Alternative medicine treatment put four-year-old boy in A& E – BBC News

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The plight of a four-year-old boy who nearly succumbed after his mothers dedicated him 12 alternative medications has inspired physicians to warn against the treatments.

Doctors at Newham Hospital in east London said the mothers were “devastated” that their good intents had constructed him so unwell.

The boy took a dozen supplements supposedly to help treat his autism.

The National Autistic Society said it was crucial for physicians to talk through the risks of alternative therapies.

The boy developed a potentially fatal condition after taking supplements from a naturopath( natural health practitioner) for a number of months, which included vitamin D, camel’s milk, silver and Epsom bath salts.

He was admitted to A& E after losing 6.5 lbs( 3kg) over three weeks, suffering from symptoms including vomiting and extreme thirst.

Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption ‘Often parents is considered that supplements are natural, safe…but this is not true in many cases’

Dr Catriona Boyd and Dr Abdul Moodambail, writing in the British Medical Journal Case Reports , said it was not until the son had been at Newham Hospital, which is part of St Bart’s Health Trust, for several days that his mother told them about the holistic supplements.

Dr Moodambail told the BBC: “This happens on many occasions with other patients as well.

“Often the parents is considered that these supplements are natural, safe and do not cause any side effects or adverse effects, but this is not true in many cases like this.”

He added: “The situation was stark because the child developed vitamin D toxicity leading to very high calcium levels, inducing the child quite unwell and this can even be fatal as well.”

The boy made a full recovery in two weeks after being treated with hyperhydration and drugs to reduce his calcium level.

What are complementary and alternative therapies?

Complementary and alternative medications( CAMs) are therapies that fall outside of mainstream healthcare Generally when a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, it is considered “complementary” When a non-mainstream practise is used instead of conventional medicine, it is considered “alternative” Examples of CAMS include homeopathy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic and herbal medications Some complementary and alternative medications or treatments are based on principles and an proof base that are not recognised by the majority of independent scientists Others have been proven to work for a limited number of health conditions, such as osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture for treating lower back ache When a person utilizes any health treatment – including a CAM – and experiences an improvement, this may be due to the placebo effect Osteopaths and chiropractors are regulated in the same way as mainstream medical professionals “Were not receiving” statutory professional regulation of any other CAM practitioners

Indian women still unprotected five years after gang-rape that rocked nation

Report detects willingness to report sexual offences has grown but women often harassed by police or bullied into silence

Complaining to police about her gang-rape was the beginning of a new nightmare for Kajal.

Officers incarcerated the young woman from Madhya Pradesh state in central India. They beat her with a stick, she says, until she agreed to drop the charges. She was abandoned by her husband and threatened by the accused men.

” I have lost everything and everyone blameds me ,” said Kajal, an assumed name.

Five years since a brutal gang-rape that galvanised a movement against sexual assault in India, women who report the crime are still routinely harassed by police or bullied into stillnes, according to research released in Delhi on Wednesday.

The Human Rights Watch report found that willingness to report rape and other sexual offences had significantly grown, but was often stymied by regressive community positions, especially outside big cities.

In one case highlighted in the report, a “low-caste” woman from Haryana state was pressured by her village council to sabotage a trial against six men from a more powerful caste charged with raping her.

“[ She] didn’t have another way ,” a relative of the woman told HRW.” If you want to live in the village, you have to listen to the[ councils ].”

Implementation of laws intended to protect women, passed after the 2012 attack on student Jyoti Singh, was also patchy, activists said.

Researchers detected one hospital in Rajasthan state continued to administer ” two-finger” exams- in which doctors insert thumbs into the vagina to determine if a woman is sexually active- though the practice was banned across India in 2013.

And though a 2015 statute also mandates that victims be paid a minimum of 300,000 rupees( PS3, 526) in compensation, just three of the 21 rape survivors interviewed by HRW had received any money.

Access to support services such as healthcare or legal aid was also inadequate.

” Women and girls said that they received almost no attention to their health needs, including counselling, even when it was clear they had a great need for it ,” the report said.

Vrinda Grover, a supreme court lawyer who specialises in sexual assault lawsuits, said the willingness of women to report sexual crimes has been an increase “miraculously”.

Nearly 35,000 rape occurrences were reported to police and 7,000 sentences recorded in 2015, a nearly 40% increase in three years.

” Women are fighting against very heavy odds and are not giving up ,” Grover said.” Even if they have to leave home or their families, they are seeking justice. The system is no longer running unchallenged .”

Many individual judges and police officer had also emerged as leaders in” trying to attain the system work”, she said.

But she said progression of the past five years had still not reached enough Indian women from less powerful castes, religion minorities, or those living in villages and small cities.

” The various kinds of resistance they are suffering, both from the system and from society, reflects the true face of where we are ,” Grover said.” The system continues to be unresponsive and society has not changed .”

The report found that newly introduced sexual crimes such as harassment, voyeurism and stalking were too frequently not taken seriously, with police often delaying investigating the crimes or filing charges.

In some instances, accused humen employed the delays to make threats against the alleged victims and their families.

” What is required is proper training, procedure and accountability for public officials who fail to uphold the security, dignity and rights of survivors ,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s south Asia director.

” It takes time to change mindsets, but the Indian government should ensure medical, counselling and legal support to victims and their families, and at the same hour do more to sensitise police officers, judicial officials and medical professionals on the proper handled in sexual violence cases .”

The report, based on more than 60 interviews, also recommended that India urgently enforced a victim and witness protection programme.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Obamas Legacy In Science, Technology And Innovation

TheAs the old aphorism says, its difficult to construct predictions, especially about the future. Assessing the legacy of Barack Obama will be easier in a few decades when we can see the long-term consequences of his presidential decisions and initiatives.

An immediate analysis of his science and technology policies, however, exposes significant accomplishments in the promotion of science and technology, education, space exploitation, clean energy, climate change and the environment. While major endeavors like the Precision Medicine Initiative and Paris climate arrangement received the headlines, they were part of a larger, mostly successful aim to restore science to its rightful place and exert technologys wonders in forming and enforcing government policy.

The administrations shortcomings around science some of which reflected Republican political pressures included limited funding overall and traveling restrictions for government workers, both of which reduced the effectiveness of positive science and tech policies.

Psyched about science

In office Obama was basically an optimist about the potential of science and technology to improve society and safely expand the economy. His most significant( and low profile) near-term initiatives elevated and institutionalized the foundations of scientific research exploration, data-based experimentation and policy, openness, transparency, and access to information into routine government activities. These steps should accelerate the commercialization and diffusion of research.

Many changes were small but improved the efficiency of programs. For instance, adjustments made based on the outcomes of behavioral science experimentations increased military employees participation in the Thrift Saving Plan while cutting program costs.

One visible sign of the significance the Obama administration placed on making sure research results constructed it out of labs and into practice was the expansion of the phrase science and technology( S& T) to science, technology and innovation( ST& I) by president Obama. The created in the new positions of federal Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, and Chief Data Officer was another show of this integration.

Obama strongly supported science, technology, engineering and math STEM education. Hosting science carnivals at the White House garnered lots of media attention. But other initiatives within the administrations Educate to Innovate campaign will prove more consequential in improving K-1 2 education in America. For instance, the 100Kin10 attempt aims to train 100,000 new science teachers by 2021, STEM for All fosters active learn for the increasingly diverse student population, and SkillCommons generates open-source online software for education.

Environmentally, Obama focused on slowing global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting renewable energy and increasing the efficiency of energy use domestically and internationally. The incoming Trump administration with its climate deniers may try to reverse many of Obamas policies, but the last eight years have significantly reshaped the structure of energy production and intake worldwide. In 2015, new energy capacity from renewables exceeded new capability from fossil fuels for the first time.

In space, the Obama administration strongly promoted commercialization, directing NASA to pay private firms to launch supplies and, in 2018, astronauts to the International Space Station. This should reduce the high cost of reaching earth orbit and thus the exploration and exploitation of space.

While attracting fewer headlines, initiatives on space climate and the asteroids and comets that might strike our planet may end up preserving civilization. In 1859, an extremely powerful solar blizzard disrupted Earths magnetic field. A similar Carrington event today would destroy spacecrafts and much of the worlds electric power transmission grid. Worst-case scenarios( always good for pushing people to act) predict hundreds of millions of people succumbing because of the loss of electric power for years. A large asteroid striking Earth could devastate a large region, kill millions, and trigger a new ice age.

Guarding against these rare but inevitable natural events will not excite voters, but demonstrates preventive stewardship. These initiatives coordinated government efforts across multiple departments to predict a dangerous event, provide warn, and equip spacecrafts and terrestrial infrastructure to minimize damage and maximize resiliency.

On the other hand, curtailed traveling

One major negative effect on science from the Obama administration was its crippling of federal employees attending conferences.

In 2010, the General Services Administration, which supports federal agencies, held a lavish meeting in Las Vegas. Congressional Republicans and Democrat assaulted this very visible misuse of taxpayer dollars. In reply, the Obama administration overreacted by sharply restricting federal spending on conferences and creating an elaborate, expensive bureaucratic process for government employees to get permission to attend a meeting, workshop or other professional meetings. Reflecting these restrictions, the number of defense scientists attending the Defense Security and Scanning conference of the International Society for Optic and Photonics dropped from 648 in 2012 to 206 in 2013, for example.

Serendipitous face to face interactions are a crucial part of scientific gatherings. CTBTO, CC BY

The sharply curtailed government presence frustrated scientific societies and researchers, both federal employees and those in academia and representatives of the private sector. Despite the increasing ease of electronic communications, professional sessions remain one of the most productive routes for people to learn, exchange and debate ideas.

By decreasing a chance for researchers to meet in person, the Obama administration hurt the ingenuity and productivity of the entire ST& I community , not only federal employees. This was an solely self-inflicted wound.

No real progress on cybersecurity

Cybersecurity remains a weak area for the Obama administration. The White House released a policy review in 2009, voluntary guidelines for critical infrastructure in 2013 and its cybersecurity report last month.

But while Obama was in office, new cyber issues maintained emerging. The theft of millions of records from the Office of Personnel Management by China, the manipulation of the presidential election by Russia, issues of privacy and surveillance, economic cyberespionage and the growing range of cybercrimes all exemplify the axiom, Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.

In fairness, cybersecurity was a fairly low priority throughout the country. There were apparently few consequences to firms that fail to maintain adequate defenses. The onu of identity stealing, for example, falls on the individual. The revelations of American cyberspying by Edward Snowden and the deployment of the American-Israeli computer Stuxnet virus to destroy Iranian uranium centrifuges put the Obama administration on the defensive. Congressional and business skepticism, some partisan but mostly motivated by disagreement about what to do, resulted in little legislative initiatives.

And never enough fund

Perhaps the most important point shortcoming of the Obama administrations science and technology agenda was its inability to increase S& T funding.

Partly this reflects the demographic tendency of an aging U.S. population focused more on its retirement and medical costs than investing in research and development for the future. As more people retire and live longer, entitlements like Social security systems and Medicare increasingly crowd out the discretionary part of the federal budget.

Coupled with budget battles with Congressional Republicans, including a costly government shutdown in 2013 and sequestration, research results has been near-stagnant ST& I budgets. Thats in contrast to the long-term increases proposed by the president in 2009 to expand public and private spending on the investigations and developing from 2.8 to 3.0 percent of GDP.

Consequently, many possibilities ran unfunded or underfunded. Success rates for awards from the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation and NASA all decreased. Indeed, President Obama in 2010 and again in 2016 called for sending astronauts to Mars but did not try to convince Congress to fund that undertaking, the most recent of a series of chairmen to do so.

Science rightful place ?

Unsurprisingly, the Obama administrations rhetoric outpaced its resources and limiteds. Nonetheless, the 44 th chairperson left a strong legacy of supporting ST& I not just for the goals of discovery and economic growth but to strengthen democracy and improve the processes of government.

If its campaign tweets, transition personnel, and cabinet appointments are any show, the incoming Trump administration will provide a very strong contrast. With top officials at odds with the data-based, open scientific approach on many issues, science, technology, and innovation may take a beating.

Jonathan Coopersmith, Professor of History, Texas A& M University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Does Kratom Really Kill? Officials Aren’t Telling Us The Whole Story.

John Grove stood out among the dozens of fatal medication overdose victims the Georgia Bureau of Investigation examined in November 2016.

It wasn’t simply the 34 -year-old’s hulking frame. At 6 feet 4 inches and nearly 270 pounds at autopsy, Grove’s muscular body showed few signs of the years he’d spent battling opioid addiction.

But when his toxicology exam came back in January 2017, it uncovered something unusual. There were no opioids in his system , nor were there cocaine or benzodiazepines, which are now responsible for the overwhelming majority of medication overdoses. Instead, Grove tested positive for a single substance: mitragynine, best known as the psychoactive ingredient of kratom, an herbal narcotic derived from the leaves of a Southeast Asian tree related to coffee.

And it was mitragynine that had caused Grove to collapse on the floor of his coworker’s bathroom and die, GBI concluded.

It was an odd and apparently unprecedented determination. Scientists say there’s scant proof that mitragynine causes fatal overdoses, and many kratom proponents claim that overdosing on the substance alone is impossible. Although authorities have come forward with reports of deaths supposedly related to kratom, all of the cases they’ve quoth publicly have involved the presence of other, often more dangerous drugs, building it nearly impossible to discern kratom’s role in the fatalities.

But mitragynine was the only substance on Grove’s toxicology test. His death, listed as an “acute mitragynine intoxication, ” could have provided an important window into how this drug supposedly kills humen when taken in isolation.

HuffPost took a closer look at Grove’s case and other “kratom-related deaths” in Georgia. We found that not only is the country employing sloppy reporting on these deaths, likely overestimating the apparent harms of kratom, but the nation also appears to be rushing to blamed mitragynine for the deaths of people like Grove, even when there may be more likely culprits.

Courtesy of Bob Grove
John Grove in the late summer of 2016. Grove died months later of “acute mitragynine intoxication, ” according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Grove was one of the first deceased individuals in Georgia to test positive for mitragynine, following GBI’s decision in November 2016 to begin routinely screening for the substance amid mounting very concerned about kratom, according to records relevant agencies provided to HuffPost.

There were four such kratom-related deaths in the nation in 2016, according to GBI; and 11 more so far this year. Those figures recently led the state’s chief medical examiner to warn that kratom is killing people in Georgia.

But when HuffPost investigated GBI’s data, it became clear that relevant agencies is relying on a loose interpreting of what it means for a demise to be “related” to kratom. In fact, it appears to be counting every fatal medication overdose in which mitragynine is present as a so-called kratom-related death.

Of the 15 lawsuits GBI has documented, only four someones tested positive for mitragynine alone. Grove was among them, though HuffPost has learned detailed information which show that even in cases like his, mitragynine may not be the most probable killer.

Every other supposed kratom-related death in Georgia also involved additional substances, often including much stronger medications like heroin, prescription drugs or other potent opioid analogs like fentanyl — sometimes taken together.

In two of the cases GBI holds kratom-related deaths, the subjects tested positive for eight different substances, including opioids, antidepressants and other powerful prescription drugs. Due to the nature of GBI’s data collection methods, it considers these demises to be kratom-related.

Alissa Scheller
A breakdown of the 15 “kratom-related deaths” GBI has reported since 2016. Merely four occurrences involved mitragynine alone.

This system, which indiscriminately lumps examples into the same category despite glaring dissimilarities, says nothing about how — or even if — GBI decided mitragynine had actually contributed to each death.

GBI declined to comment to HuffPost about Grove’s examination, including what had led to the determination that he had died of “acute mitragynine intoxication, ” as well as what such an incident actually looks like.

Using these loose reporting standards, officers in Georgia have been able to claim they have the data necessary to categorize kratom as a potentially deadly drug.

But emerging science has received mitragynine to be largely benign, especially when taken in low or moderate doses. Additional research is needed to identify potential health conditions or genetic predispositions that could cause complications for kratom users. After all, if officers are genuinely interested in preventing harm related to kratom, they must first identify with certainty what that harm is.

GBI’s broad-brush treatment of kratom-related demises does nothing to expand this understanding, and may actually obscure it by a producing a misleading narrative about mitragynine’s effects.

Alissa Scheller
An smorgasbord of kratom products. Customers say the herbal drug can be used to treat a variety of ailments, including chronic ache, anxiety and opioid addiction.