A birth control shot, popular in eastern and southern Africa, has been shown to double the risk of picking up HIV. The shot is convenient and effective, given once every three months and used by 12 million African women. It may, however, come with a sinister side effect. The shot also increases the risk that men will pick up HIV from their female partners if they are infected. The findings, if they hold up to scrutiny, spell trouble for public health officials in Africa, who must contend with both high HIV and pregnancy rates.
This word does not mean some sort of Islamic clothing. Nor does it mean an awkward toupee. Those were among two of my guesses when I was trying to figure out what this odd word might define. None of my guesses were even close.
According to Wikipedia:
The Birkin bag is a handmade purse by Hermès and named after actress and singer Jane Birkin. The bag is a symbol of wealth due to its high price and elusiveness to the public.
Its prices range from $9,000 to $150,000. Costs escalate according to the type of materials. The bags are distributed to Hermès boutiques on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities, creating scarcity and, intended or unintended, exclusivity.
I heard somewhere that drinking grapefruit juice with vitamins and/or prescription medicine is harmful. Is this true?
Hard to believe that a healthy drink like grapefruit juice would be a potential problem, right? Unfortunately grapefruit juice interacts adversely with certain, but not most, medications. Researchers believe that compounds in grapefruit juice suppress an intestinal enzyme that processes medications by means of the cytochrome p450 system, one of our bodies’ detoxification processes. These compounds are not available, or are present in much lower amounts, in other citrus juices, such as orange juice.
So, what does this mean? When taken with grapefruit juice, the levels of these drugs become elevated up to as high as nine times their prescribed dosages in the bloodstream, increasing their potency and potential for harmful and even life-threatening side effects. Certain drugs prescribed for heart disease, blood pressure, and cholesterol, as well as some hormones, antihistamines, antibiotics, HIV medications, psychoactive drugs, and immunosuppressants, among other medication classes, cannot be taken for several hours before and several hours after drinking grapefruit juice, if at all. In addition to drinking commercially processed grapefruit juice, even eating grapefruit or drinking freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice may also interact with certain medications. Interestingly, intravenously administered medications appear to be unaffected by grapefruit juice.
As with any medications, it is important to talk with your health care provider and/or pharmacist about your prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications, their side effects, their contraindications (including whether or not grapefruit juice is safe to consume when using these drugs). If you are really into grapefruit, you may also need to discuss your history of consuming grapefruit and to see if the type or dosage of your medicine(s) needs to be adjusted accordingly. For those who would rather not avoid grapefruit juice, non-interacting drugs may be generally available as options.
Atlanta has some of the worst traffic of any city. Even if you’re just trying to drive by on the expressway, and even though the expressways are eight lanes across in either direction in some places, you can still end up stuck for hours. Well, if you have to got through Atlanta, I found out today that early Sunday morning is the time to do it. Most people are sleeping or in church, so the roads are all clear.
Apparently a tick bite can get you more than lyme disease. Most lyme-disease-carrying ticks are deer ticks, but then there’s the lone star tick. These ticks are named for their one spot, and are found primarily in the southeastern and south-central U.S., but have been moving outwards. The CDC has reported that they do not carry lyme disease, but according to the University of Virginia’s head of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills, a bite from these ticks can sometimes provoke an allergy to a type of alpha-gal.
Alpha-Gal is a sugar found in all mammals, so what would an allergy to it mean? Those who suffer from it typically experience food allergy symptoms ranging from hives to anaphylactic shock several hours after consuming red meat (meaning beef, pork, lamb, or game, but not poultry or fish). Interestingly enough, alpha-gal is also in some cancer treatments, and the blood test developed to screen for this allergy was designed to confirm eligibility for the cancer treatment.