Far Out! Worms May Dose Mice With Cannabinoids to Kill the Pain

The next time you’ve got something to complain about, consider the plight of the intestinal worm. It not only has to figure out how to eat and breed in the confines of another creature, it has to prevent that creature’s body from dissolving the parasite into a mist of cells. That means dodging the immune system and rednes, the body’s natural responses to invasion. Meaning, your late car payment ain’t got nothing on spending your entire life in an intestine.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have found that one nematode worm, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, appears to boost its odds of survival by dosing its rodent hosts with endocannabinoids, molecules that are known to reduce inflammation.( The cannabis plant, of course, creates cannabinoids as well .) All the while, the host is releasing its own endocannabinoids, seemingly to dull the ache of the worm’s infiltration, creating a doubled dose of painkillers in the mouse’s body.

It’s a hell of a finding for parasitology, and even more promising for the treatment of parasitic worms in humen. Because it turns out that the same genes regulate endocannabinoids in our invaders as in the worms that infect rodents–meaning they could be dosing us as well.

The endocannabinoid system is highly “conserved, ” meaning it evolved long, long ago before the ancestors of these worms and mouse ran their separate routes on the tree of the life. Science is just beginning to explore the system, but it appears to have many functions: It regulates appetite, mood, and memory and serves as the landing strip of kinds for molecules from the cannabis plant.

Now, a mouse loaded with Nippostrongylus brasiliensis is an unfortunate mouse indeed. The parasite gets in by burrowing through the skin, then riding in the bloodstream to the heart. From there it’s pumped to the lungs( the first stop for blood, since the body needs to oxygenate it ), where the worm grows and burrows into tissue, leading to inflammation and damage. The mouse will then cough up the worm and swallow it. The parasite travelings to the intestines, where it gnaws on tissue, breeds and releases its eggs to be pooped out and hatch into newborn worms and infect still more mice.

This is all, of course , not great for the mouse’s body. But the mouse is far from defenseless. “Endocannabinoids affect the immune system, they down-regulate inflammation, they improve feeding, and they can reduce pain, ” says UC Riverside immunologist Meera Nair. “That’s why cannabis is used to treat cancer.” By adding its own endocannabinoids to the mix, the worm may be further relieving pain and rednes. Both parties are doing what’s best for their survival, and just so happen to be using the same weapon. “I call it a local high, ” says Nair.

By using drugs to block the endocannabinoid pathways in mouse, the researchers were able to hobble the rodents’ defenses. Conversely, mouse with functioning endocannabinoid systems were healthier. “We insured that the mouse with higher endocannabinoids, we could predict that they would be better off in terms of having lower worm burdens and lower weight loss, ” says Nair. Endocannabinoids, after all, are also useful in that they promote feeding. Meaning, the rodents are both hampering the success of the worms and keeping themselves from wasting away as the worms feed. At the moment, though, the researchers can’t say if the worm’s own endocannabinoids are having an effect on feeding, or if that’s only a function of the mouse’s own response to infection.

Another unanswered question is what the endocannabinoids might be doing to the worm’s behavior. Scientists have shown that the same cannabinoids at play between Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and the mouse severely affect the behavior of C. elegans, a nonparasitic worm. Oddly, though, “when we treat them with cannabinoids, they stop feeding, ” says biologist Rick Komuniecki of the University of Toledo. “It’s not really paralysis, it’s what we bellow locomotory confusion. They exhibit this really Dazed and Confused phenotype. It’s Matthew McConaughey revisited.”( Ideally, for this research Komuniecki could use his “worm bong, ” a custom-made hookah that would made the worms with cooled cannabis smoke, but the drug is still illegal in Ohio. So he applies purified cannabinoids directly instead .)

The cannabinoids may make the worms stop feeding, but only temporarily. “We get thinking about the munchies, ” says Komuniecki. “When we take them off the cannabinoids, they start eating like crazy, which is essentially what happens when somebody smokes marijuana. They don’t necessarily get the munchies while they’re smoking, they get the munchies after they smoke.”

How this kind of behavioral modification might work between Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and the mouse, however, isn’t as clear. Again, C. elegans is nonparasitic, so it’s got a much different lifestyle. But the work on C. elegans shows that cannabinoids can have significant behavioral impacts on worms.

The same various kinds of chemical warfare between worm and host may be playing out in our bellies as well. It turns out that the parasitic hookworms and roundworms that infect us share the genes that govern endocannabinoids in Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. So there’s a solid opportunity that worms that land in our intestine are also dosing us with endocannabinoids, a finding that could be big for medication. “If we figure out what it’s doing in the worm, we can try to see whether we could target those pathways in the worms, and it could make a new generation of therapeutics to treat worm infections, ” says Nair.

Researchers are already studying something called helminthic therapy–using parasitic worms to potentially treat ailments like celiac disease–though the mechanism of action remains mysterious. But maybe the endocannabinoid system is playing a part? “This might be the missing link of how worms can reduce inflammation, ” says Nair. “It’s not the only pathway, but it might be one mechanism, and we could actually target that for therapeutics against inflammatory diseases.”

Cannabis itself may also be a useful therapy. The Aka people of the Congo Basin, for instance, seem to use cannabis to self-medicate against worms. “The people who smoked more pot had fewer worm onus, ” says Nair. The cannabis, then, may be boosting the protective immune response against the worms.

Oddly enough, University of New Mexico biologist Ben Hanelt also found this correlation among people living in the Lake Victoria Basin, but never published his findings. He was collecting stool samples in search of the eggs of parasitic worms. “There were some individuals that, when we got eggs from them, they absolutely never hatched, ” Hanelt says. He observed that the people with worm eggs that never hatched had something in common: They all smoked pot.

So it may well be that cannabis could supercharge the body’s own defenses against parasitic worms. “If you’re ever pulled over, ” Hanelt says, “you can just tell the cops:’ I’m self-medicating! ’” I’m sure that would stand up in court.”


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Human fees world’s hottest chilli pepper- and objective up in hospital

Carolina Reaper appears to have constricted the arteries in the competitive eaters brain, causing a series of thunderclap headaches

A man who took part in a chilli pepper eating contest objective up with more than he bargained for when he took on the hottest pepper in the world.

After feeing a Carolina Reaper pepper, the 34 -year-old started dry heaving before developing a ache in his neck that was transformed into a series of thunderclap headaches: sudden and serious episodes of excruciating pain that peak within a minute.

The Carolina Reaper, which can top 2.2 m on the Scoville heat scale, was the world’s hottest pepper at the time of the incident in 2016- although new breeds called Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath have since reportedly outshone it.

The details, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, disclose the ache was so terrible the man went to the emergency room at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, a village in New York State.

“[ A thunderclap headache] lasts for a few minutes and it might be associated with dry-heaving, nausea, vomiting- and then it gets better on its own. But it maintains coming back ,” said Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, a co-author of the report, adding that thunderclap headaches can be caused by a number of problems including bleeding inside the brain or blood clots.

CT and MRI scans of the man’s brain were taken but proved nothing out of the ordinary. What’s more, the man did not report having any speech or vision problems.

But when the medical squad tried another type of CT scan designed to look at the blood vessels in the brain, they had a surprise. A number of arteries in the brain had constricted, and as a result the team decided it was a condition known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction disorder( RCVS ), which probably caused the thunderclap headache. The diagnosis was backed up by a scan five weeks later demonstrating the arteries had returned to normal. In rare cases, said Gunasekaran, RCVS can cause a stroke.

While such narrowing of the blood vessels can be triggered by certain drugs or narcotics, the team found nothing of the kind when they screened the man’s urine. Instead, they say, it will probably the Carolina Reaper was to blame.

It’s not the first time chilli peppers have triggered serious repercussions.

” Actually, when we were looking at the literature we find a couple of cases similar to our case ,” said Gunasekaran.

Weight-loss pills made from another type of chilli pepper are believed to have caused a heart attack in a 25 -year-old man by triggering a sudden narrowing of the coronary artery, and a 33 -year-old man died from a heart attack after eating a super-hot sauce he had cooked up from homegrown chillies.

In 2016 a 47 -year-old man had a brush with death after he tore his oesophagus by upchuck and straining after feeing pureed ghost pepper.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Forget the headlines – the best diet is the one that works for you | Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz

Do whole grains avoid diabetes? Is moderate drinking good or bad for you? Nutritional studies are more complex than you are told

There’s a news cycle that we have all become attuned to. It’s what has led various publications to conclude that broccoli is both cause and avoiding cancer, that chocolate is a weight-loss food and a diet murderer, and that diet soft drink, against all odds, are causing people to gain weight.

This is the world of nutritional epidemiology. And it is complex.

Most recently we’ve been told that whole grains- the minimally-processed foods such as rye bread that contain high levels of fibre- are the key to preventing diabetes.

And while there is no argument that whole grains are good for you, or at the very least far better than the highly-processed alternatives, the claim that they avoid diabetes is much harder to justify.

Nutritional epidemiology is fascinating, but many people who comment on it do not discuss the above intricacies of the situation. Which is a problem, when an entire field is built on nuance.

Grains are good

The most recent study was a piece of epidemiological magnificence. The researchers took a large sample of people who had given information on how many grains they eat, and seemed to see if grain intake was correlated with diabetes. They also controlled for a number of factors, including age, gender, and socio-economic status, making their results actually quite good.

The study found that people who ate more whole grains, including with regard to rye bread, were less likely to get diabetes. There was even what’s known as a biological gradient- the more grains the study participants ate, the less likely they were to get diabetes.

If this sounds very convincing, that’s because it really was an excellent study.

But there are some important restrictions that most people did not discuss and that mean that it may have very little relevance to your life at all.

Fine-grained approach

The biggest issue with all nutritional epidemiology studies is something known as residual confounding. Confounding is the process that occurs when issues external to a study are not taken into account. So, for example, if you are studying the rate of deaths caused by falling out of an airplane, but don’t know how many of your participants were wearing parachutes, you might conclude that actually it’s pretty safe. The problem with epidemiological trials like this is that you can account for many factors but you just can’t account for everything.

The recent study on grains accounted for a lot of things, but ultimately there are likely still residual the matters that they just can’t address. The people in this study who eat more grains were thinner, better-educated, more active, less likely to smoke, and other good things, than the ones who ate the least grains. It is highly likely that there exist residual factors that the researchers could not takes into consideration that may have caused the people who eat the most grains to be healthier — and thus, less likely to have diabetes — than the people who feed less grains.

There were other points in the study that make interpreting somewhat problematic. For one thing, the absolute danger discrepancies between the highest and lowest grain uptake groups was just 4 %, which is much less than the relative difference reported on in the majority media narratives. This was also a study in Danish people over the age of 50, which means that it’s very difficult to generalise the findings to people living elsewhere.

And sadly, this sort of intricacy is common. Misunderstanding happens all the time.

Nutritional nonsense

Remember the recent stories about cheese protecting against all-cause mortality? Or the news that high-carb diets were bad followed six months later with the contradiction that they were actually good? Or hearing that moderate drinking is both good and bad for your health?

All of these conclusions were derived from similar studies.

Most of them are wrong.

The problem here is that nutritional epidemiology is a really complex field. Construing results isn’t something you can easily do, especially based on one study. Whether cheese protects against all-cause mortality — the evidence very unclear — is a difficult question, fraught with confounders. The same is true for grains: it is extremely likely that someone who replaces the white bread in their diet with rye will be enhanced their health, but if you already eat mostly fresh fruit and veggies it’s unclear whether adding whole grains will help. You might just be healthier because you are rich enough to afford whole grains rather than regular wheat, and this comes with a host of health benefits.

And this is in one of the strongest the sectors of nutritional epidemiology: leaving this particular study aside, there is strong and consistent evidence that eating whole grains in your diet is associated with a range of good health outcomes.

Ultimately, the point is that these large studies, while interesting to epidemiologists like me, are not really that important for any individual person’s life. Whole grains are a part of many healthy diets, but it’s hard to generalise that to everyone.

The best diet is the one that works for you. If you need help with that, big epidemiological trials will, at best, confound you. Talk to a registered dietitian. They go through lengthy degrees and training to give you the best advice possible on your diet.

Just don’t listen to the headlines. Even if they’re right, they are probably wrong for you.

* Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz is an epidemiologist working in the field of chronic disease

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Weight-loss pill hailed as ‘holy grail’ in fight against obesity

US study of 12,000 people shows medication lorcaserin does not increase hazard of serious heart problems

A weight-loss pill has been hailed as a potential “holy grail” in the fight against obesity after a major study demonstrated it did not increase health risks of serious heart problems.

Researchers say lorcaserin is the first time weight-loss drug to be deemed safe for heart health with long-term utilize. Taken twice a day, the drug is an craving suppressant which works by stimulating brain chemicals to induce a feeling of fullness.

A US study ensure 12,000 people who were either obese or overweight given the pills or a placebo- with those who took the drug shedding an average of 4kg( 9lbs) in 40 months.

Further analysis depicted no big differences in exams for heart valve damage.

Tam Fry, of Britain’s National Obesity Forum, said the drug is potentially the “holy grail” of weight-loss medicine.

” I think it is the thing everybody has been looking for ,” he said.

” I think there will be several holy grails, but this is a holy grail and one which has been surely at the back of the mind of a lot of experts for a long time.

” But all of the other things apply- lifestyle change has got to be root and branch one of the purposes of this .”

Prof Jason Halford, an obesity expert at the University of Liverpool, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the drug’s accessibility in the UK would depend on whether it is approved by National Health Service regulators.

” We don’t have any appetite suppressants available on the NHS. We have a massive great gap between lifestyle adjustment and surgery ,” he said.

” At the moment you either get support and advice, or you get to surgery – there is nothing in between. This could be widely prescribed if it is approved by Nice( the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) in the UK .”

The Food and Drug Administration, the US medicines watchdog, approved lorcaserin’s use in some adults in 2012.

The drug has been on sale there since 2013 under the name Belviq, where it expenses $220 – 290( PS155-225) a month.

The study into its long-term consequences was led by Dr Erin Bohula, a cardiovascular medication expert at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

” Patient and their doctors have been nervous about use medications to treat obesity and for good reason. There’s a history of these drugs having serious complications ,” she said.

As well as affecting the heart, there are concerns weight-loss narcotics can lead to mental health issues.

The results of the study into lorcaserin were discussed at the European Society of Cardiology in Munich on Sunday and have been published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers found after one year 39% of participants dedicated lorcaserin had lost at least 5% of their commence weight, compared with 17% of those dedicated placebo. Analysis also depicted fewer people taking lorcaserin developed diabetes, 8.5% compared with 10.3% on placebo.

Tests for heart valve injury were done on 3,270 participants, but no significant differences in rates were identified.

Suicidal guess or behaviour was presented in 21 people taking lorcaserin compared with 11 people dedicated placebo, however those taking the weight-loss medication had a history of depression.

The researchers said:” Among overweight or obese patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or multiple cardiovascular risk factors who were being treated with dietary and exercise interventions, those who received lorcaserin had better long-term rates of weight loss than those who received placebo at a median follow-up of 3.3 years.

” The higher weight-loss rates were achieved without an accompanying increase in health risks of cardiovascular events .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

‘Would you be willing? ‘: terms to turn a conversation around( and those to avoid)

Choose your words carefully and you can get someone to change their mind, or see you in a new light

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it- isn’t it? According to language analysts, we may have this wrong. ” We are pushed and pulled around by language far more than we realise ,” says Elizabeth Stokoe, prof of social interaction at Loughborough University. Stokoe and her colleagues have analysed thousands of hours of recorded conversations, from customer services to mediation hotlines and police crisis negotiation. They discovered that certain terms or phrases have the power to change such courses of a conversation.

Some of these words are surprising, and go against what we’ve been taught to believe.( For example, in a study of dialogues between doctors and patients, proof demonstrating that doctors who listed “options” rather than recommended “best-interest” answers, got a better response, despite the suggestion from hospital guidelines to talk about the best interests of the patient .) But, from conversation analysts such as Stokoe to FBI negotiators and communication coaches, we’re learning which words are likely to placate or persuade us. Here are some of the biggest dos and don’ts.

Do use: willing

One of the first words Stokoe came across that seemed to have a magical consequence on people was ” willing “.” It started with looking at mediation telephone calls ,” she explains- that is, calls to or from a conciliation centre, where the aim was to persuade people to engage with mediation to resolve their conflicts.” When they’re in a dispute, people usually want a lawyer or the police. They don’t really want arbitration, so they’re quite resistant .”

Stokoe found that people who had already answered negatively when asked if they would like to attend mediation seemed to change their intellects when the mediator employed the phrase,” Would you be willing to come for a session ?”” As soon as the word ‘willing’ was uttered, people would say:’ Oh, yes, definitely’- they would actually interrupt the sentence to agree .” Stokoe determined it had the same effect in different settings: with business-to-business cold callers; with physicians trying to persuade people to go to a weight-loss class. She also looked at phrases such as” Would you like to” and” Would you be interested in “.” Sometimes they ran, but’ willing’ was the one that got people to agree more rapidly and with more enthusiasm .”

What to say Deploy it when you’ve already been met with some resistance:” I know it’s not your first choice, but would you be willing to meet on Friday ?”

Don’t use: just

In 2015, Ellen Leanse, a former Google executive, wrote a LinkedIn blog about the route men and women use the word “just” ‘. In the blog, which went viral, she claimed that women use it far more often than men.” It hit me that there was something about the word I didn’t like. It was a’ permission’ term- a warm-up to a request, an apology for interrupting, a shy knock on the door before asking:’ Can I get something I require from you ?'”

Leanse asked her co-workers to have a moratorium on the word “just”, banning it from their communication. She claimed the difference in how confident people felt was noticeable after a few weeks. Her proof wasn’t scientific, but, even so, “just” is one of those terms that has a habit of sneaking into our emails and spoken conversations. Fine if you’re trying to be placatory, but if you want to have more authority, lose the “just”.

What to say Try your own experimentation over the next week. Read your emails back before you send them and count the number of periods that” I just wanted to” or” Could I just” appear. Edit them out and watch the difference in tone.

Do use: speak( instead of talk)

The word ” talk” seem to be make a lot of people resistant to conversation.” We observed this when looking at interactions between police negotiators and suicidal people in crisis ,” Stokoe says. Negotiators who used phrases such as,” I’m here to talk” met with more resistance.” Person in crisis would often respond with something like:’ I don’t want to talk, what’s the point in talking ?'”

When the verb was ” speak”, however, people in crisis were more likely to open up the conversation or offer new information.

Why the difference? Stokoe suspects it’s because the cultural idioms associated with “talk” casting a negative darknes. “‘ You’re all talk; talk is cheap; you talk the talk, but don’t stroll the walk ‘: we seem to think that people who want to talk don’t place much value on what we’re saying .”

There was a similar change in the effectiveness of the word “sort”, as opposed to “help”. ” Let’s sort it” feels much more direct and active.” There’s no point in trying to fake a softly-softly relationship with someone in crisis. Better to be practical and direct .”

What to say If you really want someone to engage with you, use,” Can I speak to you about this ?”, rather than” Can we talk ?”

Don’t use: How are you?

Stokoe uses her research to work with groups on improving their communication, including groups of business-to-business cold callers.” One of the main messages of that work was to tell people to stop build rapport ,” she says.” Sales people are trained to do small talk at the beginning of bellows, but we were able to show with our research that it doesn’t work.

” Not only is there no evidence of reciprocal rapport-building, but also you’re more likely to irritate the other person and extend the length of that call .”

It’s not so much that the” How are you ?” is rude, but rather that it’s false. In real life , no one asks” How are you today ?” in that cold-call route, if they know the person and genuinely want an answer to the question. We would rather they got to the point.

What to say The next time you have to speak to someone you don’t know, don’t be overly friendly. Stick to being polite.

Do use: some( instead of any)

” Anything else I can do for you ?” Sounds like a perfectly reasonable question, doesn’t it? But John Heritage and Jeffrey Robinson, dialogue analysts at the University of California, Los Angeles, looked at how physicians use the words “any” and “some” in their final interactions with patients. They found that” Is there something else I can do for you today ?” elicited a better response than” Is there anything else ?”

“Any” tends to meet with negative responses. Believe about meetings you’ve been in- what’s the usual have responded to” Any questions ?” A bombardment of engaging ideas or awkward stillnes? It’s too open-ended; too many prospects abound. Of course, if you don’t want people to ask you anything, then stick to” Any questions ?”

What to say Try not to use “any” if you genuinely want feedback or opening hours debate.” What do you think about X ?” might be a more specific style of encouraging someone to talk.

Don’t use: Yes, but

If you’re stuck in a circular argument and you’re convinced that you’re the reasonable one, try listening out for how often you both use the phrase” Yes, but “.

” We all know the phrase’ Yes, but’ really entails’ No, and here’s why you’re wrong ‘,” says Rob Kendall, author of Workstorming. A conversation expert, Kendall sits in on other people’s meetings as election observers. The phrase” Yes, but” is one of the classic warning signal that you’re in an unwinnable dialogue, he says.” If you hear it three or more times in one discussion, it’s a sign that you’re going nowhere .”

What to say Kendall advises shifting the conversation by asking the other person ” What’s needed here ?” or, even better,” What do you need ?”” It takes you from what I call’ blamestorming’ to a solution-focused outcome .”

Do use: It seems like

Rapport-building may be of little value in cold calls, but it can be essential if you’re trying to bring someone round to your point of view or aim a conflict. As former FBI negotiator Chris Voss writes in Never Split The Difference, his manual of persuasive techniques, there are five stages in what’s known as the “behavioural change stairway model” that take anyone from” listening to influencing behaviour “. The first stage is active listening- namely, being able to show the other person that you have taken in what they’ve said and, more importantly, have a sense of what it means to them.

Rather than focusing on what you want to say, listen to what the other person is telling you, then try to repeat it back to them. Start with,” It seems like what you’re saying is” or” Can I merely check, it sounds like what you’re saying is “. If that feels too contrived, it often works simply to repeat the last sentence or thought someone has expressed( known in attorney practise as “reflecting” ).

What to say Try ,” It seems like you’re feeling thwarted with this situation- is that right ?” Always give the other person the opportunity to comment on or correct your assessment.

Do use: Hello

“‘ Hello’ is a really important word that can change the course of a conversation ,” Stokoe says.” It’s about how you respond to people who are what we call’ first movers’- people who say something genuinely critical, apropos of nothing .” It might be the work colleague who steams up to your desk with a complaint or the neighbour who launches into a rant about parking as you’re putting out the bins.” What do you do with that person? Rather than answer in the same way, saying something nice, such as a very bright’ Hello !’, derails and socialises that other person a little bit .”

What to say Use it when you want to resist getting into a confrontation.” You have to be careful not to sound too passive-aggressive ,” Stokoe says,” but only one friendly term in a bright tone can delete the challenge of the conversation .”

* Commenting on this piece? If you would like your comment to be considered for inclusion on Weekend magazine’s letters page in print, please email weekend @theguardian. com, including your name and address( not for publishing ).

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Plenties of Physicians Recommend Weed Without Understanding It

If you go to a doctor and ask them to recommend you medical marijuana, don’t is looking forward to to fully understand how the medication works, both for you as an individual patient and in general as a therapy. Because no one actually does.

With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use, cannabis is shedding its stigma and entering the mainstream. That entails folks who’ve shied away from the stuff are getting better access, and exploring cannabis as a non-addictive treatment for ailments like ache. But that new interest is go smack dab into a great problem plaguing medical cannabis: The research on what marijuana can actually treat, what components of the plant matter, and how different patients respond to them, is severely lacking.

Just how much physicians are struggling with it becomes clear today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. A study reveals that half of surveyed oncologists “says hes” recommended marijuana to patients in the last year. But half of those didn’t think they actually had sufficient knowledge to stimulate those recommendations.

The biggest question for oncologists is what cancer symptoms cannabis can really treat. The survey discovered respondents divide when it comes to the treatment of ache: A third of oncologists said cannabis is equally or more effective than standard ache treatments, a third said it was less effective, and a third didn’t know. “But there seemed to be clear consensus that medical marijuana is a good adjunct to standard ache treatment, so a good add-on medication, ” says Ilana Braun, lead author and chief of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Division of Adult Psychosocial Oncology. In fact, two-thirds of respondents said it’d be a good supplemental treatment.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine–which last year published a massive, big-deal its consideration of cannabis research–“there is substantial proof that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic ache in adults.” It’s also been shown to help control nausea and vomiting.

Now, doctors have long prescribed a synthetic THC called dronabinol, aka marinol, for the treatment of nausea and weight loss. Problem is, side effects include paranoia and “thinking abnormal.” Beyond that, you wouldn’t want to try to get high on it because it’s missing the galaxy of other active compounds in cannabis. “If it worked–it rarely does work–but if it actually did work it would be abused on the street, ” says physician Allan Frankel, a pioneer in medical cannabis. “For 15 pennies a pill? That’s how bad marinol is.”

The reason, Frankel says, is the so-called entourage effect, the interaction of dozens of other cannabinoids in marijuana like CBD( which is an extremely effective treatment for seizures, by the style) that may create different therapeutic impacts. So by that logic, with marinol, patients aren’t get the full effect of the cannabis plant.

And that full effect “wouldve been”? Well , nobody genuinely knows–in part because the US government makes the stuff very, very difficult to study. In the eyes of the feds, it’s still a very illegal schedule I drug, the most tightly controlled category, and the DEA decides “whos got” crop to research. Researchers don’t have access to a variety of strains that might produce a variety of benefits, devoted different levels of CBD and THC and other compounds.

Even if you could study lots of different stress, it’s not always possible to tell what a patient is going to get at the dispensary. Flowers can be mislabeled, and the THC content of oils doesn’t always match what’s on the label. “Composition standardization is a giant mess, ” says Jeff Raber, CEO of the Werc Shop, a laboratory that tests cannabis. “So for an ultra traditional physician, I can understand where they’re like, Man, we don’t really know what that is, is that OK? It’s not standardized like a pharmaceutical product.”

A doctor can’t just say, Take two marijuana pills and call me in the morning. And on a physiological level, we all manage cannabis differently. “Even if I tell everybody, go inhale a one-tenth of a gram, their inhalation depths and absorption rates are going to be different, ” says Raber.

“Unfortunately, we are going a little bit blind, ” says physician Bonni Goldstein, medical director of the Canna-Centers, which provides cannabis consultations for patients. “But what I’m detecting in clinical experience is I learn from every patient, and so we try to use the scientific research that we do have.”

So doctors like Goldstein try to tailor cannabis as best they can for a patient’s wants. Her patients have the luxury of attentive, personalized cannabis consultations. “Someone retired who has cancer who doesn’t have to get up in the morning and get somewhere shall be permitted take bigger dosages during the day, ” says Goldstein, “versus a mama of four who has kids in and out of activities, who has breast cancer.”

But your typical oncologist isn’t going to sit down with a patient for an hour to walk through their lifestyle and wants. So patients are left to experiment with dosages on their own, or consult with their local dispensary.

Because it turns out that dispensaries have some experience dosing cannabis. “Some of the top dispensaries that have been doing this for a while know this better than anybody else, ” says Rob Adelson, chairman and CEO of Resolve Digital Health, which makes a smart inhaler for medical marijuana patients. “There’s still so much about the pharmacokinetics of this plant that we just don’t know yet. So asking a doctor to come in to try to solve the problem without any more data than the dispensary has is hard.”

What Adelson sees cannabis promoting is a new paradigm of medical care. “We’ve heard this from many physicians, that they might not know about medical cannabis, might not want to promote it, and that a patient be coming back and says,’ I’d like to try it, ’” he says. “And patients bringing studies with them.” That inversion of responsibility has its downsides: An elderly patient might not be aware of side effects like dizziness, for example. But at the same time, it’s impossible to overdose. For better or worse, if doctors don’t feel they have the knowledge to appropriately prescribe a drug, patients will fill that void.

More cannabis science

Another big unknown with cannabis is the issue of safety. Namely, the stuff that’s grown in the wilds of California can be very, very dirty.

Take a deeper dive into why it’s so hard to properly dose marijuanas.

Again, please never drive stoned, ever, even if it’s currently impossible to determine just how intoxicated you are.

Meet the chef who’s debunking detox, diets and wellness

Anthony Warner alias blogger turned author the Angry Chef is on a mission to confront the alternative facts surrounding nutritional fads and myths

A few minutes into my encounter with the Angry Chef, I begin to wonder if his moniker might be ironic, like the big guy whose friends call him Tiny. On the basis of his excoriating blog which exposes lies, pretensions and folly in the world of food I had been expecting a bilious, splenetic human with wild eyes, his skin contained within tattoos. Instead, Im sat across from a mild-mannered nerdy type with a tidy beard and black-framed spectacles. Unlike his writing, which is showered with profanities, he hasnt sworn once. In fact, he picks his terms very deliberately, as if theres a legal and fact-checking team working overtime in his brain.

I expected you to be a bit more furious, I eventually say. Do you have a temper?

The Angry Chef, aka 44 -year-old Anthony Warner, considers this, shakes his head. Not at all, he says. People who know me and ensure the blog say, Youre not angry at all! No, I was never one of the shouty, scary cooks. Perhaps slightly intimidating sometimes, but only in a quiet, I-dont-know-what-hes-going-to-do sort of way.

What about the swearing? I ask.

I can if you want, Warner replies. But no, I dont rant, I dont swear nearly as much in real life as I do on my blog.

The Angry Chefs first post on 30 December 2015 consisted of a few pointed thinks on going sugar-free. He was anonymous back then and there were a couple of reasons for that. Warner liked the relevant recommendations of writing in character: while he stands by everything he writes, the Angry Chef persona allows him to be more confrontational and unhinged. The other reason was that he wasnt sure what his bosses would think of his new creation. After a decade as a decent but unremarkable chef in professional kitchens, Warner became a development cook for Premier Foods, a large commercial food manufacturer. He has spent the last 10 years generating recipes for the likes of Oxo, Mr Kipling, Loyd Grossman and Ambrosia.

This anonymity did not last long. The Angry Chefs railing against the trend for clean-eating and wellness bloggers, his annoyance at the miraculous properties assigned to kale and coconut petroleum quickly observed an audience. The Sun asked Warner to be involved in an article about Insta-gurus diet advice, and Ben Goldacre, one of his anti-pseudoscience heroes, tweeted his approval. New Scientist commissioned Warner to write for them, a gratify nod for a self-described science geek who has a degree in biochemistry from Manchester University.

Now a book, The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating , is out next month. It is a systematic, densely footnoted, and often very funny takedown of pretty much every food fad that has taken hold in recent years: detox, alkaline, ash and paleo diets among them. If you believe superfoods exist, then Warner will have some strong terms to build you reconsider. Likewise, if youre convinced theres no possible defense for sugar or processed food, then he wants you to take another look at the evidence.

Hemsley
Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley: Id be fascinated to debate them, says Warner. Photograph: Publicity Image

In an age of Gwyneth Paltrows Goop, of Deliciously Ella Mills, and Hemsley and Hemsley, these somehow seem quite radical ideas. A lot of the clean-eating people, I just think they have a broken relationship with the truth, says Warner. Theyre selling something that is impossible to justify in the context of evidence-based medicine.

I dont guess any of them are lying, he goes on, they are just stuck in this strange world of false belief, which is fascinating. How can you look at NHS guidelines on how to eat healthily and run, Well, I know better than that? Maybe if only we a prof of dietetics or nutrition, you might disagree with some stuff. But how as a 19 -year-old blogger you can look at it and go, No, thats wrong. This is right, I dont know.

How did we arrive at a place where avocados outsell oranges, where coconut oil, a once-cheap saturated fat, is reborn as a super-ingredient with miraculous, health-giving properties?( Paltrows website Goop also proposes use it as a mouthwash and sexual lubricant, inspiring Warner to joke, Separately, I hope .)

For Warner, the members of the explanation is adapted of psychologist Daniel Kahnemans theory that people are brilliant at generate a narrative from minimal evidence. Kahneman calls the brain a machine for jumping to conclusions.

We genuinely struggle with uncertainty, explains Warner. We really want to be able to say: Is coffee good or bad for us? Well, its not good or bad for you, it just is. And we have to accept that; thats what science says. So your brain runs, I dont like that level of uncertainty. Certainty is really appealing for a lot of people and thats what a lot of these people are selling certainly at the darker end.

Warner accepts he faces a tough challenge convincing people with his boring message. We live in the so-called post-truth world: a hour of Brexit, Trump and alternative facts. Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman has even written that Deliciously Ella is the precursor to Donald Trump. In the book, Warner admits that he sometimes feel like a drunk in a tavern car park, raging and swaying at the world.

When you go back 20 years it was Gillian McKeith, says Warner. Now its harder to fight. Theres not specific someones, theres a swarm of them in so many different places, on Instagram, on social media, things I dont even understand as a middle-aged man.

Facts are important, he continues. The rhetoric of a lot of politics at the moment is that there was this once-great world we need to return to. And its actually not true. In almost every single measure, were better off than we were 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. Weve wiped out smallpox and set someone on the moon with science, if “youre beginning to” rejecting that

Warner trails off, the closest hes come to living up to his angry tag. Would he be interested in debating this subject with Ella Mills or the Hemsleys?

From what I understand theyll avoid me at all costs, says Warner. Id find it fascinating, but people will perhaps be surprised. If Im asked, Is a particular food good or bad for you? Im not going to give an answer. I dont feel I have superior knowledge, I actually accept that I dont. Thats the distinction between me and them. So it might be a strange debate.

This is true. Warners advice, boiled down, amounts to: eat a sensible and varied diet , not too much nor too little. If you have junk food every so often, dont feel guilty; if youre going full Morgan Spurlock, youre likely overdoing it. Eat fish, especially oily ones such as salmon and mackerel, when you can. Dont consume too much sugar, but equally dont believe people who tell you its toxic and had not yet been nutritional value.

Chef
Chef Anthony Warner alias blogger turned author the Angry Chef. Photograph: Phil Fisk for the Observer

The rhetoric that sugar is poison, its killing us, has become completely accepted, says Warner. Were told its just empty calories. Well, we kind of need calories to live. But a lot of people will read that and say, He would say that. He works for a big cake manufacturer.

How would he respond to that then?

Well, demonstrate me incorrect then you cant! Warner shoots back. Im always going to be accused of being a shill for the food manufacturing industry. Within the job I do, you get very exposed to prejudice that people have against the manufacturers of food. And also you get very exposed to whats involved in attaining manufactured food, and what you can and cant say about something to its implementation of its health benefits. If I made a food product and I wanted to say it detoxes you, I absolutely couldnt. There are really clear laws: I cant said today in the advertising, I cant say it on the pack, I cant make any sort of assert that isnt tremendously backed in evidence.

But if I wrote a recipe volume, I can say what I want, Warner continues. If I went on telly, I could say, This recipe is truly detoxing. You can build stuff up, it doesnt matter. But then you get to the ad transgres, people advertising cant say those things because theyre covered by statute. So why arent the person or persons constructing the programmes covered by statute?

To be fair, Warner is pretty angry now. And hes not exactly optimistic that what he says will induce much difference to acolytes of clean eating. I believe fads will continue, often merely a recycling of the low-carb Atkins-style dieting under different names like those ketogenic diets, high-fat diets, he sighs.

Theyll only change the name and the pseudoscientific justifications for it. So yeah, there will probably always be something to write about. Warner smiles, And that will construct me angry.

The Angry Chef on five food myths


Detoxing
When people say, Im detoxing, what theyre saying is, Im not eating for two days. Its merely an extreme weight-loss diet, but you make up toxins that arent there and say, Im doing this to get rid of these toxins which your body will do naturally anyway. It generates dread around food.

Eat like a caveman
The paleo diet is just a low-carb diet to have a pseudoscientific justification.Weve been feeing carbohydrates for a long time, but theyll just go, Well, a caveman ate meat. They have this idea from The Flintstones , but anyone who works in anthropology will say, No, theyre plainly wrong.

Home-cooked food is always best
Its linked to wanting females to get back into the kitchen: Natural home-cooked dinners are the only way to be healthy Things were better before females went to work. Underlying the demonisation of convenience food, there is a lot of misogyny. Things were better in our grandmothers day were they?

Sugar is toxic
Sugar has an enormous amount of energy and is one of the most important building blocks for life. But they say, It has no nutritional value. That makes absolutely no sense.

Dont eat processed food
People will have a ready-meal from Waitrose and say, Im busy. Then theyll say poor people should just stop buying fishfingers: But I can go to M& S and buy my haddock goujons, thats not bad for me, is it?

Angry-chef.com

The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating( Oneworld, 12.99) is published on 6 July. To order a transcript for 11.04, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846 . Free UK p& p over 10, online orders merely. Telephone orders min. p& p of 1.99.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

If You’re Stressed Often, Here’s What You Require To Know About This Common Condition

Everyone gets stressed out now and then, but chronic stress causes much more wear and tear on the body than most people realize.

Chronic stress is a hard thing to describe to family, friends, and sometimes even physicians. They can’t see it like they would a broken arm or a flesh wound, which may cause some to doubt its very existence.

However, nervousnes is a very real ailment that consequences 18 percent of the American population. When it rears its ugly head, so do many other physical side effects. Here are 10 of the most common.

1. Heart disease

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You know that saying, “You’re going to give me a heart attack? ” Well, anxiety and panic attacks might actually do that. High blood pressure and weakened heart muscles are both side effects of stress that create your chances of having a heart attack and/ or developing cardiovascular disease.

2. Loss of libido

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With all these negative things happening in your body, it’s not a big amaze that your libido can suffer. Part of this is because your hormones aren’t functioning properly, and another is that your mind and body are confused. It’s important to communicate with your partner and remember that you don’t “owe” anyone sex.

3. Brain damage

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Years of extreme stress and nervousnes can lead to brain damage, especially early-onset Alzheimer’s. It’s been found that the cortisol that’s released during stressful periods actually kills the hippocampus, leading to loss of memory and premature brain aging.

Read more:

You Don’t Require a Personal Genetics Test to Take Charge of Your Health

The online storefront for the consumer genetics company Orig3n features an image of a young woman facing toward a sepia horizon. Her tresses are wavy, her triceps enviably toned. Her determined stance complements the copy floating beside her: “Take charge of your future, ” it reads. “Orig3n DNA tests uncover the links between your genes and how you think, act, and feel. The more you know, the easier it is to reach your highest potential.”

It’s the promise of a growing number of services: Genetic insights you can act on. There are exams tailored to tell you about your diet, your fitness, your complexion–even your wine preference. Helix, another consumer genetics company, sells a Wine Explorer service that recommends wine “scientifically selected based on your DNA.”

But researchers will tell you to approach lifestyle-tailored testing kits with extreme skepticism. “What you see in the interests of consumers genetics market is that legitimate genetic findings, often from analyzes with very large sample sizes, are being turned around and marketed to people in a way that connotes it’s going to be actionable for individuals, ” says Harvard geneticist Robert Green, who’s been researching direct-to-consumer genetic testing for closely connected to 20 years. But in most cases, he says, the extent to which consumers can act upon their results “really remains to be proven.”

Not that researchers aren’t trying. On the contrary: This week, scientists led by Christopher Gardner, director of nutrition examines at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, published one of the most rigorous investigations to date on whether dieters can use personal DNA results to identify more effective weight-loss strategies. The researchers compared the effectiveness of low fat and low carbohydrate diets in a year-long randomized controlled trial involving more than 600 test subjects. And crucially, the researchers also looked at whether test subjects’ genes impacted their results. Earlier analyzes, some led by Gardner, had suggested that a combination of mutations in PPARG, ADRB2, and PABP2, three genes connected with the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, could predispose test subjects to lose more weight on one diet than the other.

But research results, which appear in this week’s issue of the Journal of American Medicine, saw no association between test subjects’ genetic profiles and their success with either program; test subjects lost the same amount of weight, irrespective of which diet they were assigned. And analyse participants who were assigned diets that “matched” their genetic profile fared no better than those who weren’t.

“When I assured the results, this wave of letdown rinsed over me, ” Gardner says. “It was like, wait, it didn’t work? None of the genetic variants had an effect? ”

Nope. The analyze was big, well-designed, and pricey( it received funding from the Nutrition Science Initiative, a non-profit devoted to funding rigorous nutrition research ), yet it failed to replicate smaller, less carefully controlled analyses. Such is science! It also illustrates why establishing the usefulness of home DNA kits will be so difficult and day consuming. Research into the link between genetic determinants and diet will probably continue; for the JAMA study, Gardner and his colleagues examined the predictive power of mutants in just three genes, but there are dozens to consider, in a staggering number of combinings. It’s plausible–even likely, Gardner says–that some of these genetic signatures could lead people to more effective diets. “But nutrition is just so complex, it’s not likely there’s going to be an answer soon.”

And that’s for nutrition. The odds of somebody money a rigorous, controlled investigation into the link between your DNA and your ideal exercising regimen are … well … let’s just say that kind of research isn’t very high on researchers’ to do list.

“It’s hard to make a case for studying anything in the lifestyle realm, because it’s pretty low stakes, ” says geneticist Lawrence Brody, director of the Division of Genomics and Society at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Personalized cancer treatments, rare-disease diagnosis, reproductive health screening–you know, the urgent stuff–these are the types of genomic investigations that receive funding. Which is why, even in a field as large as nutrition research, Brody says there are few examples of studies examining the link between genetics and diet with the level of rigor you find in Gardner’s JAMA study. “A lot of researchers don’t think it’s a high enough priority, or likely enough to show outcomes, to conduct and fund a full randomized trial.”

And just think: If it’s that hard to conduct a solid examine on actionable associations between DNA and diet, imagine how unlikely it is we’ll insure RCTs on personalized skin care plans, “what attains your child unique, “ or your “unique superhero traits”.

You might expect consumer genetics companies to fund this kind of research themselves. Guess again. Most don’t have the money, and, even for those that do, it’s risky to perform such studies in the first place, in the event they turn up results like Gardner’s. “Most companies don’t feel they need those kinds of studies to sell a narrative that supports the purchase of their products, ” Green says.

All of which should make consumers wary of lifestyle-oriented commercial Dna kits, which occupies a grey area somewhere between tests for ancestry and, say, cancer-associated mutants. The experts I spoke with were all optimistic about the long-term future of in-home DNA kits, and supportive of people’s right to access their genetic datum. But right now, for most tests, the evidence base just isn’t there. Something to keep in mind the next time a personal genetics company’s motivational ad connotes their kit can phase you toward a more effective diet or workout, or tell you “whether your genes have the raw potential football legend John Lynch looks for in a player.”.

On the upside, the participants in Gardner’s JAMA study lost a combined 6,500 pounds, averaging 13 pounds of weight loss apiece, regardless of their genetic profile, and regardless of their assigned diet. A plenty of people hear “genetics” and think “destiny, ” but the vast majority of the time, that’s not how genes run. Which means that the vast majority of the time, you don’t need a personal genetics test to take charge of your future.

More Consumer Genetics

Helix’s bold plan to be your one stop personal genomics shop

Will your baby like cilantro? These genetics exams say they can tell.

Ancestry sold 1.5 million genetic testing kits over Black Friday .

5 Movies Where The Heroes& Villains Would Be Reversed TodayWeight-loss pill hailed as ‘holy grail’ in fight against obesity

US study of 12,000 people presents drug lorcaserin does not increase hazard of serious heart problems

A weight-loss pill has been hailed as a potential “holy grail” in the fight against obesity after a major analyze presented it did not increase the risk of serious heart problems.

Researchers say lorcaserin is the first weight-loss narcotic to be deemed safe for heart health with long-term use. Taken twice a day, the drug is an appetite suppressant which runs by stimulating brain chemicals to induce a feeling of fullness.

A US study assured 12,000 people who were either obese or overweight given the pills or a placebo- with those who took the medication shedding an average of 4kg( 9lbs) in 40 months.

Further analysis depicted no big differences in tests for heart valve damage.

Tam Fry, of Britain’s National Obesity Forum, said the drug is potentially the “holy grail” of weight-loss medicine.

” I think it is the thing everyone has went looking for ,” he said.

” I think there will be several holy grails, but this is a holy grail and one which has been surely at the back of the mind of a lot of experts for a long time.

” But all of the other things apply- lifestyle change has got to be root and branch part of this .”

Prof Jason Halford, an obesity expert at the University of Liverpool, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the drug’s availability in the UK would depend on whether it is approved by National Health Service regulators.

” We don’t have any appetite suppressants available on the NHS. We have a massive great gap between lifestyle modification and surgery ,” he said.

” At the moment you either get support and advice, or you get to surgery – there is nothing in between. This could be widely prescribed if it is approved by Nice( the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) in the UK .”

The Food and Drug Administration, the US medications watchdog, approved lorcaserin’s use in some adults in 2012.

The drug has been on sale there since 2013 for the purposes of the name Belviq, where it expenses $220 – 290( PS155-225) a month.

The study into its long-term consequences was led by Dr Erin Bohula, a cardiovascular medication expert at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

” Patients and medical doctors have been nervous about use medications to treat obesity and for good reason. There’s a history of these drugs having serious complications ,” she said.

As well as affecting the heart, there are concerns weight-loss drugs can lead to mental health issues.

The results of the study into lorcaserin were discussed at the European Society of Cardiology in Munich on Sunday and have been published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers received after one year 39% of participants given lorcaserin had lost at least 5% of their starting weight, compared with 17% of those dedicated placebo. Analysis also demonstrated fewer people taking lorcaserin developed diabetes, 8.5% compared with 10.3% on placebo.

Tests for heart valve injury were done on 3,270 participants, but no significant differences in rates were identified.

Suicidal thinks or behaviour were reported in 21 people taking lorcaserin compared with 11 people devoted placebo, however those taking the weight-loss narcotic had a history of depression.

The researchers said:” Among overweight or obese patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or multiple cardiovascular determining factor who were being treated with dietary and exert interventions, those who received lorcaserin had better long-term rates of weight loss than those who received placebo at a median follow-up of 3.3 years.

” The higher weight-loss rates were achieved without an accompanying increase in the risk of cardiovascular events .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com