Category Archives: Health
Update 9:00 p.m.: US Attorney Melinda Haag told the Oakland Tribune in a prepared statement that “we continue to take a measured approach and have only pursued asset forfeiture actions with respect to marijuana retail sales operations very near schools, parks or playgrounds, at the request of local law enforcement, or in one case, because of the sheer size of its distribution operations.”
City and state officials and medical cannabis advocates vowed Wednesday to fight back against … Continue reading »
Having a child is a life-changing event. But “having a child that is destined to die,” as Erica Jong writes in the introduction to Monica Wesolowska’s moving, lyrical memoir, Holding Silvan: A Brief Life, “must be more life changing still. How do we let go? How do we mourn?” Jong asks.
In today’s world of high tech births, it’s a tragedy that most in the United States will not experience. Yet, however rare, newborns do die. Wesolowska and her husband David, both long-time Berkeley residents, were completely unprepared for the awful news that their newborn son, Silvan, had suffered severe brain damage during delivery.
Wesolowska’s pregnancy had been uneventful and her labor seemed normal. Yet something had gone terribly wrong.
The baby lingered for 38 days and Wesolowska fit in a lifetime of loving in that brief time span. She and David decided soon after Silvan’s birth not to feed him, and they held and loved him as his once plump frame withered and wasted. Making the decision to let Silvan die was not easy — and the ethical considerations form a fascinating part of the book — and yet Wesolowska shows readers how it was really the ultimate act of maternal love. … Continue reading »
By Belinda Lyons-Newman and Tong Xiao
Tong Xiao and Belinda Lyons-Newman recently tested a number of North Berkeley homes for chemical health hazards following scientific studies on the dangers to children in particular. They write about how they tested, what families can do, and where you can find information.
Before I (Belinda) had kids I might have dismissed a story like this. I believed that government regulation would intervene in the case of anything truly unsafe. Now, as a parent who has researched the safety of dozens of products as part of making decisions for the health and safety of my children, I am amazed at the extent to which chemicals with proven serious negative health impacts on children are not only on the market, but ubiquitous and hard to avoid, even here in environmentally conscious Berkeley. … Continue reading »
The sign for Perfect Plants Patients Group is still in the window of 2840-B Sacramento Street, but the cannabis collective has closed up shop, according to its owner, Eric Thomas.
The collective shut its doors on Nov. 14, the day after the Berkeley City Council held a public hearing that determined the collective was a nuisance and was in violation of zoning laws, according to Thomas. While he moved out his product, many files, and some furniture that day, the landlord changed the locks on Nov. 15 when Thomas did not pay the next month’s rent. He has been unable to get inside to retrieve the last of his possessions and take out the sign, he said.
Thomas has no firm plans to reopen the collective, which has been operating since September 2011. He runs another 3PG in Vallejo and he is offering Berkeley clients a 25% discount on medicine purchased there, he said. 3PG is also doing Berkeley deliveries from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. … Continue reading »
Students in Berkeley schools are reporting declining substance use rates and decreasing exposure to violence, according to responses to a biennial survey administered across several grade levels, and at Berkeley Technology Academy, in January.
The survey data came with a range of caveats, but Student Services Director Susan Craig and Evaluation and Assessment Director Debbi D’Angelo told the board and co-superintendents that the results are “promising” and “reveal a change” in a pattern of “exceedingly high use rates” for marijuana and alcohol. … Continue reading »
Families from a range of Berkeley school communities packed the Berkeley School Board meeting last week to speak out about the importance of the district’s gardening and cooking programs in the face of financial changes that could threaten the efforts in the future.
Parents used school PTA email lists before the Nov. 14 meeting to ask supporters to attend the session to show their commitment to the programming.
According to an email sent to LeConte Elementary School parents, “Currently, 14 of the 18 school sites in Berkeley receive a total of $1.9 million each year in federal funding for nutritional education through the Network for a Healthy California. These funds are expected to starkly diminish if not totally disappear as soon as next year or in the very near future.” … Continue reading »
The landlord of the San Pablo Avenue building that houses 40 Acres Medical Marijuana Growers’ Collective won a court judgement last week to evict the cannabis business.
An Alameda County jury voted 12-0 on Nov. 2 that the collective was a nuisance and an unlawful use of the property, according to Michael McLaughlin, attorney for Clarence Soe, who owns the building with his two sisters. The sheriff’s department is scheduled to evict Chris Smith, the collective’s top executive, the collective, and other tenants the week of Nov. 26, he said.
But the eviction might be stayed if Smith’s attorney convinces a court that Soe rented the premises to Smith under false pretenses, said Clifford Fried, Smith’s attorney. He has filed for an injunction against the eviction as well as a separate lawsuit charging Soe with fraud and asking for $50,000 in damages. … Continue reading »
A recently published report suggests that 600,000 youth concussions occur yearly in the U.S., about double the 300,000 commonly estimated. The figure is extrapolated from a survey out of Massachusetts that found that 3,000 youth athletes from 164 schools suffered concussions last year.
Schools and parents try to take measures to protect their kids from potentially devastating concussions which happen across many sports, including, but not limited to, football, soccer and boxing. But, especially in football, the only true shield is to prevent the contacts that lead to the concussions in the first place. Even helmets don’t actually protect the brain. … Continue reading »
A mobile asthma clinic designed to keep kids in school and out of the hospital debuted Thursday at Malcolm X Elementary School in south Berkeley.
The Breathmobile, a 33-foot-long Winnebago RV, drew inquisitive looks and questions from students throughout the day. The vehicle was parked in the school courtyard to offer easy access to families that signed up for its first day ever in Berkeley. The program, which provides free asthma and allergy treatment, has ties to ongoing city-wide efforts to target the achievement gap and bring more accessible healthcare to a high-risk population.
Dr. Washington Burns of the West Oakland-based Prescott-Joseph Center for Community Enhancement brought the Breathmobile program to the East Bay in 2009. It began in Emeryville and has since expanded to serve 18 sites around the Bay Area. It’s the only one of its kind in Northern California, according to Burns’ staff, though there are also about a dozen other Breathmobile RVs that operate across the nation. … Continue reading »
“We Americans are eating ourselves to death” sounds like a total Debbie Downer way to begin a book, doesn’t it? But the recently released cookbook Real Food All Year, by Berkeley’s Nishanga Bliss, offers an opportunity to explore seasonal eating in tandem with the principles of Chinese medicine and holistic nutrition in a manner that isn’t overly negative or earnest.
Bliss, a professor of Chinese medicine at the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College (AIMC) in downtown Berkeley, where she works as an acupuncturist, nutritionist and herbalist, peppers her book, published by local press New Harbinger, with her professional expertise. She focuses on the healing potential of seasonal eating and cooking to support the health of key organs and overall energy.
So readers will find cheery chapters such as “Feeling Spring,” which encourages eaters to embrace the appearance of fresh, new greens at the market, cleanse, detoxify the liver, and cook for shorter times, with less oil, and lower temperatures than in winter. … Continue reading »
After listening to residents complain how a medical cannabis facility on Sacramento Street had drawn unsavory loiterers, trash, and trouble – as well as testimony that it was a good neighbor – the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday voted 7-0, with one abstention, to declare it a public nuisance.
The vote that determined Perfect Plants Patients Group at 2840-B Sacramento Street had violated numerous zoning laws will send the issue to the City Council, which will make the final determination whether the business should shut down.
The decision disappointed Eric Thomas, who founded the medical cannabis collective. He said he has been trying to find a new location for the business, but has not found a landlord willing to rent to him. … Continue reading »
When Edna Helmrich was pregnant with her second child in the 1950s, her doctor recommended she take a new drug, DES, to prevent miscarriages. Edna followed her doctor’s advice and gave birth to Susan on Nov. 14, 1955.
For 21 years, Susan thrived. Growing up in Kingston, NY, she worked hard in school, swam on the high school swim team, and went to swim competitively at Syracuse University. But when Susan was just 21, she received a devastating diagnosis: she had cancer, most likely from the DES her mother had taken to promote her survival.
That diagnosis was just the start of a long journey for Helmrich, a Berkeley resident, a PhD, and a health and wellness coach. She went on to be diagnosed – and survive — two other different cancers.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, 35 years after her first cancer diagnosis, Helmrich will join 200 others – including 12 Olympians — at Swim Across America, an event that will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer researchers at Children’s Hospital Research Center in Oakland and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. … Continue reading »
An animated short produced by the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) that’s not afraid to address the climate-altering effect of cow farts may do more for the Meatless Monday campaign than any blundering by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Readers may recall that the USDA recently pulled the plug on an inter-office memo that suggested employees could cut their environmental impact by choosing vegetarian options once a week.)
“The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers“, which launched last week on the non-profit’s new I Files channel, takes a detailed look at the real price of cheap beef — and we’re not just talking about Americans’ ever-expanding waistlines. The video also explores the environmental and economic costs of raising cows for industrialized meat production in a country where the average person consumes three burgers a weeks. This fast-food nation, the piece also notes, chows down on three times more meat than any other country.
In its first week live, the video has been viewed more than 58,000 times. The cartoon on cows — which got picked up by outlets from ”Marketplace” to Mother Jones — follows on from CIR’s previous animated short, the award-winning “The Price of Gas”. A 7.5 minute short, “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers” combines entertainment and journalism to deliver an abstract, data-heavy subject for the YouTube crowd. … Continue reading »