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Research Suggests Garlic Holds Promise for Lyme Disease




Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have found that the oils from some herbs may be effective for the treatment of Lyme Disease, especially in cases where the patient continues to have symptoms after receiving antibiotic treatment.

Lyme Disease is On the Rise

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tick-borne diseases are going up across the country from 48,610 cases to 59,349 in 2017. There is no known cause for the increase, but the number of cases continues to go up. To make matters worse, researchers said cases of tick-borne illness are not always diagnosed, and there could be as many as 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year.

For most Lyme disease patients, treatment with antibiotics can clear the infection up rather quickly. But some patients may not respond to traditional therapies and continue to suffer the symptoms of Lyme disease for the long-term, including joint pain and serious fatigue.

Patients who suffer this persistent form of Lyme disease, also called post-treatment Lyme disease, could be suffering a new disorder resulting from the initial Lyme infection. The bacteria specific to Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, can enter a phase of stationary growth, and persister cells can be resistant to treatment with antibiotics. But research is showing that oils from herbs like garlic do better than antibiotics at attacking those specific cells.

Study Results Show Marked Improvements

Tests conducted in lab dishes involved the essential oils of 35 plants or their fruit. Tens of the essential oils proved to be the strongest at killing persister cells including oils from cinnamon bark, myrrh trees, garlic cloves, allspice berries, thyme leaves, and cumin seeds. Senior study author Dr. Ying Zhang said that some essential oils performed even better at killing persister cells than the traditional therapies.

What is Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infection caused by B. burgdorferi bacteria. The bacteria are transmitted to humans from infected deer ticks or black-legged ticks. Symptoms of an infection can present within days to years after you are bitten and may include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rash
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Chills

If you do not seek treatment for the bacterial infection, your symptoms may progress to include:

  • Arthritis with pain and swelling, especially the knees
  • Brain inflammation
  • Drooping of the face (one or both sides)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rash on other parts of the body
  • Severe headache
  • Shooting numbness or pain in the hands or feet
  • Spinal cord inflammation
  • Stiff neck

Your odds of getting Lyme disease from a black-legged tick or a deer tick depends on how long the tick remained attached to your body. Ticks generally have to be attached to you for between 36 and 48-hours or so to transmit the bacteria. If you perform a nightly-tick check and remove any you find, you are far less likely to be infected.

Testing Planned for Animals and Humans

Dr. Ying Zhang is credited with finding that the medicines used to treat resistant bacterial infections like MRSA work better in combination than traditional antibiotic therapies when treating Lyme infections. He is planning on testing the safety and efficacy of essential oils in post-treatment Lyme infections in animals and then in humans.

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Trump Administration Wants to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes




The Trump administration announced that it plans to propose a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. The goal is to reverse the alarming trend in underage kids who are vaping.

A New Ban on Flavored Vaping Products

According to the Health and Human Services secretary, the FDA plans to develop guidelines on removing flavored electronic cigarettes. The only product which would be allowed would be tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. Before the restrictions can take effect, the agency will need to develop rules, and the public will have a chance to input their opinions.

This proposal would only impact vaping products containing nicotine since those are regulated by the FDA. Other products may still remain unregulated. The FDA has delayed banning flavored vaping products even though it has been able to since 2016 when the first regulations came into effect. It had stated that it wanted to study flavored products to determine if they assisted adults in switching from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes.

An Alarming Situation

With the recent health scare where over 450 people have developed lung illnesses tied to vaping, advocates for regulation and parents are calling for more restrictions and enforcement. Many experts believe that the flavors are much of the reason for the increase in vaping by teens.

This ban would have a strong impact on manufacturers and distributors in the vaping industry. Many of them have made their reputation and built a solid business on flavored products. Juul is one of the largest vaping manufacturers with a large share of the market. The company has developed mint, fruit and other flavorful products to entice users.

Even though Juul and others say their products are designed to appeal to adult smokers who want to stop using tobacco products, evidence suggests that one of the growing markets is with teens.

Taking Action

As the medical field searches for answers as to the exact cause of the illnesses, the CDC and other organizations are recommending that people stop vaping. So far, six people have died because of the illness. The link that ties everyone together is that they all were using e-cigarettes or vaping devices. Some had nicotine in them, but not in every case. The situation has caused alarm for parents, schools, and others who see the increase in underage vaping as dangerous.

The First Lady had recently tweeted about the situation and voiced her concern about children vaping. She stated that she was “deeply concerned” about this issue. The FDA recommends that people not buy vaping products off the street, not alter those they buy in stores and not to use any oils made with marijuana.

Along with the federal investigation, states are conducting their own investigation into the mysterious illnesses that have been diagnosed just since August. The hope is that a ban on flavored products will reduce the appeal to kids and teens. Some studies show evidence that vaping can lead to other drug use, including smoking tobacco and even using cocaine and heroin.

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Sixth Fatality from Lung Disease Linked to Vaping




The sixth person has died from a lung illness which is being linked to e-cigarettes and vaping. This person was over 50 years old and lived in Kansas, and it is the first such death in the state.

Growing Concern Over the Dangers of Vaping

Concern is growing over the safety of e-cigarettes and vape pens after more than 450 people have become ill with a mysterious lung disease in the last few months. Five of them have died prior to the person in Kansas. The other deaths were from Oregon, Minnesota, California, Illinois and Indiana. The first death came from Illinois and was reported in August. Oregon was next, followed by Minnesota.

This situation is widespread with the illnesses being reported in 33 states as well as the US Virgin Islands. There is an ongoing investigation but no definitive cause has been found yet. The one link between the deaths is they all used e-cigarettes, but even the ingredients used are different. Each state is conducting its own research. In New York, officials have discovered that vitamin E acetate was found in the products of those that got sick in the state. However, this may not be the case for other states.

Companies that manufacture e-cigarettes and other vaping devices are being investigated in New York. Samples obtained show that the thickeners in the vape liquids are almost pure vitamin E acetate.

Taking Action

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people stop using these products while the investigation is going. Anyone who notices symptoms of illness should report it to their doctor right away if they are continuing to use the electronic cigarettes. Symptoms to be concerned about include coughing that won’t go away, chest pain and shortness of breath. The American Medical Association and American Lung Association are also advocating for people to avoid e-cigarettes.

To counteract the alarming trend, organizations and government are taking action. The FDA has sent warning letters to Juul, one of the leading manufacturers of vaping products, warning them to stop marketing to teens. They have a short time to comply or the company faces penalties, including fines and seizure of the products.

New York has proposed legislation that would make the sale of flavored e-cigarettes illegal. Michigan has already passed a similar law. San Francisco has a new ordinance in place that banned all e-cigarette sales within the city limits.

The FDA has initiated an educational campaign about the dangers of vaping. The agency has also developed a policy to restrict retail stores from selling flavored products which are accessible to those who are underage. The policy also requires websites that sell e-cigarettes to provide verification of the age of buyers and to limit the number of products they can purchase. While the FDA is taking action, some critics think the agency should do more. They want to see e-cigarettes regulated like tobacco products and all those that are unregulated should be shut down. Retail stores that sold to underage kids would pay heavy penalties similar to what happens with alcohol and tobacco cigarettes.

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Schools Get Serious about Vaping




Some schools are starting to get serious about how they handle students who are caught vaping. The changes come as a result of an increase in the number of teens and elementary age kids who are experimenting with e-cigarettes and vaporizers.

The Serious Risks of Vaping

Schools are going beyond the traditional means of discipline, such as detention, when kids are caught with vaping devices. One school district in North Texas is enforcing the rules by putting those who violate them in a special disciplinary school for one month. Another school, this one in Alabama, is removing doors from the bathroom stalls. Numerous other schools have installed sensors in the bathrooms which can detect smoke.

These actions come as concern for the health risks of vaping grow. Over 450 people have been diagnosed with a mysterious lung illness from vaping. Six people have died. Many of these diagnosed are young adults and teens who appear to be healthy. The American Medical Association issued a statement to encourage all people to stop using vaping devices and e-cigarettes until a cause for the illnesses can be determined.

While e-cigarettes were initially developed as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes for smokers, they have developed a wide appeal for non-smokers. In fact, they have become quite popular with young adults and teens. Almost three million school-age kids used electronic cigarettes and vape pens in 2018, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Schools have banned these devices from being on school property, but it hasn’t kept kids from bringing them in. Part of the issue is they look innocent enough. Juul vaping devices resemble a flash drive. They are small and discreet, so that users don’t get caught. These vaporizers don’t have any smoke and often don’t have a scent. Kids can keep them in their pockets or purses and not be detected by school officials.

Schools Take Action

School districts are getting creative about finding the e-cigarettes and vape pens as well as how they respond to a student when they violate the rules. One district has kids roll up their sleeves when they arrive to search for e-cigarettes.

Demand for sensors placed in bathrooms has gone up significantly. In fact, one company has provided sensors to schools in 46 states.

The FDA has warned manufacturers of electronic cigarettes to work to reduce underage use. Some manufacturers appear to target a younger audience through bold ads and labeling vaping devices as cool and trendy.

As more schools recognize the seriousness of vaping among teens and those even younger, it is expected that they will take further action. Instead of warnings and detention, which don’t seem to deter action, schools are hopeful that more serious consequences will act as deterrents. Whether it’s sending the kids to an isolated school for a month or removing stall doors from bathrooms, school districts are proving that they are serious about protecting kids from the dangers of vaping. It’s too early to know if these changes are effective yet.

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