TIME Drugs

Los Angeles Is Getting a Farmers’ Market for Pot

Legalizing Marijuana
Marijuana is displayed during the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market, for sales of medical marijuana products, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Elaine Thompson—AP

Farm-to-table marijuana

Say hello to the newest addition to the farmers’ market: marijuana.

Los Angeles medical-marijuana users will soon be able to buy their product straight from the people who grew it, according to Paizley Bradbury, executive administrator of the California Heritage Market. The farmers’ market is set to open the weekend of July 4, and anyone with a medical-marijuana card will be able to walk through and check out the booths, where vendors will peddle cannabis flowers, edibles and more.

“It’s going to be so much easier for patients to get their medicine at a more affordable rate, and something that they can trust,” Bradbury tells TIME. “They can say ‘How did you grow this? Is it organic? What kind of nutrients did you use? What kind of strain is this?’ There’s just so much more behind it.”

Bradbury hopes direct patient-farmer contact will protect customers from what she calls the major problems in the industry: big markups from brokers who shuttle the product from farms to dispensaries, and dishonest practices by dispensaries, which Bradbury says sometimes post inaccurate analyses of the product hoping the average consumer won’t know any better.

The California Heritage Market hopes to keep running every weekend, provided it does not hit any legal barriers. Bradbury says she has been working very closely with an in-house lawyer to ensure everything goes smoothly.

“With this industry, you just never really know how things are going to turn out until after you do it,” she says.

TIME Research

Parents Are More Worried About Milk and Egg Than Peanut Allergies

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Photo by Maren Vestøl—Getty Images/Flickr Select

In surprising findings

Peanut allergies are terrifying for parents, but recent research shows they’re actually even more concerned about milk and egg allergies.

Researchers from the University of Michigan studied 305 caregivers of kids with milk, egg, peanut or tree nuts allergies, and analyzed their understanding of their child’s allergy as well as their quality of life. Parents of kids with milk and egg allergies have increased anxiety and strain over their child’s allergies compared to parents of kids allergic to peanuts, the researchers found.

“It’s assumed peanut and tree allergies are the most severe, and therefore it may be presumed they would cause the most strain for caregivers” allergist and study author Dr. Laura Howe said in a statement. “But because eggs and milk are everywhere, and used to prepare so many dishes, caregivers with children allergic to those two ingredients feel more worried and anxious.”

Peanut allergies affect about 400,000 school-aged children in the United States, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. By comparison, milk allergies affect about 300,000 U.S. kids under age three, and egg allergies effect about about 600,000. But about 70% of people with egg allergies will outgrow it by age 16.

The researchers concluded that milk and eggs are ubiquitous in the American diet. Another study showed 72% of 614 allergic infants had another reaction to their milk or egg allergies within three years—showing that avoidance is difficult.

The study was published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

TIME

HIV Did Not Stop Me From Having a Biological Child

Author Ben Banks with daughter Finley and wife Kasiah
Author Ben Banks with daughter Finley and wife Kasiah Rachel Taylor—Piedmont Photography/Palmyra, VA

Though I have been HIV-positive since childhood, it has always been my dream to have a family. Last year, my wife and I welcomed our biological daughter

On Monday, April 15, 2013, at 8:00 a.m., my life changed forever. My wife, Kasiah, and I welcomed our first child, a healthy girl named Finley Elizabeth Banks, into this world. She was perfect. But the journey to have a healthy, HIV-free biological child began many years before Finley’s birth.

In 1981, when I was two years old, I was diagnosed with Bilateral Wilms’ tumors, a cancer of the kidneys, which had also spread to both of my lungs. The prognosis was grim; treatment was aggressive. My tiny toddler body fought a battle that required 15 months of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgeries that required multiple blood transfusions.

Unknowingly, I was transfused with blood that infected me with HIV. Ten years later, having lived through a cancer-free childhood, doctors screened my blood during a routine oncology check-up. They discovered that I was HIV-positive.

In 1991, the epidemic was still raging, and very little was known about how HIV/AIDS infected and affected children. Pediatric treatment options were limited — AZT (the drug that drives the plot of Dallas Buyers Club) had only been approved for young patients the previous year.

Support from family and friends gave me the hope and strength I needed to fight every day and continue to plan for my future: graduate from high school and college, get married, and start a family. School required hard work and determination on my part, but starting a family would require unconditional love and support from another person, someone who could look past my HIV-positive diagnosis and see all of me.

That person was my best friend, Kasiah. We married in 2003. She believed in our future together, which included trusting that research would be developed to allow us to have a healthy, HIV-free biological child.

As we began to explore options, Kasiah and I were frustrated at the lack of family-planning data or information out there for serodiscordant couples like us, in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other is negative.

After endless telephone calls and consultations, we opted for sperm-washing and artificial insemination. Sperm washing is a technique commonly used to screen for genetic disorders, but the process is especially important for mixed-status couples who choose to have biological children. Doctors separate sperm from infected fluid, producing a virus-free sample (as with anything in medicine, the process does not 100% guarantee no transmission, and it is illegal in some states, but studies have shown its vast success).

After the sperm was washed, two samples were tested for HIV and both results were negative. This step was critical because we wanted to reduce the chances of horizontal (to the woman) or vertical (to the child) transmission of HIV as much as possible. And as mentors to younger HIV-positive children, adolescents, and young adults, we wanted to give the message of prevention.

Despite the now-wide research and documentation of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), there is still little dialogue around a father’s role in PMTCT. By not considering an HIV-positive male in terms of reproduction, a large portion of the HIV population is being ignored. We share our story and our daughter’s story to let other HIV-positive men know that the possibility of having a healthy, HIV-free family is very much a reality.

In the year we have loved Finley, we know what it means to be truly unselfish. Our hearts melt when we hear the words, “Ma-ma!” or “Da-da!” And we would not trade the sleepless nights, early wake-up calls, or dirty diapers for anything in the world.

Ben Banks is an HIV-positive Ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which celebrate its 25th anniversary this week. He lives in Virginia with his family.

TIME medicine

5 Weird Migraine Treatments

5 Weird Migraine Treatments That Could Give You Relief
Philippe Bigard—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

It’s no secret that migraines are a serious pain. About 37 million Americans get migraines, and women are three times more likely to have them than men, according to the National Headache Foundation. Ouch!

If you’re plagued by migraines, you’ve likely popped different pills to ease the throbbing. But would you ever try a high-tech headband or a battery-operated patch to soothe your aching head? Yes, such treatments exist. In honor of Headache and Migraine Awareness Month, here are five wacky migraine fighters explained. (The first three are available by prescription only.)

Health.com:18 Signs You’re Having a Migraine

Cefaly headband

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the Cefaly headband, which was found to reduce patients’ number of migraine days by 30% in a clinical trial published in the journal Neurology. The headband has an electrode that presses against the middle of your forehead, delivering a round of electric impulses that work to stimulate the nerves above the eyes. It’s safe to use for 20 minutes a day, and some experts believe that daily use could help prevent migraines before they start. “In my practice, this device has helped quite a few patients, cutting headache days per month in half or more,” says Richard Lipton, M.D., Edwin S. Lowe Chair in Neurology for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Now that’s a mouthful! A portable device with TMS technology uses a pulse of magnetic energy to target migraines with aura, which plague about 20% of migraines sufferers, according to the National Headache Foundation. “A patient with visual aura might report seeing spots of light, zig-zag lines, or a graying of vision lasting 10 to 60 minutes,” says Dr. Lipton, who tested the treatment himself in a clinical trial for Lancet Neurology. When these visual symptoms appear, just hold the TMS device against the back of your head and press the button. A magnetic pulse will help target your occipital lobe, the brain’s center of visual processing, and help relieve aura symptoms. Just don’t go overboard with this machine: You should only use it once a day, per the FDA, which approved the treatment just last year.

Health.com:11 Surprising Headache Triggers

Zecuity patch

Most migraine sufferers are used to taking medicine, but it’s not always the best option. “Migraine sometimes paralyzes the digestive system,” Dr. Lipton says. “Once this happens, oral medications can’t be absorbed until the attack is over.” That’s where this battery-operated patch, approved by the FDA in 2013, comes in handy. For people who can’t absorb their medication properly or find it just plain nauseating, the Zecuity Patch (worn on your arm or thigh) sends the commonly prescribed migraine drug sumatriptan (brand name Imitrex) through the skin, so it bypasses your digestive system completely.

Health.com:8 Ways to Headache-Proof Your Home

Tinted glasses

For some sufferers of migraines with aura, their pain is triggered by looking at certain patterns. A 2011 study published in the journal Cephalalgia found that precision-tinted eyeglasses helped normalize brain activity for chronic migraine sufferers. All patients (some with and without headaches) were asked to look at high-contrast striped patterns through three different pairs of glasses. Those who regularly battled migraines reported feeling less discomfort when they viewed the patterns using the tinted pair. It’s thought that the visual cortex gets overstimulated during a migraine attack, leading some patients to suffer perceptual illusions, says study author Jie Huang, Ph.D. Tinted lenses help suppress that visual stress and consequently reduce migraine frequency.

Would you believe a line of glasses for migraines already exists? Axon Optics offers frames with FL-41 therapeutic lenses. They use a rose-colored filter to block the annoying blue-green light you’ll usually find in florescent lamps, so people stifled by bright spaces can get a little relief, too.

Health.com:21 Natural Headache Treatments

Acupuncture

This one’s kind of controversial. Though studies have shown that there’s not a large difference in pain reduction between placebo or “sham” acupuncture and the real thing, a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found 50 to 75% of patients with migraines felt better after receiving each type, respectively. Acupuncture is a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine where needles inserted into the skin are used to realign the flow of energy, or qi, in the body. Medical professionals still aren’t sure exactly how it works, but it’s possible acupuncture helps stimulate electromagnetic signals in the body to release chemicals that dull pain. Acupuncture may provide some relief to people who haven’t responded to other treatments. “When done by someone good, it’s safe and sometimes very helpful,” Dr. Lipton says.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME

Doctor Suspended For Sexting During Surgery

Getty Images

Hopefully he washed his hands afterwards

The doctors on Grey’s Anatomy have been involved in a lot of questionable behavior in their fictional hospital’s on-call room and supply closets, but even Shonda Rimes could not have envisioned the accusations this Seattle doctor faces.

47-year-old Arthur K. Zilberstein, a Seattle-based anesthesiologist, had his license suspended for allegedly sending explicit selfies and swapping racy text messages during surgeries. While his hands should have been monitoring patients at their most vulnerable moment, instead he was spending his time hitting send on some sexts, approximately 250 times between April and August of last year.

The findings, released Monday by the Washington State Department of Health, reveal that Zilberstein was sexting during all kinds of procedures, including Cesarean deliveries, pediatric appendectomies, epidurals, tubal ligations and one notable cardiac-probe insertion, during which he allegedly exchanged 26 text messages “including explicit sexual comments,” according to the official statement of charges. During one stomach surgery, Zilberstein reportedly exchanged 45 texts “with sexual innuendo” in less than an hour and a half and another time, he interrupted his sext stream to allegedly text: “I’m hella busy with C sections.”

Washington state health authorities said that Zilberstein compromised patient safety with his “preoccupation with sexual matters,” allegedly sent risqué selfies to a patient while wearing his hospital badge and scrubs and is accused of looking at private medical records for his own sexual gratification, having sexual rendezvous at work and issuing at least 29 unauthorized prescriptions. McDreamy he is not.

Zilberstein is not permitted to practice medicine in Washington until the charges are resolved.

[Via The Washington Post]

MORE: These People Will Act Out Your Sexts For Just $80 and a Lifetime of Shame

MORE: Ooh, La La: The French Word for Sexting Is Textopornographie

TIME Research

Birth Control Works in Long-Term Acne Treatment, Study Says

More effective than previously thought

Birth control pills are as effective as antibiotics for treating women’s acne in the long term, according to a new review of clinical studies.

The dermatological study shows that antibiotics are more effective than the Pill for the first three months of treatment, but are equally successful after six months.

“This confirms that birth control pills are a good solid treatment for acne, and they’re probably underutilized,” Dr. Steven R. Feldman, a dermatologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, told Reuters. “Given the desire to minimize antibiotic resistance and exposure, hormonal birth control could be a good alternative.”

Birth control pills may soon be the more benign alternative to some of the antibiotics and harsh topical gels used in acne treatment. Dermatologists are already recommending low doses of birth control for female acne patients, Feldman said.

TIME medicine

Viagra May Boost Risk for Developing Skin Cancer, Study Finds

Men who use the little blue pill may have twice the risk of developing melanoma

There may be a dangerous link between Viagra and melanoma, according to new research.

Men involved in long-term health research who used Viagra for erectile dysfunction nearly doubled their risk of developing melanoma, a study published in the June issue of JAMA Internal Medicine found.

Researchers evaluated nearly 26,000 men who disclosed during a Harvard study in 2000 that they used sildenafil citrate, or Viagra, for erectile dysfunction. None of the men evaluated had any instance of cancer during the initial study. Between 2000 and 2010, however, researchers found the men who took Viagra were at nearly twice the risk of developing skin cancer.

Over the course of the study, during which participants were given questionnaires once every two years, the researchers identified 142 cases of melanoma, 580 of squamous cell carcinoma, and 3030 of basal cell carcinoma. They did not, however, find a direct link between erectile dysfunction and melanoma.

The study’s authors say though the results may indicate Viagra increases the risk for melanoma, their research alone is not enough to affect clinical recommendations.

TIME medicine

Chicago Sues Painkiller Makers for Deceptive Marketing

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Rafe Swan—Getty Images/Cultura RF

Five pharmaceutical companies stand accused of marketing a highly addictive painkiller, normally used for cancer treatments, as an answer to everyday aches and pains

The city of Chicago filed suit against five pharmaceutical manufacturers on Monday, for allegedly marketing a class of highly potent painkillers for common aches and pains, while masking the risks of addiction.

The lawsuit charges Purdue Pharma L.P., Cephalon, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Actavis plc for marketing highly addictive opioids normally used in cancer treatments as a remedy for everyday pains, including back pains, arthritis and headaches.

“This has led to a dramatic rise in drug addiction, overdose and diversion in communities across the nation, and Chicago is not immune to this epidemic,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.

The city is seeking compensation for approximately $9.5 million in prescription payments. It also alleges drug abuse burdened local hospitals with an influx of patients. The mayor’s office said painkiller abuse had climbed 65% between 2004 and 2011, resulting in 1,080 trips to the emergency room.

 

 

TIME Research

Don’t Trust Wikipedia When It Comes to Your Health, Study Says

Researchers found errors and inaccurate assertions in 9 out of 10 Wikipedia entries on the costliest medical conditions

A new study has found that Wikipedia entries on the costliest medical conditions contradicted the latest medical research 90% of the time.

A team of U.S. scientists said they found “many errors” in Wikipedia articles concerning the 10 costliest medical conditions. The researchers cross-checked Wikipedia entries on coronary disease, lung cancer, hypertension and back pain, among other ailments, against the latest research from peer-reviewed journals.

Nine out of 10 entries analyzed on the crowd-sourced encyclopedia contained assertions that were contradicted by the peer-reviewed sources. Only the entry on concussions escaped the review error free. The authors noted that the article appeared to have contributors with a greater degree of expertise, mimicking the peer-reviewed process.

“Health care professionals, trainees, and patients should use caution when using Wikipedia to answer questions regarding patient care,” wrote the study’s authors in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

The authors laid particular stress on medical professionals; a recent study found that 50 percent of physicians admitted using Wikipedia as a reference source.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

14 Surprising Causes of Dehydration

Causes of Dehydration
Getty Images

Your body is about 60% water. Lose even 1.5% of that H2O—the tipping point for mild dehydration—and your mood, energy levels, and cognitive function all drop, according to research from the University of Connecticut. And while there are obvious reasons you can end up dehydrated—a sunny day, exercise, or not drinking enough in general—other triggers are less obvious. Check out these 14 surprising causes of dehydration and how to prevent them.

Diabetes

People with diabetes—especially people who don’t yet realize they have it—are at increased risk for dehydration. When levels of sugar in the blood are too high, the body tries to get rid off the excess glucose through increased urine output, says Robert Kominiarek, DO, a board-certified family physician in Ohio. All of those extra trips to the bathroom can be dehydrating. If you’re diabetic and suffer from frequent thirst or urination, talk to your doctor about how you can work together to improve your blood sugar control. And if you’re experiencing excessive thirst along with these other type 2 diabetes symptoms, it’s time to pay a visit to your doctor.

Your period

Is it that time of the month? Drink an extra glass of water. Estrogen and progesterone influence your body’s hydration levels, and when the two are roller-coastering, like when you’re in the throes of PMS, you may need to increase your fluid intake to stay hydrated, Dr. Kominiarek says. What’s more, for some women who have excessively heavy periods, the amount of blood lost is enough to deplete fluid levels, says OB-GYN Marielena Guerra, MD, of Elite OB/GYN in Florida. If you think the latter might be you, start counting your tampons. If you have to change them more than once every two hours, talk to your gyno.

Prescription meds

Check your prescription’s list of side effects. Many medications act as diuretics, upping your urine output and your risk for dehydration, Dr. Kominiarek says. Blood pressure medications are a common example. Plus, any drug that lists diarrhea or vomiting as a potential side effect could end up causing dehydration if you experience those side effects. If your prescription hits any of the above, increase your fluid intake.

Low-carb diets

Carbohydrates are stored in your body right along with fluids. That’s why you drop a couple pounds of water weight when you eliminate carbs. That might look good on your scale, sure, but it’s bad news for your hydration levels, says dietitian Jaime Mass, RD. Plus, since whole carbs such as oatmeal, whole grain pasta, and brown rice all soak up water during the cooking process, eating them can actually increase your hydration levels. Cut them from your diet and you could be unwittingly reducing your fluid intake, too.

Health.com: 6 ‘Bad’ Carbs That Are Actually Good for You

Stress

When you’re under stress, your adrenal glands pump out stress hormones. And if you’re constantly under pressure, eventually your adrenals become exhausted, causing an adrenal insufficiency, Dr. Kominiarek says. Problem is, the adrenals also produce the hormone aldosterone, which helps regulate your body’s levels of fluid and electrolytes. So as adrenal fatigue progresses, your body’s production of aldosterone drops, triggering dehydration and low electrolyte levels, he says. While increasing fluid intake can help in the short term, mediating your stressors is the only real long-term solution.

Irritable bowel syndrome

As if irritable bowel syndrome wasn’t terrible enough on its own, its symptoms (such as nausea and chronic diarrhea) can cause dehydration, Kominiarek says. What’s more, many people who suffer from this conditions place themselves on elimination diets to avoid what they believe may be trigger foods, Mass adds. If those diets nix any fluids or fluid-rich foods, they could end up further contributing to dehydration.

Your workout

We typically think of post-workout dehydration as a problem reserved for endurance athletes, but any time you break a sweat, be it an hour-long spin class or quick jog around the block, you’re losing water, Mass says. And, week after week, if you are sweating out more than you’re sipping, you could become dehydrated. Try this: Weigh yourself immediately before and after your workout. For every pound you’ve lost (the goal is not to!), drink 16 to 20 ounces of water, she suggests.

Pregnancy

Has your baby got you feeling bloated? Chances are your body is retaining water in an attempt to offset dehydration, Guerra says. During pregnancy, your overall blood volume and cardiac output increase, which can thereby increase your fluid requirements. What’s more, nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness can also take their toll on hydration levels, she says. If you are suffering from morning sickness, don’t just accept it as a given. Talk to your doc about how to ease your symptoms.

Aging

As you age, your body’s ability to conserve water as well as its sensation for thirst declines, meaning it’s easier so become dehydrated and more difficult to tell when you’re fluids are low, says Mass. If you have trouble remembering to drink water throughout the day, try making a game of it. Keep a bottle of water near you at all times and, each day, keep a running total of how much you’ve consumed.

Health.com: 13 Everyday Habits That Are Aging You

Dietary supplements

Just because it’s “natural” doesn’t mean is can’t send your bladder into overdrive. For example, parsley, celery seed, dandelion, and watercress have all been shown to increase urine output, which could potentially lead to dehydration, Mass says. If you are thinking about taking a dietary supplement—or are already taking one—it’s best to speak with a nutritionist, primary care doctor, or naturopathic physician about any potential side effects.

High altitudes

When you travel to high altitudes, your body acclimates by speeding up your breathing as well as increasing your urine output. While both are necessary to a healthy adjustment to the altitude and its oxygen levels, constantly peeing and panting—which causes you to exhale more water vapor than usual—can cause dehydration.

Drinking alcohol

Forget hangovers. Even a well-behaved happy hour could deplete your fluid levels. Why? Because drinking makes you go to the bathroom. Alcohol inhibits an antidiuretic hormone that would normally send some of the fluid you’re consuming back into the body, and instead sends it to your bladder. Meanwhile, thanks to the diuretic effect of alcohol, your cells shrink, pushing more water out to your bladder. All this lowers your body’s hydration levels, Mass explains. What’s more, since alcohol impairs your ability to sense the early signs of dehydration—such as thirst and fatigue—it’s easy to drink well past your dehydration point.

Health.com: 15 Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency

Eating too few fruits and vegetables

Filling half of your plate at each meal with produce can score you up to two extra cups of water a day. So, put another way, if you don’t eat your five-a-day, and don’t compensate (at least from a fluid perspective) by drinking extra water, you could easily wind up dehydrated.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is all about moving water—not to mention electrolytes, proteins, minerals, and other ingredients—from mom’s body to baby’s. So of course it can lower your hydration levels, Dr. Guerra says. If you start to have trouble producing, increase your fluids and talk to your doc. It may be a sign of serious dehydration.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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