Gorgeous Images of the Sun’s Corona in Simulation

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Gorgeous Images of the Sun’s Corona in Simulation

Magnetic field

Credit: Predictive Science, Inc.

Young People Face Stroke Risk with Methamphetamine Use

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Young People Face Stroke Risk with Methamphetamine Use

Credit: kaarsten/Shutterstock

Using methamphetamines may increase the risk of stroke among young people, according to a new review.

Methamphetamine use was linked most strongly to a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, known as a hemorrhagic stroke, as opposed to ischemic stroke, which is caused by blood clots.

What’s more, strokes among young methamphetamine users tend to be deadlier than strokes among young people in general, the review found.

Given the increasing use of methamphetamine worldwide, the findings are cause for concern, the researchers said.

“With the use of methamphetamine increasing, particularly more potent forms, there is a growing burden of methamphetamine-related disease and harms, particularly among young people,” the researchers wrote in the Aug. 23 issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. In fact, it’s likely that methamphetamine abuse is contributing to the increase in the rate of stroke among young people that has been seen in recent decades, the researchers said. [9 Weird Ways You Can Test Positive for Drugs]

In the review, the researchers analyzed data from 77 previous reports on the link between methamphetamine use and stroke in people under age 45. These data included reports of just a single person or of a few patients, as well as reports of larger groups of people who either used illicit drugs or had a stroke.

Overall, the reports showed a link between methamphetamine use and stroke, particularly hemorrhagic stroke, the researchers said. For example, one study of more than 3 million patients treated at hospitals in Texas found that young people who abused amphetamines (including methamphetamine) were five times more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke, compared with young people who didn’t use this type of drug.

In addition, the review looked at 98 cases of young people who had a stroke and used methamphetamine. Of these strokes, 80 percent were hemorrhagic. This is much higher than the rate of hemorrhagic stroke among the general population of people under 45, in which 40 percent to 50 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic, the review said.

About one-third of young methamphetamine users who experienced a hemorrhagic stroke died as a result of the stroke. That’s also much higher than the death rate among young people in the general population who experience a stroke, which is around 3 percent, the study said.

Hemorrhagic stroke is associated with vascular abnormalities, such ashigh blood pressure and vasculitis, or inflamed blood vessels, according to the review. And repeated use of methamphetamine raised blood pressure even in those users whose blood pressure was normal to start with, the researchers said.

Young people who use methamphetamine, and the doctors who treat them, need to be aware of the increased risk of stroke tied to this drug, the researchers said. Users should also be aware of early warning signs of stroke; some users may experience symptoms such as headache, speech and language difficulties, and vision problems that may be temporary at first, but which later predict a full-blown stroke.

“The increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in particular should be highlighted to young people who may use methamphetamine, and to their communities,” which may encourage them to seek help and get treatment for their drug use, the researchers said.

Original article on Live Science.

Pregnant Women Can Do These 2 Things to Lower Odds of a C-Section

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Pregnant Women Can Do These 2 Things to Lower Odds of a C-Section

Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Women may have another reason to eat healthy and exercise during pregnancy: These behaviors may lower their odds of having a cesarean section, a new meta-analysis finds.

Gaining some weight during pregnancy is healthy and indeed expected, but gaining too much weight can have negative effects on both mom and baby.

For example, gaining too much weight during pregnancy can increase the likelihood that a baby will have a high birth weight, which, in turn, can increase the baby’s risk of medical issues, such as obesity and high blood pressure, during childhood. In addition, excess weight gain can put a woman at risk for a condition called preeclampsia during pregnancy. And some studies have found that excess weight gain can increase the chances of a C-section, which is riskier than a vaginal delivery. (C-sections are generally considered safe, but they are still major surgical procedures and therefore carry risks.) [The Best Ways to Lose Weight After Pregnancy]

Among the pregnant women in the new study, those who followed a healthy diet and exercised gained 0.7 kilograms (1.5 lbs.) less than the women who didn’t follow these healthy lifestyle behaviors. They were also 9 percent less likely to have a C-section, according to the meta-analysis, published today (July 19) in the journal The BMJ. The study was conducted by the International Weight Management in Pregnancy Collaborative Group, a network of researchers looking at weight management interventions for pregnant women.

The findings came from the researchers’ analysis of data gathered on more than 12,500 women in 36 previous studies. All of the studies had looked at the effects of diet and exercise programs during pregnancy on both mother and baby.

About 45 percent of the women in the meta-analysis participated in the study during their first pregnancy. In addition, 40 percent of the women included were obese, and another 40 percent said they had a sedentary lifestyle, the researchers noted.

The findings suggest that all women, regardless of their weight, could benefit from diet and exercise advice during pregnancy, the researchers wrote. In addition, doctors should reassure women that it’s safe to exercise during pregnancy and point out that not doing so could be harmful.

One limitation of the meta-analysis was that the majority of women included (80 percent) were white. More research is needed on women of different races.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Four Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect

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Four Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect

The fourth week of pregnancy is when you will see positive results on a pregnancy test.

Credit: Hadi Djunaedi | Shutterstock

During the fourth week of your pregnancy (measured from the first day of your last period), you may begin to have positive results on a home pregnancy test. For the sake of accuracy, it’s best to wait until the end of the first week after a missed period to take the test, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health.

If the test comes back positive, congratulations! You should make an appointment to see your health care provider to confirm your pregnancy with a blood test and arrange a prenatal checkup. If the results are negative, take another test at five weeks because you may have taken the test too early for it to show a positive result.

Home pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine, a hormone that is produced by the placenta when a woman is pregnant. The hormone begins to appear shortly after the embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus, and hCG levels increase rapidly in early pregnancy.

Most practitioners don’t see pregnant women until they are eight weeks along, so you may need to wait a few weeks before actually seeing your health care provider. However, if you have had a high-risk pregnancy or a history of problems in giving birth, you should see a health care provider sooner than that.

At this early stage in the pregnancy, there typically won’t be any major outward changes in your body, though your basal body temperature — your temperature first thing in the morning — will be higher than usual. You may experience some mild uterine cramping. Some women will notice a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding, caused by the fertilized egg attaching to the uterine lining, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is calledimplantation bleeding, and light bleeding or spotting is normal.

A woman may experience some pregnancy symptoms at this point, including fatigue and exhaustion, which may be linked to rising levels of the hormone progesterone during the first trimester, according to the Mayo Clinic. Rising hormone levels can also increase the blood flow to your breasts, causing them to feel tender and sore during early pregnancy. In addition, elevated hormone levels can increase blood flow to your pelvic region, causing the need to urinate more frequently.

The rapidly rising levels of estrogen could even cause a heightened sense of smell. An increased sensitivity to smells and odor could contribute to the nausea and vomiting known as “morning sickness,” which may begin between the second and eighth weeks of pregnancy. You may start craving certain foods, and foods that you previously enjoyed might start to taste different.

By the fourth week of pregnancy, a woman may gain one pound in weight.

At four weeks, the blastocyst — a tiny group of embryonic cells — would have already made the journey from your fallopian tube into your uterus and implanted in the uterine lining. After the fertilized egg implants, some of the cells will develop into an embryo and other cells will form the placenta, which will provide nutrients and oxygen to the developing embryo. A sac filled with fluid surrounds the embryo, called the amniotic sac, to help cushion and protect it.

During the first month of pregnancy, the brain and spinal cord begin to form, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Arms and legs begin to form, and the heart and lungs begin to develop.

At this point and throughout the pregnancy, you should avoid alcohol, recreational drugs and smoking, substances that may affect fetal development. Certain medications should also be avoided — ask your health care provider to make sure that none of the medications you are taking may be harmful to the fetus.

Limit your consumption of caffeine to 200 milligrams a day — about one 12-ounce cup of regular coffee, recommends the March of Dimes.

At least one month before becoming pregnant, women should begin taking a daily multivitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, a B vitamin that is important in helping to prevent certain birth defects, advises the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

When a woman knows she is pregnant, her health care provider will prescribe a daily prenatal vitamin that has 600 micrograms of folic acid in it. It is hard to get this amount of folic acid from foods alone.

Taking folic acid before becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy may help to reduce a baby’s risk for birth defects of the brain and spine, according to the March of Dimes.

Besides folic acid, a prenatal vitamin will also supply additional amounts of calcium, iron and vitamin D, three nutrients that are important for the healthy development of your baby. In addition to taking a prenatal vitamin, calcium should also be obtained from foods, such as yogurt, milk, cheese and some leafy green vegetables. Pregnant women should also include more Iron-rich foods in their diet, such as chicken, meat, fish, beans and iron-fortified cereals, as well as good sources of vitamin D, such as salmon and milk.

You can learn more about healthy eating and weight gain during pregnancy here. See the following articles for more lifestyle information onsleep needs during pregnancy and tips for exercising during pregnancy.

Top 10 Most Unbelievable Child Survival Stories

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Top 10 Most Unbelievable Child Survival Stories



Children have amazingly resilient bodies. They can bend and shift in ways many adults can’t. They seem to endure countless bumps and bruises without any permanent damage and even manage to look cute throughout all their crazy charades. However, even children have their limits. There are all too many stories of babies’ lives coming to unfortunate ends in unforeseen circumstances. Even so, some have escaped the chains of almost certain death in unimaginable ways. Here are ten of the most unbelievable child survival stories.

10Freezing Temperatures

On a subzero night in Alberta, Canada, in 2001, 13-month-old Erika got out of the bed she was sharing with her mother, opened an unlocked back door, and wandered out into the cold, snowy night. At some point along the way, she fell into the snow and lay there for an unspecified amount of time. Erika’s mom didn’t realize her daughter was gone until 3:00 AM, which is when she plummeted into a mother’s worst nightmare. Amazingly, she quickly spotted the toddler lying facedown in the snow.

When the paramedics arrived, they immediately began reviving Erika’s cold, blue body. Problems arose when her limbs were so frozen that a needle could hardly penetrate the skin, and her mouth was so full of ice that breathing tube insertion was nearly impossible. Luckily, the rescuers’ persistence led to their overcoming these trials with an IV in the leg and final success with the tube.

Once in the hospital, Erika was covered with a “Bair hugger” blanket, which heated her body from the outside. Astonishingly, her heart, which had been stopped for two hours, began beating once again. Erika beat all odds and survived one of the deadliest conditions.

9Plummeting Fall

This story is no less harrowing. In a Bronx apartment in 2017, two-year-old Audrianna had become used to sitting on the windowsill, playing her on her tablet. The window was, of course, always locked. One day, circumstances changed when her 17-year-old cousin Isabella came to visit.

While the two girls were playing in the room, Isabella opened the window to amplify the pattering sound of rain outside. Then, she briefly left the room to grab a slice of pizza from the kitchen, only to hear a loud “bang” and a following scream from Audrianna, who had just fallen out the window to an awning five stories below. The awning provided the perfect cushioned landing, and the toddler escaped the fall just fine.

If the awning hadn’t been there, the toddler’s crash would have been almost certainly deadly. The little one was rescued by a neighbor, who pulled her inside through a second-story window. Audrianna emerged from the scene with just a simple bruise on her arm and a smile on her face.] How’s that for an impromptu skydiving experience?

8Horrendous Car Crash

Photo credit: CBS Evening News

Another mind-boggling modern miracle occurred in Texarkana, Arkansas, in 2016, when a car was sideswiped by a semitruck that was trying to change lanes. What had originally been a car with five healthy people quickly turned into a flipped car with four injured adults and a missing eight-month-old. When it was discovered that the baby was ejected from the car, rescuers began hopelessly searching for the child’s body.

Soon, they heard a small noise coming from a patch of hay in the median. Unbelievably, the baby was sitting there in a storm drain, happily reaching up to the rescuers for them to pick her up. Even though the baby had flown 7.3 meters (24 ft) from the car due to not being restrained properly in a car seat, she was found with only a minor injury. She left the scene nearly unscathed and would live to see another day.

7Cokeville Bombing

Rarely has there ever been a story more riveting than the Cokeville, Wyoming, elementary school bombing in 1986. When David, Doris, and Princess Young entered the school on May 16, there was one goal in mind: to carry out David’s dark plan called “the Biggie.” This plan included holding all 100+ children in the elementary school hostage for $2 million each, detonating a bomb that was attached to David, and transporting all the children and money to his new world, where he would be God.

Upon arriving at the school, Princess rebelled, ran to pick up two other hostages who were being held in a van, and brought them to the sheriff’s office to alert authorities to her father’s plan. Meanwhile, Doris and David rounded up all the children and teachers into a small room for “an assembly,” which turned out to be a hostage situation. Everyone sat in the small room, surrounded by weapons, while the teachers tried to keep the students calm throughout the ordeal.

Soon, David transferred the bomb from his body to his wife’s, allowing him to go use the restroom. While he was gone, Doris accidentally detonated the bomb, engulfing her body in flames and burning many children. David came back and shot his wife while everyone else escaped. David also shot a teacher, who was escaping out the window, in the back. After that, David went to the bathroom and killed himself. The amazing part of this story? While 76 people, including the shot teacher, were injured from the explosion, not a single person died other than David and Doris.

6Alligator Attack

In 2017, during what seemed like a normal day, a Florida ten-year-old sat on the shore of a lake in Orange County. However, Juliana’s relaxing excursion quickly came to a halt when an 2.7-meter (8.8 ft) alligator chomped into her knee and calf. At first, the girl punched the predator in the face, but her attempt to loosen its grip was no use. Then, she remembered a lifesaving fact she learned in Gatorland, an alligator amusement park. Jamming her fingers into the animal’s nose, the girl waited for it to lose its breath and then pried its mouth open.

After the gator let her loose, the girl jumped up screaming and ran away. Her family took her to the hospital, where she received several stitches for her deep puncture wounds. Other than that, she was okay. Authorities reacted to the attack, caught the alligator, and closed the lake for public swimming for a period of time in order to prevent similar accidents. Luckily, Juliana’s calm wisdom came to her rescue, and nobody else was injured that day.

5Suicide Attempt

Photo credit: Google

It’s common for people to commit suicide by jumping off towering bridges, but it’s far less common for them to try to include their children in their gruesome deaths. When the Spicken family experienced just that, the outcome was nothing less than a miracle. In 2016, after getting into a heated family argument, John Spicken picked up his two toddler boys and drove away from the home. After following Spicken’s phone GPS signal, police found his empty car near a popular suicide bridge in New Jersey. At this point, the authorities knew something had gone terribly wrong.

In his family suicide attempt, John jumped off the 30-meter (100 ft) bridge—his three-year-old and one-year-old sons in tow. The three bodies landed in the trees below, missing the river underneath the bridge. Amazingly, the brush cushioned both the boys’ falls, and they each emerged alert and alive. While the father died upon impact, the young boys conquered the horrific fall, each suffering just mild concussions.

4Trash Chute Baby

After a young 12-year-old teen gave birth in her Bronx apartment in 1991, she immediately rid herself of her newborn child. Instead of bringing him to a safe drop-off, the mother threw the baby down the trash chute. The fragile infant fell four stories and landed amid the rubbish below. Around 9:45 AM, two and a half hours after the fall, the maintenance men were about to turn on the compactor when they heard a noise coming from the dumpster. Instead of turning on the compactor, which would have instantly smashed and killed the child, the two men decided to call the police.

When a patrol sergeant came to check out the scene, he crawled into the small opening of the trash compactor, where he found the feeble baby alive under a pile of newspapers. The baby was rushed to the hospital and treated for hypothermia. He was soon in stable condition. The infant had defied all odds by avoiding injury in his long fall and escaping the crushing blows of the trash compactor.

3Tornado Terror

Photo credit: XDragon

A thundering tornado stormed through Castalian Springs, Tennessee, in 2008, leaving behind a jaw-dropping pile of flattened buildings, raging fires, unending debris, and dead bodes. As rescuers scoured the area, their countenances faded as they found three corpses, all of which had been flung hundreds of feet from their homes and had become entangled in tree branches. At 1:30 AM, three and a half hours after the search for survivors had begun, one of the rescuers found a doll lying facedown in the mud. Upon closer inspection, the doll appeared to be alive and was, in fact, an 11-month-old baby.

Baby Kyson was picked up by the powerful tornado and flung hundreds of yards away from his flattened duplex, along with his 23-year-old mother, who did not survive the impact. After his silent body was picked up, the frightened Kyson was wrapped up in a coat and sat shivering, a blank stare across his face. Finally, the boy started crying, a huge relief to the rescue team. Upon closer examination, Kyson appeared healthy and basically unscathed. He was taken in by the loving arms of his grandparents, lucky to have survived an unbelievably destructive storm.

2Lost At Sea

In 1961, the Duperrault family of five took an idyllic Bahamas cruise, which quickly turned into a nightmare. In the middle of the cruise, the captain decided to carry out a sinister plan and kill his wife. His wife, not willing to go down so easily, put up a screaming fight, attracting the attention of the passengers aboard. To cover up his tracks, Captain Harvey not only killed his wife but also murdered everyone else on the ship. Everyone, that is, except for Tere Duperrault Fassbender, the 11-year-old middle child of the Duperrault family.

While the killing spree was commencing, Tere was safely in her cabin belowdecks. When she heard the screams, she came out to find the bloody bodies of her mother and brother. The ship was quickly taking on water from the aftermath of the mayhem, so instead of immediately killing her, the captain gave Tere a line to the dinghy below. He told her he would be right back and was just going to grab something before they escaped.

Tere did not fall for his lies, and instead of surrendering to her own murder, she let go of the line. Harvey never found her and returned to land, telling a tale of a sunken ship. He almost got away with murder. However, he was unaware that Fassenbender had actually survived and was fighting for her life at sea. She loved the outdoors, so despite enduring blistering heat in the day and hypothermia at night, she knew she would survive. She had no food or water to nourish her body, but her fighter spirit kept her alive. Four days into being stranded at sea, Fassenbender was rescued and lived, providing a witness to the horrendous cruise murder scene.

1Wheel Well Survival

Photo credit: AP

In 2014, in an almost unimaginable feat, a 16-year-old boy survived something almost no one else could on a standard flight to Hawaii. Instead of buying a coach ticket from San Jose to Kahului, the boy decided to hop the fence surrounding the airport and run to the wheel well of the airplane. While security cameras caught footage of his antics, nobody actually saw him do it in person. After climbing in the wheel well, he endured the five-hour flight to paradise.

Somehow, he managed to make it to Hawaii alive, overcoming subzero temperatures at oxygen-depleted heights. He reportedly became unconscious during takeoff, only to wake up an hour after the plane had landed. He completely astonished the ground crew when he emerged and was taken into the custody of welfare services.

In most cases, when a person is trapped in freezing temperatures with little oxygen, they pass away within just a few minutes. This boy must have fallen into a hibernative state, cooling his body and preserving his central nervous system. Even still, with temperatures reaching –59 to –62 degrees Celsius (–75 to –80 °F), his survival in a cramped wheel well is remarkable. He also managed to not be crushed by the landing gear folding back into the plane or fall out of the wheel well—both of which were real possibilities in this boy’s situation. Amazingly, his body fell unconscious in just the right position to hold him safely in the landing gear of the plane. After he survived the amazing feat, the boy avoided federal charges and went on to be one of the few survivors to ever overcome a wheel well flight.

Top 10 Disturbing Facts About Los Zetas

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Top 10 Disturbing Facts About Los Zetas



Los Zetas is a Mexican drug cartel known for its sophisticated crime machine and brutality. What’s distressing about the criminal organization is not only the atrocities they have committed in the past but the potential they possess to increase their scale of operations and perpetuate more horrors in the future. The following facts also illustrate the reality that an immediate defeat of the drug cartel may be far from feasible. These are the top ten distressing facts about Los Zetas you don’t want to know.

10Los Zetas Was Formed By Ex-Military Men

Photo credit: VICE News

Countries’ militaries are dedicated to defense from external aggression and the protection of people’s lives and properties. Imagine how tragic it would be for such a respected and honored organization to become an evil one like Los Zetas. To set the records straight, Los Zetas was formed by Mexican ex-military men. The deadly organization started out as the enforcement branch of the Mexican Gulf Cartel. The group was originally made up of 34 Mexican Special Forces soldiers.

When Osiel Cardenas Guillen took over as the leader of the Gulf Cartel, it was in the midst of a violent turf war. In order to protect himself from harm, Guillen hired a retired Mexican soldier as his bodyguard, who in turn solicited 30 Mexican Army deserters to form the cartel’s well-paidmercenary wing. Eventually, this group broke away to become a drug cartel of their own, which is now the notorious Los Zetas. There have been several criminal organizations in the world which have perpetrated destructive acts against humanity without any form of military training, either formal or informal. What should we expect from a heartless criminal organization put together by ex-military men?

9Its Founding Fathers Were Trained By The US Military

It is disheartening to hear that the founding fathers of a criminal organization like Los Zetas received training from US military officers.] It is a fact that some of the cartel’s initial members were elite Mexican troops who were trained in the early 1990s by America’s 7th Special Forces Group. They were given map reading courses, communications, and standard Special Forces training as well as instruction on how to use light and heavy weapons, machine guns, and several other automatic weapons.

The irony of this scenario is that the training they received was supposed to prepare them for counterinsurgency and counter-narcotics operations. Instead, they became the drug cartel they were supposed to fight. You cannot underestimate the capabilities of a cartel whose founding fathers were trained by the US military. This is a unique and distressing fact about the deadly gang.

8It Is The Largest Drug Cartel In Mexico

Los Zetas is the largest drug cartel in Mexico in terms of scale of operations. It operates in more than half of the country’s 32 states.By the end of 2011, Los Zetas had eclipsed the Sinaloa Cartel as the largest operating in Mexico by virtue of their geographic presence. Los Zetas operates in 17 states, while Sinaloa operates in 16 states.

Los Zetas’s status as the largest drug cartel in Mexico carries additional implications. There is a huge consensus that Mexican drug cartels are responsible for the drug epidemic in the United States. At this juncture, it is safe and reasonable to conclude that Los Zetas is one of the biggest headaches of the American people.

7Los Zetas Recruits In The United States

It would occur to many as an unacceptable surprise that Los Zetas recruits members in the United States. The cartel recruits in US prisons and also courts street gang members for its drug trafficking activities in Mexico and the US. Moreover, the extremely violent gang has made connections and collaborated with US gangs all over the country since 2010.

The implication of this is that Los Zetas continues to bolster its criminal operations through nontraditional and unexpected means. The import of this for the American people is that no matter what measures the US government takes to destroy the vast network of drug smuggling within the country, the effort may be fruitless, as it is no longer a case of fighting a foreign entity. With Americans running the organization, winning the war against Los Zetas would be much more difficult.

6They Sponsor And Bribe Politicians

The fact that Los Zetas and other Mexican gangs sponsor politicians in Mexico is a huge problem. If the lawmakers are puppets to drug cartels, then there is very little hope that the war against the cartels will be won. Since 2011, there have been numerous scandals exposing the collusion between politicians and drug cartels. These cases have highlighted the growing interest of Mexican cartels in influencing politics.

Not only are groups like Los Zetas interested in influencing politics, but Mexican politicians are equally interested in the dividends of the drug trade. Tomas Yarrington, former governor of Tamaulipas, is currently facing multiple drug trafficking and money laundering charges in the United States. The criminal indictment claims that the former governor took bribes from drug cartels in exchange for official protection. Yarrington is reported to have allowed the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels to operate in his state without hindrance in return for bribes. Former governor Humberto Moreira was also singled out by former Mexican president Felipe Calderon has having protected Los Zetas in his state.

Drug cartels influencing politics paints a picture of total disaster. If Mexican governors have been indicted as Los Zetas collaborators, then there is a possibility that one day, the criminal organization could produce a governor from its ranks.

5They Grow And Manufacture Drugs Overseas

Los Zetas is a criminal gang that manufactures and smuggles illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and marijuana, among others. Traditionally, Mexican cartels like Los Zetas only grew and manufactured drugs in Mexican territory and other less advanced countries where government officials were collaborators or incapable of disrupting their operations. However, of recent, they’ve taken their drug manufacturing activities to highly advanced countries like the United States.

In 2015, US law enforcement discovered a marijuana field in Texas with a market value of $2 million. The field was linked to the Los Zetas cartel. It was found in Webb County, near the border city of Laredo. The find is indicative of cartel operations in Texas and the United States as a whole.

Groups like Los Zetas have also been known to operate abroad, buying raw materials from Argentina and operating in Asian countries like Malaysia.Mexican drug cartels are currently operating in 47 countries around the world, including Colombia, Guatemala, and others. Their operations in Colombia and Guatemala can be taken for granted, considering the fact that these countries have homegrown drug cartel problems of their own. More terrifying is their ease of operations in countries like US. The fact that Los Zetas was able to grow and nurture $2 million worth of marijuana in Texasis quite distressing. Who knows what is going on in American Samoa.

4Drug Smuggling Isn’t Their Only Crime

Los Zetas is indeed the worst Mexican drug cartel in history. While older cartels were more interested in smuggling drugs than anything else, Los Zetas apparently has its sights set on any type of crime that translates into quick and steady cash. Aside from manufacturing illegal drugs and trafficking them, the gang is also into kidnapping and extortion. In August 2017, the cartel kidnapped 17 people and kept them in a stash house in Nuevo Laredo. The rescue was made possible by an anonymous tip about gunmen bringing victims into a house in the Villas de la Fe neighborhood.

To make matters worse, the gang is also into migrant smuggling. Not only does Los Zetas control key drug smuggling routes into the United States, but it now controls much of the illicit trade of sneaking migrant workers to the US. As usual, they’ve also brought an unprecedented level of violence to the trade. The gang often kidnaps and holds poor migrants who try to operate outside the system for ransom. If their relatives do not pay for their release, they may be killed and dumped into mass graves.

3They Are The Most Brutal Drug Cartel In History

Photo credit: Unknown

Rival gang MS-13 may have the most terrifying tattoos (see featured image), but Los Zetas wins the prize for violence. Brutality and inhumanity are the most noticeable traits of drug cartels all over the world, but Los Zetas has taken them to a new high. There is a popular consensus that Los Zetas is the most brutal and inhuman drug cartel in history. In August 2010, the gang massacred 72 kidnapped migrants at a remote ranch in Northeastern Mexico after they refused to pay a ransom for their release or take jobs as hit men. Los Zetas has been linked to several other mass murders in Mexico.

The cartel’s brutal murders came to a head under the leadership of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales. The heartless drug lord is claimed to have personally killed 2,000 people, in addition to ordering and supervising thousands of other murders. Morales’s most preferred method of killing was to stuff victims in oil barrels and set them ablaze. He also forced captured Mexican migrants into gladiatorial fights to the death. He frequently supervised killing experiments wherein new recruits were ordered to kill people with a machete or sledgehammer.

It is practically impossible to list all the atrocities that have been committed by this extremely violent group.

2They Are Aided By The Mexican Police

A depressing fact about Los Zetas is that they are sometimes aided by Mexican police in the commission of unspeakable crimes. Following the murder of 72 kidnapped migrants in August 2010, subsequent investigation revealed that some Mexican policemen assisted the Zetas in committing the slaughter. Local police rounded up migrants traveling by bus and handed them over to the gang. They also acted as lookouts for the cartel and turned a blind eye to their illegal activities.

Rogue policemen are believed to have played a role in the deaths of 193 people, whose bodies were found in hidden graves in San Fernando in 2011, and 49 in Cadereyta in the state of Nuevo Leon in 2012.

1They Possess Unassailable Radio Communication Technology

The Mexican military has been trying unsuccessfully for years to dismantle an extensive network of radio antennas built and operated by the Los Zetas drug cartel.The authorities haven’t succeeded in shutting down the cartel’s sophisticated radio communication due to two reasons: The first is that the radio equipment is easy to replace; the second is that the gang relies on free forced labor to build and maintain its radio equipment.

This radio communication technology has given them a edge over Mexicanlaw enforcement agencies for years.

Urinary Tract Infection: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Urinary Tract Infection: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a bacterial infection of any part of the urinary tract, which includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters (tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder) and the urethra (the tube that allows the bladder to be emptied). Infections of the bladder or the urethra are the most common.

In the United States, about 8.1 million people visit the doctor due to a urinary tract infection each year,according to the American Urological Association.

Most often, a UTI occurs because bacteria enter the urethra and travel up to the bladder, where they multiply.

Bladder infections are typically caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, which are common bacteria in the human gut, according to the Mayo Clinic. Infections of the urethra can be caused by E. coli, or by sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes or chlamydia.

Bacteria in the bladder can also move up to the kidneys and cause a kidney infection (known as pyelonephritis), which can cause permanent kidney damage. An untreated UTI in the bladder can lead to such an infection.

According to the National Institutes of Health, symptoms of a UTI include:

  • A strong and frequent urge to urinate often, even after you’ve just emptied your bladder
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or back (pelvic pain for women, rectal pain for men)

Signs of a kidney infection may include:

  • Chills or night sweats
  • Fever
  • Pain in the side, back or groin area
  • Flushed or reddened skin
  • Nausea and vomiting

In older adults, mental changes or confusion are often the only signs of a UTI, according to the NIH. For this reason, UTIs in the elderly are often missed, said Dr. Ketul Shah, a urologist from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. If an elderly patient comes to the hospital because they are confused and not feeling well, it’s important that doctors rule out common problems (such as UTI) first, before they start treatment for other, less common problems, Shah said.

Women are more likely than men to get a UTI. One reason for this is that women have a shorter urethra than men do, and it is closer to the anus. Both of these reasons explain why bacteria can reach the bladder more easily in women. Sexual activity also increases a woman’s risk of UTI.

The drop in estrogen levels that women experience after menopause also can make the urinary tract more vulnerable to infection, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Blockages of the urinary tract, such as those caused by a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate, can block the flow of urine and increase the risk of UTI.

People with an impaired immune system, such as those with diabetes and other conditions, have a decreased ability to fight off infections, which can increase the risk of UTI.

People who have a urinary catheter are also at increased risk for UTI.

People who hold their urine for long periods of time may also be at risk for a urinary tract infection, Shah said. Urine has a high amount of glucose and proteins, which can allow bacteria to grow, Shah said. “The bacteria has more time to multiply” when people hold their urine, Shah said.

To diagnose a UTI, doctors collect a urine sample to look for bacteria or byproducts from bacteria, such as red and white blood cells, Shah said. Doctors can also perform a urine culture — in which the urine sample is cultured in a lab to see if it grows bacteria — which takes about 24 to 48 hours, Shah said. The latter test can help doctors determine which antibiotics are most suitable to treat the infection, Shah said.

Usually, a urinary tract infection is treated with antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading to the kidneys. Symptoms of a bladder infection usually go away within one to two days after starting antibiotics.

Patients who are prescribed antibiotics should take them exactly as it was recommended by your healthcare provider, and they should not stop taking the drug until your provider says it is safe to do so, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention.

A recent opinion article published in The BMJ (British Medical Journal) hasquestioned the long-held advice of finishing a course of antibiotics even if a person is feeling better to prevent the relapse of an infection. The article suggests this advice might be contributing to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Women with recurrent UTIs — meaning having more than two or three UTIs in a year — may be told to take antibiotics after sexual activity to prevent infection. Longer courses of antibiotics, or stronger doses, also may be required for people with recurrent infections.

A more severe infection of the kidneys may require hospital treatment. Hospital treatment involves injecting fluids and antibiotics through a vein. Some people may need surgery if the infection is caused by a problem with the structure of the urinary tract, according to the NIH.

UTIs in children can be serious because the infection can sometimes affect the growth of the kidneys, Shah said. Children who have had a UTI may require further testing to make sure their urine is not traveling back up into the kidneys, Shah said.

Ways to help prevent UTIs include drinking plenty of water to dilute urine and flush out bacteria, and urinating after intercourse. Women who’ve gone through menopause may use estrogen cream around the vagina to reduce the risk of infections, the NIH says.

A 2012 review suggested that cranberries may help prevent UTIs, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Cranberries may interfere with the way bacteria attach to urinary tract cells.

The idea that cranberry juice can prevent UTIs is controversial, because although some studies show a benefit, other studies find little evidence of a benefit, or suggest that the benefit is a placebo effect, Shah said. Still, because cranberry juice is safe and not very expensive, Shah said he does recommend it as a way to help prevent UTI.

Additional reporting by Cari Nierenberg, Live Science Contributor.

Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. Follow Live Science @livescience,Facebook & Google+.

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How a CT Scan of an Olive Led to Man’s Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease

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How a CT Scan of an Olive Led to Man’s Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease

The image on the left shows a scan of the man’s abdomen. The blue and white arrow points to the olive in the man’s small intestine, which appears as a small white oval. The image on the right shows an olive and its pit; the inset image is a scan of a single black olive, which is similar in appearance to the olive in the man’s gut.

Credit: The BMJ

When a 24-year-old man in Belgium went to the hospital because he had belly pain, doctors found an olive stuck in his small intestine — and soon after, diagnosed him with Crohn’s disease.

The man had sudden and severe abdominal pain for two days before he went to the doctor, according to a report of the man’s case, published Aug. 9 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. The incident took place about six months ago.

The doctors performed a CT scan of the man’s abdomen to see if they could spot the reason for his pain. They found that a portion of the wall of the small intestine was thickened, and within that thickened tissue, they discovered an odd-looking spot that turned out to be a black olive. [Here’s a Giant List of the Strangest Medical Cases We’ve Covered]

Olives were one of the man’s favorite foods, and he had accidentally swallowed the olive whole, pit included, said lead author Dr. Halil Yildiz, an internal-medicine physician at University Hospital Saint-Luc in Belgium who treated the man.

To confirm that the spot on the scan was an olive, however, the doctors did something that had never been done: They performed another CT scan — a scan of a single fresh olive. “This is the first time that CT acquisition of a fresh olive has been compared with patient images,” the doctors wrote in the report.

The olive scan did its part: It confirmed that the small fruit really was lodged in the man’s bowels, Yildiz told Live Science.

No surgery was required to remove the olive; instead, the man was given steroids to reduce the inflammation in his gut, and eventually, the olive passed out of his body in his feces, Yildiz said.

In most cases when a person swallows a “foreign body” — in other words, something they shouldn’t have swallowed — it passes safely through the gastrointestinal tract and out the other end, according to the report. Occasionally, something may get stuck, but “this complication is very rare with olives,” the authors wrote.

Indeed, it turns out that there was another factor at play that made it much more likely for the olive to get stuck in the man’s gut, Yildiz said: He had a type of inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn’s disease.

But neither the man nor the doctors knew that the patient had Crohn’s disease until after the olive had passed out of his body and the patient returned for a follow-up colonoscopy, according to the report. It was during that exam that the doctors diagnosed the man with Crohn’s disease.

“If there was no bowel disease,” the olive wouldn’t have caused a problem, Yildiz said. “Crohn’s disease [made] the obstruction more likely.”

Originally published on Live Science.

Woman Born Without a Vagina Speaks Out About Rare Condition

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Woman Born Without a Vagina Speaks Out About Rare Condition

Kaylee Moats, 22, was born with a rare condition that affects the female reproductive organs.

Credit: YouTube Screengrab/Barcroft TV

A woman in Arizona who was born without a vagina — the result of a rare condition — is speaking out about her condition, and raising money for a surgery to treat it.

Kaylee Moats, who is 22, first learned she did not have a vagina when she was 18 and had never had a menstrual period, according to a video about Moats’ case, made by Barcroft TV. An ultrasound performed at her doctor’s office revealed that she did not have a uterus, cervix or vagina.

“It makes me feel less of a woman,” Moats said in the video. “I’m still trying to accept myself, accept what I have and not dwell on it.”

Moats was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a condition that affects about 1 in every 4,500 newborn girls, according to the National Institutes of Health. It happens when, during embryonic development, the female reproductive organs (including the uterus, cervix and vagina) do not develop properly. As a result, the uterus and vagina may be underdeveloped or absent entirely, the NIH said. [7 Facts Women (And Men) Should Know About the Vagina]

People with this condition are genetically female (meaning they have two Xchromosomes), and have normally functioning ovaries. They also have normal external genitalia, and so the condition is usually discovered only when women do not get their period, as was the case for Moats.

In some cases, the condition can be treated without surgery, by using vaginal “dilators” to create a vagina or enlarge an existing vagina, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD). Vaginal dilators are specially designed plastic tubes that can be used to stretch and widen the small amount of vaginal tissue that is typically present (sometimes referred to as a vaginal “dimple”), according to NORD.

The condition can also be treated with surgery to create a vagina, which is called a vaginoplasty.

Researchers have created vaginas in a lab dish, by taking a patient’s own cells and growing them on a scaffold to form a vaginal shape. In 2014, researchers announced they had implanted these vaginas in four teenage girls, and the treatment was successful. However, the treatment is still experimental.

For Moats, the next step is to have reconstructive surgery to create a vagina, she said. However, the surgery costs $15,000 and is not covered by her insurance.

“They consider it a cosmetic surgery or a gender reassignment,” Moats said. “It’s very hurtful” to not have this surgery covered by insurance, she said.

Moats’ sister, Amanda Moats, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the surgery. As of today (Aug. 17), she had raised $16,997, exceeding the goal of $15,000.

“Getting the surgery will help me feel normal and have all the right body parts as any other girl,” Moats told Barcoft TV.

Moats has a boyfriend, Robbie Limmer, whom she met as a senior in college. Moats said Limmer has been supportive of her, and does not focus on the sexual side of their relationship.

“Knowing that he accepts me for who I am, and doesn’t see me as less of a person or less of a woman, makes me feel loved,” Moats said.

Moats hopes to have children someday. Because she has functioning ovaries, she can, in theory, use a gestational surrogate to carry her child.

Original article on Live Science.

Kidney Stones: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Kidney Stones: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Kidney stones are hard masses that form in the kidneys when there is not enough liquid to dilute waste chemicals in the urine.

Credit: remik44992 | Shutterstock

A kidney stone is a hard mass that forms in one or both kidneys from minerals in the urine, and if large enough, can cause severe pain. In the United States, kidney stones send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Kidney stones form when there is not enough liquid in the urine to dilute out waste chemicals, such ascalcium, oxalate and phosphorous. These waste chemicals become concentrated, and crystals begin to form, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

The most common type of kidney stones are calcium oxalate stones.

Kidney stones can vary in size, with some as small as a grain of sand, and others as large as a pea or even a golf ball, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Small stones may pass down the urinary tract and be excreted without causing symptoms. Larger stones may get stuck in the urinary tract and block the flow of urine, which can cause severe pain or bleeding, the NIH says.

People with kidney stones often seek medical care because they have severe pain in their flank (the area between the mid-back and the ribs) on one side of the body, and this pain can extend to the lower abdomen, said Dr. Michael F. Michelis, director of the division of nephrology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “Stone pain is very profound,” Michelis said.

Other symptoms of kidney stones can include pain while urinating, blood in the urine, and nausea and vomiting, according to the NIH. People who think they have a kidney stone, or who have serious symptoms such as extreme pain that won’t go away, fever, chills and vomiting, should see their doctor, the NIH says.

Men are more likely to develop kidney stones than women. People are also at increased risk for kidney stones if they’ve had a stone in the past, or a member of their family has had a stone.

Other risk factors include not drinking enough water, eating a diet high in protein, sodium and sugar, being obese, or undergoing gastric bypass surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The most common time to develop kidney stones is between ages 20 and 60, according to information from The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Kidney stones broken into smaller pieces after lithotripsy.
Kidney stones broken into smaller pieces after lithotripsy.

Credit: Atelier_A Shutterstock

Kidney stones can be diagnosed from a patient’s symptoms and a CT scan (that combines X-rays to create a 3D image), which is usually performed in the emergency room, Michelis said.

Small kidney stones don’t usually need treatment, but an individual may need to take pain medication, according to the NIH. Patients with kidney stones should also drink lots of fluids, which can help the stone to pass. Most kidney stones do not require invasive treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Large kidney stones, or stones blocking the urinary tract, may need other treatments. One treatment is called shock wave lithotripsy, during which a doctor uses a machine that produces strong vibrations known as shock waves to break the stone into small pieces so it can pass through the urinary tract.

Another treatment, called ureteroscopy, uses a special tool called a ureteroscope to view the kidney stone in the ureter — the tube that connects the kidneys to the bladder. A doctor can then remove the stone or use laser energy to break it up.

Very large stones may need surgery to remove them, Michelis said.

Many issues of kidney stones “can be avoided by moderation of the diet and a high fluid intake,” Michelis said. The NIH recommends drinking about 2 to 3 liters, or 2 to 3 quarts, of fluid each day.

Determining the type of stone a person had — by catching the stone as it passes and having it analyzed by a lab — can help doctors understand what caused the stone, and make recommendations to prevent the condition. If a patient is not able to catch the kidney stone, doctors can still perform urine testing (by asking a patient to collect his or her urine for a 24-hour period), and take a diet history, to determine what might be causing the stone, Michelis said.

For people who’ve had stones made of calcium oxalate, doctors may recommend that they avoid foods high in oxalate, such as spinach, rhubarb, nuts and wheat bran, the NIH says.

To prevent stones made of uric acid, doctors may ask patients to reduce their protein intake, because protein is associated with the formation of uric acid in the body, Michelis said.

Reducing salt intake may also lower a person’s risk of several types of kidney stones, including calcium stones. Eating too much sodium can increase the amount of calcium in the urine, Michelis said. Patients should also eat the recommended daily amount of calcium, but not an excessive amount, Michelis said.

Some drugs can help prevent kidney stones, but these drugs are typically used only if a change in diet is not effective, Michelis said. These include diuretic drugs to prevent calcium stones and drugs to reduce the production of uric acid to prevent uric acid stones, Michelis said. Some drugs can also reduce the acidity of the urine, Michelis said, because too much acid in the urine is a risk factor for stones made of uric acid.

This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice. 

Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. Follow Live Science @livescience,FacebookGoogle+.

Additional reporting by Cari Nierenberg, Live Science Contributor

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