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How the US became addicted to fentanyl

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The story of how the United States became addicted to fentanyl is a classic story of supply and demand creation. It began in the mid-1990s, when pharmaceutical companies like Purdue aggressively upended the rules of medical marketing and flooded doctors’ offices and medicine cabinets with revolutionary pills called Oxycontin. Not only did the pharmaceutical companies claim that the pills would end all pain once and for all, they also claimed that they were not addictive.

When that supply was curbed due to a crackdown on the use and prescribing of opioids to treat chronic pain, large numbers of addicts took to the streets in search of heroin, which was cheaper and also more dangerous. . In the middle of the last decade, when the opioid epidemic had become an unprecedented health crisis, history took another unexpected turn: a powerful drug that few outside the operating room had ever heard of until then entered on stage. Fentanyl outperformed all other drugs. In 2022, fentanyl caused about three-quarters of overdose deaths, and according to US authorities, 2023 is expected to set a new record, with nearly 110,000 deaths. In other words, more than 2,000 a week.

Sam Quinones, investigative journalist and writer, is the great chronicler of what narcotic agencies call the worst drug crisis in the history of the United States. He looked into the opioid crisis in Dreamland, a National Book Award-winning bestseller that focused on the ravages of painkillers across vast expanses of the Midwest. That book led to another, the last of us, which portrays the United States in the days of fentanyl and methamphetamines.

Journalist Sam Quinones.SAM QUINONI

Methamphetamine, recounts in the last of us, set the stage for fentanyl. Thanks to it, Mexican drug traffickers have embraced the synthetic drug. Until then they had always been the delivery men for the Colombians. Meth allowed them to make their own drugs, not rely on criminals from other countries. Initially, Mexican drug traffickers imported fentanyl from China. When Beijing announced the ban in 2019, Chinese chemical companies began selling them the precursors needed to make the powerful painkiller. The Mexicans figured out how to make it in Mexico. And then, all of a sudden, it was going through much larger quantities across the border. At first, powdered. Later disguised as counterfeit pills, Quinones explains in a telephone interview. From Mexico it comes many kilos at a time, almost always. So now it’s everywhere in the United States

The father of fentanyl is a Belgian chemist named Paul Janssen. His invention, more effective and less expensive than morphine, began to be used in heart surgery and revolutionized medicine. In 1985, Janssen opened the first Western laboratory in China to produce fentanyl.

But far from the supervision of an anesthetist, it is a highly deadly substance. The first blow came in 2006, when fentanyl hit the streets of Chicago, where it was known by the nickname of lethal injection. The drug entered the United States after a chemist named Ricardo Valdez-Torres nicknamed The Brain convinced Mexican drug trafficker Joaqun El Chapo Guzmn Loera’s men to produce fentanyl instead of ephedrine. Valdez-Torres only had time to send 10 kilos to the United States before being arrested in Mexico. He told police he sent the drug with the warning that it had to be diluted up to 50 times before it could be sold. But perhaps those instructions never reached their intended recipients. Or maybe convincing an addict that what he was dealing with was too strong was too difficult. The traffickers take over and then of course they don’t care. They don’t know how to use it. They don’t know how to mix it, says Quiones. The police dismantled the lab and that time the drug was nipped in the bud.

Create addicts

The second blow came around 2014 and, this time, nothing could get in the way of the drug. Drug dealers began cutting other substances, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, with the much cheaper fentanyl, so that thousands of people—those who didn’t die from an accidental overdose—ended up addicted to something they didn’t even know they were taking. Not only were they trying to increase their profits, but the traffickers were also interested in creating addicts, says the journalist.

This was one of the reasons that drugs helped break down racial barriers. Quinones explains that the first wave of the opioid crisis, caused by prescription pills, affected a predominantly white population (up to 90%). With fentanyl, it was different: It spread as an invasive species through the corners of cities across the country, taking heroin and other substances by storm and hitting African-American and Hispanic communities equally hard.

The Last of Us tells the story of the first black person to die of a fentanyl overdose. His name was Mikey Tanner and he was from Akron, Ohio. Tanner battled a cocaine addiction for 10 years, but it only lasted a couple of months after fentanyl hit the scene.

The Last of Us is full of terrible stories about the people behind the statistics, the faces that together paint a picture of a deeply sick society beset by pain and isolation. It also interweaves the rise of fentanyl with the story of the decline of the United States in the 20th century, focusing on cities like Muncie, Indiana, which was the auto gear capital of the world until it all fell apart, or Kenton ( Ohio), a Rust Belt town where high school sports stars ended up addicted to heroin after taking pain pills.

The Covid-19 pandemic was the last straw. In 2020, overdose deaths increased by 20% to 91,799 cases. In 2021, there were 106,699 overdose deaths, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, an increase of 16 percent. And in 2022, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) seized 50.6 million fentanyl pills and 10,500 pounds of fentanyl powder, the equivalent of more than 379 million potentially lethal doses, more than enough to wipe out the entire US population. And the one thing they tell you in drug recovery, most importantly, is don’t isolate, and of course, during COVID everyone is isolated and what’s more, a lot of jobs have been lost, Quinones recalls. And they were doing meetings with Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous on Zoom, which is really not a substitute.

The alarming figures woke the US to an issue that has since morphed into another political battleground between the US and Mexico. He’s also playing a key role in national politics, with Republicans using the scourge of fentanyl overdoses to criticize the Joe Biden administration’s border policies and rising crime in big cities, which traditionally vote Democrat. San Francisco has become a symbol of the crisis: since 2020, twice as many people have died in the city from overdoses (about 2,000) than from the pandemic. Quinones, who was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, is surprised by the attacks of the Republican Party, because the truth is that all this happened under the presidency of Donald Trump. Locally, I think people are trying to figure it out, unable to figure it out. But this is really a national problem.

In The Last of UsQuinones asks two key questions: Why would anyone want to take something they know could kill them? And what would make a drug dealer give their customers something with a high probability of killing them?

To the first, the journalist, who has interviewed prominent neuroscientists, replies: This is the nature of addiction; reprogram our brains so that their mission is not to ensure our survival but to pursue drugs.

To the second he replies: It was more potent than any street drug before. Anyone selling drugs that didn’t include the powerful boost of fentanyl wasn’t going to have customers for long. The drug dealers didn’t dare mix it. () Fentanyl soon became a market expansion tool.

In the interview, Quinones highlighted another unexpected effect: It’s truly marking the end of the era of recreational drug use in the United States, which has been something we’ve had as part of our culture. You can’t trust any cocaine line. You can’t trace any pills. You can’t trust any dose of meth not to have fentanyl. And it could kill you.

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#addicted #fentanyl

From Ritalin to Modafinil: how to take study drugs safely

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With deadlines mounting and exams looming, some college students will turn to stimulants like Ritalin and Modafinil to help them study, here’s how you can do it so sure

Exam season is here, deadlines are looming and right now most students are wondering how they can get through the next few weeks let alone pass the modules without losing their minds. Rather than leave it to chance, some students will likely turn to the study of drugs to help them focus on their work and meet deadlines a little more easily.

If you’re a university student in the UK, chances are you’ve heard of these drugs. While the term could encompass a load of substances, it is more commonly used to refer to stimulants that are most often prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy, Modafinil (or Provigil) and Ritalin being the most common. These drugs are not legal to give to anyone without a prescription. (Psychedelics, when microdosed, could also be considered study drugs but you can read Dazeds Guide to Microdosing if you want to know more).

It is unclear how many students use illicit drugs each year, and research tends to paint a mixed picture. One small-scale investigation of 506 students at 54 UK universities from Loughborough University found that 19% of respondents had used cognitive enhancers during university. Meanwhile, a survey of approximately 2,000 Neurosight students in 2020 found that six percent had used both Ritalin and Modafinil in a single trimester. In fact, that survey found that being able to perform better at work or academically was a top motivation for taking drugs in college, with 63 percent of students saying that’s why they did it. Having said that, a smaller stallionLast year, out of 1,600 college students, only 2% used drugs as a way to help them study. But, as always with drug data, it’s fair to assume there are more users than the figures suggest.

The main reasons students use these drugs are to stay awake (and study) longer and to increase their concentration on the task at hand. The pharmacology is different for each of these drugs, but they all increase the excitation of neurons in the nervous system, explains Ivan Ezquerra-Romano, director of drugse.me and PhD student at University College London. This results in better attention and, in some cases, short-term memory appears to be increased.

Sounds good, right? But don’t be fooled: these drugs, like all drugs, are not without their drawbacks. If you’re going to rely on study drugs to get you through the deadline, don’t do it without thinking. The safest thing to do would be to skip the stimulants altogether, but if you’ve already made the decision to take a few doses of Modafinil and Ritalin, here’s how to take them as safely as possible.

As Ezquerra-Romano notes, stimulants like Ritalin and Modafinil don’t actually make you smarter, they simply make you more alert. They also keep you awake, just like caffeine. Your body still needs to rest, says Ezquerra-Romano. It doesn’t help not to sleep and replace that lack of sleep with a stimulant, because your condition will get worse in the long run if you don’t have a healthy sleep schedule.

Not only will lack of sleep actually hinder your academic performance, but it will also make you feel like shit across the board. Just like with coffee (if you’re being reasonable), don’t take any study drug around the time you usually go to sleep, or even less than six hours before bedtime. Take it in the morning and try not to have any redoses, adds Ezquerra-Romano. If you need to redose, do it no less than six to eight hours before bed.

One of the major harms associated with taking stimulants is the strain they put on your heart. Stimulants increase heart rate, so there’s always a cardiovascular risk when taking them, says Ezquerra-Romanos. This is especially true for anyone who already has an underlying heart condition.

While some stimulants are worse than others in terms of the pressure they put on your heart, it’s important to be mindful while using them.

It’s important to realize that if you’re not sleeping well, eating well, and are particularly stressed or anxious, it’s likely that the study drugs are exacerbating the problem. This can also make socializing more difficult.

The drugs being studied may induce anxiety or make anxiety worse, says Ezquerra-Romano. If you’re already anxious and you supplement that with a stimulant, you may find that some social interactions are actually harder to deal with, and this can have a knock-on effect on other aspects of your life.

DO NOT TAKE STUDY DRUGS DAILY

To avoid all the negative side effects of study drugs, it’s important to be intentional with your approach to using them. Ezquerra-Romano recommends an every other day approach, and try to make sure your days off coincide with the days you’ll be sitting with exams.

One recommendation is to stick with a strategy rather than casually taking a study drug one day, she says. This won’t help you and will probably make things worse in terms of making you feel anxious.

Taking stimulants every day if you don’t need them is bound to leave you worse off when you finally stop.

For the most part, Ezquerra-Romano says addiction to the study drugs is unlikely, because context matters when it comes to drugs and most students will stop using them as soon as exam season is over, which is something you should do.

However, it may be difficult to stop taking the study drugs if you have been consuming them consistently for an extended period of time. This is because the withdrawals can be pretty awful. They include symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, depression, confusion, fatigue, and chest pain, just to name a few.

You may feel anxious, irritable, and continue to struggle to sleep, particularly if you go cold turkey, and those withdrawals can make you want to continue using the study drugs simply to avoid them. To avoid this, Ezquerra-Romano recommends tapering the study drugs gradually over the course of a week or so.

DO NOT USE LOWERING AGENTS

Struggling to sleep after using study drugs can be hellish, but it’s vital that you don’t attempt to use sedatives such as benzodiazepines like Valium or Xanax to help you sleep.

Not only are they unlikely to completely neutralize the stimulant, says Ezquerra-Romano, they’re also super dangerous. This is because stimulants and depressants, as the names suggest, have opposite effects on the body. The stimulant is pushing you up while the depressive is pushing you down, she says. This really messes with your body.

DO NOT MIX WITH ALCOHOL

Alcohol is also a depressant, so drinking while taking stimulants is not recommended, due in part to the pressure it can put on the heart and body. But there are other things to be aware of when mixing alcohol and stimulants.

When you mix stimulants with alcohol, the effects are somewhat neutralized, which makes people think they’re less stoned than they are and may cause them to keep redossing, which puts you at a higher risk of overdosing, she says Ezquerra-Romano. Similarly, people are able to drink more while high on stimulants, both because they’re able to stay up (and out) longer and don’t feel drunk. That means your hangover will be much worse and you’re also at a higher risk of alcohol poisoning, she adds.

Finally, it’s important to be mindful of alcohol consumption in general when exam season is over, especially if you haven’t been drinking heavily in preparation. When tests finish, there’s a risk of alcohol overdose because people haven’t drank in a while, so their tolerance drops, Ezquerra-Romano says. People are elated because they just finished and drink the same amount as the last time they drank, which is often too much. This, she says, can lead people into dangerous and problematic situations.

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#Ritalin #Modafinil #study #drugs #safely

The drug shortage in America reaches new heights

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Illustration of a drip in the spotlight.

Illustration: Ada Amer/Axios

Shortages of cancer drugs and other life-saving drugs are reaching their worst point in a decade, forcing doctors to develop alternative solutions and the Biden administration to mount a government-wide response.

Because matter: Shortages are emerging deep-seated problems in the American drug supply chain, especially with regards to commonly used generic drugs. A recent House hearing looked into a price “race to the bottom” that cools manufacturing investment and can leave just one or two companies actively producing a drug in shortage.

What are they saying: “This generic business, especially for these complex drugs, these complex formulations, is not a healthy business right now,” Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner and Pfizer board member, told CBS News on Sunday.

  • “There are things the government can do, but most of them will come at a cost. We will have to look at ways to provide greater reimbursements for these hard-to-manufacture drugs,” he said.

Drive the news: There are more than 300 medicines in shortages, the highest since 2014, according to the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists.

  • The American Cancer Society warned earlier this month about potentially “life-threatening” supply problems with chemotherapy drugs that “have no effective alternative.”
  • “As first-line treatments for a number of cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer, ovarian cancer and leukemia, often experienced by pediatric cancer patients, shortages could lead to treatment delays which could lead to worse outcomes “said chief executive officer Karen Knudsen. in a statement.
  • The Society of Gynecologic Oncology this month outlined strategies for allocating low drug supplies for gynecologic cancers and warned that without planning, disparities in care could worsen.
  • Heart drugs such as adenosine, which is given intravenously for emergency treatment of an irregular or rapid heartbeat, as well as cardiac stress tests, are also in short supply and may require hospitals to limit use to emergencies, they say health system pharmacists.
  • IV antibiotics such as penicillin used in hospitals are also running out across the country.

Between the lines: Experts are quick to point out the challenges faced by generics makers in a low-margin business that has driven much manufacturing to consolidate into a few players or to relocate overseas.

  • On Friday, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, one of the makers of Adderall, which was in short supply, announced plans to scale back its generics business, citing low profitability, Bloomberg reported.
  • Generics maker Lannett Co., which makes a number of drugs including a form of lidocaine that is in short supply, announced a financial restructuring earlier this month, saying it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. .
  • Akorn Pharmaceuticals, a major maker of many generic drugs, shut down earlier this year contributing to shortages of adenosine, a heart drug, as well as shortages of albuterol. The company’s products were then recalled because there were none left on hand to address potential quality issues, reported The New York Times.
  • A “disastrous” FDA inspection of an Intas Pharmaceuticals manufacturing facility in India that revealed quality control issues was the root cause of the shortages of chemotherapy drugs, Gottlieb said.
  • “It all boils down to how many players do we have in the manufacturing of this drug, are they able to financially support their manufacturing of these drugs?” Emmanuel Ayanjoke, an assistant professor of pain management and palliative care at Cedarville University told ABC News.

Between the lines: Gottlieb, who served as FDA commissioner during the Trump administration, has pointed to efforts to contain the cost of drugs included in the Inflation Reduction Act as contributing to underinvestment in safe and sustainable generic supplies.

  • A generic drug maker could make a sterile injectable drug for $500 and lose money on it, he said. If they were to invest in upgrading their production, they might want to raise the price to $1,000.

  • “At $1,000, even though it’s a lot of money, it might be cheap compared to the value the drug provides, but according to the Inflation Reduction Act, that’s an increase you may not be able to afford,” Gottlieb said.

Being smart: While many of the shortages are hitting generics, they’re also impacting some brand-name drugs like a growth hormone drug made by Novo Nordisk called Norditropin, NPR reported.

  • Some shortcomings are being attributed to old-fashioned supply and demand issues, such as what was seen with Tylenol for children during the convergence of flu, RSV and COVID cases in the fall and winter months.

What to watch: While the Biden administration and Congress are both looking at ways to address what has been called a national security concern, including through a reauthorization of the Pandemics and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, or PAHPA.

  • The White House has a team dedicated to addressing ongoing shortages and quality issues plaguing the drug supply chain, Bloomberg reported.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to look into the root cause of the shortage problem with a promise to work to find solutions to the ongoing supply problems.

But solutions it could be costly and disruptive. The FDA can identify problems and work with manufacturers, but it lacks the experience and, in some cases, the authority to address the industry’s biggest economic problems.

  • Energy and Commerce President Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) addressed options such as increasing reimbursement for generic drugs and examining the business practices of pharmaceutical benefit managers.
  • Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the Democratic leader on energy and commerce, last week called for more transparency on the ingredients of overseas-made drugs and expanded reporting in case of unexpected spikes in drug demand, as well make it easier for the FDA to safely extend the shelf life of critically shorted drugs.

The bottom line: America’s drug shortage problem could get worse as generic drug makers cut back, but it’s unclear whether the government is in a position to respond.

#drug #shortage #America #reaches #heights

Wegovy and Ozempic could be anti-addiction drugs as they cure drinking and drinking habits

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Patients taking the successful weight-loss drug Wegovy are reporting an unusual added benefit that they are free from other addictions that used to rule their lives.

Users across the country say their cravings for cigarettes and alcohol became less intense when they started taking the weight-loss shot. Others say that bad habits like nail biting, skin picking and compulsive shopping have also disappeared.

The drug helps people lose weight by mimicking the hormone GLP-1, which curbs hunger and slows the rate at which a person’s stomach empties, leaving them fuller for longer.

But experts say it may also smooth out the brain’s dopamine reward pathway, reducing the chemical hit and thus the “feel good” element of giving in to unhealthy cravings.

Some researchers are thrilled that they have accidentally stumbled upon an anti-addiction drug. It is estimated that one in 60 US adults have a prescription for Wegovy, Ozempic or Mounjaro.

Henry Webb, of North Carolina, finished a two-month course of Wegovy after hitting his goal weight.  In the past, he always had a couple of drinks in the evening, but he said:

Henry Webb, of North Carolina, finished a two-month course of Wegovy after hitting his goal weight. In the past, he always had a couple of drinks in the evening, but he said: “With the meds I didn’t feel like it”

Wegovy was originally developed for type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar

Wegovy was originally developed for type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar

Henry Webb, of North Carolina, finished a two month Wegovy courseafter you’ve reached your goal weight.

In the past, he always had a couple of drinks in the evening, but he said: “With the meds, I didn’t feel like it.”

She added, “This could be a game changer for people struggling with addiction.”

Jim Melloan, of New York, She said he had a “total aversion to alcohol” for drugs, which barely affected his weight.

He said, ‘I didn’t sign up for that. I’ve been there for almost four months and I’m out. I want to be able to drink together again.”

Ashley, from Texas, who takes Mounjaro, another diabetes drug expected to be approved for weight loss in the US, said she has noticed she has stopped picking her nails as a nervous habit.

She She said: ‘I took some biotin [vitamin B] when I first started and my nails have literally never looked better. There is definitely something to be done.’

Dr. Shauna Levy, an obesity medicine specialist at Tulane University, New Orleans, told DailyMail.com: ‘I’ve noticed that people want to drink less alcohol. I’ve also noticed a decrease in binge eating behavior. of the GLP-1 receptor reduce the reward that the brain perceives from addictive behaviors such as eating, drinking, smoking, shopping, etc.

‘It was a really interesting discovery. These drugs can treat so many different problems.’

He added: “We need to do more research to understand the mechanism.”

Victoria Rutledge was addicted to alcohol. When she got sober in her early 30s, she was consumed with food and shopping instead.

She spent $500 on organic groceries, but then left them to go moldy in her fridge.

He told The Atlantic, “I couldn’t stop going to that extreme.”

When shopping at Target, she couldn’t help but add dozens of extra items to her cart.

Earlier this year, Ms. Rutledge started taking Wegovy for weight loss and found herself thinking less about food and losing weight.

She also made trips to Target and only walked away with the items she intended to buy.

“I’ve never done that before,” she said. Her cravings for shopping and food had magically vanished.

In 2022, more than 5 million prescriptions were written for Ozempic, Mounjaro, Rybelsus or Wegovy for weight management, up from just over 230,000 in 2019. This marks an increase of more than 2,000%, according to the research firm market Komodo Health

In 2022, more than 5 million prescriptions were written for Ozempic, Mounjaro, Rybelsus or Wegovy for weight management, up from just over 230,000 in 2019. This marks an increase of more than 2,000%, according to the research firm market Komodo Health

A UK study found that people who used Wegovy experienced rapid weight loss, losing 18% of their weight in 68 weeks. They regained two-thirds of that weight, or 12% of their original body weight in the year after stopping the weekly injections. Experts say that the drug must be used for life to keep the extra pounds off

Another patient, Mary Maher, obsessively picked at the skin on her back and it bled so badly that she avoided wearing white.

Two months after taking Wegovy, the urge to harvest had disappeared and her back had healed and she had also stopped biting her nails.

Clinical trials are underway at the University of North Carolina to see if semaglutide can help people quit drinking and smoking.

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, mimics glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone in the brain that prompts the body to make more insulin and lower blood sugar levels, regulating appetite.

Originally created for diabetes, semaglutide stimulates the pancreas to release insulin by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).

The hormone also curbs hunger and slows the rate at which a person’s stomach empties, causing them to lose weight.

It also appears to affect the brain. GLP-1 affects dopamine pathways in the brain, the reward pathway that is key to addictions.

Things like food and sex release dopamine in the brain, and the positive feeling we experience motivates us to repeat the behaviors.

In drug addicts, this mechanism can change. They may have fewer dopamine receptors in the brain, meaning the same reward may provide less pleasure.

Other types of GLP-1, such as exenatide, also used to treat diabetes, have shown results in reducing addictions.

Mice that took a form of exenatide got less dopamine from alcohol, and mice that took the drug craved less cocaine.

The researchers said they expect many studies with semaglutide showing positive results to be published soon.

The long-term effects of semaglutide are still unknown.

Dr. Christopher McGowan, a North Carolina-based weight loss expert, told DailyMail.com that using the weight-loss drug is a “lifelong commitment.”

One study found that patients gained two-thirds of the weight they lost on the drugs within months of stopping them, and most would have to keep taking the injections forever to maintain the results.

Users of the drug have also found that they experience rapid muscle loss, tending to lose more muscle than fat while taking the drug.

Other people reported feelingdisgusted by their favorite foods and some items they never gave a second thought to.

Staci Rice, 40, from Georgia, lost nearly 50 pounds when she joined Ozempic and can now fit into the jeans she last wore 16 years ago.

But the marketer was also surprised to find that he had developed an aversion to ground beef and Chick-fil-A while under the influence of the drug.

The ground beef has now been pulled from dinner parties, to the frustration of her husband and son, she told Insider. And now she’s also eating Chick-fil-A coleslaw instead of her standard “Number 1” her.

She was also a lifelong coffee drinker, drinking a cup every day since seventh grade. But now, she can’t touch it.

“Every morning, I would try to make coffee, thinking that one day it would be good for me again,” Ms. Rice said.

Patients also face sagging skin, doctors warn, which has been dubbed “Ozempic’s face” and “Ozempic’s body.”

It is caused by rapid weight loss that occurs so quickly that the skin does not have time to adjust to the new body size. As a result, it hangs in folds.


#Wegovy #Ozempic #antiaddiction #drugs #cure #drinking #drinking #habits

Tremella mushrooms may boost cognitive health, skin elasticity, immunity and moreHere’s what to know

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Although some people object to their taste and texture, there’s a lot to like about mushrooms. For starters, they tend to be a surprising source of antioxidants, fiber, and protein, and are often associated with immunity protection and brain health. But mushrooms have additional benefits beyond their healthy nutrient profiles: Functional mushrooms like lion’s mane, chaga, and tremella mushrooms are the latest and greatest (at least to Americans) health foods to take mushroom lovers by storm. and the modern Western wellness world.

We spoke with Jenna Volpe, RDN, a registered holistic dietitian nutritionist in Austin, Texas, to learn more about the unique health benefits of tremella mushrooms, why they’re so popular, and how to actually get those benefits.



What are Tremella mushrooms?

Tremella mushrooms are a type of mushroom that goes by several names. Fuciform tremella is the scientific name, but they are also called snow mushrooms, snow mushroom, white mushroom and white jelly mushrooms. As you can probably tell from these names, tremella mushrooms are white in color and look more like fluffy snowballs, translucent white algae, wild sponges, or underwater corals than the dull brown and white mushrooms you’re used to seeing in the grocery store and cooking. . with at home. They are native to tropical regions and climates such as Brazil and parts of Asia and have been around for hundreds of years.

Getty Images



[Tremella mushrooms] they’re a type of edible and medicinal mushroom that’s been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, says Volpe. They can be used for everything from antiaging skincare to immune support, disease prevention, and more.

Since tremella mushrooms have been identified as adaptogens with nootropic properties (compounds thought to improve learning, memory, or other cognitive functions), they have become more readily accessible than ever these days in the mainstream market. You can find them just about anywhere thanks to the ease of online shopping. Fresh tremella may be a little more difficult to find, but powdered and dried tremella mushrooms and mushroom products can be just as useful.


Benefits of the Tremella mushroom


Tremella are adaptogens that can help counteract stress.

Adaptogen sounds like a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but it’s a real thing. Herbs and adaptogenic foods like tremella are special in that they work in synergy with each person’s unique system to help restore balance, explains Volpe. Research has found mushrooms, including tremella, to be a good example of adaptogens that help the body adapt to both internal and external stimuli, restoring balance and regulating a variety of biological processes, says a 2022 paper in Frontiers in Pharmacology.



Tremellas are promising brain enhancers nootropicsa.ka.

You may even have seen the word nootropics floating around. This term refers to compounds in certain foods, as well as supplements, that can improve cognition, so those looking for a little brain boost can express an interest in tremella mushrooms.

Nootropics are known to help support and improve memory, concentration and other aspects of cognitive function, says Volpe, adding that just how they work isn’t fully understood yet. In the case of tremella mushrooms, it may have something to do with their polysaccharides, carbohydrate molecules with broad essential roles in the body. Research studies have suggested that the special polysaccharide profile in tremella mushrooms appears to help protect brain cells from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even play a role in repairing brain memory impairment, says Volpe.




Tremella are rich in antioxidants for healthy cells and skin.

Getty Images



Those polysaccharides mentioned earlier? They can also exhibit antioxidant activity. Antioxidants fend off disease-related free radicals and are also powerful protectors of skin health. A 2021 study found that tremella polysaccharides have the ability to alter gene expression in skin cells in ways that result in an increase of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid in skin fibroblasts exposed to UVA rays, explains Volpe . Other studies echo tremella’s ability to inhibit oxidative stress, and some reviews highlight its potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger capacity. Fermented tremella may have significantly more antioxidants, study shows.



Tremellas can increase collagen in the skin.

We’ve determined that tremella has tremendous antioxidant properties, which is incredible news for your skin and overall health. In fact, you can reap the skin benefits of tremella by ingesting it or applying it topically, says Volpe. Much of tremella’s skin benefits have to do with its impact on collagen, a protein that’s very important for skin’s structure, firmness, and elasticity (and which naturally breaks down as we age). ). Consuming tremella mushrooms can reduce collagen loss and repair damaged collagen, as evidenced by one review (in animals), while studies suggest that tremella polysaccharides in cosmetics can boost collagen.

In a recent review, tremella mushrooms were found to possess antiaging, photoprotective, wound healing, and skin barrier protective properties. They have a special affinity for leather, says Volpe. Tremella’s potent antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging impact on skin cells, and their polysaccharides have been shown to moisturise skin in ways clinically comparable to the coveted hyaluronic acid.

So, tremella mushrooms have antioxidants that protect against free radical damage from the sun, hydrate skin as a best-selling humectant, and boost collagen? Now you understand why they might be the next big skincare superstar.



Tremellas support a healthy immune system.

Tremella mushrooms play a significant role in modulating and optimizing the immune system, says Volpe. He points to a 2020 review that found tremella mushrooms impair the immune system in significant and beneficial ways in both animal and human studies. Since tremella is an adaptogen, this isn’t too surprising. Part of the way adaptogens bring the body into balance has to do with their role in balancing the immune system.

The link between tremella and immunity may also have positive effects on gut health, adds Volpe. Researchers are beginning to study the complex relationship between the gut microbiota and the immune system, and tremella mushrooms may promote healthy microbial diversity in the colon. This could support the growth of key immunomodulatory probiotics like Lactobacillus, she explains, citing a 2021 study in Frontiers in Immunology.



Tremelle are a rich source of fiber and protein.

Like the mushrooms you’ll find in the produce section of the supermarket, tremella mushrooms contain nutrients that are simply good for you. They are particularly rich in fiber and protein.

Tremella mushrooms contain more protein than most other types of mushrooms, which could be beneficial for people following a vegan or vegetarian diet, says Volpe. One cup of tremella mushrooms is said to contain about 12 grams of protein. (Everyone should aim to get 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of their individual body weight per day, according to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. A 140-pound person would need a minimum of about 50 grams of protein per day.)

While the average American adult gets enough protein, the same cannot be said of fiber. Most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets, which makes high-fiber foods even more beneficial. Tremella mushrooms are made up of about 30 percent dietary fiber, which can be beneficial for people looking to optimize their digestion, says Volpe. In addition to digestive and intestinal health, fiber is also great for heart health.



Tremella Mushroom Safety, Uses, and Tips

Tremella mushrooms are relatively safe to consume. There are no ongoing studies suggesting that they have any major side effects or toxicities. While they are safe and beneficial, their adaptogenic effects are best when used for a short time.

As someone who uses tremella mushrooms herself, Volpe has plenty of advice:

  • Soak the white mushroom for at least an hour or overnight. Then simmer it with other herbs red dates (jujubes), dried lotus seeds and lily bulb petals in hot water for about 30 minutes to make a healing drink.
  • Add tremella mushrooms to soups or smoothies.

You can also take tremella in capsule or powder form. However, you should always consult your doctor before taking a new supplement and be careful that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Do your research before buying supplements to ensure their safety and purity – look for the seal of approval from third-party testing and verification organizations, including NSF and US Pharmacopeia (USP).


#Tremella #mushrooms #boost #cognitive #health #skin #elasticity #immunity #moreHeres

New Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital to provide “sanctuary for healing” in Western Massachusetts

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Artistic representations for Baystate Behavioral Health Hospital. (Courtesy: Baystate Medical Center)

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) Construction of Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital, a joint venture between Baystate Health and Lifepoint Behavioral Health, is nearing completion in Holyoke.

The state-of-the-art psychiatric facility, designed to meet the unique needs of patients with behavioral health issues, is expected to open its doors Aug. 15, bringing specialty care to western Massachusetts. With a $72 million investment, the new hospital aims to meet the growing demand for inpatient behavioral health care in the region.


The facility will increase adult, child and adolescent patient capacity by 50 percent, housing 150 beds, including 30 dedicated long-term care beds through the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

Dr. Barry Sarvet, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baystate Health, expressed enthusiasm for the project, saying, “Hospital care for patients with behavioral health issues requires a specialized care environment to ensure safety, comfort and privacy for patients and an environment for a full range of therapeutic services to support their recovery.

The hospital was designed to have large spaces for psychotherapy, rooms for art and occupational therapy, a gym for physical activity and access to outdoor spaces.

Patient safety was a primary focus during the planning and construction process. Roy Sasenaraine, CEO of Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital, said, “A benefit of the new construction is that patient safety and privacy have been considered in every aspect of the building, from the patient rooms to the gymnasium. The new building allows us to use modern technology to elevate patient safety in a way that retrofitting an existing unit could not.

One of the notable features of the new facility is the provision of on-site assessments following a supplier referral. This innovative service will allow some patients to be admitted without having to go to the Emergency Department of another hospital. Currently, a significant number of patients with behavioral health problems in the area are being transferred to facilities outside Western Massachusetts due to a shortage of psychiatric beds. The opening of Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital aims to address this issue by providing more patients with the opportunity to receive care close to home.

The transition of behavioral health services from Baystate Wing Hospital, Baystate Noble Hospital, and Baystate Medical Center’s pediatric behavioral health services will begin in August, gradually moving to the new Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital. The freed up spaces will be reused for primary and specialist care or to meet the growing demand for hospital medical services.

Baystate Health is working closely with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to ease the transition process. The affected hospital facilities are expected to be fully relocated by the end of the year, with partial inpatient programs completing the relocation by January 2024.

The opening of Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital not only addresses the shortage of inpatient psychiatric services in the community, but also fulfills Baystate Health’s mission to provide quality mental health care. Dr Sarvet highlighted the importance of the partnership with Lifepoint, saying: In developing this new hospital with our Lifepoint partners, we are continuing and strengthening our commitment to addressing the mental health needs of people in our region.

#Valley #Springs #Behavioral #Health #Hospital #provide #sanctuary #healing #Western #Massachusetts

How new EU incentives will help all patients get the best treatments

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Pharmaceutical manufacturers have historically focused on large, high-value markets, leaving those in smaller countries struggling to find the latest drugs. New EU legislation is designed to correct this imbalance.

Medical advances can bring about life-changing improvements, especially for those suffering from long-term conditions. Every year new treatments are discovered that work better or have fewer side effects.

But not everyone can benefit from these changes. Often the priority for distribution is large, high-value markets, at the expense of those living in smaller inhabited areas.

Waiting for new treatments in Malta

Wayne Zammit lives in Malta. When he was a boy, he had a dream.

“I grew up loving cars,” he says. “One of the things I always wanted was to work at something I love. But unfortunately, due to the condition of my skin, my eczema, dust, and the things you do are all very messy, and it’s very easy to get infections and stuff like that. It’s something I had to give up very quickly.”

Wayne was diagnosed with severe eczema when he was 4 years old. Problems soon piled up.

“When I went to get my first passport, at that point, I was pretty young,” he says. “In my picture, my lips were completely broken. So I was like a mini-wild card, to an extent. And I had a lot of flare-ups around my eyes. Also a cracked eyelid. And my ears were very swollen and red. And of course they wouldn’t want to take a picture for identification purposes; and for me too. This is a disease that affects the skin, it’s our largest organ. I’ve had days where I couldn’t move my neck around. I’ve had days where to get out of a chair, I wanted to cry. I have days where my clothes are stuck to my skin, from open wounds”

A cocktail of medicines now keeps the disease at bay. But periodically they cause such side effects as nausea and high blood pressure. When Wayne stops them, his body ignites again.

However, there is no prescription of injectable medicines available in Malta which doctors believe are most effective for him.

“I want to know why I have to wait so long for something I need so badly,” Wayne says.

Approved drugs not available

The treatment that could help Wayne has already been approved by regulators in Malta and is eligible for free administration to patients. Yet it is nowhere to be found in pharmacies across the country, unlike those in other European Union members.

The consequences are dire for Wayne and other patients with severe eczema, says his dermatologist Michael Boffa.

“The fact that these drugs are not available means that patients will have to be treated with other drugs, which are less effective and perhaps carry risks of important side effects that could be avoided by using better drugs,” says Michael Boffa, who is chairman of the Department of Dermatologist of Mater Dei Hospital and President of the Malta Eczema Society. “Patients should certainly not be discriminated against because of the disease they are unfortunate enough to have.”

A size problem

Bureaucracy, Brexit, Covid, the global supply crisis and the war in Ukraine help explain the situation. But Malta also has a structural problem: its tiny size.

As the smallest member state of the EU, the country seems less attractive for pharmaceutical developers.

A warehouse houses all the medicines used by Malta Social Security. It looks full, but statistically Malta lags behind other member states when it comes to full public availability of approved medicines. Of the 160 medicines approved by the EU between 2017 and 2020, only 11 were available in Malta compared to 147 in Germany, according to the EFPIA Patients WAIT Indicator 2021 Survey. The figures have been updated as of July 2022, but as Malta has not completed its entire data set, they are only an indicative indicator.

The man in charge of Malta’s Medicine Supply Unit says they are working hard to find solutions.

“If there are high numbers, the industry registers a product and we don’t have a problem,” says Karl Farrugia, managing director of the Central Procurement And Supplies Unit. “But when there are few patients, and Malta obviously is a small country, so you get these treatments where few patients need them, then the government comes in. For registration, we do the translation, we do the serialization.”

EU to provide incentives

To further help small countries like Malta, the European Commission’s reform of EU pharmaceutical legislation has proposed rewarding developers who launch a medicine in all member states within two years of authorisation. According to the EC, this alone would increase access by 15%.

Further proposals such as the simplification of authorization procedures or the introduction of multinational packaging have been welcomed by the Maltese pharmaceutical industry.

“The pharmaceutical industry in its best effort has to try to make products a little more affordable for smaller countries,” says Mark Mallia, pharmaceutical industry representative in Malta. “And we need to see inventory, drug depots available for small countries. And a multilingual package could help that, because you have a depot that would serve 6 or 7 or 8 countries when needed.”

Wayne hopes all the actors will soon work together to help him.

“I think we’ll get there,” he says. “Especially if you do the necessary and if people help each other.”

#incentives #patients #treatments