Mariah Carey opened up about bipolar diagnoses for the first time, and people are so grateful

Image: FilmMagic

Now more than ever, celebrities have been opening up about their experiences with mental health issues — and Mariah Carey now joins the ranks of the stars who hope to shatter stigma surrounding various disorders.

The singer, who is typically very private, got incredibly candid with Peoplein a new interview, revealing for the first time in her storied career that 17 years ago she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, which is marked by bouts of depression and mania, as well as sleeplessness and irritability.

“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she told People‘s editor-in-chief Jess Cagle. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”

Carey says she is regularly going to therapy and taking medication that strikes a “proper balance” for her and doesn’t leave her too tired or sluggish.

“I’m just in a really good place right now, where I’m comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder,” she explained. “I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”

People are already lauding Carey on social media for speaking up, telling her story, and in the process, making the world a little less isolating for those who are bipolar. 

The full cover story with Carey in People will be available on Friday. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/04/11/mariah-carey-bipolar-disorder-interview/

10 Real Life Hacks for Losing Weight That Arent Crash Dieting

Losing weight is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either delusional or one of those naturally thin people who’s never used the word “diet” a day in their life.

Thankfully, there’s all sorts of information out there to help you out.

Here are a few surefire tips to get you going.

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Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/real-life-hacks-for-losing-weight-that-arent-crash-dieting/

Alan raises $28.3 million for its health insurance of the future

French startup Alan closed a $28.3 million Series A round a few months ago. Index Ventures is leading the round, Xavier Niel is participating as well as existing investors CNP Assurances, Partech and Portag3 Ventures LP.

Alan wants to make health insurance as simple as subscribing to a software-as-a-service product. It starts with clear pricing and transparent reimbursement policies. For instance, you can cover a 30-year-old employee for €55 per month.

The price will be exactly the same for all types of companies. The only thing that changes is that you’ll pay a bit less for younger employees and more for older employees. Each employee can choose to cover their significant other for the same price, and their kids for an extra €40 per month.

And then, Alan is following the startup playbook. The overall user experience is much nicer than the interface of a traditional health insurance.

You get a modern dashboard where you can control and view all your health expenses, a mobile app and good customer support. You can also add life insurance from CNP Assurances from the same interface.

This simple promise seems to be working quite well as Alan now covers 7,000 employees across 850 companies. As you can see, the startup has been focusing on small companies as it’s easier to make them switch.

Alan co-founder and CEO Jean-Charles Samuelian also told me that small companies are underserved by big insurance companies. There’s no reason you should pay more because you work for a small company.

With today’s funding round, Alan wants to offer the same product at scale. The company plans to grow from 22 employees right now to 80 employees by December 2018.

“The goal is to reach €100 million in annual recurring revenue as quickly as possible,” Samuelian told me. The startup currently generates between €5 and €6 million in annual recurring revenue.

Eventually, Alan wants to expand beyond France and address other European markets. While the U.S. seems like a big market, it’s already quite crowded. Samuelian thinks there will be a bigger opportunity by building a European company. It’ll take quite a bit of time as regulation is different in each European country.

Recently, Alan has been focused on building a solid infrastructure, optimizing processes and automating tasks. In many ways, Samuelian still thinks about Alan as a tech company. “We want to build the Apple or Google of Europe,” he said.

Alan can beat competitors on price and flexibility by building a tech product that actually works — that’s how you can serve 7,000 people with a lean team.

Disclosure: I share a personal connection with an executive at CNP Assurances.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/09/alan-raises-28-3-million-for-its-health-insurance-of-the-future/

Pro-Second Amendment student Kashuv calls for debate with March for Our Lives organizer Kasky

Kyle Kashuv, a Second Amendment-supporting student at the Parkland, Fla., high school that was the site of the shooting massacre last month, on Sunday called for a debate with a classmate who helped organize the pro-gun control March for Our Lives, based on a quote made to Fox News.

The organizer, Cameron Kasky, was responding to a claim in a recent National Rifle Association (NRA) video, that “no one would know [Parkland students’] names” had their classmates not died.

“I think that’s the most pathetic thing I’ve seen out of this… And that’s the NRA — you’ll notice, they can’t attack our argument, so they’re attacking us personally. The fact that they’re saying all we want out of this is for people to know our names. They have no idea how much each of us would give for it to be February 13th again,” Kasky told “Fox News Sunday,” referencing the day before the massacre.

“Happy to debate you live tomorrow so we can dissect each other’s arguments. Interested? No personal insults allowed here,” Kashuv tweeted to Kasky.

Kasky responded that he’d be interested in organizing a debate “in the near future.”

The “March for Our Lives” events on Saturday drew massive crowds in cities across the country. In Washington, D.C., New York City, Denver, Los Angeles and other cities, demonstrators heard from student survivors of last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 more.

Speaking to Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Kasky said that the argument from the NRA and Kashuv, that those supporting the March for Our Lives movement “truly don’t know what they’re marching for,” is a fallacy.

“We are not just marching to end school violence. We are marching to end violence all over the country, because that’s where it happens,” Kasky said, reiterating that “we are not trying to take everybody’s guns away.”

MARCH FOR OUR LIVES ORGANIZERS RALLY FOR ‘COMMON SENSE’ ACTIONS ON GUNS

Kasky’s call for “common sense” regulations include issuing mental health checks and having gun owners be age 21 and older. He said assault weapons should be completely banned, but smaller guns used for protection could be sold under better regulations.

Kashuv, who wasn’t invited to speak at the main demonstration in Washington on Saturday, told Fox News’ Leland Vittert on “America’s News HQ” that Trump “does care about stopping school violence,” despite what his opposition claims.

Fox News’ Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/03/25/pro-second-amendment-student-kashuv-calls-for-debate-with-march-for-our-lives-organizer-kasky.html

10 Sex Facts They Never Taught You in High School Sex Ed

Ah, sex education in America. It’s really not the best, is it? Sex Ed teaches you the basic facts, very cut and dry, but it definitely doesn’t teach all the strange, wacky facts about sex you definitely should know. Here are 10 of the best ones.

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Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/10-sex-facts-they-never-taught-you-in-high-school-sex-ed/

How Smallville Actress Allison Mack Became a Women-Branding Cult Leader

The difficult-to-pronounce word on everybodys lips this week is Nxivm, the self-help company that former members have deemed a cult.

Nxivm (pronounced Nexium) is currently in the press because its leader Keith Raniere was arrested in Mexico on Sunday. Subsequently, hes been charged with sex-trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor. FBI official William Sweeney detailed on Monday that, As alleged, Keith Raniere displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves.

Sweeney continued, He allegedly participated in horrifying acts of branding and burning them, with the co-operation of other women operating within this unorthodox pyramid scheme. These serious crimes against humanity are not only shocking, but disconcerting to say the least, and we are putting an end to this torture today.

Unlike other, less glamorous cults, Nxivm has always flirted with celebrity. A 2010 Vanity Fair piece alleged that Raniere went out of his way to court wealthy and influential followers. That article, The Heiresses and the Cult, told the story of Seagrams heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman, who quickly rose through the Nxivm ranks, helping to organize high profile events like the Dalai Lamas visit to Albany in 2009.

Vanity Fair reported that the Bronfman sisters relationship with Raniere lead to a massive gutting of their trust funds to help finance nxivm and the alleged investment schemes of its leader. The article continued, According to legal filings and public documents, in the last six years as much as $150 million was taken out of the Bronfmans trusts and bank accounts, including $66 million allegedly used to cover Ranieres failed bets in the commodities market, $30 million to buy real estate in Los Angeles and around Albany, $11 million for a 22-seat, two-engine Canadair CL-600 jet, and millions more to support a barrage of lawsuits across the country against nxivms enemies.

Slaves must immediately answer their masters any time they text or call them, and if they do not recruit enough slaves of their own, they are beaten with a paddle on their buttocks.

In 2017, The New York Times published a shocking report, substantiated by the testimonies of former members. One woman, Sarah Edmondson, claimed to have been branded during a Nxivm ritual. The Times reported that, Each woman was told to undress and lie on a massage table, while three others restrained her legs and shoulders. According to one of them, their master, a top Nxivm official named Lauren Salzman, instructed them to say: Master, please brand me, it would be an honor.

A female doctor proceeded to use a cauterizing device to sear a two-inch-square symbol below each womans hip, a procedure that took 20 to 30 minutes, the article continued, For hours, muffled screams and the smell of burning tissue filled the room.

A text message Raniere allegedly sent to a female follower that was obtained by The New York Times acknowledged both the branding and its unique design, reading, Not initially intended as my initials but they rearranged it slightly for tribute. The KR initials also, when inverted, spell the initials AM.

The New York Times also reported that the state police investigator told Ms. Edmondson and two other women that officials would not pursue their criminal complaint against Nxivm because their actions had been consensual.

Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg spoke with the Times as wellher daughter, India, had reportedly also been initiated into the top-secret sorority.

Before fleeing the country, Raniere wrote a letter in response to the Times expose, describing the sororitys members as thriving, health, happy and better off, insisting that they haven't been coerced.

Catherine Oxenberg isnt the only minor celebrity to make an appearance in Ranieres tangled web. Smallville fans were shocked to learn that Allison Mack, the Teen Choice Award-winning actress who played Chloe Sullivan on the CW series, is allegedly a key recruiter at Nxivm.

Frank Parlato is a businessman who was accused by the Bronfman sisters of defrauding them in 2011. Hes gone on to publish information about Nxivm on his blog, The Frank Report, often citing anonymous ex-followers. According to Parlato, Mack helped form the secret sorority, otherwise known as DOS (Dominos Obsequious Sororium, which means Master Over the Slave Women), envisioning a united group of women branded in the name of Mr. Raniere and Miss Mackwhich will be a force for good, and a female force against evil.

According to a 2017 Daily Mail article, DOS operates as a master-slave hierarchy, with Raniere at the top and Mack as his immediate subordinateWomen in the group are allegedly kept on a 500- to 800-calorie a day diet because Raniere likes thin women and believes fat interferes with his energy levels, Parlato claims. Slaves must immediately answer their masters any time they text or call them, and if they do not recruit enough slaves of their own, they are beaten with a paddle on their buttocks.

The Frank Report alleged that Mack herself introduced corporeal punishment into the sorority.

In that 2017 blog post, Parlato claimed that Mack had also taken over Jness, a Nxivm womens group, writing, Both womens groups, Jness and DOS are based on the teachings of Mr. Raniere. Both require members to keep the teachings secret. Jness is open to females who want to take entry level self improvement courses on female empowerment. Abeginner is not told about the higher level teachings until she proves qualifiedSince Miss Mack has assumed control of both organizations, Jness is evolving into a training ground and recruitment camp for women who may qualify for the teachings of DOS. The cream of Jness women are invited to join DOS, and the cream of DOS women are invited to join Mr. Ranieres harem [subject to his approval].

According to the BBC, The FBIs criminal complaint similarly claims that, Once recruited as slaves, women were allegedly expected to perform menial chores for masters and have sex with Mr. Raniere, who was known as The Vanguard.

Raniere has maintained a rotating group of fifteen to twenty women with whom he maintains sexual relationships, the FBI further stated in its complaint. These women are not permitted to have sexual relationships with anyone but Raniere or to discuss with others their relationship with Raniere. Some of the Nxivm curriculum included teachings about the need for men to have multiple sexual partners and the need for women to be monogamous.

Mack, who has acted sparingly since Smallville, praises Raniere on her blog. In the bio section, she writes, Over the course of several years, Mr. Raniere mentored Allison in her study of acting and music. As such, she has developed a deep connection to the nature of humanity as it relates to acting as an art form, and a tool for personal evolution. The blog continues, In 2013, Mr. Raniere worked with Allison and a small group of equally skilled and dedicated professionals to develop a curriculum that is currently taught through a private arts academy, The Source. There Allison serves as president and is one of its top trainers.

Frank Parlato told The Sun that Mack is one of the women who can be seen panicking over Raniere in a leaked video clip of his arrest. According to prosecutors, the women that were reportedly living with Raniere in Mexico chased the car in which the defendant was being transported in their own car at high speed.

Nxivms official website currently reads, In response to the allegations against our founder, Keith Raniere, we are currently working with the authorities to demonstrate his innocence and true character.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-smallville-actress-allison-mack-became-a-women-branding-cult-leader

10 Simple Ways to Get Started Losing Weight Without Making Yourself Crazy

Losing weight is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either delusional or one of those naturally thin people who’s never used the word “diet” a day in their life. Thankfully, there’s all sorts of information out there to help you out. Here are a few surefire tips to get you going.

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Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/10-simple-ways-to-get-started-losing-weight-without-making-yourself-crazy/

Marijuana legalization could help offset opioid epidemic, studies find

(CNN)Experts have proposed using medical marijuana to help Americans struggling with opioid addiction. Now, two studies suggest that there is merit to that strategy.

The studies, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, compared opioid prescription patterns in states that have enacted medical cannabis laws with those that have not. One of the studies looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D between 2010 and 2015, while the other looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicaid between 2011 and 2016.
The researchers found that states that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes had 2.21 million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed per year under Medicare Part D, compared with those states without medical cannabis laws. Opioid prescriptions under Medicaid also dropped by 5.88% in states with medical cannabis laws compared with states without such laws, according to the studies.
    “This study adds one more brick in the wall in the argument that cannabis clearly has medical applications,” said David Bradford, professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia and a lead author of the Medicare study.
    “And for pain patients in particular, our work adds to the argument that cannabis can be effective.”
    Medicare Part D, the optional prescription drug benefit plan for those enrolled in Medicare, covers more than 42 million Americans, including those 65 or older. Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 73 million low-income individuals in the US, according to the program’s website.
    “Medicare and Medicaid publishes this data, and we’re free to use it, and anyone who’s interested can download the data,” Bradford said. “But that means that we don’t know what’s going on with the privately insured and the uninsured population, and for that, I’m afraid the data sets are proprietary and expensive.”

    ‘This crisis is very real’

    The new research comes as the United States remains entangled in the worst opioid epidemic the world has ever seen. Opioid overdose has risen dramatically over the past 15 years and has been implicated in over 500,000 deaths since 2000 — more than the number of Americans killed in World War II.
    “As somebody who treats patients with opioid use disorders, this crisis is very real. These patients die every day, and it’s quite shocking in many ways,” said Dr. Kevin Hill, an addiction psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the new studies.
    “We have had overuse of certain prescription opioids over the years, and it’s certainly contributed to the opioid crisis that we’re feeling,” he added. “I don’t think that’s the only reason, but certainly, it was too easy at many points to get prescriptions for opioids.”
    Today, more than 90 Americans a day die from opioid overdose, resulting in more than 42,000 deaths per year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid overdose recently overtook vehicular accidents and shooting deaths as the most common cause of accidental death in the United States, the CDC says.
    Like opioids, marijuana has been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain as well as other conditions such as seizures, multiple sclerosis and certain mental disorders, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Research suggests that the cannabinoid and opioid receptor systems rely on common signaling pathways in the brain, including the dopamine reward system that is central to drug tolerance, dependence and addiction.
    “All drugs of abuse operate using some shared pathways. For example, cannabinoid receptors and opioid receptors coincidentally happen to be located very close by in many places in the brain,” Hill said. “So it stands to reason that a medication that affects one system might affect the other.”
    But unlike opioids, marijuana has little addiction potential, and virtually no deaths from marijuana overdose have been reported in the United States, according to Bradford.
    “No one has ever died of cannabis, so it has many safety advantages over opiates,” Bradford said. “And to the extent that we’re trying to manage the opiate crisis, cannabis is a potential tool.”

    Comparing states with and without medical marijuana laws

    In order to evaluate whether medical marijuana could function as an effective and safe alternative to opioids, the two teams of researchers looked at whether opioid prescriptions were lower in states that had active medical cannabis laws and whether those states that enacted these laws during the study period saw reductions in opioid prescriptions.
    Both teams, in fact, did find that opioid prescriptions were significantly lower in states that had enacted medical cannabis laws. The team that looked at Medicaid patients also found that the four states that switched from medical use only to recreational use — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — saw further reductions in opioid prescriptions, according to Hefei Wen, assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Kentucky and a lead author on the Medicaid study.
    “We saw a 9% or 10% reduction (in opioid prescriptions) in Colorado and Oregon,” Wen said. “And in Alaska and Washington, the magnitude was a little bit smaller but still significant.”
    The first state in the United States to legalize marijuana for medicinal use was California, in 1996. Since then, 29 states and the District of Columbia have approved some form of legalized cannabis. All of these states include chronic pain — either directly or indirectly — in the list of approved medical conditions for marijuana use, according to Bradford.
    The details of the medical cannabis laws were found to have a significant impact on opioid prescription patterns, the researchers found. States that permitted recreational use, for example, saw an additional 6.38% reduction in opioid prescriptions under Medicaid compared with those states that permitted marijuana only for medical use, according to Wen.
    The method of procurement also had a significant impact on opioid prescription patterns. States that permitted medical dispensaries — regulated shops that people can visit to purchase cannabis products — had 3.742 million fewer opioid prescriptions filled per year under Medicare Part D, while those that allowed only home cultivation had 1.792 million fewer opioid prescriptions per year.
    “We found that there was about a 14.5% reduction in any opiate use when dispensaries were turned on — and that was statistically significant — and about a 7% reduction in any opiate use when home cultivation only was turned on,” Bradford said. “So dispensaries are much more powerful in terms of shifting people away from the use of opiates.”
    The impact of these laws also differed based on the class of opioid prescribed. Specifically, states with medical cannabis laws saw 20.7% fewer morphine prescriptions and 17.4% fewer hydrocodone prescriptions compared with states that did not have these laws, according to Bradford.
    Fentanyl prescriptions under Medicare Part D also dropped by 8.5% in states that had enacted medical cannabis laws, though the difference was not statistically significant, Bradford said. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, like heroin, that can be prescribed legally by physicians. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and even a small amount can be fatal, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
    “I know that many people, including the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, are skeptical of cannabis,” Bradford said. “But, you know, the attorney general needs to be terrified of fentanyl.”

    ‘A call to action’

    This is not the first time researchers have found a link between marijuana legalization and decreased opioid use. A 2014 study showed that states with medical cannabis laws had 24.8% fewer opioid overdose deaths between 1999 and 2010. A study in 2017 also found that the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado in 2012 reversed the state’s upward trend in opioid-related deaths.
    “There is a growing body of scientific literature suggesting that legal access to marijuana can reduce the use of opioids as well as opioid-related overdose deaths,” said Melissa Moore, New York deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “In states with medical marijuana laws, we have already seen decreased admissions for opioid-related treatment and dramatically reduced rates of opioid overdoses.”
    Some skeptics, though, argue that marijuana legalization could actually worsen the opioid epidemic. Another 2017 study, for example, showed a positive association between illicit cannabis use and opioid use disorders in the United States. But there may be an important difference between illicit cannabis use and legalized cannabis use, according to Hill.
    “As we have all of these states implementing these policies, it’s imperative that we do more research,” Hill said. “We need to study the effects of these policies, and we really haven’t done it to the degree that we should.”
    The two recent studies looked only at patients enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare Part D, meaning the results may not be generalizable to the entire US population.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    But both Hill and Moore agree that as more states debate the merits of legalizing marijuana in the coming months and years, more research will be needed to create consistency between cannabis science and cannabis policy.
    “There is a great deal of movement in the Northeast, with New Hampshire and New Jersey being well-positioned to legalize adult use,” Moore said. “I believe there are also ballot measures to legalize marijuana in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota as well that voters will decide on in Fall 2018.”
    Hill called the new research “a call to action” and added, “we should be studying these policies. But unfortunately, the policies have far outpaced the science at this point.”

    Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/02/health/medical-cannabis-law-opioid-prescription-study/index.html

    Teen Mom OG Star Mackenzie Standifer Responds After Taylor McKinney SLAMS Her & Husband Ryan Edwards As ‘Jobless Adults’

    Can’t we all just get along??

    On Monday’s episode of Teen Mom OG, Mackenzie Standifer asked husband Ryan Edwards why he didn’t marry baby momma Maci Bookout.

    Related: Tyler Baltierra Opens Up About Attempting Suicide When He Was 11

    Edwards responded:

    “That would’ve been awful if Maci and I would’ve gotten married, just completely awful.”

    When Mackenzie asked Ryan if Maci has “let go of the past,” he responded, “No.”

    When the episode premiered, Maci’s husband, Taylor McKinney, slammed the two on Twitter calling them “jobless adults.” He wrote:

    On Tuesday, Mackenzie responded to Taylor’s diss by telling Radar Online:

    “He must be going through something tough to lash out like that. So I’ll be praying for them… I haven’t spoken to Taylor or Maci since last year… I don’t have anything bad to say about either of them. It’s really fine. Life is still moving along.”

    Standifer married Edwards in May 2017 before he headed to rehab for drug abuse.

    Edwards and Bookout share 9-year-old son Bentley, while Maci has daughter Jayde, 2, and son Maverick, 21 months, with McKinney. Standifer has 3-year-old son Hudson with ex-husband, Zachary Stephens.

    [Image via Maci Bookout/Mackenzie Standifer/Instagram.]

    Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2018-03-20-maci-bookout-ryan-edwards-mackenzie-standifer-taylor-mckinney-jobless-adults