How to Prevent and Treat Insect Bites Without Harsh Chemicals

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Preventive measures to avoid getting bit by insects such as mosquitoes include: avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk—especially when sweaty—draining stagnant water sources, planting marigolds around your yard, installing bat boxes Continue reading

Zap Harmful Bacteria with This Juice

Some of the most powerful health supplements can often come from very ordinary products. And, recent research has shown that one of the best ways to fight harmful bacteria is simply to drink some lime juice. Limes, those deliciously tart citrus fruits, are often passed over at the grocery store in favor of lemons, but can be an important part of a healthy diet. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stop eating lemons-they’re an excellent healing food that can help your liver get rid of toxins. But, limes are just as effective at protecting your health-particularly when it comes to combating harmful bacteria.

Lots of supplements fight bacteria, Continue reading

Diet Shift: GMO Food Dangers

A hallmark of our modern times is the fact that too many of us now eat processed, chemicalized, ersatz food. So it’s no wonder metabolic and digestive problems are on the rise, as are food allergies and obesity. There are real dangers in consuming the standard American diet. It’s time to get back to real food.

Agrarian Lifestyle

For millennia prior to the Industrial Revolution, most humans lived an agrarian lifestyle and people raised the food they and their families ate. Fast forward to 2012, and other than kitchen or summer gardens, most people don’t grow their own food nor do they put up food for the winter. But growing your own is something that can significantly improve your meals and your health. Continue reading

Bangladesh Telemedicine Firm Plans to Reach Out to South Asian Workers

A Bangladeshi telemedicine company is set to provide healthcare services for more than five million South Asian workers in the Middle East and Malaysia in a couple of months.

Telemedicine Reference Centre Ltd (TRCL) has already signed agreements with around 25 Gulf and Malaysian companies that recruit workers from South Asia.

Telemedicine is a rapidly developing application of clinical medicine where medical information is transferred through the phone or the internet.

TRCL will launch the mobile phone-based service, said Dr Sikder M Zakir, managing director of the company.

“Under the project, we will start providing medical call-centre services to two million Bangladeshi, 1.5 million Indian and two million Nepalese and Pakistani workers,” Zakir added.

Prime Bank and two investors from the US and India are funding the project, he said.

TRCL has also signed deals with seven mobile phone companies in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.

The company is working to set up multilinguistic medical call centres in India, Pakistan and Nepal, from where dedicated physicians will provide healthcare advice to the expatriate workers.

All the workers under the 25 recruiting companies will be registered with TRCL to get the services free of cost. They will call a particular number and get advice in their own language.

The recruiting firms will pay the service charge to TRCL on behalf of the workers, which is no more than one US dollar a month for a person, Zakir said.

They will also be referred to hospitals if necessary.

Zakir said TRCL is now setting up branch offices in nine countries including Malaysia, UAE and Saudi Arabia to comply with those countries’ regulatory requirements.

“It’s a milestone for telemedicine service. The sector is getting institutional shape,” he added.

Established in 1999, TRCL is operating the first medical call centre or electronic referral centre manned by physicians for the largest cellphone operator in Bangladesh — Grameenphone. More than 10,000 people are using the service by dialling a hotline number (789) from their mobile phones every day.

Kuwait Government Approves New Alternative Medicine Hospital

KUWAIT- The Cabinet has approved the establishment of a new 300-bed capacity hospital for alternative medicine and rehabilitation at a total cost of KD 30 million, announced the

The new hospital will built on the site where the current alternative medicine hospital is situated. A state-of-the art, fully equipped hospital will replace the existing building. It will include a rehabilitation center for the disabled, senior citizens’ care centers among other facilities offered.

The hospital will also be connected to one of the most advanced international centers in the field of alternative medicine, said Al-Abdulhadi. It is expected to be ready within five years, reported Al-Qabas.

On a separate note, Al-Abdulhadi announced that the decision concerning the appointment of new directors for medical, technical divisions will be made soon, especially after the Ministry completes the process of electing the most qualified candidates for the posts in coordination with the regulations of the Civil Service Commission(CSC).

Meanwhile, Al-Abdulhadi addressed the issue of health insurance hospitals, stating that the project to establish these hospitals still await a decision made by the Cabinet before it is set up. These facilities are expected to provide citizens and residents with the best medical care services.

Most Medical Students Support Complementary Therapies

LOS ANGELES – A new survey shows more than 75 percent of medical students believe patients would benefit if physicians were knowledgeable about complementary medicine—practices such as massage therapy and chiropractic—as well as conventional medicine. Almost three-quarters of respondents also say our medical system should include complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

In the largest national survey of its kind, researchers from UCLA and UC San Diego measured medical students’ attitudes and beliefs about CAM.

Among the results:

* 77 percent of participants agreed to some extent that patients whose doctors know about complementary and alternative medicine in addition to conventional medicine, benefit more than those whose doctors are only familiar with Western medicine.

* 74 percent of participants agreed to some extent that a system of medicine that integrates therapies of conventional and complementary and alternative medicine would be more effective than either type of medicine provided independently.

* 84 percent of participants agreed to some extent that the field contains beliefs, ideas and therapies from which conventional medicine could benefit.

* 49 percent of participating medical students indicated that they have used complementary and alternative treatments; however, few would recommend or use these treatments in their practices until more scientific assessment has occurred

“Complementary and alternative medicine is receiving increased attention in light of the global health crisis and the significant role of traditional medicine in meeting public health needs in developing countries,” said study author Ryan Abbott, a researcher at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, in a press release. “Integrating CAM into mainstream health care is now a global phenomenon, with policy makers at the highest levels endorsing the importance of a historically marginalized form of health care.”

The findings were published recently in the online issue of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM).

Introducing – Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is one of a group of natural chemicals known as carotenes or carotenoids. Carotenes are responsible for the orange color of many fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.

Beta carotene is converted in the body to vitamin A. It is an antioxidant, like vitamins E and C.

Sources

Good sources of beta-carotene include dark green and orange-yellow vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, apricots, and green peppers.

Beta-carotene is not an essential nutrient, although vitamin A is.

Why Do People Use Beta-Carotene?

  • Prevention against cancer and heart disease
  • To slow the progression of cataracts
  • To prevent macular degeneration
  • To boost immunity
  • To protect the skin against sunburn
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Intermittent claudication

Safety

Beta carotene is relatively safe. There is some concern that high doses of beta-carotene can cause a slight increase in the risk of heart disease and cancer, especially in people who smoke cigarettes and who consume excessive alcohol.

Other side effects include diarrhea and a yellowish tinge to the skin, both of which subside then the intake of beta-carotene is lowered.

Introducing – Goji Berries

Introducing – Goji Berries

Other Names: Lycium barbarum, wolfberry, gou qi zi, Fructus lycii

Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet. They are in the nightshade (Solonaceae) family.

Goji berries are usually found dried. They are shriveled red berries that look like red raisins.

Why do people use goji berries?

Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to:

    * protect the liver

    * help eyesight

    * improve sexual function and fertility

    * strengthen the legs

    * boost immune function

    * improve circulation

    * promote longevity

Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin’s key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. In fact, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.

In recent years, goji juice has become popular as a health beverage. Companies marketing goji juice often mention the unsupported claim that a man named Li Qing Yuen consumed goji berries daily and lived to be 252 years old. Marketers also list extensive health benefits of goji juice, even though there are few published clinical trials in humans.

What research has been done on goji berries?

Goji has only been tested on humans in two published studies. A Chinese study published in the Chinese Journal of Oncology in 1994 found that 79 people with cancer responded better to treatment when goji was added to their regimen.

There have been several test tube studies that show that goji berry contains antioxidants and that goji extracts may prevent the growth of cancer cells, reduce blood glucose, and lower cholesterol levels. However, that doesn’t necessary mean that goji will have the same benefits when taken as a juice or tea.

Although goji berries like the ones used in traditional Chinese medicine aren’t very expensive, goji juice is very pricey. Considering that a 32-ounce bottle of goji juice (about an 18-day supply) can run as high as $50 USD, the evidence isn’t compelling enough at this time to justify the cost of goji juice.

Also, we don’t know the side effects of regular goji consumption, or whether it will interfere with treatments or medications.

What do goji berries taste like?

Goji berries have a mild tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour. They have a similar shape and chewy texture as raisins.

In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are eaten raw, brewed into a tea, added to Chinese soups, or made into liquid extracts.

Goji juice is also available, usually in 32-ounce bottles.

Goji berries have appeared in snack foods in North America. For example, the health food store Trader Joe’s sells a goji berry trail mix.

Possible drug interactions

Goji berries may interact with anticoagulant drugs (commonly called “blood-thinners”), such as warfarin (Coumadin®). There was one case report published in the journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy of a 61-year old woman who had an increased risk of bleeding, indicated by an elevated international normalized ratio (INR). She had been drinking 3-4 cups daily of goji berry tea. Her blood work returned to normal after discontinuing the goji berry tea.

Where to find goji berries

Whole goji berries are available at Chinese herbal shops.

Goji juice can be found in some health food stores, online stores, and through network marketers.

WHO Maps World’s Deadliest Roads

WHO Maps World’s Deadliest Roads

GENEVA – The most dangerous place in the world to travel on roads is in the impoverished East African state of Eritrea, says the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its first report on global road safety.

To identify the most hazardous roads, WHO experts sifted through a mass of data which showed that around 1.3 million people are killed each year on the world’s highways. A further 20 to 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries.

The global record for road deaths per capita goes to the former Italian colony of Eritrea where figures showed an estimated 48 deaths per 100,000 people.

Road travel in the Cook islands in the South Pacific is nearly as dangerous too, with a statistical 45 deaths per 100,000. The archipelago north-east of New Zealand is home to just 13,325 citizens and five of them died in road accidents in 2007. Egypt (41.6) and Libya (40.5) also both had a poor road safety record.

Driving too fast, drinking and driving along with the failure to use seatbelts and talking on mobile phones while at the wheel were given in the report as key contributing factors to the high number of fatalities and accidents on roads around the world.

“These are stunning figures that need not, should not, be so high. Over 90 percent of these deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s registered vehicles. This is another statistic that tells us something is wrong,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said in a statement.

Chan said the report’s findings would serve as a basis for discussion at the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, which is due to take place in Moscow in November 2009.

“This will be a milestone event in international road safety that will serve as a call to action to reduce the impact of road traffic crashes over the next decade,” said Chan.

The safest road conditions were found amid the islands and atolls which make up the Micronesian nation of the Marshall Islands. Here 59,000 residents have a mere 2,487 vehicles between them. Only one fatal road accident was recorded in 2007.

France and Germany suffered 7.5 and six fatalities per 100,000 respectively compared to Britain (5.4) and the US where more than 251 million vehicles are registered. The quota here was 13.9 fatalities per 100,000 people. A similar level could be found in Sri Lanka, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

How Salmonella can be Used To Kill Tumors

How Salmonella can be Used To Kill Tumors

BRAUNSCHWEIG –  German scientists have shown how the bacteria migrate into tumors. Sara Bartels and Siegfried Weiss, of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, say that a messenger substance from the immune system makes blood vessels in the cancerous tissue permeable, and thereby enables the bacteria to conquer and destroy the tumour.

The researchers add that, simultaneously, blood streams from the vessels into the cancerous tissue, a so-called necrosis develops, and the tumor dies.

“This influx of blood was the starting point for our investigations. There is an immunological messenger present during bacterial elicited inflammation that causes this kind of reaction. We searched for it – and found it,” says Siegfried Weiss, Head of the Molecular Immunology group at the HZI.

The researchers have revealed that this messenger is named after its role in the immune system: tumor necrosis factor, TNF-alpha for short.

They say that immune cells produce TNF-alpha when recognizing salmonella, thus alarming other immune cells.

According to them, a small amount of TNF-alpha is subsequently enough to dissolve the walls of the blood vessels in the tumor and allow the blood to stream into the cancerous tissue.

They hope to be able to modify salmonella so that they can migrate specifically into tumors and cause them to die.

Since salmonella can live even in tissues that are badly supplied with blood, the researchers believe that they can be used in tumor therapy.

This is interesting because chemotherapeutics cannot be transported to an area where there is no blood flow, and even radiation therapy requires oxygen for its reactions in the tissue.

“We have obtained an important indication of how bacteria migrate into tumors. We can now try to manipulate these bacteria to use them in cancer therapy without causing deadly infections,” says Sara Bartels.

“We need to find the right amount of bacteria aggressiveness, allowing the tumor to be colonized and destroyed without harming the patient,” she adds.

If the scientists succeed in accomplishing this feat, they may be able to take the next step forward: using salmonella to release therapeutic substances within the tumor and thus participate in its destruction.

“Our experiments are currently limited to absolutely basic research and experiments with laboratory mice. It may take years before this method is usable for human patients,” says Siegfried Weiss

The study has been published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

Imaging Techniques Can Identify Plaques Likely to Cause Heart Attacks

NEW YORK –  Imaging techniques can help identify the types of vulnerable plaque that are most likely to cause adverse cardiac events before they occur, say researchers.

This finding comes from a clinical trial called Providing Regional Observations to Study Predictors of Events in the Coronary Tree (PROSPECT), which is the first prospective natural history study of atherosclerosis using multi-modality imaging to characterize the coronary tree.

A presentation on the study was made at the 21st annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific symposium, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF).

“As a result of the PROSPECT trial, we are closer to being able to predict-and therefore prevent – sudden, unexpected adverse cardiac events,” said principal investigator Dr. Gregg W. Stone, immediate past chairman of CRF, professor of medicine at Columbia University Hospital and Director of Cardiovascular Research and Education at the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

During the multi-centre trial, 700 patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) were studied using three-vessel multimodality intra-coronary imaging-angiography, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), and virtual histology.

The purpose was to quantify the clinical event rate due to atherosclerotic progression, and to identify those lesions that place patients at risk for unexpected adverse cardiovascular events-sudden death, cardiac arrest, heart attacks and unstable or progressive angina.

The study revealed that most untreated plaques that cause unexpected heart attacks are not mild lesions, as previously thought, but actually have a large plaque burden and a small lumen area. These are characteristics that were invisible to the coronary angiogram but easily identifiable by IVUS.

Only about half of new cardiac events due to non-culprit lesions exemplified the classic notion of vulnerable plaque (rapid lesion progression of non flow limiting lesions), while half were attributable to unrecognized and untreated severe disease with minimal change over time.

Perhaps most importantly, for the first time it was demonstrated that characterization of the underlying plaque composition (with virtual histology) was able to significantly improve the ability to predict future adverse events beyond other more standard imaging techniques.

“These results mean that using a combination of imaging modalities, including IVUS to identify lesions with a large plaque burden and/or small lumen area, and virtual histology to identify a large necrotic core without a visible cap (a thin cap fibroatheroma) identifies the lesions that are at especially high risk of causing future adverse cardiovascular events,” Dr. Stone said.

Why Use Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are identical to what the human body makes. Why do drug companies seldom make and sell bioidentical hormones?

The reason is – since the late 1800’s, U.S. laws allowed medicines to be patented ONLY if they were NOT naturally occurring substances. If a drug company discovered a natural substance that could be used medically, anyone else could also use/make/sell that substance.

So what the drug companies do is to create synthetic hormones that are intentionally different. Examples are Premarin, Prempro and Provera – these synthetic drugs are different in their molecular structure from the estrogens and progesterone found in the human body.

And the problem with synthetic drugs is – since they are different from what occurs naturally in the human body, the body treats them differently and the result is often harmful side effects.

Even though bioidentical hormones have been around for a long time, the majority of doctors are not familiar with them. Today’s doctors are ordinarily schooled and trained in synthetic drug therapy, not natural medicine.

Finding bioidentical doctors and bioidentical hormone doctors can be done. For example, holistic doctors and naturopathic doctors are regular medical doctors with additional training and experience in using bioidentical hormones.

A holistic medical doctor uses a combination of conventional Western medicine and alternative medicine. A holistic doctor incorporates one or more types of complementary medicine into their medical practice.

This complementary medicine could be acupuncture, herbal therapy or homeopathy. For instance, while undergoing treatment for cancer using radiation, the patient might receive herbal therapy to strengthen the immune system.

Naturopathic physicians are medical doctors that work to restore and support the body’s systems by using medicines and techniques that are in harmony with natural processes.

A naturopathic physician will prefer treatments which keep the risks of harmful side effects at a minimum. Naturopathic doctors will use bioidentical hormones when appropriate, which are safer and with few or no side effects when used correctly.

They are trained to know which persons they can treat – they also know which patients should be referred to other health care practitioners. Since every illness has an underlying cause, a naturopathic physician is trained to find and remove the underlying causes of a disease.

That may include adjusting the diet or lifestyle of the patient, for example. A naturopathic physician will treat the whole person, taking all the factors into account.

Natural progesterone is necessary for the appropriate and balanced supply of all steroids hormones and the increase of energy production.

Bioidentical hormones like natural progesterone supplementation, high quality vitamins/supplements and good Omega-3 fish oil supplements will provide you great health benefits and are a regular part of their recommendations.

Vitamins are essential to improve men and women’s health. This will give you a increased sense of wellbeing, more energy, increase your sex drive, will give you a healthier heart and can help you with some hormone imbalance symptoms.

The Origins of Tidiness

“A tidy house, a tidy mind.” Some of the more slovenly among us might bristle at this scolding old proverb, but to human evolution researchers it makes perfect sense. One of the hallmarks of modern behavior is the sophisticated way Homo sapiens organizes the spaces it lives in, with everything in its place. But new work at a nearly 800,000-year-old hominin site in Israel suggests that the roots of tidiness may lie deep in our evolutionary past.

Prehistoric humans did not start building permanent dwellings until about 15,000 years ago, but earlier hominins–the term now commonly used by scientists for humans and their ancestors but not other apes–frequented caves and open-air sites as they hunted and gathered food. Whereas sites occupied by modern humans often show signs of separate “activity areas” such as hearths, stone-tool knapping areas, food preparation areas, sleeping areas, and so forth, not so long ago there was little evidence that other hominins engaged in such organized behavior.

More recently, however, work at Neandertal sites has demonstrated that our evolutionary cousins also divided up their living spaces into activity areas. New research at rock shelters like Abric Romaní in Spain and Tor Faraj in Jordan, where Neandertals lived between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago–before modern humans migrated into Europe and Asia–has demonstrated spatial organization at times indistinguishable from that typical of H. sapiens. Now, a team working at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov (GBY), a 790,000-year-old site in northern Israel’s Hula Valley, claims that a much older species also showed tendencies toward tidiness. GBY is thought to have been occupied by H. heidelbergensis, a species that may have given rise to H. sapiens in Africa and the Neandertals in Europe. It is also the site of the earliest widely accepted mastery of fire by prehistoric humans.

The researchers, led by archaeologists Nira Alperson-Afil and Naama Goren-Inbar of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, mapped the precise locations and densities of thousands of plant and animal remains as well as stone tools found in one of GBY’s 14 archaeological levels. The excavated area, a long strip covering about 26 square meters, had been covered rapidly by lake sediments in ancient times, thus preserving the remains in place.

The team found that hominin activities were concentrated in two main areas at opposite ends of the strip. Knapping of stone tools made from flint was concentrated in the northwest area, while production of tools made from basalt and limestone was concentrated around a hearth in the southeast. There was also a clear pattern of animal and plant remains. For example, remains of crabs consumed by the hominins were clustered around the hearth, as were the remains of nuts and stone tools, such as anvils and choppers, suitable for cracking them open. On the other hand, fish bones were found in two clusters, one at each end of the excavated area.

The team concludes, in its report on the findings in the 18 December issue of Science, that the GBY hominins’ division of their living space into designated activity areas is a sign of “sophisticated cognition” once thought to be the special preserve of modern humans. Clive Gamble, an archaeologist at Royal Holloway, University of London, says the new work confirms other research showing that H. heidelbergensis “was a very tidy species.” At the 500,000-year-old site of Boxgrove in southern England, Gamble points out, “across a landscape with no hearths they followed rules about where to get, make, and throw away their stone tools. There was nothing random in these activities, and GBY now extends this pattern back in time.”

But Lyn Wadley, an archaeologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, sounds a cautionary note. “The GBY site is remarkable and the use of space there is more complex than one might expect for the age of the occupation,” Wadley says. But she thinks it would be a sure sign of sophisticated cognition only if the GBY hominins had attributed symbolic meanings to the way they divided their living quarters something the research team has yet to demonstrate.

 

Teens Who Smoke Marijuana But Not Tobacco Are Different From Other Teen Groups

LAUSANNE — A Swiss study suggests that teens who use only cannabis appear to function better than those who also use tobacco, and are more socially driven and have no more psychosocial problems than those who abstain from both substances, according to a new report.

Cannabis or marijuana is the illegal drug most commonly used by youth, according to background information in the article. Cannabis use is associated with the use of other substances, including tobacco and illegal drugs. “The gateway theory hypothesizes that the use of legal drugs (tobacco and alcohol) is the previous step to cannabis consumption,” the authors write. “However, recent research also indicates that cannabis use may precede or be simultaneous to tobacco use and that, in fact, its use may reinforce cigarette smoking or lead to nicotine addiction independently of smoking status.”

J. C. Suris, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, analyzed data from a 2002 national survey of Swiss students aged 16 to 20 years. A total of 5,263 students were included in the analysis, including 455 who smoked marijuana only, 1,703 who smoked marijuana and tobacco and 3,105 who abstained from both substances.

“Our findings in this nationally representative sample of adolescents show that 6 percent of them use cannabis without having used tobacco and that one-fifth of current cannabis users (21.1 percent) declare never having used tobacco,” the authors write.

The survey also found that, compared with students who used both substances, students who smoked marijuana only were more likely to be male (71.6 percent vs. 59.7 percent), play sports (85.5 percent vs. 66.7 percent), live with both parents (78.2 vs. 68.3) and have good grades (77.5 vs. 66.6). However, they were less likely to have been drunk in the past 30 days (40.5 percent vs. 55 percent), have started using cannabis before the age of 15 years (25.9 percent vs. 37.5 percent), to have smoked marijuana more than once or twice during the previous 30 days (44 percent vs. 66 percent) or to use other illegal drugs (8.4 percent vs. 17.9 percent).

Compared with students who abstained from both substances, marijuana users were more likely to be male (71.6 percent vs. 47.7 percent), to have a good relationship with their friends (87.0 percent vs. 83.2 percent), to be sensation-seeking (37.8 percent vs. 21.8 percent) and to play sports (85.5 percent vs. 76.6 percent), and less likely to have a good relationship with their parents (74.1 percent vs. 82.4 percent).

Although teens who smoke both marijuana and tobacco seem to have more psychosocial problems and thus may be worthy targets for preventive intervention, those who smoke marijuana only also should be monitored closely and counseled. “In any case, and even though they do not seem to have great personal, family, or academic problems, the situation of those adolescents who use cannabis but who declare not using tobacco should not be trivialized,” the authors conclude.

This study was supported by a contract from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and the participating cantons.

Indoor Plants Can Reduce Toxic Ozone Levels

PHILADELPHIA – Potted plants in the house can make indoor air healthier by cutting down ozone levels, according to a new study.

Ozone, the main component of air pollution, also known as smog, is a highly reactive, colorless gas formed when oxygen reacts with other chemicals.

Although ozone pollution is most often associated with outdoor air, the gas also infiltrates indoor environments through ordinary copy machines, laser printers, ultraviolet lights, and some electrostatic air purification systems, all of which contribute to increased indoor ozone levels.

Exposure to the toxic gas can lead to pulmonary edema, hemorrhage, inflammation, and reduction of lung function.

A research team from the Pennsylvania State University studied the effects of three houseplants such as snake plant, spider plant, and golden pothos, on indoor ozone levels.

To simulate an indoor environment, the researchers set up chambers in a greenhouse equipped with a charcoal filtration air supply system in which ozone concentrations could be measured and regulated.

Ozone was then injected into the chambers, and the chambers were checked every 5 to 6 minutes.

The findings revealed that ozone depletion rates were higher in the chambers that contained plants than in the control chambers without plants, but there were no differences in effectiveness among the three plants.

“Because indoor air pollution extensively affects developing countries, using plants as a mitigation method could serve as a cost-effective tool in the developing world where expensive pollution mitigation technology may not be economically feasible”, said the authors.

The study is published in American Society of Horticultural Science’s journal HortTechnology.