B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Health, healthcare, science of food, and related topics

Drug Companies and Doctors Battle Over the Future of Fecal Transplants

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 Shit Fountain

The New York Times reports:

There’s a new war raging in health care, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake and thousands of lives in the balance. The battle, pitting drug companies against doctors and patient advocates, is being fought over the unlikeliest of substances: human excrement.

The clash is over the future of fecal microbiota transplants, or F.M.T., a revolutionary treatment that has proved remarkably effective in treating Clostridioides difficile, a debilitating bacterial infection that strikes 500,000 Americans a year and kills 30,000.

The therapy transfers fecal matter from healthy donors into the bowels of ailing patients, restoring the beneficial works of the community of gut microbes that have been decimated by antibiotics. Scientists see potential for using these organisms to treat diseasesfrom diabetes to cancer.

At the heart of the controversy is a question of classification: Are the fecal microbiota that cure C. diff a drug, or are they more akin to organs, tissues and blood products that are transferred from the healthy to treat the sick? The answer will determine how the Food and Drug Administration regulates the procedure, how much it costs and who gets to profit.

(click here to continue reading Drug Companies and Doctors Battle Over the Future of Fecal Transplants – The New York Times.)

Ahh, American healthcare: so advanced, and yet so harmful to humanity. Stock profit over public health is not a good model.

No Joy In Your Leaving

Written by Seth Anderson

March 3rd, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Posted in health,science

Tagged with ,

Legal experts rip judge’s rationale for declaring Obamacare law invalid

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 Department of Health And Human Services

The Washington Post reports:

The 2,000-page law, however, covers a vast array of other health-care issues, touching almost every part of the health-care industry in the United States.

For that reason, if the ruling were to take effect, it could create major disruptions across the U.S. health-care system — affecting which drugs patients can buy, preventive services for older Americans, the expansion of Medicaid in most states and the structure of the Indian Health Service.

“There’s really no American that’s not affected by this law,” said Yale law professor Abbe Gluck, who filed an amicus brief with other lawyers in the Texas case.

The judge’s ruling, she said, flouts settled legal doctrine and places key acts of Congress in reverse order.

By ignoring that Congress specifically declined to strike down the ACA in 2017 when it chose to alter only one portion of the bill, she said, the judge decreed that the 2010 Congress, which first passed the law, has more authority than the same legislative body in 2017.

(click here to continue reading Legal experts rip judge’s rationale for declaring Obamacare law invalid – The Washington Post.)

But because of this activist Republican judge, the country will be unsettled until his ruling gets studied by the next level of judicial review. Crazy. And who is supporting the ACA in court? Certainly not Trump’s Justice Department, they want the bill to be overturned as well.

The Justice Department, which had been defending the law in court for years, announced in June that it would no longer argue for the mandate, and, as a result, the Trump administration said, a separate requirement that insurance companies cannot reject people who have preexisting conditions was also invalid.

But we won’t know for a while. Lovely.

Medicare For All, anyone?

Written by Seth Anderson

December 16th, 2018 at 11:04 am

Posted in government,health

Tagged with , ,

Researchers say air pollution may increase risk of autism

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Go Back To Where You Have Been Again

George Citroner reports:

Researchers say air pollution may increase risk of autism. Two studies concluded there may be a link, but more research is needed.

Two new studies have found an association between relatively low levels of air pollution and children’s risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

One study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, studied 132,000 births in Vancouver, Canada, from 2004 to 2009. Researchers concluded there was a link between exposure to nitric oxide from car exhaust during pregnancy and greater incidence of childhood ASD.

The second study, published in Environmental Epidemiology, observed more than 15,000 infants born in Denmark between 1989 and 2013. It found that air pollution exposure during the first months of life and later was also associated with ASD.

“The study showed a small increase in autism for infants exposed before birth to one of the pollutants: nitric oxide. While it’s a small increase, if large populations are exposed, it could still affect many children,” Lynn Singer, PhD, professor of population and quantitative health sciences, pediatrics, psychiatry, and psychology at the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, told Healthline.

(click here to continue reading Researchers say air pollution may increase risk of autism | Healthline.)

If the Democrats were smart, they would hammer this talking point over and over, despite it not being scientifically proven (yet). Take a page from the GOP/NRA playbook, and link the EPA’s (original) mission of clean air for everyone vs. pollution created by coal/chemical plants being encouraged to pollute so as to make more profits. Say it a million times, say it unprompted. Say the Trump admin is knowingly causing autism by their deregulatory fever, etc.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 11th, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Posted in environment,health,science

Tagged with ,

Food Scientists Are Getting Fed Up With Picky Eaters Who Want To Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide

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Nothing We Can Do About It Now
Nothing We Can Do About It Now

WSJ:

First they came for the trans fat, and pretty much everyone agreed it should be banned, because it can clog arteries.

Then they came for monosodium glutamate. Even though food companies say it is harmless, they eventually pulled it from many products, because that’s what the customer demanded.

Now, one in 10 young adults want regulators to ban dihydrogen monoxide from food and beverages, according to a study by research firm InsightsNow.

Um, that would be H2O, also known as water.

The food industry is grappling with just how far to bend to consumer whims about chemicals—even when those whims seem clueless. And this is giving America’s food scientists indigestion.

(click here to continue reading Anyone for Diglycerides? Anyone? Food Scientists Are Getting Fed Up With Picky Eaters – WSJ.)

Gluten Free Certified Vegan Top 8 Allergen Free Pareve Non GMO
Gluten Free, Certified Vegan, Top 8 Allergen Free, Pareve, Non-GMO

I’m of two minds on this: sure, there is no need to ban dihydrogen monoxide, or other harmless chemicals from packaged foods. Even MSG turns out to be useful, and non-harmful.

On the other hand, food scientists shouldn’t get an automatic pass to put whatever they want in foods, especially if there are untested ingredients. Or too many additives. The best foods are simple, and don’t require 500 word ingredient lists. I’m with Charlie Baggs…

Products free from artificial colors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and certain other additives make up roughly 30% of food and beverage sales and are the fastest-growing segment, according to Nielsen.

The Food and Drug Administration acknowledges its requirements for describing ingredients can be confusing. Anna Abram, an FDA deputy commissioner, points to vitamin B12, which in line with FDA regulations appears on some food labels as cyanocobalamin.

“That sounds like cyanide,” she says. B12, which helps cell and nerve function, occurs naturally in beef and tuna. Breakfast cereals are often fortified with it. She said the FDA is considering ways to make such ingredients sound more palatable.

That’s welcome news to Charlie Baggs, a “clean-label” research chef in Chicago who slashed the list of ingredients in one frozen dinner from 60 to 15. One common foe is xanthan gum, an emulsifier used to stabilize sauces and soups that is widely considered safe and natural .

“It doesn’t sound like something your grandma would use,” he says. “Who wants to eat that?”

Non GMO Project
Non GMO Project

Written by Seth Anderson

October 19th, 2018 at 8:49 am

With Illinois medical pot market poised to expand, high-profile national chain is buying Oak Park dispensary

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Best Buddies
Best Buddies

MedMen buying into Illinois.  But to me the bigger story is that the upcoming gubernatorial race is about cannabis legalization in Illinois…

Chicago Tribune:

The sale is timely because Gov. Bruce Rauner last month signed into law a measure allowing any patient who would qualify for an opioid painkiller prescription to also qualify for medical marijuana. The new law also eliminated requirements for fingerprints and criminal background checks. Those changes are expected to greatly expand a market that had about 44,000 certified customers and $12 million in monthly sales as of August.

In addition, industry leaders expect Illinois lawmakers to legalize marijuana for recreational use next year if Democrat J.B. Pritzker wins this November’s election for governor. Pritzker supports allowing and taxing adult use, while Rauner, a Republican, opposes it.

(click here to continue reading With Illinois medical pot market poised to expand, high-profile national chain is buying Oak Park dispensary – Chicago Tribune.)

J.B. Pritzker is not my favorite politician by any metric, but Rauner is horrible, and he doesn’t deserve another term.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 3rd, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Posted in government,health

Tagged with

Psychedelic Mushrooms Are Closer to Medicinal Use

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Forgive Mushrooms
Forgive Mushrooms

The New York Times:

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have recommended that psilocybin, the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, be reclassified for medical use, potentially paving the way for the psychedelic drug to one day treat depression and anxiety and help people stop smoking.

The suggestion to reclassify psilocybin from a Schedule I drug, with no known medical benefit, to a Schedule IV drug, which is akin to prescription sleeping pills, was part of a review to assess the safety and abuse of medically administered psilocybin.

Before the Food and Drug Administration can be petitioned to reclassify the drug, though, it has to clear extensive study and trials, which can take more than five years, the researchers wrote.

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland

For decades, though, researchers have shunned the study of psychedelics. “In the 1960s, they were on the cutting edge of neuroscience research and understanding how the brain worked,” [Matthew Johnson, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins] said. “But then it got out of the lab.”

Research stopped, in part, because the use of mind-altering drugs like LSD and mushrooms became a hallmark of hippie counterculture.

The researchers who conducted the new study included Roland R. Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who is one of the most prominent researchers on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. The researchers reviewed data going back to the 1940s.

(click here to continue reading Psychedelic Mushrooms Are Closer to Medicinal Use (It’s Not Just Your Imagination) – The New York Times.)

Psychedelic experience
Psychedelic Experience

Potentially good news. Psychedelic drugs should be researched and studied without moralistic restrictions imposed by LBJ/Nixon’s DEA.

Pioppino Mushroom from River Valley Kitchens
Pioppino Mushroom from River Valley Kitchens

Written by Seth Anderson

October 3rd, 2018 at 11:04 am

Posted in health,science

Tagged with

Drug executive Nirmal Mulye: It’s a ‘moral requirement’ to charge patients the highest price

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Social Media Drug Mart

LA Times reports:

In the category of saying the quiet parts out loud, consider this statement by Nirmal Mulye, the chief executive of drug company Nostrum Laboratories:

“I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can … to sell the product for the highest price.”

Mulye was responding to questions posed by the Financial Times about his quadrupling the price of an essential antibiotic to $2,392 per bottle. The drug, nitrofurantoin, is used to treat urinary tract infections. It has been on the market since 1953 and is listed by the World Health Organization as an essential medicine for “basic healthcare systems.”

In his interview with the Financial Times published Tuesday, Mulye defended Martin Shkreli, the former drug company CEO who became the face of the industry’s profiteering in 2015 when he jacked up the price of a generic anti-parasitic drug needed by HIV patients by more than 5,000%.

(click here to continue reading Drug executive: It’s a ‘moral requirement’ to charge patients the highest price.)

Strange definition of morals. This douchenozzle might want to check a dictionary.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of moral:

a : of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ethical moral judgments

b : expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior a moral poem

c : conforming to a standard of right behavior took a moral position on the issue though it cost him the nomination

d : sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgment a moral obligation

e : capable of right and wrong action a moral agent

 

(click here to continue reading Moral | Definition of Moral by Merriam-Webster.)

So which definition of moral were you referring to, Mr. Mulye? I think the moral response would be for the federal government to start regulating the price of drugs such as this one. 

The 23rd Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, responded

Written by Seth Anderson

September 12th, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Rauner signs medical marijuana expansion bill allowing drug as painkiller alternative

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Best Buddies
Best Buddies

Chicago Tribune reports:

A measure that could dramatically expand access to medical marijuana in Illinois — making it available as an opioid painkiller replacement and easing the application process for all who qualify — was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday.

The new law is a response to the epidemic of overdose deaths from narcotics, which killed almost 2,000 people in the state in 2016 and an estimated 72,000 people nationwide last year. It would allow doctors to authorize medical marijuana for any patient who has or would qualify for a prescription for opioids like OxyContin, Percocet or Vicodin.

No longer will any applicants have to be fingerprinted and undergo criminal background checks. And those who complete an online application with a doctor’s authorization will get a provisional registration to buy medical cannabis while they wait for state officials to make a final review of their request.

[Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health] said the elimination of background checks and fingerprinting for applicants goes into effect immediately, and all patients may now get provisional approval to buy medical marijuana immediately upon receiving a receipt for payment from the state health department.

But it will take the state until Dec. 1 to implement all the new rules for the program, and will take until early next year to develop a new system to monitor the program to make sure that opioid replacement patients don’t go to multiple dispensaries and don’t buy marijuana for more than 90 days at a time. The 90-day period can be renewed by patients’ doctors.

Patients who qualify for medical marijuana for something other than opioid replacement can maintain their authorization for three years.

(click here to continue reading Rauner signs medical marijuana expansion bill allowing drug as painkiller alternative – Chicago Tribune.)

And Rauner, being Rauner, changed the period of this access from 1 year to 90 days. 

Legalize Marijuana Cook County
Legalize Marijuana: Cook County

Also, this seems like an important distinction for the upcoming election:

The pilot medical cannabis program is due to expire in July 2020. But state lawmakers have proposed legalizing recreational marijuana next year for those over age 18. The Democratic candidate for governor, J.B. Pritzker, supports the measure, while Rauner opposes it.

Written by Seth Anderson

August 29th, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Posted in health,News-esque

Tagged with ,

Seattle’s air quality is as bad as smoking 7 cigarettes. Blame climate change deniers

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Everyone Is Looking For Someone To Blame
Everyone Is Looking For Someone To Blame

Vox reports:

Ash and smoke are choking Seattle’s air for the second week in a row, as wildfires smolder in the Cascades and in British Columbia. The air quality in Seattle this week has been worse than in Beijing, one of the world’s most notoriously polluted cities.

As of Wednesday morning, the Air Quality Index in Seattle was at 190, a rating classified as “unhealthy.” In parts of the city, the index rose as high as 220, which is “very unhealthy.” Other parts of Puget Sound, like Port Angeles, Washington — 80 miles from Seattle — saw the AQI rise to 205 this week.

To put it in perspective, an AQI of 150 is roughly equal to smoking seven cigarettes in a day. People breathing air this unhealthy should avoid being outside and exerting themselves, particularly people with heart and lung problems, the elderly, and children.

(click here to continue reading Seattle’s air quality is as bad as smoking 7 cigarettes. Blame wildfires. – Vox.)

And yet one of the two major political parties in the US is adamant that nothing can or even should be done to ameliorate the effects of climate change. A vote for the GOP is a vote for this kind of apocalyptic condition to worsen.

Clouds over Seattle- Kodak HIE

Fires are a natural occurrence in many woodlands and are essential to a healthy ecosystem. But the growing scale and destruction from these fires stems from human activity.

What kinds of human activity? According to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, environmental terrorists.

“[Fires] have been getting worse,” Zinke said in an interview with Breitbart News Saturday. “We have longer seasons, hotter conditions, but what’s driving it is the fuel load. And we have been held hostage by these environmental terrorist groups that have not allowed public access, that refuse to allow the harvest of timber.”

I asked the Interior Department who these terrorists are and they pointed me toward Zinke’s August 8 editorial in USA Today, where he said that radical environmentalists “make outdated and unscientific arguments, void of facts, because they cannot defend the merits of their policy preferences year after year as our forests and homes burn to the ground.”

Environmentalism is a recurring scapegoat in the Trump administration. Earlier this month, Trump blamed “bad environmental laws” for amplifying wildfires.

But researchers say this ire is pointed in the wrong direction. And in Zinke’s zeal to blame conservationists for deadly fires, he conspicuously sidestepped larger human-caused factors driving the current rash of wildfires, including climate change.

(click here to continue reading Ryan Zinke’s “environmental terrorists” claim for wildfires, explained – Vox.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 22nd, 2018 at 9:55 am

Trump Keeps Trying to Kill the Agency That Investigates Chemical Plant Disasters

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Crippled WIth Self Confidence
Crippled WIth Self Confidence

Mother Jones reports:

Earlier this month, after a three-month probe, the investigators from the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board concluded that a faulty valve at the plant caused the explosion. The board plans to issue recommendations that aim to prevent such an accident from happening again at a refinery.

But despite the warm welcome in Superior—and wide recognition of its expertise in chemical plant disasters—this small, independent federal agency is teetering on the brink of elimination.

The Trump administration has twice in its budgets attempted to shut down the Chemical Safety Board; so far, Congress has rejected the attempts. For the 2019 fiscal year, both the House and Senate have proposed restoring full funding.

But the assaults appear to be taking a toll. Hostility from the Trump administration and disarray from its efforts to eliminate the agency follow years of leadership turmoil and high turnover that started during the Obama administration. In 2015, its chairman, who was embroiled in a congressional investigation into poor management, resigned under pressure—yet leadership problems remain.

Combined, these problems threaten to cripple the agency’s investigations of chemical plant disasters

(click here to continue reading Trump Keeps Trying to Kill the Agency That Investigates Chemical Plant Disasters – Mother Jones.)

yayyy, Hillary’s emails!

Written by Seth Anderson

August 20th, 2018 at 10:33 am

Illinois Supreme Court to weigh tax exemption for not-for-profit hospitals

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Window Washers at The Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning
Window Washers at The Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning

The Chicago Tribune reports on a story we’ve been following for a while:

The state’s highest court will weigh the constitutionality of a law that lets not-for-profit hospitals skip paying property taxes — a question with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

Current law says that not-for-profit hospitals in Illinois don’t have to pay property taxes as long as the value of their charitable services is at least equal to what they would otherwise pay in taxes. About three-fourths of the state’s more than 200 hospitals are not-for-profit.

But a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of that law has been working its way through the courts and will be heard Tuesday before the Illinois Supreme Court.

It’s an issue that’s stirred debate in Illinois and across the country, with some saying not-for-profit hospitals operate more like businesses and should have to pay taxes.

(click here to continue reading Illinois Supreme Court to weigh tax exemption for not-for-profit hospitals – Chicago Tribune.)

My position is the same as in previous blog posts: wealthy non-profits shouldn’t be able to avoid paying taxes simply because they sometimes do charitable work. If 100% of a particular hospital’s clients were not required to pay for any services, than perhaps I’d change my opinion. Wealthy non-profits shouldn’t be leeches on society.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 19th, 2018 at 7:19 am

Posted in Business,government,health

Tagged with ,

Phage Therapy in the US

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Natural Science
Natural Science

Have you ever heard of phages? aka bacteriophages? I had not, nor phage therapy.

Mother Jones reports:

The Food and Drug Administration has not licensed phage therapy, keeping it out of pharmacies and hospitals. Few physicians have used it even experimentally, and most civilians have never heard of it. But phages are a natural phenomenon, frequently deployed in the former Soviet Union. When used properly, they can save lives.

To understand how phage therapy works, it helps to know a little biology, starting with the distinction between bacteria and viruses. Most of the drug-resistant superbugs that cause medical havoc are bacteria, microscopic single-celled organisms that do most of the things that other living things do: seek nutrition, metabolize it into energy, produce offspring. Viruses, which are much smaller than bacteria, exist only to reproduce: They attach to a cell, hijack its reproductive machinery to make fresh viruses, and then, in most cases, explode the cell to let viral copies float free.

Phages are viruses. In the wild, they are the cleanup crew that keeps bacteria from taking over the world. Bacteria reproduce relentlessly, a new generation every 20 minutes or so, and phages kill them just as rapidly, preventing the burgeoning bacterial biomass from swamping the planet like a B-movie slime monster. But phages do not kill indiscriminately: Though there are trillions in the world, each is tuned evolutionarily to destroy only particular bacteria. In 1917, a self-taught microbiologist named Félix d’Herelle recognized phages’ talent for targeted killing. He imagined that if he could find the correct phages, he could use them to cure deadly bacterial infections.

That was a gleaming hope, because at the time, nothing else could. (Sir Alexander Fleming wouldn’t find the mold that makes penicillin, the first antibiotic, until 1928.) Treatments were primitive: aspirin and ice baths to knock down fever, injections of crude immunotherapy extracted from the blood of horses and sheep, and amputation when a scratch or cut let infection burgeon in a limb and threaten the rest of the body with sepsis. Phages—whose full name, bacteriophages (or “bacteria eaters”), was given by d’Herelle in 1916—did something that medicine had never before been able to accomplish: They vanquished the infections for which they were administered without otherwise harming patients. A medical sensation and a cultural phenomenon, they provided the key plot device in the novel Arrowsmith, about an idealistic doctor, that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, and they saved the life of the Hollywood cowboy actor Tom Mix, a 1930s superstar.

D’Herelle was a restless researcher who seems to have felt undervalued despite being awarded jobs in Paris and Vietnam and at Yale. That insecurity made him vulnerable to an offer he received in 1933 to relocate to Tbilisi in Georgia, home territory of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. With a protégé, Georgi Eliava, d’Herelle co-founded the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages, Microbiology and Virology. Stalin showered the institute with attention and money because it offered something he badly wanted: a scientific achievement that he could portray as a pure product of communism. Antibiotics became the basis of infectious-disease medicine in the West, but behind the Iron Curtain, phages took their place.

Eliava was murdered in a political purge in 1937, and d’Herelle died in 1949. Their institute dwindled, but it survived the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the Georgian civil war the following year. When the former USSR opened up to the West, physicians in the United States and Europe learned the Eliava Institute was one of the few places in the world where researchers were still studying and administering phages. That was fortunate timing, because antibiotics in the West were losing their power under the onslaught of antibiotic resistance.

(click here to continue reading He Was Dying. Antibiotics Weren’t Working. Then Doctors Tried a Forgotten Treatment. – Mother Jones.)

Fascinating article, well worth reading. 

Will phage therapy ever catch on in the US? Maybe, but our medical system is dependent upon the profit motive, thus pharmaceutical corporations are less interested in phage therapy because the resultant drugs won’t be so easily monetized. Plus the FDA’s bureaucratic infrastructure impedes studying these kinds of medicines.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 16th, 2018 at 11:11 am

Bank for Illinois’ medical marijuana industry is pulling out

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Truck full of Cannabis
Truck full of Cannabis, Washington State.

Ally Marotti of the Tribune reports:

The main bank serving Illinois medical marijuana companies is pulling out of the industry, leaving operators with few options other than dealing in cash.

Bank of Springfield sent a letter to its cannabis clients late last month informing them that their accounts will be closed May 21. The decision is tied to the reversal of an Obama-era policy that discouraged prosecution of those operating under state marijuana laws.

The move is a setback for the industry, which remains a pilot program more than two years after medical cannabis became legal in Illinois. Strict regulations and other obstacles have added challenges to running cannabis companies and kept patient numbers too low for some operators to recoup their investments.

Taking away the bank accounts medical marijuana companies use to pay their employees, vendors and the government is another hurdle. It also eliminates some of the legitimacy and traceability of transactions that banking added to the industry, which had $8.5 million in retail sales statewide in February, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

(click here to continue reading Main bank for Illinois’ medical marijuana industry is pulling out, leaving some operators to deal in cash – Chicago Tribune.)

Yet another reason to vote against Governor Bruce Rauner, as if we needed any more. His willful antagonism towards medical cannabis is undermining its growth. Illinois certainly could do better.

Republicans, Democrats, Independents, etc. all agree that money is good for the Illinois budget, why not follow the model of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and others?

Henry Anslinger
Henry Anslinger

From an article earlier this year, also by Ally Marotti:

As the legal marijuana industry navigates uncertainty on the federal level, state attorneys general are asking Congress to pass a law allowing banks to work with cannabis companies.

Along with Illinois, 28 other states, Washington, D.C., and several U.S. territories have legalized medicinal cannabis, and eight states and the District of Columbia allow recreational use. But in the eyes of federal law, weed is still illegal, and the cash earned selling it is drug money.

Without banks, though, operations and growth could be hindered.

The federal government has issued guidance for how banks can work with cannabis companies, but without a law, banks hesitate to enter the growing industry. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 18 other attorneys general — from 16 states, the District of Columbia and Guam — signed a letter this week saying they want that to change. Madigan was not available Wednesday for further comment.

Passing a law “would bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, and give law enforcement the ability to monitor these transactions,” according to the letter. “Moreover, compliance with tax requirements would be simpler and easier to enforce with a better-defined tracking of funds. This would, in turn, result in higher tax revenue.”

Banks that work with the cannabis industry can take further guidance from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. But, again, that’s just guidance.

“That’s not enough for the national and international banks,” said Cresco’s Bachtell, who has a background in mortgage banking. “They’re not comfortable with guidance; they want real regulation.”

The letter from the state attorneys general asks Congress for legislation to provide a “safe harbor” for financial institutions that work with cannabis companies in states where the drug is legal in some capacity. It points to a bill introduced in the Senate in May that would do just that.

More banks would likely expand operations into the marijuana industry if such a law were instituted, though it might take time for financial institutions to become comfortable with it, said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution.

(click here to continue reading U.S. law sought to allow banking for legal pot – Near West.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 7th, 2018 at 8:03 am

Disrupted Sleep Time – A Daylight Savings Complaint

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Time is out of Focus
Time is out of Focus…

I am an American, so I am allowed to complain every year about the aberration of Daylight Savings Time, also known as Disrupted Sleep Time. Now that America is not a farm-centric nation, why do we torture our bodies every six months and change the clocks? Pick a time and keep it!

I like seeing sun later in the day instead of worrying about when it gets light in the morning – for me, I’m bleary eyed and in search of coffee no matter when I wake up. Having light outside makes no difference to me in the morning, I’d rather have daylight at 7 PM than be able to see my cows as I milk them.

In other words, keep the clocks set in the “spring forward” position, but don’t change them back!

No Time For Pity
No Time For Pity

From Four Till Late
From Four Till Late

Gin O Clock Came Early Today
Gin O’Clock Came Early Today

You Know All About Time
You Know All About Time

It Is Nearly Beer O Clock
It Is Nearly Beer O’Clock

Written by Seth Anderson

March 11th, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Posted in health,News-esque

Tagged with , ,

U.S. death rate from Alzheimer’s rose dramatically over 15 years. Why?

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Brain Salt
Brain Salt won’t help.

Grim indeed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the spike was related to the increase of chemicals like those in Febreeze or Downy, and other industrial chemicals sold to consumers in the guise of “cleanliness”. Or even the miasma of all of them combined. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just put out a grim report about Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.

Death rates from Alzheimer’s climbed 55 percent from 1999 to 2014, CDC found, and the number of Americans afflicted is likely to rise rapidly in the coming years. About 5.5 million people 65 years and older have the disease — a wretched and fatal form of dementia that erases memories and ultimately can destroy mental and physical capacity. By 2050, that’s expected to more than double to 13.8 million people.

The report is based on state- and county-level death certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System, and CDC researchers said the sharp increase in death rates may be due to the aging population, earlier diagnosis and greater reporting by physicians.

(click here to continue reading U.S. death rate from Alzheimer’s rose dramatically over 15 years. Why? – The Washington Post.)

All Your Brains Are Belong To Us
All Your Brains Are Belong To Us

The CDC adds:

The findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, several factors relating to the assigned cause of death might affect estimates of death involving Alzheimer’s. Evidence suggests that Alzheimer’s deaths reported on death certificates might be underestimates of the actual number of Alzheimer’s deaths in the United States (8). Because cases were identified using the underlying cause of death, persons with Alzheimer’s but a non-Alzheimer’s underlying cause of death were not identified in this analysis. Second, complications from Alzheimer’s, such as pneumonia, might be reported as the cause of death although the actual underlying cause of death, Alzheimer’s, was not reported on the death certificate. Finally, a person with Alzheimer’s might have dementia assigned as the underlying cause of death rather than a more specific diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

Some modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as obesity and fewer years of education, have been identified as factors associated with an increased risk for dementia (9,10). Although some treatments have been demonstrated to alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s, there is no cure or definitive means of prevention (2). Until Alzheimer’s can be prevented, slowed, or stopped, caregiving for persons with advanced Alzheimer’s will remain a demanding task. An increasing number of Alzheimer’s deaths coupled with an increasing number of patients dying at home suggests that there is an increasing number of caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s. It is likely that these caregivers might benefit from interventions such as education, respite care, and case management that can lessen the potential burden of caregiving.

(click here to continue reading Deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease — United States, 1999–2014 | MMWR.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 26th, 2017 at 8:42 am

Posted in health

Tagged with