Air Pollution and Your Health: Are We Risking Our Lives for the Big City?

Caitlin Register, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), air pollution presents a negative effect on asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and stroke. [1] The United States National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), as established by Environmental Protection Agency, recommends ozone concentrations below 70 parts per billion (ppb) and annual average particles with a mass median aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 μg (PM2.5) concentrations less than 12.0 μg/m3 for “sensitive” populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. For public welfare protection, PM2.5 concentrations less than 15.0 μg/m3 are recommended. [2] According to the World Health Organization (WHO), outdoor air pollution is estimated worldwide to cause about 8% of lung cancer deaths, 5% of cardiopulmonary deaths, and 3% of deaths from respiratory infections. [3] It is suggested that negative impacts on respiratory and cardiovascular health can follow both short and long-term exposures to particulate matter air pollution, and long-term exposure may be linked to atherosclerosis and childhood respiratory disease. With regard to these factors and public health, increased mortality may be the ultimate effect of air pollution. [4]

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Could Cannabidiol be Effective for Seizures?

Reem Gebrekidan, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Dravet Syndrome is a genetic epileptic encephalopathy beginning in infancy that is characterized by febrile, prolonged, and lateralized seizures.[1] Epilepsy guidelines consider sodium valproate or topiramate as first-line treatment in children with Dravet syndrome while clobazam or stiripentol are supported as adjunctive therapy. Medications such as carbamazepine, gabapentin, lamotrigine, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, pregabalin, tiagabine or vigabatrin were advised to be avoided. [2]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two synthetic cannabinoids based on a substance present in marijuana and a substance acting similarly to another compound in marijuana. Attempting to use components of marijuana is considered to be in the public’s best interest; however, safe and effective use has not been determined. [3] Continue reading

The Pro-oxidative Risks of a Red Meat Diet

Sahil A. Desai, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Consuming red meat has been shown to cause a higher risk of premature death [1] and the intake of processed red meat may be more likely to cause coronary heart disease, stroke, and/or diabetes. [2] Meats are stated to be rich in the pro-oxidants heme iron, nitrates, and nitrites which can cause oxidative damage and inflammation in different organs. [3] According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) [4] and American Heart Association (AHA) [5], both unprocessed and processed red meat can increase the risks of cancer and heart disease, respectively. It was recommended that substituting white meat and fish for red meat can reduce the risks of disease development. 

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