San Francisco's Very Unhealthy Air Quality hits Record High - Kaiser Tips to stay heathy during WildFire Season

San Francisco's Very Unhealthy Air Quality hits Record High - Kaiser Tips to stay heathy during WildFire Season

Air quality concerns: What should you do?

Smoke and ash can affect air quality, causing breathing difficulties and other health issues many miles away from the actual fire.

If you can see or smell smoke, it is recommended that you avoid outdoor physical activities. If visibility is decreased in your neighborhood to less than 5 miles, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.

Children, the elderly, and people with respiratory conditions — If you can see or smell smoke, children, elderly people, pregnant women and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions should stay inside with the windows and doors closed (unless instructed otherwise).

  • Use “controller” steroid inhalers (like QVAR) as prescribed.

  • Use “quick relief” inhalers to help with shortness of breath.

  • If you have oxygen, use it if you have difficulty breathing.

  • Turn on your air conditioner to see if it helps, especially if it’s central air. If you have a window A/C unit, make sure the filter is clean.

  • Use fans in each room to help move the air in your house.

Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

The Highs and Lows of Microdosing LSD

The Highs and Lows of Microdosing LSD

The world’s first ever trial into microdosing LSD began on September 3rdthis year, after claims that regularly taking tiny doses of the drug can improve creativity and focus as well as lift depression. Microdosing has become increasing popular among young professionals, especially in the Californian tech world, where people work long hours in creative fields. The idea is they take one tenth of a dose of LSD every few days before work. The dose is too small to cause any of the typical psychedelic effects or hallucinations, but it is said to put users into a ‘flow state’, in which they are better able to focus and can increase inventiveness and creativity. 

 World’s First Trial

Of course, this is an illegal activity and so, studies into the effects of microdosing are difficult to organize and expensive to run. However, the Beckley Foundation, originally set up to research mind-altering substances, has found a way around current obstacles in order to complete the first ever placebo-controlled microdosing trial[1]. Study leader Balazs Szigeti explains that they’ve recruited volunteers who currently microdose and have supplied them with dummy capsules, into which they put some genuine doses and some placebo doses. 

The capsules are then placed into envelopes with QR codes and mixed up, so that the volunteer doesn’t know whether they are taking a placebo or the real thing. They scan the QR codes each time they take a dose, so that the researchers know which is which, and participants are shown the results at the end of the experiment. The participants then complete questionnaires and take part in online cognitive games in order to judge their increase (or lack thereof) of cognitive function and motivational drive[2].

 


Is the Multi-Billion Dollar Wellness Industry Worth the Money?

Is the Multi-Billion Dollar Wellness Industry Worth the Money?

We all know how important health and wellness are, and there is an increasing focus on becoming healthier, more balanced, and ultimately, happier. It’s big business too, with the global wellness industry now valued at a huge $3.72 trillion and accounts for approximately five per cent of the global economic output[1]. It seems that there are new trends and fads coming out every day, from spin classes and yoga to organic food, special drinks, guided meditation classes, and more. There is even a drive to feed our pets clean, healthy, natural food[2].  With the wellness industry now being “one of the world’s fastest, most resilient markets,”[3]outranking the pharmaceutical industry several times over, it’s easy to wonder, is it worth it? And if it is, is it something that is exclusively for high-earners and not for those on a budget?

 

Wellness trends

Wellness can be defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing,”[4]and it’s definitely something that is at the forefront of many people’s thoughts. Searches for ‘self-care’ on Google have increased by 25% in the last year[5], and people are paying for more and more wellness products and services. There are even wellness festivals popping up around the world. The Womad festival, for example, dedicates two acres of land to spa and wellness areas, including meditation led by Buddhist monks and shamanic healing. Likewise, Soul Circus in the UK focuses on wellness, with tickets costs around $260. Founder Ella Wroath explains that she “wanted to create a balanced event that left you feeling rejuvenated and inspired, rather than hungover and unhealthy”[6]

How Childhood Adversity Affects Adult Health

How Childhood Adversity Affects Adult Health

Everything that happens in our lives affects us; events can change us for better or worse, and some things affect us more than others. But did you know that suffering childhood adversity, such as extreme poverty, abuse, neglect, or a sick or alcoholic parent, can affect you right through your life? And it’s not just a mental health issue either. Experiencing toxic stress and adverse conditions as a child can actually alter your physiological make up and cause life-threatening physical diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

The correlation between childhood adversity and later ill health was first discussed in a 1995 study by physicians Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda[1], and since then, the evidence has been mounting. Now, there can be little doubt that childhood adversity can and does affect later adult health. In that initial study, Felitti and Anda examined the childhood and adolescent histories of 17,000 people, looking for what they termed ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), or chronic, unpredictable, and stress-inducing life events[2]. Of those they studied, a huge two thirds had suffered at least one ACE and 90% of those two thirds had experienced more than one[3]. They then looked at the correlation between the patients’ ACE score and their health – and the results were shocking. 

Understanding the Differences between Palliative Care and Hospice Care

Understanding the Differences between Palliative Care and Hospice Care

Regardless of whether it’s you or a family member who is suffering from an illness or disease, it can be an extremely difficult and trying time, especially when you don’t have support around you. Curative treatments are of course important, but comfort and care are equally vital—both during the illness and as death approaches. With a huge 30% of all Medicare dollars being spent during the last twelve months of a patient’s life[1], it’s time we re-evaluated our approach to illness and put a greater focus on palliative and hospice care.

The terms ‘palliative care’ and ‘hospice care’ are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact different and they’re used at different times during the course of an illness. Understanding the importance of treatments and the differences between the two are vital if you or your loved one want to get the right care at the end of life. 

 Palliative Care

The term ‘palliative’ comes from the Latin word ‘palliare’, meaning to cloak, and the purpose of palliative care is to provide as much comfort, pain relief, and support as possible. It’s designed to work in tandem with curative treatments and often begins at the point of diagnosis[2]. It is offered to those suffering serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, AIDS, and dementia, and is used to prevent or treat the side effects and symptoms of both the original illness and of the curative treatment itself. As well as offering pain relief and help with any resulting subsidiary illnesses, support


Non-Profit Organization Awards Grant to Student of Chicana and Chicano Studies

Non-Profit Organization Awards Grant to Student of Chicana and Chicano Studies

Non-profit organization OKOLOGIE.ORG is delighted to announce that a grant of $500 has been offered to student Jessica Orozco, after her successful research into sanctioned residential segregation and its effects on educational success in the Los Angeles area. Orozco, who received the grant in February this year, will use the money to help towards costs associated with attending the NACCS Conference in the Chicana and Chicano Studies field. 

With around 2 million Chicano/Latino students in California, and only around 25,500 Chicano/Latino teachers to serve them, children are often only exposed to their ethnic culture twice a year – during Hispanic Heritage Month and Cinco de Mayo. Oklogie.org believe that Orozco's field of study is important, as it addresses the often-overlooked social, political, cultural, and economic conditions of the Chicano people.

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day

Join Earth Day Network on Earth Day 2018 - April 22 - to help end plastic pollution. Plastic is threatening our planet's survival, from poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our streams and landfills. Together, we can make a difference.

Is Overpopulation Still a Problem?

Is Overpopulation Still a Problem?

Overpopulation has been a topic of discussion for centuries. From Plato and Aristotle to modern day scientists and philosophers, the questions of population control – whether we need to impose controls and what those controls should be – have been hotly debated. The world’s population currently stands at approximately 7.6 billion people and every day, around 360,000 babies are born. That’s roughly 15,000 new mouths to feed every single hour. On the flip side, only around 150,000 people die each day[1]. The disparity is obvious and at this rate, population growth is inevitable, but is it a problem? Fifty years after Paul Erhlich terrified the world with his vision of starvation and death in his book The Population Bomb, do we still need to worry about the effects of overpopulation?

From Before Christ Onwards

As far back as the fourth century BC, overpopulation has been a concern. Plato and Aristotle recommended instilling strict birth controls to ensure that the population didn’t rise above 200 million people worldwide[2]– a stark contrast to today’s 7.6 billion! Later, Thomas Malthus famously warned about growing population in 1798, and by 1968, Paul Erhlich argued that it was too late – we’d surpassed a sustainable level and control was no longer an option. Instead, he argued, we needed to actively reduce the population through enforced, compulsory methods. Skip forward to 2018, however, and the fiery conversations about overpopulation have been somewhat dampened. The urgency around reducing the birth rate or even reducing the population itself seems to have fizzled out. Does that mean that it’s no longer a problem, though, or have we simply become apathetic? 

 

 

Nadine Burke Harris, M.D. is the author of "the deepest well - Healing the long-term effects of childhood adversity."

Nadine Burke Harris, M.D. is the author of "the deepest well - Healing the long-term effects of childhood adversity."

Dr. Harris interview on NPR, discusses what negative experiences can do to a growing child’s health. Children’s exposure to adverse childhood experiences, such as, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect, parental mental illness, substance dependence, incarceration, parental separation or divorce or domestic violence can negatively affect health outcomes.

Are We Failing Our Elders?  The Rise of Senior Poverty in the US

Are We Failing Our Elders? The Rise of Senior Poverty in the US

One in every six elderly Americans now live below the federal poverty line, and over half of all ‘baby boomers’ have reported a deterioration in their quality of life over the past few years[1]. 21 per cent of married couples and 43 per cent of single people over the age of 65 depend on Social Security for a massive 90 per cent of their income, and almost 62% of households headed by someone over the age of 60 are in debt[2]. 2.9 million older households in the US suffer from food insecurity[3], and between 1991 and 2007, the number of 65- to 74-year-olds applying for bankruptcy increased by a huge 178%[4].

Now, “25 million Americans aged 60 and above are economically insecure”[5], leaving them to struggle with housing, rising healthcare costs, nutrition, transportation, and savings. To make matters worse, they are often left isolated and alone, living in suburbs and surrounded by other elderly people, whose families have grown and flown the nest[6]

An Aging Labor Force – Working Until You Drop

With the increasing financial difficulties faced by the older population, many continue working long after the traditional retirement age, with 40% of ‘baby boomers’ claiming that they plan to “work until they drop”[7]. Of course, for some, this is a choice – a desire to continue in their current roles or even explore alternative career options, but for too many it’s a financial necessity. In the year 2,000, 4 million senior citizens continued to work after retirement age, but by 2017 that number had jumped to 9 million – the highest senior employment rate in 55 years[8]! In fact, it’s the highest senior employment rate since before retirees earned the right to healthcare and Social Security benefits in the 1960s.

To put further strain on older employees, the workforce is changing. Technology is becoming more and more prevalent, and senior employees are left to learn new skills or change the way they work[9]. This leaves some forced out of their jobs and as a result, many sell their properties, give up their lifestyles, and travel the country in search of seasonal work[10]. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that by the year 2022, workers aged 55 and above will make up a huge 25% of the labor force[11] and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better any time soon. We’re failing our elders, and we need to do something about it.

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