Posts tagged with "CDC"

Male Feritlity via Brittney Houser for Pitch Publicity NYC for use by 360 Magazine

Baby And Beyond: Why You Need Healthy Sperm

By: Ayla Barmmer

Although still commonly referred to as a “woman’s issue,” nearly half of all fertility problems are attributed to men. Statistics show that the rate of infertility is increasing and men and women are in this together. Nearly 9% of men and 10% of women under the age of 44 report infertility problems in America (CDC, 2013 and Office on Women’s Health, 2019). However, fixing the fertility problems tend to fall primarily on women while men are often sidelined. This is not a good situation for anyone, as not being part of the fertility journey can cause feelings of anxiety, helplessness, shame and guilt that can ultimately cause problems in relationships, performance at work and overall mental wellbeing. 

Men Have A Biological Clock Too

Traditionally, we focus on the woman’s age as being a major factor in fertility success. Often referred to as a woman’s biological clock, which is a metaphor used to describe the sense of pressure many women feel to get pregnant while they are at the peak of their reproductive years, a man’s age makes a difference too. And just because a man marries a younger woman, it does not necessarily solve the fertility hurdles. A retrospective cohort study found that increased paternal age had negative effects on offspring and their mothers. Specifically, offspring born to fathers aged 45 years or older had higher odds of premature birth and seizures compared to fathers aged 25 to 34, and mothers had an increased risk of premature birth and gestational diabetes.

While it is true that fertility begins to decline for most people in their mid-30s, it is still possible to become pregnant later in life when you are ready to have a family, with targeted diet and lifestyle strategies being hugely supportive at this point. Being aware of the challenges going into the fertility journey and knowing all your options is the first step to having positive outcomes that do not put unnecessary stress on the relationship.

Skipped Steps = Stress

Most couples turn to medical interventions if they do not conceive within the first 3-6 months of trying to have a baby. While this may seem like a logical next step from a medical perspective, the process of using medical interventions can cause an enormous amount of stress and financial strain on the relationship. The average couple will often attempt two in vitro fertilization cycles, bringing the total cost of IVF, including procedures and medications, somewhere between $40,000 and $60,000 (SingleCare, 2020). Add to that an estimated 85% of IVF costs are often paid out of pocket (Fertility and Sterility, 2011). While IVF is costly and stressful, the alternative does not seem any better considering that infertility is one of the primary reasons for divorce among couples (International Journal of Reproductive Biomedicine, 2020).

Couples who choose this path are often unaware that they are skipping over a cost-effective and less-stressful option. Like many aspects of our health, male and female fertility can be supported by improving lifestyle choices, such as exercise, sleep, targeted nutritional support and minimizing environmental exposures.

Don’t Underestimate Nutrition

An extensive amount of research shows that if men make positive changes with their nutrition and engage in good lifestyle choices, there is a clear connection to improved male fertility, ultimately resulting in healthier babies. Some immediate lifestyle choices men can make to help improve sperm health include exercising regularly and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily.

While sleep and exercise may be easier to implement, the nutrition component of fertility may be new to men since it is not often talked about. Flooding the body with the right nutrients could really up your fertility game. 

To start, a Mediterranean diet is often recommended as it focuses on foods that are high in antioxidants (such as selenium and vitamins E and C) and omega-3 fatty acids, which can be helpful in managing chronic inflammation. Mediterranean diets often include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts, legumes and olive oil; and lesser amounts of poultry, eggs, cheese and dairy. A man’s diet has a major influence on the health of the baby. Recent findings from an animal model study found that when male mice ate low-protein diets, ATF7 (a protein responsible for fat metabolism and cholesterol production) turned on, and led to metabolic reprogramming in offspring. Another key study showed that sperm and semen from male mice that were fed a poor-quality diet resulted in their offspring becoming overweight with symptoms of Type 2 diabetes and reduced expression of genes that regulate fat metabolism.

What you cannot consistently get enough of through the diet, you should get through dietary supplements. To support male fertility, supplements that are helpful to include daily are choline, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, magnesium, selenium and folate. Knowing the precise amounts to take of each nutrient can be overwhelming. This is one of the reasons why I started FullWell, a fertility wellness and education brand, to take the guesswork out of knowing which fertility supplements and what amounts were most effective. For men, FullWell’s Vitality + Virility supplement contains familiar antioxidants like vitamin E, C and selenium plus a unique antioxidant blend to offer more support than the typical men’s multivitamin. Beyond antioxidants, the nutrients included in this formula help support the very nutrient-intensive liver detoxification process, which in turn can encourage the healthy formation of sperm and the DNA contained within it.

The role of fertile, healthy sperm goes far beyond conception. Sperm quality, motility (movement) and morphology (shape and size) all contribute to an overall healthy pregnancy and the health of the baby for the long term. Some factors with sperm health are certainly out of a man’s control, but nutrition is not. If men focus on flooding their body with the right levels of these nutrients, through diet and supplementation, they can play a major role in conception, pregnancy health and the baby’s long-term health.

Inventory Your Environment

While women are often told to avoid smoking, alcohol and reduce exposure to chemicals during pregnancy and preconception, men can also make an impact here as well. Consider the evidence:

  • Findings from a longitudinal study revealed that paternal smoking and welding exposure prior to conception was independently associated with non-allergic asthma in offspring, even if smoking stopped five years prior to conception
  • Another study looking at sex-specific changes found that parental smoking at an early age also increased the risk of obesity in male adolescent offspring
  • A meta-analysis looking at paternal occupational exposure to herbicides, such as pentachlorophenol (PCP) used in wood-related industries, demonstrated that exposure increased the risk of lymphoma and leukemia in the father and their offspring

However, obvious environmental factors like smoking and pollution are not the only culprits for conception. Other more common environmental situations men could be exposing themselves to occur right in the home and car. Consider your exposure to unnecessary chemicals that can be found in scented candles, air fresheners, colognes and even heavy metals that could be present in the supplements you are taking. Be sure to check the label of dietary supplements for seals that indicate the company uses third-party independent testing. FullWell uses third-party independent testing to ensure no harmful contaminants, including heavy metals, are present in its fertility supplements for both men and women.

Beyond Baby: Do It For Your Health

Beyond fertility, male reproductive factors like low sperm count have been associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome for men. In the largest study to date evaluating semen quality, reproductive function, and metabolic risk, researchers discovered that men with low sperm counts had a higher risk of greater body fat, higher blood pressure, insulin resistance and abnormally elevated cholesterol. This and other recent studies have provided more insight into how fertility status can act as a biomarker for future health whether you are planning to have a baby or not. 

Biography

Ayla Barmmer, MS, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner and the founder/CEO, of FullWell, a fertility wellness and education brand. Her entire career focus has been to advance the health and empowerment of practitioners, patients and families through nutritional science, functional medicine and evidence-based holistic solutions. Barmmer launched FullWell to provide all families access to the same evidence-based, effective, high-quality prenatal and fertility supplements that she successfully uses with her own patients. Barmmer earned her undergraduate degree in dietetics and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Connecticut; a Master of Science in Health Communications from Boston University and has additional training in clinical nutrition, functional medicine, women’s health, herbal medicine and holistic and integrative therapies.

Labratory Picture via Kennedy Reed for Pitch Perfect NYC for use by 360 Magazine

Don’t Freak Out During Tick Season

By: Sandra Lee, CEO, NJ Labs

Ticks are a year-long issue, but the season for ticks peaks from April to October. Are you ready for tick season? Do not ignore it. Do not freak out.

What was once a regional issue has now become a national problem because of the migration of these bugs and the increasing frequency in which people travel and spend time outdoors. When it comes to ticks, most people are concerned about being infected with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi that is transmitted to humans through the bite of blacklegged or deer ticks. Lyme Disease is an inflammatory disease that if left untreated can lead to possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders. The CDC estimates that there are about 300,000 cases of Lyme Disease per year, with more than 96% concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwestern United States. However, there are many other tick species across the United States that also spread disease and cause virus-like symptoms including headaches, fever, fatigue, chills and muscle aches. This makes tick testing crucial, so you know the tick that bit you. Tick testing is a proactive measure to take that can help a doctor or veterinarian determine the best course of action to treat a tick-borne pathogen.

Be Aware of the Tick Types

Before learning more about tick testing, it is important to know the kinds of tick you or your pet may come across. The known species of ticks in the United States that bite and transmit diseases include:

Tick Prevention

You may encounter a tick during everyday activities. Tick populations tend to be in elevated, wooded and grassy areas where creatures they feed on live. However, they can also be found in populated urban areas and coastal locations. Ticks enjoy moist and humid environments, like wood piles, leaf piles and litter, bird feeders, or fallen and low-hanging branches. Some ticks are also found in homes, such as the Brown Dog Tick and Soft ticks. To prevent the at-home ticks from entering your home be sure to keep lawn grasses low, eliminate leaf litter and distribute gravel to create a zone that prevents ticks from coming in. Additionally, here are some tips to prevent tick bites:

  • Avoid direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and grassy areas; and if hiking, stay near the center of trails.
  • Dress appropriately with long pants and long sleeves, and ensure the clothing has been pretreated with permethrin, or spray 0.5% permethrin on clothing.
  • Immediately take a shower after coming home from outdoors, and check for ticks on body, gear and pets.
  • Tumble dry clothes on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any ticks.
  • Use monthly flea and tick medications for pets as recommended by your veterinarian.

Tick Testing Peace of Mind

There are specific steps to take if you or your pet get bit by a tick. When removing the tick, you must be cautious because the way the tick is removed can affect whether or not a pathogen-positive tick’s disease will be transmitted to you or your pet’s bloodstream. To safely remove a tick, use plastic tweezers to grasp the tick, pull the tick upward with steady pressure, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the bite area. Do not use metal cosmetic tweezers that could damage the tick or the skin.  After the tick is removed, do not burn, freeze or squeeze the tick. Make sure to monitor the affected area for signs of infection. Immediately send the tick into a lab that uses a DNA-based method to test for common tick-borne pathogens, including Lyme disease.

Having a tick test and sample collection kit can make this process easier, especially if you are on vacation or outdoors. For peace of mind, and to be sure about the tick that bit you, I recommend including a Tick SURE kit to your first-aid kit. The Tick SURE kit includes simple directions on how to remove a tick along with plastic tweezers and safe packaging for the tick to be sent in a pre-paid, first-class envelope that is delivered to the FDA and DEA inspection lab for full identification and testing. Once the tick arrives at the lab, the tick’s DNA is extracted to identify the species, then tested for the different pathogens it may carry. Having a tick test and sample collection kit on hand will alleviate unnecessary stress if you come in contact with a tick because you will know what to do with it. At the same time, you send the tick in for testing, make an appointment with your doctor or veterinarian if you or your pet are not experiencing any symptoms. Sometimes symptoms do not show up until later, but the sooner you can get checked out the quicker you can be treated. Having the lab results of the tick in hand will help the doctor determine the best course of action.

What Does A Positive Test Mean?

If the tick test results from the lab come back positive, don’t panic. A positive tick test does not mean that you or your pet have the disease; a positive tick test just means the pathogen in the tick has been detected. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease early, doctors can use antibiotics to get rid of the disease within the first 14 days after transmission. However, if left untreated, Lyme disease may stay with you for the rest of your life. Another reason why testing is so important.

Don’t Freak Out

Being aware of tick season and taking preventive measures are the first steps toward protecting you and your pet’s health. A tick test and sample collection kit is an important addition to your first aid kit so you can enjoy your time outdoors. You can view videos and pictures HERE so you can be sure about the types of ticks you encounter and be prepared with the next steps. Most importantly, do not freak out when you encounter a tick. Mistakes can be made with tick removal if you are in a panic. We cannot avoid the outdoors, but we can be aware of the critters that live there, and the hitchhikers that come along with them, so we know what to do if a tick bites you.  

Biography

Sandra Lee is the CEO of NJ Labs, a nationally recognized provider and advocate for quality in chemistry and microbiology testing that serves the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, dietary supplement, cosmetic and cannabis/CBD industries. As a scientist and one of the few female CEOs in the analytical testing industry, she has a passion for chemistry and how it influences multiple aspects of our daily lives. At NJ Labs she leads the privately-owned FDA and DEA inspected facility that has been a mainstay in the testing industry for 85 years with a certified full-service contract analytical testing laboratory that follows strict Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations and holds ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation. She also hosts the “Going Beyond Testing” podcast series to help companies and consumers get an insider’s look at testing practices and what should be tested to keep products safe and effective. Lee is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry.

Beer illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

SF Beer Week Kick Off Party

1st Amendment Brewery hosts the official SF Beer Week 2022 Kick Off Party (East Bay) at its San Leandro brewery with 29 East Bay craft breweries pouring their latest releases this Friday, February 11, 2022. One of the biggest nights in California craft beer, the Bay Area Brewers Guild teams up with 21st Amendment and four other breweries across the greater SF Bay Area region for five epic parties on February 11 to represent each of the Guild’s five chapters (SF, East Bay, North Bay, Silicon Valley, Coast). The Kick-Off events sub in for the annual Opening Gala to showcase Guild members within their local beer scenes while keeping the celebrations more intimate, and safe.

For the SF Beer Week Kick Off Party (East Bay), 21st Amendment Brewery opens up 11,000 square feet of indoor capacity plus their beer garden for the annual fundraiser for the Bay Area Brewers Guild. In addition to 29 breweries pouring unlimited tasters of their amazing beers, an array of food trucks (21A Food Truck, Square Pizza, Roadside Rotisserie) and live music (Charles Wheal Band) will ignite an unforgettable evening with hundreds of different beers available for attendees to taste.

The following breweries will participate in the SF Beer Week 2022 Kick Off Party (East Bay): 21st Amendment Brewery, Almanac Beer Co., Altamont Beer Works, Bruehol Benicia Brewing, Buck Wild Brewing, Calicraft Brewing, Canyon Club Brewery, Canyon Lakes Brewery, Danville Brewing, Del Cielo Brewing, Drake’s Brewing, East Brother Beer Co., Epidemic Ales, Faction Brewing, Federation Brewing, Fieldwork Brewing, Five Suns Brewing, Ghost Town Brewing, Gilman Brewing, Headlands Brewing, Heretic Brewing, Oakland United Beerworks, Ocean View Brew Works, Origin Brewer, Original Pattern, Pennyweight Craft Brewery, Shadow Puppet Brewing, Side Gate Brewery, and Temescal Brewing.

Along with a stellar lineup of East Bay breweries spotlighting their new beer releases, five Bay Area Brewers Guild SF Beer Week Collaboration Beers will also be available for tastings throughout the event: Red Whale (Tropical West Coast Red IPA), Hop Drip (Sour Fruit IPA), Juxtapose (DDH West Coast IPA), Pure Harmony (Cold IPA), and Intrinsic (Enhanced West Coast IPA).

21st Amendment Brewery pours many of its beloved beers at the SF Beer Week Kick Off Party (East Bay), including its latest small-batch release in their Chalkboard Project: Double Happiness (Double IPA, 8.75% ABV). The Chalkboard Project features astonishingly fresh 21st Amendment limited-edition beers (16 oz. cans in 4-packs) that commemorate the creative minds behind chalkboard designs for thousands of beers at breweries across the country. Double Happiness is a Double IPA with big brash hop flavors and aromas of pineapple, tangerine zest, and orange marmalade. Double Happiness is vibrantly packaged with a colorful label celebrating Valentine’s Day with candy hearts having fun phrases such as “Brew & Me,” “Luv U Beerly,” “Wheat Heart,” “Hoppy 4 You,” “Cheers 2 You,” “Hey Hop Stuff,” and more.

VIP and General Admission sessions are available for purchase online with VIP admission from 4:30pm – 6:00pm, and GA admission from 6:00pm – 10:00pm. To purchase tickets to the SF Beer Week Kick Off Party (East Bay), please visit Eventbrite. Please note that there will be no tickets sold at the door.

All attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (both doses for Moderna and Pfizer, single dose for Johnson & Johnson). Proof of vaccination is one of the following: CDC Vaccination Card (photos will be accepted) or a CA Digital Vaccine Card available HERE

About 21st Amendment Brewery22 years ago (established in 2000), Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan opened the doors to the 21st Amendment brewpub in San Francisco’s historic South Park neighborhood. In addition to quickly becoming one of the city’s favorite pubs, 21st Amendment began expanding beyond the Bay Area by helping to pioneer the movement to canned craft beer. Known for their witty names and delicious brews, 21st Amendment offers year-round selections, as well as seasonal offerings and their infamous once-in-a-while limited-edition releases. Sold in 33 states plus Washington D.C., 21st Amendment produces beer in its state-of-the-art brewery headquarters in San Leandro, California, and is among the top 50 craft beer brewers in America.

ILLUSTRATION BY NICOLE SALAZAR FOR USE BY 360 MAGAZINE

Fentanyl Petition

Families Against Fentanyl announced it had surpassed 25,000 signers of its petition asking the United States government to declare illicit fentanyl a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD). They join a who’s who of bipartisan leaders who are calling for the WMD designation.

The milestone was achieved in the aftermath of CDC data released in 2021 projecting that more than 100,000 people died of drug-related causes in the previous calendar year, and following data unearthed by Families Against Fentanyl in December that found illicit fentanyl to be the #1 cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45—data that have been independently verified.  The announcement also comes on the heels of three Connecticut middle school students being hospitalized for fentanyl overdose after being exposed at their school. One of those students, a 13-year-old, has died.

Even more alarming: fentanyl’s extreme potency gives it the dark potential to be used by terrorists in a chemical attack on American citizens. Declaring illicit fentanyl a WMD would trigger an all-of-government response to this national threat, activating new resources and manpower to tackle this unprecedented danger.

“Fentanyl deaths doubled in just two years and it’s now the number one cause of death of Americans 18-45. Bold action is needed to reverse this trend,” Families Against Fentanyl founder James Rauh stated. “With more than 25,000 people adding their names to our petition, it’s now crystal clear: Americans are fed up with the status quo. They also see the potential a WMD designation would have to stop this poison from flooding our country and killing our loved ones. Declaring illicit fentanyl a WMD is the innovative answer to this crisis—it would allow us to root out the international manufacturers and traffickers of this poison before it reaches our streets. It would cut the smuggling of illicit fentanyl into the United States, enhance penalties for the cartels trafficking in this poison, and provide new protections to the American people from this threat.

“Almost all illicit fentanyl is manufactured outside of the United States. Designating illegal fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction will empower the U.S. to shift from a policy of mass incarceration of Americans to an all-of-government approach to cut off the supply chain at its source, effectively stopping the flow of this poison into our country. Meanwhile, we can provide compassionate care to those struggling with addiction by investing in harm reduction, expanding access to affordable rehabilitation programs, mental health counseling, and holistic care options.”

The Families Against Fentanyl petition will ultimately be presented to the Biden Administration and the U.S. Congress.

About Families Against Fentanyl

Families Against Fentanyl was founded in 2019 by Akron, Ohio resident James Rauh and his wife Valorie following the untimely death of their son Tom from fentanyl poisoning.

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

LISTERIA OUTBREAK

If you are a frequent buyer of bagged salad or vegetable greens items, you will want to proceed with caution during consumption for the next few weeks.

Dole Fresh Vegetables announced on December 23, 2021, that there would be a recall of 180 different packaged salads due to probable contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The recall affects nine different brands, including Dole-branded salads, Ahold, Lidl, Kroger, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, Naturally Better, Nature’s Promise and Simply Nature. 180 products were spread through 25 states in total.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an announcement stating there is an investigation underway to examine the listeria outbreak that connects to two separate packaged salads produced by Dole. Research is ongoing to determine if more products may be affected.

The recall is directly linked to Dole’s Bessemer City, North Carolina, and Yuma, Arizona, production facilities. Listeria monocytogenes were discovered in a Dole-branded Garden Salad package at the site in North Carolina, as well as a package of shredded iceberg lettuce from the Yuma location, via the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Operations at both spots have been halted to ensure cleaning and sanitation procedures are followed through.

Products in the recall lot

  • Packaged products consisting of mixed greens, garden salads, Caesar kits and varying types of salads in bags or clamshells
  • “Best if used by” dates from November 30, 2021, to January 8, 2022
  • Product lot code begins with the letter “N” or “Y” found in the upper-right corner of packages

A full list of recalled products can be found HERE.

To stay safe…

Dispose of recalled packaged salads and follow cleaning procedures to ensure your space is clean.

Call your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following symptoms following the consumption of packaged salads:

  • Pregnant individuals encountering fever, fatigue and muscle aches. Listeria can result in pregnancy loss or premature birth, as well as serious illness or death in newborns.
  • Non-pregnant individuals may suffer headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, paired with fever and muscle aches.
Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Fitness

Understanding Physical Limitations

Five Things Non-Disabled People Should Understand About Those With Physical Limitations

By: Julie Morin, Co-Founder, Envol

Chronic illness has continued to grow in the past decades with six in ten Americans living with at least one chronic disease today, according to the CDC.

Having at least one chronic symptom is considered normal in the modern world of today – and let me tell you, that’s a scary realization. Such symptoms can look and feel different for everyone, ranging from mild occasional discomfort to being physically limited in our ability to participate to everyday activities.

Yet non-disabled people dominate the population and culture in the US, which means our understanding of normal is wholly based around the perimeters for non-disabled ideas and activities.

This is something I know all too well. Two weeks after taking ciprofloxacin – a commonly prescribed antibiotic – for a UTI, I was practicing yoga and, out of nowhere, my leg muscles went into painful paralysis. I couldn’t walk or even move my legs anymore. I had to call for help – it was terrifying – and I was rushed to the hospital in the neurology department. All the tests came back negative, and no one knew what was wrong with me. After two weeks, they said it was probably all just in my head and sent me home.

I spent the next four years in a wheelchair, and after multiple misdiagnoses and unsuccessful medical treatments, I turned to holistic healing. I began working with a French naturopathic physician who informed me that my symptoms aligned with fluoroquinolone toxicity, which is currently not recognized as a diagnosis yet. Still, many cases of fluoroquinolone-associated disability are being reported, and doctors continue to prescribe them today despite the FDA advising against it.

Under the guidance of my naturopathic physician, I created a wellness routine that incorporated a healthy, plant-based diet, meditation, therapeutic movement, rest, and gratitude, and I am now 75% healed and can walk short distances again.

Going from a healthy, vibrant young lady to a handicapped 25 years old just by taking a few pills has not been easy. But what was even harder was how people treated me during this time.

And what I learned during this time is knowledge I feel is essential to share with others:

  • Illness isn’t always visible.

It’s always wise to be careful with assumptions and presuming someone is healthy just because they don’t look sick. There is a lot that can be invisible to the eye and coming from a place of empathy when we simply don’t know enough about a situation or a person, is always a good idea.

  • Dare to talk about it.

Avoiding complex topics because they might be awkward or uncomfortable can make a person living with a chronic illness feel even more lonely and unheard. Talk about what they’re going through, the struggles, the hardship, but also the joy and the little things that they feel grateful for.

  • Not having a diagnosis doesn’t mean nothing is wrong.

So many people go mis- or undiagnosed by the medical profession and many assume that it must mean that there is nothing wrong with them and that they should simply resume their life. Yet the daily struggles and limitations are still there, and they can be very real. Continuing to offer your support and trust even when a clear diagnosis isn’t identified is one of the best way you can support someone you love who is going through a difficult time with their health. This type of support can greatly contribute to our recovery.

  • Avoid suggesting that someone is lucky that they can’t work.

Being unable to work isn’t a privilege – it’s a consequence of chronic illness or physical limitations. Rather, helping that person find their mission and a passion in which they can contribute to the world can often shift their perspective and help them boost their self-esteem.

  • People with physical limitations of disabilities are reminded every day of how life is different for them.

Be the person who finds and enhances similarities and makes them feel like they belong to the same group as healthy and non-disabled people. Invite them to parties, include them in group conversations, activities, etc. In the end, our cells listen to every one of our thoughts and so why not see life as everybody else should: full of possibilities, feeling confident, strong, and powerful beings.

And let’s not forget the power of love and positivity and the positive effects they can have on our health & well-being.

Being in a state of love and gratitude is in fact so important that it is a nourishment in the healing app Envol that my partner and I have created after my recovery.

Envol app is a holistic healing tool with a unique health-score tracking concept + algorithm, backed by science and doctors, that combines all the necessary tools to improve health no matter where people start–whether they’re recovering from a chronic illness or need some extra guidance when dealing with stress or anxiety.

I hope that people never stop believing in the incredible powers of their body. We are more powerful than we think. There is pure magic in us, and if we create the right conditions in our life to let that magic express itself, miracles can happen. Our cells respond to each of our thoughts and beliefs – and it starts with changing ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can.’

About The Author

As someone who’s spent years battling chronic illness, Julie Morin, co-founder of Envol, knows how difficult and pricey it can be to get our health back. She started to wonder about what would happen to our bodies should we give them the opportunity to heal from within. Julie explored that question and when she started walking again after 4 years in a wheelchair, Envol was born: an easy-to-use mobile app to guide and empower people to take control of their health and start feeling better.

Art by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Scientists Mapping Next Pandemic

An international team of scientists has created a powerful new resource to speed the development of vaccines and treatments to battle the next pandemic.

University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Wladek Minor, PhD, and collaborators in China and Poland have developed an Internet information system, called virusMED, that lays out all we know about the atomic structure and potential vulnerabilities of more than 800 virus strains from 75 different virus families, including SARS-CoV-2, influenza, Ebola and HIV‑1. Several of the collaborators, including the lead investigator, Heping Zheng, are former students and members of Minor’s lab at UVA. 

This new panorama of the proteins of potential threats will help scientists respond quickly and effectively against the next pathogen poised to wreak havoc on humanity. Minor and his collaborators compare the resource to Google Maps, in that it organizes and annotates major points of interest on a virus that scientists can use as a roadmap in drug and vaccine development.

“The battle with COVID-19 is not over yet, but we cannot wait to start preparing for the next pandemic. VirusMED is a step towards an advanced information system that brings together researchers with diverse expertise to tackle complex biomedical challenges,” said Minor, the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics at UVA. “The information contained in virusMED will help viral researchers from many disciplines, especially those working on drug design or anti-viral therapies. We provide novel structural analysis and integrate pertinent information from various resources to provide a comprehensive picture of the proteins’ most important and vulnerable regions.”

Virus Hotspots

By quickly unlocking the SARS-CoV-2 virus mechanism of action, scientists were able to develop safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19. Minor’s new database aims to put that type of critical information at scientists’ fingertips in one convenient location.

VirusMED contains extensive information on virus species and strains, hosts, viral proteins and antibodies, as well as drugs that have already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, among other important scientific data. The researchers call the points of interest on a virus its “hotspots,” and these hotspots make for strong starting points for drug and vaccine development.

“One of the most promising strain-indifferent antibody therapies developed for the treatment of COVID-19 used this type of information to improve upon a unique antibody isolated from a survivor who was infected by the SARS virus back in 2003,” said David Cooper, PhD, research faculty in Minor’s lab. “People who are surprised by rapid drug and vaccine design don’t realize that researchers today are building upon decades of previous research.”

One of virusMED’s major advantages is that it brings together the extant knowledge about viruses in one location, Minor said. Previously, that data was spread across multiple resources and often “siloed” so that it was not easily accessible. With virusMED, researchers can browse the information by virus or by their hotspot of interest.

The free and accessible database can be found HERE.

“One of the goals of my lab is to make tools that other scientists can use. We look at the forest and find ways to help others focus on the trees,” Minor said. “Resource generation is not glamorous, but the ultimate goal of science is to make life better. One of the anonymous peer-reviewers of the paper claimed they instantly became an enthusiastic user of the system. We expect virusMED to really make a difference.”

Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific IUCr Journal. The work will be featured on the journal’s cover. The research team consisted of HuiHui Zhang, Pei Chen, Haojie Ma, Magdalena Woinska, Dejian Liu, Cooper, Guo Peng, Yousong Peng, Lei Deng, Minor and Zheng. .

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog.

Disneyland illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Rockefeller Productions – Winnie The Pooh

Rockefeller Productions Announces Safety Protocol For their Record-Breaking Disney Winnie The Pooh The New Musical Stage Adaptation 

Performances begin at Theatre Row on October 21, 2021 

A leader in family entertainment, Rockefeller Productions announces one of the country’s most thorough and considerate safety protocols for their highly anticipated new musical, Disney Winnie The Pooh, beginning performances on October 21, 2021, at Theatre Row. The new protocols will ensure the safety of every audience member and performer.

Keeping in line with current CDC and industry safety standards, all patrons will be required to wear a mask inside the theatre, and every person 12+ will be required to show proof of vaccine before entering the theatre.  Those under 12 years old will be required to show evidence of a negative PCR COVID test within 3 days of the performance or a negative COVID rapid antigen test from a doctor or testing site within 6 hours of performance.

To make it easier for families to return to the theatre, Rockefeller Productions has partnered with Dr. Karen Thornton to provide free rapid on-site testing, good within six hours of the test. The testing van will be located directly outside of Theatre Row (410 W 42nd Street) up to 1.5 hours before curtain time. It will be equipped with trained nurses to administer the non-invasive swab rapid test with results in 15 minutes. Parents should arrive at least thirty minutes before curtain time to ensure a negative test before entering the theatre. Rockefeller Productions will also provide activities for young people to assist families while they wait for the results.

Additionally, Rockefeller Productions will be introducing Seating Bubbles during certain performances distancing family units throughout the theatre. Finally, in its most comprehensive and definitive safety measure, they are also offering the Ultimate Winnie the Pooh VIP Experience with the privacy and comfort of a complete theatre buy-out accommodating up to 190 guests, as a way to enjoying the magic of Winnie the Pooh with the confidence and comfort of personally knowing every other patron attending the performance.

These safety measures are the most complete and thoughtful plan to bring audiences back to the theatre with confidence.

“We are excited to welcome audiences back to the theatre, but we also understand the difficulties that parents face in trying to adhere to current guidelines. Rockefeller Productions is happy to partner with Dr. Thornton and her team of professionals to make testing easy and convenient.  These efforts are well worth it to ensure the safety of our patrons while making sure they have complete confidence returning to live theatre once again.”  Rockefeller Productions’ Jonathan Rockefeller

Breaking box office records, Rockefeller Productions will debut its newest and most anticipated production Disney Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation, featuring songs by the Sherman Brothers and A.A. Milne, on October 21, 2021. This beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation is set deep in the Hundred Acre Wood and told with stunning life-size puppetry through the eyes of the Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Owl (and Tigger too).

Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation is developed and presented by renowned family entertainment creator Jonathan Rockefeller (whose spectacular puppetry is omnipresent in the acclaimed productions of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Paddington Gets in a Jam).  Performances will take place at Times Square’s Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street) beginning October 21, 2021.

Tickets are now available here.

ABOUT THE SHOW

Winnie the Pooh has been enjoyed by millions of readers and viewers ever since English author A.A. Milne first chronicled the adventures of Christopher Robin’s friends in the Hundred Acre Wood in 1926. The books, featuring illustrations by English illustrator E.H. Shephard has sold over 50 million copies worldwide. The theatrical rights to the Pooh stories were acquired by Disney in 1961, with an original intent to produce a feature film, but after production began, Walt Disney decided to make short featurettes instead. The three featurettes were subsequently incorporated into the feature The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  This was the last film in the Disney canon in which Walt Disney had personal involvement. The first featurette, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree was released during his lifetime, while Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day was still in development.  Disney’s Winnie the Pooh has since become one of the best-loved and most successful franchises in history.

The Sherman Brothers are the multi-talented Oscar® and Grammy® Award-winning American songwriting duo of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B.   Sherman. The Sherman Brothers wrote more motion-picture musical scores than any other songwriting team in film history.  Among these are the Disney classics Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and The Aristocats. The Sherman Brothers worked directly with Walt Disney on the first two Winnie the Pooh featurettes:  Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (which garnered a Grammy Award nomination) and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. The brothers won a Grammy Award for the third featurette:  Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.  All three featurettes were incorporated into the 1977 musical film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The duo also wrote songs for Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore and The Tigger Movie, with their music also featured in the movie Christopher Robin.

Jonathan Rockefeller and Rockefeller Productions embraced the challenge of re-imaging Disney’s Winnie the Pooh for a new audience by bringing it to life on stage in puppet form. The company has garnered global accolades, from critics and audiences alike, for their production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, with 14 productions playing on four continents. An extended run of the show in New York City culminated in Drama Desk and Off-Broadway Alliance nominations, as did their production of Paddington Gets in a Jam, which tours China and the US later this year. Other projects include Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, which plays on three continents, Mr. Men and Little Miss Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the award-winning short film, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, written by preeminent author/illustrator Eric Carle.

Produced in association with Disney Theatrical Productions.

illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for use by 360 Magazine

HRC Launches In-Home HIV Testing Kit

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with Us Helping Us, launched the United States’ first national in-home HIV testing program centered around reaching communities disproportionately impacted by HIV—Black and Latinx gay, bisexual men and transgender women of color. Also, for the first time in its history, HRC will be providing a direct-to-door service to the LGBTQ+ community by pledging to administer a minimum of 5,000 free in-home testing kits for HIV over one year. 

In the lead up to Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on August 20, the in-home testing kits aim to empower people to learn their status and take control of their sexual health without having to visit a medical provider. Usually, HIV testing is done with a doctor, in a hospital, or at a community health clinic but due to lack of access to healthcare and HIV stigma, marginalized populations often do not receive testing.

“The continued prevalence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic requires innovative solutions—these in-home self-testing kits allow people to find out their result in the privacy of their own home, thereby reducing HIV stigma and fear,” said J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall, Human Rights Campaign Director of HIV & Health Equity. “This expanded partnership with community-based organizations presents a unique opportunity for The Human Rights Campaign to leverage its extensive reach to propel access to life-saving HIV testing for multiply marginalized communities.”

Supported by Gilead Sciences, the home-service fits under the umbrella of My Body, My Health, a comprehensive public education campaign that works toward building a generation free of HIV/AIDS. In addition to disseminating the 5,000 testing kits, the program will provide a referral to PrEP providers in the person’s area, and link HIV positive individuals to care via navigation services. The kits will include an OraQuick oral swab, condoms, lubricants, and a test information card. HRC has also created educational resources to complement the test kits, such as an instructional test video and an online service page that shows local HIV prevention and treatment services.

Along with the HIV in-home test kits, HRC Foundation has launched a community campaign that targets regions across the country that are the most affected by HIV/AIDS—those communities are New Orleans, LA, Miami, FL, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Indianapolis, IN and Greenville, MS. This is a digital advocacy, public awareness campaign that seeks to educate and activate Black and Latinx communities through discussing the intersections of sexual health, race and queerness in order to break down long-lasting HIV stigma and fear.

“Us Helping Us, one of the oldest and largest HIV prevention, treatment and care agencies in the nation, is pleased to partner with HRC Foundation on this high-impact and critically important initiative to achieve the EHE targets,” said Dr. DeMarc Hickson, Us Helping Us Executive Director. “It is of equal importance to increase HIV testing in areas such as the Southeastern U.S., which has a long-standing history of oppression, white supremacy and HIV stigma. In addition, we envision a world free of stigma and where HIV testing is part of routine health care.”

Current data confirms that the availability of HIV self-tests in the United States would not only increase HIV awareness, but would also expand access to testing among communities who would not otherwise get an HIV test in traditional healthcare settings. Furthermore, it is recommended that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine healthcare and once every three months for gay and bisexual men.

Marginalized populations, including LGBTQ people, face both societal and economic barriers that prevent them from accessing healthcare and communities of color have been hit the hardest—1 in 2 Black gay and bisexual cisgender men and 1 in 4 Latinx gay and bisexual cisgender men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. According to a recent CDC study in seven United States cities, 42 percent of transgender women interviewed had HIV, with 62 percent of Black transgender women and 35 percent of Latinx transgender women already living with HIV.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 600,000 clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

image from Stuart Shinske by Deborah Grossmark for use by 360 Magazine

NEW YORK RENAISSANCE FAIRE RETURNS

Fun and Fantasy for All for Seven Weekends, Plus Labor Day, Starting Aug. 21

The enchantment of the New York Renaissance Faire returns! For seven weekends (plus Labor Day), from Aug. 21 thru Oct. 3, fantasy and escapism will reign throughout a bustling 16th-century English village and surrounding shire at Sterling Forest in Tuxedo, N.Y.

“Welcome back to the wonder, adventure and fun for all ages that is the New York Renaissance Faire!” said Orange County Tourism Director Amanda Dana. “Not only does the fair take visitors to a long-ago realm where fantasy rules, but the seven magical weekends contribute significantly to the visitor economy of both Orange County and the Hudson Valley. This is a highlight of the year that draws visitors to our beautiful county from near and far for enjoyment on an epic scale. It’s enough to make us all shout, ‘Huzzah!’”

Mingle with knights, fairies, minstrels and merchants. Thrill to a jousting tournament, acrobatics, swordplay, music and more. Feast on savory treats and sweets, laugh or gasp in awe (or both!) at breathtaking performances. Shop at the marketplace featuring over 100 artisans, with demonstrations including glassblowing and candle making.

In 2018, the fair was named the best Renaissance Faire in the region for the third year in a row. Last year it was voluntarily cancelled because of COVID-19. This year it returns with measures to keep guests, performers and staff safe by following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. As of now, guests who are vaccinated need not wear face masks, but social distancing is encouraged for all. Some experiences may be modified to reduce physical contact. (Please check HERE before visiting for any updates on COVID-19-related guidelines and requirements.)

“Our team is working hard to literally set the stages for world-class, immersive entertainment that will put a smile on your face as we recognize that what we do best is needed now more than ever,” said Linda McFeters, Owner and Producer of the New York Renaissance Faire. “We are working closely with the local health department and the most current CDC recommendations to ensure the safety of our guests, vendors, volunteers and staff.”

Here’s what you’ll find at the fair:

Food: Feast on a roasted turkey leg, a boar platter or a worldwide variety of treats – pho, mac and cheese, burritos and more – including many vegetarian and gluten-free options. Sample craft brews, cider and mead – a honey-based wine – along with soft drinks.

Entertainment: Acrobats, actors, musicians and more will dazzle you with performances to make you laugh one moment, gasp in awe the next. Enjoy music, magic, comedy and excitement including an action-packed live chess match and a climactic jousting competition in the Shire’s tiltyard. (Most, but not all, entertainers perform every weekend. Check the entertainment schedule HERE.)

Shopping: Wander the streets of an Elizabethan English village and peruse more than 100 artisan shops offering handmade wares of metalsmiths, clothes makers, leather goods, jewelry and more. Marvel at demonstrations in glassblowing, leatherworking, blacksmithing, candle making and pottery throwing.

Especially for Kids: “Kids’ Quest” invites the Shire’s younger visitors to join an interactive adventure helping the Fairy Folk in the Enchanted Forest rediscover their magic. The “Boffer Wars” teaches swordplay skills (with all-foam swords) to young heroes-in-training.

For a twist on the festivities, visit on one of the themed weekends:

  • Time Travelers’ Weekend, Sept. 11 and 12. Come dressed from your favorite time period (even a future era of your imagining.)
  • Pirate Weekend, Sept. 18 and 19. A celebration for all ye scallywags to meeting buccaneers and sailors of all sorts, sing sea shanties and practice your pirate talk. Yar!

Whichever day you visit, you will find a realm of merriment, revelry, food and adventure for all.

For more information, click HERE.

For a full list of attractions, lodging and dining options in Orange County, New York, please click HERE. Additionally, a fun, free, 56-page travel guide is available for digital download HERE.