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11 hours ago

Mar 30 - Man Killed by Falling Headstone While Decorating Family Grave

4 people viewing this

| By messy marv stan - 11 hours ago

A man decorating a gravesite for Easter died Monday morning when a headstone fell on him in Lackawanna County.

Police say Stephen Woytack, 74, of Scranton was the man killed at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Throop.

The cemetery’s caretaker spoke with us shortly after the incident. He says Woytack and his wife decorate the family grave for Easter every year.

Ed Kubilus is the caretaker for St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Throop. Every Easter he can count on seeing the couple from Scranton.

“They tie a cross to it every year, the both of them. And after they’re done tying the cross, they stand there and say prayers and they leave,” said Kubilus.

But this visit, Kubilus says, will stay with him forever.

“Usually I come down and talk to them right away but I went up the other end to start picking up the Christmas ornaments and she came running up, ‘Help me, the stone fell on Stephen!'”

Throop police say Stephen Woytack was kneeling beside his mother-in-law’s headstone as his wife was on the other side, tying a cross on with string. The stone fell on Woytack, killing him.

Kubilus says each spring when the ground begins to thaw, some of the bases tilt and the stones on top can slip.

“I’ve come over and saw six stones fall from the winter. Winter, and the ground gets soft and the stones fall over and you have somebody come and pick them up.”

But it was still difficult for Kubilus and first responders to process how this tragedy unfolded. St. Joseph’s is a Catholic cemetery affiliated with the Mary Mother of God parish in Scranton.

Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton released this statement:

“It is unimaginable to think that a visit of a faithful couple to the grave of loved ones in anticipation of the celebration of Easter could have ended in such a tragic manner. Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased and his family.”

Stephen Woytack will be laid to rest in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Kubilus says his plot is right in front of the headstone that killed him.

“The priest gave them a ride home and gave the man his last rites; I called the rectory up as soon as it happened.”

Throop police say they still have some work to do, but their investigation should be closed soon. The chief says this is just a horrible accident

*tweet embedded

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16 hours ago

Mar 30 - 3 men become first in New York history to be sentenced to prison for selling khat

42 people viewing this

| By Sin - 16 hours ago

For the first time in New York history, peddlers of a euphoria-inducing plant called khat will be sent to prison after three leaders of an international distribution ring cut plea deals, prosecutors said Thursday.

Khat kingpin Yadeta (Murad) Bekri, 24, will serve three years behind bars and his U.S.-based managers Ahmed Adem and Bayan Yusuf, both 32, will serve two years as part of an agreement with the state’s Attorney General.

They were charged with 14 others last June for running the global operation that imported khat mostly from Kenya and Ethiopia through UPS and stored it in Rochester, Brooklyn and Queens. It was then delivered to local distributors.

The amphetamine-like chewable has been used socially in Yemen and other countries for centuries, but is banned in most of the Western world.

"Khat is a dangerous and illegal drug with worldwide reach,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "Today's guilty pleas demonstrate that those who flood our national and state borders with drugs will be brought to justice."

The three defendants pleaded guilty to attempted operating as a major trafficker and will be sentenced next month, officials said. Bekri, of England, whose Minnesotta-based girlfriend is accused of sending the ill-gotten proceeds back to him, will also have to pay $150,000 in restitution.

They were charged as part of a 215-count indictment. Cases are still pending against 13 codefendants and one other remains at large.

Users of khat chew the plant’s leaves and stems to get a high from the juice.

The substance is exotic enough that a Brooklyn judge who handled the indictment last summer didn’t hear of it before.

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16 hours ago

Image inside Mar 30 - millionaire murders guard over delay in opening gate

21 people viewing this

| By Sin - 16 hours ago

An Indian millionaire has been charged with murder after he slammed his Hummer into a security guard after the sentinel took too long opening the barriers at his gated community, police said.

K. Chandrabose, 50, died Monday, two weeks after 39-year-old Mohammed Nisham pinned him against a wall with the SUV, then beat him with an iron rod.

The stricken guard spent time on life support before dying of cardiac arrest, authorities in the southern state of Kerala said.

Nisham is locked up near Thrissur, where he lives in a gated community. He made his fortune in the tobacco and real estate businesses, and lives a life of excess that includes nearly 20 luxury cars, including a Bentley, Lamborghini and Aston Martin worth a total of some $4 million.
The playboy has been arrested before. Most of the crimes revolve around his love of cars.

Nisham previously was arrested in 2013 for allowing his 9-year-old son to drive a Ferrari on a public road. The clip of Ishan behind the wheel of the Ferrari F430 went viral as he sped around in the powerful car while his 4-year-old brother sat shotgun.

The boy had asked for months to drive the sports car as a birthday present before his parents finally relented.
“I am proud of him. He's been driving since he was 5,” the boy’s mother, Amal Nisham, told NDTV, according to Sky News. “He is a cautious and confident driver. It's not easy for a child to achieve such a feat at this young age.”

Also in 2013, Mohammed Nisham was arrested after he locked a police woman in his brand-new Rolls Royce during a traffic stop, according to the Express. He was busted for drunk driving and reportedly did not want the brand-new ride impounded.

“The woman SI told her colleagues to take me into custody, saying that here is the person who allowed his minor son to drive a Ferrari,” Nisham told The Indian Express after that arrest. “I did not lock her inside; she could have come out if she wished. Everything has been recorded on camera. And what I told the police was that the Rolls-Royce was new, and it was not proper to take it to the police station the first day.”

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17 hours ago

Mar 30 - 5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die

3 people viewing this

| By GrezyNclean - 17 hours ago

MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.

FACTS: This injustice confection is routinely quoted by advocacy groups, the World Bank, Oxfam and the United Nations. It is sheer fabrication. More than 15 years ago, Sussex University experts on gender and development Sally Baden and Anne Marie Goetz, repudiated the claim: “The figure was made up by someone working at the UN because it seemed to her to represent the scale of gender-based inequality at the time.” But there is no evidence that it was ever accurate, and it certainly is not today.

Precise figures do not exist, but no serious economist believes women earn only 10% of the world’s income or own only 1% of property. As one critic noted in an excellent debunking in The Atlantic, “U.S. women alone earn 5.4 percent of world income today.” Moreover, in African countries, where women have made far less progress than their Western and Asian counterparts, Yale economist Cheryl Doss found female land ownership ranged from 11% in Senegal to 54% in Rwanda and Burundi. Doss warns that “using unsubstantiated statistics for advocacy is counterproductive.” Bad data not only undermine credibility, they obstruct progress by making it impossible to measure change.

MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.

FACTS: This sensational claim is a favorite of politicians, celebrities and journalists. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore turned it into a cause célèbre. Both conservatives and liberal reformers deploy it. Former President Jimmy Carter recently said that the sexual enslavement of girls in the U.S. today is worse than American slavery in the 19th century.

The source for the figure is a 2001 report on child sexual exploitation by University of Pennsylvania sociologists Richard Estes and Neil Alan Weiner. But their 100,000–300,000 estimate referred to children at risk for exploitation—not actual victims. When three reporters from the Village Voice questioned Estes on the number of children who are abducted and pressed into sexual slavery each year, he replied, “We’re talking about a few hundred people.” And this number is likely to include a lot of boys: According to a 2008 census of underage prostitutes in New York City, nearly half turned out to be male. A few hundred children is still a few hundred too many, but they will not be helped by thousand-fold inflation of their numbers.

MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.

FACTS: This claim has appeared in countless fact sheets, books and articles—for example, in the leading textbook on family violence, Domestic Violence Law, and in the Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. The Penguin Atlas uses the emergency room figure to justify placing the U.S. on par with Uganda and Haiti for intimate violence.

What is the provenance? The Atlas provides no primary source, but the editor of Domestic Violence Law cites a 1997 Justice Department study, as well as a 2009 post on the Centers for Disease Control website. But the Justice Department and the CDC are not referring to the 40 million women who annually visit emergency rooms, but to women, numbering about 550,000 annually, who come to emergency rooms “for violence-related injuries.” Of these, approximately 37% were attacked by intimates. So, it’s not the case that 22%-35% of women who visit emergency rooms are there for domestic violence. The correct figure is less than half of 1%.

MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.

FACTS: This incendiary figure is everywhere in the media today. Journalists, senators and even President Obama cite it routinely. Can it be true that the American college campus is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women?

The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses:

“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”

Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.

Defenders of the one-in-five figure will reply that the finding has been replicated by other studies. But these studies suffer from some or all of the same flaws. Campus sexual assault is a serious problem and will not be solved by statistical hijinks.

MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.

FACTS: No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.

Wage gap activists say women with identical backgrounds and jobs as men still earn less. But they always fail to take into account critical variables. Activist groups like the National Organization for Women have a fallback position: that women’s education and career choices are not truly free—they are driven by powerful sexist stereotypes. In this view, women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.

Why do these reckless claims have so much appeal and staying power? For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. Finally, armies of advocates depend on “killer stats” to galvanize their cause. But killer stats obliterate distinctions between more and less serious problems and send scarce resources in the wrong directions. They also promote bigotry. The idea that American men are annually enslaving more than 100,000 girls, sending millions of women to emergency rooms, sustaining a rape culture and cheating women out of their rightful salary creates rancor in true believers and disdain in those who would otherwise be sympathetic allies.

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19 hours ago

Mar 30 - Stevie Wonder surprises Minneapolis Baptist church

2 people viewing this

| By phantomnation - 19 hours ago

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Those attending New Salem Baptist Church in north Minneapolis were surprised by a famous visitor during Sunday's service.

There in the front pew was singer, songwriter and musician Stevie Wonder who happened to be in town for a performance at the Target Center.

The Rev. Jerry McAfee knows Wonder and extended an invitation to the Sunday service. Church members cheered when Wonder rose to sing a favorite hymn, "I Won't Complain."

WCCO-TV ( ) says Wonder is known for speaking out against violence during stops on his concert tours, specifically in the African-American community.

Toward the end of the service there was another surprise. Wonder said he would donate $10,000 to the church.

Source: AP

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19 hours ago

Mar 30 - Kids Are Ending Up In The ER Because We Dont Use The Metric System

3 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 19 hours ago


The country’s leading group of pediatricians is urging the medical community to switch to the metric system in order to prevent kids from landing in the ER.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which has been advocating for metric measurements for decades, just issued its strongest statement yet in favor of moving away from our current measurement system. In new guidelines published on Monday, the doctors’ group proposed that everyone who comes into contact with children’s medication — including drug manufacturers, pharmacists, doctors, and parents — should all start using milligrams.

“For this to be effective, we need not just the parents and families to make the switch to metric, we need providers and pharmacists too,” Dr. Ian Paul, the lead author of the AAP’s new metric dosing guidelines, told Reuters.

Doctors favor the metric system because they hope it will avert common mistakes that end up hurting kids. Each year, parents make more than 10,000 annual calls to poison centers because their kids have accidentally ingested medication or taken the wrong dosage of their own prescription. More than 70,000 children wind up in the emergency room because of accidental medication overdoses.

Much of the issue stems from simple user error because our current measuring system is confusing. Parents who need to give liquid medication to their kids are more prone to making measurement errors when they’re given a prescription that’s written in teaspoons or tablespoons; some of them even end up using kitchen spoons because they’re more easily accessible.

Metric measurements, meanwhile, are simpler because they rely on a decimal system. Since the liter system is expressed in factors of ten, converting between measurements simply involves moving a decimal point, rather than trying to remember how many teaspoons equal a tablespoon. That’s why researchers think a milliliter-only system doled out by syringes could help prevent parents from making common measuring errors.

In fact, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics, dosage mistakes are cut in half when the prescriptions are written in metric units instead.

“Medications and doctor visits with sick children can be confusing, and we ought to do what we can to make sure that instructions are clear, using consistent units that are the same on the label and the device used to measure,” Dr. Roy Benaroch, an assistant adjunct professor of pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta, told HealthDay News.

Along with the AAP, other major medical associations have been raising concerns about confusing measurements for oral medication for years. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have all advocated for clarifying dosages and allowing doctors to move toward the metric system.

Although the AAP’s new guidelines do not address this, some doctors also recommend switching to recording weight and body temperature in metric measurements because that data is used to calculate effective medication dosages, and it can be confusing for doctors to switch back and forth.

The U.S. is one of just three countries in the world that doesn’t currently use the metric system — something that remains a source of frustration for metric enthusiasts and scientists alike. Some advocates argue that failing to move the country toward the metric system has ultimately left Americans more scientifically illiterate than residents of other countries, because scientists and non-scientists are not speaking the same language.

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19 hours ago

Image inside Mar 30 - America's diversity explosion, in 3 charts

4 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 19 hours ago


In Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America, demographer William Frey offers an illustrated overview of the way unprecedented racial changes are transforming the United States.

One of its most striking themes: the rapid increase in numbers of Hispanics, Asians, and people who identify with two of more races — groups Frey has dubbed "new minorities" because of an influx, and likely swift expansion, of immigrants settling in the US.

Hand in hand with this is the sharply diminished growth of the white population, which is expected to decrease by 6 percent between 2010 and 2050, as every other racial/ethnic group sees increases.

When it comes to the proportion of the country made up of people who identify as white compared with the proportion of people who don't, the change will be dramatic. Compare the orange and gray bars on the chart below for the year 1970 with the ones that represent 2050 projections.

The predicted shifts are striking. What are we supposed to make of them? "Certainly in the past, the specter of a minority white nation instilled fear among some Americans, and to some extent it continues to do so today — fear of change, fear of losing privileged status, or fear of unwanted groups in their communities," Frey writes. But the demographer says there's no real basis for this, arguing, "Rather than be feared, America's new diversity — poised to reinvigorate the country at a time when other developed nations are facing advanced aging and population loss — can be celebrated."

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19 hours ago

Image inside Mar 30 - Homeless Man Beaten, Then Charged With Seven Misdemeanors

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 19 hours ago


James Cocklereese, a homeless resident of Berkeley, California, has been sentenced to two years of probation. But what led to that sentence was the apparent unprovoked beating he received from a man who works as an ambassador for the homeless with the Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA).

The incident was caught on camera, in which DBA staffers Jefferey Bailey and Carmen Francois approached Cocklereese and another homeless man, Nathan Swor, to ask them to leave an area they had been camped out in. After Cocklereese can be seen and heard yelling curses at the staffers, Bailey punches him in the head and then continues punching him at least ten times after he’s on the ground.


At the end of the video, as the two homeless men are packing up their belongings to leave, Bailey can be seen pinning Swor into a corner and heard saying, “I swear I will knock you out.”

Bailey initially filed a report to his superiors about the incident, claiming he acted in self defense. The police report says that Swor brandished a pole with a blade attached to it, and that Cocklereese “raised his fist, and charged the victim,” neither of which can be seen on the video.

But after the Youtube video surfaced, the DBA said it had fired him and suspended Francois. So far neither has been charged.

Cocklereese and Swor, on the other hand, have been charged with seven misdemeanor counts. They both entered no contest pleas on Monday and will be sentenced to two years of probation. They will also have to pay into a restitution fund and will be subject to law enforcement searchers. After Cocklreese admitted to a probation violation, he will have to work for 30 days in a sheriff department program.

DBA CEO John Caner has called the assault “shocking” and said, “We’re taking steps to do whatever we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” He blames the incident on a problematic individual but said the association will expand a training program for its ambassadors.

But advocates for the homeless say the assault is part of a larger problem with the DBA. As many as 15 people took to the streets on Friday to protest what happened. David Teague, and advocate known as Ninja Kitty, said at the demonstration, “It doesn’t stem [from] this individual ambassador… When it comes to an ambassador’s word against [a] homeless [person’s], the ambassador’s word is gold.” Bob Offer-Westort of Streets Are for Everyone agreed, telling ABC 7, “If there’s a conflict and the ambassador reports, ‘this person assaulted me,’ then the cop is likely to believe the ambassador and arrest the person for assault.”

The homeless face many challenges, one of them being run-ins with city officials and police, particularly given the growing adoption of ordinances that effectively criminalize homeless people’s lives. Many of these are put into place at the behest of local businesses.

The homeless are also at an extremely elevated risk of violence, although it often comes from passing strangers, rather than those purportedly there to help them. There were at least 109 violent attacks against the homeless from non-homeless assailants in 2013, 18 of which were fatal, a 24 percent increase over the year before. Over the last 15 years, 375 homeless people were murdered.
A big part of the problem, of course, is that the homeless sleeping outside — more than 135,000 people on any given night at last count — are left exposed.

Ninja Kitty has been on a housing waiting list for two years and said, “They expect us to magically disappear while we wait and they attack and assault us while we have nowhere to go.” Criminalization is effectively a way to try to sweep the problem of homelessness aside while often increasing the risk of run-ins with police, which is not just another challenge for the homeless but eats up local government resources.

Some cities have instead moved toward housing their homeless populations. That approach saves a significant amount of money by reducing police interactions as well as emergency room visits. Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and New Orleans have all been able to completely house portions of their homeless populations.

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20 hours ago

Image inside Mar 30 - 4-year-old girl rides Philly bus searching for 3 a.m. snack

2 people viewing this

| By phantomnation - 20 hours ago

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A four-year-old Philadelphia girl has been returned safely to her parents after slipping out of her house at 3 a.m. and getting on a transit bus in search of a snack.

Bus driver Harlan Jenifer said the girl swung her legs as she chanted, "All I want is a Slushie."

Surveillance video showed the preschooler sitting on the bus early Friday, chatting to other passengers. Jenifer stopped the bus and called police.

The police took the girl to a hospital, where she was reunited with her mother.

The girl's father, Timothy Ridgeway, says, "Thank God for the bus driver stopping."

Authorities say the girl's family didn't know she had awoken and unlocked the backdoor to start her trek during a downpour early Friday.

They don't plans on filing charges.

Source: AP

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20 hours ago

Mar 30 - Is This The Best Blood Type?

4 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 20 hours ago


A trendy diet left blood type with a hard-to-shake reputation, but respectable research suggests that being A, B, AB, or O may matter — far beyond what you’re eating. (Photo: Getty Images/Kevin Curtis)

A few years back, the Blood Type Diet — a controversial nutritional plan that suggests eating a certain way based on blood type — was all the buzz. The gist, according to the book that popularized the idea, was that doing so could maximize your performance, boost health, protect from disease, build stronger emotions, and even help you live longer. Problem is, last year, the diet was debunked by a study in the journal PLoS ONE, leaving blood type with a bad rep and most people thinking it didn’t matter much beyond the need for a transfusion or donation some day.

But emerging research suggests that while your diet needn’t be so closely linked with your blood, your overall health may be. In fact, one blood type continues to emerge above the rest: blood type O.

Research suggests that people with type O blood are at a lower risk for cardiovascular health issues like stroke and heart attack. A new study from the Karolinska Institute shows that people with type O blood are less likely to die from malaria. Science suggests that people with AB blood are at an increased risk of memory issues down the line compared to people with O blood. And other research pins people with O blood as less likely to experience certain kinds of cancer, like pancreatic and gastric cancers.

This all begs the question: Is type O blood protective?

To answer that, we first have to understand the ABO blood group system: There are four types: A, B, AB, and O (or ABO). Your type is determined by either the presence or absence of antigens on red blood cells, which can trigger an immune response in your body, Kristine Alexander, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in medicine at the University of Vermont, tells Yahoo Health.

“Blood type A has the A antigen; B has at least one copy of the B antigen; and AB has a copy of A and B. O is when you don’t have either,” she says. “The reason people with blood type O are universal donors is that there is an absence of the A and B antigens — no one’s body is going to form antibodies to attack blood type O.” (If you’re A, and you received type B blood, your body would attack the foreign antibody.)

Along these same lines, type AB is a universal acceptor — since it has both A and B antigens, people with AB can take in all kinds of blood from the ABO group, but only type O can give to anyone.

“Blood group antigens play different roles in different places of the body. Depending on where they are, they may exert a different effect on different diseases — and depending on the disease, there are different theories,” Arash Etemadi, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute, tells Yahoo Health.

Scientists don’t yet know all of the proteins or cell types that the ABO enzyme affects, says Alexander. “There could certainly be other, undiscovered ways that blood type influences our physiology.” Here, some of what science knows:

Cardiovascular Perks

Alexander says that it does look as though blood type O is protective in the setting of cardiovascular disease. “There is no reason to think that particular molecules on red blood cells would have anything to do with cardiovascular disease, but those same molecules attach molecules to a protein that is important in blood clotting, called the Von Willebrand factor,” she says. People with type O blood have lower Von Willebrand factor levels. That’s good for the heart because ”it means your blood is a little less likely to clot. And more heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots, so anything that can have a part in reducing that risk is beneficial.”

A different study Etemadi conducted looked at mortality rates, and found that people with type O blood lived longer than those with non-O types.

Brain Benefits

What’s good for your heart is usually good for your brain — and a lot of cardiovascular risk factors are also mental health risk factors, says Alexander. “We know that cardiovascular risk factors like high cholesterol and diabetes are also associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s,” says Alexander. But it may also be that the brain benefits linked with type O blood don’t have everything to do with heart health.

Research published in the journal Neurology out of the University of Vermont found that people with type AB blood have an increased risk for cognitive problems as they grow older. Even after taking into account race, sex, and where someone lived, the work found that impaired thinking was 82 percent more likely in people with AB blood than people with A, B, or O blood. Research has also made connections between people with A blood type and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Blood type could also have an effect on brain functioning through inflammation-related properties. Molecules called soluble E-selectin play an important role in inflammation, due to their involvement in recruiting white blood cells to areas of injury, she says. And no surprise here — they’re also associated with cardiovascular disease, going back to the idea that brain health and heart health are often connected.

Related: Type AB Blood? You May Be More Prone to Memory Loss

Fighting Malaria

It’s thought that type O blood can help tie up an inflammatory response related to malaria, says Etemadi. “Recent research by other groups suggests that it’s more possible in people with A or B blood for malaria parasites to destroy red blood cells. It relies on that blood group antigen that’s only present in A and B,” he says. “Because malaria was a major cause of death a while back, people who were resistant were more likely to live. People with blood type O were more likely to survive in places where malaria was a major cause of death .”

Cutting Cancer Risks

When it comes to cancer, certain blood types are linked to specific kinds. “O blood group has a lower risk of gastric cancer,” says Etemadi. How come? “The main cause of gastric cancer is a microbe; bacteria called H. pylori are among the best known infectious causes of cancer. The reason type A (and possibly B) blood is at increased risk is because of the type of response that your body gives — the inflammatory response is different,” he says. “They are more predisposed to the effect of those bacteria.”

People with blood type O may also be at a lower risk for pancreatic cancer than people with other blood types. But the ‘why’ remains a research mystery, Harvey A. Risch, MD, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at Yale University, tells Yahoo Health. “The reason isn’t known.”

Are There Benefits To AB Blood?

“With most of the current research, it appears there’s not so much of a benefit in non-O blood,” says Etemadi. If you lived in a time or age when bleeding was the main cause of death, things may have been different: Blood O does not have any advantages there — it leads to more bleeding, Etemadi says. But today, cardiovascular issues play a bigger role in death than bleeding.

Some reports have suggested that people with O blood type may be more likely to have depression and intense anxiety, but the science doesn’t always hold. “Most of those studies were done in the 1970s, using small numbers of participants and (currently) outdated mental health diagnostic criteria,” says Alexander. “While intriguing, more research needs to be done to confirm these findings.”

“There have also been some observations that people with blood group O have more stomach ulcers,” says Etemadi. “This is probably not true — it’s just that blood type O bleeds more, and ulcers are more likely to be detected because of that.”

Blood Type Isn’t Everything — Not Even Close

Here’s the important thing to remember: Your blood type — while certainly linked to specific health conditions — doesn’t mean everything. And a doctor probably isn’t going to factor your blood type into your risk for cardiovascular health issues or dementia. “In the future, it could go into establishing risk — but that isn’t commonly done now,” says Alexander.

And while you can’t change yourself from A to O, the effect of blood group on disease risk is “not so definite and not so big,” says Etemadi. “Although in general we thought non-O blood group have a 10 to 12 percent increased risk for cardiovascular disease, you can beat that with changing modifiable risk factors like your weight, diet, and exercise.”

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20 hours ago

Video inside Mar 30 - Idiot Frat Dude Celebrates Spring Break By Biting The Head Off A Hamster

2 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 20 hours ago


PETA has launched a manhunt attempting to find a college student, believed to be a fraternity member at Florida State University, after he was filmed biting the head off a hamster at a Spring Break party.

The video, which was originally uploaded to YouTube Friday night with the title “psycho drunk spring breaker bites head off of hamster, was quickly deleted for violating the site’s code of conduct, according the to Daily Mail.

In the video, which has been re-uploaded with the hamster blurred out, the man begins by removing the unfortunate animal from his backpack. One person can be heard in the background saying, “No way,” as the alleged frat boy snaps the hamster’s neck.

Our pink-shirted hamster-killer then proceeds to take a bite, before spitting out bits of the head and throwing the body into some bushes.

And the crowd went wild.
PETA Cruelty Casework Director Stephanie Bell told The Mail:

“It is horrific. We don’t know who this man is but we are working to track him down and prosecute. Animal abuse is a community concern. People who abuse animals rarely do so only once and almost never stop there. The link between cruelty to animals and inter-personal violence is undeniable. Many of our nation’s serial killers and most school shooters share a history of animal abuse.”

“Often, humans and animals are abused at the same time,” Bell added. “For example, the guy who kicks the family dog is likely abusing his spouse and children too. Cruelty to animals is always a red flag.”

Watch the video, below. Obviously, there is graphic content, but it has been blurred:


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21 hours ago

Image inside Mar 30 - Man Stabs Wife To Death While 7 Kids Are At Home, Police Say

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| By Ham Rove - 21 hours ago


GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — A man stabbed his wife to death after he slapped one of their seven children for playing videogames and she confronted him about it, police said Friday.

Goodyear police said the children witnessed at least part of the Thursday night attack, and a 14-year-old daughter called 911 to frantically plead for help.

The husband also called 911 after the attack, reportedly crying "hysterically," apologizing and saying he'd lost his mind and stabbed his wife, police said in a court document.

The document identified the husband as 37-year-old John Leo Davis and the wife as Michele Davis. Police said she was 35.

Authorities say a son told investigators that the husband struck him after becoming upset with the boy for playing videogames, and the child then told his mother and she confronted the father, starting an argument. The children saw the husband then chase the wife with a knife from the kitchen to the front door, where police found her body in a pool of blood, the document said.

Investigators counted at least 13 stab wounds in her back, authorities said.

The husband was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and jailed on $2 million bond. He didn't have a lawyer when he appeared before a judge.

He initially made "incriminating statements" but refused to speak with investigators after being arrested, the document said.

Police say none of the seven children present in the home were hurt and that they were immediately removed from the home and placed in the care of relatives. Their ages ranged from 3 to 14, police said.

The husband and wife were parents to three of the seven children who were present, while the husband is father to two others, and the wife was the mother to the remaining two, police spokeswoman Lisa Kutis said. Kutis said an eighth child, age 16, wasn't home when the attack occurred.

The document said a law enforcement criminal history for the husband indicated he had several previous arrests in alleged domestic violence cases involving Michele Davis or a former spouse in at least two other states — Utah and California.

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21 hours ago

Image inside Mar 30 - Its Official: Americans R Stupid

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 21 hours ago


As Americans, we tend to be pretty full of ourselves, and this is especially true of our young people. But do we really have reason for such pride? According to a shocking new report from the Educational Testing Service, Americans between the ages of 20 and 34 are way behind young adults in other industrialized nations when it comes to literacy, mathematics and technological proficiency. Even though more Americans than ever are going to college, we continue to fall farther and farther behind intellectually. So what does this say about us? Sadly, the truth is that Americans are stupid. Our education system is an abysmal failure, and our young people spend most of their free time staring at the television, their computers or their mobile devices. And until we are honest with ourselves about this, our intellectual decline is going to get even worse.

According to this new report from the Educational Testing Service, at this point American Millennials that have a four year college degree are essentially on the same intellectual level as young adults in Japan, Finland and the Netherlands that only have a high school degree…

Americans born after 1980 are lagging their peers in countries ranging from Australia to Estonia, according to a new report from researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The study looked at scores for literacy and numeracy from a test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the abilities of people in 22 countries.

The results are sobering, with dire implications for America. It hints that students may be falling behind not only in their early educational years but at the college level. Even though more Americans between the ages of 20 to 34 are achieving higher levels of education, they’re still falling behind their cohorts in other countries. In Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees, the report said.

How in the world is that possible?

I can tell you how that is possible – our colleges are a joke. But more on that in a moment.

Out of 22 countries, the report from the Educational Testing Service found that Americans were dead last in tech proficiency. We were also dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency…

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

It is in this type of environment that Coca-Cola can be marketed to Americans as “a healthy snack“.

As I mentioned above, our system of education is one of the biggest culprits. From the first grade all the way through post-graduate education, the quality of education that our young people are receiving is absolutely pathetic. In a previous article, I highlighted some statistics from USA Today about the declining state of college education in America…

-“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago”

-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”

-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages”

-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

I have sat in many of these kinds of college courses. It doesn’t take much brain power to pass the multiple choice tests that most college professors give these days. The truth is that if you fail out of college you really, really have to try hard.

In another previous article I shared some examples of real courses that have been taught at U.S. universities in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?”

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame”

-“Philosophy And Star Trek”

-“Learning From YouTube”

-“How To Watch Television”

-“Oh, Look, a Chicken!”

This is a national crisis. Parents should be screaming bloody murder about the quality of the education that their children are receiving. But because very few of them actually know what is going on, they just continue to write out huge tuition checks all the time believing that their kids are being prepared for the real world.

To show how “dumbed down” we have become, I want to share with you a copy of an eighth grade exam from 1912 that was donated to the Bullitt County History Museum in Kentucky.

Would eighth grade students be able to pass such an exam today?

Would college students?

As you look over this exam from 1912, ask yourself how you would do on it…

In addition, I find it very interesting that the reading level of the State of the Union addresses delivered by our presidents has steadily declined since the inception of this nation.

And it should be no surprise that Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses have been some of the dumbest of all.

But could it be possible that I am being too harsh?

After all, scientists are now discovering that our diminishing intellectual capabilities are actually the consequence of natural processes.

For example, a Stanford University biology professor named Gerald R. Crabtree has published two papers in which he detailed his conclusion that humans have been getting dumber for thousands of years…

Are humans becoming smarter or more stupid? Comparing our modern lives and technology with that of any preceding generation, one might think we are becoming increasingly smarter. But, in two papers published in Trends in Genetics, Gerald R. Crabtree of Stanford University claims that we are losing mental capacity and have been doing so for 2,000–6,000 years! The reason, Crabtree concludes, is due to genetic mutations—which are the backbone of neo-Darwinian evolution.

Why is this happening?

Professor Crabtree believes that this loss of intellectual capability is due to the accumulation of errors in our genes…

Based on data produced by the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium and two recent papers in Nature, Crabtree estimates in the first article that, in the past 3,000 years (approximately 120 generations), about 5,000 new mutations have occurred in the genes governing our intellectual ability. He claims most of these mutations will have no effect, while about 2–5 percent are deleterious and “a vanishingly small fraction will increase fitness.” Crabtree bases his conclusion that humankind is losing mental capacity on the ratio between the deleterious and the beneficial mutations.

Our DNA is mutating, and it has been for thousands of years. And no, those mutations are not helping us. Each one of us has tens of thousands of errors in our DNA that we have inherited, and we will add even more errors which we will pass on to future generations.

Given enough time, many scientists believe that humanity would eventually degenerate into a bunch of gibbering idiots incapable of rational thought.

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21 hours ago

Mar 30 - Days Inn fires woman for telling reporter she backs 25-cent minimum wage hike

2 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 21 hours ago


Arkansas woman said this week that she was fired from her job as punishment for telling a reporter that she backed the state’s 25-cent minimum wage hike.

In a profile by The Washington Post last month, Shanna Tippen talked about how just $2 a day extra in pay would make a difference in her life.

Tippen said that an extra $520 a year wouldn’t pull her out of poverty, but it did mean that she could afford the more expensive diapers that did not irritate her grandson’s skin.

Washington Post reporter Chico Harlan noted on Monday that Tippen had called to say that she had been fired by Days Inn hotel manager Herry Patel, who had told the paper that the wage hike was “free money” for his employees.

“He said I was stupid and dumb for talking to [the Post],” Tippen told Harlan. “He cussed me and asked me why you wrote the article. I said, ‘Because he’s a reporter; that’s what he does.’ He said, ‘it was wrong for me to talk to you.’”

“As of now, I’m looking for any kind of job at all,” she added. “Flipping burgers. Cleaning. Anything. It doesn’t matter.”

Wyndham Worldwide, owners of the Days Inn brand, said in a statement that the company did not control staffing decisions at franchised locations.

“While we can’t speak to the specifics of this or any particular situation at a franchised location, please know that ours is an organization which values and respects the contributions of all associates and that we encourage each of our franchisees to do the same,” the statement said.

According to Harlan, Patel had introduced him to Tippen, but then later threatened to sue the Post if it published the story with her comments.

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22 hours ago

Mar 30 - Officials: Pizza shop burglar steals 100 candy bars, cookies

2 people viewing this

| By phantomnation - 22 hours ago

PLEASANTVILLE, Pa. (AP) -- State police in northwestern Pennsylvania are looking for a burglar who just may have some cavities - or, at least, a sweet tooth.

Troopers from Franklin say whoever broke into Corky's Pizza Shop overnight Friday into Saturday stole more than 100 chocolate bars and eight chocolate chip cookies.

The shop is in the tiny borough of Pleasantville in Armstrong County, about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The candy bars were larger fundraiser-type bars from Daffin's Candy in Sharon.

Source: AP

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22 hours ago

Video inside Mar 30 - One shot dead at Fort Meade after trying to ram NSA gate

3 people viewing this

| By TB - 22 hours ago


(CNN)Two people tried to ram the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland on Monday, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. An NSA police officer shot one of the people dead dead and seriously injured the second.

A law enforcement official had previously reported that both of the people involved were men. Aerial shots show two vehicles at an intersection that appear to be damaged.

The FBI said Monday morning that it was conducting an investigation with NSA police and other law enforcement agencies, and interviewing witnesses on the scene. The incident took place near one of the gates to the complex, far from the main buildings.

"We are working with the US Attorney's Office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted," the FBI said in a statement.

This is the second security incident this month involving the NSA. At the beginning of March, a former state correctional officer was arrested, accused in a string of Maryland shootings, including one at Fort Meade. Gunshots struck a building near the NSA office, according to a police report.

Officers stopped Hong Young, 35, of Beltsville, Maryland, and recognized his vehicle as matching authorities' description of a car seen in surveillance footage near some of the other shootings. A gun in the car matched evidence found at the shootings, and Young was arrested, authorities said.

Police said earlier this month that there were no links to terrorism in the case, and no motive has been determined. No one was killed in the five shooting incidents.

In addition to the headquarters of the NSA, Fort Meade is home to 95 units from all branches of the armed forces and offices that report to several Defense Department agencies, according to the U.S. Army, which operates the base.

About 11,000 military employees and 29,000 civilians work there, according to the Army.

Some 6,000 people also live on the base, which began operations in 1917 as a garrison for World War I draftees, the Army said.

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23 hours ago

Image inside Mar 30 - McDonald's Is Testing All-Day Breakfast

7 people viewing this

| By phantomnation - 23 hours ago

As the breakfast war continues to heat up, McDonald's is preparing to launch a counterstrike that would make Patton proud. According to CNBC, the Golden Arches plans to test all-day breakfast at select locations in the next month or two, satisfying the public's longstanding cry for afternoon McMuffins.

Currently, McDonald's stops serving the breakfast menu at 10:30am on weekdays, and 11am on weekends. But if this new test concept does well, the chain could remove the cut-off time altogether. And it's hard to imagine the all-day menu tanking -- as Consumerist notes, a recent survey showed that 70% of Americans want restaurants to serve breakfast 24/7. Mickey D's hasn't revealed where it intends to test this pilot program yet, but we plan to start ordering hash browns at 10:35am at all nearby locations next month, just to be safe.

Source: Thrillest

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2 days ago

Mar 29 - March to martial law? Undercover Special Forces to sweep US Southwest

2 people viewing this

| By TB - 2 days ago

*tweet embedded


As elite branches of the US military prepare to hold military training in seven southwest states, with some troops operating incognito among civilians, some Americans fear the training is actually preparation for imposing martial law.

Operation Jade Helm, which is scheduled to kick off in July and run for eight weeks, will involve the participation of 1,200 troops from the US military’s most elite fighting forces, including Green Berets, Navy SEALS and Special Operations from the Air Force and Marines.

The troops will be participating in what has been called Realistic Military Training in towns in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

In an effort to simulate the type of battlefield conditions soldiers may face in foreign countries, the US military has designated the remote training areas where they will operate as in a “hostile" territory, a description that has irked some residents.

Meanwhile, Texans living in close proximity to the operation will be asked to report any “suspicious activity” during the exercise, a request that seems to contradict the belief laid out in the US military training document, leaked by The Houston Chronicle, that Texans are “historically supportive” of military efforts to “fight the enemies of the United States.”

The training exercise, according to Shadow Spear, a publication of USASOC, “will be conducted on private and public land with the permission of the private landowners, and from state and local authorities.”

“The most noticeable effect the exercise may have on the local communities is an increase in vehicle and military air traffic and its associated noise,” Shadow Spear said.

Army Special Operation Command spokesman Mark Lastoria attempted to allay fears that the training is a actually an effort on the part of the military to practice “covert warfare tactics and martial law.” He said the domestic military operations are designed to develop "emerging concepts in special operations warfare," and were not part of some kind of dark plans to take over the United States.

“That notion was proposed by a few individuals who are unfamiliar with how and why USASOC conducts training exercises,” he told Stripes, a US Army publication. “This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces because they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.”

Paul Pape, a Bastrop County judge, also downplayed fears that the domestic military training was in reality rehearsal for full-blown martial law on the streets of America following some sort of major catastrophe.

“What I see here is an opportunity for a portion of our military to be better prepared and better trained to do work that has to be done to secure America’s interests around the world and here at home,” Pape told KEYE television in Austin, Texas.

The explanations given for the training, however, has not stopped fierce speculation among a number of citizen groups and alternative media sites as to why the entire states of Texas and Utah, as well as a section of southern California, have been declared “hostile,” while portions of the military detachment will be operating in the shadows of communities.

“They're having Delta Force, Navy SEALS with the Army trained to basically take over,” Info Wars' Alex Jones railed Sunday. “Texas is listed as a hostile sector, and of course, we are... here defending the republic.”

This is not the first time that American urban areas have served as the training areas for US forces.

In December 2014, Americans were unsettled by the spectacle of US Special Forces black helicopters buzzing the skylines of major US cities, including Dallas and Los Angeles, part of what it described as training in “realistic urban sites.”

Now, the Special Forces boots will be on the ground in cities and towns across the country, and that has some people asking a lot of questions.

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2 days ago

Mar 29 - Cat litter is to blame for $500m radiation leak, nuke waste site shut

2 people viewing this

| By messy marv stan - 2 days ago

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), New Mexico

Cat litter was among the "chemically incompatible" contents of a barrel of nuclear waste, which prompted explosive chemical reaction and a radiation leak at US’s only underground nuclear waste repository, an investigation has found.

Just one barrel of waste leaked radiation that prompted the whole of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, suspend its operations indefinitely, the US Energy Department said in a report Thursday about an incident in February 2014.

The ill-fated drum of waste was packed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory near Santa Fe. It was there that an erroneous decision to use organic cat litter, instead of non-organic one, was made.

Cat litter is routinely used in storing nuclear waste for absorbing liquids. The organic one apparently does not mix well with the nitrate salts inside barrels.

“A series of ever-increasing heat releasing reactions occurred, which led to the creation of gases within the drum,” the team of independent scientists wrote in a 277-page report, cited by AP. “The resulting buildup of gases within the drum displaced the drum lid, venting radioactive material and hot matter that further reacted with the air or other materials outside the drum.”

The scientists have thus confirmed earlier theories on the cause of the radiation leak, which affected 22 workers at the site. The extent of exposure is not health-threatening, according to Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC, the contractor that operates the plant, cited by Reuters

The damage from the leak is mostly a financial one. The now-closed New Mexico nuclear waste site is the only permanent underground repository for certain types of radiological waste in the US.

It’s been estimated by the US Energy Department that the recovery could cost $500 million and last for two years, AP reported.

There are other barrels with organic cat litter inside that could be potentially dangerous.

“We are reviewing the report and its findings now as we continue working to mitigate the risks of this happening again,” the US Energy Department said in a statement. “Additional precautions have been taken to secure other drums with similar nitrate and organic materials as those identified in the report.”

The team of researchers experimented with all kinds of chemicals that could come together outside the barrels of waste, but eventually grew confident the reaction was inside the drum.

The scientists have complained of limited access to the source of the radiation leak and of inconsistent documentation on how Los Alamos processed the waste.

New Mexico is demanding the Energy Department, the contractors running the underground dump and Los Alamos lab pay $54 million in fines for letting the leak happen

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2 days ago

Mar 29 - Medical marijuana users could help researchers define risks, benefits

2 people viewing this

| By messy marv stan - 2 days ago

Besides pain management, pot is being used to treat things like Crohn’s disease, chronic seizures

The Canadian Medical Association says we don’t know enough about the effects of medical marijuana, the interactions between pot and other medications, or how to prescribe an appropriate dosage. It advises doctors they are not obligated to write cannabis prescriptions for patient

The number of Canadians authorized to use medical marijuana has skyrocketed, even as medical experts warn that not enough is known about its risks and benefits. Now some are calling for researchers to tap into that growing pool of users to help answer some of those questions.

In 2002, a year after the government first permitted access to therapeutic cannabis through Health Canada regulations, 500 patients had registered. Today, there are more than 50,000

This has happened despite the official position of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) which says that, "there is insufficient scientific evidence available to support the use of marijuana for clinical purposes."

The CMA says not enough is known about the effects of medical marijuana, the interactions between pot and other medications, or how to prescribe an appropriate dosage. It advises doctors they are not obligated to write cannabis prescriptions for patients.

That is causing frustration for some people with medical conditions who want the option of using medical marijuana rather than other types of prescription drugs.

"It was very difficult to get my prescription," said Jennawae McLean, who uses medical marijuana for chronic pain due to arthritis. "A doctor was willing to prescribe me Percocets and Humira and Lyrica and different pills like this, but they weren’t willing to prescribe cannabis … which has no recorded deaths, no overdoses, no negative long-term side effects. It just doesn’t make sense."

Medical marijuana is sometimes sold in the form of skin creams, edibles, oils, tinctures or topical medicines, even though this contravenes Canadian law

A 2014 poll conducted by Angus Reid Global showed that 59 per cent of Canadians support the legalization of marijuana. However, the Conservative government is opposed to legalization beyond medicinal uses.

Government guidelines for the medicinal use of pot are outlined in Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) and state clearly that prescriptions may be written only by a physician or nurse-practitioner; that medical marijuana must be purchased through a licensed producer, and only as dried plant material; and that it cannot be sold through a storefronts or retail outlets.

Thousands of Canadians are flouting those regulations, and nowhere more than in British Columbia. There are now more medical marijuana shops in Vancouver than there are Tim Hortons - and more shops than in the rest of Canada combined. These stores are selling cannabis and hashish with names like Purple Kush, West Coast Rockstar, Polar Hash and even Barbara Bud, in addition to a variety of edible marijuana products. On-site naturopaths provide medical marijuana access cards, in some cases to those who simply say they are feeling stressed.

Vancouver police are enforcing a prohibition on selling marijuana to minors, however they focus their criminal enforcement efforts on the trafficking of more serious street drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

Most of the research into the effectiveness of medical marijuana so far has focused on pain management. However, patients are using it for a variety of conditions ranging from Crohn’s disease to chronic seizures

Vancouver city councillor Kerry Jang said that, based on what has happened in Vancouver, he believes Canada already has de facto legalization of marijuana. "And quite frankly, I’m glad it’s above ground in a dispensary where we can regulate and see what’s going on, rather than underground."

Now some are saying that studying this growing base of medical marijuana users could be the way for the medical community to fill gaps in our understanding of its risks and benefits.

Researchers have published thousands of peer-reviewed articles about medical marijuana, mainly on the therapeutic properties of the various cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. But "when you narrow the search down to clinical trials, the number drops dramatically," said Dr. Mark Ware, executive director of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids.

​"If you think about conventional pharmaceutical drug development, there is usually a company behind a new drug that’s investing hundreds of millions of dollars in doing those clinical trials in order to make a claim that this drug, at this dose, is effective in the treatment of this symptom, in this disorder," said Dr. Ware, who is also the director of clinical research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at the McGill University Health Centre

After government approvals, a conventional pharmaceutical drug is launched on the market and the company recuperates its investment. The problem, Dr. Ware says, is that, "there isn’t such an interest in investing in that work for herbal cannabis, which is something you can grow in your backyard."

Most of the research into the effectiveness of medical marijuana so far has focused on pain management. However, patients are using it for a variety of conditions ranging from Crohn’s disease to chronic seizures.

Dr. Ware says the medical community would benefit from "real world evidence," which could be gathered by monitoring the progress of the thousands of patients who are using therapeutic marijuana.

Meanwhile, patients who want legitimate access to medical marijuana are caught between the government regulations and doctors who don’t feel they have enough information about it to provide a prescription. And most doctors who are willing to write marijuana prescriptions do not endorse smoking the drug, recommending instead that patients use it in a way that will not be potentially harmful to their lungs. This may include edibles, oils, tinctures or topical medicines, none of which may be sold legally under current federal rules - although it is legal to buy dried weed with a prescription and make your own.

Vancouver resident Owen Smith has challenged that law all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. It heard arguments on March 20 and has reserved judgment in the case. It can take at least six or seven months for the Court to publish its decision, which will be near the date of the next federal election, Oct. 19

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