MADERA, Calif. — Growing up amid the dusty agricultural fields of the Central Valley, Ruby Marentes-Cabrera can’t recall a time when it wasn’t difficult to breathe. Diagnosed with asthma early in childhood, the ninth grader has come to detest the pistachio trees that surround her home because the dust, pesticides and other allergens that blow off the orchards often trigger an asthma attack — even infiltrating her home so that simple chores like vacuuming can be dangerous. “We live so close to the fields — I breathe the dust and chemicals in,” said Ruby, 14, describing coughing and wheezing fits…

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With the flurry of shopping, spending money and traveling to see family, stress can feel inevitable during the holidays. You might already know stress can affect your own health, but what you may not realize is that your stress – and how you manage it – is catching. Your stress can spread around, particularly to your loved ones. As a social-health psychologist, I have developed a model on how partners and their stress influence each other’s psychological and biological health. Through that and my other research, I’ve learned that the quality of intimate relationships is crucial to people’s health. Here’s…

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Kids ages 5 to 11 can now be vaccinated against COVID-19 following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization of the Pfizer Bio-NTech vaccine for this age group and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s endorsement in early November 2021. Some parents remain hesitant about vaccinating their kids. But many around the country are enthusiastically signing up and lining up to get their elementary schoolers vaccinated. Yet parents of children under 5 are still left wondering when their children will be vaccinated. Experts suggest it may not be before next year. This wait could prompt parents and doctors…

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December 1, 2021 by Paul Tullis Erin Bascom’s job in HIV prevention training shifted to work-from-home in mid-March 2020, around the same time that she and her husband decided to keep their daughter, then 2, home from daycare out of concern over Covid-19. Initially, the plan was for the parents to take turns, one caring for the toddler while the other worked. But then Bascom’s husband, who serves in Maryland’s National Guard, was called to active duty for pandemic response. He was gone 12 hours a day at first. Then, to prevent disease transmission between soldiers and their families, his…

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August 11, 2021 by Teresa Carr In the fall of 2016, sex therapist and researcher Leonore Tiefer shuttered the New View Campaign, an organization she had founded to combat what she refers to as “the medicalization of sex” — essentially, the pharmaceutical industry’s efforts to define variations in sexuality and sexual problems as medical issues requiring a drug fix. For 16 years, the group had fought against industry’s involvement in sex research, including its push for a drug to boost women’s sex drives. New View hosted conferences and its members penned papers and testified before the United States Food and…

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Here at MedShadow, we pride ourselves on giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your health to balance the risks and benefits of illnesses, medicines, alternative treatments, and lifestyle. The convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Thanksgiving holiday gives us the rare opportunity to provide insight into how each of us has evaluated the risks and benefits — to ourselves and to our loved ones — of gathering with family and friends in these unusual times. Below, each staff member walks you through how they reached their decision on holiday plans this year. Denavi Every…

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You may very well want to go for that outdoor stroll or hop onto a yoga mat after two new studies revealed promising findings about these stress-busting activities. If you’re stressed, you may want to take a nature walk according to a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology. Researchers found that as little as 20 minutes a day spent in nature can significantly lower stress hormone levels. If you’re unable to walk or prefer to stay put in one spot, researchers found that simply sitting in a place where you feel connected to nature has the same effect. “We…

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By Diane Archer JustCareUSA Jim Tananbaum, a former biotech executive and the founder and CEO of Forsite Capital, explains in a recent op-ed for STAT News why pharmaceutical companies should support Medicare for All, not fight it. Tananbaum says they need Medicare for All; they are making a “huge mistake” to oppose it. Medicare for All will promote important innovations that commercial health plans never will. Commercial insurers depend on annual returns. So, paying for emerging treatments, such as gene-based therapies that could prevent someone’s death a decade later, are not a smart business investment for them. They get no returns from buying this…

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By Diane Archer JustCareUSA A 2016 report, published in Health Affairs, analyzes survey data on patients’ experiences with the health care system in 11 countries. It finds that the US health care system ranks last — at the bottom of the barrel — in meeting the needs of patients, when compared with health care systems in other wealthy countries. All of the other countries have universal health care. Of the people surveyed across 11 countries, people in the US are less healthy and more likely to face material hardship, because of the health care system. US health care is less affordable…

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By Noah Nathan Several studies have found that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a class of acid reflux (heartburn) drugs such as Prevacid (lansoprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole), can cause bone fractures. But are people understanding that their bone fractures could be related to their use of PPIs? In my new book, Heartburn, Broken Bones, and the False Claims Act, I share my story as a whistleblower and former Takeda Pharmaceuticals sales representative. It claims there is a potential risk of bone fractures from physicians unknowingly prescribing 60 mg of the prescription PPI Dexilant (dexlansoprazole) instead of the FDA-approved dose of 30…

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