Pennsylvania’s Move Toward Marijuana Legalization Could Come as Soon as 2015
Dec31

Pennsylvania’s Move Toward Marijuana Legalization Could Come as Soon as 2015

Legislation that allows for the legal use of medical marijuana continues to spread across the country. As of November, the current tally of states that have adopted medical marijuana programs is up to 23, along with Washington, D.C. And in Pennsylvania, medical marijuana legislation could be coming as soon as 2015. According to a December 22 Main Line Media News article, the same bipartisan pair of Pennsylvania senators who pushed for medical marijuana legislation this year will re-introduce the bill in 2015. The bill had been approved with a 43-7 vote in the state Senate this September, but failed to pass through the state House of Representatives before the legislative session ended on November 30. Despite the fact that the bill will essentially have to start at the beginning of the lawmaking process, its writers are confident it will be voted into law in 2015. If approved, the bill will give Pennsylvania residents a natural, non-addictive way to treat chronic pain and ailments. Senators Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, and Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, the bill’s authors, said they especially hope legalizing medical marijuana within Pennsylvania will give much-needed relief and options for people suffering from epilepsy and other seizure-related conditions. “Some children suffer hundreds of seizures a day, making normal childhood development impossible,” the two said in a joint statement. “Prescribed narcotic cocktails of highly addictive and dangerous drugs have little effect on these disorders.” According to a survey from the Senate Appropriations Committee, some 250,000 Pennsylvanians would sign up for a medical marijuana card if it were legal in their home state. Medical marijuana has proven to be an effective treatment for ALS, post traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis and a huge number of other health conditions. Governor-elect Tom Wolf has spoken out on his support of a medical marijuana program in his state, and has even showed an openness to examining the possibility of recreational marijuana legalization as well, according to Main Line Media News. But while full legalization is likely a far-off possibility, there’s no reason for Pennsylvanians to think they won’t legally be able to access this option for alleviating their health problems within the next...

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The Real Reason Why One Man Got Plastic Surgery to Look Like Kim Kardashian
Dec27

The Real Reason Why One Man Got Plastic Surgery to Look Like Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian is the undisputed queen of the selfie. According to USA Today, she took 1,200 pictures of herself during a vacation to Thailand this year alone. The reality TV star is even working on a coffee table book containing nothing but her own selfies. The aptly titled “Selfish” will be released sometime next year. But Kardashian’s selfie habit — and that of millions of others around the world — has its consequences. A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reveals that the rise of the selfie is leading more people than ever to seek out facial plastic surgery. Perhaps the most extreme case of this is British make-up artist Jordan James Parke, who recently made headlines for spending $150,000 on some 50 plastic surgery procedures to look just like his idol — none other than Kim Kardashian herself. According to a December 22 Gizmodo article, the 23-year-old Manchester native developed a desire to look like Kardashian after seeing her on TV. Since then, Parke has had lip filling procedures, Botox injections, eyebrow tattoos and a chin filling procedure. While the average person might be taken aback at Parke’s post-plastic-surgery look, he says he has no regrets. “I laugh when people try to insult me by telling me I look plastic or fake,” Parke said in an interview. “Do they think I’m going for the natural look? If I was, I’d ask for my money back.” And he’s not done with his journey to keep up with Mrs. Kardashian-West — Parke says he’s already saving his money toward another nose job. Parke is far from the only person to aspire to Kardashian’s signature look. In July, a London woman spent around $30,000 on plastic surgery, makeup and more to look like Kim, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Despite the fact that 24-year-old Claire Leeson says she’s drowning in debt from the procedures, she told the media that emulating Kardashian, her idol, makes her feel “strong, confident and unstoppable.” Looking at these examples proves the fact that our cultural affinity for the selfie — and for plastic surgery — is undoubtedly influenced by celebrities like Kim Kardashian. And this trend isn’t likely to slow down anytime...

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Coffee Industry Offering Innovative Options This Holiday Season
Dec18

Coffee Industry Offering Innovative Options This Holiday Season

Chemex has long been associated with carefully brewed gourmet coffee. This manual brewing method, invented by chemist Peter Schlumbohm in 1941, is supposed to produce better coffee by removing certain oils from the coffee beans. The downside of the Chemex brewing method is that it requires a lot of work on the part of the user, who must heat water to the perfect temperature in a separate vessel, “bloom” ground coffee, and then manually pour the water and wait for it to percolate through Chemex’s iconic narrow-waisted flask. “[T]he sleek hourglass’s promise of the perfect cup had long convinced coffee lovers everywhere that hand brewing their coffee was the only way to go. Automatic coffee makers were NOT taken seriously by the true coffee nerd,” Julie R. Thomson wrote for the Huffington Post Dec. 16. But the maker of Chemex has announced, just in time for Christmas, that it will be releasing an automatic version of Chemex called the Ottomatic. According to its makers, the machine uses the same glass beakers, but heats the water, manages pre-infusion blooming, optimizes water-to-coffee contact time, and keeps the hot plate precisely between 176 and 185 degrees. Thomson says she’s willing to bet “it makes an even better cup than the traditional hand-brewed method because almost all possibility of human error has been taken out of the process.” So if you’re among the 65% of Americans who likes to drink coffee with your breakfast every morning, the new machine can put a gourmet twist on your 6 a.m. caffeine jolt. The two major downsides are that it costs $350 and it won’t ship until the new year. The holiday season also has something in store for coffee drinkers who don’t want their coffee to energize them: The Boston Globe reported Dec. 16 that Counting Sheep coffee, a Canadian-based company that makes a gourmet decaf containing natural sleep aids, is coming to the U.S. It will soon start selling in Market Fresh and Market Basket locations, and is scheduled for a meeting with Walmart next month. The company offers two blends: 40 Winks, which contains a small amount of valerian root in it to promote drowsiness, and Lights Out, which is stronger. As the brand’s slogan puts it, “The best way to start your day is now the best way to end...

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New Study Shows Common Pain Medication May Be Ineffective For Lower Back Pain
Dec18

New Study Shows Common Pain Medication May Be Ineffective For Lower Back Pain

Doctors, surgeons and therapists have long understood that lower back pain affects more than a patient’s daily comfort: research often shows that adults with this condition often have poorer physical and mental health than people without lower back pain. Because of this, finding effective treatments that reduce pain and promote patient health is extremely important. However, a new study suggests that a popular medication prescribed to treat lower back pain may not help manage the disorder at all. The American Chiropractic Association estimates that an astounding 80-90% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, while lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common type of chronic lower back pain experienced by older adults. It typically causes discomfort, tingling and numbness in the lower back, buttocks and legs, particularly when a person stands upright. Because of this, many people with the condition hunch forward at the waist, creating the position commonly associated with old age. In order to avoid prescribing opioid pain medication, many doctors try to treat this condition with a medication called pregabalin. Also known as Lyrica, pregabalin is produced by Pfizer to treat nerve and muscle pain associated with shingles, spinal cord injuries, diabetes and other problems. Because lumbar spinal stenosis is caused by a degenerating spinal column and narrowing spinal canal, pregabalin seems like a natural choice to treat this condition. However, experts say that there is little credible evidence showing that this medication are an effective method for this problem, and it has not been approved for this use by the FDA. To test the medication, scientists with the University of Rochester Department of Neurosurgery’s Translational Pain Research Program had patients with the condition report their pain levels while walking upright on a treadmill. While some participants were treated with pregabalin and others received a placebo, the researchers found no difference in the patients’ pain levels. Accordingly, the team’s head researcher, Dr. John Markham, published an article in the journalNeurology, stating that pregabalin appears to have no effect on lumbar spinal stenosis. Fortunately, lumbar spinal stenosis can be treated with other methods: for example, patients can undergo surgery to remove portions of their decaying bones or discs, giving their nerves more room. Called a lumbar laminectomy, the procedure is most common spine surgery in people over the age of 60. However, in most cases, the pain returns after several years, and the operation may not be an option at all for others. In light of the study’s findings, many doctors and patients will likely have to investigate and test other pain medications, chiropractic procedures, and other methods to reduce the pain...

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British Cosmetic Dentist Discusses Dangerous Trends in Teeth Whitening
Dec18

British Cosmetic Dentist Discusses Dangerous Trends in Teeth Whitening

Getting whiter teeth is certainly one of the most popular aesthetic trends today, with Americans purchasing countless boxes of whitening strips and bleaching paste every year, and making thousands of appointments with salons, spas, and dental clinics for professional whitening treatments — bringing the total cost of whitening products and services to about $1.4 billion per year. It was only a matter of time before people began to go a little crazy with the teeth whitening, and now a new phenomenon is becoming clear: over-using bleaching products to the point where tooth enamel starts to wear down, causing the teeth to turn a yellow-brown color (perhaps worse than whatever original color they were), and eventually starting to decay. Dr Ken Harris, a cosmetic dentist at the U.K. dental clinic Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry, notes that many spas and salons offer teeth whitening treatments which seem professional and safe, but which may not be approved by the U.K.’s General Dental Council becausethey are not carried out by a qualified dental expert. Just as dangerous, Dr. Harris states, are the at-home whitening remedies that can be found all over blogs and websites. Patients have gone to great lengths to whiten their teeth without the steep cost of a professional treatment, Dr. Harris explains, and he himself has seen patients try to whiten their teeth with dangerous bleaches, scouring powders, and cleaning products intended for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Less risky at-home treatments, like lemon juice concoctions and whitening strips found on pharmacy shelves, are certainly much safer — in moderation — but rarely produce substantial results anyway. One popular DIY approach, in particular, uses strawberries as the main “whitening” ingredient, even though strawberries do not whiten teeth in the least. Perhaps the most surprising part of these findings is simply that people would rather scrub their teeth with toilet bowl bleach rather than see a dental professional; nevertheless, it’s becoming clearer that these dangerous and/or ineffective whitening methods are only the tip of the iceberg. Like with most medical treatments, it shouldn’t be surprising that splurging for a professional whitening treatment is definitely the way the go, and could actually be the only reasonable option for anyone wishing to keep his/her natural teeth...

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