Nootropics

There are many reasons as to why people take what is commonly referred to as “brain pills”. Some people want to improve their focus on a particular task, while others may want to improve their memory and information retention capabilities. Many people opt for brain pills before an event that requires their mind to be sharp and completely focused such as examinations or business meetings. What are Nootropics? Nootropics are a type of brain pills. They are also popularly known as smart drugs, cognitive enhancers or memory enhancers. These substances are meant to improve the mental performance of the user. Nootropics can contain a variety of drugs which are used for treating a range of medical conditions that can affect the performance of the mind. Some medical conditions where these drugs are used in treatments include dementia, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, ageing, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and stroke. Some nootropics use natural substances instead of synthetically manufactured chemicals. Commonly used natural substances include extracts from walnuts, ginger, fish oil, coffee and other caffeine stimulants. Usually, nootropics are distributed as a type of dietary supplement which can improve the mental performance of a healthy person. Are Nootropics Safe? It is important to exercise caution while using nootropic supplements. These supplements are not regulated by any authoritative body. Therefore, it is possible that the supplements will not provide the benefits advertised. Some studies have shown that nootropics have only a marginal effect on mental performance, brain function and memory. At the same time, it is possible to for nootropics to cause side effects in the user. Common Side Effects of Nootropics Usage of no tropics can lead to a number of side effects. It is crucial to stop using the supplements as soon as these side effects begin to show themselves to prevent further harm. Headaches The most common side effect of using nootropic supplements is headaches. Certain nootropics can cause the brain to work harder. The brain begins to require a larger quantity of Acetylcholine which the body is unable to produce. Due to the increased demand, the receptor sites of Acetylcholine begin to burn out. This results in headaches. It is possible to use a good source of choline to the supplement routine in order to eliminate the headaches. GI Tract Issues Excessive usage of nootropic supplements can create pressure on the intestinal system of the body due to the excess nootropic drugs. The body considers the excess drugs to be a threat and will remove the excessive material. However, the removal results in a number of problems in the GI tract and stomach. Common symptoms include diarrhea, pain...

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Pfizer’s Xalkori: A New Mesothelioma Treatment?
Dec19

Pfizer’s Xalkori: A New Mesothelioma Treatment?

A new treatment option for asbestos victims suffering from pleural mesothelioma, might be around the corner, in the form of a new drug (by Pfizer) called Xalkori. In 2011, the FDA approved the use of Xalkori (which goes by the generic name of crizotinib) to treat people suffering from late-stage, non-small cell lung cancers. Xalkori is a treatment option if these people also have the gene known as the abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. Those with the ALK gene are most receptive to treatment with Xalkori (and incidentally, least responsive to traditional treatments). Now, researchers are working to determine whether the ALK gene is also present in some patients with pleural mesothelioma. If so, Xalkori could be the new drug of choice for these patients.   What is Pleural Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a long name for a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma affects the membranes (mesothelial cells) surrounding the internal organs. The most common form of this rare, and so far incurable, cancer is pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma affects the membranes around the lungs, and accounts for about 75% of asbestos-related cancers.   Cause and Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma The disease is caused by repeated on-the-job exposure to asbestos fibers in the air. The asbestos is inhaled and the fibers lodge in the pleural membrane (the membrane surrounding the lungs). Over time, the fibers can cause chronic inflammation and scarring. Occasionally the fibers also cause genetic changes in the cells, which can result in cancerous tumors (pleural mesothelioma). This is a deadly form of cancer. The average life expectancy of a patient diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma is only four to eighteen months.   Part of the difficulty in battling the disease is that many of the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are not apparent until the cancer is in a later stage (stage III or IV). At this point in the disease’s progression, the tumors and thickening of the membrane around the lungs causes pressure on the lungs. Due to this lung constriction, a patient in this stage of mesothelioma might experience a persistent dry or raspy cough, shortness of breath, severe chest pain, or trouble breathing.   Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment Historically, upon diagnoses of pleural mesothelioma, doctors have used chemotherapy and radiation treatments to delay the progression of the cancer. Now it’s hoped that Xalkori might offer a better treatment option, with fewer side effects. To determine whether Xalkori might be beneficial to a patient, doctors first need to identify whether the patient has the abnormal ALK gene. If a genetic test shows the patient has the ALK gene, he or she can be...

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When Exercise Becomes an Addiction
Oct21

When Exercise Becomes an Addiction

Addiction is an awful disease that needs to be monitored throughout a person’s lifetime, even when they’re seemingly in control of it. Some of us might have been personally affected by addiction issues related to alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs or gambling, or have had to step in to help a loved one who might be fighting an addiction. For some of us, the problem is limited to what we read in the newspapers or online, with supermarket tabloids, in particular, obsessed with celebrities and their issues with addiction. The reporting seems to take on a sympathetic stance, but borders on voyeuristic glee over something that really is a private problem, whether it’s the usual suspects such as Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan, or even the squeaky clean star Zac Efron who quietly entered a rehab facility in early 2013 to fight certain problems with drugs and alcohol. Not all addictions seem to be unhealthy, and when someone exercises frequently and vigorously, isn’t it a good thing? It’s possible to go too far, and in certain cases, develop an addiction to sport and exercising. Body Image When someone’s view of their own body takes a dangerous turn, we often see this manifest itself as anorexia or bulimia, and given the widespread knowledge of these conditions, we often know which warning signs to look for in friends and family members, although recovery is never an easy feat. While the causative factors for eating disorders and issues with body image are complex, they can sometimes spring from unlikely places. The island nation of Fiji was a relative newcomer to televisions, with most households not owning one until the mid 1990’s. Before this, the Fijian concept of a good body was someone who was well fed, even overweight, which was seen as a sign of health and prosperity. After viewing American TV shows previously unseen by the general population, this image of a good body shifted to the American ideal seen in Baywatch and Beverly Hills 90210, that of a lean, athletic person. Exercise and Endorphin’s While attempting to emulate the slender figure of a celebrity (who can far more easily access nutritionists and personal trainers than the rest of us) can be a contributing factor to eating disorders, it can also encourage excessive physical activity, as a person tries to get the athletic physique sported by their idols. Just as a lack of physical activity can be greatly unhealthy, excessive physical activity can also be detrimental to a person’s health, although it’s less easy to spot. Exercise releases endorphin’s into the bloodstream, which is why, despite the fact that we’re usually physically...

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Domestic Abuse and Repeat Offenders
Aug30

Domestic Abuse and Repeat Offenders

Domestic abuse is a thread of violence that is very often misunderstood. Abuse victims face many challenges when attempting to leave an abusive relationship. This is often-time overlooked by family members, social workers, law enforcement, and other support and advocacy systems. The role that domestic abuse plays on incarcerated, or newly-released domestic abuse victims, is just one of the many crucial aspects that we must understand in order to better serve the needs of this particular demographic.   Repeat Offenders and Assistance First off, it is important to note the relationship between domestic abuse and incarceration. The vast majority of domestic abuse victims did time for crimes related to property, drugs, and prostitution. Upon being released, they may be on probation or parole, making them vulnerable to their abuser’s threats to comply to his demands or be sent back to prison. Even so, many shelters and prosecutor’s offices may deny them protective order assistance. This type of assistance can be crucial in determining the likelihood that they will become repeat offenders. It can also help lower the level of intimidation abuse victims with a past criminal record may likely feel when being back in a courtroom again. A Vicious Circle Another factor to consider is that incarcerated, or newly-released abuse victims do not have very many social and support systems. Therefore, they may be forced by their parole officers to go back to their previous home, if it appears to be a stable environment. This is done without taking into consideration that the abuser might still be present. On top of that, if the domestic abuse victim is being released after talking fault for crimes that the abuser committed, the abuser can continue to harass the victim into a life of crime.   Why Stay? Leaving an abusive partner seems like the logical thing to do. However, many times it is easier said than done. There are many reasons why abuse victims stay. Victims on parole may have nowhere to go, few job skills, limited knowledge of resources, and may even fear for their life and freedom if they attempt to leave an abusive partner. Sometimes it can prove safer to stay until an escape plan is well-established. It is estimated that a woman who tries to flee or has fled, is 75% more likely to be murdered. Extensive safety planning is necessary before attempting to break free from an abusive relationship. Call to Action The correlation between being a repeat criminal offender and an abuse victim is too blatant to ignore. Ignoring it will surely result in more women continuing to fall prey to abusive and manipulative partners...

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Does Music Distract Drivers?
Aug29

Does Music Distract Drivers?

Before you start blaring Gangnam Style (or something similarly ridiculous) in your car, be aware that it can have an impact on your driving (not to mention your reputation!). Playing music in your car has previously been thought of as a driving distraction, much like using your cellphone. Distracted driving can prove to be dangerous, and at times even fatal. However, a new study now shows that playing music actually helps you be a better driver. Here’s how:   Monotonous Traffic and Focus A recent study conducted in drivers (between 25-35 years of age) found that listening to music while driving actually helps you focus more on the road. That’s right it helps you focus- we can pretty much dismiss the myth that listening to Metallica, or similarly loud music, turns drivers into road-rage maniacs. This works on the premise that we all need some degree of arousal to stop us from getting bored on monotonous traffic situations. Music seems to be key in keeping us alert, especially on long drives. The study asked participants to drive behind another car for 30 minutes on a quiet road. Those who were listening to music while driving actually performed better on this task, than those who drove without music. Solo road trip?-Make sure to turn on Adele.   Heavy Traffic and Music When it came to heavily trafficked urban areas, drivers had a disposition to lower the volume of the music in order to more fully concentrate on the roadways. For this study, drivers were not able to lower or turn off the music. However, drivers were able to block out the distraction to the point where they could not even remember what was playing. In these types of scenarios, and scenarios that required more concentration, such as reversing or parallel parking, safety became priority and drivers were able to block out distractions. The concrete finding was that people listening to music while driving do not drive less well in both busy and quiet traffic.   Other Factors Ayça Berfu Ünal of the University of Groningen, who led this study, went on to comment that this study did not analyze how people respond to driving and listening to talk radio. Much like talking on the phone, listening to something that really interests us makes huge mental demands on our cognitive abilities. It is also important to note your limits. Different people have different tolerance levels for loud music. The results of this study do not apply to motorists who are just learning to drive. The impact of listening to music and driving is also another area to examine in the elderly,...

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Real Life Zombies: Bath Salt Injuries
Aug25

Real Life Zombies: Bath Salt Injuries

“Bath Salts” is the street-name for a category of drugs so dangerous, they can literally cause cannibalistic attacks. The most notorious case was the face-eating cannibal attack. This happened May 26th, 2012 when a homeless man, under the influence of bath salts, attacked another homeless man and gnawed on his face, exposing bone, all the way down to his goatee. It took four police bullets to stop the atrocious attack. Although this may sound like a scene from a zombie movie, this bizarre incident was not singular. A string of related attacks continued, along with numerous emergency room visits. And, the most terrifying part is that these substances are even more accessible than cigarettes or alcohol. Pharmacology The chemical composition of these synthetic drugs is not exactly known. There are many different types of derivatives made by illegal “street-chemists.” They are also referred to as Purple Wave,Vanilla Wave,Bliss, Disco, Cloud 9, among others. They typically contain a cathinone, typically methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), methylone or mephedrone. Because the chemical composition varies widely, the precise effects they have on the brain are not clearly known. According to Narconon, even drug tests may not determine that bath salts were involved in a serious adverse effect since the newest tests only detect fourteen common chemicals used in these formulas. There are more than eighty chemicals that might be included.The one thing that is certain is that they clearly have nothing to do with taking a bath. Effects Bath salts can be snorted, injected, smoked, and/or dissolved into food or drink. These powerful drugs cause fits, hallucination, and most notably aggression. They may also cause suicidal thoughts or attempts, as well as psychotic delusions. They are also very harmful physically, and there have been many deaths and injuries caused by using bath salts. Some of the physical symptoms include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, agitation, liver and kidney failure, seizures, heart attack, severe fever, and brain swelling. Are Bath Salts Illegal? Bath salts were readily available at convenience stores, head-shops, and online. Many states have made efforts to stave off the wave of emergency room visits and violent attacks by making them illegal in many states. However, since the chemical composition varies so much, it is very difficult to regulate. ‘Street-chemists’ are able to continually change the molecular composition so that it remains undetected. Many of the known ingredients in bath salts are now illegal. Users and Addiction Anyone can get their hands on bath salts quite easily. At about $20 a packet, they are not only affordable, but easily available in small packets at most gas stations. This new trend might stem from...

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