Angels in Waiting: The Newtown Initiative
Angels in Waiting is a nonprofit public charity, created by a network of neonatal intensive care unit nurses who are addressing the needs of America’s medically fragile infants and children who were born with a drug addiction and abandoned at birth.
Angels in Waiting was previously featured on The Doctors in December 2012, and since that time, hundreds of nurses have come forward to be a part of the organization. In addition, Angels in Waiting is working with California State Legislature to amend the regulations of government-sponsored foster care programs.
After the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the founder of Angels in Waiting, Linda West-Conforti, offered a unique way to provide emotional support to traumatized children in the community. “One thing that the Newtown counselor kept on getting, over and over again, because of the age group of these children that were affected, is they wanted to know where their friends went,” West-Conforti explains. “So, what we wanted to do is give them something abstract and something concrete.”
Dangers of "Sizzurp"
It’s the latest trend that could land your teen in the emergency room: drinking sizzurp. Also known as “lean,” “slow-motion potion,” “purple drank,” or simply “purp,” the drug-infused beverage popped into the consciousness of mainstream America after media outlets began speculating that it may have been the cause of popular rap artist Lil Wayne’s recent seizure-induced hospitalization.
Sizzurp is typically made from liquefied candy or juice, combined with prescription-strength cough syrup and sugary sodas. The anti-nausea medicine promethazine and the opiate codeine are active ingredients in many cough suppressants, and can produce the feeling of euphoria; however, the intoxicating sensation also comes with potentially dangerous, even deadly side effects.
Opioids, such as codeine, act similarly to morphine in the body and are known to be highly addictive. Both codeine and promethazine, if consumed in high doses or in conjunction with alcohol, can be lethal. In some cases, sizzurp users will reportedly add crushed painkillers to increase the potency and elevate the high.
“What scares me is the typical dose [of codeine cough syrup] is about one teaspoon, but when kids are mixing this, they’re using two ounces,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. “That’s like 12 times the normal dose.”
• Learn more about the dangers of prescription drugs.
The Next Generation of Condoms
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has created an initiative to discover "the next generation condom," one that significantly enhances pleasure without decreasing efficacy, in the hopes that it will spur more people to engage in protected sex. Origami Condoms, based out of Los Angeles, is stepping up to the challenge with three unique condom designs. These pleasure-oriented innovations could reshape the future landscape of the latex-dominated condom industry on a global scale.
Origami condoms are currently unavailable commercially, but global distribution and online sales are expected by the end of 2014, pending regulatory approvals. To learn more about the anatomy-specific, non-allergenic condoms and their unique applications, click here.
• How to choose the right condom for you and your partner.
The “No-Eating” Diet?
Rob Rhinehart, a 24-year-old engineer, used to eat as cheaply and conveniently as possible. His typical diet consisted of white pasta, fast food and other unhealthy fare. After noticing a decline in his health stats, he began to wonder if all of the components in food were actually necessary, so he devised a way of altering his diet, while saving money at the same time – by not “eating” at all!
“Based on my research, I put together a list of chemicals, mostly in powder form, that I call soylent,” Rob explains. “I based it, initially, off of the FDA’s recommendations. So, I basically just went down the list of every essential nutrient that the body needs and the appropriate proportions.”
Named after the 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green, Rob mixed the various refined vitamins, minerals and macronutrients with water and drank them for his daily meals. Rob spent 30 days without eating a bite of actual food and claims that his soylent diet improved his sleep, focus and overall health.
The Doctors weigh in on Rob’s no-eating approach to nutrition, and whether there are potentially hazardous effects.
• For more information on Rob’s no-eating diet and soylent mixture, click here.
* This experimental diet was performed without the supervision of doctors or nutritionists. No thorough studies have been conducted on its efficacy or long-term side effects.
Transplanting Diseased Organs?
Organ transplants are often necessary to save lives, but did you know that sometimes the only organs available may be diseased? A Maryland man recently died when he contracted rabies after undergoing a kidney transplant. The Doctors explain that it's rare to develop a life-threatening disease from a donor, due to the safety protocols for organ transplantation; however, in certain cases, an infected organ may be needed as a "bridge transplant" to keep a patient alive until a healthy organ is found.
Hear from a woman who needed an emergent liver transplant, due to life-threatening complications during pregnancy. The only liver available was sub-optimal, but without it, she would have died. See how she is doing today.
The Placebo Effect
The findings of a recent British study may be a tough pill to swallow. The survey asked physicians in the U.K. if they ever prescribed a placebo treatment, such as a sugar pill or a nonessential exam, including blood tests or x-rays. The results revealed that 97 percent of the doctors surveyed have used some sort of placebo treatment at least once, while 77 percent admitted to using it at least once a week!
The survey also found that doctors were regularly prescribing unnecessary, low-dose medications and antibiotics, which is believed to be a prime factor in the rise of drug-resistant infections.
“The placebo effect is a real phenomenon, and I think the challenge in medicine is how you can achieve the placebo effect without being deceitful,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.