, taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement, along with vitamin K2 and magnesium, is highly advisable. Get your blood level tested to be sure you’re within the therapeutic range of 60 to 80 ng/mL year-round.
Bodywork Methods That Reduce Pain
The following bodywork methods have also demonstrated effectiveness for pain relief and pain management.
• Acupuncture: According to The New York Times,19 an estimated 3 million American adults receive acupuncture annually, most often for the treatment of chronic pain. A study20 published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing back and neck pain, chronic headache, osteoarthritis and shoulder pain — more so than standard pain treatment.
• Chiropractic adjustments: While previously used most often to treat back pain, chiropractic treatment addresses many other problems — including asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines, musculoskeletal pain, neck pain and whiplash. According to a study21 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor and/or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain-free in 12 weeks compared to those who took medication.
• Massage therapy: Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline. A systematic review and meta-analysis22 published in the journal Pain Medicine, included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including bone and muscle, fibromyalgia, headache and spinal-cord pain.
The study revealed massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all. When compared to other pain treatments like acupuncture and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial and had few side effects. In addition to relieving pain, massage therapy also improved anxiety and health-related quality of life.
• Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): EFT continues to be one of the easiest and most effective ways to deal with acute and chronic pain. The technique is simple and can be applied in mere minutes. A study23 published in Energy Psychology examined the levels of pain in a group of 50 people attending a three-day EFT workshop, and found their pain dropped by 43 percent during the workshop.
Six weeks later, their pain levels were reported to be 42 percent lower than before the workshop. As a result of applying EFT, participants felt they had an improved sense of control and ability to cope with their chronic pain. In the video below, EFT expert Julie Schiffman, teaches you how to use EFT to address chronic pain.
Science is only beginning to unravel the importance your gut and oral microbiome have in relationship to your overall health. With nearly 700 microbial species colonizing the hard surfaces of your teeth and soft tissue, your mouth houses the second most diverse microbial community in your body. The complexities of the oral microbiome have given scientists new insights into the role it plays in both health and disease.
Modern-day lifestyle choices may have detrimental consequences allowing disease-promoting bacteria to thrive and trigger health conditions. Effectively balancing your oral microbiome is important to restoring oral health and maintaining good physical health. Oral disease can contribute to diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, just to name a few.
According to Dr. Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, who has over 30 years’ experience in biological dentistry, advanced gum disease can raise your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times.1 If you have a heart attack related to gum disease, nine times out of 10 it will be fatal.
Achieving good oral health is about promoting balance in the bacteria growing in your mouth. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol mouthwashes and antimicrobial agents actually do far more harm than good. Therefore, it’s no great surprise that drinking alcohol can disrupt the oral microbiome, contributing to bad breath (halitosis) and the development of other chronic health conditions.2
Spit Test Demonstrates Alcohol Changes Oral Bacteria
In a previous study, senior investigator Jiyoung Ahn, Ph.D., epidemiologist at the New York University School of Medicine, found types of bacteria in the mouth could influence the development of oral and upper digestive tract cancers. Following this discovery, Ahn and her colleagues moved to investigate the types of diet and lifestyle factors influencing your oral microbiome.3
Gathering a group of over 1,000 healthy individuals between the ages of 55 and 87, researchers included 270 nondrinkers, 614 moderate drinkers and 160 heavy drinkers. Each provided a spit sample with detailed information about other lifestyle habits, such as foods and drinks.4
Laboratory tests were then used to sort and quantify bacteria in each sample, plotting the results to better understand the heaviest bacterial growth found in drinkers compared to nondrinkers. They discovered individuals who drank had more actinomyces, neisseria and bacteroidale species than nondrinkers. Each of these species have a history of causing periodontal disease or reducing the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Participants who also drank cocktails also had fewer lactobacilli, a family bacterial family known to reduce gum inflammation. Researchers found microbial diversity in wine drinkers was different from liquor and beer drinkers. They concluded alcohol consumption may influence oral microbiome composition and will have implications for understanding the potential role bacteria play in alcohol-related diseases.5
On average, those who reported higher levels of alcohol consumption had higher numbers of bacterial colonies known to cause gum disease and halitosis. The researchers theorized the oral microbiome imbalances may be the result of acids found in alcoholic beverages or a buildup of byproducts from the breakdown of alcohol, both making the environment more hostile for certain bacteria.
Oral Microbiome Imbalances Increase Your Risk for Disease
Although connected to your gut microbiome, your oral microbiome is unique. It functions as a protection from deadly viruses and bacteria and the environment, and aids the early stages of digestion. Protection from deadly viruses extends to more than your own health.
Until recently, scientists believed the uterus was a sterile environment. While science has demonstrated unhealthy gums are linked to preterm birth,6 only recently have they discovered an association between the types of microbes found in a mother’s mouth and those found on the placental tissue directly after birth. The microbial species on placental tissue more closely resembled the oral microbiome of the mother than bacteria from her vagina or gut.7
In a recent review8 of the bacterial composition of saliva and periodontal disease, researchers found high levels of Prevotella and Veillonella in the salivary microbiota were associated with poor oral health, including dental caries, periodontitis and poor oral hygiene. The relative abundance of predominant bacteria was also associated with specific health conditions, including poor oral health, high body mass index and old age, suggesting salivary microbiota impact both oral and systemic conditions.
A growing body of evidence suggests several chronic diseases are linked to high levels of inflammation in the body. Periodontal disease, an infection of the tissue supporting your teeth caused by plaque-forming bacteria, is often linked to how well diabetes is under control. Periodontal disease is also linked to the development of:9,10
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a health condition occurring in women of reproductive age. In a meta-analysis of 17 worldwide studies,11 researchers found the pooled prevalence of PMS was nearly 50 percent. France had the lowest prevalence (12 percent), while Iran had the highest (98 percent).
Women with PMS suffer a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue and irritability. For some women the symptoms are severe enough to affect their daily lives. A small number of women suffer disabling symptoms every month, also called premenstrual dysphoric disorder.12 Symptoms occur in a predictable pattern as they are related to a woman’s menstrual cycle.
While the exact cause of PMS is unknown, it is believed two primary factors contribute to the condition: cyclical changes in hormonal levels and chemical neurotransmitter changes in the brain affected by hormonal changes. In a recent study,13 researchers found women who were heavy drinkers had a higher risk of PMS. In this study, researchers found up to 40 percent of women in the U.S. suffer at least moderate symptoms of PMS, starting just after ovulation and lasting approximately 14 days, ending with menstruation.
Dr. Bahi Takkouche, the study’s senior author and professor of preventive medicine at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, analyzed 19 studies of alcohol and PMS, finding the risk for PMS was 45 percent higher when women drank alcohol. Heavy drinkers, defined as those who drank more than one drink per day, were 79 percent more likely to have PMS than nondrinkers.14
Based on the results of their analysis, the researchers estimated 1 in 10 cases of PMS may be related to alcohol intake.15 While the symptoms of PMS may be difficult to manage alone, Takkouche associates PMS with the development of hypertension, and writes:16
“Together with other researchers we believe that alcohol increases PMS risk by altering the level of hormones, such as gonadotropin, during the menstrual cycle. I know of at least one U.S. study, very well designed, that found an increase in the risk of hypertension among women who had suffered PMS, especially among those who had suffered from hypertension before 40 years of age.
We do not pretend to make recommendations on the basis of one study only, even if it is a ‘study of studies’ as ours, we think it would be better to avoid heavy drinking for women who are prone to PMS. I think this disorder should be taken as seriously as any other disease, both by women who suffer from it and by the community of health professionals, part of which disregards this syndrome and considers it a social construct only.”
Alcohol- and PMS-Related Hypertension
A prospective epidemiological study from the University of Massachusetts17 was the first to consider a diagnosis of PMS may represent a future risk for hypertension. Researchers found clinically significant PMS that affects daily life may impact as many as 15 percent of American women. They collected information from over 1,200 women who developed clinically significant PMS and adjusted for a number of factors, including age, weight, cigarette use and postmenopausal hormone use.
They followed the participants for six years, finding those with PMS had a 40 percent greater risk of developing hypertension than those without PMS.18 The authors suggested this risk factor may be modifiable and definitely presents a means of identifying a potential future risk, enabling better early evaluation. The data also revealed women with high dietary intake of thiamin and riboflavin had up to a 35 percent lower risk of developing PMS, thus reducing their overall risk of developing hypertension. The authors write:19
“High total folate intake has previously been associated with a lower risk of hypertension in the NHS2, even after adjustment for intakes of sodium, potassium and vitamin D and for standard hypertension risk factors. Our results are consistent with these findings and suggest that improving B vitamin status in women with PMS might both reduce menstrual symptom severity and lower hypertension risk.”
Your risk of hypertension also rises with your intake of alcohol. A variety of epidemiological and clinical studies have established a connection between hypertension and alcohol intake.20 One mechanism accounting for the development of hypertension may be the loss of endothelial relaxation, oxidative damage and inhibition of nitric oxide production. Limiting your alcohol intake is the first step in the treatment of hypertension.21
You may significantly reduce your risk for hypertension and PMS by eating a diet high in thiamin and riboflavin and reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake. Foods high in thiamin include acorn squash and sunflower seeds.22 Foods high in riboflavin include almonds and spinach.23 Foods high in both thiamin and riboflavin include organic and pasture raised pork, beef and dairy products.
How to Naturally Improve Your Oral Microbiome
Improving the balance of your oral microbiota may help reduce your risk for chronic illness and halitosis (bad breath), often triggered by bacterial growth. The following steps help prevent such disruptions and give your body the tools needed to heal your gums.
Avoid antibacterial mouthwash and fluoridated toothpastes
Both of these products will create an imbalance in your oral bacteria and provide a unique environment where harmful bacteria may flourish.
Improve your oral microbiota
The second highest concentration of vitamin K2 in your body is in your salivary glands, and vitamin K is secreted in saliva. Research24 shows that when vitamin K2 is administered, it reduces bacterial counts in your saliva. Specifically, vitamin K2 reduced the concentration of a bacteria involved in tooth decay, Lactobacillus acidophilus, from a count of 323,000 to 15,000.
This is intriguing, since fermented vegetables, which are loaded with friendly bacteria that improve digestion, alter the flora in your mouth as well. And when made using a special culture, fermented vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin K2. Since the addition of vitamin K2-rich fermented vegetables to my diet, my plaque has decreased by half and is much softer.
Curatola’s clinical and experimental experience over the last 30 years suggests most toothpastes should be avoided.26 A strong nutritional program for systemic health with an oral rinse specifically designed to nourish your oral microbiome is preferable. Oil pulling is an important strategy Curatola recommends, noting: “If you don’t have a good nutritional that promotes oral microbiome homeostasis, coconut oil pulling is great.”
Coconut oil pulling has a lipophilic effect, helping to eliminate unhealthy biofilm from your teeth. And while it has a natural detergent effect, it doesn’t do the damage chemical detergents do. Coconut oil also contains a number of valuable nutrients helping promote oral health. Another tip: If you want a healthy oral care rinse, Curatola suggests rinsing with some Himalayan salt dissolved in water, as it contains more than 85 different microminerals.
While most people brush their teeth every day, the practice of flossing is more frequently overlooked. This is unfortunate, as flossing is perhaps even more important than brushing. It removes bacterial precursors of plaque, which eventually turns into hard tartar that cannot be removed by regular brushing or flossing.
If you’re among those who rarely or never floss, consider adding this practice to your daily routine slowly. If you find it difficult to include in your routine simply floss a single tooth on the first day, two on the second and so forth until by the end of the month you’re flossing your entire mouth every day.
Reduce your net carbs
Digestion of carbohydrates, such as breads, pastas, beans, rice and oats, begins in your mouth with saliva. This increases the amount of sugar deposited in your mouth, feeding harmful bacteria. Focus instead on fresh vegetables, fermented foods and healthy fats such as organic, grass fed meat and dairy products, avocados and coconut oil.
Performance-enhancing drugs were once only found consistently in the athletic world. Athletes were kicked out of performances and Olympic medals stripped when testing revealed they had used drugs giving them a performance boost over their competitors. Today, students and adults in the workplace are seeking out similar drugs to enhance their productivity.
The documentary “Take Your Pills,” a trailer for which is included above, tells the story of adults taking prescription stimulants and the dependence these drugs are triggering. Produced by Christina Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, the film explores the fine line between using prescription medications for an undiagnosed medical condition and using street drugs to obtain the same results.
One of these drugs is Adderall, a medication often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).1 The drug is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine belonging to a class of drugs known as stimulants. The drug is used to treat children with ADHD who have low levels of neurotransmitters needed to stimulate the brain and people suffering from narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder characterized by extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever the sufferer finds themselves in a relaxed environment.
However, Adderall is an addictive prescription drug with effects on the brain similar to cocaine. Over time, habitual use increases tolerance and the user is unable to function normally without it.2 While it has demonstrated positive short-term use in children suffering from ADHD, as a performance-enhancing drug, it has the same negative effects on health and life as any other addictive drug.
Adderall Sold for More than ADHD
Cramming for final exams, in an environment where the workload appears endless, college students may seek a quick fix to help them power through their studies and remain alert for more hours than the body was meant to be awake. Prescription medications like Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse have become increasingly popular on college campuses.
Sean McCabe, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center, comments,3 “Our biggest concern … is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade.” While some reviews of the documentary believe the film is filled with propaganda, featuring only people who make poor choices,4 research has documented a rising number of students using Adderall and other stimulants over the past decade, calling them “study drugs.”
More than 90 percent of users claim they use the drugs to increase their ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.5 In fact, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health6 report found full-time college students younger than 22 were twice as likely as their counterparts who were not full-time college students to use Adderall nonmedically in the past year. Nonmedical use of Adderall was almost three times higher than the use of nonmedical marijuana and eight times higher than the use of cocaine.
As the potential for drug dependence or abuse is high, this is a significant public health concern. The report also found some students who took nonmedical Adderall also used central nervous system depressants to counteract the stimulant effect, which increases their risk of dependence or abuse.7 In many cases the central nervous depressant used was alcohol.
Although the numbers of students who use Adderall for nonmedical purposes vary significantly by school, the greatest proportion of users were found at private universities. Some researchers have estimated nearly 30 percent of all college students are using stimulants nonmedically.8 While all students interviewed recognized these stimulants are illegal, they believe they’re taking them to become more productive in class and to stay competitive.
In 2008, researchers interviewed 1,800 college students9 and discovered 81 percent thought illicit use of ADHD medication was not dangerous as it helped them stay focused and become more efficient. However, Adderall is a Schedule II drug, right next to cocaine, methamphetamine and morphine on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) list of scheduled controlled substances. As defined by the DEA:10
“Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous.”
Women at Greater Risk
ADHD was originally diagnosed primarily as a pediatric condition. However, the number of adults who have been prescribed medication to treat the disorder increased by 90 percent from 2002 to 2005.11 Interestingly, adults received one-third of all prescriptions prescribed for ADHD in 2006, with Adderall being the most widely prescribed in both children and adults. Despite Schedule II restrictions, illegal use became increasingly popular during the late 1990s on college campuses.
Millennials were the first generation to be prescribed Adderall for ADHD and the first to misuse and abuse the drug in high schools and colleges. In 2012, stimulant drugs were second only behind marijuana in colleges.12 American workers testing positive for amphetamine use increased by nearly 44 percent in a short four-year period leading up to 2015.13
In the years between 2003 and 2015, a sample of more than 4 million women per year found prescription rates for ADHD drugs sharply increased in all age groups. However, they rose most steeply, by nearly 700 percent, in women between ages 25 and 29. The shocking rate of increase continued in women between 30 and 34 with a 560 percent rise in prescription rates.14
The report also broke the prescription rate down by region, finding the largest increases in the southern and western U.S. states. The rate of new ADHD diagnosis has outstripped the estimated prevalence of the disorder. As the first line of treatment is almost always a prescription for stimulant medication, this recent study questions changes in diagnostic guidelines and the diagnosis of adult onset ADHD, when symptoms emerged well after adolescence.
Lead author of the study, Margaret Sibley, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral health at Florida International University, commented:15
“If adult symptoms are being reported by patients, it shouldn’t necessarily be immediately classified as ADHD. A more careful evaluation often finds that there’s something else causing the problems, like depression or drug use — which is what we found.”
The Cost of Material Progress and Productivity
Rising rates of addiction to ADHD prescription medications may be the price paid for the struggle to attain material progress and greater productivity in the workplace. Unfortunately, women continue to suffer higher levels of work-related stress, anxiety and depression than do men, likely the result of balancing workplace and home responsibilities.16 This pressure often peaks between ages 35 and 44 when women are juggling additional responsibilities, such as caring for their children and/or aging parents.
Attempting to stay plugged in to both work and family, women continue to bear a heavier burden, according to a Pew Research Center survey.17 Among parents with at least some work experience, women with children under 18 were three times more likely as their fathers to say being a parent made it more difficult for them to advance in their career.
Government economic data18 backs up the survey results, showing women start their careers near parity with men but struggle to keep pace in wages as they begin to juggle work and family life.
Cognitive Enhancement Is Perceived and Likely Not Actual
Although college students and adults in the workplace believe psychostimulants like Adderall and Ritalin will help improve cognitive abilities, the empirical literature has demonstrated very little conclusive evidence.19 The possibility for this discrepancy may in part be explained by the increased motivation a user experiences, rather than an actual improvement in cognitive performance.
Thus, a user perceives an increased effect of energy and motivation and reports this as an improvement in cognition and productivity. Literature analysis demonstrates the use of amphetamines has little effect on executive function and learning in normal healthy young adults.20 Laboratory evidence also suggests that while these medications may enhance motivation-related processes, the cognitive benefit is a subjective perception at best.
Your Brain on Adderall
In children with ADHD, Adderall and Ritalin help control a biochemical imbalance. However, without ADHD, the amygdala, the part of your brain controlling emotions and aggression, may become overactive and lead to an increase in dopamine levels. It is vital to understand Adderall is a prescription name for amphetamines. The ingredients in Adderall include dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate and amphetamine sulfate.21
These ingredients are commonly found in other prescription stimulant drugs as well, including dexedrine and Ritalin. The difference between Adderall and methamphetamine is one methyl structure, which means the two drugs are chemically very similar and may trigger many of the same symptoms.22
Both Adderall and methamphetamine produce a rush of neurotransmitters, stimulating the body and mind. In an experiment using lab animals,23 researchers found sex increases dopamine levels in the brain from baseline by 100 to 200 units; cocaine increased it to 350 units; but methamphetamine increased dopamine levels approximately 1,250 units or nearly 12 times as much as you normally get from food or sex. Richard Rawson, associate director of UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Program, explains:24
“This really doesn’t occur from any normally rewarding activity. That’s one of the reasons why people, when they take methamphetamine, report having this euphoric [feeling] that’s unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.”
However, amphetamines may ultimately result in severe depression, mood dysregulation and violent behavior. In one study,25 47 percent of the sample committed a violent crime and half of those associated their violence with amphetamine use; 62 percent of the sample reported ongoing problems with aggression related to their amphetamine use.
People who have ADHD normally have lower levels of dopamine in their brain, so Adderall releases dopamine to what would be considered a normal level. However, people without ADHD will experience a sudden surge resulting in a high and euphoria, sometimes accompanied by anxiety, psychosis and schizophrenia.26 Even in people who have no previous history of psychiatric problems, the use of Adderall for nonmedical reasons may trigger a psychotic or depressive episode.27
How You Can Improve Productivity Without Drugs
People have been searching for a magic pill to enhance performance and enable achievement greater than is humanly possible for decades. However, it is critical to understand each decision has a significant impact on your health and your longevity. The attitudes of some parents, students, college administrators and law enforcement officers toward Adderall abuse may have been ambivalent in years past, as the drug has been used for studying and assumed to be little more than a boost of caffeine.
However, misuse and abuse have resulted in a rise in emergency room visits for sleep disruption, mental health problems and high blood pressure.28 There are several options you can consider to improve your productivity without using performance-enhancing drugs.
Reduce electromagnetic field exposure
Although wireless technology has improved our ability to communicate quickly, heavy exposure is likely leading to ill health. A number of devices, kept close to your body on a regular basis, are negatively impacting mitochondria, the power plants in your cells which provide your cells, and thus your body, with energy.
While sugar may give you a quick energy boost, in the long run you’ll experience a greater loss of motivation and energy. Instead, use nutritional ketosis to create a healthier long-term energy supply for your body, burn fuel more efficiently and produce ketones, which help your brain to work more efficiently.
In the search for greater energy and more motivation, remember the importance of getting adequate amounts of quality sleep. Certain regions of your brain continue to function while sleep deprived, but those controlling memory, learning and logic are impaired.
Lack of sleep from taking stimulants to stay awake longer actually reduces your productivity. It is better to plan to get at least seven hours of quality sleep a night to improve your ability to achieve your goals. Read more about what lack of sleep does to your brain in my previous article.
Reduce anxiety and depression
As you reduce anxiety and depression, your levels of energy and motivation will rise, thus improving your ability to get more done in a shorter amount of time. For optimal health you’ll need effective stress relieving tools.
One of my favorites is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), developed in the 1990s by a Stanford engineer specializing in healing and self-improvement. It’s based on some of the same concepts as acupuncture, which means you don’t have to believe it will work to enjoy the benefits. Julie Schiffman describes how to use EFT for stress release in the video below.
Your body can only function on the food you feed it. This means if you are attempting to fuel your cells with soda, chips and vending machine food, you’ll likely experience the effects in lower energy levels, higher risk for colds and reduced mood and motivation.
When your objective is to do more in less time you must give your body the fuel it requires to do the task well. My previous article, “The Clinical Use of Nutritional Ketosis” describes why switching to a diet high in high-quality fats will help improve your health and your ability to work harder and longer.
Exercise and movement
Research demonstrates exercise and movement increase your energy levels, improve your health, help you sleep better, improve your insulin resistance and boost creativity. Each of these factors are important for increasing your efficiency and productivity without the use of drugs.
A simple 30-minute daily workout and movement every 15 minutes to break up periods of sitting will help your brain stay focused and productive without the risks associated with amphetamines.
Most mothers know just how hard it is to resist cravings during pregnancy, and while it’s okay to give in every now and then (I mean seriously, chocolate chip cookies are awesome), it’s important to consider the health of your little one.
While you should increase your food intake during pregnancy to ensure both you and the baby are getting the nutrients you need, this does not mean you should eat whatever you want.
One woman on Baby Center begged for advice on how to limit her junk food intake. One member said:
My first pregnancy I also craved junk food the entire time! Very not healthy and I ended up with edema and other problems causing me to have to be in the hospital for weeks and to deliver a month early. I would recommend that when you get a craving satisfy it in small doses. If you feel like pizza eat a slice or two, not the whole pie. If you are craving a burger or those yummy fast food fries get a small order not a supersize one. Everything’s okay in moderation so don’t beat up on yourself. I’m 6 wks pg now and I keep healthy snacks around and eat them before I get real hungry. So far that’s helped stave off the cravings. I’m also less tempted to hit the drive thrus when my kitchen is stocked at home. Just remember it will be over eventually…
This is great advice, but from reading further I realized that most mothers were inquiring because they were concerned about weight gain, not the effects these foods have on their baby.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “you are what you eat,” but have you ever thought of it this way — “Your child is what you eat“?
The campaign, created for the Brazilian Pediatric Society of Rio Grande, SPRS, was made to highlight how a woman’s nutrition during pregnancy can have lasting effects on her child’s health.
In a report published in the journal Genome Biology, researchers searched the genome to determine how outside influences such as diet, nutrition, and environmental exposures affect a developing fetus.
By focusing on a specific variant in a gene involved in suppressing tumours, asssociate professor of pediatrics and molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, Robert Waterland and his team found that healthy diets of pregnant mothers can result in babies developing a gene variant that protects against cancer.
Each advert states:
“Your habits in the first thousand days of gestation can prevent your child from developing serious diseases.”
“At least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day, including fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit and vegetables, and no more than one 150ml glass of 100% unsweetened juice,” suggest NHS.
Another study published in The FASEB Journal, led by Bev Mühlhäusler and completed by the University of Adelaide, suggests that “moms-to-be who eat junk food during their pregnancies have already programmed their babies to be addicted to a high fat, high sugar diet by the time they are weaned.” They found “from laboratory studies that a junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation desensitized the normal reward system fueled by these highly palatable foods.”
Bev Mühlhäusler reminds mothers and mothers-to-be that this information isn’t meant to scare those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding but to inform them of the possibly dangerous outcomes junk food has on their bodies and the bodies of their babies:
The take-home message for women is that eating large amounts of junk food during pregnancy and while breastfeeding will have long-term consequences for their child’s preference for these foods, which will ultimately have negative effects on their health.
It’s important to monitor the state of your child while breastfeeding. You may find that certain foods cause a reaction, or that when you are pregnant, you can’t seem to keep down the same foods you always craved and enjoyed.
Pregnancy can be a miraculous phase in a woman’s life and offers many opportunities for self improvement. It demands that you become more self-aware and more considerate, because your decisions are no longer just about you — they are about your little loved one, too.
“Love and affection are vital, but it is important to educate and inform mothers about the procedures necessary for proper nutrition and baby care.”
– From the SPRS website discussing the first thousand days of a baby’s life.
Doc 176 (click on the link for the doc) STANDING DUE PRAECIPE, DECLARATIONS OF DUE CAUSE AND COMMAND TO FORTHWITH COMPLY, AND WITH NOTICE OF INTENT TO ORDER FINAL CALL ON ALL LEDGERS, WITH IMMEDIATE CLOSURES.
Doc 175 (click on the link for the doc) LIMITED DUE ACCEPTANCE FOR SOLE PURPOSE OF EVIDENCE OF ACTS OF DONE BY FOREIGN AGENTS AND FOREIGN ACTORS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO CORRUPTION, SUBVERSION, COLLUSION, FRAUD, TREASON, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, SLAVERY, BREACH OF THE PEACE, AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES. This document is the transcript of the January 23, 2018 Jury hearing, which was missing from the official record.
Doc 176 had an error upon filing yesterday, was a duplicate of Doc 175, but elbow counsel quickly corrected that once we notified him of the error. We don’t know the cause of the error (court clerk?) but the important thing is that it was fixed promptly.
Doc 174 and Doc 173 were filed earlier. Doc 174 is Transcript of the DC Removal Hearing which was not on the Knoxville record. Doc 173 is the Tennessee Grand Jury Testimony of Parker Still along with the FBI 302s.
Heather sent me this note below this morning, I’m posting these accounts as we track the odd little things in the Knox County Jail so there’s a record in public view. The women seemed to get locked down a lot more than the men. When there’s a shortage of male guards, the female guards are moved into control console positions and the male guards are moved into the male side of the prisons. The female inmates are locked down during this for days at a time, due to “lack of staff”. The resigning female guards quit and the reasons they give to inamtes are they don’t like how they are told to treat the female prisoners. So this staff shortage is management attitude issue.
Just because someone has a colored jumpsuit doesn’t suddenly make them non-human. There are plenty of people in there who shouldn’t be in there at all. Tennessee is an ostensibly Christian state, and the scriptures remind its believers to treat prisoners the same way they’d treat Jesus. Prisoners, widows, orphans are all to be treated with respect. A human being is known by how they treat those in unfortunate circumstances.
Heather remains in good cheer, as always, in face of continual lock downs, random searches of her cell, and missing email communications. She knows this will be resolved, one way or another. As it flows.
To: William Ferguson From: 1369008: HEATHER TUCCI-JARRAF Subject: today’s funny Date: 5/7/2018 8:16:24 PM
soooooooo……. our cell has been searched twice in a week, plus another check by corp. thornbury… a supervisor and officer osterman tossed it the night before last… and i was told officer osterman was hand picked to search my cell with the supervisor (not sure if he was a corp, lt. , sgt. , etc. ), although the inmates reported that it was the supervisor doing the cell search, while osterman stood at the door, lol
cell searches are supposed to be random
my cellmate, amber, came back to our cell at lockdown tonight reporting that she was up at the desk while the new pod officer was speaking with inmates about cell searches and how they were random… amber, asked why we were searched twice in less than two weeks if it was supposed to be random….pod officer laughed and said that was because they are trying to catch me with things i shouldn’t have… she asked how amber liked having me as a cellmate, and she told her i was awesome (i think amber is still overjoyed because she kicked me bum in our most recent UNO tourney lol! )…pod officer apparently responded that i seem pretty cool
when amber recounted all to me, i told her i am aware of the “facilities” orders they have been given (and the exposures that results/resulted for them in re to dirty fbi, doj, varlan, etc. , from our sting operation… and other past instances… to their already existing corruption and fraud)… i told amber if they find anything, it’s because the facility’s employees will have planted it… i search my cells multiple times a day (unless we have been in lockdown), especialy when i have cellmates… no offense to my cellmates… “awareness” is the best form of prevention for everyone! ?
this was same day, and right after, “women inmates’ discrimination class action lawsuits discussion”
bye-bye “prison bonds”!…. and my condolences to china, the largest prison bond buyer ? ? love all… all love3> ?