This company will tell you which vitamins and supplements to take based on your DNA

Nutrigene believes your genes may hold the secret to what you might be missing in your diet. The company will send you tailor-made liquid vitamin supplements based on a lifestyle quiz and your DNA.

You fill out an assessment on the startup’s website, choose a recommended package, such as essentials, improve performance or optimize gut health, and Nutrigene will send you liquid supplements built just for you. It is also going to start allowing customers to upload their 23andMe data to find get an assessment of their nutritional needs based on DNA.

Founder Min FitzGerald launched the startup out of Singularity and later accepted a Google fellowship for the idea. Nutrigene is now going through the current YC class. Her co-founder and CTO Van Duesterberg comes from a biotech and epigenetics background and holds a PhD from Stanford.

The idea sounds a bit far-fetched at first — simply take a quiz, import your DNA and you magically have all your nutritional needs taken care of. However, Dawn Barry, former VP at Illumina and now president of Luna DNA, a biotech company powered by the blockchain, says it could have some scientific underpinnings. But, she cautioned, nutrigenetics is still an early science.

Amir Trabelsi, founder of genetic analysis platform Genoox, agrees. And, he pointed out, these types of companies don’t need to provide any proof.

“That doesn’t mean it’s completely wrong,” Trabelsi told TechCrunch. “But we don’t know enough to say this person should use Vitamin A, for example… There needs to be more trials and observation.”

Still, the vitamin industry is big business, pulling in more than $36 billion dollars in just the U.S. last year. With or without the genetic component, Nutrigene promises to deliver high-quality ingredients, optimized in liquid form.

Fitzgerald says the liquid component helps the supplements work 10 times better in your body than powder-based pills and, she points out, some people can’t swallow pills.

Hesitant, I agreed to try it out for myself. The process was fairly easy and the lifestyle quiz only took about 10 minutes. Then, I sent in my raw data from my 23andMe account.

Though genetics are a factor in Nutrigene’s ultimate formulation, FitzGerald told me the DNA part is pretty new and that my biometric details and goals were more indicative of how the company tailored my dosages.

However, I did apparently need more B12, according to FitzGerald. “Hence we gave you a good dose of B12 in your elixir,” she told me.

Does the stuff work? Tough to say. I didn’t feel any different on Nutrigene’s liquid vitamins than I do normally. Though, full disclosure, I’ve been taking what I believe to be some pretty good prenatal vitamins from New Chapter and a DHA supplement from Nordic Naturals for almost a year now while I’ve been building a baby in my womb. My doctor tested my nutritional levels at the beginning of my pregnancy through a blood sample, seemed pleased with my choice to take prenatals and didn’t tell me to do anything different.

Would Nutrigene’s formula be ideal for someone else? Possibly, especially if that person holds a high standard for ingredients in their supplements or has a hard time swallowing pills. However, it seems the jury is still out on the science behind vitamins tailored to your genetics and, like Trabelsi mentioned earlier, we likely need a lot more study on the matter.

For those interested in trying out Nutrigene, you can do so by ordering on the website. Package pricing varies and depends on nutritional needs, but starts at around $85 per month.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/05/this-company-will-tell-you-which-vitamins-and-supplements-to-take-based-on-your-dna/

This Swedish fitness trend combines running with picking up litter

Image: Getty Images

Forget about Hygge, Lagom, and Ikea’s attempt to start a twin duvet revolution. There’s a new Scandinavian trend in town. 

This trend encourages people to pick up litter while out running. So, it’s not just good for your health, it’s also good for the environment. 

It’s called ‘plogging’—a portmanteau of jogging and the Swedish plocka upp, meaning ‘pick up.’ 

So hot is this new trend that fitness app Lifesum is allowing its users to log and track their plogging activity as a workout. 

Plogging combines going for a run with intermittent squatting or lunging (to collect rubbish), which actually sounds like a pretty satisfying workout. According to Lifesum, a typical user will burn 288 calories in 30 minutes of plogging, which is more or less the same as what’s burned off while jogging.  

As with all fitness trends, there are plenty of #plogging pics on Instagram, offering a glimpse of what this trend looks like IRL. Ploggers take plastic bags along with them so they can store the collected litter they find along their route.

Swedish fitness app Lifesum claims it’s the first health app to allows its 25 million users to log their plogging activity. Those using the health app can log plogging as a fitness activity, in the same way that they would log running or walking, and the app will estimate how many calories have been burned. 

Image: lifesum / rachel thompson

Lifesum has also teamed up with the non-profit Keep America Beautiful to provide an online resource for ploggers who want to log the rubbish they’ve collected. 

Mike Rosen, senior vice president at Keep America Beautiful, thinks plogging is a great way to encourage people to make a difference in their local environment. 

“Plogging is brilliant because it is simple and fun, while empowering everyone to help create cleaner, greener and more beautiful communities,” Rosen said in a statement. “All you need is running gear and a bag for trash or recyclables, and you are not only improving your own health, but your local community too.”

Plog away!

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/02/13/plogging-fitness-trend/

Health Win: This New App Helps Users Track How Far Theyve Fallen Every Time They Tumble Down A Flight Of Stairs

If you’re having trouble staying active (uh, who isn’t??), here’s something that might actually motivate you to get your butt off the couch: This new app helps users track how far they’ve fallen every time they tumble down a flight of stairs.

Finally, a way to figure out how many steps you really fell down on your way to work this morning, without any of the guesswork!

Here’s how it works: The app is called StairTracker, and after you download it and make a StairTracker profile specifying your height and weight, it will automatically log how many vertical feet you drop and how many stair steps you bypass every time you careen headfirst down a flight of stairs. According to StairTracker developers, the app uses the accelerometer on your phone to track your flailing body’s journey as it skids down a staircase—but users who are committed to making tracking their tumbles a part of their lifestyle can also buy a StairTracker watch that syncs with the smartphone app automatically.

Plus, StairTracker lets you set goals for distance fallen, and alerts you with a notification when you’ve hit your “plummet goal” for the day. The app’s developers also made sure to include a social element, so you can add friends to your profile and react to the falls they post with a “nice spill” sticker.

So the next time you find yourself sitting there at the bottom of a staircase, wondering how far you’ve fallen, why not give StairTracker a try? It could be just what you need for the new year.

Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/health-win-new-app-helps-users-track-how-far-theyv-7157

For the first time in its history, the Gerber spokesbaby is a child with Down syndrome

(CNN)This cutie with a contagious smile is 18-month-old Lucas Warren and on Wednesday he made history: He’s the first child with Down syndrome to become Gerber’s “Spokesbaby of the year” in its 91-year history.

Lucas is from Dalton, Georgia. Gerber picked him from more than 140,000 entries to its photo search contest. The initiative to find the “Gerber Baby” began soon after the company was founded in 1927, when it put out a call looking for a baby to feature in its ads.
The title means Lucas’ parents will get a $50,000 prize and Lucas will appear on Gerber’s social media channels and will be featured in Gerber ads through the year.
    “We hope this opportunity sheds light on the special needs community and educates people that with acceptance and support, individuals with special needs have the potential to change the world — just like our Lucas,” his mom said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/07/health/first-gerber-baby-down-syndrome-trnd/index.html

    CNN Exclusive: California launches investigation following stunning admission by Aetna medical director

    (CNN)California’s insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients’ records when deciding whether to approve or deny care.

    “If the health insurer is making decisions to deny coverage without a physician actually ever reviewing medical records, that’s of significant concern to me as insurance commissioner in California — and potentially a violation of law,” he said.
    Aetna, the nation’s third-largest insurance provider with 23.1 million customers, told CNN it looked forward to “explaining our clinical review process” to the commissioner.
      The California probe centers on a deposition by Dr. Jay Ken Iinuma, who served as medical director for Aetna for Southern California from March 2012 to February 2015, according to the insurer.
      During the deposition, the doctor said he was following Aetna’s training, in which nurses reviewed records and made recommendations to him.
      Jones said his expectation would be “that physicians would be reviewing treatment authorization requests,” and that it’s troubling that “during the entire course of time he was employed at Aetna, he never once looked at patients’ medical records himself.”
      “It’s hard to imagine that in that entire course in time, there weren’t any cases in which a decision about the denial of coverage ought to have been made by someone trained as a physician, as opposed to some other licensed professional,” Jones told CNN.
      “That’s why we’ve contacted Aetna and asked that they provide us information about how they are making these claims decisions and why we’ve opened this investigation.”
      The insurance commissioner said Californians who believe they may have been adversely affected by Aetna’s decisions should contact his office.
      Members of the medical community expressed similar shock, saying Iinuma’s deposition leads to questions about Aetna’s practices across the country.
      “Oh my God. Are you serious? That is incredible,” said Dr. Anne-Marie Irani when told of the medical director’s testimony. Irani is a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and a former member of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology’s board of directors.
      “This is potentially a huge, huge story and quite frankly may reshape how insurance functions,” said Dr. Andrew Murphy, who, like Irani, is a renowned fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He recently served on the academy’s board of directors.

      The Gillen Washington case

      The deposition by Aetna’s former medical director came as part of a lawsuit filed against Aetna by a college student who suffers from a rare immune disorder. The case is expected to go to trial later this week in California Superior Court.
      Gillen Washington, 23, is suing Aetna for breach of contract and bad faith, saying he was denied coverage for an infusion of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) when he was 19. His suit alleges Aetna’s “reckless withholding of benefits almost killed him.”
      Aetna has rejected the allegations, saying Washington failed to comply with their requests for blood work. Washington, who was diagnosed with common variable immunodeficiency, or CVID, in high school, became a new Aetna patient in January 2014 after being insured by Kaiser.
      Aetna initially paid for his treatments after each infusion, which can cost up to $20,000. But when Washington’s clinic asked Aetna to pre-authorize a November 2014 infusion, Aetna says it was obligated to review his medical record. That’s when it saw his last blood work had been done three years earlier for Kaiser.
      Despite being told by his own doctor’s office that he needed to come in for new blood work, Washington failed to do so for several months until he got so sick he ended up in the hospital with a collapsed lung.
      Once his blood was tested, Aetna resumed covering his infusions and pre-certified him for a year. Despite that, according to Aetna, Washington continued to miss infusions.
      Washington’s suit counters that Aetna ignored his treating physician, who appealed on his behalf months before his hospitalization that the treatment was medically necessary “to prevent acute and long-term problems.”
      “Aetna is blaming me for what happened,” Washington told CNN. “I’ll just be honest, it’s infuriating to me. I want Aetna to be made to change.”
      During his videotaped deposition in October 2016, Iinuma — who signed the pre-authorization denial — said he never read Washington’s medical records and knew next to nothing about his disorder.
      Questioned about Washington’s condition, Iinuma said he wasn’t sure what the drug of choice would be for people who suffer from his condition.
      Iinuma further says he’s not sure what the symptoms are for the disorder or what might happen if treatment is suddenly stopped for a patient.
      “Do I know what happens?” the doctor said. “Again, I’m not sure. … I don’t treat it.”
      Iinuma said he never looked at a patient’s medical records while at Aetna. He says that was Aetna protocol and that he based his decision off “pertinent information” provided to him by a nurse.
      “Did you ever look at medical records?” Scott Glovsky, Washington’s attorney, asked Iinuma in the deposition.
      “No, I did not,” the doctor says, shaking his head.
      “So as part of your custom and practice in making decisions, you would rely on what the nurse had prepared for you?” Glovsky asks.
      “Correct.”
      Iinuma said nearly all of his work was conducted online. Once in a while, he said, he might place a phone call to the nurse for more details.
      How many times might he call a nurse over the course of a month?
      “Zero to one,” he said.
      Glovsky told CNN he had “never heard such explosive testimony in two decades of deposing insurance company review doctors.”

      Aetna’s response

      Aetna defended Iinuma, who is no longer with the company, saying in its legal brief that he relied on his “years of experience” as a trained physician in making his decision about Washington’s treatment and that he was following Aetna’s Clinical Policy Bulletin appropriately.
      “Dr. Iinuma’s decision was correct,” Aetna said in court papers. “Plaintiff has asserted throughout this litigation that Dr. Iinuma had no medical basis for his decision that 2011 lab tests were outdated and that Dr. Iinuma’s decision was incorrect. Plaintiff is wrong on both counts.”
      In its trial brief, Aetna said: “Given that Aetna does not directly provide medical care to its members, Aetna needs to obtain medical records from members and their doctors to evaluate whether services are ‘medically necessary.’ Aetna employs nurses to gather the medical records and coordinate with the offices of treating physicians, and Aetna employs doctors to make the actual coverage-related determinations.
      “In addition to applying their clinical judgment, the Aetna doctors and nurses use Aetna’s Clinical Policy Bulletins (‘CPBs’) to determine what medical records to request, and whether those records satisfy medical necessity criteria to support coverage. These CPBs reflect the current standard of care in the medical community. They are frequently updated, and are publicly available for any treating physician to review.”
      Jones, the California insurance commissioner, said he couldn’t comment specifically on Washington’s case, but what drew his interest was the medical director’s admission of not looking at patients’ medical records.
      “What I’m responding to is the portion of his deposition transcript in which he said as the medical director, he wasn’t actually reviewing medical records,” Jones told CNN.
      He said his investigation will review every individual denial of coverage or pre-authorization during the medical director’s tenure to determine “whether it was appropriate or not for that decision to be made by someone other than a physician.”
      If the probe determines that violations occurred, he said, California insurance code sets monetary penalties for each individual violation.
      CNN has made numerous phone calls to Iinuma’s office for comment but has not heard back. Heather Richardson, an attorney representing Aetna, declined to answer any questions.
      Asked about the California investigation, Aetna gave this written statement to CNN:
      “We have yet to hear from Commissioner Jones but look forward to explaining our clinical review process.
      “Aetna medical directors are trained to review all available medical information — including medical records — to make an informed decision. As part of our review process, medical directors are provided all submitted medical records, and also receive a case synopsis and review performed by a nurse.
      “Medical directors — and all of our clinicians — take their duties and responsibilities as medical professionals incredibly seriously. Similar to most other clinical environments, our medical directors work collaboratively with our nurses who are involved in these cases and factor in their input as part of the decision-making process.”

      ‘A huge admission’

      Dr. Arthur Caplan, founding director of the division of medical ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center, described Iinuma’s testimony as “a huge admission of fundamental immorality.”
      “People desperate for care expect at least a fair review by the payer. This reeks of indifference to patients,” Caplan said, adding the testimony shows there “needs to be more transparency and accountability” from private, for-profit insurers in making these decisions.
      Murphy, the former American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology board member, said he was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” by the medical director’s admission.
      “This is something that all of us have long suspected, but to actually have an Aetna medical director admit he hasn’t even looked at medical records, that’s not good,” said Murphy, who runs an allergy and immunology practice west of Philadelphia.
      “If he has not looked at medical records or engaged the prescribing physician in a conversation — and decisions were made without that input — then yeah, you’d have to question every single case he reviewed.”
      Murphy said when he and other doctors seek a much-needed treatment for a patient, they expect the medical director of an insurance company to have considered every possible factor when deciding on the best option for care.

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

      “We run into the prior authorization issues when we are renewing therapy, when the patient’s insurance changes or when an insurance company changes requirements,” he said.
      “Dealing with these denials is very time consuming. A great deal of nursing time is spent filling and refilling out paperwork trying to get the patient treatment.
      “If that does not work, then physicians need to get involved and demand medical director involvement, which may or may not occur in a timely fashion — or sometimes not at all,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/11/health/aetna-california-investigation/index.html

      Stay Healthy: The American Medical Association Recommends Office Workers Prevent Workplace Stress By Taking A Life-Changing Journey To The Taj Mahal Every 30 Minutes

      It’s no secret that office jobs can take a serious toll on your mental health, and can induce a variety of disorders including anxiety and depression. Thankfully, though, the American Medical Association has released a new set of guidelines to help you cope: It’s recommending office workers prevent workplace stress by taking a life-changing journey to the Taj Mahal every 30 minutes.

      Wow. This one little trick could add years to your life!

      If you’re having trouble with work-related anxiety, the AMA says just one horizon-expanding trip to the Taj Mahal every half hour can reduce your stress levels by as much as 15 percent. Sure, your workday might be packed, but a new study conducted by the AMA says that you’ll not only feel happier, but you’ll also boost productivity if you can make the flight to the UNESCO World Heritage Site a regular part of your daily work routine.

      “Taking short, frequent breaks from work to contemplatively tour the grounds of India’s most iconic piece of Mughal architecture has been shown to boost circulation and elevate mood,” said the CEO of the American Medical Association, Dr. James Madara. “Humans didn’t evolve to sit staring at a screen for hours on end, and taking a few minutes now and then to marvel at the dazzling marble sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan can help protect you from getting burnt out by a heavy workload.”

      Talk about a win-win scenario!

      Of course, there will be days when gazing up at the Taj Mahal’s towering minarets and making memories that will last a lifetime just won’t be doable every 30 minutes, but in a pinch, even just a quick trip to the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China can give you enough of a blast of our world’s cultural richness to come back to your desk feeling refreshed and alert. Just don’t forget to turn off that phone, says Dr. Madara, because you can’t fully appreciate the thought-provoking wonder of these architectural masterpieces if your brain is still back at the office.

      Yep. Set an iCal reminder for every 30 minutes, because you’re going to want to get in on this STAT.

      Bottom line, finding time to go to the Taj Mahal during the workday could drastically improve your mental health, so why not try it out and see if it works for you? Big thanks to the American Medical Association for doing its part to make our workplaces stress-free!

      Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/stay-healthy-american-medical-association-recommen-7241

      Cuckolding can be positive for some couples, study says

      (CNN)In our current political climate, the term “cuck” — short for “cuckservative” — has become an insult of the so-called alt-right, aimed at men they view as spineless and emasculated. The slur has its roots in the concept of cuckolding, or having an adulterous partner.

      But, according to a recent study by David Ley, Justin Lehmiller and the writer Dan Savage, acting on cuckolding fantasies can be a largely positive experience for many couples, and hardly a sign of weakness.
      References to cuckolding appear in literature as early as the 13th century, usually in the form of male characters who fear that their child has been sired by another man during an act of infidelity. Today, however, cuckolding has become fetishized into a powerful sexual fantasy for some men, who get aroused by the idea of their romantic partner engaging in sexual activity with someone else. Women also share this fantasy, but less so than men.
        “This fantasy has been around as long as marriage and sexuality,” said Ley, whose book “Insatiable Wives” addresses cuckolding in heterosexual couples. “But we’re hearing more and more about it these days, and more people are rejecting the social stigma against this fantasy.”
        Indeed, the numbers suggest that cuckolding, or at least thinking about it, is more common than you might imagine. For his forthcoming book, “Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help Improve Your Sex Life,” Lehmiller surveyed thousands of Americans and found that 58% of men and about a third of women had fantasized about cuckolding.
        “Men are more likely to fantasize about cuckolding, and they do it more often — but there are a number of women who have these fantasies as well, which points to the need for more research focused on women’s cuckolding desires,” Lehmiller said.
        Initially viewed as a heterosexual phenomenon, it’s increasingly prevalent among gay men, too. “I’d long gotten letters from straight couples into cuckolding (usually initiated by the husband), but none from gay couples until after marriage equality began to gather steam,” explained writer and activist Savage. To learn more, Savage joined with Lehmiller and Ley for a study of cuckolding fantasies and experiences in 580 gay men.
        Their findings suggest that there are similarities between the way gay and straight men view cuckolding, but clear differences, too. Most notably, interracial and BDSM themes don’t appear to be as common in gay men’s cuckolding fantasies as they are among heterosexual men. The motivations behind these fantasies may also be different.
        Part of what makes cuckolding arousing for heterosexual men is that they tend to view it as a taboo act. “In a society or culture that idealizes monogamy, the cuckold fantasy is a current narrative that is available to people to conceptualize their sexual fantasies,” said Ley.
        But that may not be an influence for everyone. “For gay men, cuckolding isn’t quite as taboo because the norm of lifelong monogamy isn’t so strong in the LGBT community; however, it can still be arousing for a number of other reasons,” said Lehmiller. For instance, fantasies about voyeurism and group sex seem to overlap with those about cuckolding in these men. “It’s a sexual desire that can be easily customized to meet a wide range of sexual needs and desires, whether it’s taboo sex, novelty, voyeurism or something else,” he told me.
        And the emotions surrounding seeing your partner with someone else can add to the turn-on, explained Savage. “It’s not cuckolding if there isn’t an element of humiliation, degradation or denial,” he said. “Our erotic imaginations have the ability to turn shame lemons into delicious kink lemonade.”
        As a sex therapist, one of the more intriguing findings from this study involves the impact of cuckolding on relationships.
        “Overall, our research found that for the most part, cuckolding tends to be a positive fantasy and behavior,” said Ley. “It doesn’t appear to be evidence of disturbance, of an unhealthy relationship, or of disregard for one’s partner.” But there’s an important caveat, added Lehmiller. “We found several personality factors that predict more positive experiences acting on cuckolding fantasies. For those who have a lot of relationship anxiety or abandonment issues, who lack intimacy and communication, and who aren’t careful, detail-oriented planners, acting on a consensual non-monogamy fantasy could very well be a negative experience,” he said. “In other words, not everyone who has a cuckolding fantasy should think about acting on it.”

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

        Remember that sometimes just sharing a sexy thought can be arousing enough — you don’t have to follow through. If you are thinking about acting on a cuckolding fantasy, it’s worth stepping back first and making sure your relationship is in a good place and that you have strong sexual communication skills.
        “For men and couples considering the issue of cuckolding, it’s important there be honesty, integrity, communication, mutuality and shared values,” advised Ley. “I’ve seen men who try to trick their wives into cuckolding them, and this never, ever ends up well.”
        For couples who do decide to move forward, it’s important to take things slow. “The reality of watching your spouse have sex with someone else — or knowing they’re doing it, if you’re not there — is often very different than the fantasy. It can dredge up powerful emotions, so take baby steps and keep talking and communicating,” said Savage. “That said, the rewards can be amazing, according to couples who have successfully folded cuckold play into their relationships.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/25/health/cuckolding-sex-kerner/index.html

        Why No Gadget Can Prove How Stoned You Are

        If you’ve spent time with marijuana—any time at all, really—you know that the high can be rather unpredictable. It depends on the strain, its level of THC and hundreds of other compounds, and the interaction between all these elements. Oh, and how much you ate that day. And how you took the cannabis. And the position of the North Star at the moment of ingestion.

        OK, maybe not that last one. But as medical and recreational marijuana use spreads across the United States, how on Earth can law enforcement tell if someone they’ve pulled over is too high to be driving, given all these factors? Marijuana is such a confounding drug that scientists and law enforcement are struggling to create an objective standard for marijuana intoxication. (Also, I’ll say this early and only once: For the love of Pete, do not under any circumstances drive stoned.)

        Sure, the cops can take you back to the station and draw a blood sample and determine exactly how much THC is in your system. “It's not a problem of accurately measuring it,” says Marilyn Huestis, coauthor of a new review paper in Trends in Molecular Medicine about cannabis intoxication. “We can accurately measure cannabinoids in blood and urine and sweat and oral fluid. It's interpretation that is the more difficult problem.”

        You see, different people handle marijuana differently. It depends on your genetics, for one. And how often you consume cannabis, because if you take it enough, you can develop a tolerance to it. A dose of cannabis that may knock amateurs on their butts could have zero effect on seasoned users—patients who use marijuana consistently to treat pain, for instance.

        The issue is that THC—what’s thought to be the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana—interacts with the human body in a fundamentally different way than alcohol. “Alcohol is a water-loving, hydrophilic compound,” says Huestis, who sits on the advisory board for Cannabix, a company developing a THC breathalyzer.1 “Whereas THC is a very fat-loving compound. It's a hydrophobic compound. It goes and stays in the tissues.” The molecule can linger for up to a month, while alcohol clears out right quick.

        But while THC may hang around in tissues, it starts diminishing in the blood quickly—really quickly. “It's 74 percent in the first 30 minutes, and 90 percent by 1.4 hours,” says Huestis. “And the reason that's important is because in the US, the average time to get blood drawn [after arrest] is between 1.4 and 4 hours.” By the time you get to the station to get your blood taken, there may not be much THC left to find. (THC tends to linger longer in the brain because it’s fatty in there. That’s why the effects of marijuana can last longer than THC is detectable in breath or blood.)

        So law enforcement can measure THC, sure enough, but not always immediately. And they’re fully aware that marijuana intoxication is an entirely different beast than drunk driving. “How a drug affects someone might depend on the person, how they used the drug, the type of drug (e.g., for cannabis, you can have varying levels of THC between different products), and how often they use the drug,” California Highway Patrol spokesperson Mike Martis writes in an email to WIRED.

        Accordingly, in California, where recreational marijuana just became legal, the CHP relies on other observable measurements of intoxication. If an officer does field sobriety tests like the classic walk-and-turn maneuver, and suspects someone may be under the influence of drugs, they can request a specialist called a drug recognition evaluator. The DRE administers additional field sobriety tests—analyzing the suspect’s eyes and blood pressure to try to figure out what drug may be in play.

        The CHP says it’s also evaluating the use of oral fluid screening gadgets to assist in these drug investigations. (Which devices exactly, the CHP declines to say.) “However, we want to ensure any technology we use is reliable and accurate before using it out in the field and as evidence in a criminal proceeding,” says Martis.

        Another option would be to test a suspect’s breath with a breathalyzer for THC, which startups like Hound Labs are chasing. While THC sticks around in tissues, it’s no longer present in your breath after about two or three hours. So if a breathalyzer picks up THC, that would suggest the stuff isn’t lingering from a joint smoked last night, but one smoked before the driver got in a car.

        This could be an objective measurement of the presence of THC, but not much more. “We are not measuring impairment, and I want to be really clear about that,” says Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs. “Our breathalyzer is going to provide objective data that potentially confirms what the officer already thinks.” That is, if the driver was doing 25 in a 40 zone and they blow positive for THC, evidence points to them being stoned.

        But you might argue that even using THC to confirm inebriation goes too far. The root of the problem isn’t really about measuring THC, it’s about understanding the galaxy of active compounds in cannabis and their effects on the human body. “If you want to gauge intoxication, pull the driver out and have him drive a simulator on an iPad,” says Kevin McKernan, chief scientific officer at Medicinal Genomics, which does genetic testing of cannabis. “That'll tell ya. The chemistry is too fraught with problems in terms of people's individual genetics and their tolerance levels.”

        Scientists are just beginning to understand the dozens of other compounds in cannabis. CBD, for instance, may dampen the psychoactive effects of THC. So what happens if you get dragged into court after testing positive for THC, but the marijuana you consumed was also a high-CBD strain?

        “It significantly compounds your argument in court with that one,” says Jeff Raber, CEO of the Werc Shop, a cannabis lab. “I saw this much THC, you're intoxicated. Really, well I also had twice as much CBD, doesn't that cancel it out? I don't know, when did you take that CBD? Did you take it afterwards, did you take it before?

        “If you go through all this effort and spend all the time and money and drag people through court and spend taxpayer dollars, we shouldn't be in there with tons of question marks,” Raber says.

        But maybe one day marijuana roadside testing won’t really matter. “I really think we're probably going to see automated cars before we're going to see this problem solved in a scientific sense,” says Raber. Don’t hold your breath, then, for a magical device that tells you you’re stoned.

        1 UPDATE: 1/29/18, 2:15 pm ET: This story has been updated to disclose Huestis' affiliation with Cannabix.

        Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/why-no-gadget-can-prove-how-stoned-you-are/

        Ibuprofen linked to male infertility, study says

        (CNN)Ibuprofen has a negative impact on the testicles of young men, a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found. When taking ibuprofen in doses commonly used by athletes, a small sample of young men developed a hormonal condition that typically begins, if at all, during middle age. This condition is linked to reduced fertility.

        Advil and Motrin are two brand names for ibuprofen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. CNN has contacted Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, the makers of both brands, for comment.
        The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group that represents manufacturers of over-the-counter medications and supplements, “supports and encourages continued research and promotes ongoing consumer education to help ensure safe use of OTC medicines,” said Mike Tringale, a spokesman for the association. “The safety and efficacy of active ingredients in these products has been well documented and supported by decades of scientific study and real-world use.”
          The new study is a continuation of research that began with pregnant women, explained Bernard Jégou, co-author and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France.
          Jégou and a team of French and Danish researchers had been exploring the health effects when a mother-to-be took any one of three mild pain relievers found in medicine chests around the globe: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen.
          Their early experiments, published in several papers, showed that when taken during pregnancy, all three of these mild medicines affected the testicles of male babies.

          Testicles and testosterone

          Testicles not only produce sperm, they secrete testosterone, the primary male sex hormone.
          All three drugs then are “anti-androgenic,” meaning they disrupt male hormones, explained David M. Kristensen, study co-author and a senior scientist in the Department of Neurology at Copenhagen University Hospital.
          The three drugs even increased the likelihood that male babies would be born with congenital malformations, Kristensen noted.
          Tringale noted that pregnant and nursing women should always ask a health professional before using medicines.
          Knowing this, “we wondered what would happen in the adult,” he said. They focused their investigation on ibuprofen, which had the strongest effects.
          A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen is often taken by athletes, including Olympians and professional soccer players for example, before an event to prevent pain, Jégou said. Are there health consequences for the athletes who routinely use this NSAID?
          The research team recruited 31 male volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35. Of these, 14 were given a daily dosage of ibuprofen that many professional and amateur athletes take: 600 milligrams twice a day, explained Jégou. (This 1200-mg-per-day dose is the maximum limit as directed by the labels of generic ibuprofen products.) The remaining 17 volunteers were given a placebo.
          For the men taking ibuprofen, within 14 days, their luteinizing hormones — which are secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone — became coordinated with the level of ibuprofen circulating in their blood. At the same time, the ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormones decreased, a sign of dysfunctional testicles.
          This hormonal imbalance produced compensated hypogonadism, a condition associated with impaired fertility, depression and increased risk for cardiovascular events, including heart failure and stroke.
          For the small group of young study participants who used ibuprofen for only a short time, “it is sure that these effects are reversible,” Jégou said. However, it’s unknown whether the health effects of long-term ibuprofen use are reversible, he said.
          After this randomized, controlled clinical trial, the research team experimented with “little bits of human testes” provided by organ donors and then conducted test tube experiments on the endocrine cells, called Leydig and Sertoli cells, which produce testosterone, explained Jégou.
          The point was to articulate “in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro” — in the living body, outside the living body and in the test tube — that ibuprofen has a direct effect on the testicles and so testosterone.
          “We wanted to understand what happened after exposure (to ibuprofen) going from the global human physiology over to the specific organ (the testis) down to the endocrine cells producing testosterone,” Kristensen said.
          More than idle curiosity prompted such an extensive investigation.

          Questions around male fertility

          The World Health Organization estimates that one in every four couples of reproductive age in developing countries experiences childlessness despite five years of attempting pregnancy.
          A separate study estimated that more than 45 million couples, or about 15% of all couples worldwide, were infertile in 2010, while another unrelated study suggested that men were solely responsible for up to 30% and contribute up to 50% of cases overall.
          Meanwhile, a recent analysis published in the journal Human Reproduction Update found that sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging. Researchers recorded a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011.
          Erma Z. Drobnis, an associate professional practice professor of reproductive medicine and fertility at the University of Missouri, Columbia, noted that most drugs are not evaluated for their effects on human male fertility before marketing. Drobnis, who was not involved in the new study, has done extensive research into sperm biology and fertility.
          “There is evidence that some medications are particularly harmful to the male reproductive system, including testosterone, opioids, antidepressants, antipsychotics, immune modulators and even the over-the-counter antacid cimetidine (Tagamet),” she said. “However, prescribing providers rarely mention these adverse effects with patients when prescribing these medications. 
          She believes the new study, though small, is “important” because ibuprofen is among the most commonly used medications.
          Though the new research indicates that ibuprofen disrupts the reproductive hormones in healthy young men, she thinks it’s possible there’s an even greater negative effect in men with low fertility. The other OTC drugs concerning for potential fathers are cimetidine and acetaminophen. She recommends that men who are planning to father a child avoid drugs for several months.
          “Larger clinical trials are warranted,” she said. “This is timely work that should raise awareness of medication effects on men and potentially their offspring.”
          Jégou agrees that more study is needed to answer many questions, including whether ibuprofen’s effects on male hormones are seen at low doses and whether long-term effects are reversible.

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

          “But the alarm has been raised now,” he said. “if this serves to remind people that we are really dealing with medical drugs — not with things which are not dangerous — this would be a good thing.”
          “We need to remember that it is a pharmaceutical compound that helps a lot of people worldwide,” Kristensen said. He noted, though, that of the three mild analgesics examined, ibuprofen had “the broadest endocrine-disturbing properties identified so far in men.”

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/08/health/ibuprofen-male-fertility-study/index.html

          4 strategies to avoid #resistance burnout

          Image: vicky leta / mashable

          I was listening to The Read recently — it’s my favorite podcast — and I was struck by co-host Kid Fury’s observations about reaching the end of the year and feeling tired. 

          I posted how I felt on Instagram: “Can’t add one more plan tired. Hard to get excited about exciting things tired. Can’t project, assume, or read minds tired. I’m letting myself be tired, be imperfect, be how I am. It is time to hibernate and make meaning of this year, understand the lessons.”

          Five hundred people gave it a heart within a few hours. People reached out to me to say they are also tired — exhausted, really. Falling out in meetings, losing things, fighting with loved ones, letting hopelessness have our tongues. 

          I am a social justice facilitator, practicing and teaching a methodology called Emergent Strategy. The goal is to learn how we do justice work that is adaptive, focuses on the small things that make up all large systems, and prioritizes critical connections over critical mass. I am also a visionary fiction writer (part of the Octavia’s Brood team) and a pleasure activist, which means I believe pleasure is an important measure of freedom, and that we need to make justice the most pleasurable experience we can have. 

          And, even as someone focused on ease, nature, future, and pleasure, 2017 was a daunting year. 

          And, even as someone focused on ease, nature, future, and pleasure, 2017 was a daunting year. But I am still going. Movements for social and environmental justice are still moving forward. 

          Which gets me curious about how we are surviving, how we are generating energy to move forward in 2018 when everything is heavy and everything hurts. 

          What do we do? 

          The first thing is to give ourselves lots of room and respect for whatever we have done. It got us this far. So, shout outs to alcohol, sugar, sex, and weed, which have been doing the work of comforting and numbing millions. After the 2016 election, drinking definitely became one of my coping mechanisms for that “They all want my death” feeling that has become daily life. 

          I know the newness of feeling this every day is as much an indication of my privilege as it is of political change; things aren’t getting worse, they are getting unveiled. Whatever I didn’t see before this moment is a sign that I was somehow benefiting from not seeing it. It feels worse nonetheless. 

          But we need to be careful about numbing. The long-term impacts of numbing move us away from the very aliveness we are fighting for, that erotic level of presence, alertness, and feeling our miraculous existence in real time. Audre Lorde taught us that, “In touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial.”  

          I wanted to offer some strategies beyond numbing that have helped me protect my aliveness. I invite you to practice these throughout 2018.

          1. Reconnect with our movement ancestors. We are not the first to be in impossible conditions. And what we know is that we have survived, that our ancestors found ways to survive, to be in dignity and resistance. Focus on ancestors of your own lineage, knowing that every lineage on earth has individuals and groups who have left lessons behind. For me this year has been lit by the north star of Harriet Tubman. You might call on freedom fighters like Berta Cáceres or Bobby Sands — there are so many who inspire. Ancestors can and should humble us. 

          2. Tune in to the three Gs every day: gratitude, good news, and genius. If you look, all three are within reach.

          a) Start and/or end the day with gratitude. It’s a gorgeous world; pay attention to the beauty, the connection, the generosity and growth.

          b) Read between the lines and find the good news. It’s always there, but it might be very small. For me, it’s often in the news of what movements for social and environmental justice are doing to resist. Boost it, grow it with your attention.

          c) Our continued survival is actually a long, iterative practice of collective genius. Pay attention to the people and organizations who are doing more than reacting to the daily news or pulling each other down. Tune into the work of the Movement for Black Lives, the Women’s March, #MeToo, Cooperation Jackson, Movement Generation, #ourpowerpr, Mi Gente. These initiatives are attempting audacious, visionary, and difficult work that relies on the genius that arises from people working together across difference to address the challenges and opportunities of their real lives.

          3. That thing about putting on your oxygen mask before helping others? It’s real. It’s not like other masks that hide your true face from others, which is an important distinction here. You don’t need to put anything over your truth right now to cover the emotional rollercoaster of being a human who is paying attention. But you do need to take care of yourself at a material level. Soothe without numbing, rest without guilt, hydrate to replenish your foundation, and use your body while there is still miracle in it. Hibernate: turn inward, get still, write down what you have learned from surviving the last year as well as what has been liberated within you, and what you are ready to grow. 

          4. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t remind y’all that an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away. Remember that your body is literally wired to feel good, thread with nerves that communicate pleasure and let you know what to move toward. And you can choose between the orgasm and the orgasmic — do a massage exchange with friends, eat delicious home-cooked meals, watch comedy shows. There are so many ways to turn up your aliveness.

          None of these practices are small or trite. We are in the worst of times right now. If you need to be convinced to care for your body, mind, and spirit so that you can care for your community and this planet, let’s just review the past 12 months. 

          There was a period of denial and grief for many of us. Perhaps you also spent some time under a blanket, wondering why our species is so self-sabotaging and embarrassing? Maybe you too called friends to discuss where you could run to, and realized, again, that there was no place far enough, no place beyond the reach of the United States?

          Those of us with an intersectional analysis of our current situation know that every uphill battle we’ve been fighting is at least twice as steep. We are looking ahead at battles around the tax plan, net neutrality, protecting the planet as a livable planet for our species, resisting a police force encouraged to unleash increased violence on our devastated vulnerable communities. All while watching 45 play nuclear roulette with North Korea on Twitter.

          For those of us working to create social change, 2017 was a wild year. We take our whiplashed necks and try to keep up the pace as we run from protest to petition to planning meeting. We have held some lines, we have shown up and said no to racist bans and efforts to strip us of hard-won rights, and we have reached for each other. We’ve been surprised and excited as scientists marched and national parks workers used Twitter to resist fascist policy making.

          And, in our exhaustion, we have sometimes turned on each other. Interpersonal beef drains organizational resources. Tactical differences become landmines. Places where we could learn together instead become battlegrounds that play out on social media. We long for something different but are stretched too thin to practice new approaches. We want each other to be perfect and to be transparent about our flaws. We are punitive and transformative in the same breath. 

          We are in a fight for our survival and there’s no turning away from it, no turning back. 2017 was a reckoning, an unveiling. An embarrassment, yes, but it’s honest. And now we are at a very real risk of becoming too exhausted to continue our fight, our journey. 

          Ella Baker taught us that “we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” 

          Ella Baker taught us that “we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” I wrestle with these words all the time, because I believe in freedom, and I believe my body is a crucial part of the fight for freedom. So I interpret these words through my work. I do not rest in terms of how I work. I tirelessly show up for movements I believe in, to hold planned or unexpected hard conversations and mediations, to invite transformation in the face of frustration. I tirelessly seek out old and new ways of moving through our current paradigm and into a viable future. 

          But when it comes to my body, I rest. I rest in myriad ways that allow me to show up fully for each facilitation. I ensure that I have quiet time each evening, a bath when there’s a tub, at least seven hours of sleep each night. I want to give us more permission to rest our bodies so that we don’t burn out our spirits and minds in our lifelong commitment to liberation.

          It is in that spirit that I invite you to honor your ancestors and remember that they believed in you before your first breath. They believed you could generate gratitude, uplift good news, contribute to genius. Put on your oxygen mask and open to the pleasurable experiences of life. This is our moment to shape.

          Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/12/resistance-burn-out-activism-new-year/