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Medical Cannabis and Autism

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Autism is exceptionally prevalent worldwide, especially among children. Autistic children experienced behavioral outbreaks, communication blocks, and stress. Cannabis-based treatments are rapidly emerging as a safer, well-tolerated option to combat some of the autistic symptoms. In previous studies, researchers had administered Dronabinol, which is a THC based drug. They found reductions in hyperactivity, irritability, and lethargy. Another study demonstrated that the administration of Dronabinol reduced self-destructive behavior in a group of 10 adolescents. 

The mechanism of cannabis in affecting autistic patients is not understood entirely. However, research hypothesizes that GABA and glutamate action can limit the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system. Other research studies have suggested that cannabis can enhance the release of oxytocin and vasopressin. These are hormones that can contribute to increased processing of social information

A recent study aims to analyze the efficacy and safety of cannabis-based treatments on young autistic patients. The results of the study demonstrated that compliance of the treatment is high, with 85% of participants completing the treatment. The side effects of the treatments included restlessness, which was present in 6.6% of the patients. These side effects were easy to manage, which potentially contributes to the high efficacy of the treatment. About 80% of participants reported significant or moderate improvement in their symptoms. 

While cannabis seems to impact autistic behavioral systems positively, there is more research needed on the subject. Let us know in the comments if cannabis has alleviated autistic symptoms in anyone you know! 

Source:

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-37570-y

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Lifestyle

5 Ways to Relieve Stress During a Pandemic

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Living in uncertain times can feel a bit stressful, especially when facing a pandemic. Most of us have never experienced living through a pandemic as well as having to adapt swiftly to our temporary reality. Public places that were once accessible are now closed due to the coronavirus epidemic. Staying at home can create anxiety, unable to go to the gym to get those endorphins up, or visiting friends and family. Incorporating a sense of normalcy into your daily activities is essential to relieve stress and lower anxiety levels. There are still some ways you can increase your endorphin levels and stay productive in the comfort of your own home including:

Meditation

There is research that shows meditation can improve symptoms of stress-related conditions. The benefits of meditation also include the ability to regulate everyday emotions and boost the immune system. Creating a daily habit of meditation can help preserve these benefits and help develop a positive outlook on life. There are apps you can download to start your meditation journey and help guide you through your meditation. 

Exercise

Gyms may be temporarily closed, but you can still fit in a good workout without any gym equipment. Maintaining your workout routine is essential for supporting healthy immune function and preventing weight gain. To add resistance to your workout, you can find a bag or backpack and fill it with cans or any other items to use the bag as a weight. From squats to lunges or burpees you can get your heart pumping and relieve stress. You can also access streaming services online to find at-home workouts and keep you motivated like in the video down below. 

Grab a Book

Take a break from binge-watching the latest series on your streaming devices and grab a book to keep your brain engaged. Reading just 30 minutes a day can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and psychological distress. Reading fiction can boost your imagination, and reading self-help books can help you navigate your daily lives. Staying mentally proactive is just as important as staying physically active. 

Get Outside 

Staying indoors can start to feel a bit suffocating, unable to go to the mall to walk around or even to restaurants on a Saturday night. The CDC recommends the population to practice social distancing to keep a distance of six feet from others outside your home. You can still go outside and grab some fresh air to supply your daily dose of vitamin D. On your next lunch break, take a minute to get out and help restore your focus.

Phone Family/Friends

Studies have shown that having social support is vital to maintain physical and mental health. Social support also builds resilience against stress. You may be unable to visit your friend’s home, but with modern technology, it’s possible to video chat, call, and text loved ones. 

The most important thing you can do to relieve the anxieties of the outside world is to prioritize your physical and mental health. Implement these daily activities to help manage your stress levels and stay active.

Sources:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#section3
  2. https://wordofhealth.com/2019/06/18/top-5-meditation-apps-to-try-in-2019/
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/health/exercise-gym-close-coronavirus-quarantine-wellness-jampolis/index.html
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-reading-books
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html
  6. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/70548/11-scientific-benefits-being-outdoors
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921311/

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Lifestyle

Five Household Products to Disinfect your home from the coronavirus

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Most people are staying indoors to stay protected from contracting the infectious disease known as COVID-19. They are making sure to practice good hygiene by washing their hands for approximately twenty seconds with warm water and soap and resist touching their faces outside of home recommended by the CDC.

But what about when we get home? Are the typical everyday cleaning products effective enough to remove the coronavirus? There are available products you can find at local stores to disinfect every room in your home correctly. The everyday household items to add to your list include:

Bleach

One household item that is effective against the virus and bacteria is bleach. The CDC recommends a diluted bleach solution 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. Be sure to use bleach as directed on the bottle, and never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Try to avoid using bleach frequently to clean your faucets, stainless steel products, and countertops as it can corrode metal over time. After disinfecting surfaces, make sure to rinse with water to prevent discoloration. 

Isopropyl Alcohol

For hard surfaces, alcohol solutions that contain at least 70% alcohol are useful against the Coronavirus. Apply the alcohol solution, but make sure not to dilute it. Once applied, let it sit on the surface for approximately 30 seconds to disinfect the surfaces. Take caution when using alcohol. It is typically safe for all surfaces but can cause discoloration to some plastics

Hydrogen Peroxide

According to the CDC, 3% hydrogen peroxide is effective within 6 to 8 minutes of exposure. Pour the hydrogen peroxide in an undiluted spray bottle and spray it on the surface. Then let it sit on the surface for at least 1 minute. Hydrogen peroxide like bleach can discolor fabrics if it happens to get on your clothes.

Surface Wipes

In surface wipes, antiseptics are the active ingredient that works on bacteria as well as coronaviruses. The wipes physically remove the germs when you swipe in one motion and after a layer of the antiseptic is left on the surface it works to kill bacteria. CDC recommends to wipe down everyday surfaces like keyboards, doorknobs, phones, etc

Hand sanitizers

Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol are recommended to kill bacteria. Unless hands are visibly dirty, the CDC advises washing hands with soap and water, as shown in the video below.

Dealing with an unknown virus such as COVID-19 has left the world worried about our everyday lives. There is some reassurance knowing we can keep our homes safe to protect ourselves and loved ones with items that are accessible at local stores. For a list of more measures to take for prevention, check out the CDC website here.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
  2. https://www.consumerreports.org/cleaning/common-household-products-that-can-destroy-novel-coronavirus/
  3. https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-the-expert-advice-on-which-cleaning-products-to-use-against-coronavirus
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html

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Fitness/ Diet

The Rundown of the Impossible Burger

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Photo Credit: pexels.com

With the human population immensely increasing each decade, the concern of utilizing all of our resources and making the Earth uninhabitable has loomed over our heads. Fortunately, back in 2011, Impossible Foods Inc. seemingly achieved the impossible, creating a plant-based burger that mimics the color, smell, and flavor of the meat. By replacing meat with plant-based “meat,” Impossible Foods Inc. hopes to reduce the harmful effects of animal agriculture on the Earth to restore natural ecosystems. Food scientists at Impossible Foods Inc. discovered that heme is the ingredient that gives meat that “meaty” flavor that people crave. Heme, located in hemoglobin, plays a vital role in animals by allowing the bloodstream to carry oxygen throughout the body. 

 A common reason why many people switch to being vegetarian and vegan is to live a healthier lifestyle. However, are these plant-based “meats” really healthier compared to their meat counterparts? The answer is not really. One of the main ingredients in the Impossible Burger is coconut oil. Although it is perceived as a “healthy” fat, coconut oil is high in saturated fat. The American Heart Association also advises against consuming coconut oil. Upon comparing the Impossible Burger to its other burger counterparts, we see the following: 

  • Impossible burger: 240 calories with 8g of saturated fat 
  • Beef burger: 280 calories with 9g of saturated fat 
  • Veggie burgers are not meant to mimic meat: 150-160 calories with 4g of saturated fat 

 The Impossible burger has fewer calories and grams of saturated fat than the beef burger; however, it contains more sodium than its meat and veggie burger counterparts. Even though the Impossible Burger may be better for the environment, they are not necessarily nutritionally healthier for consumers. The Impossible Burger is a good alternative for people who are vegetarian to reduce the consumption of animal-based foods. However, a traditional veggie burger is a healthier choice due to its low-fat content. Overall, Impossible Foods Inc. has created a viable alternative to classic burgers, striving to achieve what seems to be impossible. 

Sources: 

  1. https://medium.com/impossible-foods/the-mission-that-motivates-us-d4d7de61665
  2. https://medium.com/impossible-foods/heme-health-the-essentials-95201e5afffa
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/09/health/plant-fake-meat-burgers-good-for-you-or-not/index.html

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