Suicide is More Common in High-Altitude Counties

❝ Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. In the next 20 years, it’s expected to cause more than 2 million deaths per year worldwide, ranking 14th in the world as a cause of death.

❝ There are many factors known to affect an individual’s risk for suicide. For example, people who are older, male, white, divorced, low-income, isolated or who abuse substances are all at higher risk. Psychiatric illness, mood disorders and lack of social support are also recognized risk factors.

Several studies have demonstrated geographic variations in suicide patterns in the U.S., with higher suicide rates in western states. Our ongoing research expands on those findings, showing that Americans who live in higher-altitude counties are at a higher risk for suicide…

❝ Previous studies have reported a significant association between suicide and altitude. One study showed a strong positive relationship between average state altitude and suicide rate. For example, in Utah, the average geographic altitude is about 6,000 feet, and the rate of suicide is 70 percent higher than average.

The article opens many interesting avenues of research, especially into hypoxia.

I live in a valley which lies at 6300′ altitude. The nearby city of Santa Fe is at 7000′. And the first thing that comes to my mind is hypoxia, of course. As a sleep apnea “sufferer” who hardly ever suffers, blood oxygen saturation is a problem easily solved. CPAP machines get cheaper and quieter every year. If you’re an old geek like me, you’re already on Medicaid + Medigap. And like, me, you sleep fine waking up refreshed by a slightly compressed feed of bedroom air pressed into your lungs.

It’s just another market for tech solutions, folks. No need to stay away or add another worry to your life. Just need the feds to authorize the prescription.

Swatting mosquitos teaches them to avoid you

❝ In a paper published Jan. 25 in Current Biology, University of Washington researchers report that mosquitoes can in fact learn to associate a particular odor with an unpleasant mechanical shock akin to being swatted. As a result, they’ll avoid that scent the next time.

“Once mosquitoes learned odors in an aversive manner, those odors caused aversive responses on the same order as responses to DEET, which is one of the most effective mosquito repellents,” said senior author Jeff Riffell, a UW professor of biology. “Moreover, mosquitoes remember the trained odors for days…”

❝ “By understanding how mosquitoes are making decisions on whom to bite, and how learning influences those behaviors, we can better understand the genes and neuronal bases of the behaviors,” said Riffell. “This could lead to more effective tools for mosquito control.”

I can think of other relevant settings for the same process. Bigger animals. 🙂

Second Year in a Row – US Life Expectancy Drops

❝ The life expectancy at birth for Americans has dropped for the second consecutive year, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average lifespan as of 2016 is 78.6 years, down 0.1 years from 2015. This marks the first time it has decreased for two years in a row since 1962 and 1963 when influenza had a pronounced effect on the population…

The drop is being attributed to the opioid epidemic, which is causing a significant number of deaths as a result of overdose among young and middle-aged people — which, in turn, is having an impact on the average lifespan of the country as a whole.

But, hey, it makes a lot of money for Big Pharma. The creeps who own more politicians than any other lobbyists in corporate America.

How babies inhale dust, pollen and more – more than adults

We are interested in the biological material an infant inhales, especially during their first year of life when they are crawling. Many studies have shown that inhalation exposure to microbes and allergen-carrying particles in that portion of life plays a significant role in both the development of, and protection from, asthma and allergic diseases…”…“There are studies that have shown that being exposed to a high diversity and concentration of biological materials may reduce the prevalence of asthma and allergies later in life.”

Legalize it! Join Senator Booker

❝ On January 1, California, Maine, and Massachusetts joined the growing list of states that legalized recreational marijuana.

Yet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions just announced that he will end the current policy of federal non-interference, so that the Justice Department could crack down on marijuana in states where it has been legalized for recreational use.

❝ For decades, the failed war on drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders, especially for marijuana-related offenses. This has wasted human potential, torn apart families and communities, and squandered massive sums of taxpayer dollars.

That’s why I introduced the Marijuana Justice Act to call for the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. Will you sign my petition and call on your senators to join me in moving this critical legislation forward?

❝ Add your name to the Marijuana Justice Act, which will remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances and look to reverse the decades of failed policies that disproportionately target communities of color.

Sign Sen. Booker’s petition

If passed into law, the Marijuana Justice Act would have an immediate impact on our criminal justice system, policing, our communities, and even the economy. This legislation would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level.

Overdue, folks. Overdue.

Our fake president fires remaining members of HIV/AIDS advisory council


Trumpcare takes over!

❝ Months after a half-dozen members resigned in protest of the Trump administration’s position on health policies, the White House dismissed the rest through a form letter.

The notice “thanked me for my past service and said that my appointment was terminated, effective immediately,” said Patrick Sullivan, an epidemiologist at Emory University who works on HIV testing programs. He was appointed to a four-year term in May 2016…

❝ The group is designed to include “doctors, members of industry, members of the community and, very importantly, people living with HIV,” said Scott Schoettes, a lawyer with the LGBT rights organization Lambda Legal. “Without it, you lose the community voice in policymaking.”

❝ Schoettes was among those who quit in June, and he went out with a fiery commentary in Newsweek. “The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and — most concerning — pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease,” he wrote in the column.

The only community voice Trump listens to is the one that is ready to hand him a blank check. Followed by the ignorant blivets who think they have something to gain from a fake president.

Another anti-vaccine excuse fades away

Children and adults with egg allergies do not need to avoid flu shots or take special precautions, and healthcare providers need not ask if patients are allergic to eggs before giving a flu shot, allergy experts said.

Updated practice guidelines from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) state that people with egg allergies should receive an annual flu shot and that no special precautions are required…

A joint ACAAI and AAAAI task force reviewed findings from recent studies involving thousands of patients with egg allergies, and those studies uniformly showed egg allergic patients to have a similar risk for flu shot reactions as people without egg allergies…

The studies showed no benefit to taking special precautions, such as pre-vaccine skin testing or stepwise challenge, in egg allergic children and adults, and John Kelso of the Scripps Clinic in San Diego said the risks associated with not being vaccinated are now clear.

“There are hundreds of thousands of influenza hospitalizations in the U.S. each year, and tens of thousands of deaths,” he said. “There has been a growing recognition that not vaccinating poses a special risk. The vast majority of egg allergies are in young children and young children are more susceptible to flu.”

You can say “amen” to another copout. If only it was that easy to rid public health questions of superstition and ignorance.

Flying Eye Hospital


Click to enlarge

The Flying Eye Hospital, currently parked on Moffett Field in Mountain View, is a mobile ophthalmological hospital, technological marvel, and surely one of the most extraordinary vehicles on the planet. It is a converted MD-10 wide-body airliner that flies all around the world — it just got back from Bangladesh — performing eye surgeries on needy patients in developing nations while also helping to train their doctors, nurses, and medical technicians.

…One of the most technically amazing things about the Flying Eye is that it is an entirely self-contained hospital: its systems, which run purely on jet-fuel-powered generators, include its own medical gases, its own clean room, its own water purifiers, its surgical equipment, etc., including extremely sensitive equipment (again, this is eye surgery we’re talking about) which has to be stowed such that can survive serious turbulence or bumpy landings on difficult runways without requiring major maintenance…

The Flying Eye is a largely volunteer organization (and part/most of the charity Orbis International.) They have 400 volunteer faculty, including many of the best of the ophthalmological world, many of whom come back every year to work on the Flying Eye for a week or two unpaid. The pilots are also volunteers…

I wonder if the pilots have to worry about being shot down by one of our Free World cowboys [as much as ISIS] when they’re somewhere out of direct sight of journalists?