Nurse Alice: Could Liver Disease Be a Side Effect of Your Acid Reflux Medication?

According to new research—drugs that reduce gastric acid secretions, which include brand names such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid—not only kill and ingest microbes and suppress gastric acid secretions but they can change intestinal bacteria, which can promote the progression of liver disease.

(Image: iStock/drbimages)

 

Rising Cases of Liver Disease

 

Per the National Institute of Health, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects about 20% of the U.S. population. And drugs that treat this are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the world and can be easily obtained over the counter at your local drug store. 

Approximately 6% to 15% of the general population take PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, up to 32% with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and up to 72% in those with cirrhosis take the acid-reducing drugs to block stomach acid secretions and relieve symptoms of frequent heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD. So, with the rising number of people with chronic liver disease in western countries and liver cirrhosis as end-stage organ disease now the 12th leading cause of death worldwide, could this be a side effect of PPI medication use? 

Possibly.

The UCSD study showed that PPI use increased the number of intestinal Enterococcus bacteria in mice. The translocating enterococci bacteria leads to liver inflammation and liver cell death. Notably, it was the expansion of intestinal Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis), which was enough to exacerbate alcohol-induced liver disease in mice.

Particular Issue for the Alcohol-Dependent

 

PPI use increases the risk of developing alcoholic liver disease among alcohol-dependent patients. Reduction of gastric acid secretion, therefore, appears to promote overgrowth of intestinal Enterococcus, which promotes liver disease, based on data from the mice models and humans.

This is definitely an undesired and adverse effect of PPIs, so it’s important to understand this and to consult with your doctor to ensure the necessity of these drugs. Occasional use of PPIs for acute or short-term problems typically should not be problematic, however, there are safety issues associated with long-term therapy.

The American Gastroenterological Association Institute recommends determining the least potent therapy that controls acute GERD and then continuing this therapy for eight weeks. After eight weeks, the consumer should be given a trial off the medication. If symptoms recur in fewer than three months, there may be a need for maintenance therapy. Maintenance therapy can be intermittent or continuous.

Your doctor may also recommend you have an upper endoscopy if there is doubt about the diagnosis or any other symptoms you may be having are suggestive of another diagnosis.

Reducing Your Risk

 

So do PPIs have an important place in managing acid reflux symptoms? Yes. Are they safe? Yes, when used appropriately. So don’t continue to blindly take these medications over the counter indefinitely. Talk to your doctor about your use and make sure to also include these preventative methods in your daily routine:

  • Eat sparingly; when the stomach is full there is more reflux into esophagus
  • Stop smoking; nicotine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, making it easier for food and acid to reflux into the esophagus
  • Avoid certain foods—e.g spicy foods, garlic, alcohol can increase acid production. 
  • Don’t drink carbonated beverages—these promote burping sending acid into the esophagus.
  • Sit up after eating, don’t lay down right away—gravity keeps food and acid in the stomach.
  • Lose weight, if appropriate—extra weight causes the muscular structure to change, loosening the closure at esophageal sphincter.
  • Ask your doctor to review your medications—some can irritate your esophagus.

Is your acid reflux giving you the flux? Do you have some questions or want to make a comment? I’d love to hear from you. You can post them on Twitter or Facebook using #AskNurseAlice or email them to info@AskNurseAlice.com.

Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Generated $72M in Earned Media Value Last Month

rihanna

Rihanna’s cosmetic company, Fenty Beauty, made a huge splash on social media when it first launched last month. The all-inclusive makeup line was widely celebrated for offering a vast variety of products for women of color with darker skin tones. Now, just weeks after it hit shelves, WWD reports that it has generated a whopping $72 million in earned media value in September, alone.

 

Fenty Beauty (Image: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

 

 

Social Media Drives Success

 

Earned media value (EMV) is a metric of publicity that a company or brand gains outside of traditional promotional efforts like paid advertising. It is typically measured by the number of social endorsements and the level of engagement received on social media and other digital platforms. Other top companies with high EMV in the first quarter of 2017 were Disney, which gained over $14 million in EMV; Forever 21, which generated more than $12 million; and H&M with over $7 million.

According to WWD, Fenty’s EMV outpaced the earnings of other major beauty brands, including Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, Urban Decay, and NYX. MAC and Too Faced are the only two cosmetic lines that exceeded Fenty Beauty’s EMV metrics for the month of September. On top of that, YouTube also announced that Fenty Beauty received an impressive 132 million views in its first month.

In 2016, Rihanna signed a $10 million deal with the Kendo division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to roll out Fenty Beauty. The first installment, which included 40 shades of foundation, was released on Sept. 8 online and in stores in over 150 countries. The superstar singer also recently released a holiday collection that is sure to make a killing. Back in 2014, the 29-year-old Bajan singer inked a deal with Puma and has a net worth of $75 million, according to Forbes.

 

 

Bahamas Official: Despite Hurricanes, African American Travel to the Caribbean Is ‘Exploding’

We have all witnessed the poignant images of death and destruction wrought by one of the most devastating hurricane seasons on record—and it may not be over. A number of Caribbean island nations, including Puerto Rico, Dominica, and Barbuda are still reeling from the ruin left in their wake. According to Insurance Journal, losses in the Caribbean are estimated to be between $40 billion to $85 billion from Hurricane Maria alone. Moreover, as tourism season nears, CNN.com revealed a Caribbean Development Bank report that a 1% drop in tourism translates into $138 million loss for the region. 

Rallying support for these crippled countries has been a major focus for Dionisio D’Aguilar, who assumed the positions of Bahamas Minister of Tourism and Aviation and chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization less than six months ago. At the same time, D’Aguilar, who ran successful Bahamian businesses before his cabinet-level appointment, has been on a mission; communicate that the Bahamas, along with much of the Caribbean, continues to represent vibrant venues for tourism and business opportunities.

 

(Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Tourism and Aviation Minister. Image: bahamas.com)

 

In his role for the Bahamas, he has mapped out a strategic plan that calls for expanding the base of 1.5 million stopover visitors who spend $1,300 per person on average versus 4.7 million cruise passengers who spend a mere $69 per person in one of the Caribbean’s hottest destinations. To achieve that mandate, D’Aguilar seeks growth through a substantial increase in hotel stays with “major new touristic development.” He’s also entering into negotiations with five nations—Turks and Caicos, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the U.S.—to gain control of Bahamian airspace, the only Caribbean country without such air rights.

Successful execution of these initiatives, D’Aguilar asserts, will be a significant economic boost and lead to the creation of myriad business opportunities for both Bahamians and African Americans.

When I recently met with D’Aguilar in Washington, D.C., he had connected with such groups as the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD) to review hotel ownership opportunities for African Americans as a means to advance his agenda.

 

(Black Enterprise Chief Content Officer, Derek T. Dingle with D’Aguilar)

 

During our 20-minute session, I discussed with him the impact of hurricane activity on the Bahamas and other Caribbean nations, the continued effects of global warming and his agenda for bolstering tourism and driving business development within his country. Here are excerpts from that conversation:

How challenging has it been to maintain tourism in the aftermath of the series of devastating hurricanes that have hit the Caribbean?

My responsibility as minister of tourism is to let the world know that very little happened to the Bahamas in terms of hurricane damage and that the country is very much open for business. A lot of people come to the Bahamas, come to Nassau and think that’s it. When you drill down into the Bahamas, it covers 100,000 square miles. We have 700 islands.

 

(Image: iStock/poladamonte)

 

You’ve got to be mindful of the fact that I’m also chairman of the Caribbean Tourist Organization, which represents all of the countries in the Caribbean. People tend to think that the whole Caribbean has been destroyed. But actually, 70% of the Caribbean was unaffected. A number of countries have been severely impacted. In St. Martin, on the Dutch side, 95% of the homes have been affected and their entire touristic offerings have been wiped out. It’s going to take some time for them to rebuild. So, it seems inappropriate to benefit from the hardship that’s being caused by some of our Caribbean brothers and sisters. It’s a challenge for them and the other countries of the Caribbean must be mindful to assist where possible. What I like to tell people is, “Continue to travel to the Caribbean. Today, it’s them. Tomorrow, it could be us.”

What have been lessons learned in how to prepare for natural disasters as well as recovery and rebuilding?

There’s always lessons to learn. If you look at the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew that hit South Florida in 1992, [government officials] completely revamped building codes and one hopes that you look at where and how you build.

Unfortunately, the Caribbean region is going to continue to be the product of global warming. We always complain that we contribute so little to global warming but yet we bear the brunt of its effects in terms of sea level rise. Hurricane Irma had wind gusts, at some stage, at 225 miles an hour, unprecedented in the history of Atlantic storms. How do you build for that? It is such a monumental event that when you rebuild, you can improve codes, set infrastructure requirements and create opportunities for construction. So it does provide opportunity. Out of bad, always comes good.

 

(The row of colorful market stalls in a morning light (Nassau, Bahamas). Image: iStock/virsuziglis)

 

Let’s shift to outreach to African Americans. What are your projections for future growth in African American tourism?

Roughly 85,000 to 90,000 African Americans come to the Bahamas each year. We’re hoping to grow that 15% this year to top the 100,000 mark. The African American market is an exploding component of the travel market. We definitely want to tap into that.

So which groups have you been most successful in attracting to the Bahamas?

[We have found opportunities in religious tourism]. There’s a significant number of African American religious leaders that head major conferences in the United States. They are our greatest ambassadors in getting large church groups to come here. Sometimes the conferences are too large—40,000 to 50,000 people—and we just can’t accommodate them.

Are you aggressively pursuing the millennial market segment?

So we have Atlantis, our major hotel product on New Providence. Atlantis does a superb job catering to families with slides, fun parks, and aquatic features. Baha Mar, this huge 2,300-room development was built to focus on the millennials—the double income, no kids group—looking for that getaway without the distractions of family. It has the largest casino in the Caribbean at 100,000 square feet. There are other hotel products: the Grand Hyatt, the SLS, and the Rosewood.

What we’re also seeing that’s growing exponentially is the whole Airbnb concept. This is an interesting way by which Bahamians and African Americans can enter the hotel sector.

Are there other means of increasing black ownership of hotel properties within the Bahamas?

Definitely a goal of my ministry is to grow the number of hotel rooms on the island and preferably with African American ownership. I think they would be well-suited in that area and in our country. They would understand the dynamic cultural nuances of our people.

I haven’t had those discussions [with hotel chains like the Marriott] yet but [NABHOOD President and CEO] Andy Ingraham and I work very closely together. We’re identifying opportunities and locations. He’s connected with potential investors.

Do you envision business opportunities for African Americans on the aviation front?

My goal is for the Bahamas to take control of our airspace and improve the condition of our airports to drive [tourism] to these different islands. We have a need for enormous amounts of airports, which will require substantial investments. Every airport costs $20 million to $30 million to build.

I don’t think we’ve been as innovative as we can be. There’s a belief that the government should build everything. I’m into less government. So in order to develop them as quickly as possible, we’re going to have to engage in public/private partnerships to get that done. This thereby creates lots of opportunities for African American companies to build, design, and operate.

Stars Come Out for VH1 Save The Music Foundation 20th Anniversary Gala

On Monday, VH1 Save The Music Foundation held its 20th Anniversary Gala in New York. The nonprofit has spent the last 20 years revitalizing public school music programs, supporting the professional development of music teachers, and providing $53 million worth of new musical instruments and other resources to more than 2,000 public schools across the country.

Joining the Foundation in celebrating this milestone included award-winning actress, singer, songwriter, and producer Queen Latifah, a Newark, New Jersey, native who was honored for her contributions to music and her work with low-income students. Queen Latifah and the Foundation recently announced a five-year, $5 million effort to revive music education in 38 schools in her hometown.

 

Other honorees on hand included Steve Aoki, who received the Music Innovator Award. A Grammy Award-nominated DJ and producer, Aoki was recognized for the impact he’s had on the music industry, his philanthropy through the Steve Aoki Charitable Fund, and his advocacy of music education.

Toyota, which served as an event sponsor, acknowledged the work of DJ Khaled with the #ToyotaGiving Award for his role as a champion of school music programs and his work as the national spokesman for the VH1 Save The Music sister organization GET SCHOOLED.

 


VH1 Save The Music 20th Anniversary Gala: (from left) DJ Khaled and Steve Curtis. (Image: Jason Kempin, Getty Images)

 

“I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to be a part of the amazing work that VH1 Save The Music does,” Queen Latifah is quoted as saying in a statement. “This is bigger than just teaching kids how to play instruments—it’s about using music to bring communities together and giving all children a shot at a brighter future. This work can’t stop until every child can access music programs as part of their education.”

“I’m honored to be here to celebrate VH1 Save The Music’s 20th anniversary,” Steve Aoki said in his acceptance speech. “Thank you for this award. Tremendous work has been done bringing back music programs to students across the country. I’m proud to be included with a group of incredible musicians who give back to their communities. I don’t know where I would be without music. These incredible programs will help build the future of music, and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years of music technology will bring to kids!”

 

VH1 Save The Music 20th Anniversary Gala: (from left) Executive Director Henry Donahue, Queen Latifah, Whitney Keaton, Raphael Raii Smith. (Image: Jason Kempin, Getty Images)

 

Speaking of technology, VH1 Save The Music isn’t neglecting it, since tech has had a huge impact on the world of music. The Foundation’s new Music Tech Grant, introduced at the gala by Steve Aoki, will invest in American public high schools to fund the hardware, software, and musical instruments needed for audio engineering, recording, and production.

“Not all children in America are afforded the same chances to succeed, but we believe in the power of music to help students fulfill their potential. That’s why we are more committed than ever to bringing music education to students who need it most,” said Henry Donahue, executive director of VH1 Save The Music Foundation, in a statement.

“Not only is music education proven to help students be more successful, but we believe it’s every child’s right to access music and art within their school and community. With the continued support of our partners in communities across the U.S., we can help make music an essential piece of every child’s education in the next 20 years.”

To learn more about the work of VH1 Save The Music Foundation, visit its website.

Why This Woman Launched a Yoga Streaming Service For People of Color

yoga streaming service

In 2011, Carla Christine was working as an electrical engineer for the Department of Defense and suffering from crippling anxiety. Her condition was affecting both her professional and personal lives and led Christine to self-medicate with alcohol, cigarettes, and hookah.

“Although a doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant for anxiety, it was without an evaluation,” she says. “A friend became worried and recommended yoga. I couldn’t see how twisting and bending could heal my body and mind, but I agreed to try it. It was the best advice because yoga has aided me in self-healing and self-study.”

Later, Christine solidified her interest by becoming a certified yoga teacher and launching the Yoga Green Book (YGB), an online wellness studio and membership platform providing access to unlimited yoga and meditation videos to transform your mental and physical health.

 

Yoga (Image: Carla Christine)

 

“Since YGB’s creation, over 1,000 people have accessed our online teachings,” says Christine. “Business is conducted virtually, which enables my husband and me to connect with other yogis of color worldwide and have location independence. We have traveled to more than 20 cities worldwide and currently live in Medellin, Colombia.”

Christine also found the courage to leave her six-figure salary job to share yoga’s transformational power full-time. We caught up with Christine to learn about her startup process.

 

Tell us about the market need for YGB.

With racism, trauma, mental illnesses, and diseases that disproportionally impact our community, tools like yoga are needed now more than ever. When I first started practicing yoga, I discovered how difficult it could be for yoga students to find and connect with culturally affirming teachers in their communities.

I created an online platform for yoga because it’s an encouraging entry point for those who are new to the field as well as a means for seasoned practitioners to continue to evolve their practice regardless of their location.

 

How did you know there was a market and audience for YGB?

There are other successful yoga streaming sites but it was rare to see a black yoga teacher on their sites even though I and other yogis had subscriptions to these sites. We can all benefit from holistic practices, so yoga should reflect our image and be available to us all.

I launched and advertised the site and a five-part beginner yoga series in a way that unapologetically portrayed blackness to see if there was any interest. When there were steady sign-ups, I knew there was a market.

 

(Image: Carla Christine)

 

What’s your best marketing tool for attracting customers?

Our free 21-Day Beginner Yoga Challenge teaches foundational yoga poses. Most challengers go on to sign up for a YGB studio membership. Our online yoga studio has a 30-day free trial that includes access to unlimited yoga and meditation classes, optional one-on-one video consultations, and exclusive resources and tips.

The Fight to Rename a Kentucky Airport After Muhammad Ali Continues

Muhammad Ali

Earlier this month, Black Enterprise reported on the more than yearlong, uphill battle a Kentucky-based educator, Robert Holmes III, has faced in hopes of honoring Muhammad Ali in Louisville, the city where “The People’s Champ” was born and raised. Back in June 2016, Holmes launched the Global Friends of Muhammad Ali, a grassroots effort that is committed to renaming the Louisville International Airport to “Muhammad Ali International Airport.” The group started a petition on Change.org, calling on Ali fans to support an initiative that would pay tribute to the legendary boxer. After being shared on MPowerChange.org, it collected over 14,000 signatures.

 

Muhammad Ali (Image; Muhammad Ali 1966 via Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

 

Despite receiving an overwhelming number of signatures and even support from members of the Ali family, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s spokesperson Chris Poynter told Black Enterprise that “there is no active committee looking at the matter of renaming the airport.” He added that the power to change the name lies within the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, which “will ultimately make any decision to rename the airport.” The Louisville Regional Airport Authority, however, also confirmed that it “has no current plans to change the name of Louisville International Airport (SDF).”

In addition, Fischer’s office reached out to BE emphasizing that the city has already paid homage to their hometown hero in a variety of other ways. “Louisville has several major Ali memorials already, including the Muhammad Ali Center (a major institution) and a prominent street named after The Champ. By focusing only on the airport, you leave the impression that the Champ’s hometown isn’t honoring his legacy, which is the furthest from the truth,” said Poynter.

Holmes, however, dismissed the mayor’s response as “a great attempt at a political spin to dodge the question. It’s obvious that Louisville has done things to honor its greatest citizen, but that’s not the [issue].” Holmes added that other cities, like New Orleans, have renamed their airports after superstar natives. “If they can name their airport after Louis Armstrong, who’s a jazz musician, certainly Louisville should be able to coalesce around the idea of renaming the airport.”

According to Holmes, the opposition to rename the airport boils down to the fact that Ali was an outspoken black man who voiced opposition to racism and war. “I feel that there is a racial component to it and I think that’s one of the reasons why people don’t want to touch it,” he says. “Because he was a very brash, young man in very turbulent times during the 60’s and the early 70’s. He spoke his mind and he stood his ground and he stood up for what he believed in. He stood up against social injustice and racial disparities not only all over the world, but he also spoke about the racial disparities right here in his hometown.” After winning the heavyweight championship, the boxing legend “returned back to Louisville, [but] he didn’t receive a total warm welcome from the entire city. There were segments of the white community that did not celebrate Muhammad Ali and you still have that today.”

Although Mayor Fischer’s office told Black Enterprise that the airport authority will make the ultimate decision to rename the airport, Holmes pointed out that the mayor maintains power to appoint “several members of the board.”

“If he wanted to make that decision, to say that I want to rename this airport in honor of Muhammad Ali, I don’t believe it is that hard,” said Holmes.

 

 

3 NBA Stars Making Big Business Moves This Year

NBA stars business moves

With the start of the basketball season upon us, it’s clear that some of the biggest NBA stars spent the offseason brushing up on their business game.

Russell Westbrook

NBA stars business moves TUMI x Russell Westbrook (PRNewsfoto/TUMI)

 

Just this month, Westbrook, the league’s reigning MVP, released a limited-edition collection with luggage maker TUMI. The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard co-designed six pieces, including travel satchels, backpacks, and totes in a red camouflage print with his personal motto “Why Not?” embossed on the interiors.

“I’ve always enjoyed the process of transforming an idea through the design process, and the creative team at TUMI really executed my vision,” said Westbrook in a press release. “I’m proud to share the functional and stylistic collection we’ve created together with people all over the world.”

This isn’t his first crack at designing. Known among NBA stars for his eccentric fashion and “nerd” glasses, he teamed up with Barney’s New York in 2014 to for a two-year partnership to create the line Russell Westbrook XO. He also has—of course—his own eyewear company, called Westbrook Frames.

Earlier this year he signed a 10-year extension to his deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand, reportedly making him the highest-paid Jordan Brand athlete ever.

 

Chris Paul

Paul, who is making his debut as a member of the Houston Rockets, made headlines with the off-season trade. But that wasn’t the only news he was making this summer. In July he launched a capsule collection of men’s clothing and accessories with Five Four Club, after signing on in March to become the face of the brand.

“I’m a firm believer in not just doing business with a company just because you know them. You invest in the people,” Paul told Esquire about collaborating with the brand.

Not to be left out of the travel bag game, the NBA Players Union president launched another line just last month. The Chris Paul for Hook & Albert Collection includes a weekender, Dopp kit, and lapel pins, among other accessories, and is available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Outside of fashion, Paul has a number of business interests—like most NBA stars. Last year, he invested an undisclosed amount in WTRMLN WTR, an energy drink startup, along with Beyoncé.

 

LeBron James

 

Perhaps no current pro better embodies the idea of a business-savvy basketball player than James. He co-founded media and entertainment companies and invested in Beats by Dre–before it was sold to Apple. He’s also earned hundreds of millions in endorsement deals, including his historic contracts with Nike.

But it was a $1 million investment he made in 2012 that paid off big this summer. That’s when his stake in Blaze Pizza, the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country, became valued at $25 million. He reportedly owns about 10% of the company, in addition to co-owning several franchises.

“LeBron and I have always been about finding companies that we truly believe in and putting real money into them. We’re not talking putting in $15,000 or $20,000,” Maverick Carter, James’s business partner, told ESPN.

“It’s real money plus the expertise, understanding and knowledge that we bring, as well as bringing LeBron’s name and likeness to the product.”

This could lead to an off-the-court business match-up between two of the biggest NBA stars: Kevin Durant, whose defending champion Golden State Warriors beat James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s finals, is also getting into the pizza biz. His company, Durant Co., just invested in Pieology and will own both a stake in the company and some of the franchises.

 

The Culture of Offense is Why Black Workers Are Punished for Speaking Out

The national controversy surrounding NFL protests took a dramatic turn on Monday when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issued a statement indicating that he will bench any player who refuses to stand during the national anthem. “If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” Jones said. “Understand? We will not… If we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”

(Image: iStock/tacojim)

 

ESPN journalist Jemele Hill, a black woman, responded by tweeting about how disgruntled fans can effectively boycott Jones. “This play always works,” Hill tweeted. “Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers,” she concluded.  

Hill was subsequently suspended for two weeks on Oct. 9, 2017. ESPN cited “a second violation of our social media guidelines” as a rationalization for the suspension. “In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences,” the network said in a statement.   

 

The Culture of Offense

 

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s recent threat to bench non-compliant team members, coupled with ESPN’s suspension of Jemele Hill, illustrates why I oppose what I call the “culture of offense.”

The culture of offense normalizes and encourages employer-based punishment for offensive but non-violent comments or political gestures. 

Since what may be considered offensive varies on one’s perception and offense is perceived differently by individuals across the socio-political and ideological spectrum, punishing these football players creates a slippery slope that threatens the rest of us to freely express ourselves without the looming threat of consequence.

 

The First Amendment and the Workplace  

 

The right to free speech is not entirely protected at the workplace. “An employee may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be employed,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes. In other words: to keep your job, you often can’t say or do what you like.  

This is in part due to an absence of protections at the state and federal levels regarding speech-related terminations. “At the protective end of the spectrum, five states (California, Colorado, Montana, New York, and North Dakota) prohibit employers from punishing employees for legal off-duty activities that do not conflict with the employer’s business-related interests,” according to the American Bar Association.

“These limited protections for off-duty political speech are not available to approximately half of the U.S. population… Accordingly, the majority of Americans only have legal protections for their speech only when it relates to a narrow category of topics protected by federal, state or local law.”

And yet, increased state or federal protections are unlikely to reduce the threat of workplace suspension or termination as it relates to politically motivated speech or actions, precisely because said speech or actions impact “business-related interests.”

This is particularly true during this deeply divided period in American political history. As such, employers are increasingly at risk of losing profit when their employees make on-the-job political statements or issue remarks that offend a target customer. This would explain the rationale that Jones used to explain his no-kneeling policy. “Too many of the fans of the Dallas Cowboys perceive this as disrespect for the flag,” he noted. “And so I don’t want our team doing it.”

 

The Solution: A Shift in American Values  

 

The solution to the challenge I have presented is not a shift in policy or an increase in regulatory protections. The solution is a cultural shift from offense to toleration.

Far too often, people are quick to take offense when presented with ideas that do not align with theirs. In many instances, the offense becomes a rallying call for punitive action. This has become increasingly apparent as a result of the NFL protests, during which 47% of Republicans agreed that NFL players should be fired or suspended when caught kneeling during the national anthem.

As the Republican response to the NFL protests demonstrates, the culture of offense has normalized and encouraged employer-based punishment for non-violent comments and political gestures. NFL owners, broadly, and Jerry Jones, specifically,  have cited “business-related interests,” which translates to nothing more than offended consumers, as the key motivator driving the decision to reprimand players who kneel during the anthem.

The onus is on us—ordinary citizens and consumers—to renounce the culture of offense and to promote toleration, civil debate, and the free exchange of ideas. Although it is OK to respectfully disagree with others, encouraging employers to retaliate whenever one is offended puts us all, regardless of race, ideological orientation, or political affiliation, at risk of being punished by our employers for making comments or political gestures that others might disagree with.

 

 

 

Coming Soon: Your Medication Will be Printed Out Like a Document!

Although it may be several years down the road, instead of taking multiple pills, what do you think about combining them into a single printed medication dose?

 

(Image: iStock/JPC-PROD)

 

The technique, which was developed at the University of Michigan, can print multiple medications into a single dose on a dissolvable strip, microneedle patch, or another dosing device. The researchers say it could make life easier for patients who must now take multiple medications every day. The work could also accelerate drug development.

A new study led by Max Shtein, professor of materials science and engineering, and Olga Shalev, a recent graduate who worked on the project while a doctoral student in the same department, showed that the pure printed medication can destroy cultured cancer cells in the lab as effectively as medication delivered by traditional means, which rely on chemical solvents to enable the cells to absorb the medication. Their study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

The researchers adapted the technology from electronics manufacturing called “organic vapor-jet printing.” The way it works is the active pharmaceutical ingredient of a medicine is heated, evaporated, and then combined with an inert gas such as nitrogen. The vaporized medicine and gas combination are then placed into a device that evenly sprays the combination onto a cool inanimate surface—similar to spray painting. The medication condenses and an ultrathin film is left with the “print” of the medication. This was done to objects such as a dissolvable strip (like your Listerine breathe strips) and Tegaderm bandages.

(Nurse Alice on Fox News Happening Now talking about Printed Medications. YouTube)

 

This technology could improve compliance rates of people taking their medications, improve the quality of life, and customize the way we deliver medication and allow medications to truly be delivered in doses most suitable for the patient. Currently, many pills come in a standardized dose, for example in 5, 10, and 20 mg of a said medication. With vapor jet printing there is an opportunity to customize the dose and perhaps give 7.5 or 12mg of that same medication if more appropriate based on the patient’s size and condition. There may be times when a smaller person doesn’t need as much medication as a larger person but because of how current medication is packaged there isn’t an opportunity to customize the dose. This technology also has implications for speeding up clinical trials and getting more effective medications to patients sooner as these medications are dissolved and absorbed differently than traditional pills.

When I spoke to Dr. Max Stein, lead researcher and an associate professor at the University of Michigan in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, he mentioned that this technology is promising and even with the rigorous process of getting FDA approved, he’s optimistic that we could see the likes of this technology as soon as five years from now.

What do you think? Would you be interested in taking multiple medications in one dose? What questions do you have about printed meds? Post your comments and questions below and/or on social media including #AskNurseAlice and I’d be happy to answer them.

Jay-Z Reportedly Interested in Buying Harvey Weinstein’s Stake in TWC

Jay Z

Jay-Z may be looking to make an investment in The Weinstein Company (TWC) in the midst of the controversy surrounding the company’s founder Harvey Weinstein, a powerful film producer accused of sexually harassing and assaulting scores of women throughout his three-decade career.

Jay-Z (Image: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

 

The New York Times reported last week that the Academy Award-winning producer made sexual advances at multiple women in Hollywood, including high-profile actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Ashley Judd. Some women who rejected his non-consensual advances said that, in turn, he used his clout to sabotage their career. Three women also accused him of rape.

As a result, on October 8, Weinstein was ousted from TWC, a mini-major film studio that he co-founded and co-chaired with his brother Bob. TMZ reports that Jay-Z is interested in purchasing Weinstein’s 23-percent stake in the production company.

In 2016, Jay-Z signed a two-year deal with TWC that includes a first-look deal at film and TV projects. The hip-hop mogul worked with Weinstein to produce Time: The Kalief Browder Story, a six-part documentary that premiered earlier this year. The rap star also has several upcoming projects in the works with TWC, including an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights; a miniseries about Trayvon Martin; a program exploring American race relations hosted by Jay-Z; and a biopic about comedy legend Richard Pryor.

According to TMZ, Jay-Z would partner with other investors to purchase the stake and he “wants his relationship with the company to continue and grow.”

Fox Business, however, reports that rumors of Jay-Z purchasing Weinstein’s stake are false, according to their sources.

In response to the allegations of sexual assault, Weinstein released an apology, telling the New York Times: “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.” He added that he will take a sabbatical and is working with therapists to “deal with this issue head on.”