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Hoax App Makes Fake Diagnosis

Sadly, there are many "snake oil" apps in the digital world.

A woman in Kenya had HIV misdiagnosed by a "prank" smartphone app--probably shared by Bluetooth, a common way in that part of the world. This unfortunate event highlights the danger of using unregulated health apps. In the U.S. there is a modicum of oversight by the FDA's most recent guidelines or Apple's more rigorous standards for this kind of app.

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Impact of Medical Marijuana Laws

Legalization of medical marijuana appears to increase illicit use.

Researchers examined the impact of medical marijuana laws (MML) over two decades in the U.S. and found illicit cannabis use and cannabis use disorder increased after the legalization of marijuana. The opposite occurred in states that did not legalize it.

PositiveTip: Evidence is growing that MML should be opposed by voters whenever possible.

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Individuals with High-Risks Often Don't Recognize Them

People with the highest number of risk factors tended to agree they need to improve.

Research in Canada found many high-risk patients do not recognize a need to change their lifestyle--especially with hypertension, diabetes, and alcohol use. The risk factors most likely to encourage change to improve health were: smoking, obesity, sedentary living, high stress and low fruit and vegetable intake. Those younger in age, female, educated and with higher household incomes were more likely to improve.

PositiveTip: If you truly value your health, you cannot live in denial of your lifestyle choices.

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Big Tobacco Fighting FDA Oversight of E-Cigarettes

Spending almost $5 million and hiring 30 lobbying firms is a massive effort to exert influence.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reports big tobacco in the U.S. is waging a sophisticated "multi-pronged assault" to gut the FDA's ability to regulate electronic cigarettes. The tobacco giants Reynolds American and Altria Group were among the largest corporate donors to the inauguration of President Trump. In the first quarter of 2017 these companies spent $2.9 million on lobbying efforts to this end.

PositiveTip: Contact your legislators today and express your opposition to softening FDA oversight over e-cigarettes.

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Inhaled "Poppers" Harmful to Eyesight

"Poppers" might permanently cause eye damage.

"Poppers," a slang term for pills containing alkyl nitrite compounds, commonly known as club drugs, are inhaled at discos to enhance the loud throbbing music and flashing lights. They are also used for sexual effects. These compounds appear to be toxic to the fovea of the eye and can also cause visual problems known as maculopathy. Abstention generally results in partial to full recovery.

PositiveTip: Avoidance of popular psychoactive compounds is the best and safest policy.

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Is that a Crouton?

It doesn't happen often, but food does get contaminated from time to time.

A shopper went to a Southwest Walmart and purchased a 5 oz. bag of Fresh Express Organic Marketside Spring Mix (production code G089B19, best-if-used-by APR 14) to make a salad. They found deteriorated bat remains in the salad mix. Now a couple has been advised to receive rabies postexposure prophylaxis treatments. The product has been recalled.

PositiveTip: Always pay close attention to any suspicious objects in your food--especially if you did not. prepare it yourself!

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Getting Cancer is More than Just Bad Luck

Clear evidence suggests people can choose to take steps to lower cancer risk.

Cancer is not caused mainly by "bad luck." The authors of a recent paper based this conclusions on estimates of random cell mistakes (mutations) made during cell replication. While genetic mutations are involved in cancers, these may be caused by external and modifiable factors such as adopting a healthy lifestyle.

PositiveTip: Clear evidence supports the value of walking more, drinking water instead of sugary-beverages, substituting veggies for fatty foods, and many other simple measures that lower the risk of cancer.

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Obesity Driving Many New Cancers

A mixed picture presented by the U.S. Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer.

The National Cancer Institute reports cancer death rates continue to decrease as more people are surviving cancer--due largely to early detection and improved treatments. Yet the incidence of cancers related to obesity are on the rise. Obesity contributes in part to breast cancer, pancreas, endometrial, and kidney cancers. Tobacco-related cancers have low survival rates, underscoring the need to reduce tobacco use.

PositiveTip: Support your community and family in lifestyle activities that will reverse the epidemic of obesity and smoking.

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Is the Obesity Paradox Real?

The healthiest people are those who have normal weight all the time!

A 2013 meta-analysis suggested that overweight individuals had lower all-cause mortality than those at normal BMI. Now data from three large cohort studies with more than 225,000 men and women has demonstrated there is no protective effect of being overweight. These researchers used the maximum weight achieved over the past 16 years in addition to current weight, demonstrating that trends in weight are very important.

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Hypertension and its Burden of Disease

Rates of high blood pressure have increased globally over the past 25 years.

Researchers estimate that 874 million adults worldwide have a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher. Analyzing data from 844 population-based studies in 154 countries between 1990 and 2015, scientists attempted to assess the relationship of hypertension to various causes of death. They estimate that 14% of total deaths and 143 million life-years of disability are due to hypertension.

PositiveTip: When a wholesome lifestyle and ideal weight fail to control blood pressure--its time to see your physician and consider medications.