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Why Are Drug Prices so High--and Rising?

In the U.S. drug prices are based on what the market will bear.

The U.S. Congress is currently investigating why drug prices are increasing so rapidly. The pharmaceutical companies protest that it is because of the costs of research and development. However, JAMA analysts disagree stating there are two major factors:

  • protection from competition by manufacturers of generic versions, and
  • prohibitions against negotiating lower prices.

Also at fault are government protected monopoly rights for new drugs.

PositiveTip: Living healthfully can reduce or eliminate the need for many medications thus avoiding the need for expensive medication.

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Impact of Close Proximity to Retail Tobacco Products

Living close to tobacco sellers associated with lower odds of quitting!

Finish researchers have found that for every 500-meter increase in the distance from home to the nearest tobacco outlet is associated with a 16% increase in the odds of quitting smoking. This study is the first of its kind to look at the impact of residential proximity to tobacco sales on smoking behavior.

PositiveTip: Beware of the Marlboro Man who now rides in local retail advertisements, promotions, and price discounts for tobacco products.

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AHA Recommends Lower Sugar Intake for Children

Cut back significantly on added sugars!

The American Heart Association Scientific Committee now recommends children limit their added sugar intake to no more than 25 g (6 tsp) daily. This is half the amount recommended by the current U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They also recommend sugar-sweetened beverages be limited to one 8 oz serving per week or less; and added sugars should be avoided for all children under 2 years.

PositiveTip: Avoiding too much added sugar is a positive step toward a healthy diet and reduced risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems.

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A Simple Alternative to Knee Surgery?

Aggressive exercise therapy may be a good alternative to knee surgery in many patients.

Researchers randomized a group of middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears of the knee. The exercise group was given progressive strengthening exercises in supervised sessions 2-3 times per week for 12 weeks. The surgical group followed standard postoperative care for daily range-of-motions exercises. After 24 months both groups showed the same improvements in knee pain, function, and quality of life.

PositiveTip: If you experience degenerative knee pain, talk to your physician about the possibility of exercise therapy rather than surgery.

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Fried Egg 2016

Kids today feel empowered and entitled to ask many questions about drugs.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids has re-imagined the 30 year old ad campaign known as "This is You Brain on Drugs." "Fried Egg 2016" has launched a national radio, TV, print and online media campaign to help point parents to quality resources to answer their kids questions about substance abuse.

PositiveTip: Kids are going to ask, so be ready with thoughtful answers.

PositiveTip for

Fried Egg 2016

Kids today feel empowered and entitled to ask many questions about drugs.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids has re-imagined the 30 year old ad campaign known as "This is You Brain on Drugs." "Fried Egg 2016" has launched a national radio, TV, print and online media campaign to help point parents to quality resources to answer their kids questions about substance abuse.

PositiveTip: Kids are going to ask, so be ready with thoughtful answers.

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Exposure to Secondhand Pot Smoke May Damage Blood Vessels

Even brief exposures to secondhand pot smoke impairs blood supply to lining of blood vessels.

U.S. researchers have found that a one minute exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke was associated with significant short-term impairment of the blood supply to the lining of the blood vessels of rats. It took a full 90 minutes to recover normal function after a 60 second exposure to marijuana smoke compared to 30 minutes following a similar exposure to tobacco smoke.

PositiveTip: Avoid secondhand smoke whether from tobacco or marijuana.

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Will Lots of TV Watching Kill?

Each 2 hours of daily TV watching increases the risk of death by PE 40%.

Japanese researchers have found that people who watch a lot of TV are at higher risk of death caused by pulmonary embolism (PE). Those who watched more than 5 hours of television were found to be 2.5 times more likely to die of PE or deep vein thrombosis.

PositiveTip: If you must watch hours and hours of TV, do it standing, stretching and flexing your leg muscles.

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Sedentary Work Offset by One Hour of Daily Exercise

One hour of physical activity daily may offset the risk of sitting at work.

About an hour of moderate-intensity activity (i.e. brisk walking) can erase the increased death rate associated with sitting at work all day. More than 1 million men and women were included in a meta-analysis which found when the least active participants (5 min. per day of moderate activity) sat all day their death rate increased by 27% compared to those sitting less than 4 hours daily. Yet, among the most active individuals (60-75 minutes of daily activity) prolonged sitting was not associated with increased death rates.

PositiveTip: If your job requires sitting all day, be sure to get at least one hour of moderate intensity activity daily.

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Brawn or Brain?

Weightlifters should be discouraged from using anabolic steroids to build muscle mass.

Anabolic steroids, technically known as anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), are commonly used by weightlifters to "bulk up." Norwegian researchers studied the brains of 82 weightlifters who used AAS for more than a year and compared them with 68 weightlifters who had never used them or other doping substances. Users had less overall gray matter and evidence of accelerated brain aging.

PositiveTip: Avoid the use of AASs and prevent the neurotoxicity of these substances which can decrease cognitive function.