💧 Nearly Half of All U.S. Tap Water Contaminated
Almost 45% of tap water in the United States is contaminated with PFAS, known as "forever chemicals."
The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.
💊 Are Anxiety Meds Hurting More Than Helping?
A recent study has found that more than 90% of people who took drugs commonly prescribed to treat anxiety reported significant life consequences after taking them, including new neurological problems.
The study analyzed online survey responses from 1,207 people who were currently taking benzodiazepines, were tapering usage, or had fully discontinued use.
Respondents reported various new neurological problems, which usually differed from the initial reasons for which they were prescribed the drugs.
These new symptoms included low energy, difficulty focusing, memory loss, anxiety and nervousness, sleep problems, light and sound sensitivity, digestive problems, and muscle weakness.
Some respondents also reported that using these drugs contributed to suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide, job loss, being fired or becoming unable to work, and increased medical costs.
“Despite the fact that benzodiazepines have been widely prescribed for decades, this survey presents significant new evidence that a subset of patients experience long-term neurological complications," lead author Alexis Ritvo, MD, MPH, said in a statement." This should change how we think about benzodiazepines and how they are prescribed."
More than 30 million people in the U.S. take benzodiazepines, which include Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium.
While the study had limitations - the respondents were self-selected and mainly came from support groups, and the researchers could not collect independent psychiatric diagnoses - the findings align with those of previous small studies and extensive anecdotal reports.
Further research is needed to better understand the potential risks and consequences associated with benzodiazepine use.
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☕️ Coffee is More Than Caffeine
Coffee may offer benefits beyond just caffeine content when it comes to priming the brain for productivity.
Researchers in Portugal recruited 83 individuals who drank at least one cup of coffee daily to undergo MRI scans to observe changes in their brain activity. 47 participants were scanned before and after consuming their morning coffee, and 36 others were given caffeine diluted in hot water without consuming coffee.
The scans revealed that both groups had decreased activity in a part of the brain that induces a resting state, indicating that people were more ready to start their day and engage with others after consuming either beverage.
However, drinking coffee increased activity in parts of the brain involved in short-term memory, attention, and focus, whereas ingesting caffeine alone did not.
Researcher Rui M. Costa noted that the results indicate that "it's not just the caffeine in your coffee that's having these effects - there's something else in the coffee that is contributing to making you feel more alert and focused."
The researchers theorize that the pleasure derived from drinking coffee in the morning may be part of a ritual that is important for individuals to feel ready for the day. The sight, smell, or taste of coffee may play an essential role in making people feel alert in addition to caffeine.
The study also showed that those who do not regularly drink coffee may not experience the same effect.
💧 Nearly Half of All U.S. Tap Water Contaminated
Almost 45% of tap water in the United States is contaminated with PFAS, known as "forever chemicals." That's according to a new report by the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The USGS tested the tap water from 716 locations across all 50 states, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The study analyzed data from 2016 to 2021 and searched for 32 different per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances.
The results showed that at least one type of PFAS was present in almost half of the faucets tested, including both private wells and public supplies. The highest concentrations were found in the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, the Eastern Seaboard, and Central/Southern California, the study said.
PFAS are synthetic chemicals linked to several health problems, including cancer. These chemicals persist in the environment for extended periods and can be found in a wide range of everyday products, such as non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and food packaging. The high levels of PFAS in tap water are likely due to industrial discharges and the widespread use of these chemicals in consumer products.
The USGS study is the most comprehensive on PFAS in tap water, providing valuable information about contamination in public and private water supplies. The data collected was used to model and estimate contamination nationwide. The study found that two types of PFAS exceeded the health advisory range recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which only began tracking PFAS information in 2016.
Experts suggest using activated carbon filters to remove PFAS from water and avoid products containing PFAS. There is also a growing call to regulate these chemicals more strictly and to set enforceable federal limits on their presence in drinking water.
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