Posts tagged with "The Huffington Post"

Sorry, your essential oils are essentially snake oils

October 3, 2019

The squeaky wheel—or painful joint—gets the oil: In fact, many people think that the “essential oils” sold by a range of businesses, from apothecaries to drug stores to Walmart, are magical healing potions that also relieve pain.

But according to an October 2 report by The Huffington Post, these great-smelling elixirs do not live up to their health claims—and are actually no more effective than snake oil.

What exactly are they? According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, they are highly volatile substance isolated by a physical process from an odoriferous plant of a single botanical species. The oil bears the name of the plant from which it is derived; for example, rose oil or peppermint oil.

Such oils originally were called “essential” because they were thought to represent the very essence of odor and flavor. And when we say originally, we are referring to the fact that essential oils can be traced back to ancient times, when people used them to make medicinal ointments, perfumes and, possibly, embalming fluids.

While we may no longer use them to mummify loved ones, essential oils have made a major comeback in recent years as a popular and powerful natural-healing solution for various ailments and conditions, the HuffPost says.

Many people say the plant-based oils—like lavender, mint and eucalyptus—relieve their migraines more swiftly than over-the-counter drugs. Some people say oils boosted their libido when nothing else seemed to do the trick.

The oils can be applied to the skin, topically, or inhaled. And each plant is tied to a specific health benefit: Peppermint is believed to increase your energy, lavender may help you calm you down, jasmine is understood to lift your mood. Some scents are even touted as able to fight cancer symptomsheart diseaseinfections and diabetes.

Of course, it’s hard to invalidate any one person’s personal experience if they say something personally helped them. However, the HufffPost reports, despite the widespread claims made for essential oils, there is little science actually backing up the testimonials and not much is known about how safe and effective these products are.

Sure, the oils may smell delicious―and the occasional whiff won’t do you any harm and may even help certain issues in the moment―but many experts say they don’t live up to all the health claims.

“So many people are ill, and are looking for something to help them feel better, it’s hard for them to walk away from a simple and natural therapy such as essential oils,” Felice Gersh, an ob/gyn and founder of the Integrative Medicine Group of Irvine, California, told HuffPost.

Essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration—and the research we do have on the oils is often based on very small or poorly designed studies, Gary Soffer, the acting director of the integrative medicine program at the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Connecticut, told the news outlet.

“The widespread use of essential oils without a substantial body of evidence to support it is certainly concerning,” Soffer said. “While they are generally safe, it can be shortsighted to simply see them as completely risk free.”

Still, those who swear by the oils include health professionals. Some experts suspect this is because of a very convincing placebo effect.

“Across many conditions—including anxiety, depression, and pain—when people believe something is helpful, they sometimes experience benefit,” Keith Humphreys, a psychiatrist at Stanford Health Care in Stanford, California, told the HuffPost during an interview. “Any claims of healing power beyond the placebo effect should be regarded with extreme skepticism.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Pretty, pretty good: Larry David narrates the ‘Go the F**k to Sleep’ sequel for grownups

September 20, 2019

When the news broke that Larry Davidbest known for his writing, producing, and acting on the TV series Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm—would be narrating Adam Mansbach’s latest profanity-filled “bedtime story for adults,” most people thought the casting choice was, umm … “Pretty, pretty good.”

Mansbach is the author behind blunt parenting favorites “Go the F**k to Sleep” and “You Have to F**king Eat.” The third installment in his series of “children’s books for adults” is “F**k, Now There Are Two of You” from UK-based Dreamscape Media—described as “an honest look at the reality of welcoming a second child,” according to a report by HuffPost.

David’s narration is a monologue from a potty-mouthed parent to a firstborn child about the new addition to the family. Given the comedian’s reputation as someone who isn’t overly sentimental about parenthood, it’s a match made in heaven, the news outlet raves.

“When I heard that Larry David was going to voice this book, I jumped up and down with joy—which was awkward, because I was getting a vasectomy at the time,” Mansbach stated in a press release. “David’s a f**king national treasure, and he did just as fantastic a job as you’d expect. I can’t wait for you to hear it.”

Among those who have previously narrated the books are actors Samuel L. Jackson, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Garner, and LeVar Burton.

Both the print version and audiobook of “F**k, Now There Are Two of You” will be available on October 1.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Warren receives endorsement of Working Families Party; draws 20K at New York rally

September 18, 2019

The Working Families Party, a grassroots progressive group with origins in organized labor, announced on September 16 that it is endorsing the presidential bid of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), The Huffington Post reported.

 “Senator Warren strikes fear into the hearts of the robber barons who rigged the system, and offers hope to millions of working people who have been shut out of our democracy and economy,” Maurice Mitchell, Working Families Party national director, said in a statement. “Our job now is to help Senator Warren build the mass movement that will make her transformational plans a reality.”

As part of the group’s endorsement process, Mitchell grilled five presidential candidates ― Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), former Housing Secretary Julián Castro (D-Texas) and New York City’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio―on live broadcasts that gave members the opportunity to submit questions or ask them in person.

The organization gave Warren about 61% of its vote for endorsement, with about 36% going to Sanders (who got the endorsement in the last presidential election). More than 80% of voters listed Warren and Sanders as their two top picks. Warren distinguished herself in her interview by, among other things, promising to repeal the 1994 crime bill authored by Biden.

The group’s interview with Booker proved more contentious, the HuffPost reported—with an extended discussion of his ties to controversial Garden State political bosses. Senator Kamala Harris of California canceled her interview with the organization, citing a scheduling conflict—a decision that prompted the group to take her out of the running.

Mitchell acknowledged Sanders’ role as a progressive trailblazer in his statement on the endorsement. “Senator Warren and Senator Sanders have both shaped the ideological terrain on which this campaign is being waged,” Mitchell said. “They have proven an effective team on debate stages and in the polls, and we hope that partnership continues. We’re proud to call both of them allies in the fight for a more just America.”

The endorsement nonetheless drew skepticism from Sanders supporters, some of whom questioned the legitimacy of the endorsement process and talked of canceling their dues to the organization. 

 “We knew that this would be a hard vote and that there would be folks who would be very disappointed. And that’s what happens when mature political organizations wrestle around really important decisions,” Mitchell told the HuffPost. ”We’re going to continue to organize and keep our eyes on the prize.”

The endorsement from a powerhouse of New York politics came ahead of a rally Warren held—in front of more than 20,000 fans—in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park on Monday evening. At the rally, the senator praised women’s trade unions and focused on her plans to tackle government corruption.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Michigan is first U.S. state to ban flavored e-cigarettes

September 5, 2019

Just a couple of weeks following the first U.S. death to be officially attributed to vaping, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat, has announced her decision to institute a statewide prohibition on all flavored electronic cigarettes, including the sweet, fruity, and menthol varieties.

The ban is due to go into effect today, but retailers will have 30 days to comply, according to a report by The Huffington Post.

Michigan, thus, becomes the first state to prohibit flavored e-cigarettes, which preliminary studies have shown are more likely to get young people hooked on vaping, according to The Washington Post.

 “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan,” Whitmer told the DC-based newspaper of misleading descriptions like “safe” and “healthy” to advertise vaping products.

Whitmer noted that she’d been compelled to take action after the state Department of Health and Human Services declared vaping among young people a public health emergency.

And it’s not the only one to do so.

On Friday, August 23, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported the death of an individual who had recently vaped and had been hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness. A total of 22 people, ranging in age from 17 to 38, have so far been diagnosed with the illness and IDPH officials are working with local health departments to investigate 12 more individuals. The Illinois department has requested help from the Centers for Disease control to track and address the disease.

Several U.S. cities also have taken steps in recent months to place limits on vaping.  San Francisco in June became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of all e-cigarettes. Last week, Boulder, Colorado, finalized a ban on flavored e-cigarette products. Sacramento, California, has also approved a similar ban.

In March, The HuffPost reports, the Food and Drug Administration proposed restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, except for menthol, mint and tobacco flavors. The FDA proposal has not been finalized.

Research contact: @HuffPost

George Conway advises Dems on how to trigger Trump’s ‘final meltdown’

July 23, 2019

Attorney George Conway—a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who is married to White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway, but doesn’t share her affection for the POTUS—thinks he knows how to trigger President Donald Trump’s “final meltdown,” according to a report by The Huffington Post.

He shared the strategy with his Twitter followers on July 16, in the hope that the eventual 2020 Democratic presidential nominee would adopt it to defeat Trump in the election.

Conway posted his idea in response to another tweeter, @HoarseWhisperer, who suggested that Democrats “”should be pushing Trump’s buttons every single day. Letting him build up a head of steam is a complete failure. He is an insanely insecure man. Prominent Dems should be poking at his insecurities every single day.”

Conway agreed, and said “the opposing nominee’s campaign should consult a team of psychologists and psychiatrists to figure out how to do precisely this. It shouldn’t be hard to trigger the final meltdown.”

He suggested that Trump had suffered from untreated dyslexia as a child, because “dyslexic children are often impulse-ridden and easily unsettled ….Emotional consequences …may involve lying, exaggerating, and feigning certainly about things they do not comprehend.”

Thus, he pointed out, Trump’s buttons might truly be easy to push, revealing his emotional instability to the American electorate.

While his wife remains beloved in the White House, George Conway, the HuffPost said, has been a persistent thorn in Trump’s side. George Conway continually has feuded with Trump online. Last month, he urged Republicans to take a new allegation of rape that advice columnist E. Jean Carroll leveled against the president seriously. Trump denies the accusation.

Research contact: @gtconway3d

House showdown on impeachment could be imminent

July 18, 2019

Following  President Donald Trump’s racists tweets and rants this week against the four progressive congresswomen of color who have been dubbed The Squad, Representative Al Green (D-Texas) introduced articles of impeachment on July 16, forcing a vote—and setting up a potential showdown—in the Democratic-controlled House.

Under House rules, The Huffington Post reported, Green can force the chamber to act on his resolution within two legislative days. He has called for an up-or-down vote. House leadership could vote to table it or refer it to the Judiciary Committee for action.

The vote was predicted to take place as soon as Wednesday night, July 17. The Texas lawmaker read the articles aloud on the House floor on Tuesday night, citing the president’s “go back” to other countries rant against Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan).

Green said, ″Donald John Trump, by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office”

Further, Green accused the president of bringing “contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute” to the office, The Huffington Post reported.

Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has so far defied calls for impeachment—fearful that her party members could face political jeopardy in 2020, if they go forward—according to The Washington Post, 86 House Democrats say they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry.

Green’s resolution came hours after the House voted to condemn as racist Trump’s attacks on the four freshmen.

“To condemn a racist President is not enough, we must impeach him,” Green said in a statement Tuesday about his decision to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump. “This will be a defining vote. The world is watching, and history will judge us all.”

Research contact: @RepAlGreen

Editor’s note:  NBC News reported that the House voted on Wednesday to table Green’s resolution to impeach the president. Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) the vote came in at 332-95, effectively killing the measure.

AOC says Ivanka had no qualifications for G20; crushes criticism of her own bartending résumé

July 2, 2019

“I cannot think of anything that represents the American people as a whole so adequately as honest work,” said Calvin Coolidge, who, coincidentally enough, is the only American president to have been born on Independence Day.

Coolidge would have been taken aback by what his fellow Republicans said about a colleague’s résumé over the past weekend.

Remind us how being a bartender qualified you to be a member of Congress creating laws, voting on bills that impact Americans & the world,” Conservative pundit Paris Dennard said on Twitter after freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out First Daughter and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump for attending the G20 talks in Japan.

 “It may be shocking to some, but being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification,”  the New York Democrat tweeted, adding “the US needs our President working the G20. Bringing a qualified diplomat couldn’t hurt either.”

Further, AOC ripped into Republicans for “classism” for attacking her own work history, The Huffington Post reported on July 1.   She pointed to the only qualification that matters in Congress: The election results that showed her easily winning her district last year.

Then, she launched into a passionate defense of not only her own background, but of all people who have worked similar jobs, The HuffPost said.

“As always, I‘m proud of my work in restaurants,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on her Twitter feed. “I also worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy, piloted literacy projects in the South Bronx, studied Development Economics in W Africa, served as an Educational Director & won international science competitions before I ran for office, too.

She further noted, “Some of the most nuanced, intelligent, & grounded people I‘ve ever met weren’t at BU, MIT or Harvard events when I was a student. They were the plumbers & waitresses I hung out with at happy hour, who had ferocious intellectual curiosity *and* a lived context of the real world.”

She concluded, “In other words, Republicans who criticize my being a waitress as evidence of lacking skill can take their classism to the trash. You are insulting the capacities and potential of virtually every working person in America (&the ) for having experience that’s earned, not bought.”

While the White House did not reply to those jabs, a recently departed senior staff member did, Fox News Network reported.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who just recently stepped down from her Communications role at the White House, said “phone it in @AOC is wasting your time on Twitter while destroying jobs in NY.” She said President Trump and Ivanka have created “millions of new jobs and continue to make the US stronger on the global stage but thank you for reminding Americans everyday why they elected Trump.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Summer BBQ safety: Stay away from sausages and hot dogs, and grill at lower temperatures

May 24, 2019

Memorial Day Weekend in the United States is, first and foremost, a time when we remember those who gave up their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. But it also is traditionally the occasion when many Americans fire up their barbeques and break out the burgers and buns.

And what could be more wholesome and fun than having a delicious meal—cooked outdoors and shared with family and friends?

It turns out that there may be plenty of activities that would lead to better outcomes, now that we have been forced to examine the relationship between grilling and cancer risk, The Huffington Post reports.

Research suggests that meat— including beef, pork, poultry or fish—forms carcinogenic chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) when charred or cooked over high heat, as on a grill (it’s what you think of as “grill marks”). In laboratory experiments, these chemicals have been “found to be mutagenic—that is, to cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer,” according to the National Cancer Institute.

The formation of HCAs and PAHs varies by meat type, cooking method, and “doneness” level (rare, medium, or well done). Whatever the type of meat, however, meats cooked at high temperatures, especially above 300 ºF (as in grilling or pan frying), or that are cooked for a long time, tend to form more HCAs. For example, well-done, grilled, or barbecued chicken and steak all have high concentrations of HCAs. Cooking methods that expose meat to smoke contribute to PAH formation .

Theodore M. Brasky, a cancer epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, told HuffPost that there is a “wealth of data” about the effects of HCAs and PAHs on other animals, on which many of the studies have been conducted. But when it comes to humans, that data is less concrete.

“Studies in people are in some ways more complicated because it’s difficult to control all aspects,” he said. “But there is nevertheless a lot of evidence from epidemiological studies that show that healthy individuals who report eating well-done or barbecued meats tend to have higher occurrence of cancers of the GI tract (especially colon cancer) over time, after taking into account other factors.”

Kirsten Moysich, an expert in cancer prevention and public health from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, shared a similar sentiment with the online news outlet. “Some studies have shown that individuals who eat a lot of grilled meat are at higher risk of colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancer, but others have not shown these associations,” she said.

Moysich and Brasky both pointed to what might be a worse culprit at your barbecue than an open flame: processed meat like hot dogs and sausages, which contain cancer-causing additives and chemicals.

The International Agency for the Research of Cancer has designated processed meats as a ‘group one’ carcinogen, meaning that there is convincing evidence that they are carcinogenic to people,” Brasky said. “They estimate that 50 grams (approximately two ounces) of processed meat consumed daily is associated with 18% increased colorectal cancer risk.”

Even by these numbers, you’d have to be eating a hot dog every day to up your risk exponentially, says HuffPost. But if you are concerned about coming into contact with potentially harmful foods or cooking methods, there are ways to avoid and lessen the risk altogether.

Moysich recommends “removing charred areas on the meat and turning meat over frequently.” She also suggests grilling vegetables and fruits, which do not produce HCAs and “are linked to a reduced risk of cancer.”

Brasky recommends something we could all stand to do in both grilling and life―slowing down. Cooking the meat at a lower temperature for a longer time means an even grill and less opportunity for charring. “Be mindful that meats should not be charred, and that if you can allot additional time to cook outdoors, you’ll be able to lower the grill temperature to below 300̊ [Fahrenheit],” he said.

The American Institute for Cancer Research also notes that marinades are a great way to create a barrier between the meat and the flame to decrease the amount of HCAs. The organization suggests trimming the fat off the meat or even pre-cooking it a bit before it goes on the grill.

Just as is the case with many things in life, Moysich offers a reminder that the best practice of all is to be mindful about how often you’re doing something ― whether eating processed meat, grilling or otherwise.

“Bottom line? Everything in moderation,” she said. “People should not be worried to eat grilled meat, but balance this indulgence with vegetable consumption, a brisk walk, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Sicker than a dog: Bearded men carry more germs than their ‘best friends’

May 22, 2019

Based on results of a survey performed in 2016 among a cohort of over 8,500 women by researchers in Australia, the fair sex prefers men who exhibit pronounced male secondary sexual traits, such as facial hair. Indeed, a light stubble was judged the most attractive overall; and full beards were deemed the sexiest by women looking for long-term relationships.

But, although facial hair increases the appearance of masculinity and social dominance—and may help a guy to attract a mate—it actually may not be healthy for either partner!

In fact, a more recent study out of Switzerland suggests that bearded men actually carry more germs than a dog’s fur, The Huffington Post reports.

Researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic near Zurich, Switzerland, wanted to determine whether evaluating humans and dogs in the same MRI scanner would be hygienic.

They did so by comparing the bacterial load in colony-forming units (CFU) of human-pathogenic microorganisms in specimens taken from 18 bearded men and 30 furry dogs.

The researchers also compared the extent of bacterial contamination of an MRI scanner used by both dogs and humans with two other MRI scanners used exclusively by humans.

What did they find? It turns out all the bearded bros showed high microbial counts, The Huffington Post reports, compared with only 23 out of 30 dogs. In fact, seven of the men had so much beard bacteria they were at risk of getting sick, according to the BBC.

The jointly used scanner also had significantly lower bacteria counts than the scanners used only by humans.

“On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean, compared with bearded men,” study author Andreas Gutzeit told the BBC.

The study was published in February in Eur Radiol.

Research contact: andreas.gutzeit@hirslanden.ch

Warren: Congress must enact federal laws protecting abortion rights

May 20, 2019

Responding to a flurry of state-level anti-abortion laws, 2020 presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said on March 17 that Congress must pass federal laws to protect access to birth control and reproductive care, The Huffington Post reported. .

She posted on Medium, outlining the type of federal actions needed, should challenges from jurisdictions with anti-abortion laws lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that ensures a woman’s right to an abortion.

“Court challenges will continue. And the next President can begin to undo some of the damage by appointing neutral and fair judges who actually respect the law and cases like Roe instead of right-wing ideologues bent on rolling back constitutional rights,” Warren wrote. “But separate from these judicial fights, Congress has a role to play as well.”

The senator said Congress must create federal, statutory rights that parallel Roe v. Wade’s constitutional rights, according to the Huffington Post. These rights would include barring states from interfering in a provider’s ability to offer medical care or blocking patients’ access to such care, including abortions. This would invalidate state laws like those in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio.

Warren also proposed that Congress enact laws to preempt states’ efforts to limit the chipping away of  reproductive healthcare in ways that don’t necessarily violate Roe v. Wade. Such efforts include restrictions on medication abortion; and geographical and procedural requirements that make it nearly impossible for a woman to get an abortion.

Congress also must repeal the Hyde Amendment,  a 40-year-old policy that blocks abortion coverage for women under federally funded health care programs like Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, and the Indian Health Service, according to Warren. She added that conversations about reproductive health access and coverage should include immigrant women.

To ensure equal access to reproductive health care, Warren wrote, Congress must terminate President Donald Trump’s gag rule on abortion clinics and support Title X funding for family planning. She added that lawmakers must also prevent violence at clinics and discrimination based on women’s choices about their own bodies—adding that Congress must “ensure access to contraception, STI prevention and care, comprehensive sex education, care for pregnant moms, safe home and work environments, adequate wages, and so much more.

“This is a dark moment. People are scared and angry. And they are right to be,” Warren wrote. “But this isn’t a moment to back down ― it’s time to fight back.”

Research contact: @HuffPost