Addiction has become undoubtedly entangled in modern American society. Whether it’s gambling, food, sex, technology, alcohol or drugs, the deadly disease hijacks the human brain with severe ramifications. Recent eruptions in the number of opiate addicts and overdoses has shined an even brighter spotlight on this critical public health issue.
There is an inclination to equate addiction to a moral failing, lack of willpower, or simply bad judgment. Dr. Rita Goldstein, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, explains that due to our ‘evolutionary legacy,’ the reward center in the brain is designed to make us feel good when we do things like eat food or have sex. Yet, with prolonged addiction, a chemical imbalance occurs, and as a result, the reward center takes priority over rational thinking or the threat of negative consequence. When addictive behavior is continually reinforced, further imbalance occurs, weakening the part of the brain meant to counterbalance impulsive behavior.
The good news; Dr. Anna Rose Childress, Research Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Pennsylvania School of Medicine, observes that with abstinence, with or without the use of medications for recovering addicts, the brain can begin rewiring pathways created in the midst of addiction. The road to recovery is not yet paved in the golden promise of a cure, but understanding the biology of addiction is a critical component of treating the disease.
Dr. Rita Goldstein, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York
Dr. Anna Rose Childress, Research Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
It’s much more convenient to dismiss the idea of having to survive a natural disaster, yet the recent surge of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires in the continent of North America alone has left the unprepared scrambling to put together a survival strategy. Co-authors of The Provident Prepper: A Common Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies, as well as married couple, Jonathan and Kylene Jones, share their expertise as civil defense experts.
“Being prepared is really a force multiplier…[which] means that instead of somebody having to take care of you, you can take care of yourself and your family and reach out to those around you and make a big difference in this world,” according to Jonathan Jones. Even the most obvious things can become exceedingly complicated during a natural disaster. Everyday resources such as food, water, and electricity can suddenly become inaccessible. Water is at the top of the list, at a minimum of two-gallon of water per person per day. Natural disasters at the more severe end of the scale can mean no tap water, grocery stores being closed or destroyed, being unable to get needed medical attention and essential medications.
The number one type of disaster to prepare for according to the civil defense experts is fire. It’s extremely important to have a plan already prepared with your loved ones for evacuating the house. There should be an agreed upon meeting place and, although it may seem unnecessary, executing family fire drills will ensure everyone knows how to respond when the fire alarm interrupts your daily routine.
Jonathan Jones and Kylene Jones, co-authors, The Provident Prepper: A Common Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies
On average, the secondary school day begins at 8 a.m, which can make for some groggy students. Most parents will complain that their teen likes to stay up late and sleep in, but there is actually a scientific explanation behind that tendency. The hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep, behaves differently during the teenage years, meaning that a teen’s sleep schedule is about two hours behind the rest of the world. According to Dr, Wendy Troxel, Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist, Rand Corp. and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, it’s a lot like having continuou jet lag for a few years. Dr.Terra Ziporyn Snider, Executive Director and co-founder of Start School Later, says that most teens get the bulk of their REM sleep between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., which is also the time they are being woken up for school.
Dr. Snider says that even though it might seem that the problem is teens staying up late on their phones, that in the end the problem is really the early start time for school, because it forces the student into an unhealthy sleep pattern. says Dr. Ziporyn Snider. Dr. Troxel also points to thirty years of research that shows that later start times help students succeed.
So, if later start times are scientifically shown to be better, why hasn’t the public school system adopted them? According to Dr. Snider, it comes down to school politics and backlash from parents. Communities who have considered pushing back start times receive parent complaints about how the schedule affects after-school activities and before and after school care, how families who also have elementary school students have to change their routines, and even about the different traffic patterns later in the day. All of these concerns become reasons for schools to keep things as they are. In contrast, however, school administrators who have committed to the change say they will never go back, because the students show up more, and perform better.
Dr. Wendy Troxel, Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist, Rand Corp. and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Terra Zipporyn Snider, Executive Director and co-founder, Start School Later organization
It may seem surprising that the number one question women asked when diagnosed with cancer is not “am I going to die,” but actually “am I going to lose my hair?” When beauty editor Caitlin Kiernan received the shattering diagnosis of cancer, she was obviously concerned about her health. But as a working professional, she also wanted to learn how to look her best while feeling her worst. Caitlin called on her list of extensive contacts–from top medical doctors to hair stylists, makeup artists, and style mavens–to gather the best and most useful tips to offset the unpleasant effects of treatment. In her book Pretty Sick: A Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer, she talks about how it seemed that her job and her health were not reconcilable. When she would ask about how to keep herself looking good, she would receive judgment about how this was a time to be focused on her health, not her beauty. Keirnan says the two are not mutually exclusive because feeling pretty and confident helps many of us get through the day. Other reasons women are often concerned with their physical appearance as they fight cancer include not wanting to frighten or upset their children, and not drawing critical attention at work.
Caitlin Keirnan, former fashion columnist & beauty director, cancer survivor and author, Pretty Sick: A Beauty Guide for Women With Cancer
Do you have a fear of going to the doctor? For some people that fear is actually not of going to doctor, but of being deported because they went. According to Dr. Evan Ashkin, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the crackdown on undocumented immigrants is limiting their health options. Dr. Ashkin talks about specially funded safety net clinics, designed to treat patients without any or adequate insurance with dignity and respect, and how fear within the undocumented community still prevents most patients from venturing out to take advantage of them.
Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, a doctor at Cambridge Health Alliance in Everett, MA, treats many immigrants in her work and says that is is hard to build trust with undocumented immigrants because many of them come from countries where health professionals are a part of the government. Dr. Poorman’s patients are also afraid to apply for insurance because of the immigration check included. This usually leads to people going without medical exams and prompt treatment, which then leads to bigger and more expensive issues. Both doctors say they have multiple stories about people risking their lives and even dying because of the fear of deportation.
With the federal government’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, many of them are skipping going to the doctor or the emergency room for fear of deportation.
Dr. Evan Ashkin, Professor of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, primary care physician, Cambridge Health Alliance, Everett, MA
We usually associate food cravings for things like ice cream and pickles with pregnancy, but pregnant women and young children are among the most likely to suffer from another kind of craving – a disorder called Pica. Pica is characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as ice, clay, chalk, hair, paper, drywall, paint, metal, stones, soil, glass or feces.
Dr. Sera Young, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Health at Northwestern University, explains why clay is the most common pica craving — clay has been proven to help with nausea and other health issues that pregnant women experience.. She also believes pica is under-reported because doctors don’t ask the right questions and patients are ashamed to admit their odd cravings to doctors. Pica is usually seen as a tropical climate issue, but some studies show that one-third of women in upper New York State have experienced pica at some point in time, as have women in Chicago. Pica actually is not exotic or rare, and can be both helpful or harmful depending on what the individual is eating.
Dr. Richard Kreipe, Director of Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program at the University of Rochester, says that a common complication is that a ball of stuff, usually hair, can form in the body of a sufferer, causing many problems. He adds that many aspects of Pica, including its specific causes, are still a mystery due to lack of knowledge on the subject.
Pregnancy and early childhood are the most common time for a strange disorder that prompts people to eat non-food items such as clay or ice. Experts discuss its mysterious history.
Dr. Sera Young, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Health, Northwestern University
Dr. Richard Kreipe, Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program, University of Rochester