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Women’s Health

Let Sha’Carri Richardson run. Stop drug tests for cannabis



Dr. Scott E. Hadland

On Friday, an American star sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson, was banned from participating in her Olympic event, the women’s 100-meter race. Your violation? Test positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Although Richardson’s drug test was conducted in Oregon, where Olympic trials were held and recreational use of cannabis is legal in adults, the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency dictated that she be suspended from competing for at least a month.

Sha’Carri Richardson and other athletes who use cannabis should be allowed to compete. Professional athletes shouldn’t even take a cannabis test. The US Olympic Committee should use its significant influence to remove cannabis from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances.

Many of us list banned substances – including myself, an addiction doctor – scratched our heads at the World Anti-Doping Agency’s seemingly outdated rules on cannabis. The agency classifies substances as “prohibited” if they meet two of three criteria – namely that the substance is performance-enhancing, poses a health risk for the athlete or violates the “spirit of sport”. I contend that cannabis does not fit that definition.

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Cannabis doesn’t help with performance

Unlike other prohibited substances such as anabolic steroids and stimulants, cannabis is not performance enhancing. In fact, cannabis use can lead to short-term coordination deficits that could potentially worsen performance.

On the other hand, heavy cannabis use in young people is linked to the risk of mental health problems such as psychosis. Given that many athletes are teenagers or young adults like Richardson, the agency’s second criterion – that a substance poses a health risk to the athlete – is likely to be met.

‘Living Case Study’:Why I got into the medical marijuana industry after leaving the NFL

However, it seems unlikely that cannabis use would violate the spirit of sport, which the World Anti-Doping Agency defines as the “ethical pursuit of human excellence through the devoted perfecting of the natural talents of every athlete”. The use of a substance that causes little to no harm in recreational, infrequent and safe use in an adult’s private life does not, in my opinion, meet this criterion. At least we can argue that cannabis doesn’t meet the agency’s criteria any more than another substance that is noticeably not banned: alcohol.

There are other arguments against excluding athletes who use cannabis. Urine drug testing is a tricky science. Tests can be fraught with false positive results – cases where a person tests positive but has never used the substance, which can happen, for example, when an athlete eats a food containing hemp. Tests can also produce false negative results, which occur when an athlete has used a substance but failed the test.

Cannabis is also slowly excreted from the body. Unlike many other “water-soluble” substances such as stimulants, which are eliminated from the body within one to three days, tetrahydrocannbinol is a fat-soluble substance that is eliminated more slowly and typically takes a week to be eliminated from the urine. For those who use cannabis more frequently, complete elimination can take a month. In other words, an athlete who tested positive for cannabis may not have used it for weeks.

Because of these complications, urine drug tests should only be performed by a trained professional. Presumably, Richardson’s drug test was interpreted by professionals. However, many amateur athletes who have been banned from sport for cannabis use are denied this opportunity, and the interpretation lies with coaches, school officials and local sports organizations.

Change views on cannabis use

I highly doubt Richardson has a cannabis use disorder. But imagine another athlete doing that. Cannabis use disorder, a condition in which someone has persistent, compulsive cannabis use despite negative effects on life, is a medical diagnosis that affected nearly 5 million Americans in 2019.

Excluding an athlete with a cannabis use disorder from competitions runs counter to what we should do when someone is dealing with substances. Suspensions amount to a punishment that is usually ineffective in treating addiction. The correct approach is to involve someone in treatment for a cannabis use disorder and, if it is safe to do so, allow an athlete to continue to compete. In addition to being compassionate, this approach is likely to aid the athlete’s mental health and speed their recovery.

Cannabis reform? The time is right for full state legalization

Some might argue that sports cannabis bans could play an important public health role by discouraging young athletes from using drugs. However, there is a lack of data to support this claim. Many of the young athletes I work with as a doctor stop using cannabis when they are expecting a test and instead use it at other times. In other words, drug tests change when – not when – they use substances. Conversely, I have seen how many teenagers have been harmed by being excluded from activities they love for using cannabis.

The national sentiment regarding cannabis is changing. The substance is legal for recreational use in 19 states, and nearly two-thirds of Americans support these guidelines. It is time international, national, state and local sports regulators stopped penalizing athletes for using a substance that, when used infrequently, does little harm, offers no competitive advantage and should not be tested in the first place.

Have Sha’Carri Richardson line up.

Dr. Scott Hadland is the new Director of Adolescent Medicine at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Harvard Medical School.

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Women’s Health

COVID-19 lockdown negatively impacted Indian women’s nutrition, study shows



The 2020 statewide lockdown imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions that negatively affected women’s diets, according to a new study by the Tata Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Food.

The study, published in the journal Economia Politica, shows that women’s nutritional diversity – the number of food groups consumed – has decreased during the lockdown compared to the same period in 2019, vegetables and fruits that are high in micronutrients necessary for good Health and development are critical.

“Even before the pandemic, there was a lack of food in women’s diet, but COVID-19 has made the situation worse,” said Soumya Gupta, research economist at the TCI, who wrote the study together with Prabhu Pingali, TCI director; Mathew Abraham, assistant director; and consultant Payal Seth. “Any policy addressing the impact of the pandemic on nutritional outcomes must do so through a gender perspective that reflects the specific and often persistent vulnerabilities of women.”

The Indian government imposed a national lockdown on March 24, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19. Disruptions in the agricultural supply chain resulted in price fluctuations, especially for non-staple foods. The lockdown was lifted on May 30, 2020, although some restrictions remained in certain areas of the country.

TCI analyzed surveys of food spending, nutritional diversity, and other nutritional indicators at the national, state, and district levels in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Odisha. They found that food spending fell significantly during the lockdown, especially in less developed counties. Almost 90% of respondents said they ate less food, while 95% said they ate less food. Micronutrient-rich fresh and dried fruits and animal products such as meat, fish and eggs saw the greatest decline in food spending.

Spending returned to pre-lockdown levels at the national and state levels in June 2020, but remained low at the county level. Gupta and her co-authors said this suggests that underdeveloped regions have been disproportionately affected by access and availability restrictions.

Surveys also suggest a decline in the quantity and quality of nutritious foods consumed by women during the pandemic. For example, some women said that during lockdown they halved the amount of dal or red lentil they made or made thinner dals.

The decline in the nutritional diversity of women combined with a likely decrease in the amounts consumed suggests a higher risk of micronutrient malnutrition compared to pre-pandemic levels. Because of the spillover effects of maternal malnutrition, this risk jeopardizes not only the productivity and well-being of women, but also that of their children. “

Soumya Gupta, Research Economist, TCI

Food security declined across the board during the lockdown, but researchers found reason to believe that women’s diets were disproportionately affected. The number of women who consumed fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A decreased by 42%.

While the data analyzed in the study do not allow a direct comparison between women and other family members, an earlier TCI study showed that Indian women eat less varied diets than their households.

Many factors have been linked to gender differences in food allocation around the world, including income, bargaining power, social status, interpersonal relationships, taste and preferences. Inequality of food distribution within households has also been linked to the role of women in various family systems, including women who eat after all other members have eaten.

“How food is distributed among household members depends in part on social norms, but also on how much food the household needs in the beginning,” said Gupta. “That in turn depends on income, access to markets and prices. All of this was negatively affected in the initial phase of the lockdown.”

The unequal burden on women is also due to the closure of India’s Aanganwadi centers during the lockdown, the researchers said. The centers that provide take-away rations and hot cooked meals to breastfeeding and expectant mothers are an important source of nutrition for women and children. According to the study, 72% of eligible households lost access to these services during the pandemic.

Policy makers should recognize the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and other disruptive events on women’s diets by strengthening safety net programs to ensure they meet the needs of women and other marginalized groups, the researchers said.

The researchers also recommended market-oriented reforms such as the lifting of rules that restrict the movement of goods between markets and state borders, the commercialization of small farms, and investments in infrastructure such as refrigerated supply chains.

“While it’s a long-standing problem, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the relative lack of affordable nutritious food in India,” Pingali said. “Major reforms are needed to diversify the country’s food system and ensure that women and other marginalized groups have access to nutritious diets during the pandemic and beyond.”


Journal reference:

Gupta, S., et al. (2021) COVID-19 and Women’s Food Security: Panel Data Evidence from Rural India. Economia Politica.

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Women’s Health

Abortion fight to hit House floor, again – People’s World



Illinois Democratic MP Jan Schakowsky is one of a group of key progressive lawmakers who are behind recent efforts to defend abortion law through the abolition of the Hyde Amendment. | Tom Williams / AP

WASHINGTON – The House version of the Department of Labor, Health, Welfare, and Education Department’s bill has large increases in spending on labor enforcement programs for the fiscal year beginning October 1. But while Republicans have made a few screams over DOL spending, it wasn’t the big battle when lawmakers tangled over the move.

The war is over again with abortion. As soon as they get around to it. They didn’t do it for the first full day.

The HHS portion of the move repeals the 45-year-old Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of all Medicaid funds for abortion. It also removes the accompanying Weldon addition which, despite the loss of federal funds, “threatens state and local governments trying to protect or expand abortion care or coverage,” says Planned Parenthood.

This latter change “encourages health care institutions to use personal or religious beliefs to deny access to abortion care,” the organization explains. Needless to say, Planned Parenthood, the Progressives, and Democratic President Joe Biden all want to remove both the Hyde and Weldon amendments. The Republicans in the House of Representatives, who do justice to the right wing and its absolute opposition to all abortion and equal rights and rights for women, do not.

So the progressive Reps pushed. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y. on the lifting of Hyde. Pressley flatly calls Hyde a racist measure against black and brown women.

Medicaid now covers 30% of black women and 24% of Latinas, compared to 14% of white women, the four said. “In addition, research has shown that abortion bans such as the Hyde Amendment have devastating economic effects,” they added in a joint statement.

“The Hyde addition is a racist, discriminatory policy that has perpetuated injustice and injustice in our nation for far too long,” Pressley said in the joint statement. “Hyde has punished low-income people and prevented countless people from exercising their constitutional right to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion. Abortion care is an important health care item, period. “

“In 2019 the first pro-choice majority was sworn in in the House of Representatives,” added Schakowsky. “We are honoring this story by proposing an amendment to finally end the Hyde addition and reaffirm that comprehensive reproductive health care is a human right.”

“The Hyde Amendment is a cunning attempt to ban abortion that disproportionately denies low-income and black women the right to vote. It is vital that we put an end to this inhumane policy now, ”said Ocasio-Cortez.

The Coalition of Labor Union Women has long been a strong advocate of reproductive rights and pushed through a pro-choice resolution through the 2012 AFL-CIO Convention. This measure has not been overturned, so the Fed supports the election. CLUW too.

“The AFL-CIO believes that all women should have universal access to quality health care at a reasonable cost that is not dictated by political agendas,” the AFL-CIO resolution read. “With women now making up more than half of the American workforce, it is vital that we as the labor movement continue to defend the rights of all women and all workers against efforts to allow employers to dictate the quality of health care for women. ”

But Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., The top Republican on the Funds subcommittee that handles funds for the Department of Labor, Education and HHS, predicted that tearing down the abortion ban would derail the entire money bill.

“Without consent to the inclusion of this long-term bipartisan provision” [Hyde], Any serious discussion of the numerous other policy and spending issues with this move is premature, “said Cole.

Cole criticized “the extreme position of requiring all Americans to pay for abortions on demand” – normal and false GOP rhetoric – “and even requiring some people to participate directly in abortions against their own moral beliefs and conscience” .

The Labor HHS Education Bill was part of a large package of expense bills for most agencies for the fiscal year beginning October 1. The house spent all day going through the legislation and at least 200 proposed changes, some of which were malicious. The debate continued on July 28th.

For example, two separate GOP changes prohibit the Department of Labor from changing the Trump-era definition of “common employer”. This definition made workers hop from pillar to pillar as they tried to figure out which of their employers – a corporate headquarters like McDonald’s in Chicago or the local McDonald’s franchise – is responsible for compliance or violation of labor law. Workers want the National Labor Relations Board to answer “both”.

Important provisions for employees include:

  • Large increases in DOL enforcement spending, including for the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (+ $ 100 million to $ 692.8 million), Mine Safety and Health Administration (+ $ 25 million to $ 404.8 million) US dollars) and the Department of Labor’s Payroll and Hourly Department (+ $ 54 million to $ 300 million). This department enforces the laws on minimum wages and overtime pay.

The panel wants OSHA to use the extra money to hire and train more occupational health and safety inspectors to conduct “more complex, labor-intensive inspections.” OSHA only recently returned to on-site inspections. Under the GOP Trump regime, inspections were severely restricted, mostly by phone or email – and complaints from workers were dismissed.

There are now fewer OSHA inspectors than there were in the agency’s first year, both the Appropriations Committee and the AFL-CIO emphasize. Legislators also want OSHA to impose higher fines, possibly using a “penalty multiplier”. OSHA’s current fines “are utterly inadequate in deterring workplace health and safety violations by employers,” the report said.

For example, despite widespread reports that meat packing plants were becoming deadly Covid-19 (coronavirus) hotspots as early as March 2020, OSHA waited six months before issuing two small fines totaling $ 29,000 to a Smithfield and a JBS plant imposed. In 2019, JBS had annual sales of $ 51.7 billion and Smithfield was $ 14 billion. “

“The wages and hours department employs fewer investigators today than it did in 1948, although the workforce has grown significantly during that time,” added the committee. More money is needed “to make up for this lost ground, to bring badly acting employers to account and to defend working people so that they receive their deserved wages and to which they are legally entitled”.

  • The majority of the panel’s Democrats also want OSHA to begin work on a standard to force employers to protect workers from excessive heat – an issue that is skyrocketing on western farm fields and Amazon warehouse floors, among other places is shot.
  • The bill provides $ 316.9 million for the National Labor Relations Board, $ 42.7 million more than this fiscal year. “This increase will counteract the decline in sales force experienced by the board over the past four years,” the report adds laconically.
  • In light of the decline in the number of jobs in coal mines, the measure establishes a new $ 100 million grant program “to support communities suffering from dislocation due to changes in the fossil fuel and other energy industries.” The structure and purpose of the scholarships are left to the DOL.

Lawmakers are following Biden’s lead in moving the US away from carbon fuels – including coal for electric power plants – to renewable fuels like wind and solar. But like Biden, who was born in the anthracite-colored coal town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, they don’t want to leave the displaced miners behind.

  • $ 20 billion for early childhood education programs, 15% more than current spending. This would allow around 200,000 more children to be cared for and “enable more parents from low-income families to remain in employment. Women, especially women of color, are disproportionately affected by the childcare crisis, ”adds the committee.

The teachers (AFT), who have long been committed to year-round Pre-K programs and higher childcare expenses, are particularly pleased about this increase. AFT advocates a “free universal preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds,” it says on its website. Biden too.

After campaigning with lawmakers in early July, Philadelphia teacher and AFT member Cassandra Jordan said she told her representative “about several first graders who couldn’t read their own name tags on their desks.”

“If there were universal Pre-K, many more children in first grade and kindergarten would have a lot more to themselves. It has to happen now, ”added Jordan.


Mark Grünberg

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Women’s Health

Leaders try to move needle on Franklinton’s low life expectancy rate.



Franklinton residents live an average of 60 years – almost 15 years shorter than the average Ohioan, according to a recent study.

It is a problem that is driven by many complex factors that community health officials say they are having difficulty finding an answer to.

“When we see a gap this big … it tells us that there are underlying factors driving these differences in health outcomes,” said Amy Bush Stevens, vice president of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, which includes life expectancy statistics in its Health Score Dashboard 2021, released earlier this year. “Things like our level of education, our income, what kind of work we have, what kind of social and family support we have, nutrition … all of these things have a really big impact on our health.”

Lower life expectancy is just one of the many struggles that has challenged the neighborhood west of downtown for decades, Bush Stevens said. Franklinton, for example, has an infant mortality rate of 15.2 deaths per 1,000 births, almost double the Franklin County’s average.

Addiction, violent crime, and dilapidated housing coupled with high poverty rates (52% versus 17% of Franklin County’s total) have also limited residents’ access to quality health care and higher standards of living.

The Dispatch touched on many of these issues in Franklinton and the greater West Side, and what the community is doing to address them in its award-winning series: Suffering on Sullivant.

“Housing is something that we looked at quite a lot because it has a very powerful impact on health,” said Bush Stevens.

Living in shabby, overcrowded homes can be stressful, she said. And “a lack of affordable housing – when you spend more than half your income on housing – means you can spend less money on health care or healthy eating.”

More: Franklinton residents have the lowest life expectancy in Ohio

What is being done to improve the health and lives of Franklinton residents?

Columbus Public Health, the Lower Lights Christian Health Center, Franklinton Farms, and the Mount Carmel Women’s Health Center are among the groups that have pushed for better clinical services to improve the health and wellbeing of the community.

“Life expectancy is largely based on the social determinants of health,” or the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play that affect a wide range of health and quality of life outcomes, said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Commissioner for Public Health. These factors include lack of access to nutritious food, lack of transport, inadequate education, job insecurity and poor quality of living.

“That’s why Columbus Public Health and the City of Columbus and so many of our partners have worked hard to make this neighborhood better.”

Dr. Roberts cited the Mount Carmel Emergency Room and Lower Lights Christian Health Center, both in the neighborhood, and Columbus Public Health’s plan to bring mobile health units to Franklinton to improve residents’ access to health care as examples for efforts to make a difference.

While Franklinton’s lower life expectancy is only part of deeper, longer-lasting socio-economic challenges facing the community, Tracy Cloud, CEO of Lower Lights, believes it can be addressed over time.

“We’re also helping people really tackle barriers and break down health care barriers,” said Cloud. “These barriers look very different from perhaps people in other communities or in other parts of the state.”

More: Mount Carmel expands the reach of the homeless amid COVID-19

Cloud said the nonprofit, faith-based health center, located in the heart of the center at 1160 W. Broad St., provides mental, physical and spiritual health services while helping patients manage and recover from trauma. An important part of fulfilling this mission requires gaining the trust of people suffering from addiction, sex trafficking, or other issues that are not easily resolved with a simple telemedicine visit, she said.

Another group committed to the health and wellbeing of residents is Franklinton Farms, which provides healthy food options to the community.

“We operate in a USDA-classified food desert; many of our neighbors have been systemically or functionally excluded from access to nutritious, fresh food, ”said Becca Brown, co-executive director of the organization.

More: Developers add low-income projects to mix up Franklinton redevelopment

Experts have long said that access to healthy food, along with good and hygienic housing and prosperity, play a large role in the life expectancy of a community.

“The long-term answer is to really look into how we can improve the social, economic and physical environment in these communities so that everyone has fair access to self-employment, decent wages and education,” said Bush Stevens said. “Focus on education policy, housing policy … childcare allowances that support employment. These are all things that can help.”

In the short term, it is important for the community to provide things like access to COVID-19 vaccinations and combat deaths from overdose, a growing problem across the state, she said.

The Franklinton life expectancy gap highlights just one of the health inequalities facing residents of the state, Bush Stevens said.

“It’s a loophole that I believe suggests that we need to do more to ensure that all Ohioans – regardless of their zip code, census area, race, ethnicity – have access the kind of things that support good health. “


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