Woman Attacked By a Venomous Copperhead Snake At LongHorn Steakhouse

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

A Virginia resident was bitten by a venomous snake inside a LongHorn Steakhouse before she even made it to her table.

Rachel Myrick and her family were heading into the foyer of the restaurant for dinner earlier this month when she suddenly felt a sharp pain in her foot. “My left foot felt a bee sting, a hornet sting — something similar,” Myrick told Washington’s Top News. “So, I reached down to brush my foot off to keep walking.”

Once she did so, she was bitten a second time and immediately began screaming as she dropped her cellphone, wallet, and let go of her 13-year-old son Dylan’s hand. When addressing the pain between the bites Myrick said, “[The second] was significantly more painful than the first time.”

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After she was bitten a total of three times—twice on her toes and once on the side of her foot—the 8-inch-long copperhead stayed clung onto her foot until she was able to shake free.

“I freaked out,” Myrick told Fredericksburg.com. “I got bit! I got bit!” she recalls yelling out loud.

Her boyfriend, Michael Clem, who was with her at the time, knows a fair share about snakes. “I’ve bred and raised reptiles for 15 years… there was no question what it was,” he said.

Myrick was hospitalized and administered antivenin, morphine and benadryl for the severe swelling and pain.

A spokesman for LongHorn Steakhouse, Hunter Robinson, says the restaurant believes the snake may have come from a nearby retention pond and called the incident a “highly unusual incident.”

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“We are working with our facilities team to see how this may have occurred and we are taking steps to prevent it from happening again,” he added.

Myrick estimates it will take her about three months to fully recover.

Source: Mind and Body

Ex-NFL Player Aaron Hernandez Had a Severe Form of Brain Disease CTE

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This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in April, had a severe form of a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to repeated blows to the head. Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for murder, has joined a growing list of ex-NFL football players, including Jovan Belcher, Ray Easterling, Junior Seau, and Andre Waters, who took their own lives and were later found to have had disease.

CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, occur in four stages and can appear years after an athlete, including high school and college players, experience repetitive brain trauma such as concussions.

Jose Baez, a lawyer for Hernandez, announced during a press conference Thursday that researchers found he had a severe form of CTE. Baez also said that Hernandez’s daughter is suing the NFL and the New England Patriots for $20 million. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Boston on Thursday, ESPN reported.

Hernandez’ case stands out because of the severity of the disease in a young person. Hernandez was only 27 when he hung himself in a prison cell.

Earlier this year, a survey published by a neuropathologist in the The Journal of the American Medical Association found widespread evidence of C.T.E. in former NFL players. Dr. Ann McKee examined 202 deceased players of American football from a brain donation program. CTE was diagnosed in 177 players across all levels of play, including 110 of 111 former NFL players.

McKee, who is the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, found that Hernandez had stage three of the disease and also had early brain atrophy.

Source: Mind and Body

The Story of the Hospital Staffers Who Took Photos of a Patient's Genitals Raises Questions About Privacy and Security

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Doctors and staff at a Pennsylvania hospital are under fire after what news reports described as a “ton” of employees crowded into an operating room to take cell-phone photos of a patient being treated for a foreign object lodged in his or her genitals, PennLive reported this week.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Bedford Memorial Hospital has been cited by the state’s Department of Health for the incident, which took place last December while the patient was under anesthesia.

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A hospital employee initially told state investigators that a personal phone was used to document the case—“to use for future medical lectures”—because the operating-room camera was broken.

However, the health department determined that photos were taken on several phones, that some employees had shown their spouses or other people at the hospital, and that the operating-room camera was indeed working. One witness told investigators that “there were so many people [in the operating room] it looked like a cheerleader-type pyramid.”

The hospital alerted the health department when an employee complained about images circulating around the building in January. Bedford Memorial was cited for failing to protect a patient’s confidentiality and privacy, allowing people not involved in a patient’s care into the operating room, and allowing people to use personal devices to take photos of a patient.

As a result of the incident, two staff members were suspended and one was replaced. The hospital also alerted the patient who had been photographed, disciplined an unspecified number of other staff members, and required all surgical staff to attend a meeting on privacy and confidentiality.

Hopefully, those actions help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. But unfortunately, doctors behaving inappropriately at the expense of a patient is more common than it should be.

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In a 2015 editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the journal’s editors addressed this issue. “Although we wish it were otherwise,” they wrote, “most physicians at some point find themselves in the midst of situations where a colleague acts in a manner that is disrespectful to a patient.”

The editorial was accompanied by an anonymous essay from a physician who recalled two instances of sexual or racist behavior by doctors, directed at patients while they were under anesthesia. One instance had been told secondhand, but one the author was present for—and felt too embarrassed to speak out at the time.

This isn’t the first reported case of offensive and inappropriate photography, either. After actress Joan Rivers died from complications during surgery in 2014, rumors surfaced that her doctor had snapped a selfie with her while she was unconscious.

In a 2008 JAMA study, 17% of internal medicine residents admitted to making fun of a patient, sometimes while he or she was under anesthesia. There have also been reports of doctors with inappropriate—and often publicly available—social media profiles, with posts that include private information about patients.

Of course, medical professionals can also act completely unprofessional even when their patients are wide awake, with offensive or insensitive comments that do exactly the opposite of making us feel like we’re in good hands.

Still, these cases are the exceptions, not the rule—and there are plenty of great doctors out there who put patients’ needs and feelings (and their privacy and other rights) first. There are also procedures and regulations in place at hospitals and medical facilities to prevent these episodes from occurring, and to respond to them if they do.

“By shining a light on this dark side of the profession, we emphasize to physicians young and old that this behavior is unacceptable,” wrote the authors of the 2015 editorial. “We should not only refrain from personally acting in such a manner but also call out our colleagues who do.”

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And while there may not be much patients themselves can do in many of these situations (like in the middle of a surgery, for example), it’s important to feel comfortable speaking up anytime something feels strange, says Health’s medical editor Roshini Rajapaksa, MD.

“Don’t fall into that old mentality that whatever the doctor says goes,” says Dr. Rajapaksa. “Trust your instincts, and if something seems off or feels creepy, say something.” Most hospitals have a patient advocate who will hear concerns and complaints, she says, “and you can always report unusual things to the state medical board.”

Source: Mind and Body

5 Solar Eclipse Memes We Can’t Stop Laughing About

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ICYMI, America basically hit pause yesterday to gaze up at the total solar eclipse, the first to sweep across the country from coast to coast in 99 years. Twitter buzzed with excitement about the once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Instagram nearly imploded with photos of onlookers sporting protective glasses.

But the celestial event of the century also left some wondering, “Was that…it?” And clever memes parodying the event (think puppies and doughnuts as stand-ins for the sun and moon) began to go viral. Whether or not you were among those suffering eclipse fatigue, we have a feeling these clips will make you LOL all the same. Here, five memes that were almost as entertaining as the eclipse itself.

 

One Twitter user expertly imitated the moon’s eclipse of the sun with help from two adogable black and white pug puppies. 

“The only eclipse I care about tbh,” Twitter user @SweetK0518 captioned this snapshot of a chocolate doughnut covering a glazed one. #Priorities.

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Be real, were you Beyoncé or Rihanna yesterday? 

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Creativity props to @AlexaBasauri, who cleverly pushed a Blue Moon in front of a bottle of Sol.

Friends fans will remember this moment from the sitcom, when Phoebe and Rachel found out Monica and Chandler were an item. Turns out Phoebe's hysterical reaction to accidentally seeing the pair canoodling applies to those who peered at the eclipse without protective glasses. "MY EYES!" 

Source: Mind and Body

How Long Will the Total Solar Eclipse Last?

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This article originally appeared on Time.com. 

The upcoming total solar eclipse, which you can watch live on TIME.combeginning at 12 p.m. ET on Monday, will cross the U.S. in less than two hours, and Americans in some states will only witness seconds of it.

The once-in-a-lifetime event on Aug. 21 will engulf parts of 14 states in sudden darkness when it moves from the West Coast diagonally down toward the East Coast. The path of totality, which starts in Oregon and ends in South Carolina, is about 70 miles wide.

It’s the first total solar eclipse with a trajectory exclusive to America, as well as the first total eclipse of the sun that will be visible from the contiguous U.S. since 1979. Total solar eclipses can be seen when the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth and the moon completely covers the entire face of the sun.

Watch Live as the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Crosses the U.S.

Here’s what to know about the timeframe of the August total solar eclipse:

How long is the upcoming total solar eclipse?

The total solar eclipse, which has been dubbed “The Great American Eclipse,” will last for about an hour and a half overall, but each city that catches the eclipse will only see it for a matter of minutes or seconds. The moon's shadow travels at roughly 2,400 mph over the face of the Earth, according to Bill Kramer, a well-known expert in the eclipse chasing community.

Which cities are the first and last to see the eclipse in totality?

Skygazers in Lincoln Beach, Ore. will witness the rare event first. A partial eclipse begins there at 9:05 a.m. PST and totality starts at 10:16 a.m. The eclipse then makes its way through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, clipping several other states on the way. It ends near Charleston, S.C. at 2:48 p.m. EDT, just about an hour and a half after it began.

Which city will see the eclipse for the longest?

NASA says the longest duration of totality will be near Carbondale, Ill., where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds. Some places, like Kansas City, Kans.— which is at the edge of totality — will only witness totality for about 20 seconds. The total solar eclipse will be visible in a hard-to-reach part of Montana for less than a minute. Here's where you can see what the eclipse will look like for you.

Source: Mind and Body

Why Sunlight Is So Good For You

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This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Even Hippocrates believed that the changing seasons had something to do with health—and that the key was how much available daylight there was during different times of the year.

Many centuries later, it’s clear he was onto something. As people spend more time indoors staring at computer and television screens, scientists are starting to appreciate how exposure to sunlight affects various body systems.

The most interesting support for our dependence on daylight emerged with a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. The term was coined by Dr. Normal Rosenthal at Georgetown University to describe the so-called winter blues: the lethargy and feelings of sadness and hopelessness that come when the weather forces people to spend more time indoors and the season provides little opportunity for exposure to natural light. Some people have speculated that our modern lifestyle, which keeps people indoors under artificial light for so many hours, may be encouraging a form of SAD year-round.

Rosenthal found that while not everyone is as strongly affected by a lack of sunlight, for the people who are, light boxes that blast a few minutes of bright light in the frequency of natural sunlight each morning can help to elevate mood and re-energize them to face the day.

Studies of shift workers also support the possible role that exposure to sunlight has on mood. Messing up the normal light and dark cycles by sleeping during the day and being awake at night, under artificial light, can disrupt the body’s metabolism. That can have domino effects on nearly everything: how we break down energy from food, how strong our immune systems are and the vast array of brain chemicals and other substances that contribute to mood, weight, energy and more. People who consistently work night shifts, for example, tend to be heavier than people who don’t.

There is also intriguing evidence finding that people who work at night and don’t get exposed to daylight may produce less melatonin, a hormone that is dependent on light. Normally, people produce more melatonin toward the evening, as the body gets ready for sleep. As more light creeps in during the morning, the levels of the hormone start dropping again. In winter months when the days are shorter, melatonin levels may peak earlier or later in the day, which can lead to some of the mood changes linked to SAD. Studies in shift workers found that less melatonin may also lead to lower levels of important chemicals the body uses to repair DNA. That could potentially lead to more mutated cells that can trigger cancer.

Some studies also suggest that the light cycle may regulate the production of blood stem cells from the bone marrow. More research here is needed, but that could be important for the timing of bone marrow transplants for cancer patients, and hitting the transplant at just the right time of the light cycle may improve the chances of harvesting enough cells from donors.

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Other work found that the dreaded risk of rejection of transplanted bone marrow cells might also be avoided with the help of light — in this case, ultraviolent light. Scientists treating mice who received skin transplants found that zapping the transplanted cells with UV light eliminated the group of cells most responsible for triggering rejection reactions.

The strongest support for the role of sunlight in health, however, comes from its effect on mood. Studies generally focus on the brain chemical that’s most directly linked to mood, serotonin: higher levels of serotonin correlate with better mood and feelings of satisfaction and calmness, and lower levels link to depression and anxiety. (Many antidepressants work by boosting levels of serotonin among brain neurons.)

One Australian study that measured levels of brain chemicals flowing directly out of the brain found that people had higher serotonin levels on bright sunny days than on cloudy ones. That effect remained no matter how cold or hot the weather was. Other autopsy studies found that people who died of non-psychiatric causes in the summer, when days are longer, tended to have higher levels of serotonin than people who died in the winter when sunlight is scarce

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Other interesting research, this time of people using tanning beds, hints that ultraviolet light may trigger feelings of euphoria, which may explain why some people become dependent on getting regular sessions in the beds. There’s also evidence that UV light can push melanocytes—the cells that produce dark pigment in skin—to release endorphins, a feel-good chemical.

But the connection isn’t entirely clear yet. It would follow that sunlight, then, would be a good treatment for people with depression and low levels of serotonin. It works for some people with SAD, but whether the light therapy can help people with non-seasonal depression isn’t so obvious. For one, it seems that people who suffer from SAD don’t tend to show significant drops in serotonin levels, like people with depression. Studies also have not found differences in depression between sunnier and less sunny climes, either. What’s more, rates of suicide tend to climb as days get longer and decline as the days get shorter.

While there have been some rigorous studies looking at how sunlight can affect such non-seasonal depression, most show that if it can cause a lift in mood, it takes much longer than the kind that can occur with seasonal depression. While light therapy can improve mood in people with SAD in a few days, it may take several weeks for light have an effect on non-seasonal depression.

Doctors may not be prescribing sunlight therapy yet. But if you find yourself in the doldrums after hours at your desk, it might not hurt to get up and look for some light—as long as it comes from the sun, not the ceiling.

Source: Mind and Body

Here's How to Take a Perfect Vacation

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This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Taking time off from work or the daily grind not only helps people de-stress and feel happier, but it also helps productivity and mood—as long as you do it right.

But the barrier to entry is high, since many Americans don’t even take their allotted vacation time. Fewer Americans are going on vacation now than in the past: Data suggests that Americans used to take nearly three weeks of vacation a year in 2000, but took just slightly more than two weeks in 2015. Even when people are on vacation, more than 60% say they keep working remotely.

Yet the benefits of vacation are clear. “We know that taking a break is extremely good for one’s mental health,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, an adjunct professor of gerontology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, who frequently writes about the benefits of vacation. “It puts you in a different frame of mind, gets you out of your standard patterns and can give you time with family.”

MORE: TIME Guide To Happiness

It also helps busy people hit refresh, in a sense. In one survey of 414 travelers, 94% said they had as much or more energy after coming back after a good trip, and 55% who had a low-stress trip returned to work with even higher levels of energy than before.. “It’s good to just get out of the day to day drudgery,” says Whitbourne.

The type of vacation matters, of course. If planned poorly, a vacation can actually lead to more stress. According to a 2010 report, a vacation where there’s lots of travel stress, like figuring out transportation logistics or feeling unsafe, can make vacationers feel less happy and more frazzled than they were before the trip. Taking the time to plan the trip can help ensure things run smoothly. In that same survey, 28% of people who said they had a bad vacation also said they left planning to the last minute.

Managing expectations is also key to having an enjoyable break. Your happiness will fluctuate during a vacation, after all. “If you understand people have different happiness levels over the course of vacation, that can give you some ideas for how to spend it,” says Whitbourne. “Have alone time or take a break, then come back together.”

MORE: TIME Guide To Happiness

And don’t forget to document your trip on your camera. “Take pictures, so that you can look back on them and the memories of vacation,” says Whitbourne.

Even if your trip seems to be filled with more mishaps than good memories, all is not lost: you can usually turn weird, bad or disappointing experiences into family jokes. “Everyone has those nightmare travel stories,” Whitbourne says. “But those can really bond families or partners.”

Source: Mind and Body

Artist Paints Her Stretch Marks to Empower Women: 'Society Sees These Things As Flaws, but They Aren't'

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

Spanish artist Cinta Tort Cartró used to hate her stretch marks. Looking for a way to change how she sees them, Cartró decided to take something that people often see as ugly, and show how beautiful they can be.

 

“One day I started to see them as a different form,” the 21-year-old, who also works as an elementary school teacher, tells PEOPLE. “I was thinking about aesthetic pressure and I decided to paint my stretch marks.”

Cartró covered her own stretch marks, and eventually other women’s, in rainbow colors, and posted the images on social media. “The response was very potent,” she says.

 

 

 

 

That idea spurred others, and from there she created her #manchoynomedoyasco series where she shows menstruation with glitter and more rainbow colors.

“The idea is stop with the taboo about periods,” Cartró. “It’s a project that was born to normalize this process.”

 

 

 

 

For these and other pieces, her goal is to change the conversation around women’s bodies.

“Society sees these things as flaws, but they aren’t flaws — they are things in our bodies and we have to accept them,” Cartró says. “Because if we don’t accept them, we probably we don’t accept our bodies and don’t accept ourselves.”

Through her art, Cartró began to rethink how she sees herself.

“I started to work on my communication with me and my body,” she says. “These were the best ways for me to improve my self-love.”

 

Plus, she’s received tons of messages from other people her work has helped.

“It’s a way to empower,” Cartró says. “Moreover, it’s a way to fight to stop the pressure that women suffer in this oppressive system.”

Source: Mind and Body