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Could Yogurt Help Treat Depression?

Could Yogurt Help Treat Depression?

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

Author: Shernide Delva


Could something as simple as yogurt help with treating depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States, affecting 16.1 million adults each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Now researchers at the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine have made a discovery that they hope can change the way we treat depression and potentially help millions of people.

So what’s the answer, you ask? Well, it comes in a variety of flavors, is creamy and often fruit is added to the concoction. It’s yogurt, and the majority of us eat the stuff on a semi-regular basis.  If this study holds merit, I may have to head to the nearest grocery story and grab a couple of cups.

After all, depression is not an easy mental illness to have in any capacity. It can be debilitating preventing a person from participating in their normal routines. The findings could offer an alternative to depression treatment not thought of in the past.

It turns out, the bacteria in yogurt could play a role in fighting depression. Researchers have yet to prove the theory on humans, however, in the future, this may become possible. The researchers believe future clinical studies will confirm these results.

“The big hope for this kind of research is that we won’t need to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome,” said Alban Gaultier, Ph.D., the lead researcher on the study.

“It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health – and your mood.”

Of course, researchers note that depression is a complex disorder with a variety of treatment options. Still, this is a simplistic take on a treatment for depressions and researchers have long been fascinated by the role of our gut microbiome on mental health. In fact, there have been theories on how gut impacts our mood that date back hundreds of years.

Gut Microbiome and Bacteria

A while back, we even wrote an article about how gut bacteria could treat eating disorders. There is a project that allows people to send in their bowel movements (yes, poop!) for gut bacteria research. For quite some time, fecal transplants treated a variety of bowel irregularities. Fecal transplants are exactly what they sound like. They involve putting one person’s feces (yes, poop!) inside the colon of someone else.  The bacteria in the feces eventually aids in rebalancing the gut.

Obviously, eating yogurt sounds like a simpler alternative than a fecal transplant. Scientists believe that microbes in the gut produce neuroactive compounds which influence mental health.

“The question that we wanted to ask is, does the microbiome participate in depression?” said Gaultier.

Through the study with mice, researchers examined the gut bacteria in mice before and after exposure to stress. They discovered that the loss of the bacteria Lactobacillus triggered depression symptoms, which researchers defined as lethargy-type symptoms.

“A single strain of Lactobacillus is able to influence mood,” said Gaultier.

Researchers only looked at one strain of the microbe, but they believe other strains with similar properties could also have a similar effect.

Still, if eating yogurt can ward off depression, why is it that so many people who may still struggle with depression? The answer Is simple:

“There are many mechanisms involved in driving depression. We have found one that is clearly important, but there are also other contributors to this complex condition,” explains Gaultier.

Overall, these findings are a step in the right direction when it comes to potential depression treatments. In the meantime, those with depression should continue to follow the advice of their doctor before switching to yogurt as a treatment for depression.

Depression is a complex disorder; therefore a study like this will remain inconclusive for quite some time. What do you think? Does this hold any merit? Could yogurt help with depression? Regardless, if you are struggling with this debilitating illness, please call now. We want to help you get on track. Do not wait. Call today.

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Could the Cannabis Transdermal Patch Be Abused?

Could the Cannabis Transdermal Patch Be Abused?

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

The growth of medical marijuana reform in America continues to make headway. Some new states are beginning the process of establishing new regulations and policies concerning medical marijuana, and others have already begun to debate fringe issues like drugged driving or workplace drug tests. Medical marijuana is no longer as taboo as it once was, and now innovations are beginning to reinvent the way marijuana is used medically. Something else you may not know about medical marijuana technology is the cannabis transdermal patch.

A few months ago there was the story of the new cannabis inhaler, utilizing the same kind of device that people use for asthma. This unique method of administration has nothing else like it so far. There is enthusiasm about how this could change how people utilize medicinal marijuana to fight cancer and other serious diseases. It may even change how some people view the use of cannabis for medical reasons. So looking at the concept of cannabis transdermal patch, it sparks some curiosity.

Cannabis Transdermal Patch: How Patches Work

To explain, a transdermal patch is basically an adhesive attached to the skin which allows medication to be absorbed through the skin. Of course, transdermal patches already exist for all types of other medications. The nicotine patch is probably one of the most popular forms of transdermal medication. The extremely potent and potentially lethal drug Fentanyl has also been used in the patch form before.

The cannabis transdermal patch would release certain chemicals over time to combat the neurological nerve pain for many patients. According to initial reports from one company, Cannabis Science, so far the research has shown no notable negative side effects.

Cannabis Transdermal Patch: Mary’s Medicinals

This actually isn’t a brand new concept. Since 2013, Mary’s Medicinals is a company that has been focused on medical cannabis. The company was the first to ever offer a cannabis transdermal patch as a method of delivery.

The cannabis transdermal patch from Mary’s has actually won numerous awards at the CannAwards in 2015. In defense of their intentions with the product, they have even said,

“We don’t cater towards the recreational market”

One report says that 80% of the companies products don’t even contain THC. THC is the chemical in marijuana responsible for the “high” people experience.

Cannabis Transdermal Patch: Cannabis Science

The cannabis transdermal patch was created by a company called Cannabis Science. According to one statement from the company about the cannabis transdermal patch,

“An advantage of a transdermal drug delivery route over other types of medication delivery, such as oral, topical, intravenous, intramuscular, etc. is that the patch provides a controlled release of the medication into the patient, usually through body heat melting thin layers of medication embedded in the adhesive which will be containing high potency cannabinoid (CBD) extract that slowly enters into the bloodstream and then penetrates the central nervous system of the patient delivering the pain relief sought.”

So essentially the idea is to create a controlled dosage system for medical cannabis extract that can eliminate other complications of administration. The CEO of Cannabis Science also states,

“The development of these two new pharmaceutical medicinal applications are just the tip of the iceberg,” then later adding, “We are also busy researching more potential needs for cannabis related medical applications and developing the methods for delivery of these medications.”

So it would seem that this team believes the future of medical marijuana could very well be in finding new ways to apply the substance and administer it in a medicinal capacity.

Cannabis Transdermal Patch: Can it be Abused?

So as an individual in recovery and when looking at news in the field of drug abuse, medication and addiction treatment, of course my question is could these patches be abused. As with most people, when you hear anything to do with marijuana you have the stigma attached to it that has become so standard. But in reality, we have seen science support that there are uses for the substance medically.

Same can be said for Xanax or OxyContin, but these are still powerful drugs and with the nation facing an opioid crisis it is probably safe to say that even legal medicine with good intention has the capacity to destroy lives.

So, can the cannabis transdermal patch be abused?

Surely some could be. Depending on the chemical make-up the patch could probably be used as a sneaky way for people to get high. Surely there will be people who go out of their way to figure out how to misuse the cannabis transdermal patch. Still, for most companies the idea behind them has been to specifically develop a method of administering medical marijuana extracts without the “high” side effects.

Regardless of the legal standing of a medication, marijuana or otherwise, the dangers of substance abuse are very real. So perhaps as the use of the cannabis transdermal patch becomes more relevant more research about abuse.

Any substance can be abused and develop into an addiction, even marijuana. If you are struggling with marijuana addiction, do not hesitate to get help today. You are not alone! If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

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Could a New Phone App Combat Human Trafficking?

 

Slavery - Human Trafficking

Author: Shernide Delva

There are an estimated 21 million people in forced or coerced human trafficking worldwide. That number is just an estimate. Human trafficking can happen anywhere at anytime.  It is going on in our backyards, and most of us are unaware of it. Because we are unaware of it, it becomes an unspoken problem. Now, a newly released app plans to combat this epidemic. All it requires is users take photos of their hotel room.

Just by taking pictures of your next hotel room, you can take a small step in helping victims of sex trafficking around the world. The new app is called TraffickCam and allows those traveling to upload photos of their hotel room around the world.

“You just enter your hotel room and your room number. You take four pictures, and you submit them to the website,” Washington University Researcher and TraffickCam developer Abby Stylianou said at a Human Trafficking Town Hall. “And then those become part of the pipeline that law enforcement can use to track down where the victims are being trafficked.”

The hotel room photos go into a database that over time will help law enforcement locate where human trafficking is occurring. Pictures of Hotel rooms are matched against a police database.

“Right now there are pictures posted every day. Hundreds of pictures, in every city around the United States, posted online, that show victims of trafficking, in hotel rooms posed on beds,” she said.

Stylianou says the idea sparked from the times authorities have asked the public to identify a hotel room where human trafficking took place. Often, someone was able to identify the hotel room from the photo.

Now, this app aims to collect hotel room photos in advance. So the next time you check into a hotel room, take pictures of your room and upload them using the app. After all, it is only one extra thing to do on top of your Snapchats and fancy food Instagram pictures. The app is free and available for both iOS and Android devices.

Human Trafficking and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and human trafficking, unfortunately, go hand and hand. Estimates indicate that between 40 and 85 percent of all prostitutes are drug users. What the media often does not portray is the fact that many victims are not addicts before being traffic. However, when found, these victims are left with drug addictions and dependencies.

There a few ways that substance abuse and human trafficking intertwine. It can be a product of recruitment, control or coping:

  • Recruitment: Victims will sometimes end up in human trafficking before any drug abuse. This scenario is very common in the sex industry. Men and women turn to prostitution to support their drug dependencies. Traffickers use this as leverage to obtain workers.
  • Control: Traffickers will force drug use on victims as a mean of control, so they get what they want.
    “In some cases, a prostitute will be forced by a pimp or other person to take drugs to ensure that they do as they are told… This is particularly true in the case of young people and children” (DARA).
    Sadly, this method of control is even used on children as well. Children are sometimes forced to take drugs or drink alcohol, so they are more manipulated into having sex or performing sexual acts without consent. Trafficking victims are often forced to take drugs like heroin or meth because they eventually become dependent on these substances. Traffickers gain control of their victims this way because soon the victims will feel they need to fund their addiction. Now, their addiction binds them to their exploitation.
  • Coping: Drugs can be a method of coping for victims. Victims of human trafficking may use drugs as a way to numb their pain. Day after day, abusing substances allow victims to deal with the reality of their life and work. Substance Abuse is used “as a way to be able to continue to do the degrading and often violent work” (DARA). Some victims also use drugs in the aftermath to reduce their post-traumatic emotional distress.

As you can see, human trafficking is a major problem across the board. The fact that an app like this could help law enforcement find the location these horrible acts are taking place is a step in the right direction. If you or someone you know has gone through a similar traumatic experience and is struggling with any form of dependency, the time is now to call for help. Do not try to do this alone.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Opioid Alternatives: Should Doctors Weigh Other Options?

Physical therapist helping patient on exercise staircase.

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Over the last decade, the increase in opiate painkiller abuse and heroin abuse has been alarming to say the least. The 2014 statistics state that a person dies every 4 minutes from a drug overdose or alcohol-related event. Prescription pain killer abuse is an epidemic in the United States and as a result, alternatives are being considered to prevent more and more people from developing a dependency to opioids. Are there better methods of managing chronic pain?

Many believe so and are pushing for a change. While opioid medications are effective at reducing pain, they are very addictive, and other alternatives should be looked at before doctors prescribe opioid medications.

So, what options are available? Fortunately, there are a variety of options available for pain relief that range from non-opioid medications to non-medicinal therapies. Discussing these options with your doctor can help provide you with a pain management program that has a lower risk for dependency.

The Best Opiate Alternatives

  • Over-the-Counter Acetaminophen
    Acetaminophen is a drug more commonly known by the brand name Tylenol. It is recommended as a first-line of treatment by the American College of Rheumatology. While scientists are not sure on how the drug works, most theorize the drug works by inhibiting the synthesis of chemical messengers called prostaglandins, which help to transmit pain signals and induce fever. This drug is non-addictive and can be very effective.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
    NSAIDs are more potent than acetaminophen and include anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve. These drugs work by reducing inflammation; however they run a risk of risk of organ toxicity, kidney or liver failure and ulcers. Use in moderation for optimum success.
  • Corticosteroids
    Steroids inhibits nerves in the body and provide pain relief. The drawbacks to steroids are that they can potentially accelerate join destruction. Other side effects can include immune system suppression, gastrointestinal issues and psychiatric effects.
  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Re-uptake Inhibitors
    Anti-depressants may be appropriate for nerve, muscular and skeletal pain. They also help with insomnia and anxiety. This is a great alternative because these drugs do not have the same side effects of opioids.
  • Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy requires more work from the patient but can be extremely useful in improving physical healing and relieving pain long-term. Physical therapy can be done in sessions and recommended exercises can often be done at home.
  • Massage, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care
    Acupuncture is an ancient art form that has been used for thousands of years. Some find acupuncture to be just as effective, if not more effective than medications. On the bonus side, it is a totally natural safe alternative to opioid medication.
  • Exercise
    Exercise is beneficial for so many reasons. Surprisingly, exercise has been shown to be healing for those with chronic pain. Low-impact exercises can help improve mobility and functionality. Activities like yoga and ta-chi can be helpful for many ailments.

Chronic pain affects millions. Whether we like it or not, pain is a real occurrence, and sometimes opioid medications may be the only option. However, if other alternatives and other methods of care can be promoted, it can help prevent the amount of patients suffering from dependence to these drugs. Often, taking a prescription opioid may not be the best option. As the prescription pain killer epidemic continues to gain media attention and  political awareness,more attention should be placed on prevention methods, as well as treatment.

Overall, ask your doctor to weigh the alternative options available. Together, both of you can decide the best method of pain management. What do you think? Should doctors weight other options? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Congress Investigating Big Pharma Price Gouging

Congress Investigating Big Pharma Price Gouging

Author: Justin Mckibben

Anyone remember the outrage that came about in recent months when it was publicly announced that Big Pharma companies were purchasing the rights to manufacture and distribute life-saving medications and then gouging the prices at astronomical and frankly offensive rates?

There was the story of Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who hijacked the life-saving AIDS medication Daraprim, and then held it hostage with a price hike of 5,455% increase, going from Daraprim costing $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.

Then came J. Michael Pearson, the CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, who increased the price of 56 of the drugs in the last year alone, and acquired the drug Zegerid and promptly raised the price by 550% overnight.

Well now it seems the powers that be have had enough of the price gouging nonsense. Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders has made it a personal point to attack the status of Big Pharma price spikes since his campaign began, and now it seems Sanders and other crusaders are getting some extra muscle from the United States Congress.

House Announced Big Pharma Investigation

The announcement comes after waves of outrage concerning the way that Big Pharma is manipulating the drug market to leach as much as they can out of the American consumers who are in serious need for the drugs they are producing. The United States House of Representatives investigative panel has given a declaration that they do plan to hold a hearing next year on drastically rising drug costs.

Now, considering the recent news that drew a lot more attention to this pertinent issue, the focus could mainly be on the pricing tactics of one pharmaceutical company in particular: Mr. Pearson’s Big Pharma giant Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

According to a spokeswoman for the U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform said the investigation into drug policies of these Big Pharma bullies is already underway, and the panel has solicited numerous drug companies for further information.

Not-So-Valiant Valeant

The U.S. Senate Special Committee already launched a probe earlier this month into drug pricing at Valeant, which isn’t too surprising considering what we already know. Then there comes the info involved with one of their most recently publicized problems.

Some of the top executives working with Valeant were directly involved with the operations of specialty pharmacy Philidor Rx Services. Philidor Rx Services had caught some heat for their questionable business model after a recent report claimed that two Valeant employees were copied on an email last November that explained how employees at Philidor could bill the highest amount an insurance company was willing to pay by resubmitting rejected claims at different price points.

Representative Elijah Cummings is the top Democrat on the investigative panel seeking to expose unjust and illegal actions in the Big Pharma activities and he wrote,

“Valeant employees may have been personally involved in questionable billing practices that led Valeant to cut ties with Philidor last month.”

Valeant later acknowledged a relationship with Philidor Rx Services shortly after the scandal, but claimed to have cut ties with Philidor because they had “lost confidence” in them due to questions about their business practices. Not-so-valiant Valeant Chief Executive Pearson has not commented on any of the ongoing investigations.

Focus in the Fight

While many have a dubious perspective of the dignity of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, they are definitely not the only Big Pharma focus of the investigation.

Turing Pharmaceutical earned its own focus from the House panel for its own dissatisfying pricing strategies. Martin Shkreli angered just about everyone with the announcement of his price spike, but he announced a few days later that he would lower the price of the drug “in response to the anger that was felt by people.”

Despite Shkreli’s quick backpedaling, it seems it hasn’t been enough to keep his company out of the spot light.

With all this happening, one can only hope that it sheds some light on the way Big Pharma has been abusing the power that comes with producing life-saving prescription drugs. Some Big Pharma companies are helping in the fight with cheap alternatives, so what else can be done?

Don’t even get me started again on how the Big Pharma company behind Naloxone has steadily increased the price of the opiate overdose antidote that is so desperately needed all over the country. In my opinion- these people need investigated!

I honestly feel like Amphastar Pharmaceuticals is blackmailing America with a medication when it could not be more necessary to have expansive and all-inclusive access to- considering the casualties and calamities created by the opiate epidemic. Yet while the states are passing legislation to make it more available, the Big Pharma bosses seem to gradually raise the price as the epidemic worsens… how many opportunists does it take to undermine the efforts to save a nation?

Well if Big Pharma doesn’t want to help, Congress seems more than happy to take a closer look at WHY they need to make it harder on those who are trying to help the addicts in their communities. Not everyone gets the treatment they need, but it is possible and we want to help. 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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