Synthetic marijuana harms the kidneys
Researchers have found another potential danger to the list: kidney damage. Last year, 16 people found themselves in the ER after using synthetic marijuana and suffering from severe kidney problems.
All of those who suffered from kidney problems were males aged 15 to 33, and most experienced nausea, vomiting and abdominal or back pain. None had any history of kidney disease, and the incidents were reported from six states.
Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of chemicals and herbs, and it is often smoked. Sold as K2, Spice and fake weed, it was officially declared illegal in the U.S. last year. People who use it have similar experiences to using marijuana, though the risk of heart problems is greatly increased, and many users experience hallucinations.
Alcohol raises cancer risk
As if cancer itself wasn’t bad enough, new research from the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Public Health found that nearly 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths could be prevented by avoiding alcohol. The study found that nearly 20,000 people die of cancer in association with alcohol.
What does this mean? Alcohol is a known carcinogen, even when consumed in small amounts. The researchers found that each alcohol-related cancer death was equivalent to 18 years of potential life lost, where as few as 1.5 drinks were linked to 30 percent of deaths. Among women, nearly 15 percent of breast cancer deaths were alcohol-related, amounting to 6,000 each year.
Cancer and alcohol have been linked for some time, as alcohol consumption leads to higher risks of mouth, throat, esophageal, and liver cancers, and has recently been associated with increased rates of colon, rectal and breast cancers.
Morning-after pill on the rise
The morning-after pill is a controversial topic in many circles, as it immediately terminates a potential pregnancy within 48 hours of the act. According to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four women aged 20 to 24 have taken the pill, largely driving national figures, which are up seven percent since 2002. A decade ago, only four percent of women had taken the morning after pill; today, 11 percent have taken it.
So what changed? Emergency contraception became available in 1999, but required a prescription from a doctor, often following an exam. In 2006, over-the-counter access was approved, giving many women access to the pill, driving figures dramatically higher. Today, 20 percent of women who have never been married have taken the pill.
The report found that younger, white and better-educated women were most likely to use the pill. Most of these women took the pill after another birth control method was thought to have failed.
The CDC conducted a survey of 12,000 in order to compile the statistics. This was the first major study of emergency contraception use since the regulations were eased to allow over-the-counter access.
Alka-Seltzer born: Feb. 21, 1931
A pharmaceutical legend is born when Miles Laboratories, a company based in Elkhart, Indiana, unveils a new product that promises “quick relief” from everything associated with the flu–pain, headaches, upset stomach and fever. It’s called Alka-Seltzer and it’s an effervescent tablet that does its work after bubbling away to nothing in a glass of water.
A few years earlier, during a severe flu outbreak, the president of Miles, a man named Hub Beardsley, had heard from a local newspaper editor that he had kept his staff from getting sick by giving them a combination of aspirin and baking soda. Beardsley quickly asked his chief chemist to come up with a similar concoction. The result is a tablet that combines aspirin, sodium bicarbonate and citric acid.
It doesn’t hurt that two years later Prohibition ends in the U.S., just as Alka-Seltzer is catching on as a cure for hangovers. But what really makes the fizzy medication a household name is the company’s ambitious use of mass media to promote its brand. By 1932, it’s already sponsoring a radio show, “The Alka-Seltzer Comedy Star of Hollywood,” followed by a series of popular music programs for the next 20 years.
Then, as Americans begin buying their first TV sets in the early 1950s, the company catches that wave, too. In 1954, it introduces a cute little mascot–a red-haired boy named Speedy, with an Alka-Seltzer body and an Alka-Seltzer hat. Using a six-inch high puppet and stop-motion animation, the TV ads bring Speedy to life, making him dance and sing, “:Plop, plop, fizz, fizz…Oh, what a relief it is.” Over the next 10 years, he appears in more than 200 different commercials and the character becomes so famous that the puppet is insured for $100,000.
By the mid-1960s, when Speedy starts feeling old-fashioned to a younger audience, the brand shifts gears again and starts producing a series of funny ads that become some of the more iconic commercials of the 1960s and 1970s and feature lines that are widely mimicked from “Mamma mia, that’s-a spicy meat ball!” to “I can’t believe I ate the who-o-o-o-o-le thing!”
After 1979, Miles Laboratories is no more, bought out by Bayer. But, today, 82 years later, Alka-Seltzer lives on.