A Sense Of Entitlement May Be Harming Your Wellbeing

Entitlement is defined as “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment”. The lead author of a new study on the effects of entitlement, Joshua Grubbs, assistant professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, considers it simply “a desire to get something for nothing”, and the belief held by a person that they are an exception to the rule in a very exaggerated way.

Grubbs conducted a review of over 170 students on the subject of entitlement while he was a graduate student in psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Through the study, he found that people with attitudes of entitlement are very susceptible to disappointment, and that disappointment very often leads to anger, blame, social tension and depression.

The attitude itself does not stem from the possession of wealth, as many believe, but from many different factors including culture, economic status, and upbringing. Helped by co-author Julie Exline, a professor of psychological sciences at Case Western Reserve, Grubbs dove into the data to find out why entitlement can be such an issue.

An interesting pattern of behavior was discovered by their research. “First, there’s the burden of living with the constant threat of failed expectations. Next comes emotional instability when an expected path or goal fails to materialize”, Grubbs explained. These individuals are then spurred on by the increase of adversity to rely even more heavily on their sense of superiority- their deserving attitude being strengthened rather than weakened, which only causes the cycle to start over again. This then goes beyond the individual and puts the strain on society.

Sometimes, a person may have no idea that they have a sense of entitlement in a certain situation, or even in general. It is a deep, underlying belief of which we can actually not be aware, that can be so visible to others, but invisible to ourselves. It is important for us as a society to try to detect these ideas that we may unknowingly hold, as they can be toxic to our love life, family life, social life, and work life- all of which combined make up the constructs of our society.

To apply this research to real life, we can look at the outcome of certain happenings and events in our lives, and evaluate our emotional response to them. If the response was unhappy, disappointed, or bitter, we should then go back and examine how we truly felt prior to the outcome, and figure out if we may have originally had any kind of entitled attitude toward the outcome of those events.

Grubbs explains that ambition is different from entitlement, and that he is not at all opposing a healthy drive for success. But despite his grim findings, he says that getting rid of an entitled attitude is indeed achievable and can be accomplished with introspection and “active gratitude”, which is, Grubbs explains, “actually taking time to reflect about how much you are grateful for, how much others have helped you become what you are, and the ways you can express that gratitude.”


3D Printer Can Make Real Bones With Morphing Biomaterial

A new breakthrough has occurred in bone repair and replacement surgery for breaks, fractures, and other bone defects. To this day, the materials used in this type of surgery have proven difficult for the doctor and painful for the patient. Now, researchers have developed a new way for patients to receive bone implants – not having to take bone from another part of their bodies, but rather printing the bone from a 3D printer with a biomaterial that will eventually turn into real bone.

The biomaterial, or “ink”, with which the implants are printed with a 3D printer is made up of two main ingredients – a calcium mineral naturally found in bone, hydroxyapatite, and the natural polymer PLGA (poly lactic-co-glycolic acid), which acts as a glue to hold the hydroxyapatite together. The PLGA is also very flexible, which allows the printed scaffold of the implant to be able to be misshapen or deformed and then come back to its original shape. This advantage of the polymer means that surgeons could even reshape the implant during surgery, if necessary.

It is a natural environment for regeneration with the hydroxyapatite, which induces the cells to begin mineralization, which will then turn the implant into real bone

The implant will eventually morph into real bone by the body’s natural methods. Cells and blood vessels will populate the scaffold of the implant due to its microscopic structure mimicking that of real bone. The 3D printed structure provides a natural environment for regeneration with the hydroxyapatite, which induces the cells to begin mineralization, which will then turn the implant into real bone.

The lead of this ground-breaking research, Ramille N. Shah, explained, “When you put stem cells on our scaffolds, they turn into bone cells and start to up-regulate their expression of bone specific genes. This is in the absence of any other osteo-inducing substances. It’s just the interaction between the cells and the material itself.”

Another pertinent application for these printed implants is for use in child patients who, still growing, often need replacements that can be very painful. To allow the implants to be versatile with growth, the biomaterial can be made to include different growth factors to further enhance regeneration, as well as antibiotics to prevent infections after surgery.

These 3D printed implants have only been tested on animals, but those tests have been very successful and promising. Shah believes that after more extensive trials, the implant biomaterial will reach clinics within five years. She hopes for a swift and easy solution to bone repair surgery- for hospitals to have 3D printers that will print individually tailored implants for patients within 24 hours.


Epi-Pen: It Is Becoming Unaffordable to Save Your Own Life

The tremendous uproar in the last few weeks in reaction to the skyrocketing prices of Epi-Pens is not without justifiable cause. At a staggering $600 per each Epi-Pen two-pack, thousands of families and individuals that suffer severe allergic reactions are finding themselves unable to afford the epinephrine injector that could save their child’s life or even their own.

The pharmaceutical company that makes the Epi-Pen, Mylan, has found itself owning a monopoly over the auto epinephrine injector market, as smaller companies have tried but proved unsuccessful in offering a viable and less expensive alternative to the Epi-Pen. Being in this position, Mylan has gradually increased its prices, with the biggest jump happening in the last year. In 2007, Epi-Pen two-packs only cost a consumer about $100 at the very maximum, meaning the price has soared up 500 percent in the last nine years. Most consumers are under the belief that the price hike of this medical device that could save the life of a child is purely for profit’s sake. Bernie Sanders is even quoted as saying, “The only explanation for Mylan’s outrageous price increase is that the company values profits more than the lives of millions of Americans.”

Many believe that Mylan is “price gouging”, as the cost that goes into manufacturing Epi-Pens is only a very small fraction of the net profit. The two-packs are necessary for most individuals, since one injector is typically left at home and the other at school or work, in case of emergency reaction. The outrage stems from not only the rise in price, making it all but impossible for some families to attain the much-needed injector, but also that Mylan seems to have no legitimate grounds to be raising the price so dramatically, and has given no satisfactory answer.

Mylan claims that the rise in price is due to high deductible insurance plans, pharmacy benefit managers, and the in-between steps the drug goes through before reaching the hands of a consumer. However, despite petitions, rallies, and outrage from families unable to match the exorbitant price tag, Mylan is standing firm on their price. To ease the burden on consumers, Mylan is offering a $100 coupon (only usable depending on your insurance plan), and will be offering a generic brand version of the Epi-Pen for a cheaper price- about $300, instead of lowering the cost of Epi-Pens.

Despite the pharmaceutical company’s firm stance, steps are being made to combat Mylan. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is conducting an investigation into whether Mylan unlawfully engaged in anti-competitive business practices or purposefully limited lower-cost competition. There is also a class-action lawsuit now being filed against Mylan for the overpayment of necessary medications by Cincinnati attorney Carl Lewis. Additionally, a New York legislator has introduced a bill that would allow pharmacists to give out cheap, generic injectors with a brand-specific prescription without having to get a new prescription from the doctor. Many consumers are now trying to find ways to create their own alternative emergency kits for allergic reactions.


When Your Body Turns Against Itself

It can be a scary thing to think about something that it supposed to be good for your body turning around and harming it. This is exactly the case with proteins called prions.

In a village in Papua New Guinea, a strange disease had been spreading for years killing women and children in the tribe- its source and cause was elusive. When researchers delved into the matter in the early 1960s, the answer they got surprised them.

The disease was known as kuru among the people, meaning “shivering” or “trembling”. It would begin to take over an individual by slowly causing the inability to move limbs, then the loss of control of emotions, followed by the loss of control of bodily functions and complete inability to move. The village was losing about 200 people a year to the disease- mostly women and children.
After conducting extensive research in the village, researcher Shirley Lindenbaum found that it was not correlated with genetics, but with an unnerving funeral ritual. Some of the people of the tribe, mostly only women, would cook and ingest the bodies of deceased tribe members. They thought it to be an act of love, and believed they were giving the spirit of the deceased a safe place of housing for a time. Children would sometimes partake, thus the link was connected to those dying of the disease. However, it was found not be a bacteria or infection that caused the disease, but proteins gone bad.

A prion is a protein inside our brains that, when becoming twisted in the wrong way, or “misfolded”, turns hostile and combative, acting like a pathogen and causing any other protein it comes into contact with to also become warped. This forms clumps of prions that will attack brain cells until the brain completely loses functionality.

These proteins turned to the dark side are the cause of “mad cow” disease, among others, and have been linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is disturbing that these proteins intended for good have the potential to harm so immensely. Yet more disturbing still is that the “infected” prions are not killed by boiling water, or easily with heat or radiation. This means the warped prions can carry over to other patients from contact with surgical tools, and the reason why mad cow disease is spread through the ingesting of affected meat. Since thorough cooking does not get rid of bad prions, one is not be able to know they are infected until later. Likewise, with the case of kuru, the disease began to spread due to one of the deceased tribal members already having a prion-related disease.

Prion-related diseases, known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or TSEs, are untreatable since not much information is yet known how and why prions become misfolded. Researches at Iowa State University have linked copper ions with the misfolding of the proteins, but not with the actual prion-related disease. However, the link is a start, and for now, scientists are hard at work to determine the root cause so that when symptoms of TSEs arise, the misfolding of the prions can be undone.


E-Cigarettes May Be Going Extinct

In a span of two years, smokers wishing to quit may have many less options than they do today, as brand new FDA regulations on e-cigarettes and related products are already causing harm to the vaping industry. This FDA censorship, which took effect August 8, will drastically reduce the size of the vaping market, limit consumers’ options, and generally discourage them from trying to find an alternative to smoking.

The first major action the FDA took against the vaping industry is requiring all manufacturers to obtain FDA approval for any product they wish to carry for longer than two years. In order to do this, manufacturers must submit a “premarket tobacco product application” (PMTA) for each product they wish to continue selling, the cost of which the FDA estimates to be from $12,000 – $2.6 million. Due to this harsh restriction, some larger manufacturers have already filed federal lawsuits against the FDA. One of these companies, Nicopure, has stated that it would have to submit thousands of PMTAs to keep all of its current products on the market, but will not be able to manage more than a dozen in the next two years. This demand in itself will diminish the number of e-cigarette manufacturers, and will reduce the amount of products available to the public.

Aside from these giant issues the larger “formal” manufacturers will have to face, there are the thousands of vape shops across the country that will likely diminish. Vape shops custom mix e-liquids for their customers, as well as assemble and fix e-cigarettes, but these actions will now cause shops to qualify as manufacturers under the FDA’s new rules. The shops will be unlikely to bear the monetary weight of FDA regulation as manufacturers, and then will be forced to no longer offer these customer services. Custom mixing e-liquids is the main draw and major selling point of vape shops, and with no longer being able to offer custom fluids, many shops will likely run out of business.

The FDA is giving the grace period of two years for manufacturers to seek its approval of products, however, it does not apply to variations introduced after the August 8 deadline, in effect banning product improvements. Even small changes in a current product’s size, flavor, ingredients, etc. after August 8 will constitute a brand new product that will require FDA approval. This means that any larger changes, such as improvements, to a current product are also banned without approval- improvements that could make e-cigarettes easier or cheaper to use, or could cause them to be more appealing to smokers wishing to quit.

In addition, the FDA has placed speech restrictions to prevent fraud. However, these restrictions prohibit statements and explanations that are true and accurate, and that would benefit consumers trying to decide between smoking and vaping. Since the FDA has placed tobacco-free e-cigarettes into the tobacco products category, manufacturers are not allowed to advertise their products as “smoke-free”, “ash-free”, “tar-free”, etc, as that would be promoting a “tobacco product”. Therefore, e-cigarette companies will not be able to promote the main goal and advantage of their products- being less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.

Up until now, manufacturers of e-cigarette products have gone largely unregulated. The harmful effects of vaping may not be fully known or scientifically proven, however, the fact that e-cigarettes contain only a fraction of the harmful chemicals as do conventional tobacco cigarettes, makes them a less-harmful option. Only time will tell, but the FDA has already caused the future to look bleak for this alternative to tobacco smoking.


You May Be Putting Mercury On Your Face

It is very important to check the ingredient lists on your facial products, as you may by applying an incredibly toxic chemical to your face and hands.

Many anti-aging and anti-wrinkle cremes have been found to contain traces of mercury, and even occasionally soaps and lotions. As it is illegal for skin products to contain mercury in the US, these products still manage to find their way to US store shelves from other countries. Buyers should be wary when they see un-branded and unfamiliar brand products, as they may have been imported, and when buying skin products in another country. But even at home, the internet market is a hotspot for these items to be easily sold, so special caution should be taken when purchasing skin products online.

Mercury exposure is very dangerous and must be taken seriously. Mercury can effect the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs of people of all ages. It is especially harmful to pregnant women and unborn babies, as it can harm their developing nervous systems, affecting ability to think and learn. Mercury can be passed to other people in a household by contact with the person who applied a mercury-containing product to their skin, or even with washcloths on which the product was applied. These products are even dangerous without direct contact to the skin, as they can release mercury in the form of vapor.

The ingredients on a skin product may not list “mercury” out-right, but if you have any product that lists the ingredients “mercurous chloride”, “mercuric”, “mercurio”, or “calomel”, use should be discontinued immediately. Before purchasing anti-aging or any type of face creme in the store, check the ingredient list for these key words. Products that do not list ingredients should be avoided. If throwing out any products at home, be sure to dispose of any mercury-containing product in a sealed plastic bag or container.


CPR For Mental Health

Mental health crises are an overlooked problem in the US. They very often become stigmatized and yet they are more common than the majority of the population realizes. Mental illnesses and disorders are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.

For this reason, civilians in cities and communities should be more aware, and should be able to look for signs in someone when things do not seem right. For example, sudden changes in a person’s behavior should be alarm bells for others. Because in the same way that someone having the knowledge of CPR can help a person in an emergency, the knowledge of what to do when someone is having a mental health crisis is also extremely important. Knowing how to treat a sensitive situation when a family member, friend, or even a stranger is having a mental breakdown, or making rash decisions due to a disorder, is crucial and can be life-saving. However, most people would not know where to begin if they found themselves needing to help someone. Hence the Mental Health First Aid Program was founded. It is operated by the National Council for Behavioral Health in partnership with the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Mental Health First Aid is a program that offers a course to communities to teach people how to help someone in a mental crisis, and also how to connect them to proper care. The course is usually taught in an 8 hour class, and can be taken in one day or split into two days. It is taught by a certified instructor and open to anyone who wishes to learn. Visit MHFA’s website to find a class near you.

Teenagers are especially vulnerable to mental disorders from ages 13 to 18. Some local mental health groups and counseling services also offer Youth Mental Health First Aid, which is the same course, but concentrates on the different ways of handling mental crises in youth.

Click here for more information about MHFA.

Image Credit: Dior Vargas


Where you live may be worsening your asthma

Along with the potential of hazardous chemicals draining into rivers and lakes and entering the local water supply, studies are now showing that the effects of fracking may cause asthma symptoms to worsen or intensify.

Fracking has become a very popular process in recent times. It is achieved by oil companies pumping water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground at high pressure to extract pockets of natural gas that are hard to reach by other means. It is very controversial due to potential environmental and health dangers, and the overall uncertainty about this fairly new process that involves highly toxic chemicals.

The study was conducted by Dr. Brian Schwartz from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and a team of researchers. The data for the study was taken by Schwartz and his team from digital records from over 35,000 patients at Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Clinic between 2005 and 2012.  A very large amount of fracking sites and natural gas wells were created in the area over these years. Looking at asthma exacerbations in patients during four stages of natural gas production, the numbers showed that there were increased allergy prescriptions given, increased emergency room visits, and increased hospitalizations for asthma patients during the studied time span. The report states that severe asthma attacks were 1.5 times more likely and moderate attacks were 4 time more likely.

There are many individual effects of fracking which seem to have a direct correlation to the worsening of asthma, but Schwartz states that pollution and the stress of a changing environment seem to be the most impactful. As the study has not proved this correlation as fact, the findings show a definite association.

Of course there is backlash about the study from energy industry leaders, who say there are flaws in how the study was conducted. As this study helps with our understanding of the effects of fracking and asthma symptoms, suggestions have been made that it would be beneficial for researchers to further study patients who are living near to producing oil and gas wells.