Ketamine works great for depression and other conditions, and costs $10/dose; the new FDA-approved "ketamine" performs badly in trials and costs a fortune

Ketamine is a sedative first synthesized in 1962; its patents have long elapsed and it costs pennies; it has many uses and is also sold illegally for use as a recreational drug, but in recent years it has been used with remarkable efficacy as a treatment for a variety of disorders, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain (I have lifelong chronic pain and my specialist has prescribed very low doses of it for me at bedtime). Read the rest

A detailed analysis of American ER bills reveals rampant, impossible-to-avoid price-gouging

For more than a year, Vox's Sarah Kliff has been investigating hospital price-gouging in America, collecting hospital bills from her readers and comparing them, chasing up anomalies and pulling on threads, producing a stream of outstanding reports on her findings. Read the rest

New York public school lunch program will have "Meatless Mondays"

Next year, New York City public schools will initiate "Meatless Mondays" as part of their lunch program. Students will be served all vegetarian food for breakfast and lunch. (Note: photo above for illustrative purposes only. Not representative of actual school cafeteria menu.) From CNN:

"Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers' health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," de Blasio said at a news conference. "We're expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come..."

School leaders in New York said doing this just makes good sense.

"For those who scoff at this notion, I have some simple advice: Look at the science," Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said. "Look at the data. Look at the childhood obesity. Look at pre-diabetes diagnoses. Look at the fact that 65% of American kids age 12 to14 shows signs of early cholesterol disease. Then, perhaps you will embrace the fact that we can't keep doing things the same way, including welcoming the idea of Meatless Mondays."

Read the rest

One company bought all the retail outlets for glasses, used that to force sales of all the eyewear companies and jacked up prices by as much as 1000%

If you wear glasses, you might have noticed that they've been getting steadily more expensive in recent years, no matter which brand you buy and no matter where you shop. Read the rest

"Catching up" on lost sleep may actually do more harm than good

Sleeping late on weekends not only won't help much when it comes to your sleep debt from the week, it can also lead to weight gain, insulin sensitivity, and nighttime hunger. University of Colorado Boulder sleep physiologist Christopher Depner ran a study involving young adults who were assigned different sleep regimens over a two week period, including a group of "weekend recovery sleepers." They report their results in the scientific journal Current Biology. From Science News:

Lack of sleep disrupts appetite-controlling hormones such as leptin, Depner says. And shifts in the weekend sleepers’ natural biological clocks to later hours caused them to get hungry later. During the workweeks, both groups consumed roughly 400 to 650 Calories in late-night snacks, such as pretzels, yogurt and potato chips. By the end of the experiment, people in both groups had gained on average around 1.5 kilograms.

But when it came to insulin sensitivity, the two groups diverged. Sensitivity across all body tissues in the weekend recovery group dropped around 27 percent, compared with their baseline sensitivity measured at the start of the experiment. That was substantially worse than the 13 percent decline in those who consistently had little sleep. And the weekend sleepers were the only ones to have significant declines in liver and muscle cells — both important for food digestion — after a weekend of trying to catch up on sleep....

Peter Liu, a sleep endocrinologist at UCLA, questions whether these results are broadly applicable, especially in people who are chronically sleep deprived.

Read the rest

Rep Pramila Jayapal's Medicare For All Act fixes America's dire and broken health-care system; take action to support it now!

Pramila Jayapal [D-WA] has introduced the Medicare for All Act, which mandates comprehensive health-care reform so that Americans can enjoy the same basic right to high-quality health care that the people in every other developed nation have had for decades, while ending the cream-skimming and price-gouging created by America's fragmented system, which is a gift to grifters and middlemen, but which leaves patients and medical professionals mired in needless expense and bureaucracy, a system so byzantine and inefficient that it would be vastly cheaper to simply give away health care than continue to charge for it. I have lived under Canadian and British socialized medicine, and currently use US private insurance. The US system is much, much worse in every conceivable way. Write to your Congressperson today and demand that they support this bill! Read the rest

FDA warns against robotic surgery for breast cancer, cervical cancer, & other women's cancers

The United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Thursday about the use of surgical robots in breast cancer surgery. FDA says that use of the robotic medical devices in mastectomy, lumpectomy, and related surgery because of "preliminary" evidence that it may be linked to lower long-term survival. . Read the rest

Small number of Facebook Pages did 46% of top 10,000 posts for or against vaccines

About 20% of the total posts were found to have been generated by seven anti-vax Pages.

Pizza a healthier breakfast than sugary cereals

Not a surprise: cheese, tomato, flour, water, salt, olive oil and yeast do not really bake up a health risk. Boxes of sugar and corn on the other hand?

Delish:

Pizza for breakfast is an American classic. Whether it's cold and taken straight from the box or served after an early morning reheat, it's basically a delicacy all on its own. However, I've never characterized the tradition in any way, shape, or form as healthy. In fact, I'm pretty sure I haven't ever heard 'pizza' and 'healthy' in the same sentence...until now. According to New York-based nutritionist Chelsey Amer, a cheesy, greasy, carb-filled slice is better for you than your favorite breakfast cereal. So, I guess it's time for us all to rethink our a.m. eating habits—and to celebrate.

Amer credits the high sugar content in most cereals for its poor reputation, while The Daily Meal adds the lack of protein and healthy fats are contributing to its "nutritionally bleak" standing. "You may be surprised to find out that an average slice of pizza and a bowl of cereal with whole milk contain nearly the same amount of calories," Amer told the site. "However, pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning."

While it still might be a little far-fetched to call your early morning pizza indulgence a healthy option, it's definitely healthier. That counts for something, right!? Amer does credit its protein content and admits, "a slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar than most cold cereals, so you will not experience a quick sugar crash."

That's not to say all pizzas, or cereals, are create equal.

Read the rest

Study tracking people who ate zombie deer meat found no ill-effects, so far

Zombie deer disease is a clicktastic term for chronic wasting disease, a spongiform ecephalopathy suffered by ungulates. Much like Mad Cow Disease, Scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob's disease in humans, misfolded proteins slowly destroy the brain, causing listlessness, discoordination, dementia and finally death. Now, what if you were to eat Zombie Deer?

On March 13, 2005, a fire company in Oneida County, New York, fed the meat of a deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease to 200 to 250 people. The company didn't know the meat was from a diseased deer. Laboratory tests for one of the deer served came back positive for CWD later. ... in a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Public Health, researchers found the group had "no significant changes in health conditions."

The only significant outcome of eating Zombie Deer is subsequently "eating less venison." Read the rest

Wife of top Trump official cheers return of measles

'Bring back our #ChildhoodDiseases.' Ugh.

After promising health care execs that Medicare for All was dead, Pelosi's team plans toothless pharma deal

If there's one issue that the Democrats could win votes with, it's limits on pharmaceutical prices, because virtually every American agrees that we're being ripped off by Big Pharma (and that goes double for Obama Democrat voters who switched to being Trump voters in 2016). Read the rest

Instagram to blur self-harm images after Molly Russell's suicide

Molly Russell, 14, took her life in November 2017.

An enlarged prostate could prevent tumors from growing

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, prostate cancer is a leading cause of death for men in the US. Men who have benign prostatic hyperplasia, which causes their prostate to grow, often take medication or get surgery to reduce the size of it. But a new study reveals that "it might be a bad idea to downsize an enlarged prostate through surgery or drugs," says a press release from Purdue University, "because doing so could lead to faster growth of prostate cancer."

Computer simulations of patient data offer a possible explanation of why an enlarged prostate might be a lifesaver: because a prostate can only grow so much within a confined space, force accumulates and puts pressure on the tumor, effectively keeping it small.

"It's already known that forces and stresses have an impact on tumor growth, and that patients with enlarged prostates tend to have slower cancer growth, but it wasn't known why," said Hector Gomez, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, who builds models and simulations for understanding tumor growth, cellular migration and blood flow.

Image: Computer simulations show for the first time that when a patient has a history of an enlarged prostate, tumors in the prostate barely grow at all. University of Pavia/Guillermo Lorenzo Read the rest

Pacific Northwest measles outbreak: "like taking a pail of gasoline and throwing a lighted match into it"

Failure to vaccinate can cause death. Maybe not killing your own child, tho it is not unlikely, the awful decision to not vaccinate puts at risk all the people who for good reasons can not get the shot.

Snohomish County rocks.

MyNorthWest:

“It’s like taking a pail of gasoline and throwing a lighted match into it. I have some concerns that this is going to get worse before it gets better,” said Clark County Public Health Director Alan Melnick.

Melnick said there are now 25 confirmed measles cases and 12 suspected cases in Clark County. The majority are kids younger than 10.

At least 21 people with the disease never got the MMR vaccine. The other four cases are unverified.

“What people don’t realize about measles is how contagious it is,” said Lawrence Neville, PeaceHealth Southwest Chief Medical Officer. “It’s spread by airborne droplets and that’s why the very air can be infectious for up to two hours later after someone infected with measles is in that vicinity.”

Miranda Smith said she’s frustrated by the outbreak. She has three young kids.

“It’s their lives on the line, honestly. If they’re not vaccinated and something like this happens, then what am I going to do to save them?” she said.

Washington State Department of Health statistics show Clark County has the sixth lowest immunization rate in the state.

“I’d hardly be surprised if we see more cases that are outside of Clark County,” Melnick

said.

The CDC’s immunization recommendation is 90 percent.

Read the rest

Turns out that injecting semen into your arm doesn't cure back pain after all

A man in Ireland repeatedly injected semen into his arm in the hopes that it would cure his back pain. He instead got a subcutaneous abcess and had to get professional help. [via Gizmodo]

Drs. Dunne, Murphy and Rutledge report:

A 33 year old male was seen complaining of severe, sudden onset lower back pain. He reported lifting a heavy steel object 3 days prior and his symptoms had progressed ever since. This gentleman had a history of chronic low back pain without neurology. Thorough physical exam of the upper and lower limbs revealed an erythematous papule with a central focus on the medial aspect of his right upper limb. His ASIA score for neurology was normal and non-contributory. The patient disclosed that he had intravenously injected his own semen as an innovative method to treat back pain. He had devised this “cure” independent of any medical advice. ... The case also demonstrates the risks involved with medical experimentation prior to extensive clinical research in the form of phased trials inclusive of safety and efficacy assessments.

Read the rest

This TARDIS Grows Weed With Artificial Intelligence

Editor's Note: Richard Metzger is a connoisseur of cannabis, and recently started growing his own. He's test-driving high-end rig good for small-scale grows from Cloudponics. This is not a sponsored post, Boing Boing is not getting anything from Cloudponics. Metzger's just really *that* enthusiastic about weed, and spoiler alert, so far he likes the Cloudponics setup. Here's an early photo from the grow, and the first installment of Richard's ongoing lab notes. — Xeni

I am a 53-year-old wake-n-bake stoner and I've been high since 1979.

Leaving much of that, er, loaded statement aside (and yes, as a definitive study of one, I do plan to leave my body to science) think of all the money I've spent staying massively stoned since I was fourteen. At approximately $20 a day over 365 days per annum ($7300) for 39 years that comes to $284,700 but do consider that I had to make nearly twice that and pay tax on that income before I could spend it on herb. Money doesn't grow on trees, of course, but there was a time not all that long ago when an ounce of pot and an ounce of gold were the exact same price, for a little perspective. Read the rest

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