CDC Researchers Blame JUUL for Rise in Teen Vaping

“JUUL’s high nicotine concentration, discreet shape, and flavors could be particularly appealing to, and problematic for, youths.”

Science says vaping is cool. Okay, maybe science doesn’t directly say that, but evidence shows that more and more teens are using e-cigarettes, and teens are cool, so vaping must be cool, right? Unfortunately, public health officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagree. And they’re placing much of the blame for the rise in teen vaping on one company: the Silicon Valley e-cigarette startup JUUL Laboratories.

In a research letter published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the CDC and nonprofit RTI International’s Centers for Health Policy Science and Tobacco Research analyzed data from retailers across the country and outlined how JUUL’s meteoric rise in popularity may be accredited — at least in part — to its appeal among teenagers. While all e-cigarette brands increased in popularity between 2013 and 2017 because of marketing suggesting that they help people quit smoking, JUUL has become the most in-demand manufacturer of all.

“JUUL’s high nicotine concentration, discreet shape, and flavors could be particularly appealing to, and problematic for, youths,” wrote the study’s authors, led by Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., deputy director for research translation in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.

Many teens may initially try e-cigarettes, like those manufactured by JUUL, because they’re seen as safer alternatives to traditional tobacco cigarettes. And JUUL’s sleek, compact design makes the device look like a USB drive, meaning it can easily be slipped into a pocket or concealed in the palm of the hand. Several reports suggest teens easily sneak it into classrooms. Its modular “pod” design also makes it easy for users to refill the nicotine-containing liquid by simply switching out a coin-sized cartridge. Compared to disposable devices with integrated batteries, JUUL’s rechargeable device offers several attractive qualities to many consumers, and the numbers bear this out.

According to the study’s authors, JUUL Laboratories sales increased by a whopping 641 percent from 2016 to 2017. This growth translated to a 515 percent increase in JUUL Laboratories’ share of the e-cigarette market, jumping from just 2 percent of the vape market when the company started to 13 percent in early 2017. The company’s hold on the vape market exploded after that, and as of December 2017, the company controlled 29 percent of e-cigarette sales. This means that almost one out of every three e-cigarettes purchased in the US is a JUUL.

Notably, the study only used purchasing data from retailers, so it was not possible for researchers to determine how old buyers were. The study’s authors did note, though, that previous research has suggested many of these purchases may have been made by consumers under the legal smoking age.

“These sales could reflect products purchased by adults to attempt smoking cessation or products obtained directly or indirectly by youths; a recent analysis found retail stores were the primary location where youths reported obtaining the JUUL device and refill pods,” they wrote.

JUUL podmod starter kit
A JUUL starter pack includes the device, a USB charger, and four pods of different flavored nicotine-containing e-liquid, all for less than $50.

In response to Inverse’s request for comment on the new paper, JUUL spokesperson Victoria Davis did not address the assertion that JUUL products are popular among young people. Davis did emphasize targeting “adult smokers” three times, though:

JUUL Labs is focused on its mission to improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers. Like many Silicon Valley technology startups, our growth is the result of a superior product disrupting an archaic industry — in this case, one whose products are the number one cause of preventable death. When adult smokers find a satisfying alternative to cigarettes, they tell other adult smokers. JUUL Labs has helped more than 1 million Americans switch from cigarettes, and we’re excited about our continued expansion into markets outside of the United States such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Israel.

This public relations tactic is becoming familiar territory for JUUL, whose official Instagram page is dominated by images of full-on adult adults, including testimonials from people like 68-year-old Kathy, a gray-haired woman named Barbara, and the rapper/actress Awkwafina, who, at 29 years old is young but no teen. The explicit focus on adults may be coming a little too late for the company, though, as it’s already in federal regulators’ crosshairs.

On September 13, Inverse reported that US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., announced that vaping had become an “epidemic.” Gottlieb noted that the FDA had issued 56 warning letters to retailers who illegally sold the devices to kids under 18 years old, and JUUL was specifically mentioned in his announcement. This week, the FDA also announced it had raided JUUL’s headquarters on Friday, seizing thousands of pages of documents. The operation was part of an investigation into whether JUUL has been marketing its products to children.

Everything We Learned in One Year About Thousands of Years of Human Evolution

If you were to encounter humans from 300,000 years ago, you might be struck by how much they look like humans in 2018. Anatomically modern and large-brained, with faces and teeth not dissimilar to our own, these early Homo sapienswent to war, formed relationships, and created tools, just like us. There’s still plenty to learn about our direct evolutionary ancestors, but this year, thanks to the widespread use of genomic sequencing, scientists gave us an unprecedented glimpse into how humans came to be. Here, Inverse lists everything we’ve learned about human evolution in the past year.

While we are the only hominids to walk the Earth today, this year genomic evidence proved that the DNA of some people contains traces of Paleolithic trysts between humans and other Homo species, like the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. A decade ago, scientists would have been extremely skeptical. University of Buffalo evolutionary anthropologist Omer Gokcumen, Ph.D. tells Inverse that it’s only in the past five years that scientists have been able to confirm that early Sapiens didn’t only hang out with other Sapiens.

“You can think of the world 100,000 years ago like a Lord of the Rings world, where different, pretty smart human-like creatures are roaming,” Gokcumen says, explaining that this situation is called interaction dynamism. “One of them would be our ancestors in Africa, but there would also be other species like Neanderthals, that we could tell were different — but not different enough to not interbreed and produce fertile offspring.”

This year, academics including Gokcumen published an extensive amount of research filling in the details of this Tolkien-esque world, furthering our understanding of how our minds, bodies, and behavior came to be. Learning what it means to be human, it seems, means learning about really old humans.

1. Ancient Spit Reveals Mysterious Human ‘Ghost’ Ancestor

In July, Gokcumen and a team of scientists announced in Molecular Biology and Evolution that a protein in the saliva of people from sub-Saharan Africa indicates that they carry genetic evidence of an unknown hominin ancestor. The saliva protein became a point of interest when University of Buffalo oral biologist and co-author Stefan Ruhl, Ph.D. compared the saliva proteins of primates and humans. Typically, these proteins look very similar. That’s why it was startling when they discovered that one protein from the sub-Saharan African population was revealed to be very different in size than the others.

This protein, known as MUC7, is thought to be the result of genetic material left over from mating between Homo sapiens and a ‘ghost’ species as recently as 150,000 years ago. Gokcumen believes this mysterious species was confined to Africa and split from Homo sapiens’ evolutionary path around three million years ago. This study is further proof that we, in Gokcumen’s polite words, “absorbed different populations that lived around us” — mating with other Homo species, many of which are still unidentified.

“Our study adds to this generally more colorful picture of human history, and it’s becoming very clear that it’s not as simple as we previously thought,” says Gokcumen. “It’s become very clear to researchers that even though the majority of our genome can be traced back to particular, Homo sapien ancestral population, there’s observable evidence that other, smaller populations made their way into our modern human gene pool.”

Read more: Humans Had Sex with Ancient ‘Ghost’ Species, Spit Analysis Shows

2. Newly Discovered Fossils Pushed Back Our Origins by 100,000 Years

Scientists announced a textbook-changing discovery in June, writing in Nature that they discovered three Homo sapiensfossils that date back to approximately 300,000 years ago. Previously, the oldest Homo sapiens found were 200,000 years old. These fossils were excavated in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, contradicting the popular claim that our species evolved from a “cradle of mankind” in East Africa.

“The dating was a bit, wow!” co-author Jean-Jacques Hublin, Ph.D., said in his interview with Inverse in June. “No one imagined these remains could be that old. In the meantime, the interpretation of the fossil evidence suddenly made much more sense.”

Read more: Discovery Puts First Humans in North Africa 300,000 Years Ago

A facial reconstruction of one of the ancient samples found in Morocco. 

3. Neanderthal Genes Responsible for Bad Habits and Modern-Day Looks

Research published in October by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology added further detail to what we know about the Neanderthal genes some humans carry around today. In the American Journal of Human Genetics, the team explained that Neanderthal DNA strongly influences the hair and skin color of the one to five percent of European and Asian people who carry this DNA. Neanderthal alleles also shape whether people have lighter and darker skin tones and determine hair color, indicating that ancient hominids had many different hair and skin colors, too.

Drawing from a sample of 112,000 study participants, the scientists additionally determined that there was a significant link between people who carry Neanderthal DNA and those who had experienced “loneliness of isolation, frequency of enthusiasm or disinterest in the last two weeks, and smoking status.”

Read more: Blame Neanderthal Genes for Your Bad Habits and Good Looks

4. The Remains of One of the Oldest Americans Were Found in Mexico

Human remains found in 2012 in Mexico’s Tulum system of submerged caves were re-analyzed this year, leading scientists to believe the remains are the oldest osteological remains of humans in the Americas. In a paper published in PLOS One in August, the scientists behind the research, led by Heidelberg University paleoecologist Wolfgang Stinnesbeck, Ph.D., explain the bones likely belong to a young man who lived around 13,000 years ago.

Stinnesbeck and his team dated one bone, the pelvis, by measuring the levels of uranium, carbon, and oxygen isotopes within it as well as that within the stalagmite that had grown through it. Calcite layers, which contain oxygen and carbon isotopes, store information about climate and precipitation data, which helps determine an age.

The researchers claim this discovery adds further proof to the theory that humans came to the Americas at least 5,000 years before the Clovis, a prehistoric group of people who have previously been called the first Americans.

Read more: A Stolen Human Skeleton Found in 2012 Might Be Americas’ Oldest

5. Neanderthal Brains Grew At a Slower Pace Than Human Brains

In a paper published in Science in September, an international team of scientists reported that they found 13 ancient Neanderthal skeletons in a 49,000-year old cave in northern Spain. To the astonishment of the researchers, one of the specimens, which they named El Sidron, was a nearly complete specimen that belonged to a boy who died when he was almost eight years old.

El Sidron’s teeth and endocranial features suggested that his brain growth wasn’t done by the time of his death, giving away his age. A human brain is essentially grown to its full size by the time a person is six, but El Sidron’s brain was still growing at a period when the brains of his peers had long since stopped. This extended period of brain growth, the study authors hypothesize, suggest Neanderthal children spent more time acquiring cognitive skills than human children.

But perhaps the most marvelous revelation from this study was the fact that, barring brain growth, Neanderthal children were much like human children in terms of physical growth and maturation, reducing the gap between us and our not-so-distant cousins.

Read more: Ancient Child’s Skeleton Unlocks Secret About Modern Brain Development

Comparison of modern human and Neanderthal skulls.

6. Some of Man’s Earliest Ancestors Were Furry Rat-Like Creatures

If you imagine your ancient human ancestors, you might an envision a bulky, strong caveperson, ready to hunt and provide. But if you look past that ancestor and deeper into their lineage, you’d see a something that looks a lot like a rat.

In November, scientists reported in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica that they excavated two fossilized teeth belonging to this rat-like creature in the rocky cliffs of Dorset, England. The teeth are believed to be 145 million years old, and the scientists claim they are the oldest evidence of this human ancestor ever found. The claim is contested by a different team of scientists, who say theirfinding is the oldest at 160 million years old, but their study’s validity is still being debated.

The nocturnal, placental mammal is thought to be an ancestor of mice, pygmy shrews, blue whales and elephants — putting us humans in good company within the animal kingdom.

7. Human Speech Is Our Evolutionary Advantage Over Monkeys

In a very Planet of the Apes-like turn of events, scientists announced in July that the reason that monkeys can’t talk like humans isn’t because of their vocal anatomy but their neural wiring. In a Science study led by the University of Vienna’s W. Tecumseh Fitch, Ph.D., scientists used x-ray videos to examine the vocal tracts of living macaques while they ate, made facial displays, and vocalized monkey sounds. Analysis revealed that their vocal tracts could “easily produce an adequate range of speech sounds to support spoken language,” disproving previous theories that both human anatomy and the human brain give us our specialized ability to speak.

Instead, Fitch argues that the “evolution of human speech capabilities required neural changes rather than modifications of vocal anatomy.” This revelation likely offers a clue to a bigger mystery: Understanding why human language emerged in the first place. Maybe we’ll find that out this year.

Biocentrism Posits That Death Is Merely Transport into Another Universe

Article Image
Is death merely a portal into another place in the multiverse.

Swiss Engineer Michele Angelo Besso was a close friend of Einstein’s. Upon his death, the father of relativity said, “Now Besso has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us … know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

We often think of the afterlife as a spiritual or religious belief, when in a way, its pursuit is also somewhat familiar to science. Robert Lanza, M.D. takes things one step further. He thinks we start out with a wrong assumption, that we have it all backward. It isn’t the universe which is supreme, but life. In fact, life and in particular consciousness are essential to the makeup of the universe, he says. Through the theory of biocentrism, he believes he can prove that space and time do not exist, unless our consciousness says they do.

This is an all-encompassing theory which in Greek means “life center.”Though radical, if one day proven correct, it could have ramifications for the study of physics, biology, consciousness, the brain, and even AI. Consider a blade of grass. Your brain through your eyes tells you its green. But what if a neuroscientist could reconnoiter that part of the brain where the concept registers, and make it indicate red or yellow instead? Lanza reminds us that all reality is sensory information interpreted by our brain.

It’s our consciousness that puts our reality together. For instance, space-time in physics is different from how we experience these, separate concepts in real life. Science treats the space-time continuum as a solid principle. According to Lanza they are “simply tools of our mind.” Death too in his view “cannot exist in any real sense.”

Dr. Robert Lanza in his laboratory, 2009.

Notice how, for instance, when you are a child, days and weeks seem to drag on, while when you get older, they fly by. Time itself hasn’t changed, just our perception of it. Whether the universe actually works the way in which we perceive it isn’t readily known. One of the fundamental laws of Newtonian physics is that energy isn’t created or destroyed, it simply takes another form. The energy trapped in our brain must take another form then, even when a person dies. Meanwhile, our senses tell us that it’s their end. But where does this energy go? In a world with endless space and time, could death really exist? If not, is immortality a phenomenon which occurs within space-time or outside of it?

Dr. Lanza isn’t some newfangled guru. He’s a biotech Zion, and currently, the Chief Scientific Officer of the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He’s studying stem cells and their application for treating disease. Previous to this, he did some research on embryonic stem cells and in cloning, both with animals and humans. Lanza is also an adjunct professor at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.

In quantum physics, particles can be observed in several different states at the same time. This is called superposition. They in fact, exist in all possible states simultaneously. In terms of predicting what a particle will do, nothing is absolute. Each state has its own range of probability. In Lanza’s view, each corresponds with a different universe.

This coincides with the “many worlds” theory, also known as the multiverse. Each universe is thought to operate with its own physical laws. Anything that can occur does, with one possibility playing out in each realm. Our life, Lanza believes, at one stage or another, is occurring across many universes simultaneously. Yet, your life on one world wouldn’t influence your life in another.

What are the chances that death is a portal into another universe?

What has long plagued particle physicists is that observation affects reality. Consider the famous double-slit test. In this classic experiment, physicists observe a particle passing through two slits in a barrier. When the phenomenon is observed, it behaves like a particle, a little cannonball shooting directly through the slits. If it isn’t observed, it performs like a wave, gliding through both openings at once. This shows that energy and matter are made up of both particles and waves, and that one’s mere observation changes its form.

Such inconsistencies don’t prove the existence of the multiverse, however. Yet, through the scaffolding of biocentrism or this new “Theory of Everything,” the physics begins to take shape. Consciousness is an essential force in the universe, according to this theory, which shows why the properties of energy, matter, space, and time, depend on whether or not a conscious mind is observing them. Lanza uses other research to support his view.

A 2002 study of photons or light particles, showed that they communicated with one another. When one photon was guided to a certain place, it was picked up by a detector. Researchers used a scrambler to force it to remain a particle rather than a wave. After one was sent out and reached its destination, the second photon crossed the same space instantaneously. It was as if it knew where it was going, and the knowledge must have traveled back to it faster than the speed of light. Another supporting factor in an entirely different category, is the Goldilocks principle. This is the theory that the universe was made just right for supporting life.

Photons being smashed at the CERN large hadron collider. 

Critics argue that unexplained phenomena in physics only occurs on the quantum level. They also point out that there is no direct evidence of the existence of other universes. Several physicists have told Forbes that Lanza’s writings look more like works of philosophy rather than science. The doctor himself states that he is healing a glaring rift, and applying innovative methods from biotech to physics. He also admits his theory lacks a mathematical basis. As such, Lanza’s working on the supporting mathematical structure. Papers are expected to follow in scientific journals.

Another competing theory accounts for inconsistencies in quantum physics by stating that the universe is an illusion. It could be for instance, a projection created by a highly advanced quantum computer. Though still entirely theoretical, biocentrism offers those of us who want to hold onto a comforting afterlife scenario, without giving up a devotion to science, an avenue to explore. In this vein, Lanza wrote, “Life is an adventure that transcends our ordinary linear way of thinking. When we die, we do so not in the random billiard-ball-matrix but in the inescapable-life-matrix. Life has a non-linear dimensionality; it’s like a perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse.”

Watch the video discussion. URL:


Tylenol can kill you; new warning admits popular painkiller causes liver damage, death

It has been a common household name in over-the-counter pain relief for more than 50 years. But the popular painkiller drug Tylenol is getting a major labeling makeover following a string of personal injury lawsuits. According to the Associated Press (AP), so many Tylenol users these days are suffering major liver damage or dying that the drug’s manufacturer, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, has decided to put a large, red warning label on the cap that informs users about the drug’s risks.

Even when taken at recommended doses, acetaminophen, the primary active ingredient in Tylenol, can cause major damage to the liver, potentially leading to liver failure and even death. In fact, acetaminophen is currently the leading cause of sudden liver failure in the U.S., as its toxic metabolites have been shown to kill liver cells. The drug is so toxic that as many as 80,000 people are rushed to the emergency room annually due to acetaminophen poisoning, and another 500-or-so end up dead from liver failure.


These are disturbing figures that might come as a surprise to most people, especially considering that millions of Americans pop Tylenol and acetaminophen-containing drugs on a regular basis. But with more than 85 personal injury lawsuits and counting filed against the company in federal court, McNeil is feeling the heat from a drug that has long been claimed as one of the safest painkiller drugs on the market, which it clearly is not.

“The warning will make it explicitly clear that the over-the-counter drug contains acetaminophen, a pain-relieving ingredient that’s the nation’s leading cause of sudden liver failure,” writes Matthew Perrone for the AP. “The new cap is designed to grab the attention of people who don’t read warnings that already appear in the fine print on the product’s label, according to company executives.”

The new label, which will bear the phrases “CONTAINS ACETAMINOPHEN” and “ALWAYS READ THE LABEL,” is set to first appear on all bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol, which contains more than 50 percent more acetaminophen per dose than regular strength Tylenol. And in the coming months, all bottles of Tylenol, including regular strength Tylenol, will bear the new label.

NyQuil, Sudafed, Excedrin and many other common drugs also contain acetaminophen

Despite the new label, McNeil, which is owned by drug giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J), insists that Tylenol is safe when taken as directed. But what the company fails to admit is that many people are taking not only Tylenol but also other drugs that contain acetaminophen, which increases their dose of the chemical to levels that are much higher than they probably realize.

According to the AP, nearly one in four Americans, or about 78 million people, consume drug products that contain acetaminophen in a given week. Some 600 over-the-counter drug products, it turns out, contain acetaminophen. These products include other painkiller drugs like Excedrin, for instance, as well as NyQuil cold formula and Sudafed sinus pills.

Combining these and other acetaminophen-containing drugs is a major cause of acetaminophen overdose, say experts, hence the addition of the new labels. But some people who stay well within the maximum daily dose of acetaminophen, which is currently set at 4,000 milligrams (mg) per day, still fall ill or die, which suggests that perhaps any level of acetaminophen is toxic and should be avoided.

“It’s still a little bit of a puzzle,” says Dr. Anne Larson from the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. “Is it a genetic predisposition? Are they claiming they took the right amount, but they really took more? It’s difficult to know.”

The Death of Ageing .

Eternal youth. Living for hundreds of years. The search to the secret to eternal life goes back thousands of years. So far it is a quest that has utterly failed.

But many believe these ideas could be part of the not-so-distant future. There is a movement of people trying to defeat ageing and some of the ills associated with it – some say, even death itself. It is a prospect that seems both fascinating and terrifying.

The titans of Silicon Valley are building an industry around those ideas. Google recently announced a spin-off research and development company, Calico, to disrupt ageing. And entrepreneurs are now collaborating with some of the world’s leading scientists to try to extend healthy life.

But what are the consequences of this research? What price could we pay for it? Can everyone really afford eternal youth? And does a world where humans live radically longer lives change the meaning of life itself?

Fault Lines travels to Japan to meet a researcher obsessed with immortality and to California to meet scientists who are pushing the boundaries of biotechnology to find out how we might achieve longer, healthier lives – and who will have access to such a future.

Ill Italian denounces ‘death wishes’

Nude mice in research lab

Several million animal experiments are carried out each year

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  • An Italian student suffering from a rare disease has denounced death threats she received after defending medical experiments on animals.

Caterina Simonsen said more than 30 “death wishes” and 500 abusive messages were sent to on her Facebook page.

The messages came after she uploaded a photo of herself with a message: “I am 25 thanks to genuine research that includes experiments on animals.”

In response to the abuse, she has posted videos of her condition online.

Caterina Simonsen, 25, lives in Padua and studies veterinary medicine at Bologna University.

She says she suffers from four rare genetic disorders and cannot breathe unaided.

“Without research, I would have been dead at nine,” she said in her initial message on 21 December. “You have gifted me a future.”

But a torrent of comments followed – some suggesting the world would be better off with her dead.

She has forwarded the details to the Italian authorities.

Animal research has always been controversial.

Many people strongly oppose the use of any animals in experiments arguing it is cruel and unethical.

Please share your views on experiments on animals.

EU-approved ‘safe’ air pollution levels causing early deaths.

Published time: December 09, 2013 14:08
Edited time: December 10, 2013 08:37

General view of the Origny sugar factory in Sainte-Benoite near Saint-Quentin. (AFP Photo / Philippe Huguen)General view of the Origny sugar factory in Sainte-Benoite near Saint-Quentin. (AFP Photo / Philippe Huguen)

Air pollution in the European Union is causing premature deaths even when levels meet quality guidelines, a report has shown. Even in areas where pollution was much lower than the limit, scientists found there is a higher-than-normal risk of death.

The study, published the British Medical Association’s journal The Lancet, found that Europeans who have had prolonged exposure to pollution from industrial activities or road traffic have a higher chance of premature death. The increased risk to a person’s health is linked to tiny particles of soot and dust than can get lodged in the lungs and cause respiratory illnesses.

The study, carried out by Utrecht University in the Netherlands, found the particles measure 2.5 microns or 2.5 millionth of a meter. Exposure for “up to a few months” to particles of 2.5 microns can increase the risk of premature death.

“Although this does not seem to be much, you have to keep in mind that everybody is exposed to some level of air pollution and that it is not a voluntary exposure, in contrast to, for example, smoking,” scientist Rob Beelen, who led the study, told AFP.

The findings of the study echo the results of similar investigations carried out in North America and China.

“Our findings support health impact assessments of fine particles in Europe which were previously based almost entirely on North American studies,” Beelen said.

As part of the study the researchers drew on 22 previously published studies that documented the health of 367,000 people in 13 countries in Western Europe over 14 years. Beelen and his team then traveled to the areas where the participants lived and took traffic pollution readings that they used to calculate how much pollution local residents were exposed to.


AFP Photo / Frederick FlorinDuring the investigation, 29,000 of the 367,000 participants recruited in 1990 died. In order to increase accuracy, investigations also took into account such factors as physical exercise, body mass, education and smoking habits. 

European Union guidelines set the maximum exposure to particles of 25 micrograms per cubic meter. Beelen says the results of this study are evidence the EU needs to reset its safety limits to 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

“Despite major improvements in air quality in the past 50 years, the data from Beelen and his colleagues’ report draw attention to the continuing effects of air pollution on health,” Jeremy Langrish and Nicholas Mills, of the University of Edinburgh, told the Medical Press.

In China a red alert was issued for poor air quality was issued Thursday after pollution reached hazardous levels. The coastal city of Qingdao recorded PM2.5 Air Quality Index levels of over 300, while Nanjing saw a reading of 354 on Wednesday, according to local news portal

In light of the dangerous levels of pollution the Chinese government is considering the practice of ‘cloud seeding’ to clear toxic fog in the country. According to a document released by the China Meteorological Administration, from 2015 local meteorological authorities will be permitted to use cloud seeding to disperse pollution.

The World Health Organization has classified outdoor pollution as one of the principal causes of cancer and estimates around 3.2 million people die every year globally as a result of prolonged exposure.

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed.

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality..


I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Manydeveloped illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way,you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what  others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying..

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happine


Belgian transsexual helped to die

Belgian helped to die after three sex change operations.

Generic undated photograph of hospital syringes.
Cases of recorded deaths from euthanasia on psychological grounds have risen in Belgium.

A transsexual has been helped to die by doctors in Belgium, after a series of failed sex-change operations.

Nathan Verhelst, born a girl, asked for help to end his life on grounds of psychological suffering. He died in a Brussels hospital on Monday.

Two doctors concluded the 44-year-old did not have temporary depression. His case received scant media coverage.

Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002. There were 52 cases of euthanasia on psychological grounds last year.

‘Rigorous procedure’

“He died in all serenity,” doctor Wim Distlemans told the Belgian newspaper, Het Laatste Nieuws.

Nathan Verhelst was born Nancy into a family of three boys. The newspaper, which said it had spoken to him on the eve of his death, reported that he had been rejected by his parents who had wanted another son.

He had three operations to change sex between 2009 and 2012.

“The first time I saw myself in the mirror I felt an aversion for my new body,” he was quoted as saying.

The hospital said there was an “extremely rigorous procedure” in place before any patient was put to death. “When we have a case which is… complicated, we ask ourselves more questions in order to be certain about the diagnosis,” Dr Jean-Michel Thomas said.


The BBC’s Matthew Price in Brussels says the number of people opting for euthanasia in Belgium has risen steadily since legalisation. Most candidates are over 60 years old and have cancer.

Voluntary euthanasia for those over 18 is relatively uncontroversial in Belgium. Parliament is now considering expanding the law to under 18s as well.

Patients must be capable of deciding for themselves. They must be conscious and have to give a “voluntary, considered and repeated” request to die.

There were 1,432 recorded cases of euthanasia in Belgium in 2012; a 25% increase on the previous year’s figure. They represented 2% of all deaths, the AFP news agency reported.

Improving the Efficiency of Computed Tomography Lung Cancer Screening.

Restricting screening to highest-risk smokers would retain most of the benefit.
In the randomized National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), three annual screenings with low-dose computed tomography (CT) lowered lung cancer–related mortality among current or former (within 15 years) smokers (age range, 55–74) with smoking histories of ≥30 pack-years (NEJM JW Gen Med Jul 14 2011). But the relatively small absolute benefit (3 fewer deaths per 1000 screened during average follow-up of 6.5 years) and the high rate of false-positive CT findings raise this question: Can we target screening to a subgroup of smokers most likely to benefit?

To address this question, researchers used data from the NLST control group to develop a risk-prediction model for lung cancer–related death; the model incorporated age, sex, race, family history, details of smoking history (i.e., pack-years, time since smoking cessation), and known pulmonary disease. Next, the researchers used the model to divide NLST participants into quintiles of 5-year risk for lung cancer–related death, which ranged from <0.5% in the first quintile to >2.0% in the fifth quintile.

The number of lung cancer deaths prevented by CT screening ranged from 1 per 5300 (in the lowest-risk quintile) to 33 per 5300 (in the highest-risk quintile). Thus, the number needed to screen to prevent 1 death ranged from 5300 in the lowest-risk quintile to 161 in the highest-risk quintile. Rates of false-positive scans were high in all quintiles (between 30% and 40%).


This is an important analysis. It shows that, by refining the eligibility criteria for CT screening, we could retain nearly all the benefits while lowering the number of people screened, costs, and burdens of false-positive scans.

Source: NEJM

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