Usher Paid A Woman $1.1 Million For Giving Her Herpes And The Story Is So Gross

Remember when the early 00s seemed like a really good time to be alive? Christina Aguilera was making the ratchet hoe look popular and giving my 13-year-old self a reason to buy denim blue hair extensions from Claires. R&B was on the rise so your middle school dances were lit AF. Ah, what a time to be alive. But no more because it just came out that R. Kelly has a sex cult and now Usher is allegedly giving people herpes. Allegedly. re you there, God? Its me, Britney Betch, why cant I have nice things? In court papers published on Wednesday, back in 2012 Usher reportedly paid a woman 1.1 million dollars in a settlement after giving her herpes. HERPES. So, aside from finding out that his chick on the side had one on the way, his confessions should also include spreading genital herpes. Brb just going to rethink my entire throwback playlist now. Its assumed that around 2009 or 2010, the same time he filed for divorce from his ex-wife, Usher contracted herpes as one does. Damn. That must have been one lit divorce finalization party. Usher went on to date some celeb stylist who would like to remain anonymous, obviously. Sometime during their time together he consciously and purposefully had unprotected sex with her and withheld his herpes diagnosis.

This poor, unfortunate woman even asked him about the greenish discharge coming from HIS PENIS and because Usher is a lying piece of shit he told her that it was fine. The only reason she even found out she had herpes was because she suffered from fever, chills, and vaginal sores. VAGINAL. SORES.

My immediate reaction to this information is:

And also:

I have so many questions here, like how bad must the herpes flare-up have been for her to notice a greenish discharge coming out of his penis mid-sex? And why wasnt that an immediate red flag for her to move her vagina to a different planet from his penis? Id also really like to know what Ushers excuse was for green goo to be coming out of his dick that she was like k sounds good. I mean, I know Usher is smooth, but I didn’t realize he was can-adequately-account-for-green-penis-goo smooth. This is the man who gave us Justin Beiber, people. 

In typical fuckboy fashion, Usher claims to be innocent of having and spreading a sexual disease though he did pay for all of her medical bills and casually settled this dispute in court for 1.1 million dollars. Yeah, sounds suspect AF.

Also, we need to talk about that amount of money for a minute. Is 1.1 million dollars enough money to make up for someone giving you an incurable disease that will make people run screaming from your vagina for the rest of your life? IS IT?? Ill be bringing this v important “would you rather” question up at my next pregame, but in the meantime lets all revel in Usher circa 2004 before he endangered a womans sexual health:

Yes, LET IT BURN, Usher. Just like your sex life.

Read more: http://www.betches.com/usher-pays-herpes-settlement


Court denies abortion to 10-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle

A 10-year-old Indian girlwho was raped repeatedly by her uncle and is six months pregnant has been ruled unable to have an abortion.

A districtcourt in Chandigarh, India, ruled the girl is too young and the pregnancy too advancedfor the procedure, whichcould threaten her life, CBS News reported. Their decision was based upon an opinion of an eight-doctor panel from the city hospital where the girl was examined.

India’s laws ban abortion beyond 20 weeks, though courts have made exceptions for if the fetus wasn’t viable, or the pregnancy risked the life of the mother. However, the panel determined that the fetus was viable, and that an abortion was “not an option at this stage.”

“The only way to terminate the pregnancy is to deliver the baby,” a senior member of the panel told CBS News.

According tothe Indian Express, the girl’s parents found out she was pregnant after she complained of stomach pains. She then told her mother that her uncle had raped her six to seven times when he visited them. The uncle was later arrested.

Pregnancies for younger girls come with life-threatening complications, such as anemia and hemorrhaging,the Washington Postpoints out. Additionally, full-term pregnancies, vaginal births, and Caesarean sections are all risky for someone so young, as pelvic bones don’t funny develop until the later teen years.

Despite the panel’s recommendation, other gynecologists argue that the girl should have the fetus abortedand that the psychological effects of giving birth at 10 years old outweigh the potential risk of the abortion itself.

While the girl and her family have the legal option to seek a review of the ruling with a higher court, the doctor panel says she may not have enough time to do so before the baby is born.

H/T Women in the World

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/india-chandigarh-abortion-rape/


Report: More Than Half Of Rural U.S. Counties Lack Access To Hospital Maternity Wards

Bay Minette, Alabama, July 18 (Reuters) – Dr. Nicole Arthur, a family practice physician, was trained to avoid Cesarean deliveries in child-birth, unless medically necessary, because surgery increases risks and recovery time.

But she has adjusted her approach since arriving last year at the 70-bed North Baldwin Infirmary in rural, southern Alabama.

Low patient admissions and high costs mean the hospital does not have doctors on site around-the-clock to administer anesthesia in the case of an unexpected emergency Cesarean.

As a result, Dr. Arthur performs the surgery if there are any signs of complication, rather than waiting and running the risk that comes with the 20 to 30 minutes it takes for an anesthesiologist to arrive in the middle of the night.

Its better for me to do a C-section when I suspect that something may happen, she said of her new strategy. Getting the baby out healthy and happy outweighs some of the risk.

Physicians in rural communities across America are facing the same tough choices as Dr. Arthur. Hospitals are scaling back services, shutting their maternity wards or closing altogether, according to data from hospitals, state health departments, the federal government and rural health organizations.

Nationally, 119 rural hospitals that have shut since 2005, with 80 of those closures having occurred since 2010, according to the most recent data from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.

To save on insurance and staffing costs, maternity departments are often among the first to get shuttered inside financially stressed rural hospitals, according medical professionals and healthcare experts.

Its been a slow and steady decline, said Michael Topchik, the National Leader for the Chartis Center for Rural Health, about maternity ward closings. Its very expensive care to offer, especially when its lower volume.

More than 200 maternity wards closed between 2004 and 2014 because of higher costs, fewer births and staffing shortages, leaving 54 percent of rural counties across the United States without hospital-based obstetrics, data from the University of Minnesotas Rural Health Research Center show.

The trend has escalated recently even though the national healthcare law, known as Obamacare, was designed in part to help rural hospitals thrive. But unpaid patient debt has risen among rural hospitals by 50 percent since the Affordable Care Act was passed, according to the National Rural Health Association, especially in states that decided not to expand Medicaid the state and federal insurance program for the poor.

The outlook for these hospitals was not poised to improve had Congress approved legislation to replace Obamacare. Senate Republicans proposed cuts to Medicaid would have pushed about 150 more rural hospitals into the red, according to the Chartis Center for Rural Health, mainly in states that voted Republican in the last election.

But late on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican effort to repeal and immediately replace Obamacare will not be successful, after two of McConnells Senate conservatives announced that they would not support the bill

Reuters Staff / Reuters
From left to right: Karlee J. Scott, Thomas P. Sanders, Elizabeth Bush, and Ka’mauria J. Thomas who were born in late April or early May. As more hospitals close, rural women are losing access to essential services, particularly when it comes to maternity care.


The consequences go beyond politics.

When local doctors and midwives leave town, rural women lose access to essential services. Many skip or delay prenatal care that could prevent complications, premature birth or even death. The U.S. infant mortality rate is among the highest in developing countries at 5.8 deaths per 1,000 births.

Pregnant woman in rural areas are more likely to have their deliveries induced or by Cesarean section that, while potentially life-saving, are more expensive and risky than a normal vaginal birth, according to patients, medical professionals and researchers.

Almost a year after her second sons birth, Courtney Cross is still repaying money she borrowed because of the smaller paychecks and larger gas bills she had from driving 60 minutes each way to a specialist in Mobile, Alabama.

There were some days I had to reschedule because of the money factor, said Cross, a medical technician and mother of two, who some months made the trip multiple times. I had to make money.

Cross is not alone. The most common reasons for the hospital closures are people and money. More and more people are moving to urban areas in pursuit of work and a better paycheck. And in most states, lower revenue from insurance and U.S. government payments are pushing these hospitals into financial stress, particularly in states that did not build out their Medicaid programs as Obamacare allowed.

The majority of births in rural America are paid for by Medicaid, and Medicaid is not the most generous payer, said Diane Calmus, government affairs and policy manager for the National Rural Health Association. For most hospitals it is a money losing proposition.

This is the main reason why Connie Trujillo shuttered her midwife practice this spring in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The local hospital had closed its maternity ward, and the closest hospital to deliver babies was at least 60 miles away. She sees more elective inductions because the patients live far away and cant afford to go back and forth.

Some of them just dont have the resources, she said. A year after shuttering, the hospital is trying to hire additional staff to reopen the ward.


The number of induced U.S. deliveries nationally has doubled since 1990 to about 23.3 percent, but rates are significantly higher in rural areas, where it is routinely offered to women traveling long distances, especially if the weather is bad.

Induced labor and surgery come at a high cost. Commercial insurance and Medicaid paid about 50 percent more for Cesarean than vaginal births, according to a 2013 Truven Health Analytics report. The report said Medicaid payments for maternal and newborn care for a vaginal birth was $9,131 versus $13,590 for a C-section.

In largely rural West Virginia – where the Summersville Regional Medical Center became the latest hospital to stop delivering newborns earlier this year – elected inductions for first time mothers rose to 28.7 percent in 2015 from 24.1 percent in 2011, according to data provided to Reuters by the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership, a statewide effort to improve care.

Inductions allow the physicians to manage their case loads and timing of deliveries, said Amy Tolliver, director of the Perinatal Partnership. We know that inductions are happening in small hospitals that have difficulty with staffing.

To address staffing issues at Dr Arthurs hospital in Alabama, the facility paid temporary doctors for a year to keep the department open when one of its two maternity doctors stopped doing deliveries.

Its important to have access (to obstetrics), said hospital president Benjamin Hansert, who also organized a group of doctors from Mobile about 40 minutes away to cover some of the shifts so that staff doctors would not always be on call. Where the mother goes for care, the rest of the family will follow.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rural-hospital-closings_us_596da8f8e4b0e983c05881fa


Gwyneth Paltrow Ridiculed On Social Media After Bizarre Attempt To Refute Goop Critics

If youre ever outed as a peddler of snake oil, youve got two options. The first is to admit you were wrong, hold your hands up, and promise to change your ways.The other is the Gwyneth Paltrow way. Its to double down on your beliefs and peddle more than youve ever peddled before.

Thats what Paltrows controversial company Goop has done in a bizarre statement, which aims to hit back at the criticism of some of its pseudoscience products. These include jade eggs that you put in your vagina and stickers that improve your well-being.

The former hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in January, when numerous qualified experts pointed out that no, putting jade eggs in your vagina is not a good idea. The latter was in June, when Goop claimed they were using NASA technology in their expensive and essentially worthless stickers. NASA refuted the claim, and shit hit the fan.

Now, Goop has published a post titled Uncensored: A Word from Our Doctors. This was shared by Paltrow on social media.

In the post, Goop tried to hit back by attacking some of the critics that have pointed out the many, many flaws with their products. Its worth noting that they didnt actually supply any evidence. This was a war of meaningless words.

Encouraging discussion of new ideas is certainly one of our goals, but indiscriminate attacks that question the motivation and integrity of the doctors who contribute to the site is not, the company states. They then go on to slate Dr Jen Gunter and her blog, which has consistently pointed out the crap peddled by Goop.

Since her first post, she has been taking advantage of the attention and issuing attacks to build her personal platform, Goop said. The thing about science and medicine is that it evolves all the time.

Its fair to say this has not gone down well.

Dr Gunter has now posted her own rebuttal of Goops word salad on her blog. The whole post is worth a read if you want a good breakdown of why Goop is a load of crap.

I was blogging about pseudoscience long before Paltrow first squatted over a pot of steaming allergens and leveraged her celebrity to draw attention to her website, Dr Gunter writes. How dare the editors of GOOP promote the idea that I somehow think women are not intelligent enough to read something and take away what serves us, and leave what does not when they present half-truths.

So the next time you want to take on the medical community, might we suggest bringing some evidence with you first.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/gwyneth-paltrows-goop-ridiculed-on-social-media-after-bizarre-attempt-to-refute-its-critics/


Goop Tried To Defend Vagina Eggs And The Internet Had A Field Day

Hold on to your vagina eggs, people.Goop and its medical advisors tried to come for the sites critics, and it isnt going over well.

Before now,Gwyneth Paltrowand her lifestyle site simply pressed on in the face ofmassive criticism over its questionable health and science claims(ahem, energy balancingstickers). But this week, the site published a three-part post that attempted to rebut the blowback it receives for dubious recommendations and products, including a $66 jade egg women are told toinsert in their vaginas, thenrecharge with the power of a full moon.

Goop staff and two of its medical contributors,Drs. Steven Gundryand Aviva Romm, wrote what they said is the first in a series of posts defending Goops health content. The introduction by Team Goopsure made it sound like all the sites health content is sourced from doctors, but anyone familiar with the jade egg controversy probably recalls the product was recommended by the actress Shiva Rose.The entire post is especially directed at dismissing and scolding Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an OB/GYN who famouslyslammed Goop on her blog for recommending the eggs and warned they may cause infection.

Paltrow, who recently admitted even she doesnt always totally understandwhat her site is talking about, shared the post using a wait for it Michelle Obamaquote.

Like many other things that appear on Goops pages, responses to the piece mostly call out Goop for capitalizing on inaccurate and potentially dangerous medical advice for women. And these responses came flooding in like a river of $200 smoothies, from all over the Internet.

Heres an (organic) sampling of some of the best takedowns of their piece.

From Vox:

Theres a lot more thats passive-aggressive in the Goop post. For one, Goop complains that Gunters concern about bacterial infections from the jade eggs was strangely confident. Was it more strangely confident than saying jade eggs can help cultivate sexual energy?

The problem is not that the Goop team isnt asking questions. Its that theyre not asking enough questions. Their curiosity should lead them to wonder, How can a piece of jade actually affect my energy levels? Whats the biological mechanism? Are there any studies on safety or efficacy at all? And if there arent, shouldnt we let readers know? Even if the jade eggs dont pose any infection hazards, the truth still remains: Theres no evidence in support of their benefits.

From Inverse:

Goop presents itself as a lifestyle brand, but it has a financial stake in discrediting medical experts like Gunter who would inform people of the pseudoscience and occasionally dangerous practices driving many of its products.

From Page Six:

Gwyneth Paltrows lifestyle brand Goop has clapped back at its haters a group that includes scientists, doctors, ad execs and many people who simply cant afford to spend nearly $1,000 on toilet wipes.

From Medium:

Dr. Gundrys response is frankly embarrassing. In science, its evidence that counts, and that evidence has to be able to weather challenge after challenge. Gundrys particular obsession is lectins, a chemical naturally found in a lot of healthy foods. He believes that people should avoid lectins and, well, he sounds like kind of a douche (another thing that shouldnt go in the vagina) when talking about it.

There was also a hail storm that rained down like moon duston social media. Other doctors, scientists and people on Team Gunter blasted Goop on Twitter.

Perhaps the most notable response came from Gunter herself, who wrote the sitemust have very weak ideas to let one doctor get under its skin.

She later issued a lovely, scientific reply in which she calls Goops piece disjointed, inadequately researched, bloated, and mansplainy. She also asserted her position and qualifications to call Goops pieces into question.

I am not strangely confident about vaginal health, I am appropriately confident because I am the expert, she wrote, listing her schooling and board certifications. A woman with no medical training who tells women to walk around with a jade egg in their vaginas all day, a jade egg that they can recharge with the energy of the moon no less, is the strangely confident one.

We have a feeling Paltrow might want to consciously uncouple with this whole situation, and fast.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gwyneth-paltrow-goop-doctors_us_5968f1a5e4b03389bb16f758


Medicaid affects millions of Americans, young and old

(CNN)Your tax dollars provide health care benefits for millions of people. Currently, 74 million people receive health coverage under Medicaid, a government program for low-income people, including adults with disabilities and children. Under the program, beneficiaries pay low out-of-pocket fees for health services that are paid for by federal dollars.

There is a wide range of benefits for enrollees: doctor services, emergency room visits, inpatient hospital services, family planning, pediatric and family nurse practitioner care, screening, diagnostic and treatment services, nursing facility services, home health care, lab and X-ray tests, rural health clinics, smoking cessation programs for pregnant women and transportation to medical care.
Federal law says these benefits must be provided to Medicaid enrollees. Yet individual states can choose to also cover services such as prescription drug fees, dental services, physical therapy, optometry services, chiropractic services, hospice and private nursing services.
    When Medicaid was signed into law in 1965, fewer than 5 million Americans qualified for benefits under this program. But a growing population and a number of changes to the law — the Affordable Care Act alone added 16.3 million enrollees — amplified the total number of beneficiaries.
    Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program cover nearly 36 million children. The Children’s Health Insurance Program uses federal funds to match state funds that are providing coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but unable to afford private coverage.
    As a result, Medicaid ranks as the single largest source of health coverage in the United States, according to the government website.

    Medicaid’s wide-ranging effects, by the numbers

    3 out of 5: How many nursing home residents across America are covered by Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on national health issues. (The foundation is not associated with the managed care plan Kaiser Permanente.)
    36%: How much of Medicaid’s funds are spent on senior citizens receiving its benefits, though they make up only 15% of Medicaid enrollees, according to Kaiser.Medicare, a federal health insurance program, mostly serves people 65 or older. To pay for this program, the Federal Insurance Contributions Act requires 1.45% of citizens’ earnings go to Medicare, with an additional employer contribution of the same amount.
    Medicaid covers services, such as long-term care, that Medicare does not cover for the elderly.
    7.9: The average rating, on a zero to 10 scale, that Medicaid enrollees gave their overall health care, according to a study published in July in JAMA Internal Medicine. Zero represented “the worst health care possible,” and 10 represented “the best health care possible.” Eighty-four percent of enrollees reported that they were able to get all the care they or their physician believed was necessary in the past six months; 3% of enrollees reported that they were not able to get care because of waiting times or because physicians did not accept their insurance.
    53 cents on the dollar: How muchMedicaid generally pays doctors and other health care providers, compared with what they would receive from a privately insured patient, according to an index created by Kaiser. The index calculates the current rate paid to providers for serving Medicaid patients as 66% of the fee allowed for a Medicare beneficiary, which is 80% of the price charged by private insurers. The number of doctors who refuse to see Medicaid patients due to lower fees is difficult to estimate and has been the subject of an ongoing debate.
    3 in every 10: How many people with an opioid addiction were covered byMedicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2014, according to Kaiser. Medicaid covered about 690,000 of the 2.3 million people addicted to heroin or prescription opioid medicines that year.
    Half: How many births in New York and California are paid for by Medicaid. Other states range from 72% (New Mexico) to 27% (New Hampshire), according to Kaiser. Meanwhile, the average payment made by a private US insurer for maternal care plus vaginal childbirth was $12,520 in 2010, according to Truven Health Analytics, an IBM company.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    84%: How many adults on Medicaid report getting their blood pressure checked. It’s higher than the percentage of people with private insurance — 79% — who report getting a blood pressure check. People with Medicaid are also more likely to get their cholesterol checked: 60%, versus 56%, Kaiser reports.
    30%: How many non-elderly adult Medicaid beneficiaries say they’re in fair or poor health, according to Kaiser, and many have preventable or controllable conditions. Seven in 10 adult Medicaid enrollees are overweight or obese. One in 10 has a diagnosed mental illness. And nearly one in three smokes tobacco.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/13/health/medicaid-explainer-bn/index.html


    This Is How Wearing A Thong Every Day Can Affect Your Health

    Listen, thongs are not for everyone.

    For some, it’s the bane of their existence. For others, it’s an awesome, sexy pick-me-up, or maybe you simply wear these bad boys for practicality purposes. #GoodbyePantylines.

    But what about your health? How do thongs affect your body’s well-being, if at all?

    I mean, something to be happening down there when you wedge a piece of stretchy fabric between your butt cheeks all day, right?

    It turns out, you can get an infection from frequently wearing thongs, but not for the reasonsyou may think.

    It actually doesn’t have much to do with the fact that the panties sit between your cheeks, but more because of the material of the fabric itself.

    Due to the fact that thongs are usually made out of everything cotton, wearing them on a daily basis can easily put your vagina at risk of a minor infection.

    The best kind of panty is onethat is made of cotton not just the crotch.

    According to Dr. Jill M. Rabin, an associate professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, an OB/GYN with Stamford Hospital, all layers of thongs should be cotton. If the layer outside of the crotch is another material, that makes the cotton less breathable and thus allowing more moisture to be trapped and more possible imbalance leading to infections, Ghofrany said.

    Plus, the shape of the thong can pose its own set of risks to your precious nether regions.

    Why? That skinny, sexy, peek-a-boo little shape can sometimes be too narrow, leaving your vulva exposed, which probably means that it’s rubbing up against everything it isn’t supposed to.

    Also, the thin covering of a thong typically isn’t very secure, and likely moves around a lot throughout your day.

    And that can lead to some very unsexy things, liketransferring bacteria from your anus to your vagina.

    So, yes, that does mean you could be transferring bacteria like E. Coli to your vaginal region (BTW, E.Coli is a leading cause of UTIs in women).

    I know. Thongs are kind of starting to sound really, really gross.

    Elite Daily spoke withDr. Jaime Knopman, co-founder of Truly MDand fertility specialist at CCRM New York, who also advised that wearing a thong that’s too tight for you may be leaving way too much room (or, literally speaking,not enough room) for disaster.

    She explains,

    The issue with thongs is that wearing the wrong size, [or] too tight, could lead to a rash, which could possibly become infected.

    When wearing thongs, or any underwear, it should always be clean, the right size, and changed often to avoid any health issues.

    Ladies, be sexy, but please, be careful, too.

    Look for cotton thongs, wear the right size for you, and, for Christ’s sake, make sure your underwear isn’t moving around.

    Nobody needsbacteria lurking around down there.

    Read more: http://elitedaily.com/wellness/wearing-thong-every-day-can-affect-health/2013132/


    Meningitis vaccine may also cut risk of ‘untreatable’ gonorrhoea, study says

    Bacteria causing two different illnesses belong to the same family and share much of the same genetic code providing unexpected cross protection

    Hopes to fight untreatable strains of gonorrhoea have risen after it emerged that a new vaccine against meningitis unexpectedly reduced the risk of people getting the sexually transmitted infection.

    Some strains of gonorrhoea are resistant to all available drugs, making vaccine development an urgent global health priority. But according to a study in The Lancet, a vaccine has offered protection against the sexually transmitted disease for the first time.

    Gonorrhoea spreads through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex and many of those who contract the disease experience no symptoms. If left untreated, the disease can cause infertility and can increase the transmission of HIV infection.

    A New Zealand meningitis epidemic in the early 2000s prompted the mass vaccination of a million people and fortuitously set the scene for the current study. The vaccine used, known as MeNZB, was designed to protect against meningococcal group B infection the cause of the most deadly form of meningitis.

    But intriguingly, over the next few years, scientists noticed fewer gonorrhoea cases than expected in those who had been vaccinated against meningitis.

    Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine specialist from the University of Auckland who led the study, was optimistic: Some types of gonorrhoea are now resistant to every antibiotic we have, and there appeared [to be] little we could do to prevent the steady march of gonorrhoea to superbug status. But now theres hope, she added.

    The research team studied over 14,000 people aged 15-30 whod been diagnosed with gonorrhoea at sexual health clinics across New Zealand and who had been eligible for the MeNZB vaccine during the emergency vaccination programme. They found vaccinated individuals were over 30% less likely to develop gonorrhoea.

    Despite meningitis and gonorrhoea being very different illnesses, both are caused by bacteria from the same family and share much of the same genetic code, providing a possible explanation for the cross-protection that the team observed.

    More than 78 million people worldwide get gonorrhoea each year with most infections in men and women under the age of 25. It is the second most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the UK after chlamydia. In England alone, almost 35,000 people were affected in 2014.

    British Association for Sexual Health and HIVs President, Dr Elizabeth Carlin, who was not involved in the study, was more sceptical: These early findings are to be welcomed but its important to keep in perspective that the vaccine offered only moderate protection …. an individual receiving this vaccine remains susceptible to gonorrhoea but just less so than if unvaccinated.

    The MeNZB vaccine used in the current study is no longer manufactured, but Petousis-Harris has high hopes for a similar meningitis vaccine called 4CMenB, available in many countries.

    Petousis-Harris was clear about what needed to happen next. We need an urgent assessment of current meningitis vaccines to see if they protect against gonorrhoea. It may be possible to eliminate many gonorrhoea infections using a vaccine with only moderate protection. It does not need to be perfect, she added.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jul/10/meningitis-vaccine-may-also-cut-risk-of-untreatable-gonorrhoea-study-says


    The Miracle Cure Gwyneth Paltrow Accidentally Got Right

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Oscar-winner and dubious lifestyle guru, is under fire again. At issue this time: Body Vibes, the small stickers that can be placed on the upper arms to promote healing, rebalance energy frequencies, smooth out physical tension and anxiety, and boost cell turnover.

    Paltrow wasnt criticized because her website Goop was again peddling a product that couldnt prove any of its claims or outright dangerous. Or because oneboosting cell turnoversounded like something that no one should ever want. Rather she was slapped for the biological basis on which these claims were made: Paltrow said the healing power of Body Vibes came from NASA space science. Its inventors had supposedly used the same conductive carbon material that NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronauts vital [signs] during wear. According to GOOP, the technology developed by NASA used a biofrequency that resonates with the bodys natural energy field.

    NASA immediately debunked Paltrows claim, stating that spacesuits do not have any conductive carbon material lining. (And Goop subsequently removed it.)

    Although many have been quick to dismiss Goops latest miracle cure, Body Vibe stickers do offer the same thing that alternative healers typically promisea chance to benefit from the placebo response.

    One of the first demonstrations of the power of the placebo took place on the battlefields of World War II, where a nurse ran out of morphine. Unable to tell a wounded soldier that she had nothing to treat his pain, she said the saltwater she had just given him was actually morphine. To her surprise, the soldiers pain disappeared. Researchers have since found that people can learn to release their own endorphins: powerful, morphine-like, pain-relieving chemicals made by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Indeed, the biological basis of pain relief from acupuncture has nothing to do with where the healer puts the needlesor even whether the needles enter the skinand everything to do with some patients releasing their own endorphins.

    The placebo response isnt limited to pain relief.

    In 1957, John Imboden and colleagues at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine performed a landmark experiment. They administered a series of psychological tests to military personnel working at Fort Detrick, Maryland. A few months later, an influenza pandemic swept across the camp. Imboden found that recruits who were depressed had symptoms of influenza that lasted longer and were more severe than those in recruits who werent depressed. In other words, mood determined illness. The mind, wrote John Milton in Paradise Lost, can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.

    In 1975, Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen from the University of Rochester School of Medicine took Imbodens observations one step further. They found that rats given cyclophosphamide (an immune-suppressive drug) in saccharin-flavored water developed an inability to respond to foreign proteins. Weeks later, their immune systems recovered. That wasnt surprising. What was surprising was that when these same rats were later given saccharin-flavored water only, they again had a lesser immune response. The rats, by pairing the taste of saccharin with an immune-suppressive drug, had learned to suppress their own immune systems. Amazing.

    The next question: Could researchers teach people to suppress their immune response? Again, Robert Ader took the lead. Working with a teenager with the autoimmune disease lupus, he paired cyclophosphamide with a distinct taste (cod liver oil) and smell (rose perfume). Like the rats, the boy learned to suppress his immune response, requiring less-frequent dosing of the steroid necessary to control his disease. Other researchers replicated Aders findings. And it worked both ways; not only could people learn to suppress their immune responses, they could learn to enhance them.

    Which brings us back to Gwyneth Paltrows Body Vibes. If people believe that Body Vibe patches are giving them more energy or relieving tension, whos to say that this belief cant result in healing? If people can learn to release their own endorphins or up-regulate or down-regulate their own immune systems, why cant Body Vibe patches offer some benefit? And, unlike antidepressants or mood-elevating drugs, these patches have no side effects.

    Another thing. Although the cost of Body Vibe patches$60 for a pack of 10is no doubt logarithmically greater than the cost of manufacture, according to the theory of cognitive dissonance, the more expensive the better. This concept was first tested at a racetrack in the 1960s. Researchers asked bettors to rate their horse as they walked toward or away from the betting window. Bettors faced two conflicting facts: 1) Any horse could win the race, 2) I bet a lot of money on only one horse. To resolve the conflict, bettors rated their horse much higher after placing their bets. (Heres that study.) In another, researchers from MIT tested the capacity of two sugar pills to relieve pain. One group was told that the pill cost 10 cents, the other that it cost $2.50. Participants experienced less pain with the pill that was said to be more expensive.

    But is it ethical for Body Vibes marketers to deceive?

    In fairness, all practitionersmainstream or otherwiseemploy some form of deception. They know that a positive attitude, reassuring demeanor, and air of competence are important. We use the placebo effect all the time, says Art Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York Universitys Langone Medical Center. Ive got a bowtie. I wear a white coat. You come to a big building that looks pretty impressive. I expect someday to see billboards go up in cities that say we have a really big machine and it makes a lot of noise and we dont know how it works but you can only get it from us so come on down.

    Indeed, it would be more honest if mainstream doctors walked into a patients room and said, Look, we will definitely know more about how to treat your illness a hundred years from now. Frankly, I suspect doctors in the future will look back on some of the things that were doing today and laugh. Although our understanding of many diseases is excellent, for some were just treading water, and for others were completely lost. No clinicians (in their right mind) say this. From the days of shamans and witch doctors to the modern-day physician, everybody has their props, their deceptions. In fact, studies have shown that when physicians claim that one particular medicine will be more effective, the patient will later perceive that medicine as being more effective.

    The line that cannot be crossed, however, is recommending placebo therapies that are potentially harmful. Unfortunately, in several instances, Goop has crossed that line, including touting vaginal steaming with mugwort to balance female hormone levels and cleanse the uterus, which, apart from the fact that mugwort isnt a hormone and vaginal steam (absent pressure) will never reach the uterus, could cause burns or bacterial infections. Or promoting placing $66 jade eggs the size of golf balls in the vagina in hopes of boosting orgasms, enhancing kidney strength, improving physical appearance, and increasing vaginal tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energyas well as the risk of bacterial infections, including toxic-shock syndrome. Or even cleansing the colon with enemas to remove toxins, boost energy, and enhance the immune system. These have no proven benefit in otherwise healthy people, and can cause dehydration, infections, vomiting, and, worst of all, bowel perforations.

    Although Gwyneth Paltrow should be held accountable for therapies that are potentially dangerous, Body Vibe patches dont fall into that category. And Paltrow could reasonably argue that believing that you are benefiting from the patches might trigger a physiological response that is actually beneficial. Belief is a powerful medicine.

    Paul A. Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and the author of Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (HarperCollins, 2013).

    Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-miracle-cure-gwyneth-paltrow-accidentally-got-right


    Why I wrote the sex manual Id have loved as a teenager

    The Spanish YouTuber Chusita gives young people honest, down-to-earth advice on sex in her new book, This Is Not a Sex Book

    At a recent book signing in Barcelona, Spanish YouTuber Chusita was approached by two parents with their teenage daughter.Although Chusitas book is a sex guide for her teenage fansand followers, she sometimes hears from parents who thank her for writing it, and for helping them broach a difficult subject. Some have told her theyve sat down with their teenage children and read it together. This time, though, the parents wished to thank her for a different reason.

    Loudly, in front of the whole crowd, they said theyd bought the book for their daughter, but decided to read it first to check it was OK, says Chusita. They then told everyone how much they loved the book and that it had rekindled their sex life. Their daughter stood beside them, completely mortified!

    In some ways, Mara Jess Cama, Chusitas real name, is similar to the UK vlogging sensation Zoella although a much less polished version. The apartment she shares with a friend in Madrid is a long way from Zoellas 1m house in Brighton. When we talk, she wears no makeup and her YouTube channel, Chusita Fashion Fever, is a fun, imperfect mix of unsophisticated pop covers (Adeles Hello in Spanish anyone?), confessionals, random musings and straight-talking agony aunt-style advice.

    Her book This Is Not a Sex Book: The Uncensored Manual for All Things Intimate was published last year in Spain, where it sold well. It has since been published across Latin America, as well as the US, Holland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, the Czech Republic the list goes on. Next week its published in the UK.

    Its an odd read. In some ways its sweet, almost innocent with cute quizzes, comic-strip storylines, emojis and fun facts such as the worlds largest penis or the mating habits of seahorses. There are chapters to help teens to navigate todays complex modern relationships (hook-ups, sexting, friends with benefits, etc). And then theres the lowdown on actually doing it masturbation (male, female and mutual), sex toys (real and improvised), sex (vaginal, oral and anal) Perhaps its pitched perfectly at todays youth, the internet generation, who on one level know everything, yet In Real Life (#IRL) may be no more sophisticated than the generations before them.

    According to Chusita, its aimed at young people aged 14 to 20 (her fanbase) who havent had much or any sexual experience, but who want to be fully informed when they do. She based it on the kinds of questions she is asked on her channel and also what she wished shed known herself but had to learn by trial and error.

    Chusita, 30, who dropped out of school, certainly never imagined or planned this career path. She grew up in Madrid, the youngest of six siblings, and was educated in a convent primary school and a secular state secondary.

    The vlogging began when she was 21, living with her then boyfriend and his family, and working as a receptionist. My boyfriend and I werent getting on well. Work was busy. Problems piled up and I started to get depressed, she says. I went on antidepressants and for seven months lay around feeling low.

    An illustration from This is Not A Sex Book.

    On a night out with a friend, they met a group of boys. There was a bit of sexual tension, and the next day Chusita made her first video back when few people did about sexual tension in clubs. She sent it to her friend to watch; her friend passed it about. Chusita made more about the music she liked, what happened in the supermarket, her thoughts on her daily life. It was a kind of confidence booster, a sort of therapy. Her following grew.

    A popular section of her channel is If I Were You, where fans send in problems and Chusita reads them out and gives advice. Its not all about sex but a lot is. I get loads of different questions, every possible sort, she says. Many times, itll be my boyfriend is insisting he wants to have sex and Im not sure or my boyfriend wants to have anal sex but I dont like the idea of it. I think its horrible. How do I handle this?. Often, the questions will revolve around saying no or setting limits.

    Sitting on her bed, giant cuddly toys in the background, Chusita dispenses refreshingly sensible advice on her vlogs. Her repeated message is finding whats right for you (whatever that is) and not being pushed around. She shares plenty of personal experience in her posts. My First Kiss aged 16, on the school bus, she remembers a lot of saliva. My First Time she was the last of her friends to have sex, nearly 19, as she preferred to wait until she was with a person she felt comfortable with. Nonetheless, the sex was forgettable.

    Other popular If I Were You posts include Sex with my cousin (from a teenage boy who was seduced by his cousin and is debating whether to go the whole way) and I cant orgasm (an 18-year-old who lost her virginity to her boyfriend four months ago and has yet to orgasm with him though she can do it fine on her own). Chusitas advice on the cousin question is to think years ahead, at family events this cousin will be in his life for ever. Of course, being sexual feels good, she says. Thats normal, but personally, shed find someone who wasnt in her family to do it with. On the orgasm problem, she wonders if the couple are trying too hard, focusing on the problem instead of relaxing and letting herself go. She also urges her to tell her boyfriend what she likes, give it time, be patient.

    Why does she think people come to her with their questions? I think its partly the fact that people prefer to listen to someone they dont know, she says, someone outside their circle who doesnt have any preconceptions or ideas about them. Someone with no agenda. Ill also tell it clearly theres no holding back, no taboos. Ill talk about anything.

    In Catholic Spain, says Chusita, theres a huge gap in sex education waiting to be filled. Sex education was non-existent when I was at school and its the same now, she says. Theyll talk to you about reproduction but not about sex. Theyll talk about how to make babies but not how to avoid making babies but still have sex.

    Nor is it talked about much at home. The only thing I was told by my parents was Dont get pregnant and If you do get pregnant, you will have the baby. I talked about sex to friends, of course, but they were as clueless as I was. We could share experiences, but the only way we could really learn was by doing it.

    According to Chusita, little has changed since then. Young people still have a lot of questions What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel? and no one is covering them. Teachers and parents are too embarrassed to raise it and teenagers are too embarrassed to ask.

    And into this void steps pornography, available everywhere at the tap of a phone. I dont have a problem with porn, but its no way to learn, says Chusita. Watching a porn film is like watching an action movie. You might think, Wow! That looks amazing. Id love to do that but its not the reality. You cant jump from buildings. Porn is not a portrayal of reality so when you start having sex with someone, you shouldnt think youre going to experience a porn film.

    She doesnt pretend to be an expert, or even to know any more than the average woman. But thats her appeal. Shes like the warm, wise big sister any teen would wish for.

    Im not a professional and I dont have very different sexual experiences to anyone else, she says. I think probably everyone finds it harder to talk about sex honestly when theyre starting out than when they get older and realise its not such a big deal. Probably anyone who has had sex a few times could write the book. Its just that Im the one who did.

    This Is Not a Sex Book is, says Chusita, a more careful, more considered account of the advice and information she gives on her channel.

    I had more time to think about it. Its better conveyed than in the videos, she says. Its the book Id have loved to have read when I was a teenager, written in young peoples language, in a way thats accessible to them. I want it to be part of peoples libraries, the book teenagers go to. And from time to time, their parents too.

    This Is Not a Sex Book by Chusita Fashion Fever (Head of Zeus, 14.99). To order a copy for 12.74, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders minimum p&p of 1.99.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/08/why-i-wrote-the-sex-manual-id-have-loved-as-a-teenager