Doctors Love Bike Lanes

The new Canadian organization, Doctors for Safe Cycling, clearly loves bicycles. Based on their name alone you would think that they advocate for better bicycling infrastructure for cyclists, but they argue that bike lanes are good for everyone. Indeed, regular readers of good news already know that bike lanes make cities better, healthier, places. Maybe your doctor will soon be prescribing you a bicycle to commute on!

Cycling is beneficial to many aspects of health. A study published in the prestigious British Medical Journal in April 2017 showed some remarkable outcomes: people who cycle to work have a much lower risk of getting heart disease (by 50 per cent), of getting cancer ( by 40 per cent) and of dying of any cause ( by 40 per cent). Other studies have reached similar conclusions.

Of course the benefits are not restricted to cyclists themselves. As we move folks from four wheels to two we also improve air quality and tackle climate change – which is a boon to everyone.

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These Plants Clean Your Household Air According to NASA

forest and river
A few years ago we looked at a TED talk on how to grow fresh air inside. The information was based largely on NASA’s research done in the 1980s called Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement, which looked into which plants are best for cleaning interior working spaces. They first looked at what is in the air in an average office then set out to find plants that remove chemicals that harm humans.

Here’s the list from NASA and the TED talk:

  • Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
  • Weeping Fig
  • Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Kimberley Queen Fern
  • Moter-in-law’s Tongue (sansveria trifascata)
  • Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  • Lillyturf
  • Barberton Daisy
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
  • Rubber Plant (Ficus robusta)
  • Flamingo Lilly
  • Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
  • Spider Plant
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Ficus Alii (Ficus macleilandii “Alii”)
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”)

More information can be found here.

An Online Forum is Saving Addicts from Bad Drugs

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The opioid crisis in North America continues unabated. Local organizations are pushing for reform of policies and in Canada the call for safe injection sites is growing. The number of deaths from opiate addiction is too high and users have started to share information to curb the rising death count. The subreddit community r/opiates has become a place for opioid users to let each other know about tainted drugs and how to deal with addiction issues. Ultimately the community wants people to stop using, but if they are using they should at least be safe about it.

Aaron credits r/opiates with helping him learn about kratom and giving his life purpose. As a way to pay it forward, he’s provided fentanyl warnings in West Virginia.

“People’s pressing a fake 215, and crushing up ginseng pills mixing them with fentanyl and some other stuff and selling as heroin,” Aaron, who goes by the handle of Optimistic-angel1 on Reddit, wrote in a 2 February post on the website – making note of activity in neighboring Mercer County, which sits just east of McDowell.

While the overdose warnings on Reddit may be a new trend, addicts have been no strangers to information sharing, said Dr Michael Brumage, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston health department in West Virginia. Brumage has heard of addicts setting up networks to share information on bad heroin batches in the past while working with the department’s needle exchange program.

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Yoga Might be Better Than Medication for Back Pain

happiness

Yoga can be an effective treatment for back pain according to new research. Before you sign up to any random yoga class for your back be sure to check what poses are actually good for you. The research team involved yoga instructors who specifically identified yoga poses and routines that are gentle on the back but also good for reliving back pain. Yoga isn’t just for staying fit, it’s also good for alleviating pain.

When the study began, about 70 percent of the patients were taking some form of pain medication. At the end of three months, when the yoga classes were wrapping up, the percentage of yoga and PT participants still taking pain medication had dropped to about 50 percent. By comparison, the use of pain medication did not decline among participants in the education group.

“It’s a significant reduction,” says study author Rob Saper, director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center.

“I’m not recommending that people just go to any yoga class,” Saper told us. He pointed out that their research has helped nail down poses and relaxation techniques that are helpful and safe.

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Americans Eating Beans Instead of Beef Will Help Save the World

beans

If Americans started eating beans in place of beef the country would be able to meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals by 2020. The report, title, “Substituting beans for beef as a contribution towards U.S. climate change targets,” builds off of previous work. The new report that makes this conclusion is similar to the conclusions from other papers; however, this report directly connects an easy dietary change to being able to avert catastrophic climate change. Previously we’ve seen how easy and beneficial it is to be vegetarian, but this diet change doesn’t require a complete shift to vegetarianism. Just reduce the consumption of flesh from dead animals.

It’s simple: the easiest thing you can do today to help the people of tomorrow is to eat less meat.

“The nation could achieve more than half of its GHG reduction goals without imposing any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing,” Sabate said.

The study, which was conducted while Harwatt was an environmental nutrition research fellow at Loma Linda University, also found that beef production is an inefficient use of agricultural land. Substituting beans for beef would free up 42 percent of U.S. cropland currently under cultivation — a total of 1.65 million square kilometers or more than 400 million square acres, which is approximately 1.6 times the size of the state of California.

Harwatt applauds the fact that more than a third of American consumers are currently purchasing meat analogs: plant-based products that resemble animal foods in taste and texture. She says the trend suggests that animal-sourced meat is no longer a necessity.

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