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Bernie Sanders Rejects $2700 Donation From CEO Who Raised Drug Price

Bernie Sanders Rejects $2700 Donation From CEO Who Raised Drug Price

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Back in September, there was an article about Martin Shkreli, the 32 year old founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who increased the cost of the drug Daraprim from around $450 a bottle to around $22,500. That’s an unbelievable price hike of almost 5,500%! The drug Daraprim is known treating patients with immune deficiencies such as those with AIDS or battling cancers. Raising the costs of drugs like Daraprim puts people who are already vulnerable in an even more vulnerable situation.

When Bernie Sanders found out Martin Shkreli was trying to give him a $2,700 political donation, he was simply not having it. So what does Bernie Sanders do? Sanders rejects the donation and instead decides to take the money and donate it to the Washington health clinic, Witman-Walker, which specializes in treating HIV/AIDS patients in the LGBT community.

We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed,” said the Democratic presidential hopeful’s spokesman Michael Briggs.

In response, Shkreli said he was “furious” that Sanders pubically rejected his money without discussing his side of the story on the drug pricing beforehand. Shkreli told the Boston Globe that he donated the money to secure a private meeting with Sanders. He was upset that Sanders took the donation without wanting to engage with him for five minutes to understand the issue better.

The donation made headlines when Shkreli posted about his donation during the democratic debate last week. He tweeted “Damn @BernieSanders is my boy with that Kosovo reference. Gets my full endorsement. I did donate to him…”

Shkreli says that if given the chance, he would like to have a meeting with Sanders to explain how he feels raising the price on the medication would pay for life-saving pharmaceutical developments:

“Is he willing to sort of accept that there is a tradeoff, that to take risks for innovation, companies have to invest lots of money and they need some kind of return for that, and what does he think that should look like?” Shkreli said. “And quite frankly, what I’m worried [about] is that he doesn’t have an answer for that, that he’s appealing to the masses, that he’s just kind of talking out of his rear end so that he gets some votes.”

Considering how public Shkreli was about his donation, it is surprising how “furious” he is by Sander’s public rejection. During the debate, Sanders even mentioned that the pharmaceutical industry would be at the top of his list of “people who do not like me.”

When Shkreli found out that Sanders rejected his donation he said: “Instead of having an intelligent discussion on healthcare Bernie Sanders would rather hold his hands over his ears and be a demagogue.”

But Sanders is not the only one to have rejected Shkreli’s money-making tactics.  Hilary Clinton also accused him of price gouging.  Even Donald Trump, leading the Republican polls for presidency, stated that Shkreli was a “spoiled brat.”

Believe it or not, this story gets even more unusual. After Shkreli finds out the Bernie Sanders rejected his donation, he apparently was so angry that he broke his wrist? He posted several tweets after the incident.

The first one, he stated “SO ANGRY AT @BernieSanders I COULD PUNCH A WALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1”

Apparently he did punch the wall cause a few hours later on twitter he posted, “Ugh, does anyone know how to treat a wrist fracture without going to a hospital?”

Then two hours later, he posts a picture of a fractured wrist x-ray stating “This is such bullshit.”

However, it seems like the whole thing was a ploy for media attention. Soon after, Shkreli posted a picture of him playing guitar and he was called out by several twitter users who discovered the x-ray photo was actually a stock photo of a fractured risk and not real.

This whole story is turning into a huge mess but the fact that Sanders did not accept the donation definitely sends out the message against price gauging in the pharmaceutical industry. The more the message gets out there, hopefully price gauging becomes an issue talked about more in the upcoming election. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125

Childhood Brain Injuries Linked to Adult Alcohol Abuse in Women


Author: Shernide Delva

Growing up, maybe you were athletic or maybe, like me, you were just plain clumsy. Either way, if you suffered a concussive bump on the head as a child, you could be at a higher risk to abuse alcohol as an adult. That’s right; a study just discovered the two are correlated. Recent research suggests that women who suffered a concussive bump in the head during childhood abused alcohol more as adults.

The research on mice found that females with a mild close-brain injury were more likely to misuse alcohol in adulthood and associate drinking with reward and pleasure. In the study, mice received a concussive head injury at 21 days, which is comparable to between 6 and 12 years old in human years.

Physiological tests suggested that the head injury was not related to changing how alcohol was processed. Instead, it changed how the female mice associated alcohol with pleasure. Research were motivated to find out exactly how female mice linked alcohol to potential award.

In the experiment, mice were placed in a box with visibly different patterns covering separate different sections of the floor. Over 10 days, researchers injected the mice with alcohol in specific sections of the box and with saline in other sections.

Then the researchers allowed the mice to walk back and forth between boxes. If they preferred alcohol, they would stay on the side of the box associated with alcohol consumption. Female mice who suffered brain injury spent 65 percent of their time in the box linked to alcohol. The researchers concluded that there must be something about the way reward and pleasure is processed in the mice regarding alcohol.

The Effects of Enrichment

The scientists wanted to see if enrichment would reverse the effect of alcohol on the female mice. In studying the effects of enrichment, the colleagues put the female mice that were more attracted to alcohol in cages with running wheels, toys, and tunnels providing a new experience every week for six weeks. When the mice were tested in six weeks for alcohol intake, the enriched environment has completely blocked the female’s increase in drinking. It also reduced damage in their brains by about 40 percent.

They found out the effect of alcohol abuse was reversible as long as the female mice began living in a more enriched environment.  The environment even reduced degeneration of parts of the axons, and nerve cell body of the brain.

The enriched environment was to mimic follow-up care after a human brain industry, explained by lead author of the study Zachary Well:

“The best therapy for a childhood brain injury is everybody getting great medical care and rehabilitation, regardless of socioeconomic status,” he said. “People with juvenile head injuries are already at risk for memory problems, difficulty concentrating, poor learning and reduced impulse control. If we can prevent alcohol misuse, chances for a good life are much better.”

So the question still is whether it’s possible that brain injury you experienced during you juvenile years would make you more prone to heavy drinking later on. Alcohol is already associated with traumatic brain injury. More than a third of concussion patients are intoxicated at the time of their injuries

Weil states that his researchers hope to determine more about whether those prone to heavy drinking are then prone to traumatic brain injury as an adult:

“There is some evidence that if you have a brain injury, you’re more likely to drink. But nobody has looked at the time of the injury and nobody has looked at sex differences.”

The results for females are particularly concerning because the two populations increasing in traumatic brain injury are elderly adults and young women. These are not just athletes, Weil said, there is more research needed to understand why the injury effects are different between men and women.

Until more research is done, we won’t have any solid answers of whether or not brain injury we experience as a child makes us more prone to alcohol problems.  Regardless, if you are abusing alcohol, it’s time to take control on your life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Crazy News Stories of the Week

Crazy News Stories of the Week

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

There’s been a few crazy news stories circling the web so I decided to bring back Crazy New Stories!  I can not think of a better way to end a long week than gawking at some ridiculousness. Here are a couple funny, disturbing, and crazy news stories that made headlines just this past week:

  1. Surprising News: Drunken Vegetarians Secretly Eat Meat
    If you have any vegetarian friends, you might not want to tell them that you’re in on their secret. A recent article in the Huffington Posts revealed that more than a third of vegetarians admit to eating meat after drinking alcohol.  The study was of close to 2000 vegetarians in the UK. Of the third who admitted to giving in, 26% said they indulged “often” while drunk and 22% said “rarely?” The most popular foods to cheat on were kebabs and burgers with kebabs coming in at 39% and burgers coming in at 34%. Still, post hangover regret is real.  Almost 70 percent of vegetarians say they do not admit to anyone after they’ve eaten meat. How sneaky!
  2. Ohio Man Gets Too Stoned on Weed, Calls Police
    This 22-year-old man in Austintown, Ohio was so high that he had to call police to complain about it. Police responded at about 5:20 p.m. and found him groaning on floor in fetal position. It gets better. Police report that the man was “surrounded by a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Chips Ahoy cookies,” and he complained about not being able to feel his own hands.From his home, police recovered a glass pipe with marijuana residue along with two pacts of rolling paper, two roaches and a jar of marijuana. The man declined medical treatment and has not be charged for a crime as of yet.
  3. Man Calls Police after His Girlfriend Refuses to Have Sex with Him
    Okay, so this one is a bit ridiculous and if the police got a call every time this happened, I’m pretty sure their phone systems would crash. Continuing on, a Carolina man called 911 to report that his girlfriend was refusing to have sex with him. To make matters worse, this was right when flooding from Hurricane Joaquin was going on. Patrick Dogett, 53, apparently had been drinking all day and called the police stating his woman “would not give him any a**” Later police found him feeling blue outside his home in the early morning hours Tuesday cursing loud and profusely. Dogett was arrested for public drunkenness but has since been released.
  4. ‘Drunk’ UConn Student Gets Arrested After Demanding ‘F–king Mac And Cheese’ 
    There’s a viral video going around the internet of a university student getting completely irate over being denied the privilege of eating macaroni and cheese. Luke Gatti, 19, of Bayville, New York was charged for a breach of peace and criminal trespass. In the video, Gatti can be seen in the video titled “”Drunk Kid Wants Mac And Cheese,” demanding the managers at the Union Street Market to give him some mac and cheese.
    “Just give me some f–king bacon, jalapeno mac and cheese,” Gatti stated. Gatti was denied entry due to underage drinking and carrying an open container of alcohol.
  5. Broward’s First Flakka Baby Dies after Just One Hour
    This story is more sad than crazy. Unfortunately the implications of using flakka are starting to reveal themselves in newborns in an insane way.  Most people know about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome when it comes to drugs like heroin and alcohol however the effects of flakka use during pregnancy was unknown. However, now in Florida, Broward County was first to witness the youngest, most innocent victim of the street drug flakka. The baby was born premature, only weighed 3 pounds and lived only one hour. The death was ruled a, “result of prematurity and alpha-PVP (flakka) toxicity.”Reports show the mother refused prenatal care or medication during her pregnancy and was previously discharged from Broward Health Medical Center June 20 after spending a month under psychological evaluation. When will the flakka craziness stop?

So overall we have burger-eating vegetarian and a Doritos galore to wrap up our week.  If your name is not on the list, that’s awesome. Let’s keep it that way!  Crazy can be funny to read about but often being the one involved in the craziness is not as cracked up as you think it to be. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125

Using Social Media to Treat Depression

Using Social Media to Treat Depression

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

I’m at it again! #cantstopwontstop

Back to talk about that strangely familiar topic of the connection between the ever present and expanding dominion of social media and depression. It may seem like these articles sometimes present conflicting opinions, and often times those thin lines between healthy and disparaging get skewed.

Let me be clear: social media is an incredible and vibrant format through which we experience things through the testimonies of others (be they true or just false advertising). We as individuals turn it into either an overwhelming obsession or tools for triumph in how we use social media.

Somebody out there is actually saying now that they have designed a way by which we can actually treat depression with social media. And strange enough what they describe actually uses some of the same elements that are credited with contributing to depression and puts just the right spin on it to be clinically advantageous.

The Power of Support

Now I have talked about how some suggest that social media can be dangerous for people with depression. I have stressed before that when respected it can be a beautiful and powerful thing, and when abuse it can become like an all-encompassing adversity. Social media has contributed to vast isolation and loneliness, which multiplied over ‘like’s and ‘share’s (or lack thereof) make a formula for depression. BUT it has also done its part in striking stigma out of some more serious connections to depression such as suicide or suicidal thoughts.

In one study researchers discovered while monitoring college students on social media who had made clear indications about experiencing depression that the most responses they received from their peers were expressions of sympathy and support. Many were met with compassion and stories of similar struggles that lead them away from those feelings of isolation, and researchers concluded that social media was helping to spread the understand about mental health and depression more than ever.

Panoply: New World Therapy

Based on this very same concept of peers supporting and nurturing each other with compassion, there is now a new mental health therapy through social media emerging that has so far yielded optimistically positive results.

A study of 166 people over a 3 week period using peer-to-peer social networking birthed a platform that developers are currently calling “Panoply”. So far the studies show that this new take on social media shaped significant benefits, particularly for depressed individuals.

Panoply uses self-guided, web-based interventions for depression that are focused on trying to calm anxiety and reverse the symptoms of depression. For the initial study participants posted descriptions of stressful thoughts and situations on the social media platform, and then the “crowd” replied to the post by offering contrasting outlooks or words of encouragement.

The platform is employing a practice that is called “cognitive appraisal”. This is a therapeutic tool used to inspire people to look at a problem from different perspectives. By seeing the situation beyond their immediate feelings someone can even identify what is making them feel that way, and take action to curb that feeling.

Using Panoply also allows people to practice objectively reviewing stressful situations submitted by other users. This also inspires them later to think more flexibly and objectively about the stressful events and thoughts that they themselves experience, teaching them how to cope and to relate to others. According to a paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research this feature proved to be especially helpful for individuals struggling with depression.

The next step is to test Panoply with a larger, more diverse audience. The researchers hope to repeat these results, and also to collect data concerning what any long term effects of this kind of treatment may be.

It seems that these researchers have attempted to treat depression and social media like any vaccine; use a strain of the sickness against itself to create an active acquired immunity. So while there are still concerns about obsessive social media compulsions and depression, by using the act of sharing and networking Panoply hopes to combat the feelings of isolation and despair with a sense of community and personal connection social media is meant to create.

So don’t delete your account just yet, give it another shot. Please post responsibly.

Depression is a very severe and sometimes subtle affliction. It can be manic and unpredictable, chronic and progressive, or sometimes it can almost seem comfortable. It is possible to escape the grips of depression, and it can be as simple as putting the right people in your life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

4 Ways the Internet is Reprogramming Us

4 Ways the Internet is Reprogramming Us

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Thinking about it makes me wonder if we will one day truly be trapped in the matrix. Will we lose real reality in being brainwashed by gigabytes and used up like batteries for the ever advancing and expanding power of technology? I mean, I’d love to learn Kung-Fu in 5 seconds and dodge bullets, but… nah.

It is a reality that we are slowly but surely being reprogrammed by the internet. Not so hard to believe with it being such a constant presence in our lives. Its the legacy of the smartphones, all hail free wifi. I can honestly say in the past I have pondered on how the constant growth and innovation of iPhones and app interface might affect our genetic evolution or natural instincts, and I honestly can’t say it’s all that crazy to consider. Here are just 4 ways the internet is reprogramming us.

  1. The ‘F’ Affect

Thanks to the Internet, amazing social media and the exciting dialect of texting many believe we are writing our history as a post-literate society. The prominence of blogs and ‘articles’ plastered with more moving images or GIFS than words supports this idea, but one thing is definite; according to research conducted by both Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) and Mediative, this type of online reading content is altering the way we read.

Our eyes have been trained up to this point to read information by quickly skipping horizontally from one word to the next, then back to the start of the next line. Nowadays that’s too old school, and the internet has given us a new (but not much improved) method.

NNG refers to it as the “F-Shaped Pattern”, Mediative calls it the “Golden Triangle”, but either way it means when we are screen reading (i.e., reading on Internet-connected computer screens, smartphones, e-book readers, etc.), our eyes make a triangle or F-shape down the page:

So instead of regularly reading from this complete line to the next line

We have adapted to trying to skim corners of text

Where our minds typically associate with

The most important information,

Something like this


  1. Proteus Effect

Anyone who has ever played a video game where they have had to design an avatar knows how stressful it can be to try and create the perfect look. Subconsciously we actually relate and identify with our avatars a lot more than we realize, be it an elf warrior, a Sith Lord, or a tattooed car thief. I’ve pretended to be all three, but I’ve only actually ever been one for realzies.

These constructed identities we use for our online interactions are responsible for a phenomenon called the “Proteus Effect”, which is how we gradually begin to act like our online selves in our real-world lives.

There have been various studies to support this concept. When people who use an avatar that is physically attractive and empowered, it boosts their confidence and assertiveness, and the same with people who use less attractive or evil characters who become cruel and self-conscious in real life.

On the up-side, researchers feel virtual reality has the potential to help treat anxiety and mental illness.

  1. Online Disinhibition Effect

This one is a catch 22. On one side, you have the aspect where individuals can disassociate the online user names and avatars with actual people, making it easier to dehumanize others, and making it easier to be rude and disrespectful without social consequences. Anonymity can be a weapon.

This is known as the “Online Disinhibition Effect” which means that the protection from consequence makes us feel comfortable. It gives us the freedom to be awful individuals, or to be more effective when working with others apparently, so anonymity can also be a virtue.

It’s been found that people participating anonymously in online workshops demonstrate:

  • Enhanced problem-solving skills
  • A willingness to ask more questions

This is because there is no fear of asking stupid questions, giving stupid answers, or failing to complete a task because no one knows who you are.

Additionally, while some perceive anonymity as an excuse to be cruel to others, it’s also a great way of developing strong online communities who commit to generous and worthy causes, instead of pursuit of popularity. Anonymity creates less inclination to be loyal to individuals at the expense of the group, so everyone hones in on the idea of the group and advancing the group’s goals.

  1. Social Overdependence (and yet… Distancing Phenomena)

Through communication such as emails, texts, tweets and social media modern technology has made it easier than ever before for people to stay connected with each other. This is a beautiful thing, but it also often results in an overdependence and even obsession with social interaction that is both crippling our independence and isolating us from healthy communication.

FOMO is the “Fear of Missing Out”, which is described as a form of social anxiety that those who tend to feel unloved or without respect experience when they’re unable to interact socially online. FOMO can be so debilitating that not letting someone on Facebook to stay constantly connected can cause depression, and even cause them to question their own existence in extreme cases.

Social media has caused us to rely on it to the point we can literally withdrawal… at least mentally.


Social media has also made it possible to go pretty much our entire lives without ever having to physically interact with another human being… like ever!

Psychologists have even said we’re creating a “Distancing Phenomena”, which means by never communicating face-to-face, and over-relying on technology to both pacify and educate our children, we are diluting our ability to have real-life conversation.

And yet we wonder why social anxiety is spiking among teens, while simultaneously we overlook that they miss out on learning skills in facial recognition, body language and eye contact that are all essential part of how we as humans express emotions and intentions.

So while I clatter on this keyboard trying to keep your attention long enough to finish this article, adding to the cycle, I can’t help but think how many of you only read the corner of the page. Or how many of you will click ‘like’ or ‘share’ but won’t actually have a conversation with another human being about it (you should totally share it though, either way).

Who clicked the article just because they think the picture looked like them, and who only clicked it to stay relevant on the Facebook feed?

At least let’s acknowledge how society is being formatted for pocket-screens. Now how can we work to changing our compulsions, obsessions and even addictions before they change us for good?

Take the time to see where you unhealthy habits mold you, and which one of those compulsive actions controls you. The internet isn’t the only thing that reprograms us. Drugs and alcohol do too. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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